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Surf to Summit Top Pattern - Out now!

Sewn Christmas gift - Royal blue hoodie

27 December 2012, 11:04

I hope you’re all having a nice Christmas holiday! This is the first of two posts where I can finally show you what I made my niece and nephew for Christmas, now that they’ve received their gifts and my dad has very kindly taken some photos for us (in my opinion, he’s outdone himself here!).

I started thinking about this gift in October, when my parents were visiting London. We talked about what to make for my nephew Logan, who’s eleven, but there are hardly any patterns out there for tween (or teen) boys that aren’t that same, freaking button-down shirt (I think I could wallpaper the boat in copies of that button-down shirt pattern – news to pattern producers – try harder! ) !

My mom suggested Logan might like another hoodie, so I found one with great lines over at Lekala, so I just entered in his measurements and voila, a pdf pattern arrived, made to fit. (FYI, Lekala have a new, more user-friendly site so if you were confused with the ordering system on the original site, you might want to give the new site a try!)

I used Lekala 7160 (which isn’t on the new site yet) – a sweatshirt with yoke, dropped shoulder, three-piece hood, upper centre front zipper, and topstitched, in-seam pockets.

I normally buy my sweatshirting from Pennine Outdoor, but I was also buying for my mom and we wanted a bigger colour selection so we ended up buying the “Royal blue” sweatshirting from Josery, a new-to-me, UK-made textile mill. I’ll definitely be using more of their fabrics in future, as they’ve got a massive colour selection and a ton of ribbed knit to match their sweatshirting, too. I already had some black ribbing and black sweatshirting scraps on hand so I used them here as accents.

Big, big thanks for my Dad for taking Logan out on a mini fishing trip and taking these photos in a nice, relaxed environment!

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Goings On

12 November 2012, 13:55

I know everyone goes through periods of extreme busy-ness and stress, but I feel like the past 6-8 weeks have just been nonstop with barely a pause to catch my breath! You’ll have to accept my apologies for not going into these various sewing happenings in full – I’m saving my writing time for my finished garments!

So, without further ado, a catchup on the last few weeks’ goings on…

1. The day after I arrived back from Amsterdam, my parents arrived for a visit! Among other things, they brought with them a big stash of Suziplex wicking lycra that Lakaribane bought for me by request while she was in Montreal recently! I think I’ve lost track of the number of international borders these 5 meters of fabric have crossed, but I am so happy to have more, because the three running leggings I’ve sewn with the stash I bought in March are my favourites ever.

2. I recently went on a bit of a Young Image magazines and envelope patterns binge, so I sat down with my mom while she was here and she picked out some designs she thought my niece might like for her Christmas present…

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Upcoming Fall 2011 sewing - the patterns

7 September 2011, 14:26

It’ll be no surprise to you that I’ve already started on my Fall sewing, since you’ve just heard all about my upcoming trench jacket, but I’ve been thinking about the rest of my Fall sewing ambitions over the last few weeks. Having August temperatures mostly in the 50sF (16-20C) meant that I was mentally ready for cooler weather a long time ago!

I’ve got the fabric for all (but two) of these already, too, so I’m sure to get through a lot of my stash this way, too… Though I did just buy some new fabric in order to make four of these, oops. More on the matching fabric later.

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How to buy Lekala patterns

27 June 2011, 13:22

First of all, congratulations to #9 Rebecca, #13 Olga, #17 RuthieK, #14 Clair McLaughlin, and #20 NancyK who were the winners in last week’s Lekala contest! I picked these using Random.org but you’ll just have to trust me that I did so without any favouritism (Seriously, if I was faking it I would’ve picked a few numbers from the beginning and the end of the list, too. Funny how all the picks were in the middle this time around…)! Each of these ladies received a Lekala code good for 2 credits, so if you’re one of the winners, skip ahead to step two below to activate the code I just emailed you.

Since Lekala use an ordering system different to what any other site uses, and the English isn’t 100% perfect, I thought it might be good to go through the steps on how to purchase patterns on their site. Please note that I do not work at Lekala, nor do I have any affiliation with them, nor have I been paid in any way for this post! If you need help from Lekala, please email Lekala customer support.

