A Unicorn Onesie for Recovery

I have loved my DIBY Gabriela Onesie since I made it. Every time I wear it, it increases my cozy factor by ten. That being said, I chose to make it with shorter legs and arms. While that’s great for some times, when it is cold in the house, I need a bit more fabric to keep my cozy levels high.

This onesie is perfect for colder nights or for maximum coziness. And it’s covered in unicorns!! I used the same pink bamboo fabric from my other onesie for the pockets, sleeve and leg bands, and the band for snaps. Instead of a zipper for this version, I made this version with snaps. The zipper was okay, but snaps are perfect. I do think I could improve on the location of the snaps so the band looks more centered. But I made the band with snaps as a last minute decision.

I’m really happy with these pjs.

Cozy things like this will make my recovery from surgery a bit better. I go in for sinus surgery tomorrow. I’ve been on the list for a few months and finally got the date earlier this year. It felt a bit unreal. Now I am just nervous. I’m sure it will be okay, but of course with any surgery I would be nervous.

I am really excited about the results post-surgery. I have a deviated septum and have never been able to breathe well at night. I’ve also had chronic sinusitis for well…. my entire life along with upper respiratory infections, allergies, asthma, snoring, etc. I don’t expect these all to be magically cured, but having a better chance to breathe well is huge, especially at night.

I might not be as responsive due to recovering. Hopefully it will all go well and I will recover quickly. But at least I will be wearing super cozy pjs!

Now to get super real here. Not only do I have the surgery coming up but I no longer have a job. The better part of the year, I had been worrying over this reality. I feel somewhat relieved that I don’t need to worry over it happening anymore and it’s just done. I am also glad it happened before my surgery so I don’t have to worry while I recover. Depression hit me hard this year with all the stress. I still have the tools I learned from cognitive behaviour therapy so I am safe, but it has been tough and one of the things I tend to do is avoid the topic. I’ve avoided talking about it pretty much everywhere which to be completely honest is an old habit of mine… Shove it all away and pretend it doesn’t exist. All in an effort to appear strong. But it’s not a good practice of mine and I am trying to get out of that. Depression is definitely nothing to be ashamed about and many people experience it. I’ve struggled with depression since I was about 12. I have also been suicidal and self-harmed, but I am not in that place any more thankfully.

I’m looking forward now with hope; recognizing that it will always be a struggle that I have to deal with and work through. Depression isn’t something that you recover from and suddenly are so cured and happy; it’s something that you have to manage, like a chronic illness.

It’s no surprise, as well, that chronic illness and depression often go together. I know several of my spoonie friends that struggle with depression along with their chronic illness like I do. Part of depression is a result of the isolating experiences of being disabled and chronically ill.

I’m sending a ton of love to anyone struggling with depression like I am. ❤

 

Scrapbusting with the Concord T shirt

When you are fat, all those suggestions for using smaller bits of fabric don’t really work the same way. You need far more fabric than people in smaller sizes so when you are looking up “what to make with less than a yard of fabric?” on google, the suggestions are a bit disheartening and frustrating when they use existing patterns that in larger sizes actually require much more fabric than a yard. When I buy fabric, I don’t ever buy less than a yard and a half. That can make me leggings or a short sleeve top and many other things. But sometimes, a yard doesn’t even make underwear in larger sizes. I think that’s tough to remember when you are smaller sized and writing these lists. There aren’t lists for “How to scrapbust when you are fat.” Although, now I want to write that list.

There’s always others ways to scrapbust, however, by using existing patterns and making design changes based on the fabric needs.

I had three different grey-based fabrics in my stash all with less than a yard of fabric left. I had a waffle knit with geometric print on it (only 1/4 of a yard), a striped doubleknit (just under a yard), and the remnant of a grey knit sheet that I used for a costume (about half a yard).

I used the waffle knit on the cowl neckline and for large sleeve bands. The grey knit sheet became the sleeves (please ignore the fact that they look twisted here…It’s because the sleeve bands are twisted because I didn’t pay attention putting it on before the picture) and the striped doubleknit became the body of the shirt (no attempt to stripe match since the yardage was so low). I did all this using the Cashmerette Concord T-shirt as a base pattern.

