My 2017 Christmas Outfit

HAPPY HOLIDAYS INTERNET FRIENDS! :D

I hope that you are all snugly and warm this holiday season with your friends/family :) I thought I would sneak this holiday themed outfit into your blog feeds right in time for Christmas Eve, a perfect blog post to read while sipping some hot chocolate (with Bailey's optional but highly recommended!) 

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Today I'm sharing with you my Christmas outfit, a festive Galloway sweater and matching large plaid Arum dress. Let's start with the Galloway shall we? 

I was smitten with this pattern the moment it came out in the latest wool people and I knew that it was going to be my Christmas sweater this year. I have never done such an ambitious colour work project before (or any pattern with a steek!) so I was a bit hesitant but it's soooo pretty that I had to try this pattern out. Even though I knew I wanted this cardigan for Christmas I was still a little stumped for colour choices, I wanted to do justice to incredible colour work. Luckily for me Jared included several colour suggestions which made life much easier for a newbie to colour work :D I was lucky enough to snag some Brooklyn Tweed Shelter from Beehive Wool Shop during Knit City this year (they brought over a huge tote bag of yarn for me from Victoria!). The colours I used were Storm Cloud for the main body colour (7 skeins) , Cinnabar (1 skein), Fossil (1 skein), and Long Johns (1 skein). I even had enough of the storm cloud and fossil colour ways left over to make myself a pixel hat with a massive faux fur pompom which you can see in the images below :D

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I knit size 38 and shortened the torso by about an 1". I did this by removing one full ten row repeat of the body lice pattern and redistributing the decreases evenly across the remaining repeats. Overall I think this cardigan fits really well size wise, the knitted fabric with shelter has a nice drape, stiff enough to hang nicely open but not so stiff as to not have any movement. It's a very cozy, relaxed cardigan, perfect for siting around a fire with friends or family or wearing under a warm jacket to go the Christmas market or skating :) The only thing that I think I would change, if I could, in a future one would be to narrow the sleeves a smidgen, they are bit baggy on me. However I have no idea where you would even begin with the math to make that a possibility! I even had enough of the storm cloud and fossil colour ways to make myself a pixel hat with a massive faux fur pompom which you can see in the images below :D

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If you've been on my Instagram you'll know that I actually knit the yoke of this cardigan twice! I inadvertently cast off the wrong number of stitches for the underarm which resulted in my counts being completely off for the entire yoke and I didn't notice until I was almost done :( (this is what happens when you knit while watching season 2 of stranger things!) But I'm really glad that I took the time to unpick everything and re-knit it because the end result is fabulous. It also meant that I go really good at colour knitting, I was even able to teach myself how to hold strands of yarn in each hand and knit continental style! There were a few puckers here and there, mostly where stitches were slipped from rows below in order to avoid three stranded knitting, but these all blocked out making a nice smooth fabric :D

I'm still drooling over this colour work

I'm still drooling over this colour work

I hadn't knit with shelter until now, but as with all of the Brooklyn Tweed yarns it was a dream to knit with and the resulting fabric feels amazing to wear, warm but not bulky and not heavy, and I adore seeing the little flecks of colour that make up each colour way in the yarn. I haven't included pictures of me cutting the steek because no one needs knitting induced anxiety on Christmas Eve but suffice to say that it was a nerve racking experience :S but also kind of exciting because it meant I was super close to wearing the finished cardigan! To fit with the Christmas colours, I finished the seek with some velvet red ribbon which you can kind of see peeking in some of the above photos. I'm now offically a steek knitting/cutting master!

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Moving along to my Aurm dress! I got this fabric last year from Caroline at BlackBird fabrics during a pop up shop she had in Vancouver. I actually sewed this dress last year but never got around to posting about it, even though I've worn it a bunch! It works for both formal and informal functions and it's super comfy! 

