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FABRIC FILES // TRANSITIONS

Iknow summer still has a month to go, but as the nights cool down, I can’t help but think about the coming fall, the changing season. One way to gently transition into autumn (as opposed to silently weeping when you realize winter is coming) is to try switching up your colour palette. The rich, earthy fabrics featured above are still lightweight enough to not feel like you’re giving in entirely.

As much as I fight it, I’m still really drawn to white, black and grey these days. There is something very appealing about an interchangeable monochromatic wardrobe. Especially if it features special pieces with pugs, cats or silky songbirds…

Have you started buying fabric for your fall wardrobe or are you just telling yourself summer will last forever?

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THIS WEEK IN SEWING BLOGS // VOL. 58

Curve runner & SA ruler

Did you notice? I’m switching up the title of this weekly round-up because a) I named it on a whim a few years ago and it never really made sense b) someone told me in a survey they thought the name was kind of annoying and I never really forgot it and c) CHANGE IS GOOD. I hope you’re having a good weekend! I’m a little eye-blind formatting the new pattern for testing but hoping to make it up to my eyes and body with a trip to the spa tonight.  There is something particularly Canadian (and Finnish, Swedish etc.) about willingly jumping in an ice cold plunge pool. We’re like seals with cuter accents.

ADMIRE

Somehow I’ve internet-known Gillian for years without knowing about her Sewcialists project. How this slipped past me, I have no idea. Super happy to discover this blog, and I love this rose-printed bra set posted as part of their lingerie series.

Speaking of Gillian, I always love those pattern reviews where someone is like “meh meh meh meh” and everyone looking it is like “You’re completely off your rocker. This is awesome”. Your Jalie dress looks fab Gillian. Forest for the trees.

Ack, this quilted diaper bag from Baste & Gather is soooo pretty.

Dixie DIY’s Clover dress is de-lovely. The white contrast is striking.

Speaking of Dixie, she sent me a shirt for the Refashioners challenge. Pretty happy with the result, even if I was mildly cursing at the fabric half the time.

Nicole is one of my favourite sewing blog “writers”; her post about her Watson bra set being a love letter to her body made my week.

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THE PATTERN THAT CHANGED MY LIFE

The pattern that changed my life // Vogue 8776 // Closet Case Files

Hey y’all! This week I shared the “Pattern That Changed My Life” on one of my favourite blogs, While She Naps. I talk about an ambitious cape I made a few years ago, and how that experience changed my sewing practice and taught me what I was capable of.

In hindsight, I can see how much this project changed me. It made me realize fully that nothing is too hard or too scary to attempt. It showed me that if I set my mind to something and just sat down and did the work, I would be rewarded; even if the work was imperfect, the effort and evolution were reward enough.

Too often we doom ourselves to failure before we even get started because we convince ourselves we’re not skilled or talented or experienced enough for the challenge. We get in our own way. I’ve fought this self-defeating negativity in my own sewing practice, and it’s something I strive to share with my customers and my readers: We can make anything. We are capable and smart and resourceful and we’ll figure it out. It may not be perfect, but it will always get better with practice. In the end, the most valuable lesson sewing (and Vogue 8776) taught me is:

“I CAN DO THIS. I CAN DO ANYTHING”.

A big thank you to Abby for asking me to contribute! You can read the entire post here.

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Hong Kong and bias bound seams tutorial // Closet Case Files
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HOW TO SEW HONG KONG AND BIAS BOUND SEAMS

Hong Kong and bias bound seams tutorial // Closet Case Files

This is a tutorial I’ve been meaning to post for a while, since I had some requests after instagramming the in-progress guts of my Sophia dress. Bias bound seams are a beautiful, couture quality finish you can easily achieve on garments with exposed seams (think jackets or unlined skirts and dresses). They protect the raw edge of the seam and also give a little pop of colour in an unexpected place. Obviously they’re a little more time intensive then just serging those suckers, but the secret beauty is totally worth it! If you need more convincing, peep the pretty guts of any number of Oonaballoona’s inspired makes. Write a love letter to yourself with some seam witchcraft.

There are a few methods for sewing these seams; I’m going to show you three. Your choice will be determined by whether you’re using regular or double fold bias tape. See this tutorial if you need help making your own.

HONG KONG SEAMS

How to sew a Hong Kong seam tutorial // Closet Case Files

Hong Kong seams use regular bias tape and wrap around the raw edges of your seam before being “stitched in the ditch” into place. Since there is no visible stitching, they’re an elegant and pretty finish. Your seams should be moderately straight – a curved seam that needs to be notched will not be bound nicely. If you’re feeling extra fancy, use silk fabric for your bias tape.

