I couldn’t leave that organic cotton jersey to sit in the closet so I flipped through my pattern stash and landed on McCall’s 6031.  It was tough making something from scraps and not all of my pieces are on grain but it was satisfying not tossing all that fabric away.

I know I’ll wear this a lot.  Somehow my t-shirt supply has dwindled this year so a comfy separate was much needed.

I added two and a half inches of length to the bodice and could probably have lived with a half an inch more. I also ended up taking in about an inch and a half from the underarm seam to fix some gapage there.  It was a pain in the ass since the bodice is lined (with a mismatched fabric) but it fits really well now.

I somehow assembled the entire top without realizing that it was actually a tunic.  I though about keeping it that way but it wouldn’t have jived with three out of my four summer bottoms so I hacked five inches off the bottom.

This is a real contender to be made again. Next time I might make the cowl a little wider.

Also! New, quite possibly lame, craft obsession:

Friendship bracelets!

It’s a ‘take a blurry iPhone photo in the dirty mirror’ kind of week (PMS + teething + husband on a 7 day work stretch = fuuuuuckkk!) but I wanted to eulogize this dress before I through it in the closet for a while.

This is McCall’s 6072 and my determination is that it would work a whole lot better for those with the power to go braless. I kept tweaking but every bra I own, even the non-nursing ones, were determined to pop out in the back and a little where the strap meets the bodice too.

The style looks halfway decent here but I think in actuality it looks like a prom dress mated with a nightgown. I was thinking of detaching the bodice and making a simpler one with more coverage but I’m afraid that the colour of the jersey is a little too reminiscent of a BUM Equipment sweatpant. Which is sad, really, because it’s a nice soft organic cotton from Plum Project Studio that I’ve been saving for a year for the right project.

So, right now it’s going into timeout and I have to decide what to do next.  We finally stopped torturing Kate with making her sleep in her Grobag in this heat for fear that her new ability to stand would put an end to her sleeping well so I could make a crib quilt but I’m lacking in materials and inspiration for that.

In the summer month I tend to favour sewing projects over knitting but I was feeling the need to keep my hands occupied during our marathon Dexter watching sessions so I cast on a little sweater for Kate for the coming winter.

This Cascade 220 Superwash Sport was a backup choice for her Pickles Vest. I was worried that the sweater was looking a little small so decided to add an extra repeat (or two? can’t remember) and I ended up having to go back to Wolesley Wardrobe to pick up a third hank.  The garter stitch stretched like crazy in blocking so I needn’t have worried.

I bet you’re wondering what it would look like modeled first thing in the morning over wiener dog pajamas. Wonder no longer:

I decided to be self-sacrificing and focus on a project for Kate. The prospect of working with jersey again on a dress for myself may have also helped make my decision.

This project caught my attention when it popped up in my blog reader from Aesthetic Nest. I asked Chris to pick up a beach towel on a trip to Winnipeg on Wednesday, then I made a side stop at a tiny quilting shop in Gimli during a beach visit on Thursday and by Saturday it was complete, as was my lexicon of swear words.

While this project definitely wasn’t difficult I found it a bit tricky for a few reasons: I’m not accustomed to the very detailed, prose-style pattern format it’s written in, I didn’t realize until after I had purchased the pattern and the towel that it suggests using the thinnest towel you can find and while this one wasn’t super plush my machine definitely did not approve of it, and I suck at sandwiching and stitching binding without it looking totally home ec.

The lining fabric is some Anna Maria Horner quilting cotton that I picked up in Portland two years ago to gift to friends with a little bonus for myself.  I love the yellow and turquoise together.  I copied Anneliese’s idea of lining the sleeves but winged it having lined something last in 2008 instead of stepping back and looking it up.  Let’s pretend the exposed seam doesn’t drive me bonkers.

Perfect for grilling poolside

The pattern includes up to a 4T size so I’m looking forward to making one each year for Kate with a thinner towel and clearer head.

Perhaps it’s also time to make her a new sunhat instead of jamming the one I made last year on her head but that jersey needs to be dealt with eventually.

