Tag Archives: sewing

Costume Time!

It’s costume time again, but not just because it’s Halloween month. Our local high school homecoming is this week, and today each class has a theme to follow for dressing up. I made two costumes, both without patterns.

First, my 5th grader decided to be a Circus Ringmaster (his class theme is circus/carnival):

E-man is ready to enter the Big Top!
E-man is ready to enter the Big Top!

I was able to make this from fabrics I had on hand (other than the top hat which I bought online). The vest is really just the two fronts attached at the shoulder and side seams to the jacket. I cut  out 4 and seamed them together so they are completely lined. It was a little too tight so I added the rectangular trim to the front to make a placket. I ran out of time to add buttons and buttonholes so it is safety-pinned closed from the inside here. The jacket gave me fits…but of course I was sewing and designing it as I went, so that meant seam ripping, re-cutting, etc. I guess for no pattern it turned out okay. My biggest disappointment with it was thinking I was out of the red fabric so I improvised and cut the tails of the coat out of black. Only after I finished did I find another large scrap of the red corduroy! ARGH! I used an old buttondown shirt with the sleeves cut off (so he wouldn’t get hot) for the white shirt and made the bowtie out of the same red corduroy (21 wale, very lightweight). The pants are a pair of my old jersey lounge pants cut off just below the knee. I draped the faux leather fabric over his shoes to get an idea of shaping, cutting three pieces (two side and one back), seamed those together, then seamed a wedge shaped rectangle for the leg section. Of course I did this at 11pm last night, and when he tried them on this morning the calves were too tight. Alas this morning was a marathon seam ripping/adding in a back panel/re-attaching to the pants sewing session (Hey, he was only 15 minutes late for school!  ;-D)

The second costume I made is for a friend’s daughter who is a senior this year. Her class theme was “The Hunters and The Hunted”, and she chose to be a squirrel.

squirrel costume blog photo 2

Her mom bought 1 1/4 yards of faux fur, and I used an existing vest as the template to cut out the top. I cut out a slightly shaped tube for the tail, seamed it up, stuffed lightly with polyfil, and straightened a metal hanger out to give the tube some stability. I then just safety pinned it to the vest so it would stay upright. The ears are just rounded triangles seamed about an inch at the top and folded in at the bottom and seamed, then turned right side out and pinned to a headband. Voila! She had faux fur boot tops that matched perfectly and just added a brown top and leggings. I think she is the most adorable squirrel I have ever seen!

New Spoonflower Fabrics Are Here! And Available For Purchase ;-)

I had another bout of “fabric design fever” a couple of weeks ago. This time I decided to order fat quarters of them so I could get a better idea of the print layout. Previously I had only ordered 8″x8″ swatches, and it really was not large enough to get a good visual of overall pattern. The result? I love them! I can now envision some of my prints as scarves, some as totes or accessory bags, and some as clothing. Here are a few quick snapshots I took this morning of them laid out on my breakfast table:

IMG_4928 IMG_4929 IMG_4927I love the two coral/pink fabrics. One is a geometric print and the other an abstract floral  . Both of these I can see as workout tanks in Spoonflower.com’s new Sport Lycra fabric. The geometric sample is in the sport lycra. It has 12% lycra and is moisture-wicking, so it is perfect for workout wear.

IMG_4936 IMG_4939  The green fabrics I can see as flowing tops , dresses, or scarves. Spoonflower.com has several options for this: poly crepe de chine, silk crepe de chine, modern jersey, and silky faille to name several.

IMG_4938 green small floralolive and green feather printI ordered several of my prints in the linen cotton canvas and the heavy cotton twill because I just knew I would want them for sewing ipad cases, makeup bags, pouches, etc.

gray mini floralolive green with blue floralfeathers and flowers

I decided upon viewing them that I really liked the feathers and floral print above for clothing also (with its coordinating mini print below), especially after seeing it on Spoonflower’s new site SproutPatterns.com (beta version right now) as a Myrtle Dress. SproutPatterns.com is a sister site to Spoonflower.com where they offer a limited number of patterns that can be customized with your fabric choices from their site (your own designs or any others they offer for sale) and the pattern pieces are printed out with your design choices directly on the fabric. All you have to do when you get it is cut out and sew. How cool is that???

I leave you with a couple more pictures (because this post isn’t picture heavy already, right?)

white mini floralIMG_4940

Version Two of #42279

I sewed another version of BootstrapFashion.com pattern #42279. This time I made a sleeveless top. Further changes to the pattern included leaving off the sleeves and collar, shortening the placket, adding side vents, and taking about 10″ off the length to make it low hip length.



The fabric is a lovely linen rayon blend from MarcyTilton.com. It has the most gorgeous drape, really a delight to wear!

I used very narrow hems on the bottom, vents, and armholes. I top stitched the front princess sleeves. As I stated previously, I omitted the collar but I chose to keep the collar stand for a mandarin collar look. I brought the top of the armholes in about half an inch; I prefer more of my shoulder exposed in a sleeveless top.


The final touch was sewing in one of my new labels…this is an updated version of a work in Progress 😊

Floral Skinny Jeans

I have been seeing floral pants everywhere this spring. These are just a few that I liked from Asos

asos 3 asos 2 asos 1

and Lands End

talbots 2 talbots 1

I decided I just had to have a pair. The problem was that I could not find a floral fabric that ticked all the boxes. If I loved the print, the type of fabric was all wrong. Finally I found just what I wanted on MarcyTilton.com. As I said in a previous post, this was my first purchase from her but it won’t be the last. The fabric is considered a twill denim, but it is a VERY lightweight denim. It has good stretch and recovery and is perfect for warm weather pants.

