Reveal: A Royal Blue Maternity Skirt

My gorgeous friend allowed me to photograph her in all of her pregnant glory wearing the maternity skirt I made for her.

Mijn prachtige vriendin stond me toe om haar te fotograferen in al haar zwangere glorie. Ze draagt een zwangerschaps rok die ik voor haar gemaakt heb. 

Shortly after she announced she was pregnant, I asked if there was anything I could make for her. I sent her some photos of the maternity patterns I already had, and also sent her to Megan Nielsen’s maternity website for some tips and tricks. After browsing that website, she said she actually really liked the maternity skirt, so I ordered it and sewed it up for her in two colours: royal blue and dark grey.

Na dat ze kondigde dat ze zwanger was, vroeg ik of er iets wat ik voor haar konden maken. Ik stuurde haar enkele foto’s van het zwangerschaps patronen die ik al had, en ook stuurde haar naar de website van Megan Nielsen voor enkele tips en trucs. Na het bekijken van die website, zei ze dat ze eigenlijk het zwangerschaps rok heel leuk vond  dus ik bestelde en naaide het voor haar in twee kleuren: blauw en donkergrijs.

I finished the grey one first and gave it to her for her birthday in October.  I finished the blue one in November. She is especially happy with the blue one, even though it was not one of the colours she requested. She also gets the most compliments on it. 🙂

Ik was als eerst klaar met de grijze en gaf het aan haar voor haar verjaardag in oktober. Ik was klaar met de blauwe in november. Ze is vooral blij met de blauwe, ook al was het niet een van de kleuren die zij aangevraagd. Ze krijgt ook de meeste complimenten op deze. 🙂

Isn’t she beautiful? I am very grateful she let me take photos of her in her skirt, especially since the baby could come at any moment.

Is ze niet prachtig? Ik ben erg dankbaar ze liet me foto’s van haar maken in haar rok, vooral omdat de baby op ieder moment kan komen. 

A little note on sewing: This is one of the easiest pieces of maternity clothing you could make. It is only TWO pieces! If it weren’t for the elastic, this would probably be a half hour make! I made them both on my sewing machine with a zigzag stitch. I matched the thread pretty well, so you can’t even see the top stitching. I’d definitely recommend this pattern!

Een kleine opmerking over naaien: Dit is een van de makkelijkste stukken zwangerschaps kleding die je kan maken. Het is slechts TWEE stukken! Als het niet voor de elastiek was, zou dit waarschijnlijk een half uur naaitijd duren! Ik heb ze allebei op mijn naaimachine met een zigzagsteek gemaakt. Ik paste de draad vrij goed, dus je kunt niet eens de top stiksels zien. Ik zou zeker dit patroon aanraden.

This was my first time using Dutch and English.  What do you think? Or should I quit while I’m ahead?

Dit was de eerste keer die ik allebei Nederlands en Engels gebruik. Wat denk je? Moet ik snel ophouden met mijn slechte Nederlands?

Copycat Challenge Completed!

Inspiration

I first blogged about my copycat inspiriation here. But if you missed it, here’s a brief recap.

Click image for link

Basically I wanted the top with the lace applique with a plaid tulip skirt similar to the second photo. Angels Never Die is one of my favourite brands. Whenever I see a sale on Vente-Exclusive, I always buy at least one thing (but it often puts me in the red and then I promptly send it back…:(

I love that they mix fabric prints, textures, and weaves.  They often mix knits with wovens and they always have interesting draping, designs, and appliques.

Making the dress

To make my dress, I used the skirt from this Burda 09/2011 Dress pattern. The top part is a refashioned basic knit top I’ve had since last year, from the Hema. It matched the brown plaid I had in mind from my stash, so I went with it.

