The Southport Dress by True Bias

Hello everyone, and happy Friday! It's bright and sunny here today in #yyc but still quite cool when the wind hits you. The air is fresh, things are turning green and starting to bloom, so it feels like spring. Bring on the light floaty dress weather! As you have probably heard/seen/read, Kelli (of True Bias) has released a new dress pattern! I was lucky enough to be asked to be a pattern tester for this dress, and it was a welcome break for me in between all my jeans sewing. I have been fortunate enough to have pattern tested for Kelli once already, and I really loved the experience. It's pretty cool to get a sneak peek of a pattern before it's released, but it's also cool to see how a pattern is re-adjusted after the designer has gotten a bit of feedback. I really like being a part of the process. Plus I have loved all of Kelli's patterns so far, so I had no doubts that I would love this one too! Anyway, if you are anything like me, you are probably wanting to see what it looks like on as many bodies as possible, so I made sure to get some photos last week so I'd be ready to post shortly after the launch.


It was pretty chilly outside when John took these picture of me, plus the sun was in my face so I'm a bit squinty-eyed. Once again that didn't bother Shanny a bit, and she was happy to get into the photos too.


The fabrics suggested for this pattern are lightweight wovens; my first instinct was to reach for a light-weight cotton, but I decided to up the ante a little and go with a rayon challis. I don't have a lot of experience with sewing slippery fabrics, so I'm trying to challenge myself a bit in that area. Plus rayon makes for a lovely, flowy summer dress. Anyway, this particular fabric came from "the Man Outside Sainsburys" at Walthamstow Market in London. Not only was I a little out of my comfort zone with sewing this fabric, it's also not in my usual colour palette (do I even have a colour palette? Good question.). I don't wear off-white or cream very often because it washes me out, but this fabric with the bright coloured flowers is really growing on me.


I made a straight size ten, which I chose based on my measurements. I didn't make any alterations at all (I didn't even have to shorten it!), and I think the fit is pretty spot on. In looking at these photos, I think it might be just a touch big in the shoulders, but I'm not sure it's really worth messing with as I think it's pretty close. For reference my Sutton blouses are a size 8.


I really love the drawstring waist, and how it gives some shape and blousey-ness to the dress. I also love the little button placket and the pockets. Kelli is always really great at adding in little details that make a simple garment special. One of the coolest details, which you can't really see in the photos, is that there are bartacs above and below the pocket opening for extra security. It's a small thing, but I think it looks really neat and professional. If I make this dress in a solid colour, I would be tempted to match the button colour, buttonholes, and bartacs in a contrasting thread, and if you wanted to get really bold you could do the topstitching in the same colour. I think that would just add a little something extra.


The instructions for this dress are very clear and straight-forward, although I did space out a little when making my drawstring casing. Looking back at it though, I know that was my lack of reading, not the instructions. Kelli had done a really thorough job with the instructions and definitions of techniques, and it's great that she always includes diagrams. This pattern is rated as Intermediate, and I would agree with that suggestion. It's a bit tricky working with slippery fabrics and making buttonholes and what not. That being said, I definitely think an adventurous beginner could tackle this dress (especially with the upcoming sewalong). Besides, I look at ratings as just a guideline, if you break everything down into small steps it becomes much easier, and intermediate patterns become less daunting. Whenever I am a bit nervous about a new pattern, I give it a practice go. Sort of like a muslin because it allows you to see fit issues, but I like to do all the finishing too so that you can try out any new techniques. And with any luck it will turn out to be wearable (but that's not always the case). There are some cheapie/clearance fabrics in my stash solely for this purpose.


I should also mention, that since I made this version, Kelli did some fine tuning with the fit. She lowered the armholes and the bodice a touch and then she lowered the hemline for version A (this version) by about an inch. As you can see the length is perfect on me, but would probably be a touch short for those of you without lollipop guild status.


