Breeze Shirt


My goodness, it’s been a little while since I’ve written anything here!  I’ve been steadily sewing away, but not taking a lot of pictures.  However, I’ve recently tested the new Twig + Tale Breeze Shirt and feel compelled to share some details, because it’s just so good.

The Breeze is a relaxed-fit, woven top with a front slit that allows the shirt to go on and off easily.  It really would make a perfect summer top in an airy, lightweight fabric, and I’ve been admiring all the versions made by sewing friends in the Southern Hemisphere.  I can imagine that a lightweight linen or gauze would just feel so good on a hot day, much nicer to wear than a clingy knit fabric.  However, the situation up north is a bit different at the moment.  Case in point, photo taken this morning, which conveniently features a Canadian flag, just in case the snow didn’t tip you off:


Since it is still difficult to imagine spring, let alone summer, I decided to go with something a bit more “transitional” and opted to use chambray for the shirt.  This fabric still has decent drape, which I think is important for the fit of the garment, but the weave is tight enough that it provides a bit more warmth, especially when layered over a long-sleeved shirt.


I included a number of optional bells and whistles in this version, including sleeve tabs, bound side splits, and a contrast reverse facing.  None of these details are particularly difficult, although the bound side splits do require a fancy little move to account for the French seams.  While the extra details do take a bit longer to sew, I think it is completely worth it for the professional-looking finish.


May I just take a moment to marvel at how grown-up my girl is looking suddenly?  Her  front teeth are growing in, which certainly changes the look of her smile – kind of like a puppy who hasn’t quite grown into her big paws.


As mentioned above, the Breeze Shirt is finished with French seams, which just speak to my soul – I appreciate beautifully-finished garments.  In fact, I learned how to sew French seams when I was a young teenager, having inherited a seafoam-green Singer 185 sewing machine from my grandmother – a reliable little tank of a machine, but it only sewed a straight stitch.  Perhaps it is nostalgia, but I have always loved French seams, so I truly appreciate the fact that T+T have included this finishing technique in the pattern.


When summer finally does arrive, I’m looking forward to making more Breeze Shirts in lightweight linen and double gauze, which I think will be perfect to pop on over a bathing suit at the beach.  In the meantime, excuse me while I go shovel out the car.  Again;-)









Trailblazer Vest


We are well and truly into the dreary grey days of November.  Here in the mountains, the clouds hang low in the valley, making the already-short days seem even darker.  So, when it came time to select fabric to make my daughter a vest from Twig + Tale’s new Trailblazer Vest pattern, I was drawn towards something colourful for my sparky, energetic girl.  Because if anyone can pull off bright and happy, it is this amazing girl who is usually performing some sort of interpretive dance while talking a mile a minute.


For the body of the vest I chose to use Garden Patch from Michael Miller’s In Bloom collection, a print featuring sprays of flowers and foliage on a slatey-blue background.  To make the yoke of the vest stand out, I used Gingham Play in the cherry colourway.  I love the how the slightly irregular, hand-painted look of the gingham gives it a bit of extra character.

And because winter was announcing itself with a blast of north wind and drifting snow on the day of our photoshoot, I decided to sew up a co-ordinating Pixie Hat, made with the Flower Yard print, also from the In Bloom collection.  The best part?  The vest and hat are both lined with incredibly soft and cosy Organic Sherpa, also from Michael Miller.  I particularly like that the sherpa is 100% organic cotton, since I much prefer to sew with natural fibres.


The Children’s Trailblazer Vest is another well-executed pattern from Twig + Tale.  The shaping is absolutely beautiful, and the style is perfect for very-grown-up 7 year-olds who no longer want to wear “baby” clothes (slow down, little one!).  The back yoke, which has a very subtle curve, is a lovely feature, as are the in-seam pockets, which blend beautifully into the princess seams.


The Trailblazer has another very notable feature – a full front zip!  I’ve had a somewhat tenuous relationship with zippers in my life (perhaps owing to some memorable late-night zipper-sewing failures), but I have to say that the instructions for putting in the zipper on the Trailblazer are simple, clear, and reassuring.  It was a stress-free experience with a great-looking result.


While I love the look of the puffer vests that other testers have been making, I decided to omit the batting for this on.  I figured that it would mainly be worn as an indoor layer, and is plenty warm with the quilting cotton exterior and sherpa lining.  The little girl says it is very comfortable, and she is happy to wear it all day at home and at school.


I find that the Pixie Hat works very well with the vest – it has quite a hood-like feel to it, and the shape is just so sweet.  I have to admit that I tried it on too, and there is something so whimsical  and freeing about wearing a pointy hat.  E asked for pompoms on the ties, and I ended up having to replace my first attempt since they were deemed “not nearly big enough”.  My second attempt passed muster, and I think the giant pompoms have greatly increased the entertainment value of the hat (with apologies to E’s teacher – I can only imagine the fidgeting and pompom bouncing that must go on when she wears it to school).

I’d like to send out a thank-you to the generous people at Michael Miller, who supplied the lovely fabric for the Twig + Tale Trailblazer blog tour.  It was an absolute pleasure to sew with these fabrics, and I am now officially a sherpa convert.  Also, a thank you to Twig + Tale for the opportunity to test another wonderful pattern!





