Saturday, 4 June 2016

And now for something completely different



My cats love pineapple!  I have no idea if other cats react to pineapple this way, or if mine are just strange.  I'd love to hear of anyone else's experiences with cats and pineapples.

We could lead them around the whole house with a pineapple.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Finished project: Rayon Challis sundress

This was my first model garment project for Fabricland!  I'm so excited about it.  I used McCall's 7116, view D which had a lot of details I really like in a summer dress.  Cross over bodice means easy FBA, bias skirt drapes over my lower body nicely, and the sleeves are adorable.  I used some Rayon Challis that Fabricland received back in February.  I have a low opinion of Rayon overall, based on my experiences with it 15 years ago.  I thought that they might have made some advancements with the fibre since then, so I was willing to give it a try.  My experiences before told me that Rayon pilled easily, stretched and sagged by the end of the day, and felt clammy on the skin.  We'll see how this one holds up, but so far it feels wonderful on the skin, especially in the heat!

Have you ever worked with rayon challis?  Slippery!  I had to chase it all over my cutting table.  I actually had to cut out the skirt front twice as the first time I let the excess fabric droop over the sides of the table and everything was the wrong size by the end.  Lesson learned.  I recut it on the floor and that went much better.

The only adjustment I made to the pattern was a 1/2" Full Bust Adjustment.  I like how this dress hangs and drapes on me.  Next time though, a slight sway back adjustment would be helpful.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Finished Project: Pencil skirt!

For my second model garment at work, I actually did two garments. This skirt is Butterick 6326, view B, which I made to go with the poplin shirt.  It was a really cute outfit to display, and I enjoy wearing the pieces together.

This was made with Fabricland's Belle Stretch Sateen, Cotton and spandex.  So nice to work with, and so comfortable!  Stretch sateen is my second favourite cotton fabric to work with.  Cotton Satin is my first favourite. 

As soon as Butterick released their spring patterns, I knew this pencil skirt had to be mine.  The poplin shirt was already decided, so I actually wanted to make a green pencil skirt to wear with it, but the only solid green we had was non-stretch, and for model garments you have to follow the pattern pretty closely.  I decided I wanted to sew this specific pattern more than I wanted to use the green, so I went with this navy blue.  I don't care much for blue, but whatever.  It's not a big deal, really.

I used this tutorial from The Sewing Rabbit for adding in a tummy control panel with powernet.  I had lots from the bargain basement at Dressew, and it was a quick and easy thing to do.  It does help my tummy look smoother, which I think is important to me in a high-waisted pencil skirt.

Taking photos was a bit of a trial as I'm not skilled with a tripod and self timer.  I will be hunting down a remote control and I hope that will help my photography.  No more chopping off my head.  Actually, I think the problem is that it's my husband's camera, and he has some sort of zoom lens on it, but I always used a 50mm lens on my SLR camera.  I keep missing the sweet spot in the depth of field.  And on the particular day I took photos, it was expected to be around 28 degrees outside, so I wanted to take these photos first thing after dropping the kids off at school.  That meant the morning sun wasn't high enough to get over all the trees in our complex and I ended up trudging around with the tripod for a good half hour looking for the right spot.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Finished Project: Poplin button up

How cute is this top?

Super cute!

I used view A of Butterick 6217, which is a Patterns by Gertie design.  I do like Gertie's style for the most part.  Some of her designs don't appeal to me at all, but the ones that do appeal have me salivating over them.  I'm not sure about the tie on this one, I may yet remove it, but for now I'm undecided.

The fabric is a cotton poplin from Fabricland,  This was part of my March model garment ensemble, along with a pencil skirt I'll show you next time.  The fabric collection this was in is called Printemps collection, and I'm in love with almost every single piece in the collection.

