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Map quilt

September 8, 2015

IMG_20150711_093628282_HDRI spent most of the past year working on an embroidered map quilt as a wedding gift for my sister and her (now) husband. The embroidery took months, literally, I am so slow at that and there are a lot of tiny islands in the Arctic. For the map, I used a template from Haptic Labs. The design of the map was great, nice clear lines for continents, countries (I did not do the countries), and the longitude and latitude lines. However, the material it was printed on was terrible – it started flaking away as I was working and was pretty much unusable before I finished with the longitude and latitude lines. If I do another map quilt, I will just print off a large map on several pieces of paper and trace it onto Swedish tracing paper, which is much sturdier. I used a dark grey DMC embroidery thread, three strands held together, on Kona Solids cotton – the top is Shale, the back is Teal Blue, and the binding is Bluegrass – from the Workroom.

IMG_20150711_094546826Putting it together went pretty quickly – I machined stitched plain fabric panels onto the top and bottom edges of the map to make it approximately 7ft by 6ft, then stitched the backing fabric together to make the same size using two panels. I sandwiched a layer of cotton batting in between them and pinned it all together. Then I started doing the longitude/latitude lines extending from the map onto the rest of the quilt to create square-ish quilting all over, measured out with a ruler and traced on in chalk. (I started out here following the lines from the template, but as it disappeared I just evenly spaced the rest of them out.) I did not know you were supposed to use different thread for quilting, so this is just quilted with a light turquoise thread from my stash.


The binding is a bold green – greener than we expected – and it looks so good in real life. I machine stitched it on, first on the front side and then on the back, trying to keep the stitches in the ditch on the front.


Before giving it to them, I machine-washed it and hung it to dry (I feel that this is the most complicated laundry plan I can ask other people to do) then ironed out some of the bits that were still wrinkly.





And some closeups:






Catching up

March 14, 2015

I have sewn things in the past six months, but I haven’t really been taking pictures of them. That’s partly because most of them were bras! I took a bra-making class in the fall and learned the basics and since them I’ve been working on getting a perfect fit.

In the summer I made a set of the Lakeside pajamas, but I wasn’t crazy about the fabric I used. Then I spotted this amazing stuff at the Make Den and had to make them into shorts! These are obviously worn a lot, as you can tell by the wrinkles, but they’re super comfy and cute.


A few weeks ago my friend told me that a Fabricland had opened downtown again so we dropped by and I bought a lot of knit fabric. The first thing I made from this haul was two black Mabel pencil skirts in a ponte, I think. I love this pattern, the fabric is the perfect thickness, and these skirts are great. I do wish I had noticed earlier that one of my top-stitching threads was navy blue instead of black, but I’ll fix that someday when I have the patience to rip out two hems worth of lightning stitch.


I used the leftovers from the skirts and put it together with this cool lace from the Fabricland remnants bin to make a fancy shirt. I used the Plantain pattern but skipped the elbow patches. The front and back are the black ponte with the lace and the sleeves are just lace. It’s a little snug – I think the two fabrics together are not as stretchy as they are on their own – but still wearable. I wanted to french seam the sleeves but the way they are attached made that impossible, so I just hope the lace doesn’t fray.


And here’s the lacy top and one of the skirts together! The lighting in this hallway is terrible, I know, so you can’t really see the colour of the shirt here. But it really is that lovely teal.


Two skirts

June 24, 2014

I had been looking forward to a new denim skirt – my old one was very worn out – so I gave the Grainline Moss Skirt a go. I picked up some lovely dark denim from Fabric for Designers and used a button from my grandmother’s collection. Based on my measurements, I cut a size 4 but after getting sewing up the skirt (before attaching the waistband) I tried it on and it was comically small. I could not move my legs. The butt fit well, though, so I cut a new front and waistband in size 10, so I could bring in the seams if it needed more alterations. I sewed up the skirt without the waistband yet again and it fit better. I still think I did the fly slightly wrong, but this was my fifth attempt at doing the fly – could really use a good tutorial on that – so I went ahead and attached the waistband and made a buttonhole (successfully!) and tried it on again. And it is TERRIBLE.


I do not even know what is going on that makes the waistband stick out like that – it does that all the way around! I think I will try this pattern again, because I really like the style, but first I will measure all the pattern pieces to figure out what size I should actually use because despite every other sewing blogger saying that going by the measurements worked perfectly, that clearly did not work for me. And I will find fly tutorials because the instructions in this pattern did not work out well for me, either.

