Sewing and lifestyle blog of a wannabe "full-time vixen"

Author Archives: Caroline

Now why is it I have a blog again?

Hello again to the world wide web! But honestly mostly to friends and families reading this post from a link I posted on Facebook. I’ll try not to ramble but it’s going to be difficult since I have a lot of thoughts swirling around in my head. I just need to word vomit this into the void, even if no one reads it. I will make a separate post with an update on how I have become a professional seamstress and costumer in the film industry.

To keep everyone who is actually going to read this from becoming too bored, I will pepper this post with images of sewing or knitting projects I have yet to blog about.

TL;DR of it all in list format:
– headaches from trying to regain access to my blog after not posting for 4 years
– anxieties about having paid an additional one year access to a theme from a defunct company? (I’ll need to migrate everything at some point next spring/summer and just not worry about it now, focus on the positives of writing new posts again)
– new anxieties about the design and layout of my blog in a post-smartphone explosion world, definitely some coding I need to tweak
– musings on how much I don’t really care to become a part of the “influencer” world
– missing the home sewing community and being a part of it
– trying to “edit” my life to be the way I want it to be
– stop being a workaholic and slide out of the mentality I had in my 20s (scared of turning down opportunities, obsession with building my career)
– learn to say “NO!”
– I haven’t sewed anything for myself in 4 years so I need to rediscover the joy of sewing for myself (I also need to knit a sweater for myself…I finally knit a hat for myself last winter but still need to block it :P)
– start sewing, knitting, and creating for myself again

I knit a Rue Shawl from Quince & Co with linen yarn last summer for my boyfriend’s mother.

I’ve been wanting to dive back into this blog for a long time. I kept putting it off and now after 4 years since my last post, I’m here, poking my nose back into my WordPress dashboard. I had to figure out how to gain access to my admin dashboard again by going through my web hosting cpanel and all this techy jargon. Dealing with updating my theme to the latest version but now anxious that I’ve sunk my money into another year of a company that seems to no longer really exist. I have been using Headway Themes since I migrated from Blogger to hosting my own site. Seems the company is pretty defunct…But my blog still looks and works the way it should so I’ll leave it for now. I need to find an alternative by next year though. That’s going to be REAL fun, migrating everything to a new theme or some other alternative. I’m SOOOO looking forward to it. (slather on thick layers of sarcasm please)

The entire blogging and social media world has changed too. People generally browse things on their smartphones and I know the mobile version of my blog isn’t the most optimal. I’ll have to see what I can do to change that. These are all challenges I know I can deal with. My goal is to have a simple and accessible looking blog. Nothing fancy but also reflective of my personality (I don’t want a sterile minimalist blog which is all the rage right now!). I’d like to commission some artwork as a new banner one day. I used to teach myself HTML code when I was a teenager so these are all realistic goals for myself!

I took Tambour Beading classes with a traveling couture tailoress from the UK in Feb 2018…I still need to finish this piece. D’oh!

Now to bring it all back to me…DO I EVEN CARE? Since I’m a perfectionist, a part of me always wants to do everything properly. Whether that’s washing the dishes, getting straight A’s in school, or running a humble blog that hardly anyone reads. I have no intention of becoming a world famous “influencer” (god this term makes me gag a little). I realized long ago that I haven’t an entrepreneurial bone in my body. I find it overly tedious and boring to have to run a business and especially have no interest in marketing myself. I have no issues with being employed by someone for wages I can count on. I’ve never wanted to be rich or famous. I enjoy being paid to do a job based purely on technical skill and to have employers who are willing to recognize that skill and pay a fair wage for it.

I do recognize that there is a lot on the line when people go off and start their own business or brand. It is a really difficult undertaking and one which requires a certain type of discipline and aggression for the endeavour which I just do not have. I’m also a workaholic so I know starting my own brand or business would absolutely consume me in a bad way. I also NEED to work with a small team of people. I am an introvert who hates working alone and I love having reliable colleagues to work together as a team towards a defined goal.

So why do I still have this blog up? Why do I return?

I miss having a platform with which to connect with people about sewing! I remember how encouraging and positive the home sewing community is overall and I miss it. I also miss having a platform to share things with real-life friends and family who are ever curious about the creative things I do. I do have a very empty Instagram page but I also prefer writing longer posts than is allowed on Instagram. I’m planning on integrating the two in a way that works for me.

Knit a hat for my boyfriend last March!

My Cantonese tutor, who I’ve been taking classes with since February this year, had a great thing to say to me one day when I was seeking some guidance on an issue, and to paraphrase: “I wish someone had told me how important it was to learn to edit your life the way you want it to be.”

