Grumble Sewing

Hey Everybody! How are you this fine Monday? It's actually kind of overcast and rainy here; a big change from how the weather was last time I blogged. I thought for sure that summer was here, but it cooled off significantly. I'm okay with that though because we need the rain. Anyway, I hope you are ready for a pug heavy post. I really had a hard time narrowing down the photos for this one. ;)

About two months ago, Lucy from Sew Essential in the UK, contacted me about my Maya Top blog post. She said that she really loved my top and would I be interested in her sending me some fabric in exchange for a blog post mentioning her shop. I'm always a little bit apprehensive about freebies, but Lucy seemed very sweet, and after a couple of emails, she brought up the idea of sewing for my pugs, and that's what really sealed the deal for me. How could I say no to free fabric for my pugs?!

Anyway, Sew Essential, I discovered, is a family owned and operated (Lucy's husband and mother-in-law started it, and now they all run it together) online shop that carries a big selection of pet sewing patterns (as well as an extensive range of human and home & craft patterns), among many other sewing notions, machines and fabric. It took me a while to settle on a pattern, but I finally chose Kwik Sew 4020. I don't really ever dress the pugs up, so clothes seemed out of the question. But we do seem to go through beds quite frequently, and I'm always looking for something that's comfy and snuggly, yet machine washable. This bed seemed to fit the bill. I let Lucy know, and asked her to just choose some fabric for me. I am incredibly indecisive and I thought that would just be easier. 

So a few weeks later (shipping from the UK always seems to take quite awhile), a nice little parcel of cotton arrived for me. The cotton actually turned out to be a cotton/poly blend but it's really soft and smooth, and I'm hoping it will turn out to be quite durable in the long run. I was happy to see that Lucy had picked out two shades of blue, as blue is one of my favourite colours but you may have already figured that out. ;)

The pattern includes two sizes, and I went for the largest one. It was super simple to put together. The only tricky parts were sewing the centre octagon to the already sewn together outer pieces, and then sewing on the casing for the drawstring. You stuff the bed as you go, so getting the casing sewed around the stuffed bed was a bit challenging. I moved my machine to the big table to see if that would help, but it really didn't. 

Anyway, in the end, it was worth it, and I think the bed turned out quite well. 

I used some regular poly fill stuffing to stuff the bed, but then I ran out so I used the inside of an IKEA pillow, which actually turned out to be even softer than the poly fill. Who knew?

I didn't have any cording on hand, and it took me a few days to get into town to pick some up, but that didn't stop the pugs.

They were happy to test out the bed before it was completely finished. Ha ha!

All 3 of the pugs have enjoyed napping on this bed, but I think that it's Shanny's favourite by far. It's the bed she goes to first now, and she'll even make room for Jackie Boy to get in and cuddle her instead of getting out. She doesn't always like to share a bed, but it's hard to get her to leave this one. LOL

I did eventually manage to get to get Fabricland and pick up some cording. It cinches up the bed nicely and makes it just a little more cozy.

I am also pleased to say that this bed has already been washed and dried by machine, and it did so like a champ. I really can't wait to make a couple more, and replace the pugs' old ripped beds. It feels really nice to have made my little loves something - I don't know why it took me so long.

So there you have it, some very successful, unselfish sewing. While I was a bit hesitant to do a "sponsored" post (is that the right term?), I'm glad I went through with it. It was just the nudge I needed to do some much needed grumble sewing!

Thanks for putting up with all the pug photos!!

True Bias Colfax Dress

Hello my friends! How are you? Summer has hit us over here in beautiful British Columbia, and this weekend was a scorcher. We managed to get out and do some fishing on Sunday, but it was almost too hot for me. I'm not very heat or sun tolerant. Can you tell by my pasty white skin? LOL. Anyway, let's get on with chatting about my beautiful Colfax dress. I feel like I have a lot to say here so maybe grab a coffee (or beverage of your choice) and let's get down to it.

