Little Red Dress & Proudest Sewing Moments

I feel smokin’ hot in this BurdaStyle dress! Good thing, since it took me two years to make it. ūüôā

I’ll tell you all about it below, but first, I have a request for you.¬†Helena and I are preparing episode 5 of the Clothes Making Mavens podcast, and we want to include you in it! What was your proudest moment in sewing? Maybe you made a complicated dress for your prom? Or maybe you finally mastered a fly zipper? Maybe, like me, it was the first garment you sewed all by yourself that you were actually able to wear out in public. Now, if I could only find that picture of me wearing that skin-tight, crushed-velvet, bell-sleeved and flare-legged¬†jumpsuit back in the early 90s. I hear 90s style is in again…but maybe we can just leave crushed velvet lying in peace, yeah?

Please leave a comment below¬†about your proudest sewing moment, or — even better — leave us a voice mail by calling 401-64MAVEN or recording a message via your computer’s built-in microphone at¬† We’ll include your stories in our next podcast!



This is BurdaStyle’s Twisted Cap-Sleeve Dress (06/2014 #102B). It features a neat design element whereby the front and back pieces are cut off-centre, so when you put the dress on you have to twist the bottom to put the side seams where they should be…this results in a subtle diagonal twist around the midriff which I totally love.


I cut and sewed most of this two years ago, and got frustrated with a too-loose, wavy neckline, so it sat in the basement cupboard with other UFOs since then. Lots of unpicking and resewing later, I’ve got a neckline that isn’t quite perfect but a lot better than it was.


I’m actually wearing the dress backwards. Wide, plunging necklines aren’t all that flattering on me but I do love a plunging back! Since there are no bust darts on this design, it’s possible to wear it either way.

One of the issues I had with this dress was the facing in the bodice. It’s a full facing, front and back, which ends just above the waistline, like a crop top on the inside. If you look carefully in the following photo you can see the bottom of the facing causing a wonk on the left side. I have since made¬†the facing a little narrower near the bottom edge, but that didn’t solve the problem. The jersey fabric rolls a bit at the bottom edge¬†— despite me finishing it with the serger¬†and pressing the shit out of it every time I wear it. What to do?¬†I don’t want to make a narrow hem as this may be just as visible on the outside¬†as the roll. Any advice? I think if I made this dress again I wouldn’t do the facing and would just turn in the edge around the neckline or do a neckband.


I wore it out to a nightclub and my friend found this pic they posted on Facebook later that week…which turned out to be one of the tamer photos taken in the club that night. In a stroke of good timing, we called it a night¬†just as others were starting to get their twerk on.¬†There are some things better left unseen. ūüėČ

Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 1.06.15 PM

Thanks for stopping by for a read. Don’t forget to comment about your proudest sewing moment, k? ūüôā

Belize Skort

What a successful make this has been! I have pretty much lived in this skort since the moment I finished it.


This is the freshly-released Belize Shorts and Skort pattern from Itch to Stitch, View D. It was one of those patterns I bought as soon as I saw it and got started sewing the very next day.


The fabric is Cotton and Steel’s Mustang Arrows by Melody Miller. You can’t tell from the photos but the dots are metallic gold. (Squeeee!) I originally bought it as part of a sewing kit from Craftsy to make the Green Bee Amelia dress¬†(sorry, it’s sold out now), but I put it off for a long time because even though Amelia is the perfect dress to show off these arrows on the bias, I kinda knew that the¬†silhouette really isn’t my bag. Despite the extraordinary popularity of fit-and-flare dresses in the sewing community, they’re just not my style.


I find this so easy to wear…the comfort of shorts but with a bit of extra flair, so I don’t feel quite so dressed-down as I would if I were wearing just shorts.


I cut and sewed a size 0, and made a couple of modifications.¬†I cut the two front pieces on the bias so I could have the arrows going diagonally, parallel to the bottom front hems. I shortened the length of the shorts so that from the front you don’t really see them. I also¬†had to take it in around the waist a little before attaching the waistband.¬†I find the elastic waistband has a tendency to roll inside the casing, so I sewed a horizontal line up¬†the back to help keep it in place. Shannon of Adventures of a Young Seamstress was a tester for this pattern and sewed three horizontal lines of stitching into the elastic waistband to keep it in place. I may do the same. You can see Shannon’s¬†cute Belize shorts here.


