Dogwood Denim Apron & A Giveaway!

Hey Everybody! How are you? I'm back in Calgary and starting to get settled in. This week has been a bit of a whirlwind with packing up, travelling, unpacking, and catching up on things at home. Anyway, the weather is starting to warm up so it's all good. 

I have a bit of a different post for you today, because I didn't actually make this apron, but I've sure had a blast using it. Ha! A few weeks ago, my friend Alina (from Dogwood Denim), asked me if I would like to try out one of her denim sewing aprons and review it on my blog. And you know me, it's hard to turn down anything denim. 😜

*Disclaimer: Alina did send me this apron for free, but as always, I promise to give you an honest review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

First lets talk about the details. This sewing apron comes in 4 different colours, and I chose medium blue. I'm a sucker for a nice medium blue denim. This is a 12 oz, raw denim, and it's the perfect weight for an apron. The backing, and lining of the pockets, is made from an organic cotton twill, which helps keep the apron soft and not too heavy. 

The first thing I noticed about this apron when I pulled it out of the package, was it's precise construction, and secondly, it's sturdiness. And it has so many great pockets! The belt is adjustable and it has a heavy duty plastic buckle, which makes it easy to get on and off.


I've had that little Frida button (it's by Mindy Lacefield) on my table for a long time, it just seemed right to add it to my apron. 


As you can see, I have had no problem filling up the pockets with all my trusty tools. Alina told me that this apron was actually born when she was at one of the Fashion Incubator Boot Camps  she attends (essentially, she goes and works in a factory and learns the ins and outs of clothing construction and manufacturing). She needed a sturdy apron that would hold all her tools, and allow her to easily move around the factory. Alina created this design, and it wasn't too long before everyone in her camp wanted one, so she decided to start selling them on her website. 


Anyway, I don't know about you guys, but my "sewing" room is set up so I have to move around quite a bit, from machine to table to ironing board and back again, and I'm constantly leaving my tools everywhere. This apron makes it so nice having everything right at my finger tips. When I first got it, I was worried that I might not use it, but honestly, it's so handy! And now that I've been wearing it while I sew, I'm not sure I'll be able to go back. 


Here I am in action. Seriously, it's so nice to have everything in one place, and I always lose my rotary cutter or my seam gauge underneath fabric scraps or pattern pieces, so it's nice to have easy access to everything.


In these photos, I'm wearing jeans, but often I sew in my pyjamas or leggings which don't have pockets, so this apron really helps me out then too. And if you look closely, you'll see it's getting some wear, as I've already dribbled coffee on it, so it saves my clothes too. 


So I've talked a little bit about Alina and Dogwood Denim before, but I had a great phone conversation with Alina just before she sent me this apron, so I feel like I can share a little more about what she does now. Dogwood Denim was born out of Alina's love for jeans, and not being able to find a great fitting pair.  Not only has she had her own struggles finding nice jeans to fit her body, she's watched several of her friends go through the same thing. I think as sewists, we can all relate to that. Anyway, her goal is to make women a great fitting pair of jeans, out of high quality, sustainable (and possibly organic) denim, that will last. She is about to start taking orders for custom jeans, and she is hoping that once she has a good sample of women's bodies, that she'll be able to come up with a few great fitting styles that she can then make and sell, along with her custom fitting. Doesn't that sound awesome? Anyway, if you are interested in having a custom pair of jeans made just for you, head over to the contact page of her website and message her.

And in the meantime, Alina has kindly offered to give away one of her fantastic aprons to one of you lovely readers. The winner will be chosen by random draw, and to enter, simply leave a comment here, or head on over to Instagram and follow Dogwood Denim. There will be a post there too with the giveaway details, and if you would like extra entries, just tag a friend under the post. The contest closes Sunday November 19th at midnight MST.

Blackbird Sewing Club

Hey Everybody! Finally, I'm back with some current sewing!! Woo hoo! And as you can see, I'm also here with some snow and cold weather. I took these photos on Sunday at the Lake, as we drove back to Calgary on Monday for the winter. I cannot believe how much snow we left in BC, and how much we came home to in Calgary. It's kind of crazy, and it's cold!! I'm just not ready for this! I was just settling into fall.

Anyway, this is a collaboration post of sorts. A couple months ago, Gillian (from Craftin' A Rainbow and the Sewcialists) and Margo (from Creating in the Gap) and I were chatting on Instagram, and we thought it would be cool if we all sewed a garment from the same fabric, and then shared it on our blogs and Instagram at the same time.  And to make it even better, we thought because we're all Canadian, why not get our fabric from our a Canadian store. 

