Freedom Fridays

Sounds kind of patriotic, doesn’t it? A while back I talked about the challenge of fitting sewing for pleasure into my life now that the business has grown. I really appreciated the comments on that post. Many of you responded that of course, I need to take time for creativity! (It seems so obvious to you guys from the outside, but there is always so much to do here on the inside!) And also that I’m a relentless and demanding boss of myself, but if anyone is going to succeed in running a small business, we have to be hard on ourselves. So there’s that.

Rachel W said it well when she talked about taking time away from work to sew for pleasure: “And then there’s the guilt– I’m convinced that my customers are waiting just outside my windows. Watching me take time off. JUDGING.” Rachel, I hear you!

Many of you suggested that I get a separate machine for home, which is a great idea if I had the space and the funds. I’m in a small apartment that simply has no room for a sewing space! (I actually tried to set up a second sewing machine in the bedroom at one point last year, that didn’t work out too well…) Not to mention I’d have to buy a second machine, plus a whole new set of tools to keep at home. Unless we end up in a house or larger apartment, it’s not going to work. Mr Sewaholic was pretty happy to get me out of his home office, he’s not going to let me back in!

In January, I made a real effort to close the computer and just sew for at least a couple of hours on Fridays. Even if that couple hours comes right at the end of the day, once the work is done.

Here’s the proof! I made a muslin of the Hazel Dress:

muslin of hazel dress

My hand is demonstrating where my actual waistline falls. I decided to leave the waistline as designed.

hazel, with slightly more gathered skirt

Showing off the pockets! I decided I wanted a little more fullness in the skirt, so I cut a larger size. I also added length because I’m conservative like that, and in the summer I prefer slightly longer dresses for cycling. (It may seem backwards, but I like short skirts in the winter, longer skirts in the summer. Shorter skirts in winter means that less skirt sticks out from my coat and gets rained on. Longer in summer leaves less chance of exposing myself, plus it fully covers my unsexy bike shorts.)

While I had the muslin out, I also muslin-ed Parfait!

parfait and its super flattering bodice

Isn’t that a flattering bodice, with the gathers and midriff piece?

You can see the difference in fit between the two designs. They’re the exact same size, but one is quite snug (Parfait) and one is fitted with ease to eat and move (Hazel).

This next photo demonstrates a simple reason to make a muslin – the dress straps are placed too far apart to cover my bra straps. It’s something that isn’t a big deal as far as fit goes, but it would make the finished dress so much better! Take a photo of yourself from the back when fitting, I may not have noticed this without taking the photo.

parfait muslin, from the back

I can see that the skirt back doesn’t fit perfectly from this photo. It’s pulling upwards at centre back, causing diagonal wrinkles. There’s extra fabric at the sides which is giving my silhouette a little side fluff. It would be hardly noticeable in the finished garment especially in a bold print, but I can fix that!

You can see the extra fabric better from the side view here:

parfait from the side

It’s like if I were to pinch out that extra fabric, the skirt would hang better.

Since the Hazel muslin fit fairly well, that’s where I went next. Parfait is on hold for now. although that bodice detailing is gorgeous and I have a great piece of fabric all lined up.

hazel fabric

Isn’t this floral border print perfect for Hazel? It’s a vintage cotton print, I can tell because it’s only 35″ wide. Luckily the Hazel doesn’t require a lot of fabric!

I also wrote on my sewing table, you can see it in the photo above. I marked off ‘1 METRE’ and ‘1 YARD’ lengths on my table for quick measuring of fabric. This way if I find a piece in my collection, it’s easy to measure it off quickly to find out how much I have.

At my previous job, I had to measure and count all kinds of things – tape, ribbon, elastic – so I had the table in the notions area all marked up to make the job quicker. This table isn’t precious, so I didn’t mind marking it up a little if it made my life easier. You might not want to do this with your table at home.

How do I feel about the start of Freedom Fridays? I feel 90% great, and 10% guilty for not sewing up the striped Renfrew Top and writing tutorials for it. (But I’ll get there, and I’ll probably feel more inspired to do it since I’m getting some fun sewing in my week as well.) I’m excited about my new Hazel Dress and I’m looking forward to working out the fitting of Parfait.

Most importantly, I feel like I’m getting in that sewing time that I’ve been missing, and know that even though Mondays are busy, by the end of the week I’ll be back in front of the sewing machine, making stuff!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

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22 Responses to Freedom Fridays

  1. Tilly February 8, 2013 at 7:44 am #

    Well done for getting your sewing fix in! Wow, the muslin of the Parfait really shows off the beauty of the design, non? x

    • Tasia February 8, 2013 at 10:37 am #

      It sure does! I was planning to use a printed fabric but seeing the muslin almost makes me want to use a solid instead, to show off that pretty detailing.

  2. Burke February 8, 2013 at 8:35 am #

    I really like the effect of added fullness in the skirt – will definitely try that!

  3. TriMama February 8, 2013 at 9:25 am #

    Good for you! I’ve never been keen on the Parfait pattern, but your muslin is gorgeous!

  4. Sue February 8, 2013 at 10:20 am #

    You did all that in a couple of hours? Wow! I’m impressed! I really must try to work faster! I love sewing and I only seem to get a couple of hours a week. I need to get better organised and then I would get some results quicker!

    • Tasia February 8, 2013 at 10:36 am #

      I find muslin-sewing goes really quickly, because I’m not worried about it being perfect. I’m much slower when it comes to the actual garment!