I cut out the skirt from the plaid fabric.  I had to do some creative cutting because I had only 1m of it and those front panels eat up a shitload of fabric. So some of the seam allowances were cut on the selvage but that’s ok. I ended up cutting the waistband on the lengthwise grain (if that’s even a term?!). Also, none of the plaid matches, but I’m ok with that because it’s not too noticeable. I did not use the instructions except to check how much to gather the top of the skirt to.

The skirt has pleats AND gathers.  And the pleats are gathered! It’s a lot of fabric sitting right there on my pouch, but I like to think it doesn’t make me look too huge because the back of the skirt is such a nice shape, kind of like the Elizalex dress. The hem is finished with bias tape. The inside seams are finished with bias tape on the waistband and with a zigzag stitch for the side seams.  I would have liked to do french seams, but I figured it would get too bulky.
I purchased some of the lace trim from the most recent fabric fair in Leeuwarden and some from my local fabric shop, Jan Sikkes. I attached the trim to the top using a zigzag stitch to help keep it from getting wavy. I folded the trims over at the top and slipstitched it in place.

Styling

I paired it with leggings because a) it’s getting cold out there, b) it’s not lined, and c) it’s a good thing I did because riding my bike to the photoshoot place made the dress open up pretty much right to my crotch. I might have to add a snap or tack it down.

In some of the pictures I’m also wearing an actual Angels Never Die jacket, which I love love LOVE (there would have been an exclamation point if the jacket had pockets, but it doesn’t so boo hoo). My boots are Dr Martens and are already like 3 or 4 years old.

I accessorized with a fake pearl necklace I inherited from my grandma because I thought it matched the lace on the top quite nicely.

I even did my makeup, which you can’t even see in the pictures 😦  I did cat eyes with brown eyeliner to match my dress!

And now, for picture overload!

 

Thanks for stopping by!

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The not-so-retro dress

This retro-inspired dress jumped out at me immediately when I saw it in the Knipmode magazine in April. I wanted to make a dress for my Grandparents’ anniversary party in May, and I knew I wanted to make this one (and you can make one too from this PDF pattern). It has deep pleats in the skirt and the top has kimono sleeves. There is also a side zip that you can’t see because it’s invisible. I mean, really invisible!

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I made this dress while I was in Canada in May because I of course procrastinated, but with good reason, because I was working on my thesis all day everyday up until I left. You may recall I also finished off this dress while I was in Canada. But this one I had to make from scratch.  And I was going to do it right! Muslin and everything. I bought my fabric online before I left and took it with me. However, I had to get a few supplies from the local fabric shop, which I found out got WAY more expensive from the last time I went there. Since the muslin fabric was going for $15-$20/m, I settled on some plain cotton from the bargain basement, which was still $5/m. I just got 1m to muslin the top of the dress.

So I just sewed up the top from the pattern as-is. And it was clear that I needed to make adjustments! It barely came below my chest! And not having bought very much fabric, I had to improvise big time. I think I ended up slashing across the bust and underbust and adding 2cm at each slash. I moved down the front pleats and tightened the back pleats with the help of my mom. It was great to have someone to help because I’ve never done for-real adjustments on a muslin before! It was a really good experience and I wish I’d taken some pictures to show you all, but instead we’ll have to make due with the finished photos.

So I finished the muslin in about one evening. Then the next day, when I went to cut out my super awesome printed cotton fabric, the pattern didn’t fit!!! I was freaking out a little bit, but that quickly subsided because it meant that I got to go fabric shopping again (with my sister’s discount card, no less). I chose this beautiful printed cotton (cotton lawn? not sure) and got some bias tape to match (because I did not have time to mess around with making my own). After pre-washing and drying, I got down to business. Cut out the pattern and started sewing.

My friend, who also took these fabulous photos, helped me make it because it was just a few days before the party and I needed to get it done fast. So I sewed and she pressed. And everything went well until I had to attach the skirt. I thought I correctly adjusted for the new pleats, because the waistband attached easily to the top, but I was WRONG. And after a few hours of sewing, I was not in the mood to do any maths to try and attach the skirt to the waistband. The next day, I was able to fix it. No biggie. I attached the invisible zip using a universal invisible zip foot from Unique brand. And it worked perfectly! You can’t see that zip at all! *jumping up and down* I finished off the dress the morning of the party by hemming the skirt by hand using a herringbone stitch, my new favourite hand stitch by the way.