I didn't do any alterations to this pattern, but I really should have.  I cut the size 18, grading to a 20 at the waist and hips, but it's actually too big.  I always go by the measurements on the tissue paper, but should really start actually measuring the pattern pieces.  Start with a 16, Mandy!  A 16 with a slight FBA and FTA (full bust and full tummy adjustments), and adding an inch of length is what I need to remember for Butterick patterns.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Finished Project: Maxi Tartan

As with most crafty people, I love to poke around on Pinterest for ideas and inspirations.  I usually only pin projects that have tutorials or patterns with them, and not finished projects without DIY involved.  Sometimes, however, there is something that is just so beautiful or wonderful that I pin it with the intention of copying the idea.  When I saw this Maxi skirt, I knew I had to have it.
Isn't that gorgeous?  I love plaid on the bias.  I knew I wanted to make my own, but with Newfoundland tartan.

My mother is from Newfoundland, but I also think the green tartan is lovely.  It's one of my favourites.

I looked at the inspiration photo, and decided what it was that I liked about it.  I loved the bias plaid, the fullness, and the wide waistband.  The easiest solution was a half circle skirt with a 10cm waistband.  The original seems to have side seams and a centre back seam, so I feel confident that I didn't rip anyone off, just took inspiration from it.

I bought Newfoundland tartan at Fabricland, and it was 140cm wide.  I bought 3.5m, but really only needed 2.5 or 3 at the most.  I have lots left over!  Then I used a compass to make a perfect semi-circle for the waist using the formula for the circumference of a circle where C= my waist measurement.  By folding the fabric over, I only needed the radius and to draw a quarter circle.  I then measured my hip to just about the floor, 96cm, and used that measurement and a metre stick to mark a series of radials from the waist.  It's not the most accurate method of getting a larger circle, but it was the easiest for me to do by myself after cutting out the waist.  Pro Tip:  Use the string and pin method to mark your length BEFORE cutting out the waist for the fastest and easiest way to draw a large circle.

Ahem.  Learn from my mistakes!  

In my experience, the easiest way to hem a circle skirt is with a hem facing.  I had hoped to use only materials I had on hand, so when my hem was too long for one package of facing, I just pulled out another, even though the colour was wrong.  I did happen to have a nice green zipper though, so at least I used that.  All those notions were bought in thrift shops.

I finished the waistband with riveted snap closures.  Next time I do this, I will just extend the zipper to the top of the waistband.

I started hemming by hand, but soon gave up and used the blind stitch function on my machine.  That hem is 4 metres long!  That would take me hours to do by hand.

We just brought in some lobster print poplin at Fabricland.  I am tempted to make a lobster shirt to go with this Newfoundland skirt.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Finished project: lobster bib

A quick, hour long project today. Spartacus asked me to make a lobster bib to give to one of his coworkers. He's apparently a messy eater and its become a running gag in the lunch room.

We choose this fabric from the "Ribs and Bibs" collection by Maude Asbury that was at Fabricana.

It probably wouldn't have taken as long to make if I had used any sort of pattern. Instead, I used my compass and drew directly on the fabric. I also sewed the hook side of the Velcro to the wrong side of the strap. It was easier to remove the loop side of the Velcro and sew it on to work with the hook side.

It took a lot of notches to get it to turn right side out nicely.

And a label to complete the look.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Finished Project: Ballet outfit

I finished something!  It's a great feeling after staring at the same project for 2 months.  Itsa started her ballet lessons again, so I decided to sew her a bodysuit and tutu.  I had found a simple one in a thrift store for her birthday, but she outgrew it within a month.  She still tried to wear it, and then complained about it being uncomfortable, which I'm sure it was.

I used Burda 9629 views A and G.  This was a very quick sew, I had the bodysuit done in one evening and the tutu in the next.  I used a Lycra / Polyester from Dressew and sparkle tulle from Fabricland.  I used the star sparkle tulle for the contrast on the sleeves as well.  I think it looks adorable!

Itsa loves it, although I would like to shorten the tutu.

