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?

The Other Two Archers...

So my blog is kind of turning into a Grainline Fangirl blog, but there's a reason: Jen's patterns are freaking awesome! So I'm not going to apologize for liking what I like. ;) I just can't get enough Archers and Lindens in my life clearly. As promised, these are the other two Archers that I made a couple of weeks ago. I have always wanted a chambray button up, but before I knew how to sew, I could never find one that I liked, that fit. And then when I did start sewing, I had a bit of a difficult time finding the right fabric. That is until Blackbird Fabrics.


Of course, when Caroline Amanda announced the grand opening of her Canada based online fabric store, I went right to her website and ordered immediately. I mean I gotta support the local dealers retailers right? I spied this gorgeous light denim shirting (among other things), and I thought it looked just right. I was so thrilled when I received it, because it was even better than I had imagined. It's so easy to be disappointed when shopping for fabric online because you can't touch it. This fabric actually came to me back in September, but I didn't actually do anything with it until now.)


The colour is exactly what I was looking for and it's buttery soft. It's like an already well loved and worked in denim shirt.


I don't have anything new to say about the construction of this shirt, except that the pockets are inspired by Katie's version, and I love how they turned out. I also used some white pearl snaps from Snap Source (I always go for the size 18 in case  you are wondering), as that seemed like the natural choice.

For the last of the bunch, I decided to try a short-sleeved version. It didn't turn out exactly as I thought it would, but I am still quite happy with the results.


The fabric is also from Blackbird, and it's a cotton stretch sateen shirting. It feels lovely, but for some reason it has caused a bit of weirdness at my chest. See those wrinkles? I am wondering if maybe it's because of the stretch, but I'm really not sure. I mean I cut all four Archers at the same time, and this is the only one that seems to do that. Oh well, still completely wearable to me.


As you can see the cuffs are a bit wrinkly and weird. I really wanted to have short sleeves, but still have the cuffs. So I'm sure there is a way more professional way to do it, but I just shortened the sleeves and widened (lengthened) the cuffs to fit. I also free-handed the sleeve placket, and I think it should be just a touch longer, and that might resolve the wrinkling issue. I decided to go with plain white buttons for this one. To be honest, I'm not 100% sold on the colour on me - I think it washes me out a little, but I think it looks really great under a cardigan.

I also mixed and matched the under collars, yokes, and inner collar stands of all 4 shirts. I love adding those little touches, and it's super easy to do when you are cutting a bunch out together.



So that's it for Archers for now but I'm sure you will be seeing more on this blog again. This really has become a TNT pattern for me, and I find it super satisfying to sew up.  I really love wearing a good button up shirt, and I'm tempted to try some of the other button up patterns out there, but this one fits me so well I'm not sure I will.

Have you tried the Archer or any other button-up patterns?

Forever in Blue Jeans...Ginger Take 3

Do you ever have those days where things just don't work out? That seems to be the story of my week with photos. I'm just in a bit of a funk. I finished these jeans on Sunday afternoon and have made several attempts to photograph them, but I am just not happy with how I look in the photos. I finally decided today, after 4 attempts that I was just gonna go with it. I mean come on, I made another pair of Ginger jeans!! I can't just hide them away from my blog because I'm having a bad hair/skin/shoe day.  So with that in mind, I am presenting you with quite a mish-mash of photos, but I think this combo showcases my latest Gingers quite well. IMG_6022

This is Version A again. I made a few changes this time: I lengthened the rise by 1 inch, and I lengthened the front crotch curve by 1/4" (I thought I would start small). I had a few smile lines on my last pair, so I thought that might help, but I don't think it made much difference; the lines are still there, they are just a bit straighter now. I might add another 1/4" next time, but I'm not sure. I'm pretty happy with the fit as is, so I don't really want to mess around with it too much more.


I also slimmed the leg down by an inch. I took 1/4 inch off each side seam on each leg, grading to zero about mid thigh. This made the legs skinny, but not super skinny like my last pair. I quite like it, although I am struggling with shoe choices. I have these cute booties, but they just look wrong, and I don't always want to wear tall boots. Yeesh! First world problems. But seriously what kind of shoes do you were with stovepipe legs?


For something different, I went with blue topstitching thread. I really like how it turned out. My machine had some troubles making barracks with this time, and I'm not really sure why. I'm thinking that maybe this thread was just a pinch too thick, or I might need a slightly thicker needle. Anyway, I took what I could get so the barracks don't match and are a little bit longer than I would have liked.

