Sunday, 22 September 2013

My Sewing Wishlist for Fall

Today is the first day of fall! I've always loved the fall - coloured leaves, hot tea, baking, cozy sweaters, and rain. Yes, rain. I love it. Call me crazy.

I always have the problem of getting far too ahead of myself for sewing projects, and I'm sure everyone knows the feeling. I spend far too much time looking at what other people are making that I get all these brilliant ideas, and yet never spend enough time actually sewing to put my brilliant ideas into action. So, to organise my thoughts, I've created a list of everything I'd like to sew over the next couple months.

Just a heads up, this is actually quite a long post, considering it's not about anything I've actually done. I wasn't expecting to write that much, it just kind of happened. It's also very text-heavy. There were pictures, and then I realized that I don't know anything about copyright, and I thought that I might not actually be allowed to use them, even though I did put a link and state that they weren't mine. I was starting to get worried, but instead of losing sleep over it, I just took them off. So, no pictures. Sorry.

1. 1940's-style wool dress

I've wanted to try a 40's-style dress for a while now, as opposed to the 50's styles I usually gravitate towards. I love all the subtle details, which, in my opinion, are a lot more suited to fall (and school, for that matter) than 50's full-skirted dresses. I also thought that a 40's project would be great for challenging myself and learning some new things, because of all those little details.

I really wanted to sew a 40's dress for the Fall for Cotton sew along, but as I've mentioned before, cotton dresses are really not the most practical for fall in Vancouver.

I spent an excessive amount of time searching Etsy for the *perfect* pattern, but it seemed like anything that was around my size that I liked had pieces or the instructions missing. I suppose it's quite hit or miss, but I've decided that I'll save looking for vintage patterns on Etsy (or elsewhere) for when I just want to browse, rather than searching for something specific. I've had far better luck finding patterns when I haven't really been looking for them.

Something else I noticed about genuine 40's patterns is the sizing is quite different - not just that the sizes are much smaller like with all vintage patterns, but it seems that the body type that patterns were designed for was a lot more rectangular than nowadays. If I found one that fit my bust measurement, it was often at least 2 inches too big at the waist, and too small at the hips (although being too small at the hips is a problem that I have with most patterns). Not that it would be too difficult to fix, but I just thought it was interesting how different the sizing was back then.

Anyways, I've actually already started on this project. I decided to try the Colette Ceylon dress, since I've always wanted to try Colette patterns. The only problem is the sizing - I'm smaller than their size 0, *sigh*. So, I tried my hand at sizing it down and it so far seems to have worked.  

I think this pattern is a really good choice, because for a while I've been wanting to try Colette patterns, make a shirt dress, and make a 40's style dress. This one checks all three boxes!

I haven't bought any fabric yet for this, but I went by a local discount fabric store today and was surprised to find that they actually had a fair amount of wool crepe and wool gabardine, which I think would work for the dress. I was honestly quite surprised - I was expecting it to be one of those places where everything has mysterious fabric content. They had a turquoise wool crepe that I loved, but wasn't really a fall colour, nor the best colour on me. They also had some amazing royal blue wool gabardine, but again, I think the colour might be too overwhelming. I can't remember exactly, but I think they had a dark red and a dark purple, either of which would be great if the weight is okay.

I'm making a muslin right now in a medium weight cotton (I think, maybe poly-cotton) and I'll see how well the weight works, because it's quite similar to the weight of the wool I was looking at.

Wow, that was a lot to write about this one project considering all I've made so far is a partial muslin. Here's the rest of my list:

2. Bombshell swimsuit

I definitely missed jumping on the bandwagon for this pattern this summer, but I still absolutely love it. It's like Heather of Closet Case Files read my mind when she released it, because I was thinking about making a swimsuit at the time, but wanted a one-piece and didn't like any of the options out there. This one is so cute, though!

And yes, I realize that it's not really bathing suit season anymore, at least not in the northern hemisphere. But honestly, I don't really like swimming, and I burn like crazy, so I don't spend that much time in bathing suits in the summer. In the fall and winter, I go in our hot tub all the time, so now is when I really need one!

I know that I'll have to order fabric online, since I doubt any of the stores around here will have any bathing suit fabric left. I found this really cute watermelon print fabric a couple days ago, and I wish I'd bookmarked it because I can't remember which site it was on.

3. Another Sewaholic Alma blouse

I've made view B, the peter pan collar version, once before, and I literally lived in it all summer. It's very flattering and comfortable, although the mid-length sleeves and collar aren't that great for layering. I haven't decided whether or not I will make the view A and plan to wear it with a cardigan or view C with the view A notched neckline, but either would be great fall pieces.

First, though, I have to attempt my first ever full bust adjustment. I've looked at several tutorials on the internet, and I honestly don't see what all the fuss is about. It doesn't look to hard to me (famous last words...). Although it fits me well, I neglected to make a muslin on my first version and ended up having to fiddle with the darts quite a bit. I cut out a straight size 0 so that the shoulders would fit, when my bust measurement is actually between a 2 and a 4. The darts end about 1/2" away from each other now, which I'm sure wouldn't look very good in a solid colour. Luckily, I made this version in a very small floral print so you can't see the darts at all. Overall, I love the blouse and I'm definitely willing to give it another try.

