I went to another fabric sale today, and have come away with a bolt of BLINDING CORAL RED softshell fabric. They also had a bunch of sample sizes of bonded waterproof fabric that I managed to snag. These, plus the (ugh, beige) quickdry nylon-lycra stretch I got over the summer, mean I need to start considering sewing my own outdoor gear. And by considering, I mean actually doing it. I’ve been thinking about it for years at this point!

Red Softshell

Red Softshell

First of all, I live on the Wet err, West Coast of Canada. It rains a lot here, and I like to be outside. Not only do I take the bus everywhere, but I also try to hike as much as possible. So I’ve been looking at sewing patterns and doing some research. There’s, well, not a lot of info out there!

Caroline of Little Package wrote a guest blog on Sewaholic.net about sewing waterproof jackets. She also has a blog I’m looking through for more tips and info.

Bicitoro has some great tutorials about sewing for cycling. Unfortunately some of the older ones no longer have pictures, but the site is still a great resource. I’m going to look for some neoprene to make some spats! Such a great idea.

I love the shaping in this softshell jacket. It looks like the seams are pressed open and topstitched, and the hems are bound. I have plenty of fold over elastic for that option!

This Bushwalking site has a discussion on seam sealing. I’m not sure I’ll do that on a softshell jacket, but it could be useful knowledge if I do end up making a waterproof Minoru.

Bonded Waterproof Fabrics

Bonded Waterproof Fabrics

And after spending most of the evening looking for information about sewing softshell, I don’t have much! That’s pretty disappointing, Internet. So I suppose I’ll just treat it like it’s fleece, and not worry about the seams leaking or anything like that.

After looking through my stuff I’ve decided to go with McCall’s 4664, which has a jacket, top, bra, trouser and cap. It’s out of print, but Pattern Review has some old reviews of the pattern. I’ll be making pattern adjustments tomorrow, and maybe also a test jacket out of some old sweatshirt fleece. I’m pretty sure this pattern is missing some outdoorsy components I’ll be wanting to add! First up I was thinking of drafting a collar instead of the hood, and I’ll need some sort of a zipper cover for the top, so it doesn’t jab me in the chin. I’m also thinking about installing zippers for the pockets. I really do prefer that for security. I often have my phone and keys in my pockets, and I so don’t want to lose them!

The other pattern I was looking at is Jalie 2679, but I think I’ll test the McCall’s pattern first. The advantage of the Jalie pattern is that it has raglan sleeves, so there are fewer seams over the shoulder.


I know I didn’t blog much this past year, but I feel like I actually accomplished a good amount of sewing. Mostly because I’ve worn most of it very very regularly.

– grey linen Hummingbird skirt: This skirt is amazing. I love it. I’ve worn it SO much it’s coming apart at the seams, which might just be a factor of how much I move in my skirts and thus the strain I put on the seams. They’re all felled, and some of them have twill tape and/or interfacing sewn and ironed into them now because they’ve started splitting.

Grey Linen Hummingbird

Grey Linen Hummingbird

Grey Linen Hummingbird pockets. That's a ghost print, not a sperm print.

Grey Linen Hummingbird pockets. That’s a ghost print, not a sperm print.

– denim ramie Hummingbird skirt: This is also amazing. It’s about 1.5″ longer than the regular short Hummingbird and I’m having the same problem with the seams showing strain. I swear, it fits! But I crouch and run and climb and MOVE in these skirts, and non-stretch fabrics just don’t quite do it. Next up, Hummingbirds with the flared back in the shorter length AND Hummingbirds in stretch. Another option is to use a 4-piece skirt back design I have, with a flared cb bottom panel. I had 3 of those skirts at one point and although they kept the pencil silhouette, they also gave me enough room to move.

Denim Ramie Hummingbird

Denim Ramie Hummingbird

– cognac (?!) organic cotton knit Scout tee: This is so comfy, but 1) the fabric wrinkles SO bad, and shows all the lines from drying on a rack, and 2) the pattern is so unflattering. Surrendering my waistline that much is not a thing I should do, although I’m more inclined to do so for summer in a soft knit like this tee. I’m still considering making more knit t-shirts using drapey rayon knits and things like that, but I won’t be making the Scout in a woven any time soon. I’ve tried a few (including a red linen one with black sleeves and trim!), and… not for me. Note: I adore the neckline on this tee. It’s this twisted neckline.

