Seamwork | A sewing pattern subscription

Well, here’s something new. Feeding to my renewed zest in garment sewing, I’ve been delving into the world of indie patterns. Colette might be a name you remember when I attempted their Wardrobe Architect Challenge last year but in addition to running a sewing blog and producing vintage inspired patterns, they also just so happen to run a sewing magazine called Seamwork (cutest name, I know).

Having finally succumbed to my curiosity and signing up for my first subscription last night, I thought I’d share my excitement with any of you who also love crafting.

Seamwork is a monthly digital publication which focuses on all aspects of sewing including techniques, alterations, fabrics and the like. Each month, they also release two easy to sew patterns to their digital library collection which you can redeem for using the two pattern credits you get as part of your subscription fee of $6USD per month. Let’s call that just under $10CAD/month since the exchange rate is currently horrid.

Now I wouldn’t necessarily call this a magazine fee since anyone can ready any of the articles for free online but it does mean that each pattern works out to be $3USD each instead of the Colette website price of $12USD. All this math sounded pretty good to me!

Seamwork patterns are designed to be easy, approachable, relaxed and customizable, all words which are a win in my dictionary. Having been working through my stash of vintage sewing patterns, I can tell you there are much too many fist shaking moments from complicated instructions to just plain complicated technique so having an arsenal of simple pieces seems particularly appealing. I also like that most of the Seamwork patterns do not require zippers which are my current worse enemy.

So with the first two pattern credits in my account, I quickly went and redeemed one for this gorgeously styled winter cape named Camden. On top of being smitten by the model they used, I’m also smitten by the fact that this is fully lined, has contrasting panel options built into the design (hello – colour blocking).

No collar means this should be less fussy and its pretty much just straight lines all around. Here, it looks like they’ve used a wool or tweed but I can imagine this potentially in a boulce although I may eventually just do tweed as well.

Now one caveat with Seamwork patterns is that they are all digital which means great for reusuability and accessibility as you can just print off and reprint as you which but it’s so time consuming to tape 20-35 pieces of paper together every time you want to make sometime. Sometimes you just want to get going already!

With all that being said, I’m still very excited about these new patterns and hopefully they are as sewing friendly as they sound. I’m tired of wearing the same old couple of jeans and tops some wardrobe basics are definitely in high demand. I’m currently also eyeing Oslo and Bristol so have a peep and let me know what you think!

Happy Sewing,

Sewing | The Fabric Haul + Video

Spring sewing means fabric shopping! Now I might be just a bit ahead of the weather but I’ve been gathering the bits and pieces for some new projects and what comes along but the Dressew 30% off sale. Perfect.
I was particularly looking for items that would make easy transitions from winter to spring as well as garments that would flow from work to play. There’s nothing worse than having a closet full of clothes that you can only wear at a particular date. This time around I stuck to simple colours (I’m crazy about that gingham) but focused instead on the texture of the fabrics. I hope you like them too and let me know what you’re looking forward to seeing first!
Stay crafty,

#WAChallenge: My Vintage Sewing Books

Wardrobe Architect Vintage Sewing Books
Taking a break from the hands on sewing of the Wardrobe Architect Challenge (see here), I thought we’d take some time today to discuss my collection of vintage-retro sewing books. My small but sentimental collection came from my mother, who once worked in the textile industry and had access to what was then rare gems only available through special order. Books were borrowed, bartered, photocopied and treasured. Granted, while she made me plenty of clothes growing up (single child privileges), I don’t think she particularly loved to sew but rather it was the desire to dress her daughter in one of a kind pieces that fueled many trips to the store and the stash of sewing equipment. And while our old vintage sewing machine is long gone, I’m relieved that these papers made it through the purge and have lasted long enough for me to grow up to an age to really appreciate them.
Wardrobe Architect Vintage Sewing Books
One common theme with books of the day (especially the popular prints from Japan) was that most of them did not come in neatly stuffed envelopes with pre-made sizing and all. One was expected to learn how to create a sloper (template) from their own body measurements, then draft the garment patterns based on that guide. Other books took a one-size-fits-all approach, especially for looser fitting items like flowy blouses and loose skirts. The incredible personal involvement in sewing a piece of clothing from understanding the pattern to cutting and execution is something I can certainly appreciate.
Wardrobe Architect Vintage Sewing Books
Wardrobe Architect Vintage Sewing Books
Wardrobe Architect Vintage Sewing Books

