Monday, 30 December 2013

2013 Hits and Misses

Everyone is doing their hits and misses of 2013 and, even though I lost some of my sewing mojo, I wanted to join in! I think credit for this year-end-round-up-thing belongs here.


1. Cooper bag - You guys, I won my sewalong category! I am so excited! Plus I love this bag to bits. Unfortunately, it's currently in rehab due to insane fraying of the strap webbing, but it will be back out in action soon!

2. Simplicity 2207 skirt and bustle - I've only won this once (it is a costume), but I was proud of it none-the-less.


1. Not sewing! The biggest miss by far was this summer, where moving was followed by a complete loss of sewing mojo. So many projects that have been pushed back.

2. Sassy Librarian Blouse - This one had major fit issues that I didn't bother fixing. That's what happens when you take 6 months to make one shirt.

3. Sorbetto - I love this top so much, but the gaping neckline bothers me. I have a plan to fix it, but just haven't gotten to it, especially now that it's winter.

In 2014, I'm tackling knits and a coat! And some more costumes!

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Thank you!

I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you to any and all of you who voted for me in the Colette Cooper Sewalong. I am SO honoured to have had my bag chosen as favourite backpack. There was some TOUGH competition and I had such a hard time choosing my favourites in each category. I think all the bags features could have been winners.

Oh, and Merry Christmas! If Christmas is not your thing, then please translate my good wishes to a holiday of your choice. If you don't have a holiday, then hopefully you got a wonderful day or or are enjoying the stat holiday pay like me! Yep, I'm working a 12 hour shift today. Best wishes everyone and thanks again!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

The Cooper Sewing Contest

Hi everyone. I just wanted to let you know that the Colette Cooper Sewing Contest voting has started. I'm going to very shamelessly ask for you to vote for me (but only if you actually like my Cooper). I'm entry #9 under the Backpacks category. There are so many gorgeous bags, it was really hard to choose which ones to vote for. But I'd really appreciate any votes I can get. Thanks and good luck to all the other contestants!

Rock the Vote!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Stripe-y Cooper

So I've finally joined the rest of the sewing blogosphere in being a Colette fangirl. Cooper and Albion were my first ever purchases from Colette (I've since also bought Beignet). I haven't had time for Albion yet, but I did manage to make a Cooper during the Speedy Sewalong. And I love it!

First, fabric choices! The sample bags on Colette's website are definitely masculine, with their rugged waxed canvas (which I love). Also, if I was comfortable using leather, that would look amazing. But I wanted to make a backpack for me and I do love me some brights. So I knew I wanted to use this red and white striped canvas from my stash. The pattern uses a main and a contrast fabric. None of the other fabric in my stash went well and it was snowy and I didn't want to drive to the fabric store (so lazy). Then I had the idea to use the same fabric from main and contrast and just switch the direction of the stripes by cutting the contrast pieces on the crossgrain.

I love how the stripes turned out! It's so stripe-y! It actually totally reminds me of the early albums from the White Stripes, one of my favourite bands. There was some minor stripe matching required at the sides and on the long skinny pieces on the front, but that turned out to be easy peasey.

Can I just say I love canvas? It was so easy to work with! It just stays exactly where you tell it to be and does everything you want. There were a few issues with bulk when sewing through six layers of canvas, but overall, it was really awesome to work with. Not-so-much with the lining.

For the lining I used periwinkle wickaway ribbed nylon ripstop. The good? I love the colour. It;s really pretty and I love the surprising pop of contrasting colour. I don't know if this bag could have handled more red or white or stripes on the inside. Other than the colour, this fabric got on my nerves. It wouldn't press AT ALL and it wanted to bunch and catch whenever it could. Plus it probably felt worse after the joys of sewing with canvas. Either way, I got it done and I love the end product.

I really debated making the straps out of the same fabric. But in the interests of time and my bf's discretion, I went with simple white webbing. I think it turned out nice, although I'm still wondering "what if".

I actually made a couple of minor mistakes on this one. The first is that I forgot to test my markings on the lining fabric and they didn't erase very well. I'm hoping they will rub off over time and either way, it's on the inside, where no one buy me (and now you) will know. Another minor lining issue is that I ran out of my thread for the lining when I was attaching the second pocket. And I was in a hurry and didn't want to make a trip to the store, so I just grabbed the next closest colour and kept going. Then I changed my mind on what colour was closest and switched again. So I have three colours of topstitching on the lining. Oh well.

