Hey June Santa Fe Tops

Hey guys! How are you all doing? I'm back with some Hey June Patterns Santa Fe tops. I got kind of obsessed with this pattern over the summer, and the once I started making it, it was hard to stop.  I just loved all the variations and those cool sleeve details just kept drawing me in. 

I actually made 6 Santa Fe tops, but the first one was a bit too big so I gave it to my Mom. This top is meant to be loose and swingy, so I chose a size Large based on my measurements, but that ended up making the top way too big in the shoulders for me (and really every where else, so that was the one that went to my Mom). For all the following versions in the photos below, I made a size small, which is much better.

This navy and white striped version is a size small, and it's view C, but I just cut it on the fold and eliminated the centre front seam. I used a nice and flowy rayon knit from Fabric.com, and then I used a plain navy from my stash for the cuffs and neck binding. This shirt is a bit different from other t-shirt patterns I've made in that the neckline is bound versus just finished with a flat band. I really love how it turned out.

This one is View F, so it's the same as View C, but with the cool raglan sleeve seams. I really love that detail. It looks really cool but also allows for a lot of scrap busting too! The striped fabric is a rayon(?) knit that came from Fabricville in Montreal, and the navy is a modal knit from Blackbird Fabrics.

These two sleeveless versions are both View E. I love the colour blocking opportunities this pattern presents. The navy one is made with that same modal knit from Blackbird, and the patterned inserts are from Girl Charlee - I had a little bit of fabric leftover from a Linden I made for my Stepmom and I think it worked out perfectly.

The grey knit is a bamboo and the fuschia is another modal knit both from Blackbird again. Both knits are super soft and so nice to wear. 

My final Santa Fe top is View C again, in a poly, tie dye knit from Blackbird. It's one of my favourites, because I love the colour and it drapes so nicely.

I'm not 100% sure if this is the most flattering silhouette on me, but it sure it comfy. And sometimes you just want to be comfy. This pattern went together really well, and sewed together really quickly. I love when pdfs include charts so that you can select to print only the pages you need to for the version you want to make. 

So what do you think? Are you jumping on the Santa Fe bandwagon?

The White Jeans Experiment - Another pair of Morgans

Ola people! How are you? I'm coming at you with some more Morgan jeans! I actually took these photos quite a while ago, but then never got around to actually writing the words to go with them.

 I don't have much new to say about this pattern, as I've made it a couple of times before (see here and here), so I'll keep this fairly short and sweet. This is the size 12 again, and this time I used a denim with more stretch in it. This denim is beautiful, but probably more suited to the Ginger pattern stretch wise, but I've never let that stop me before. Ha! After basting them together I ended up taking them in a little at the side seams, but not much as I really wanted to retain the relaxed fit.

My only regret fit wise, is that I wish I would have scooped the back crotch curve out a little more. It's so hard fitting the back of your jeans by yourself. Since I made this pair, I've discovered the best way to check out the back of your jeans on your own is to take videos with your cell phone. It helps so much and is a bit easier than trying to get a still photo. Plus, you can see how they look as you move around a little. Check out my instagram video here (yes, I videotaped my butt and put in on the internet. Ha ha! But it's for the benefit of sewing!).

See the fit isn't too bad. Perhaps I'm just right on trend.

Okay, so let's talk a little about the denim. This is actually a "natural" coloured denim that I ordered from Threadbare Fabrics, and bleached to a nice bright white. I really liked the natural colour, but I had it in  my head that I needed white Morgan jeans. This denim is a 10.5 oz Cone Mills denim which is really the perfect jeans weight, in my opinion. I have some more that I plan on dying but I haven't quite decided on what colour yet. And to be honest, I'm a little intimidated by actually dying something. I'm sure I'll make a huge mess so I'll probably wait till we're back in Calgary this winter because everything in our Calgary kitchen is much darker. LOL

Anyway, first of all, I washed the denim, ironed it, and then I cut out all my pieces. Then I tossed the cut out pieces in a bucket with bleach. I used 8 litres of water, with 8 cups of bleach (I was careful to measure so that I can do this again if I want to). I left the pieces in for about 10 minutes, rinsed them with tap water, and then hung them to dry. I'm really happy with the colour - it's a nice bright white.

Sorry, I know it's a bit hard to see because of the lighting in my photos, but the denim turned a beautiful bright white.

I used a white topstitching thread which looks really good, but was super hard to work with. Only because it was sooo hard to see.  When I do my topstitching, I usually use my first line as a guide for stitching the second line, and that's hard to do when you can't see the first line.  But I went really slowly, and in the end it worked out.

I also decided to spice things up a little and make my bartacks using a deep red thread. I really love how the contrast worked out. I'm thinking it was a bit inspired by the Olympics as I was watching a lot of the Summer games while I was making these. I actually really loved the American Team's Opening Ceremony outfits (more than the Canadian Team's - don't tell anyone I said that though).

