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Thursday, 7 December 2017

The Sansa Pants - Bella Sunshine Designs Pattern Testing

I have SO many issues buying pants in store, it's part of the reason I started sewing my wardrobe this year.

One of my favourite designers, Bella Sunshine Designs, finally has their own pants party with the Sansa Pants

With a band or elastic waistband option, two points where they can be shortened or lengthened, and a cute retro flare on the bottom....if I add pockets to the front/back, they'd pass for pants I can wear at my casual office attire! 

If you can sew straight lines, you can cut and sew these pants in under an hour - for seriousness! 

As usual, I tend to use large scraps sewn together for my muslin (test product) phase of pattern testing - mine turned out perfectly first go with only 2" taken off underneath the knee to fit my 5'-2" frame.


 
 
Sewing up my final pair, I opted for 2 way stretch medium weight Scuba Knit - which although the pattern calls for 4 way stretch, this worked for me! 

I broke my NEW double needle, and my replacement is still in the mail after 2 weeks, so I opted for normal topstitching and hem stitching instead. 



Be a Unicorn Amongst Deer!

 
 
I really like the way my caboose looks in these pants too - flattering - not bulky.  The high rise band is perfect for preventing muffin top and keeping everything in place. And finally  - I don't have sausage thighs!  My thighs have a nice layer of muscle, which have caused issues with fitting into mainstream pants for years - and they're not even that large in diameter!  BSD made the perfect fit for NORMAL bodies.




Shake what your mom gave you!

As always, I had fun testing with the BSD team, and making yet another amazing outfit.

I paired my Sansa Pants with my latest Maggie Top - so grab both patterns for a flattering look and have a new outfit in under 2 hours!

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

The Maggie - Bella Sunshine Designs Top, Tunic, Dress Pattern

The Maggie pattern from Bella Sunshine Designs is a simple, yet flattering pattern that can be made into top, tunic, or dress length.

The tunic length is long enough to cover my behind, making it the perfect pairing with leggings or tighter pants I may not necessarily wear otherwise.








This pattern is efficient and easy to follow – I love the sleeve & length options – and the different looks different fabrics give to enhance the pattern and the fit.

I have curves, and the perfect sizing Melissa provides makes this another easy-to-grade pattern for my hourglass shape (aka hippy) that I feel confidant and sassy in my Maggies.

The feel of The Maggie is so soft and comfortable, I can easily wear this working up at the camp, at work, or just hanging out at home.

I recently repurposed a t-shirt that came in too small from Wish.com, and it's amazing - I was just waiting for the perfect fabric.  I couldn't resist Okee Dokee Canadian Fabrics Interlock Knit Deer Fabric.  It pairs ironically with my repurposed, "I am Unicorn," logo. 




If you are new or advanced to sewing, grab the Maggie Pattern for a staple in your wardrobe.

Betcha can’t just make one!

Monday, 23 October 2017

The More 2 Hug Diana Dolman Sewing Pattern

The Diana Dolman was drafted by the cutest European designer - with those of us who aren't stick thin in mind.



The pattern is meant for knit fabric (but stretch doesn't seem to be the biggest factor, so 2 way or 4 way stretches will do).



There are a plethora of options - giving you upwards of 40 different designs - more than one shirt a day in your closet if you love the Diana!



- Short, 3/4, or long sleeve lengths
- Cold shoulder option (hole showing a bit of skin!)
- Front ties option
- Straight, waistband, or rounded hems
- t-shirt or tunic lengths
- hi-lo tunic length option



And sizes are from small through 4x!



I created a few different versions for myself


The front tie option t-shirt with cuffs gives a more casual t-shirt feel with a cute front tie.


It's great for hiding big meals too (ha ha!)


I colour blocked the back as I ran out of fabric, but it gives it a nifty look and feel - it makes it unique like each and every one of us are.







I also created a sultry cold shouldered banded short sleeved shirt option to wear to the office or a night on the town!

