The Alder My Friends, Is Blowing in the Wind...

Get it? Cause it's an Alder Shirtdress...Alder sounds like answer... What can I say? I'm a nerd. (Another nerdy fact: an Alder is a tree, and it indeed blows in the wind - okay I'm done.) DSC_5634Anyway, here is my first ruffle butt Alder Shirtdress. I made this one before my Pug one, and while this one is actually a full size smaller, I feel like it fits a bit better.  Weird right? I didn't think that when I made it (obvs because I made my second one a size bigger) but now that I've worn it a few times, I'm liking the fit better. I'm not sure if it's the weight of the fabric (both are cottons but this one is a little lighter) or if I made an error somewhere. Either way, it's hard for me to believe that this one is a size smaller.

DSC_5642It was an absolutely gorgeous day today, but it was pretty windy (as you will see in the pictures). Maui is known for its tradewinds, and while they made getting these photos a bit of a pain, they keep the air from getting too hot, so you stay cool and comfortable. John and I were out for a walk so I thought we might be able to find a better spot for pictures than our lanai. Might as well get some scenery in there, we are in Maui after all.  John is so good to me, taking all these pictures - talk about patience! We were walking along South Kihei Road which is the main drag here in Kihei. Our condo complex is on one side of this street, and the ocean is on the other.

DSC_5640Anyway, onto more details about the dress. This is a size 6 with an 1.25" FBA. I chose a size 6 based on my upper bust or chest size, just like I did for my Archer shirt. The Alder has a bit closer fit than Archer, so I'm still fiddling with it a little. When I did my first try on of this one, I found it a bit tight across the bust so I took the seam allowances down to 1/4" which helped. It still gapes enough that I added a safety pin today to keep it from gaping wide open, but I'm also wondering if maybe that has a bit to do with my snap placement. I think the snap should be right in line with or just slightly above my bust point, and it's not.  I changed that on my Pug version. I also shortened this by 2 inches at the lengthen and shorten line.

DSC_5655This lovely floral cotton print came from Goldhawk Road in London. It's super soft and perfect for a summer dress. I actually made a Washi dress out of the same fabric in a different colour way. It's beautiful to work with, and I love the colours. I used my favourite pearl snaps from Snap Source. The purple snap matches perfectly. I was tempted to go with an orange snap, but I didn't have any in my stash, and I am way too impatient to wait.

DSC_5650It's hard to see it in these photos because of the wind, but I love the high-low hem this dress has. It's pretty short by design, so longer hem at the back gives a little more coverage if you have to bend down to pick something up.

DSC_5648This windy shot was just too good not to share. How does Beyoncé do it?

I am so happy with how this dress turned out, and I love the colour even though it brings out my paleness. It's been perfect for Maui: light, breezy and comfy.

DSC_5646I am really loving sewing my own clothes all the time, but it was really fun doing it for this trip. I don't have a ton of warm weather apparel because I have a hard time finding what I want (and getting it to fit), so it was nice to sew exactly what I wanted this time. In the past, I would always want to shop right before a trip, but it's hard to find shorts and tees in the middle of winter in Canada.  It was so nice to just reach into my fabric and pattern stash, and make exactly what I wanted (or pretty close anyway). Plus I know I'll wear all of these things come summer. So win win! I ended up sewing this dress and my pug dress, my Marianne dresses, my Carolyn PJs, and a few more things I'll share with you as soon as I get them photographed.

Do you sew or buy specific clothes for trips? Do you feel like you need something new to wear when you travel?

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?

Fabric Shopping in London: Goldhawk Road

IMG_7515 When I first starting reading sewing blogs, I kept hearing about this amazing place in London called Goldhawk Road. I wasn't sure if it was  a market, a store, or a street, but what I was sure about was that I wanted to go there. Great deals on apparel fabric? Yes please!

So the next time we were planning a trip to London (which was when we came last spring) I showed John where it was and asked to go there. He discovered that it was just a short bus ride from our hotel (for your reference, if you get to Shepard's Bush tube station which is on the Central Line - you can catch the 237 bus and it takes about 3-5 minutes to get to the first fabric shop on Goldhawk Road - about 2-3 bus stops) and so we went.

