Monday, March 20, 2023

The Zakopane Top

I know that I said I shouldn't pattern test when school is in session.  But things being what they are, I have a knack for not taking my own advice and no sooner had I said that I pretty much signed up to do another pattern test.  In my defence, I had the fabric at hand and it promised to be a super quick sew and I was able to do the proof-reading of the pattern instructions on my lunch break so it wasn't too onerous of a task.

Let me introduce you to the latest Itch to Stitch* pattern!  It's a fun little top with a twist.  Literally.  It features a twist at the neckline.  It's no harder to make than a standard tee shirt, so you can decide you want a new top in the morning and be wearing it by afternoon.  Really!  It's that easy!

Sarah stands on an angle towards the camera, she is wearing a turquoise, short sleeved Itch to Stitch Zakopane Top and ready to wear jeans

For your Zakopane Top, you can choose from long sleeves or short sleeves and it has the pattern pieces for either a full or regular bust so the guess work is taken out of it for you right from the start!

Now, one thing to let you know about, it does have lower neckline, so I have an easy styling recommendation for you if you prefer a bit more of a modest neckline.  You can easily make a Cartagena Cami (also a super quick sew!) to wear underneath and it looks quite good like that!  Several of the testing team did just that if they felt the neckline was a bit lower than they wanted.  You can't easily adjust that neckline because of the way the twist is constructed, so a cami is such an easy and cute work around.

Sarah stands smiling at the camera with her hands in her pockets of her ready to wear black trousers.  She is wearing a Turquoise short-sleeved Zakopane Top from Itch to Stitch

So let me tell you about the two I made!  I'm feeling quite pleased with myself because both of mine were made from fabrics that I had in my stash that I had absolutely no idea what to use for.  The first one, the turquoisey print is a mystery jersey - it's definitely a polyester, and feels almost brushed, but not quite as soft as a double brushed poly.  I bought it pre-pandemic at Marshall's Northwest Fabrics in the city and I'm pretty sure it was on their clearance wall, so I may have paid $5.00 or less for it!  I have no idea what I had in mind for it when I bought it, but I sure was happy to remember it was in my stash when this testing call came around.

Sarah stands on an angle towards the camera, she is smiling with her hands folded in front of her.  She is wearing a short sleeved Itch to Stitch Zakopane Top in a black tropical print that has red hibiscus flowers and gold leaves.

My second version is made with an ITY poly that I bought at Fabricland last summer.  Again, no idea what I was planning for it.  Maybe a Soller Dress?  I think I bought it around the same time I made my t-shirt version last summer.  Anyways, it was absolutely perfect for the Zakopane, so I'm glad I didn't use it sooner!  I love the tropical feel of the hibiscus flowers!  

Sarah stands towards the camera, smiling, with her hands in the pockets of her black trousers. She is wearing a short sleeved Itch to Stitch Zakopane Top in a black tropical print that has red hibiscus flowers and green and gold leaves

I've been trying my hardest to manifest spring here on the prairies - between my two summery Zakopane's and I just made a super summery viscose challis jumpsuit.  I keep hoping if I make spring/summer attire, Mother Nature will take the hint and finish up with winter.  March came in like a lion and it was still roaring all last week.  Here's hoping for sunny, warm skies ahead!

Anyways, I digress.  If you're wanting to make your own version of Zakopane you can purchase it over at the Itch to Stitch site (it's got a discount for the release week of course!)

Thursday, March 09, 2023

Apparently All I Sew Is Tops Now...

Or so it seems.  After sewing my Coimbra Wrap Top*, I kept going on the tops theme for the rest of February!

There's a few patterns I've been wanting to make and I decided there was no better time than the in the thick of the winter doldrums to add them to my wardrobe.

