This week in sewing blogs vol. 105 // Closet Case Files



This week in sewing blogs vol. 105 // Closet Case Files

Happy weekend makers! I’ve been working my tail off all week and snuck off to Vermont for a short weekend at my friend’s farmhouse where we are indulging in shibori madness (when I’m not stealing apples off their tree or chasing Harry through a meadow). I’m excited to come back with lots of hand dyed yardage, since I purchased raw linen, silk and jersey to play around with. Hopefully your weekend is turning out to be equally creative.

Here’s what you’ve been up to…


Hands down the biggest thrill I got this week was slowly realizing that the gorgeous jeans refashion by Sue of A Colourful Canvas was done using my Clare Coat pattern! Immediately added a Clare dress to my fall sewing queue…

Actually, maybe the biggest thrill was seeing this INCREDIBLE bustier prom dress Sew Nip Tuck made for her daughter using the Sophie swimsuit as a base.

More refashioning goodness – great guts in this dress from Helen’s Closet.

Natural dying is such a huge trend this year – isn’t this light as air Scout tee from the Grainline gang pretty?

How much do you love this chartreuse draped dress from Sew Pomona?

If this checkered coat by the Mahogany Stylist isn’t Fabulous with a  capital F, I don’t know what fabulous means at all.

Leopard goodness from Allie J.

I was really loving all of Clio & Phineas’ Ogden tabks…. and then I saw the awesome maxi dress hack she did with the pattern.

Love these Morgan jeans for Tasha’s partner Mel.





I managed to make quite a few things this summer despite my workload and travelling schedule. Most of them have been worn over and over and over again since I’ve essentially been living out of a suitcase for the past few months, and strangely, rather than getting tired of these repeats I’ve just grown more attached.

My Wren Dress is definitely on that list of attachments. I made it from an gorgeous animal print rayon knit I bought at Jospehine’s Dry Goods in Portland last fall; it matches my skin tone, so it feels like a nude but is broken up with the splotches of black.

I have worn this dress at least once a week for the last two months. It was especially handy when we traveled to Europe this summer, since it didn’t wrinkle much and made me feel put together even when I had just jumped out of the shower like I did in Spain when we took these photos.

colette-wren-dress-pattern-4  colette-wren-dress-pattern-6

Ah Barcelona. You have to love a city you can walk around in while drinking a beer.

I really like this pattern. It’s a simple, classic silhouette with some nice details: I love the slightly lower curve at the back of the neck, the empire waist that drops as it wraps around the body and the light ruching at the shoulder. It’s feminine and flattering and a little vintage feeling; classic Colette.


The wrap depth is perfect on me – enough to not show too much cleave without being overly modest, and I didn’t have to adjust the skirt length at all (I generally find things too long or too short….)

colette-wren-dress-pattern-9 colette-wren-dress-pattern-8

It came together very quickly on my machine,

Ginger Jeans workshop at the workroom in Toronto // Closet Case Files



Ginger Jeans workshop at the workroom in Toronto // Closet Case Files

Happy Sunday makers! I’m currently sitting in the airport waiting to go home after teaching a weekend Ginger workshop at one of my favourite studios, The Workroom in Toronto. I’ll never get tired of seeing people discover how achievable jeans making is; for one of my students it was the first time EVER making a garment and she left with a totally professional pair in her hands. So. Awesome. Here’s what you’ve been up to:


Have you seen the new Cashmerette pattern, the Harrison Shirt? I recommended it to a few students this weekend when they complained about gaping shirtdresses.

Fiona made her first jeans and did a fabulous job.

Ginger Flares are perfect for fall and Melly NAILED IT.

Mokosha’s chic little black dress is totally my flavour these days. Black is the new black.

A tutorial from That Black Chic for a very funky little wrap top.

A very pretty Roscoe blouse from Blogless Anna.

I want to buy all of this beautiful handmade bias tape. All of it.


I love the idea of the Apparel Manufacturing Boot Camp. This is a pretty fascinating series detailing what exactly they do there. The process is so utterly different from what we home sewists are up to.

An ode to the housedress.

I want this rad biking airbag SO BAD.

I need to update my iPhone iOS so I can paste these sewing kitty stickers on every text I ever send.

Ginger Jeans in Simply Sewing magazine


Ginger Jeans in Simply Sewing magazine

Ginger Jeans in Simply Sewing magazine

Happy Sunday makers! After a weird mini heatwave, Montreal seems to be finally cooling down, which gives me a little anxiety since most of my clothes are still at the emergency fire drycleaners. While I’m a little sad not to have access to all my sweaters and cozy “its getting cooler” clothing, I have to say, I’m growing to really like having a very small wardrobe. For the last 2 months I’ve basically been wearing what I brought to Europe in July, along with a few other favourite things  grabbed before they carted off all my stuff. Every day when I get dressed I have a very curated collection of my favourite current clothing. Its so easy and stress free to  get dressed because of the 10-15 things hanging in my closet, I love all equally. It made me realize I could easily part with half my existing wardrobe, so I’ve been reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and am readying for a major, MAJOR purge once everything arrives. I’ve never been more excited to have less. What are your wardrobe plans this fall?

And here’s what you’ve been up to….


The Refashioners challenge generated some of my absolute favourite sewing projects this summer and Portia’s quilted coat was the denim cherry on the sundae for me. There are also some fabulous gems in the community projects,  and I think I actually gasped when I saw this ombre patchwork beauty.

