Tag Archives: sewing

What to Wear: While Crafting

what to wear

stay naked.

it doesn’t matter how much thought I put into selecting an apartment, I always end up with a sweltering hot stuffy little sewing room.  Maybe I secretly like it that way.  This time around I have ample closet space, but it is still one hot little room for summer sewing.  When I heard the theme for this weeks What to Wear link-up I was a little stumped for ideas.  Immediately I had a flashbacks to the sewing room I used while I was still selling my crafts at multiple markets each week.  What happened in that room wasn’t pretty.  The cat spent most of that summer looking like an overstuffed lifeless mound of fluff under my sewing table.  And well, I was almost always naked.  not good naked.  Sweaty, irritable, grouchy naked.

But you’ve all been saved from seeing that photo.  My new crafting space is a little more forgiving.  With the help of a large fan I can usually keep my clothes on.


I spend most of my time either at the gym in workout clothes or in my crafting room.  Sadly, my wardrobe reflects this reality all too well.  Nope, no cocktail dresses and cute summer sandals in this girls closet.  If you were thinking of raiding my closet you might want to reconsider.  In summer the only outfits you will find are tight fitting running pants, moisture wick shirts or frock-ish tent like skirts, dresses and old t’s.  This has its limitations.  I’m not working too hard over here to be fashionable, but I still try and be presentable enough to answer the door. Just this morning I scored an awesome purple running top and a pile of vintage linens at the thrift store.  Hooray!

what to wear while craftingWhen I’m crafting or working away on some new creative ideas I tend to stick with what’s most comfortable.  Very little jewelry or anything that might snag or otherwise get in the way.  bare feet (but, of course!).  a comfy loose fitting skirt or dress.  Lately I’ve been wearing a lot of clothes that I’ve made myself, but when I got dressed this morning and headed to the sewing room I found myself in some old favourites.  This skirt has seen better days, but nothing beats an easy cotton wrap around.  The top is a simple thrifted grey tank.

so what’s going on in this photo…am I about to claw my own head?  maybe so.  maybe so.

Looking for the real fashions?  head on over to Nicole’s blog Gypsy in Jasper to see what the other ladies put together for What to Wear: While Crafting

stretch jersey dress diy


stretch jersey dress diytoday, acceptance.

instead of burying my head in the blankets for another hour…another half hour…another fifteen minutes…just a few more minutes…up early to walk the dog with the sun rising.  dew fresh on the grass.  a rabbit crossed our path.  a mama turkey and five babies.  the fields in the horse paddocks freshly cut.  the apple trees all lined up in a row.

now coffee.  resting in my favourite chair.  crickets outside the window.  a basket of knitting and fresh new patterns.

tomatoes to be canned.  bread to be baked.
the hum of the washing machine.
pots to the scrubbed.
floors to be swept.

but first…perhaps a hike on the Bruce Trail.
it’ll all still be here when i get back.

this is a dress i recently finished making.  super simple.  dead easy to make.  traced one of my favourite skirts.  cut from some stretchy jersey fabric from a Fabricland sale that’s been sitting in my stash for years.  sewn up the two sides.  created a tube for the top.  attached top to bottom.  quick serge around the bottom edge.

from start to finish…only about 15 minutes.  likely took me longer to thread the serger.  i took an extra half hour to add in a built-in bra…but i’m going to tear that part out today.  it’s way more comfortable without it.  the tube part of the top just snug enough to stay put.  layers well.  and my hatred of bras applies apparently even to built-ins.

Three cheers to Saturday!

bamboo pullover hooded sweatshirt

Head to Toe Project #3: The “Will Never Take This Off” Hoodie

bamboo hooded pullover sweatshirtI’m ridiculously pleased with myself right now.  Honestly, I’ve never been very confident in my sewing skills and most of the pieces of clothing I’ve attempted to make have remained in the “attempt” pile or shoved politely to the back of a drawer somewhere.  I seem to be completely incapable of following a pattern or understanding sewing instructions.   So it might seem strange that as part of my “32 before 33” Challenge…I decided to do a “Head to Toe” Handmade Clothing Challenge.  Yep, over the course of the next year I will complete 12 pieces of clothing.

So here is an update on the challenge.  So far I have completed a hat and mitt set.  I knit the hat following a very cute pattern I found on Ravelry called “Capucine”.  The mitts were made out of felted sweaters and are lined with recycled polyester fleece.  So super warm and soft and cozy.  Next, I jumped right in and decided to make a dress.  I pulled out a giant bolt of 10 meters of bamboo french terry and made an oh so comfy cowl neck long sleeve dress (i’ll post pics soon).  But my third project is by far my favourite.  I made the pattern for the dress using an old sweater that I cut up to make a pattern roughly with a marker and some newspaper.   And it turns out making my own patterns might just be the best way for me to make clothes.  Loving the red bamboo stretch french terry so so so so so much (it’s the most ridiculously comfortable and soft fabric I’ve never touched)…I dove right in this past weekend and made my own pattern (Yet again with newspaper and a marker) for a pullover hooded sweateshirt.

The result is fantastic.  I’m tooting my own horn and not the least bit ashamed.  I love love love love love this hoodie.  I’ve had it onbamboo pullover hooded sweatshirt since I finished it on Sunday.  I’ve been wearing it to work, around the house…everywhere.  I realize, eventually…I’m going to have to take it off and wash my stench out of it…but that just means I’m going to have to get more fabric to make a second and third hoodie for laundry days!

