Mother Tongue

I may have mentioned before that Spanish is my mother tongue. What I may not have told you is that because I moved to Canada close to twenty-two years ago there are certain words that I only learned as an adult, in English, and I have no clue how to translate them into Spanish without the aid of a dictionary. This is the case with my sewing vocabulary, which until recently was basically non-existent in Spanish.

Anteriormente les he mencionado que el español es mi lengua materna. Lo que no les he contado es que como me mude a Canadá hace casi veintidós años, hay algunas palabras que solamente las aprendí ya de adulta y en ingles y no tengo idea de cómo traducirlas al español sin la ayuda de un diccionario. Precisamente este es el caso con mi vocabulario de costura, que hasta hace poco era inexistente.

Naii Top - Front

Imagine my delight when a few months ago I discovered that the Spanish speaking on-line sewing community is quite active! Since making this discovery I’ve been following a few Spanish blogs and when Naii from Diario de Naii announced her sewalong for a simple summer top I decided it was time to learn how to sew in Spanish.

Imagínense mi felicidad cuando hace unos meses descubrí que la comunidad de costureras hispano-hablantes en el internet es muy activa. Desde que lo descubrí he estado siguiendo varios blogs en español y cuando Naii, del Diario de Naii, anuncio su sewalong del Top Abril decidí que ya era hora de aprender a coser en español.

Back view

Back view

This pattern is a Naii original and she was kind enough to send all the participants a free multi sized pdf pattern which includes four different neckline options and different patterns for either knit or woven fabrics. I’m not going to lie to you: I chose the simplest version going (jersey knit, simple collar) because I’m lazy we are in the midst of packing up our stuff for another cross-Canada move.

El patrón lo desarrollo la misma Naii y se lo envió a todas las participantes del sewalong de forma gratis. Es un patrón de formato pdf con cuatro opciones diferentes para el cuello y la elección entre dos patrones por si uno cose con tela elástica o no elástica. No les voy a mentir: escogí el modelo mas fácil (en punto, con el cuello mas sencillo) porque soy una floja estamos en pleno empacar de cosas para una mudanza al otro extremo de Canadá.

Neckline detail

Neckline detail

The Details/Los Detalles

  • Pattern/Patron: Naii Top Abril by Diario de Naii
  • Fabric/Tela: 2 metres of double knit / 2 metros de punto jersey doble
  • Time in the Stash / Tiempo desde que la compre: 12 months / 12 meses
  • Stashbusting Tally: Committed to using 15 pieces of stashed fabric this year; 13 used to date; 2 left to go / Este año me comprometí a usar 15 piezas de tela ya compradas anteriormente; he utilizado 13 piezas hasta la fecha y faltan solo 2 para cumplir este reto
The front pleats don't make me look pregnant - bonus!

The front pleats don’t make me look pregnant – bonus!

The instructions in Naii’s sewalong were very detailed and clear and the sewalong was the perfect venue to become acquainted with sewing terminology in Spanish. Even though this garment has a simple construction, in the name of learning I was very keen on reading all her posts prior to cutting my pattern. Well, good thing I did because the pdf did not include seam allowances (as in the case with Burda and Patrones and various other European patterns) and I would have ended up with a very small top.

Las instrucciones en el sewalog de Naii fueron muy claras y detalladas y esta fue la mejor manera para agrandar mi vocabulario de costura en español. Como yo estaba enfocada en aprender terminos de costura quise leer todas las entradas antes de cortar la tela. Felizmente que lo hice porque el patrón no incluía márgenes de costura (a diferencia de los patrones de Burda y Patrones, los patrones Norteamericanos a los cuales estoy acostumbrada siempre incluyen los márgenes) y hubiese terminado con un top muy pequeño!

The back is a tad longer than the front - a throwback to my high school days!

The back is a tad longer than the front – a throwback to my high school days!

The bodice construction is quite clever and because it is fully lined, it is perfect for those who don’t have a serger as all seams end up being fully enclosed. Overall I’m happy with the way this top fits but if I make it again (and I just may) I would modify the pattern to add a bit more coverage around the front and back armscyse in order to avoid having my bra straps peeking at the sides. Of course this could have been avoided had I made a muslin, but…you know how that goes.

Como el cuerpo es completamente forrado, este patrón es ideal para aquellas personas que no tienen remalladora porque todas las costuras quedan completamente escondidas dentro del forro. Quede contenta con mi top pero si lo vuelvo a hacer (y seguro que si!) añadiría mas margen al área de la sisa para evitar que las tiras del sostén se vean por los costados. Claro que eso lo hubiese arreglado haciendo una muselina, pero de floja no la hice.

