Simplicity 1812 top and Cake Pavlova Skirt

I’ve been sick for a few days now with some sort of cold flu apocalypse plague-like thing. I woke up this morning and got dressed and put make up on and went into work. Then my boss told me to go home, because I was too sick.

I headed home and got tons more kleenex and some throat tea (basically fennel and other stuff) and honey. But I decided not to waste the make up and outfit and take as many pictures as I could before I was a feverish sweaty mess. Gosh, I’m classy.

I’ve made the Cake Pavolva skirt before. I’m not sure why, but I still haven’t mastered making this skirt out of the package. I always have alterations. This time my back pieces are smaller than my front pieces and it makes for a much better fit for me. I have finally made these alterations to my pattern pieces so maybe I can make this without any issues next time!

I love the pockets on this skirt. I used the pavlova pocket piece, but opted not to make the little pleats on it or put the band at the top of the pocket. I put an embroidery stitch from my machine across the top in a light blue colour. I love the look. In terms of the placement of the pockets. I chose to angle them slightly and I think they look pretty good.

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As for the top, the pattern is Simplicity 1812. It includes several skirt patterns, as well. I’ve made the skirt before and really loved it. Sadly, it was made when I was a beginner and didn’t really hold up all these years. Shame, though, because it was pink polkadots!

I made this top twice. Cut it out, put it together, and then tried it on and well… It did not fit. The main issue was the top cutout. I have really narrow shoulders and a hollow chest and it’s tough to fit. I took the entire top apart. I just cut off the seam allowances, because there was enough extra ease to account for it. It was so much easier than ripping out serger stitches. There are still issues with the top, but it works a lot better than it did before (you can see the issues still remain in the picture below if my shoulders aren’t back and I don’t have perfect posture). I doubt I will make another one of these tops. It’s a neat style, but I don’t think I will ever get a great fit in it, sadly. But if you have broad shoulders and a bit bust, it should work for you.

It’s also meant to be a 3/4 length sleeve and ends just above my wrists. It’s a little long. Maybe the pattern works better for non-petite people?

Here’s my sick photoshoot and, by sick, I mean flu induced photoshoot:

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TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Simplicity 1812
  • Pros: Unlike most big 4 patterns, this top has negative ease!
  • Cons: Simplicity definitely thinks that if you are big, you are big all over. If you are petite in other places, keep in mind that you will have to shorten the sleeves and make major shoulder adjustments and adjustments to get the inset piece to fit.
  • Make again?: I will make the skirt again. I’ve been meaning to do that for a while, but the top…nope. I’m not up for all the alterations that I need to do to make this fit.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-md3/5 stars

Dotty Parisian Top

After my Parisian top cardigan hack (say that five times fast!), I knew I wanted to try out the pattern as it was drafted. I loved the style of it as a top, but found it didn’t translate well to a cardigan in spite of the other version that inspired it at Lemon Squeezy Home.

The Parisian top is from Go To Patterns, which has patterns for both women and children, etc. I got the pattern from the Just Add Jeans collection and basically bought the collection for that pattern alone. I liked the other patterns, too, but definitely wanted to make up the Parisian top immediately.

I am definitely a fan of the pattern.

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I made it with a reversible double knit from Joann’s for the main pattern and a thick knit from a local shop for the contrasts. The second I saw this double knit in Joann’s during a trip to the states, I knew it was destined to be a Parisian top. It didn’t disappoint at all. It’s a nice thick sweater with cute details. I walked around work when wearing this on Friday with a smile on my face and pretty pleased with my wonderful sewing job. It also helps that the top took me no time to construct. I basically sewed it about two hours. The only issue I had was with the cuffs on the sleeve. One moved while I was sewing and had to be ripped out. But that’s because the dotty fabric was rather slippery.

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I used the dotty fabric for the sleeve cuffs. You can see them a little better in these pics as I threaten you with snowballs! 😛 I also love how the thick knit on the sleeves makes the puffs even more pronounced and amazing, which of course means I need this pic:

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I wore the top with my Cake pattern’s Pavlova skirt and my Andi Satterlund Cable Brim Beret. It’s snowed like crazy on Thursday and made for a lovely photo session. Lovely, but cold. Rosy cheeks do mean I don’t need blush, though! Bright side!

