Sewing outside my comfort zone

Friday, August 21, 2015

Large scale projects scare me. I'm not the most precise sewist when it comes to sewing for myself, and I usually shy away from sewing large scale items.  But, I felt like stepping outside my sewing comfort zone and trying something new. Isabel has been great inspiration to try new sewing endeavours!

One of the things I love most about being a mom (besides slobbery baby kisses, which is Isabel's new favourite thing), is getting to relive all of the things you loved as a kid!  When I was little, I loved playing with play food (which is funny because as an adult, food-prep is one of my least favourite things, but I do love to eat!), playing with dolls, doing arts and crafts and... forts!  So, I decided to try my hand at making a play-tent.

I used the tutorial on Make-It Love-It to make the frame. It worked out really well, but I'm going to add another 1x2 board across the bottom to add some stability). To make the fabric tent portion, I roughly followed the tutorial on Make-It Love-It, but instead of doing a flat front and back opening, I added gathers and a binding along the top.  I used clearance fabric from my local fabric shop. It's a pink ombre eyelet fabric. I layered it overtop of ivory broadcloth. It's not too heavy, and feels so pretty inside when the light shines through the lace. I seriously love being inside this tent and kind of wish I had one in my living room to hang out in! This tent wasn't exactly cheap to make, since I used 5 yards of lace and 5 yards of broadcloth, but you could easily find a more inexpensive fabric, or use a sheet like they suggested in the tutorial.

As you can see, Isabel is pretty darn happy with it. I put a fluffy, faux-fur rug inside along with some of her toys. She spent a good portion of this morning chasing Oliver in and out of the tent, giggling the whole time.

"I love my tent!"

I used 4' dowels and 4' lengths of 1x2 and it made a surprisingly large tent! It takes up a good portion of Isabel's small room, but that's ok! who needs space when you've got a tent as cool as this?

I really, really, really want to make myself a tent. I'm just trying to figure out how to rearrange the living room to make one fit!

Kollabora + Long Weekend

Monday, August 3, 2015

I recently joined Kollabora... it has been on my "to do" list forever, but I am so glad I finally got around to it! It is an amazing, inspiring site. I've spent so much time already browsing through people's makes and getting ideas for my own wardrobe... If you are a maker, you should definitely be on Kollabora. It's an amazing combination of the best of Pinterest and Etsy, combined in to one beautifully designed site.

A sample of what you'll find on Kollabora!

I am also now selling my patterns on Kollabora and have been featured on their blog! It was a fun interview, and I got to talk a bit about what inspires me, advice for other designers, and what's in store for the future! You can read my feature here.

Today is the last day of a long weekend here. It's been one of the nicest long weekends I've had in a while.  Dan was off all weekend so we got to do lots of family things. We went for a short hike in Scouts Valley, went to a carnival on the waterfront and ate chip-truck poutine (which is the best poutine), and today went to the Zoo! Isabel LOVED the zoo. Her favourite animals were the giraffes and baby goats (the baby goat nibbled her fingers). I also started a new workout routine that has left me feeling old, sore, and terribly out of shape (stairs are the enemy right now). I had intended on sneaking in some work this afternoon, but I'm too tired.

Forest hikes, carnival, flamingos.

I'm enjoying Isabel even more as she grows. She's cruising around furniture right now, able to pull her self up and down. She crawls so fast and is hard to keep up with! She's already starting to want to do everything by herself, especially when it comes to feeding, so she's mostly eating soft finger foods right now. It's great, in a way... she mostly feeds herself, but also ends up feeding Oliver an awful lot of what she's supposed to be eating.  I'm having a hard time thinking of foods that are soft and easy to eat, and that she can eat with her hands. So, if anyone has any suggestions, please feel free to leave me a comment!

beautiful blue eyes.

Lingerie Anatomy

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

One of the tricky parts of lingerie making is sourcing all of the supplies! Still to this day, I order my supplies from all over the world... shipping can get expensive and sourcing everything is time consuming (this is just one of the reasons why handmade lingerie is a little more costly). 

Almost all lingerie requires a variety of elastic. A bra alone requires strap elastic, band elastic, and trimming elastic.  Most bras require a hook and eye closure and you need the ring and slider hardware to assemble your straps. To make matters a little more tricky, all of the elastic comes in a variety of widths, from 1/4" and up!

Rings and Sliders - I like to use nylon coated metal rings and sliders. They come in a variety of colours and sizes. I always prefer to use metal over plastic for durability.

Strap Elastic - Generally plush on one side (the side that goes against your skin), and matte or shiny on the exterior. It comes in various widths, with the standard being 1/2".

Bra Back Closures - These hook and eye closures come in various sizes, with the average being 2x3 hooks.  The inside of these are plush, so they're soft against your skin.

Fold Over Elastic - I like to use fold over elastic for finishing the upper edge of bras and for waist and leg lines of panties. It comes in a million shades of elastic, and if you can apply binding, you can apply fold over elastic.

Band Elastic - Just as the name implies, it goes around the band, or lower edge of the bra. One side is soft and plush and it often has a decorative edge. Band elastic comes as narrow as 1/4", and up to 1" wide. My preference is 1/2", or 3/4" for larger bust sizes.