Of all the garments I’ve made over the years I think the one I actually get the most wear out of is this self drafted tiered skirt from thrifted fabric that I made three years ago. It’s not the most stylish or flattering piece of clothing I own and it’s starting to fall apart a bit but it is comfy and light, perfect for sticky summer days when you spend all your time at home.  In keeping with the super comfortable, but not the most flattering vein comes this paper bag waisted skirt.

It was super duper windy, as it often is here on the prairies with nothing to block the gales. Most of the photos made it look like I was wearing culottes with a long crotch seam.

I love, love, love this fabric.  It’s a cotton / linen blend chambray with a bit of stretch that I picked up at Mitchell’s last week.  I think the pockets will also be appreciated for walks with Kate so I can bring my phone with me and store some of her special rocks.

This project was a nice change of pace in that I didn’t do a muslin or make any major fitting changes.  The only thing I did differently was to blind stitch the hem by hand because I thought it would look a little neater.  I probably could have handled making the large instead of the extra-large but the roominess is nice too.

I had some trouble fitting the waist band to the skirt body and thought initially that the pieces were horribly drafted but I think I had improperly folded the pocket which caused the body piece to be much larger.  I also had a heck of a time stitching in the ditch to catch the waist band facing but that’s completely user error.  One issue that I think was present in the pattern is there are no instructions to stitch the opening for the elastic closed.  I stitched it up by hand.

I realized when I was almost done that I don’t own any shirts that look great tucked in, probably because I haven’t tucked in a shirt since I was forced to at a Catholic high school in grade nine.  Most of the time I’ll probably wear the skirt hiked down a bit and with my shirt slovenly cascading over the ruffled waist band, anyway, like this:

Up next I’m either going to be a nice mom and make Kate this adorbs beach robe or be selfish and make myself a jersey maxi dress.  Only time, the supply of beach towels at the grocery store and my fickle whims will tell.

If you like fresh out of the shower pictures of me first thing in the morning have I got the post for you!

My wardrobe could definitely need more summer separates so I’m focusing on that in my sewing plans for the next little while.  I decided against making the raglan blouse with my precious Liberty Mirabelle after the disappointing muslin but I feel like I may have settled a bit with the pattern I chose. I think coordinating prints with appropriate patterns will be a new focusq1.

This out of print blouse definitely needs the belt to liven it up a bit.  It was nice, construction wise, to not have to worry about collars and other doo-dads and I do like this neckline.

I’ve been experimenting a bit with tissue fitting since they promote them so much in Fit for Real People but it doesn’t really give me a clear enough idea of the necessary tweaks.  So, I ended up making two muslins.  I may start doing more complete muslins with both sleeves and even buttons to get an ideal overview. In the end, I did a one inch full bust adjustment and lowered the darts a bit, which I think will be my official pattern adjustments from now on.  If I were to make this again, I would try to add a little bit of length which would require adjusting it to fit over my butt without bunching.

I’m hoping to get some work done on a skirt this weekend but that will depend on miss Kate and her nap, singular. Sigh. Happy weekend!

A few weeks back I spotted this lone top at Gap and I loved the print and weight of the fabric so much that I bought it even though it wasn’t a style I usually wear and it was a size too big. I hemmed and hawed over whether or not to return it for a few weeks

Not wanting to give up on it and being too lazy to drive to the city and make the return I decided to turn it inside out and take in the seams, praying that I wouldn’t have just wasted forty-five dollars. I think it turned out for the best.

It may have been a good idea to insert a zipper in the side seam because it is so close fitting now it’s hard to shimmy into.  It’s also best reserved for days when water is not retained in my midsection. Good times.

Our new couches arrived two weeks ago and it’s taken this long for me to shove the toys aside and snap a photo. How do people with more than one kid get anything done?

Still forgot to move the clashing nursing pillow

 

When they first came I had to stand back and think a little on them.  We hadn’t actually seen them in the show room (here’s what they look like in the catalogue in a different colour) so seeing them in person was a bit of a shock.  They’re a lot taller than our old Ektorp and the high arm rests makes them look even bigger.  There’s also the fact that we didn’t have a love seat before and our living room is tiny.

Choosing these was a bit of a taste compromise for us.  Count yourself lucky if you have one of those partners who could not care less what your living space looks like.  Chris is a big mid-century modern fan while I lean toward softer styles and these ended up being a bit more masculine than I had imagined.  I think things will come together better when we get an ottoman or coffee table that actually goes with them and when we get a rug that punches the colour up in this room, which is veering very close to tan and beige territory.  I’m also planning on making a few throw cushions that tie the blues from the curtains in a bit.

