Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tipsy Tuesday: Hot Spiced Rum Cider

Hi All!

I hope you're all getting into the fall spirit! I have been soaking in the cool evenings and colourful changing leaves- I forgot how much I love fall.

One of those fall experiences that I have been definitely been taking advantage of is apple picking. And the last time I was out apple picking I picked up some apple cider- for some hot spiced rum cider! mmm


This is absolutely one of the most seasonal, most delicious and most downright simple drinks you can possibly make :) and I love it.


To make this spiced cider all you need is some delicious apple cider, some chai or otherwise spiced tea (can be herbal), cinnamon sticks (which you can use to steep or just to garnish), and of course some rum!

For about 3 drinks I took 4 cups of cider and put it in a saucepan over the stove on medium-high heat. Then I took 2 tea bags and let them steep in the cider (you could also put in a cinnamon stick for extra cinnamon flavour). Heat the cider up until it's steaming and hot, but not boiling. Stir it around a bit infusing the spices! I did this for about 10 minutes.


Measure you're chosen amount of rum into your favourite mug- this amount will vary depending on how cold it is, how many exams you have coming up, or how many relatives are visiting your house. For hanging out with friends I opted for about 1 1/2 ounces.


Then ladle your hot spiced cider over your rum, and into your favourite glass, possibly with a cinnamon stick to make it look festive!


So simple, so tasty, so fall appropriate!


Definitely one of my favourite things right now!

How are you enjoying the fall season? Do you have any favourite drinks to warm up with?

Hope you're having a very Tipsy Tuesday!

xo erin

Thursday, October 9, 2014

TBT: Bra History

Hi All!

Today I have something really cool for Throwback Thursday! Instead of a throwback to a project that I've sewn, I want to show you a throwback WAY further in time!


I've been sitting in on a couple classes at Bra-Maker's Supply and in one of the classes we did a little lesson on Bra History, so I thought I would bring in a couple vintage pieces from my collection!

The first thing was an old brassiere (before they were called bras), I'm not really sure how old this is, but I'm thinking early 1900's -

You can see how it goes around your arms and fastens in the back, and has a little strap that would attach to your girdle in the front!


The whole front of the bodice is boned inside, and has these little straps with sliders and rings for shaping! SO cool! but definitely give a bit of a uni-boob effect.


The next vintage piece I had was a children's corset- which I would say was cute if the idea of a child wearing a corset wasn't completely against the comfort level I feel children should have in their clothing!


So itty-bitty, with only four hooks on the busk!

With the proper lace-up in the back and some pretty lace trim top and bottom


The next two things I brought in are probably my favourite! Two Eaton's Catalogues, one from 1928, and one from 1966. - It's amazing how much changed between the catalogues, and again to today!




The 1966 catalogue was my grandmothers, and is from the year my mom was born, and the 1928 catalogue was given to me by a wonderfully generous lady I met in a 'learn to use your serger class'- to whom I will forever be grateful

Just look at the contraptions that they wore back in 1928!


and the prices lol!

$3.95 for the FlexOsteel Corset with Abdominal Belt!!


They had such cherub faces- and straight figures!


'Health-Style Corsets'


Even maternity corsets! - Can you believe that! 



Things really changed when it came to 1966!


All about the hourglass figures, new stretch fabrics, and pointy boobs!



Look at the point on those cups!



It so interesting how the styles change, and even how the 'ideal woman' changes- there were definitely no straight-figured, cherub-faced ladies in Spring/Summer 1966!

I also got quite a chuckle at the Men's underwear section.


'I say chap, your onsie is the bee's knees!'


'Golly gee! these boxers are quite swell!'

Anyways, I thought these were so cool, I was thinking that I might do a series of posts focusing on different parts of the catalogues, - it's just too much for one post, and I really wanted to focus on the bra history!

Hope you enjoyed this little blast from the past! What was your favourite style?

I would love to make myself a bullet bra out of the 60's!

Hope you're having a great Thursday!

xo erin

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wellness (almost) Wednesday: Walking the Trails in Fall :)

Hi All,

Last weekend one of my best friends Kaitlyn invited me out to go hiking. I got up at the 'Sunday crack of dawn' (8 am) and headed over to meet her at the trail for 9:15.

It couldn't have possibly been a more beautiful, sunny, crisp and just overall glorious fall morning.

