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?

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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.

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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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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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