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I had to make a snow angel, too. 🙂

Not much else to say, except that I will be wearing this top frequently and looking adorable.

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I’m cold now! Time to run back inside…

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….to warm up with some tequila and orange juice….shhhh…..

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Santa approves….the nutcrackers…not so much….

 

Cardigans and Skirts, Oh my!

I’ve been hard at work sewing lately and instagramming the #bpsewvember photo-a-day challenge. Phew. Busy, busy.

First up is a skirt I made in about an hour for my halloween costume. A black circle skirt for a skeleton costume.

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You can’t really see it there, but I made some pretty horrid mistakes when I put this together the night before halloween and then just decided to frack it and come back to it later. I made the flower garland for my head as well:

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Ooooh creeepy!

The circle skirt wasn’t the greatest. I used my Pavlova skirt pattern and forgot to cut a smaller size. Luckily, I had a belt on to hide all the flaws in the waistband. This past week I unpicked and sewed not only the waistband, but also the seams and zipper again (although, the zipper was fine, but I had to take the side seams in). I made french seams and hand-stitched the waistband facing.

Then I made the Jenna Cardi from Muse Patterns, because I always need a cardigan and it matches my black circle skirt perfectly!

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I put heels on for this picture…

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This is my “why did I put heels on for this picture?” face Oww……

Of course, all my photos are inside now, because outside has turned into winter overnight and the sun now sets around 4:30pm, which is shortly before I get home from work.

Anyway, back to sewing, because it’s far more interesting than the weather.

I love this cardigan so much. I sewed a size 48 and altered the sleeve to be more fitted. In larger sizes, Muse patterns sleeves tend to be rather big, which is fine if you prefer a loose fit. If you want a more fitted look, I suggest grading down toward the wrist and cutting the smaller cuff. The patterns are drafted for tall 5’10” women. I am only 5’4″ so the sleeves are long and big on me. I shortened them down a few inches and graded them in at the wrist, because I have tiny wrists (and super small hands). The cardigan hits in the right place for me. For future versions, I will be cutting out a smaller size, though, because it doesn’t quite go in enough at the waist for me, but that is my preference.

Sewing was very easy it took under two hours and the instructions were brilliant. I love the cardi. I used a mustard yellow ribbing and a black jersey with silver stripes for the main fabric. Of course, I ran out of black thread! I had finished the circle skirt right before and ran out during that. So, unfortunately, the whole cardigan was sewn with navy blue.

Obligatory circle skirt blurry twirl picture!

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I also took care of an old UFO that I had been wanting to fix up.

It started off as this:

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It’s a hacked Go To Patterns Parisian top. I made it into a cardigan and didn’t like the length.

Now, it’s shorter, like my Jenna cardi. Although, a little shorter than that because I had a cutting accident. Oops! Don’t drink and cut, kids! (Kidding, I didn’t. I just cut the button bands shorter than I wanted by accident)

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Happy again because I took off the heels… Heels are so pretty, but I find them horribly painful…

I love the cardigan now. I still have trouble finding dresses to wear with it, though, because of the neckline. The Jenna cardi is definitely more to my taste. I think the Parisian top is best left as is and I will be making up the pattern again without any hacks.

The final piece to show you to round off my skirts and cardigans post is this major fail and I will be tossing it into the donation pile:

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Nope, not wearing heels just really unhappy with this horrible skirt. And yes, I am wearing a top underneath my cardigan, it’s just really light and I didn’t want to change for a horrible skirt.

Oh pencil skirt, why did you fail me?

This is the free pencil skirt pattern from Lekala. The pattern itself is totally fine, but it looks horrible on me. I tried it lower, I tried it higher, but the position and fit were never flattering on me. It just does not look right. I shortened the darts, lengthened the darts, removed the darts, etc. It just didn’t work.

My quest for a pencil skirt does not end here, though! I refuse to give up! I recently got Tenterhook’s Snapdragon skirt and Bluegingerdoll’s Betsy. I want to try out both patterns in the future and maybe, just maybe, I will finally have the perfect pencil skirt for all my sexy librarian needs.