Of course, Blackbird Fabrics was the answer. If you've followed me for even a short time, you already know that Blackbird Fabrics is one of my all time favourite shops. Caroline (the owner)  really has a great eye, and a fantasticly curated selection of gorgeous fabrics, and with free shipping in Canada when you spend $100, how can you not shop there? I mean for us Canadians, with a terribly weak dollar, and horrendous shipping costs (not to mention customs and duties fees) when you shop from the States, Blackbird Fabrics is a no brainer.

So, then came the hard part: choosing a fabric. Being the indecisive person that I am, I was no help. So we decided to contact Caroline and see if she had any suggestion for us, and not only did she agree to choose a fabric for the three of us, she sent us each 2m for free. How awesome is that? She kept it a secret from us, and sent us each a mystery package. It was so fun to open the surprise package, and find this gorgeous double knit inside. It was love at first sight. Plus it feels amazing too.

Originally, I was thinking of making some sort of dress, although I really didn't have a pattern in mind, but when I showed it to John, he was like, "you need to make a sweatshirt out of that! Something you'll wear all the time, because that fabric is beautiful". So naturally, I went back to my TNT Hey June Halifax Hoodie. I just love this pattern, and because of the lovely drape this double knit fabric has, I knew it would be perfect for the cowl neck.

This sweatshirt is my new favourite thing. It's so warm and snuggly, and I love the colours so much!! Plus every time I look at it, I'll think of Gillian and Margo, and that makes me happy. Sewing friends are the best!  Sadly, this fabric is already sold out. Blackbird Fabrics is definitely one of those shops where when you see something you love, you need to jump on it right away, because things sell out fast. I was shocked at how quickly both colorways of this fabric sold out (well not really, because I know how amazing it really is. Ha ha!). Anyway, I hope you'll check out both Margo's and Gillian's blogs for their posts, and if you are looking for more details about how I sewed this pattern, see this post or this post).

Hope you all are enjoying your November so far!

Hey June Cheyenne

Hey Everybody! I'm back with some more old photos, and some seemingly old makes. I guess they're not that old, but January for the jeans, and April for the shirt seems like sooooo long ago.

So I've already talked about the jeans, but I'll go over the details of these ones quickly. These are the Itch to Stitch Liana Stretch jeans again with the skinny leg in a size 8.  I didn't make any alterations to these ones, except to change the back pocket. I stole the pocket piece out of my Angela Wolfe Angel Jeans pattern, as I really like that pocket (it's a bit bigger that the Liana jean pocket). This black denim came from Threadbare Fabrics, and unfortunately it's sold out. It's a really nice denim, and probably the blackest denim, I've sewn with yet. So there you go, those are the jeans. ;)

Now, onto the Hey June Cheyenne Tunic. After my great succes with the Halifax Hoodie pattern, I was anxious to try the Cheyenne Tunic. This pattern comes with two veiws, but as you probably know, I'm a sucker for a collared shirt, so I went for the traditional view A.

Based on the size chart I fall into a size Large, but I thought based on the finished measurements, that might be a bit too big/oversized for me. So I compared the pieces to my Sewaholic Granville pieces and decided the Medium would be fine, and I was right. I think the large would have definitely been to big in the shoulders.

I ended up shortening the sleeves by 2', but I left the body at the regular length. This length is perfect for tucking in, but I think next time I might make it slightly shorter if I want to leave it untucked.

I'm super happy with how this shirt turned out. The pattern instructions are fantastic, and if you've never made a button up shirt before, this would be a fantastic pattern to start with. This flannel fabric is also from Threadbare Fabrics, and I just love it. The only thing to be aware of, is that it shrinks!! ALL flannel shrinks, so it would be a good idea to give it a couple of runs through the washer and a hot dryer before you sew.

I love the pockets and cuffs on this pattern, and the tower placket on the sleeve is great! It's also worth noting that the collar on this shirt is quite a bit bigger than the Grainline Archer or the Sewaholic Granville. I actually quite like it, but it took a bit of getting used to. ;) I think the fit is right in between the Granville and Archer. The Archer is quite boxy, while the Granville is quite fitted, so the Cheyenne is a happy medium. This is all dependent on which size you choose though.

So there you go, another post on the books. Hopefully I'll get to some more recent makes soon, but as it's snowing here today, at least this one is seasonably appropriate. 😜

Liana Stretch Jeans with Pocket Flaps

Okay, we're making our way into something a bit more seasonally appropriate: the Liana Stretch Jeans by Itch to Stitch. This was actually my third time making this pattern. If you've followed me for awhile, you'll know I LOVE sewing jeans. It really is a true passion of mine. Anyway, I've tried a number of patterns, and while this one was in my pattern stash for quite a while, it took me a while to actually sew it up.

