Friday, 9 June 2017

a summer maxi and a new blog

Prost from Germany! I started off the summer with two weeks in Berlin, and now I'm living in the much smaller town of Heidelberg, where I'm doing a research internship over the summer. Sadly I had to leave my sewing machine in Montreal, so this blog might be a little quiet this summer! I'm still knitting, but it'll be a little while before that one is finished!

In the meantime, I've started a travel blog called learning to be lost! Ive been doing lots of weekend trips and so far I've been to Prague, Strasbourg and Colmar in France, Bern and Interlaken in Swizterland, and Munich. I'm going to Freiburg in Germany this weekend, and Paris next week! I'm also posting updates on Instagram, so follow me there if you don't already!

The weather here is beautiful and summery with the occasional thunderstorm - not too different from Montreal, actually!

I've been wearing my latest make a ton here - a summery maxi dress, the Poppy dress from By Hand London! I tested the pattern for them and I was super excited that it was a pattern for knits. I live in knits all summer!

The Fabric Store kindly sponsored the testers and provided us with gift cards for fabric. I ordered the most gorgeous emerald green merino wool to make the midi-dress version of Poppy, but sadly due to shipping to Canada and me never being at home to receive a package, I didn't actually get the fabric until a couple of days before the testing deadline. I would still love to make a Poppy dress with it, but I got way to busy with exams and then left for Germany. Maybe in the fall?

This was intended as my wearable muslin, made out of some inexpensive knit from a local fabric store.

Note to self: never buy cheap striped knit, because chances are it will be ridiculously off-grain after you wash it.

Cutting this out and matching stripes was a bit of a nightmare with off-grain fabric and the long pattern pieces. Did I mention that I've never actually matched stripes before and I was sewing on a tight deadline??

Once it was cut out, though, sewing was very straighforward (and my stripes even matched!). I won't comment on the pattern/instructions/fit much because I haven't had a chance to go over the revised pattern yet (and to be honest, it was a while ago that we tested this so I don't even really remember my comments), but it went together in a couple of hours, easily!

I chose to hem the neckline rather than adding a neckband, but this probably wasn't the best idea for the maxi. Because of the weight of the maxi, it's stretched quite a bit.

Come to that, the whole dress has stretched and is now too long for me. Eventually I will learn not to buy cheap fabric.

I've still worn this dress a ton, both in the spring in Montreal and since coming to Germany. It's such an easy style to throw on, and it can be dressed up or dressed down!

Also, it's great for traveling since it's knit (read: no ironing and comfy for long bus rides).

Look, it came with me to Prague! (Check out that travel blog I mentioned for more pictures)

I'll keep this post short and sweet because I need to catch up on said travel blog, and there isn't a whole lot to say about this dress other than how much I love it!

I'd never actually owned a maxi dress or skirt before and I was super skeptical about whether or not I could pull one off, but I love it!! It's surprisingly flattering, and actually the right length because I made it myself (I did have to take 3-4 inches off though, can't remember exactly).

That's it for now (and possibly for the summer....?)! Thanks again to the lovely ladies at BHL for asking me to test!!

Also thanks to James for taking these pictures for me! (This was before it got nice in Montreal and we took refuge in the underground city for photos...)

Bis sp├Ąter!

Friday, 7 April 2017

a life update and a new favourite purple dress

Hello, world! It's been a while.

It seems like ages that I last posted, and I guess it was. A lot has happened since then. Last semester was pretty rough - everyone said it would be, but literally nothing could have prepared me for the insane amount of work I had. After making my last dress, I didn't touch my sewing machine for the rest of the semester. I got back into knitting a little by knitting microbe plushies as a fundraiser!

This semester, my workload has been a little lighter, but I've still had a lot going on and haven't had much time to sew. I've managed to finish a couple very simple knit dresses, but you know what? I wear a lot of simple knit dresses so that feels like a pretty huge frickin' accomplishment right now.

In other life updates, I'm going to Germany this summer! I'm mildly freaking out about finding somewhere to stay, applying for visas, and booking tickets, but I have an internship for 3 months at the University of Heidelberg studying Hepatits B virus!

At the beginning of May, I'll be in Berlin for two weeks for a language course, living with a host family, then I start my internship that goes until mid-August. I'll hopefully spend the last couple weeks of August traveling around other parts of Europe before heading back to Montreal for my last year of undergrad! International sewing friends, hit me up.

(Actually though, if anyone has friends/family/connections in Germany, especially in or near Heidelberg, I'm desperately looking for a place to stay!!)

Back to sewing, I made this dress back in January in a random burst of energy for procrastination. I saw that Heather from Closet Case Patterns had released the Ebony Dress and Tee, a flared knit swing dress, and bought it on the spot! I had wanted all summer to draft a pattern like it for myself (which I've actually done already for a friend and I know it really isn't that hard), but I guess I like shiny new patterns because for the first time in ages I actually felt like sewing, and I wanted to act on that while it lasted.

The same day I bought it, I taped together the pattern, cut out the dress, and sewed most of the dress except topstitching the neckline and hemming, because I didn't have matching thread. It was a pretty quick make considering that I hadn't sewn in months - it probably took me about 4 hours for all this minus hemming.

The fabric is from Our Social Fabric in Vancouver. My mom brought it for me when she visited Montreal this summer - the perks of having a mom that volunteers at OSF and already has too much fabric! It's a rayon/spandex knit that has nice drape and body, and isn't sheer at all.

The neckline is somewhere in between the scoop neck and the jewel neck. I thought the scoop neck might be too low, but next time I'll probably just make it as-is.

I'll be honest, before hemming this, I tried it on and hated it. I didn't bother buying matching thread to hem it and it sat, unhemmed, on my sewing table for 2 weeks and all the energy I suddenly had for sewing pretty much died. I felt like it looked like a maternity dress and was probably the worst possible shape for my body!!

A couple weeks later, I decided to see what it would look like shorter. I cut 4 inches off and then tried it on, and I loved it! It was pretty much knee-length on me before, which isn't the best look for such a loose fit, lemme tell you. Shorter, though, it's super cute!

I went out and bought thread and hemmed it the next day, and I've worn it way too much ever since. It's maybe not the most flattering, but it's cute and comfortable and I don't have to worry about it not fitting during periods of excessive stress-eating.

The fit around the arms isn't perfect - the pattern was actually revised to give the smaller sizes some more room in the arms, but not until after I'd made this one. It's a little snug but I have pretty small arms and shoulders so it's not too bad. It maybe doesn't sit perfectly on my shoulders which gives the hem a bit more of a high-low effect but I kind of like that.

So tdlr; this is my new favourite dress (sorry Alix)! It's a style I never would have seen myself wearing a year ago but I'm totally in love with it. It's so easy to wear and to dress up or down. I want to make many many more and live in them all summer (in Germany!)

Thanks to James for taking such killer pictures for me! And thanks to this beautiful city for being such a great backdrop. These photos were all taken in Old Port (and yes, I was a little cold!!)

Until next time xx