Sportswear on the table

This summer I took the initiative to make my rent worthwhile and started a workout routine and before you let your imagination get too creative, this consisted of mainly the rowing machine, station bike and some weights. As an attempt to divert my attention away from how awfully sweaty I felt peddling like a hamster on a wheel, my mind wandered to the idea of sewing sportswear.

Why, athlesiure sportswear is practically a stamp of approval for living in Vancouver! In a city where 3/4 of the year involves rain, why shouldn’t I aim to be comfortable and chic in say a pair urban chic joggers?

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It turns out that I had been slowly edging my way to the realm of sportswear without even knowing it and I think it all started with falling in love with a trench coat pattern and shopping around for some outerwear fabrics. A few trips later, some lycra rib and stretch mesh were purchased to be turned into a bodycon midi-dress. The more I wandered the aisle of technical offerings, I fell in love with the rainbow of nylon, lycra, spandex, mesh and dare I say it… even some polyester. And the truth is, there are loads of this stuff always on the clearance shelf ranging from $3 – 5 / meter so unless you are looking for some particular proprietary manufacturing or technology from a branded garment… sportswear can be surprisingly affordable to sew!

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Here’s a look at whats in my upcoming plans

  • Sueded Trench | Simplicity 0899 (sized for petites) to be made from an olive sueded outer wear fabric in style A or B
  • Cuffed Joggers | Butterick 3163 (sized for petites) elastic waist pants in style D to be edited into cuffed hem leggings
  • Open back workout top | McCalls 7663 made from a teal poly micro mesh
  • 80s Vibe Sweatshirt | McCalls 7869 in style D with teal loop back sweat shirting and coral edge piping

A few patterns not currently on my list but would be pretty cool too

  • Simplicity 8424 , McCalls 7636, McCalls 7986, NewLook 6644

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With all that said and planned, I’m still in the pattern tracing stages of most of these projects but I expect most of them to come together quickly with the help of my serger (maybe not the trench..the trench will be a monster). It’s also promising that most of these items will transition well into the fall and winter months not only as outerwear but also as luxe housewear and who knows…maybe a lounge bra in mesh lycra may be in my future but don’t hold your breath.

Happy Sewing,

G

Handmade |Foxy Cardigan (NewLook 6378)

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The foxes are here, the foxes are here! Yes this is a perfectly lovely and breezy summer weight cardigan – for saving you from a little breeze or sun – but let’s cut the fluff, the fox is the real reason this thing is a stunner. This was one of the first pieces of fabric I bought purely because I couldn’t walk away from the print and despite it not being a practical fabric for me (previous experiences with rayon did not end well) the fact that it was never seen again after I bought the rest of the bolt heightened the preciousness around it. I hoarded it for years for fear of not picking something worthy enough or messing it up.

PATTERN: NewLook 6378

MY NUMBERS: 34 – 27.5 – 37″ (Height 5’2)

PATTERN SIZE MADE: XS (32/34 – 23/24/ – 32/33)

ALTERATIONS: None. Made as per instructions

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This is a cardigan pattern I’ve made before (see the first version in knit) so I felt pretty confident with the process and in all this is a great easy sew which I definitely welcomed because most of my energy was spent on making sure this delicate, slippery rayon fabric lined up properly and did what it was supposed to do (especially with that curved hem).

I sized down in this pattern to account for the generous cut in the style, no fit issues.

DETAILS | There’s quite a few bits of contrasting colour details in this cardigan from the light blue top-stitching and the flash of bright yellow in the bias edge finish. Admittedly this particular store bought bias tape is not my favourite as I find it slightly too stiff for the fabric but I’ve yet to conquer making my own. Using what I already had in my box, I do love the peek-a-boo colour contrast. I’m just hoping this won’t make the edges wavy/pucker after a few washes.

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This cardigan is such a smile inducing number that I can see it being worn casually as a cover up, lounge wear to through over a camisole or even as a bathrobe – the feel against the skin is cool and comfortable – exactly what I’d want to be wearing all summer!

Happy Sewing,

G

SEW WHAT NOW | Projects to start 2019

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First week 2019 down and I am in full swing project planning mode! Having just filmed my new years sewing intentions video (editing currently in progress), I want to give you a sneak peak at what’s ready to go on my cutting table. This fresh spring colour palette wasn’t intentional in this combination but I suppose that’s just what’s on my mind lately.