I learned an important lesson while making this: Only gather one layer of tulle at a time! No matter how much of a time saver you think it'll be, gathering multiple layers of tulle at once will just be a knotty, grabby mess.  A single layer will not have anything to grab onto and will gather easily.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

The Never-ending Project

Gee Mandykatt, what have you been up to lately?  We haven't heard too much from you about sewing.  You've been working on something, right?



Since early December.

This beautiful coat is no longer seasonally appropriate for my climate.  It didn't snow this year, and has been really mild.  I don't think it'll get cold again as my cats have shed their winter fur already. 

I will take a break from this project and sew up a couple other garments.  Then I'll come back to it, finish it up, and put it away for the season.  *sigh*  I had hoped to get some wear out of it this season, but life just go in the way.

I learned how to make bound buttonholes though.  That was fun.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Hello 2016

Ah, a new year.  The kids are back to school, the house is cleaned up after Christmas, I've started on the laundry I didn't do all weekend, and the cats and I are enjoying a coffee break.

Babe and Ebby enjoy life as lap cats.

My unexpected blog break over December was due to finding a job, starting said job, having general Christmas duties to attend to, and getting very little sewing done.  I'm still working on the same project I have been since the beginning of December.  I hope to share that by the end of this week.

So, a look back on 2015 in the land of Mandykatt:

  • Started the year off work to get a hold of my mental state.  Did pretty well with that.
  • Went back to work for six months before calling it quits and admitting that job just wasn't working for me.
  • Started a new job at Fabricland!  My work life is now much happier and more satisfying.
  • My children started school this year, one in playschool and the other in Elementary.
  • At Christmas time it was announced that my brother and his wife are pregnant with their second child!
  • Sewed up many garments, some pretty dresses but most everyday sort of garments.
  • Learned to make soap, adding to my craft resume.

Here is one of the StyleArc sleeveless tops I made.
A lot of changes, a lot of learning, and a huge step forward in my goal for 2016: Joy.

I hope to focus on the joy of the life I live and the people / events around me in 2016.  It's easy to get caught up thinking of tomorrow or replaying the bad parts of events, so I want to make a concentrated effort to focus on the good, the happy, and the joy around me. 

Another StyleArc top.  I think I made this pattern five times in different colours.
Leaving the office job that I hated and felt caged in with was a huge thing for me, and I feel it will make a big difference in the rest of my life.  Going somewhere I hated to be for 8 hours / day, 5 days / week was exhausting and soul crushing.  Staring at a computer screen, filling in forms or doing data entry for most of my day was mind-numbing, and not having the motivation of good work being rewarded with a raise, promotion, or even a "Thank you, good job!" meant that I didn't give my best efforts, and I don't like to go about my day that way.  It left me numb and grumpy for the other parts of my life and I couldn't find anything that made me really happy about existing. 

So, finding the joy is my top priority, and having a job where I get to talk about sewing, help people figure out their projects and make them happen, and start people on their sewing adventures makes me happy.  My boss even tells me when I do good work!  My coworkers tell me they're happy to have me work there and that I am doing really well!  And there is room for promotions!

On the crafting front, the new craft I want learn this year is Millinery.  I am going to learn to make hats!  I hope to have a fascinator I can wear for Halloween, and maybe a nice floppy sunhat for summer.  I will continue sewing wardrobe basics as I'm low on those, and my current wardrobe reflects my old job, which is a bit too formal for this job.

How did my ban on buying fabrics go?  Let's not discuss that.  I did hold back a fair bit, but not nearly as much as I should have.  I hope to show more restraint this year (but I seriously doubt it).

The sewing plan I had made in April?  Erm, I kind of followed it.  For the first two months.  Then I was side tracked by clothes I actually needed for the weather we were having, and by client duties, and the rest of the list had to go on hold.  I managed to sew up almost all of my optional extra garments though!  That's something, right?  I should do up a plan for this year now...