I used my Angela Wolf Angel bootcut jeans pattern. So far I have used this pattern to make two pair of jeans, a pair of yoga pant capris, and now these skinny jeans. It really is a TNT pattern for me. It can easily be adjusted by taping the yoke to the pants pattern and cutting them as one. I have also altered the waistband width successfully and taped the front pocket facing to the pants front to cut as one and added patch pockets. If you have never heard of Angela Wolf, you need to check out her website and also her Craftsy class Sewing Designer Jeans with Angela Wolf. Craftsy also has a couple of classes she teaches about using a serger, which I need to take. I have had my serger for over a year and have not used it yet…I am afraid of it, but that is for another post!

floral jeans 1 floral jeans 2

I have already washed and worn these several times so I already count them a win.

Labels For Clothing and Knit Creations

I have designed labels for my sewing and knitting projects. These are the designs:

Cannon Creations Clothing Label

cannon handknits fabric label logo

I have purchased transfer paper and cotton twill tape. Cannot wait to print these out and iron them on the tape. I have spent a ridiculous amount of time the last few months trying to come up with a cute, catchy logo for labels to no avail. So these are pretty plain. I do however love the font. it is “Jane Austen”.


Shirtdress Success!

Here is the promised follow up on last week’s post about my first Bootstrap Fashion custom fit pattern. My post title says it all I suppose, but here are all the nitty gritty details.

First, the fabrics are a 6.5 oz stretch denim (no longer available) and a pretty Valori Wells linen blend print I had purchased six months ago from Fabric.com.

6p5 oz stretch denim Valori Wells Cocoon Linen Blend I decided to make my first version of #42279 without any additional fitting adjustments to see just how good it would fit straight from the company. Since I wasn’t sure if it would be wearable, I left off anything that wasn’t absolutely necessary.

button front shirt dress 2 edited

This meant that I did not use the front and back yokes (I did not realize it when I chose this pattern, but these yokes are actually pieces added on top of the basic structure of the dress), pocket flaps, sleeve cuffs and buttons/buttonholes. I stitched the placket closed, and because this is a stretch denim, I am able to just pull it on over my head without any trouble at all. The fit is spot on except for the sleeves…I will add about 1/4 to 1/2″ additional ease the next time I make this…and rest assured there will be a next.

button front shirt dress collar detail 2

button front shirt dress collar detail 3 edited button front shirt dress hem detail edited button front shirt dress sleeve detail edited

I just love all the pretty little pops of color that peek out!

The pattern was drafted extremely well, and the pattern pieces fit together perfectly. I deviated from the instructions and inserted my sleeves flat first then sewed the side seams. I detest setting in sleeves! These sleeve caps are very curved, and it took careful maneuvering to not have any puckers; I know it would have been a complete fail for me if I had sewn the side seams first and then tried to set the sleeves in.

This is the first time I have constructed a placket and a stand/collar. The instructions for the stand/collar were very detailed, but the placket, not so much. I had a little trouble with the bottom of the placket at first, but I just pinned it carefully and topstitched it to reinforce. The placket turns out to be my favorite detail on the dress.

I am not sure if a true beginner could sew a Bootstrap Fashion pattern because the instructions, while good, are not “hand-holding”. However, if you have sewn a few things, then you should probably be able to complete one without much trouble.

Custom Fit Sewing Patterns

I have been seeing custom fit sewing patterns for a while now on the internet. The first company I came across was Lekala Patterns. One of my favorite bloggers, Thornberry, sews from them quite often. In fact, her most recent post is about one such make.

I recently found another custom pattern company, Bootstrap Fashion, quite by accident when reading about one of my favorite fashion designers, Yuliya Raquel. I first became obsessed with her talent several years ago when I discovered Igigi, a plus size clothing line she founded that I loved for its innovative and flattering dresses. As of two years ago she is no longer affiliated with that company, but has started Bootstrap Fashion and offers custom pdf sewing patterns for $3.49 each. Yuliya was gracious enough to respond to a message I sent her, and said her main reason for starting Bootstrap Fashion was that she “wanted to make a difference for the startup designers and hobbyist sewers”.

Yesterday, I took fresh measurements and ordered my first Bootstrap pattern, #42279 Button Front Shirt Dress.


I have had a chambray fabric for months now with the idea of using it for a shirtdress, but I had not found a pattern I really liked. I made a list of the requirements I had for such a dress: Button front placket, princess seams, back yoke, collar. I had a button down shirt pattern I thought of converting to a dress, but I have not even made initial fitting adjustments to it, let alone made the adjustments I would need to transform it into a dress. Besides, I didn’t want the placket to extend the full length of the dress, but just partway down. On a whim, I checked out the dress patterns on Bootstrap, and lo and behold, #44279 jumped out at me! It met all my requirements. I got the custom pattern emailed to me several hours later along with a technical illustration, sewing instructions, and a 3D model of my measurements.


It isn’t flattering, but by gosh it looks a lot like me in my skivvies! I have high hopes that this pattern will fit me well. I plan on putting it together, cutting it out, and sewing it up this weekend. Stay tuned for the reveal!