Originally, the shirt wasn’t going to be a cowl neckline, but the doubleknit stretched out when I sewed the neckband on it. You can see how it is stretching in that back view and pulling the fabric down off my shoulders. I’m almost sure the doubleknit has some rayon in the fabric. I got it with a bunch of other knits from LA Finch Fabrics when I won a sewing challenge last year. But not a problem, since I love a good cowl neckline.

The doubleknit is super stretchy; I had to remove a slight bit of width in the back to make it fit in the fabric constraints but the extra stretch makes that okay. The hem is the curved hem view using the grey knit sheet for the hem facing.

How soft is that doubleknit, though? It’s so soft! I wish that technology would catch up so you could feel this fabric. Like I just want to pet it. I wish I had more than just that piece!

I’m hoping the waffleknit softens a bit more in the wash since it’s not as drapey as I like a cowl to be. It looks okay but could definitely look a bit better.

Next time you have some pieces that are less than a yard, think strategically about what patterns you can use and mix and match! You can take any pattern and draw new panels or cut/design lines.

This is the last of my winter projects. I sadly didn’t get around to finishing all the things I wanted to for the season. I still haven’t started a new winter coat! But my brain is definitely not on Winter plans anymore so it will have to wait for the future. Some of my plans, however, might make it in my early Spring sewing since this is transitional weather in Toronto. For most of April, we’ll be anywhere from zero to plus 20 celcius. I’ll still be grabbing for all those layers for the next while.

Style Sew Me Alise Sweater

Is there a better print than houndstooth? I don’t know…

I made this Style Sew Me Alise Sweater in a houndstooth doubleknit. It’s a wool blend knit that I got locally and I love it. I used black bamboo lycra for the ruffle details.

I made the largest size and graded up at the hips by one size (outside the size range).

It’s a cute style, but there are definitely some issues with the sizing. The shoulders are quite large. I think it’s partially due to the heaviness of the doubleknit fabric, but the opening itself is a bit large. As well, the ruffle could be more ruffly.

I added sleeve bands and a hem band since that is my favourite way to hem knits.

The zipper in the back isn’t necessary for this fabric. It goes over my neck nicely without issue. However, with less stretch, it would be necessary.

It’s a cute top, though.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Style Sew Me Alise Sweater
  • Pros: Cute style.
  • Cons: Grading the shoulders out for a larger opening isn’t necessary as much in the larger sizes. I do think there could be some improvements in the grading there and then that would make the ruffle more ruffly.
  • Make again?: Probably not. It’s not 100% my style. It’s a cute top, though.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4/5 stars

 

Jalie Yoko Sweater

My mind is on Spring sewing plans, but I still have some projects from Winter sewing to share with you. The Jalie Yoko sweater is a free pattern. It’s a basic top pattern: square shape, turtleneck. If you look at the pattern pieces, it is a rectangle with neckline shaping and arms attached. It’s quick and simple.

I made size GG for the 51 inch bust. I am a bit bigger than that, but I knew the over-sized shape would be fine with an extra inch.

I can’t say much about the instructions, because I didn’t really touch them. What’s to puzzle over with a top this simple? It literally took me 20 minutes to sew up.

The shape is very similar to the Seamwork Tacara that I just made. Although, the Tacara has more hip and cocoon shaping. It also has a bit more shaping in the arm.

I love this top. I’ve always been a fan of turtleneck sweaters since I am always freezing.

I used a purple hacci sweater knit.

I hemmed it with my serger and the made me usual sleeve bands to hem the sleeves.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Jalie Yoko sweater
  • Pros: Boxy shape. Includes several sizes. Would work for any gender, as well. I’m not super sure why it can’t be listed as unisex.
  • Cons: It does only go up to a 51 inch bust…. but it’s got such a range from kids to adults.
  • Make again?: Yep. I would likely make it again. Probably not until cold weather returns in the fall. I’m dreaming of Spring.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

Style Sew Me Nikki Blazer

When @naturaldane and @onesewsweet announced the Black History Month Pattern Designers Challenge, I was excited. I wanted to try Style Sew Me patterns for a while and what a perfect time to do it. I got the Nikki blazer pattern and the Alise top, which is a current work in progress.

