Warm and Cosy Without A Stitch In Sight

Warm and Cosy Without A Stitch In Sight

Usually when I think of scarves I think knitting. Lots and lots and lots of knitting. More knitting than anyone could imagine. The thing is that since knitting looks so easy and tranquil people forget that it takes a really, really, REALLY long time. Sometimes, you just want a project that’s done now. That brings us to the blanket scarf. I’ve seen some very expensive ones, and some reasonable ones that are just acrylic. Really, it’s just a long piece of fabric. I descended into my basement and found a plaid wool I’ve been hoarding for 8 years. This is 100% wool suiting, which I would 100% recommend. At the end of the day you’re only using about 1.2 metres, so going for something high quality is easy.


I used this plaid wool suiting that I got online for $5/metre 8 years ago. I used to buy fabric while sitting at fashion school. Sometimes I got amazing deals.


I pretty much just oragami folded it to get a square and cut it. Plaid gives wonderful cutting because you don’t really need draw much, just know what line you’re cutting on! I straightened out both sides so they were straight. I was going to cut off the selvedge so I could fray all around, but decided against it.


Then simply take a pair of tweezers and pull the threads out. I did about 1.5cm of fray on each side.


I love a good frayed edge.


Then wrap yourself in coziness! I wore this all day with just a cardigan and it was the perfect amount of warmth. It was a seriously easy project and probably what everyone will end up getting for Christmas.


Maria and… Luigia?

Maria and… Luigia?

So, things have been…. interesting. I know I said that I’d upload a tutorial of my bandit costume and show you the things I modified for Popeye and Olive Oyl. I made the things, took the pics, and was waiting to upload them to my computer but…. someone stole my phone. I had a blackberry. WHO STEALS A BLACKBERRY?!

Luckily, I have most of the photos for the lovely pinafores I made my friends who went as Mario and Luigi. When I broached Luigia as an feminization my Nonna almost died laughing and made me promise to never name a kid that.

Anyway, the inspiration image was:

If anyone knows where this is originally from please tell me so I can link it. These girls deserve major props!
If anyone knows where this is originally from please tell me so I can link it. These girls deserve major props!

I knew I could make something similar. So, to the fabric store we went!

I know this is most likely a woven, but we were minding budgets as such and found a rib knit for $2/metre so obviously we couldn’t resist that. Stretchier is always better right? My vision was to do a sort of circle skirt and a pinafore, and I remembered that Annika Victoria put up a tutorial on how to make a pinafore dress and a circle skirt. I kind of sort of followed her, but did a few things differently. PS: If you haven’t heard of her, give yourself about 4 hours because you are about to get into the youtube stream of your life.

I started with those as a guideline, but I changed quite a bit as well.

Starting with the pattern. I used newspaper because I’m poor.


I ironed it out, and noticed that the headline was sad.


So I turned it around!



This has some extra scrolling because I like to write things down, but basically I used the measurements to make a circle skirt a la Annika. Now, you might be saying, “Sandy, you chose a rib knit, aka the stretchiest fabric on the planet! Shouldn’t you account for that a bit more?

Yes. Yes I should have.


I measured my inner circle…


Any my length and ended up with this. Tuna cans, by the way, make amazing fabric weights.


I cut my pattern and then got more newspaper to make my other friends.




I then did the pinafore by kind of holding it up to my body and seeing what it looked like.


I labelled ALL MY PATTERNS. This is extra important if you’re making two identical dresses for two different people. I also made a waistband, and decided to just use the waistband piece for straps.

Then I started making my pinafores. I cute the straps out of the waistband piece and cut the actual pinafore part.



Time to start making the straps. Fold them in half, pin and iron.


Sew a double zigzag seam and trim the edges.


And iron them with the seam in the back and kind of the middle.



Now you attach your straps to one side of the pinafore…


The side where the front of the straps face should be the right side of your fabric. I did them 6cm in. Pin and baste on there.


Then make sure they’re pointing down and sew the top of the pinafore together.


Flip it inside out and admire your almost out of nowhere so pretty straps.


Now, we’re going to understitch. Basically, we’re sewing the seam onto the lining side.


So that line isn’t on the right side of the fabric. Basically this will keep your lining from popping over.