I was lucky enough to be a pattern tester for Kelli's latest True Bias pattern: the Colfax dress. When I first saw the line drawing, I wasn't quite sure how this dress was going to look on my figure, but I really liked the cool yoke detail, and I really loved Kelli's samples (she sent her testers a few pictures before we sewed them up). Anyway, long story short, my tester version did not turn out well. I went against my internal compass, and skipped the FBA, which was a big mistake. When I finished my dress, it had these horrible diagonal lines from my hips to my boobs, and it hiked way up at the front. It did not look good, and I was not happy. So very impulsively, I chopped it off into a top. Better, but still not great, and I now, really wish I wouldn't have chopped it off so quickly. Don't get me wrong. I think this pattern acutally makes a great tank too, but because of the fit issues I already had, my tank wasn't much better than the dress was. And I really wish I would have worn the dress a bit before chopping it off, because sometimes after something sits for awhile or you wear it a bit, your opinion of it can change (like today when I looked back at the tester photos, it really wasn't so bad). Anyway, I still made lots of notes for Kelli, and I think my tester info was still helpful, or at least I hope it was.

So, even though I was unhappy with my first version, I really wanted to make another one for 2 big reasons:

  1.  I felt really guilty about not having a nice version to blog about. Now before we go too far here, Kelli does not ask her testers to blog, or do any promotion whatsoever, but when you really like a pattern (or even a designer), don't you want to blog about it, share it with the world, and support said designer? I do. I mean, I always keep my opinions on this blog honest and completely genuine, and I don't like being told what to do on my blog, so I will never say anything I don't want to. But like with anything I make, I really wanted to tell you all about the Colfax dress, and I didn't want to have to show you my poorly represented tester version. Plus, when a pattern is first released and I'm thinking about buying it, I always want to see it on real bodies, and different shapes and sizes, not just the photos the designer showcases, and I thought that's probably what you would want too. So I kind of felt like I was letting you readers down as well. 
  2. I liked the design, and I didn't want to let it defeat me. Sounds silly right? I knew in my mind that if I just sucked it up and did an FBA, I would probably be happy with this pattern and it was so silly that I didn't do it in the first place.  I think I have a lazy/stubborn gene in me that usually stays dormant but occasionally overtakes me, and for some reason, it did the day I made my first version of this dress.

So here we are with my "good" version.  I'm not sure if you guys know this about me, but I'm really sucky at sewing with shifty fabrics. But, you know what they say: practice makes perfect, and if you don't try, you can't practice, so expect to see more shifty fabrics from me in the future. 

This fabric is a rayon challis, and while it's really soft and not slippery, it still shifted around on me a lot. I really should have starched it while I was ironing it, but I didn't. (I recently read on Anya's blog about this cool fabric stiffener, which I really need to try STAT. PS: Anya is an amazing sewist from Calgary!! If you haven't already, you should check out her blog - she's awesome!) Anyway, while shifty, I thought this fabric would be perfect for this pattern as the print has sort of a retro shift-dress feel, and I thought a more flowy fabric would lend itself well to this pattern. I should also mention this fabric is super special because Katie sent it to me. I know I've said this before, but sewing people are the best!

Okay, back to the dress, I chose my size based on my high bust measurement, which is a size 8, and then I did an FBA. It was soooooo easy!! Why on earth did I skip it before? Ugh! Kelli has tutorial on her website as part of the Colfax sewalong if you want to check it out.  Anyway, I did a 1.5" FBA which adds 3" all around and it worked out perfectly! The fit is so much better and the front no longer hitches up. I didn't end up shortening this pattern at all, so watch out tall girls, you may need to lengthen it a bit.

I made a huge boo boo on this dress while I was sewing it, but it was totally my fault -  I sewed the yoke onto the wrong side of the dress and cut my slit down the centre before I even noticed. YIKES!! It was such a pain to unpick and resew, but I got it, and my yoke is only slightly wonky, so it turned out okay in the end. 

