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  1. How I slashed $250+ from my monthly spending

    Wednesday, February 11, 2015

    As I alluded to in my previous post, Ian and I have made some financial changes to pay off our debt sooner while at the same time trying to make decisions that will work for us not just now, but several years in the future.

    So we did something that, on the surface, totally looks like we violated the shopping ban: We bought an SUV, and will soon be a single-car household (once Ian sells his Civic). It's a pre-owned (but barely!) 2015 Subaru Forester. It has great cargo space, great reliability ratings while at the same time has been an easy transition for me - someone who has been used to driving small vehicles - to get used to.

    So how does this not violate my shopping ban?
    • Since Ian and I are splitting the payments, I am actually saving $113 a month on car payments. We decided that since Ian will do the bulk of the driving, and can claim the payments (and 90% of the gas) for work, he will pay 2/3 of the payments, while I pay 1/3 since I won’t be driving it as much as him, and I have to pay for a transit pass.
    • In the same vein, we will now be splitting insurance payments, which will slightly lower than what I was paying by myself for my old car. That’s $100 in savings for the both of us! Ian was actually worried that his insurance would go up, since he’s splitting with someone under 25, but it turns out that his insurance company gave him a great rate (another rant for another is the fact that we even have to shop around for insurance instead of having publicly-funded insurance, but I digress...)

    Old Budget New Budget
    $155 - Student Loan
    $50 - TFSA
    $200 - Sears Card
    $0 - House fund
    $90 - Transit
    $550 - Rent
    $250 - Groceries
    $150 - Utilities
    $300  - MC
    $41 - Union Dues
    $180 - Insurance
    $280 - Car
    $90 - Cell phone
    $2,321 (93%)
    $155 - Student Loan
    $50 - TFSA
    $0 - Sears Card
    $150 - House fund
    $90 - Transit
    $550 - Rent
    $250 - Groceries
    $150 - Utilities
    $300 - MC
    $41 - Union Dues
    $165 - Car
    $80 - Insurance
    $40 - Cell phone
    $2,021 (78%)

    My monthly budget is down $300

    Originally, the plan was to wait until April 2016, when my car was paid off, to privately sell both our cars (Ian’s has been paid off for a while) and buy one new-to-us SUV. However, having two cars that are too small for our lifestyle - big dog, camera gear, road trips to Calgary and Saskatchewan and eventually kids - were becoming more and more a pain in the ass.

    We briefly toyed with the idea of Ian taking over my car, it just wasn’t ideal. My Pontiac G5 Coupe was a great little car when I was 19 and fresh out of journalism school. It was not, however, that great once I married someone who was 6’3” with a German Shepard and tons of camera gear (fact - Ian’s gear can’t even fit in my car thanks to a small trunk opening).

    I am excited about being a single-car household, because not being able to dash out whenever I please to the mall or grocery store will really help rein in my spending.

    It will take a lot more effort (but less money) for me to go somewhere, meaning I will be making more conscious decisions about where and how I’m spending my money. It will also mean that I will explore my neighbourhood a little bit more, and will be walking (and, once summer comes, riding my bike) around Edmonton more and more, since it's easier for me to walk or catch a bus to Whyte Ave, but it's more work to get one to West Edmonton Mall.  I think it's kind of funny that my mom is worried that I'll be totally housebound now - clearly she forgets that when I first moved to Edmonton for university I didn't have a car!

    I also changed my personal cell phone plan, seeing as I have a work phone that I use most of the time. I would cancel it completely, but 1) I am locked into a plan and it would cost $200 and 2) I don't really want to lose loyalty and/or having a phone in case I leave my job (which I don't plan on doing any time soon, but, you know.)


  2. Shopping Ban - Month One

    Sunday, February 1, 2015

    I can’t believe it’s already been a month of my shopping ban, and so far I am feeling really good about my challenge!

    So far, these are the items I have purchased on my approved shopping list:
    • Sugar scrub: $10
    • Sleeping Cap, nail foils, among other allowed cosmetics: $29.57
    • Buttons & extra yarn for my cardigan: $18.85*
    • Yarn for Baby Brolund’s Blanket (I’m going to be an auntieeeee!): $20.15*
    • Home/Office stuff (mainly little containers to hold baking ingredients and a microwave cover for the office): $13*
    • Shoe Repair (I forgot to put this one on my approved shopping list, but I had 3 pairs of shoes, including my winter boots, I needed to get fixed): $59.85
    Approved shopping this month: $151.42

    A lot of my approved shopping I wanted to get out of the way early, mostly because I had run out of what I needed. That $10 sugar scrub is going to last me a whole year, so no love lost. I also picked up a few other allowed cosmetics at the beginning of the year, because they all seem to run out at the same time.

