2 months ago

An Orla Affair

You guys have already heard that July is an Orla Affair month hosted by Rachel from Maker Style, Maddie from Maddie Made This, Allie from Allie J. and yours truly. This post was meant to go up on the first of July, but I was leaving for a vacation and with all the running around I didn’t get a chance to get to it prior to going into a no-reception zone. My sincere apologies for it! I promise the rest of my posts this month will be prompt and hopefully full of inspiration and information.

I can not say enough good things about Orla Dress. It is a FREE pattern from French Navy and it is absolutely wonderful! The pattern is really well drafted and is amazing as is, or can serve as a great start off point for numerous pattern hacks.

Keep reading “An Orla Affair”

3 months ago

Me Made May 2017 – Week 1

How is every one’s Me Made May going? Are you participating? What are you learning so far?

My first week went reasonably well. I mean, I managed to get dressed in the mornings and take pictures, so I consider that a success. I find that participating definitely takes some planning on my part, by that what I really mean is the first week taught me that I have to plan a little better. For example, I really should finish doing my laundry and have the clothes pressed and hanging in my closet. Running around in the morning trying to think what I should wear, then ironing it and taking photos is too much. I am notorious for doing laundry and then throwing clean clothes in the baskets to iron later. Later rarely happens, and if it does, it is only when I really need it to happen.

I am a little late with the round up of my daily outfits for the first week of Me Made May, but here they are.

Day 1:

Day 2:

Day 2. Today I ventured outside to snap a few photos before heading to work, so that I don't present you with a wrinkled and likely stained version of this dress. I still feel very awkward taking photos outside 😳 this is my very beloved Orla Dress. I can race about this pattern for days. It is seriously good! I only had to lengthen the bodice by a bit to accommodate my height, and there were no other adjustments! The dress is made out of suiting wool I found in FabricLand years ago. Sadly it slightly shrank in the wash, my fault really for refusing to dry clean it. I'll just be more careful next time I wash it! This has been a perfect dress for all occasions! Blog post on it is coming up later today. And the best thing is that the pattern is free! . . . @frenchnavynow #mmmay17 #memademay #sewingtall #memade #memadeveryday #memadeveryday #isew #sewcialists #orladress #frenchnavypatterns

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Day 3:

Day 3. Neighbours are watching me take photos on my driveway by myself and I can't look up. If I don't look then they don't see me, right? I'm hoping by the end of May these driveway selfies will get less awkward. I'm wearing a pair of easily my favourite pants by Kommatia and slightly modified Eucalypt tank. I changed the neckline very slightly and added a half facing to avoid bias binding. I love both of these patterns. They have been true workhorses in my closet. The fabric for the tank came from Blackbird Fabrics. It's some kind of voile I got a while back, but they have a very similar one in stock now. . . . #mmmay17 #memademay #memadeveryday #memadewardrobe #isew #kommatiapatterns #megannielsenpatterns #blackbirdfabrics #eucalypttank @blackbirdfabrics @kommatiapatterns

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Day 4:

Day 4. I am looking up. Purely because I am hiding on the side of our house as only half of the cul-de-sac can see me there. Clearly I think my neighbours are obsessed with me and have nothing better to do #selfabsorbed The forecast is 18 degrees (Celsius) today and it already feels very warm outside! I'm wearing Alyse slim leg pants by Designer Stitch, which I made out of my favourite RPL gabardine from @emmaonesock. The tshirt is a wardrobe builder Lark by Grainline, made out of rayon bamboo. I love this very neutral colour. I found fabric at FabricLand but EarthIndigo @earthindigofabric and TheEmeraldStudio @theemeraldstudio have very similar fabrics in stock. Both are stellar shops! . . . . #mmmay17 #memademay #memadeveryday #memadewardrobe #designerstitch #alyseslimlinepant #alysepants #larktee #grainlinestudio @grainlinestudio @designerstitch

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Day 5:

Day 5. Ok, Anya, nobody cares about you taking photos in the driveway. Get over it and embrace the awkward selfie month 😉 Happy Friday everyone!! We made it through the work week. My take on casual Friday is skinny high waisted Kommatia Jeans (seriously love that pattern) paired with cream Eucalypt tank, not visible, and a brand spanking new Archer Shirt. I don't know why it took me so long to make Archer, but now I want to make all of them! This Archer is not cropped, I just tied it at the front for styling. I'll try to remember to post a separate photo for what the tie looks like at the front. It had to be work appropriate afteall 😉 . . . #grainlinestudio #archershirt #kommatiapatterns #blackbirdfabrics #memade #memademay #mmmay17 #isew #memadeveryday #memadewardrobe #sewingblogger @kommatiapatterns @grainlinestudio

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Day 6:

Day 6. Guys, I figured out the perfect disguise to take photos in public. Sunglasses. I am basically unrecognizable in them. Whoa, where did Anya go?? And who is this cool chick? I'm off to run errands today before I get to some sewing later today. I'm wearing Lark Tee (I sized up for this one) made out of soft jersey from Blackbird Fabrics. It's super warm but I still grabbed my Hampton Jean Jacket just in case. The jacket is also made from denim I got from Blackbird Fabrics. I have a feeling this jacket will be making a lot appearances in Me Made May… sadly my leggings are not me Made. They are leather looking spanx leggings and I want to wear them all the time. . . . #memade #memademay #mmmay17 #ootd #isew #memadeveryday #memadewardrobe #larktee #grainlinestudio #hamptonjeanjacket #alinadesign @blackbirdfabrics @grainlinestudio @alinadesignco

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Day 7:

I have started Me Made May with taking photos in my new photo space, but I have really been feeling the pull to take photos outside. So I have been pushing myself to do it, and Me Made May provides a great opportunity to start doing it.