After a week at my sewing machine it felt like a total breath of fresh air.


 The trail was absolutely stunning, and the fall colours are just starting to turn :)


If only my ceiling looked like this all the time :)


 I've felt cooped up in the sewing room all week- so I really needed the exercise.

The trail we went to is called Beamer Memorial Trail, just outside of Hamilton in Grimsby, Ontario.  


It has part of the Bruce Trail, which is an 885 km trail along the Niagara Escarpment. Needless to say we did not walk that far lol, we just did a small part of it :)


But quite a beautiful part, with views of lake Ontario :)

We also wandered our way down to the little waterfall at the end of one of the side trails


SO PRETTY!


Kaitlyn taking pictures

She even took this one of me :)


Then we hiked back to the center of the trail and took these stairs down the escarpment into the valley belowf.


Then spent some time wandering the little creek running through the valley.


Doesn't this look gorgeous- yes yes it does- but I will tell you my friends, be cautious walking along rocks, in a creek, that look like this. Why you ask? let me tell you:

Just imagine me, somewhat clumsily walking along, rock to rock, when all of the sudden I put all my faith, all  my weight, into my step onto a slightly angled rock, only to find out that the surface is coated in a very thin layer of algae that has about 0 friction. You can imagine what happens next: foot goes straight out from under me, and I'm on my bum before I can blink. Now the worst part of this whole experience was trying to get up off the slipperiest rock in the whole world, while trying not to pee your pants from laughter, while going into harder fits of giggles as your friend is almost peeing themselves watching you try to get up. Not to mention the very startled look I got from a birdwatcher who didn't understand my laughter and was worried that I justf couldn't get up, whom I had to reassure that I was indeed okay.

That my friends is why you must be cautious with these rocks.

But after the whole rock ordeal we made it all the way back up the stairs and back along the trail, where we ran into this little guy


What a cutie :) I love woolly bear caterpillars :) and what a nice end to the walk :)

I feel like this is something that I should do more often, I felt about 10 lbs lighter walking out of those woods, like it cleared my mind and refreshed me so much- I would highly recommend it, especially now while the weather is so beautiful!

Do you like to walk the trails in the fall? Do you have a favourite hiking trail in your area?

I just love it! and this trail is such a gem!

I am off to drink some tea, cuddle up in a sweater, and do all the very seasonable things- I might even buy a pumpkin to carve :)

xo erin

Thursday, October 2, 2014

My Finished Corset + a Boudoir Photoshoot!

Hi All!

So the big reveal! My corset!



 I wanted to split my corset posts into these two posts because: 1. there was WAY too much information on making the corset for one post, and 2. Because I wanted to highlight my friend who is an up-and-coming boudoir photographer, who took these pics for me! 


 Isn't she amazing! What I love about her work is that it really highlights your natural body, - she isn't going to photoshop you to look 20 lbs lighter, she isn't going to make you into something unrealistic and unachievable, she is just going to make you look realistically and healthily amazing! Not to mention artistic and beautiful!

The picture of my back and the lacings above is a good example- everybody gets a fold down their back when they wear a cinched corset- that is just what your skin does when you tighten it, and it would be such a lie and perpetuating false images to photoshop it out, and why? the natural body is so beautiful!

 (Her gorgeous digital business card!)

I jumped the gun a little on this post since I've only gotten those two photos back from her but I thought  I would include this pic too- a fitting room selfie- and I think it shows even more from this angle the true cinching power and silhouette of this corset!


I am SO pleased with this corset and it is surprisingly comfortable- It really makes a difference when a corset is made specifically for your body (which in my case is fairly long-waisted)- I don't think I could wear it for an 8 hour day or eat very much in it- but it is really cool for pictures or for a night out!

I think I might just have to make another one! Maybe an under-bust for my second one- what do you think?

Have you done any corset making? what did you think?

I found that it was much easier than I thought it would be, and that it is more comfortable than I would have ever expected! so I would say that this was a really successful experience!

If you didn't already read my last post about making this corset- you can read all about it here!

xo erin

Corset Making!

Hi All!

I have something really exciting to show you! I've been sitting in on more classes at Bra-maker's Supply lately and one of them was a corset making class!!