4. Bluegingerdoll Mae blouse

I absolutely LOVE this blouse. There's actually a sew-along for it that finishes today, but I had too much going to to be able to participate. Still, this blouse is absolutely gorgeous! I think it could definitely work as a layering piece, too, because the neckline is narrow enough that it would be visible under a cardigan. I might change the sleeves a bit to make it a bit easier to get a cardigan over it, but I seriously want this pattern. 

Plus, there's free worldwide shipping, which is definitely incentive to buy it. Living in Canada (even though Vancouver is so close to the border), shipping charges are absurd. I paid almost $13 in shipping for an $18 pattern when I ordered my Ceylon dress, which kind of irritates me considering it would have been only $5 or $6 to ship to Bellingham, which is just over the border. I suppose I shouldn't complain, though, because I always get my money's worth on all my patterns. I trace all of them in case I change size, and I make them over and over. 

5. A self-covered belt

I was reading a blog post somewhere (can't remember now, oops) where a dress ended up too big at the waist, and to fix it, she made a self-covered belt instead of fixing it. I thought this was a great idea! I've always loved the look of self-covered belts, and I think one would look great with my duvet dress, which is a bit big at the waist. I just need to find a kit that would work. I'll keep an eye out on Etsy for one, and my mom and I are planning a trip to Dressew sometime soon, which might have the supplies. For all you non-Vancouverites, Dressew is this store in the *ahem* not-so-great part of Vancouver that has pretty much all the notions you could possible imagine, plus a bunch of bargain fabric. I've never been there, so I'm pretty excited to have a look.

6. Jeans?

This has a question mark because they would be a pretty big project, and I have no idea if I'll have enough time to make a pair. I've never made pants before, and I'm not looking forward to fitting them. I also haven't found a pattern that I really like. I like a straight (or a relaxed skinny) fit that sits right at the waist, with all the classic details, like five pockets and a yoke. I hate jeggings, or anything that's so tight you can barely walk in them. And I don't know why so many people insist on low-rise jeans. They're quite possibly the most unflattering and uncomfortable design possible. 

The closest I've found to a pattern I like is this one by Style Arc. They at least aren't super tight and sit at the waist, although they say they're not meant for stretch denim and i like my jeans stretchy for comfort.

My excuse for not sewing jeans used to be that I didn't think my machine could handle denim. It's a good basic machine and I've made lots with it, but I don't think it's quite tough enough to sew through multiple layers of jeans-weight denim. But... I recently acquired a machine that can handle denim (more on that later), so my excuses are running out.

Anyways, as much as I would love to sew a pair of jeans, I don't think they're exactly a realistic project for me at the moment. Maybe in the spring... but then I'll probably have another project on the go. Read on.

7. And finally... a grad dress (or, a prom dress, for all you in the US)

Okay, I'm not planning on starting this right away. I just really need to decide on a pattern and start on a muslin, at the very least. I just really don't want to leave it to the last minute so that I'm rushing to get it finished while trying to study for finals (including provincial exams) and fit in a bunch of extra rehearsals for my year-end show for dance. I really need to make myself a schedule for it, which means I should probably find out when my grad actually is. Yes, that would be a good start.

Making a post like this seems to actually be a really good way to organise my thoughts, so I might do one with grad dress ideas too. That way, I can get some feedback, too, which would be great because I'm seriously terrible at making up my mind.

On a side note, does anyone have any idea why it's called grad in Canada, and prom in the US? And if anyone is reading this outside the US or Canada, what do they call it there?

That's it for now - thanks for reading, if you got this far. This actually turned out to be quite a bit longer than I was picturing. Now to get back to that homework I've been avoiding by writing this post...


  1. Great List. I sewed the Bombshell and loved it. There is so much information out there I think you can do the FBA and the jeans if time allows. I am looking for a Belt kit also let me knwo if you find one. Good Luck.

    1. Key words: if time allows. I wish I had all the time in the world to sew, but I definitely don't... although I'm trying to build in a little more time for it now. And if I do find a belt kit, I'll definitely post about it!

  2. I'm also busy with projects juggling and I wonder if I'll have the time to make them all, haha. I wish you good luck with your grad dress. Please, show us some pictures as soon as you get something done :)

    1. Thanks, but I'm afraid it'll probably be a while before I have pictures of anything finished towards my dress. I think I will do a post about ideas soon, though!

  3. I'm in the US, and when I saw you talking about a grad dress, I thought you meant for Graduation - something special to wear on a special day. I'm pretty sure 'prom' is short for promenade - a slow walk to show off your clothes and greet folks you know.

    1. That makes sense - now that I think about it, it's funny that we use the same term for both "graduations". They also call it a grad dress for grade 7 "grad", believe it or not!