Saturday, 28 February 2015

In search of half-assery.

Holla! Hope you are having a good week. I was a little (read: A LOT), overwhelmed at work this week and couldn't wait for basketball to be done so I could have some proper evenings back. For like a week because other things will get busy starting Tuesday.Oh well, that's adulthood or something, something.
Have you ever felt particularly smug about a blog post title? I feel pretty smug about this one. I was originally going to call it In search of perfection, just like the Heston Blumenthal show (complete with the theme song going in my head), but then I realized that that would be a complete load of crock. I mean, almost everything I did with this one was as far away as possible from doing things the right way, so there you go. In search of half-assery. Eat your heart out!
I want to talk t-shirts. Back even before I start sewing, I noticed something about my wardrobe (and I'm not very observant so this is a big deal**). I noticed that I had a lot of pretty, detailed tops, and a lot of pretty, detailed bottoms, which was great, but that when I wanted to wear a pretty detailed skirt, say, I really had nothing to wear it with because everything else I owned would be competing with all the detailing. This was a problem and so I started to buy (really shitty) plain tops to match with my detail-overloaded bottoms (and vice-versa). Now that I am sewing, all my plain tops are basically rags, and I want to replace them with quality me-mades.

**I once asked my mom when she painted the upstairs bathroom. She told me about a year ago. :|
To start, I was too cheap to start with an actual T-shirt pattern. So that's kind of a problem, but not too huge of a problem (on it's own). I used the Nettie since I already had one in my stash from my Madam-Mix-a-Nettie. Then, because my Nettie dress was rather tight, especially in the armpits, I decided I would go up in size. But then I had the brilliant idea to cut out the biggest size and just take it in. So, clearly, problems happened. The fit is okay, but it is still a bit too tight in the arm pits, which you can see in the picture above.
I used my leftover navy ponte knit from my original Nettie, and bound the sleeves and hem with some Liberty bias tape that I picked up at a local quilting shop. If I'm being honest, I don't think I should have added the binding. As we all know, I'm not really into florals, and tiny florals even less so.
I feel like by adding the bias tape, I just ended up making this one of those detailed tops I was trying to avoid. I find it hard to strike a balance between "interesting enough to wear on its own" and "can be used as a backdrop for fancier things". I don't think this one checks both of those boxes.
I also feel like the sleeves could be a tiny bit longer. I like three-quarter length, but these are more half-length sleeves. They kind of sit weird.

Having said all that, this shirt has gotten a fair bit of wear as a layering piece. I usually throw a cardigan over it and head into work like that, so I suppose that's okay. Overall, I think that this make could be summed up as:
"Meh." Since making this, I've finally decided that if I want to make some cake pieces, I need to stop half-assing things and just pick up the pattern I originally thought would make a great staple, so I've picked up the Bronte pattern, and after my dog lady sewing, I plan on making up quite a few of those. Actually, I'm pretty pumped and think that the Bronte can be interesting enough to wear on its own, AND simple enough to be used as a backdrop for other clothing items. Win-win. :)

[On a side note, if you have joined our Crazy Dog Lady Sewing Challenge, just a reminder that the deadline is March 15 and we have four amazing prize packs! (In case you missed our prize pack posts, click here and here to see what you could win).]

What was your biggest fail as a result of half-assing your sewing? I'd love to know that I'm not alone in this!

{A friend's dog and a great song!}

Saturday, 21 February 2015


Hey all! We are pretty excited to announce today that we have two more sponsors joining us for the Crazy Dog Lady Sewing Challenge! If you haven't yet had a chance to check out all of our amazing prizes and discounts, please click here to see the original post.
Our first new sponsor is Michael Levine ( I am pretty excited about this one for two reasons. One: this fabric right here.
Do yourself a favour, click through the link, and then click to zoom in on the fabric. And then read it. Bwahahaha! Amazing!

Reason number two: they have a ton of patterns for dogs, including some that allow you to refashion old clothes into clothes for your dog! Recycling, dogs, and sewing!? Yes, please!