Anyway, I'm really happy with this dress, and I think I will wear it a lot. It's really comfy and perfect for throwing on with sandals. I don't love this style as much as I love the Southport, because I think I need a bit more waist definition than it provides, but it's light and easy to wear, so I'm sure I'll reach for it a lot this summer.  I might also try it with a belt and see if that changes my mind.  

Thanks for hanging in there with me guys. I hope you're having a lovely week! I'll be getting up early tomorrow to watch some dudes dig up our backyard and fix our water/well problem, or at least I hope they can fix it - finally. Wish me luck!

A Very Floral Liberty Archer

Bonjourno!! How are you all? I actually started drafting this post almost a month ago now, isn't that crazy?! I seem to have lots of time to sew, but less time to blog. And it's not that I don't write about my projects, I keep a very detailed, handwritten (I'm old school), journal about each and every project I make. I even add little fabric swatches. It's kind of messy, but I love it. I actually have 4 notebooks filled now. It's crazy!

Anyway, onto the project at hand: another Archer shirt. I recently bought myself a 50mm portrait lens, so bear with me as I've been playing with it a lot, and I thought it might be fun to have some in progress shots too.

When I set out to make myself a new Archer, my previous pattern was no where to be found. I of course promptly found it, once this shirt was finished. Anyway, that's the lovely thing about pdfs, you can always find the original on your computer or at the very least back on the designer's website. 

So I printed it out, put it together and started over. Luckily I could find my trusty notebooks, and it was easy for me to make all the necessary changes. The only thing I did differently, was to start with a size 8 instead of my usual size 6 (usual in Archer anyway). I'm always kind of flip-flopping between the idea that my Archer is too fitted, and that it's just right. So this time, I decided to make it a little bigger and see. 

So anyway, I started with a size 8, did a 1" FBA (so 2" total) which added a dart, then I did a 1/2" forward shoulder adjustment, and I shortened the body by 1".

I also decided to use the sleeve from the Archer popover pack because I wanted to try out the tower placket. The sleeve looked a little long so I shortened it by 1".

I'm happy with the sleeve length, but I find them kind of puffy. Next time I think I'll grade down a few sizes to get rid of some of that excess. The sleeve placket was pretty easy with Jen's instructions, but I will admit, I still like this way better. It's the first way I learned to make a tower placket, and it's still my favourite.

I also went with snaps on this one, and while you can't really see them in these photos, they match perfectly. They're a nice green-y teal colour.

As you might be able to notice, my photographer is having a hard time getting used to my new lens. He doesn't like it nearly as much as I do. Perhaps it's time to invest in a tri-pod. ;)

This fabric is a gorgeous, but busy, Liberty print I bought on Goldhawk Road in London about 2 years ago. I love the colours although it does remind me a bit of a shirt Cameron might wear.

So there you have it another Archer. Can a girl really have too many? I really like the relaxed fit of this one, and I know I'll wear it a lot, but I think I'll go back to the size 6 for my next one. 

I hope you are doing well. What's on your sewing table? Are you in full spring/summer mode yet? (Or fall/winter if you live in the other hemisphere from me 😉.)

Morgan Jeans Take 2

Oh my goodness you guys! Time just keeps flying by doesn't it? I had intended to have this post written and published no less than a week after my last post but that just didn't happen. I just always seem to have a lot of stuff going on, and blogging is usually the thing that gets pushed way down on the to do list. Anyway, better late than never right? Let's jump right in.

I'm not sure if you guys have noticed this about me, but I pretty much always like to make multiples of the same pattern. Sometimes it's because I absolutely love the pattern and I have to make it over and over and over, or sometimes it's because I'm not in love with my first effort due to my fabric or size choice, and I really want to give it a fair shot.