Our first visit there was extremely overwhelming. It took me a few shops to warm up, and even consider buying anything. (I know right! That does not sound like me at all - I love to shop!) It wasn't that things were overly expensive or anything like that, it was that each of the little shops was crammed with copious amounts of glorious apparel fabric, and I had never seen anything like it. Stacks and stacks of apparel cottons, rolls of suitings, bolts of waxed prints, shelves of silks, jerseys, chiffons, and crepes - amazing! A far cry from what I am used to in Calgary (two or three chain stores with mostly quilting cottons). Anyway, I wrote a blog post about it last time, but this time John helped me keep track of which fabric came from which shop. Unfortunately, I didn't do as good a job at keeping track of prices, but the most expensive fabric I bought was £12 per metre and the cheapest one was £3 per metre. I think the average came out to be about £5 per metre which is a really good deal in my book especially for the quality.

So here we go, get ready for lots of pictures. I hope you don't mind me sharing all the fabrics I bought with you. I just figure that, that is probably the most interesting part (exactly what you could buy if you were to visit here), but the side effect to that for me is now you will know how much of a fabric junkie I actually am, and exactly what is in my stash. LOL. Stashing isn't the same as hoarding is it?  Anyway, shall we walk down the road? Lets!


This shop had tons of African waxed prints. John is not really a fan, so I didn't get any myself, but there were some really gorgeous ones. I ended up with this bottom weight plaid which is really lovely. It will probably become a skirt.



This shop was fantastic, will a very friendly gentleman inside. I recognized some of the fabrics inside as ones I had bought last time. Some great deals on cottons in here. Here is what I came away with:



This store was one of my favourites, but it is a touch more expensive than some of the other ones (depending on what you buy). The two printed cottons I got were £10 per metre but they are absolutely gorgeous, and the two solid shirtings were only £3 per metre.



At this shop, I picked up this plaid fabric (in the photo below). I was convinced it was silk, but the shop proprietor assured me that it is 100% cotton! I swear to you it feels just like silk. It's amazing! I think it was about £4 per metre. My go to amount to buy for fabric is about 2m. Unless I know for sure what I am going to make out of it (or if it's really expensive then I only get 1m). I have found that because I am short, 2 metres is usually enough for a fit and flare dress, or a button down shirt or any shirt really, or for a skirt with some generous scraps leftover (depending on the length that is). I do my best to use up my scraps - they are great for underwear, contrast facings, pockets and my favourite way to use them is for contrasting yokes and inner collar stands on button down shirts (ahem..Archer..cough, cough).




This is a beautiful printed cotton that John fell in love with, and the striped fabric was in with the African waxed cottons, but it doesn't really feel like cotton. I asked the gentleman that rung me up, but he said he wasn't sure. He said it was probably a viscose cotton blend, so who knows how I'm going to wash it. LOL

This brought us up to the tube station and a Costa coffee shop where we decided to have a break. One of the fun parts about shopping on Goldhawk Road is that there are loads of fashion students shopping for school projects, so the people watching is brilliant. We got a seat by the window, had a latte and a coke and enjoyed watching the people go by.

After a rest, we were ready to concur the other side of the street, so off we went.


This was a really large shop where I bought quite a few fabrics last time. This time I didn't find quite as much, but we did walk away with this lovely cotton. Are you getting a feel for my colour palette yet? Well mine and John's colour palette really.



This shop was really busy, and yes those are flamingos! I think it's a rayon or some kind of poly blend but it has a really nice drape and I love the pink flamingos. I also really loved the colour of this plaid which will probably be my next Archer.


And this brings us to our final shop:


This is another place for bargains on Liberty fabrics. They have quite a few Tana Lawns and also a number of Liberty silks among many other fabrics. The staff here are all very nice and very helpful. The older lady that took my money was incredibly sweet and quite funny too. I walked away with this gem, yet another Liberty print. I didn't find any current Liberty prints here and the selection is nowhere near Shaukat, but still really good deals. I think this one was £12 per metre. Woo hoo!


So that was pretty much it for us on Goldhawk Road. Pretty awesome, huh? I think there might be a few more shops past where we stopped and crossed the road, but not many. There weren't a ton of notions in any of these shops, but I think there are a couple of haberdashery shops up the road a bit as well.

Hopefully this helps you a bit if you ever get a chance to visit London. This would definitely be one of the must do's on my list for fabric shopping in London. You can hit a bunch of shops all at once and get a lot of bang for your buck as they say.