I honestly wear this one every few weeks, and the shoulders just give it that sexy and pretty feeling that can easily be covered up with a cardigan for office wear (even then, I wear it uncovered if it's too warm in the office, and it's still office casual approprite for me).






These are extremely quick sews, and are some of my favourite shirts - I really need to create more with a 3/4 length option for the cooler fall months.


***Updated May 2018*** I *did* make Mom a Diana Dolman for Christmas 2017, and she loves wearing it. 


Here's Mom sporting her Diana Dolman on the beach during her 4 month adventure in Florida this past winter. It fit her perfectly - and I made it as a surprise by just taking her measurements on the sly.






Stop by Etsy and pick up your own Diana Dolman pattern to create your perfect shirt!

Monday, 31 July 2017

From Forest Land to Awesome Land! Our Cabin Adventure!

So. Back in March/April, we found a Kijiji ad for forest land off a river in Quebec.

Ontario land in our low-low price range was giving us no hits, even for land that required a few kms hike/atv/swim/boat ride into that neither realtors nor owners had seen.

Based on our location, however, we were still limited in our Quebec land search, and wanted it West of Kanata vs North of Ottawa (where there is a plethora of river/lake land...but that would mean driving through rush hour twice to get home, pick up pups and finish packing, thus stress to destress).

Somehow we found the unofficial land broker of Waltham, Quebec.

Where is Waltham say ye? North of Renfrew and kind of East of Pembroke. It lays upon the Black River (Riviere Noire), apparently known for its white water kayaking and canoeing. There are even two canoe/kayak outfitters down the road from us.

We had to take a chance and felt good after spending two long afternoons with our Waltham whisperer, trekking through the land once (in a couple feet of snow), climbing down the steep decline to the river, and going with our guts, hoping it wasn't sh$t land when the snow thawed.

I did see an Air B & B on our main road that had stairs built down to the river, and we even took a look down - knowing that it's possible to build stairs...so easy water access would happen in time.

We were fortunate enough to have some help, and made the choice of purchasing two 3-acre lots for a total of 6 acres.

We knew there was a Right of Way Road through the land...but it was unclear where it was - but we were able to decipher the survey enough to know that the road wasn't hindering the majority of our land (which I feel are some of the best lots in our particular section minus the last lot, which is 24 acres with a walk down to the river and dead trees cleared by the old owner!).

Thankfully once the snow thawed, and the unprecedented floods went over the main road, Husband had enough of not seeing our land we paid for, and we rented a big arse truck (oh god, I was SO paranoid as I work in insurance!!) that was amazing and terrifying at the same time.

We drove THROUGH the back roads (not even the main road!) with GPS on the way there (for the most part), two or three weekends after we officially owned the land.

We drove through the side of Green Lake that actually overflowed several feet onto the Road only a week prior, and was still a foot deep when we drove it! We couldn't tell where the lake started and ended...and it was scary. I though we were going to float into the lake!

But we eventually made it up to our land.



I made a sign the week prior with our Camp/Cabin name. Cabin 0.1 And with every upgrade we do, we're increasing the numbers depending on the cost and type of upgrade. Quality of life gives it a full point, and little things add up based on cost.



We also made a sign with our last name on it - so people can find us. It's the friendly thing to do!

We started with our tent, a screen tent (thank god!), and one of those old people toilet things that looks like a walker, but with a toilet seat on it - for our temporary outhouse.




The "outhouse" sat behind a fallen pine tree until we got 1/2 an acre partially cleared, and the pine tree went away. he also dug our outhouse hole, which was a relief!




The other 1/2 acre will be cleared in the fall when rafting season slows down, along with taking out the trees in the acre, levelling the land, and towing our trailer to its permanent spot overlooking the river from a safe distance.