And here’s me doing some kind of chicken dance in my front yard….you know, as one does. ūüėÄ


Thanks for stopping by!

Long Cardi


I really, really am not ready to start thinking about Fall. I’m still sewing summer clothes, abandoning all good taste to sip sickly-sweet fruity cocktails, barbecuing in the back yard, and playing volleyball¬†at the beach on weekends. In fact, Fall can kindly kiss my ass while I continue to enjoy a hot, sunny summer, thank you very much!

But, let’s face the inevitable. The days are getting shorter, and in about four or five weeks the weather here in Toronto will be noticeably cooler. So the¬†Sew Ready for Fall blog tour is timely. (It’s like an intervention that insists you pull your head out of the beach sand and get ahead of yourself for next season.) And exciting prize giveaways know no season! So scroll down for more info on the blog tour and how to enter to win a sewing machine and many other cool prizes!


This is my contribution to the Sew Ready for Fall blog tour. It’s the Long Knit Cardigan from BurdaStyle (01/2011 #126B). It’s just the drapey, flowing piece¬†I had in mind: a very simple but versatile garment for layering.

Here I’m wearing it with¬†my new Itch-to-Stitch skort, hot off the sewing machine, which I’m pretty much living in since I finished it. (I’ll tell you more about that pattern in¬†another post.)


Here’s a more Fall-like ensemble. I love this outfit, but I am more than happy to wait quite a long time before it actually becomes weather-appropriate.


I used a very lightweight polyester-rayon blend hacci sweater knit, which Stylish Fabrics provided to me for free to participate in the Sew Ready for Fall blog tour. They describe it as “soft and durable as well as very light weight. Great for sweaters, hoodies, long sleeves, beanies, and cardigans.” Apparently hacci knits have a more open, loopy texture than regular knits. And it is indeed quite open as you’ll see from some of the pictures below. You can clearly tell the right side from the wrong side, as the tiny purl bumps and knit v’s are visible (if you knit, you’ll recognize this right away).


I omitted the sleeves from the pattern and therefore cut the shoulders to be much narrower before finishing the armholes with a simple twin needle stitch. It’s a very easy sew — that is, if you’re not a dolt like me who sews the two shoulder seams of the back piece directly to each other, and then carries on with the next steps as if that’s a perfectly normal thing to do. (Ah, Burda instructions, you and I have a complicated relationship, don’t we? If only you’d just say what you mean instead of beating around the bush coyly, playing games with my head, we wouldn’t be on this inevitable path to¬†divorce court, now would we?) Anyway, dear reader, if you’d been a fly on the wall you would have enjoyed watching me try to figure out how this deformed piece was going to connect to the front pieces. I admit I spent a shockingly long time on that doomed endeavour. So on second thought, maybe I could do with a little refreshingly cool Fall weather to get the brain in working condition again.


Overall I’d say I spent more actual time ripping out seams than sewing them. (Ha, nothing new for me there, really.) And this fabric does not like to play very nicely¬†with seam rippers–it was very difficult to pick out the sewing thread without accidentally grabbing a thread from the fabric. In the end, though, I managed to finish with only one small hole I had to darn with some navy thread.


Ok, prizes! I promised you prizes! There’s an amazing selection of prizes to be won, including a Brother sewing machine, gift cards, pattern packs, and more. To enter, you can add a comment to any one of the blog posts on the tour including this one you’re reading right now, and you can register a few entries here.


