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

Seamwork Brit

As soon as I saw the Seamwork Brit and the bonus variation, I knew I had to have it. Although, I wasn’t interested in making the dress. I have been lusting after a top with a ruffle detail for ages. I was actually going to design one myself using the Cashmerette Concord t-shirt pattern but hadn’t gotten around to it and didn’t really want to. The sleeves on the Brit pattern are a bonus, too! I absolutely love a bishop sleeve.

I shortened the pattern by about 8 inches. I wanted the top hem to hit my low hip so I didn’t want to take out too much length. I cut out a size 24 and the only modification I did was shorten it to a top. I have to say that the fit is lovely. The sleeves fit nicely and the top fits over my bust and back really well. I think the pattern is going to become a TNT (Tried and Tested) pattern. I honestly don’t think I have any changes I would make for the next versions.

The fabric I used is a bright blue with white stripes knit. I got it from Tanya during a destash a while ago. I have been hoarding the fabric ever since. It’s a very lightweight knit with a nice drape perfect for the sleeves as well as not being too thick for the layers in the ruffle.

In the curvy range, the pattern has a centre back seam to help with the fit. Not that I needed it since it fits great.

The sleeves are lovely. The bands are a bit tight in this knit for rolling up sleeves; although, not around my wrist. But just be aware that if you occasionally roll up your sleeves, the pattern might need a slight modification here or a stretchier fabric.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Seamwork Brit and the bonus variation
  • Pros: I could wear this top all the time. I love it so much!
  • Cons: No cons imho. It’s a great pattern.
  • Make again?: I have a ton more version planned including one that uses lace for the yoke above the ruffle. ❤
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

Decades of Style Ophelia Overalls

Today I am sharing my Ophelia Overalls from Decades of Style. Usual disclaimer: I was given the pattern for free to test it out and share on social media. All opinions are my own.

I’ve been wanting to make overalls for a while now. Overalls were my favourite thing to wear in the 90s. I owned a pair of wide legged overalls in a lightweight denim fabric that I absolutely loved. I wore them all the time in spite of my sister poking fun at me and saying I could be a farmer in those overalls, to quote Clueless.

I loved those overalls and was recently thinking that I needed to replicate them since the style was coming back. Let’s be honest, style be damned; overalls are super comfortable.

When Janet, the mastermind behind Decades of Style, sent me the pattern information, I said yes immediately. I also knew immediately that the polkadot chambray in my stash was perfect for it.

Before I cut anything out, I did two things: 1) I compared the crotch curve of the pattern to my Blank Slate Forsythe Trousers and 2) I did a muslin of the pattern in a shorter length since the patterns requires a lot of fabric.

The crotch curve was almost a perfect match. All I did before making the muslin was scoop out the front crotch curve.

My muslin turned out well. It revealed that I would need a full belly adjustment. I also narrowed the width at the top of the bib by about an inch to account for my narrower upper frame. I didn’t want the straps slipping off.

 

 

The result in my final version is awesome. There are still some very minor fit issues. I do think a bit more of a full belly adjustment would help it. I also forgot to adjust the side panels for the increased length so they matched correctly. I will do that for my next version.

 

The result is so adorable and reminiscent of Rosie the Riveter that I am in absolute love with it. I did red topstitching, which while not perfectly even, is perfectly acceptable. I love the loose style of the overalls with the ties to cinch in the waist. They are comfortable and flowy.

 

Of course, it being Canada and the middle of winter….I will probably not wear this outside the house until the Spring. But I can always sew in them.

The other bonus of this pattern is those massive pockets. I can definitely start a revolution with those.

 

Finally, I will leave you with this note. Unlike a onesie or jumpsuit, the overalls don’t leave you naked when you pee. Hahhah.

For the pattern launch, there is a discount for 20% on the entire purchase with code OVER20 and it will run for 2 weeks.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Decades of Style Ophelia Overalls
  • Pros: I love big pockets and I can’t lie. Those wide legged pants are so fly.
  • Cons: Doing pattern adjustments are slightly tough but that’s only because of the number of pattern pieces and that my brain couldn’t remember that the sides would need adjusting. There is a sewalong that will cover some adjustments.
  • Make again?: YES! I am actually going to go back and finish the muslin shorts I made since they just need a couple minor adjustments to be wearable.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

Fancy Pants and Burda Sweater

 

Today I am sharing two newer garments I made in January: Style Arc Misty Jeans in a houndstooth doubleknit fabric and the Off the Shoulder Sweater from Burda issue 09/2018 in a turquoise hacci knit.

There isn’t much to say about the Misty Jeans. I’ve made them several times before. The only difference with these ones is the material. The fit is okay, but the material grows over the day so I needed to take in the waistband a bit. The doubleknit is a wool blend. Possibly blended with vicose or rayon since the material is super soft and doesn’t have great recovery like most rayon/viscose blends I’ve used. If I took the pants in, though, to account for the poor recovery, they would be tight on first wear for a couple of hours. I’m just accepting it. They are soft pants and super warm for winter so I’m not super concerned about them growing as the day goes on. With the waistband a bit tighter, it keeps them in place.

 

I made these for the #sewfancypants challenge on IG. The challenge was a lot of fun. It got me to finally make more pants.

The Burda sweater is lovely with these pants. I made size 52, the largest size. The pattern fits large. I find that about most Burda patterns, though. While I am a bit outside of the measurements for 52, I don’t have an issue fitting into it. I usually do an FBA but didn’t feel the sweater would need that and it doesn’t. It has an oversized look which is perfect for a cowl neck sweater. I am not really into off the shoulder sweaters so I am wearing this as a cowl neck. TBH I would also need to increase the size of the cowl to not have trouble getting it into an off the shoulder look. It’s a bit tight due to my bust size and the length from my nape to my full bust not being very long. Otherwise, the cowl just pops up and becomes a cowl again.