Knit Scout Tee

Knit Scout Tee

– Really Bright cotton lawn Belcarra blouse: Love it. The fabric is a little too stiff, but I don’t care because the colours are amazing and it fits and reads as professional. LOVE. If you have beefier arms, it also covers the pits perfectly, so if you don’t shave and your office doesn’t appreciate that, you can do a summer blouse with no one the wiser.

Bright Belcarra

Bright Belcarra

– blue flowered voile Belcarra blouse: Love it. The fabric is TOTALLY not me, but the voile is sooooo soft and light and lovely to wear. I have 2 more lawn/voiles and one poly for more Belcarra blouses.

Blue Voile Belcarra

Blue Voile Belcarra

Cambie Skirt: Nope. That A-Line shape? Nope. The poor fabric choice? Nope nope. It stands out from my body WAY too much. I feel like a kid dressed up in a cone, pretending to be a Christmas tree. The pockets are super rad though, and I think the skirt will work better in a fabric with drape. Haha. OR I could just use my 1/2 circle skirt pattern on the bodice once that’s fit. IDK. I have enough Cute Cat fabric for the full skirt, so that’s another option.

– charcoal wool 1/2 circle skirt on yoke with Cambie pockets, and full heavy satin lining: OMG, this skirt is DREAMY. It’s longer than I normally wear (I didn’t shorten my pattern whoops) but it’s soooooo nice! I wore it over Christmas and had fun swooshing around. I sewed it in about 3 hours so where it’s sewn to the yoke is not perfect… and the hem decided to annoy me and bubble… but I don’t care, it’s lovely! I have some red wool to make another skirt out of. (It’s in the wash, so no pic!)

– 2 pairs leggings: I need more, with different/better fabric… like wool jersey. I found my medieval stocking pattern, so I’ll be morphing that into a full leggings pattern with some pattern manipulation (maybe this weekend). I guess I mean “tights” pattern, since there will be feet on my leggings! This will be even better for work. Making leggings is SO expensive compared to buying them though. $15 for wool leggings at Costco. $17 for 2 pairs of cotton leggings at Costco. It’s hard because I’m on a limited budget, but I can do this.

– Renaissance Doublet: Well, mostly a friend made this for me in exchange for my old spinning wheel and a huge pile of roving. :D She patterned it and fit it and cut it and sewed most of it together. I’ve done the finishing, button holes (going over machine done ones in silk thread! I only have one mostly done, whoops.), buttons, and need to cover the waist seam with some bias tape or something. Now I’ll be able to find the wide single fold bias tape I know I have, because…

Renaissance Doublet

Renaissance Doublet

– reorganized sewing area – ongoing. I got a wardrobe earlier this summer but didn’t love it enough to put shelves in for organization, so that was a fail. But my parents gave me a HUGE lovely tall dresser at Christmas, since they are moving. HUGE and LOVELY and TALL. Pretty much everything except my hand-drawn patterns (well, and fabric) fit into it, it’s AMAZING. Everything is organized. The only downside is there is no drawer deep enough for the large envelopes I store adjusted patterns in. I’ll have to pick up some nicer magazine holders to organize those into on top. This is just incredible, this organization.

Due to the organization, I also found my quilt fabric. It’s all cut, I just need to sew it together. I even know where the batting is. Amazing. The colours are not the colours I’d go for these days, but I’m still going to make it. It’s just HUGE blocks that I can lay out in some pleasing pattern on my living room floor before sewing.

I met up with some friends and we went to an Our Social Fabric sale. I got ~4m poly-wool suiting (grey skirt!), a tonne of different fabrics for linings, and a black fabric with drunken polka dots on it. I have enough dots for a Belcarra AND a Cambie with full skirt. I also got a bolt of nice stretch denim I’m sharing with my friends. I was thinking Ginger jeans, but I’m not sure. There’s definitely a stretch Hummingbird in the fabric’s future.

