It’s a comfy jungle out there!

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jungle skirt front jungle skirt back hair jungle skirt backjungle skirt sidejungle skirt waistbandjungle walking

I’m going for super comfy this winter with this rayon knit animal print skirt. I draped it on my new dress form, giving a straight front and a gathered back along with a wide knit waist band. I finished the hem by serging the raw edges and turning it up 1/2″ and doing a lightening bolt stitch to secure it.

I really needed something super quick and easy to make since I’ve been sewing complicated things for other people, both at the dress shop and for my own clients. One afternoon later and I had a drapey, doesn’t-matter-how-much-you-eat skirt.

If you aren’t already participating in Pretty Grievances’ Jungle January, where sewists all over the world pull out the animal print stops and make all the roary outfits, you should go check it out and sew along! I’ve been hoarding animal prints and have every intention of adding more to this year’s JJ but first I have a swimsuit to finish. Once I’m done with that, I will reward myself with more selfish sewing and maybe some fun sewing gifts for a local animal print lover.

By the way, can I just say, holy carp! my hair is long! When did this happen??

Another add: Yes, I do now own a pair of leopard print slip on sneakers. I’m happy to report 40 degree weather lately that allows for such frivolous footwear.

Welcome, 2015! Naval gazing and My Word of the Year

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I feel like I can start 2015 now that I bought a new day planner. I use google calendar to be able to check everything on the go but I also like seeing everything written out at a glance. Ah, yes. Paper. Can’t live without it.

As a lot of you know, 2014 was a crazy year for me. My (now) ex-husband walked out, we got divorced, I started working after a 7 years of being a stay at home/homeschooling mom and now share custody of two beautiful people I get to call my kids. You’ve seen me through getting 3 tattoos- something I had always wanted to do; I started working as a server at a local restaurant- something my ex insisted I would be crap at and, as it turns out, I’m actually pretty good at. (Yes, I’m leaving that sentence hanging- grammar be damned!) Edited to add: I also started working at Erin Young Designs as Erin’s assistant. We do alterations on mostly bridal gowns and of course take on a number of custom clients.

Thanks for hanging in there with me as I make this transition in my life. I’ve kept sewing- though I hope to sew a lot more in 2015.

Excuse me as I borrow from my own IG feed to show you images of what’s going on in my life.

I’m working up a cocoon coat by Ralph Pink Patterns, though it’s not the one I posted I was going to make. I’m loving it so much right now. Working on the pockets this weekend and hopefully putting the whole thing together so I can wear it next week.

I got a new sewing machine! The Juki JZL-F600. I’ve been waiting for the day when I could buy it since it came out several years ago. I’ll be doing a review of it in a couple of months when I’ve had time to really put it to the test. For now, it’s love. True love.

The table the new Juki is on was a classroom table The French Seam (a fashion fabric shop in town) was selling and the timing was all too perfect.

I was gifted a dressform as well! I’m a lucky kitten. I’ve named her Ms. Bacall- as in Lauren Bacall. Wouldn’t you agree she looks so classy in this faux fur shrug I designed last winter?

All of these pieces were part of my master plan to transform my bedroom- the largest room in my apartment- into a full blown sewing studio. I have a lot of work to do still but I’m already sewing in my new space. This is the room that gets the most light and it works so well for what I’m wanting.

My hopes for this new year are to have my sewing studio up and running, increase my freelance work, and overall, organize and optimize my time better.

My word a couple of years ago was precision. For 2015, my word will be: FREEDOM.

This will be a financial, creative and emotional freedom I intend on reminding myself I want, need and deserve. I don’t know what it will look like and right now I feel like I’m at the beginning of putting a puzzle together. I can’t find all the pieces and some feel like they’ve gone missing but in the end I know they’ll all be there.

Happy New Year, everyone! What’s your word of the year?

My 1920s Ralph Pink Patterns Playsuit

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Disclaimer: This pattern was gifted to me in exchange for photos.