I've assembled some kits, in black, ivory, pink and navy, that contain all of the most often needed lingerie supplies in the most common sizes. Each kit contains 1/2" strap elastic, with 1/2" ring and slider set, 1/2" plush band elastic, satin fold over elastic, a 2x3 hook and eye closure, and two satin bows, hand tied by yours truly. There is enough elastic to complete 1 bra and 1 pair of panties.

View my supplies on Etsy

In addition to the kits, I've added a few remnant grab bags to my sewing pattern shop. I've been cleaning out my sewing room, and found a lot of odds and ends. These bags contain various elastics in various lengths and are perfect for practice and small projects. The elastic in these vary in length from 14" to as much as 2 yard lengths.

View the Remnant Grab Bags on Etsy


Saturday, July 11, 2015

Dan and I have been married for a few years now... Our wedding was a lot of fun, but if I could have a second one (with Dan of course), there are lots of things I'd do differently (or remember to do, period). Surprisingly,  I seemed to neglect to make myself any wedding lingerie... a fact which I remembered the day before our wedding. Ever since I've been slightly obsessed with blue and white Bridal pieces. I guess it's like the old saying, "the lingerie maker never has any lingerie on her wedding day" (ok, I totally just made that up, but you get the idea)...

As much as it would have been nice to have a bridal trousseau full of pretty lingerie, we spent our Honeymoon camping (like, in a tent camping) and hiking, and I mostly found myself wearing layers of hoodies and track pants. In my imaginary second wedding, I think we'd go someplace remote but a little less rustic. Something with a hot tub and spa. Somewhere where I could have pranced around in these things...

I had the opportunity a little while back to work with model, Mathy Pacquette and photographer, Kim Gaudreau.  They put together this beautiful shoot, showcasing a few of my new pieces. I just love how the photos turned out and am excited to share a few of them with you.

Lace and Ribbon Side Tie Panties
Model: Mathy Paquette
Photography: Kim Gaudreau
Hair & Make-up: Camille Lacasse

Silk Sleep Mask
Photography: Kim Gaudreau
Photo by me, including my very own wedding dress! And yes, you can bet I put it on after taking this photo.

Fleur Romper
Model: Mathy Paquette
Photography: Kim Gaudreau
Hair & Make-up: Camille Lacasse

Fleur Romper

Merlot Lace Lingerie Set
Model: Mathy Paquette

Photography: Kim Gaudreau
Hair & Make-up: Camille Lacasse

Around the house...

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

When we purchased our home, not a whole lot had been done to it in the last 20 or so years... We got it for a good price but it needed a lot of updating. We've been here for a few years now and have changed all of the exterior doors, insulated the basement, installed a new bathroom vanity, some new flooring, jacked up the floors, have painted every room, updated wiring and electrical, installed a dishwasher and new appliances, and have done some landscaping. It still feels overwhelming, the work that needs to be done... we need to tear down and rebuild the falling down garage, repair the crumbling chimney... and I'd love to put on a small addition for my studio so that we can go back to having three bedrooms for guests (or a sibling for Isabel?).  But, that's not for a while yet.  Of course, we are having to do all of this on a very tight budget!

Over the last couple of weeks we checked a few things off our to-do list that have been lingering for a while. When we replaced the doors, the walls that are still lath and plaster crumbled... so, we repaired the plaster in the side entry, filled all of the cracks that appeared when we had previously jacked up the floors, and painted. I still need to put down some new flooring on the stairs, but for now, our side entry way looks 7000% better. No exaggeration!

our crumbing house!

Clean and bright!
 We had begun to plan to do our garage build this summer, but there is total chaos outside our house from now until October. Our entire street is torn up and we've lost a good chunk of our front lawn. The street is being widened and new sewer and water pipes are being installed. It's been an inconvenience (not to mention ugly and noisy), but when it's done everything will look new and pretty!

the summer of construction.
To escape from some of the ugly and add some privacy, Dan put up some lattice pannels on our front porch. I absolutely love it! It's like we have an extra living space now. We bought a small patio set for out there and how have a nice cool place to sit back and relax (after all of the construction crews have left).  And look how much my gardens are filling out!
My gardens are filling out.

But the really BIG thing that we have recently done is having painted all of the awful orange wood paneling that covered our entryway, stairs and upstairs hall. It wasn't your average wood paneling. It's this deep-grained, shiny, horrible orange paneling that was a nightmare to paint (and in general, a nightmare to look at). None of the corners or seams were finished very well so we went through a ton of spackle. I think at one point, part of one of the walls in the entryway was used as a bulletin board, or possibly a dart board... it was absolutely covered in holes.  Underneath the paneling is more crumbly lathe and plaster, which eventually will be removed. But, for anyone who has done that before you'll know it's a terribly dusty job, and not one I want to do with a small baby crawling around the house! The house feels so much brighter and cleaner now.

This window seat is what made me first love this house.

