Monthly Archives: May 2014

Cloud 9 with a silver lining

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Pattern: Midsummer Night’s Dream by Papercut Patterns
Fabric: 100% organic cotton – Cloud9 Palos Verdes Voile in Abalone Cove
Size: XXS
Modifications: Same as my first version, plus I lowered the back by 1″ and sewed down the ties to make double thin straps

This pattern is back again already! I’ve been wearing my first version a lot for Me-Made-May, so I decided to make a second one right away. Plus, it’s part of my Wardrobe Architect plans, so it’s practical 😉

I love the watercolour effect of this print. Pale orange and peach are not my best colours, but it’s just so pretty that I had to make a summer dress! It reminds me of my favourite dress that I had when I was three, my “bubble dress”, that had rainbow coloured bubbles all over it. This dress just makes me happy when I put it on!

I did french seams throughout because I love the clean finish, but I didn’t bother with print matching at all – I just don’t enjoy that like some people do!

Papercut patterns Midsummer Night's Dream dress

Papercut patterns Midsummer Night's Dream dress Cloud 9 Abalone Cove Papercut patterns Midsummer Night's Dream dress Papercut patterns Midsummer Night's Dream dress  Papercut patterns Midsummer Night's Dream dress

Silver Lining shrug:

Yarn: 50% wool/50% silk Handmaiden Fine Yarn Lady Godiva in Smoke
Pattern: my own
Ravelry notes here

This yarn is so soft and has a gorgeous silvery sheen with warm golden tones to it when it catches the light. The pattern turned out more-or-less how I envisioned it: a bit slouchy and casual, but still a bit dressy too. It goes with pretty much everything, so it’s the perfect topper for spring and summer dresses on cooler mornings and evenings.

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Belcarra blouse & Cascade skirt

Belcarra blouse:

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

Pattern: Belcarra Blouse by Sewaholic
Fabric: Cotton/Silk blend from Fabricland
Size: 6 (see notes below)
Modifications: french seams, narrow 1/4″ hem, shortened neckline binding by 2 cm

I was so excited about this pattern when Tasia first announced it that I built my spring wardrobe plans around it. I love how light and airy it is, and how it manages to look casual and dressy at the same time. So versatile. It really is the missing piece in my wardrobe. I have so many orphan skirts in my closet that I never wear because I have nothing to go with them. Now I do!

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

I pretty much just sewed this one up as is with two minor modifications. The pattern suggests a 1 1/2″ hem, which I did at first, but it looked stiff and weird with my sheer fabric, and I had a hard time easing in the extra fabric (I’m so bad at that!), so I ripped it out and did a 1/4″ hem (folded up 1/4″ twice). I think it looks a lot better with the sheer, floaty fabric I used. I’ll probably mostly wear it tucked in anyway, but I like to know I have the option of wearing it untucked.

The other change was to shorten the neckline binding by 2 cm. Again, I was having a hard time easing in the fabric, so I just chopped off the excess and treated it like bias binding. Next time I think I will just use bias binding and trim the neckline seam allowances to 1/4″ since I think the large seam allowance was what gave me trouble.

Normally with Sewaholic patterns I cut a size 6 on top and grade to a 0 in the waist and hips (since I’m not pear-shaped), but this time I decided to cut a straight 6 because I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get it over my broad shoulders. I’m glad I did because I don’t think any smaller would be comfortable to put on. But I think there might be a bit too much fabric around the hips, so I might grade the next one just at the hips and leave the waist at a 6. I can’t decide if the extra volume at the hips looks weird or visually balances out my shoulders. What do you think? Honest opinions, please! I plan on making a lot of these, so I want to get it right.

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

I did french seams throughout, but attaching the sleeve cuffs was a bit tricky to do with all of the angles. I think it worked out reasonably well in the end.

