Chantilly_DSCN6209 Chantilly_DSCN6208Chantilly_4This is a lovely dress that I made quite a while ago!  So long ago in fact that I remember wearing it on New Years Eve of 2014!  And yet, I haven’t got around to sharing it until now…  All this while, it’s been one of my favourite go-to dresses!  The cut is flattering and feminine – it hits all the right places.  I always seem to get a lovely complement when I’m out and about in this frock.  People also often assume it to be a vintage piece, which I think gives in an extra charm ;)

I really took my time making this little number. I was so patient in fact that I made a full lining for the dress (which I rarely do, as I’m often so eager to get it on and wear it already!)  I felt as though I essentially made two whole dresses, since I used the same pattern pieces of the dress to create the lining in a pale blue silky-soft rayon.

The gorgeous fabric that I chose for the outside of the dress is Alchemy Sketchbook in Voile by Amy Butler.  The first time I saw it I instantly knew that I wanted to use it for this Colette’s Chantilly pattern!

I love Colette’s older patterns, such as this one, as they seem so sophisticated and elegant.  These early patterns are also complex enough that I’m always learning learning new things and moving forward with my sewing skills.  Although I felt challenged when starting this pattern, it was not overwhelming.  I think the key to motivation (at least for me)  is to have a looming project that puts a little fear in you, yet with the knowledge that you can very realistically accomplish it.  I love scouring through pattern websites, looking at the photos and drawings, studying the garment structure to figuring out how garment is put together and whether or not I could create it and if it would even complement my body type.  Every new project brings a new lesson in the many ways to do something.  For example, french seams!  The Wikston Tank was the first time I experienced french seams and I was amazed that there was this totally different way to deal with seams.  Those experiences can open your mind and keep you interested.

Little lessons, such as these, are an important part of the process of developing skills.   As Colette Patterns has developed and grown as a company, sometimes I feel they have taken a direction towards servicing the novice sewer.  I understand that they are running business and there a lot more aspiring sewers & beginners out there to market their products to.  However, I hope that in the future they will also invest in the gorgeous pieces of their early days – the ones to be admired and which to aspire to create.

At the time, Chantilly was exactly that for me – a challenge and a pleasure.

This pattern has many lovely details. The pockets are a nice touch – I think many would agree that dresses with pockets are always something to adore!  The construction and fabric gathering of the bust area fits together so elegantly.  When I was cutting out the bust pattern pieces, I was thinking “How the heck is this going to work?.”  I couldn’t figure out what was up or down, but after much pinning and seam ripping I saw how well it fitted to the unique neckline.  I don’t think own any other garment with this sort of neckline and I really think it would suit almost anyone.  Lastly, who doesn’t love to twirl a full skirt!

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Well, I have been on an extra long blogging hiatus! However, that does not mean that I have stopped sewing!  I have so many gems that are just waiting to be shared… but for today, may I introduce my version of Victory Pattern’s Roxanne Top. *Ta-Da*

I love Victory Patterns! I’ve made a few Victory patterns so far and I’m really excited to see what Kristiann will come up with next!

I’ve been looking forward to trying out this pattern for a while – I’ve always been very taken by the collar.  I got the pattern as a present for christmas and it quickly made it’s way to the top of my sewing list!

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The collar was definitely the most challenging part of the top! Generally I find Victory’s instructions very clear to understand, but for the collar part I found it a little bit confusing, and I kept on looking online for some sort of sewing tutorial – no dice… I was working on it for for some time, getting kind of frustrated and just had to give up for a while! But, like most things in life, once I came back to it with a clear head, it came together beautifully.  I sort of ditched the instructions and went with my instinct.  It was well worth the effort because I think it is such a lovely delicate detail that makes whole piece so special.

I got this fabric ages ago, it is Tana Lawn Liberty that I ordered online from Shaukat in London.  I actually can’t remember the name of the print (if anyone knows the name of it please let me know if the comments!)  I often impulse buy fabric that I love, then hang onto it for ages, just waiting for the right pattern to come along – I’m sure many of you can relate!

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When I finished the top, I found it to be a little too baggy for my taste…  I prefer clothes that are a bit fitted, like empire waist.  I think that loose style is more flattering on taller women.  I decided to sew in strings (that I made from the same fabric) onto each side of the top so I could tie it at the back.  I think it makes for a beautiful silhouette.  I also love the gathering on the back of the top and I think the tying accentuates the pleats.