 

The sweater is hella long, though. We’re talking might as well be a dress long. I shortened it by 5-6 inches and then lopped off another 4 and even made a hem band with some of the length. HELLA LONG. I get I am 5’3″ but like….sometimes plus size drafting is way too long and Burda is pretty guilty of that. It’s possibly drafted for a 6 foot person in length!

 

BUT the arms are short. What? I didn’t notice because the model’s arms are scrunched up so it’s tough to see that the arms are shorter. I usually have to shorten arms not add long bands so they are long-sleeved. I don’t understand a cowl neck sweater with shorter sleeves… I want a sweater with long sleeves. I want to be cozy af.

Other than those issues of confusion, the sweater is great. I love the oversized cowl and the shape. It’s a lovely cozy sweater in a gorgeous turquoise/teal colour.

 

The sweater actually completes one of my make nine items. Yay!

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Off the Shoulder Sweater from Burda issue 09/2018
  • Pros: I love the final result! Even though I am a bit outside the size 52 measurements, it fits well.
  • Cons: Super long length and then weirdly short arms.
  • Make again?: I would. However, it required a lot of fabric even after shortening it quite a bit so I won’t be making it again any time soon since I don’t have enough fabric.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md  3.5/5 stars

Bra Sewing, Swimsuit Sewing, Vacation Sewing

All the sewing in this post!

I still have a backlog of projects to share with you but I thought I would share some things that I recently sewed where I have used the pattern before or, in the case of bra sewing, am using an updated pattern.

Bra Sewing

I’m super pleased with my alterations on my bra pattern. This is definitely a better fit than the last bra I sewed. The last bra fit well but throughout the day my cup would spill over. This bra does that on the 3rd day of wear after washing.

After the last bra, I incorporated more volume in the lower center cup, split the bottom cup into three to better distribute the volume and give a nicer shape, shifted the straps in by 1/4 inch, and scooped out the underarm by about a half inch graded to a 1/4 inch at the top.

It’s really difficult to tell the difference between the two since the previous bra was in black, but the projection is shifted slightly more to the centre reducing the splaying from my pectus carinatam. Unfortunately, the above picture was also taken right before my period when I was swelling like crazy. I generally have a 2 -3 inch difference in my bust at that time. Hello hormones! It’s much better now and I can see how the volume in the cup is a much better fit.

Overall, the shape is great. I feel comfortable in the bra. There are tweaks, however, for next version.

  1. More volume in the lower cups
  2. Less length along the top edge of the upper cup
  3. Move in the strap another 1/4 inch since the strap is still flipping over
  4. Even out the horizontal line where the lower cup and upper cup meet (bring it down by about an inch and a half at the side grading to the height of the cup closest to the bridge)

I’m considering accounting for the differences in cup volume in my 2 breasts, but I think I will wait until after the next iteration to do it.

I’d like one more underwired bra in my rotation and then I want to make changes to my bralette pattern. I’m going to get myself a couple of pattern drafting books for lingerie soon and see if I can apply some of those techniques for a better fit.

Swimsuit Sewing

I recently made another Cashmerette Ipswich Swimsuit and I love it.

The mermaid scales are both from Water Tower Textiles. I chose to make a full side panel with firm powernet for a scandalous see-through look. I love it.

I did not make a bra for this. I lined it with powernet instead. The fit is not bad. Definitely some drooping in the water, but not too bad. The straps with bra strap elastic really do wonders for that. This is a size 24 G/H on top. Bottoms are 24 graded to a size 26.

Why make a swimsuit when winter is about to hit Canada?

Vacation Sewing

My husband took me to Varadero, Cuba for my 38th birthday!!

It was such a perfect birthday!!

We drank…

We ate…

We went to Havana…

I could definitely spend all my birthdays in warm weather and on the beach from now on!

Of course, I couldn’t leave without some marathon vacation sewing…

Cashmerette Rivermont top

Nothing like a mirror selfie with fox pj pants!

Simplicity 8344 Bodysuit

I love it so much. I may take the straps off, though, since I find the elastic can cover my bra straps comfortably.

I also shortened some Misty Jeans into shorts to give them new life, but neglected to take a picture.

For my birthday, I made it a goal to raise $200 for the Ehlers-Danlos Society and I exceeded my goal by $127 for a total of $327!! I am so grateful for the generous support of my friends and family. It made for the best birthday gift. ❤

In my reflection on the past year, I am grateful that I am managing my chronic illness better. It’s through my own hard work and that of my respirologist that I have come so far. With my chronic cough under better management, I am able to do more and get a better grasp on my health rather than struggling with the day to day of just breathing. I know without the meds, my health is tenuous so I have to be super careful to not miss a dosage or else my breathing becomes difficult as well. The fact that there are meds that do help me is huge and I am incredibly grateful for that.

Of course, saying I am managing my chronic illness is not a cure or that I am no longer chronically ill. I know my limitations better now and I know when to rest versus when to push it. I am gradually incorporating more exercise into my life, but I will not do it at the destruction of my body. I have a better understanding of what is good versus what is bad. I am disabled. I cannot do a lot of things normally and often have obstacles that prevent access for me. It’s been quite a year for me of setbacks and realizations and lots of wins. 38 feels good. I have hope and that is an amazing thing to have.