Canadian Collective

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A while back, I mentioned a side-project I was working on. I used to co-manage a team on Etsy, called Team Canuck.  After Etsy changed their layout, we had to re-think the direction of our team.  We "rebranded" and renamed ourselves the Canadian Collective. Over the last few months, Kathleen and  I have been busy making the Collective into a place where shoppers can find the best Canadian handmade & vintage goods that Etsy has to offer, as well as providing support to Canadian-based Etsy sellers. It's been a lot of work, but it's also been a lot of fun! The thing I've loved most about the project is getting to meet my "neighbours."

This weekend, we are running a group promotion. Twenty Five members are offering discounts, from 10-20% off... I'm offering 15% off in both my Pattern & Lingerie Shops! The coupon code is CanadianChristmas, and the sale ends Monday!

Here's just a small sampling of the shops participating in the sale:

From left to right: Teaka MarieTrowel & Paintbrush, Ohhh Lulu, G Brosseau PhotographyREBEL by FATEOhhh LuluGazaboo VintageDark RideCrafted by LindyOhhh Lulu SewsTwo MoxieSeeing StarsG Brosseau PhotographyB StudioKiwi Tini Creations...

Two Weeks

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Two weeks have already passed! It seems like Izzy has been here forever, and at the same time like I just had her yesterday.  I see what they mean when they say "it goes by so fast..."

Dan went back to work this week so Izzy, Oliver and I are settling into a routine (or at least we are trying). Last week and into early this week was a little tumultuous. Izzy and I were not compatible breast feeders and as a result, she wasn't gaining weight and was getting hungry and cranky... after hours and hours and hours each day of trying and struggling (she could not stay awake to breastfeed, and we tried everything), we decided along with the very amazing and supportive nurse at the breast feeding clinic, that we would pump and bottle feed Izzy. I was upset at first, but I have to admit that it is really working well for us. We have a happier baby and a happier me. Dan enjoys getting the chance to spend extra time bonding and feeding her, and it gives me more flexibility. The thing that really sold me on bottle feeding this baby was the way she lit up when she finally had a full stomach!  So now I've got to get into the routine of pumping, preparing the occasional bottle of formula and washing endless bottles... I never expected to bottle feed this early so I also had to learn how to prepare bottles, and how to feed her from a bottle! I was surprised at how much guilt I felt at not being able to figure out the breastfeeding thing. I was really grateful at how supportive both my doctor and the nurse at the breastfeeding clinic were. As I learned with my birth experience, baby calls the shots... so you might as well throw your plans out the window.  Do what works best for you and your babe.

One week

I've noticed a huge difference in her over the last few days.  She sometimes practices a variety of facial expressions (which may or may not be fart related). She loves to just focus on your face and stare. She is alert and curious and likes to go on walks with me and Oliver, wrapped up in one of her carriers. Now that we have a feeding system all set up, she is a pretty easy baby (knock on wood).  While my opinion may be biased, I think she's also one of the prettiest babies I've ever seen!

Two Weeks!
I've been so lucky to have so much support throughout the last few weeks, from friends & family near and far.  On Monday, I checked the mail and found a surprise package from my friend Kathleen.  She painted the beautiful piece for us below.  I absolutely love it, and can't wait to frame it up and hang it in the nursery! Kathleen wrote about her process for this piece on her blog.

Painting by Kathleen Maunder
I'm really hoping to get a little bit of studio time this week, but we'll see how it goes...

She's here!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A week ago at this time, Dan and I were at the hospital, listening to the baby's steady little heartbeat.

Baby Izzy at two days old.

Birthin' a baby was nothing like how I expected. While this isn't a baby blog (and I won't go into graphic detail, don't worry), I'd love to share my experience because the idea of birth was something I found really terrifying... and in reality is actually a pretty amazing, not that scary experience (and the best total body workout of your life)... even when things don't go quite the way you plan.