To get started, make long strips of continuous bias 1 – 1 1/4″ wide. The wider tape is a little easier to sew since it gives you more wiggle room on the wrong side of the seam, but you may need to trim it down later.

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WHAT’S DOING // VOL. 57

button-archives-at-H.-Fisher-&-Sons
Happy Sunday sewcialists. August is half over and yesterday I had a mild panic attack when I realized I haven’t a) swam in a lake b) stayed in a cottage or c) napped in a hammock. In compensation we tried to tave a nature-ish bike ride yesterday but ended up getting lost in industrial hell and then caught in a brutal rainstorm. Today I’m driving up to a local waterfall come hell or high water (literally, high water). Summer, I’M NOT DONE WITH YOU YET!

In the meantime, here’s what the sewing blog world was up to.

ADMIRE

I was charmed by this breezy white Holly/Hawthorne mash-up over on Sew Pomona.

At our last meet-up in Montreal, a few of us were seduced by the same floral print rayon. I love Kay’s skirt/dress combo and am basically going to use my yardage to make the exact same Sallie as Deepika on Pattern Review – she looks stunning.

Leila from The Three Dresses Project wasn’t sure about the trapeze silhouette on her but I think she’s a vision.

This blue and orange dress from That Black Chic is so original and amazing.

Wonder at this dope as hell 1930’s confection from Petit Main Sauvage.

Two great bombshells this week: Monsie did a great job FBAing, and I love the way Helen modified the back straps on hers.

This border print Holly dress from Lady Sews Alot is adorable.

Carolyn always makes the coolest stuff. This reversible infinity dress is no exception.

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Inari Tee dress in linen // Named sewing pattern // Closet Case Files
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SUMMER UNIFORM // INARI TEE DRESS IN LINEN (AGAIN)

Inari Tee dress in linen // Named sewing pattern // Closet Case Files

I‘m not the tattoo type (too commitment phobic and paranoid about being accidentally frozen in an iceberg and later studied by future generations) BUT,  if I was, I would get a little 5/8″ seam ruler stamped on my index finger, and then somewhere I’d look everyday and be reminded, some cursive script saying “If it works, work it”. Because sometimes you need to be reminded that you don’t need to reinvent the wheel when it’s turning just fine on it’s own.

What was working for me this summer was the black Inari dress I wore so much it’s already starting to fade. What was also working for me was linen, which I bought even more of during an impulse Michael Levine shopping spree. By my logic, if it ain’t broke, make more of them.

Inari Tee dress in linen // Named sewing pattern // Closet Case FilesInari Tee dress in linen // Named sewing pattern // Closet Case Files

The Inari Tee is definitely becoming a TNT pattern. I really just love how easy the shape is, with enough sly, sophisticated detail to make it feel a little more special than your average shift dress. I’ll be whipping up the crop top variation before summer is completely over, believe you me, and I may even get brave and dip into my psychedelic Vlisco wax print stash for something that borders on “whoooooaaaaa!!!!!” Or perhaps a Keanu “whoa?”

I’ve never shopped at Michael Levine before, but I had fallen in love with this sweater knit because of Dandelion Drift, so figured I’d dip more than a toe into the pool. I was curious about the Essex cotton/linen blend, so I got a few yards of this denim colorway.

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WHAT’S DOING VOL. 56

Bombshell-swimsuit-in-drag

Happy Sunday Makers! I hope you’re having a lovely weekend. I am breaking with my What’s Doing B&W tradition in order to share this mermaid glory with you. For a girl whose favourite shows are Rupaul’s Drag Race and Project Runway, basically the highest level of maker joy is seeing one of my patterns used for drag. Behold these Bombshell beauties! I can seriously die happy. Thank you Danny and Sven!

Also, if anyone in the Torornto area is interested in learning to make jeans, I’ll be teaching a weekend workshop at The Workroom on November 21-22. Space is limited so sign up soon!

Here’s what the rest of the sewing blog world was up to this week.

ADMIRE

A simple black linen trapeze dress from True Bias… perfect for the dog days of summer.

Upcycled kimono fabric dresses on Vivat Veritas.

This embroidered skirt from Oona Balloona on The Sewing Party site is pretty spectacular (and here’s a another great investigative post fromWhile She Naps on exactly what The Sewing Party is).