I used a green ponte knit for this version. I made the largest size and used smaller seam allowances. Mostly because I was worried that the sleeves wouldn’t fit but that wasn’t an issue; I should have just measures the pieces but I guess I was feeling lazy at the time. Even with the seam allowances as recommended and not in a knit fabric, it seems like the sleeves would be fine. Also, another thing about the sleeves is they are 2 piece sleeves. I adore a 2-piece sleeve.

I made no alterations for this version. The fit is okay, but for the next versions, I will shorten the bodice by about 2 inches, and add a bit more flare to the back skirt piece. I know that the sleeves are about an inch too long, but my preference is that they are longer so it’s unlikely that I would change it. A note that in the pictures, I am holding my remote so my hands disappear in a lot of the pictures. The sleeves hit about 1/3 or 1/2 of the way into my palm so a bit long but I like it that way.

I didn’t line this version since the knit is sewn on my serger and all the insides are finished anyway.

In terms of instructions, the pattern actually has very few. But there are youtube tutorials on it and the other patterns so anything that isn’t clear in the instructions is understood through the video tutorials.

I have already made a second version of the blazer. For this one, I added a bit more flare to the back peplum as sort of a faux full butt adjustment. I shortened the bodice by 2 inches. I do think that I could use a narrow shoulder adjustment but I keep forgetting and it’s not bothering me too much. The fabric is antique gold coloured faux leather and cotton lycra for the side panels and under sleeve due to fabric constraints. I hemmed the blazer with Heat N Bond Super hem and it is holding nicely in place. I also used the Heat N Bond to give a nice crisp edge to the collar pieces.

I made this one for the Day and Night Dress Challenge.

I also made my tassel necklace and the clutch (although to be real, the clutch isn’t quite done since it still needs lining and I haven’t found the strap I want to use for it.

The theme this year was to take a dress that you have in your closet that you don’t wear that often and make things that complete a day look and a night look. This Cashmerette Rivermont is actually the opposite of the dress requirements. I wear this one so often that I needed different looks for it. Mission accomplished.

The clutch is the Seamwork Valencia. It’s made with purple leather and green suede. Both of these are my first projects with faux or real leather aside from some leather patches on a jacket that I made ages ago. The sewing could be better on the Seamwork Valencia, but it could also be worse. Thank goodness for past me getting a teflon foot for my sewing machine. Also thank goodness for an amazing sewing machine with the Singer Heavy Duty 4452. ❤ Oh and I will be posting my review on the machine soon since it’s been a year with it.

The Valencia needed some piecing since the purple leather I had was a small remnant. The clutch has a magentic snap. Part of the reason I am also waiting to finish this is that the holes I cut for the magentic snap were cut a bit big. I think it will be okay but it would benefit from some reinforcement behind the snap just to ensure the hole doesn’t get bigger. I’m procrastinating on doing that. But I’m also not sure about the lining yet. Do you ever hesitate on small details like that? I even had a lining all ready and then went to put it in and was all….nope I don’t like that. I’ll figure it out. I might have to visit a remnant bin or two. Oh no fabric shopping! hahah.

I definitely don’t think this is my last leather/suede/faux leather project. I really want to make a small backpack with a combination of tan and more of the hunter green suede. We’ll see when I get around to that. I still haven’t found the perfect pattern for that.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Style Sew Me Nikki Blazer
  • Pros: Princess seams in front a back, nice shaping. The sleeves are actually generously sized and didn’t require a large bicep adjustment at all.
  • Cons: I can’t think of any cons! My length issue is because I am short, but that’s a common adjustment and easy adjustment for me.
  • Make again?: Definitely. I want a woven version next!
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Seamwork Valencia
  • Pros: An easy project for a first leather purse.
  • Cons: No cons really.
  • Make again?: Probably not. I don’t know how many clutches I would need!
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

Introducing the CocoWawa Crafts Maple Dress

After the size inclusivity chat on Instagram, I was contacted by several pattern designers that pledged more sizes. CocoWawa was one of them. While the dress they were doing pattern testing for was just slightly outside my size, the ease in it would work. Ana and I chatted about it and she really wanted to see how it would look. Spoiler alert: amazing.

