Work in Progress

Work-in-Progress Wednesday: Flower Girl Dresses

It’s been some time since I’ve posted about a work in progress but I have a big one to report on. I’m making three flower girl dresses and they need to be done by the end of next week.




I’m making View D, which is the bottom right version. Two are pink satin with a champagne sash and the third is champagne with a pink sash. Totes adorbs. (That’s “totally adorable” for the non-hip.)




The bodices are all complete. They’re fully lined and have a sweetheart neckline. I took my time with them to get it right. Now I’m busy with the skirts in all their poofy glory. My sewing room is a bower of tulle.

So far they’re turning out beautifully. Here’s hoping I don’t botch them up in the final details like zippers and hems. It’s been known to happen.


Work-in-Progress Wednesday: Crochet ADHD

I spent most of today up in my sewing room, preparing a pile of summer Things. Every once in awhile I’d descend from my sauna (it’s about 400 degrees on the top floor) for a cool down and do a few rounds of crochet.

I have several crochet projects on the go, all which need to be done in the next couple of days. I haven’t been able to see any one of them through to completion so the side table in my living room is looking increasingly like a tornado-hit yarn shop.




The grey one is the beginnings of a Mauritius Dodo. That’s the biggest and most ambitious of the current projects. The cupcake just needs assembly and stuffing and I could probably finish it in about twenty minutes, including the cherry on top. The flip flop has issues. One of the soles is too big so I’m on my third time of trying to crochet them together. It would have been quicker to just remake the sole.

I’m hoping for a burst of crochet enthusiasm tomorrow. I’d love to knock off all three.

Work-in-Progress Wednesday: Reusable Snack and Sandwich Bags

My car broke down again today. I was riding merrily along in the far left lane of the highway during rush hour when I pushed in the clutch to change gears. It made a snapping sound and stayed down. Urp. Somehow I managed to get off the highway, jam the car into first, and pull off at a safe place, all without panicking, which is a major victory for me. Generally I’m not the person you want on your team in a crisis.

The roadside assistance guy used duct tape and zip ties to make a temporary repair, good enough for me to get to the garage tomorrow. This will be my third visit in three months. I’m afraid my 17-year-old VW is entering her twilight years.

All this has nothing to do with Work-in-Progress Wednesday.

I didn’t have much time to sew today but I did get started on a project I want to get done before summer vacation. I’m making a set of reusable snack and sandwich bags, similar to these.




The fabric is a Michael Miller polyurethane laminate. It’s waterproof to prevent drippy sandwiches and snacks from leaking all over the place. I didn’t research patterns and sizes until last night so the zippers I bought two weeks ago for this project are a little smaller than I would like. I’ll have to make a set of smaller bags for snacks like goldfish and grapes and use velcro for the bigger ones.

Since I’ll be carless tomorrow I might just hole up in my sewing room and get these done.


Work-in-Progress Wednesday: Crocheted Christmas Light Bulbs

I grew up with the old-style Christmas light bulbs and while I love the convenience and price of modern LED strands they don’t have the same warmth and Christmas Vacation feel of the vintage bulbs.

So when I saw this pattern I had to make it. (Photo from Ravelry)


For my own strand of lights I also chose just the vintage colours of the actual lights we had: red, blue, yellow, green and clear/white. Did we also have orange? I can’t remember.

Crocheting with Catania cotton and a 2mm hook I enthusiastically got busy. The coloured bulb part takes about half an hour and before long I had an assortment of yellow, red, white and blue bulbs. Then, after a crocheting hiatus, I started on the green. Either I was using a smaller hook or a tighter stitch, but the green bulb was noticeably smaller and I promptly lost all my Christmas bulb motivation. That was about a year ago.

So this is what I have:


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Probably the size difference doesn’t matter and I should just carry on. In fact, looking at the picture I can’t even see that big a difference. If I make one more green one, and then finish off the black cord and bulb bottoms, I would have a sweet little strand of 10 (or 12 if I also do orange).

Christmas 2014? Maybe. No promises.

Work-in-Progress Wednesday: Simplicity Blouse

On my January trip to London I picked up an animal print cotton lawn at Liberty. I intended to use it for the lining for Esther’s Minoru but decided it was too cute to hide inside a jacket. Esther LOVES this fabric so it deserves to be seen.

I’m trying to squeeze a couple of items out of it: a Hollyburn skirt, a Simplicity blouse and as many gift pouches as possible out of the remains.

The Simplicity blouse is my current work in progress. I’ve made at least three blouses/dresses from this pattern over the last two years.


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I spent at least half an hour shifting the Hollyburn and blouse pattern pieces about the fabric, trying to fit them all. A couple of pieces will be patched, but only on the lining of the collar and the pockets of the skirt.


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So far I’ve assembled most of the blouse. I just need to finish the collar and the hem. I hope to finish it tomorrow.


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I have a ridiculously ambitious list of Things to make in the next three weeks: four blouses, two sets of pyjamas, two t-shirts and a skirt. And that’s just the sewing…


Work-in-Progress Wednesday: Thurlow Shorts

Karen at Did You Make That is hosting a Sporty Summer Sewathon, giving me the nudge I needed to open the Thurlow Trousers pattern I bought in April.


