Right Side Up (and dancing, too!)

Yes, I know it is 2015 (and best wishes for an excellent year to you all) but since everything takes me so long to get to these days, I am still catching up on blogging my last few makes from last year.  Remember my Upside Down Continental blouse?  Well, immediately after I finished it I cut another Lisette Continental Blouse and this time I got the pattern direction right. Yay for learning from mistakes.

Pardon me, but the sun is deceiving: it was cold and I had to put on a scarf.

Me and my shadow. The sun is deceiving: it was cold and I had to put on a scarf.

This fabric is Tiny Dancer A from the Fall/Winter 2013 collection of Liberty Tana Lawn.  As soon as I laid eyes on it I fell madly in love and it was one of the few prints I purchased during our visit to London two years ago. Here is a closer look:

Tiny Dancer

This was my first time sewing with Liberty Tana Lawn. I have been hoarding collecting the stuff for years (22 prints in total at last count) but up to now I had not had the guts to cut into any of my precious prints for fear of ruining them.   As it turns out, while this blouse is quite wearable, it is not perfect. The fabric was clearly not ruined (phew!), but I managed to mess up the neckline so that the shoulders bunch up a bit at the front and the fit is not at all smooth in that area. Since I did not have this problem with my previous two Continentals,  I think what happened is that the machine tension was off so that when I edgestitched the neckline I somehow misshaped it.

Back view

Back view – I love that gathered detail.

Regardless of this issue, I like the blouse and wore it quite a bit over the fall months until sweater weather arrived.

The drag lines at the shoulders are hard to see, but they are there.

The drag lines at the shoulders are hard to see, but they are there.

Here’s the sleeve detail.  Someone asked how I made this modification on the last Continental I made.  I had to go back and look and it turns out all I did was trace a straight line from the armscyse to the length I wanted and then sewed a cuff about 10″ in diameter around the edge.  No flaring, no fussing, just a straight line and a simple gather, but I do think the cuff detail is a bit better than the sleeve finish on the original pattern.

I'm smiling so I must be pleased.

I’m smiling so I must be pleased. But how could I not when I’ve got dancers all over me?

The morale of the story is that I am no longer scared of cutting into my Liberty stash.  Or my Nani Iro stash.  Or any of my precious prints. At the end of the day, even though these prints are lovely and special to me, they are just fabric and what is the fun in sewing if you don’t love the fabric you are working with, right? Right.

Festive

Hello friends!  I hope you had a lovely holiday season and you are gearing up for fun New Year’s Eve celebrations. I must confess that Mr. Stitch and I usually stay in on New Year’s Eve and end up sound asleep way before midnight.  This year, however, we have special guests coming to visit so I decided to make myself a little festive top.

Sequins!

Sequins! Check out the scalloped edges.

The fabric was a very generous gift from Gail (thank you, Gail!).  It is the same fabric she used to make this awesome top last year. It is a knit base with the sequins sewn on top of it and I was surprised by how heavy it feels. Like Gail, I did not remove the sequins from the seam allowances prior to sewing.  Since the fabric is a knit base, it crossed my mind to use a ball point needle but then I forgot all about it.  A regular needle had no trouble getting through the little sequins and in fact, my machine behaved in a most stellar way.

Jesse peeking over my right shoulder.

Jesse peeking over my right shoulder.

Since the fabric is already a bit showy, I wanted to keep the pattern nice and simple.  I used my tried and tested Scout Tee by Grainline Studio with a few modifications:

1. I made the sleeves a tad longer and cut the sleeves’ edges on a straight line instead of the slight curve the pattern calls for.  This is because I wanted to showcase the nice scalloped edge of the fabric at the hems.

The inside scoop.

The inside scoop, with a bit of surgery.

2. I lined the inside with silk habotai.  Gail had warned me that the sequins felt a bit scratchy against the skin so I cut a lining and attached it at the neckline, making sure to understitch.  The sleeves on the lining are the regular pattern sleeve length as I did not want the lining peeking under.  The piece of silk I used was on the short side and I thought I could get away with it but when I tried it on I realized that despite the sequins, the fabric is a bit sheer so you could see where the lining cut off, right at my belly button. I had a remnant of silk habotai in a different shade of blue so I was able to perform a bit of surgery to lengthen the lining.  Luckily the difference in colour does not show when I’m wearing the top and while the insides are not perfect, I am not losing sleep over it because only I (and you – shhh!) will know this is the case.

The sleeve son the lining are a bit shorter.

The sleeves on the lining are a bit shorter.

