Dots and Ties

I made myself a Jasmine blouse… in April of 2012. Yes, I know that’s about two years ago and I’m only getting around to showing you now. No, I have not been holding out on you because I hate it, because in fact I actually quite like it and wear it to work often. The thing is that I made this right before I went on my leave of absence, when we were in the midst of selling our house and packing up our stuff, and I was initially not blown away by it so blogging about it was not top of mind. Then last fall lovely Lisa from my quilting class was thinking of buying this pattern and I was full of opinions about it. When she asked if she could see pictures of it on my blog I realized that it was high time I dotted my Is and tied loose ends on this dotty/tie make.

See the tiny polka-dots?

See the tiny polka-dots?

The truth is that I don’t remember much about the process of making this garment, which leads me to believe that it probably went together fairly simply. All I can tell you is that for some reason I remember not being 100% convinced by it when I finished making it but I can’t quite remember why because it has now become a go to work blouse. I did take a look at my notes (yes, I keep a spreadsheet full of notes on everything I make…I did warn you I’m a bit… um… organized) and noticed that I cut a straight size 4, but the cuffs were a bit tight so I had to re-cut them in a size 6. I should also note that this garment is cut on the bias with no closures so there is a fair bit of ease built-in and if I were to make it again, I would probably go down to a size 2 at the bust and keep the size 4 waist/hip. I may even go up a size higher in the cuffs, all the way to an 8. I certainly don’t lift weights so either the cuffs run small or I store my fat from all that cake I eat in my biceps. You be the judge.

And the ties!

And the ties!

Pattern: Jasmine Blouse by Colette Patterns
Fabric: Super soft and drapey (and un-wrinkable!) polyester blend form Designer Fabrics.

Jasmine Blouse

You know, now that I think about it, I may just have to make this again. It is super comfy and I reach for it quite often as a work garment. Yes, I feel there is room for another Jasmine is in my future. Have any of you made this pattern? Have you ever made something you did not initially like only to find yourself reaching for it over-and-over again? I like that kind of sewing related happy ending, don’t you?

In Real Life

I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Gail in Chicago twice in the past two years. The time finally came for her to make the trip to the Great White North. Gail was in Toronto from Wednesday to Sunday of last week and what a great opportunity it was to catch up in person again – there is only so far e-mail correspondence can take you, right?  When Gail left and I started thinking about the time we had spent together in Toronto, I realized that her visit was a bit of an epic, four-day long, blogger meet up. Seriously.

On her first full day in Toronto Gail, Sara, and I had the opportunity to visit the lovely Kristiann of Victory Patterns at her studio in the heart of China Town.  Kristiann graciously showed us around the building, which houses quite a few fashion studios and various other businesses in the garment making industry. Most of the designers behind these enterprises are young women, rendering the building such a fun and creative vibe.  Kristiann also gave us a sneak peek at her most recent projects (spoiler: they are awesome!).  She was very generous with her time and we ended up going for coffee with her in Kensington Market, where we chatted away about sewing, creativity, love, and the magic of life.  Thank you Kristiann for a wonderful morning/afternoon!

Victory Patterns: Kristiann wearing her Madeleine skirt, Gail wearing her lovely silk Nicola dress, Sara wearing her handknit Kara sweater and I am wearing a soon to be blogged silk Roxanne blouse.

Victory Patterns: Kristiann wearing her Madeleine skirt, Gail wearing her lovely silk Nicola dress, Sara wearing her hand knit Kara sweater and I am wearing a soon to be blogged silk Roxanne blouse.

Prior to Gail’s visit, there was talk between her and Kristin about painting the town red while wearing animal print me-mades.  We called this event, where a number of drinks were imbibed by sewists wearing one form or another of animal print, “Leopard Cocktails”. Trust me, animal print + cocktails = fun! but if you don’t believe me, go try it for yourself.

Leopard Cocktails!  Go on, you know you want to.

Leopard Cocktails! Go on, you know you want to.

The night before Gail left we organized a dinner with a few other Toronto bloggers. In addition to Sara and Kristin, we were also joined by Gillian, Tasha and Catja. Some of us had not met before outside of blog or instagram comments, some of us knew each other well.  It was so good to have everyone sitting around the table, chatting away in real life.



Outside of these events, Gail and I shared mornings of lazy coffee drinking and knitting, as well as a couple of home-made meals followed by more knitting. Really, we knitted whenever we could.  We also had plenty of opportunity to walk around town, hit the garment district along Queen Street (where Gail was remarkably restrained), visit a couple of yarn stores, all the while talking about sewing and knitting. Non-stop. It was splendid!

