Mostly Magknitficent Episode 7

25 08 2013


Knitting Present:

Rose of England by Marianne Kinzel

Playful Stripes Cardigan by Alana Dakos


Madeline Tosh DK in Tart

Plucky Primo Worsted in Hotsy Totsy

Studio Donegal Soft Donegal 

Argyle in Berrocco Vintage DK


Hello Yarn Mochi

Freshly Pressed

McCall’s 7228 vintage dress

FIrst quilt, using Robotic from Birch Fabrics.

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Raspberry Sorbetto

9 08 2013


As often happens when I finish a big project, especially a big project with a deadline, after finishing the dress and the quilt I wanted a quick project. Enter the Sorbetto tank by Colette. This is a free downloadable pattern which was perfect for an instant gratification project. I printed and assembled the pattern one evening before bed so that it would be ready to use on the weekend.

I had some pink poly-satin in mind for the top, something inexpensive and easy-care. I viewed this project as a kind of wearable muslin. I intend to make more of these, perhaps several in a variety of colours. The basic shell is a good wardrobe staple. Once my daughter went down for her nap on Monday (a holiday in most parts of Canada) I got to work.


There are only two pieces so cutting was easy. When I sat down to sew I realized I didn’t have any pink thread. I didn’t really want to take time out of sewing to go to the store so I used white instead. The assembly was pretty quick and in no time I’d sewn the pleat, darts and side and shoulder seams. I was too lazy to make my own bias binding and I didn’t have anything that matched so again, I went with white. Did I mention that I was after a low-effort project? I’m not sure I love the contrast between the pink and the white, especially since the binding is matte and the satin is shiny but it’s okay. By the end of nap all that remained was the hem, which had to wait until I could get some pink thread.

White thread was all well and good on the inside but wasn’t going to work for the hem. I picked up some pink at the fabric store near my office on Tuesday so I could finish.

I finished it up yesterday. I’m pretty pleased though it’s definitely more of a wearable muslin. I’ll get some use out of it but I think a couple of changes will make it a better garment. For the next one I’ll change the position and length of the darts. In hindsight I should have thought to do this before since the pattern is drafted for a C cup and I am more of a B and I’ve never not had to move bust darts. I initially thought I might want to add some length. For some reason, even though I have a short torso I always feel like tops are too short. I suspect this is a product of always wearing rtw stuff that is too long. I wore this to work the day after I finished it though and I didn’t find myself tugging at it or feeling like it was too short.

All in all, the project really fit the bill of something I could whip up in a short period of time before moving on to my next big project.

First Quilt!

9 08 2013

I just finished taking a Beginner Quilting class at Spool of Thread. The class was one of my eventual goals



When I took my first introductory class there over a year ago so I was excited to finally be able to take it. The timing worked out nicely too because the class ran over four evenings in July and I wanted to make a quilt for a baby due in August.


It was a fun class, in no small part because it’s fun to spend a few hours sewing with other people. That’s one thing knitting has over sewing. I often make knitting into a social activity and it’s harder to do that with sewing. It was really fun to see all the different fabric combinations people chose.


The pattern uses strip piecing to assemble the top and then sashing is added. I found the cutting to be the most intimidating part because it’s so final. You can’t just undo cutting. That part took me longer than it did some people because I was very very nervous about making a mistake.

After the top was assembled and the borders attached it was time for quilting! Yay. I can’t be the only newbie quilter to be sort of surprised by how much work is left after the quilt top is finished. Once my top was done it felt like the finish was so close. Haha! Nope. We used the stitch in the ditch method for the quilting. I have to admit my stitching is only in the ditch-ish. I had a difficult time combining accuracy with even stitches. I’m sure that will come with practice.


Sewing the binding was the last class. I don’t know about others but I actually quite enjoy handstitching. I find it quite meditative and I like that I can do it anywhere (why yes I was the strange girl hand-sewing binding to a quilt on the bus).

I finished it all up at knitting this week and while it is full of mistakes I’m still proud of it. I used fabrics from the Robotic Collection from Birch Fabrics. I chose these fabrics because I wanted something fun and playful but not baby-ish. Since the quilt is larger than your typical baby quilt I didn’t want fabrics that screamed baby in order to give it some longevity. I also didn’t want it to be too obviously intended for a boy because a/ I have a bit of hostility towards the tendency to colour code little children and b/ I wanted to make it more versatile. These fabrics were also an homage to the notyet-born’s parents who are an engineer and a scientist. The borders and sashing are a yellow Kona.


I’m already thinking about my next quilt but I’ve got some other projects planned that I should tackle first.

Mostly Magknitficent Episode 6

7 08 2013

Knitting Present

Rose of England

Playful Stripes Cardigan

Van Gogh Socks


Hello Yarn Portuguese Merino in Silk

Cupcake Fiber Company

Freshly Pressed

Colette Peony

On the Machine

Lady Grey Coat


Spinning at the Retzlaff Winery 

McCalls 7228 1940s gown

5 08 2013

It all started when I realized I had nothing to wear to a wedding we’re attending in August. The wedding is in Montreal and black tie, quite a bit more formal than most weddings here in Vancouver where things tend to run a little more on the casual side. The only dress I once had that might have worked was tossed in the Great Clothing Purge of Fall 2012. 