Can you tell these are from the 80s and early 90s? Those big jackets and big shoulders always give me a good giggle but they sure weren’t afraid of bold prints. And just look at those accordion pleats! Can you imagine ironing them out by hand?

Wardrobe Architect Vintage Sewing Books

Wardrobe Architect Vintage Sewing Books

Wardrobe Architect Vintage Sewing Books

Probably most prized in my possession is this collection of out of print books by Life Time called The Art of Sewing. It consists of 16 hard cover individually sub-titled books which tackle various sewing interests such as creative fabric use, tailoring techniques and personal detailing. I vaguely recall being about no more than 12 years old, helping lug the books back to the car from a church yard sale. Even more lovely is that each book is covered in a unique fabric both front and back that correlates to the sub-topic inside. While working on my wardrobe these past few months, I’ve found myself taking this out of the storage room again and really delving into their wisdom. Hopefully they’ll last another few decades and become some kind of family heirloom.

Stay Crafty.

Wardrobe Architect | Defining your style | January

You know that feeling when you’ve started on a new big project and while it still thrills you, the realities of “oh my gosh what have I gotten myself into” is starting to sink in? That’s about me right now.

With the first week of February behind us, I am fully knee deep in the Wardrobe Architect Challenge Project (see here if that term confuses you) and I wanted take a moment to reflect on January’s progress and challenges. Let’s talk!

If you missed any of January’s worksheets (#1-4), get them at Coletterie.
Now I do fully believe that everyone has “style” and it’s not a term reserved for the naturally gifted. But that’s not to say that most of use don’t need a bit of reflecting and prodding to really distill the things and elements that attract us into a cohesive wardrobe. January’s explorations led me to think about building a purposeful style that makes me feel confident, excited and happy. Isn’t that what we all dream about anyways?


DIY Craft : Simple & Chic Desktop Calendar | $10 & Under

One of the things that gets me most excited about a new year is the need (or mostly, want) to shop for new calendars, notebooks and general miscellaneous materials for my life. Calendars however have always been a big struggle as my taste is always larger than my wallet. For 2014 I had been using a sneaky little DIY calendar that has worked really well for a quick date check, takes up minimal space without cramping on style and best of all, it’s totally affordable.

NOTEPAD | Rifle Paper Co. | Garance Dore Collection
What makes a DIY project (and this one in particular) stand out is often the quality of the materials used. For me, nothing says luxe like nice, thick creamy paper and that will really show in the final look of your project. Whenever I’m crafting, I often mix high and low priced materials together but you need to spend where it counts. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look for sales! I was able to purchase this lovely notepad (from one of my favourite stationary brands might I add) for $5CAD from Chapters/Indigo online during their free shipping week. Total score.

Make one for yourself, make one as a gift and get creative by altering this to your own aesthetic. Switch up the cardboard colour, switch up the notepad or maybe even try a cute patterned clip. Don’t forget to Instagram or Tweet me a photo if you give this a whirl. Happy crafting!