This Ralph Pink playsuit has been finished for what seems ages. According to Instagram, I started it 4 months ago and it was done 3 months ago. It’s not a hard make, I just didn’t have time to sew. It’s rather quick and quite the pleasure to sew. I wouldn’t recommend it for a beginner just on account of all the seaming. On the other hand, it’s just more pieces. Put them together and you’re good to go.

I followed the pattern instructions to give an accurate review and I have to say that the instructions are really spot on. I like how they have you marking the stitching lines, or corners, giving you a really perfect seam. In some cases, you really do need to do it so follow along. You won’t be disappointed. Also, note that seam allowances are 1cm- it wasn’t on the pattern but they’re on social media and not hard to find.

I used this poly chiffon from JoAnn’s and lined the front with a white lining. You can see in one of my pictures that I’m wearing a white strapless. It was the only way I could see me wearing this since the sides are completely open. The side zipper only zips to the top of the hip so make sure the hip measurement is right for you. Definitely size up if you fall in between. The piecing and pocket details add to the allure of this playsuit for me.

This is the back midway through construction. The ruched, low waist is low but as far as a 1920s look, you’re gonna get it. I didn’t do any alterations on this pattern and I think the fit is spot on. I knew the top was open on the sides and knew I’d have to layer it which is why I didn’t bother make any top changes.

There is a set of straps on one side of the shoulder and a button on the other side. Very dainty.

1920s playsuit back 1920s playsuit close up 1920s playsuit off shoulder 1920s playsuit side playsuit front

Have a great weekend! Go get your costume on!

Keeping the Drama in my Wardrobe

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This Autumn/Winter I’ve been wanting all the drama in my wardrobe. I’m actually focusing any drama into my clothes so that I don’t have to live it. Of course, there’s daily drama and definitely drama in any workplace but you get what I’m saying.

I have two unblogged mega scarves I want to show you one of these days. I swear I’ll be doing that soon. In the meantime, I am craving more dramatic coats. My Lolita Spearmint coats (the more Autumny animal print on and my short blue wool one) are the kind of drama I want. Something big collared or just gigantic in general. Read into it if you like. I just want to be warm this winter.

First I thought I wanted ALL THE CAPES but then as I searched for cape patterns I remembered the two that are in my closet that hardly get used. Mental note: Use capes. Granted they were simple capes, so mayhaps more flair added would make me happy.

I searched and searched and didn’t quite find what I wanted. Yes, I know. I should just sit down and draw out what I want and make it. All in good time.

After the capescapade, I thought I really just want an oversized coat I don’t have to fit (fitting takes time, of which I have very little) so why not something like a cocoon coat!

From Daks A/W 2012

Does it look too much like a snuggie?

uh oh.

Scary thing is that I still want to make a cocoon coat! So, I started looking at patterns and remembered…

The cloud cape by Decades of Style. Gorgeous and I will make this one day. But not today.

Not a huge coat but an awesome dramatic collar by burdastyle

Not fitted so I could get away with a quick muslin and possibly no fitting…but, not now.

Lekala has this belted cape that you can just draft at home. I like the half circle sleeves but not the kind of drama I was dreaming up.

I did like this gigantic swallow-me-whole cocoon coat found on Etsy by MixMind Design.

Or maybe it was the memory of Oona’s version of the Ralph Pink Patterns cocoon coat

Yes, I want her dress and her hair but I think I just start my single white female with making up this coat.

So, here I am, typing and printing the Ralph Pink Patterns Cocoon Coat and wondering what I have in my stash since I’m forcing myself into early retirement with a fabric diet. I know! I said the D word. What will become of me?? I hope I’ll get inspired like LadyKatza said she did on Twitter- I think it was you.

Anywhooo! Off to tape together 65 pages! *faints*

LoveActually- a movie I used to hate

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Not apologizing for any of what I’m about to say.

