Stashbusting Stats

First off, a big thank-you to Cation Designs and EmSewCrazy for hosting the stashbusting challenges this year and for creating the monthly challenge for us to get inspired.

At the beginning of the year, I took the stashbusting sew-along challenge. I vowed to use 13 pieces of fabric from my stash this year. Here’s a recap of what I made:

I started off with fabric from over 10 years old, from when I worked at the local fabric store in high school and beginning of college. During the year I switched back and forth between old and new. For example, I got a bunch of knit fabrics at the fabric fair last year and the year before with the dream of making and selling my knit dresses. Instead, they turned into Megan Nielsen’s Briars (row 2). My sewing machine broke at the beginning of summer, so there was a bit of a lull in my sewing queue. I got some Colette pattern sewing in, went on vacation, then came back and sewed a couple of stash busting projects. But mainly my summer sewing was made from new fabrics.

A lot of nice pieces from my stash, especially those from 10 years or older, were originally intended for small projects, like camisoles or short skirts. Now that I have a love of dresses, I often feel defeated by the lovely things in my stash I can’t make any dresses with. However, I purchased a few nice blouse patterns that will likely work better with my small pieces, such as the Eucalypt and Datura.  From this experience, I have been buying more than a meter of most of my new fabrics, unless they are intended for toddler clothes, for which 1m often suffices, or if the fabric will not make it to my stash as it is intended to be sewn right away.

I sewed a few more projects than I actually blogged about, like the ones above I only posted on instagram. I also made a top for my SIL, which I didn’t take a picture of, and a jacket for my niece, which I only posted to my facebook page. I also have a few UFOs that I made with stash fabrics (sewaholic thurlow trousers, another briar, a burda top), but I don’t think I can really count them for 2013 as I will not be finishing any of them on new year’s eve. I also made a few softies out of scraps as christmas gifts, but I don’t really want to count those either.

Summary:

  • Pieces used from my old stash (~2000-2003): 3
  • Pieces used from my new stash (~2010-2012): 12
  • Exceeding my goal by 2 pieces!
  • Min points: I added fabric to my stash this year, which was not part of my original goal. My original goal was to only buy notions, linings, and interfacing as needed.

Did you reach your stashbusting goals this year?

Top 5 Hits

Happy Holidays Everyone!

I shall be joining in on the top 5 lists for 2013. I have been experiencing a bit of a creative block as life has creeped upon me the last few months, so I haven’t really been sewing or blogging in that time. In October, I defended my thesis, then ended up having to hassle a few teachers to get my grades in by the end of the month, but missed the cut-off by a few days. I officially graduated on November 4th and went to the ceremony at the end november even though my diploma wasn’t ready, because my mom flew all the way from Canada to join in on the festivities. We had a lovely couple of weeks together hanging out, watching movies, and shopping. We even went to the infamous christmas market in Germany.

So on that happy note, I shall get into the top 5 Hits.

#5: Vogue 8651 tunic: I did not blog about it, and I did not take any pictures of it, but I made the sleeveless tunic for my sister-in-law and she wears it almost every time I see her since I made it for her birthday in August. I also made her a different tunic for her birthday last year and she wears that a lot as well. My brother-in-law tells me that she wears the things I made her ALOT, so I definitely consider this make a win.

#4: The Rebecca Taylor design dress (Vogue 1152): This dress doesn’t fit perfectly, and maybe I didn’t use the best fabric for the pattern, but I really like it anyway. I can wear it in the summer, or in the winter with leggings and a long-sleeved tshirt underneath. I am a big fan of versatility (and dresses!).

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#3: The retro-print, stash-busting Briar: This is probably my most-worn me-made make of 2013.  I absolutely love this top.  It is super comfortable and (imho) looks good too. I made two other briars in two different sleeve lengths, but I like the long-sleeved one the best because I am cold more days out of the year than not. There are also two more in my sewing queue – one for me and one for someone else. And I might just use up the rest of my knit stash for briars…

#2: Purple and green polkadot belladone: The Belladone from Deer and Doe is quite possibly my favourite pattern. Even though there are still fit issues (ahem, do a bloody FBA already, Joanne!), I love this dress! I love purple on me, and I coveted this fabric for almost half a year online before I bought it at a fraction of the cost at the bi-annual fabric fair in Leeuwarden. And don’t forget that green piping! I feel as though this garment was kind of an aha moment. It only took me 15 years to figure out that my torso is 4-6cm longer than commercial pattern bodices!

And the #1 hit of 2013: The not-so-retro dress.  It just goes to show how important a muslin is! I shall never make a fancy dress from a new pattern again without making a muslin first. This dress fits me like a glove! I got a lot of compliments on the dress, and had fun doing the crazy photoshoot with my best friend back home in Canada.

What were your hits for 2013?