Such a pretty right side!

Pin and sew up the sides of your pinafore!


Now, before we turn this right sides out, we’re going to need to clip the corners. I always sew a little line in the seam just below the angle I cute to secure things. This probably does nothing except allow me to sleep at night.


And turn inside out and iron. I’m using a tailor’s ham just because I like having that lift from the ironing board. I wish I had one of those little arm things.


et voila! A pinafore!


Now on to the waistband! I folded it in half, pinned, and sewed to get a circle. I’m not a fan of Annika’s add a seam technique just because I don’t trust myself to cut or sew particularly straight.


Fold that in half lengthways and iron. I know I iron a lot more than most, but it really is the only way to get rid of that “This is obviously not store bought” look.


Next I took the skirt fabric and basted the pinafore part onto the skirt, with right sides together. I did my best to make sure that the part of the skirt where the ribs were straight were where I put the pinafore.


Then I added the waistband over the pinafore, making sure the seam was hidden.

You might have noticed green and red random pins, those are just to remember whose costume I was sewing.


Quarter your waistband and sew while stretching the waistband to fit the dress!


Once you’re done, IRON!


By sandwiching the pinafore in instead of adding it to the waistband… I think it just looks prettier.


Now, The back straps… I had a vision with star shaped buttons, yellow bows and buttonholes and it…. it just didn’t work.

And this is where the uploads stop. I basically handsewed the back straps on to the lining part of the back waistband. I then added some yellow bows on top, with white star buttons over that. They were adorable.

I’ll insert a bigger photo in when I get one!

After all that…. Well I just wanted to carve a big old pumpkin.


And get some rest. I contracted a bad cold and I think I’m going to be out for a few days. But I got a new phone with a much better camera, so hopefully that means more tutorials!





I love halloween.

Like love. 

I’m marrying an Australian. He really doesn’t get it. Last year got a bit out of hand, so this year I’m trying to show him the pure joy and fun of it. As much fun as I had doing a whole squad theme last year- we were Roman gods and goddesses- I’m kind of really looking forward to doing the couples costume this year. I’m usually single for halloween, so this is like a whole new territory. I need a work costume and one to match with my friend too.

I’ll start with the couples. This will be the Saturday night costume. I gave Adam some options and he process of eliminated until we landed on Popeye and Olive Oyl! Like I said, he doesn’t get the holiday. I think it’s some weird Australian pride point where he has to shrug any holiday that isn’t Australian. I think this is ridiculous and that if he’s going to do that he shouldn’t have eaten like half the turkey and all the amazing cranberry sauce I made for thanksgiving. But I digress.

I’m getting him to wear jeans and a black polo- we’re starting him in a simple costume. I’m going to get some yellow felt and cut out big circular buttons. I’m going to find yellow rope and some snaps and make him a belt, and cut a square of red fabric he can tie around his neck. He has brown hiking boots, and I’ll get him a captains hat. The final touch will be getting some eyeliner and giving him some anchor tats on his arm. There’s no way he can complain about the comfort level or ease of this costume.

For me, it’s a bit more elaborate. I found this hair tutorial:

It’s not the most super accurate, but it’s cute, and I’m loving it! I’m probably going to do my makeup similar, but not exactly the same. Red lips are a must though! I’m also going to try to find some big yellow stud earrings.

For the clothes part, I just don’t have time to sew anything. I’m doing a big project for two of my friends, so that takes priority. I need to find a red t-shirt, and then I’ll baste the collar-y thing on. Then I just need a high waisted black skirt- I think I have one somewhere, and I’ll baste a gold ribbon at the bottom. I have a pair of brown boots, and I’ll get a pair of white boot socks.

Now, the Monday is where it gets interesting.

I work in the privacy department of a healthcare initiative, and my boss wants us to do privacy themed costumes. We came up with the idea of all of us being a piece of personal information- one girl’s dressing up as a birthday cake to be birthdate, the other is thinking of like a fingerprint… that kind of thing. I’ve decided to be criminal records. I’m going to do the full on bank robbing bandit, then make a cardboard vinyl cutout, and voila! Criminal record.