Want to check out all the other lovely creations on the Sew Ready for Fall blog tour? Don’t forget to comment on them for more chances to win. ūüôā

August 1st: Sewing By Ti and Rebel and Malice
August 2nd: Gray all Day
August 3rd: Wild and Wanderful and The Sara Project
August 4th: Doodle Number 5 and Sweet Red Poppy
August 5th: Paisley Roots and Dos Natural Sistas and My Crafty Little Self
August 8th: Made By Melli and Sew Far North
August 9th: Sew Sophie Lynn and Creative Counselor
August 10th: Frivolous at Last and EYMM
August 11th: Lulu and Celeste and Sprouting Jubejube
August 12th: Adventures with Bubba and Bug and All Things Katy and Sewing by Ti


Check out Episode 3 of the Clothes Making Mavens podcast

Hi friends! Just a quick note to let you know that episode 3 of the Clothes Making Mavens podcast is now available for your listening pleasure!

Clothes Making Mavens podcast episode 3: Sew Small Talk - Fabric Zeal

Helena and I are also happy to let you know that you can know subscribe to the podcast on all your favourite podcatching platforms, including iTunes. See for more info.

I’ll be back soon with my contribution to the Sew Ready for Fall blog tour.

A Helluva Coupla Weeks

Hi friends! Wow, it’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks for me lately. First of all,¬†Helena and I have just released Episode #2 of the Clothes Making Mavens podcast, in which Helena interviews Lauren Taylor of the very popular sewing blog. Want to know what makes Lauren crazy-mad? People who have no idea how much time, energy, and creativity it takes to write a blog post and assume you’ll be happy to just write a post about [insert product name here] on your own dime. I agree! And I love how fired up Lauren and Helena get while they discuss it. Check out the podcast and let us know what you think!

Clothes Making Mavens - A sewing podcast about handmade fashion - Episode 2 now available

In other news, I have been away on a wonderful trip to Utrecht, Netherlands, Oslo, Norway, and Copenhagen, Denmark for the past couple of weeks.

I was in the lovely city of Utrecht for a conference. Utrecht hosts one of the longest-running weekly fabric markets probably in the world. Every Saturday for, like, centuries (if a simple Google search is to be believed). And guess whose flight was scheduled to leave Utrecht on a Friday? THIS gal here with the thumbs. ūüė¶ ¬†So no Dutch fabric shopping for me.


My husband sent me this shot of the view from his kayak on the canals in Utrecht while I was sitting in a boring conference session. ūüėź Karmically, shortly after Dave took this shot a little boy of about 5 came running out of his backyard on the canal with a giant pole, and tried to knock Dave out of his boat with it. lol


Dining by the canal in Utrecht

In Oslo I visited a couple of friends, one of them a former student of mine who is working on PhD in Oslo. It’s a good place to do one, as tuition is free and students get paid a salary while they’re studying. So very civilized. Scandinavians really have their shit together. I thought about fabric hunting in Oslo, but everything was just SO expensive there that I thought it best not to even look. Instead I enjoyed the impossibly blue skies and inspiring architecture.


The skies above the Oslo Opera House


Urban kayaking in Oslo


Buildings in Tjuvholmen, Oslo


Well hello, Norwegian sailors!


The monolith in Vigeland Sculpture Park, Oslo


Vigeland Sculpture Park, Oslo


Vigeland Sculpture Park, Oslo

In Copenhagen I got lots of sewing room inspiration…check out this amazing apartment I rented through AirBnB!

Sewing room

One of the owners of the apartment designs and sews clothes and sells them in a boutique in another part of Denmark during the summer. I didn’t actually do any sewing while there, of course (I wouldn’t dream of using someone else’s machine without express permission, and besides, I was way too busy sight seeing) but I did spend a good deal of time just looking around this room and sighing. It’s full of printed knit fabric (right up my street!) and has a lovely view out over a very large shared garden.

IMG_2680 IMG_5646


The rest of the apartment was equally inspiring…


…except maybe for the terrifying gnome (I think that’s definitely a death grip he’s got on that poor fawn).


If you’re planning on heading to Copenhagen anytime soon, let me know if you’d like the info for this apartment.

And, on a very sad note, Dave and I had to say goodbye to our beloved little kitty Miss Pie earlier this week.

