Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Bathing Suit Project

Part 3 - the end!!

Here is the second bathing suit. I chose to do the tankini this time and I really like how it turned out. 

Here is the third bathing suit and I did a bikini with the little skirt.

I used soft bra cups in the tops again for more shape and support. All set for my vacation!

Both pieces of fabric were ordered online from Fashion Fabric Club but luckily I did not have to pay duty on it crossing the border to Canada.

All in all a great pattern and I will certainly be making bathing suits again.

To see the whole process, please see Part 1 and Part 2 of this bathing suit project!!

For more details, please see my review at Pattern Review

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Corset Making

Just the biasing binding to finish stitching down

It has been a while since I last posted. With our upcoming vacation, getting ready for Christmas and being extra busy at work as the office will be closed for two weeks, I either have time to sew or blog. Not both!! But now things are easing up a bit.

I did however treat myself to an early Christmas present at the beginning of December. I did a corset making course. I did it at the Bra Makers Supply store in Hamilton, Ontario, I have been there several times this year to get fabric and odds and ends for my adventures in bra making. I saw the corset course offered and decided that I wanted to do it.

There were only 3 of us on the course so we got personal attention from the very talented bra and corset designer herself, Beverly. We started on Saturday morning and ended on Sunday afternoon with a corset. All I had left to do was stitch down by bias binding when I got home.

Starting to cut out the pieces

Sewing part of the busk in place

It's starting to come together

We started off with a shopping trip so that Bev could show up what fabrics would work. I chose a purple home d├ęcor weight fabric with a suede look fabric for the bias binding. For the inside I chose a black twill.

Grommets set

Then it was back to the shop to measure ourselves and customize the pattern. The pattern is designed to bring your waist in by about 2 inches, I chose to make my corset take my waist in a little more than that!

I chose to insert a proper busk in front and at the back I set my own eyelets. 26 pieces of boning were used in this corset to hold the shape and pull me in. In terms of the actual sewing, it is mostly straight stitching (lots of channels for that boning!!).
I am not sure how often I am going to wear this but I had such fun making it.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Bathing Suit Project

Part 2

We have a winner!! Using Kwik Sew 3696, and material of similar stretch to swim wear fabric, I have made my first bathing suit. It fits well and I will be able to wear it on the beach.

(With thanks to Tanit-isis for the wonderful idea a while ago of modelling undies on a pillow for the blog pics!!)

The only adjustments I made to the pattern was to stitch the  straps at the top in place,otherwise I felt the top could slip down (not what I want in public) and then added soft moulded bra cups (about $10 from Fabricland) between the outer fabric and the lining to give the top some more shape and support.

You can see the difference the moulded cup makes.
The right side had the cup in for this pic

Showing the moulded bra cup

I made view A and also did the little skirt to match.

Now the two pieces of swimwear fabric that I order from Fashion Fabrics Club have arrived and I plan to quickly whip up two more bathing suits fro my Christmas vacation.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Cowl Neck Scarf

I finished my cowl neck scarf the other day

It was actually a nice quick knit. If you are on Ravely, it is a free pattern. A Burberry inspired cowl neck scarf (

I used the wool that I procured in Ireland in summer. I didn’t actually buy it, I asked my Aunt to but some for me as I didn’t want to give up a round of golf to go shopping at the local market!! She choose a beautiful teal color. (Thanks Trudy!)

I learnt two new techniques with this knit. The start calls for provisional casting on and at the end you use a Kitchener stitch to sew the first and last row together. It makes a lovely clean join at the end, ideal for a cowl like this.

Luckily for me the weather has cooled down in my part of the world, and I will be starting to wear scarves again any day now!

Now I need to get going with my Owl Sweater, I am at the boring part, just knitting. Looking forward to starting to make the owls!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Bathing Suit Project

Part 1

KwikSew 3696

I have decided to make my own bathing suit(s) for my Christmas holiday this year. For two reasons, one I cannot face the harsh lighting and terribly unflattering mirrors in my local Bikini Village store. Personally if I owned a shop that sold bathing suits I would have gentle lighting and mirrors that made you look taller and thinner! I’m sure people would buy more!! But, I digress.

Secondly, I have made a couple of bras and panties so the technique should be similar, no?

After much research I settled on the Kwik Sew K3696 pattern. My local independent fabric store that sells Kwik Sew patterns didn’t have this one in stock and says that she sometimes has a 3 – 4 week wait for delivery. Not good, I need to start now! So I bought the PDF version from the Kwik Sew website. (Of course now the pattern is available for sale at $1.99 I see on their website!!)