This brings us to Monday night,

One of my friend’s unfortunately works Saturday and Sunday night, so we’re hitting the town on Monday to truly have halloween on halloween. Our costume? The costume that inspired the work costume above? The ever brilliant partners in crime! We’re doing full on bank robber bandits. She’s picked up cheap tuques at forever 21 and we both have striped shirts. Add in leggings, and I’ll wear my docs- I might buy some black boot socks though, because wearing those all day without properly thought out socks… ouch! She’s done her shopping, and the result is glorious:

Apparently tuque’s are $4, and I know I’ll wear that again!

So, there is a few DIY’s needed for this one, and that’s where I take the lead. We need the really stereotypical eye masks- I’m thinking felt and elastic, bags stuffed with a dollar sign and stuffed with play money- I’m going to try to actually get these to function as a bit of a purse for the night as well, because why not?

For hair and makeup I’m thinking low pigtails- plain or braided for the day, then teased out at night. Makeup is all about the cat eye for cat burglars!

Does anyone have any tips on diy’ing the mask and bag? Have you done it before?

What are you being for halloween?

So, I was super excited when I saw the new H&M video.

Look at it! It’s so inclusive! The music! Everything! I took the plus size models to mean that H&M is making the wise business decision to include plus sizes at all their stores. So, I called every single H&M that is easily accessible by public transit in Vancouver.

Guess what the outcome was?

I then branched out to outlying stores… and… if I want to shop H&M plus sizes I’d need to go about 70km’s from Vancouver.

Now, one thing I truly believe, and constantly say, is that it’s not our job to bully companies into having plus sizes. If they don’t want to, that’s their own (bad) business decision. However, don’t do a whole “inclusive” marketing campaign and then not follow through with it. It feels like their advertising agency was just like “black girls and fat girls.” So they ran out and made this whole video and the world is so distracted by it that no one even realizes that it’s a bold faced lie.

Fashion marketing is getting more and more inclusive, but marketing is only a part of fashion.

What do you guys think? Are you okay with H&M using diversity to sell, but not actually following through with it?




I know I’ve been really bad about writing lately.

I’ve been distracted….

Planning my wedding! Adam (finally!) proposed so I’ve been in full crazy bridal mode. We finally have a venue we love and a colour scheme picked. I’m excited to start dress shopping and I have a lovely gaggle of bridesmaids who… well who need something to wear.

I was recently a bridesmaid and my dress cost me an arm and a leg. It was a $100 USD dress, coming from the states at the height of the Canadian dollar crisis. The shipping was over $50, and alterations cost another $100. That’s more than the $200 I spent on my grad dress! The worst part? I don’t like the way they did the alterations, and the colour is a pale pink that I’m just… Basically, wearing that dress made me feel the worst clothing has ever made me feel.

It made me think a lot about what I want to put my bridesmaids in. First off, I don’t want them spending that much. I want to keep it as cheap as possible. Maybe splurge if it’s something they all love and want to wear again. As for colours, that’s a tough one. They need to match the wedding, obviously. I want something a bit darker, richer. Adam and I think we want jewel tones at the wedding. I started with bridal shops, and they were nice, but they all just looked so… bridesmaid-y. My bridesmaids are my friends. I don’t want them going into debt for my wedding. Why would I want them to look anything other than amazing? Why would I stick them in a dress they’d never wear again? This is how I ended up on the Henkaa site.

Henkaa is all about convertible dresses. Some of them are amazing- the Iris has sleeves! SLEEVES! I avoid any sleeve in any

I would definitely buy a sleeve convertible dress. That’s magical! However, the Sakura

While absolutely beautiful, it is just a basic convertible dress. How great would bridesmaids look in them, all the same colour, all the same length, just different ties. The thing that makes this really unique- and why my first thought was to buy it and not to make it- is that you can get a colour flare with a chiffon overlay.

I mean, could I really justify almost $200 for something I might be able to make? Maybe. The big appeal for me is that chiffon, which looks like it’s just an elastic waist circle skirt. The biggest barrier to making that will be finding chiffon with a wide enough width. Is this possible?