With Morgan, while I loved my first pair, I really wanted to make a second pair that would be the super comfy and relaxed fit that I look for in a boyfriend jean. My first pair was so stiff because of the denim, that for my second pair I opted for a little bit lighter weight stretch denim with about 1% lycra (and when I say lighter weight, I don't mean light weight, this is still a 10oz denim, I just mean lighter than the 12.5 oz I used for my last pair). Also while we're getting technical, this denim is a 2x1 weave, vs the heavy 3x1 weave I used last time. The 1% lycra gives this particular denim about 10% stretch, whereas a denim with 2-3% lycra (which you would want for a skinny jean like Ginger, or a super fitted jean like Birkin) would give anywhere from 20-30% stretch. The other thing that I did a bit differently with this denim, is I washed and dried it right away - no raw denim this time. So right from the get go, this pair was destined to be softer.

I also decided to distress this pair with some sandpaper as I went along. I used a 220 grit sandpaper with a little hand sanding block I picked up at the local hardware store.

FYI, if you decide to sand your jeans, prepare for your hands to turn really blue and to get blue dust and fuzz everywhere!

After I did my the majority of my sanding, I started sewing everything together, adding a bit more sanding as I went along. I also decided to add one of my Pug & Needle tags to the back pocket. I'm not 100% sure that I love the placement, but I was too lazy to change it. Anyway, here's what my jeans looked like when they were almost finished (they just need a hem, a button, and belt loops):

Once I finished them, I washed them (you kind of have to wash sanded denim right away, or you risk getting blue dust everywhere you go), and ended up sanding them even more. This resulted in some popped topstitching, which you might notice in the next few photos.

You would not believe how different denim can feel with even a light sanding. Have you ever worn or tried on high-end designer jeans that feel super soft? I'm thinking like Citizens of Humanity in particular because I had a pair years ago that felt just like these, but I also have a pair of Gap jeans that feels similar too. Anyway, It's gets all soft and almost flannel like. I really wish I could send you all this pair so you could touch them and feel the difference. It's amazing. If you get a chance, try it with a swatch for yourself. Even just a light sanding can really change the feel.

Also pictured, a Grainline Studio Lark tee with scoop neck and short sleeves made out of a luscious bamboo knit from Blackbird Fabrics.

Anyway, back to the jeans. This pair is made with the second rendition of the pattern (there were 3 rounds of testing), so I can tell you that they are a size 12 at the cropped length. This pattern has two lengths, but the cropped length actually ends up being the perfect regular length on me. And in the pictures, I've rolled them 3 times. I didn't make any fit changes again, and am really, really happy with the fit right off the pdf.  I chose my size based on the size chart, and I'm happy with the fit, but if I were to make these again in an even stretchier denim, I would probably size down. For reference, I usually make a size 10 in Gingers. I also could probably use some very minor adjustments, like added a little to the back thigh inseam and maybe shaving a tiny bit off the front crotch curve, but honestly, I'm quite happy with how the fit as is.

I actually made these jeans at the very beginning of March, and we even took some pictures of them back then too, but I decided that they were a bit to wintery by the time the pattern was released,  so we took some more "springy" shots. Anyway, I thought I'd share a couple of the old photos with you too so you can see how they look uncuffed, and because a couple of the close ups show the distressing a little better.

I hit these pretty hard with the sandpaper, intending to get some holes, and it worked out pretty well. My husband thought I was crazy at the time, but I think he's come around on the distressed look. 

I'm also wearing the Knitbot Lesley sweater that knit over the winter and I'm really happy with how it turned out.

So I'm really happy with how these jeans worked out and they are my go to super, comfy, pajama jean. I can't wait to make more pairs (like I need more jeans). If you've been following along with me on Instagram, I'm sure you've seen this pair a number of times during this Me Made May. Anyway, I'm off to work on some belated Mother's Day sewing. Fellow Canucks enjoy your long weekend, and everyone else I hope you have a great weekend too!