Here I am tracing out my pattern pieces :)

Of course I'm using the Pin-Up Girls Pattern- Beverly really has the most beautiful corset pattern, it gives such an amazing silhouette! They are designed to give you a 2" waist reduction, but after talking about the different amounts that you can cinch, I decided it would be fun and draft it down to a 4" waist reduction instead! Apparently 6" is still comfortable, but as I am a person who lives most of their life in stretch t-shirts I was a little dubious about that...


I decided that I wanted to go for the 'Full Coverage View' rather than just the under-bust corset.


And I picked this fabric- that was amazingly on sale for $5/yard in the housewear's section of a fabric shop two doors down from Bra-makers Supply! Also I got some heavy black twill for my lining fabric, which will be the real foundation of my corset- and will actual be holding me in! The lining fabric is the more important fabric, that will support the whole corset, the fashion fabric overtop can really be anything. 

It's important to note here that fabric selection is SO important for your corset! Mainly it's important that you pick a fabric that has no print, or a very small print. Since the corset is 6 pattern pieces on each side of the body a big print will get all chopped up into tiny pieces - I chose this one because I thought it would blend all together after I sewed it up!


Then the first step, once you have all your pieces cut out (and labeled! they are all long funny shapes and you will never remember what order to put them in!) You put in your busk, which you sew into the  center front seam between the lining and the outside fabric.

The busk is traditional on a corset, and closes it up in the front, so that your laces don't have to be two miles long for your to get it over your body only 5 meters long lol!

One side has the little hole-hook things


And the other side has these pegs.



And they go together easy-peasy like this!


Once you have your busk in your frontmost panel, then it's just a matter of sewing all the panels together in the right order



Then on to the bones! Which are much less scary than you would think! We learned about all the different bones and I actually decided to use three different types of bones in my corset!

Over the two bust seams (that curve) I decided to use spiral steel bones (which look like a flattened steel slinky) and they are the premium corset bones- they are flexible in all directions, and bend around curves very well without flattening or being inflexible.

I used spring steel bones on either side of my back grommets - which are flat solid pieces of steel, they are not at all flexible side to side, and would be perfect to keep my back corset edge straight and take the strain off the grommets.

And lastly I used regular plastic bones for the rest of the corset, because they work fine and are a much more economical choice!

So on a corset generally you put, at minimum, a bone over every seam (which would be 6 bones on each side - plus the ones for either side of the grommets. But I decided that I would be much more structured and intense and put a bone between each seam too.


If you like sewing straight lines on woven fabrics- you will love corset making! For the seams you sew the bone casing to the seam allowance, then you fold it over and stitch the other side down. And the ones in between I found it was best to mark with chalk where you want them to go and just lay them down as you sew following the line.


All the bone casings in! Miles of boning! Actually about 8 meters :P, with 12 bones on each side!!

And let's not forget the grommets! In the class Beverly has an amazing grommet press- no hammering, this made it SO easy, no real effort required! And they are the lovely 2 piece grommets that are really nice and smooth against your skin on the backside, rather than eyelets that are one pieces and have sharp edges that clamp the fabric on the underside.


Don't those grommets look so slick!


And you can see that I chose a lacing style called "Rabbit Ears", what that means is that there are two grommets placed closer together right at the waist of the corset, and laces come out from one and go down and back into the other hole below instead of crossing over to the other side to continue the lace.

What this does is leaves these 'rabbit ears' where you can pull the corset in from these ears at the waist, and lace your corset yourself, rather than awkwardly trying to lace it from the bottom or top, or having to be laced in by another person!


The last step to corset making (after you've tried it on to make sure it fits) is making sure all your bones are the right length and doing a binding edge top and bottom!! You can use a store bought bias binding or you can make your own out of the fabric of your corset which is what I did- and I used a 3/8" binding :)


Look at how neat and tidy that is! Super simple, and you could always do it in a contrasting colour! 

I can't wait to show you guys what it looks like on- is it ever a waist-cincher! But you'll see that in my post tomorrow! I didn't want to over crowd this post and I wanted to show you some photos that my photographer friend took of me in the corset! SO EXCITING!

I think I have found a new love of corset making- at first I was a little unsure if it was really my thing, since I didn't really know when I would wear one, and I'm so used to working with small curved seams on knit fabrics- but I'm so glad that I tried! And seriously, once you see yourself in a corset- there's really no wonder why people love them!

Until tomorrow and the big reveal! 

xo erin