Birthday Suki Kimono

I made this Suki Kimono (from Helen's Closet) for a dear friend for her birthday waaaay back in January.  I don't often sew for others (thoughts on the phrase "selfish sewing" to come later... spoiler alert - I hate it), but when I do I want to make something special!  I bought this gorgeous floral rayon from Blackbird Fabrics and it has the perfect drape for a breezy kimono robe (have I told you how much I love rayon?  because I LOVE RAYON).  The only tricky part was photographing this one... not the easiest to show off a robe when it's not on a person, and we all know black fabric is notoriously hard to photograph!



Sewing Room Overhaul

HOkay, time for some fun stuff!  Back during the Christmas break, I finally got around to painting and redecorating my sewing room.  Since moving into our house, it has been so nice to have my own space, where I can leave things as-is in the middle of a project and keep it all out of the way.  We have a 3-bedroom bungalow (and no kids for the near future) so Matt and I each have our own spaces to do what we wish with.  I don't really have much more to say other than I LOVE THIS ROOM!  What a difference a fresh coat of paint makes.  The gorgeous wood floors really pop and the room just feels that much more inviting.  It was really nice to finally get some of the art I've been hoarding up on the walls too.  SO, first off are the before photos.

From when we first moved in:

To just before I painted:

You guys.... holy crap was it hard work fixing up the walls.  There were lots of holes, and I needed to sand down and wash them all.

I'm actually still not entirely done... I still haven't painted and re-installed the closet door!  It's hanging out in the basement and I'll get to it eventually ;)

And.... now for the finished room!  I re-arranged where the furniture is, and I like the layout much better.

I've had the Kallax shelves for a while now, but moved them from where they were.  I also got a HUGE (selfie) mirror (see above) and a clothing rack for storing UFOs, items to be photographed, as well as some ongoing projects and fabric.  Pretty much everything in this room is from IKEA, aside from the ironing board.

Here's a couple details if you're curious:

Sewing, Blogging, and Body Image

Oh hey!  Been a while, hasn't it?  I promise I've been busy sewing up a storm (like, I have probably 20 garments that are still unblogged?) even if I haven't been so great at updating the blog.  Probably better to follow me over on Instagram, even if I haven't been that great at updating over there either.

When I started this blog, it was going to be the main spot where I would share all of my makes, before finding an absolutely thriving community of sewists on instagram.  I've been finding it easier and quicker to share over there, BUT I do want to get into more of the nitty-gritty details of ym garments on the blog.  

I have been meaning to update this space with all of the things I've been making (I'm not kidding when I say there could very well be nearly 20 things that I've made since my last real update back in the summer) but taking photos of myself has proven to be a bit of a challenge in the winter months for various reasons.  I feel like things have been really busy, even on the weekends, and I honestly couldn't tell you what we've been up to it's been such a blur!  I've also been busy getting the Ottawa Garment Guild up and running, work has been busy and stressful too (the good kind though?).  Winter is tricky because the weather has been crappy and there isn't a great spot outside for me to take photos (*note to self to fix this for next year!).  I still haven't shared with you my Christmas Party dress!  Yeesh!  Even though I've re-done my sewing room (update coming soon) and added better lighting, it's still not easy to catch the tiny window where I get some good natural light coming in - either that or Matt and I are out doing something during this prime photo time!  Aaaand to top that all off, I've been struggling with my body image for a bit and just have not been happy with how I look in photos.  I've gained some weight since changing birth control pills and leaving roller derby (thanks, repetitive strain knee injury) and have not been great with working out regularly.  I also find that I get a serious case of the "winter blues" (have not been officially diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder) and just want to sit on the couch all day in my sweats when I don't have any plans.  It's been frustrating feeling like crap and having a bunch of things I've sewn recently not quite fit the way I want them too.  I know that the online sewing community is amazingly body-positive and supportive no matter what size you are, but taking and sharing photos of myself when I don't feel  (or look) my best just isn't going to happen.

All that being said - we've had a wonderfully sunny weekend here in Ottawa and spring is just around the corner.  I've got a bit of a spring (ha!) in my step now that the days are longer  and brighter AND I made my first pair of jeans!  and they mostly fit!! If that isn't a sewing confidence booster, then I don't know what is.  I have a plan in place for working out more regularly (downloaded this app - love it so far!) and I feel like I'm getting back in control of my work/ life/ sewing schedule.  I'm going to try to get back into the swing of posting regularly on here once I manage to take some photos.  I might even set a posting schedule for myself?! (ahahah probably not).  ANYWAYS - If you made it this far, thanks so much for reading along.  I feel better getting that out there, and feel like I can move on from it a bit.  Now, time to get sewing a second pair of jeans! ;)


Felt Enamel Pin Display

Here we have it - my first make of 2018!  It was a really simple one and only took me about 45 minutes... while I was waiting for my delivery sushi to arrive, ha! 