Wardrobe Architect Challenge | Redefining my style

All good things being with a plan.
Sewing is one of those persistent things in my life with which I have an unquestioning love-hate relationship. The issue is usually the lack of motivation to pull through with a long project but this year I think I’ve found my support group. While looking up sewing patterns a few days ago, I happened upon the Coletterie website by Sarai Mitnick who is the owner of a small pattern design boutique. I was immediately attracted to her WARDROBE ARCHITECT CHALLENGE which is a year long sewing project that will help you to find and create a capsule wardrobe that you really love.
The official guideline for the Wardrobe Architect Challenge is very thorough and will take you through the very beginning steps of defining your personal style to planning out your colours and patterns. Since I have a general direction of what I want and I’d like to start using some of my previously acquired patterns (which I’ve been hoarding away in a box), my plan is to use Sarai’s work list as a general guideline to check my progress. For me, it wasn’t so much about finding my style but rather making it more concise, grounding it with some well defined basic pieces and getting rid of the items that were, for the lack of a better phrase, “cramping my style”. Better yet, I’ve now found a community of sewers whom I can send frustrated social media messages to when things go crazy. I highly encourage you to join me as there’s no rules for the level of difficulty for your project items and even if you just want to pop in to check on my progress I’ll be sharing via monthly blog posts as well as Instagram and Twitter using #WAChallenge2015 !


Craft:: My Vintage Wardrobe Project has begun!

I’ve always had a soft spot for “old things” (as my BF would call it) and while many people embrace the exhilaration of our high tech world, I’m often looking for ways to slow down and smell the flowers. I’d like to think that with all our modern advancements, it becomes increasingly easier to pursue our eclectic hobbies. Case and point, I recently grabbed two books from the library that perked up my interest in vintage (inspired) clothing and while I’m not really keen on scavenging ready made clothing pieces per say, I am all up for attempting a basic vintage wardrobe project.

Vintage Inspirations
The prospect does look a little daunting I must admit as I have never attempted such a large project and this will be my first time working with vintage patterns but just think of all the wonderous possibilities! I love that feeling of holding an old out of print pattern, thinking who had bought this back half a decade ago and knowing that by making something of it I am giving new life to these bits of paper. (Not to mention that devilish thought that once I snip into them, one less pristine pattern set will be gone forever from the market.)

Now there are quite a few ways to get a hold of these out of print vintage items but being an Etsian, I thought I would start there (on Etsy) and see what gems I can dig up……and boy oh boy there’s a whole lot to be found! Many sellers either source patterns from yard sales (“boot sales”), have them handed down from family members or may even acquire them from an estate or auction. I personally prefer new uncut patterns just so I know that they are a complete set and I can better take care of them later on.

Vintage pattern_04

L:: Simplicity 1677 (mbchills) // R:: Simplicity 4218 (Vintage Pattern Supply)
Perhaps it was the social mentality of the day or maybe it was by some other unexplainable magic of nature but gosh I can’t help but be in awe of the glamour that is portrayed in these illustrations. Most of what I am looking for is that tight niche period between 1955 to 1965, when fashion embraced the voluptuous female form and dressing up was a crucial part of everyday life. Prior to that the shoulder pads of the 1940s were not my taste and after that the gamine look of the late 1960s certainly wouldn’t have fit my body type. Even in modern fashions I tend to gravitate towards classic designers such as Oscar de la Renta and Valentino.

Vintage pattern_05

R:: Butterick 8123 (Cymbaline Vintage) // L:: Butterick 7880 (mbchills)
One thing that I quickly embraced during my pattern search was the different outlook on silhouette, shape and tailoring. Even the most simple looking pieces had carefully placed darts and seams. Caplets, coats and small detailed accessories dressed up an otherwise standard set of form fitting skirts and sheaths. I own a few pieces with similar designs and I must admit they even change the way you move and walk. A little extra swing in your hips is essential to taking a step in that wiggle skirt!

Vintage pattern_01

L:: McCalls 5910 (One More Cup of Tea) // R:: Simplicity 5973 (mbchills)

If you are either petite or extra tall, I’m sure you’ve encountered those moments in the dressing room where your dreams of the fabulous outfit was dashed because it was just a little bit off. Proportion is essential to a good fit and while some people may have a tailor’s number on speed dial I am more inclined to just find something good the first time. With a little extra digging and some key search words like “proportioned sizes” you can find vintage patterns with special sizing adjustments to suit your height. I really wish modern pattern makers would bring this back!
Note: Vintage pattern sizing systems (bust, waist, hip) vary between time periods and are often different from modern sizes so take extra care to check the envelope measurements to make sure you’re getting the best possible fit.