Anyway, I wore these a lot this summer, and I loved pairing them with my striped boat neck Lark Tee for a nautical look. I'm not sure how much I'll wear them in the colder months, as they just feel summery. 

Phew, it feels really good to have this post written and out of my drafts.  Have you made, or worn white jeans? Would you dare to wear them past labour day? 😜

The Chi-town Chinos

Hey guys! How are you? I'm doing alright. I'm starting to feel like my energy is back up to a more normal level, so I'm pretty happy about that. Currently, we are having an absolutely beautiful Fall day. It's sunny, the lake is quiet, and people are burning stuff in their burn barrels, so we have this gorgeous, wood burning campfire smell wafting in through the open windows. Our summer this year was down right sucky, it just rained and rained, but maybe it will have been worth it, if we have a nice fall.

Anyway, onto the subject at hand, the Chi-town Chinos! Well the Chi-town Chinos expansion pack No. 2. Are you confused? Let me explain. The Chi-town Chinos is this great shorts pattern designed by Alina Design & Sewing Co. And not only does the pattern come with a cute shorts pattern, it also has a very wearable skirt version as well.  All spring and summer, I watched these great photos of the Chi-town Chino shorts pop up around the blogosphere and on Instagram, and I just loved design. Every pair I saw looked like something I would buy in the store. So, being the pattern addict and magpie that I am, I snatched up the pattern right away. It was in my queue, but I hadn't had the chance to make it yet, when I saw that Alina had put a call out for testers of her soon to be released expansion packs (how did I find this out you might ask? Because I signed up for her newsletter).  Anyway, I signed up to test, thinking that I would be on a long list of people and not get picked, but much to my surprise, I was selected. So I tested Expansion Pack No. 2 which makes the Chi-town Chinos into trousers; Expansion Pack No. 1 is for a slim fitting, bermuda length short, which to be honest I was skeptical about, but all the versions I've seen so far are amazing!

Okay, now that we've cleared that all up, let's get on with my makes.

 I muslined up a size 12, and honestly, the fit wasn't too bad. They were of course a bit too long, and the back needed a bit of work around my bum and thighs, but that's not new for me. Pretty much every pair of pants/jeans/shorts that I've made has needed adjustments in those areas. The cool thing about pattern testing with Alina, is that she set up a private Facebook group for the testers, and we all posted photos of our muslins there (and later our final garments). That was insanely helpful to me, because Alina gave me some fitting advice (in pretty much real time, I might add), but so did the other testers, and it was so helpful to see what other people were doing to make their pants fit their unique bodies. I learned so much!

So I ended up scooping out the back crotch curve quite a bit, and then I did a thin thigh adjustment. When Alina suggested this adjustment, I was like, "umm what? Have you seen my thighs lady? They are not thin." LOL. But she assured me it would work, and it did!!!  It was a huge revelation for me, because it made the fit sooooooo much better. And once I thought about it a bit, it made so much sense to me. It's all about proportion. Because I have a bit of a thick waist/belly, and I have a bum, my thighs are thin in proportion to the size of the pattern. Does that make sense? Anyway, I should mention, that for the final version of this pattern, Alina ended up thinning the thigh because it was baggy for almost all the testers, and she lengthened the crotch curve slightly too, so bear that in mind if you decide to make your own pair. 

So this pair is made out of a grey cotton twill that was in my stash, but originally came from Hart's Fabric. It's a nice weight, but it looks a bit fast food uniform-ish, or even janitor-ish to me. Ha Ha! I'm sure that's mostly in my head, and it won't stop me from wearing them. I think the grey will go with lots of tops in my closet, and be great for Fall/Winter.

I should also mention that the instructions for this pattern are awesome! If you've never made pants/shorts before, the instructions are super detailed and have great diagrams. I had only made welt pockets twice before this, once on a pair of unblogged Thurlow Trousers, and once on my Rigel Bomber, and these ones turned out awesome!! The instructions made them really easy, and Alina now has a little sewalong on her blog too. So don't let welts scare you off. Once you've made one, you'll be addicted! 

Of course once I finished my grey pair, I was in love, so I had to make another pair right away! (And actually I've made a third pair already, which you can check out here.)

Also worth  mentioning: I am having a love affair with funky glasses lately. I've ordered a bunch of cheap pairs from Firmoo (I think the most expensive pair I bought was $39), and while some of them are better than others, I have been having lots of fun playing with glasses as an accessory. Anyway, in the next set of photos I'm wearing a pair that I really like, but I cheaped out on getting the anti-reflective coating (present-Heather is kicking past-Heather for not shelling out the extra $4.99), so they make my eyes look kind of weird in photos. Also, although I have seen Firmoo mentioned on a number of blogs, they did not send me free glasses for a mention. I did watch this video recently though, and it confirmed my suspicions that there is a massive mark up on glasses. Of course something that you cannot go without is severely overpriced. But let's not get me started on that. Back to sewing!