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

Cascade skirt:

Megan Nielsen Cascade Skirt

Pattern: Cascade skirt by Megan Nielsen
Fabric: 100% cotton voile (Valori Wells Cocoon Shine in aqua)
Size: XS
Modifications: moved the button hole to the side seam

This one is also going to be a wardrobe staple for me. It’s the perfect summer skirt for going to the beach in. The smallest size is still 1.5″ too big for me, but I figured it wouldn’t really make a difference since it’s a wrap skirt. I just moved the buttonhole over to the side seam, and the fit is great.

This is my first time using a Megan Nielsen pattern, and I have to say, I love it! I got one of the last paper patterns, which is sad because they come with a cute little booklet, and the patterns are printed on sturdy paper, so they’re great for remakes. Unfortunately, since PDFs drive me crazy (how do you store a mass of taped up sheets?!) and since I don’t quite make their size chart, I probably won’t be making many more, but I will be making lots of this pattern!

The only thing I don’t like about this skirt is how it looks stiff and awkward at the back. I think it’s because of the fabric. I was so excited when the quilting cotton makers started manufacturing lighter weight fabrics because I thought they would be perfect for clothing, but I don’t think they quite work for the flowy, drapey styles I like. Even the organic ones have a crispness that doesn’t work for certain styles. I just spent all day yesterday making a gathered maxi skirt out of Cloud 9’s Palos Verdes voile and it was a total disaster. It looks ridiculous, and I will not be posting pictures! I think I may have to start sewing with silk and dyeing it myself…

Megan Nielsen Cascade Skirt

So stiff and awkward from the back

Megan Nielsen Cascade Skirt

Nice and drapey from the front

Shoes: third attempt – so close, yet so far!

handmade shoes

After my first and second practice pairs (aka slippers), I thought I was ready for the real deal. Everything was going so well. I spent lots of time adjusting the fit and making sure everything was right, and I was really happy with this pair until I tried to glue the soles on. I don’t know if it was the rubber soles I used or the “eco” low-VOC contact cement, but the soles just refused to stick to the shoes – so disappointing!

I followed all the instructions for the contact cement: the temperature was above 18 degrees C (it was a gorgeous 28 degree day!), the humidity was low, and I waited 60 minutes for it to dry, but it just wouldn’t dry. So I tried sticking one shoe on, and it peeled right off of the rubber! So I left the other one to dry overnight and tried again, and the same thing happened. The glue just peels right off the rubber even though the bottle says that it sticks to rubber. If you have any experience with contact cement, or any ideas on how I can fix these, please share!

handmade shoes

handmade shoes

You can see where the rubber sole is peeling off the shoe 😦

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Pattern: Round toe strapless slippers by uku2
Fabric: outer 100% organic cotton twill, waxed with Otter Wax lining 100% organic quilting cotton (Passing Clouds by Cloud9)
Soles: 3/8″ Rubber Soling Material  and LePage Low VOC Contact Cement (I followed this tutorial for applying the soles)
Size: 9
Fit Modifications: Rounded the toe to accommodate my square feet, pinched out 1 cm from top of heel, removed 0.5 cm from bottom of side heel to compensate for removed heel padding
Construction Modifications: Used canvas interfacing, omitted glue and heel interfacing, added removable insoles
Style Modifications: Cut out more of the upper near the toes, added straps to the toe, added a tab to the back heel with a loop

The upside is that these are by far the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn, so as long as the soles don’t completely fall off, I will actually wear them!

I decided to try waxing them since it’s spring (photo below shows the shoes after waxing). The waxing process was surprisingly easy, but I haven’t had a chance to test them out in wet grass or puddles yet, so I’ll report back later on how effective it is.

handmade shoes

For my next pair, I ordered some different soling material (from here) that gets sewn in instead of glued on, so I’ll give shoes another try when the new soles arrive. Unfortunately, this pattern is designed with part of the uppers wrapping around to the bottom, which means I need to make some major modifications to the pattern, or draft my own, to use the sew-in soling. It’s quite a process, but I’m not giving up yet!