Hosting a contest.

I opened the TumTum & TukTuk Etsy shop last month!

I would like to thank everyone for their support by hosting a fun contest on the TumTum & TukTuk facebook page. It has been an incredible amount of work but definitely worthwhile and always fun! We’d like to show you our gratitude this holiday season by hosting a contest. The winner receives two free matching pairs of leggings, either for two special little ones or for yourself and a special little one in your life!

The contest begins today and closes November 25th at 23h30
Check out the TumTum & TukTuk FB page for the latest updates and items available in the shop! Please feel free to share the contest details with your friends whom you think would want to partake 😉

Good luck!!

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Émile

I’m back from another blog hiatus with yet again some absolutely wonderful news! Etienne & I welcomed our son Émile to the world on February 5th, 2016!! I am head over heels in love with our little Émile and thoroughly enjoying motherhood.

Émile is a happy, healthy and beautiful blond baby, as you can see from the photos below. He is modelling the test leggings I’ve been making this past month. Talk about the best laid plans never panning out exactly how you plan them, eh!? My etsy shop was set to open last summer and we are only now just getting close to launching. Stay tuned for more on that, along with some fun upcycle projects I have to share with you all shortly. That’s all for now 🙂 Happy Spring!!

You can also follow me for more up to date, day to day postings on Instagram @TashenkaSews

Scuba Burda

I have yet to post about my wedding dress and my wedding day….but here’s a little preview of the day by my friend Andrée-Anne over at VieDomestique. Andrée-Anne made this outfit for my wedding reception 🙂

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Mon amie Natasha s’est mariée au début septembre et j’avais absolument (pas) besoin d’une robe (considérant que j’en ai déjà beaucoup trop) pour l’occasion. Comme je manquais de temps pour la faire, j’ai décidé, à la dernière minute, de terminer une magnifique Kielo verte kaki que j’avais commencé quelques semaines avant. Je me disais qu’elle serait par-fai-te pour le mariage. Et aussi pour ma vie en générale.

J’avais presque terminé de la coudre quand, gaffe monumentale,  j’ai fait une bonne entaille dans le tissu en la finissant à la surjetteuse. Méga drame. Trop compliqué à réparer, pas assez de tissu pour recommencer. La veille du mariage, 16h00. Giga panique.

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J’ai donc entrepris de fouiller dans ma réserve de tissus à la recherche d’un plan B rapide:

  • Trop blanc (règle que seulement la mariée peut être en blanc);
  • Trop noir (règle que c’est pas des funérailles);
  • Trop voyant (règle de mon chum);
  • Trop technique à coudre pour le…

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I’m opening up shop!

I’ve been pretty quiet on the blog front these days but have been very busy in the studio. I love sewing and have been having a blast designing my own pieces but can’t possibly wear them all. Sewing clothes can be a rather expensive pass time as well. So I thought, since graduate school has been delayed at least a year or two, why not open up shop? Etsy makes it so easy to connect makers to buyers so I signed up. My shop will open its (virtual) doors July 2015!

I’ll begin by offering my Tashenka dresses- lace top, cinched waist and print bottom as well as some upcyled tank tops and possibly some baby/kid leggings. I’m taking a chance and testing out the waters- we’ll see where this all takes me. And voilà, just like that Tashenka Designs is born!

The Tashenka Dress
The Tashenka Dress

Homemade Lace Lingerie

Last week, I had the pleasure of catching up with my friend and fellow sewist Mlle Vie Domestique. Amidst the beers and laughs we shared, we discussed the possibility of collaborating on hosting Do-It-Yourself workshops. Among the dozen ideas we brainstormed that evening, facilitating a session on hand-stitching your own lingerie became a fast favourite. Perhaps a themed workshop for Valentine’s!?

