How do you…


Teach 20 teenagers to sew? It is fucking mind boggling! Today was the first ‘real’ class of Fashion studies I have ever taught, and although it wasn’t the worst class I have ever taught, it was a bit discouraging. Nothing but issues the whole class, a few machine related, but the large majority classroom management related. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I’m pretty awesome at classroom management. I am a very capable teacher when it comes to keeping kids in line and on task, so today was disappointing.  Nothing got out of hand or anything, and probably wasn’t even really as bad as I am thinking it was; but for me, it was no fun at all. Ugh!

I think this may be one of those things that kids think is so awesome (which it totally is), until they actually  realize they aren’t going to be pumping out any grad dresses within the first week and lose interest. These kids make up the majority of the class so far, which is no fun. I am at a loss, but maybe I just need a good nights sleep to come up with a better plan. I’ve been working on report cards like a mad woman, and getting less sleep as a result. I had so much to catch up on from my medical leave, but I think I’m finally getting things under control. I even got 3 classes worth of report card comments done tonight 🙂

One thing that I think I am doing right to inspire the kids is wearing something ‘me made’ to every class. In fact, I’ve been pretty good about doing this since I went back to work in mid January. I told you I wasn’t idle during my blogging hiatus! Here are some of the projects I have been working on, in no particular order.

1. BurdaStyle Vintage Modern ‘Jamie’ shift dress:

Have you seen this book yet? It’s pretty fantastic. I LOVE the patterns provided, they are super cute, and the possibilities are endless for adjustment and creativity. I decided to tackle this dress first because it looked easy and quick. The good news is that it is easy, but it was not quick by any stretch of the imagination! I cut a straight 38, and the muslin looked like an honest to God potato sack! I know shift dresses are not meant to form fit, but I felt a bit like a kid trying on my mom’s clothes to play dress up. It was hideous!

Instead of giving up on it or cutting a whole new size, I decided to challenge myself and fit it properly to my proportions and personal style. I signed up for a course on fitting, and it was seriously worth every penny. Confession – I have signed up for MANY craftsy courses, and have actively used maybe half of them so far. I’m trying to reign myself in with all their exciting offerings, but this one was just too good to pass up.

(Any excuse to grab a kitty…)

Ahem… Back to fitting. I added long vertical darts to the front and back of the dress, shortened the bust darts by about an inch, and added short darts to the shoulders. I also made it a boat neck instead of the original scoop neck, as I hate clothes that fit close to my neck. Instead of lining it, I finished the neck and armholes with self made bias tape. I sort of wish I had been able to find a knit lining though, I hate how some knits show every lump and bump.

 Perfect it aint, but I am really proud of the fitting changes I made.

I used a double knit fabric, so I lost the zipper and had to take the dress in on each side by about an inch to get the closer fit that I was looking for. There are still some things I can do to make this fit better, possibly shortening the waist and readjusting the back. I am mildly irritated that the hemline got a bit stretched from hemming. I’m hoping that it will ‘normalize in the wash.

2. Victory Patterns Chloe Dress:

This one is less exciting as it has been sitting in my closet for a while. I have made this one once before (for my couture project which I have just realized I never showed you… ooops!) I stuck with the size 6.

With this one I did some more fitting, and although it turned out ok, it’s not likely to be one of my favourites. The fabric is this nice looking basket weave cotton that attracts lint (and cat hair) like a motherfucker. I already have quite the reputation as a cat lady, I can’t afford to be covered in the hair even more than I am on a regular basis.

 With the fitting I kind of fiddled with it until I got the fit that I wanted, but then sort of balls’d up the pattern in the process, meaning I have to reprint and tape it together all over again. That’s probably not a bad thing, if I can make it fit in a way that is truly flattering and comfortable.