I’m currently working on a coat as part of my Fall Essential Sewing Plans. I have sewn up the muslin and am excited about the fit. After the coat, the only items that are still outstanding for the Fall Essentials Sew Along are leggings and underwear. I am still trying to get the Espresso Leggings pattern right, but I should have that done, too. I am taking my bra making class on the 28th/29th and have some panties patterns picked out for a quick sew up. Some of the dress patterns I chose got replaced with other patterns, because of timing and my mood. Actually, the only one I didn’t sew was a Lekala pattern. I will do a round up post after FESA 2014 ends on the 30th and a round up of my #bpsewvember photos. Many round ups.

Speaking of round ups, check out the Cat Lady Sewing Challenge round up post at Miss Crayola Creepy! Some amazing amazing things there!

 

 

Fall Sewing Plans

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I originally started this post in draft over the weekend and in the meantime I found The Creative Perfectionist from browsing around other people’s blogs and their favourites on bloglovin’ (yes, I am a stalker). I follow a ton of blogs on there and apparently never have enough to read.

I love the categories that Sarah put together for this and my original post really conformed to it. I have other sewing plans that are outside of FESA 2014 categories, but I figure why not join the group? I started this blog to join a community of sewists and to share creative endeavours. If my own plans can join in with a group, I might as well do it.

There are seven categories and I have plans in all except for Those Cozy Nights, which focuses on sleepwear. I have no plans to make any more pajamas.

Here are my plans in the six other categories:

Fashionable Foundations for Frosty Weather

Leggings

I’ve had Cake’s espresso leggings pattern for almost a year now and I have yet to touch it. Must make all the leggings, because I am always cold and hate winter so much, but refuse to not wear dresses. Pants suck, gals! I need dresses!

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Espresso leggings are one of Cake’s RiFF patterns, which means they are customized based on your measurements. Once you create a wearable muslin, you can basically make them with very little fabric and make them up super quick from the many blogs I’ve read talking about them.

Check out these blog entries on their espresso leggings reviews: Dreamstress, Dixie DIY, happilycaffienated, and Blinky Sews (Blinky’s post was the one that first made me buy the pattern).

Basically fall/winter are all about layers and I need tons, because I am ALWAYS cold in the fall/winter. I am the person you hate in the summer who runs about in 40 degree Celsius weather and gets angry when it dips below 25 Celsius. In the fall/winter, I am always in way more layers than everyone else. I even have a work blanket that I use ALL YEAR ROUND.

Fabric/notions needed: stretch material in different colours, 3/4 inch elastic.

Pencil skirts.

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I recently went WAY outside my fashion box by trying on a pencil skirt at Old Navy and an orange one at that. I love orange, but the colour has never been in my wardrobe, because my skin often doesn’t like yellowy hues and I end up looking like an extra from Walking Dead. I’ve only been wearing red in the past couple of years and discovered how much I adore it. I used to be 100% the pink girl. I wore pink, pink, and more pink. I feel like my readers are always expecting me to sew with pink and I swear I will! I’ve just been trying different colours a lot more lately.

I’ve decided to make a few pencil skirts as a result of the above pics. I didn’t buy that skirt, because the material was stretchy and had poor recovery (yeay for learning about that! Thanks, Colette Patterns!). My versions will be made of stretchy suit material from my stash and I am excited. I am starting off with a free Lekala pattern #5088:

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It’s a super basic pencil skirt. I have four fabrics in my stash for pencil skirts (yeay stashbusting!):

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Top: plaid stretch suiting, red stretch suiting Bottom: stretch corduroy, thick cotton blend (no stretch)

Depending on how I feel about the Lekala pattern, they may all be the same pattern, but I may keep my eye out for some other ones or try drafting my own. I really like the idea of drafting a vintage style high-waisted pencil skirt, but I dunno if I would really like that look on me… We’ll see. Gotta live outside the box!

Fabric/notions needed: Zippers.

Chic Chemises for Cool Climates

Cardigans.

With the Parisian top into a cardigan pattern hack, I’ve realized what I want in a cardigan: cute features for different colours and prints of fabric, versatility, and one that hits me at my natural waist.

