Tag Archives: organic cotton

Shoes: second attempt

After my first attempt at making shoes, I wanted to try a different pattern to see what else I could learn.

Shoeology Everyday Loafers

Pattern: Everyday Loafers by Shoeology
Size: 9
Fabric:
outer: 100% organic cotton canvas, lining: some kind of quilting cotton, buttons: coconut, inserts: 100% wool felt
Modifications: none

This time I followed the instructions and sewed up one practice shoe without interfacing, and I liked it, so I made another. The square toe fits my weirdly square feet perfectly, so I didn’t need to do any modifications this time.

The construction of this one is different than my last pair. Instead of a full lining, the lining and the outer are both sewn to the sole, and then a removable insert is used to cover the bottom. The instructions say to buy an insert and then spray glue fabric to it, but I made my inserts out of two layers of wool felt and stitched a layer of lining fabric on top to match. I don’t like how the unfinished edges are slightly visible with this method, but I like the removable inserts, so I think I’ll combine the two methods for my next pair.

Shoeology Everyday Loafers

Shoeology Everyday Loafers

These are super comfy, and I’ve been wearing them around the house non-stop, so I think I’ll consider these a successful pair of slippers, and a solid step towards wearable shoes!

Shoeology Everyday Loafers

And now a review and comparison/contrast of the two patterns for anyone who might be considering making shoes (or even just slippers):

Shoeology Everyday Loafers: The instructions on this pattern are not as detailed as the uku2 pattern (especially in terms of fit), but if you’re looking for a quick slipper pattern, the lack of extra detail could be a good thing. If you have square toes like me, they will probably fit without any modifications, so that’s a plus for some people. These fit a bit larger than the uku2 ones, so the fit is better with socks. Great pattern for a first pair.

uku2 Round Toe Slippers: The instructions are amazing and detailed. You can really tell she did her research, and if you want to get into the finer details of fitting, this pattern is great. She talks about the importance of accurate stitching, and it was a bit overwhelming at first because I thought any small mistake would wreck my slippers, but that’s really not the case. This pattern is great for taking slipper-making to the next level, and really perfecting it.

Overall, I’m glad I bought both patterns since I will be combining techniques from both, and maybe even using both patterns for future pairs. I think I’m ready to try making a real pair with outdoor soles next!

Shoeology Everyday Loafers

 

Coppelia wrap top

I decided to try out Papercut Patterns to add some variety to my cozy knit tops for the winter. I fell in love with their packaging. It’s so adorable.

First up (but second sewn) is Coppelia, a wrap top. I made it out of super soft undyed organic cotton interlock from Organic Cotton Plus. Seriously, this stuff is insanely soft. I just want to cuddle up with it while I wait for winter to pass.

Coppelia Wrap Top Papercut

Coppelia Wrap Top

I had a few problems with the fit, but I think I managed to fix most of them. The sides and underarms were really baggy, so I pinched out 2″ at the under arm seam, tapering to nothing at the elbow and tapering to 1.5″ at the side seams. I think there’s still plenty of fabric in the armpits for a comfy, casual style.

Coppelia Wrap Top

The other problem was the neck band. There was major gaping the first time I sewed it on, so I unpicked it and tried again, this time stretching it a lot (especially around the shoulder area) as I sewed. I ended up taking off several inches, I think. Also, the angle on the band seemed to be angling the wrong way. Maybe I’m just not experienced enough to know why, but I ended up chopping it off in the other direction to make it work.

In the end, I’m happy with the fit on this top, and I’m already planning my next one. They’re so cozy and the style looks great with high-waist full skirts!

Coppelia Wrap Top

And now for a major fail:  Circle Top, also by Papercut. I know the style doesn’t work with a full skirt, but I was too lazy to change, so you can just use your imagination.  The top keeps sliding off my shoulders (and I have broad shoulders!), and there’s just so much fabric at the top that I’m not sure how to position it. I tried chopping off part of the top, but that didn’t help. The back is not very flattering. I thought it would look like a knitted circle sweater, but I guess in knitting things just work a little bit differently. I made this out of the same super-soft undyed organic cotton interlock, so at least this top can live out its days as a pajama/lounge top instead of being tossed out. Look how impressed I am with it:

IMG_4878 (535x800) IMG_4879 (535x800) IMG_4881 (535x800)

I really like the idea of this top, but in reality it just didn’t work for me. It’s fun to try new patterns, though. One out of two isn’t bad!

