Saturday, April 18, 2015

Green Christmas Quilt

So, my boyfriend is really hard to buy presents for. He insists that he doesn't want anything, and to be fair he honestly doesn't, but gift giving is as much because the person doing the giving wants to show their love as anything else, and so I still fight every holiday to find something that he will like. Usually I end up making something, and this christmas, I settled on a quilt!

He spends a lot of time curled up on the couch with the cats, all wrapped up in blankets and looking adorable, so it seemed fitting and useful. His favourite colour is green, so green quilt it was!

With the help of a friend who has more quilting experience than I do, I settled on a quadruple rail pattern and headed to the fabric store. Originally I was going to do four different blocks, each with a light/light-med/med-dark/dark set of fabric, but the store would only sell as small as a half meter, so I ended up doing all the same except for the dark. For that one I found four fat quarters of black background prints that I thought went with the theme, although only one is actually a green print. I think it turned out quite nice in the end, and actually it might have been a little busy with 16 different fabrics going on rather than the 7 it ended up with.

Finding green fabrics that aren't christmas print when you're shopping in november turned out to be a chalange, but the only one I ended up caving on was the binding, because it's so narrow the snowflakes end up being more of an abstract pattern. Besides, that can just be winter, right?

To make it extra cuddly, I used a supper fluffy minky fabric for the backing instead of more cotton. Man that was a bitch to quilt! It stuck to everything, including the sewing machine, and I really had to force the damn thing through, but it was worth it because OMG so soft.

I did the quilting as diagonal squares, because I didn't want to brave trying anything fancy, but I didn't want it to just be along the block edged either, because that felt boring. We'll say that the incredibly wavy stitching adds character...

I found some helpful websites and figured out how to mitre the corners of the binding properly. I hand stitched the binding down on the back, and the minky did a great job of helping make the stitches completely invisible.

It's been washed a few times now, so the batting has shrunk just enough to give that heirloom quilt puckering, which actually looks quite nice (thankfully).

This is more what the colours look like in person. Oh yeah, the whole thing is 64" square, which turned out to be a little smaller than I would make in the future, but just barely big enough to make a good lap quilt. I can't wait to make some good giant queen bed sized ones to swaddle up in! Also yes, that is a new back yard, and I'll tell you all about it next time :P.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

First time bramaking!

After ages of drooling over pretty bras handmade by Tasia, Caroline, and Novita, I couldn't take it any more and just had to give the whole thing a try myself! I bought a gloriously tacky bra and panty making kit from Merckwaerdigh, and a copy of their mix30 pattern. Usually I'm a demicup kind of lady, so the relatively low cut of this pattern made it stand out to me. Also, look at the cute colour blocking possibilities!

Because I'm the sort of person who refuses to do anything without extensive research, I read through all of the bra sew-along posts over at Cloth Habit before cutting out anything. I love Amy's way of explaining things, she's thorough but incredibly easy to understand. And by the time I was through, the whole prospect didn't seem so daunting any more, so I got started! In the end, it only took an afternoon to make, and I didn't do so shabbily, if I do say so myself :).

There is a little bit of bubbling on the bridge where the fashion fabric stretched and the lining didn't, and some rippling along the vertical cup seam for the same reason, but it's not super noticeable.

The band fits perfectly, but the cups need some work. Quad boob and underarm squish is not what I'm looking for in a bra! The sizing chart confused me a little, so I just cut the size that my rtw bras are (even though I knew they likely suffered from vanity sizing and wildly variable standards), but in this style/pattern/reality it seems that a 34C is not going to cut it. I was waffling between the 95 and 100 underwires too, and went in the end with the 95s. Next time I will try a 34D and the next size up of wires.


Speaking of wires, am I the only one annoyed at the way sizing can't manage to be globally standard for anything?! I need size 100 wires from Merckwaerdigh, but size 40 from North American sellers; I'm a shoe size 8 in North America, 6 in the UK, and 39 in Europe. And don't even get me started on the half-assed way Canada has converted to the Metric System! I use kilometres for speed and long distances but feet and inches for short distances, pounds for weight but litres for volume. I've finally managed to fully convert with temperature, but for a long time I thought of outside in Fahrenheit and inside in Celsius. I mean seriously, I know the USA is stubborn and influences a lot of what we do through imported media, but Metric is just plain superior to Imperial. Easier to manipulate mathematically, often more precise, actually based on logic instead of cobbled together from bits and pieces of outdated systems. Personally, I've just decided (earlier today, hahaha) to make an effort and try to start thinking in centimetres instead of inches, or at least as well as. The seam allowances I added to these patterns would drive a lot of people crazy, with 1/4" and 1/2" for the edges where the elastic attaches and a 1cm s/a for fabric to fabric joins (turns out 1cm is the exact width between my presser foot edge and my offset/zigzagging needle position), but it's a start :P.


