4 hours ago

Pattern Testing – Anza Jumpsuit

I made a jumpsuit! And I love it, but when I made it and put it on, Shaun saw me and laughed for 2 hours straight. I am not even joking. I am starting to think he really doesn’t understand fashion. Poor lad.

This jumpsuit is a brand new pattern from Itch to Stitch designs. Anza Jumpsuit and Dress was released today and I am very excited to share my version.

I originally signed up to test the dress version. It is a lovely front buttoned V-neck dress that is super easy to throw on and look put together in. I was very excited to jump in, but after sleeping on it for a few nights I realized I actually wanted to give a jumpsuit a try… I was very surprised by this very strange to me urge. I always thought of jumpsuits as very fashion forward and I envisioned them on super fashionable pinterest-worthy ladies who always look like they are having endless coffees, fabulous lives and are always busy looking effortlessly great and fashionable at every time of day and night. This is not who I am, so I didn’t think jumpsuit was for me. Yet, there I was with this insane urge to make a jumpsuit.

After trying to talk myself out of it, I decided why not? I sew after all, if I hate it I’ll just swap the pant part for the skirt part! So I asked Kennis if I could change my assigned dress to jumpsuit and she agreed. I was so happy! My jumpsuit was to become a reality.

For  my fabric I chose to go with Mouse Gray Tencel Twill from Blackbird Fabrics. I bought enough of it as I was thinking of making a super lightweight Kelly Anorak, but changed my mind in favor of Anza Jumpsuit. Not to worry, I did buy enough cotton twill to make Kelly Anorak, so it will still happen in the foreseeable future.

Tencel twill was the perfect choice for this jumpsuit. It is very lightweight and has a beautiful drape. It is also breathable and will be perfect for warmer months. I also really appreciate that it is opaque so no lining is needed. As well as I just love the subtle texture and sheen of the fabric, it almost looks silky. Yet unlike silk, it is a lot easier to work with and it has more weight.

I adjusted the pattern to fit my body. I graded from size 6 at the bust to size 10 at the waist and 12 at the hips. Even though my waist is quite a bit smaller than size 10, I needed to make sure that there was enough width in the waist to get my hips through. The jumpsuit only unbuttons to the waist and then is pulled on through the hips. So if your waist is smaller size than hips, I would recommend not adjusting for it, or making sure that the final measurements of the waist will allow for your hips to slide through. All the extra fabric will be synched in with the elastic anyways. I would think this will not be as essential if you are making a dress version though, as you are likely to be putting it on over your head anyways.

My other adjustments included adding length to the bodice and extending the shoulder. I am tall (5’10”) and I have broad shoulders. So I added 1.5″ to the length of the bodice and 1″ to the shoulder. I also deepened the seat of the pants by scooping out the crotch curve. All of these are very standard adjustments for me.

In hindsight, I should have added more length to the bodice. I didn’t muslin this jumpsuit as in my experience Kennis’ patterns are always on point and I figured I can make it work with loose fit, all the extra seams and pattern parts. Once I basted the top and the bottom pieces together I felt that I could really use an extra 3/4″ in length of the bodice. So my easy solution to this was to simply widen the waistband and attach it as its own piece, instead of Kennis’ unique way to attach waistband on top of the bodice. This worked out great and I am very happy with the result.

Once the jumpsuit was all finished and I tired it on, I decided that I want my extra wide cuff to be a little smaller. So I simply folded it over! That is why my cuff may look slightly different from other testers’ cuffs. I like both options but I felt that on me folded over cuff looked better.

I love this jumpsuit! I simply can not wait till it warms up enough to wear it. It snowed today in Calgary… so it still may be a few weeks for jumpsuit worthy weather.

As I’ve mentioned, Shaun found it hard to appreciate the beauty and fashion forwardness of this jumpsuit. He actually laughed for a couple hours while I paraded around the house in my jumpsuit, while holding a glass of wine and refusing to respond to him, because “I don’t talk to haters”.

Let me tell ya, did I ever feel polished and put together in my get up! Even though my hair hasn’t been washed in days and was beyond dry-shampooing, part of my make up ended up under my eyes and the other part left my face completely earlier in the day, my nail polished was chipped to almost non-existence on some of my nails and my legs weren’t shaved in weeks. But still, I felt beautiful and sophisticated. I even tried to converse in my very choppy and very forgotten French while I sat there sipping wine and ignoring Shaun’s giggling. “Violette à bicyclette” is usually my go-to phrase. I am clearly very cultured.