Uncomfortable model pose

And best of all, it fits. It really fits. I couldn’t be happier. The only thing is, I forgot that my grandmother does not like purple (it’s mostly green, right?).

A big thank-you to my friend for taking the photos and letting me borrow the props (parasol, pipe, hat, hair flowers). And those sexy Guess shoes I got from my cousin.

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It’s been a crazy july, guys

Hello everyone. Again I’ve been neglecting my blog, however I think I’m not the only one because it is finally SUMMER and we are all going on vacations and spending time in the sun. Amiright? Myself included. I went back to Canada for a couple of weeks, this time with Mr. Livana, who hadn’t been there for 3 years, since my accident. So he figured it was high time he showed his face. So it was less of a vacation and more of a howmanypeoplecanwevisitin2weeks? Let me tell you, the trip did not start off well (for Mr. Livana).

Wait, let me back that up a little bit. About a week before we were scheduled to fly, my hometown, Calgary, FLOODED. I don’t mean a puddle in the street. I mean, like, thousands of people being evacuated and houses floating down the river, flooded. I mean, making international headlines flooded. The whole downtown (city center) was flooded, with some places without electricity or phonelines for weeks. Luckily, most of my family is “poor,” thus not owning riverfront property. Only two family members were evacuated, and didn’t sustain damage to their actual property, though one was without electricity.  My sister also works downtown and wasn’t able to work for quite a few days, and once she could go to work, they had electricity but no phone lines.

Highway 1, the main highway running through Canada, was partially washed away in the direction of the mountains. And we were planning on driving to the mountains with my friends the weekend after we arrived. But construction workers worked day and night to get the highway open to non-commercial vehicles within about a week, so we were ok to drive! Which was great, because the Canada Day long weekend (the weekend of July 1) always brings a lot of traffic into the mountains.

Our friends had to work until late, so we didn’t get on the road until 22:00 on a Friday. But it was good because most of the long weekend traffic was  gone.  Mr. Livana had volunteered to drive that night, and we made it to the Days Inn in Golden within about 3 hours. When he got out of the car, he said “I don’t feel so good” and when we got to the hotel room, he continued to say that until he ran to the bathroom. He threw up several times that night, including once in the sink when he woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t quite make it to the toilet. Poor Mr. Livana’s weekend was also ruined by the fact that he needed to find a bathroom about every hour to empty his bowels. His diet consisted of pedialite and immodium for much of the trip. It’s really too bad, because we stayed at an amazing resort in Kelowna, in an apartment/condo for the four of us complete with kitchen, a large tv, bathroom with jacuzzi tub connected to our room, and the pool a stone’s throw from our balcony.

But we did end up doing some fun stuff, like visiting Mission Hill winery and having a fancy dinner there. That’s where I wore my new Kelly skirt by Megan Nielsen patterns, which I paired with a Banana Republic top that is not unlike the Datura blouse by Deer and Doe patterns (which makes me want to make one now, but I can’t because the pattern is out of stock until the end of July).

The skirt is made out of a dark grey fine corduroy. And the pockets are lined with the New York fabric from my Ginger skirt. I will not say that this skirt was a dream to sew because it WASN’T.

This project had its ups and downs all around. The first few steps were a breeze, just sewing straight lines to attach the pockets to the front, and sewing the side seams. Oh yeah, I was flying. But then I didn’t follow the instructions, which no where tell you to tack down the pockets, but I did it anyway thinking I was smarter than megan nielsen. So when it came time to set in the pleats, I couldn’t figure out why it was bunching up the *&?% pocket. Until I let out the basting at the top and then it was a breeze again. (this also happened over at Ginger Makes while making her sister’s Kelly Skirt).