Enter the Jenna Cardi from Muse patterns. Kat over at Modern Vintage Cupcakes recently launched her first pattern with her new label Muse Patterns and I am jazzed. More than jazzed. What is more than jazzed? Whatever that is, I am that.

Yes, I do love everything about this pattern. Yes, I do. Look at the versatility, the size range  (up to 48″ bust size!), the fun details in variation B and the simplicity in variation A.

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It only needs about two yards of fabric depending on your size and the version. I will be doing variation B at waist length with long sleeves to start and then likely trying every variation and the variations within the variations with variations. Verily!

Fabric/notions needed: Stable light-medium weight jersey/knit fabrics (such as merino wool, wool or acrylic blends, cotton knit, cotton blends, or even stretch lace), and buttons.

Fabulous Frocks

Wrapalong

The Curvy Sewing Collective is doing a Wrap Dress Sew Along and they posted a link on their facebook page to a plus size Burda collection that included the most awesome Wrap Tunic Dress that would go perfectly with a new pair of Espresso leggings. I wasn’t going to join the Wrapalong, because with the exception of a woven wrap dress from yesteryears made into a circle skirt recently, I am not a big fan of wrap dresses. I love a nice wrap cardigan, but wrap dresses never quite fit the girls. I am in love with the style on this one though and the draping in the finished version they have is making me go nuts:

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Fabric/Notions needed: Stretch jersey, 1/4 elastic.

Fall of 1000 Shirt Dresses

Following Mary at Idle Fancy‘s lead, I’m declaring it the Fall of 1000 shirt dresses. She may end up making this a sewing challenge and I am in full support of that!

Combined with this is also the Cat Lady Sewing Challenge with Erin at Miss Crayola Creepy.

I recently acquired this awesome fabric:

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I plan on making McCall’s 6696 in view D:

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I will be using black cotton fabric for the waistband, button bands, collar, and the cuffs. I will be the coolest cat around (heheh, so punny again!).

Of course, I will be making a wearable muslin to prep for the October challenge and that means: MORE SHIRT DRESSES! ALL THE SHIRT DRESSES! I mean… I guesssss I will make shirt dresses….. (dances)

Lots of these Fall of 1000 Shirt Dresses fabrics will come from my stash (Yeay stashbusting!):

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Mostly cottons, except for the black at the top, a polyester blend.

Other fall dresses include:

Lekala #4115 (with one of the above stash fabrics):

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Colette Moneta

I’m going to try to find merino wool or ponte knit and make a few of these in a heavier knit with long sleeves. The Moneta is so easy for me cut and to sew up.

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Fabric/notions needed: Merino wool, ponte knit, heavier stretch fabrics, buttons for shirt dresses, zipper for Lekala 4115, elastic for Moneta.

Tender Tootsies

I also have an idea of making Espresso tights.

Handmade by Carolyn has a great tutorial for drafting your own tights that would be useful combined with the custom fit of the Espresso leggings. Basically just using her tutorial for making the feet for the tights.

Along with this, I have a few pairs of knit tights that don’t quite fit me anymore in the butt, but I am planning on hacking into slouchy knee high socks.

Fabric/notions needed: Elastic.

Underneath It All

I have a lot of remnants of stretch material and a lot of plans with more jersey knits and other things that I can fashion into: Underwear!

I plan on taking the Bra-Making Workshop in Hamilton at the Bra Maker’s Supply in November over my birthday weekend. Bras are hella expensive and I want a better fit. They say if you can set a sleeve you can make a bra! Sign up if you are in the area and meet me!

Baby It’s Cold Outside

My First Coat!

In the beginning of the summer before I was put on a fabric-buying hold as part of the Summer Stashbust, which I failed in sew many ways (ha, punny!), I bought this wool from a thrift store.

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I have yet to determine how much of it I have (I keep forgetting), but I have plans to combine it with other wool fabric, if I need more. I think there is enough for the main parts of the coat, but accents like straps and the collar might be made of a contrasting solid wool rather than the main.