Later that night, fuelled by a mild buzz and a surge of inspiration, I dug out some stretchy red lace I got off fabric.com last summer and got down to work. I picked out a short nightdress from my closet and using its shape I drafted a pattern template. I cut the lace to my pattern- three pieces, a heart-shaped front, a straight back and an extra section of the front top portion to serve as a bust lining. I hand-stitched the bust portions together. I made small tight stitches in order to give the edges a ruffled texture. I enjoy hand-stitching but to save on time I opted to use my sewing machine for the side seams and back-top & bottom hems. I initially thought of using red bra straps but decided to use lace strips instead. I feel the lace straps gives the lingerie a seamless and polished look. Voilà, my homemade lingerie!

I believe a camisole or bra version of this number would be fun for a D-I-Y Valentine’s Day workshop, what do you think?

Gold Button Down Indigo Sweaterdress

I found this rich indigo size 14 sweater dress at Renaissance a month ago. It had no label, only a small tag saying Made in Canada, 100% acrylic. There was a slight tear in the bottom which reduced the already low price tag to 3$! A steal for an up-cycling sewist!

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I dismantled her like the other sweaters (plus interfacing to the bottom hem), only here I had to be extra careful as the front pieces had to line up perfectly to facilitate button placement and the side pockets, which I had to cut in half, had to be symmetrical. I can wear this dress with nylons, leggings and even jeans. I wore her last Thursday to work and then dinner. She’s super comfortable, flattering and soft, my only comment is that she gapes a little when I sit. To rectify this issue, I will pick up some more matching thread, remove the buttons and sew her up the front.

My question for you all, shall I keep these gold buttons or do I opt for something a little less flashy? My mom had suggested a matching indigo satin button? I like the idea of a understated button. Your thoughts?

The Nettie Bodysuit

Yesterday was the first day of fall. In honour of this cooler and colourful season, I made my first Nettie bodysuit (size 6). I purchased the pattern from Montréal designer Heather Lou‘s Closet Case Patterns. I certainly got my 12$ worth, the pattern set is brilliantly versatile. There are multiple neckline and sleeve variations as well as the option to turn the bodice into a dress (there’s even the option to insert a shelf bra into the bodice!)

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The pattern recommends using a 4-way stretch fabric however for my test run with this new pattern I opted for a  2-way stretch deep green/black checked polyester I found for $4 in the linen section at Village de Valeurs. I had just enough to put this number together so I opted out of the neck and leg bindings. I decided to use interfacing to create structure for the necklines. Four-way stretch fabric is recommended as there needs to be enough vertical stretch to be a comfortable bodysuit. I solved this little issue by inserting a few inches of stretchy black lace to the crotch. I did not insert snaps but I believe I will for convenience.

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Bodysuit paired with a skirt.

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My Shibori print Ibiza minidress

My second dress from the shibori fabric we dyed a few weekends ago– I call her the Ibiza dress as she’s shorter than I had anticipated & perfect for the beaches on the island of Ibiza! Etienne and I are heading there next summer.

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Here I used the ribbed knit stretch fabric for the skirt portion of the dress. We had dyed this fabric a few weekends ago in a shibori style. I felt the subtle lines of the ribbing complemented the length of the body nicely also allowing for the greatest stretch to fall across the body.

Ah-ha moments!

I learned two important lessons while making this dress.The reason the dress came out a little more mini than I had initially designed her to be was due to three rounds of (frustrating) stitch-ripping. For those of you who know me, you know that I don’t usually wear anything this short and barelegged (aside from a floral Betsey Johnson dress I adore & my high-waisted jean shorts, of course!)

For those of you interested in the details on what went wrong and some recommendations to remedy these problems see below after the images.

As fall approaches and these sunny September days become increasingly & deceivingly cooler, I’ve begun the process of drafting sleeves to my Tashenka dress. Also, my République du Chiffon Bernadette pattern arrived this morning from Paris!! And last night I cut the fabric for my Nettie bodysuit. This fantastic and versatile pattern is the beautiful design work of Heather Lou, the Montréal designer behind Case Closet…many many fall outfits to come!