How our house looked when we bought it, and after we installed new flooring.
We keep toying with the idea of moving, but every time I look at the houses in our modest price-range, I never see anything that even compares to how much I like this house (warts and all). Maybe I'm just sentimental because we have done so much work to it. There is still so much to do... it is overwhelming. But each time we finish one project, I begin to love our little house even more!!!

Isabel started crawling a few weeks ago, pretty much right at the 8 month mark. Life is now really hectic. She's pulling herself up to standing and cruising around on her own around furniture. I can't believe how much she has changed in just a few weeks. She's starting to really be like a kid now!  She has 6 little teeth, is nibbling on finger foods (she is a cookie monster!), gives slobbery wet kisses, and says "dada" pretty much non stop.  She's a total cutie, and if you follow my Instagram you can get lots of Isabel Spam.

Free Pattern for July!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

I've got thick thighs. They're muscular from carrying around lazy pugs, hauling babies up stairs, and... a they're little chubby due to my love of ice cream and chocolate and poutine.  When I was younger, I used to be very thin, but age has but a few extra pounds on me. I don't really mind, but one thing that is a little annoying is when you're wearing a skirt or dress on a hot summer day and your sweaty thighs rub against one another as you're walking... The dreaded thigh chafe.

I tried making lace bands, but they just rolled up or fell down. I tried powders and creams, but those didn't last. So, I made some 1990's style bike shorts... and finally found something that works!

Get the Pattern Here
These are your basic fitted bike short. They have no side seam, and the pattern consists of only two pieces: The Shorts Piece and a Gusset. I added a gusset so you can wear these a la carte if you wish. 

It hasn't been terribly hot here this summer (not complaining), but I've still been getting a lot of wear out of these. They're great for under too-short skirts and dresses, or for wearing to bed with a tank top! I'll be honest... I sometimes just wear them all day because, let's face it, they're kind of cute.

I've added a size to this pattern: XXL. I personally find the sizing to be generous, especially if you sew these out of a good, 4-way stretch fabric.

These shorts don't require much... just some stretchy knit fabric (cotton/lycra is ideal), some wide stretch lace, a little fold over elastic for the waist (though I'm sure you could also make a casing and use regular elastic), and some thread. I've already made myself 3 pairs of these!

This pattern will be available for FREE for the month of July on Craftsy. After July it will no longer be free, so download it while you can!

PS. Today is my birthday!

PPS. I named these after Hilda the curvy pin-up.

New Pattern Collection

Saturday, June 27, 2015

I started working on these patterns right after I had Isabel. At first, things were easy... Izzy slept so much. Then she discovered the world and decided she never wanted to sleep again... But, with a whole lot of trial and error, lots and lots of patience, sticking to a routine, and a really good babysitter, I have finally accomplished something!

I wanted to create a collection of lingerie that could double as lounge wear. Comfortable, versatile pieces that are easy to sew. I wanted to take some vintage pieces, like '20's style tap pants and cami-knicker combo's, but modernize them. So, here they are! I hope you like them as much as I do!

The Alice Knickers are my take on 1920's style tap pants.  They have a modern low rise, and semi-circular cut which gives them a soft fluttery look.

I have a small collection of vintage slips. I've written about my love of slips before... they are so great to wear to bed. They are comfy but also so pretty. I've designed the Clementine Slip to be tight fitting, with just a little support under the bust.

The Eloise Shorts are perfect for wearing to bed. They are super short and have a low rise. I'm a lady with a bit of a tummy and like low rise garments because it doesn't cut into my new mom soft belly. The shorts have a flat front, but elastic at the back.

I posted a picture of the Emma Romper on Instagram months ago and had so many people asking me for this pattern! It took forever, but here it is. I've already posted a tutorial on how to sew it with a cinched waist.

The Hannah Chemise is one of my favorites. I came up with this style soon after I had Isabel and was still sporting a pretty significant belly. The soft gathers at the waist are so forgiving. The banding around the top allows you to experiment with different fabric combinations!

The Ivy Lace Panties are designed specifically for use with Scalloped Stretch Lace. I recommend using 8-9" wide stretch lace. I know that can be a tricky width to find, but Sew Sassy stocks it in quite a few colours.  You can sometimes also find regular width stretch lace that has a scalloped edge.

The Josephine Bralette is a style I've been making for a while. I really like it because it allows you to combine contrasting fabrics. The Josephine Bralette can be sewn two ways - either with a racer back or traditional hook and eye closure,

View A of the Nora Panties is my favourite thing right now! I want to make a dozen of these for myself. They are so comfortable and flattering. The Nora Pattern an be sewn so many ways. The pattern comes with instructions on how to make three variations... but I can think of a few other ways to sew them that would be fun too.

Lastly, is the Scarlett Bra. This is also a style that I've had in my lingerie shop for a while. The Scarlett pattern comes with instructions on how to style this bra two different ways. Racer back bras are my favourite right now. I'm not sure what it is, but I find them so comfy, and I love how they accentuate the shape of the back...

One of the new things I've been doing is working on some video's. I've started a YouTube Channel, where I post some demo's. If you've never sewn lingerie before and need a little help with the instructions, I'm hoping the video's will be a help to you.

I have one more thing in store to share with you... but that will have to wait for another day! I hope you like the patterns. 

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