So my conclusion is jumpsuits make you feel awesome, put together and pinterest worthy. Well, jumpsuits, or wine. Either one will do.

What do you think of the new Anza pattern? Will you be making it? Would it be a dress or jumpsuit? Or may be both?

On that note, I am off to start another week of working.  I hope you all have a wonderful day!

Love,
Anya

 

P.S. This blog post contains affiliate links, but all opinions, as usual, are my own 🙂

2 weeks ago

Hampton Jean Jacket

You guys! I made a jean jacket!!! You’ve probably seen it on Instagram already but still, I am so pumped about this one.

I am so, so excited to finally write about this jacket! I was so honored when Alina asked me if I would test the Hampton Jean Jacket pattern for her, I agreed right away. When I saw the technical drawings of the jacket I was squealing with excitement.

I have been wanting to make a jean jacket for years. I remember looking at jean jacket patterns back in 2010, but I didn’t want to attempt it yet. I have trouble finding jean jackets that fit me right. Actually just like any other jacket and coat. Ready to wear stuff looks off on me, so much so that I have given up on finding a good fitting jean jacket a while back.

I am not going to tell you that it is a fast and easy project, it is definitely more involved. But! It is very manageable and so rewarding in the end. I have no doubts that anyone can make a jean jacket using this pattern if they are willing to invest some time. I am always impressed by Alina’s drafting and instructions. This pattern is not an exception. It was clearly apparent to me that she spent a very long time thinking over the pattern and coming up with the best ways to put it together and write instructions. You can see and feel Alina’s dedication to her craft in this pattern. It’s quite amazing actually.

It will be an understatement to say that the instruction are very thorough. If the paper could hold my hand, these instructions would be giving me hugs every so often. And I love hugs. Some of the steps are really cool too! I love how both front pockets are assembled.

The amount of pattern pieces can seem a little overwhelming, but I tell ya, once you put together those front and back panels it becomes significantly less scary. And putting together the bodice pieces is very easy.

The instructions tell you to either use flat felt seams, for super clean finish on the inside, or faux felt seams to make it easier. I opted out for faux felt seams. I was on a tight schedule trying to finish the jacket before we left for the weekend and I was also feeling lazy and needed an excuse not to do the actual flat felt seam. It worked out perfectly!

May be on my next jacket I would do flat felt seams, but my topstitched and serger finished seams do not bother me at all. It also sped the whole thing up significantly.

For my denim I chose light wash cotton denim I bought from Blackbird fabrics a long time ago. I bought this denim in black for a pair of Morgan Jeans and I loved it so much I ended up buying it in every color way. I still have a very indigo piece in my stash, waiting for it’s moment.

I love my denim worn in and weathered, so I knew right away I will be distressing the jacket as I put it together. It does take longer to make the garment, but results in a nicer jacket in the end. I sanded every panel and every seam AFTER I stitched it together, but BEFORE topstitching it. This way my topstitching thread stayed intact.

For sanding I used a mixture of power sander and hand held sander. I find that I like having both on hand, but if I had to chose one I would go with hand held sander. It provides for a more accurate and nicer finish. I used 80 grit sandpaper on both. I started off sanding with power sander to soften the fabric, and would finish off with hand held sander. Then do my topstitching. It is definitely a slow process but it is so worth it for that worn in look.

After I put the jacket together I felt that I wanted it to be even more vintage-y looking. I tried bleaching denim samples but it was just lightening up the blue. What I was looking for instead was a greenish or brownish tint to my denim. I toyed around with the idea of throwing my jacket on the driveway and driving over it a few times with my car, but I felt awful doing that to something I just made with so much love!

I started thinking about potentially dyeing my jacket in some sort of low solution of dye to water, but I eventually stumbled upon tea dyeing. I heard about tea dyeing in lingerie making. The idea is to take out the brightness of the white and to give the fabrics and notions a nice off-white tint. This is exactly what I wanted for my jacket! And it was all natural and I could use one of my cooking pots without any issues.

I started off with boiling a water in my biggest pot. Then I added about 10-15 black tea bags to it and let it sit for a few minutes. While the tea was brewing, I made myself some tea as well. Nothing like tea dyeing while drinking tea if you ask me!