Under the blazing sun

Silver hair under the blazing sun

If you want to take a look at super cute version of the same top, but turned into a dress, head over to Maider’s blog. There are also a bunch of finished versions posted on Naii’s blog here. A big thank you to Naii for the great pattern and thorough sewalong, and for teaching me some new words in my own language!

Si quieren ver una versión muy linda del mismo top convertido en vestido, visiten el blog de Maider. También hay varias fotos de las versiones de otras costureras en el blog de Naii aquí. Mil gracias a Naii por un patrón tan lindo, un sewalong tan completo, y por enseñarme palabras nuevas en mi propio idioma!

Itty Bits

As you know, this year I’m trying to attack the stash. A month into this commitment and I’m happy to report that while I added some new fabric to my stash, I also managed to sew up three pieces of stashed fabric (more on that later).  At least I did not grow the stash and everything remains “even Steven”. This is good news, right?  Right.  This month I also jumped on board the Stashbusting Sewalong’s January theme: Itty Bits.  In the organizers’ own words, this is a chance to “sew up those remnants left over from another project, use up some of those tiny scraps that you’ve been saving…as long as it’s less than a yard of fabric, it counts!”  With that in mind I made myself this new knitting project bag:

Aren’t those little socks on the clothes line just so super cute?]

Aren’t those little socks on the clothes line just so super cute?

The outside fabric is a long ago stashed fat quarter and the pink inside and zipper tabs a remnant from a set of napkins I made as a Christmas gift this past year. Of course no project bag is complete without a project to go inside of it so I wasted no time casting on.  Because I’m using three partial skeins in three different colour schemes this new sock project will be a bit mismatched but I think that will also make them fun.

Mismatched socks!

Mismatched socks!

Those are not the only bits I’ve been working on this month. For years I’ve been keeping my scraps of quilting cottons with a view that some day I would cut them up to make a rainbow themed scrappy quilt.  While I have not yet completed the rainbow quilt, let alone the quilt top, I did go as far as cutting up all my scraps into squares or rectangles 4½” wide.  The little bits of fabric have been organized by colour and I have the perfect scrappy quilt idea in my head.

For a rainbow scrappy quilt

For a rainbow scrappy quilt

Now I just need to sew them up.  To this end I’ve designated Fridays as ‘Quilt Day’ chez Stitch Parade.  I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

What do you do with your fabric scraps?  Do you save them and if so what do you use them for?


Here’s the thing: from time to time I make bold declarations on this blog and then miraculously never talk about them again. By way of example, I’ve committed to deadlines that have come and gone with no further mention of them, I’ve been known to announce I’m joining a sew-along to later never produce an item for it, and I have even been known to make resolutions that never come to pass. What can I say other than life has a funny way of getting in the way of the best laid plans? This post is my attempt to tie up loose ends, introduce some accountability (i.e. fessing up), and to get organized in general. In other words,


First up, remember the Seamless Pledge for which I signed up last year? My initial pledge read as follows:

I, Andrea of Stitch Parade, am taking the Seamless Pledge for the duration of the year 2012. Between January 1 and December 31, 2012 I will abstain from buying any new clothes. I will fill the gaps in my wardrobe with clothes made or refashioned with my own two hands. I will place emphasis on quality over quantity and will avoid, to the best of my ability, contributing to the cycle of fast fashion fuelled by consumerism. On that note, I will shop for materials from my own stash first. If I find myself in need of a garment that I can’t make myself, I will trawl through second-hand shops.

At the time I promised to give you monthly updates with my progress but after two updates I never mentioned the pledge again. That doesn’t mean I didn’t (for the most part) stick with it, but somehow I just never got around to posting about it. The good news is that I think I did mostly okay with the RTW portion of the pledge: but for a pair of jeans and some running shoes (which were excluded from my pledge) I managed to steer clear of RTW.

I also pledge to “shop for materials from my own stash first”. Even though I didn’t outright promise to abstain from buying fabric, I feel I could have done better on his point. You see, at the beginning of last year my fabric stash was 146 meters long. Yesterday I did a bit of a calculation and discovered that I sewed up 25 meters of stashed fabric in 2012 – yay for me.  The problem is that I also managed to stash another 36 meters of fabric. This means that I actually gained a total of 11 new meters of fabric – a net gain!

