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!






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.


Feminine Fabrications

It’s still a work in progress, but I wanted to share the news of my etsy shop with you!  It features some small knitted creations I have made.  There will certainly be more to come over the next few weeks and months, so check back often!  Here are a few photos of products now available from a recent photo shoot I did with the beautiful and intelligent Alyssa McLeod! Thanks Alyssa. Enjoy!


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Feminine Fabrications

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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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The bodice is fully lined:_DSC2596

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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:


Photo from blog ‘Dixie DIY’


Photo from the blog ‘Saké Puppets’


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.


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.

Anyways, here it is:_DSC0789





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:



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




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!

Close-up on bodice:FemFab_DSC3735

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.

naniirolittleletter2 Lily

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!

Today I turn 25.

I made this dress to celebrate my quarter of a century.  My mum surprised me with afternoon tea on Saturday at the Windsor Arms Hotel to celebrate, and I felt very well dressed for the occasion (& for the posh environment!)

This dress had been a UFO (unfinished object) for long time.  Vogue 1174 (designed by Cynthia Steffe) was one of the first Vogue patterns I ever picked up.  I really loved the pattern and I was really impressed by the many versions of this dress that other blogging seamstresses have made and shared (like this, this and this.)  I got the Nani Iro ‘Poster Fleur’ fabric from Miss Matatabi about a year ago (from Japan!)

When I first started this dress, I must have been a little overconfident, because it was well beyond the my skill level.  After running into multiple difficulties, I ended up throwing it into a corner and forgetting about it for months.  I have more half finished projects than I’d like to admit, but this one was really special for me… So, using my birthday as a deadline, I pushed myself to get it done, et Voilà!

The skills I learned from this project: making bias tape and piping, and using boning.  I used interfacing on the bodice pieces on the outer fabric and on the lining fabric.  I don’t think that was called for in the pattern, but I got the idea from reading some posts about it.  It made the bodice a lot more stiff and structured.  This was the first time I used boning, but it’s pretty uncomfortable, so I might end up taking it out… well see.  Also, the dress has pockets!

Close up of the Piping


A lot of the other blog posts about Vogue 1174 I read also commented on the weird sizing for this pattern.  The first time I sewed all the pieces up it was a size 10, and way too big for me, so I ended up grading it down to a 6 and it fits like a glove!  Fit is something I’m still trying to get a grasp of in general, but I’m glad that this one turned out alright.

I think I would make it again (perhaps when my skills have improved even more, this dress is a little rough around the edges…), but maybe with straps, like these ones.  One can only have so many strapless dresses!

Anyways, I had a wonderful long weekend full of food & presents with my wonderful family & friends.  Hope all the other Torontonians in the blogosphere enjoyed the beautiful long-weekend weather too!

– The Birthday Girl


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