On July 10, 2014 I placed an order for 1 yard of organic cotton print fabric from Spoonflower.  I was turned on to this supplier by a post from Colleterie about using their fabrics for sportswear.

Fleurs_de_Provence___Black_and_White_on_Dauphine___Peacoquette_Designs___Copyright_2014_shop_thumb


Fleurs de Provence ~ Black and White on Dauphine
By: Peacoquettedesigns

On Spoonflower’s site, you can take any pattern you like and have it printed onto the fabric you want – whether it’s a quilting cotton, an organic knit, jersey or even faux suede or silk crepe de chine.  I like interesting tee-shirts for working out in – most workout gear doesn’t fit me that well, and I’m not keen on it showing every lump and bump.  So I lean towards patterns which do camouflage things a bit, and by making my own tee’s, I can size them to skim over the lumpy bits.  Sadly, my local fabric stores don’t carry much in the way of patterned cotton knits, and nothing in the way of organic cotton.

Received the fabric on August 1 – so not bad, considering it had to make its way from the US to Canada.  I found their service to be great, and the shipping charges were surprisingly reasonable.  I also ordered a sample booklet, which gives you a small swatch of all the different fabrics that you can have your pattern printed on.

I will definitely order from Spoonflower again.

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I just had to share this post from Colette Patterns, in which Sarai talks about how she organizes her fabric stash.  If you’re a fabric-holic, you understand the need to have smart storage, while being able to see at a glance what fabrics you have available for projects.

 

To date, my attempts haven’t been that successful.

  • First, I tried sorting my fabrics by season, then putting them into large plastic bins.  But fabrics are so seasonal, that doesn’t always work.  I’d have to fish through up to 4 or 5 large bins to find a specific piece of fabric…and if you have fabric in a large bin, it is HEAVY!  So you don’t want to be hauling those bins about any more than necessary.
  • Then I tried sorting by colour, but it still meant that I would have 2 or 2 1/2 bins of a specific colour, so I still didn’t know where my fabrics lived.
  • Then, I just hauled everything out, picked what I thought I would use for the season, and stuck it on the shelf under my sewing table.  The rest went back into the bins for another half year.  That sort of works, but can take a week or more each time the season changes.  So still not a great way of doing things.

 

Instead, Sarai creates swatch sets of fabrics, based on the bin or box in which they are stored.  It’s easy to grab the swatch tag to put it into your wardrobe plan, plus you know exactly where the fabric lives, and how much you have.  Genius!

If you have an unmanageable fabric stash, this might be your saving grace.  It’s certainly something I’m going to start working on right away!

Ready for summer!

Ready for summer! by melaniemac featuring a knit cardigan

White Stuff knit cardigan
$66 – johnlewis.com

River Island pink shirt
$16 – riverisland.com

Dolce Gabbana a line skirt
$710 – thecorner.com

Purple purse
$240 – designeronline.com.au

Chanel earrings
farfetch.com

Bracelet charm
artisandesigngallery.com

Blue Jean Jacket #2

Blue Jean Jacket #2 by melaniemac featuring petite lace tops

Precis Petite petite lace top
$81 – houseoffraser.co.uk

Ted Baker skirt
$215 – johnlewis.com

Blue Jean Jacket #2

Blue Jean Jacket #2 by melaniemac featuring leather handbags

Precis Petite petite lace top
$81 – houseoffraser.co.uk

Gap top
gap.com

Ted Baker skirt
$215 – johnlewis.com

Blue Jean Jacket #1

Blue Jean Jacket #1 by melaniemac featuring a polka dot dress

Polka dot dress
$25 – newlook.com

Merino wool scarve
$58 – kettlewellcolours.co.uk

Early Spring Outfits

Early Spring Outfits by melaniemac featuring CIMARRON

Vivienne Westwood print top
$265 – vanmildert.com

L K Bennett straight skirt
$425 – johnlewis.com

CIMARRON clothing
$110 – placedestendances.com

MICHAEL Michael Kors zip top
$575 – luisaviaroma.com

Last winter, I started working on Vogue 1277 using a selection of boiled wool fabric.  I created piping out of a lightweight faux suede fabric and put the coat V1277 together. At that point, I realized it was not a good choice for me – the coat was massive, and the way it’s constructed, it was virtually impossible to make it smaller.  The style does have the back flaring out away from the body, and the stand-up neck was quite high.  I’m only 5’4″ and chunky, so it didn’t work on me.  I think if you are tall with long legs, this would be amazing! So this December, I re-cut the existing shell into a new shape based on a old jacket pattern I had.  This is the result.   013

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Although I haven’t posted much about my sewing adventures in January, the fact is that I’ve been nose to the needle all month!  I’m taking the second level of patternmaking at Seneca College in Toronto, and just finished my 50’s Cocktail Dress based on this vintage McCall’s sketch.  The goal is to take a photograph or sketch and design the pattern, then make the garment.

 

Image

 

Here’s what I ended up with:

IMG_00000063

 

I can’t begin to express how freeing it is to learn to draft your own patterns.  No longer do I have to scrounge around to find a pattern that approximates what I want to do — I can simply make my own.  And while I haven’t yet made my own custom block, I’ve learned enough to take some general patterns and make things I want from them.  But more than that, I can make clothes that actually fit – which for many of us is a huge deal!

Anyone thinking of taking a pattern drafting course, I would whole heartedly recommend you do it – the more sewing experience you have, the more I think you’ll find things making sense.  I know that there are several courses on Craftsy now for drafting your own patterns, and there are some amazing bloggers out there too.  I will say that I found the technical pattern “cutting” books to be almost incomprehensible until I started taking these courses – there is a language and ways of doing things that isn’t necessarily intuitive.  That’s where a course with an experienced teacher really helps.

 

Ready for spring!

Ready for spring! by melaniemac featuring AllSaints

Cable sweater
purecollection.com

AllSaints jacket
allsaints.com

Helmut Lang black legging
$235 – question-air.com

Crossbody handbag
bodycentral.com

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