I also got sucked into buying Moneta. I have a teal ponte I think will be great with it, as well as a weird fake-sweater knit. I’ll be doing the Tiramisu skirt though, because I LOVE the skirt on that dress. Love it. I also have a partially finished Tiramisu dress I’m going to try to get done this weekend.

My New Year’s “Resolution”? I seriously need to figure something out so I can take photos in my apartment.

Yes, I know. Not sewing. I have been sewing, actually, but not taking pictures because my apartment is still not set up in any useful way for taking photos of me wearing clothes.

So today, because cookies are easier to take pictures of, I am posting about some cookies.

This is a shortbread recipe that my mom has made since I was a kid, but I’ve adapted it for my gluten free diet. It’s not by choice, so “diet” is used in the way of “foods I eat”.

Gluten Free Flour (for light coloured cookies)

  • 623g packet sorghum flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 400g tapioca starch (I find it in the Asian foods aisle)
  • 454g mochiko, aka glutinous rice flour (Asian foods aisle as well)

Mix this together thoroughly by whisking in new additions, then closing and shaking your container of choice. I use 1-gallon juice jugs because they store well, and were cheap when I got them. Note that I do not use any gums in my flour mixes. I find that most baked goods are fine without them, and too much can upset sensitive stomachs.

Shortbread Cookies

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 300g flour (you can use wheat flour here instead if you are not gluten free)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla (optional)
  • 1/4 cup toffee bits (these are what hold the cookies together)

Preheat oven to 300F.

Cream the butter and sugar together until it’s light and fluffy. This should take about 5 minutes. If you’re doing this by hand, mix until the sugar granules are dissolved. Just make sure you soften the butter on the counter, as melting it or softening it in the microwave changes it somehow, and the cookies don’t really work. Gently add the flour and mix until combined. Add toffee bits and mix until distributed.

Chill the dough while you prep your cookie rolling area, as if the butter is very soft the dough can get a little too sticky.

Roll between parchment paper, to 1/4″ or 1/3″ thick. I use 2 paint stir-sticks wrapped in plastic wrap on each side. Cut out into tiny cookies. I prefer using mini cookie cutters, about 1″ diameter. Bake 20 minutes, turning half way through, or until the cookies are just turning golden on the bottom and are set. You don’t want to overbake these.


Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread Cookies

I don’t know where I first saw this. Such an AMAZING tip, since sometimes gathering sleeves to ease them in can transform a make from 1 hour to 2.


See that, see ALL those pins? Ok. So line up your front and back marks, they’re usually about 1/4 in from the side seam. Pin to the side seam. Line up the seam mark with the seam. Then start dividing and pinning. My seam allowance was 5/8″, so I pinned right through the seam allowance.


Yeah, it’s kind of ridiculous. And it is best to sew through the pins, so wear safety goggles if it makes you nervous (Or clear glasses of some sort. Anything to protect those eyes!).

I have to give a huge thanks to whichever blog it was I read however long ago that detailed this method. It’s been a while, since I don’t tend to make things with set in sleeves, but wow. It’s made such a difference to my attitude towards woven blouses!

Hope this helps, and happy sewing!

No, I haven’t forgotten about sewing. Mostly I’ve been too busy with other things, like work, to spend time sewing.

The denim look I mentioned in the last post got made into leggings, but I mis-marked the calf area of the pattern so I cut them off into shorts to wear under skirts. I’ve made another pair of leggings, and just got fabric to make 3 more pairs plus another pair of shorts (hopefully!).

The Hummingbird skirt I made ate the two slips I tried under it, and even stuck to the shorts I wear under skirts in the summer. It’s sitting in the “out” pile, and instead I’m wearing the *&^% out of a Hummingbird I made out of some black-and-white linen twill. SO nice. So comfy. Pockets are so perfect. Especially when lined with ghosts that look like sperms.

I made the PJ top (Grainline Scout), but it wasn’t a good fit and I couldn’t get the pattern to work without darts, so I just re-printed the front yesterday and did an FBA with darts. I’ll be making another PJ top soon to test that out. I’ve got to get my Hello Kitty PJs made! :)

The caramel knit was made into a Scout Tee, but I mucked up the neckline and need to re-do it. And also hem it level, IDK what I was doing with those pattern adjustments, but WOW. That is one messed up t-shirt. The fabric is lovely and swingy though, and I hope to do a twisted neckline like Sigrid shows here. I’ll add black bands to cuff the sleeves so it looks like it was done on purpose.