Shoes: first attempt

I made shoes! Well, slippers. And barely wearable ones at that. But it’s a first step, and I’m hoping to have a pair of wearable (outdoor) shoes figured out by spring.

uku2 shoes

Pattern: Round toe strapless slippers by uku2
Fabric: outer 100% organic cotton twill, lining 100% organic quilting cotton
Size:
9
Modifications: Rounded the toe to accommodate my square feet

The instructions on this pattern are amazing. Super-detailed, with lots of photos explaining how to measure your feet properly, and how to do modifications for oddly-shaped feet (which I have!) and you can tell she did a ton of research into shoe-making. I would definitely recommend this pattern for anyone considering making shoes.

The reason these didn’t turn out quite right is completely user error. I ignored the instructions to interface because I wanted breathable shoes (I hate sweaty feet), so they’re really floppy and don’t stay on. Next time, I’ll interface with self fabric, or maybe cotton canvas, to get a bit of stability without sacrificing breathability.

The other bit of instructions I ignored was doing layers of felt in the sole, stacking from the heel and tapering to the toe. I just did one layer of wool felt all the way across because I wanted more of a barefoot/minimalist shoe. I’m happy with how it feels, but I didn’t take into account the heel depth, so the back of the heel goes up too high. An easy fix for next time.

uku2 shoes

uku2 shoes

uku2 shoes

Measuring feet is really hard! I thought I needed to adjust the left foot based on my measurements, but it turns out I didn’t need to, so one slipper is bigger than the other at the heel. I attached some elastic straps to keep these things on my feet. I’m happy with them for a first attempt, though. At least now I can wear my hand-knit socks around the house without worrying about them getting snagged on the sharp screws on the stairs. Yay!

I have one more shoe pattern I want to try before deciding which one to work on and perfect. Anyone else thinking of getting into shoe-making, or am I the only crazy one?

Tank top with shelf bra

self-drafted tank top with shelf bra

Version 1:

Fabric: 100% Organic Cotton Jersey in white from Hart’s Fabrics

I actually made this one back in May, but I finally got around to making a second version with some changes, so I decided to finally post about them! I have no idea how drafting normally works, but I figured since knits are stretchy I could just wing it and adjust as needed.

I started out by measuring my bust, waist, and hip, and the distances between them and transferring the measurements to some tissue paper, using a french curve to join them. This basically gave me a zero-ease garment, which I thought would work, but I was way off. I had to take in the sides a lot, shorten the straps, and lower the armholes to get it to fit, but with some tweaking, eventually it worked out.

Once I got the outer part fitting the way I wanted, I transferred the changes to my pattern pieces and then traced out the top part to create the shelf, adding 2x my elastic width to the bottom. To the front shelf piece, I also added a curve below the line and extended the side by 1″ so I could make some gathers in the middle for shaping.

self-drafted tank top with shelf bra self-drafted tank top with shelf bra

I just gathered the middle with some thread to create an almost sweetheart neckline curve, which I really like.

self-drafted tank top with shelf bra self-drafted tank top with shelf bra

I used the same template for the front and back, but I don’t like how far apart the straps are on the back (probably because I had to take the sides in so much).

self-drafted tank top with shelf bra

I left the hem raw because the top was a little shorter than I intended, plus I like how the raw edge looks.

self-drafted tank top with shelf bra

Version 2:

Fabric: 100% Organic Cotton Jersey in turquoise from Hart’s Fabrics

I  moved the back straps toward the center by 1″ and made a “V” shape for the back.

IMG_4708 (532x800)

Tank top with shelf bra

I also took a little out of the front arm curve, which I now see was too much. I added a third layer to the front shelf this time, with an opening at the straps to insert those foamy cup shaping things, but they’re really difficult to insert since the cotton jersey doesn’t allow them to slide. I think I’ll go back to my first version for all the front pieces and my second version for the back.

