Wednesday, 17 August 2016



Me:  Hey d'you like my new sundress?

G:    Huh? Looks like you're wearing those harem pants....

LOL...okay, he may be right....but...this is indeed a dress. Unflattering? Oh, for sure. Comfy as all get up? Why yes ma'am, thank you very much!

We're halfway through summer, and the universe has finally turned the heat on here in Vancouver. And what sweet serendipity...I happen to have just finished sewing the quintessential summer sundress; unlined, unstructured, effortless. No zips, buttons, snaps or bamboodles.

The pattern is Burda 7513, view B....with major tweaks. It's been in my stash for years and every time I picked up the pattern, I talked myself out of making it. I mean...the silhouette...yep, very challenging for me, and the online reviews weren't overly encouraging. But a few weeks ago, I finally decided to give it a go, with the premise that I would construct it in stages, thereby giving me the opportunity to tweak it or trash it as I went. Coincidentally...the morning of Operation Burda 7513, Coco of Coco's Loft, published a blog post - Summer Maxi - Bittersweet - that gave me some helpful maxi dress tips! Thanks Coco! I made the top first, narrowing the shoulder lines and shortening the bodice to above my waistline. The lapels are unlined {the wrong side of fabric shows} and so I chose to continue the gingham bias tape {self made} along the exposed front edges. Following Coco's lead, I added a waistband to the bodice. I actually used the wrong side of the fabric to complement the lapel...but...the difference is barely discernible. So far, so good! I was happy with the bodice and was ready to add the skirt. I did a quick drape of my fabric and confirmed that it was waaaaay too sheer for an unlined dress. But no way I was lining this HOT weather I opted for a gathered skirt to add opacity.  It works...but hello...I got me a whole lot mo' volume going on now. The large gigantic patch pockets didn't help matters either. I had to nix them in favour of inseam pockets. The pattern calls for an elasticized bottom hem...ahem, a harem hem...which I hemmed and hawed over. I decided to add's easy enough to take out, and I actually think it's kinda fun. It tames the volume a little, and I think it adds interest. The elastic sits very comfortably just below my knees for an ankle revealing maxi. An unanticipated bonus is that I can change the length of my dress to midi or knee length by changing where the elastic sits.  I dunno...a bad idea or a little bit genius?

Edit: I realized I gave neither a thumbs up or a thumbs down on this pattern before publishing my post. This version feels somewhat like a wearable muslin. I don't feel comfortable wearing this beyond my back garden, unless it's at the beach. It just feels too light and too voluminous. That being said, I think I'd like to sew the pattern again, but in a fabric like linen. Then I can follow the pattern silhouette more closely. I'll add the zipper in and shape the bodice more than I've done here. It still might not work for my frame, but I think I'm up to trying it.

I've been doing a little summer sewing, but really...I haven't been up to anything exciting...the usual farmer's markets, some outdoor theatre, dining al fresco...oooh, I did meet up with Melanie of  Bag and a Beret and Suzanne Carillo....lots of laughter that was!

My other bit of news is that I am preparing for a blog platform move. If things go as intended, I won't lose any of you on moving day...but in any event, I'll give you a heads up before the switch, which will probably be sometime in the next few weeks. If you are a reader that pops by via a bookmark etc., please note that my blog address has been updated to

I'll be back soon with.....another pair of harem pants...yes really....


Friday, 22 July 2016


Well hiya everyone.

As most of you know, one of my versions of the Sophie Swimsuit is a tankini. I've written this post for those of you that have expressed an interest in making your own tankini. Hopefully, it will help you out, if even just a little. See...the thing is...I'm not 100% happy with my second tankini. It's not a complete fail; I went for a swim yesterday and it was comfortable enough...but..I just haven't managed to get the fit quite right. Hence, my reluctance to label this post as a DIY or a tutorial....or anything else that even remotely alludes to me having any sewing skillz whatsoevah.  It's, at best, a dialog explaining my process. process isn't perfected or I'd be singing a happier tune.