At least the construction went smoothly! Perhaps it was due to previous experience with channels in corset making and elastic in the swimsuit I made a few weeks ago (to be blogged about shortly!), but nothing about this felt new, there was just an unusually large amount of stuff going on for such a small finished garment!

I've never had a non-foam bra before, mostly because the cheap rtw stuff I usually end up with offers very little in the way of alternatives. But fabric bras are amazing! Even with the fit problems of this one, I'm loving the way it lets my boobs actually look like, well, boobs, and not foam-dome Barbie chest. And I have to say, the sexy possibilities of a bra you can actually feel something through is intriguing ;).

Anyway, since there where lots of supplies left, I tried out the mix30 undies pattern as well, view C. And discovered that even in size L, they're just a tad too small to be comfortable. I guess the pattern could be graded up a bit, but the general bum shape feels like it will be constant wedgie town either way, so I'll probably just alter Zo's underwear pattern to make it a little more fancy if I want this style in the future.

If the Merckwaerdigh pattern wasn't going to cut if for a matching set, I thought I may as well try making my own. My favourite undies are usually soft thongs with wide lace as the waist, so I basically just traced around an existing pair to get a pattern. Unfortunately, I forgot to add a seam allowance along the sides to account for turning the elastic, and the first pair of these was also a too small failure *sigh*.

For the second try I added width for the elastic and height to account for using thin lace instead of thick as the waist. And of course by then I was out of picot elastic from the kit and was using the same lace elastic for the sides as for the waist, which I just top-stitched on instead of flipping, and therefor didn't need a s/a. Now they are a little wider than needed, but at least I can actually wear them! And once I make another, larger bra from the scads of leftover purple leopard print, I'll have an actual set of matching lingerie :). Funny story: I polled my Guy (and then all my male friends), and discovered that men seem to be indifferent when it comes to coordination of lingerie. Actually, mine half-jokingly says he can't support my bra making endeavours, in much the same way I insist a shirt and no pants is a good look for him :P.

Luckily, I dress entirely for my own enjoyment, and that means lots more pretty frilly things to come! I may have gone a little overboard with the bra making supplies, but once my five more packages show up I should be good for a while...

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Lacework cowls

I have been pulled down the slippery slope of knitting lacework. It's just so pretty, and impressive looking, and totally worth the claw fingers of doom, hahaha.

It started with this gift for a friend, my first proper lace pattern, with fingering weight yarn and tiny needles. I'm facinated by how a series of relatively simple stitches, organized in the right order, can create a complex looking pattern.

Unfortunately I didn't get very good pictures of this one before handing it over, because I only see the recipient once a week, and it took longer to block than anticipated. I didn't want it to wait another whole week just so I could get pictures! Funnily enough, her mother was visiting from out east shortly after, saw it, and has now commissioned me to make a similar one at some point. And here I thought I was almost at a point of making stuff for myself...

Then I found out that another friend was having a birthday i two weeks, and since I already had this yarn sitting around, waiting to be made into something for her, I hastily selected a pattern and got to work!

I'm actually rather amazed that this finished up in two weeks, although there where a few days when I thought my fingers would never straighten out again. And I really need to find a better way of photographing tubular lace, maybe a piece of white cardboard to slip in the middle so you can actually see the pattern...

But she loved it, so it was worth the hand cramps and couple of late night :). Oh yeah, and as usual, all the notes and everything are over on my Ravelry page.

My guy says that the lace pattern looks like penises, and now I can't unsee it...

Saturday, March 8, 2014


After making my superhero dresses, I ordered a few more sheets with nerdy, but non-comic related prints. One of them was Land Before Time! And in a fit of lolita fever, I made it into a big fluffy skirt :)

I also bought an outlandishly full white petticoat to go under it, hahaha. The skirt was actually finished months ago, but I had to swap out the elastic in the petticoat, and only got around to it today. Notice also my adorable lolita shoes and matching rose belt. Look at Sarah finally learning how to coordinate subtly :P. (Don't worry, I don't plan on doing it often. Not when clashing is so much more fun, hahaha).

I love a contrast ruffle, so after a little searching at my favourite fabric shop, came away with some teal cotton that almost perfectly matches the leaves on the dino-print. Aside from the ruffle, the skirt is just a big rectangle with an elastic casing at the top. It looks a little frumpy without a belt, but I like belts, so that's not a great hardship. Look at those faces!! True story: I still cry when Littlefoot's mother dies. Every single time.