SOMETHING FOR MAMA | This will definitely be one of my bigger projects this upcoming season so I wanted to get started as early as possible and that is a new coat/cardigan for my Mom. The blue cotton is a traditional Chinese indigo dye fabric that was gifted to her by a friend who bought it from local artisans on a trip then lugged it 9650km across the Pacific Ocean when coming to visit us. They had been dorm mates in university and I chuckled at the fact that she knew exactly the kind of folksy aesthetic my Mom loves out of everything she could have chosen as a gift. I thought the sentiment was particularly special and decided it would be fun done up in Butterick 5318 – the pink as the outer colour with a surprise indigo pattern as the lining.

SMALL LUXURIES | An exceptionally lucky find in the clearance section recently are these crepe back satin pieces! As a practicing seamstress still learning my craft, I do try to sew from the discount aisles as often as I can so when these unexpected beauties popped up, you bet I had to snag them. I love the idea of small luxuries, where more basic items are elevated by colour or the quality of material and in this case it ticks both boxes. Crepe back satin has always been a fabric I wish I had the occasion to wear more of (the crepe texture on the backside makes gives it a more substantial hand) and sewn up in a few Ogden camisoles, I think it would be a lovely luxury to add to my daily wardrobe.

FOR THE LOVE OF PANTS | I often tell people that in my head I dress like a Stepford Wife but in reality I can’t bothered with anything that I can’t be practical in. So this brings us to the topic of pants! This striped cotton is something I owned since the end of highschool (if memory serves me correctly) and this year I’m finally cutting into it for some wide legged elastic waisted bottoms that I promise look much more flattering than it sounds. Last year I completed a pair using Simplicity 1467 which turned out great and I think this new combo would be fantastic for summer with either some high heeled wedges or cool girl white sneakers.

Happy sewing,

G

5 steps for a better year of sewing

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UPDATE YOUR STATS | Ideally, you’d be doing this before starting every project but being mindful to remeasure yourself periodically will save you from unplanned surprises when things don’t fit. Granted, you may want to wait until after you’ve fully digested the holiday leftovers and get a friend to help you with the tricky parts like shoulder width and hips. I like to put my numbers on a sticky note right on the inside cover of my sewing notebook so it’ll be an easy reference whenever I need it.

INVENTORY YOUR STASH | No matter which method you use to organize (or not) your sewing stash, chances are there are deep dark corners that you have no idea what is hiding in there. Brave the uncertainty and have a thorough inventory of your fabrics, sewing supplies, books and notions. Knowing what you have, and maybe discovering a few new things you forgot you had is a great way to get a baseline for how to approach your projects in the new year. Make a list of items that need replacing and create a spot where all your supplies have a dedicated home – I’ve found that being prepared is the first step to a successful project.

GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO LET GO | Guilt. You know it, I know it and it’s often what prevents us from letting go of projects that are going no where. The difference I found with sewing, as compared to my other hobbies like makeup, is that the process to learning creates a lot of failed tangible material objects. You feel guilty for cutting into that nice piece of fabric only for it to look less than flattering when trying it on and even more guilty to get rid of it because of the time and energy already spent on it. Sometimes an item is worth re-strategizing and sometimes, if it brings you anxiety just to look in it’s direction – just let it go! The money was spent the moment you bought the fabric and it’s served the purpose of practice so stop hanging onto items you dread working on and start fresh. Continue reading

My first quilt…in progress | #sewwithgerry

Sleep Tight Quilt
I’ve always made it perfectly clear that despite my love for sewing, quilting was not my calling. And granted while I still don’t think I have the patient and dexterity for real piece by piece quilting, I was completely smitten with this Sleep Tight fabric collection designed by Sarah Watts..so much so that I am now in possession of a piece of this all the way from Japan, shelled out money for quilt batting and am now madly Googling quilting for beginners. If you look at the history of the craft, it was traditionally born out of making do with fabric remnants and scraps but has now grown into a huge community. In fact, here in Vancouver, I’m willing to bet there’s many more quilters than actual garment sewists.
With the print on this fabric being the star of the show, I didn’t want to cover it all up with machine quilting stitches so instead I’m going to attempt some hand work to go over and around the animal motifs and then finish things off with an extra border to add length and width to the panel. Too much newness for a first time quilter? Guess we’ll find out!

Happy Monday,

G