  I felt like I went in to this experience with no real birth plan, but as the big day approached I realized there were definitely things I envisioned and things I really did not want to happen. I had some vague vision of labouring in the jacuzzi tub, rocking around on the birth ball, getting massages from Dan. I really wanted to avoid an inductions, as I heard they increase the pain and possible medical interventions... and I really didn't want to be stuck in a bed. But ultimately my birth plan was "get the baby out in the most efficient and safe way possible." After all, no matter what you plan on, your body and your baby call the shots.
My water broke early on Sunday Morning.  It was not nearly as dramatic as in the movies. In fact, it took me a few hours to realize I'd better get by butt to the hospital.  We went in at about 8 and got looked over. My doctor just happened to be doing rounds so he was able to check us out and send us home, with a plan to come in for monitoring every 12 hours or so. Between hospital visits, I felt great. We went out for lunch, ordered pizza, watched movies, tidied up the house... went back and forth to the hospital for check-ups. Finally at about 1:30 on Monday morning I started getting contractions. Never in my life was I so excited to have horrible stomach pains every 10, 9, 8... minutes! We waited until they were about 6 minutes apart, called the hospital, then headed in.  We took a seat and waited to see a nurse.... and the contractions stopped.  Completely just stopped.

We waited around a bit. There seemed to be a mini-baby boom at the hospital (a result of a brutal winter?), and things were very busy. I kept hoping that things would just happen "the way they should" but after 30+ hours of waiting for labour to start, we decided we'd induce. The crappy part was it had to be administered by IV, and I'm scared of needles and being stuck in a bed. I was surprised by how disappointed I felt about being induced, but at one week past my due date I was also pretty ready to be done being pregnant. 
So, I got a few jabs, was set up in a delivery room, got comfortable in bed because I knew I'd be there for the next several hours, and we started the induction. Contractions started very fast, were regular, and we were rolling.  I took a shot of some pain medication and we literally just chilled out with the nurse for about 4 hours or so, chatting, watching tv, and really just having a good time! The pain medication didn't really do anything for the pain, but definitely took away any anxiety. Between that, keeping your mind calm, and some practiced, yoga breathing, labour was really manageable and not scary. 

I guess it must have been about 3:30 when the pain got really intense and I decided I'd give that epidural a try. I have to say, the pain wasn't the worst pain I've felt in my life, but I am of the mindset that if I can avoid being in really bad pain, why not? I was pretty freaked out by the idea of a spinal catheter, but in reality the procedure was quick and painless. By the time it was in place, the nurse looked at me and said "something is different, I think you're ready to have the baby." Sure enough, the epidural hardly had time to kick in and the baby was on her way.  I was terrified that the epidural would leave me numb, but I still had a ton of feeling (and was walking around an hour after delivering).  I pushed for an hour and a half, between which we were joking and laughing with our nurse and doctor, and at 5:36 pm my beautiful baby Isabel was resting on my chest. In total, I was only in active labor for about 5 and a half hours.

I wanted to share this story because as I was pregnant, I read a lot of scary things about "medicalized" deliveries. I had a very medical birth. Induction, pain medication, epidural, etc., and it in now way diminished my experience. I left the delivery room feeling so proud of myself for doing what I had done, and so happy with my experience... In fact, my experience couldn't have gone better and I've basically been raving about giving birth all week (ha! I never would have believed it). We were all calm, and relaxed, and most importantly, we ended up with the most beautiful, healthy baby girl.  My advice to anyone about to have their first baby, or planning on having a baby is to go into things with an educated but open mind, and most importantly, do what you feel will be best for you and your little one.

Since Monday, I have spent hours just looking at her thinking "How on earth did I ever create something so beautiful?"  I can easily say, she is the most amazing thing I've ever had the pleasure of being a part of...

We brought Oliver home from my parents last night and had our first real night as a "family" together. Oliver is adjusting well to having  a very loud little sister, and Isabel doesn't seem to even be phased by Oliver's snorts and barks.

