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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Pattern Testers Needed

Update: I've received so many offers to help test my patterns! Thank you all so much. I'll be contacting testers over the following days. I apologize in advance if I don't get back to you specifically. I've been overwhelmed by the response! Thank you!

I'm so close to being finished my 2016 Pattern Collection. Holy Smokes have I learned a lot over the last few years.



As you may know, I studied fashion design at school and I learned a lot. However, the two things I did not learn was lingerie-making and computerized drafting!!! The lingerie-making I was able to pick up on my own over years of trial and error. The computing side of thing... that has involved a huge learning curve for me. I am still learning every day. I guess the point of my rambling is that no matter how knowledgeable or skilled you are, it's ok to not know everything! It's ok to be a total newbie. We're all newbie's at something. My venture into Digital Pattern Making has been a huge learning experience for me. I still have a lot to learn!

With each pattern collection I feel like I improve so much. Now I want to go back and re-edit all of my old patterns. I really want to thank all of you for your input over the years. I seriously take it all in - the good and the bad - and try to be better with each pattern release. I was super excited to collaborate with another pattern maker on one of my more complex patterns (hint: it has an underwire). I've incorporated a lot of new things in these patterns and really tried to reach outside of my comfort zone!

Right now I'm looking for a few people to test out my new collection of patterns before they are released.

Here is what I'm looking for:
1. Intermediate sewing skill with experience sewing lingerie.
2. Easy access to lingerie sewing supplies - underwire, casings, elastics, etc.
3. Pretty photos of your finished garments that you don't mind me sharing. These don't have to be professional photoshoots, but well lit and tastefully styled.

And Here's what I need know from you:
1. Were there any grammatical /typos/ spelling errors in the pattern instructions or on the pattern itself?
2. Did the patter print and assemble properly?
3. Were you able to follow the instructions to complete the garment?
4. Did you have any major assembly issues?

I'm also looking for a variety of sizes. For reference, you can check out my size chart below. I've added an extra size for my new collection of patterns.



Bust
Waist
Hips
Extra Small
34-35” (86-89cm)
24-25” (61-64cm)
33-34” (84-86cm)
Small
36-37” (91-94cm)
26-27” (66-69cm)
35-36” (89-91cm)
Medium
38-39” (96-99cm)
28-29” (71-74cm)
37-38” (94-97cm)
Large
40-41” (101-104cm)
30-31”(76-79cm)
39-40” (99-102cm)
X  Large
42-43” (106-109cm)
32-33” (81-84cm)
41-42” (107-107cm)
XX Large
44-45” (111-115cm)
34-35” (86-89cm)
43-44” (109-112cm)

If this sounds like a task you're up to, please send me an email or comment here. I'll be sending out patterns in the next few days/weeks. I have several patterns that need testing and will give you your choice of style.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

How I join my fold over elastic


This is something I've been wanting to post for a while! This is how I sew my FOE into a continuous loop. I've posted a video on my YouTube channel, but I know it can be hard to see exactly what I am doing... so, I hope this is helpful!

First, I cut the end of my elastic so that it overlaps my start-point by about 1/2" (keeping the same amount of tension on the elastic as you have done over the rest of your opening). I fold the raw end under by about 1/4".





Stitch right to the edge of the fold and lower your needle into the elastic. Raise the foot and pivot your garment so that the you can now zig-zag stitch over your folded edge, creating a nicely finished join. Backtack at the end of your stitching.


After that, just trim back any excess elastic on the wrong side and away you go! This area tends to get bulky so you may need to help it through your machine a little - I know my machine sometimes gets a little caught up on the bump that the join creates.

I hope this is helpful! Pretty much all of my patterns use Fold Over Elastic for edging. I like to use it because it comes in a million different colours, so it's easy to match with almost any fabric, but it can be tricky to finish.

Happy Sewing!


Monday, May 16, 2016

How to sew knit fabric without using a serger.


I sewed without a serger for years. Now that I have one (two actually) I feel like I couldn't live without it, but that doesn't mean you can't create beautifully finished garments without one.  I'm going to go over a few different stitches that most sewing machines will have that will allow you to sew seams in knit fabrics that stretch!

I sew on a Pfaff Select 150. It is a an entry level Pfaff, fairly basic with no computerizations, but like many machines, it comes with a variety of machines for sewing knits. The ones I use most often are a basic Zig-Zag Stitch (pretty much every domestic sewing machine will have this option), a Stretch Stitch, and an Overlock Stitch.  My previous machines, a 1970's Singer and a vintage blue Elna with discs that changed the stitches, all had these types of stitches.  