Next was the fabric. Neither my local independent fabric store nor my local Fabricland had any swimwear fabric. So I decided to try on-line fabric shopping. I used Fashion fabrics club and choose two swimwear fabrics. The cost was $6.86 per yard, and I only needed a yard of each. I hope I am not going to regret the purchase if I have to pay a hefty duty as it is coming from the US.

So while I wait for the fabric to arrive, I am going to print and prepare the pattern pieces and buy similar stretch fabric from Fabricland and make a practice bikini. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Putting things off

I was sitting at work the other day when my cell phone beeped with a text message. It was from my younger son, the message was along the lines of “I don’t want to spring this on you when I get home on the weekend, so I thought I’d mention it now……” before I could scroll down to see more of the message I was thinking the worst (as mothers often do!!). Turns out he wanted me to fix his winter jacket as he will be taking it back with him.

This was a jacket he was wearing back in February and one morning announced very nonchalantly that it got a little ripped the previous evening. When I looked at it, it was ripped from the cuff to the waistband luckily along the seam. But it was the shell fabric as well as the lining. I hate mending, I really do. I would rather make something from scratch, so had left the jacket on my cutting table for these last 7 or 8 months. Turns out it took less than half an hour to fix and looks like new!!

But under the jacket had been hiding 6 pieces of flannel fabric and a pattern for men’s boxer underpants.  I had purchased the fabric and pattern late last year (September?) with the intent of making the males in my household some undies with Peter over at Male Pattern Boldness. I had washed and ironed the fabric, taken measurements and then somehow kept putting off starting them and hence the pile ended up hidden under the jacket.

So I whipped up the first pair of boxers.  Again, so quick to do and yet I had put it off for so long! Hopefully I can get the other 5 done in the next few days and another thing off of my sewing table.

First pair being worn and pronounced - comfortable!

Don't you just hate putting things off only to discover that how quickly you can get it done when you actually get round to it. The story of life!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sneak Peek!

I am just going to show you a sneak peek of what I have been working on.

The big reveal is on Saturday!

I have used scraps from my stash as well as another one of my husband's old shirts.

I have dusted off my box of embroidery threads which I haven't used in ages.

I found an embroidery pattern that I bought from Sublime Stitching over a year ago when I decided I wanted to try my hand at embroidery.

And I used one of my machine embroidery stitches just for fun!!

Check back here on Saturday, I will also be posting a baking recipe!!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Odds and Ends

Well I am still around. Even though I have not posted anything for a couple of weeks.

I was away on business, this time in the Sahara desert in North West Africa. I was living in a camp situation for a week with no access to internet after hours,  and the long work days meant I was in bed very early. So no time for any crafts.

I did however make a list of all that is outstanding, so do feel somewhat organized for the rest of the year.

In no particular order:

  • Half finished Lady Grey jacket
  • Cut out lap top bag
  • Two bras, again cut out but not stitched
  • Owl sweater
  • Second Alma blouse, cut out
  • Apron Sew Along.

Since being home I have started to knit a cowl scarf, using the wool I got in Ireland in summer. Of course I should have started on the items from my list, but that would have been way too organized!!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Cute Camisole

Last weekend I made a sweet little camisole to go with my Madeleine Mini Bloomers that I recently made.

I used Zoe’s PDF Camisole pattern which was very quick to download, print and stick together.

In keeping with my thrifty bloomers made from two old shirts, I made the camisole from two of my husband’s old t-shirts. 

I had to use two because the fronts of the t-shirts are destined for a quilt. They are his old ones from the days when he used to take part in cycling races and I have a quilt planned (one day!!). So I just cut the plain white t-shirt backs. 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Tatting Progress

Lake Louise
I recently had the pleasure of spending two weeks in Calgary. It was a business trip, but I love getting to know a new city. I stayed right Downtown, near the Bow River which has great trails/paths for running. But that has meant no sewing recently. Although a weekend in Banff and Lake Louise is a very good substitute, so I am not complaining!

On the other hand it was an ideal time to continue my quest to learn to tat. What else was I to do in the evenings?

I am using the on-line tutorials from the blog, Tatted Treasures.

So this is what I have made so far with the tutorials:

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Madeleine Mini Bloomers

Doing my bit for the environment!

Over the last year or so my husband  has tossed out about 4 shirts. They tend to give out on the upper sleeve, the rest of the shirt is fine. I couldn't bear to throw them away as I thought I could reuse the fabric. Waste not, want not and all that!

They have been languishing in my sewing room until on a recent weekend I had an idea.

I downloaded the  free Colette Patterns Madeleine Mini Bloomers pattern.

