Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Canada Day Dress, 2013 :)

 "All the nations You have made will come and worship before You, Lord; they will bring glory to Your    Name."

      Psalm 86:9

    For we Canadians, our country's "Birthday" falls on July 1st. The very lovely & talented Erin, of "I heart fabric", inspired me to make a special dress for Canada Day. Erin is from Australia, and believe me, she looked *far* more patriotic than I in her "Aussie Day" getup earlier this year. Check out the link to see her costume, very cool! I got quite a kick out her crimped hair (being a child of the 80's after all ;)

   I honestly didn't have any crazy plans for Canada Day, but I wanted to sew up something for the occasion (any occasion is good enough reason for me to make a new dress ;). I thought it would be nice to make something I could wear throughout the summer as well :) My review on P.R. here

Our Canadian flag :)

I think it would've been nice to incorporate the red maple leaf somehow. I may print one of those "iron-on transfers". I was cutting it close to July 1st as it was however, so I chose a simple red & white theme in a pattern I've already used, McCall's 6243.

McCall's 6243 :)


I made this denim-look, knit fabric, version earlier this year and I liked the pattern a lot. I love the angled seams, and thought it would be a great pattern to use for the red white version I had in mind. My review on PR here.

Chewfoot on my pattern :)

The white cotton/lycra fabric I used seemed a little too transparent, so I interlined the white sections with the same fabric. Too keep the layers from shifting, I gave it a little spray between the layers and then pressed the area lightly (keeping the hairspray can away from the iron, watching out for those explosion warnings! :)

No sooner did I prep my white fabric, did Boris make himself comfortable on the red stuff :) I almost felt guilty shooing him off.

  This McCall's pattern is rated "Easy", and I think that's a fair rating. *However*, if you're using cotton/lycra, it can be testy. The last dress I made with cotton/lycra, behaved very well. I don't know if its because of this fabric's weight (its much lighter weight than the last material I used) but it was a little more challenging to work with. I had to unpick a few (long) seams and resew. I was very determined to finish this project (telling friends and co-workers about your intended project makes me that much more motivated to complete it!).

   One thing I didn't like about this pattern though, is how they instruct you to finish the neckline and armholes. Just a narrow hem. Seems lazy to me :/ I think I'll try a facing next time (and I'm pretty sure there will be a *next* time). This is one of those patterns that, for me at least, is too good just to use once...or twice ;) I used "steam a seam lite 2" on the neckline and armholes and then topstitched with a double needle.

Double needle topstitching :) I was going to use all red, but opted to use white on white, and red on red. After I "steam a seam"ed the armhole and neckline (to hold it in place and give it stability to prevent unsightly "tunnelling"), I topstitched the white areas and then changed the thread to red and topstitched those areas.

*Note* the pattern instructs a 5/8" narrow hem
 (pressing under 5/8" and then turning the raw edge
under to meet the crease, then topstitching. I just
turned the fabric under 5/8", and trimmed the inner layer of white, used "steam a seam"( SAS), then topstitched. By this time it was nearing 2 AM July1st, so I just wanted to be done!

I like the look of this better than contrasting thread, since at the front seam sections I topstitched in red, but the line is just barely noticeable.

Pressed seams before topstitching...

Closeup *after* topstitching. :) It's subtle, but I think it adds a nice touch :)

**I must add: Since I interlined the white areas, to reduce bulk, I pinked the inside layer of white fabric and pressed the outer red and white seam sections open and again, used SAS. I tried topstitching without and I got some puckering (not flattering :/). SAS really made a bit difference!

Here, I show the inside of the dress, white seam allowances pinked and seam pressed open. Then SAS'd it :)

Dress hem with the help of SAS and a double needle :)

I went over to Aunt Isabelle's Canada Day and she was a big fan of my latest creaton ;) She took a few photos to share on FB :)

  Dan took the outdoor shots. I'm pretty happy with how this dress turned out. I can say with confidence that I'll be wanting to use this pattern again...and again ;)

Thanks for reading! :)

Monday, 1 July 2013

Fuchsia Simplicity Robe :)

   Can you believe it, this project is not a dress? Not only is it *not* a dress, its not for me either! This beautiful fuchsia robe is for my wonderful Aunt Isabelle :)

   My Aunt Isabelle is quite the lady. She's very generous and kind-hearted, and she has a big soft spot for animals (especially cats, she'll get a kick out of all the included photos of the kitties ;). When she mentioned a few weeks ago that she was looking for a cotton robe, I knew right away I wanted to make her one.