This Kielo wrap dress from Catherien Daze is made in an inspired colour.

Allie J’s all black Sophie longline swimsuit is drop dead chic.

Sophie Swimsuit Pattern made by Ada Spragg // Closet Case Files



Sophie Swimsuit Pattern made by Ada Spragg // Closet Case Files

I can’t lie, I have been waiting with breath that is well past bated and on its way to desperate for today. Sophie (very funny Australian handmade fashion maven and endless source of sartorial inspiration) finally posted her take on the Sophie Swimsuit pattern, of which she is named. She posted a sneak peak back in June on Instagram and it was so perfectly her (beautifully made, a little quirky and very, very stylish) that I was basically in tears. Thankfully the Australian winter is on its way out and she managed to document her swimsuit without freezing her tatas off on her blog, Ada Spragg. I expect you’ll be swooning too.

This is honest to god why I get up in the morning…

Sophie Swimsuit Pattern made by Ada Spragg // Closet Case Files Sophie Swimsuit Pattern made by Ada Spragg // Closet Case Files Sophie Swimsuit Pattern made by Ada Spragg // Closet Case Files

Sewist and No Regrets enamel pins // Closet Case Files



Starting a collection: Sewist pin from While She Naps,  No Regrets pin from Colette

Happy Sunday everyone! I hope you’re enjoying these last weeks of summer… I’ve been (over) planning for a weekend camping trip next week and can’t stop googling camping recipes, especially those that involve throwing my cast iron dutch oven directly in the fire. Do you have any favourite things you like to make out in the great outdoors? Taking suggestions!

In other news…


I love love love these hand knit socks on the Fancy Tiger Crafts blog; they look just like the wool socks I buy in bulk every winter!

Such a pretty silk dress from Lindsay.

More silk prettiness from Clever Tinker.

Sarai’s swimsuit is gorgeous; love the floral print.

Erika’s sheath dress is flawless – absolutely perfect fit!

Totally squealed in delight over Tilly’s cat pajamas.

Head over heels with Sallie’s chartreuse Lonsdale dress.


Some great advice from A Few Threads Loose on organizing your pattern library on Evernote.


An artist left a gown in the Dead Sea for two months and the results are MINDBLOWING.

15 ladies rocking burkinis.


Maybe my favourite Seamwork episode yet – I was so moved by this interview with Marie of A Stitching Odyssey.

Loving Angel Olsen these days; I’ve been playing this song on a loop.





I was recently talking about reaching “Peak Sewing Supplies” on Instagram. Over the years I’ve slowly accumulated a pretty well rounded selection of tools and supplies, but after I pull the trigger on an industrial snap and rivet setter this fall, I feel pretty confidant that this little studio has just about everything you’d need to make just about anything.

Sewing can be an expensive hobby. Sure, you can start cheap with a secondhand machine and a basket full of basic supplies, but as you start getting obsessed (it happens, don’t fight it), having just the right tool to do the job feels as critical as finding the right school for your kid (you can probably tell I am childless since I am comparing quality scissors with your offspring’s education but SCISSORS ARE IMPORTANT). While I could write a comprehensive list of “basics” to stock your sewing arsenal with, instead I thought I’d share my all around favourites; nothing on this list is more than $30, but most of my suggestions are a little more spendy than the cheapest “starter” version. Worth every single penny.


Best sewing tools and supplies-3

I’ve gone through so many pairs of scissors since I started sewing. I’ve worked my way through a few brands, trying to find the ultimate pair. While Ginghers are beautiful (especially my gold handled pair) they simply can’t compete with the smooth, Japanese perfection of Kai shears. They might not look as cute in Instagram photos but they are lightweight, sharp as hell and cut through everything from denim to silk like a whisper in the night.

A new to me cutting discovery is applique or duckbill scissors, which I use exclusively for grading seams.

Jeans Refashion_Deconstructed Levi 501s 2



Deconstructed Jeans // Vintage Levi 501s // Closet Case Files

I was so happy when Portia asked me to participate in The Refashioners challenge this year; my contribution is on the Makery blog now. It really brought me back to my sewing roots since modifying thrift store finds was one of the early ways I learned to sew. My favourite thing to do when I was 14 and in my deep hippie 90s revival period (it happened, I regret it, let’s move on) was to buy old Levi 501s and make them bigger (and baggier) by sewing in strips of brightly coloured fabric to the side seams. Basically I did that again, but with tone one tone denim and a little more skill, minus the bongos and patchouli essential oil (I said let’s move on!)

Deconstructed Jeans // Vintage Levi 501s // Closet Case Files Deconstructed Jeans // Vintage Levi 501s // Closet Case Files

Since I had a stack of too tight Levi 501s in my research bin, I decided to make one of them actually  fit me. I wanted 501 butt but without the dated straight leg. I also wanted to experiment with some of the beautiful jeans deconstructions techniques I’ve been collecting on Pinterest lately.

Deconstructed Jeans // Vintage Levi 501s // Closet Case Files Deconstructed Jeans // Vintage Levi 501s // Closet Case FilesDeconstructed Jeans // Vintage Levi 501s // Closet Case Files Deconstructed Jeans // Vintage Levi 501s // Closet Case Files

It was a super fun project and I’m delighted to add these beauties to my denim wardrobe. You can get all the construction details (and a lot more photos) over on the Makery.

Have you ever deconstructed jeans? Are you participating in the Refashioners challenge this year?