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?

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?

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.’

day1

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

day7

Day 7: Deer and Doe Sureau dress

day8

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

day21

Day 21: Belladone 2.0

day25

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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A bombardment of stashbusting briars Part 2 of 3

Welcome to part 2 of my stashbusting briars. If you want to make your own, order the briar pattern here.

Briar0

Version 2: 3/4 length sleeves

For this version, I added 3cm to the length. I had added 2cm to the long sleeved one, but I wanted to make the hem a bit wider, thus the extra centimeter. I’m not crazy about the neckline facing in this one, not the facing itself but just the way it drapes on me. I like the one on the long sleeved one better, which I did with a needle.

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briar 1-4

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The unflattering but necessary back view.

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I think I was channeling Amanda from Bimble and Pimble in this one.

click here for part 1

click here for part 3

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

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Click here for part 2

Click here for part 3