    One of the other things I want to share is what I’m putting on my credit card versus what I’m paying cash for, because I need to stop the habit of using my credit card for everyday things and not being able to pay it off, or only paying off what is “new” that month and not working on the rest of the lump.

    Credit card total:  -$5,899.56  (this is the highest it has ever been)

    So what did I put on it this month?

    Total spent: -$442.31

    Interest Fee: -$74.37

    Public Transport: - $26.71
    Groceries: -$15.85
    Public Transport: -$114.00
    Groceries: -$4.99

    Allowed Spending
    Date Night Dinner: -$21.42
    Parking: -$20.00
    Make-up/Skin care: -$39.57

    Reimbursement: $746.44

    Unusual Spending
    Pharmacy: -$13.05
    Shoe Repair: -$59.85 
    Dentist: -$746.45

    (This isn’t all I spent this month, just what I put on my credit card)

    I had a pretty big expense on my card: $746 for my part of my wisdom tooth surgery. Luckily I have an HSA at work, so it was reimbursed, as you can see. The $13.05 pharmacy cost was for the five different drugs I was on. I am so thankful that I waited until this year to do my surgery, otherwise I would have had to spend $1,500+ on my teeth. Yuck.

    My transportation fee is high this month because I bought multiple bus ticket booklets instead of a January bus pass *and* I bought February’s bus pass, for some odd reason. I think I was on T3s at the time because now looking back I am unsure why I felt the need to put February’s bus pass on my January expense list. Anyway, dumb move, but it means a bit of movement in my February budget, I guess.

    That printing fee of $52.49 was for our wedding thank you cards, and I’m splitting the cost with Ian. Everything else is pretty self explanatory.

    What this means, however, is that when I make my $300 payment at the beginning of February, I’m not really making any real progress on paying off my debt, which is really frustrating. But next month I know that at the very least I won’t be putting my $90 buss pass on my card (because I already have it), so that’s encouraging. My goal for all of this, of course, it to go every month without putting ANYTHING on my card.

    I should explain quickly how Ian and I do out bills since we don’t have joint accounts yet. He pays for most of our groceries, utilities, rent, etc and I reimburse him bi-weekly, when we get paid. It’s nice for me because I am only spending on groceries and utilities bi-monthly, and in cash. It probably seems like a weird system, but for us it works! I might do a full post on it later, but that’s the gist. So when I say groceries above, what I really mean is ice cream, soup and yogurt for me and my toothless mouth.

    So, that’s about a wrap for this month. I thought I did pretty good, but I spent more than I wanted to on getting approved shopping out of the way, which I suppose is the nature of the beast. Ian and I are eyeing a few moves that will help bring our expenses down, so stay tuned!

  3. Wedding Recap! Part Two

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

    I’m back with the second part of the wedding wrap-up blog, focusing on the fashion of the day!

    Ian and I both knew that we wanted a classic, 1940s style for the wedding clothes, without being too kitschy, expensive or risky.

    While I really wanted to wear one of my Grandmas’ wedding dresses, but neither of them fit right. I contemplated looking for vintage dresses, but I was too scared to order online. What if they didn’t fit? What if there is damage the seller didn’t note? What is it wasn’t “the one”? Etc. And I had really no interest in going wedding dress shopping and paying eleventy-million dollars for something I’d wear once and wouldn’t be 100% me.

    Look at me, trying so hard not to bawl!

    Instead I enlisted the very talented Todoruk Designs to create a wedding dress that brought my favourite elements of both my Grandmas’ dresses together. The princess seams, sweetheart neckline and the light blue were all inspired by my Grandma Marchant’s dress, while my second layer, a white jacquard silk, bore a very strong resemblance to my Grandma C’s dress.

    Underneath, I wore pieces from What Katie Did - specifically the CC09 bra, the CC09 tap pants, the Harlow garter and seamed stockings that I bought 4 years ago or so (but had never worn).