I have been collecting a bunch of enamel pins since they became popular, and until now most of them have lived on my denim jacket... which really only gets worn for a short period in the spring/ summer before it gets too hot, and then again for a week or two in the fall.  I don't want to put them in other jackets (like my Kelly Anorak) and ruin the fabric, and I definitely won't punch them through my beloved Roots leather purses!  I had seen a tutorial on Sew Mama Sew for making a shadow box display... but I didn't really like having to keep the backs in a jar.  BUT, the other day Devon from Miss Make posted a fantastic idea on her Instagram... making a hanging felt flag!  This solves the problem of storing the backs!  Also... felt and a dowel is WAY cheaper than a $20 shadowbox.  So... here's my version:

I'm so pleased with how this turned out!  Once I get my sewing room re-do done, I'll get this up on the wall.  Click on through for more photos and a quick summary of how I made this [...]


2017 Sewing Wrap-Up

Well there we have it, 2017 done!  Hoo boy that was an interesting one.  Although it felt sometimes like the world was falling apart, personally I had a pretty good year.  Really, not too many complaints!  Aside from sewing, I had a productive year professionally, rounding out a whole year as a licensed Professional Engineer and feeling really good about the work I've been doing.  Matt and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary this year, and a whole year in our first home.  Although we still have lots of work to do around the house, it really feels like our place and I love it!  It's also been an interesting couple months as Matt left his full-time job went back to school to start another undergrad degree and I am so friggin' proud of him.  He's doing incredibly well and couldn't be happier.

Sewing wise, although I didn't get as much blogging done as I had hoped, I really had a fantastic year!  I learned a TON of new skills, and I'm really feeling a ton more confident in my ability to make every-day wearable garments that fit well.  I'm gonna toot my own horn here for a second and say - I now have coworkers who are SO surprised to find out that I make 90% of my clothing, because "oh my goodness everything looks so professional!"  YOU GUYS!!  That is LITERALLY the BEST compliment I could hope to receive about my sewing.  It feels SO GOOD!  (yes, all caps are necessary for this!)

Also this past year, I reached out to the local Ottawa sewing community to see if there would be interest in a "Garment Guild".  I could not have been more surprised at the incredible response I got back, and the amazing group of women who are going to help me get this thing up and running in the coming months.  We are still getting details sorted, but you can pop over to the website for the Ottawa Garment Guild for more information!

Anyways!  I'm not going to write up a summary of all the things I've made - you can pop over to my archive for that ;)  Hopefully I'll find some time soon to photograph a bunch of my makes that I've been meaning to blog about AND I'll have my completed sewing-room re-do to talk about in the coming weeks.  I post on Instagram far more often than on my blog, so if you want more updates on what I'm up to, just follow me over there at @kalliesews.


Sewing Christmas Presents: Quilted Pillows

Merry Christmas!!  Over the past couple years I've chosen not to sew any Christmas presents, as I inevitably procrastinate and then stress out over not getting things done on time.  Even if my blog doesn't show it (holy shit do I have a backlog of things to post) I've had a really productive year of sewing mostly for myself, and I've kind of rekindled a joy of quilting.  SO, I figured it was time to make some gifts for my family this year.  Also, I figured it might make up for me not actually being there on Christmas ;)

Anyways!  I have had my eye on the Dogs in Sweaters pattern since we have a few (past & present) weiner dogs in the family.  From there, I figured I could make animal-themed pillows for everyone.  Weiner dogs for my sister and grandparents, elephants (dints!) for my brother & his girlfriend, and some birds for my parents.

For each of the pillows I used the following patterns:
Click through for details pictures of each! [...]


Two Emmas & Two Wedding Quilts

Okay, okay... I do enjoy some quilting from time to time.  Although garment making is definitely my first love, I started my sewing adventure learning how to quilt.  I went through a phase where I HATED quilting once I started sewing clothing, but I've learned to slow down and really enjoy the process.  Using larger blocks also helps!

Matt and I were invited to two weddings this September, two weekends back-to-back, each for our respective friends named Emma!  Depending on the time I have before a wedding, I do occasionally like to make a quilt as a gift.  Especially when I know the couple will really enjoy the end product.  I had two 10"-square packs of different fabrics I had bought earlier in the year anticipating these weddings, so sewing these together didn't take terribly long and I really love the look of the finished quilts.



Rollerskate Carolyn PJ's

Well, well, long time no blog!  Holy cats I've been busy over the past couple months.  Between August and Thanksgiving I was only home for 2 weekends... so not much time for sewing or blogging!  Camping, weddings, and family get-togethers all crammed in at the same time.  I've also been busy working on getting the Ottawa Garment Guild going, and we've now got a great little Executive Committee working together to get organized for meetings starting in the new year.  

I sewed up these PJ's (using the Closet Case Carolyn Pajamas pattern) in August just in time for Camp Roller Derby.  It's a summer camp for people who are part of the roller derby community, and I just neeeeeded to get these done in time.  Now, I haven't really been on my skates much over the past 6 months thanks to a knee injury and crazy busy weekends, but I'm getting back into it this winter, armed with some great physio exercises for my knee and (finally) some free time.



Grey & Silver Dot Kalle Shirt

When one of your favourite pattern designers releases a pattern that is almost your name (it's actually the mis-pronunciation of my name I get all the time), you obviously have to make it.

Enter, the Kalle Shirt & Dress from Closet Case Patterns.  If I haven't documented my love for Heather's patterns enough... you should know that I looooooove her patterns.  She's really been killin' it this summer with the Kalle Shirt & Dress and the Charlie Caftan.