It’s something I’ve been thinking about since she mentioned it to me. You see, I’ve spent a lot of time in my early 20s building up personal capital: saving up thousands of dollars on my own to go back to school, going to costume school, then emerging from school and trying to get established in the costuming world. I’ve always been a workaholic. I put off going on vacations while I saved up money for school and often worked every day, sometimes at multiple jobs.

When I went to costume school full-time, I was fully committed to it. I was working 15 hours a week as well and aiming for straight A+ marks. I had no social life. I burned out every semester (luckily there were only 4 in this two year program!) but I learned a lot and pushed my skills to the limit.

I made this ruff entirely by hand (wig was a rental) for a community theatre play I costume designed in Jan/Feb 2018

I graduated from costume school in 2016 and was anxious about finding work in my field. In 2017 I got my first real gig on a paid television show, which led to another, then to gaining full membership in the film union. I’ve never had difficulty finding employment since! I keep making more connections in the film industry, networking with more and more people, and my skills are constantly in demand as Vancouver’s film industry is booming. It’s a comfortable position to be in.

So now I’m 29 and I can work whenever I feel like. I also started teaching at a private fashion school part-time since May 2018 which definitely fell right into my workaholic tendencies again. I love teaching and mentoring people so I’ve learned so many more new things about myself as a teacher. It’s definitely a goal of mine to slide into teaching in my middle-age. However, I’ve had to teach 2 to 8 additional hours a week on top of working 40-55 hour weeks and it’s exhausting working so much even if I love teaching.

I made this scarf for my boyfriend as well and finished in Dec 2017…after starting it Dec 2016 but ran out of time as a Christmas gift!

I do actually need to force myself to slow down, recover, and have time to reflect on myself and my creative needs. I wanted to say spiritual as well but I’m not a spiritual person at all. I just need authenticity and I feel as if I haven’t been truly authentic with myself.

In a roundaboout way, I’m trying to say that when one is younger, one tends to focus on accumulating education, training, skills, knowledge, professional contacts, resources, and any advantage possible so one doesn’t get “left behind” in their career. This is what happened to me in my 20s. I have to learn to say “NO”. So many people want me to work for them and now that I don’t need to worry about money or filling out my resume with work experience, I need to focus on myself again.

I helped costume design for a community theatre production of Ibsen’s Ghosts in Fall 2016. I had to re-dye this dress in my bathtub to take it from an ugly peach to this dusty lavender.

Lately, I’ve been finding myself with a bit more breathing room but no real motivation to sew projects for myself. My relationship with sewing has changed since I became a professional seamstress and I need to rediscover the joy of sewing for myself again. I haven’t sewn anything for myself in 4 years. It’s pretty sad but just how things are when you work 10-12 hour days in the film industry!

So! It’s time to deal with my bad habits of being a workaholic and rediscover how my relationship to sewing keeps evolving. I have some ideas on how to explore all these things and I’m excited to share them with everyone! Above all, I think blogging is a great way to feel like one is held accountable to their goals, ideas, thoughts, and intentions.

An Epic Rainbow Pleated Skirt

Hello! Alright, bear with me while I get back on this old horse (i.e. my blog which I haven’t updated in more than a year). It’s a matter of getting into my administrator’s dashboard and figuring out exactly how I used to format all these posts…I apologize for my long absence but I’ve still been sewing! I actually finished a year of costuming school at the end of April! I guess that’s a huge update although for those readers of this blog that I actually know in real life — well you guys already know what I’ve been doing with my life this past year.

I’ve got so many blog post ideas which I just need to make a reality. I plan on doing a costume school mini-series because I know my friends and family are very curious about the things I’ve been making or doing at school.

Without further ado though, the reason I am posting today is because I wanted to show you one of the projects I made this summer. I’m quite proud of it as I consider it my first real commission. My friend Lily Le (also known as Pretty Pork Chops, her website here: asked me if it was possible to make a pleated skirt in which each of the pleats was a different colour of the rainbow. She wanted to wear something like that for the Pride Parade float she would be participating in but was having no luck finding anything like it online. Well here it is!



I feel that this is truly one of my best projects out of the ones that I’ve made completely from scratch; where I’ve had to create the pattern or figure out how to sew it completely on my own using my accumulated years of knowledge and technique.

Lily and I had a quick consultation meeting on July 17th at Dressew, which gave me roughly three weeks to shop for materials and also complete the project. The Pride Parade was on August 3rd. The skirt is made of twill fabric in the six colours found in the iconic Pride rainbow. We bought the red and purple fabric at Dressew the same day of the consultation but I had to find the others at Fabricland. Thank god Fabricland has a section dedicated entirely to Galaxy Twill! Definitely my future source of generic cotton/poly twill.