    I made my own veil - and am still in awe of how well it matches - with tulle and lace from Fabricland. It wasn’t perfect, but I really wanted something handmade and am pleased with how it turned out! I made it out of this Butterick veil pattern, using Look B but ditching the blusher and making it a bit shorter. Originally I was going to have the blusher as a separate piece, but I got really lazy and nixed it completely.

    I stitched it all by hand, because the last thing I wanted after mucking around with that tulle (cutting out tulle and tissue paper at the same time is something I am NEVER EVER repeating) was it getting eaten by my machine. All and all, I think it cost about $20 to make.

    My shoes were Baylee Winter White by BAIT. Now, there was a bit of drama with my shoes. I originally bought different BAIT shoes, which were blue, way back in August 2013, but I came to terms a few weeks before the wedding that while I liked the shoes in generally, they didn’t go with my dress as well as I’d hoped, and that I should buy the shoes I had been lusting over for a whole year.

    I bought the new shoes in my usual 8.5 size, three weeks before the wedding, but to my horror they didn’t fit! I think it was because BAIT used a different lining in this pair than they usually did. So I hastily sent them back and sent a panicked email to the company asking them to expedite the return because it was for my wedding. Generally they can’t send the replacements until they receive the first pair back, but luckily for me they made an exception and sent them to me once I sent the return package tracking information.

    When I got the size 8 shoes, they STILL didn’t really fit, but at this point I had to make do and so I bought a bunch of insoles and stuff that made them fit. In the end they looked beautiful, we very comfortable (I wore them all day and night with a very short breaking-in period) and I didn’t fall on my butt. Actually, I broke the cap off from dancing too hard - which I didn’t notice until I finally unpacked my wedding stuff when we got back from the honeymoon.

    Thanks to the generosity of my family members, I was able to wear the pearl necklace my Grandma Marchant had worn at her wedding, 70 years + one day before, and the earrings my Grandma Callsen wore to her wedding. I actually forgot to put them on, but luckily remembered once I got down to the lobby. Even now I get stressed looking at my getting ready photos and seeing that I’m not wearing them!

    The vintage mink stole and muff I’m wearing in the outdoor photos were borrowed from my maid of honour Bailey. I was very warm wearing these as we walked through the snow, and everyone thought it was hilarious to ask me to stick their hands in my muff to warm up their fingers (myself included).

    Ian and Tom wore the midnight blue suit from Black Lapel, and Ian's shoes were by Ecco. 

    Apparently he had some family members running around for him on the morning of the wedding trying to find him a matching belt. I also gave him a beautiful watch from Fossil that I am in love with and wish there was a women’s version.

    The bridesmaid and groomslady dresses were from 20th Century Foxy, and I thought they were stunning, and I’m told they were very comfortable.

    Nicola, Ian’s groomslady, wore a sash to match the men’s ties. NOTE - if you are planning on ever getting a sash from David’s Bridal, give yourself plenty of time to order it in store. This was a last minute item that wasn’t available in store and had to be bought online, and the shipping cost more than the sash. But it looked amazing, and it’s our fault for not being on the ball.

    So, there's all the fashion stuff! 

  4. My six-month shopping ban

    Saturday, January 10, 2015

    I’ve been thinking about doing this for a few weeks now, and I suppose with a new year getting underway it’s the perfect time to do it.

    As of January 1, I've undergone a six-month shopping ban.

    My shopping ban is inspired by one of my favourite Canadian personal finance bloggers, Cait of Blonde on a Budget, who started her year-long shopping ban in July.

    My mantra for this challenge is: Do I want/need this more than I want a house, or to be out of debt? as those are my two main goals coming out of this. I doubt I will reach either of those goals after six months of a shopping ban, but I know I will be much closer than I would be without the ban.

    When I say ban, I don’t mean I can’t buy anything. But I did take a hard look at my needs versus wants, my shopping habits as well as some gaps in my wardrobe, and I’ve decided that there are a lot of things I can go without buying until July 1 (or longer).

    There’s a few reasons why 2015 is the perfect year for me to do this.

    1) I accomplished a lot of my wardrobe goals in 2014
    Last year at this time, I posted my wardrobe goals for 2014. Luckily I’ve hit on most of them, particularly in the shoe department. I bought a pair of sandals, everyday Oxfords, warm winter boots, and shoes I had been lusting over for more than a year (which I wore to our wedding). I didn’t do as good on the sewing front, except that I did sew up that green blouse. I do have plenty of fabric in my stash to make a few Smooth Sailing blouses, and work-appropriate blouses are in my allowed list.