Then when I was attaching the waistband, I didn’t pin down the pockets, so I caught one of them in the bloody stitching and had to unpick a good chunk of it. *TACK DOWN YOUR POCKETS PEOPLE!* And by the time I sewed down the waistband, not all of it was caught on the inside, but I stopped giving a shit and just left some of the raw edges sticking out. GAH.

And those button holes…. *^$#@^ All I can say is at least I had the foresight to practice first. I hadn’t done a buttonhole in years, so I figured I better make sure it looks ok. That was a nightmare. Mostly because I think after 10 years it’s probably about time I get my machine serviced. I couldn’t get it to do the ends right. So after about 8 attempts, I figured out that I needed to change the width to do the ends, which worked on MOST of the buttonholes in the end. But there is one buttonhole in the middle that has a really fat line because my machine didn’t want to turn back to the narrower width apparently. So, yeah, my machine should probably go in for a checkup sometime soon.

This winery had amazing food, which cost as much as a night at the resort, but since we don’t do it every week (or every month, or EVER), it was a delicious treat that we all thoroughly enjoyed. We got the matching wines for each course as well. It was the last night, so Mr. Livana joined in, guts be damned!

Things started to look up the following weekend. We had a BBQ at my (soon to be) brother-in-law’s place near the mountains on Sunday, then we went to Drumheller with my parents on Tuesday. I wore my Kelly Skirt again, this time ‘dressed down.’ But I must say, it did not travel too well. Sitting in the car for almost 2 hours and the top and bottom button both came undone. It was uncivilized! But it looked pretty cute, no?

 

But the next day we got some really bad news. Mr. Livana told me that our kitty was going to die. Before we left, he had been having problems eating and going to the bathroom. We took him to the vet and they said he was pretty healthy except for a blockage in his intestines and an inflamed kidney. They gave him laxitives over a weekend, gave us some antibiotics and sent him on his way. So while we were in Canada, he got a bit better, then stopped eating again. Mr Livana’s parents were taking care of him, and took him to the vet only to find out that his kidneys had shut down and that he was going to die. It was devastating. We made the decision to put him down before he got any worse. They could have kept him alive for the next few days until we got home, but his quality of life those last few days would have been nothing. Our poor little kitty was only 2 years old. Coming home to an empty house was hard. We both miss him a lot.

Korban, our little kitty

Korban, our little kitty

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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Ginger goes to New York

To be honest, there isn’t too much exciting to say about the construction of this garment. However, it looks fabulous, doesn’t it? I thought I’d get a head start on my pledge to sew pants or a skirt in may, and this was the perfect pattern to do it with. It took very little time to make, even with the French seams I did.

This is the first time I put in an invisible zipper with an actual invisible zipper foot. However, it’s not one of those feet that is made for my machine, it’s a universal one from Unique and I didnt put it in quite correctly I think, because it’s not completely invisible. When I did a test with it on another zipper, it was completely invisible though, so I know it’s possible. I think it looks good enough though. I’m not going to unpick it.

back view

This is my second Colette pattern make after Laurel. I must admit, I’m not completely crazy about Laurel because I don’t think it’s very flattering on me (I think I need to add darts under the bust to make it more flattering). But my faith in these patterns has come back! I went out and bought Hazel to try next.

Look at that tiny waist! I thought I lost it when I gained a bunch of weight. Found it!

damn that's a tiny waist

The low-down:
Pattern: ginger skirt from Colette patterns
Size: 8. And it’s a little snug so next time I shall reduce the seam allowance or trace another size. Officially, my waist runs a size 8 and my hips size 10.
Fabric: a new York inspired print by Stenzo that I got at last year’s Stoffenspektakel (one of our annual fabric markets). So this is a stash buster!
Notions: thread, invisible zip
Time: about an hour to cut out the pattern and fabric, just over 2 tv episodes to sew (yeah, I measure in tv episodes because either I’m watching tv while I sew or Mr. Livana is and I can hear it in the background).
Make again: heck yes! Do you see how little my waist looks? It’s magical. And it hardly takes any time to whip it together.