This lovely dark stretch denim came from JoAnn's in Palm Desert. We were in California back in November for a work thing for John, so we hit JoAnn's and we found lots of great fabric. I know that some of you American sewists don't think too highly of it, but I found a number of great bottom weight fabrics (at good prices) and some great flannels and shirtings too, plus I got a wicked deal on Olfa blades for my rotary cutter (half-price - and they were regularly priced half of what I pay for them here). So I have nothing but love for JoAnn's myself. (For my fellow Canucks, JoAnn's is like a combination of Michaels & Fabricland/Fabricville, i.e. Crafter's Heaven.) Anyway, I think this denim is awesome. It's stretchy, has great recovery, and it's kind of brushed on the wrong side, so it is super soft and it feels like pyjamas! Hooray for pyjama jeans!


As you can see, this pair isn't as highwaisted as the pattern's Version B, but they still hit just below my belly button. I really want to try Version B, but I'm afraid they might be a bit too high for this petite lady. I'm afraid the waist would sit right underneath my boobs, and I'm not sure that would be very flattering. But who knows? The 70's are making a comeback right? I may still give them a go just to see. I also went a bit rivet crazy on this pair. I changed the coin pocket so that you would see both sides of it (basically I just folded it under and topstitched) so that I could have more rivets! You can't see it, but I put rivets on both corners of both back pockets too.


I'm not sure I am in love with the high-waistedness. I can't decide if it's really flattering, or too mom-jean. You pretty much never see my waist anyway, cause my tops usually cover it, so it's not really a big deal, but I'm still not really sure about it. I probably just need to get used to it. I also went with the built in pocket stays as described in Heather Lou's  sew-a-long. I think they do make a difference in taming the tum, and adding a bit more structure.


As you can see I have also made 2 more Linden Sweatshirts. I opted for the short sleeved, hemmed version this time, but I'm not entirely sure it's for me. Super comfy, but I think my figure benefits from the hem band, so I may just stick with the long-sleeved version. Or maybe I'll just add a hem band next time. I have already professed my love for Linden in my last post, but I have to say it again, it's a great pattern. I whipped these up on my serger in just over an hour, and they are so comfy!! Both are made out of hacci sweat knits I had in my stash, but I think they are both from So that's it for now.

Do you have bad photo/blogging days? How do you cope, and/or what do you do to get out of the funk? Also have you made Ginger Jeans yet, if not, what's holding you back? 

More Grainline Studio Love: The Linden Sweatshirts

I think it's pretty obvious by now that I am pretty much completely in love with Grainline Studio. I haven't made all of Jen's patterns yet, but I do have most of them in the queue, and I am happy to say that the Archer and the now the Linden are definitely tried and true for me. Jen has such great, classic style and a real talent for drafting patterns (have you seen the sneak peeks of her latest pattern on Instagram - I can't wait!). Her pdfs are easy to assemble and her instructions and sew-a-long posts are amazing. I don't have much to say about this pattern, that hasn't already been said. It's simple and quick to sew up, it fits like a dream, and can be made with an array of fabrics. Did you see this version Kelly made in a woven? Wowsers! IMG_6013


Both of these are a size 8, and I made no fit adjustments except to shorten the sleeves by 2.5". What can I say I have petite arms. LOL . And I am also running out of creative poses (please excuse the mess of sheets in the corner, it's laundry day - Oops!).



The fit is great and super comfy. I love how this shirt has a slight hi-lo hem, the cut is very flattering. I cut a little triangle detail out of black ribbing to give the colourful one more of a sweatshirt look. It was pretty easy to sew on with a zig-zag stitch, but I would recommend interfacing it to give it stability before you sew it on.


This colourful fabric is a sweater knit and the black and white is a sweatshirt fleece. Both are from Girl Charlee. I only had 1 yard of each fabric, which proved a challenge. I cut the colourful one's sleeves on the cross grain which means very little stretch (which makes it tough to push up the sleeves) but the fit is still comfy. The black and white one has plain black french terry sleeves, as I thought it would look a bit weird with the patterned sleeves. The black ribbing is nice and soft and is also from Girl Charlee.



I didn't really plan the pattern placement (or worry about pattern matching), but luckily it worked out and I didn't wind up with any awkward bullseyes.