In addition to generously donating a $50 gift card to one of our participants (!), Michael Levine is also offering all participants a 10% discount on all online orders until April 30th with the code pup10, so be sure to head over to their website and type "dog" into the search bar to check out all of the other fabric, patterns, and buttons for dog-related sewing (And then check out the rest of the website to see what you can get with that $50 gift card!).
Our second new sponsor is Gaylen of G Marie Sews. Gaylen has kindly offered to send one participant a doggy prize pack that includes a dog-themed picture frame, bookmark, and fabric! How sweet is that?! If you don't already follow her blog, you really should check it out. She makes some seriously sweet dresses, and you can check out all of her adorable dogs while there!
Now, you may be wondering, which prize packs we are adding this to. The answer is none of them. Tanya, Sophie-Lee, and myself have decided that these two generous prizes will be grouped together to make a fourth prize pack! Huzzah!
While we are talking sponsors, I thought I would let you know that TuxedoCatButtons has added a few new dog themed buttons:
So be sure to take advantage of the discount code DOGLOVERS for 30% off your orders.
Secondly, the needle case from Kerso for prize pack two is complete. Check it out:

And last, but not least, my custom dog brooch from MrZhuo came in a week after I placed my order. Here is one of the photos I sent her:
And here is what I was sent in the mail:
Truly, my crappy pictures don't do it justice. I've worn this to work a few times and everyone comments on it (and a few people have inquired about getting their own). Want to be a really crazy dog lady? I highly recommend. :)

In the meantime, have you checked out our Flickr pool? Your amazing makes have been coming in, and I am so impressed! If you only have a few minutes to spare, check out the leggings on Ginger Makes, and the Michael Miller dress on The Recycled Haberdashery, you won't be disappointed.
That's all for today. I'd love to stay and gush about all the amazing things that are going on with the challenge but I need to do some planning for work and some major cleaning in the kitchen today (or basically, we won't be eating this weekend).

Toodles :)
{So true. Thanks, Rochelle!}

Monday, 16 February 2015

In which we discuss colours and head sizes.