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The Aurm dress is a simple, shift dress pattern with flattering back shaping which helps avoid any of the lower back pooling of fabric some shift dresses have. I love the over sized plaid print of this fabric, and I think it goes really well with the simple lines of the Arum dress. Due to the large print, however, I did have to be cognizant of the pattern placement when I was cutting out the dress. I wanted to match up the lines of the plaid as much as possible to ensure consistency, and in the end I think I did a pretty good job! :D I cut a straight size 40, with the only alterations being my usual short person adjustment of about 2.5", and everything fits great! I may make the sleeves a smidgen looser in future makes since there are a bit tight on my biceps (I've been working out yo!) but other than that this is definitely a simple dress pattern that I will be turning back to time and again.

Look at that plaid matching!

Look at that plaid matching!

That's it for this post! I hope to have one more blog post for your guys before 2017 is done! I hope that you guys are having an amazing holiday season! 

Much love friends!

-Becca & the fluffy blond monster 

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Bikinis and Body Confidence

Hi internet friends! 

Summer once again ran away with me and before I knew it August came and went! SO much sewing (I think my project total for August was 2 shirts and 3 dresses, not counting the bikinis I'm going to share with you now)! Bikinis at the end of August? why for you ask? BALI :D

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If you've been lurking my Instagram you'll know that I was working on some Sophie Bikinis for our upcoming vacation. Again, Heather has hit it out of the park with this pattern and the accompanying online video course which was full of tips on tricks which really helped me figure out the whole process. I actually made both bikini tops first before working on the bottoms, primarily because I was so stoked about how well the first one turned out (the paler coloured one in the top of the photo above) so I coudln't wait to do the whole process all over again. For the second one I was super stoked with how well the patterning turned out, I spent a lot of time moving around the various pieces around on the fabric but it was still hard to imagine what it would look like all together until it was finished. 

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For both bikini tops I cut a size 6, with cup size 5, and wire size 38. The only modification I made was to widen the bridge by 1/4" in the second top (the one on the right in the above photo) to help the cups sit better which resulted in the bridge sitting closer (though not flush unfortunately). For the bottoms I did try to shorten the original high waisted bottoms that came with the Sophie pattern but it didn't really look right, so I ended up doing what it seems most Sophie makers did when they wanted regular and not high wasted bottoms and turned to both the Heiress and the Indigo Ruched Bikini patterns by Swim Style. I ended up with both patterns because I wasn't sure which set of bottoms I would ultimately like and with time running out I decided to try out both. They are more 'cheeky' than any other bikini bottoms I've previously owned but I've been spinning my little heart out at spin class so I actually wasn't too bothered by it when I was sewing everything up and trying them on in my apartment. I did add a bit more coverage to the ruched pair since this set was the one I was planning on swimming/snorkelling and possibly surfing in. 

Side bar: I found it really difficult to find swimsuit fabric that didn't have a weird pattern on it.....for the paler swim suit I had to buy a bunch of extra fabric so that I could cut around all the weird letters in the fabric (which didn't actually spell anything) and the weird hash mark things......soooo weird!

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So now we've come to the part of the blog where I'm actually wearing what I've made and while I usually have some apprehension about modelling my makes I didn't anticipate exactly how much how harder it would with with swimwear. Let me preface with that as a kid who grew up spending every summer at our family cottage and the beach I felt super comfortable prancing around in swimwear. This mental body positivity did not go unscathed as I went though my teens but has only gotten stronger, so I though, as I became an adult. I thought I had enough of a body image buffer that modeling my own swimwear would obviously feel uncomfortable but I hoped I wouldn't overly stress about it. PLUS I really loved the way they looked while I was modeling them in my apartment (in all fairness you look good in everything when Bey is blaring through the speakers....) so I was totally confidant that this would all run smoothly. #IGotThis

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Turns out that taking photos while on a beach in public in a bikini is quite stress inducing....I stressed a lot on our trip about taking photos, and I got really self-conscious and had to constantly stop myself from comparing what I looked like to others around on the beach. But! ya know what? I did it. I took photos of not one, BUT TWO, handmade bikinis on a beach....in public....and now I'm posting them on the internet...... And while I did not enjoy it at the time I think the pictures look pretty good (at the time I thought they looked horibble but I think it was the heightened self consciousnesses that the process induced)

Thankfully, during our trip the #fluffyblondemonster was his usual super duper supportive self. He even offered to just candidly take photos so that I wouldn't be focusing too much on the photo taking process AND he went ahead and deleted any obviously unflattering photos to help stop me from obsessing over imperfections that only a camera can really catch. He also put up with my pretty much constant refrain of 'do I look fat?' Which looking back upon I'm pretty embarrassed about but I just couldn't shake that feeling, (and to be fair to myself it's not really a normal thing to be posing around in swimwear so I think I should give myself a pass for this hopefully passing self-consciousness) .

