April Etsy Shop Update

For some reason sales have been slow since Christmas – I’ve had a few custom orders from people I know personally, but my Etsy shop has been pretty dry. Luckily the dry spell came to a close over the last week, which was good because I had been slowly working on a few new aprons to add in, so timing couldn’t have worked out better! These new patterns have been added in to the shop now:

Herd of Cats Aprons April 2015I’ve been doing lots of product experimenting lately as I’ve wanted to expand my shop for quite awhile with new and different products. So those will be coming in slowly over the next couple of months as they are perfected! Look forward to things like pillow covers (with Liberty of London and Nani Iro fabrics!), shoulder bags, and embroidered items – I’m so excited!

And remember that time about a month ago, when I wrote that I wasn’t planning on selling any weavings? Well, it turns out that I really, really love making them. And I have limited wall space. And I was getting lots of encouragement to sell them. So I decided to list a few of them in a new Etsy shop to see what happens. I’ll be posting more details on that, including a link to the new shop, within the next couple of weeks.

P.S. I’ll be back on Friday with a garden related post!

Feel free to visit my Etsy shop, Herd of Cats, even just to browse! 😉 Thank you for all of your support!

March Wardrobe Architect Challenge

I can’t believe it’s time for another Wardrobe Architect Challenge post! Mind you, my February project was a wee bit late, but it does seem like yesterday that I shared it! If you go back to my original Wardrobe Architect Challenge post in January, you’ll see that in March I was planning to construct an accessory. But if you recall back to February, you’ll see that I had to make some adjustments to my original plan. In February (or I should really say early March) I focused on making a tote bag and now later in March, I took on the challenge of the Violet Blouse. My original plans changed but that’s okay, I allowed myself some flexibility in the challenge and I’m glad I saved the blouse for a month where I had a bit more time. I’m very excited to share how everything turned out this month!

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The Violet is a pattern by Colette that I picked up a couple of months ago when I first decided I was going to participate in the Wardrobe Architect Challenge. I choose the pattern for the pretty peter pan collar but also because it looked like a piece that I would actually wear. In addition to that, when I took inventory of my current wardrobe, the major gap was tops, so it seemed like a good plan to tackle the Violet.

This time I went with a lightweight cotton voile fabric. I took a bit of a gamble when I ordered this because I’d never touched a voile before and wasn’t sure how I would like it. I knew it was an apparel specific fabric (one of the mistakes I’d make with my first blouse was using a quilting weight cotton), and I knew it was supposed to have a nice drape to it, making it shape easily. I couldn’t have been happier when my fabric arrived because it was so soft and lovely and I knew it was going to be perfect for my blouse (it actually feels exactly like those Liberty of London lawn fabrics I love so much). About 5 minutes in to sewing with the fabric, I was very pleased with how easy it was to work with. I didn’t take a gamble at all on the fabric print because I had previously used this print in quilting weight for making aprons and I knew I loved it.

Colette Violet Blouse

Anyway, on to the project. I was a bit nervous about measurements for this pattern because I thought I was between two sizes (read more on that later), so I decided to go with the larger size and make adjustments later if needed. I made sure to wash my fabric before I started cutting just in case any shrinkage were to occur after the first wash  – the last thing I wanted was to spend all that time on making something that would shrink after being washed.

This was definitely a whole day project (although I spread it out over a couple of evenings and then about 1/2 day on the weekend). The pattern was fairly simple but just time consuming. I had to look a few things up which made the whole process a little longer than it needed to be (like how to use the automatic button hole function on my sewing machine – I’ve avoided it until now but it was painless once I figured it out). This was my first time using a Colette pattern and I would highly recommend them to others – they are well put together and easy to follow. Altogether, the blouse wasn’t an overly complicated project I think it is a good project for the beginner apparel sewer (like me! I have lots of experience sewing, but just not apparel).

Colette Violet Blouse
Isn’t that collar adorable?!

I’ll touch on cost again as well as I think it is important to know this when going in to a project (although I’m pretty guilty of not looking at a project cost until after I’ve completed it). The voile fabric was a bit more expensive than the fabric I normally buy but I think it was worth it – it was $13.50USD/yard, plus shipping costs (about $2.00USD/yard), so translated in to Canadian prices, it was about $39 for the fabric, including shipping. Plus the cost of fusible interfacing, thread, and buttons came to about $10. So not a cheap project by any means – altogether costing about $49. Oh and lets not forget the cost of the pattern, which was another $20 (it can be used multiple times so this cost will spread out over time).

I’m fairly pleased with the end result of my Violet but the only thing I would change for next time is actually making the smaller size. I went with the larger size because I wasn’t confident on sizing but when all was said and done, I should have gone with the smaller size. The blouse does fit and I can wear it for sure, but it is slightly loose. This style does work best on me tucked in to a skirt with a cardigan over top (I just don’t really look good in loose button-ups over jeans, I wish that style would work for me). But as I said, I am pleased with how this blouse turned out and I would use the pattern again.