I hate pink. I'm SOOO not a floral person. And although I like yellow, I generally don't wear it. So then, you are thinking, WTF?
For the Dog lady sewing challenge, I wanted to make a wearable muslin. I had made a straight-up muslin, but I wanted a quick practice run of the make. I did not want to drop $70 on fabric only to have it wasted. Not cool.
Rewind to two years ago, when my very generous in-laws bought me a gift certificate for a local quilting store. It sat in our "gift card pile" for ages! Not that I didn't want to use it, but rather I got overwhelmed and wanted to make sure I used it wisely. Fast forward to a few weeks ago while the three of us were getting set up for the challenge and I had an opportunity to putter around the store for an hour while the hubs was in a meeting at school. I found this quilting cotton in the sale section and, even though, as I mentioned, I hate pink, dislike wearing florals, and dislike wearing yellow, I had to have it. It was $6 a metre, and it had fruit on it! FRUIT! Maybe this long ass winter made me want to buy something tropical too? So I picked it up, toted it home and got it in my head that if I was going to make a wearable muslin out of this, then I'm going all out and I'm going to make myself look like Malibu F*****g Barbie. :) Don't ask how my brain works. Just nod your head and smile.
What? Me? I'm not socially awkward!
I used Simplicity 1873, just like I did for my birthday dress, only I used the front bodice from view c, without the tabs. I changed the back bodice to be a big scoop because I tried it with my Lilou muslin (that never made it to be a real dress), and I liked the scoop back feature.
I graded out from an 8 at the bust to a 12 at the waist and I used a smaller side seam allowance (3/8" I think?), just to try and give myself more ease than normal. I usually give myself almost zero ease which, oh, I don't know, when I put on a little winter weight *ahem*, can lead to me not fitting into any of my damn clothes, so I figured I'd be kind and try to give myself some extra space. I ended up with just the right amount of ease in my opinion. The dress is fitted without being baggy, which is great! I also changed the skirt to just a plain old gathered one because I didn't have enough to make the skirt from the pattern. I'll probably do the same for my final dress. I also made the same dart changes that I made to my birthday dress, but that was just a matter of tracing off my last pattern.
I made the matching bow belt using Tilly's tutorial, only I made mine a bit wider and the bow a bit bigger. I also made Bluegingerdoll's pin up head scarf, but I have a large noggin and nothing ever fits it properly.  It would have looked pretty stupid if I had worn it for these pictures for you. I can get it to twist once but I can't knot it. I should have known too. I have to buy men's hats lest I get a huge headache, so I should have slashed the pattern. That scarf REALLY would have made me look like Malibu Barbie, so I guess that plan got quashed because of my giant skull. Oh well, what can you do? Next time.
This is the nicest thing I've made to date. I was very careful about pattern matching at the back zip, and due to the fabric width, I had to have a second seam running through the skirt, which I pattern matched really well.
I also added a patch pocket, matching the pattern there. It is just a wee pocket, just enough to stuff my keys into while at work.
Also: check out that kick ass invisible zipper! Amazing!
The bodice is lined with some Bemberg rayon from my stash (Remember how I said my fabric store closed up shop? Yeah, I made out like a bandit with a ton of lining.). 
I also used up some vintage lace hem tape for the hem of the skirt that my cousin gifted me ages ago. It is a little uneven on the inside but on the outside it is even and that is all that matters.
I didn't bother lining the skirt. Instead, at 6:30am the other day when I decided to wear this to work, I decided to make a half slip. Yeah. I figured it would save me from having to line all my future dresses, but clearly I could have planned that out a bit better.
For my final dress, I will try to add some inseam pockets, or if I'm too lazy, I will do a patch pocket, just this time a bigger one. I also need to change the arm holes to be bigger. After wearing this all day I couldn't wait to get it off because it was digging into my pits. But other than that I am really quite pleased with how this turned out. 
And sorry about the less-than-ideal pictures. The snow outside literally is higher than my fence. :| And ain't nobody got time to deal with that. So indoor photos it is. Womp womp.
Can you spot the fence post?
What about you? Have you started your Dog Lady Challenge piece yet?

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

In which I hope to inspire you

As we are getting started with the #crazydogladysewing, Tanya, Sophie-Lee, and I wanted to each do an inspiration post to show you some of the things you could make for the challenge.

After looking at some of the things you can do with items from our sponsors, today I am going to look at some of the other fabrics, patterns, and ideas that might inspire you.

Let's look at some of the fabric from Spoonflower. Now, I know, they can be quite expensive depending on the fabric you buy, and I've read some reviews out there that people aren't happy with how the colours of their orders have turned out. Having said that, I've use their service a number of times and never had any issues. I really like that you can get super specific fabric that no one else will have on their site. I bet that if you typed in your dog breed, you will find at least five fabric designs. Whether or not you like them is another issue!

So, I am going to share with you some of the fabric designs that I really like and try to pair them with some patterns that are out there. Keep in mind that I have a tendency to like grays and blues and fairly clean graphic designs (for the most part).
Let's start with my three favourites, shall we? (For the rest of this post, just click on the photo to go to the webpage directly).
You could consider this first one a sneak peek at my work-in-progress. Yes, that's right! This is the fabric that I picked up for the challenge. It is glorious and whimsical and everything I love in a fabric. In real life, the blues are a bit more pronounced, which is good because blue is my colour. If you are going to pick fabric for a crazy challenge like this, why not go all out to show how crazy of a crazy dog lady you really are?
There is something so sweet about our dogs when they stretch in the morning and wiggle their tails, non? Plus: blues and grays=win! It was really hard to not choose this fabric for the challenge because it is so gosh darn cute, but that's not to say it will never make an appearance in my wardrobe. It brings a huge smile to my face every time I see it.
This one was difficult not to choose either. So. Many. Dog. Breeds. I love the hand-drawn qualities, and I love how many different types of dogs there are here. This one has a gray background, but the designer also has this same print on a few other background colours. Again it was tough not to choose but the first one is just so different, so I had to go with that one.
Now that we've gotten my top three out of the way, I'm going to show you a whole bunch more that I really like and that I think would be great for this challenge. Most of these would look great with any of the BHL patterns, the Emery pattern, the Lilou or Clemence patterns, Simplicity 2444, or any other "blank-slate" pattern that is great for showcasing prints, so I'll try to show you some more creative match ups.