The more items of clothing that I make the more confidence I have that I can move on to more projects and push towards my goal of making a head to toe handmade wardrobe of my very own.  While I’ve decided which pieces I’m going to make I haven’t decided on exactly what patterns I’m going to use and I think I’d rather just let the pieces come out of spur of the moment inspiration.  Project #4 is already underway…I’m knitting an open front cardigan with a beautiful saxon braid cable down the back.  It’ll be a slow process, but is fashioned after a cardigan my mom had when I was a kid that I used to love to cuddle up with like a blankie.

32 before 33 Challenge: Head to Toe Crafting!

My creativity is frequently wasted.

I have devoted myself to mending what can’t be resolved or wasting time by misplacing it.  I’ve spent countless hours ruined by guilt or chewing up my nails over things I can’t change or worried about what hasn’t even happened.  I think I was born guilty…but of what?

This year, it seemed obvious that making a New Year’s Resolution would only provide me another avenue for guilt or end in another year of “stop biting my nails” failure.  Instead, an idea was presented to me by a friend to make a list of things I would like to accomplish over the next year.  The focus of the list wouldn’t be on things I have to give up or change…but rather an exciting opportunity to put down all those projects, ideas and adventures (big or small).  And I do love a ‘to-d0’ list!  I regard my list, which took me some time to finalize, as a celebration of all the little joys that are often overlooked.  Some are things I’ve gotten away from…that slipped off the end of a day before I could catch them.  Others are things I’ve had on my ‘ list’  for some time. And some are an invitation to new adventures.

As some of you may know, my birthday also falls in the holiday season.  So to incorporate that…my list consists of 32 things I want to do before I’m 33.  I decided to remove the pressure for this list to be full of ‘grand’ things.  Instead, this ended up being a delightful mix of every day achievements, small pleasures and some very practical goals.  I divided it up among my favourite things…writing, reading, the outdoors, crafting, learning, adventuring and cooking.  The primary focus of all of this is simply to point myself in the direction of all that I love.  So over the next few weeks and months I will be sharing this list with you; along with all the fun projects and adventures and learning that will come from it.  I can hardly wait!  But first, I promised Melissa we’d share our lists over tea the next time I’m in Ottawa.  So you’ll all just have to wait.

I will, however, start off by sharing the first few pieces of the list.  Numbers 1 through 12 all fall under the “Head to Toe” Craft Project.  A little challenge I wanted to create to help summon the joy of crafting back into my life.  I got a little burnt out this year and started to really hate anything related to sewing or knitting…so it seemed like I needed to put it all away for a while.  But now  feels like the right time to nestle into winter and dig away at all those patterns I always wanted to take a stab at.  So the Head to Toe Craft Project will involve creating 12 pieces of clothing that go from ‘Head’ to ‘Toe’.  Knit or Sew.  By the end of 2012, I will have a little wardrobe custom made by me!

Some of these will take no time at all to complete and others will take their share of my craft time….but it seemed reasonable to create one piece for every month of the year.  I haven’t got many rules for this part.  The only major rule is that I have to complete at least one item for each on the list.  The other rule:  It was pointed out to me by my good friend Stephanie that I have a tendency to ‘unravel’ things that are near completion (or even totally finished) because I’m a bit of a knitting perfectionist.  I’ve taken apart more sweaters than you would want to know about.  And so it was suggested, and I’ve accepted, that for these particular projects….I should show off whatever I’ve made…whatever state it comes to in the end…and ‘NO’ unravelling!

So here is the first 12 items on my “32 before 33” list.  My “Head to Toe” Craft Project:

1) Hat & Mitts
2) Shirt
3) Sweater
4) Skirt
5) Dress
6) Pants
7) Bra & Underwear
8) Scarf
9) Booties/Slippers
10) Socks
11) Hoodie
12) Tank Top

On New Years Day I dove right in and completed the “Hat”.  I’ll share once the mitts are complete!

And then I hit the wall…

And so it happened.  I figured it would, but I just wasn’t sure how and when.  I knew that one day the weeks and weeks of markets and sales, marketing and ordering and sewing and marching through the whole process of keeping my own little business in order…after weeks of 50+ hours….after eating and breathing my love of craft.  I took a few bites that tasted sour.  Really sour.

And it was time to take a very lovely step back.  So, is this the end of The Raw Edge…no!  You see..I simply love the art of making too much to stop making.  But it’s time to take a break.  It’s time to taste the comfort of and sheer joy of creating whatever I want, whenever I want.  Maybe I just don’t have what it takes…or maybe I value my creative spirit too much to let it go on feeling so so bad.

So these weeks are weeks of change.  I’m taking the shop down for a while, kicking around some new ideas and simultaneously packing my bags.  In 3 weeks I’ll leave Peterborough (my home for the last year) and I’ll head back to where my heart truly feels at home…the Haliburton Highlands.  I am now the new administrative coordinator for the Haliburton Highlands Outdoors Association (and currently mothering tanks and tanks of lake trout destined for our lakes).  And in the evening and weekend hours…I’ll play.  I have a thousand projects and a thousand “to make” lists that I can’t wait to delve into.  There are poems to write and short stories to finish.  And there is the set of backcountry skis and snowshoes that saw way way way too little use last winter.

I can’t wait to share all of that with you!

In the meantime, there are orders to be finished and fabric to be sorted.  I will be hosting two more sales to help clear out some of my summer crafts before the move.  If any of you live in the Peterborough area, please get in touch as I’ll be opening my home soon with an ‘in-house’ garage sale of sorts.