So, it's been an exhausting week, but I am so glad to have her out in the world with us! I'm sure I'll be spamming the blog soon with pictures... hope you don't mind. She really is adorable and has two very proud parents.

PS. I apologize in advance for typos, spelling errors, sentences that may just drift off... I'm running off of about 4 hours of sleep a day

What I'm working on...

Friday, October 17, 2014

Now that my sewing work is on hiatus, I've had a bit of time to work on my Pattern Shop... this is something I've wanted to do for a long time. I've been rephotographing items, editing photos, and coming up with sewing pattern bundles!  All of the patterns remain the same, but the photos are all new and fresh...  You'll be seeing new Pattern Bundles being added over the next few days, so keep an eye out in the shop!

Lola Panties Variations

One of my favourites... the Lola Panties!
One of my most popular bras, the Jasmine.

Now available in a set... the Jasmine + Lola Pattern Bundle!

Sewing for me...

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The nice thing about the baby being a little off schedule is that I've had some time to sneak in some sewing for me...!  I recently bought a couple fabrics online to make a couple pairs of Hudson Pants, but while I'm waiting for that to arrive, I thought I'd stock my own lingerie drawer. 

A couple months ago, I needed a racer-back style bra for under a specific top I wanted to wear. So, I made a Jasmine Bralette for with criss-cross straps, and no back closure, just pull on style in natural organic cotton jersey, and it quickly became my favourite bra. I seriously would wear it for days, without it coming off...  I figured I'd better make one in black too, since black tends to be the colour you will find me in most!  Being heavier chested, I like the criss-cross straps in the back I feel like it evens out the weight of the bust across my back better. It's an easy alteration to make to the Jasmine Bra - just make slightly longer straps, and cross 'em in the back.  I used 1/2" strapping, which works fine for me, but I kind of wish I could have used something a little wider... I just didn't have any in stock!

I made this bra out of a single layer of cotton-lycra jersey. It's about the weight of a good pair of yoga pants, which is great for me because it provides a litle extra support.  Also, you can't see it, but when I make these bras for myself, I put in 3/4" band elastic, instead of standard 1/2". Again, no alteration needed to the pattern, but it's a good tip for ladies with larger than a DD bust.

Since I've been pregnant, I've found a slightly looser band to be more comfortable (I think because of the pressure on my ribcage).  So, this pull on style, as opposed to a back closure, really works well for me.  I feel like it would even make a great light-weight exercise bra for yoga, or when I get back into lifting.

I've talked a bit before about manipulating the Jasmine Pattern to suit a larger bust. I've graduated to a G cup (ugh) during my pregnancy and I still find these to be the most comfortable bras for my body type... not all full-bust ladies would agree, but for myself and my body type, unwired bras are still the best.  I do a really simple pattern alteration for myself, and cut between a small-large for the cups (start by cutting size small around the band, and graduate to large towards the apex of the bust), and cut a size small for the back band.  I also add a bit of height to the cup - really important for larger bust sizes. There isn't just more to cover horizontally around the chest, but vertically as well.

And of course, I had to have bottoms to match. I made two pairs to go wtih this top.  A plain organic cotton pair, and a cotton lycra floral pair.  For these, I used my Zooey Bikini Bottom Pattern. The pattern comes with instructions on how to make them as lined Swim Bottoms, but if you ignore the lining on the front and back panties, they make great bikini-cut panties. I've LOVED these during my pregnancy because they are low cut, and the elastic (in this case, stretch lace) around the legs keeps the fabric in place. I think I've made myself about 7 pairs of these in the last few months. I'll be doing a step by step tutorial on these bad boys when I get a chance. 


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Today is my due date... and so far no sign of baby. Every once and a while I think I feel a contraction, then I wonder if it was just something I ate... Pregnancy really took it's toll on me over the last week, and I have been feeling very achy and tired. Today I managed to take Oliver for a walk all the way around the block, do some cleaning, get dinner in the slow cooker, and ship off an order.  I also did a bit of sewing for the baby! I'm trying to keep myself occupied as much as possible to make the time go by a little faster.