This pair of chinos is made of a mystery fabric that came from deep within the clearance department at my local Fabricland in Calgary. It doesn't look too bad, but it also doesn't have the nice J.Crew chino feel that I was hoping for. Again, still very wearable, and I love the colour, but I'm still on the hunt for the perfect twill. If you have any suggestions for me, I'm all ears.

I thought you might like to see a couple of photos with them uncuffed too (for reference I ended up shortening the legs by 2 inches). I am pretty much the queen of cuffs. I cuff everything. Last winter, I pretty much wore my gingers cuffed with short boots all winter. The only time you'll find me without cuffs is if I have my skinnies tucked into tall boots. I don't know what it is, I guess I like ankle cleavage. 

I didn't have the perfect matching thread, so I went with a light grey. I think it worked out pretty well. Years ago I took a beginner quilting class, and I remember the teacher said that if your quilt is kind of crazy or has a ton of colours, the best thing to do is to pick a neutral thread, like grey or brown, to quilt it with and then the thread will just kind of blend in. I didn't think brown would work in this case so I went with grey. The only place it really shows up in on the bar tacks. Quilting tricks for the win!

I cannot believe how much I had to say about these! When I sat down to write this post, I intended it to be a pretty quick, show you the pictures post, but it turned into a bit of a novel. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

What do you think are you ready to sew some pants?

More button ups...the Deer & Doe Mélilot

First of all, thank you guys all so much for your kind words and support. I feel so lucky to have such wonderful friends that I've "met" through the internet. You all mean so much to me. I've been kind of hiding just how bad I was really feeling in my online presence, so it feels good to just get everything out there. When I first started sewing, I really had no idea, just how much it would impact my life. It's been such great therapy for me, but it's also been such a great tool for connecting with some really fantastic people. 

Secondly, now that you all know what's been happening with me, you'll be able to easily excuse my terrible bed head in the next few posts. LOL. My hair looks okay from the front, but it's kind of a mess everywhere else. Sometimes dry shampoo can be a blessing and a curse. LOL

Anyway, let's get on to one of my favourite makes of the summer: the Deer & Doe Patterns Mélilot blouse.

I bought this pattern just after it was released, because I loved the short sleeve version. I love a good button up shirt, and this version looked like it would be perfect for spring and summer. I've made a couple of short sleeve Archers in the past, but I found them kind of masculine, like I was wearing one of John's shirts, or almost uniform looking on me. I think the cuffed kimono sleeve of this pattern, keeps the shirt looking more feminine and modern, so that's what really drew me to it.

Anyway, I was super excited about it when it came, but then it just sat on my sewing table for months. I think the idea having to muslin a new shirt pattern was a bit daunting for some reason. Anyway, that was super silly because this pattern fit me really quite well straight out of the envelope. 

I haven't made a lot of Deer & Doe patterns (even though I own a ton of them, and have heard nothing but great things) so I wasn't 100% sure what size to start with. I ended up picking a size 42 based on the Finished Garment Measurements. I love when designers include the finished measurements! It helps so much! 

I traced the pattern and compared the pieces to my Archer pattern. By doing that I knew it would fit, so I cut into some gorgeous pinstriped hemp chambray I had in my stash, which (of course), came from Blackbird Fabrics. (Do I shop anywhere else? I promise I do, but I feel like when I'm typing up blog posts, I'm always mentioning Blackbird. LOL. I'm a Blackbird Fabrics addict!) Anyway, it feels almost like linen, but it was super soft right off the bat like chambray. Thumbs up for natural fibres. 

So this is a straight size 42 with no adjustments. As you can see, the fit is almost perfect, but it's pulling slightly across the bust and it's a little tight across my upper back. It's doesn't look too bad everywhere else, although I do find it is a little snug around my belly as well.

Also did you notice my huge mistake? I put the buttonholes on the wrong side!! Oops! Not really a big deal, but it should be the opposite. Anyway, once this shirt was finished, I wore it for 3 days in a row (including one day with a hilarious button up failure), so I knew I needed to make another one right away.

For my second Mélilot, I decided to make a straight size 44.

I think the size 44 fits really well, but it might be slightly too long. I almost feel like I need a size 43. Something right in between the two sizes I made.  Anyway, it is a bit long for me, but I really don't mind. I think it will tuck in nicely to skirts at this length, and if I'm having a day where I want to be super comfy,  I can throw on leggings with it, and not feel super self-conscious because my butt is covered. 😜

This fabric is a gorgeous striped chambray, that came to me all the way from Bangkok from the lovely Meg. She made her husband a shirt out of this fabric, and I ooooo'd and ahhhhh'd so much about it, that she offered to send me some. We ended up doing a fabric swap - sewing friends are the best - and you can see what she made with the fabric I sent her here.