We’re not sure how old she was when we adopted her nine years ago (definitely full-grown, although she was such a tiny cat that ‘full-grown’ doesn’t seem like an apt descriptor) as we got her from a rescue organization. We were told she’d had a very rough go in her early years. She had no teeth at all; she had to have every last one of them removed due to a chronic mouth infection which finally mostly cleared up after her last remaining teeth were removed. For the approximately two years prior to that, she’d regularly fling giant blobs of snot onto any nearby surface (including my sleeping face) every time she sneezed. I am grateful we didn’t have to spend all nine of the years we had with her being so rudely awakened and cleaning up dried snot from various corners of the house. Have you ever seen that book How to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting¬†to Kill You? Well, Miss Pie was definitely out to kill me. Her favourite spot to sleep was on my throat, and no matter how often I pushed her off my trachea as I woke up suffocating, she always slowly edged her way back. And when we adopted¬†a new kitten a few years ago, Miss Pie beat the SHIT out of him regularly for the first year or so that he was with us, even when he got to be bigger than her. I’m sure he’s mentally damaged from all the abuse. Sounds like a horrifying cat, no? Well, she more than made up for it with her cuddly nature. There was no lap that was off-limits; no tummy that didn’t require¬†kneading with her tiny paws. That girl wanted to cuddle ALL THE TIME. And I was happy to oblige.

Miss Pie was quite sick with kidney disease and pancreatitis, and it was really time to let her go. On the day we had scheduled the trip to the vet, my husband and I¬†spent the morning cuddling with her in the backyard under the sun. Just before we had to leave, we went into the house to get our things and left her for a moment. When we came back out, she was gone without a trace — which was quite out of character for her. She was obviously all ‘fuck this, I’m outta here’, which made me proud of my feisty little gal. A few hours later we found her sleeping on the neighbours porch, and she smelled of tomato leaves, which makes me think she must’ve traipsed through someone’s vegetable patch. So she had a very good last day on her own terms, and then we said goodbye.

Love you, Miss Pie. ‚̧


Miss Pie Рforever a photobomber

And that, my friends, is my lengthy catch-up! I hope all’s well with you. Thanks for stopping by for a read.

Mother’s Little Helper: Not-So-Secret Pyjamas

Pssst! Over here. Need something to take the edge off? Something that’ll make you feel great? I got what you need. I’m your pusher…


And I’m pushin’ TERRY CLOTH. Lawdamercy, why didn’t anyone TELL me that terry cloth is heaven on earth? These pants caress my legs all day with millions of tiny soft loops that swish around in buttery-soft drapiness. Siiiiighhhhhh….


As soon as I made these addictive narcotic pants I rushed back to my pusher (The Work Room) to get more. I had experienced nirvana, and needed more, More, MORE! But when I got there I didn’t see any left.

Sweat broke out on my brow.

“Excuse me,” I said, concealing my panic, “I bought some terry cloth here last year, I think it was rayon or bamboo terry…do you have any left?”

“Sorry, none left.”

“Will you be getting any more in?” I choked out in a high pitched voice.

“Maybe. I don’t know. It might be a seasonal thing.”

I waited for a few awkward moments, expecting maybe a “I’ll find out for you if we can get more.” But only silence. (Folks in this place seem to have skipped over a few chapters in the Good Customer Service/Principles of Pushing Handbook.)

Damn, I’ve got to find me another pusher. I’ve got a need for terry cloth that any pusher worth their salt would be more than happy to exploit. Regardless of season. Extreme comfort and happiness know no season! My wallet is wide open here, people! I’ll sell my soul for terry loops in all the colours!


These pants are New Look 6461, a simple elasticized-waist pant that’s meant to fall a couple inches above the ankle. On my 5’4″ frame they’re a bit neither-here-nor-there in terms of length…I probably should have shortened them another inch or two. But they drape like a dream and I ADORE wearing them. In fact, I’m not even embarrassed to tell you that I¬†wore¬†them for two consecutive days, including to bed! [Spot the person who’s been working from home a lot lately.]

New Look 6461

I’m also working on my own version of the top pictured on the model in purple and grey stripes.