I used to hear people go on and on about how much they loved the movie LoveActually. It made me vomit. I watched it with my ex-husband and while he seemed to be really like it- so much that he bought a copy on DVD- I thought it was just garbage. The only part I would laugh at was Colin Firth speaking- even English!

The other night I wanted to watch a sappy Christmas movie and I went ahead and tried LoveActually again. I wanted to see what nearly a year of being single had done to me as a viewer of romantic comedies. I’m here to say that it did a lot.

The first time I watched the movie, I couldn’t see the love stories because all I saw was a married man falling for his young, manipulative secretary. I tell you. That’s ALL I saw and my life hadn’t been blown apart by somewhat similar circumstances.

Watching it again as a single woman, I could enjoy the screenplay and it reminded me of how much I love Richard Curtis as a screenwriter. The way he writes reminds me of David Mamet and Joss Whedon (not all Whedon, grant you) and their speed and the way they make a character bumble around. There’s something about how these three write that will always capture my attention. Yes, even Notting Hill. I had to watch it. And, yes, I am a fan of Hugh Grant. Sue me.

But back to the movie I used to hate with a passion.

First off, the reason I hated the movie also contained one of my favorite actresses, Emma Thompson. She’s another one I’ll watch in anything. I’d even watch a documentary about something non-costuming if she narrated it. Her presence on screen kills me every time. So, couple that with the following words and you get perfection within imperfection.

Karen: Tell me, if you were in my position, what would you do?

Harry: What position is that?

Karen: Imagine your husband bought a gold necklace, and come Christmas gave it to somebody else…

Harry: Oh, Karen…

Karen: Would you wait around to find out…

Parent: Good night!

Karen: Night, night. Happy Christmas!

[back to Harry]

Karen: Would you wait around to find out if it’s just a necklace, or if it’s sex and a necklace, or if, worst of all, it’s a necklace and love? Would you stay, knowing life would always be a little bit worse? Or would you cut and run?

Harry: Oh, God. I am so in the wrong. The classic fool!

Karen: [voice breaking] Yes, but you’ve also made a fool out of me, and you’ve made the life I lead foolish, too!

Yeah, Thompson makes that scene happen. She’s so raw and so composed all in one. It’s quite amazing from the acting standpoint. But, again, the cheating husband angle I can’t get over.

But moving forward, onward, into rom-com enjoyment land…or maybe it’s just because it’s this time of year when everyone seems to try harder to be at their best.

and maybe that’s all it is… but I’m not a fan of Keira. Nails on a chalkboard! This story is a little cringe worthy for me. I know that staying faithful doesn’t sell movie tickets so I get why they’d open the can of worms with this guy’s honesty. The fact that he says, Enough! as he’s walking away almost makes me like him more until Keira comes out again for that kiss.

The love story that could’ve happened but can’t because of her baggage. Don’t we know that story. It’s still sweet that Karl still wants to say goodnight to her at work with all that emotional tension.

Connection despite language barriers. This was the most far fetched of all of them- that he would leave his family and fly all the way back to marry this girl. But, still, hello Hollywood. Maybe sometimes we feel like foolhardy but who actually does this? Despite that, this moment is by far one of my favorites.

Speaking of favorites. The Liam Neeson character finding out his step-son has fallen in love and it’s not the death of his mom that has him so consumed is a delight. The step-dad goes to huge lengths to show his step-son the importance of love.

As this is not a movie review, I’m just gonna cut it short and admit to how hard I cried over this movie. I did need a good cry and this was there so my logical mind tells me I used it as a means to an end. But, basically, I cried and it was awesome!

I guess it was just nice to enjoy this movie all by myself. I do feel the urge to watch Four Weddings and a Funeral- an all time favorite.

Happy Holidays! And even if you don’t celebrate anything this time of year- enjoy your family and friends!

New Years Manhattan

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I finally got pictures of my second Capital Chic Manhattan. I had the hardest time pairing it with a top in my closet- mental note: make a top to go with this skirt! But then, my daughter, who took the photos, pulled out my Lolita Patterns Olive and while I don’t think the pictures do it justice, the colors look great in person.