   On that particular day, I was with my mom and Aunt Isabelle at Fabricville. Mom and dad live out of town, and when they come up, we usually hit the fabric store as mom is also a sewer :) One of the store manequins was sporting a white cotton robe with a sailboat theme on it. I overheard my Aunt asking one of the employees if the robe was for sale (it either wasn't or someone had asked to purchase it first). I also overheard my Aunt tell my mom that it was difficult to find a nice robe that was 100% cotton.

      On our way to drop off my Aunt, I tried to discreetly ask some questions about what kind of robe she was looking for (length, if it was the print she liked, etc.). She was very surprised when I gave it to her, so I guess I wasn't too obvious ;). The most important thing to my Aunt Isabelle was finding a robe that was all cotton, as our Canadian summers can get mighty humid :p

     Once we dropped off my aunt, mom and I headed straight back to Fabricville! We decided on some fuchsia cotton. I remember Aunt Isabelle saying in the past how much she liked that particular  colour so we both thought it would be perfect!

I had this Simplicity robe pattern in my stash, and figured it would work nicely :)

This was one of those "Learn to Sew" patterns by Simplicity. They really hold your hand in this one! It makes for a great pattern for a beginner. They're very encouraging, almost sickeningly so.

My crazy cat, Chewfoot hanging around while I prep the pattern pieces :)

I made some modifications to this pattern. When I laid out the pattern pieces, I realized I didn't purchase enough fabric, so I had to chop off a good 6" off the length of the robe! That was ok, since Aunt Isabelle said she'd like a knee length robe anyway.


    I also decided to modify the sleeves to a more
 "kimono-style" (comparing the sleeve pattern to another pattern I owned made this quite easy). Doing so, I realized that the sleeve length would be *way* too long! I cut off 6", but 5 or 4.5 would've been better so I could've made a sleeve band (or cuff). *Sigh*, oh well!

Boris hanging out too :) I can't resist including photos of the kitties. They amuse me :)

     I think its a bit unnecessary to give a thorough step-by-step detail of how I constructed this very simple robe, but I will mention a few things I did that may be helpful to any blog-readers :)


    First of all, I didn't use a serger, but I wanted the seams to be strong and resist fraying (as this pink stuff frays like crazy!).

This photo to the right is at the shoulder. I cut a  narrow strip of selvedge that I overlock stitched (with an overlock foot on my regular sewing machine) to that seam to help prevent stretching.

 At the side seams, I stitched the seam, then trimmed the seam allowance a bit with pinking shears, and overlocked the edge.

I also treated the seams at the sleeves in the same way.

I used pinking shears a lot in this project, even on the belt before turning it right side out (I did not overlock any seam on the belt though).

For the hem, I pinked the raw edge (though probably not necessary) and did a regular hem.

The pattern instructs you to baste the pockets on before attaching to the robe (so they don't shift while sewing).

I opted to use my sewing buddy, "steam a seam lite 2" instead. I *love* the stuff! It's proven to be  my most useful notion thus far!

  So, at one point I was thinking of only including one pocket instead of both (I had already made both pockets. After asking my husband, Dan, his opinion though, I agreed it would look better with two.

I had attached one pocket and was searching all over the apartment for the other. After about 10 minutes, I looked under Boris (who had made himself comfortable on my sewing chair). I guess I had mindlessly tossed the other pocket there and he was laying on it! :)

 I adjusted the placement of the pockets, since I had taken so much length off the robe. I really like how they turned out :)

The pattern doesn't instruct this, but I stitched a triangle to reinforce the top corners of both pockets.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with how this robe turned out. Knowing my Aunt Isabelle, I figured she would be very gracious about anything I'd make for her (just because it was from her niece :), but I still wanted her to really like it.

Aunt Isabelle was very pleased when I gave her her robe. It was very rewarding to me, to see her reaction :)

It was nice to sew for someone else for a change (something besides a receiving blanket, that is ;)