I see this dress as being an easy summer staple with sandals or clogs, but for now I'm pairing it with boots and my favourite cropped denim jacket (which in my opinion goes with everything - although the hubs does not feel the same). And to be honest, the weather here still calls for tights. I was also thinking that you could layer it over a Nettie for an added layer of warmth in the fall/winter. Just a thought...

So this post has gotten a little fan-girly, but what can I say? I love True Bias patterns! Also side note, and total coincidence: I used to be a dental assistant, and the office I worked at (and still go to for dental work) is called Southport Dental. Anyway, right now Kelli has this pattern on sale for 25% off. I think the sale goes until April 26th, so if you are interested in this pattern head on over to her website for more details and the discount code.

The Crazy Dog Lady Sewing Challenge

Hey everybody! What's up? You've been waiting to see what kind of crazy dog lady garment I would come up with haven't you? (Or maybe you follow me on Instagram and you already know. Either way, fear not, the wait is over.) Get ready for a pug and picture heavy post. If you have heard about the Crazy Dog Lady Sewing Challenge (or spied the little badge in my sidebar), then this post will not come as a surprise. I think it is pretty clear that I am a crazy pug lady and an obsessive garment sewer, so of course I would join a Crazy Dog Lady Sewing challenge!! When I first learned about this fabulous challenge on Instagram, I was thrilled! I've been hoarding some super cute pug fabric since the summer (I found it when I bought my cat fabric). I was leaning towards making anothet Archer shirt, but I did that for the Crazy Cat Lady Sewing challenge, so it seemed repetitive. I decided to go for an Alder Shirtdress. I have wanted to make the ruffle butt version (thanks Meg for the nickname) for quite some time, so I decided why not go for some seasonally inappropriate sewing? It's time for a change right?

IMG_6308This is View B in a size 8 with a 1.25" FBA. I think the fit is pretty close, but it's not perfect. It still pulls a little tiny bit across my chest (and you can see a little tightness in the back because of it) so next time I think I will go with a size 10 for the bodice with a size 8 skirt and adjust from there. I'm finding fitting Alder a little more difficult than Archer.

IMG_6341The fabric is a Michael Miller quilting cotton from It's absolutely adorable with little fawn and black pugs and the rare silver pug . When I saw it, I knew I had to have it. It's called Pugs and Kisses, and I actually bought the other pug print called Pugs on Holiday, but I'll save that for something else. At the time I wasn't sure what I would make out of it, but come on, it has pugs, how can you go wrong? I love sewing with quilting cotton. It cuts and presses so well, and it's just really easy to sew with.

IMG_6346The only drawback to sewing garments with quilting cotton is that it's a bit stiff, but I'm hoping with some more washes and wears it will soften up and drape a little bit better.

IMG_6313I decided to add side seam pockets because who doesn't love pockets? I used the pattern piece from Deer & Doe's Chardon skirt as it was nearby (and I'm too lazy to draft my own). They worked out perfectly, and I think they go well with the style. Although now I see that none of these pictures really show you what they look like. Oh well! My hands are actually in the pockets in the first picture, but it's a little hard to tell because the dress flares a lot in this fabric.

IMG_6338While I was working on this dress, I posted a couple of pictures of it on Instagram and Gillian suggested I find a matching brooch to go with it a la Heather B (who has the coolest brooch collection btw). Then Amber suggested Erstwilder because they make a lot of cute dog brooches. Gotta love the sewing community! I ended up ordering from Aubijou Boutique (an Erstwilder stockist). They have a huge selection of brooches but they also carry earrings, so of course I had to order pug earrings too!

Broach & earringsSo yeah, I've gone full crazy pug lady! And....guess what? I love it!! I know this dress is a bit of a novelty dress, but I love it, and I plan to wear it lots no matter how twee it is. I'm not sure mint is the best colour for me, but it has pugs!! PUGS! And speaking of pugs, it wouldn't be right to finish this post without some pug cameos, would it?

Me-&-the-Pugs-Collage2So from left to right: Quincie (she's 12), Jackie Boy (he's 10) and Shanny (she's 11).