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This is a new adventure for me; I’ve never sewn shorts or pants before. I’ve been reading the pattern over, reviewing the sew along over at Lladybird, and today I traced the pattern on to Swedish tracing paper.


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The shorts will be for Martina but I have warned her there is a high likelihood that the first pair will not be wearable. The Sewaholic patterns are designed for the pear-shaped woman, which Martina definitely is not. According to the pattern she is a size 0 by the hips and 8 by the waist. This could be an interesting lesson in fit.

However, the Thurlow trousers are designed with an extension panel at the back seam which can be adjusted for a custom fit fairly far along in the process. So maybe this will work after all. I’ve decided to cut a size 4 and sew along the size 8 back seam line, adjusting as needed.


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I have to admit I feel a bit in over my head when I see all the pattern pieces — 14 in all! I also underestimated the fabric needed. I was going to use the leftovers from the blue Hollyburn skirts I made for Martina and Esther but I’m not sure there will be enough. I’ll investigate tomorrow.

But for now, I have just one more thing to say:


That is all.


Work-in-Progress Wednesday: The Belcarra Saga Continues

Last week I sewed up my first bed-sheet Belcarra. The fit was a bit on the saggy side. Today I pulled out the pattern and another bed sheet to have a second go at it.

I tried on the first muslin and marked where the darts should be. Then I reassembled the pattern to its original state and transferred the new markings.


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The darts are higher now, and a bit more sharply angled. I hacked and slashed and taped it all back together.


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Since the purpose of this muslin was to work on fit I only cut out the front, back and sleeves. It took just twenty minutes on the serger to get this far.


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I think I’ll push the dart up another half an inch and run up another muslin. Whew! The learning curve is strong with this one. But I’m getting closer…

Work-in-Progress Wednesday: Belcarra Blouse

I’ve been crocheting for the last week and haven’t even stepped into my sewing room. Nature has a way of taking over, even indoors. This little guy was suspended in front of my sewing machine, from chair to table.


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I carefully dismantled the web and the little spider scurried off into one of the many piles on the table.


My most recent sewing projects have all been relatively successful, leading me to believe I’m actually progressing into an intermediate sewist. This was a humbling afternoon.

I was quite a bit behind on the Sewaholic Belcarra Blouse sew-along and it was 2:00 this afternoon before I sat down at my machine, but I figured I’d be all caught up in an hour or so. I was busy for three.

I started by sewing on the sleeves and attaching everything at the shoulders and sides, giving me the basic structure of the blouse. Moment of truth: did my FBA (full bust adjustment) work? Argh! The darts are almost two inches too low but I don’t know how to raise them without changing the entire structure of the blouse. The back doesn’t hang right either. I think I may need to go down a size and increase the FBA.


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Despite the fit being all wrong, making the blouse completely unwearable (though how wearable was a bed-sheet shirt going to be?), I decided to continue in order to practice all the steps. I’ll have to do another muslin before I cut into the Liberty lawn but by that time I’ll hopefully have mastered the other elements. I confess I lost any sense of perfectionism after this, so the neck binding and the cuffs leave much to be desired.


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I should be finished this blouse by the weekend and I think I’ll dive right into a second attempt. This pattern has potential but it may take a few tries before I get there.

Work-in-Progress: Belcarra Blouse, Part 2

I’m keeping up with the Sewaholic Belcarra Sew-Along. This is the first time I’ve followed a sew-along in live time and so far it’s puttering along at turtle speed, which suits me fine.

Today I ironed an old sheet and cut out all the pieces for my blouse. It’s an old Ikea sheet, made with lycocell. What is that even? It wasn’t the sturdiest of fabrics and it’s paper thin now so it’s going to be a see-through blouse. That’s okay for a blouse that will never leave my house.

I have enough left to test another blouse pattern (next week?) and then I’ll toss the scraps.



Work-in-Progress Wednesday: Belcarra Blouse

I bought another pattern.

My latest acquisition? The Belcarra from Sewaholic. I wasn’t originally planning on making this one but then Day 2 of the Sewaholic Belcarra sew along was devoted to the FBA — full bust adjustment. I’ve been wanting to learn how to do one properly and here the opportunity was being dropped in my lap. It’d be rude to turn it down. And since Tasia is offering this one as a downloadable PDF, plus it’s on sale and the euro is doing well, it was practically free. Totally justifiable.

First I printed and assembled the pattern (25 pages — that’s a lot of cutting and taping).



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Next I prepared the front piece according to the FBA tutorial. It’s always seemed an intimidating process, but by following the steps one at a time it wasn’t actually difficult.


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So now I’m ready to go. I’m going to make a muslin out of an old sheet, so probably not too wearable, but if I can get the fit right I might use my Liberty Mitsi fabric for another. Maybe with fuchsia lace sleeves? I’ll have to ponder. For now my goal is to learn to customize the fit of a blouse. Bedsheets will do.

I’m not sure how long the sew along will take — they don’t usually race along too quickly. Maybe this will provide a few weeks’ worth of Work-in-Progress Wednesdays.