Me Made May ’13 round up

Hello lovelies. I was MIA for almost two months from the blogosphere. I hardly kept up with reading my sewing blogs, people! I flew to Canada for 2.5 weeks in May for a family affair. My grandparents were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and we were in for quite the shindig. My sister was in charge of organizing, so she had delegated loads of tasks to every member of our family. When I arrived, two weeks before the party, there were still lots of little things to do. My cousin was in charge of a photo presentation, but my Oma’s (grandma’s) photo albums hadn’t been scanned yet. Since everyone else was working, I had the lovely task of scanning almost 200 old photos from my grandparents’ family and their wedding. Let me tell you, scanning is quite the long and arguous task. It took me two afternoons of scanning, plus another full day to touch up the photos in photoshop. So I sent the jpgs off to my cousin, and in the meantime, my sister and her got into a tif about the presentation, my sis blaming my cuz for not caring about the presentation, and my cuz accusing my sis of leaving everything to the last minute. Of course, no one is phoning with each other, it’s all going through texting, which is the reason this all started because texts do not show intonation, but they do allow you to write things you may not say in real life. Oh dear, the drama! In the end, it all worked out of course.

So in the midst of all the preparations and visiting family and that, I didn’t give myself the time to take pictures every day. I shall remind you of my pledge before I get started with the pictures: I, Joanne of Zoe Livana, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’13. I endeavour to wear a handmade or refashioned item each day for the duration of May 2013. In addition, I endeavor to make a pair of pants or skirt (hopefully both) in May 2013.’

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Day 1: refashioned threadless tshirt

Day 2: a UFO brought to life!

Day 2: a UFO brought to life!

Day 3: 3/4 sleeve Briar top

Day 3: 3/4 sleeve Briar top

Well, I never said I was going to take photos every day! haha. I actually thought since I was repeating outfits that I had gotten everything, but now that I’m going through it I see that I have not. I missed my polka dot Rebecca Taylor dress and my long sleeved Briar top.

Day 4: Two tshirts into one refashion

Day 4: Two tshirts into one refashion

Day 5: threadless tshirt refashion

Day 5: threadless tshirt refashion

I got to wear a lot of my threadless tshirt refashions. I really love the prints at threadless, but I don’t always want to wear tshirts, so I bought some XXL tshirts and converted them into dresses. 😀

Day 6: Colette ginger skirt

Day 6: Colette ginger skirt

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Day 7: Deer and Doe Sureau dress

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Day 8: Military-inspired Burda jacket

I wore this Burda jacket almost every day of this month. I really love it! But I have a sad story, a cautionary tale if you will. I prewashed the shell fabric, but not the lining because I thought it was just a regular old polyester satin. I WAS WRONG. I washed the jacket at the end of the month and now the hems are puckered because the lining shrunk. :(((((( So, ALWAYS PRE WASH YOUR FABRIC EVEN IF YOU THINK IT’S NOT GOING TO SHRINK.

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Day 10: threadless tshirt refashion.

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Day 11: At the airport wearing my comfy Briar top

May 11 is the day I left for Canada to visit my family. You can tell, because my Me Made May pictures suddenly get very sparse.

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Day 11: threadless refashion

I seriously do not trust Dutch hairdressers! I have been to see quite a few, and every single time, they cut off way more than I ask for. I ask for a trim, a couple of centimeters, split hair removal, and it always ends up being about 10cm shorter. So I’ve been cutting my own hair. So it was a treat to get my hair cut in Canada and get EXACTLY what I asked for. Well, except for the styling perhaps…

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Day 13: Burda jacket and Deer & Doe’s Belladone

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Day 16: threadless refashion

The above photos were both taken by professional photographers. The first was a family photo shoot because it’s been years since we got one done, taken by the lovely Anna Michalska. The second one was taken in a ghost town, Dorothy, Alberta, by my best friend N. If you want to see some cats beer posing, go check out her blog.

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Day 18: another threadless refashion

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Day 21: Belladone 2.0

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Day 25: A Knipmode dress from issue april 2013

May 25 was the anniversary party and this is the dress I wore!!! I shall blog more about it soon. My friend took some pictures and then her computer crashed and she lost all of her data. 😦 I was waiting for her to send me some cool edits, but luckily she already sent me a few pictures, which I will post sometime in July probably.

I also slipped up for 3 days! Those were the days I returned home and I was far too jet-lagged to bother to do laundry, so I had no more comfy me-made shirts (i.e. my briars) to wear. I just pulled on a pair of sweats and threw on a tshirt and called it a day. Which, I guess points to another gap in my me-made wardrobe: comfy pants. So I kind of missed the dramatic ending on Flickr. I was busy catching up on my sleep!