My pot was not big enough for my jacket, so I transferred all the water into a bigger plastic bucket. I discarded all the tea bags as I didn’t want them to settle anywhere on the jacket and stain parts of it more than the rest. I held my jacket under running water to make sure it was all wet and then submerged it into my steeped tea mixture.

Using tongs I flipped the jacket around every so often. I want to say every 15 minutes but in reality it was whenever I remembered. The jacket stayed in the tea for about an hour or a little longer. At this time I ran it through a quick wash and hung it to dry.

When the jacket dried I didn’t think much of it until I took a picture of it for comparison. When I put the pictures side by side I was very impressed with the results! This is the exact tint I was looking for.

I will definitely be tea dyeing denim in the future again. The idea here is the more tea bags you use the darker the garment will become. And the same with the length of time you keep it submerged. At the same time, tea dye is not a chemical dye, so I can’t imagine your garment turning full on brown quickly.

To wrap this post up, I am very happy with my Hampton Jean Jacket! It is a fantastic pattern and I definitely recommend it. Alina is doing a very thorough sew-along on her blog right now, and seriously I think it will be really hard to mess this one up. I am very excited to start seeing these jackets popping up on social media soon!

Love,
Anya

P.S. The pictures where I am wearing jeans were taken before tea dyeing the jacket. The pictures in pink skirt were taken after the jacket was dyed.

 

 

2 weeks ago

Kommatia Cocoon Cardigan

Where to begin the post about this cardigan? It is so insanely cozy and comfy, I don’t ever want to take it off again. I think it is a perfect combination of fabric and pattern.

Last year I accidentally stumbled across Kommatia Patterns on Etsy. I loved the designs but the company was new to me and I haven’t heard much of them at that point. It turns out Kommatia is a fellow Canadian brand based out of Montreal. After my inability to get Jessica’s designs out of my head, I decided to give their Pleated Trousers a chance and I was absolutely smitten. I also just realized I’ve never blogged about the trousers… and I am even planning to make another pair soon here…

The Cocoon Cardigan is a very long cardigan with a cozy cocoon shape. It has a kimono sleeve with a wide sleeve band and inseam pockets. At first I was considering shortening the cardigan, but I decided to go with the original design.

For my fabric I chose super soft cloud nine knit from Blackbird Fabrics. This knit is so soft and feels so luxurious, it almost feels like cashmere. Unsurprisingly, I managed to convince myself to buy a lot of it… I’ve already made two sweaters out of beige and grey colours, and I still have some beige knit left for Blackwood Cardigan I am planning for summer. This fabric is amazing!

The only suggestion I have for you, if you bought this fabric and haven’t made anything yet, keep your iron on very low heat. This fabric doesn’t like hot iron. It also stretches really well, so if you are making a sweater I would recommend shortening the neckband and hem bands just a touch.

This cardigan is such an easy sew! Especially if you have a serger. It is fast. The only part that was a little cumbersome was attaching the band to the circumference of the cardigan. It is just so long… But I did it on the first try. All the notches were very helpful!

As I mentioned I considered shortening the cardigan but I am so glad that I didn’t do it in the end! I love how long and cozy this thing is. I have been wrapping myself up in it every chance I get. I also didn’t expect how well it would pair with so many things in my closet. It turned out to be a great staple! I imagine I will be wearing it all the time as it gets warmer.

Also, I had to take these photos twice. First time my camera was acting up and didn’t focus correctly. But I had so much fun photographing the cardigan the first time because Misha decided to photobomb me and refused to leave. I just have to share it!

What a change from this, eh? My fluffy bear dog is almost all grown up!

 

Until next time,
Anya

3 weeks ago

Blackwood Cardigan

I have been feeling under the weather for the past few days here which has been slowing down my sewing, but has provided me with opportunities to catch up on blogging! I don’t need to say that this post is overdue. It has been overdue for what feels like months! The testing for this pattern was completed sometime in the beginning of February, and here we are at the beginning of April… Well, better late than never!!

I was over the moon when Helen asked me if I wanted to test Blackwood cardigan pattern. It is Helen’s second pattern. I really appreciate that her patterns are very beginner friendly and have thorough instructions. Yet the garments look anything but simple and both patterns are great wardrobe builders. I am very curious to see where she takes her patterns in the future!

