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Monday, 28 April 2014

Happy birthday to me!

Wheeeeeee! It's just about my birthday and as an early birthday present to myself, I bought so much fabric!

This all came from and they were wonderful! It's basically the exact opposite of what I experienced ordering from mood.

I got (clockwise):

Coral rayon jersey - 1.5 yards. I'm gonna make another Kwik Sew K3559
Black linen jersey - 1.5 yards. It will be a light pullover sweater
Mid-brown linen jersey - 2 yards. I've already made a cocoon cardigan. I can't wait to post about it!
White-and-black linen twill - 2.5 yards. This will be pants, eventually, god willing.
Crazy floral rayon weave - 1 yard. I'm gonna make a pocket square for my sweetheart.
The centre fabric is an abstract-patterned wool blend jersey - 1.5 yards. It feels wonderful but it's more sheer than I thought it would be, so I'll have to line it when I make another Kwik Sew K3559.

Friday, 25 April 2014

I love my cropped sweater!

I laaahhhv eeet!

I made this to wear with my sheer layered skirt but when I finished it, I just couldn't wait to wear it!

This is how I wore it to work.

Of course, at work I wore my gorgeous nude Jimmy Choos (seen here), but I forgot them at the office today.

This is a fully self-made outfit! I know that millions of sewing bloggers have entire wardrobes full of nothing but self-made clothes, but for me, this feels pretty special.

Maybe the best part was all the oohing and ahhing that I received from my colleges. I work with some stylish ladies so their approval felt great!

I used another wonderful doubleface wool knit from Sultan's Fine Fabrics. It is scrumptious. Things did get a little bulky in the seams, though, especially where I attached the neckband. I ended up topstitching it down with a straight stitch, which somehow managed to remain stretchy.

I need to mention that this project would have been about a million times more frustrating if it weren't for the focus on knits at coletterie lately. A few of the tips they've posted in the last few weeks went a long to to making this happen. Most notably, the use of a twin needle for finishing and the recommendation to attach the sleeves flat and then sew the side/arm seam as one. I just have a regular old sewing machine, so these tips came in handy!

Definitely gonna have to get their new book. I'm really starting to get a taste for sewing knits!

Oh, and the zipper turned out OK! It was touch-and-go there for a bit, but everything worked out.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014


Oh man, my titles need work.

As you can see from this photo

my first crack at putting in a zipper like this was pretty crappy! I'd never used a zipper with a knit before. Lots of buckling. And with the extra layer of the leather trim, I wasn't sure how I was going to finish the ends or anything.

I ended up basting the raw edge of the centre back to the zipper tape, and then fed it through my sewing machine while holding it tight between my hands on either end, front to back. That way, there was tension in the fabric as I was sewing it. I was careful to keep the tension balanced front to back, so it wouldn't effect how it fed through the machine.
This is just a practice version, so I didn't worry too much about getting it perfect. Or using the right thread colour!

I also chose to finish the neckhole edge and the bottom hem before adding the zipper. I had to get the measurements just right! Because I attached my zipper on the right side of the fabric, I could just cover everything with the leather trim for a neat finish.

Wow edgestitching the leather trim was impossible!

Here the white thread really highlights how much practice it took. This was like, test number 3. It would have been a lot easier if I had a teflon edgestitch foot. But I don't have a teflon foot or an edgestitching foot so I ended up using a zipper foot with a piece of scotch tape stuck to the bottom! Yikes.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Cropped sweater muslin

While I was waffling about whether or not I hated my sheer skirt, I tried on a bunch of ready-to-wear shirts to get inspired, and I got inspired!

I've been loving the pencil skirt-crop top look (I know I'm not the only one) so I made a snap decision that I would make myself a little cropped sweater, despite my lack of experience with knits or even a viable pattern.

So I hauled out my trusty Patternamking for fashion design, ignored all the parts that I didn't understand and whipped up a muslin.

This is one of those muslins that looks fine in the mirror but all the flaws are revealed in photos. Good thing knits are forgiving, since I had already started making up my final version by the time I saw these photos. Oops.

OK, it's sloppy, but you can see that I'm planning to include sexy leather trim and a zipper. I'm using a wool jersey with a 40% lengthwise and 60% crosswise stretch.

Finally, a current style that is flattering to my body type!

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Finishing raw edges of organza with ribbon

I love my sheer skirt!

I figured out a great trick to finish the edges of the organza with white ribbon.

A lot of the skirts that I used as inspiration had contrasting hems like the one above and it's actually way easier to finish the edge with ribbon instead of trying to hem it. 

Here's what I did:

I used transfer paper to mark where I wanted the finished edge to be (can you see the blue marking?). I basted the ribbon to the wrong side of the fabric with the edge of the ribbon just overlapping the finished edge marking. Then I stitched the ribbon to the organza right along that edge.

Next, I folded over the ribbon and ironed it flat, and trimmed the excess organza so that the raw edge is hidden under the ribbon.

Finally, I stitched down the other side of the ribbon, enclosing the raw edge.

Nice, clean edges!

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Layered skirt 180

In the week since my last post, I made some adjustments to the skirt and the styling and I'm so much happier with it!

Oooh-la-la, am I right? I let down the hem of the opaque layer and, at my sweetheart's suggestion, took  in the side seams at the hem by about an inch total.

Very special thanks to Cari Homemaker for suggesting the button-up shirt tied at the waist (I wish I'd thought of that. Brilliant!) and Gillian for pointing out that the camera angle wasn't doing me any favours.

Man, it was the right choice to let down the hem. Even with the extra length, the opaque part is mighty short!

The shirt is one that I wear constantly. I made it right before I started this blog (It's posted to livejournal) same with the necklace.

I'm so glad that I ended up happy with this skirt. I can't wait to wear it out and show it off!

Monday, 7 April 2014

Best Layered Plans: Fashion Fail

I've been a little obsessed with the idea of making a sheer-layered skirt for a while and this week I finally made it happen!

Uh... so I was all excited about this skirt until I started photographing it.

Why is it so ugly!?! It didn't look like this in the mirror. I feel like this skirt makes my hips and thighs look huge!

Or this! Also, what is my body doing???

This is making me so sad. I was all excited about making something fun and special and I thought it was going to look so good. And of course now I'm feeling frustrated about my body.

This is not how I want my body to look. Fail.

Like, I actually think I would prefer not to wear clothes at all. All they do is remind me how not-perfect my body is.

To be fair, some of the photos looked OK.

But there are definitely way more bad photos than good, and I can't tell what it really looks like in real life! Have you ever had this problem? Where it's hard to figure out if something is flattering of unflattering?

Here's what I think some of the problems are:

  • I'm slightly backlit in my mirror at home, which makes the organza layer look more sheer, so in the mirror, I see the silhouette of my legs through the organza more clearly. But in photos, the organza is more reflective of light, so it's more opaque creating a fuller silhouette. Solution: remake the skirt with different organza that is even more sheer.
  • I don't know what top to make/buy to wear with this. Just from photos, I can see that the ones with the black tee are a little better than the ones with the white cami. Solution: find a style of top to go with it that makes it more flattering.
  • The opaque layer is a cotton broadcloth. It's a little stiffer than I had been hoping for, and I think it makes me look a little wider because it's got some body itself: Solution: find a pure white fabric with good drape (a challenge in itself) and remake the skirt.
  • This is just an unflattering look for me altogether. Solution: cut my losses and wear something else to my sweetheart's CD release party.
Ugh. I don't know.