West Coast Blouse

My sister-in-law, who is an artist, recently launched a fabric design company. (You can also find them on Facebook. Her designs are very much inspired by nature – very organic. They kind of remind me of a West Coast Lotta Jansdotter. I got some of her organic sateen fabric recently in her “Branching Out” pattern.

I decided to make a top with it to really showcase the design. I chose the Pendrell Top by Sewaholic. Sewaholic is a recent discovery for me – found them through my fabulous local shop, Spool of Thread, and they are also Vancouver (well, Burnaby)-based which is super-cool. I just started reading through Sewaholic’s blog and she has so much great information on there – it’s very inspiring.

Et voila – here’s what happens when you mix a BC fabric designer and a BC pattern designer – something very West Coast.


Pendrell Top in fabric by Forsythia Design

Class Picnic Dress

In a few weeks… ooooh, actually 10 days we are going away for almost 2 weeks. To a warm southern state with a beach, and sunshine and lots of things this crazy weather hasn’t had up here.

Class Picnic Dress

I typically work four days a week, and mostly that works out quite well for me, but for the last few weeks I’ve been working 5+, so I am definitely in need of a recharge. As is M’s wardrobe – and so I bring you the class picnic dress. This pattern is usually a top, but I made it into a dress, having stolen that idea from the Oliver+S website. I also made a bias binding that went around the whole neckline, rather than just the sleeves, and made it contrasting.

The skirt is sort of inspired by some of the Diane von Furstenberg stuff I saw on the Gap kids website… oh, I know it was this one. I love the skirt but I won’t pay $58 for a onesie. Apparently some people will though, since it’s sold out in most sizes. Then again, $15 worth of fabric and 3 hours of labour? Hmmm. My affinity for fancy fabrics keeps sewing from being wholly economical. But it’s worth it when you this little sweetie in her custom-made dress. It was still a little chilly out, so she kept a top on underneath.

, on Flickr

I do wish I’d made the ruffle a bit more “ruffly.” I think it would have been cute, but I detached the skirt and then added it back on again because the first time it wasn’t at the right length. So that reduced the volume somewhat as I was lazy and just trimmed off the seam instead of picking it all apart.

Sencha Blouse

This is another projects from the archive, so to speak. I made it ages ago and never blogged it, but I wore it for the first time the other night. This is the Sencha Blouse by Collette Patterns.

I found this pattern a bit more challenging than one would expect for a simple blouse. The ties were so teeny tiny and I have no loop turner, so the fabric kept ripping when I tried to turn them inside out. Eventually I just folder them and sewed a visible stitch line, but I don’t think they look as good. I also am a bit spoiled by my Oliver+S patterns and expected to be walked through each step more specifically. The Collette patterns are lovely, but this one was not geared at someone quite as “beginner” as I am. I got a bit confused around the back and there was some seam ripping to be done.

I probably could have sized down one too; it gaped a bit at the back. I’d also probably make it longer next time. As I recall, the the pattern seems to assume that if you are petite you are also shorter.

The blouse is a grey voile and it wrinkles so easily… I have a hard time getting used to that. I don’t wear it much – I think I might try to make it again in silk or batiste – that would be very pretty and would probably get a lot more use. I’m still educating myself about apparel fabrics.

I also have her Violet pattern and am very excited to try that one – it’s so pretty.

Baby Doll Shirt

Sewing can’t always be about the kids!  Sometimes it’s important to sew for yourself too!  And with spring right around the corner and my return to work impending (less than a month) I thought I’d freshen up my wardrobe with a few things made for me.

My lovely sister-in-law sent me Christine Haynes’ book Chic and Simple Sewing after seeing me lust after it in a quilt shop.  I decided to make this baby doll shirt first, and I’m very pleased with how it turned out. Pardon the goofy photo – next time I’ll model it against my back fence or something, but in the meantime, here it is.

The book is called “Chic and Simple” and the shirt was indeed simple to put together – it took me about an hour and a half.  It’s definitely a baggy baby doll, but I like the look.  It would also be cute tucked in to a high-waisted skirt or pants.

My sister-in-law warned me that some of the reviews on Amazon Canada were a bit negative.  But I’m pleased with it – there are several projects in it that I’d like to do, including a couple of tops, a dress, and a very basic skirt.  The author also includes some basic techniques, like learning working with bias tape and gathering. Another feature I really liked is that it tells you exactly which pattern pieces to cut out for each project. I have a few books like this, and in some of them you really have to hunt to find what you’re supposed to cut out, and halfway through you might realise you forgot a cuff or a facing.

The book is definitely one for very beginners – none of the projects are remotely tailored, and hence are all quite casual. There are no zippers or even buttonholes.  Still, I think this is a great book for someone just starting to make clothing. I know it’s given me some confidence. Although I haven’t shied away from making stuff for the kids, for some reason I’ve been intimidated to make things for myself. But since this top worked out so nicely, my next project for me is going to be a linen and silk jacket from another, slightly more advanced, level book I have.

(Fabric for the shirt is from Denyse Schmidt’s Hope Valley Collection in Piney Woods.)