I actually first made the Linden pattern for my Mom for Christmas. I made her a gorgeous floral one, and she wears it like crazy. Unfortunately,  I don't have any photos of it to share with you.  It is great pattern to make up for someone else as it doesn't require much fitting, and is super comfy and snuggly for the colder months - I felt like I was gifting my Mom a big hug.

Anyway, I am really happy with the way these turned out and they are both getting weekly wear. I will definitely be making more.

What's your winter wardrobe staple?

The Liberty Print Archers

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that I have become a bit Archer crazy this month (and you'll also know that I now have blue hair), actually you can probably just tell that from my blog too. Back in my pre-sewing days, I always had trouble finding button-up shirts that fit me well. It seemed that if they fit me well in the shoulders, then they didn't really fit across the bust (or sometimes across my belly), and if I found one that fit across my boobs, then I was swimming in it everywhere else. I think that's why I love sewing these shirts so much. It's a real accomplishment (in my mind anyway) to have such a great fitting button-down - so maybe it's not an obsession, maybe it's love. Anyway, a couple of months ago, I saw a photo from Kelly's (of Cut Cut Sew) instagram feed of an Archer assembly line. She had FIVE shirts all cut out and ready to sew. FIVE!! For some reason that had never occurred to me. Cut out and sew multiple complex garments all at the same time? Yes please!! So I picked out 4 fabrics from my stash (actually I picked out 6, but decided that might be a little extreme), and proceeded to cut out 4 shirts.


Unfortunately, I didn't consider thread. There is a considerable amount of topstitching with this pattern, and I couldn't decide on a thread colour to match all four, so I decided to do them two at a time. So without further ado, I present my first two Archers of 2015 (don't be surprised to see many more this year):



Have I told you how much I freakin' love this pattern? It took me a few tries (and some research) to get the fit just right, but now that I have it, I definitely consider this a TNT pattern. In fact, it's my uniform. This shirt and a pair of Ginger jeans and I'm set!



Both fabrics are Liberty Tana Lawns that I got at Shaukat Fabrics in London. I've had a number of Liberty tana lawns in my stash for quite sometime, but I haven't had the courage to cut into them. I am so glad I finally took the plunge as they were a dream to sew with and they are even nicer to wear. So soft and dreamy - I finally get what everyone has been raving about.



I've already talked about fitting in a previous post, but here's a recap. My tried and true version of this pattern is a size 6 (chosen based on my high bust measurement) with a full bust adjustment that adds about 1" and a bust dart. This gives me a nice fit all over and it's still very comfy. I also shortened the sleeves by about an inch and a half.



For the peachy floral one, I went with teal pearl snaps from Snap Source (have you tried snaps yet, cause they really are the bomb), and for the navy floral  one, I used some shiny buttons I bought at my local Fabricland. I also played with the pockets a bit. For the peachy one, I made pointy pockets (you can barely see them) and for the navy one, I went with the regular ones that come with the pattern.



So there you have it - my first projects of the new year! It was fun to make them like this, and I also mixed and matched fabrics so that they all have contrasting inner yokes, under collars and collar stands. I realize now that I didn't really get any good shots of that, but I'll get some for when I post about the other two.

Hope this New Year is treating you all well so far.

PS: Are any of you sewing friends participating in #rigelbomberjacketjanuary? If not, it's not too late to jump on board. 

Archer #2 and Some Fitting Chat

Well, Hi Everybody! I feel like I haven't blogged in forever, but really it's only been about a week and a half. If you follow me on Instagram (and I may have mentioned it here), you might know that I have been struggling with some kind of tendonitis/repetitive stress injury in my right arm.  It's been a pain (literally) and it's really cutting into my sewing/blogging/knitting. I have found that sewing itself isn't too bad, but cutting things out, ironing/pressing, and knitting really aggravate it, and typing and using the trackpad on my laptop are pretty awful too. So I've been trying to rest it as much as I can, which means more Netflix (I'm currently hooked on the X-Files and Scandal) and dreaming about sewing, with way less actual sewing. I have yet to see a professional about it, but if it continues, I will. John says, my big problem is that I don't understand the concept of moderation, and you know what? He's probably right. I would sew all day everyday if I could (and I'd eat pizza, drink lattes, and down ice cream all day too!). Anyway, enough about that. Let's talk about Archer #2. Have I told you how much I love this pattern yet. I love a good button-up shirt and this bad boy fits the bill! I realized after I made my first plaid Archer, that it's all I want to wear. A button up with jeans is the perfect fall  (and everyday) outfit as far as I'm concerned.