Closet Case Files Morgan Jeans - Tester Version

Ola peoples! Look at me go. I'm blogging again this week! I have a feeling that this will be a quite a long, picture heavy post, so maybe grab a latte and a cookie before we get started. Don't worry, I'll wait, and I promise not to judge if you grab 4 it? Good, me too. Let's get on with it.

In the last days of January, just before John and I left on our trip to London, someone casually asked me if I was testing the new Closet Case Files jeans pattern? I was like: What??!? There's a new pattern?? No, I'm not testing it, but why aren't I?!?!?! I then proceeded to write Heather Lou an extremely excited email pretty much begging her to add me to her testing roster. And long story short: she did. She then graciously sent me the pattern, which I furiously sewed up in the 2 days before we left. I wish I could tell you what size I made but the pattern hadn't been completely graded yet, so Heather just sent me the version she thought would fit, so I'm not 100% sure but my best guess would be a size 10.

I already had some rigid 12.5 oz Cone Mills denim in my stash that I thought would be perfect.  Katie told me that she had originally stocked it because she thought it would be a great denim for men's jeans, so I had added it to my stash with the intention of making one of the boys a pair of jeans, or even my Dad. My father gets kind of googly eyed when I talk about any denim over 12 oz because it reminds him of the jeans his Dad wore, and that he used to wear himself when he was younger ("They just don't make jeans like they used to Heather......". 

But, I digress...I had never worked with raw denim before but I have read lots about it, and years ago, I even had my own store bought pair of raw denim jeans (they were a men's cut which never totally fit right, and I think I may have "outgrew" them 😉). Anyway, I was pretty excited to join the ranks of the real denim hipsters. My ideal denim weight is about 9.5 - 10.5 oz. Generally speaking those are the weights I tend to like best. So I knew that the 12.5 oz would be heavier that what I normally like, but I figured that I needed to try it out so I would know. I learn best from experience. The pattern was/is great, and things went together without a hitch. This was my first attempt at a button fly, but Heather's instructions were fantastic and it was much easier than I would have imagined. 

 Anyway, here's what they looked like the day that I finished them (these are just some quick photos John snapped of me in our family room, as it was quite chilly that weekend, and I had to go and pack for our trip LOL):

Photographic evidence that we didn't take our Christmas stockings down until mid February. 😂

Pretty sweet right? This is the jeans made up exactly as the pattern dictated. No changes whatsoever. I was (and still am) really impressed with the fit. I didn't do it on my second pair either, but next time I will probably scoop out the back crotch curve slightly, and shorten the front curve a teensy bit too.  Doesn't the super dark denim look really sharp? It turned my legs all blue; raw denim bleeds like crazy because it hasn't been washed, but more on that later.

 I love them cuffed, and if you look carefully you might be able to see the selvedge of the fabric. Because boyfriend jeans are so straight at the side seam, you can use the selvedge for your side seam. It looks super cool with red line denim too.

Okay, so now let's take a minute to talk about the denim (or maybe 30 - once I get going I can talk about denim for ages ) . First of all, a 12.5 oz denim is pretty thick, and if you want to keep with the raw denim look, you do not wash it beforehand, so it is incredibly stiff. Raw denim is not treated in anyway after the dying process. This means it is not pre-washed, pre-faded or pre-shrunk. It may or may not have been sanforized (depending on what the manufacturer decides). Most denims go through a process called sanforization. This means the fabric is stretched, fixed and shrunk at the mill to reduce the shrinkage that happens with washing. So a sanforized denim will shrink about 1-3%, where an unsanforized denim can shrink up to 10% with the first wash. I do believe that this denim is sanforized as it did really shrink too much, but I also didn't put it in the dryer.