I love the smell of this wool. I can’t get over how wonderful it smells. I’m not normally a fan of wool fabric, but this one… I dunno just smells so wonderful. It had original tags on it that said it was 50 bucks. Maybe it’s just higher quality than I’ve been used to.

Possible patterns for this include:

Lekala #5835 acquired with my Monthly Stitch dresses win of five patterns.

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I have to lay out the pattern pieces on my wool to see if I have enough fabric minus the smaller straps and the top collar.

If that doesn’t work, I also own these two patterns:

Butterick #5685:

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I would shorten this and have to use the D-cup pattern pieces. Actually, this may be moving up my list to top choice, because I really like the pattern…and that the bust variations are there.

McCall’s #6657:

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I might also have to shorten this one, but I don’t need to alter the pattern based on finished garment measurements.

All three make me super happy. I’ll definitely be doing a muslin, though, because the fabric is too gorgeous to make a coat that I won’t show off like crazy and be absolutely in love with in every single way.

I also want to line it with this fabric, if I have enough:

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Even if I have enough for just the main pieces minus the sleeves, I have black liner fabric I can use for the sleeves. I just adore this fabric. I got it in a swap a million years ago when I was doing burlesque in St. John’s Newfoundland and I’ve been hoarding it since. It’s lovely. It’s cotton, I think?

Aside: learn more about fabric types.

I have brilliant dreams of combining brown leather with coat pattern 1 and 3, but my wallet might get pissed at me. Although, really, a coat for the 10 bucks the wool cost me at the thrift store and buttons and some leather…. still a cheap coat…

Fabric/notions needed: Contrasting accent fabrics in wool or leather, if needed, buttons.

Colour/pattern Palette:

fall colour palette

I’m all about the plaid this fall so I want to hopefully find some plaids in stretchy materials to take home and be mine for a Jenna cardi or Espresso leggings. And yes, pink is on my list of colours. I’ve been trying to find more pink, but I keep getting distracted by other colours… I am going to try to find a nice one for my wrapalong dress.

Oranges and yellows are on my list for the first time ever! I am going to break it up with having them as accents on black or brown or possibly grey cardis or making my Moneta with the skirt in one colour and top in another.

Lots of options there.

Complete shopping list:

  • Burdastyle wrap tunic dress: 4 yards light weight drapey jersey/knit fabrics, 2 yards 1/4 inch elastic
  • Espresso Leggings & tights: 2 yards of medium weight jersey/knit fabrics, 4 yards 3/4 inch elastic
  • McCall’s shirt dress: 11 1/2 inch Buttons (hopefully cat related)
  • Jenna Cardigan: 2 yards stable light-medium weight jersey/knit fabrics, 6 1/2 inch buttons
  • Moneta: 3.5 yards merino wool, ponte knit, heavier stretch fabrics, 2 yards clear elastic
  • Lekala pencil skirts: 4 7 inch zippers
  • Lekala 4115: 6 1/2 inch buttons (zipper in my stash)
  • Coat: Wool for contrasting accent fabrics for coat or leather (this one is more in the air as I haven’t settled on a pattern yet, but I likely won’t be sewing this until November)

Not too long of a shopping list. Only 13.5 yards of fabric to get over a couple of months. Some of those items can certainly get out of hand, but I’m not allowed to go to the Toronto Fashion District and buy a year’s worth of fabric like I did last year at this time. I am only allowed to get enough for one of each of the above patterns and definitely not at once. The moment I buy more means that I start hoarding them all!

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Finding Balance and Realizing Limits:

I am in love with how all of these challenges overlap so that I can take part in a few with one garment. However, given my up and down health, I am not going to stress if I don’t get it all done. I also have a lot of non-selfish stuff in the works for Halloween and those plans may overtake my selfish sewing. I definitely want to get three things done, though: Espresso leggings, Burda wrap tunic, and McCall’s cat print shirt dress. I know I will get at least one pencil skirt done as well, but I also know the Halloween stuff will be taking over soon! I’ll tell you about it eventually, but no planning posts on that. Secrets! You’ll have to wait until after Halloween to see what I accomplished. It’s also possible that most of this list will be sewn in November outside of the three top things. I can always push some of these into my winter sewing plans…..I do have another stashcation planned for Christmas holidays….