Usual disclaimer about getting the pattern for free but not my opinion blah blah blah.

Generally, with pattern tests, I don’t like to simply cut into precious fabric and I do a muslin first. But I grabbed some seersucker gingham locally for around $10/ yard and got 3 yards. I already had a ton of navy bias tape in my stash.

Some details about the Maple dress:

Maple Dress, a beautiful and feminine design featuring a slightly loose shape, tailor or double breasted collar, flattering midi or shorter quarter circle skirt and three types of sleeves. Long with the option of an exposed elastic, 3/4 sleeves with cuffs and short sleeves with a keyhole and bow detail. Another personalized detail of Maple is the optional ruffle that runs along the collar, which can be also exchanged for some contrasting piping. Last but not least, Maple comes, of course, with inseam pockets!

I made the double breasted collar with shorter quarter circle skirt and short sleeves with a keyhole and bow detail. I could not resist that sleeve. It’s gorgeous and I love bows. I did make some adjustments ahead of time. I did a full bicep adjustment and graded the waist out a bit. Those were my only adjustments. The dress is meant to pull over the head. I could probably do another inch for a full bicep adjustment to really make that easier for myself, but it works for this version.

The Maple dress can be made in a variety of fabrics for different looks. Obviously, drapey fabrics give a softer look and heavier weight fabrics give a more structured look. I like the idea of both. How cute would it look in a navy wool suiting with red bias tape details? Or in a drapey double gauze with cotton lace? I also could see this pattern looking incredible with a short gathered skirt and working as a top in a lovely drapey fabric like a rayon or even a bit more structure with linen. I actually really want to do that asap. It would be so cute for the Spring! (All I can think about is Spring!)

I added in a tie using the navy bias tape.

The buttons I added are from a stash of buttons given to me last year.

I also added a ruffle to the hem with a strip of flat bias tape.

I really like this dress. It’s adorable and Spring-y and I love the colour. The fabric is soft and lovely.

It looks best with the tie. In general, I prefer when I cinch in the waist on dresses. I’m not entirely pleased with how the pockets sit on it. They are slightly low and effect the drape of the skirt. I made that part of my feedback so it might be changed in the final version. I’ll let you know since I have the final pattern. 🙂

What more to say? I love it!

Seamwork Tacara

I recently took part in DH Fabrics’ Sewing is for Everyone and Every Body blog series. As part of it, DH Fabrics offered to send us fabric. I opted for this gorgeous berry wool blend jersey.

A bunch of us at the CSC wanted to do a Same Pattern Different Bodies for the Seamwork Tacara pattern. I knew the fabric would be perfect for it since it has lovely drape with the vicose content.

I made a size 24 and then tried it on. The cocoon shape was less cocoon and more….sack chic. I took the side seams in by about 2.5 inches each side (5 inches overall) and shortened it. It did end up a bit shorter than I would have liked, but I would typically wear this with leggings anyway.

I think the style is nice for relaxed days. The fabric is the real star of this garment. It’s so soft and lovely to wear.

I’ve been using a cane for a while now. I’ve been slowly acquiring more and more braces as well. But I realized since I don’t tend to wear them around the house or use my cane around the house, none of my blog pictures were really reflecting my disability. So here I am. This is how I look most days when I am out of the house except that I would be wearing leggings (because it’s freezing in Toronto).

The bonus is that my cane has a spike on the end for ice and snow, but also maybe for bad ass reasons. Hahah.

Thanks again to DH Fabrics for the fabric. I love it. 🙂

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Seamwork Tacara
  • Pros: Super comfy.
  • Cons: It runs very large.
  • Make again?: I’m not sure that I will make it again to be honest. I think it might be cute shortened to a shirt, but I’m not sure how many shirts I would need like this.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4/5 stars