Get this printed in Silk Crepe de Chine or Performance Pique and make up a pair of sweet Tania Culottes for some very meta bike shorts.

Get this printed in some Organic Interlock Knit and make yourself a Hot Cocoa sweater.

Get this Frenchie print in Silk Crepe de Chine and make an adorable Oakridge blouse (with bow of course!)

Get this printed in Modern Jersey to make yourself a one-of-a-kind Bronte Top.

Get this printed in Organic Cotton Interlock Knit and make a cute Linden sweater.

Get this fabric printed in Organic Cotton Interlock Knit and make a wicked colour blocked Ensis Tee.

Get this printed in Modern Jersey and make an awesome Bonnie top.

Isn't this print just dying to be made into a Washi dress? Print out this cute fabric in cotton poplin, quilting cotton, or even the basic combed cotton.

Let's just be real, this would have to be a dress (Simplicity 1873, maybe?), because ain't nobody got separates to match that print.

Order this simple hand-drawn print in Silk Crepe de Chine for an awesome Bruyere top.

Why not print this cute Basset Hound print off in combed cotton, quilting cotton, or cotton poplin to make an awesome flirty circle skirt?

More the classy type? This classy greyhound print could certainly be made into a very classy Tate top using some Organic Cotton Sateen, non?

Want to go really crazy? Why not make some dachshund dog Espresso Leggings in Organic Interlock Knit, Modern Jersey, or Performance Pique and have some pants that everyone will talk about.

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, why not whip up a Moneta in some Organic Cotton Interlock Knit from this funky print?

Last for our Spoonflower looks, but not least, want something really, truly different? Something that screams "I am a crazy dog lady"? Why not make the Victoria Blazer?

For the outside, you can print off this crazy artsy dog print in Cotton Poplin, and for the lining, get the dog bone print in Quilting Cotton (Or if you want less emphasis on the "crazy" part, try reversing them.).

Okay, so, if you are like me, you love these ideas, but your pocketbook doesn't. As I said before, Spoonflower is pricey. I think it is okay to invest money in your clothing, especially clothing that makes you smile, that fits well, is well made, and that you know was produced in an environmentally conscious fashion. But, still, sometimes you want a dog dress and dammit you can't afford to drop $70 on fabric.

So what are some other options then to keep our cost down? 

Well, why not buy a smaller amount of fabric and use it for the contrasting yoke on the Ensis Tee, or Colette's Macaron? Or dog-print elbow patches on the Plantain tee? Why not dog print patch pockets on your very own Coco? Or you could add a dog-print patch pocket to any garment, really!

What else could you do? You could always try your hand at applique or embroidery. Wouldn't Odette, look super sweet with a dog print contrasting fabric in the neckline and a matching embroidered dog below the shoulder?
When it comes to embroidery and applique, the possibilities are endless. Here and here are two Pinterest boards of dog embroidery/applique inspiration that I found just doing a quick Google search.

You really have a ton of different choices when it come to this challenge, and this is just the garments for humans! I'm not going to get into patterns and fabrics for dogs, mostly because the fabric choices are endless, and the patterns are pretty similar overall.

Be sure to check out Tanya's inspiration post and Sophie-Lee's inspiration post, and share what you will be working on to the Flickr group.

Thanks for stopping by!