Vintage pattern_02

L:: Butterick 4287 (raggspatternstash) // R:: McCalls 4657 (anne8865)
And for those who feel the vintage look is old and boring, I actually found some neat little designs and details that would fit right along modern day couture looks. That peplum trend that’s been hot for months now? See this 1940s take on detachable peplums! Need some extra drama to your even dress? How about a lace overdress to go with it?

There was a strong focus on versatility during these times and accessorizing basic pieces so that the same outfit may be worn a few times a week without looking drab. You can even sew up your own entire weekly wardrobe from a single pattern set that often included a skirt, dress, top and jacket combinations. Multiple that by the various fabrics you can use and you’re going to be a very stylish woman on a budget. These were the times when department store fashions were often a real investment (you sometimes paid off a dress in installments for goodness sake) so a 65cent pattern would have been a very economical everyday option.

Vintage pattern_03

L:: Simplicity 4398 (ClassicCabin) // R:: McCalls 7133 (BuzzyVintage)

With all said and done (now that we’ve composed ourselves after drooling over these patterns), here’s a rough outline of my Vintage Wardrobe Project.

  • 3-4 lady dresses (with neckline and sleeve variations)
  • 1 fabulous coat
  • 2 skirts for wiggle or swooshing
  • 2-3 tailored tops to pair with skirts or even jeans
  • 1 darling cape or caplet

I’ve already purchase 3 patterns that are on their way and with uncut pieces being hard to find, this may have to become a “sew as we go” adventure. This may also call for another trip to the fabric store as well.

Let me know what you’d be interested in seeing in this project!
Happy Crafting!

CRAFT & TELL | Distressed Jewelry Box // + video

DIY_Jewelry Box-01

Excitement is thick in the air as I’m sitting here typing out this post, in fact I’ve been working on this project for weeks and have been patiently documenting the steps so I can finally put together my first CRAFT & TELL project. One of my 2013 goals is to get back into crafting and when I saw this precious box at Michaels I just knew it was a beautiful jewelry box just waiting to be completed!

(snagged from Michaels)

  • Unfinished wooden box with open lid and bottom drawer
  • CRAFT SMART | Craft Acrylic in “Robin’s Egg Blue”
  • AMERICANA | Duraclear “Satin” Varnish
  • You’ll also need: paint brushes, sandpaper or a sanding block, cotton bud and alcohol/nail polish remover (for hardware cleanups)

Step 1 //
Start by sanding down any rough patches on your box, many craft store wood items are very roughly put together and may even have wood spackle in places to fill in ridges or knots so sand everything until smooth to the touch. Pay special attention to splinter-prone edges. Wipe off any wood dust before the next step.
DIY_Jewelry Box-04
Step 2 //
Working with the largest areas first, apply your first layer of paint, taking time to work the product into the wood. Using thinner layers helps to prevent streaking, rather than attempting to spread a thick layer. Let each layer dry to the touch thoroughly before applying a second coat. I ended up with 2-3 layers to fully cover the wood texture. Once all the layers are on, I let it dry for a few hours altogether.
DIY_Jewelry Box-05
[Note: While most large furniture pieces will require you to use a primer, I was told it wasn’t always necessary especially with smaller items and so I went without.]
DIY_Jewelry Box-06
Step 3 //
With the big areas done, we can move on to the smaller corners and sides. Since it was useless (and impossible) to reach the insides of the drawer level, I taped it off and painted a clean line across it. A small pointed detailing brush will really help work into corners along the dividers and for small touch ups.
DIY_Jewelry Box-07
Step 4 //
I choose to paint my interior white to contrast with the box and also bring out the jewelry. It took about 3-4 layers of paint to cover these areas and it was tricky to keep the white away from the already finished blue areas. When working along the edges, use a clean cut flat brush with just the tips dipped in paint and work in strokes starting at the edge then pulling towards the center.