I signed up to test the longer version, view A, but I knew that I would be making both versions and something in the middle in the future. My first Blackwood cardigan I sewed up exactly as per instructions. I chose the size based on my measurements. It is interesting to see that the final garment measurements do not provide the bust circumference. That is simply because the cardigan is not meant to close. It is a layering piece and is meant to be worn open.

For my first try I chose a very inexpensive mustard knit I had in my stash. It is some kind of polyester blend that I scored on sale at FabricLand a few years ago. I loved the color, but I wasn’t a fan of the feel of the fabric on my skin. Making a cardigan out of it seemed to be a perfect way to use this fabric up.

For my second and third versions of the cardigan I chose to shorten both the length of the body by about 5”, and the sleeve by about 1”. This resulted in a cardigan length being somewhere right in between view A and B. I wanted a cardigan to hit my low hip since I noticed that this is my favourite length of a cardigan.

This time around I skipped the pockets since I wanted to make the cardigans really fast. Seriously, when you skip the pockets on the cardigan the whole thing can come together in an hour and a half! It’s that fast.

In hindsight, I wish I left the arm length alone. I love the longer feel of the sleeve and the way it bunches on my wrist, but it is not a deal breaker at all.

When I first made all three cardigans I thought I would be wearing my teal and gray ones more often, but I can not believe how often I have been reaching for the long mustard one! I have been practically living in it on weekends. It is so comfy.

If you are worried to sew with knits, don’t fear! You do not need a serger to make this cardigan. You can make the whole thing on your sewing machine. Helen shows you how to. And if you are still scared, remember, you can skip those pockets to make the whole thing as easy as possible.

I am very impressed with this pattern and overall it is one of y favourite go-to patterns. I am planning to make two more of these for spring and summer season. I am still unsure of the length of each, but I know that I will make at least one view A. Nonetheless, both views are great layering pieces and the greedy side of me really wants one in every colour!

Love,
Anya

4 weeks ago

A Quick Update

I have been pretty quiet on the blog in the last few months. I have so many ideas of what I want to write about and so many makes to share with you, especially after my productive stay-cation, or should I say sew-cation, I took in February. However, life has really been getting in a way lately. Part of me thinks that no one would even really notice, yet I think that update for my readers is in order. So prepare yourself for a long blog post. I’ll throw a few random photos and a couple photos of fabric in to make it more fun and break the text. Deal?

One of the biggest changes that happened over here is that Shaun and I have drastically moved the timeline of our wedding. We got engaged in December 2016 and we took the first few months to enjoy the holidays and the high that comes with being newly engaged. Originally we planned to have a destination wedding in November 2018, maaaay be February 2018 if we jumped on it right away. We have been to quite a few Mexico destination weddings and we loved every single one of them. Besides I hear that they are easier to plan! So we were sold on the idea. Unfortunately, we have recently realized it was not going to workout as a few of very key people would not be able to make it. So it was decided that the wedding will be in Calgary!

I am not even bothered by this change, the most important thing to me is that I marry Shaun, and it doesn’t matter where it happens. Even if we do it in our backyard! I also want a pretty dress, but the groom is kind of on top of my list.

Once we figured out the location of the wedding, it hit us (ahem, me) that this thing is not going to plan itself. As well as, we really didn’t want to live through planning it for another year. At that point we (ahem, me again) hit the ground running….

I didn’t know even where to start! But somehow 3 weeks, 1 amazing spread sheet (are you even surprised?), a lot of appointments and phone calls later, we have most of this wedding organized! We managed to secure the location we love, a caterer, a great photographer, a very nice commissioner, order the invitation and get the whole thing pretty much planned out. There is still a lot of work, but at least I don’t feel like every free minute of my life is taken by the stress of either planning or not knowing what happens next.

Oh, and special thank you and shout out to Heather for mentioning Lougheed House when we went for a coffee a few months ago. That’s where we will get married in September 2017! It is a historic building and a museum here in Calgary, and it is simply a gorgeous location.  I can not wait to get married there!

Now all of this brings me to the question of the dress. As someone who sews I get asked all the time whether I will be making my dress. I toyed around with idea of making my dress for a while, but I didn’t even know what style I wanted. I decided to go dress shopping early, just to narrow down the final style. I envisioned something light and airy, nothing too puffy since it was supposed to be a beach wedding.