First up was some fleece lined athletic knit Jackson Tees from Helen's Closet.  I purchased the fleece lined athletic from Water Tower Textiles because I had made a few "base" layers for my husband last winter and had some serious Jackson Tee envy going on.  He works in a food manufacturing plant so needs cozy warm layers for daily use at work.  We'd bought one shirt from Mark's last year and while it was great it was also hella expensive, so I had gone to work trying to source similar fabric to try and replicate the one he had.  I found the fleece lined athletic to be very comparable so this year I ordered some more to make him a couple more shirts to have in his rotation.  Then as I said I had envy so I ordered some colours I'd like too.  

The Jackson Tee is perfect for this kind of top and it's so quick to sew!! I did the long sleeve version (Obviously! LOL) and on mine I did the banded bottom and on his I did just a hem.

Sarah holds two black long sleeve Helen's Closet Jackson Tees and is wearing a turqoise long sleeve Jackson Tee

Next up is the Tilly and the Buttons Agnes Top.  I absolutely adore a good sleeve and Agnes has a great sleeve.  Just look at that "puff" (must be a throw back to my obsession with Anne of Green Gables when I was a kid.  I cannot resist a puffed sleeve!)  Not only is the sleeve a puff sleeve it has a great gathered detail on the side of the sleeve too.  Be still my sleeve loving heart.  Of course I'm sure everyone in the world already knows all about the TATB Agnes because it's been around quite some time now.  My only problem with my Agnes is it feels a bit more... ahem... form fitting then I'm used too.  But those sleeves.  Oh those sleeves.  They'll be what convinces me to wear it and love it even if it's a bit more slim fitting than I care for!  I sewed it up in a jersey that may have been from the Fabric Snob - I'm not sure though. It's been in the stash for a long time.

Sarah wears a grey Tilly and the Buttons Agnes top with long puffed sleeves

Then there's the Helen's Closet Dawson Top.  What is with me sewing slim fitting tops lately? Especially given, as I just mentioned, I'm not terribly comfortable in them.  But this is so darn soft.  The sweater knit was bought from Fabricland with Dawson in mind.  I was sort of envisioning the Dawson paired with a corduroy TATB Miette Skirt for a sort of 70s vibe.  But I've not yet found the right corduroy for my vision so maybe that'll happen down the road.

Sarah wears a light brown sweater knit, mock neck Helen's Closet Dawson Top

At the very beginning of March I continued on with the top trend and made another pattern that I've been wanting to get to for awhile now.  I am pretty sure I got the pattern for free at one point last year, but I see now on the website that it's $10.00, so maybe I'm misremembering.  Anyways, it's a cute variation on the standard tee with it's gathered sleeves.  I'm telling you I really can't resist a good sleeve! This is the Galaxy T-Shirt from Pattern Scissors Cloth.  I sewed it out of a very inexpensive end cut of jersey from Fabricland.  I love the colour but it's a wee bit on the thin side (it also wrinkles if you look at it sideways)  I'm thinking I might make a Cartagena Cami to go underneath it down the road.

Sarah wears a burnt orange Pattern Scissors Cloth Galaxy t-shirt

And even though I told myself I shouldn't do any more test projects when school is in, all that went out the window as soon as Kennis posted her latest Itch to Stitch pattern test call.   I've already made two of them, but can't show you just yet as the pattern is still in the testing process.  I can't wait to show you though because it is going to be an awesome little wardrobe staple!

I have a few other projects in mind for this month.  The #sewfrugal challenge is on right now for 2023 and so I've been busily making plans with my stash fabric and some awesome free patterns.  But more on that at a later date! I'm also in the process of making a jumpsuit for my next Minerva project.  Right now though I've got get going and get some things done around the house...  apparently those dishes aren't going to do themselves.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Coimbra Wrap Top

Well hello there!  Can you believe I'm back again so soon?  LOL!

I thought I would jump in and do a quick little post about a new pattern from Itch to Stitch*.   I have made a bit of an unwritten rule for myself that when school is in session I usually don't sign up for pattern tests because I feel I can't really dedicate the time and energy to the testing process and usually end up feeling frazzled and rushed and like I'm not putting in my best effort.  Kennis has had some really great pattern releases since I tested the Brampton Shorts last summer, but I have dutifully sat out each time until this one.  