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That’s my share for today!  What do you think?   Have you made this top?  I’ve seen so many beautiful versions out in the blogosphere – I’d love to see yours!

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Ava_Cover.3391ac9027101ef2e994c61f97ef332542Ta-da! Allow me to introduce my version of Ava by Victory Patterns!

I love this indie pattern company!  Victory Patterns is Toronto based & I love supporting amazing local businesses.  I had the pleasure of taking a class by Kristiann at The Workroom a few years back.  She was so lovely & a great teacher.  I was so excited to see her new pattern company when it first came out and I’ve been dying to try out some of her patterns ever since.  (I have already bought the Madeline pattern & fabric!)

I bought the fabric – Wookey Hole by Liberty of London – quite a while ago & was trying to decide what to do with it. At first I was thinking of making it with Anouk, but I was worried about how such a bold print would work with the front detailing.  I had my heart set on Anouk, but ultimately decided that the loud fabric suited Ava better.

The pattern was pretty easy to sew, the instructions were straight forward.  The most difficult part was the pleated pieces for the armholes and for where the top of the bodice met the lace.  I spent hours one night working on it with no success, so I just gave up.  The next morning I came back to it & it was really easy!  Sometimes you just need fresh eyes.

I’d like to make the top version at some point.  I make a lot of dresses and I find that I don’t get to wear them as much as I like, so I would like to add more tops to my self-made wardrobe.

I got the loveliest comment while I was wearing this dress the other day, from a perfect stranger! He said he liked my dress, then I said my standard “Thanks, I made it!” and he said “Wow! Beautiful and talented!” Sewing really does pay off!

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Not the best dress for a windy day…

_DSC4633Pattern: Ava by Victory Patterns

Size: 8

Fabric: 1 & 1/2 of Wookey Hole by Liberty of London, a cotton lawn.  1/2 of black stretch lace.  1/2 of black cotton.

 

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So, last week I finished my version of the Elisalex Dress from By Hand London, and I love it!!!

First of all, it came together so easily and it is so flattering.  I wore it to a party on Saturday night and got so many compliments, way more than for any other self-made dress I’ve ever worn.

I had originally wanted to make the dress with short sleeves, but I think I cut the bodice one size too small, so the sleeves were a bit too tight around my shoulder.  Anyways, I really like how it looks without the sleeves after all, and it’s perfect for hot & humid Toronto summers.  I’ll be sure to make a with-sleeves version for my next Elisalex!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I got the fabric from Ikea.  It’s Solrun by Malin Åkerblom.  It’s an upholstery weight fabric and perfect for keeping the shape of the Elisalex (& the flowers are really cute too.)

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Overall, I would really recommend the Elisalex pattern.  The instructions are really straight forward.  Whenever I was in doubt of anything I simply went onto the By Hand London website to check out their Elisalex Dress Sewalong.

I can’t wait to make my Charlotte skirt – which I already have fabric picked out for (& eventually a Victoria blazer)!

Have you made the Elisalex dress? Do you have plans to make it?  What’s your current favorite pattern?

Elisalex dress

I’m currently working on By Hand London’s Elisalex dress.  I bought both the Elisalex dress pattern and the Charlotte skirt pattern several months ago and I’ve been so excited to start them.  I’m using upholstery weight fabric that I got from Ikea last summer (it’s Solrun by Malin Åkerblom – I’m pretty sure it’s still for sale.)  The pattern says that you need a heavy fabric to maintain the shape of the skirt.

So far the bodice has come together beautifully!  I cut pattern size US8/UK12 and honestly its a bit snug – I had to loosen out the seam allowance to make sure I have enough fabric to attach the zipper, but the shape is really nice.

I have been so excited to make the Elisalex dress ever since I started seeing everyone else’s beautiful versions.  Here are some of my favorites:

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Photo from blog ‘Dixie DIY’

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Photo from the blog ‘Saké Puppets’

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Photo from blog ‘Me and My Polar Bear.’

Have you made the Elisalex dress?  Which versions of the dress do you love?

Can’t wait to you show you mine soon!