My goal has been to make a sleek, fitted tankini...a silhouette much like the one piece. Unfortunately, it isn't as simple as cutting off the one piece at the hipline and sewing a hem. The pattern, like most swimsuit patterns, is designed specifically for four-way stretch fabric. When you wear the one piece suit, the fabric stretches in all directions. It stretches around your body horizontally and it also stretches lengthwise from top to bottom. When you cut off the bottom of the suit, the fabric no longer has the resistance required for it to stretch from top to bottom. Am I making sense? It will still stretch around your body but without that four-way stretch, the hemline will be ride up above your waistline in a wrinkly mess...not the sleek look I'm going for...

{A staged mock up of....not the sleek look I'm going for...}

The solution trick is to add width to your pattern. How much is the right amount, you ask? Eep...I'm sorry....I don't have the definitive answer. It really will depend on your body and your fabric. Having said that...I will be sharing the formula I used.

Tip: The flouncier you like your tankinis, the easier it will be. A fitted tankini with the seam lines matching....more challenging.

1.   The first step is to trace off front, side front, back and side back pieces. It's at this stage that I determined how long I wanted my tankini. I drew a hemline beginning at the side seams and about 1" from the bottom of the one piece side back and side front pattern pieces.

2.   I then slashed the pattern pieces being mindful not to distort the cup shape. I was also careful not to slash the back pieces above the point where I attached the wings. Each of my revised pattern pieces are 20% wider as measured at the bottom hemline. In addition, on this make, I added 1/4" to my side seams in the midriff area. And this I didn't do, but highly suggest....make your seam allowances wider than 3/8"...this will give you some valuable wiggle room when it comes to fitting your tankini.

3.   The finished pattern pieces...retraced just for you. You can see I opted for a slightly hi/low hemline.

Tip: If you want the side front and side back seams of your tankini to line up with the seam lines on your bottoms...advisable if you are using two different fabrics...then I recommend that you complete your swimsuit bottoms first.  Then you can baste the side front/side back tankini seams and try on your suit, making adjustments as necessary.

4.   My hems are sewn with a twin needle and woolly nylon thread in the bobbin.

5.   Cut 3/8" wide strips of fusible knit interfacing.

6.   Working on the wrong side of the fabric, fuse strips of interfacing to the bottom hem of your tankini. Note: lycra and heat...not really intended for each other. Be sure to test a sample if you use this method. I do not use my steam setting to apply the interfacing. I lay a damp press cloth over top of the interfacing and use a dry iron set on medium-high heat.

7.   After applying interfacing, I edge finished with my serger, which is entirely optional, then folded the hem 3/8" and topstitched with a twin needle.

8. finished tankini with a pretty good seam line match on the left butt. 

9.    The front seams lined up's a little off on the left. But the overall fit is pretty sleek, very little wrinkling on the front. 

10.  Oops...the right backside doesn't line up, but this isn't where my dissatisfaction lies....

Yep....still not happy with the fit at my waist area on the back. Even though I added to the side seams on my latest make...far's wrinkly. 

11.  First one favourite thus far. A nice smooth silhouette...that four-way stretch in action.

12.  My first tankini...a little wrinkly around the midriff at the back, but something I was confident I could improve on. 

13.  The swimsuit I just finished and photographed for this post. Even with adding to the side seams, it appears wrinkly....actually more wrinkly than my pink dunno. The fabrications are quite different in weight and I can only imagine that is part of the equation.

* * * sum up...I hope these tips are of help to you. As you can see, there is a degree of experimentation that is required. I think I will add 25% to my pattern pieces on my next make and 5/8" wide seam allowances...just to be sure I've given myself enough room to really master the fit.

And between you and me.....I think I might just give the two piece a go...gasp. The bottoms are supremely comfortable and have a very high rise. It would just be the tiniest bit of midriff showing...Never say never, amirite? Hope you're all enjoying summer!