Anyway, when I finished them, these jeans could pretty much stand up on their own. Rigid, unwashed denim is very stiff and really doesn't have much give right off the roll. Now the appeal is that as you wear them in, the 100% cotton molds to your body, for a unique and flattering fit. But that initial wearing-in period can last anywhere from 2 days to 3 weeks to 3 months, and it can be painful. It all depends on how much you wear the jeans, how they fit when you start, and of course the weight and weave of the denim. I don't mean you are truly in pain, I just mean that they can dig in a bit at the waist when you sit down, and generally make it difficult to crouch and bend down. Especially if you are someone who is used to exclusively wearing stretch denim all the time, and/or your jeans are super fitted. If you made skinny jeans out of raw denim, you probably wouldn't be able to get them on, and if you did, you wouldn't be able to move. 

I've read that with raw denim, your jeans should fit tight, but after a few hours of wear, they should give about an inch, and sometimes even two. In this case, these just didn't give enough for my liking.  But after some serious denim research, and several discussions with my stepson who loves wearing raw denim, I was assured that this really is all part of the process, and part of the fun. My stepson said that after about 3 weeks of constant wear, they begin to soften and get really comfy, and then, they just keep getting better from there. Again, it depends on the denim, and they can start to feel really comfy much sooner than 3 weeks. My stepson's experience mainly comes from the Swedish brand Nudies, and none of his pairs are heavier than a 12oz. All my boys have worn Nudies off and on for a few years now, and they all love them, but they are quite expensive.

It's also worth noting, that different denims wear-in differently and feel differently on the body. This has a lot to do with texture and weave too. This denim, as with pretty much all denims over 10.5 oz is a 3x1 (three by one) weave. This means that there are 3 warp yarns going under and over every 1 weft yarn. (The weft is the horizontal thread/yarn and the warp is the vertical thread/yarn). This also creates that cool diagonal pattern you can see when you look closely at the wrong side of the denim (you can see it on the right side too, but it's more obvious on the wrong side).  

Here you can see the diagonal pattern, and you can also see the selvedge at the side seam. 

The 3x1 weave makes for a really strong, but stiff denim. It's great for work wear, and men's jeans, and other men's garments. Typically men's jeans are less fitted, so a stiffer denim works well, and in my experience the men in my life seem to wear their jeans in (and out) much faster than the women in my life do. A slubbier or lighter weight denim, may not feel so stiff. Slubiness is essentially a soft nub in the yarn that adds texture and unevenness to the denim. The manufacturer intentionally knots or twists the yarns or uses a mixture of different lengths of fibers to change the feel of the denim. The effect is almost a bumpier denim, which in my opinion makes it feel a little softer. There is also denim with nep too, which feels like the denim is pilling, but I think we've covered enough for now. And I think smooth and slubby denim is more common anyway.

Another integral part of the raw denim process: you can't wash them. First of all, they will shrink even if you keep them out of the dryer, and in order for them to keep molding to your shape, you are "supposed" to just keep wearing them everyday without the chance of the washing machine undoing all your precious wearing in work. There are lots of tips out there for keeping them fresh, like putting them in the freezer overnight, hanging them outside to air them out, and even lightly spraying them with Febreeze or diluted vinegar. Seriously, google raw denim - it has huge following. Mostly male, but with new designs, we ladies are finally seeing the benefits of non-stretch denim. You can also soak your jeans in the bath tub, then let them air dry, but this will change the feel, and I've also heard of people wearing them in the shower and then wearing them while they dry so they mold to the body. It takes commitment.

Needless to say, these jeans were too stiff to make it into my suitcase for my trip. I didn't feel like wearing such stiff denim, and that idea really didn't fit into my usual holiday eating style either. LOL. When I got back though, I started wearing them A LOT, and I found that even after hours of wear, they really didn't loosen up enough for me to be comfortable. I was having a hard time sitting in them for long periods of time (it just wasn't comfortable) and you would have laughed your faces off watching me get in and out of my car. Ha ha! I think the biggest reason for this, is that they just weren't the right size, but also the denim is probably just to heavy for my liking. In a lighter weight denim, or a denim with a teensy bit of stretch, I would have been fine, but for rigid denim, I probably need an extra 1/2" or so.