Aren't they cute?  All three of them are rescues that we adopted about 3 years ago. They were all breeding dogs, which has led to some health issues, but we are loving spoiling them rotten and helping them to live out their last years in the lap of luxury. Quincie came to us first, and a couple of months later we got Jackie Boy and Shanny who are a bonded pair. We absolutely adore all 3 of them, and they all the cutest little personalities. Pugs make fabulous, comical, and extremely loyal companions. They seem to get along with everyone, and they live to love (and eat, can you tell?). Aside from their constant shedding, they are an extremely adaptable and low maintenance breed. Pugs are the perfect little package if you ask me, and I am so happy that we decided to adopt these three. Also, did you know that a pack of pugs is called a grumble? The more you know....Lol.

I would have loved a shot with me and all three of them together, but it was pretty difficult to wrangle them all together and get them to stay put, plus they are way too heavy and awkward for me to hold all at the same time. Here's me trying to convince Jackie Boy and Shanny to pose. Pug butts are the cutest!

IMG_6348 And here I am trying to lift them both:

IMG_6350Don't they look thrilled? I love all these shots!

IMG_6354So there you have it. I had a lot of fun sewing up this dress and participating in this challenge. Tanya, Carlee, and Sophie-Lee have put together some amazing prizes and entry is open until March 15th. So if you want to play along, there's still plenty of time. You can also check out (and join) the Flickr group to see some other Crazy Dog Ladies too!

Are you crazy about your pet? Do you or have you ever sewn up and worn a garment in novelty fabric? 

Handmade Christmas Part 2: Dude Sewing

So I have fallen super behind in blogland. I contracted the plague and spent close to 5 days cuddled up in bed with the pugs and Netflix. I wouldn't say it's the worst cold I've ever had, but it is definitely the most persistent (and I'm a huge baby). I thought I would spend 2 days in bed and feel better, but I actually felt worse after the first two days and decided to spend a couple more days in bed. Yuck! Anyway, I have just finished catching up on reading everything in my feed, so now it's time to update. I really want to do a year-end post, but first I wanted to share the rest of my handmade Christmas gifts with you. First off, the shirts I made for the boys:


Don't they look handsome? I had so much fun making these shirts. John and I picked out the fabric last spring on Goldhawk Road. The boys love to have matching shirts for some reason, and when we saw this map fabric we both thought it would be perfect. I used McCall's 6044 and I made them all the same size. Matt's could stand to be size smaller, but otherwise I am super happy with the fit right out of the envelope. The boys were thrilled to, and impressed that I actually made them. I'm thinking it may end up being a bit of a tradition!

Next up, I made a shirt for my Dad:


For this shirt, I used Jalie's Men's Polo Shirt pattern, and I opted for a collared long sleeve version with no pockets. I have never made a collar or button placket in jersey, and I have to say, it was difficult. I unpicked the button placket twice, and to be honest, I'm still not thrilled with it. The fabric is a super soft, and super stretchy cotton lycra from Girl Charlee. It's really nice and the colour is gorgeous, but it was tough to work with for this type of project. Next time, I will interface all the placket and collar pieces which I really think would help. Anyway, my Dad is thrilled with it, and has worn it a ton already.

Next up I thought I would show you the shirts I made for our little Shanny. They weren't really for Christmas, but I think they go along with the unselfish sewing theme I have going here. Shanny had to have a couple of lumps removed from her chest/neck, and the best way to keep her from scratching at the stitches was to have her wear a little shirt. The first one I made her fit pretty well, but it didn't come up far enough, so I had to make her a second one.



Both shirts are made from super soft jersey remnants that I bought from Girl Charlee. I have no idea why I bought them, but I thought they worked really well for this project. Both shirts sewed up super quick and they did their job, plus Shanny really doesn't mind wearing them. I am also happy to report, that while one of the lumps was cancerous, they got it and she is now cancer free. Hooray!

That's pretty much it for the Christmas sewing. I made my Mom a Linden Sweatshirt too, but I somehow didn't get any pictures of it.

How is your holiday season going?