Poppy Kettle is with child! And she made this lovely silk top to accommodate her growing bump. Congrats Melanie!

Jasika made her honey a pretty sweet suit and has some interesting thoughts about androgyny and the fashion industry.

How cute is this tailored coat Debbie made for her daughter?!

Two of my favourite Sallie jumpsuits so far:  Susie Homemaker MD uses a print bordering on psychedelic but it is working for me. And I adore the 70s inspired print Natalie used on her gorgeous make.

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SEWING INDIE MONTH // PATTERN BUNDLE

Sewing-Indie-Month---Pattern-Bundle

You may remember that I participated in last year’s Sewing Indie Month. This year it will be taking place in September, and I’ll be collaborating with a number of my fellow indie designers to bring you interesting blog posts, tutorials and a community sewalong with great prizes. In addition to all that fun stuff, this year we are offering two pattern bundles. The first pattern bundle is on sale until Wednesday, August 12th and features up to ten great designs, depending on how much you’d like to spend.

Pattern bundles are a great way to purchase a number of interesting designs at a deep discount, and in our case, it’s also a wonderful way to support a worthy charity. Twenty percent of all proceeds from the bundle sales will be going to the International Folk Art Alliance; this charity allows artisans and craftspeople from around the world to access business education and exhibition opportunities, helping to create sustainable livelihoods and preserving traditional crafts. You can check out some of the amazing work they are doing here.

Sewing Indie Month Pattern Bundle #1 // Up to ten patterns for $38

Pay what you want for the bundle! The more you pay, the more rewards you’ll receive.

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Handsewing techniques & tips // Closet Case Files
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HAND-SEWING TIPS & TECHNIQUES

Handsewing-tips-and-techniques

There are approximately a bazillion reasons to get together with sewing people whenever possible and a few weeks ago I discovered a new one: crowdsourcing hand-sewing techniques! Carmen & Deepika from Pattern Review were in town recently, and while we sat around chit chatting on a sunny terrace in a big gang, talk turned to the little tricks people use when they’re handling a needle and thread. I thought it would be fun to share some of that community wisdom.

I ended up doing a lot of hand-sewing on my By Hand London Sophia dress, and most of these little hacks came in very handy. It’s not a comprehensive list by any means, but hopefully there may be a technique in here that will be new to you.

HOW TO TIE A KNOT

Apparently I’ve been tying knots wrong for years. When I started sewing as a kid, I taught myself to make knots in thread by doubling the end of the thread in a loop and then tying it in a knot. It was cumbersome and not very elegant but I had been doing it that way for so long it never even occurred to me that there was another way. So when one of the ladies showed me this method my head basically exploded since it takes 3 seconds and feels a little bit like magic.

How-to-tie-a-knot-in-thread_Handsewing

  1. Loop the end of the thread around your finger 1 or 2 times (lick your finger first if you want).
  2. Gently push the looped thread off your finger using the pad of your thumb.
  3. Pull the looped section off your finger and pull it into a knot at the end of the thread.
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WHAT’S DOING VOL. 55

Pattern-hooks

Happy Sunday Makers! I hope you’re either having a productive or an indulgently lazy weekend. A few sewing pals are in town this weekend and I’m off to the park to lay under a blanket of Sonja’s pugs. Things could be worse.

So much was going on in the sewing blog world this week…..

ADMIRE

Elisalex’s embroidered folk top is de-lovely.

Honig Design’s Linden dress is rad; I’ve been hunting for that exact striped jersey for what feels like my entire life.

Mushroom dress! MUSHROOM DRESS!

A very pretty blouse from Amanda’s Adventures with Sewing.

Maimu’s flared Gingers are so good.

Cation’s cat blouse! Meow.

I just discovered this hilarious blog series called Film Petit; adorable children in hand sewn costumes recreate Zoolander, The Big Lebowski and Moonrise Kingdom, among others.

NEWS

If you’ve somehow missed it, here’s my favourite sewing news of the week/month year. Jenny got fat shamed on instagram by some over-tanned, bicep kissing gym bro. She responded in her typical ebullient  manner, and the #cakewithcashmerette hashtag was born. After hundreds of sewing folks ate cake in solidarity, news sources started picking up the story, and as a result, a large portion of the sewing community has now been featured stuffing their cake holes on The Guardian, The Independent, Buzz Feed, People, Hello Giggles, Cosmopolitan…. the list goes on. I have never loved our community more.

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