    2) I want 2016 to be the year Ian and I become homeowners
    I am so so so so so sick of living in a rental. I know a lot of people wax poetic about how great it is to rent, how you don’t have to do anything, etc etc but it just doesn’t work for us. For one thing, there are several issues, both cosmetic and structural, with the house that we rent that the landlord has yet to fix in the 2+ years we’ve both been here. Unfortunately, it’s also not easy for us to find another place to rent that will allow two cats and a big German Shepherd dog. So we’ve set our eyes on buying a house - and a real house, not a condo (No offense to those who do own condos, but I’m not keen on being a slave to a condo board and paying condo fees). Now that the wedding is done with, buying a house is the next leap we want/need to do before kidlets come along.

    Anyway, on to my ban rules (which are heavily inspired by Cait’s rules):

    Banned items (not inclusive):
    Books, magazines, etc
    Vinyl albums/online music
    Clothing (except allowed items, listed below)
    Household items
    Take-out coffee, when I have access to a coffee maker.
    Take-out/restaurants, when I have access to a kitchen
    Electronics or appliances

    Allowed items:
    Needs: Housing, groceries, etc
    Toiletry/cosmetic basics
    Transportation expenses (bus pass, insurance, car payments, maintenance, parking up to $270/six months)
    Gifts for others
    Date night out once a month (all the rest have to be $0)

    Approved items - Home:
    New hampers
    Hat organization system
    Weekly flowers
    New Otterbox case for my phone

    Approved items - Clothing:
    Knitting and fabric supplies up to $200, BUT
    I cannot buy anymore yarn until I use up my stash (except gifts for others)
    I cannot buy supplies for new sewing projects until I finish current projects and finish make-do and mend items (except gifts for others)
    3 classic, work appropriate button-up blouses (me-made or ready-made)
    Cardigan (me-made, in progress)
    fleece-lined mittens (me-made)
    2 pairs fleece-lined tights/knee-high socks (ready made)
    1 pair of wool stockings (ready made)

    Approved Items - Beauty:
    Sleeping cap
    Glass nail file
    Sea salt scrub
    Gel nail polish foils

    If I had started this ban 6 months ago, I would have saved $1,196, or 10% of my overall spending* (although some of that was probably allowed spending). I also would have cut down on the $944* I spent on restaurants, fast-food and coffee shops, for a total of $2,140.
    It’s interesting to note that when I look at the year as a whole, I spent $1,810* on shopping and $1,433* on restaurants/coffee/fast food, meaning I did much better in the first half of the year on curbing my shopping habits than in the latter part (and I already took wedding- and gift-related spending out of the equation).
    *as calculated by Mint

    The main reason behind this ban is to lower my credit card debt and try to speed up paying it off. Besides doing the ban, I am also planning on lowering the payment I’m putting on my card each month. That sounds counter-intuitive, but after I make my $500 monthly payment, I have no money left over for other purchases, like a bus pass, groceries, etc, so I have to put all that on my credit card, which is pretty pointless and also racks up what I pay on interest.

    Being the realist that I am, I know this won’t be easy. In particular, the take-out food and coffee will be a big challenge. On hectic mornings, I usually skip breakfast at home and grab a big, cheap breakfast at work that, combined with some snacking, will carry me until supper time. I’m definitely going to miss that, but I plan on buying healthy, easy to take meals to keep at work - like cans of lentil soup, oatmeal, granola bars and nuts to keep at my desk - for those hectic days where I can’t seem to remember my head, let alone pack a lunch. This will be even more challenging since there is a chance we could be thrown into an election.

    There are some things that (I think) will be easier than others. Like I said, I am fairly set with my current wardrobe, outside my list of allowable items, so I don’t think I will hear the siren song to Etsy any time soon. I am pretty frugal as it is and don’t like buying what I know I can get for free, and rarely buy books or magazines anymore - instead I often check them out from the library, or through one of the library’s e-reading services. Ditto for music, although our beautiful and fairly new record player makes this one a little bit harder.

    The 6-month mark is not a hard and fast rule, but merely meant to be a checking in point where I can reevaluate what I need and what I don’t need, and to see where I am in my progress. I hope I have the willpower to extend it all the way until December 2015!

  5. Wedding Recap! Part One

    Friday, December 19, 2014

    While I am still on hiatus from blogging, I thought a blog post showing off our wedding photos and doing a bit of a recap of the day was in order.