Almost weekend post

I have been pretty busy these last couple of weeks. I’m really trying to finish off my thesis before I leave for Canada in two weeks, or at least have a very good first draft, because the end of the school year is drawing near and if I don’t finish, well, let’s just say I’ve taken long enough to finish my masters. No more excuses! And when I’m not working on my thesis, I’m sewing, or doing something sewing-related. When I’m uninspired to write, I’ve been tracing patterns. I’ve traced the Ginger skirt, the Ginger bodysuit, and the perfect nursing top all in the last couple of weeks.

And in non-school and non-sewing news, I have another new nephew! He was born on Monday and I got to visit him on Tuesday already. I went to visit him and his proud parents along with my partner and his brother, girlfriend and their son. Everything went well with the birth, so the parents were very relaxed and we all got to take turns holding him. The only problem with this picture is now the pressure is on for us to be next. But we are not ready to be next!

I made a couple of tops for my sister-in-law that she wore all through her pregnancy. I love that she appreciates what I made for her. So I sewed up a nursing top for her from Megan Nielsen’s maternity line.

That box in the corner is my UFO pile.

However, I’m a little bit nervous that it won’t be very good for nursing. I ordered the fabric online, and I didn’t read it very carefully. The fabric I used is a jersey voile, therefore SEE THROUGH. Not very modest for a new mom, is it?!. Thankfully, I also ordered a brown jersey that matches perfectly, so I used that to underline it. In doing so, I think some of the stretchiness was compromised. They are both only two-way stretch, so they weren’t very stretchy to begin with. If I make it again, I’ll make sure to use 4-way stretch instead.

I just hope that she loves it enough to wear it anyway! The dressform isn’t pregnant or has post-baby belly and it looks great on it, doesn’t it? I hope it is something that she can wear post-nursing as well. We’re going to their place next week to build a fence since they also recently moved into a new house. So we’ll see…

Summary:

Fabric: 1.5m jersey voile, 1.5m polyester jersey
Notions: thread
Hours: about 3-4 (underlining takes extra time!)
Cost: The fabric cost €12. I know, I’m supposed to be stashbusting, but I can’t help splurging on others! I used my standard black thread though. I get 1000m at a time, so I don’t go through it so quickly.
Make it again?: Yes! I’m already making another top for a friend. Also not too stretchy… oops. It’s the thought that counts, right?

Have you made the MMM pledge?

‘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.’

In honour of accepting this challenge, I’ve decided to give you a brief history of my sewing experience. Read on if you’re interested.

I’ve only been blogging since the beginning of the year, but I’ve been sewing for much longer than that. I’ve been sewing since junior high, and my first project was a pair of boxer shorts, which I finished so quickly that I was able to do a second project, which was a little bag that looked like a miniature gym bag  (I still have it back at my parents house filled with old makeup). The following year, I chose a more challenging project, which was a stuffed bear, which I gave to my Oma when I was finished.

In high school, I made several garments for myself. My favourite was a pair of wide-legged trousers I made from bright turquoise corduroy. The pattern I used was vintage, and was missing the fly pieces, and not knowing anything about putting in a fly, I just attached a zipper like you would to a skirt, not even lapped! But I lived in those pants! They were so comfortable and I got loads of compliments on them at school.

I kind of commandeered my mom’s sewing machine, so for my graduation present she got me my very own sewing machine. Yup, while my classmates were wishing for new cars, all I really wanted was to sew! My first job was at Fabricland in Calgary, a job I started in my last year of high school (mainly to pay for gas) and kept about a year after I graduated. I went on a trip to Europe after that a few months later when I came back, I found a job at another fabric shop! It was during these  years of working at fabric shops that I accumulated a lot of what’s in my stash.  Not that our employee discount was so great, but we could always watch the sales, and know when nice fabric was being marked down for the bargain basement.