I really didn’t like the idea of going out and buying a dress. 1. Shopping for a particular item is always frustrating. I’d probably end up with something over priced that I didn’t even like that much but that I bought because I was tired of looking and 2. I’m trying to avoid buying clothes for the foreseeable future. 

Instead I decided to make one. I started out looking at in-print patterns but that proved to be as fruitless as dress shopping likely would have been. The current silhouettes and styles just aren’t really my style. 

Enter Etsy. A quick search for Vintage Gown Pattern brought up McCalls 7228 and it was love at first sight. I loved everything about this pattern, from the delicate lace yoke to the scalloped yoke to the full skirt. This was the dress. 


I was nervous about making it because I’d never sewn from a vintage pattern before or made an evening dress for that matter but I was pleasantly surprised by the straight forwardness of the pattern. The scallops were probably the trickiest part and the key to that was just hand basting everything into place. 


I handpicked the zipper and I’m so glad I did. It was way better putting in a zipper that way than by machine. I really liked having so much control. Hand hemming the skirt was probably the most time consuming part of the project. Let’s just say I’ve gotten a lot of practice at the slip stitch. 

The hardest part I think was attaching the bodice to the skirt. Each is constructed separately and then the bodice is topstitched on. The trouble is there is a lot of fabric to the skirt and keeping the gathers in order was no small feat. Thankfully I found Sewaholic’s tutorial on gathers and that made it so much easier. 

I decided to use silk for the dress. I thought about using poly-taffeta, and did use that for the mock up but decided that if I was going to make a dress I should use fabric I wouldn’t be able to afford in ready-to-wear. Totally worth it!


I had to make a few adjustments to the pattern to achieve optimal fit. They weren’t especially difficult but definitely worth the effort. 

Yoke: I shortened the yoke by an inch so that the top of the bodice would end where I wanted it to. As I get into sewing I am noticing that I am shorted in the bust to shoulder area than a lot of patterns allow for. 

Bodice: This alteration was a bit trickier but still not too difficult. When I made the mock up there was a lot of gaping at the sides right at bust level. I mean A LOT of gaping. My measurements were spot on for the pattern but there was obviously a lot of ease built in, perhaps to account for structural undergarments. In order to keep the scallops lining up at the sides I needed to take a chunk out of the top of each scallop. I did this by cutting off the top of the bodice pattern piece and then cutting into each scallop, taking about 1cm from each before taping everything back together. It was a time consuming exercise but worth it when the fit was great and the scallops lined up at the seams. 

Skirt: The skirt as drafted hits me around the ankle. Definitely an awkward length for a dress. I trimmed 7 inches from each piece and also took a 2 inch hem. 

I think the effort of customizing the pattern really paid off and I can’t wait to wear it to the wedding.


I know it still looks pretty creased in the photos. I’m saving it’s good pressing for once we’re in Montreal. 

Little Mermaid Dress

29 05 2013

I can already tell that I love sewing for kids. It is so satisfying. I can say to myself on Friday afternoon “Ava needs a new dress” and have one done by Sunday afternoon. Considering how fast they grow this speed is very helpful. It’s also a great way to wet my feet with new techniques. At the end of the day she isn’t going to wear anything I make for very long so I feel like I can be a bit less stressed out about mistakes. 


I found this mermaid fabric at my local sewing store, Spool of Thread and couldn’t resist. It’s from the Storyboek II collection by Birch Fabrics. The colour is also from the same collection. When I saw it I knew I wanted it to be a cute little summer dress. I flipped through the Simplicity pattern catalogue and came across Simplicity 2614, a simple little dress. Perfect. 

The construction of the dress was easy enough. It was actually my first time sewing in a centered zipper, usually I use invisible but the instructions were clear. I had a few mishaps where I needed to unpick and re-sew because I wasn’t paying attention or taking the time to think through each step. I noticed that I get easily frustrated when I have to unpick which seems a bit odd because I don’t mind ripping back knitting too much unless it’s a lot of ripping and when I have to fix something in sewing I can get back to where I was much faster. 


These were only the second sleeves I’ve set in. The first were on the dragon costume I made her for Halloween and the fabric was fuzzy and good about hiding mistakes. I’m pretty happy with them. 

I originally intended to put a contrasting band of fabric at the hem but as you can see the dress is already a little long on my little pixie (even after cutting off a couple of inches of the main fabric to accomodate the contrast) so I left it off. I’m still debating whether I want to add a contrasting sash instead. 

I’m really happy with this dress actually. It came together nicely. It was fun to sew and the instructions weren’t difficult to follow. And the results are adorable!

Mostly Magknitficent Episide 5

17 05 2013

Shownotes to follow