If you just want to try their custom sized patterns without buying anything you can enter in your measurements on the limited set of free patterns here. Or if you happen to be their special example size (165h/84b/74ub/64w/92h in cm) , you can download all their patterns for free in those set measurements by clicking the pdf link next to “FREE DOWNLOAD Pattern on fixed size” anywhere on the site (so if you’re a total grading wizz then I suppose you could always grade that size to match your own, though it’d be a fair amount of work!).

Step One – Buy a code


Before you decide which pattern to purchase, you first need to purchase a code. The idea is kinda like those Pay As You Go mobile phone cards, or top-up mass transit tickets – you purchase the code, which contain credits, and with each pattern, credits are deducted from your code. So you only need to purchase the code, not the individual patterns.

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Lekala cowl top instructions and giveaway

20 June 2011, 13:38

You’ve seen my version of this fantastic cowl top, now’s your chance to make your own and show me yours!

As you’ll recall, the above is made using Lekala 4020, but I’ve created sleeve bands on the back to echo the ones on the front, so our first step is to alter the pattern for this.

Here’s the (unaltered) tech drawing:

Lekala give full pattern pieces rather than placing some patterns on the fold, so the first thing I like to do is fold the front and the back in half. If you’re altering the back like me, then cut the back piece in half along this foldline (at the CB).

To echo the sleeve bands/yokes on the back, first lay the front sleeve band/yoke piece onto the back, and mark the corresponding widths at the back shoulder and the back side seam, so the two bands will align nicely when sewn together. Then, using the front yoke piece as a guide, draw a nice curve to join the two points, trying to keep the width of the yoke even. Lastly, draw a double notch somewhere in the lower half across the line, so you’ve got the notches on both the back piece and your new back band piece. Then cut along the line and treat as two pieces.

You’ll end up with something like this:

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Silver silk jersey Lekala cowl top

17 June 2011, 14:42

I feel like I made this top so long ago, but the delay in showing it to you really wasn’t my fault! First it got delayed for a week while I went and bought more grey topstitching thread for the shoulder bands (and then immediately afterwards I found my other spool inside the case of my vintage hand crank Singer machine! Isn’t that always the way??), and then I had another week delay in taking photos while we waited for a break in the awful weather (mid-50sF and rainy for the past week, guh).

But cast your mind back with me and you’ll recall that I chose Lekala 4020, only I opted to create echoing sleeve bands on the back to decrease the “coffin back” look:

I’ve got full instructions on this pattern alteration and my order of construction coming shortly (honestly, they’re ready to go – I made the wise decision to write them right after making mine), so if you like the design and you’re roughly a Burda size 44, you may want to snap up this pattern while size 44s are free on Lekala’s site for another few days….

I made this top using some more offcuts of silver silk jersey, either leftover from Gez’s bridesmaid dress or from my sister-in-law’s LMB tunic, I’m not entirely sure which. But this stuff is so lush and drapey and easy to wear that I just can’t bear to let a single scrap go to waste! And the cowl neck here definitely benefits from a nice, drapey fabric, too.

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Flashes of gold and silver

31 May 2011, 15:18

the gold


Yesterday I ran a 10km running race to celebrate my 2nd rebirthday of my bone marrow transplant (well, it’s a month early but this race is so much nicer than the July one I ran last year!).

The race went really well, and I truly gave it EVERYTHING I had, running the first 4 kilometers at an astonishingly fast 5min per km pace, and then I tailed back to a bit more realistic 5:30/km pace until the last 200 meters, when I gave an all out sprint for the finish!

Like last year, I ran with the memory of my three departed BMT friends firmly in my mind – this was for Vera, Rob, and David, who fought so so hard, and who even today inspire me to push and fight even harder on their behalf.

I wasn’t quite sure how well I did until I viewed the official chip times on the website last night… 51:21!! That’s only 7 seconds off my pre-illness Personal Best! I really was only trying to beat last year’s time of 53:38, and I honestly didn’t think I’d come anywhere close to that magical 51 minute point for me!

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I'm currently excited about...

27 May 2011, 13:18

My turquoise and silver motif dress is nearly done (check out the fantastic lace hem tape I found in my stash to pretty-fy my hem, too!), but it doesn’t stop me thinking ahead…