Back in January, I sewed up two pairs of Lianas and loved them. I was blown away by how well they fit me right off the bat. My first two pairs are size 8s, with no changes whatsoever. It was like the pattern was designed for me! I didn't even have to shorten the legs (they were a little long but I always cuff my skinny jeans so that's how I wanted them). Woo! Anyway, I wore those first 2 pairs almost exclusively for about 3 months, and decided that I would like another pair with a slightly higher rise, which is where this pair came in.

A really great thing about this pattern, is it comes with 3 different leg styles: skinny, straight, and bootcut. As I am quite partial to a skinny leg, of course that's what I chose for all three pairs. It also has the option of a pocket with or without the flap. I had never tried pocket flaps before, so I decided to give those a go too.

Anyway, I started with a straight size 8 again, and raised the rise by 1". I made the flap pockets as drafted but decided they were a bit small, so I unpicked them. You see, in my opinion, if you want your butt to look huge, sew on small pockets LOL. Anyway, after I consulted my Instagram sewing friend, and jeans maker extraordinaire, Alina, I decided the pockets needed to be much bigger! I used the original pattern pocket pieces, and enlarged them with my little home photocopier/scanner, and it worked brilliantly. How great is it to have sewing friends!?!

John wasn't a fan of the larger pockets at first (he thought they were a bit too big), but they grew on him. ;) I just think the larger pockets help balance the space out. If the pockets are small, it just looks wrong to my eye (and my butt looked HUGE). You might have a different preference, and that's totally cool. I think that's one of the beautiful things about making your own jeans, you can make things the way you want to. Anyway, I never would have thought to go quite this big without Alina, and she also looked at lots of photos of my butt, and for that I am very grateful. 😜

For this pair, I used a 9.5 oz Cone Mill S-Gene denim from Threadbare Fabrics, and I used the same bright orange topstitching thread that I used on my Hampton Jean Jacket (I'm wearing my first pair of Liana Stretch jeans in that post too).

The Liana pattern is great; well-drafted with detailed instructions, and there is a sew along to go with it on the Itch to Stitch blog too. I would definitely recommend this pattern, and will be making it again. I have full intentions to try both the straight leg and bootcut versions too.

Have you sewn your own jeans yet?

PS: If you want to learn more about Alina, and her jeans expertise, check out her website Dogwood Denim, or find her on Instagram. She's based in Canada, and currently, she's getting ready to take orders for women's custom jeans. How cool is that?  (Sidenote: I have no affiliation with Alina or Dogwood denim, but we're sewing friends and I love what she's doing so I wanted to mention that too. Woo!)

Iconic Patterns Dress #1306

Okay, catch up post number 2. Here I am with an incredibly seasonally inappropriate dress. Ha ha!! Actually if you're in the Southern Hemisphere, where this pattern originated, we're in good shape. 

I really don't know how I found this pattern, it must have been on Instagram. Having never made anything from Iconic Patterns before, I was a little bit hesitant, but the pdf was reasonably priced and I love the design, so I decided to just go with it.

Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised. The pdf went together really well, and while the instructions are a bit minimal, there is a bit of a sew along on the blog that was very helpful. 

Aren't those pockets cool? And the cute little cap sleeves?? 

I made a straight size 12, and then got a little ambitious with the shortening. I took 4 inches off the hem (what was I thinking!!), which ended up being about an 1.5" too much. But nonetheless, I still wore it this summer (with little shortie shorts underneath), and I think with a cardigan and leggings, and boots, it will work for the fall and winter too. 

This fabric is a stretchy cotton that I bought somewhere in London. Maybe Goldhawk Road, or maybe Walthamstow Market. To be honest, I'm not really sure, it's been in my stash for quite awhile. But I love the colours, and its lovely and soft.

Are you blinded by my super white legs? I made this dress back in July and took the photos a few days after I made it. We had a super hot and sunny summer, but I prefer to stay inside with the air-conditioning and my sewing machines. Can you tell? Ha ha!

Hope you guys are having a great Fall so far. I can't believe it's mid-October already!!! Where has the time gone??

True Bias Lodo Dress

Oh my goodness people!! What happened to me? In my last post, I was all, oh yeah, I'm gonna catch up with my blog. I had all these photos ready, and then....I disappeared. Well not completely, I'm always lurking around on Instagram. Ha ha!! Anyway, my poor neglected blog. So let's catch up! I was a tester for the True Bias Lodo dress back in March. Was it really that long ago?? Oh my gosh!!