3. I added a slit and festive satin bow at the back neckline, because, why not?

The back bow detail.

Back bow detail.

I am quite happy with how this garment turned – I love the bling factor of it.  Given my lifestyle, I won’t have very many occasions to wear it, but I foresee it will come out on festive nights for years to come.  Country living or not, a little sparkle over the holidays is always a good thing in my books.  May the year 2015 bring each of you joy and oodles of quality crafting time. 

Goofball dance move because it was so cold I had to keep moving when this photos were taken. Plus another photo bomb, courtesy of Jesse.

Goofball dance move because it was so cold I had to keep moving when these photos were taken. Plus another photo bomb, courtesy of Jesse.

Upside Down

After out move at the end of May I continued to knit almost everyday but sewing seemed like such a daunting task. From figuring out what size to make, to pattern set up, lining up the fabric on grain, laying the pattern, cutting, serging, these are just some of the steps that have to happen before you can actually get started with the sewing.  For some reason it all seemed too daunting and I always chose to knit instead.  Then I decided enough was enough and I had to get back into sewing. Given that my skills were probably a bit rusty from lack of use I chose to go with a tried and tested pattern:  the Continental Blouse by Lisette Patterns.

Continental blouse - front

The first time I made this pattern was before I took my fitting course.  Even though it fit quite well right from the envelope, there were a few things I wanted to change. The neckline on my first make was a bit too high at the front so I lowered it by an inch.  I also did a 1/2″ forward shoulder adjustment and lowered the bust dart by 1/2″.  Finally, I wanted 3/4 sleeves on this version.

Continental Blouse - back

The fabric is a cotton I bought in Paris a year and a half ago. It has little drape but on this make that does not matter too much.  Since it was my first sewing project in a while, I made sure to take my time and take extra care with all my modifications and the little finishing touches.  I wanted this to be perfect. Unfortunately, it is far from perfect.  Yes, it fits well and I feel good about the quality of the work I did, but after not sewing for a while I failed to consider this pesky little detail:  pattern direction.

Continental blouse

You guys, the pattern placement on this blouse is upside down! Such a rookie mistake, but this is what happens when you are out of practice.  The funny thing is that people don’t seem to notice that the pattern is going the wrong way until I point it out.  Also, this error has not stopped me from wearing this blouse.  Well, you live and learn, and I can promise you I won’t be making this same mistake again any time soon.

Do you have any similar sewing errors you care to share?

Trend alert: Upside down pattern placement.  It's all the rage!

Trend alert: Upside down pattern placement. It’s all the rage!

Stash Diet Update

Stash Diet Badge

You may recall that at the beginning of this year the Stash Diet was born.  You may also have noticed that after the initial few months and the successful swap organized by Morgan, there has been no mention of the Stash Diet on this blog.  In fact, there has been no mention of much of anything as my blogging has gone from sporadic to nearly non-existent.

These are some of the things keeping me busy: peeling carrots (lots of them!) harvested from our garden.

These are some of the things keeping me busy: peeling carrots (lots of them!) harvested from our garden.

After our move at the end of May my life has been an exercise in adjustments: to a new and very challenging job, to getting settled in the new house, to getting used to our surroundings, to managing a large rural property alongside Mr. Stitch, to becoming a bit more self-sufficient. Turns out that my idea of a slower life in the country was just that: an idea.  We are busy.  All.the.time. Our new way of life is rewarding, but it is also a whole lot more work than city living.  Not surprisingly, a few things have taken a back seat, one of those being blogging and blog related activities.

These beets also came from the garden.  They were parboiled and with a bit of gingers, spices and vinegar, they became...

These beets also came from the garden. They were parboiled and with a bit of gingers, spices and vinegar, they became…

As far as the Stash Diet goes, while I have not been fabric shopping in the same way I used to, I can’t tell you the last time I visited the flickr group. This is less than ideal given that I am one of the group administrators.  Gail tells me that a few of you are still quite active.  Perhaps someone else who is still going strong would like to take over my role as administrator?  If so, please get in touch with me and let’s chat.

Pickles

Pickles! This was my first attempt at preserves and while it was tons of work, it was also fun. These pretty jars now adorn my pantry and will be ready to eat in four weeks time.

I’m still knitting (slowly, as usual) and have sewn a couple of simple blouse projects.  Since I have a very long list of things I want to make and a stash that is as large as it was at the beginning of the year, my hope is that as things settle down and I find a routine, I will return to making and blogging in a more consistent manner.  Until then, may the crafting force be with you all.