I think they’re growing on me and they’re definitely comfy.  I wish we’d had them when I was pregnant so that I could get have gotten off of the couch unassisted.  Although in that case they’d be covered in regurgitated milk by now.

Do you ever do something and the process is so frustrating that you find it hard to enjoy the results? I’m glad I gave this dress a time out for a few days or it would have ended up as the wardrobe equivalent of the vacation that is overshadowed by the douchebag who was drunk for the entire twenty-hour flight.

Fact: I am not this pale. It was starting to rain and the grey sky was reflecting off my face. Swear.

I’m happy now with the fit (especially when I stand up straight and wear a better bra – sheesh) but getting there was a headache. Changing the neckline and doing the full bust adjustment meant redrafting the collar and placket pieces which may not have been such a big deal for the competent but it took me three tries each to get there.  I would measure, check and measure again, cut the whole thing out, fuse with interfacing, only to end up with a still too short piece. Me + math = huh? The collar is still too short but I gathered the back neck edge a bit and I don’t think you can really tell.  I also serged the sleeve seam to the sleeve body and had to cut a new piece. Instance #342048 of me swearing off sewing forever.

When everything was together except the buttons I slipped it on and was instantly worried that it smacked of Soviet factory worker but I think the buttons and the shoes help.  The metallic thread that’s visible from close up also downplays the eau d’sadness.

In the end it was a good thing that I always forget to buy notions with my fabric (in this case at Mitchells) because my trip to the city to buy buttons meant that I was nearby mere hours after Adam and Michelle of baby shower fame welcomed their daughter Sydney! I’ll let them share the photos and details but I’m so excited for them and it was super fun to cuddle a newborn again.

Meals have been a bit of a rushed affair around here for the last thirteen months or so but a bit of time has been shaved off my meal prep now that Kate is eating most of the same meals as us.  It takes some careful planning up front but it assures that we’re not eating too many grilled cheese with a side of cookie meals and it’s fun to see her try new things.  Another result of her being ready for more complex meals is that we decided to introduce a little wild salmon and humanely raised chicken back into our diet after six years as vegetarians.  It was a really tough decision and we thought about it for months but in the end I think it was the right one for us.  Neither Chris or I is a fan of seafood but this Thai Salmon was a modest hit with the adults and went over really well with Kate.  My second attempt with some previously frozen fillets from a discount supermarket almost ended with both of us throwing up from the fishy smell but I’m going to keep on trying.  If anyone has any recommendations for non-fishy, mercury free and fish friendly fish recipes I’m all ears.

I’ve also been thinking more about including less refined flours in our diet so before Good to the Grain came in the mail yesterday I thought I would try tweaking a run of the mill blueberry pancake recipe to make it a little more hearty and they were really, really good. I thought I should write it down for easy recall on early Sunday mornings.

Healthier Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

1 large egg

1/2 cup all purpose flour*

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup low fat buttermilk

1 tbsp. white or brown sugar

2 tbsps. vegetable oil

3 tsps. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. ground flax seeds

finely grated zest of one lemon

a splash of pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup fresh blueberries**

Butter, for the pan

 

Beat egg in medium bowl until fluffy. Beat in remaining ingredients except butter until smooth. Heat pan or griddle to medium. Grease with butter if desired.  Pour slightly less than 1/4 cup batter into hot pan.  Cook pancake until bubbly on top and dry around the edges. Turn and cook the other side until golden.

*You could try using a higher ratio of whole wheat flour if you’re so inclined.

**I usually use frozen and I hate to be a snob about it but these really were way better with the fresh berries.

 

I also made french toast for the first time after a bit of a hiatus because I’m never happy with my results but after reading another great post from Dinner: A Love Story  on the topic I realized what I had been missing all these years was just a teaspoon of sugar in the batter.  It makes a huge difference.  Huge.

Perhaps not the healthiest meal of all time but one of the tastiest is this Penne with Roasted Asparagus and Balsamic Butter.  Another Kate favourite.

Any recipes floating your boat lately?

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