Stashbusting Sewalong Challenge Button with Text

Now, I’ve decided not to formally renewing my seamless pledge because avoiding RTW has become part of who I am and I’m making way better consumer choices on this point. I’m also not renouncing fabric shopping altogether because there may be items for which I will need to look outside of my stash. I will however make a point to be more careful about mindlessly stashing fabric this year. On that note, I have joined the Satshbusting Sewalong organized by Cindy of Cation Designs and Emily of Tumbleweeds in the Wind and have committed to using up 15 pieces of fabric from the stash in 2013. I’m happy to report that I’ve got one down already. Baby steps, my friends.


On my first Seamless Pledge post I announced I would “master the art of making trousers”. In the spirit of fessing up, that was not the first time I had trouser making on my sewing goals. Then in October of last year I announced I was joining the Turlow Sewalong hosted by Lladybird. And yet, still no trousers. Nevertheless I have added another impossible goal to the list: making a jacket. With both of these goals I went as far as putting them in Karen’s jar of 2013 Sewlutions.

Here I go making bold declarations all over again: I’m going to do my best to get the trousers and the jacket checked from my to-do list this year, but with the caveat that (a) another cross Canada move and a return to work in the fall are in the cards, which may have an impact on my sewing time; and (b) I’m not going to be to hard on myself if I don’t get to accomplish these things (because this is supposed to be fun, remember?).  I’ll hope to report on my progress in January of next year when you’ll be the judge of whether or not I can put my money where my mouth is this time around.

Tell me, how do you stay on track of your sewing goals? Do you manage them quite well or do you get swayed along the way?

Kitchen Party!

Friends, it’s a kitchen party and I have a new apron to wear and a recipe to share with y’all.  Aren’t kitchen parties so much fun?  So let’s get right into it and let’s get started, shall we? First up, big thanks to Karen for organizing the Apronalong.  Had it not been for this event I might have gone on forever cooking sans apron, ruining my precious me-made clothes in the process.  I’m now fully protected in not one, but two different ways.  How’s that possible, you ask?  Well I made my apron reversible and it’s awesome, if I say so myself.  I used the Reversible Apron pattern from Lotta Jansdotter’s book “Simple Sewing”. This pattern provided the perfect canvas for embellishments as well as a good balance between cake and frosting.

A good apron, some cooking implements, and a delicious chana masala

On one side of the apron I used quilting cotton with a kitchen inspired theme.  There are lots of spatulas on this print – a utilitarian theme for those no-nonsense meals one makes on busy days.  Think scrambled eggs, stir fries, and all those recipes that are on high rotation in your personal weekday repertoire. Centered at the front I added a discreet double pocket that’s big enough to hold my phone (I often look up recipes on my phone so it’s good to have it handy) as well as some cooking implements.  It’s also great for sticking my hands in it while daydreaming, as one does, about delicious culinary feats (what? you don’t do that?).  As far as the frosting v. cake debate goes, this side is pure cake.

On the other side of the apron we’ve got denim, which in normal circumstances is mere cake, but add to it red polka dots, a pleated pocket and flower brooch and denim is instantly elevated to frosting status, don’t you think?  Wearing the apron on this side makes me think of fancy desserts, beautiful looking treats and frosting all around.

Let’s think… I need a lot of flour to make delicious frosting!

As far as the pattern goes, well, it’s super simple. Having said that, I find that the side panels and slightly a-line shape give it a more feminine feel than the standard rectangular apron. The original pattern does not include pockets (or a brooch for that matter) but I could not live without the pockets so there you have it.

Strawberry tarts and coconut macaroons – a kitchen party!

No party is complete without food and given that this is the Apronalong Lunch Launch Party, and that I’m wearing the frosting side of my apron today, I’ll share with you a recipe for my favourite melt-in-your-mouth chocolate cookies (thanks, Carla!). Be sure to make these while wearing your favourite apron – not only will your clothes be protected from spills and splatters, the cookies will taste even more delicious, guaranteed!   

Carla’s Chocoholic Cookies


4 cups rolled oats
4 cups chocolate chips
2 cups butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup unsweetened cocoa
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 350° F
  • In a large bowl combine oats and chocolate chips; set aside
  • In another large bowl beat together butter and sugar until creamy
  • In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa; add to the butter mixture stirring thoroughly until combined (at this point the dough will be very stiff)
  • Stir in the milk and vanilla into the eggs; stir this mixture into the butter mixture
  • Add oats and chocolate chips and mix well
  • Drop teaspoons of dough on to non-stick baking sheets; bake for 10-12 minutes.

This recipe yields a ton of dough.  I often divide it into three or four batches, shape each batch into a log, wrap it in wax paper, place it into a zip lock bag and freeze it to have on hand when needed or when craving strikes.  To make cookies from the frozen dough I simply remove it from the freezer a few hours before baking to let it soften a bit.