  5. Shar February 8, 2013 at 10:41 am #

    Please don’t feel ANY guilt. About a month ago, I ordered the Cordova and the Hollyburn patterns from you at 11:20 AM and got an e-mail at 4:10 PM the same day that they were already in the mail! You could have mailed them a couple of days later and I still would have thought it great customer service. I’m lucky enough to work a four day work week so I can use my Fridays to clean house and catch up on my sewing. I’m very protective of my Fridays! Your Hazel fabric is gorgeous.

  6. Tina February 8, 2013 at 10:45 am #

    Good for you, Tasia. Taking time for yourself is important for an overall attitude about life.

  7. LLBB February 8, 2013 at 10:46 am #

    funny, I haven’t yet sewn a colette pattern, but these are the first two on my list! along with beignet and ginger. Have fun sewing Hazel!

  8. Ashlee February 8, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

    Hurray for Freedom Friday! I really would like to follow your lead on this and start sewing just for the sake of sewing… but it’s so hard to move away from projects and responsiblities! One step at a time, I guess. Can’t wait to see the finished Hazel!

  9. Sarah February 8, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    Tasia, the muslins look great.
    I’ve tried making them before for a few things, but to be honest, other than choosing a different pattern size, I’m not really sure how else to use them to fix the fit. Do you take apart the muslin, adjust seams (etc) and try it on again? I’d love to hear what the next steps are.

  10. Lora February 8, 2013 at 1:45 pm #


    I love the fabric you’ve chosen. I saw it draped over a chair in a pic last week and went looking for something similar online. No wonder I couldn’t find anything even close since it’s vintage.

    I would be interested in hearing how to fix the dress where it is pulling upwards in the center back causing wrinkles. I saw what you were talking about. I would like to understand exactly what is wrong and what to do to fix it. I’m kind of thinking there’s extra fabric that needs to be taken in?? I’m in the beginner stage of learning to fit patterns and muslins. Thus, I’m very, very timid and cautious about doing anything on my own.

    I greatly appreciate any instruction/guidance/helpful hints you send our way.

    Thank you.


  11. Carol Wagner February 8, 2013 at 2:51 pm #

    The 1940’s look of that Parfait bodice is great! This dress would flatter almost any figure type. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Truly Myrtle February 8, 2013 at 4:10 pm #

    Enjoy! I can think of nothing more divine than a solid stretch to sew! Do you sew in silence or to music? I listen to the radio, good old easy listening :)
    I agree about the solid for the parfait, it would look great.

  13. Jo February 10, 2013 at 12:32 am #

    Am I weird for saying how much I LOVE muslin posts? Lol! I especially love when people talk about fit issues and how they resolve them. I’m with Lora, I would love to see more of your fitting process. I’m a beginner so I saw the wrinkles and came to a completely different conclusion!

    I thought the wrinkles were pointing to your high hip cos it was too tight there or something.

    I have so much to learn! :)

    Oh and it’s really great that you are doing some sewing for yourself! They are both lovely patterns!

  14. Michelle February 10, 2013 at 6:29 pm #

    It’s nice to know you still have to make muslins too! Do you have a sloper you refer to ? Do you have any suggestions/tutorials on making one or know of any good links for how to do it? I don’t think I want to have to make 8 ( my last project) muslins every time I want to sew something! The hazel is also on my list of dresses to make :-).

  15. Marie February 11, 2013 at 6:39 am #

    Well done for making some time for yourself, I know it must be hard, but it’s so important. And both muslins are looking great…can’t wait to see the finished Hazel in that delightful border print!

  16. Julianne February 11, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

    I really like all of Colette’s designs, but I’ve never made one. They’re a little too “sweet” for how I like to imagine myself. So it’s really funny that your Parfait muslin has me seriously reconsidering this pattern! I think that because it’s just the muslin, it’s super easy for me to project my own style of fabrics on the design.

    That bodice would be UNSTOPPABLE in a solid silk charmeuse, or maybe playing up the gathering with some vertical stripes?!

    I have my husband take photos of my back, and he even notices details that I would probably miss just from pictures. I got that man TRAINED.

    And as for Freedom Friday, I tried to devote an actual day to my personal sewing (instead of a couple hours at night) but I feel so lucky to have so much work that I did work on orders, but spent plenty of time reading sewing blogs too. I am taking Thursday off though, and will try to fit in some sewing time after the dentist and Korean spa!

  17. KathleenS February 14, 2013 at 1:58 am #

    Wow, the Parfait bodice looks amazing! I’ve never been a fan of this pattern – I don’t like the pinafore look – but seeing this has me wondering if I could adapt it/mix and match with another pattern.

  18. Tia Dia February 15, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

    What beautiful dresses, Tasia! I have your Cambie, although I’ve not managed to get that far in my queue, and am so looking forward to it. BTW, a very heart congratulations on winning Pattern Review Pattern of the Year Award for not one, but TWO of your designs: the Cambie AND the Renfrew! You’re doing good, girl. Keep it up and don’t let go of your Freedom Fridays. You need the sanity time!

  19. Lisa Bunnage December 10, 2013 at 10:51 am #

    Love the Freedom Friday idea. I also run my own business and suffer from sewing for fun guilt. I agree about the space and expense of setting up 2 sewing locations. What if you forgot your favourite turning tool at home and wanted it at work? etc.

    Love how precise you are with your projects. You’ve seen my work, precise isn’t my strong point, LOL.

    I’m hoping to free up more time in 2014 so I can actually try one of your patterns.



  1. colette hazel + the scorpion - February 25, 2013

    […] than fall against my body. Though I admit I contributed to this a bit because I really liked the Hazel muslin on Sewaholic by Tasia. She cut a larger size so that the dress would be fuller and I decided to copy her. Except that I […]