If it wasn't for the fact that I did not have the right width elastic or any white ribbon, these would have been done in under an hour, and that inludes printing, taping and cutting the pattern!!! A nice easy project.

Unfortunately, as I was cutting a size medium I couldn't quite make a pair from one shirt, so I did some mixing and matching of stripes!!!

I have downloaded Zoe's camisole pattern and plan to use an old white t-sirt to make a camisole with a striped ruffle down the front to match.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Cambie Dress

Another successful  Sewaholic  pattern finished and worn! I had cut  out  view A about two months ago, in a blue gingham, and then with vacation and getting children off to school etc., not much time to sew. But then I realized that if I didn’t finish it soon, I won’t be wearing until next year.

It was a nice easy dress to sew up. I chose to only line the top as the fabric is firm enough not to need any lining for the skirt part.

Add caption

I plan on also making view B as I have a nice floral material for it. It makes me think of garden parties when I see the fabric. I plan to sew that over the winter ready for next year!!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Well How About Tat

I am teaching myself to tat. As if I didn’t have enough to do, but anyway……….!!

Tatting is a very old craft that has seen a revival of sorts in recent years. Defined as a "technique for handcrafting a particularly durable lace constructed by a series of knots and loops" (Wikepedia), I first heard about tatting in the Macleans magazine  back in July. Being a weekly Canadian news magazine, I hadn’t suspected that I would discover a “new” craft in it.

But it was perfect timing. I was getting ready for my vacation, and knew that the wool for my Owl Sweater would be too bulky to pack to knit while I was away. Tatting just takes a shuttle or two and crochet thread.

A Tatting Shuttle
Finding a shuttle was more difficult than I anticipated, I tried all the craft, sewing, quilting and knitting shops in the vicinity, but no luck. Then out running errands I passed Walmart. Now I have a love hate relationship with Walmart. On principle I don’t like Walmart for many reasons that I don’t want to get side tracked into here!! But of course it was where I found tatting shuttles!!!

Tatting Away Happily!
I then did a lot of research on the web, (what did we do without Google and Youtube?) and found that it was the ideal thing to pick up on holiday and practice away!

And in one of those coincidences, I picked up a book in the house we were renting in Ireland. It was a book about old Irish crafts, and of course there were references to tatting along with other lace and crochet techniques.

More Concentration, I Needed My Glasses This Time!!

I am just about ready to tackle a little flower, then a butterfly, followed by a piece of edging. I found some amazing blogs with step by step instructions.
Of course I have greater plans in mind. And can’t you just see beautiful tatting edging on the sleeves and collar of the Colette patterns Violet Blouse  and what about a little tatted flower  instead of a bow in the centre of the Colette Pastille dress.

I like the idea that this is a really old craft that was being forgotten and is now being given the modern touch!!

I will try and remember to post my progress every couple of weeks!!!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Vacation Musings

While in London recently for the Olympics and in Ireland for golf, I also managed to sneak some sewing related things.

I managed a quick trip to Walthamstow (at the very end of the Victoria Line) to see the fabric shops that Karen (Did You Make That) and Tilly (Tilly and the Buttons) have mentioned before in their blogs. Mindful of the fact that I still had to fit things in my suitcase to return to Canada, I only bought two pieces of fabric. 

This one is going to be a Hazel dress when it grows up.

This one is destined to be underlined and made into a Colette Beignet skirt with the stripes going horizontally. I've had the pattern for over a year, waiting for the ideal fabric to come along!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Me Made Holiday

Well not exactly, but I did wear a few me made items on my recent holiday in England and Ireland. Actually two, my Black Jalie Jeans and my Yellow Sewaholic Renfrew t-shirt (I did wear my Sewaholic Alma blouse and my black cropped pants but no pictures unfortunately!).

We started in Oswestry for a few days, visiting family and then London for 5 days of the Olympics before heading off to Ireland to rest and play golf.

I didn’t plan a Me Made Holiday, but it just shows that some of self stitched items have become such a part of my wardrobe that I packed them without thinking about it!

Cute children, but not mine (mine were left back home working!!)

Here we have my bright yellow Sewaholic Renfrew t-shirt. This was taken at the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in Wales.

Here we have the Black Jalie Jeans at the Olympics. We were off to watch Ladies Field Hockey in the Olympic Park (Riverbank Arena).

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Alma blouse

I was so excited back in Early June when I got an e-mail from Tasia from Sewaholic to ask whether I would be interested in testing her latest pattern. The Alma Blouse.

It was excellent timing. I had just finished my Colette Pattern Pastille dress and could not decide what to make next. I had sewing block as it were!!