These tops have definitely been getting a lot of wear! They’re so soft and comfy, and they make great undershirts for fall/winter too 🙂

Raindrop Chardon

I fell in love with the Chardon skirt pattern the moment I saw it. It’s just so flattering and versatile. I had enough fabric left over from my Laurel dress to make a skirt, but not without a few modifications. I had to straighten the hem because of the border print anyway, but I also had to straighten the sides to get the pieces to fit on the fabric I had left. I’m happy with how it turned out, but I do think the unmodified pattern with more flare would have been much nicer.

Deer and Doe Chardon skirt

Pattern: Chardon by Deer & Doe
Fabric: Ombre Ikat Raindrops printed on Organic Cotton Sateen
Size: 34/36
Modifications: Straightened hem and sides to fit on fabric I had left

The top is “self-drafted” (i.e. guess and adjust) with a shelf bra. I made it at the beginning of May (it’s actually the only item I made in May!) – I’ll get around to blogging about that one eventually!

Deer and Doe Chardon skirt

I had some trouble with the instructions for putting on the belt loops. It didn’t say exactly how close to the top to put them. This was my first time doing belt loops, so I don’t know if that’s normal or not, but I decided to put them on last, after the facing, so I could see where they should be.

Deer and Doe Chardon skirt

I did regular hem instead of the bias trim because for some reason bias trim seems really intimidating! I’m going to have to get over that block soon.

Deer and Doe Chardon skirt

This is such a comfortable and wearable skirt! I will definitely be making more of these 🙂

Deer and Doe Chardon skirt

Pyjama Party!

I can’t believe I’m posting pictures of myself in pyjamas on the internet, but I didn’t want to be left out of all the fun of Karen’s Pyjama Party! So, here they are:

sewaholic tofino pants

Pattern: Sewaholic Tofino Pants
Size: 0 (my measurements didn’t quite match the chart, but they’re pyjama pants, right?)
Fabric: Organic cotton interlock, my own design on Spoonflower, trim: turquoise organic cotton jersey from Harts Fabric

These pyjamas are by far the comfiest I’ve ever had! My old ones were getting pretty ratty, and they didn’t even stay up properly anymore, so it was definitely time for a new pair. I designed a fabric on Spoonflower for the main part of the pants with positive affirmations because, really, who doesn’t need little reminders to look on the bright side? Plus, you can only wear a fabric like this around the house, so pyjamas were a perfect use for it!

sewaholic tofino pants

A copycat picture like Tasia’s – turquoise accents and all!

The bow and piping are done in a lightweight organic jersey. I decided to do flat piping for comfort (and because it seemed easier). The two side seams are a bit bulky, but that’s probably because of the thicker fabric I used. The pattern recommends lightweight fabrics, and now I know why! I had a few problems with the thickness of the interlock, but nothing major. I trimmed the waistband pretty aggressively, so it doesn’t feel too thick, but my needle really struggled going through all those layers. I have a lot of skipped stitches, especially at the hem where the needle had to go through 9 layers of interlock plus 6 layers of jersey where the piping was. My poor needle just couldn’t handle it, and I couldn’t find any heavier ballpoint needles at the store.

sewaholic tofino pants

The pants are a bit long because when I looked at the finished measurements, it said inseam: 32″, so I thought, oh good, that’s the length I get in jeans. It didn’t occur to me that the inseam starts a bit lower on loose-fitting pants. Oops.

sewaholic tofino pants

I made a matching top out of the same turquoise jersey I used for the contrast on the pants. I decided to try Maria Denmark’s Kimono Tee since I like a looser fit around the shoulders for lounging and I was curious about the pattern. It’s super comfortable for lounging, but I don’t think it’s really my style for wearing out of the house.

Pillow fight! Thank you, Karen, for hosting the pyjama party! I’m looking forward to checking out everyone else’s creations!

A Pair of Laurels (just in time!)