I was, and still am, feeling super self conscious and insecure about taking photos in public spaces, and my way of dealing with it is to make jokes and poke fun at myself. So little write ups of my thoughts and feelings, which started off as a way to cheer me up and loosen myself for photos, inadvertently became a daily occurrence on my Instagram. It makes me so happy that other people find my silly jokes funny! So I think I have to continue it for the rest of the month. I have no idea how I will do it… but I will try!

Until next time,


4 months ago

Orla Dress

I love sewing dresses. I started off sewing with making all kinds of dresses. Well fitting dress is such an easy outfit, don’t you think?

Orla Dress is the first PDF pattern by Sarah from French Navy. I am so in love with everything Sarah makes and her style. I want to repeat every single outfit. She is great! I should also mention that the dress is a free pattern.

I really like fit and flare dresses. They have always been my soft spot. But a few years ago I think I made too many and I got tired of them. My dresses were very fitted on top and had a simple gathered skirt. When I saw Orla Dress it reminded me of my old dresses quite a bit, but the top of this dress is semi-fitted and I absolutely love it. This dress strikes the perfect balance between dressy and casual fit and flare dress. I can see it working for either occasion.

I made this dress back in February and since it was still very cold in Calgary, and likely will stay chilly for a while, I chose thin wool suiting from my stash. I had this fabric for a year or so. I bought it thinking I would make pants, but in the end I decided it would be a perfect Orla Dress.

Since the fabric is wool, I decided to line the bodice of the dress. I used a piece of leftover bemberg lining for it. This resulted in a dress I want to wear all day long. It is not itchy at all!

The pattern fit great right away! The only changes I made was to lengthen both front and back bodices and add some width to the back and shoulder. But those are my very standard adjustments.

The dress came out exactly like I envisioned it! It is a perfect work dress, and actually any occasion dress. I love this dress so much, that I am trying to figure out what color-way and fabric I can make my next one in. I am a big fan of reusing patterns. If something fits great, why re-invent the wheel, right?

Until next time,

4 months ago

Me Made May and Updates

This post is a quick update on a couple things. First off, May is here!! Also known as Me Made May, and in our household it is also referred to as “Anya is late every day” May. I insist on taking photos in the morning, as I find I am the freshest and haven’t gotten grumpy yet. So I just come across nicer in pictures.

Last year was my first time taking part in Me Made May, a challenge ran by Zoe from So, Zo… What do you know? . I loved participating and I am really looking forward to this year! I enjoy seeing what others wear, what the go-to garments are and discovering new patterns. There is just so much inspiration in May!

I am not sure what my goals this year are, other than successfully take a photo of myself every day, which is a lot harder than I imagined. I do wear mostly me mades everyday so that part is covered, but I guess I will challenge myself to think of new outfits and try to find even more holes in my wardrobe. Here is my pledge for this May:

I, Anya from www.anna-zoe.net and @anna.zoe.sewing , sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’17. I will wear at least one me made garment every day for the duration of May, 2017. In doing so, I hope to find more go-to garments as well as challenge myself to create new outfit combinations.

On that note, I think an update on my No Buying Clothes for a Year Challenge is in order! As a reminder, last year I challenged myself not to buy any clothes for a year. Everything that I needed, I had to make myself. I was planning to provide monthly updates, but somewhere halfway through I stopped doing it.

First off, I think I succeeded in my challenge! I didn’t buy anything, except for a rain jacket. Which I don’t consider a failure, as I don’t want to make a technical garment like that, and I really needed one to walk the dogs on rainy days.

I think it was a great challenge for myself, I learned a lot and it definitely curbed my clothing spending habit. Here are some things that came out of it:

  • I no longer have an impulsive desire to buy clothes and I am a lot more picky when I do. All in all, I think I’ve only bought a few garments since the challenge has ended
  • I pay a lot more attention to the fit of the clothes, especially when I want to buy something. It made it a lot harder to shop, as I am not longer willing to forego little fitting issues (I am looking at you, short sleeves)
  • I also think that not everything needs to be made myself! This was a surprise to me. But the rain jacket is the prime example. The truth is I don’t want to make everything. I want to spend my time making garments I truly enjoy making, so I do not oppose buying things at all!
  • Having said that I want to try and be picky when I spend my money of clothing and I try to buy ethically made items when I can
  • I spent way too much money on shoes last year…. none of them were ethically made
  • I also spend way too much money on fabric. Way too much!
  • I became a lot more picky with my fabric choices. I used to buy just about anything that seemed right, now I am willing to spend more money on quality fabric, even if it means buying less
  • I wore a lot of ill-fitting pants until I got pant fitting down pat. Those were dark days of 2016
  • My sewing skills have really increased! By challenging myself not to buy clothes, I inadvertently challenged myself to make garments I otherwise wouldn’t or would avoid making because they seemed difficult

All in all, I think it was a great challenge and I am very happy I did it. And even though I don’t think that making everything I wear is for me, I do appreciate what I learned throughout past year. Majority of my wardrobe is me-made and I am proud of it!

To wrap it all up, I am super excited for this Me Made May! I can not wait to show you guys some items that I haven’t posted anywhere. My closet and I are ready! And I can’t wait to spend my nights scrolling through the day’s photos of other makers.

Until next time,


4 months 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!



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

4 months 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!


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.