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The bottom hem kept puckering. I folded and pressed them repeatedly however this was not enough to avoid the puckering of the hem that occurred. I ended up opting out of the hem (because seriously, how much shorter could this dress get?!). I cut the fabric evenly with the beautiful Singer shears gifted by Etienne’s mom. 

After a little research, here are some great tips I came across:

  1. Always press your hem lines (Did that!)
  2. Use a double needle when sewing knits (Will get that!) * other suggestions have been changing needle position, increasing stitch length or needle size*
  3. Play around on some test fabric pieces to find the perfect tension to stitch length ratio.
  4. Stay tape- similar to interfacing, it has a little stretch to it and provides structure for fabrics with more stretch.
  5. Attach a walking foot as it doesn’t add pressure or stretch the fabric as you sew.

Another issue I had was the fabric kept getting sucked into the bobbin case, creating this great big mess. It looked like a mangled bird’s nest and the fabric was stuck in the plate (hence my shortening of the dress due to cutting the sucked & ripped fabric) Some suggestions I found:

  • A (cheap) trick that apparently works well for this type of problem is to place some thick paper between the fabric and the presser foot.
  • Another recommendation I found was in regards to the pressure footer. On my Singer 247 this wheel is found on the top left. For heavier fabric, less tension is suggested so that that fabric slides easily between the presser and the feed dogs. For lighter fabrics, you will want more tension/pressure, so that the presser foot holds the fabric to the feed dogs, avoiding any sliding away. In my case it’s recommended to increase the pressure.
  • The presser foot was in the “down” position when I threaded the needle. This means the tension discs were closed and so the thread did not get in the discs.
  • Use a smaller needle size.

Another thing to note about ribbed knit is that it’s a little more tricky to line up equally with other fabrics that have less stretch. Note the small amount of bunching at waist line. It was measured to the bottom hem of the bodice as I always do but stretched in the sewing process creating a looser waist line, hence the little bunching. Bah! Ribbed knit, never again!!

Double-layered lace w/ floral embroidery tank top

I’m always perfecting my pattern for the double layer Tashenka lace tank top!

photo 1Here is the 2nd lace Tashenka tank top, this time done a little differently. I used a beautiful thin white cotton fabric with detailed embroidery for the under layer instead of doing double lace layers. I’ve had this fabric for a few years now and I was never quite sure what to pair it with as it’s rather sheer. I always thought it would compliment a tunic or dress pattern nicely as it has an Indian-esque look to it. The other night I was tidying my sewing table and the cotton fabric fell onto the floor. Like most great Ah-ha! moments, it was by chance the bundle of ivory lace tumbled off the table as well, landing on top of the cotton. And voilà, it just looked right! A true random pairing.

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The top layer is a stretchy off-white lace and very see-through on its own. I find it works perfectly paired over the cotton material. I love the subtle way the floral turquoise embroidery design comes through and plays well with the soft, textured & romantic style of the ivory lace.

Again, no undershirt necessary, can be worn with just a bra underneath.

It’s still not quite perfect.

The sizing is pretty spot on and the way I layer the two pieces works well, however I wasn’t thrilled with the boxiness of my original design. The seam bunchiness for the bottom hem/bandeau meeting joint is a little too much. Boxiness and bunchiness, ah!

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I love the pink tank I had made in August yet the boxiness of the bottom hem isn’t my favourite. Here I cut a separate piece of material, adding a bandeau finishing. I felt that it gave a little more shape to the waist region. Next time I’ll make the bandeau a little more snug at the bottom so it gathers it in more tightly. I’ll also be sure to play around with it before sewing it on. Sewing with lace is like writing in stone- no stitch ripping is ever possible. The bunchiness I can fix by sewing the hem to one layer of the bandeau and not two. 3rd times a charm, right?

Any suggestions? They are always welcomed.

All lace I use is purchased from the lovely Samantha of FABULACE!