The other minor mistake I didn't even notice until I was looking at the other Cooper versions in the Colette Flickr group. I installed my rivets in the wrong spot! I guess I had the pattern piece upside down when I marked where the rivets should go. So my rivets are near where the flap attaches to the back, rather than near the edge of the flap. This one doesn't bother me at all because I actually like them where they are and I can always add more rivets later if I charge my mind.

So overall, I love my Cooper backpack and definitely have plans to make a couple of the bicycle panniers for my Schwinn, despite the ridiculous about of top-stitching involved. Who knows, maybe the messenger bag as well. But I really liked this pattern. And no fitting! Yay!

Pattern: Cooper by Colette Patterns
Fabric: Main/Contrast: Red/white stripe canvas from Ikea ($2/m!)
              Lining: Periwinkle ribbed wickaway nylon ripstop from Fabricline
Notions: Cooper hardware kit from Gifts for Crafters
               White 1.5" cotton webbing

Photo bomb cat


Another cat photo bomb

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Golden Snitch Christmas Ornament

So this one isn't a sewing project, but it was crafty, so I thought I'd share it here anyway. This is the first of three nerdy ornaments I plan to make before Christmas. The 2nd is underway, but having technical difficulties.

Anyway, I'm a huge Harry Potter fan, so when I came across this tutorial, I knew I had to give it a shot! And I think it turned out pretty good! A bit glue-y, but you don't notice when it's on the tree.

I made a few small changes to the tutorial, but followed the general idea. I made my wings a bit of a different shape. My Christmas ball also came pre-decorated with the gold glitter. I also splurged and bought sparkly gold tissue paper, then decorated it with swirls of glitter glue.

The only major change I made was how to attach the wings. The tutorial cites this as troublesome and used so fancy glue (Farbi-Tac). Instead of going out to buy that, I had the idea to attach the wings with wire. So basically I made a little loop of wire around the neck of the ball, then twisted it into each wing. One wing was a bit droopy, so I secured it with some more hot glue.

And that's it! It's a relatively quick project. the longest part was definitely letting the glitter glue designs on the wings dry. Especially because they had to be done one side at a time. But I really love the end result and I have enough materials left to make one more, so I might do that as a gift.

 What do you think? Any other Harry Potter fans that have or want to try this? Be sure to check out the original tutorial from Tiny Apartment Crafts!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Sassy Librarian Blouse (aka. six-months-ago-Megan and now-Megan have a discussion on fitting)

So I finally finished my Sassy Librarian Blouse from Christine Haynes's Craftsy class. Yay! Unfortunately, I'm not super pleased with the results. This is partially due to the combination of my body type and the style of the pattern and partially due to a lack of communication between sixth-months-ago-Megan and now-Megan.

Check out that crazy shoulder ripple!

You see, I started this blouse a good six months ago, before moving. Then it got packed up and forgotten about until a couple weeks ago when my sewing inspiration returned and I decided to finish it (just in time for the bow neck blouse sewalong!). Unfortunately, there was clearly some differences in thinking between six-months-ago-Megan and now-Megan. This was meant to be a wearable muslin. However, six-months-ago-Megan decided to do all the neckline facings and finishing, but not try it on. I know right! Crazy girl. Although to cut her a little slack, the side seams are one of the last things you do on this pattern (before only hem and buttons). So when I tried this on a few weeks ago, the fit was terrible! I remember grading from a 10 for the bust to a 14 for the waist and hips. Yet when I tried it on, the fit through the top was big and the fit through the hips was very tight. So I let out the side seams as much as I could and also removed 2 of the back release pleats. Now the fit through the hips is good. I was lazy and decided not to fix the fit through the shoulders and bust. Mostly because it would result in a weird dart in the middle of the back and some shoulder darts that would really interfere with the tucks down the front.

Some crazy blousey-ness on the one side
Also, partly because I don't plan on making this again.Nothing against the pattern itself, since I've seen some really cute versions in the Craftsy gallery, but it really doesn't do anything for my body type. I prefer styles that have a bit more waist definition, while this pattern includes some release pleats that actually make it more blousey at the waist. Kind of the opposite. I'll still probably wear this top from time to time (or see how it fits my mom), but I don't plan to make another version. Although there's a good chance I will steal the cute little buttontab or collar from the other version to add to another pattern.