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I love this skirt! Long in front, short in back. The jagged edge in front is my fave! I still haven’t done the exposed zipper- I keep wanting to finish the skirt before buying that kind of zipper and I buy invisible zips in bulk so I always have them on hand. IMG_20141128_171003765 IMG_20141128_171009152

I used a shiny sparkly gorgeous fabric from the shop I work at. I had to use both sides to show off the difference. I love it! Since this skirt uses so little fabric, you can definitely go stash diving and use up some fun remnants, which is definitely my plan. IMG_20141128_171105721

I also paired the skirt with the Laughing Moon corset I made nearly two years ago. (Can’t believe it’s been that long, by the way!) The bra showing is a new acquisition. It’s the Freya Deco Hatty. I’m in love with Freya. I have several of their bras and they fit so nicely. I don’t know that I’d ever wear the skirt with just a bra and corset but the look is worth exploring, if anything within the comfort of my home…and the internet apparently. Ha!

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Check out my first Manhattan as well as the post about my Olive.

Happy Sewing!

Decades of Style: 1940s Empire Waist Trousers AND Blue Ginger Doll’s Bonnie

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The other day, I was minding my own business…stalking my sewing peeps when I saw Heather’s Bonnie. Not only that, she mentioned how cute the Bonnie would look with the Decades of Style empire waist trousers.

Sometimes I like being in charge. Sometimes I like telling people what to do. But lots of times I just like doing what I’m told. And everyone knows I listen to Heather. If she says go make the Bonnie with the empire waist trousers, I do it. I made the same cropped version Heather made but I added cuffs to the sleeves.

Rather than taking pictures, I opted for a video. (I do call the Bonnie the Betsy by mistake- so edit that when you get to it.)

What do you think of a video for a trouser reveal? Does it show them more accurately than still photos?

Short and sweet. I’m out!

Getting into menswear with the Negroni

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Sewing projects get bumped to the front of the sewing to-do list for a variety of reasons. I’m still working on a swimsuit for Betsy but the alterations, which always require a non-tired Leila, made for an embarrassing delay. I still needed to sew something and I wanted to sew something for men.

At work, I get several requests to do alterations and other makes. One of my friends asked me to make him an Evil Knievel jumpsuit. You know, this one:

Let’s start with something else, first, I suggest. How about a cowboy shirt? Hey, that I can do. But first, I need to make a wearable muslin. Enter the Colette Negroni. A straight forward button down shirt with great instructions and a nice cut.

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I’ve been posting my initial pattern work for the cowboy shirt. I’m getting close but I still want to practice the yoke I’m making from this inspiration photo:

I’m going to have to change the Negroni collar, as well, to get that 70s point. Until then, I present you with my first men’s shirt. I got the fabric from Fabric Mart a couple of months ago. I think it’s this oxford shirting they still have in stock but I also got a similar muted denim blue twill shirting (which they don’t have right now) and I can’t quite tell the difference but they really do have similar hands.

Negroni back collar downNegroni frontNegroni back view

I wonder if I should make alterations to the back. The front fits so nicely but then the back is so baggy. I made the size medium because measurements were in between the S and the M. This is a part of menswear I don’t know well- fit. Perhaps taking out some of the width would be a good idea? I don’t know.

Negroni close up collarNegroni close up collar upNegroni right front close up

He liked the shirt with the collar up, which I think looks pretty cool. The buttons are from JoAnn’s. I want to find some pearl snap buttons for the cowboy Negroni. I might see if my boss at the dress shop knows a good place to get them. Look at all these colors! (Click on the image to see a seller I found.)

Negroni hanging Negroni close up buttonbandNegroni close up cuff Negroni close up top button

A real joy to sew, the Negroni is a great pattern. If you are afraid of making this shirt up, I highly recommend using a nice shirting- but nothing too light weight. It’ll be easier to sew, for one.