Anyway as previously mentioned, I am incredibly impatient, so I decided to hit this pair with a bit of sand paper. And (all you raw denim-heads can gasp) wash them!! I sanded the legs while I had them on and then threw them in the washer on a cold, gentle cycle and then hung them to dry. This softened them significantly and also gave them a really cool worn in vibe. Honestly, they are still quite snug and I have a bit of a hard time bending over to pick up my Quincie, but I still wear them a lot. 

So my intention here is not to scare you away from raw denim, but to share my experiences with you so that you can make the best choices when you make your pair. I actually LOVE raw denim, and I fully intend to make another pair of jeans out of it, keeping everything that I have learned in mind. Also not all non-stretch denims are raw, lots of them are pre-washed and treated so they can been quite soft and comfy right off the bat. 

Anyway,  here's my advice, choose your size based on the size chart and then either make a muslin to check the fit, or add a little extra to the side seams (before you cut them out) and baste your jeans together to check the fit. Then if you need extra room, you have it, and if you don't need it, you can trim it off easily. If you are new to raw denim (and/or non-stretch denim), maybe choose a lighter weight. I personally have some 10 oz on order which I think will be perfect. If your denim is particularly heavy or stiff, you may want to size up or at least add a little fit insurance to the side seams as mentioned above (I learned that trick from Sandra Betzina). Something else to consider is how your sewing machine handles denim. 2 or 3 layers of 12.5oz denim is pretty thick. My sewing machine handled it pretty well, but my serger struggled a little bit. Also, a hammer can be your best friend when making jeans. You can use a hammer to flatten thick places like the belt loops, hems and pockets, and it can help with distressing too. If you plan on using the sanding technique for distressing, do it while you are sewing, not after all the topstitching is done.  If you want distressing at the seams, do it just before you topstitch (sanding the legs while you are wearing your jeans can help you get the wear patterns right, but you can also drape the the unfinished jeans over your leg and get cool patterns that way too). If you sand your beautiful topstitching, it will not survive. You can see where that has happened a bit to me, as I sanded my jeans as an afterthought.

And as always, if you have questions or need help, while I am no expert, I have sewn a ton of jeans now, and I will happily do my best to help you. And if I can't, I will try to point you to someone who can. Making your own jeans is so incredibly satisfying, and easy, once you make a pair, I really encourage every home sewer to give it a shot.

If raw denim, or even non-stretch denim isn't really your bag, don't worry, I made a pair out of stretch denim and they worked out pretty well too. I even distressed them, but I'll save that pair for another blog post as this one is insanely long already. 

Thanks so much for hanging in there with me. Did you finish your cookies? It went though about a dozen writing this. Ha ha! If you just checked out the photos, no big deal, but you may want to check out that last long paragraph that starts with "Anyway" for tips about making your own raw denim jeans. I promise not all my future blogging will be this intense!

What's Been Going on in the World of Heather Gibnoid?

My husband lovingly pointed out last night that I haven't updated my blog in weeks! I really didn't think it had been quite that long, but there it is, my last post on January 29th. Have I really not blogged since then? I have been sewing, and posting on Instagram, but my poor blog has once again been neglected. I am currently out at our country place at the lake, and had planned to do some great blog photos here, but then I forgot to pack the makes. I don't know where my brain was at really, I think I was just envisioning wearing warm and comfy clothes and thought I could probably make anything that I had forgotten. I didn't think I'd be wearing cropped boyfriend jeans and pretty short-sleeved tops this time around. Oops! So you'll have to settle with whatever photos I have on my phone (sidenote - not last night, but the night before I dropped my phone in the toilet!! Ugh!! I was actually cleaning, and had bent over to pick up the garbage can to empty it and as I did, my phone slipped out of my hoodie's pocket and straight into the toilet. I fished it out, dried it off and it is now sitting in a bag with a rather large Silica packet that came in a box that John had just unpacked. I checked on it this morning, and it's working but the screen appears to be screwed. I'm taking it in to my nearest "Apple Authorized" Servicer tomorrow. Fingers crossed something can be done.)