Anyway, I feel like this shirt is extra special because the fabric was a gift, not to mention that now Meg's husband and I have matching shirts. LOL. I'm super happy with how it turned out, and I have been wearing it a ton as well. 

I should also mention that this shirt is a pretty simple make. The mandarin collar, the fold over plackets (which I believe are called french plackets) and kimono sleeves make for a super quick sew. I think the thing that takes the longest is making all those buttonholes (well and sewing on the buttons, but I always do that by machine because I'm lazy). The pockets are totally lined, which is a cool little detail and helps you to sew the curves at the bottom much neater.

I love the shape of this blouse. I think the curves make it very flattering, and I can't wait to make a bunch more of them. In fact, I've already made a third one, and I'm planing a couple long sleeve ones for fall and winter too.

So what do you think? Have I swayed you to buy yet another button up shirt pattern? Ha ha! I'm a pattern junkie too. Anyway, if I did, you'll notice that Deer & Doe are temporarily out of stock, but I did hear (from the lovely @shar_bozz) that you can buy it from Pattern Review, and I'm sure there are other stockists too.

Thanks again friends! Happy Sewing!

A little about what's been going on with me...

I feel like I've been writing this post in my head for quite a while but for some reason, I just haven't sat down at my computer to type it all out. I can't believe it's been a month since I last blogged! Honestly, it's been a bit of a tough summer for me. I really haven't felt very well since we lost Quincie at the end of June. The energy in my house is so much different without her, and I miss her more that words can say. I know that you fellow animal lovers, and pet people will understand. And I think that you all know just how important my little fur balls are to me. I love all my pugs, but Quincie was a very special, not to mention high-needs pug. She demanded a lot of my time, care and attention, but for every little bit that she took from me, she always gave back twofold. I was very connected to her, and while she couldn't talk to me, she always seemed to know when I needed a little extra love and comfort. She was like this little beacon of light, always by my side, and always there to love me completely and to make me smile. She never let her handicaps get her down, and she was a true example of how will power and determination could get you past anything (well almost anything). Anyway, our little grumble is starting to get used to her not being around, and we know that even though we can't see her, she's still here in our hearts, but it's been tough.

And then, I got that huge flare up of (what I now know is) psoriasis which wasn't fun, but I didn't realize just how much impact it would have on my life. I thought it was just a rash, and with some medicated cream, it would clear up. Well, the rash did clear up, but because psoriasis is actually an auto-immune disease, it pretty much sucks all energy out of you (well it did me anyway). I have spent a lot of days just lounging around watching TV and feeling like I was carrying a 20lb bag of concrete on my back. There have been days where I felt like I wouldn't be able to make it out of bed to feed the pugs, let alone do anything else. (I am happy to report though, that although I felt like I wouldn't be able to get up and take care of them, I always did, even if it meant going back to bed or to the couch straight after). My joints have been sore, especially my knees, and the fatigue has been like nothing I've ever felt before. It's so strange to feel so tired and run down, with really no other symptoms. I mean, that kind of tiredness usually accompanies a cold or the flu, or jetlag, so you know what's causing it. We went home to Calgary last week, and I saw my doctor and she ran a slew of blood tests, but I don't have the results back yet. She didn't seem overly concerned, so who knows if anything will show up. It's probably just down to my immune response and the inflammation it caused. I'm sure it will get better.

Now before you get too depressed, and feel too sorry for me, know that mixed in with those terrible days, I have had some good days too. Days where the tiredness isn't so bad, and days where I feel almost normal. So I have been able to get some sewing in, and even some cooking and jam making, but it seems like I have to really budget my energy, so blogging (and getting all prettied up and taking photos) is one of the things that really got put on the back burner. 

Anyway, I know that things could be much worse, and I also know that there are lots of people out there dealing with worse things, but I wanted to share what has been going on with me. I have been so grateful for my family (especially my super supportive husband), my view of the lake, my two remaining pugs to cuddle with, Netflix, Instagram (I've said it before, and I'll say it again - the sewing community is the best and all of you guys have been so kind and kept me going)  and sewing. Even when I only had the energy to sew for a few minutes, it always made me feel so much better (and still does). I am starting to feel a bit more like myself again, and I hope to get some more blog posts up soon. Thanks for hanging in there with me!

PS: I do have a post up on the Califabrics blog if you want to check it out. The post went live last week, but I made those pyjamas (and wrote the post) back in July, so it seems like a long time ago. The pyjamas have been getting lots of wear! Hooray for matching pyjamas!