Thursday, May 25, 2017


There's so many different things I want to sew. I've been very productive lately, but I'm also my own worse enemy for having things go smoothly. The True Tracy Way. Multiple trips to the fabric store, children that want their own, misinformation in the pattern and poor communication with the designer...

I had come across this soft bralette and knew I wanted to make one. It says it's drafted for C cup but I'm bigger. I figured I'd make the first one as written just to test it and it would probably fit Lucy. I wasn't worried about support, for myself, but I did want the cups to fit.

I downloaded it and printed. I cut it. It looked small but I went ahead. I carefully read the pattern and watched the video. However, on the downloaded pattern from Craftsy, on page 2, the last paragraph next to the screen shot explaining about printing, it says "Also note that you will need to cut two straps at 4 inches by 22 inches, for which no pattern piece is supplied--it's just a rectangle! You can draw the straps on the reverse of the fabric".

There is NO mention in the video, or the instructions of these fabric straps. I wrote to Mayra and asked about it. She said I must have gotten a bootleg copy of the pattern or something and she sent me the Craftsy link. Which was exactly what i had downloaded and this line was in the link she sent me. I responded back with this and a screenshot, and she responded this time about using the lingerie elastic straps (I had also mentioned I could find the elastic straps and mine were just ribbon straps). I gave up. So ignore the instruction to cut two 4"x22" straps.

After sewing it up, it was obvious something was wrong size. Long story short, I had the "scale to fit  page" set. It did fit Lucy though. In the emails with Mayra I had mentioned something about if the chest was  X" and it's made for a C cup, then the band would be (X-3")-negative ease" so I would need to adjust that....and she responded back saying the pattern was for chest size not cup sizes. Ugh. Yes, you measure your full chest. But I'm larger than a C cup so my band will need to be smaller than the corresponding band for the chest size. In actuality, this is totally the wrong approach to take, due to the shaping and design. Even making the right chest size would result in cups too small. I really need to redraft the entire pattern. So I did. doesn't fit on all the widths of my stretch lace! I had already gone back after getting the first bit of lace to get more for the girls who now wanted some. There wasn't much selection for the pre-made straps and like I mentioned, these turned out to be slippery satin instead of plush elastic and Lucy says they don't stay tightened.  It's not really colours Lucy is into but for summer or sleep, I'm sure it'll get some wear.

I was frustrated with my emails with Mayra. There was also a mention about notches but nothing on the pattern pieces. I'm assuming much of my frustration was just perhaps a language issue and also trying to include too much in one email. I really wanted to like this pattern. It's free, there's a video, it seemed to be well written. And it is a good pattern, though there are some annoying bits.

I finally made one for Megan. She's a little broad but maybe a scant A cup. So I knew the cups would be too big and tried to reduce them (a smidge) simply. She held it up--over her shirt--and declared it fine, so I continued. However, when I went to add the cups to the band, lining up the middle, the band had this weird bit at the sides of the cups. So I just folded it over the elastic.

I ended up taking the back in twice and the cups are too big but she says that's fine. She also wanted a halter strap instead of bra straps. So we trimmed the lace down along it's pattern and I sewed it to the top of the cups. Had to adjust the length a couple times. I thought I had a picture but I can't find it right now.

I realized while making these that they're basically a bathing suit top. I did have to adjust my bathing suit pattern, but maybe I should just start with that for myself. And then I found this Simplicity pattern ! Geee. A halter lace soft bra. I don't like the band seam at the front but I assume that can be changed. And Megan is really into the racerback style (like I said, she's a little broad). I think I might have to indulge and get that pattern!

Thursday, May 18, 2017


I sewed pants! That I love! That fit! That I can wear in public!

The key...start with a worn out pair of pants that I knew fit well. I carefully took them apart (with a seam ripper, I didn't just cut the seams). I had a hard time last May trying to find an acceptable material and settled for a navy cotton, "Bettina" (I think. From Fabricland. Searching their site this spring did not yield any results). I was worried that I would feel like a cop or security guard in dark blue pants, but I don't. The fabric is not an exact match and there are two things that I'm not fond of. It wrinkles more than the original pair and it has a soft, sort of brushed texture which traps dog hair like crazy. But it's worth it to have a pair of pants I can wear in public!

This was SUCH an incredible learning project. Starting with---do NOT leave freshly ironed, neatly folded pieces of fabric on the ironing board which happens to be in the room that's being renovated. Yeah. Hubby thought they were RAGS! And then threw them out!!! I freaked on him. He did fetch the two leg pieces and they weren't too bad--one has a bit of construction adhesive on it. He couldn't find the rib knit waistband, but that's not too bad since I have another pair of these pants. I had kept one leg still assembled so I could see how it goes together.