Even though I loved those simple airy dresses, but they didn’t feel like me. I was gravitating to something a tad more dramatic and fun. After trying on a lot of dresses in early January and looking at them inside out in the fitting room, I decided against it. They were so intricately made! It is actually quite interesting to see a wedding dress from inside. The amount of work that went into it was clearly immense. I think I could have definitely done it if I really wanted it, but I decided not to.

Fabric photo 1 – how lovely is this fabric batch from Blackbird Fabrics? The gray cloud knit is already gone, the rest I can not wait to get to…

Back to my wedding dress.

I want only positive feeling associated with my dress. And I know a project this big will most certainly have its share of frustrations and mistakes. I also know myself and making my own very involved dress would stress me out. Planning a wedding is enough and I really don’t want to add more to it. I want to enjoy this year of being engaged! I want to continue making things I want to make on a whim. I also want to keep working on decorating our partially renovated house. Adding a wedding dress project would most definitely take away from all of it.

Besides, I actually found a dress I want on that very trip in January! It was everything I was looking for without even realizing it. As soon as I put it on I knew it was either the one, or very close to it. After sleeping on it (I really wish I could say “in it”), and taking my mom to see it, it was clearly apparent that it was the dress for me. We bought it the same day. I remember thinking that my wedding would not be happening for another year and a half, why would I rush and buy the dress now? I can always come back for it… Yet, I had a feeling that I needed to buy the dress. Boy, was I ever conflicted and I was second guessing my feelings trying to make sure I am not having a bridezilla moment and throwing a tantrum! In hindsight, it probably was my version of bridezilla moment as I was asking everyone if they thought “I should wait, ” or  “it was okay to buy dress this early” or if “I am pushing this dress thing too much”, and “are you sure?…”. Eventually my mom lovingly but sternly, and in a slightly annoyed way, told me that “It’s fine, just buy the damn dress!!!”

I am SO glad I went with my gut feeling of buying the dress back then! The dress will just be ready in time for September wedding and its one less headache for me.

Apparently all my experience with posing for this blog did not translate into having nice photos of me trying on various dresses. There was not a single photo on me with a “normal” face. Not a single one. I am so glad I have some time to practice my “eternal love face” before the wedding. I clearly need it.

Even though I am not making my own dress, I will be making dresses for my bridesmaids. I really want all three of my ladies to have well made dresses that fit them. It is also very important to me that they are able to wear the dresses again after the wedding. I am thinking of using Marbella Dress by Itch to Stitch as my pattern for bridesmaids dresses, and going with the half sirkle skirt variation. It is such a beautiful simple A-line dress and it has pockets! The pattern also comes in 4 different cup sizes, which will make things a lot easier for me.

Fabric photo 2 – these lovelies are from Earth Indigo. They carry great selection of rayon knits. I see many t-shirt in my future…

 

If you are following me on instagram, you would also know that I’ve done quite a bit of pattern testing in the last couple months. In between that, wedding planning and life, I really have dropped off the face of the earth. I am hoping that I will be able to get back into the swing of things soon here. I have so many finished projects to share! As well as many ideas, one of which is I simply can’t decide which shirt dress to make for the #sewtogetherforsummer challenge. Thankfully, the contest is not closing till June so I still have time to get my stuff together here.

Thank you so much for reading till the end! On that note, I am going to wrap this up and go work on my brother’s winter coat for a bit. He has been getting really upset that it is the end of March and he doesn’t have it yet. He can be so impatient…

Until next time,
Anya

 

 

 

 

2 months ago

Estelle Vest

This vest was not a planned make. I have admired long flow-y vests and dusters on others, but I have turned down an idea of having one for myself outright when they first started appearing on my instagram and pinterest feed. Then one day, it hit me. I must have one. There was no “may be I should consider it”, it was simply  “I must have one” and now. I tried to talk myself out of it by telling myself that it may be a fad garment and I probably won’t have a use for it. I am really trying to make things that I will wear over and over again, so I thought this vest idea wouldn’t meet the requirements. Still I couldn’t change my own mind. It became even harder when I realized I had the perfect fabric in my stash that I have been saving for some sort of sweater. At that point it was a done deal… there was no turning back. The vest was to become a reality.

Keep reading “Estelle Vest”