Tag Archives: sewaholic

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



Sewaholic Minoru Jacket

Pattern: Minoru Jacket by Sewaholic
Outer Fabric: 100% wool from a local garage sale
Lining: 100% Silk Habotai, dyed with Procion Dyes (details below)
Size: 6, graded to 0 in the waist and hips
Modifications: side seam pockets, patch pockets, and tab belt

This was supposed to be my fall jacket, but I didn’t finish it until late November, and I’m just posting it now. I’m so slow! I should really get started on some summer dresses while there’s still time…

Anyway, this is one of those projects that looks good from far away, but is all wonky up close. It was my first time sewing with silk, wool, and matching plaids (or checks? what would you call this stuff?). Silk is supposed to be the hardest fabric to sew with, and wool one of the easier fabrics, but these two were closely matched in difficulty. The wool kept shifting and growing, making it almost impossible to match up the plaids when I was cutting it out. And sewing in a straight line was pretty much impossible! I just had to keep going because seam-ripping seemed pointless.

I managed to get a fairly close plaid-matching on the side seams and hood, but I don’t think it’s possible to match both the front and back raglan seams, so those don’t match at all!

IMG_5086 (800x533)

Sewaholic Minoru Jacket

I added a tab belt with buttons for more waist definition in the front, but now I’m not sure I like it. I think the buttons might be a tad too low, so I’m thinking of moving them up a bit, or just taking the whole thing off. What do you think?

tab detail

I also added side seam pockets to keep my hands warm.

Pocket detail

And patch pockets for the look and to hold my keys when I go for a walk.


I placed the patch pockets too low, creating a bit of a problem with the hem. I had to stitch a bit lower so I wouldn’t sew right through the pocket. Actually, at first I didn’t notice, and I did sew right through the pocket. Oops.


I made the inner pockets out of silk because I was worried the wool would be too scratchy, but it probably wouldn’t have made a difference. And silk is definitely hard to sew in a straight line! So much wonkiness…



The Dyeing Process

Silk Dyeing Attempt

For the lining, I decided I wanted to try dyeing with food colouring. I’ve experimented with wool and it worked, so I thought the protein fibres in silk would work the same way. Turns out that’s not true, and if I’d bothered to google it before trying, I would have saved the house from being turned into a vinegar steam bath.  It felt like a prehistoric swamp. I was so happy with the colour, but it all just washed down the drain. Unfortunately, not enough to be able to salvage the silk, so I ordered some more habotai from Dharma and tried again with Procion Dyes. The colours shift on silk, so it came out a lot brighter than I wanted, but after the first disaster, I was just happy it wasn’t bleeding, so I decided to go ahead and sew it.

The wool outer fabric I got at a garage sale last year for practically nothing. I also got a pile of other fabric, and had fun burn-testing them all for fibre content!

I absolutely love the pattern (very easy to follow instructions, especially with the sew-along) and I plan to make another Minoru for spring – in an easier to sew cotton next time!

Sewaholic Minoru Jacket

Sewaholic Minoru Jacket

Sewaholic Minoru Jacket Sewaholic Minoru Jacket

Sewaholic Minoru Jacket

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 Garden Party Cambie

I finished this dress almost two weeks ago, but I was so busy finishing up my two Laurels that I just didn’t have time to post about it. The Cambie is the dress that got me interested in sewing again. When I saw Tasia’s red eyelet version of the dress, and all of the super-clear tutorials she has at Sewaholic, I just knew I had to give sewing another try.

It’s especially fitting that I used a fabric that I bought several years ago to make a summer halter dress (Marilyn Monroe style), but the pattern (Vogue) was so ginormous and I had no idea how to fix the bust on the muslin (I don’t know anyone in real life who sews), so I gave up and vowed never to sew again. But the fabric was so lovely I just couldn’t get rid of it. I had visions of dancing barefoot in a meadow. Or going to a garden party. It didn’t matter that those things never happen in real life.

So I was pretty nervous about the fit when I started this one, especially since Sewaholic patterns are designed for pear shapes, and I’m not at all pear shaped. I cut a 6 on top and a 0 from the waist down according to my measurements, and it actually fits! No other adjustments necessary. I couldn’t believe it.  I’m glad I made this one before the Laurels because I had to make lots of adjustments to that pattern to make it fit even though my measurements match the size chart almost exactly. I guess Colette patterns are for shorter torsos and Sewaholic patterns are for longer ones? I’m not sure. I’m just glad the Cambie fits because I love this dress so much!

Garden Party Cambie Dress

Pattern: Cambie by Sewaholic, view B
Fabric: Cotton from Fabricland (of all places!), lined with the same fabric in the bodice and organic cotton voile in the skirt from Organic Cotton Plus
Size: 6 on top, 0 from waist down
Modifications: Added a couple of inches to the hem, but I forgot to write down how many

I had to omit the pockets because I didn’t have enough of the print to match at three seams, and matching one seam at the back was hard enough!

Garden Party Cambie

Garden Party Cambie Dress

Garden Party Cambie Dress

Garden Party Cambie Dress

Just as I was finishing up the dress, I noticed a tear on the side of the bust! So upsetting. I don’t even know how it happened. I’ve stitched it up so it doesn’t get any bigger, but it doesn’t look so good. I’m thinking of adding a flower from my leftover scraps to cover the hole.

a tear

There will definitely be many more Cambies to come. It’s the perfect summer dress! Now I just need to find some garden parties or meadows…

In other news, Me-Made-May is here! I don’t have many items yet since I just started sewing a month ago, but I’m going to participate anyway! I figure 3 days a week should be manageable (I hope!) so here’s my pledge:

‘I, Chantal of A Handmade Wardrobe, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’13. I endeavour to wear a self-made garment three times a week for the duration of May 2013’

It’s going to be fun!

A Basic Renfrew

Not the most exciting item, but a closet staple. A basic white tee. Except this one is made of super-soft organic cotton 🙂

A Simple Organic Tee

A Simple Organic Tee

A bit wrinkly in the back – I probably should have taken photos at the beginning of the day…

Fabric: 100% Organic Cotton Jersey from Dressew in Vancouver
Pattern: Renfrew by Sewaholic
Size: 6 on top, 0 at waist and hip

I added 1″ to lengthen the bodice at the waist, and chopped 2.5″ off the bottom. I’m actually really happy with the fit of the top overall. It looks exactly like the other versions I’ve seen around. For the next one, I might take in the waist by 1″ on each side for a closer fit. This fabric is quite sheer in white, so I think the looser fit works on this one.

This was actually my second attempt at the Renfrew. The first was a total disaster. I used a thermal/waffle knit and it stretched out by about 1.5 times in width! The neck is wavy and falling off my shoulders – and it’s not even comfortable! Total fail. I blame the fabric combined with my lack of knowledge about waffle knits…

renfrew mods

1″ added to bodice, 2.5″ chopped off bottom

inside view

inside view



I do have a serger, but I can’t figure out how to adjust the tension for knits, so I used a scalloped edge to finish the seams. I think I actually like it better than serged seams. It’s softer and kind of pretty! So what if it doesn’t look store-bought? Handmade is awesome!

Update: I used stretch stitch G in the following photo:

finishing stitch for knits