Goofing around in the mean streets of Toronto. Oh, and wearing hand knit hats because it was still cold!!!

Sara, Gail and I goofing around in the mean streets of Toronto. Oh, and wearing hand knit hats because it was still cold!!!

But, all good things must come to an end.  It was a rude awakening the morning after Gail left.  During my first morning meeting at work I kind of started jonesing for the daily dose of morning coffee and knitting I had gotten used to over the past few days.

One of my favourite things about keeping this blog are the friendships I have developed with crafty gals from around the world.  Even better is when those friendships spill over from blogland into real life, don’t you think? 

Thank you Gail for making the trek to Toronto and for being such a great friend! Thanks also to Sara, Kristin, Gillian, Tasha and Catja for coming out to play and helping make Gail’s visit a success.

Results of Spring Clean Swap Meet

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Stash Diet’s Spring Clean Swap Meet.

Stash Diet Badge

A few of the items had more than one person interested in them so I used to select winners.  Here’s who the random robots picked:

  • Tiramisu Pattern: Ashley
  • Red Velvet Pattern: Tatiana DiMaio and Tasha (yes, TWO!  My friend Shar has a copy of the pattern she won’t use and she generously donated it for the swap – thanks so much Shar!)
  • Staple Dress Pattern: Nidarsha Senanayake
  • Liverpool Tunic Pattern: Sarah M.
  • Rooibos Dress Pattern: Kathy
  • Vogue Pants Pattern: Beth B.
  • Japanese Patchwork Book: Dottie Doodle
  • Rayon in Purple and Gray Plaid: Kathryn
  • Satin Backed Flannel: Beth B. (again!)
  • Quilting Frame: “E”

If the robots picked you, please e-mail me your address at stitchparade[at]gmail[dot]com so that I can get your goodies to you as soon as possible.

Thanks to everyone who participated – I feel so much lighter already!  Also, keep in mind that we will hold other swap meets throughout the year so take a look through your stash to see what you too can contribute.  Happy sewing!


Stash Diet: Quarterly Totals and Spring Clean Swap Meet

Hello friends! Between an extended visit form Mr. Stitch and a loss of sew-jo since his departure, things have been quiet in these parts. It is unlikely that I will finish another sewing project before the month of March is over, so what better time to look at my Stash Diet progress over the first quarter of this year.

  • Fabric out: 11 metres. Woo-hoo!
  • Fabric In: 6.6 metres. Gift: 2 metres; Swapped: 1.4 metres; Purchased from credits earned: 3.2 metres.
  • Total Gain/Loss: 4.4 metres lost over the past three months. This feels like very slow progress folks, but at least a net loss is better than a net gain, right?

One of the positive side effects of a lack of sew-jo is that I tend to get into a major organizing mood. This past week I went over all my patterns and choose a few to give away as part of the Stash Diet’s Spring Clean Swap Meet. I’ve listed each of them below, including a book and a couple of pieces of fabric. If you are interested in any of these, just leave me a comment by Monday March 31 at midnight EST letting me know which items you’d like. I’ll draw winners at random and will ship anywhere in the world. Now, for the goods…

Two dress patterns by Cake: Tiramisu and Red Velvet.  Perfect makes for lovers of knits!

Cake - Tiramisu & Red Velvet

The Staple Dress pattern by April Rhodes and Amy Butler’s Liverpool tunic/shirt dress. Think of all the cool summer fabrics you could showcase with these two.

Liverpool and Staple

These two have been in my stash for a while and I have accepted that they are just not for me: the Roiboos dress by Colette Patterns and V2948 which is the pattern used in Sandra Betzina’s Craftsy class on pant fitting techniques.  Go on, you know you want them.

Vogue 2948 and Rooibos

These two pieces of fabric are looking for a good home.  The one on the left is a good sized piece (60″ wide x 2.75 metres) of rayon in a purple and gray plaid.  Lovely drape on this fabric and the perfect opportunity to try your hand at matching plaids.  There’s enough for a button down shirt!  The one to the right is a satin backed flannel.  To be honest, I’m not quite sure what one uses this for other than home decor or upholstery, but this fabric has enough body (and it is machine washable) that I think it would also work for certain garments. This piece is also 60″ wide x 1.7 metres.


Last but not least, a book on Japanese style patchwork projects including patterns for quilts, bags and home accessories.  I also have a square quilting frame that comes apart for easy shipping.

Book and Frame

If you don’t see anything you like, worry not. You can either head over to Morgan’s blog to see a list (with links) of other blogs participating in the swap, or head over to the flickr group where there are always items up for grabs.

Happy spring!