I made the shirt too, from the christmas fabric I got from my mom. The purple is cotton, and the white is a deliciously soft bamboo knit. The pattern is a rub off from a t-shirt I quite like, with neck, arm, and waist binding bands that are just doubled over strips cut to 2/3 the length of the holes they where being set into. Still getting the hang of shirts, but I really needed some new ones that where cute and comfortable, but not t-shirts. Not that I don't love a good nerdy t-shirt, but sometimes one wants to feel a little more fancy :).

And nothing says fancy like knocking things off the shelves at work with your skirts, hahaha ;).

Friday, January 17, 2014


Ok, so I know this is theoretically a sewing blog, and here I am posting even more knitting, with nary a new sewing project in sight.... but, well, that's why I put the "etc" in the title, to cover my obsessive yet ocd crafting bases, hahaha.


I started this cowl for a friend last saturday, and by sunday afternoon it was done and ready for blocking! Go chunky yarn! It was so fast, easy, and satisfying, that I figured I would make one for my grandma too, as I'm seeing her on the weekend.

It looks wider than the first one, but it's actually just shorter. The yarn came in 90 yard balls instead of the 110 called for, and there was only one ball in this colour, so I cut out some of the rounds from each section to make it work. I think it was actually a super bulky weight, so the stitches are a little more dense, but it's just as pretty, and so very pink! I hope she likes it :).

And speaking (several paragraphs ago) about blocking, I finally started doing it, for the first time(s), with these projects, and I will never go back to unblocked knitting. Look at how much less amazing the first cowl looked before being blocked:

It's all lumpy and bumpy and misshapen, nothing like the sleek drapy beast it was to become.

I'd like to be able to say I have lots of sewing in the works to show you, but really I'm just plotting all the new things I could knit, hahaha. Prepare to be inundated! (very slowly, because that's normally the speed at which I finish knitting projects :P)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

awesome presents

My dad is super handy with woodworking (and lots of other things), and has been making me awesome tools this year as presents. They're so neat I thought I would share!

Remember how I took a drop spindle class in the summer, and (theoretically) learned how to make yarn? Now I can use the same technique on this baby:

It's a spindle style spinning wheel, with a foot petal and three swappable spindles so that I can make two strands, and then ply them together :). I'm excited to try using it, but also a little wobbly kneed about how much a learning curve they will probably be. But once I get good, I'll have an excuse to buy more cool craft supplies! Yay, colourful roving!

And for christmas, a fancy point presser/clapper! I've been vaguely eying these up for ages, but it just didn't seem like the kind of tool I would use often enough to warrent the expense; now I'm prepared for just about any pressing situation! It's so smooth, I can't even describe it (my christmas present to him was a fancy new sander, and conveniently, this was slightly late enough to take advantage of it!).

So yeah, stand in awe of my super cool dad and his handymanish support of my crafting hobbies :P.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

undies and the dreaded eyelash yarn

I just finished a scarf using the most obnoxious yarn I've ever worked with, and I'm so happy it's over, hahaha.

 The pattern wasn't even challenging or interesting to knit, but after a little while I was ok with that, because it was so hard to make sure not to drop stitches or pick up extra ones. 

I was gifted the yarn by someone who decided not to learn how to knit after all, and I would never have picked the colour or the yarn on my own, but I think another friend of mine will quite like it, so it's being gifted again. And just in time for not exactly Christmas! She wears almost nothing but neutral and natural colours, and she's always cold, so this is perfect for her :). (also she's one of the sweetest people I know, and it gives me the warm fuzzies to know that I'll be able to help keep her warm and fuzzy too!)

So anyway, the bag of yarn I was given had two hanks of this stuff in brown, so basically I just wound it all into one big ball and knit until it was all used up. The pattern was the one from the ball wrapper, a row of perl with 3 knit stitches on both ends, a row of knit, repeat. 

 Also, undies! It's funny, these are basically the story of how one justifies letting anxiety run a little rampant. I used to buy my boring practical undies at Zellers, which closed and got replaced by a Target. And then I needed new undies, but I haven't been in the new place, and I'm feeling unreasonably uncomfortable at the thought of going into a store I know nothing about. So instead of forcing myself to do it and get over the newness of place so that I can function in it in the future, I told myself I'm a seamstress and should be making these things anyway, bought two meters of cotton jersey on ebay, and whipped these babies up!

Semi poor reasoning aside, I can't say I'm sorry, because these fit much, much better than any rtw underwear I've ever had. Just like with the tank tops, I used So Zo's free pattern. And fold over elastic, I love fold over elastic. These aren't actually all of them, I made three other pairs first, gave them a few weeks of test driving, and then used the rest of the fabric for these five, but with an added 2cm of hight at the top to go over my delightfully gigantic bottom ;).

Anyway, enough of posting pictures of my underthings on the internet, got to get back to staying up to late, hahaha. See you guys in the new year!