A more successful skirt was yesterday’s Mabel. My first attempt was not perfect – a little snug and I didn’t like the way the seams look when they were zig-zagged, which is the technique recommended for sewing this pattern on a sewing machine (as opposed to a serger). I found that the seams looked a little too close to bursting open.


So I ripped them all out and sewed the skirt back up using my machine’s stretch stitch. This stitch uses a lot of thread but provides a straight stitch that is still stretchy. I also sewed them at a 1/4″ seam instead of the 3/8″ seam recommended in the pattern. I think this looks much better (though it definitely needs steaming)! Next time, though, I’ll try the 6.



My apologies for the weird super-brightness that is going on in these photos. I have recently moved and I have not quite figured out how to take good photos of myself in this apartment.

A ginkgo Belladone

May 6, 2014

whoops it cut off my head


I just wrote up a whole thing about this dress and it disappeared into the ether. Alas.

The highlights:

Pattern: Deer & Doe Belladone

Fabric: something called “polyester linen” from the Burlington Fabricland, purchased last summer

Last summer I did a muslin of the bodice and altered it to fit and a bit more – I lowered the neck in front a little and adjusted the back so it didn’t make wings there. Trying on the whole dress now, I think I’d also lengthen the bodice by about 1.5 inches – the waistband currently sits around the bottom of my ribs.

I really like this pattern – it has pockets, which are always helpful, and I think I did my pleats backwards but this way they look likely to conceal any bulkiness that might appear when there are things in the pockets, so it works for me! The skirt is also big enough to allow me to bike in it. I like the back detail – it adds a touch of interest and I hope it will keep me cool, despite the polyester.

interior back

I added a hook & eye at the top of the zipper, which it turns out was not a great idea – it is at the exact place on my back that I can’t reach well, so it’s rather difficult to do up alone. I also added a waist-stay type thing on the inside of the waistband – it’s just unfolded bias tape, hand-stitched to the seam allowances to hide the mess. Most of the edges are just zig-zagged, so this makes the inside prettier.

This sewed up so quickly! I started on Friday, took most of Saturday off for lack of a zipper and some bias tape, but I picked those up on Sunday and finished it off tonight. I already have plans to make another!

I am not doing Me-Made-May this year – I just don’t feel like I have enough homemade clothes to make it worthwhile, so I’m going for a Me-Make-May. I haven’t been sewing much this past year due to grad school and other busy-ness, but school is over and I’ve moved and my boyfriend is away for the summer so I have so much more time and space, and I’m going to make more this month. I’ve finished a pair of knit socks already, and now this dress. I’ve got a pair of Maritime shorts cut out that should be up next, and three-quarters of another sock knitted up. So I’ll be making a lot this month, and hopefully wearing some of it. (Though hopefully not the wool socks – it is May, after all.)


Catching up and something fancy

March 6, 2013

It’s been a while… but I’m still sewing, just not that often since I went back to grad school in the fall. Since September I have completed two dresses – one jersey dress modeled after a store-bought dress that I love that’s going to take some more work to get the pattern right, and one ball gown.

Every year, a Toronto reserve unit hosts a ball as a fundraiser for a veteran’s group. Shopping under any circumstances is not that much fun, so I decided to make my dress. I’ll do a post about the process of making it, but here’s a photo from that night.


(I spent almost two hours before we left ironing the dress, but just sitting in the car on the way down to the venue got it all wrinkly again. Alas!)

Me Made May Week 4

May 28, 2012

Last week featured mostly repeat outfits, so I skipped some pictures.

On Friday I write my new floral Jasmine top. I altered the neckline and ties and used bias binding around the neckline instead of a facing. (I have found it awkward to keep the facings in place on my other Jasmines.)  I am wearing this top again today, it is so comfy and versatile even in the heat!

Wrap Cardigan

May 17, 2012

Last night I made a wrap cardigan using Megan Nielsen’s tutorial. It was remarkably easy! I’ve never made clothes from instructions like that but it all came together pretty well. I had a bit of trouble with the collar attachment – not really sure what happened there – but it’s all good now.

I used the only black knit available at the Fabricland in North York, which was unfortunately more expensive than I would like even with the 30% off closing sale price. It is a nice fabric though, soft and comfy, and I anticipate getting a lot of mileage out of this garment so it’s worth it. I picked up a twin needle up at Fabricland, too, and it was so great! My hems look store-bought.

(The belt was my grandmother’s, but I don’t plan to wear the cardigan belted too often. However it is necessary to keep it from flying all over the place while biking.)