And I also didn’t really fulfill my goal to make a pair of pants or a skirt. Instead (surprise, surprise) I made two dresses, the last two pictures (one of them already blogged here). I guess my Ginger skirt kind of counts, because I made it after my pledge, but it just happened to be the end of April and it took me just one day from start to finish. Actually, I did plan on making another ginger skirt from a nice chambray I scored in my home town for $4.50/m. Instead I did things like go to my sister’s boyfriend’s house for a BBQ and get my friend to take pictures of my new makes.

Well, I hope you all had a great Me Made May, those of you who participated. I know I did! But I must say, I’m glad to be wearing my store bought clothes again.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Polkadots, pipes and paraplus.

I started this dress at the beginning of May but didn’t finish it in time to go to Canada. So, I took it with me. I more or less finished the bodice and attached the bias tape to the right side of the fabric. In the plane, I hand stitched the bias tape in place. I didn’t want to do it with the machine because I had purple thread and the bias tape is green. My bias tape topstitching skills leave something to be desired, so I figured it was better to just sew it by hand. So I had my little sewing kit on the plane – sans scissors of course – and whipped it right up within one episode of Hemlock Grove.

Some of you might recognize the dress pattern as the sensational Belladone from Deer and Doe. My previous attempt looked a bit too much like a babydoll dress. And since I love this dress so much, I figured it warranted a repeat.

This time, I added 3.5cm to the bodice and moved the bust darts down 1cm. It could have been more like 2, but I guess I’ll save that for the next version. I shall also try a scoop-neck version next time instead of the boat neck, which looks a little bit floopy on me.  I also added green piping to the waistband! I love it!

My best friend took these pictures of me at Elliston Park. And no, it was not deserted. Unfortunately. She got me to do some pretty crazy poses, and I think we got some sideways glances from parents, but it was fun anyway.

She has the greatest props, don’t you think? A pipe, an umbrella, and even a Diana camera! She just got it and I can’t wait to see how the photos turn out! It takes lomo pictures. You know we’re so Gen-Y that we didn’t even remember how to put film in a camera?! Oh, those flowers in my hair are hers as well. 😀

The back turned out a little bit loose again, so I can’t blame the stretch in the fabric like I did with the first one. But I don’t care- I love it!

I’m only laughing because my friend is singing a song. I’m actually getting eaten alive by mosquitoes.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Reveal: Belladone dress from Deer and Doe

Belladone, how do I love thee? Let me count the gorgeous ways.

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One, its design. That back cut out is sexy with no hint of trashy. There are pockets too! It is designed for non-stretch, woven fabrics, which are the easiest types to sew. Two, the instructions. The instruction booklet (also gorgeous, by the way) contains concise, but clear instructions on how to make your garment. There are also great diagrams. But if you’re like me and you usually only look at the diagrams and don’t read the content, think again. Not every step is diagrammed! Thank goodness the instructions are not long-winded, so I skimmed everything and didn’t miss anything. Third, the pattern itself. It is printed on good quality paper so you don’t tear the pieces, and you can use them over and over. (Actually, I want to make one for my sister too, so I ended up tracing the pattern to tissue paper anyway). And all of the pieces fit together beautifully. There was no bunching in places. The curves matched each other perfectly, even with my pattern adjustments to account for my small bust and large hips.

Simply a dream to cut out and to sew!

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I used stretch denim from my stash, and standard orange bias binding. I even had blue thread left over from a previous project still in my sewing machine. The only thing I didn’t have was a zipper. So I sewed up the top part of the dress, ordered a zipper, then two days later started sewing up a storm again when I saw the zipper in my mailbox. Yay!

I didn’t make a muslin for this garment. In fact, I confess that I don’t make a muslin for anything! Although, I am definitely starting to see the light. I think I may have to start doing them on projects where I use expensive fabric and want a great fit.

I was a little bit apprehensive that it wouldn’t fit. This is my second time sewing with an indie pattern (my first being Megan Nielson). And I already know from experience that out of the big pattern companies, only Vogue tends to be true-to-size for me.

Well, I was right to be nervous. As you can see from this picture, the bust darts are much too high. The waistband hits my lower ribs instead of my waist, so it fits almost like an empire-waisted dress. But I must say, even though it doesn’t fit correctly vertically, the width fits quite well, and it’s very very comfortable! It’s great to wear with a turtleneck and a pair of leggings in the winter and I think it will be great in the summer as a dress because the cutout in the back will keep you cool.

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Thanks Mr. Livana for taking these photos!

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I love the detailing on the denim, don’t you?

Next time I make this dress, in addition to lengthening the bodice, I shall NOT use stretch fabric. You can see from the picture above, the upper back does not lay flat. Also, although I matched my seams and the top perfectly for my zipper, it stretched and shifted when I sewed, so the waist band doesn’t match perfectly, nor does the top of the zipper. aaarg.