Archive for July, 2014


sew sweet!

July 2, 2014

Back in September I was drafting a comment on Rain City Gardener’s blog about my return to sewing knits when I realized that what I’d typed was more suitable to a blog post than a comment on someone else’s blog.

Many years ago I made my first attempt at sewing with knits: Kwik Sew 3155 yoga pants.

I like to be comfy when I toss and turn in bed but warm, comfy and natural fibres don’t seem to go together in most clothing shops. One winter I decided it was time to learn the art of sewing knits with the help of my serger. (I had just gotten to the point where I liked my serger after struggling with my beasty White machine for the first few years. That machine has changed the sewing game for me and will likely be the only thing that I’ll ever thank Ralf Klein for.)

I found a cheap, not-too-synthetic knit and was amazed that I had a pair of pants that fit reasonably well in part of an evening.

My mom had been lamenting the need for a new pair of yoga pants so, since they were so easy, I passed mine on to her a few days later. I had what I thought would be a nice Made in Canada bamboo knit that I was wanting to serge up and dye. Off I went. Except the results were well… disappointing. The dyeing experiment worked alright but those pants continued to stretch and twist as I wore them. Sure they shrunk back after every washing, but it never lasted.

Over the years they required some mending and re-hemming, but they just wouldn’t give up and I wasn’t about to replace something that didn’t need replacing.

Enter my copy and adaptation of one of my favourite pairs of pants – my pRana lounge pants. My plan was to dye some raw silk to make a new pair of pajama pants so early last year I tested out my draft with the lightest cotton I could find in my stash. There was only enough to make a pair of capris. Well those super simple pants turned out fantastically. I love them so much, that I completely forgot about the silk until the end of the summer.

As it was, it took until Christmas for me to finally make them and sweet they are! (Making them was a funny story too. We were away for the holidays and I packed up everything *but* my pattern or the original pants so I made a muslin out of a sheet. They were so nice that someone else has now adopted them!) Both pair are still in their white, un-dyed state but wow, are they ever comfy! With every washing they just keep getting softer and softer too. I guess some things really are worth the wait. Should I ever need lounge or pj pants again I know just what to do!


i love to sew!

July 2, 2014

Ah, summer! I love that it’s been so hot and that I’ve had so much to do outside so I can be sure to enjoy it! There’s the garden to water, all the landscaping prep that fills our weekends, and lots of outdoor living space to enjoy. I love it!

I got a bit too much sun yesterday so in an attempt to prevent a burn I switched my focus towards sewing this afternoon. You see, back in September I made my first knit shirt. As wearable muslins go it’s great: the double knit cotton is buttery soft and the pattern really does fit me well. The problem? I find cotton too cold in our damp winters so I hardly wear it. Next stop, wool!

When I look at what I wear to work and at home there is a consistent element… knit wool. Not the heavy stuff that I like to knit between two needles but the light, washable merino knit tops like Smartwool, Icebreaker and Ibex make. I wear them so much that two of my heaviest ones have become threadbare.

All winter long I thought I’d make the Renfew again out of wool but then I realized, what I’d really like is another dress or two. When it comes down to it, knit dresses are what I’m happiest in except that finding ones that fit well is a nightmare. Then they never come lined so there’s that whole business of wearing a slip. So not my thing!

But what dress? My own hack of a Sewaholic Renfrew? Kwik Sew 3873? Cake’s Tiramisu? Cake Sewing’s Red Velvet? Before I could decide things got way too busy with the whole house building thing.

Fast forward to the end of June and I was ready to try sewing wool. After three years of heavy use my faithful leggings were beyond mending and patching and luckily I was able to find a cheaper, light weight 100% wool in a colour I liked. I knew I could trace off of my Smartwool pair but it seemed like the perfect time to try a Cake Sewing Pattern.

Sure, leggings are pretty simple but the custom fitting that Cake Patterns get such rave reviews for seems to work. Now just to decide whether I can live with the centre front seam of the tiramisu or if I want to try something else. I do so love the drape of a half circle skirt and the bodice/sleeve patterning sure looks nice.

It is so nice to have such simple and (relatively) inexpensive decisions to make!