The Driftwood Blouse (times 4)


I have to admit that in the past I’ve had relatively little success sewing garments for myself, particularly woven tops.  The armscye was never quite right, and blouse collars often make me feel like a have the neck of a giraffe.  Instead of taking the time to learn how to make pattern adjustments, it was always just easier to make clothes for my daughter instead – instant cuteness with low fabric requirements.  Perhaps I was feeling bold after my slipper success, but I signed on to test the Women’s Driftwood Blouse from Twig + Tale, and I am certainly glad I did.  I have now made three tops and one dress, all of which are getting worn regularly because they fit, are comfortable, and I feel good wearing them!


My first blouse is a short-sleeved rayon version with ties at the front.  I had never sewn with rayon before, but wanted to try something light and floaty with excellent drape.  Overall, the fabric was not as slippery as I thought it would be – the main challenges were pressing the long bias strips, which had a tendency to shift around, and attaching the neck binding, which forced me to be very patient and do lots of pinning!d


E couldn’t resist hopping into the photos with me – here I am looking ever so happy, trying to restrain my child from wiping her tree-sap-covered hands all over my bum.  I honestly was very happy to have my little imp join me, since looking natural in photographs is apparently not my forté.


After my first success, I decided to try something different – a linen-viscose blend a-line dress with long sleeves and a button-and-loop closure at the neckline.  I love, love, love this dress which has been perfect for wearing to the beach and generally feeling rather elegant this summer.  I would probably add a couple of inches of length next time – I don’t think the pattern is intended to be quite this “mini”, but I didn’t account for my giraffe legs (at least they go with my giraffe neck;-)


By this point, I felt so confident with the pattern that I was willing to cut into my extra-special merino wool/cotton blend knit that I had been saving for I-don’t-know-what.  I modified the pattern by omitting the keyhole and adding a band at the hem (there is a post on the Twig + Tale blog about how to do this) I had been planning on sewing a thin elastic casing for the sleeve hem, but when I tried it on, I quite liked the look of the fluttery sleeves, so just finished them with a rolled edge.


The fabric is a fairly stable knit that is so light and soft – merino wool really such an amazing fibre.  I’ve been wearing this regularly in our hot summer weather, and it is so comfortable.


And one more, phew!  Another merino knit, this time with long sleeves in preparation for the cooler fall weather that I’m dreaming of.  Again, I made a few modifications.  As written in the pattern, the Women’s Drifwood is intended to have a faced keyhole at the front, but I thought it would an interesting feature to move the keyhole and ties to the back.  It was a simple modification – I just created a facing piece based on the back body pattern piece and transferred the keyhole cut lines.  Again, I added a band at the hem to give a blousier look, and I added wide cuffs to the sleeves.  Store-bought tops are often a bit too short in the arm for me (or become that way after they have been washed and dried…), so it feels luxurious to have extra-long sleeves.



If it isn’t obvious at this point, I would highly recommend the Driftwood.  It is a wonderfully-designed, cleanly drafted, simple pattern that provides a great base for customization.  I have many more ideas for different options I’d like to try!






Bunny slippers


As an only child, E is used to being the main benefactor of my sewing projects, so she couldn’t help noticing that I had recently made myself two pairs of slippers, but none for her.  Of course, it doesn’t take much arm-twisting to convince me to sew adorable little shoes, so I agreed to make her some surprise slippers.

I had enough scrap left from my embroidered Tie Back Boots that I was able to make her a pair of Wild Things Shoes.  While they aren’t exactly the same, they are complimentary, using mostly the same fabric and embroidery floss colours.  I also added a touch of the embroidered pink star motif that I had used on my slippers.


I made these with a wool sole, since E enjoys sliding around on the wood floors in our house, and now that she’s older (and we no longer live in a house with a treacherously steep and slippery wood staircase), non-slip soles don’t seem to be such a necessity.


For the mini pompom tail, I wrapped my yarn around a fork – the size is perfect!  I usually cut out a cardboard template for wrapping yarn for pompoms, but this was much easier.


E has now put in a request for a pair of narwhal slippers.  While the Wild Things Shoes come with a variety of animal options, narwhals are not included in the pattern.  I’ll have to think about that one and see what I can do…

A Laure dress


There has been a lot of sewing going on around here lately, but not much blogging.  This is in part due to the fact that E says that she is tired of having her photo taken.  But when I told her about a field I had seen that was absolutely full of buttercups, she agreed to have me take photos while she picked flowers.  Lucky for me, she agreed to wear a dress that I was hoping to photograph too:)


E recently asked me if I would sew her a “Chinese dress” (she specifically requested a “grown-up” one with a straight skirt), which immediately brought Straight Grain’s Laure dress to mind.  This one is made with the Qipao collar, a-line skirt, and cap sleeve options.  E would love it if I could add frog buttons, but I haven’t been able to find any red ones locally, and to be honest I quite like the look of it as-is with just the red piping.


I thoroughly enjoyed sewing this dress – between the shape of the collar, the piping, the lining, and the invisible zipper, it was a bit more of a challenge than many of the projects I’ve made recently, but it was satisfying to complete a project that required some thought.  The dress is beautifully-finished inside, and though I don’t have pictures of the back, I’m very happy with the zipper closure.  A funny anecdote – I told E I had to go to the fabric store to pick up an invisible zipper.  When I came home from the store, she was very disappointed to discover that the zipper wasn’t invisible at all!


We enjoyed our evening walk to the buttercup field and came home with very yellow feet!