Don’t get me wrong, the wedding is super, super important, but with a wedding comes a honeymoon. We’re getting married in Vancouver, but sadly some of Adam’s family and friends won’t be able to make the trip. As much as we wanted to take the train across Canada, seeing family is always more important. Thus the new plan: Australia. Basically we want to take the coastal route from Brisbane to Melbourne. (planning, updates, can be found on my travel blog- SandyDid.) We want to do a lot of outdoorsy stuff, but we also want to do things like fancy honey-moony nights out. So I need a fancier dress. With that chiffon overlay, this might be just the ticket. The biggest problem will be sourcing wide enough chiffon… unless I make a half circle skirt and sew the two together?

Any ideas? Has anyone ever done this? What tutorial did you use?

Trench Troubles

Trench Troubles

I love trench coats. I’ve had many a gorgeous one, but my favourite is a Calvin Klein number I got for $40. I also have an amazing Michael Kors one I snagged at Winners for $60. The biggest problem I have is that I always, ALWAYS lose belts. Even in these two coats the colours are so different. What do I do? I don’t want to buy a whole new trench coat…. I mean, I want to buy a whole new coat but any extra money I have right now is going to my honeymoon. So, I need some options.

I liberated one of my dad’s old braided leather belts and that works alright, but I’m terrified of losing it. Also, I tend to wear my trench open and that just doesn’t look right. For the MK Coat I might be able to get it hemmed and get a belt made with the extra- I wouldn’t do a coat alteration myself, yet.

Does this happen to other people? What do you do?!


Ruffly Bikini Top

Ruffly Bikini Top

So, as we all saw last time I made myself a high waisted bikini bottom.

Remember the sketch?


There’s an awful lot of tops there. I’m starting with that first one.


I started by making a pattern. I did this by literally measuring the top of my chest and my waist and picking a number in between them. This is the easiest pattern I’ve ever made. It’s literally a rectangle.


I then made two rectangles because I wanted this fully lined and I hate cutting, then having to unpin and cut again. So annoying, and so avoidable.

I’m a beekeeper, so when I saw this yellow I knew I needed it. IMG_20160725_150439

I sewed both the lining and the front piece at the sides- using the same 2.5 stitch length and 1.5 seam allowance I did in my bottoms. Make sure you use a zig zag stitch, and do an extra seam in the seam allowance!


To avoid bulk I ironed the two seams to different sides.


I made the strap width based on how to get the most scraps from the bottoms I made. Very scientific.


I then folded them in half and sewed down the sides.


Now comes what, in my opinion, has to be the worst part of sewing. Turn them inside out. There is no trick to this, it just sucks.


But now it’s ruffle time! I determined the width from a scrap of fabric. I’m all about wasting nothing. Fabric isn’t cheap!


I’m using elastic gathering for this project. I find it easier, and I also think that it’s good for putting ruffles on stretch fabric because it all stretches. I played with lengths. Since this was elastic I got when I tore something else up, I had the first bit already at that length. After that I just took elastic scraps and lined them up.


Now I finished cutting all my ruffle pieces and got ready to make some ruffles!


Mark your centre front on your top and make sure to make marks that go down all the way. I started with my bottom ruffle and matched it’s centre to centre front on my top.


and sewed! Repeat this with all the ruffles.


Now it’s time for straps. Try your top on in the front and determine where you want it to be. Make a mark. Take your strap on the right side, orient it so the top part is just over the edge, and baste. I know this looks so very wrong, but trust.


I knew I wanted mine to criss-cross in the back. Strap placement is hard- find someone who will help you with it. My mother safety pinned the back strap while I was wearing the top. I measured the distance from centre back and made sure they were equal parts apart.


I did the same thing with the front, put the straps facing down and baste. Again, this will feel like you’re doing something weird and wrong.


Now, put your lining top inside your top, right sides together. Make sure your straps aren’t all up in everywhere and sew, making sure not to catch your ruffles.


Iron the seam and sew it down onto the lining. This keeps the lining where it should be.


I added clear elastic to this bit to help keep the top of the top from falling.

My phone at this point sadly ran out of battery. I basically sewed swimsuit elastic to the bottom bit and hemmed…. and ended up with….


A super cute ruffled suit! I absolutely love how it looks with my bottoms! All up from pattern making to completion it only took about five hours, and I have more than enough fabric for another top!

I know it’s probably a bit late for a swimsuit post, but hey, start planning your Cuban all inclusive right now!