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I am a mother, a grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge was published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon

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Saturday, May 9, 2020

Spring 2020 Jalie patterns: Genevieve

One of the things I decided to do this year when I chose which Jalie patterns I would sew, was that I wanted to try a few things outside my usual sewing comfort zone.

Genevieve, a full elastic waist skirt, was that choice for me. This looked to me at first glance like a dirndl, something that suits almost nobody, but it isn't that at all. Think of this one as an A line skirt with a separate elastic waist casing just large enough to go over your hips. One version has a buttoned front, one doesn't, and obviously this skirt can be made in any length. There is also a belt/pocket option too.

I decided to do the simple version with pockets and a sort of mid calf length. I wore it with my favourite Jalie knit top 2682



I felt there was a bit of a 50s vibe with this skirt so I wore it with flats and a belt. Note my assistant, who is usually just about this far from me at all times, hiding under my skirt.

I don't need to tell you how comfortable this skirt is. I made it in a chambray so it has great wash and wear potential. This  is a good thing because I can see wearing this skirt a lot this summer. I think I will also make another one soon in an even more flowing fabric. I have some rayon that would be perfect. 

Also because of the huge size range in this pattern I am pretty sure the girls will want a couple of these too.


Thursday, May 7, 2020

Spring 2020 Jalie patterns: Jeanne

Jeanne, for knit pyjamas, is actually one of my favourite patterns in the new Jalie spring line. 

I nearly fell over when I saw this one.  I spent a good part of early December last year trying to find a pattern just like this to make Christmas pyjamas for all the various sized kids. It was actually a pretty frustrating experience because I wanted a more RTW fit and nothing too baggy. In the end I had to buy several different patterns to get something in all the sizes and some versions were better than the others.

This was exactly what I was looking for.

I was also hoping to make something for myself too that was similar. As followers of this blog know, we head off every winter for a couple of months in the RV to tour around the southern US. We like to stay in state parks, as opposed to RV type resorts, so essentially I spend a good part of my winters in camp grounds, which I love. Fussy clothes are not part of that lifestyle.

These pyjamas would be perfect.

Here is my version made up in a highly stretchy rayon knit. I realize that the pants here look sort of skin tight but they aren't, there is a lot of room to stretch in them. That said next time I make these I will go up a size for the pants if I work with a knit with less stretch.


I see a lot of potential in this pattern. Of course being Canadian I will probably make a base layer (aka long underwear) out of this for dog walking in the winter, and I am thinking too if I go up two sizes (remember Jalie's have very small differences between the sizes so this isn't as drastic as it sounds) I can make some joggers from this pattern as well.

Most of all I will be using the top from this pattern to make some more knit tops. The fit of this one is exactly what I want in staple type knit tops so that was a really nice bonus to find that in this pattern.

So happy with these pyjamas. Now I have about six months now to find a deal on multiple meters of knit fabric before next Christmas.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Spring 2020 Jalie patterns: Romy

Well it is that time of year again when I participate in Jalie's spring launch of new patterns with my own reviews.

This is how this works.




A few months before the Jalie spring collection is released myself and a group of other sewists have a look at the patterns. Mostly we check to make sure the patterns are typo and error free. We also have the opportunity to choose some to make for ourselves and review on our social media channels. I usually try to select patterns that are things I would actually wear myself for this first look. Often however when I see what other sewists make, I go back and try other patterns later on that I decide look interesting. I will certainly be doing that again this year.

If you have been reading this blog for a while you know that I am a long time fan of these Quebec based patterns. There are several reasons for this.

First of all I love the size range, which pretty much covers my entirely extended family- all in one pattern. I love that something I can make for myself can also be made in a version for my grandchildren and I don't have to go out and search for another pattern. It's like having a pattern store in my house. Whatever I need to make for anyone chances are there is a Jalie staple I can use or adapt.

Second I like the fit. Jalie is one of those lines that really is as close to good RTW in fit as you can get. Also, because the sizes are so incremental, about an inch between sizes, it is very easy to make slight alterations just by fading in and out of different size lines. I also change the ease for many garments by making up a different size--I have close fitted shirts in one size and ones with more ease just in the size up.

Third and this is best for last, I love the construction techniques. Learning a new construction technique is just about my favourite thing in life. I am actually serious about this. Always, always when I make a new Jalie I discover some new nifty way to put clothes together. Sewing with this patterns has made me a better sewist.

Over the next 10 days or so I am going to be posting my reviews of my favourites of the new patterns.

Today I would like to start with Romy.


This is a pattern for a tunic or shorter sweater. There is a nice funnel neck with a really cool construction method I can't even describe. There is also a band I had some concerns about. I was remembering the waistbands of all those old sweatshirt styles. However this band is not at all tight. Because I am tall I added 2" to the short version.

I used a really, really soft bamboo fleece and it was perfect for this pattern -cozy, cozy, cozy. These days I appreciate all the cozy I can get.

The sleeves are very wide, at the body but not loose at the arm. This adds to the cozy comfy factor considerably.


And finally an out take shot taken before we went outside, with my Covid hair and my best Covid companion. 




My just stop fooling around and take the picture face.



This really is a winner of a pattern for these times I think. Super comfortable but also stylish. I have already earmarked three more pieces of fabric from my reservoir for more versions of this. A fast, fun sew too.