Another thing I learned was that I'm still learning about order of processes. I tend to want to just get started, and sew the parts that I know (or think I know) how to do. Then I'll get to another part and realize I need to have done something else first. Or not done. I learned how to make angled side seam pockets with separate facing pieces and separate pocket pieces. Later I made a pair of shorts with this pattern but did the pockets self facing and it was a lot easier. I like the contrasting pocket though, even though you don't see it. It was left over rayon? from a sundress I made last summer but never showed because it had pissed me off so much and I wasn't happy with it.

I also sewed a mock fly. I couldn't find instructions that would give the same result as my original pair, so I had to muddle through, but it turned out acceptable.

I added 7/8" to the leg but I think I could add another 1/2" or even inch. I wonder if they shrank more with the second wash (I did pre-wash the fabric before cutting).  I feel that the front crotch is a little low, but the back crotch isn't. So I'm not sure how to adjust that. And I don't know why my butt looks so flat and the fabric looks like it's pulling. They don't feel like that at all.

The dog always wants in on photo shoots. Especially when the hubby is taking the pictures. So please excuse the poor quality photos!

For the waistband, I found some blue and white striped jersey. A little thin, but with the twill tape drawstring, it's okay. I'm disappointed by the lack of colour selection for twill tape at Fabricland.

I totally underestimated how much thread it takes to topstitch. It was fun trying to topstitch around the crotch, but I got it done.

I'm so happy with these. I didn't do the little tabs on the lower legs so they can be rolled up into capris. I thought the colour seemed a little dark for summer pants. I have plans for more pants! Especially since the second pair I had have passed into the "not outside the house" condition.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

April Fool's Day

I'm usually pretty lame at April Fool's Day stunts. I wish Pinterest had been around 15 years ago. This year though, I had an idea. Crochet a spare tire cover for my husband's truck! We were a little disappointed to find out AFD was on a Saturday as that would increase the chance he'd be around his truck instead of just getting in like on a work day. Then I found out he had a "Drive Clean" emission's test booked for first thing that morning. Awesome!

It started out easy and quick, but by the end the rows were taking forever and using a lot of yarn. I fibbed and said it was for an ugly afghan contest LOL. I wish I had measured against the tire a second time and stretched it out because although I knew I had increased too much in the middle, I thought it had smoothed out. In the end, it was way too big around, but actually needed more width. I chained a bunch on ties since I didn't know how I was going to tie it on. There are ties and plain yarn zig zaging everywhere.

Lucy cut letters from fabric and then added glitter glue to brighten them up. And then it started raining. We got outside late Friday evening during a light mist while Rob was in the hot tub. We hoped he had the jets running so he wouldn't hear us laughing and dropping things. The letters were put on with double sided tape.  I did one round with reflective yarn but I don't know how well that showed at 8am.

 It did actually say "April Fool's" but I started taking the letters off. Then got bored.

Well, when he got home from the Toyota dealership, he was NOT happy. It wasn't until they came in to tell him that they weren't going to do his complimentary wash (really just a spray down, I think) because they didn't want to disturb the item on the back, that he took a look. They were all laughing and thought it was great, but he wasn't so amused. However, the next day, telling his parents, he was laughing a bit about it. I told him we wouldn't have gone to so much work if we didn't love him :)

I bought two 50gr balls of cheap yarn from the dollar store and the rest was from the stash. I'm not going to count the whole amount I used as "yarn out" because it's still in the basement LOL. But I will count 150gr to count for the two cheap balls and all the ends trimmed and the short ties I won't recycle. Apparently I've already counted that 100gr in :)

Yarn In: 1642gr
Yarn Out: 150gr + 1505gr= 1655gr
Balance: 13gr more bought than used
Costs:   $40.73/136 days = $0.30per day

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Bodyguard Top

Back to sewing! LOL. I do have a couple other crochet projects to show, but really, I'm doing mainly sewing right now. Momma needs some new clothes. And a purse. And a wallet. And a music bag.