Goodbye My Sweet Boy

DSC_0275-M Last wednesday (a week ago today) we said goodbye to our sweet Solomon. I think that I have alluded to the fact that he hasn't been well, and when I wrote my last post it was from bed, where I spent all of Tuesday cuddling him. I have always struggled with the fact that I might have to choose the time to end Solomon's life, but by the end of the day last Tuesday he let me know. I can't describe it, it was a look in his eyes and his struggle to get comfortable even in bed (his favourite place). He knew it was time, and so did I.  I read an article recently, written by a lady who let her old dog go too, and what she said is that she was giving him the gift of freedom. Freeing him from his old broken body, so his spirit could run free. That's what I choose to believe we did with Solomon.



To say that I am heartbroken, would be a massive understatement. Solomon was the embodiment of unconditional love, and the light he shone in my life is irreplaceable. I would like to write a post about how incredibly amazing he was, and how exceptionally connected we were, but I'm just not ready yet. It's been a week, and I still can't think about him, or say his name without bursting into tears. I feel this heart-wrenching loneliness, that is hard to describe, and seems silly because I am still surrounded by dogs and people that I love.


John has been so great putting up with my constant tears. I know that he is heartbroken too, but he hides it better than I do. I guess I just wanted to let you all know. Solomon has been such a big part of my life, and has been featured/talked about on this blog so many times, that it didn't feel right not to tell you. I may post about it again when I feel stronger, or I may not. Just know that Solomon was the best dog ever and I love(d) him with all of my heart.


I have been doing lots of sewing, trying to keep my mind off things, so expect to see some more sewing posts soon. I find the best way to heal is to just get on with things, so that's what I've been doing.

Hug your loved ones close.





The Anniversary Washi

Yup, I made another Washi. I seem to do this. I make up a pattern, and then want to make tons and tons of them. Okay, well maybe not with everything, but with the things that turn out well, like my leggings, and my plantains, among other things, but those are the ones that I have blogged about. Anyway, for this version, I made a round neck and no sleeves again. IMG_4592

This fabric came from Goldhawk Road in London and it is super soft. It's 100% cotton with little grey, yellow and teal flowers. It's really pretty. I finished this dress on John and my anniversary, and it was the last project I sewed with my little Janome. I finished it in the morning and John took me to buy new Pfaff that afternoon. Awesome anniversary gift, right?


I am really digging this photo location. The only problem is that I set the camera on the retaining wall of our garden, and I guess some of the plants got in the way. Sorry about that, but I didn't want to redo this photo shoot. The neighbours already think I am crazy enough.


I love this version even more than the first. The fabric is super dreamy and has a really nice drape and weight. The neckline still isn't lying flat and I am actually wondering if I could go down a size to resolve this issue. I ended up taking this one in about 1/2'' on the side seams, so I might be able to get away with sizing down.


I think this dress will look great with sandals for the summer and awesome with a cardigan, boots and tights for the winter. So it's pretty versatile. Plus I have discovered Made by Rae's Washi Expansion pack too, so I can make even more variations. Yay!


The construction of this dress was really easy, and I feel like I have a good handle on the shirring now. My little Janome handles the elastic thread really well, fingers crossed my new Pfaff will do the same.

We've had another lovely week in the Country Place. The weather has been great, and John has enjoyed fishing and I've enjoyed sewing. Things have been a bit stressful, as Solomon is really starting to struggle. He is having more and more trouble walking if he has to go more than a few steps, and he can't stand for very long. I think his age is getting the best of him. He's almost 13 and he's had a really great life, but it's so hard to see him struggle. He is still very alert and is still eating really well, but I fear he is fading quickly. And I dread making the decision. I have always hoped than when his time came, he would just lay down for a sleep and not wake up. I'm no sure we're going to be that lucky.  So needless to say it's been an emotional week, and I have been happy to have the distraction of sewing. My Mom and Stepmom are coming to visit later on today (they are staying for the weekend), so I'm looking forward to that too.

How has your week been? Are you a summer dress person?