I figured I could handle a fairly straight forward pattern and I had a couple of fabric choices in my stash.  I did end up taking almost the entire test period to complete my project because there were plenty of evenings that I was either busy or just didn't have the wherewithal to sit down at my sewing machine (reminding me of exactly why I have that little rule for myself!).

Sarah is facing the camera but looking down at the waist tie of her grey sweater knit Coimbra Wrap Top

The hardest part about the Coimbra Wrap Top for me was lengthening the crossover - I needed to add my standard 1 1/2" in length to the upper (from shoulder to waist) bodice that I do for pretty much every Itch to Stitch pattern.  It's not really hard to do in all reality - I just tend to stress and overthink it each and every time I have to do it and that's what makes it challenging for me.

Sarah is standing angled towards the camera wearing her grey sweater knit Coimbra Wrap Top

The rest of the process was absolutely a breeze.  The way the hem and facings are finished is really slick - and is the easiest way I have ever seen mitred corners done.  I know you can't tell from the outside, but I know they are there and it makes me happy.  I do so love a good mitred corner for a clean finish on the inside.

So let me tell you a wee bit about the Coimbra pattern.  It is, as I've mentioned a wrap top - not a faux wrap - with the option of a collar or just a simple faced neckline.   It features bust darts for a nice fit (and offers full or regular bust pattern pieces - no full bust adjustments necessary!).  Sizing is available from 00-40 - to fit busts from 30"/76 cm to 62 1/2"/158.5 cm and hips from 32 5/8"/82.5cm t0 64 1/4"/163cm.  Coimbra is designed for medium weight knit fabrics with 50% horizontal stretch and good recovery.

Sarah stands facing forward and smiling at the camera with her hands folded together in front.  She is wearing her grey sweater knit Coimbra Wrap Top

I chose to make mine in a super soft sweater knit.  I've no idea what the fabric content is because it was one of those "mystery" knits that was on sale at my local Fabricland a few months ago.  I think I paid about $4.00/metre for it.  It feels like it might be a bit prone to pilling, but it sewed up nicely and feels lovely so hopefully it'll last!

Sarah is standing sideways from the camera but looking towards the camera with her hand on her hip and she is laughing.  She is wearing her grey sweater knit Coimbra Wrap Top

The Coimbra Wrap Top  is available over on the Itch to Stitch site and is on sale for the release week if you'd like to grab your own copy of the pattern.


Monday, February 13, 2023

What Can I Say? I've Been Busy...

Well.  Here we are.  I went to look something up here on the blog the other day and realized it's been more than five months since I was last here.  How the heck did that happen?  I knew it had been a little while, but let me tell you, I was a bit shocked to see my last post was about a late summer sewing project.  Time flies I guess!

I've been keeping myself quite busy in all aspects of life - work is often feeling crazy and overwhelming, the boys are busy, my husband has been working all sorts of extra shifts because no one in his section seems to be able to consistently show up for work, we've had the run of the mill illness and a bout of Covid, a new cat adopted us and I've been doing oodles of crafty type things.  I guess I just put this old blog on the back burner and forgot about it.

But I'm back for today anyways - not going to make any promises of when I'll return because every time I seem to figure I'm going to get back to blogging I don't... I would like to start writing again though, so we'll see.  Even if it's just for the purpose me keeping a journal of sorts. It's nice to look back on things every now and again.

So I won't try to catch you up on all my projects I did since my last posting.  That would take us from here to next Christmas!  (You can click this link to an Instagram reel I did of almost all my sewing projects from 2022 if you're interested)

Today I will just jump in with a fresh start.