_DSC0893I just finished a new dress ~ Colette Pattern’s Lily.  I haven’t made that many garments from Colette, so I was excited to try this one.  (Btw, have you seen the new one that came out today? The Hawthorn dress.  Not sure how I feel about it yet…)  The construction was fairly straight forward, the only thing that I found a bit complicated was the front side panels with the pockets.  Once I figured that out everything came together easily.

I made the dress with nani IRO little letter double gauze.  I’m obviously IN LOVE with nani IRO (considering how make so many things with it) but who wouldn’t be!?  I picked up the contrast fabric from The Workroom – it’s just plain quilting cotton, but I think the colour really compliments the flowers in the print.

The dress is fully lined with a white cotton polyester fabric.  I decided to line it because the cotton gauze was slightly see through and it’s more comfortable to have silky-feeling fabric against your skin.  There are no instructions on how to do the lining, which is unfortunate…  I had to overlay a couple of the pattern pieces that makes up the front-side pocket panel to figure out the correct shape, without making an internal pocket.  It was a bit complicated, but I eventually figured it out.  I wish most patterns had an option for lining.

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I really like making these little computer drawings (above) of what my dress will look like with the fabric I choose.  It helps me keep focused on what I want to make and it’s so so exciting to see how similar the final product looks compared to the rendering.

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This is a long overdue post about a top I finished back in March.  I think this probably the first article of clothing that I really like wearing.  Usually I make fancy dress that I can’t really wear on a day-to-day basis, but I’ve worn this shirt a lot since making it!  (Now that its summer I won’t be wearing it again for a while..)  I find the material is so comfortable – its brushed cotton flannel made by nan IRO.  I got it from Miss Matatabi on etsy.

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The construction of this garment was relatively easy and straightforward.  I really like the details of the gathering at the front and the plackets, also the gathering of the sleeves.

Overall a great project to sew!

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Madi & I

My dog Madi & I

Last year I made an Art Deco cross-stitch Sampler that I got on Antique Pattern Library.  I couldn’t remember where exactly on the site I found this pattern, but I recently I came across it again.  I know that in the comments some people were interested in making it too, so I put it up on this post.  If you want to find it on Antique Pattern Library, you can find it in the catalogue under “Erstmann, Friedrick & Helbig, Paul, A-B-C der Stickerin, Das.

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Hello Sewing Friends!

I am back in action and in fine form after a prolonged absence (time goes so fast!!!)  I was mostly away because I moved to a new town to start studies in photojournalism – which I love – but it has pretty much consumed my life!  In that time though, I’ve been continuing to follow all my favorite sewing blogs and keeping up with all the cool new patterns that have been released – I have an ever growing sewing to do list!

First thing first, allow me to present my latest creation that I made using Simplicity 1873 by Cynthia Rowley:

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As you can see, there is still some snow on the ground here in Toronto, and today it was also pretty windy:

 

 

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It was really easy to make, not so many pieces. I lined it with a turquoise voile and inserted an invisible zipper.  The only alteration I ended up making was to shorten the straps.  I would definitely make this again!

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Close up on details: adorable duck button holding down one of the tabs!FemFab_DSC3738

Here’s the back:FemFab_DSC3749Here’s a sneak peak of my next two projects, they’re both in nani Iro & already in the works, so hopefully I’ll get some photos of them up soon enough.

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This is a new english paper piecing project I have started.  The fabric is free spirit solids and, at the moment, I don’t have a whole lot of the fabric left, so I guess the final size of the quilt will depend greatly on how much more fabric I will be able to get my hands on… Here’s hoping the workroom still has some in stock!

I’m calling it my “seventies cube quilt” because I think it has a real retro vibe to it.  Maybe its the optical illusion that makes it so dated, or the colours…  It’s so simple, and yet I find it so aesthetically satisfying.

My sewing time over the past month has been very limited (I’m balancing two jobs this summer…), but having a bit of hand sewing makes me feel like I’m still staying on top of things.  I sewed all of this piece so far while on the subway or on my lunch breaks.

The Banksia top by Megan Neilson that I had mentioned I was working on (in a previous post) turned out not so nice… However, I will try again – and then I shall show what went wrong and how I (hopefully) made the next one better!  Other than that, I have been working on a dress from one of my Japanese dress books, Stylish Dress Book 3.  You’ll be the first to know when it’s done!

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