DIY_Jewelry Box-09
Step 5 //
Make sure all your paint layers are absolutely dry before busting out the sandpaper to do your distressing. Give a little rub to where the box would naturally get worn down or touched often such as corners and edges, then add a few scratches and scrapes as you see fit. You can vary the intensity of the damage by how much pressure you exert and also the grit of your sandpaper, I only had one type in hand so I made do with it.
DIY_Jewelry Box-08
Step 6 //
Once you’re satisfied with your roughing, it’s time to seal it with a coat of protective varnish. You can buy either spray or liquid versions but I like being able to see what I’m doing and how much I put on so I went with the latter. The consistency of this particular brand is quite thin so be careful of drips, a flat wide brush partnered well with this.


DIY_Jewelry Box-02
DIY_Jewelry Box-03 
I also decided to fancy up the lower drawer with a felt lining which I simply tacked down onto the wood with a bit of double sided tape. This not only prevented the jewelry from sliding around but, I felt, also added another small detail to the whole piece.

Now onto one of my favourite parts, here I am talking you through some tips and tricks on how to make this craft project a smooth process. Things to avoid, what to look out for and an
y blunders I encountered along the way.

Enjoyed this post?
Made a nifty project of your own recently?
Leave me a comment below!

Upcycled: DIY Twine bound vase

Happy rainy Vancouver Friday to you all! (Was that too enthusiastic?)

As a crafter I love the idea of upcycling, which if you haven’t heard of the term before simply means to take something that appears useless and rework it into something with more value and purpose. It’s the cuter way of saying recycling I suppose. A few months ago I tried this fancy brand of bottled water and loved the design of the glass bottle so I kept it knowing it would come in handy one day. What do you know, I was looking for a little something to add to my new video background and thought it would make a lovely vase.

Twin Vase DIY
This is a very versatile craft that can be tweaked into many different looks and has lots of room for your own artistic creativity. Did I also mention it’s super simple?

Twin Vase DIY_01

  • A bottle that you like (preferably glass)
  • Twine (or Jute)
  • Hot glue gun
You can use twine of any thickness but I like to match it to the size and design of the bottle. Colourful twisted bakers twine (cotton) is a fun option as is yarn or even neon nylon rope. I bought a spool of natural twine at the dollar store but you can often find them in craft stores or Home Depot.

Twin Vase DIY_02

Cut off that piece of metal from the cap if it’s still one the bottle, use a wire cutter and watch your fingers.

Twin Vase DIY_03

Start with a little smudge of glue (don’t glob it on) and quickly push the piece of twine onto it. It’s best to start a few centimeters from the end just to get the twine attached and then go back and tack down the loose end. The key here is to use small thin lines of glue so it won’t show when it’s dry. Keep going around the length of the bottle tightly, gluing down the twine every once every few rounds to make sure it doesn’t end up sliding up or down. You can choose to wind all the way around the entire bottle or leave a few stripes bare like I did.
Check out these other lovely variations.
If you make your own, link or tweet me a photo!

Twin Vase DIY_04

Daily Link: How to build a nail polish rack (Dulce Candy)

I am such a sucker for crafty things and even better if it’s a beauty craft. I’ve had this tutorial for making a nail polish rack in my favourites for ages now and although I currently don’t have the space for one I think many of you may find it helpful. The video comes from Dulce Candy and is quite a simple weekend doable project, it would be a great addition to any beauty room and has unlimited potential for decorating. My nail polish just sit in boxes right now but oooh I can dream. Wouldn’t it be just beautiful to have all your shiny sparkly colours lined up nice and pretty?