Lily gave me a pleated skirt that she owned which was to be my template for the rainbow skirt. Overall, once I wrapped my head around the details of the skirt, it wasn’t really very difficult to complete the skirt. I spent 9 hours actually cutting and stitching the skirt. Although my serger was giving me a headache towards the end of this project so maybe a wee bit of that 9 hours was spent on troubleshooting my serger. I tried to keep it out of my time estimate for the project but arrrrgh, why did it have to crap out on me when I had a few more seams to serge? I might have to take in for maintenance.

Anyways, each pleat is basically a strip of fabric identical in width and height. I had to measure the example skirt and calculate the dimensions of each fabric strip. Then I hemmed all the strips as I didn’t want to hem the skirt after stitching the pieces together; I felt it would be too bulky at each seam. I stitched all the strips together. Now as I wanted to minimize swapping the thread out on my sewing machine and serger, I stitched each colour one by one, making sure I followed the colour order that I plotted out. Yes, you heard me, I swapped out the threads on my machines multiple times. It was a bit of a pain in the butt but it was worth it!

Then I pressed the pleats into the skirt with my iron and stitched it down from the top for 4 inches. The ingenuity of the skirt is that the seams are hidden beneath the fold of the pleat. Everything looks clean on the outside! Here are some close-up photos.



The waistband is just a simple straight one and I inserted a blue invisible zipper at the back where the blue and purple sections meet. All it needed was one cute red button and a buttonhole to finish off the waistband. Voila!

I finished it on the Friday before the Pride Parade and handed it off to Lily. Some of her housemates were present and one of them gave me the idea of making a skirt like this in pastels…

Want to see the skirt in action? Here’s Lily looked fantastically adorable on the Rent Cheque/Babe Bang float!



Anyways, here’s to me getting back into blogging (again)! I hope to make another post before I have to go back to school and then I will begin working on my costume school series of posts. Thanks for reading pals!

Winter is Coming…To Your Sewing Room!

I don’t always make posts that are not about showcasing a recent completed project but once in a while I have ideas for content that I think might be interesting, if not at least amusing. So I receive email updates from the Big 4 Sewing Pattern companies on a regular basis. The pattern lines are McCall’s, Butterick, Vogue, and Simplicity for those not in the know. The first three are from the same conglomerate company though!

I like to peruse the latest sewing patterns and add whatever catches my eye to my ever expansive wishlist. I already have way too many sewing patterns and not nearly enough time to sew them all up but I derive a lot of pleasure from hoarding collecting sewing patterns. These days I’m much more selective though and I’ve been favouring indie sewing pattern companies. But the Big 4 still put out a few interesting designs in each collection that are worth putting on a wishlist. I get a happy little rush every time I see a new collection has been put out and eagerly click the link in the email notification I receive.

So a long while ago, probably in February, I was scrolling through the McCall’s spring collection when my jaw dropped a little. I had to stop scrolling and squint my eyes at the screen. “What the…” This is what I saw:

game of thrones sewing patterns 2

This was hilarious! McCall’s actually put out two Game of Thrones sewing patterns in anticipation for the premiere of the next season on April 6 (today!). So for those of you who noticed this a couple of months ago, you could have made your very own costume, perhaps to wear to a season premiere party?

Check out the two patterns — the first is M6940 which is very clearly supposed to be a Cersei Lannister costume.

cersei sewing pattern

The sewing pattern illustration is even more of a dead give-away with the lions and her facial features!

cersei sewing pattern art

So maybe House Lannister isn’t your thing? How about dressing yourself like The Mother of Dragons with M6941?

daenerys sewing pattern

daenerys sewing pattern art

Simplicity patterns had actually put out a dual Cersei Lannister and Sansa Stark pattern, I think a bit earlier than McCall’s. Judging by the pattern number, it was probably a part of the early spring or winter collection. Here it is, it’s Simplicity 1487:

simplicity game of thrones pattern

The Big 4 usually put out costume related patterns as a way to get in on the Halloween market. But I’ve been noticing in the past few years how they’ve really been putting in an effort to stay on top of the trends. McCall’s releasing these two patterns just a couple of months before the Game of Thrones season premiere is an excellent example of this. I’ve also noticed that they’ve been releasing Steampunk inspired patterns too.

Anyways, I hope everyone has a happy time watching the Game of Thrones premiere. I’m one of those weirdos who tends to wait till everything has been released and then binge watches them over a few days. This year I might wait for 3 or 4 episodes and binge them in small batches. Till next time friends!