I saved Hot Pattern's free download "Fringe Festival T Shirt" a long time ago. It goes by several different names, and I think it was through not Hot Patterns page.  I was surprised to learn several years ago that indie pattern designers do not follow the same sizing standards as "The Big 4". Some indies draft for top heavy ladies, some for curvy all over, some for bottom-blessed belles. Hot Patterns seems to draft for the bosom blessed, of which I am one. So after reading the reviews, I felt comfortable not doing a FBA. I wasn't sure about the shoulder-becomes-sleeve thing. I don't like short little sleeves, or what ever that's called where the shoulder hangs down to become the sleeve.

Many of the reviews said the neck tie instructions were vague. Many people double sided the neck tie. I thought about it, but since I didn't even know how it was going to go together, those instructions left me more confused. I also managed to forget (don't think it says anything on the pattern piece) to cut the second half in reverse. I had just enough to cut another one. Guess I can't make a matching "Buff" now LOL!
 The fabric was a 0.9m (just shy of 1yd) x 1.5m (59") remnant from Fabricland that I've had a long time. The price says $7.65 and it says "Mezonee Knit". It's a very slinky fabric. It actually really surprised me. It was rolled up and I never had unrolled it. I obviously had never look too closely to realize it was rolled up with the wrong side showing. I thought it was a very pale, subtle pattern. Wow, was I surprised--and happy--to see the dark vibrant colours. Then I thought it was a horizontal stripe. When I looked closely at the selvages, I saw that it was actually a vertical stripe. How much luckier could I get?!
I looked at a lot of pictures on Pattern Review (that link I posted goes to one set of reviews but if you search the other names, there are TONS of reviews) to see how the tie was to attach. I thought it was to lay ON the shirt so the instructions confused me. Finally, I found this blog write up and saw that it actually FILLS in the neck. So really, attaching it isn't that hard. The picture shows how it should be attached. I don't think I have it pinned all the way around because I wanted to make sure you can see it and it was curling up on itself as I pinned. The centre back seam is on the right. 

There was also debate about sewing the seam allowance down, and having stitching showing on the right side. I figured my fabric was busy enough, it wouldn't matter.  I did a narrow twin needle stitch around the neckline which perfectly covered and holds down the serged seam allowance. Tieing the knot covered my imperfections where the scarf meets the sides near the bottom of the neckline.  Everthing was serged, except the twin needle at the neck and hems. I do not think I shortened the top--many said it was long, but I just wanted to see what it was like before making pattern adjustments.
 I really like this top. I totally don't mind the hang down shoulder-sleeves, even though you can see a bit of fold at the top of my left breast/armpit, and one end of the tie wouldn't stay facing the right way. I love the dark jewel tones. I love that it's longer, but not too long (I could probably shorten it an inch). It's not too fancy but great for those times when you want to look nice but not dressed up. This pictures is coming back from watching "The Bodyguard" in Toronto with my husband. I'm like a duck--the shirt is now imprinted on me as a special occasion shirt LOL. I'm sure it'd be fine with jeans but in my mind, it's for going to  the show. I will make more though. It'd be fine in a lightweight plain jersey knit. You definitely want something with a lot of drape for those shoulder-sleeves.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Still Knitting

Worried that I had become a sewing blog? I still knit. Right now I'm working on a crochet owl cocoon. I'm not overly inspired by it, and amazed at how much yarn it sucks up. It's a custom order and needs to get finished.
But I never blogged about my thread/punch lace trials. I'm pretty sure I had tried some on the Singer 327 way back when, but I haven't really done anything with it. I've seen lots of examples of how great it can look, and it's something I've been wanting to explore. Back in early January when I was making the satin lined hat, I gave it another go. I thought it might be a nice way to let the satin show, if I did it again with a contrasting fabric.

I don't recall what I used for the fine thread in this one. Maybe serger thread? I can't think of any brown yarn this thin in my stash.

It's very subtle. I mean, the circles are bold, but it really plays up the lightness between the circles.

This one, I used a super fine boucle. I have a cone of this and have tried adding it for texture with other yarns. I don't think I'll ever be able to use it all up in my lifetime. It's just so thin!
It adds a bit of texture (yeah, crappy picture), but's so fine that I don't think it's necessary. This is why it is still a huge cone.

I also played with a tuck stitch to give a bit of textural interest in case the yarn was too boring on its own. In the end, I kept the hat simple, ribbed band and stockinette body.

I usually do really enjoy tuck, but I think I had to do this manually and I got bored. I think I might have misplaced a punch card? I don't know--my studio is very unorganized as I wait for the rest of the basement to get organized. And for the darn fridge to leave my studio!

Friday, April 28, 2017

About Time!