Anyway, let's get on with what I've been sewing:

1) A second pair of Carolyn Pajamas.

I made these with an adorable pug - boston terrier printed quilting cotton I've had in my stash for about 2 years. I would have loved to have made the pants version instead of the shorts this time, but I had barely enough fabric to squeeze out the shorts. Head's up 3 yards is j-u-s-t enough to make this version of the Carolyn pajamas if you are a size 12 (which is what I made) or under, and you shorten the top by 2 inches. ;) I love these jammies! They turned out exactly as I had hoped and are super soft and comfy. I used pre-made piping and had a much easier time constructing the notched collar the second time around. My first pair are awesome too, but made out of a more slippery rayon which made the collar a bit tricky. I'm sorry you don't get to see me in them but they look very much like my last pair, and I assure you, my legs are still just as white. 

2. I made 2 tops from Marilla Walker's Roberts Collection. The first one is made from a beautiful viola print fabric (Caroline called the flowers pansies, but I think they look more like violas which are one of my favourite garden flowers) from Blackbird Fabrics. It's so pretty that I bought it in two colourways, this one and the navy. It's a poly crepe and it is soft and drape-y, and it was nice to work with. This top is a size four and I left out the cool back seaming detail as I thought it would be lost in the busy print.

For the second one, I did a button down version inspired by Katie, and I LOVE it. I had a small 1 metre piece of this beautiful Liberty print (I think it's called Castile, but I'm not sure) I bought at Shaukat (what's the deal with Shaukat? I don't know, but I tend to think if they weren't at least "under the table authorized", Liberty would shut them down, don't you?), and it wasn't quite enough but luckily, Marilla added this cool seaming detail that I could use to my advantage. Thanks Marilla!

The tencel denim I used for the back, is from, you guessed it Blackbird Fabrics (I'm a Blackbird Fabrics addict!). Anyway, I really love how this top turned out and I have already worn it a ton.

3. Hot Patterns Weekender Boyfriend Jean

I won't say too much about these because I do want to do a full post on them. But I really like them. I've had this pattern in my stash for a long time, but never made it up. It was pretty easy sew, and I distressed them a little too. I did end up using a stretch denim when it called for non-stretch. Non-stretch denim just isn't very comfortable! Also, I don't usually have my sweatshirt high up like that, that was just so you could see the rise in the photos.

4. Secret sewing - I've been doing some pattern testing and I can hardly wait until I'm able to share my makes with you. That's all I will say for now, but here's a bit of a sneaker (hopefully I don't get in trouble for this).

5. T-Shirts!

I have had the Hey June Union St Tee pattern for a long time, but have never sewn it up, so a couple of days ago, I went to town and made 3. For the first one (the tye-die looking one), I made the elbow length sleeves with a scoop neck in the medium. I liked it at my initial try on, so I went ahead and made 2 more (both mediums again but shortened by 2 inches and shortsleeved). Once all 3 were done, I tried them all on again and was kind of meh about them. I actually think they are too big, at least in the shoulders. I think it was a mistake starting with such a busy fabric as it distracted me from the fit issues which really showed up in the two lighter colours. Also I think the lighter ones are just a bit boring for me. I really love the fabrics, but maybe on the lilac one I should have done contrasting sleeves and neckbinding or something like that. They both feel a bit, dare I say, old-ladyish on me. Anyway, the pattern was fine and the instructions were great, I just don't think it for me. 

So onwards and upwards as they say, I've set off to sew a Lark this afternoon. I'm starting off with a size 6 (I know right?) and at the initial try-on, it looks pretty good. I'll be sure to let you know what happens.

I was going to include some other things that I've been up to, non-sewing related, but I think this post has gotten long enough, so I'll save that for another day. I hope you are doing well on this lovely Thursday.

What's on your sewing table?