Sarah is knitting her Sous-Sous vest in driftwood coloured Berroco Pirouette yarn wearing a wine coloured waffle knit Forget Me Not Patterns Vera Top
Knitting on my Sous-Sous Vest
in Berroco Pirouette Yarn in Driftwood 

In December I decided to pick up my knitting needles and knit each of the kids their Christmas ornaments.  And this time knitting felt good!  So I kept at it.  I knit ten simple stars for the ornaments, then moved on to making fingerless gloves for four of my co-workers as Christmas gifts, then a pair of mittens for myself.  Then I finished a pair of socks I started last year and finished a vest (also started last year!).  Then I cast on another pair of socks which is where I'm at now.

Corkscrew Mitts knit in Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick Yarn in the Carousel Colourway
Corkscrew Mitts by Jill DeMarco knit in Lion Brand Wool-Ease

Swirl E Socks for Susie White of Prairie Girl Designs knit in Estelle Sock Twins in the Sunset Colourway
Swirl E. Socks by Susie of Prairie Girl Designs
knit in the Sunset colourway of Estelle's Sock Twins Yarn

I love enjoying knitting again. I did miss it but it just never felt quite right when I'd try to knit, always feeling forced and cumbersome, so it's good to be back at it.

In progress picture of First Night Socks by Dana Rae Makes knit in a blue multi coloured Happy Feet yarn with contrast cuffs knit in green Sisu yarn
A work in progress -
my First Night Socks by Dana Rae Makes

Don't worry!  I've not abandoned my sewing.  I didn't actually do much in January.  In fact I only sewed one thing - it was the top I'm wearing in the first photo (a Forget Me Knot Vera Top - you can read the details over on the Minerva site if you'd like! But happily I have done a bit of sewing this month already and I have a few more things planned yet for February.  I made a few base layer shirts out of fleece lined athletic knit for my husband using the Helen's Closet Jackson Tee pattern and I've just finished a pattern test for Itch to Stitch* as well that hopefully I'll be able to show you later on this month.  I just cut out a Tilly and the Buttons Agnes Top tonight and I'd like to take a crack at sewing up the Paper Cut Patterns Nova Coat that I cut out a few months back.  Who knows if I'll actually get them done, but that's my unofficial goal in the back of my mind.  We'll see...

Monday, September 05, 2022

A Last Minute Summer Sew

Labour Day long weekend is coming to a close now and school starts on Wednesday for the kids. (I've already been back since last Monday).  The hectic fall season is upon us for sure, but this weekend the weather has been gloriously summery - sunshiny and warm, so I'm wearing a last minute summer sew that I  almost had finished whipping up before we went on holidays - all I had left was the shoulder straps and hem for when we got home.  Not having had an opportunity to wear it since finishing it, I totally forgot about it until this morning.

Sarah stands facing the camera in a colour blocked Orchard Top and denim jeans.

Of course, it's the new free Orchard pattern from Helen's Closet that you can get just by signing up for their newsletter!  It's such a simple make and comes with a top version with two lengths and a dress version also with two lengths (that even has pockets!).  

Sarah faces the camera, but is looking down at the colour blocking in her Helen's Closet Orchard Top

I knew as soon as I saw the pattern that I wanted to make mine out of leftover linen that I had in my stash.  Because I was working with scraps I knew that I'd need to do some colour blocking to make it work.  I used the "Summer Breeze" linen in Pomegranate from Pure Linen Envy that I used a couple of summers ago to make my Helen's Closet Ashton Top along with leftover bias binding and a small strip of fabric that was all that remained from cutting out the linen blend from Minerva that I made my Zadie Jumpsuit with (also a couple of years ago). I also seamed the back of the top because I didn't have big enough piece of the solid linen to cut out the entire back piece. Scrap busting at it's finest!! 

Sarah has her back to the camera with her hands on her hips.  She is wearing a Helen's Closet linen Orchard Top and denim jean shorts

To make my colour blocked version I went the easiest route possible.  First to make sure my top would be long enough for my liking, I added  1 1/2" to the pattern right off the hop.  Then I traced out the cropped version and added 5/8" seam allowance.  For my contrast band I traced off the rest of the top pattern from the cropped version line to the cut line and added 5/8" seam allowance at the top.  I cut both pieces on the fold since I had the room for it on my strip of linen blend, then it was just a matter of stitching the band to the bottom of my front and already sewn back pieces.  Then I continued on with the pattern as directed.  I lucked out having enough of the patterned linen bias tape left over from my Zadie to finish everything off with so I didn't even have to piece any teeny tiny bias strip scraps together.

