Sew Paradise

fall snuck up on me

First it’s 89 degrees, and the next week I had to layer a top over a nursing tee. Which really frustrated the baby, she tried to latch on over the nursing tank since I was fiddling with layers too long for her. So it’s time to sew nursing tops for fall.

First, since I sewed a possibly wearable muslin (more on that later), the Jalie 2787 criss cross top. I am going to forego fiddling with more twin needle hems – my machine just does NOT like them. I’ll set up the serger for a lettuce edge. Which reminds me, I need a little help from my (sewing) friends on that. Tried a tube top which is cute, but that ain’t no produce on that hem, top without lettuce

So, nursing tops. Two of ’em from Jalie 2787. Then, a modified empire overlay tank from a self-drafted pattern, and possibly a few underlay tees that have the deep armholes for nursing (don’t take the top layer off!).

I also bought Elizableth Lee’s Nursing Coat with baby insert for babywearing.

I look wistfully at the beautiful  new materntity wardrobe in the August issue of BWoF, but the baby is closing in on six months old and I haven’t yet decided if I want to take down the grit and courage off the shelf and do this affair again. But that’s a topic for another blog.

And then there’s the brown travel pants. I bought some stretchy poly ponte knit that will be perfect for the Christine Jonson flare leg pants. I think there’s enough stretch on the crossgrain to skip the CB zip too. But I’ll baste it together and try it on.

I haven’t even touched the Jacket sewalong yet – but SewingRefuge is doing one this month to November. I picked the cropped and cute BWoF Jacket September #105 (I think it’s 105, maybe 106). And a navy wool twill in my stash. mmm. With topstitching. mmmm. Yummy.

So back to the wearable muslin Jalie tee. I didn’t try it on before I serged the sideseams, and oops the bottom layer has gaposis and doesn’t do much in the way of coverage. Plus the icky double needle hem failure needs to go. I’ll use a very narrow zigzag to keep some stretch. Once I take the ENTIRE thing apart. Yeah. But I refuse to admit a wadder on this cute black and white matte jersey.

Next post is on the PJ wardrobe. Because I’m in PJs by 9pm, the baby’s bedtime and I need something nicer than what I have. And I might as well admit, for some time now, I’ve been in PJs by  9pm, it’ s not just the baby 🙂

Sew Paradise

The workstation

Hubby built me a sewing workstation and it’s incredible.

Sewing WorkstationSewing Workstation 2

Really incredible. I could really create on this! My machine sits recessed (we opted to not use a lift, as the machine must then be screwed down to it) on a small shelf. There’s a shelf that folds down that holds it in place when the doors are closed. I am SO excited to sew on this.

My current next project is another tube top and jacket to match an existing pair of silk drapey pants.  I’m making the tube top in a brown stretch velvet (yeah not a summery fabric usually but hey, it’ll work). And probably another baby sling soon.

This week I am taking maternity clothes to consignment (my other blog, not linked to this one, details my loooong history of miscarriage, and my very difficult, dangerous pregnancy). So I am using that as an excuse to purchase new shoes for trip to France in the fall. And perhaps a new business suit.

Sew Paradise

de nimes

Mom and I were headed to a children’s second hand store (closed on Sundays) and found a new secondhand boutique that *just* opened up. I tried on a super chic cropped velvet jacket that was elegant – but very impractical for life with baby spit up.  I passed it over for a burgundy shrug in a pointelle knit that was perfect. I also got *the* perfect jeans for paris. They’re cotton, poly and lycra in a wider (but fitted hip and waist) silhouette, very light weight, and require no alterations (petite, go figure).

So I have my pants for paris – the taupe Cosmopolitan travel pants and the denim pants. I might also make a yoke-waist wide leg pant in brown stretch velvet as well (if I have enough after the brown stretch velvet nursing top).

She also had a very chic belt that I also liked – it was in red pleather, gathered on to elastic with three rows of topstitching, and an edge-to-edge antiqued clasp. But I didn’t get that. I could do the same thing with a snap closure too. I have a pale green pleather, or, heck, blue suede. And where is that blue suede belt I made several years ago? That probably fits now. I should go find that in my sewing stuff.

This brings to mind the wine leather vest with Brazilian purple heart wood  toggles. That needs to come out of the closet as well for fall. So many chic outfits, so little time!

Though I did fall off the wagon with shopping, I am staying true to the thrift, secondhand and consignment boutiques.

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Is it the pants?


I’m looking a bit like an ice cream cone here – big on top, little on the bottom. Maybe this jacket is not suited for these pants. Or maybe I’m not suited for the pants? They’e the Christine Jonson Flare and Trouser Leg pants. Cropped (trouser leg). I loved the fit, but seeing the outfit together had me a bit worried it was a bad choice.


The jacket is from the hot patterns Sugar Babe set shown here on my dress form.  I think it’s super cute on the dress form (and on me, with this outfit) but maybe not with the cropped pants. We’ll see, those pants may become long shorts. Still do  you see capsule here? Add in the Jalie criss cross tee in white knit with black circles, and I think I see a capsule…

Sew Paradise

Two bundles of joy

As I bounced my infant daughter on my knee, lunching with my friend, the dogbell rang. I fended off the dog’s curious nose with my knee and signed for a big gray bundle from the mailman. I was practically giddy as I brought the package back in.  Even prettier than the swatches. As I unfold each of them, projects spring to life. Denim shirtdress with tall boots for fall. Fluttery knit tops in sorbet colors worn under cozy sweaters in the winter. Sleek sheer tops worn over black trousers with high heels and a trendy bag for summer.