Colette Violet Blouse

So what’s next in the challenge? Luckily the next challenge combines the months of April and May, so I have a bit more time to complete the dress project. I have two dress patterns to choose from and I’d love to hear your feedback on whether I should sew the Dahlia or the Crepe – and also your suggestions for fabric. Leave your feedback in the comments!

If you’d like to follow along with the Coletterie Wardrobe Architect Challenge, check out their blog (it’s also a great resource for any level of sewer).

Fabric is Budquette voile in Nightfall by Bari J. Ackerman from Hawthorne Threads.

New Quilt Stitched By Me

I posted a photo of my new finished quilt on Instagram a few weeks ago but I love it so much that I wanted to also post it here on my blog. This was one of those projects that was on my sewing to-do list for quite awhile. I have made a patchwork lap throw in the past and really liked the end result, but I just loved this fabric from my favorite artist, Leah Duncan, so much that I really didn’t want to cut it up, so I thought the best thing to do would be to let the pattern speak for itself and make it into a throw quilt. I used a simple polka dot fabric on the back side and finished it up with a plain black bias border. I’d considered doing a bolder border, like a stripe or something, but I kind of liked the idea of keeping it simple. Also, another note on the bias – I have tried sewing bias before and kind of failed, but then I found this excellent tutorial via Pinterest. Try it out if you’re going to be sewing a bias edge! It does take a bit more time and patience, but the end result is worth it. Now on to the next sewing project!

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Are you working on any projects? I have a million things on my project list right now so it is going to be a busy weekend for me!

Herd of Cats Etsy Shop Update

I’ve been busy busy busy sewing up a storm in my makeshift sewing room (AKA the dining room). One of my goals this year was to work on building up the inventory in my Etsy shop, Herd of Cats, so I’ve added a number of new aprons, including a new design: the scallop hemmed apron. The scallop hem came about from a custom order I had at Christmas time – I liked the results so much that I decided to add a few to my Etsy shop. Although they are quite labor intensive, I think the results are adorable, fun, and unique.

Processed with Moldiv

Processed with MoldivProcessed with Moldiv

I have a number of other projects and prototypes coming along for the shop, and I’m sure I’ll share the results once they’re ready for the world to see, but in the meantime, feel free to browse my Etsy and spread the word!

Processed with Moldiv

Aprons are for sale on my Etsy shop, Herd of Cats. Please contact me directly for international shipping and custom order inquiries.

Wardrobe Architect 2015

I don’t know if anyone has heard, but one of my favorite sewing bloggers and pattern designers, Colette, has started a build-your-own wardrobe challenge. And I’ve decided to participate.

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The idea behind the challenge is to think about your clothes and how you create your wardrobe. Most people that I know (myself included), purchase their clothes from the mall or online, not really thinking much about where they came from or the quality of the product. It’s convenient and affordable. But the problem I’ve been facing lately is that I am not able to find the things that I really want. That’s where the challenge grabbed my attention. I’ve been experimenting with sewing apparel lately and while I wasn’t crazy about jumping in to it without a pattern, I’ve come up with a rough outline for my challenge. Please note: this is not the exact outline presented by the Coletterie, but I feel like you’re allowed to be flexible and adjust things to suit your own needs.

January – I’m going to consider my blouse the first part of the challenge completed. Not because it was highly successful, but because it was the first attempt at anything.

February – The Violet blouse. I’ve already picked up the pattern and chosen the fabric I want to use (I’ve gone with a voile this time). I’m excited about this blouse because unlike the first blouse, I’m not going in blindly.

March – An accessory. After sewing a blouse, I wanted to give myself a bit of an easier project. I’ve sewn a few bags in the past so I’m leaning towards that – and I already own tons of patterns.

April/May – Using another Colette pattern, I’m going to finish a dress. I have two patterns to chose from that I already own so that narrows down the choices a lot. I combined two months for this part of the challenge because I needed to be realistic about the time commitment. This usually marks the beginning of a really busy gardening season for me, so the next few months will be similar.

June/July – I’m still thinking about this one, but I’m pretty sure it is going to be the Amy Butler rain jacket. I’ve had both the pattern and laminated fabric for this pattern for several years and this is the kind of push I need to go ahead and make the jacket already.

August/SeptemberWool cape by Burda. This is another one of those projects I pinned ages ago and have always looked back on thinking I need to make it.

October – a kimono robe. I know the exact fabric I want for this as well.

November/December – I decided to put these months together as well since it is another really busy time (I need to be realistic here). I haven’t actually decided what I’m going to do for these last months of the project and I think I’ll leave it open ended for now.

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I am really excited about this challenge. I normally do not go for challenges of any sort, mostly because they do not appeal to me and almost seem more like a punishment that anything else. But I’m all for this one because I kind of wanted an excuse to do more personal sewing this year (I like sewing for my Etsy shop, but it isn’t challenging and sewing the same thing all the time can get to be a little dull). Although my version of the challenge is not exactly the same as the Coletterie, I had fun making it my own. And I’ll be sure to post my progress, challenges, and hopefully successes. Are you taking on any challenges in 2015?

And to help myself along the way, I’ve added a little button on the side panel of my blog as a daily reminder!