Sarah is standing sideways, but angled towards the camera, smiling, wearing her linen colour blocked Orchard Top

I am really happy with how my colour blocked top turned out and now that I know how darn easy the Orchard Top and Dress is to sew, of course I can't help but thinking of some fall print fabric to make a dress with to pair it with a mock neck Dawson Top.  Hmmmmm...  Before I ponder that too much though I have a couple of other projects in the works - right now I'm working on a Moss jacket and some Winslow Culottes (Helen's Closet has ALL my attention right now apparently!!) and then I have dress I'm planning for early fall and I still want to get the pants hack of the Brampton Shorts made.  So many plans... so little time.  

Speaking of time I have to dash.  It's football practice night and the boys need to be at the field in less than an hour.  Gotta go...

Thursday, August 25, 2022

The Brampton Shorts

Hello, hello!  How's your summer been going?  I've been having a great one!  We've had quite the busy one between football practices four times a week and working out in the garden - I refuse to let the weeds take over this year - and we even got in a trip to Saskatchewan that was absolutely wonderful.  We rented a cabin at Regina Beach for a few days and used it as a home base for day trips to Moose Jaw and Regina.  It's got me really excited to spend time over the next few months planning a road trip for next summer!

But here I am again with another pattern release from Itch to Stitch*.  I am definitely not ready to say farewell to summer or summer sewing for that matter, so the Brampton Shorts came at the perfect time for me.  Also, I'd been planning all summer long to make a few pairs of shorts, because I had only one pair left that fit me and so was in a bit of dire need.  The call to pattern test was the kick in the pants (or shorts as the case may be) that I needed to finally get to it.

Sarah sit's on a blue bike, wearing a black tee and blue Brampton Shorts with pineapples on them

Brampton comes with two different lengths to choose from, optional inseam and back pockets and optional belt loops and sash tie belt.  It features an easy elasticated paperbag waistband and comes in sizes 00-40.  This is a quick and easy sew, even if you choose all the optional pockets, belt loops and belt!  I whipped up my first pair in no time at all and made a second pair right away.  I didn't require any modifications to my shorts making it even quicker.   I chose to do the shorter length and all the options for both my pairs.

My first pair I made for the pattern test was made using leftover fabric from a previous Minerva project - my Itch to Stitch Anza Dress.  The fabric, that was gifted to me two years ago by Minerva, is a beautifully drapey rayon chambray.  I had just enough to do the shorts except for the pocket lining so I just used a white cotton lawn I had left over in my stash for that.  

Sarah stands facing the camera wearing a black pointelle Sinclair patterns Oasis top and blue with pineapple print chambray Brampton Shorts

The shorts fit great right off the hop.  As I said, no modifications were needed at all, so I was ready to make another pair straight away!  

Sarah stands angled sideways from the camera wearing a floral print Lago Tank and navy linen Brampton Shorts

I  definitely wanted to use all the options again, and this time wanted to try a different fabric to see how it would work out.  I chose a navy blue lightweight linen that I had bought earlier in the summer on sale from my local Fabricland with making shorts in mind.  It turned out to be perfect for the pattern as well!

My linen ones passed the road trip test too - I wore them all day on my trip and was equally comfy sitting for several hours in the truck as I was walking along the beach and lounging in the cabin. 

I'm so excited with this pattern and how it fits and wears!  I have some burnt orange viscose twill that I bought the same day I bought the navy linen with the intention of making some Helen's Closet Arden pants, but I changed my mind.  I'm going to hack the Brampton Shorts into pants.  I'd hoped to make them before my trip, but ran out of time, so I definitely want to make them for back to school.  I think they'd be super comfy as pants and I know that pattern fits well so it'll be a fuss free pants making venture!