Not as scary from this angle
A few details on this one. The main fabric is from my stash (whoo stashbusting!). I believe it's cotton but I've forgotten all other details. The trim is leftover from my Sorbetto tank. I love me some polka dots! Also, I wanted white buttons, but I needed 15mm shanked buttons and the only ones that Walmart had were these black ones and I did not feel like driving all the way to Fabricland for more buttons.
See the blousey-ness from the release pleat

Finally, a word on Craftsy platform and the class itself. I like the level of interactiveness of Craftsy and Christine was a good teacher. Sometimes it's so nice to actually see someone do a step rather than read it three times and still scratching your head. My only complaint was that there was no written instructions. More advanced sewists are going to be totally bored watching Christine do every step in detail. But if you skip ahead, there's a chance you'll miss something important. For example, waiting 8 minutes while she does a 4 step buttonhole was kind of a pain when your machine does a one-step. Other than that, I really enjoyed it.

But the bow is super cute!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Making a Tailor's Ham (or Sewing in the Barn)

Currently. I'm working my way through the Sassy Librarian Blouse on Craftsy, instructed by Christine Haynes. The class requires or reccommends a few sewing tools I didn't have. One was this amazing fasturn tool for turning your sewn tubes of fabric right side out in a flash. Seriously, check out this video! Too bad it's too pricy for me when you factor in shipping.

The second was a tailor's ham. In the past, I'd always just pressed darts like normal on a flat ironing board (I guess that's what you get for being mostly self taught). I looks all over for a tailor's ham, but they are extremely hard to find in my area. I looked online and saw I could order one from Joann's, but I hate paying shipping on a single item and I didn't need anything else at the time. So I decided to make my own!

I looked at a few different tutorials and decided to go with this one by Serger Pepper. The tutorial calls for one side of the ham to be covered in cotton and one to be covered in wool. I had lots of cotton scraps to choose from (I went with stars). However, I didn't have any wool scraps around and I didn't feel like running to the fabric store just for this project. So I found this wool skirt that had to lying in my mending pile for ages. It doesn't fit anymore anyway, so I decided to cut into it for my ham. Look at me upcycle AND stashbust on the same project!

The skirt I sacrificed for this project

The empty ham
The tutorial was pretty straight forward, since it's basically a ham-shaped pillow. But that leads to the barn reference in the title. The tutorial calls for you to go out and buy a package of hamster bedding (wood shavings). Well, along with being a sewist, I'm also an equestrian! So last weekend when I went out to riding my horse (his name is Scarface, one of these days I'll post some pics of him), I also filled my ham with some clean shavings from the barn. Since, I didn't want to make a mess in the house/my bf's car, I sewed it up right there in the barn!

Completed ham - wool side
Completed ham - cotton side
Overall, I'm pretty happy with this project, although I think I underfilled it a touch, so I might go back and try to fill it a bit more. It was essentially free, since I already had all the supplies (or they were readily available), which is nice, since it would have cost me $18.29 to buy it from Joann's and have it shipped to Canada (the shipping was only $1 less than the cost of the ham). Now I can save my sewing budget for something fun (like maybe a pattern or two from Deer and Doe)!

As well, I will admit that some sewing shenanigans also occurred while working on this one late at night.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Meet my new friend!

Back in June, the bf and I went on a road trip down through Idaho and Washington state. It was awesome. The drive was absolutely beautiful and I really enjoy visiting Seattle (Pike Place Market was so cool). We even got a chance to go kayaking, which I totally fell in love with. One other thing we made sure to do was go to a fabric store and look for a dressform. Since I had the bf in tow (he only has so much patience for fabric stores), I only ended up going to one major fabric superstore: Hancock's. For those of you with a Hancock's in your neighbourhood, this might not sound exciting at all, but prices for patterns (99 cents for McCall's) and the dressform were much better than here in Canada. So after a lot of thought on the matter, I decided to get the basic Sewperfect model by Dritz. It's pretty basic, but it was relatively inexpensive, so I won't feel bad when I need to upgrade in the future. Here she is (sorry the photo quality is a bit poor):

So far, I've been really happy with her, but I only set her up last weekend, so I'll give a full report once we've spent a bit more time together.

Here's some pictures of our trip!

Puget Sound
Space Needle

Pike Place Market

Riding the golden piggy (bull riding style)

At the first Starbucks

Glass statue in Tacoma

Glass sculptures

Guy blowing glass at the glass museum
Ballard Locks
Lift-y bridge near the locks
Cutest honey truffle evar!