Chevron Striped Skirt – Ginger Pattern

My latest project is the Ginger Skirt from Colette Patterns. I chose a navy and cream striped cotton twill fabric and sewed version three which involved lining up the stripes along the centre front and centre back seams to form a beautiful chevron!



It’s a bit tricky trying to photograph narrow striped fabric on my camera so I took some more close-ups below of the front and back.



This was my first time ever sewing a garment with a chevron effect like this. I’m quite proud of how well I lined up the stripes on the front and back centre seams.



This is also the first time I’ve sewn the Ginger pattern and it was a very simple pattern, designed at a beginner level. If I hadn’t gone for the chevron effect and added a lining this project would have taken a lot less time. I was even thinking of adding side seam pockets but I decided I didn’t want to further increase the time needed to complete the project. I’m trying to pump out two to three projects a month these days! I think this is a fairly modest and realistic goal for me but it does mean that the difficulty level of the projects factors into how much I can accomplish each month.

The Ginger pattern is lovely though. It’s well designed and I love that there’s a fullness to the pattern, which is quite apparent in the back, so it’s not just a regular ol’ A-line skirt. I’m looking forward to making more of these with the other waistband variations — pointed and shaped curve — in various other fabrics! It’s workhorse pattern for sure and would work well for any sewist’s wardrobe. I may be a bit late to the Ginger bandwagon as the pattern was released a while ago but I’m glad I finally sewed it up!

A chevron striped A-line skirt has been on my to-do list of “dream sewing projects” for a while now. One down, maybe about a million more to go! You’ve just got to take it one day at a time and one project at a time…

Candied Melon Blouse – Belcarra Pattern

I had to keep this project a secret for a while. This is because I was chosen as a pattern tester for Sewaholic Patterns’ next pattern design! Tasia already announced it on her blog although it’s not been released for purchase yet until April. She gave me the go-ahead to blog about it so here is my version!



I made this from a light-weight polyester crepe fabric I found at Fabricland. The contrasting pink cuffs are from a cotton poplin I purchased at Dressew. I really love this blouse! I sewed the variation that has pleats on the front of the raglan sleeves. I wasn’t sure if the wide neckline would work for me but I’m really happy with how this turned out.


The way this blouse turned out wasn’t exactly like my original plan though. I had made my own bias tape for this project and at first I had sewn it to the neckline with the intention of having the bias trim sit on the right side of the blouse. However, the neckline was not lying correctly so I folded it to the inside and sewed it down. Now you can only see a hint of it peeping out. This ended up working really well! People have complimented me a lot on this detail. I have so much gratitude for the happy little sewing accidents that sometimes occur.

One of my coworkers remarked to me that she loved the colours I had chosen for the blouse — this dark watermelon green contrasting with the candy pink colour. I was inspired by 1940s clothing in which I had seen this colour combination before. It’s a striking colour duo that I really like and am somewhat obsessed with. In my fashion illustrations and fashion design classes, I inadvertently and subconsciously designed with this colour combination a few times! I didn’t even realize what I’d done until I looked through my portfolio long after the classes were finished.


I would totally recommend this pattern to someone, especially a beginner sewist. It’s so easy to sew and didn’t take me very long. You could easily sew this in one evening for a nice quick, easy, but satisfying project. I have sewn many Sewaholic Patterns and continue to be a fan. Tasia is a great designer and drafter and her instructions are very thorough. I think her patterns keep getting better and more refined as her business grows larger and more successful.


I have literally been waiting for a sunny morning in order to take photos for my blog. It’s been pouring rain and soggy in Vancouver lately. I didn’t get a sunny morning but I got a non-rainy morning at least. I’m still learning a lot from self-teaching myself how to take decent photographs of my projects — lighting, fiddling with camera settings like the exposure, and using a simple photo editor on my computer. I don’t have a fancy camera; in fact, I just have a simple Canon Powershot point and shoot camera! For my needs, my current set-up seems to work well enough.

There have also been some slight changes to the blog! I moved my blog from Blogger to WordPress recently and purchased web hosting and a domain name. I also purchased a customizable theme which I’m still fiddling around with. So throughout the next few months, I’ll be tweaking things when I have a spare moment. I hope to be able to get a banner designed for me in the near future as well.

Hopefully there will continue to be lots of exciting things happening to me in the future in terms of sewing related things. I was recently notified that I was the winner of the Plaintain Challenge hosted by Deer&Doe! I wanted to thank my friends and family for their support and also to anybody who happens to read this blog or come across it. 2014 is off to great start!

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