My DIY Sophie Swimsuit Mashup : : here
My Sophie Swimsuit Post : : here

Monday, 18 July 2016


Vogue Pattern V1355, Vogue 1355

Vogue Pattern V1355, Vogue 1355

Vogue Pattern V1355, Vogue 1355

Vogue Pattern V1355, Vogue 1355

Vogue Pattern V1355, Vogue 1355

Vogue Pattern V1355, Vogue 1355

Well hiya everyone.

Spoiler alert: I LOVE THESE PANTS!

I'm just gonna jump right in and get to the obvious. Yep...that'd be me wearing harem pants. To be specific, I'm wearing Sandra Betzina Vogue Pattern V1355 and Stretch & Sew Pattern 333 {old pattern and out of print}. Now....before I go further.....there is not a single instance where these pants are identified as harem pants. Officially, they're draped pants...but I just can't not think of them as harem pants. What say you?

Last year I signed up for Club BMV, McCall Pattern Company's discount purchase program. Consequently, I spend way more money on patterns than I ever did before. No, not a see, it's all about the postage charges. It's the same Canada Post rate for 4 patterns as for 1 pattern, so....hello....I'm totally adding 4 patterns to my shopping cart...every...time.  This invariably leads to 'Oh my gawd, what was I thinking?' moments. It's as though I'm a different person when I'm online pattern shopping. These harem pants....officially draped pants....were my most recent WWIT. I think I hit my head against the keyboard in frustration before I had even received my order confirmation email. But....

Inexplicably....I felt compelled to make right away. And what a super easy make they were. They take a lot of fabric...a minimum of a couple of meters of 150cm wide fabric for me. {My fabric is a lightweight cotton/rayon knit.} But, I repeat, they are so, sew easy! The volume is on the inside leg and begins well below the hip; they don't have the dropped crotch typically associated with harem pants. As a result, the overall silhouette is of a much lower volume than  traditional harem pants. A total win for me!

I paired my harem pants with a simple t shirt, following You Look Fab's advice here. I was a bit flummoxed as to what to wear with them and Angie's suggestions really helped me out. I've had this Stretch & Sew pattern in my stash for awhile, and  I used an inexpensive 100% cotton fabric for the make. Overall, I'm pretty happy with the results. The sleeves feel a little disproportionate; I had to cuff them a couple of times as shown here. 'Course now I can't decide if I want to make them shorter or leave them as is. I made the t shirt hem slightly high/low for interest. I have plans....and fabric....for a striped t shirt and am now trying to decide if this is the pattern...or...not. Feel free to jump in and give me advice.

To wrap up...I'm totally on board with my harem pants and have plans for another pair. How 'bout you? Are harem pants a yea or a nay?

In other news...I've had two very fun outings with blogging...and nearly blogging....friends. Shelley, from Forest City Fashionista, was out visiting from Toronto. Shelley, Melanie of Bag and a Beret, Louisa of Damselfly's Delights, and I met for a yummy brunch at Acme Cafe. When we left, we had full tummies....and better....full creative tanks! These women are so very inspiring...their creativity knows no bounds...

Shelly and I wearing our custom jackets. Shelley's is a gift from Melanie.

And just a few weeks ago...has it been that long?...the Vancouver gals....Melanie, Louisa, Barbara {not yet blogging} and I...had a full day of creative play. After a lovely lunch at the iconic Sylvia Hotel, we descended upon Dressew Supply and Atex Designer Fabrics. There was a lot of laughter, good eats, and...successful fabric shopping! Basically, a perfect day!

Louisa, Me, Barbara and Melanie
All righty....that's about all for today. My Sophie Tankini post...still to come. If you're waiting for apologies. Our weather here in Vancouver hasn't been very summer-like and I forget that many of you are experiencing full-on swimsuit conditions.