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The two toned version with the wider straps ended up being my favorite and the set that I turned to most often through out our trip. The bikini fit well and I liked the extra support form the straps, especially when we were snorkeling in choppy waters looking for manta rays (we saw one! it was huge!). The ruched bikini bottom ended up being a big big...I cut the medium size and area coverage wise the size was good, after adding some extra coverage in the rear as mentioned above. But I think that the side, colour contrast parts were too big and I ended up pulling them up a lot while swimming. Luckily, due to the construction method, the side seams are still accessible so I can go ahead and make those shorter to make the bottoms a bit smaller and less likely to move around while swimming.

For the paler set, I ended up making some detachable straps so that I could use it as a strapless top when I wanted. Unfortunately, because the bridge is a bit too narrow, it doesn't quite stay up on it's on comfortably without the straps so I may go ahead and make them permanent. Instead of having the straps attach to the back of the suit, kind of like a regular bra, I decided to just tie them like a regular bikini which I liked the look of. The bottoms were from the heiress pattern, again a size medium, and they fit great! I really liked the hidden elastics construction on this pair and may make an additional one in the fabric of the other bikini for next year :)

staying strong!

staying strong!

my happy place :) knitting on a beach!

my happy place :) knitting on a beach!

Self body image issues aside I think my first foray into swimwear making (and as a result of it being a wired bikini top my first real attempt at bra making!) was a success! yay! :D

How the Ginger Jeans Helped Me Get My Sew-Jo Back

Hey Internet! Long time no blog post......

I know....for a while there I seriously lost my sewing mo-jo....I was still doing crafty things and knitting all the time but work and life just started to get the best of me and I found I wasn't enjoying any of it anymore....and it made me sad :( It's not that I no longer loved doing crafty things I just wasn't getting the joy and satisfaction out of it anymore. So I took a step back, and just allowed myself to chill and remove the 'pressure' I had put on myself to continuously do creative things at every spare moment... When I wanted to sew, I sewed, and when I wanted to knit I knit, and when I wanted to be a vegetable on the couch or go to spin class, or play HOURS of Zelda (breath of the wild what have you done to my life?!) then I just did those things and tried not to be mad at myself for not doing #AllTheThings all the time. And that really, really helped...just letting myself be myself without beating myself up for not doing every single thing on my massive 'I want to do all the things' list. I also started a bullet journla which also really helped because it let me write down all the ideas I have in my head for all the projects I either wanted to start or have started and create realistic goals for when I can get those projects done (I also got to deep dive into bullet journals on Pinterest which is highly satisfying) :)

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Simple Summer Kimono

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Hey guys!!

Today I thought I would share a perfect summer project! A super easy mode, quick kimono :) I've seen a ton of these around lately and I knew I wanted to make one for myself as a spimple layering piece for the summer.  

 

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I started off looking for the perfect fabric. I wanted something that would be lightweight, with good drape and a fun print to jazz up simple outfits. I found this viscose poplin print on BlackBird Fabrics and I knew I had found 'the one'. I've been really crushing on the viscose lately, I find it really nice to work with and extremely comfortable to wear :)  

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Once I got my fabric I set out to find a pattern. I didn't really want to have to pay for a new pattern, I figured something as simple as a kimono should be easy to whip up without having a paper pattern. Luckily the lovely ladies at By Hand London had the same thinking and published this blog tutorial for making a kimono without a pattern. Unfortunately the tutorial only provides a single size and does not include how to figure out how to modify it for a different size. I was lucky that the size listed fit me, but I think if you wanted to modify it you could stgot the tutorial from this By Hand London blog post and used the exact measurements minus one inch from the sleeve length. It fits perfectly! It flows and drapes without being overly large on me and 

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