I lined it with some good quality cupro bemberg, and it is unbelievably static-y. I also misplaced (Oh, who are we kidding, lost) the neck binding pattern piece so I just attached the lining right to the neckline. The problem with this is that the damn lining doesn’t want to stay down. Ugh…

 Not the worst thing I’ve made, but it is back to the drawing board with this one. I would actually like to make one with pockets next. That would be sweet!

3. Papercut Patterns Miss. Chalmers Skirt:


I have been holding out for a really great skirt pattern for a little while. As much as I like pencil skirts, they aren’t practical in my day to day life. I’ve been on the hunt for a sweet casual skirt that can be dressed up to, and this pattern is it.

Below is actually my second version. In my first version, I cut a small and followed the directions as written, including the 3/8″ seam allowance, but it ended up being big. The only real change was to lower the waistband about an inch to sit lower on my hips.

I really like the fit of my second version. I kept the lowered waistband and used 5/8″ seam allowances instead, making the pattern about 3/4″ smaller all around. I think I may move down one size to see if it makes a huge difference in the fit. The waist still feels too big, especially in the back.

It still needs a bit of work, I feel like the back hem rides up a bit, so I’m going to need to add some fabric to my badonkadonk region (and I know how to do that now thanks to craftsy 🙂

Below is my very first version of the Miss Chalmers Skirt. Although a bit loose, I LOVE it. Why put it below the second version then?

 Simple: Awesome Ponti pictures! He snuck into the frame so I grabbed him and he took his rightful place atop my shoulders, his most favourite-est spot in the world.

I also think I look exceptionally happy in these pictures, which is really nice considering the horrid fuckery I underwent last month.

I had the same issue with the hem being shorter in the back than the front, but with some careful cutting I was able to fix the problem. My most favourite parts of the skirt are below, the zipper and the facing.

My second attempt at putting in a centre zip in a skirt and it turned out wonderfully. I used Tasia’s Lara-proof (read – idiot proof) instructions for inserting a zip and it worked so well. This will be my go to from now on. Screw invisible zippers! The black one has an invisible zip because that’s what the pattern called for, but this was easier and less time consuming.

The next part I love are the facings. I used some quilting cottons I found on sale in the remnant bin of a local sewing store. I think it really makes the skirts stand out from RTW.

I have a few more finished projects still, but I’ll leave at these tonight. Keeping busy has helped me feel better, so as long as I’m sewing, I’m a happy lady.

I’ve also started working out again, and am feeling stronger and more like myself every day. It is horribly discouraging when you are forced to stop exercising for a while to go back to it and absolutely suck balls. Fortunately it’s sucking a lot less than before. I really can’t wait for the snow to go away so I can safely run outside again.

I think I’d better end it here, I’m getting a wee bit sleepy. Until next time 🙂


7 thoughts on “How do you…

  1. That's awesome Lara, I'm happy that you are enjoying life more and more each day. If you or Shane ever need anything that I can assist in please don't hesitate. Actually going through something myself right now, not sure if its depression or what but anyway. Glad to finally get to read your blog. hope to see you soon.


  2. Huh… that shift looks an awful lot like the one I wore to Duncan's wedding… just sayin'… 😉

    Anyway, now that I'm awesome at sweaters and you continue to be awesome at dresses, let's definite organize a trade. Talk soon! xo


  3. No way dude, it's actually the second dress that is identical the the pink one. Only difference is that I added sleeves.

    About your trade, I am in for it, but I also have a surprise for you.


  4. Loving all the new makes, and that's a fabulous zipper job on the skirt!! I'm guilty of being addicted to buying craftsy classes and then forgetting I have them, although I've used one, I have two I haven't touched and dozens on my wish list lol

    Love the kitty pics – nothing wrong with being a cat lady (I'm one too!) but I know what you mean about not wanting to wear them 😛


  5. Sewing meet up?
    Hi: I'm a teacher as well and have posted my drop point on the “Map the Sewintist” map that Vicki created. I'm in the Edmonton area and on Spring (?) break right now. Want to get together for coffee? Let me know


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