Since my daughter was born in late March, I have made five things – a wrap dress, a pair of washed linen pants, a tube top, a linen summer swing jacket and a pair of linen capri pants.  Next up are a couple of summer nursing tops, and a pair of pants in the pants challenge (see post earlier this month). I’m positively prolific. And I’m loving it.

Hubby is almost done with a superbly gorgeous sewing workstation in oak. A giant work surface, my machine recessed, a leaf and a cabinet for my serger, and drawers for my notions. It’s beautiful, a substantive piece of furniture. How many halloween costumes will this see? sundresses, denim jumpers and jeans, appliques on the knees of my daughter’s worn corduroys, and, eventually prom dresses. It will probably see a grandchild’s quilt, halloween costumes, sundresses and jeans. And then, as hubby says, if she has a boy, it might end up as a superfancy router table (though I hope not). I hope her children’s grandchildren are still passing it down, saying my great great grandfather made this for my great great grandmother way back in 2007. How many happy years of sewing will this see? many. I love sewing more now than I did even ten years ago, or even twenty. As I close in on 30 years of sewing, I marvel that I’m still passionate about it.

Sew Paradise

Grand Prix Fabric Shopping

We went to the Toronto Grand Prix this past weekend (more on how much I hate homeland security in a moment…) I had heard from online friends at Sewing Refuge that (twenty years ago) there was a cool fabric district in QueenStreetWest area, near Chinatown. So I googled it and found a canadian craft blogger who listed addresses. At first, walking by where Designer’s Showroom should have been, it looked closed, paper on the windows, I thought, uh oh. So I moseyed on, E. in the stroller. On the way back, I found Designer’s Showroom just by accident.

It’s quite a store. The fabric are displayed in large swatches hung on pant hangers. You select what you want, in a big, open, airy showroom and they look it up in the computer. You buy, and they ship. I got some dress weight denim (Hot Patterns P&S shirtdress, or similar from my pattern stash), two rayon lycra knits, two cotton lycra knits, a sheer textured striped knit and a linen-look woven. Mmmm. And, I fed E. in the red dupioni sling I borrowed, but am going to copy.

There were a ton of button, trim, bead, yarn and fabric stores, all mixed in with an uber-trendy neighborhood, but sort of a blue-hair, multi-pierced sort of trendy. Not a H&M trendy, though one of those is opening there too.

So, am I sold on the Toronto grand prix? We had a nice enough time (shopping, an art festival, the race – watched from jumbotrons inside the Expo center). The drive home sucked. Stuck at the bridge, dived out to friend’s in Sarnia, then south to the ferry at Sombra/Marine City (who knew 65 other cars also knew about it, 12 at a time, we were there 2 hours anyway). Intermittent bouts of screaming baby.

But yeah, she’ll be 15 months old, past the screaming baby stage. And we could go shopping with the sling next year. And really dive in to the stores we had to pass by, because I had the SUV stroller. Some of the stores had fabric  packed to the ceiling, with bolts scattered, stacked, draped and shoved in every available space. Warren-like ‘aisles’ of fabric. And trim stores with stairs to get in, bead stores too tightly packed for stroller, and maybe even a bit dangerous for 15-month old hands, but we’ll try next year.

Sew Paradise

What if I didn’t buy any clothes…

For the next six months. Nursing bras don’t count. But what if I sewed everything I’m wearing for the next six months. Use up the stash. Post a SnS on Sewingmamas and SewingRefuge every week. What could I make? The BurdaStyle Anda dress with nursing overlay. I am sure I have a knit that would work (hey, that b&w diagonal stripe…) The HotPatterns Sugar Babe outfit with green ombre knit tube top, black linen pants, and green linen jacket. The flare leg pants in capri length in lime green linen. That sounds like a summer capsule.

Then, into fall. An auburgine sweaterknit Cardiwrap. Navy and camel wool flare leg pants. B&W houndstooth flare leg pants. Iridescent denim flare leg pants (love the flare leg pants!) Auburgine paisley tube top (cut down the burda top I didn’t like) or super simple Anda tee. Slate wool knit Sugar Babe pants. Lilac princess wrap with 3/4 sleeves. Peach floribunda nursing top. Black and brown mesh knit reversible tee.
And that’s just the surface! I haven’t even thought of the fabric I have stashed. Honey brocade, tissue linen in aqua, floral linen for a baby sling.
I’d be super stylish, that’s what I’d be…

Sew Paradise

The Pant Challenge

So I am setting up a new blog when I move this server for sewing and motherhood, thrifting and style. And as part of that I’m setting up a sewing challenge: can I make the above pants in less time than it takes to wash and dry a pair of pants.

I am going to set up the challenge like this: set washer for 16 min. cycle. Toss in jeans (or khakis) and have pattern and fabric laid out to cut. start washer. Cut pants, sew pants, switch clothes to dryer, dry pants. I think I can do it, since I think our total wash cycle is 30 min, and I’m sure a pair of pants in the dryer is at least 30 min to 45 min.

I’m also not making something easy like a one seam knit pant. That I could surely do, but a trouser pant, with a CB invisible zipper.

I’ll move the server, move the blog and start the challenge next week after I sew the first test pair (the lime green capri length pants). So I’ll know how to sew the pants, and perfect the technique before I start the challenge.

We are up north, baby is sleeping in the bouncer and all is well. I brought knitting, knitted in the car on my part of the ‘ride’ (as opposed to drive) up. I have on a pale blue nursing top with the tan sweater with pale blue blanket stitch edging, and my super skinny boot cut black denim jeans. Perfect. With a vintage orange and white/turquoise choker necklace.