I had every intention of finishing my Laurels with plenty of time to spare before the end of the contest, but here we are on deadline day, and I just finished them both yesterday. Oh well, it looks like I’m not the only one – there are a ton of pictures being posted last-minute to the flickr pool! I remember seeing a quote posted on some advertising sign many years ago that said something to the effect of “If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done”. So true!

When the contest was first announced, I was so excited to be able to take part in a sewing related event, but I wasn’t too crazy about the silhouette. I normally go for more fit and flare type styles, so I decided to take in the waist for more shaping and add a bit to the length so I feel more comfortable. I’m happy with the result, and I think it still pushes me outside of my comfort zone.

The Practice Laurel

I made my first Laurel out of some undyed organic cotton (maybe muslin? I’m not sure) that I’ve had for years. I played around with the fit for ages trying to get it right. After a while, I realized I could just add front darts from another dress that fit, so I added darts from the Cambie (post coming soon – I finished this one before the Laurels, but I haven’t had time to post about it because of the contest). I lined up the waistline and the center front and it worked perfectly! I experimented with drafting facings, but in the end decided to just line the whole thing with cotton voile since I didn’t want any stitching lines to show on my final version.

Organic Cotton Laurel

Pattern: Laurel by Colette
Fabric: Undyed Organic Cotton (maybe muslin? not sure) and Organic Cotton Voile lining in white from Organic Cotton Plus
Size: 0
Modifications: Added front darts, took in back darts by 0.5″ each, took in side seams by 0.5 “, chopped 0.5″ off around armholes, added 0.75″ in bodice length above bust, added 1.5″ in length at waist, added 1” to skirt length

I added a tab belt to add some interest around the waist and I left all of the darts open below the waist.

Laurel Tab Belt

Tab belt with shell buttons

side pockets with decorative stitching

side pockets with decorative stitching

laurel back view

It was all looking good until I decided to add some decorative top stitching to my practice version. It stretched out the keyhole at the back so now it looks kind of wonky.

Then I decided to add some keyhole cutouts to the skirt. I thought it would look neat to have the sheer white voile in the cutouts to show a little bit of texture and add interest to the plain colour. I stitched around the edges to hold the layers together and keep them from fraying, and used tissue paper on the bottom to stabilize everything while stitching, but it ended up looking really messy. I just couldn’t go around the curves smoothly. Maybe it’s something that just takes practice.

wonky decorative details

wonky decorative details

I still like the idea, but I think next time I’ll do the top stitching and cutouts all by hand with white embroidery floss for extra impact. And maybe it would look better with two colours that contrast more.

Laurel 2:

When the contest was first announced, and I saw that there was a category for self-designed fabrics, I thought that was perfect. I’d been meaning to design some fabric and have it printed on spoonflower (I even had their $1 colour sampler swatch already), so this was the perfect opportunity! There wasn’t enough time to order a proof and still enter the contest, so I had to guess on the darkest colour. I was aiming for a deep sapphire or navy, but it came out purple. I think it still works, but I will definitely be investing in a full colour sampler for future spoonflower projects – and there will definitely be more!

I decided to do an ombre design since the straight lines of this pattern allow for a large pattern repeat. So I did an ombre ikat design that reminds me of raindrops. You can find the design on spoonflower here. I had it printed on their Organic Cotton Sateen.

Ombre Ikat Raindrop fabric

Ombre Ikat Raindrop fabric

Laurel Ombre Ikat

Laurel Ombre Ikat
Fabric: My own design printed on spoonflower’s Organic Cotton Sateen, and Organic Cotton Voile lining in white from Organic Cotton Plus
Pattern/Size/Modifications: Same as practice Laurel, but I took out the side seams and back darts slightly since the first one was a bit tight.

The keyhole turned out better on this version without the top stitching.

back keyhole detail

back keyhole detail

Practical side pockets

Practical side pockets

tab belt

tab belt

I think I’ll redo the tab belt. It’s a bit too small so it’s pulling the dress a bit at the waist. Plus I think it would look better a bit wider and with better top stitching 🙂

hand-stitched hem

hand-stitched hem

Ombre Ikat Laurel

The full-length pictures don’t really show the pattern very well – the close-up shots are much more accurate. But, in the end, I’m happy with this one!