I’ve made TWO Belcarra blouses, with darted FBA’s, a 5/8″ petite adjustment above the bust, plus 5/8″ taken out of the front shoulder seam as a “forward shoulder adjustment”. The original blouse with just the FBA works, but the other adjustments just make it perfect. I have fabric for at least one more every day blouse, plus some silk charmeuse I need to find matching lace for, since I don’t have enough for sleeves.

And today I went out and purchased fabric to make a Cambie. I’m thinking the one with the full skirt will work better for my fabric. (So many great dresses here and here and here!) I got the purpley with orange and coral version, and have only seen dresses made up of the green version. Fingers crossed it turns out super amazingly awesome. Even though I’m out of her size range, Tasia’s patterns work really well with the application of an FBA. I’ll definitely be doing one (or two!) practice runs.

I’ll get some pictures up at some point. It might just end up being from my phone, but something is definitely better than nothing.

Hope your sewing is going well!

I was lazy, I admit. Instead of taking the waistband off and doing a “proper” alteration, I washed and *dried* the skirt, then whipped off 3/4″ from each side. Just a total of 1.5″ for the whole skirt as I used a 3/8″ seam allowance.

And it’s pretty much perfect now, except for the fact that it sticks to all my leggings, nylons and tights! Oh well. I have some super slippery nylon tricot I was going to make a new slip out of, so hopefully that will do.

I also went out fabric shopping (gasp!) and got some lululemon reject dark denim-look spandex for some leggings, a length of red-purple organic cotton for a scarf (which I’m wearing right now!) and 1m of some lovely caramel coloured knit for a t-shirt. Sadly the caramel knit smells like rotting seaweed when wet, so I’ll have to wash it a couple more times with synthrapol and vinegar, to see if I can get rid of that scent.

I’m also very slowly working on making some new PJs. Maybe I’ll have an initial set (wearable muslin!) done for this holiday weekend, but likely not. I have a lot to do at work this week.

Hello hello! I’m alive. I finished school and thought I’d have a lot of time to sew and blog, but then this confirmed night owl ended up with a contract working 7am-3:30pm. Getting up before 5am every morning is a really difficult thing to do, and I was so drained.

I ended up getting a real full-time job as a lab tech (yay! science!), and now that I’m more comfortable at work and know a bit more about what I’m doing, I actually finished something!

Yay, my Hummingbird Skirt!

It was so easy to sew, people. The only trouble I had was with the waistband, and that’s because I didn’t follow Steph’s instructions. I decided to be “smart” and make my standard waistband. Umm, no. It’s way too big because I cut it on the non-stretchy grain and thus couldn’t stretch it to subtly gather the back of the skirt like I had planned.

Oops. So that will be coming off and I’ll replace it with her waistband treatment. I’ll probably put a bit of ribbon into the seam, especially for the front, because I don’t want it to stretch much and I find my waistbands always stretch unless they’re reinforced with ribbon.

The fabric I chose to use sticks to EVERYTHING, so I’m wearing it with a slip today. Hopefully once washed I can figure something out (Maybe tack a slip into the skirt so the skirt doesn’t turn on my body? Line it when I replace the waistband?) so I can wear it more easily with leggings. I might also take in each side seam by 1/2 to 1 inch. Apparently I’ve lost weight? Wouldn’t have guessed that…

I have fabric for 3 more of these skirts waiting for me, as well as some red wool and black coat lining for a red wool half circle skirt with a yoke.

Red isn’t in my wardrobe colour plan, but it looks so good with black and charcoal, which are. I might even wear it with teal, if I find the right one to make some tops out of.

Yep, that’s my plan. Skirts and tops. I need a cardigan pattern. Maybe I’ll wait till I can order and download Sewing Cake’s Carmine pattern (you can see a small image here) once it’s released.

Sorry no pics. My place is still a disaster after hiking this summer. I am still working through reorganizing everything so it’s accessible for any potential sunny weekends coming up!


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