IMG_5459Yes, I have officially accepted that it is fall and pulled out the boots!

A couple of weeks ago, I asked you lovely readers for some fitting help. Do you remember? It was about my Scout, and I received lots of very helpful advice in the comments. One lovely lady, Lisa from Notes From A Mad Housewife, suggested that I add a dart and do a Full Bust Adjustment. As someone relatively new to garment sewing, I had heard of FBAs, but never really knew how to figure out if I needed one, let alone how to do one. What really confused me, and Lisa helped clear up, was: once you figure out that you need an FBA, how do you choose the correct size pattern on which to preform said adjustment? Lisa described in the comments, that you choose your size based on your high bust (or upper bust) measurement. Well, this was definitely news to me, and then I did some reading in my go to fitting book, Fit for Real People, and it was right there - choose your pattern size based on your upper bust measurement, and adjust from there. How on earth did I miss this? So really what you try to do, is get a garment to fit you well in the shoulders and adjust the pattern to fit you everywhere else. Hello, light bulb moment!

Note: Most commercial patterns are drafted for a B-cup (most, but not all), so essentially, if you are bigger than a B-cup, you need a Full Bust Adjustment. I had heard the part about most patterns being drafted for a B-cup, but what I didn't understand was how that affected pattern sizing. I mean if you choose a pattern based on your bust measurement, shouldn't it fit? Well, if the the cup size isn't the right size, there just won't be enough room for your jugs. Make sense? The same is true if you are smaller than a B-cup. Then you would need to do a Small Bust Adjustment as there would be too much space for your jugs.


Anyway, a day or so after this epiphany, I was listening to the Sewing Affair podcast (have you listened to it yet? It is awesome! Corinne is a fantastic host, and she's had a bunch of lovely guests. I love geeking out and listening to sewing talk! And I learn stuff too!), and Sunni from A Fashionable Stitch was on. Of course after hearing about her shop and her blog, I had to go and check her out. On her site, I stumbled upon her Focus on Fit series, where she too talked about choosing your pattern size based on your high bust measurement. Okay universe, I get the message!

So to make a long story even longer, I used my Fit For Real People book, after reading several posts about it on the internet, to do an FBA. I used a size 8 as my base and then did an FBA which added a dart. I did find a couple of posts online about dartless FBAs, and I may try that too, but I really don't mind the look of darts, so I went traditional on this bad boy.


Really, you can hardly see the darts. This fabric is a tencel chambray from and it was lovely to work with. I love the colour and it drapes quite nicely too. At the last minute I decided to put my contrasting yoke on the outside, and I was too lazy to unpick everything, so the pleat is the opposite way that it should be, but I still like it. The polka dot fabric is leftover from my Juba Shorts and it's from Denver Fabrics.


Now, looking at these photos, I think I  could probably use a sway back adjustment to get the back fitting better. Sometimes I get so focused on the front, that I forget about the parts that I can't see.


The only other alteration I did to this version was to shorten the sleeves by 2.5''. I think that they are pretty much perfect now. I often roll my sleeves up anyway, but I like this length. I used Andrea's collar assembly tutorial again, and I really think it's the best way to do a collar. And I also used Rochelle's tutorial (speaking of which, why did it take me so long to find her blog? - it's so awesome and she has Archer fever too!) on bias binding the hem and I really like the finish of that too, unfortunately I didn't take a picture so you'll just have to trust me.

So, I'm sorry for the long post, but I'm excited and I really wanted to share what I have discovered. Maybe you're a fitting newb like me (and you don't read well, or are notorious for skimming books) and you are out there wondering where to start to make your garments fit better.

All in all, I am really happy with the fit of this Archer, it fits similar to my plaid one, but on purpose this time (I didn't shrink it in the dryer).  I think for a more fitted shirt, I could even go down to a size 6, something I would have never have imagined (or thought to try) in a million years. I am really enjoying the learning process of fitting, and now that I have this knowledge I look forward to making better fitting tops (and learning more of course), which was the whole reason I started this crazy hobby! Well that, and I love to sew.

One more thing, Maris, over at Sew Maris is just starting an Archer Sewalong on Monday, and I have learned a ton already from her prep for the sewalong posts, so if you are interested in sewing a button up shirt (or any garment really), her blog is definitely worth checking out.

Hope you are having a nice weekend! Happy Sewing! (Or whatever it is you are up to).