Last spring I was at the mall with my girls and noticed flowy, floral pants everywhere. I came home, picked out what remained of this sheet, cut out a pants pattern and got to work.

First up, the sheet was a 50-50 poly/cotton blend. So while it doesn't wrinkle, it doesn't quite have enough flow.

Second, I have a bad habit of not checking the pattern placement before cutting. This time I didn't even think about it, considering it was a large pattern. I neatly folded my fabric and cut. I don't really care for how both legs match, and I probably could never replicate that again if I tried.

This is after I re-sized them
Third. "Flowy" is not the same as hugely oversized. I put these on, and they fell off. I had bought the pattern (New Look 6354) at Value Village and although the envelope felt full, the pattern had been cut, to a smaller size than me. So I added what I felt I needed, based on the info on the envelope.  The hips were HUGE. I was pissed because that was a lot of wasted fabric. I had already sewn on the waistband, and I didn't want to just sew up the sides all the way up (it's a wide, bias cut band).

So, they sat while I got distracted with other projects. Finally, in March, I was in a lull, and decided to tackle them again. I took off at least an inch from each side of the seam at the top, and 2" each outer side (4" per leg) at the thigh. Since they weren't draping, they needed to be much more streamlined.

The family is not amused by them. The girls instantly recognized that I had a sunhat in the same fabric and they are petrified I will wear them at the same time. I won't. I promise.

My husband was like...they're okay for at home but don't go out in public. Once I trimmed them down and I put on the white shirt, he did think they were better.  I'm unsure of what kind of white top I need. This t shirt has an elastic bottom and I don't think it's right. Plus, it's worn out. Would a woven shirt be a better choice? I don't like how you can see the pants through the t shirt. But a woven shirt would also be a looser fit and with the pants being on the fuller side, I'm afraid I'll look like a little floral box.

I wanted to like this pants pattern so much because it's simple, no zipper, very similar to some RTW pants I have and love. It just needs a lot of tinkering, which will change based on the fabric. Like, if I had used a stretch twill, I would be cutting SO much smaller!!  I will try the pattern again, because it's very versatile, but without pockets, actually, the pattern I made from my favourite pants is a better option for me. I can easily (?) add a bias band instead of a knit band to my pattern, right?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Another Accessory

One of the first things I sewed, without a pattern, was a lampshade...more like a fabric cover for a wire tapered barrel shaped lampshade. I measured around it...but didn't realize the shape I'd be cutting was not a rectangle and didn't buy enough fabric.
Another project was a needle roll for my double point needles. I knit a long strip on my KnitSmart knitting machine and felted it. Then I sewed fabric to make the inside. I really didn't know how to order it, how to plan it, etc, and most of it ended up being top stitched. I thought I was clever because I sewed on a flap to cover the tip end so they couldn't slide out.
As I've progressed, I've had a few of these projects. The Internet, especially Pinterest, have helped as there is now a pattern for almost everything. Almost.

My husband bought me a new phone. My old one was so old I couldn't run any apps anymore, or even take selfies. It's a great new phone...but since it's a refurbished phone and not the latest and greatest, the case selection was lame. The salesman said to buy from Amazon and after checking a few places, I finally did find some cases on Amazon--though two I picked out wouldn't mail to Canada! In the meantime though, I needed something to protect it in my knitting bag, coat pocket, etc. "Gorilla Glass" is tough, but I'm not sure about knitting needles!

I knew what I wanted. A zippered bag, with a wrist strap, and a clear plastic screen area. When sizing, I made sure to make the zipper at least the size of the phone, remembering that some of the zipper length is lost once sewn in. I did the little tabs over the zipper. I wanted it lined with PUL. I  thought I had it all figured out, top stitching around the plastic window, thinking I was nearly done. Then, I realized something. I actually don't remember what that was now! But for some reason, I could not finish it with the PUL on the front piece! I think I wouldn't be able to turn the bag right side out after sewing it together. So I changed it so the PUL was only on the back piece.

In the process of trying to press the window edges down to top stitch, the plastic got hit by some steam. And distorted. A couple weeks ago, I found the heavier plastic I had wanted to use. Oh well. This is still usable. Some people are amazed by it, some people think it's hokey, but last night something leaked in my band bag and there was only a bit of water on my phone, between the cover and the phone back. It could have been way worse if my phone was in the bag loose!

I added two male halves of the snap so it could be a large loop or I could make it snug around my wrist. The ribbon wasn't double sided so I did sew it together to make it reversible. And yes, I did trim those threads. I was just so excited to share a photo on Instagram LOL.