The zig-zag stitch is the most important of all of the stitches, especially for sewing lingerie. My Pfaff allows for great customization in the width and length of the stitch which is something I find very useful for lingerie sewing. For sewing seams on 4-way stretch fabrics, I opt for a narrow zig zag.  Using the narrow zig zag stitch allows you to sew your seam just as you would if you were using a zig-zag stitch.


The next stitch I want to mention is the Overlock Stitch. This stitch combines a straight stitch with a wide zig-zag stitch and looks kind of like the blind hem stitch. Before I got my serger, I liked to use it to finish raw edges after sewing my seams with a zig-zag stitch.

Zig-zag stitched seam with faux-overlocked edge
Using the Overlock stitch is easy, though can be a little slow because the machine has to do some fancy maneuvering.  Simply stitch so that the zig-zag segment of the stitch wraps over the raw edge of your fabric.  I find that this seam finish works best of sturdier knits, like cotton-lycra jersey. Lighter rayon jersey knits tend to roll a bit more for me.

Using the Overlock Stitch to finish raw edges.



The last stitch I wanted to mention is the Stretch Stitch (or at least that's what I call it). It creates a very stretchy seam, but on my machine, is pretty slow going because of the complexity of the stitch.  When I've used this stitch in the past, I've simply trimmed my seam allowance right back without any extra seam finish.


 If you are new to sewing knits, spend some time getting to know the different stitches on your machine. There are so many options for sewing stretch seams and finishing edges without having to use a serger. These are just a few options, and I hope you find them useful!



Monday, May 9, 2016

Making Do with Ugly Tile


Green.

This house has a lot of green.

Deep, forest green.

So, as I mentioned in my last house post, Dan and I are prettying up the inside of our 1930's beauty on a shoestring budget. That means for the time being we're focusing mostly on paint, window coverings, lighting etc, while we do some more important structural work to the house. If money weren't an issue, I'd gladly replace all this tile with something a little more neutral, but for now we have to make some of the more permanent fixtures work.

The purple wall colour really made the green pop.


Hi kitty!
This is our main bath. On one hand it is amazing. There is so much space, and if you know me, you know I love to bath. Baths are my thing, so a room that is almost entirely bathtub is pretty amazing. Before you say "but doesn't it cost a fortune to fill?" we pay a set charge for up to a certain amount of water, and we never go over that amount, so other than the awful environmental impact of using so much water, it's not a huge money drainer. That being said, eventually we'll put in a more reasonable sized tub.... for now, I'm enjoying swimming laps during my evening bubble bath.

This room also has a shower and a sink. There is a small powder room just off of it. To me, it's a little strange that there is no toilet in here, but also kind of nice.

This room also doubles as a laundry room. It is just off of our family room which is super convenient when I'm watching Isabel and doing laundry. The washer and dryer are currently housed behind glass sliding doors (just to reflect more of that green tile, I swear), and I hope to replace those with some sliding barn doors.


The green marble tile is a challenge. However, I don't hate it the way I hated the yellowy-gold floral tile in my old bathroom. This tile is new-ish, it's clean, and now that my walls are painted bright white, it almost takes on a black-ish shade. Painting out all of the oak trim really helped to neutralize the room.



Kitty is showing off our pretty stained glass windows.

Yup, even the top of the vanity got tiled.

I'm exceptionally happy with how this room looks now. It has some nice fixtures, like the big tub and steam shower, but the tile is definitely not my taste. I'm happy with how the white paint has toned everything down and will be content living with this room as is for the next several years. I would eventually like to remove all the tile and replace it with something more neutral, install a toilet and new tiled shower and vanity. The room itself is huge, and I believe it used to be a bedroom, so there is so much opportunity to have a super amazing bathroom in here.

Some people had suggested I paint the tile, but there is so much tile in here, I'd worry about it scratching or scuffing. While I'm not loving the colour of the tile itself, scratched or scuffed tile would bother me even more. For me, as long as things are clean and in good shape, I can usually survive with something a little less fashionable.

The small powder room next door to this room also has some questionable tile - mauvy purple with flowers. It's on my fall to-do list... one room at a time.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

A little mothers day gift.


A little gift for mothers day: 15% off all sewing patterns and handmade lingerie & sleep masks.
coupon code: TreatYourself
Expires Monday, May 9th 2016
Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Updating our 1930's kitchen.