When Husband naps, I work my way through an area of trees from the perimeter of our already cleared and living areas further in. I clip down little trees in the area that is going to be cleared (less than 1.5" thick), clip all the dead branches off the standing trees that are dying, and drag trees, shrubbery, and branches to one of three fire pits to just burn. At this point, with so much dead brush to get rid of, there is no need for a branch pile.

We finished the shed a few weeks after we wanted to, and almost finished our outhouse this past weekend. It just needs a door and shingles.



We have had upgrades from the tent and outdoor bathroom experiences. Husband found a 35 foot trailer in awesome condition thanks to one of his co-workers at a great price - they towed that up mid June.

Oh not to be sleeping on the ground is amazing! My back can't take that, despite doing Yoga once or twice a day up there to help alleviate and prevent pain. Yoga actually works, which is awesome! I just saved a plethora of YouTube videos on my laptop, and thanks to the generator, am able to ensure the laptop stays on (minimal battery life after it's 8 year journey with me), and workout mats to do my workouts on in the screen tent.

We still need to fix the fridge (doesn't stay on without the generator on - the propane doesn't want to work, and the flame doesn't work now), and fix one window that broke while we were closing it from the outside.

But it has a separate bedroom with its own table, closed in bathroom, and the main living area - I really like the design and storage space!

The bathroom has been updated from behind the pine tree into a bucket (oh yeah!), to the tent we were sleeping in once the trailer arrived, and finally the outhouse.



Oh Outhouse, how I love thee!

Next...well I did plan on starting to build stairs at the beginning of June. It's now the last day of July, and no stairs built besides a test stair at the bottom. With bug season mainly over, and the main structures taken care of, we will plow through stairs, digging, and putting them literally in the earth ("L" shaped into the ground with Rebar to anchor them in, eventually filling the middles with gravel for even more durability).

Without stairs, it's a REALLY treacherous climb down. Yup - we climb down to the river (with our spa rock!) by holding onto a climbing rope tied around trees along the way down, hoping we don't slip, fall, and die.



It will happen - we just had priorities, missing parts to do the job right, and meh.

That's the short story.

We have met many amazing neighbours so far, enjoyed local fireworks on Canada Day (which brought out 50+ people on ATV's and trucks), fireworks across from our lot last weekend from some cabin renters, getting lost in the back roads without a GPS or Cellular connection for a few hours, read at least a book a weekend, seen the joy of the pups running and finding their "sunshine," and not thinking of the outside world until it's time to pack up (which took under an hour this weekend counting me hanging up pictures and doing other non-packing stuff in-between).

Oh, and we found what we have dubbed the Waltham Sandbanks. It's an amazing beach that comes and goes with the water levels, and is shallow enough for the pups to walk in.







And are looking forward to popping our "Waltham Float" cherries next weekend. Over 100 people were floating down the river past our lot this weekend (which we trudged away making the outhouse!)...it sounded like so much fun! And happens every weekend apparently! I can't wait!

There are more stories, more adventures...and if you'd told me a year ago I'd be going to the forest every weekend, towing shrubbery out of the forest, own two canoes, and would be just floating down the river on a unicorn...I'd say you're a bit crazy!

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Bella Sunshine Designs - The Maggie Top

I adore the Classic yet Modern style of Bella Sunshine Designs.

Melissa has done it again with the simple yet flattering Maggie Top, tunic, and Dress! 




I tested for the Tunic length, and even had to take a few inches off, as it is drafted for a 5'-5" height.

I'm a measly 5'-2", however, prefer tunics that I can wear leggings under, and to cover up (aka accentuate) my caboose.

The size assigned to me was again on par - grading from just under my chest to my waist and hips for a perfect flattering (aka not clingy) fit. 

Due to a migraine that lasted a week during testing, I was only able to make my fit test top and my final top - although I will cut a few more up for my fall wardrobe. 




I mean the dress length with leggings - how cute would that be? Throw a vest over top, and - I can't contain my excitement! 