If you want to get a copy of the Brampton Shorts they are on sale for the release week and I highly recommend them for any of your summer sewing plans!  I'll keep you posted on how the pants making goes! But for now I'm off.  I have to eat my breakfast and get out on the tractor and get the grass cut, then get into the garden and tackle the weeds and pick some veggies for supper tonight!

Sarah stands beside a chokecherry tree, smiling at the camera, wearing a floral Lago Tank and navy linen Brampton shorts

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

It's Been Awhile...

How has it been three months since I last posted here?  I didn't even realize it had been that long.  I've had so much going on!  It was a busy spring for sure - two of my kids got married within three weeks of each other,  I ended up with Covid in between the weddings and then some sort of stomach thing that lasted a whole miserable two months and then the end of school madness.   I will say that this year was probably the hardest and most stressful of my career to date.  I'm not sure why - it felt like it should have been easier than the two years previous, but whatever the case I'm so thankful it's done and hopefully next fall is a lot better!

But here I am.  Feeling so much better and we're into week three of summer break, so I'm caught up on much needed rest and feeling more relaxed than I have in months.  Summertime and the living is easy.  I've been working away in my garden, reading books that have been on my to read list for far too long, floating in the pool and getting some sewing and knitting in too.

I'm going to do a catch up post of some of the things I was working on in the months of my blogging hiatus - I sewed my dresses for both weddings and the ties for my husband and little guys (Ok, they're not little anymore - one is already a full fledged teenager and taller than me.  How did that happen?)  and I did a pattern test for Itch to Stitch* in between the weddings that I'm realizing I never shared here, along with a few other sewing projects and I picked up my knitting needles again!!  I'm so incredibly slow at knitting now, but I'm enjoying it, so that's what counts!

So, speaking of pattern testing, I recently finished another one and it's just been released today!  This is the Soller Top and Dress from Itch to Stitch and oh my goodness it was love at first sight!  The Soller features gathers at the front shoulders (achieved so simply with elastic!), a v-neck binding and grown on sleeves that are also finished with binding.  

I made the top version for testing and loved it so much I literally snipped the threads, tried it on and cut out a dress version and was wearing the dress by that afternoon.  So this is also a super speedy, quick fix kind of garment.  I need new tees in my wardrobe because most of mine are getting tattered and worn from so much use, and I'm trying to decide how many Soller tees would be an appropriate number.  

I made my tee out of an unmarked jersey remnant I picked up for a few dollars a couple of years ago at my local Fabricland.  I think it likely has some rayon or bamboo in it because it is super soft and has a drape to it.  I really, really hope I pre-washed my fabric - I usually do before I put it on the shelf, but I had a horrifying moment of thought after I cut it all out that I may not have.  Please oh please don't shrink! It's perfect the way it is!  I'm being super precious about how I care for it, because I don't want to ruin it.

The dress is just as good.  I've reached for it so many times this week already! It's just so comfy and easy to wear.  

This one is made out of The Fabric Snob's "boyfriend" wash jersey and it definitely has been pre-washed so this is a easy throw in the wash without a second thought kind of garment.  Which is a darn good thing given I practically have been living in it right now.  It's been so hot and humid the last little while it's been the perfect thing to throw on and go about my day. 

I want to talk about the yardage for a moment too.  After sewing some garments recently that took a whole lot of yardage (mother of the bride and mother of the groom dresses I'm looking at you...) it was so nice to be able to whip out a top or dress out of a small amount of fabric.  A top in my size 18 takes .8m  and the dress 1.2m!

If you want to get sewing a Soller for yourself, head on over to the Itch to Stitch site.  It's on sale for the release week too!

I'll pop back in soon again to tell you about the Lemont top that I tested and then forgot to tell you about here (although it was over on my Instagram and I did post about it in the ITS facebook group, so you may already have seen both I made.  I'll have to fill you in on the details of my wedding sewing too!