Anyway, fast forward a couple of years and I find myself in The Netherlands studying for my bachelor’s degree, during which time I sewed a few small projects using the sewing machine belonging to my boyfriend’s mother. I hadn’t had my own sewing machine for about 5 or 6 years, so in realizing that I probably wasn’t going back to Canada, I took my sewing machine back to The Netherlands with me one holiday. I bought a special converter for it and everything so I wouldn’t fry the insides and I’ve been using it ever since, sometimes on a daily basis, and since I’ve started blogging “regularly”, definitely every week!

Now that Me Made May is in sight, I immediately see the holes in my sewing wardrobe, namely no pants that I’ve sewn myself. I made tons of pants back in high school, but I’ve grown (wider, unfortunately, not taller) since then, and haven’t sewn pants for myself since, I think. Ok, that’s not entirely true, I made a pair of leggings a few months ago that turned out horribly. They were designed for teenagers, I think. You know, the thin ones who wear everything on their hips. I know I did at that age. Nowadays, if I wear pants on my hips, I also have a bad case of plumbers butt. Yes, I admit it! And muffin top. We like muffin tops to stay on our muffins, not on our pants.

You may see a pattern going on in my blog so far, that is, I like to make dresses and tops, which is why I’ve also challenged myself to make pants and a skirt next month. Right now, surprise surprise, I have a top and a dress on the slab, and if I can squeeze it in, I also want to make a party dress for an event next month. My sister-in-law is also due at the end of the month, so I want to make her a Perfect Nursing Top as well. But I did recently cut out the Kelly Skirt and the Thurlow Trousers. These are definitely on my to-do list.

I am going to visit my parent’s in May, so I’m hoping that when I pack, I will be able to choose a travel wardrobe filled with self-stitched items. I was already going to challenge myself to take a small amount of clothing and mix and match when I get there. My sister has already told me that I can use her fancy new sewing machine and her Fabricland membership while I’m there, so I might have to take those patterns with me and whip them up there. Also, I should have a look for some photos of those awesome corduroy pants to show you guys!

For guidelines and to sign up for me-made-may, visit So, Zo…’s blog.

A bombardment of stashbusting briars Part 1 of 3

I am sitting on the couch in a ray of sunshine and I can barely see my computer screen but I don’t care! Even though the temperatures are low, the sun offers a promise that spring is around the corner if I’m just a wee bit patient.

Briar0

Briar is definitely my favourite pattern at the moment. I only had time to make one in February for the sewalong, but now that I have a bit more time, I’ve been whipping them up like nobody’s business!

They probably take about 2 hours in total (a little more than two episodes of your favourite show) to make, including cutting out the fabric. There are only 4 pieces: a front, a back, and two sleeves, and because it’s made of jersey fabric, there’s no need for zippers. The only zipping you’re doing is zipping through this project!

I don’t have a serger, so I used a zigzag stitch for the seams and then trimmed them down to about 0.7cm (half of the seam allowance). And the hems were done with a twin needle. This is a must for sewing with jersey/knit fabric in my humble opinion!

The only other thing I’d say is to PRESS THOSE SEAMS AND HEMS. It’s recommended in the instruction booklet, and you should take it to heart.  I kept coming out with wavy hems, for example. I stretched them out a bit, then pressed them, and the tops look just like they came off a rack.

I’ve broken this post into 3 parts, one for each version of the briar. The other two are 3/4 sleeve and short sleeves.

GET READY FOR LOTS OF PHOTOS!

Version 1: long sleeves

For this version, I added 2 cm to the length of the top and I finished the neckline with a twin needle, just like with the hems.

briar2-1 velvet truffle

briar2-2

briar2-3

briar2-5

briar2-4

Click here for part 2

Click here for part 3