I used Water Tower Textiles fabrics that just make me squeal inside - my favourite colour of light cotton spandex (turquoise/aqua) with total awesomeness - Storm Trooper fabric that is all the rage, but rarely available in Canada.  Patty randomly surprises her customers with character print fabrics (giving us a day or so notice) that her husband and daughter pick up during their trips to the States.  When I saw Star Wars - I HAD to have it. 

Star Wars knit is unheard up in Canada (unless we pick it up at a ridiculous cost from the States), and I really appreciate that Patty limits us to 1 metre maximum per print.  This allows all the crazy seamstresses sitting up waiting for midnight to start to each have the opportunity to order these coveted fabrics.


Decorative Weapons and Pattern Testing = Awesomeness!



Beyond that, the feel is so soft and comfortable, I can easily wear this working up at the camp, at work, or just hanging out at home.

There are 3 necklines, 3 sleeve lengths, 3 hem lengths, and even a bust adjustment for those of us who are larger chested (aka the shirt won't look too big because of sizing up). I find very few pattern makers offer this option, making fits for larger tatas difficult if it's an unknown pattern type.  Grading is an art when it comes to sewing - any help with special pattern adjustments that take out the guesswork is truly appreciated!

I'm looking forward to playing around and hacking this pattern with my own personal touches - such as side ruching (I LOVE ruching), pockets in the dress, a Kangaroo pocket at the front, peek-a-boo hole in the back, lace sleeves with a silkier rayon for a beautiful night-on-the town shirt...and you get the picture.

I have a small pile of Bella Sunshine Design patterns waiting to be created, and know that I'll be able to follow each and every pattern, and trust Melissa's sizing to the "T."

Oh, and you can totally Twirl in this shirt too - I twirl for everything these days. It really is quite the epidemic! 

Grab your copy of The Maggie, and sew away - you can whip out a few in an afternoon...but really - why stop at 2?


Tuesday, 25 July 2017

New Horizons - The Pierside Pencil Skirt

The Pierside Pencil Skirt is a REALLY quick sew with a little bit of sass and a lot of flattery!

I'm sassy and fun, like the Pierside Pencil Skirt


It's available in 3 lengths, includes a yoga-style waistband (which keeps everything in place), and a variety of hem finishings - side vents, curved, and straight.  As well, my favourite option - POCKETS!

Gnomey meet Tardis


Oh, and you can add in a waist tie...so even if you are not having a confidant day, you can still feel comfortable and plucky as a duck putting on your Pierside!



Normally I am a knee length skirt and dress kind of girl - but with pattern testing, and my personality, I was pushed to go a bit outside my "normal" zone and assigned the Maxi Length skirt option.

Thankfully, unlike the pencil skirts I normally wear to work (aka walking Tuxedo Penguin Mermaid creature), I can actually walk in the maxi and knee length versions without any issues.








It still has that sultry hourglass pencil skirt curve at the sides, just without the awkwardness.


This is due to the side vent (aka the fabric from toes to knee at the sides is hemmed, not sewed together in a seam).  Honestly, this makes it the PERFECT skirt for the beach, the fall, or any time really.

It can be dressed up by using some flashy shiny knit fabric with a lace overlay or ruffle, a bit of ruching on the sides, a big bow at the side instead of a front tie.

Or just spend half an hour sewing up this diverse and COMFORTABLE skirt instead of doing the laundry.

I've worn mine out to restaurants, helping friends move, and even to work. And it's been less than a week since I made my first three!

I also decided I needed to pair mine with at least one Key West Tank top - I opted for the original flared version, and I lurv it!

You can also twirl in it - who knew??



It's flattering, a quick sew, and has a nice overall feel. I can also eat poutine and not feel like I'm squeezed into a tank top that is about to burst.  This tank is all about flattery and forgiveness!

Paired together, this duo is definitely my casual go to, and the skirt is my casual work office attire.

EXTERMINATE!

I can never be fully serious during pattern testing!