Good news: I think I found myself a new pusher. L’oiseau Fabrics is a Canadian online fabric shop based in Calgary that has a great selection of knits. And like any good pusher, they threw in something they thought I might like for free on my first order to get me hooked. Actually, it was by accident. I ordered some black bamboo terry cloth and when the package arrived…no loops. NO LOOPS! Another cold sweat. Am I mistaken, I wondered? Is there such a thing as terry cloth with no loops? But it turns out they had just made a mistake on the order and had sent along regular old black jersey. They sent the terry cloth right away and told me to keep the jersey. Nice, huh? Although the terry I got from them is a heavier weight than what I made the pants with, so it hasn’t quite got the same luscious drapiness. But it will be good for a winter cardigan or sweatshirt.


Pssst! Me again. I’m also pushing podcasts. Have you heard the Clothes Making Mavens Podcast yet? It’s freeeeeeeee…….just try it, see if you like it. Come back and tell me later if you need more. ūüėČ

clothes Making Mavens - a sewing podcast about handmade fashion - episode 1 available now -

Announcing the Clothes Making Mavens Podcast!

Hey friends! This is a really big deal for me, and for Helena, the amazingly talented sewist and blogger at….we have just launched the very first episode of our new podcast!

clothes Making Mavens - a sewing podcast about handmade fashion - episode 1 available now -

Please go check out our new website at and have a listen!¬†Don’t forget while you’re there to let us know what you think, and what you’d like to hear about on future¬†Clothes Making Mavens episodes. We would love your feedback. And please feel free to share the news with other sewing enthusiasts in your network.

Thanks so much for checking it out!

As for me, I’ll be lying awake all night from sheer excitement that this is really a thing. A thing that is happening. Actually happening. Wheeeeeeeee!


Shoe Making at the Make Den

leather sandals - all the parts ready to be put together

I’ve been taking a leather sandal making class at The Make Den¬†here in Toronto for the past few weeks. Every once in a while, as I was concentrating on cutting or bevelling or skiving or some other task that was causing major repetitive strain (my right middle finger has been numb for two days), I’d suddenly think:

I’m making SHOES.
I’m MAKING shoes!
I’M making shoes.

I don’t think it even occurred to me for most of my life that shoes are things that actually get made by people. Thought they just showed up in stores like everything else, y’know? ūüėČ

The course was one 2-hour class per week for 4 weeks. Not enough time to finish the shoes — nobody in the class was able to finish in that timeframe. We’re all heading back in July for a make-up class to try to get them done.

The Make Den is mostly known for sewing; they do sewing workshops and they carry a good selection of quilting-type fabrics. While¬†not usually my bag (show me the knits!), I couldn’t walk away without taking these lovely yardages home with me. I mean, look at that guy with the glasses! These are cotton canvas by Echino, and are rather pricey but¬†there’s a sale on so they were¬†40% off. The sale ends tomorrow, June 24 — sorry for not telling you sooner! Also, if you’re in the area, they’re having a party tomorrow evening to celebrate the launch of their new website, The Woven Wolf, which features online sewing classes & tutorials. The party is from 7 to 11 pm at The Make Den’s 1244 Bloor Street West location. The lovely Irene Stickney, who taught the sandal making class and owns the place, tells me there’s goody bags for the first bunch of people who arrive. Maybe I’ll see you there?

Echino cotton canvas

Full disclosure: while I paid for the sandal making course and the fabric mentioned in this post, I was offered a free class at the Make Den in future to tell you all about the launch of The Woven Wolf and their launch party. We’ll see if my numb finger comes back to life before I decide to take another class! ūüėČ

Also, did you hear the news? Helena from Gray All Day and I are launching a sewing podcast!

Exciting News! And Your Most Embarrassing Make

You know what’s so amazing about sewing podcasts? That you get to listen to people discuss your favourite pastime¬†while you’re doing your favourite pastime! It’s like having a sewing party at your place¬†but you didn’t have to vacuum or bake banana bread ahead of time!