I’m off to make the 2nd swimsuit muslin and then play with the cowboy Negroni pattern pieces. I’m taking pictures and I’ll make sure to show you what I learn about getting a really nice curved yoke. Hopefully, I can pull it off.

And that’s me, now with one men’s shirt under my belt. Woot! Thanks to Eric for putting up with the measuring and the photos! You’re a peach!

Nautical Renfrew Mission (not a) Maxi

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Once again, I’m here with a Mission not-a-maxi dress. I first made one when I was visiting Gillian last year and I have yet to make the full maxi dress. I just keep making the short version. Not quite a mini but definitely nowhere near a maxi. Then it got chilly and I had bought some sweater knit in Canada and modified the Mission Maxi at the shoulders by tracing the top of the Renfrew. I love the fit in the body of the Mission Maxi but I didn’t want the racer back, obviously, because I wanted to add sleeves. So that basically became my sweater dress pattern- which, by the way, I’m eager to make again this Fall into Winter.

The only change I made on this version of my Renfrew/Mission Maxi mash-up was to finally take it in at the hips. I think it’s much better-especially if you look at the first one I made. The leopard Mission (not a) maxi I made still has the tad wider hips. I believe I just used wider seam allowances but all in all I’m glad I finally fixed that.

Anyway, it’s pretty apparent I like this pattern and the mash-up. I’ll try to keep things interesting if I make it again. Oh, and boy did this knit print roll. I did a one inch hem but serged the raw edges first just to help it behave. It’s a nice weight for this time of year but I’m still wearing it with a sweater on top. Brrr…

Nautical Renfrew Mission Maxi elbows Renfrew Mission maxi sideNautical Renfrew Mission Maxi backRenfrew Mission Maxi nautical front Nautical Renfrew Mission Maxi side matchingNautical Renfrew Mission Maxi extreme closeup

Who’s ready for sweater dress weather??

Yummy Sushi Cambie, a nod to Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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I got this sushi quilting cotton over a year ago, knowing I was going to one day make a Cambie. Life took over and I only recently started making Cambies. One day I swear I’m making some bodice alterations but it’s good for now. (I’d lower the bust apex, shorten the front and back by a skant 1/4-1/2″ and possible take in the darts in the front.) Till then, let me show you my second Cambie- a nod to my favorite T.V. show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (Here’s my first Cambie in case you missed it.)

If you know the show, you know what I’m about to quote:

It’s from Season 4, Ep 14. Not my absolutely favorite episode or season, being very Riley centered but with Buffy, there’s always something good in (most) all episodes. So, when I saw the sushi quilting cotton, I knew I wanted to make a yummy sushi dress, even if the print was different from the pjs on the show.

I had to use a black pleather for the bodice- another Buffy nod, since they put her in leather pants and jackets more and more as the show progresses.

I hemmed the skirt 4.5″ and I like the length a lot. The bodice and skirt are lined but unlike my first Cambie, this one doesn’t have a lined (only interfaced) waistband. The bodice lining is a rayon blend, very slinky, while the skirt lining is a stiffer Siri sew-in shirting interfacing. I thought I was getting a lighter weight interfacing but this turned out perfect for the look I was going for with this skirt. I was already using a quilting cotton, which is by nature less drapey. Emma One Sock has more of it, if you want some. I like how stiff it is right now, making for more of a poofy petticoat-like lining.

Yummy Sushi Cambie front side viewYummy Sushi Cambie skirt sweepYummy Sushi Cambie tilt topYummy Sushi Cambie backYummy Sushi Cambie tilt skirt  Yummy sushi cambie close up front  Yummy Sushi Cambie lining and tattoo    Yummy Sushi Cambie zipperYummy Sushi Buffy Cambie floor

I’ve asked before, but I’ll ask again…any Buffy fans reading this? For those of you who are already Buffy fans, enjoy some BtVS on me tonight.

A shout to Montana of Montana Designs who urged me to take pictures when I didn’t think I had the energy to do it! Thanks, lovely.

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