I think I've done everything I can possibly do to prepare for the baby's arrival... I've washed the diapers half a dozen times, pre-washed most of the clothes, practiced putting on my maya wrap, packed/unpacked/repacked the hospital bags, done prenatal yoga, etc, etc... I never, ever in my life thought I'd be looking forward to excruciating labour, but seriously, this waiting is killing me!!! The other day, I realized that (because of the miscarriage in September) I've only spent 3 of the last 16 months NOT pregnant.  I feel like I've done pregnancy... I'm practically a pregnancy expert now (kidding!). I'm ready to see what this next part is all about (not to mention the fact that my back and hips are so sore). 

Anyway, enough complaining about my aches and pains... Today I made a couple little sweatshirts for baby. I'm obsessed with these patterns from Brindille & Twig. The Sweatshirt pattern is my favourite though. They are so quick and easy to sew up, and are a great way to make use of smaller scraps of knit fabric.

I used this pattern once already to make a black and red floral top. Today I made another in floral, but with chevron knit banding, and one in black and white knit with a lace applique.  I'm hoping these will be easy to put on and comfortable for the babe.  Now if only she'd hurry up and get here!!

Ohhh Lulu Pattern Hacks: Brigitte Strappy Bra

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Brigette Triangle Bra is my favourite bra pattern. While it is still a light-support garment, it can also offer adequate coverage for larger busts, while also being sexy and fitting well under every-day clothes.  There are lots of interesting ways to style the Brigette Bra - you can sew it in a solid jersey, sheer lace, add bows or ruffles, or add trendy strap detailing like I'm about to show you here!

What you will need:
2. Supplies for the Brigette Bra
3. Three additional 1/2" Rings
4. Three pieces of 1/2" strap elastic, approximately 2" long each.
5. Approximately 1/2-3/4 yard (depending on size of bra you are making) additional fold over elastic


1. Assemble the bra according to the pattern instructions, and apply neckline elastic.

2. Fold additional piece of Fold Over Elastic in half and stitch closed with a zig-zag stitch.

3. Cut the stitched piece of FOE (fold over elastic) in half and trim it back so that it measure approximately 1" longer than the front neckline edge (see picture below). 

4. Wrap 2" lengths of strap elastic around metal rings and stitch closed.

5. With a zig-zag stitch, apply band elastic to the right side of the garment. Decorative edge of band elastic should be pointing up, towards the top of the garment as it will get folded under in a later step.

6. Baste one metal ring piece onto the the wrong side of the (CF) Center Front of the garment and trim back any excess seam allowance.  The piece of strapping should extend approximatley 1/2" beyond the band elastic.

7. Turn Band Elastic under and top stitch in place with a zig-zag stitch, as directed in the pattern instructions. When you get to the CF, stitch carefully over the piece of strapping.

8. Apply elastic to the remaining upper edge of the bra, leaving a 1" tail of elastic beyond the "peak" of the cup - follow the pattern instructions for how to apply elastic.

9. Place the Strap & Ring piece over the "Tail" of elastic that extends beyond the cup, and secure in place with a row of stitching.
(sorry for the fuzzy photo!)

10. Turn the excess elastic under and top stitch across with a narrow zig-zag stitch. Make sure to careful back-tack in place as this will become a point of stress on the garment - you'll want to make sure it's stitched securely!

11. We now have rings placed at the CF and peak of each cup!

12. Using the folded pieces of FOE, secure one end of each piece around the CF ring. I use a zig-zag stitch to secure in place. Trim back excess FOE as close to your stitching line as possible.

13. Wrap opposite end through the ring at the peak of the cup. The folded piece of FOE should run parallel with the edge of the Front Neckline.

 14. Follow the pattern directions to complete the straps and back closure.

And... that's it! It's a few more steps and some fiddly details, but this style looks great under loose tanks and sheer tops. You can easily use this same tutorial to add strap detailing to the Sarah Longline Bralette as well!

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