If you’re a fan of sewing podcasts like I am, then I hope you’ll be happy to hear this news…

Clothes Making Mavens - a sewing podcast about handmade fashion

Helena from Gray All Day and I are producing a podcast! We’re looking forward to sharing our first episode with you very soon!

[Lori jumps around room with excitement, shouting yahoo yaHOOOO YAHOOOOOOOOOOOO…a box of pins goes flying; the microphone gets knocked on the floor. Helena, on the other side of the continent, is still extracting pins from the rug after her last excited outburst.]

We want to include your stories in our podcast, too. So we’ll be asking you a specific question for each episode in hopes that you’ll share some interesting stories with us and with other sewists who will be listening (we hope).

Our first question is: What is¬†the most embarrassing thing you ever sewed that you actually wore out in public?¬†Why did you wear it, and where? How did you feel? Was it embarrassing at the time or only now that you think back on it? Perhaps it was a fashion crime? Or a bad fit? Or likely it was just something that was fashionable in the 80s that you’re horrified by now. (Many of us are¬†horrified by what we wore in the 80s, aren’t we?) I know you’ve got some good stories, so dish, my friends! All the gory details, please! ūüėÄ

There are several ways you can share your story with us:

  1. Call us at 401-64MAVEN and leave your story on our voicemail. (Long distance charges may apply.)
  2. Visit¬†¬†and record your message using your computer’s built-in or external microphone.
  3. Leave your story in the comments below.
  4. Send your story telepathically directly to my or Helena’s brain. (Results not guaranteed.)

We’d love for you to record your message using one of the first two methods so we can play it back on our podcast. But we’ll also be happy to read some of your written stories aloud, too.

Hope to hear from you very soon! And I’ll keep you posted about when you can listen to our first episode.





Picasso and Monet Together in my Closet


I know you totally clicked on this post to see that SKIRT! And I don’t blame you. Just LOOK at those colours! Doesn’t it remind you of a Monet painting? And then there’s that great jacquard texture to die for.


I gasped when I saw it on the rack at H&M and practically ran to the checkout counter to buy it.

That’s right — I didn’t make it. But¬†I did make that boring ol’ white top to go with it. ūüėČ Talk about reeling you in! Do accept my apologies…lol


I’ve dubbed this my Picasso top, because the lines on it are all skee-wiff if you look at it straight-on. The square neckline slopes slightly downward on one side while the hemline slopes slightly downward on the other side. If this shirt were a portrait, the eyeballs would both definitely be on one side! I obviously wasn’t being too careful when I put this together…but let’s just call that “artistic liberty”.¬†If Picasso can do it, I can do it….er, um, something like that.

Skipper Tunic crop top

This is Variation 2 of the Skipper Tunic by Papercut Patterns. The pattern calls for woven fabric but I made it using a textured polyester stretch fabric, so I had to downsize the pattern a bit. I used two layers of fabric for the front and back pieces instead of just doing a neck facing, and the result is a top with good body that retains its boxy structure. The fabric isn’t scuba but two layers together makes it seem a lot like it.

Skipper Tunic by Papercut Patterns - Variations

Skipper Tunic by Papercut Patterns

I didn’t think a crop top would ever be part of my repertoire — I remember their hey-day in the mid-90s and wasn’t a fan even then — but this was just the thing for this high-waisted skirt. I even wore this outfit to our annual convocation ceremony.


But that skirt, though. Right? Whenever I look at an article of clothing in a store I always ask myself if I could make it instead, but sometimes the best option is to buy. In this case, I figured because I adored the skirt so much just as it was, and because I didn’t think there was ever any way I would find fabric similar to this, it was a good choice to buy it. Sometimes knowing you *could* make something you see on the racks is quite a bit different from *actually* getting around to making it. One winter not too long ago I almost froze because I refused to buy sweaters, figuring I *could* make them myself. Didn’t factor in that it takes me a good four months to knit one sweater, not to mention that I was (and still am, and will forever be) working out fitting issues with knitting.

How about you? I know some sewists want to have an exclusively hand-made wardrobe, while others are fine with mixing in some or a lot of ready-to-wear. What are your personal guidelines around that?

Thanks for stopping by.