Anyway, I want to keep this catch up post short and sweet, so here we go. I made view B (the short version) in a size 12 and shortened it at the hem by 3 inches. I used a mystery Ponte fabric which I believe came from my local Fabricland.

What can I say? This is another great pattern from Kelli of True Bias! The instructions are detailed as always, and while it's a knit dress, it has woven facings. The knit this patten calls for, is quite stable, so the woven facings work really well/ Plus they are easy to sew and a great way to use up scraps. I'm sure you all have see this pattern popping up a ton over the summer on Instagram. It's quick and easy to sew, and super easy to wear too. 

Honestly, I wasn't 100% sold on it being my style, but after wearing it a ton over the summer, I was convinced. I have plans to make a couple more, and GASP I might even try the 3/4 length version. ;)

Okay, there we go first catch up post done, now onto the next! 

More Halifax Hoodies!

Heeello!! Told you I made a ton of these Hoodies. Ha ha! I actually have a couple of sweatshirt versions and another cowl neck version too - they just didn't make it into photos yet. Anyway, not too much else to say about this pattern, except that I love it! If you'd like to read a more detailed review of this pattern from me, please see this post.

I made all of the following hoodies out of french terry from L'oiseau Fabrics. it's a beautiful weight and was lovely to work with, and the prints! I love all the prints!! It was hard to narrow it down because they have so many, but I managed to. Ha ha! If you've never ordered knits from L'oiseau, I highly recommend it. They are a Canadian company (local to Calgary actually woo!) and stock some really beautiful fabrics.

Anyway, I'll leave you with all the photos and I'll be back with something different in my next post, I promise. Ha ha!

Hey June Patterns Halifax Hoodie

Okay next up on the blogging docket is the Hey June Halifax Hoodie. I don't know why it took me so long to make this pattern up, because it quickly became a staple in my wardrobe.  I made these two back in March, and then proceeded to make a whole army of them and I wore them for the rest of the winter and right through spring. Seriously, jeans and hoodies were my uniform, and it was perfect. Why is dressing in the cooler months so much easier for me? Anyway I know I'll be wearing them like crazy again when the weather cools down. 

Okay so I have a bunch more of these to share with you, but for now let's talk about the first two that I made.

The Halifax Hoodie is an extremely versatile pattern that comes with 5 different views. I honestly, have nothing but good things to say about this pattern. The drafting and the instructions are great, and I had no trouble putting the pdf together. Plus you can print only the pages you need for the view that you are making, which is a feature I LOVE.

For my first iteration, I decided to make view D, the cowl neck hoodie. I made a size L, and shortened both the body and the sleeves by 2.5" at the lenghten/shorten lines. Remember, I'm short! LOL

This was a quick sew for me, and when I finished it, I was absolutely delighted with the result. It was so comfy, and I did not want to take it off. So I knew I had to make another one right away.

For my second Halifax Hoddie, I decided to try View A. The more traditional hoodie style.

Once again, I went with the size large, but because of the different neckline, this view has different body pattern pieces and I completely forgot to shorten them. So this hoodie is made full length. But that actually worked out well for me and is perfect with leggings for cozying up at home. The sleeve pattern piece is the same though, so they were still shortened by 2.5".

I was a little worried about sewing the neckline of this version, but it worked out just fine and the instructions again were fantastic. Sorry my hood is a bit inside out in these photos.

I put both of these hoodies together with my serger, and my regular machine. With minimal topstitching required, these sew up super quick, and were a great palette cleanser/instant gratification project for me. 

Oh and  guess I should mention the fabric.  Ha ha! Both of these hoodies were made out of a super luscious bamboo french terry from Blackbird Fabrics. It's so soft, and cuddly, yet not super thick, and also quite fluid. It's really lovely to wear. 

I've had a bit of a love affair with Hey June Patterns over the last few months, so you'll see more of them pop up on the blog here (and if you've been following along on Instagram, you'll already have seen some of them there too). If you've ever wondered about Hey June, I can assure you the patterns are great. I've made 3 different ones so far, and all of them have turned out great. The instructions are very thorough, beginner friendly, and usually come with lots of variations, so good bang for your buck. Also, Hey June has recently gone to print, so if pdfs aren't your thing, you can find most of the pattern line now in paper. Woo hoo! Yes, I have become a total fangirl. LOL

Anyway, thank you so much for your comments on my last post, it's nice to know that people are still reading my blog even after a bit of an unplanned hiatus. I'll be back again soon with some more Halifax Hoodies. Woo!