The kitchen in our new house was in pretty rough shape when we first saw the house. There had been some water damage across an exterior wall (which has since been repaired) which was torn down to the studs, and the flooring was starting to come up due to it's age. There is still a lot  that I would like to do (new appliances, new countertop), but for now we've tidied it up with some paint, lighting and flooring on a pretty tight budget. I really love this room now. We have so much more counter space for preparing meals, and there is even a little breakfast nook (which we have yet to furnish!).





Our sunny kitchen window.
Buying the house and doing the major repairs, like replacing the furnace and taking down the chimney, sucked up a lot of our resources. We didn't want to get into any debt prettying up the place, so we've chosen projects that we could DIY.  We removed all of the cupboard doors,  removed the antique hardware, filled  the holes and sanded them down, then painted our cupboards in a two-tone colour scheme with white up top and grey-ish blue down below. We took a lot more time and care painting our cupboards this time around than we did in our old house. Let me tell you, painting cupboards is an ordeal. It is not a quick and easy project. It is long, annoying, and grueling. Be prepared to have your canned goods and dishes strewn throughout the house for weeks.




One of the most annoying parts of the paint-job was that the hinges had been painted over. We had to chip away the paint in order to fit a screwdriver into the screws. That alone took us a day, at least...

We replaced all of the vintage red hardware with new chrome cup pulls and knobs from ikea. We also had to replace the hinges. Hardware adds up, but it made a bit change.


We replaced a small piece of the countertop over the dishwasher. It wasn't even really made of countertop material, just some plywood with old tile on it. My parents recently renovated their kitchen and had a piece of wood countertop left over from their island they installed, so we were able to get that for free! I would like to eventually replace the rest of the countertops with the same, and tile the backsplash. I'm particularly proud of this little piece of countertop because I personally demo'd it. That sucker was screwed it good.

A little built-in in our breakfast nook



One of the things I've had the hardest time adapting to is our new range. First thing, just look at it. How the heck do you use that thing? I actually had to read the manual. Second, it's a gas cook top. I've only ever cooked on electric, and as a result burned ever grilled cheese sandwich I made for the first two months living here.  At first I really did not like this range, but it's really grown on me!


I really agonized over the flooring for this room. The rest of this house has hardwood (except for the extensively tiled bathrooms). I had originally envisioned tile, but we are dealing with a pretty lumpy floor and did not want to get into a new subfloor. We ended up choosing vinyl plank flooring, which was easy to install and is really easy to maintain. Dan and I are getting really good at laying quarter round.

A little place to hang our hats.
 I am happy to have kept many of the original features of the house, like the tall cupboards, but am glad it has a more updated look.  I'm also really happy the work is done (though I just remembered we still have to paint the trim... ugh).

I keep thinking back to our little apartment we shared in Orillia. We literally had one little block of counter space, which was usually filled with dirty dishes.  Now it feels like we have so much room. The four of us (don't forget Oliver!) can be in here comfortably with room to spare, and Dan takes up a lot of space so that's saying something! (Love you, Dan, but you are super tall)


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Easy FOE (Fold Over Elastic) Hair Ties that are sewn NOT knotted!



I have a lot of fold over elastic kicking around, and I often end up with little bits and pieces that I hoard away. I also lose things, particularly hair ties, so I've found a quick and easy way to use up those small bits of elastic to make hair ties that are amazing

Fold Over Elastic is nice and stretchy, with good recovery and the satin finish doesn't snag your hair. They are also nice and thick so if you often find your hair getting wrapped up in traditional elastics (like I do), this may just solve your problem. You've probably seen the knotted version of these hair ties, which are well and good, but I wanted mine to have a more polished finish.


How to make sewn not knotted FOE Hair Ties!

1. Cut a length of elastic about 8" long. I've got super thick hair, so if you have finer hair, you may want to cut it a little shorter.



2. Fold the elastic in half, with the right sides (shiny side) facing and stitch together using about a 3/8" seam allowance.


3. I snip back one edge of the Fold Over Elastic by about 1/8". I sometimes lightly singe the end with a lighter (please be careful if you choose to do this!), though I don't find that the elastic generally frays too badly.


4. Fold the seam allowance down so that the shorter end of the seam allowance is covered by the slightly longer end. Top stitch through all layers, being sure to backtack at the beginning and end of your seam. 



And that's it! It takes just a minute to make them and you'll never buy a hair tie again.  Wrap a few around a printed piece of cardstock, and they make a great addition to a handmade gift. It's also a great way to use all of that amazing printed FOE that I'm seeing all over Etsy (check out Peak Bloom, just as one example!).

Thanks to my beautiful friend, Susie, from Changing of the Garnet for modeling my little elastic for me!