    One of the many reasons we went with November 8 for our wedding was because I really wanted a winter wedding, but didn’t want it to be too cold for photos outside. But I was starting to get pretty nervous because even up to Friday night when I went to bed there wasn’t a single snowflake on the ground - even in Edmonton where it’s pretty common to be dashing through the snow on Halloween.

    So I thought we would be resigned to having a brown, leafless, icky background for wedding photos until....
    A photo posted by Laurie Kucerak (@retroreporter) on

    We woke up to a winter wonderland! It probably wasn’t that welcome of a sight for those driving a long way for the wedding, or for those more accustomed to warmer climates like Vancouver and Toronto, but I was really happy.

    I’ll do a second post on outfits, hair & makeup and decor; there are several stories to tell that I don’t want to condense.

    Obviously, the day was wonderful. The worst things that happened was that we ordered way (way WAY) too much cake - which we donated to a local shelter - and that I danced so hard I broke my shoe.
    Our venue was the beautiful Freemasons’ Hall downtown. I would encourage EVERYONE, no matter the occasion, to consider booking the hall for their next Edmonton event. Ken and Angel are wonderful hosts who bent over backwards to make our special day possible.

    They hosted our ceremony and reception, catered, and did 99% of the set up and take down, outside of what we brought in ourselves. Also, everything was the fraction of the price of other halls in Edmonton and none of them offered the beauty of the 80 year old hall nor the service.

    We did our photos at the Alberta Legislature, where I now work and where Ian and I had our first date. Since we were trying to do the wedding as affordable as possible, it was easier for us to take the train (there was a station next to the hall directly to the Legislature).

    When we got to the Leg we were disappointed to see that the steps were being occupied by a rally - purely because of selfish, photographic reasons, of course - but after shooting in a different location, we came back around to find that the crowd had mostly dispersed, and all that were left were a few people, as well as LED tea lights in the shape of a heart. We couldn’t pass up that photo opportunity!

    All of our photos were by Jordan Verlage. Being a photographer himself, Ian was the one tasked with finding a photographer for our wedding and we loved having Jordan document our day. As an award winning photojournalist, he captured everything beautifully (and stealthily).

    Mine and my bridesmaids hair was done by the wonderful Krista Dee, who I was so happy to have drive up from Calgary to spend the day with us, along with her hubby and little one Solanah! She did a great job and my hair withstood wind, snow, dancing and more.

    Our DJs - who I give credit to when our guests say it was the best wedding they’ve been to - were Krista and Devin of Newley Sound. If you ever need DJs for anything, I highly recommend snapping these two up! They are an amazing duo, and the kind of folks where it took us 3 hours to do a consultation meeting because we were too busy chatting to get down to business. Special props to Krista, who was DJing at 35 weeks pregnant. They're also as weird as us, which is a nice bonus.

    Instead of a dance with my dad, he and I opted to sing and play Stand By Me, while Ian and his mom danced. My dad and I have always bonded over a love of music, and I loved being able to do this with him.

    Following the parental dance was our first dance as husband and wife to Chances by Jill Barber.... which then immediately went into Shake It Off by Taylor Swift.

    I was so grateful to have my best friends Bailey and Heather, as well as my little sister Maryanne, standing beside me as I said my vows. And it was great to see Ian’s best friends Tom and Nicola beside him; since they live in BC, we don’t get to see each other very often (I actually met Nicola for the first time the day before).

    All in all, it was the most amazing day. I can’t believe it’s already been a month and a half since we tied the knot!


  6. Burnt Out

    Wednesday, September 3, 2014

    I hate to admit it, but I think the time has come to declare what I’ve known in my heart for a long while: I am burnt out on blogging.

    This is definitely how I feel lately. But I don’t even drink beer. What the hell have I done?
    As I recently wrote in my ECAMP article Edmonton’s WWII Heroines, one parallel that I find between modern days and the 1940s is the expectation for women to do it all - housework, a steady job, volunteerism, social events - with a smile. (How’s that for a shameless plug that’s still relevant?)

    There’s no denying that I’ve taken a step back from this blog lately. But I think what I have been in denial about is that I want to blog, I just don’t have the time to do it.

    But I don’t want to blog. At least, not right now.

    Accurate representation of how I look whenever I think about blogging.

    I have a Google Drive folder filled with half-started blog posts that have gone nowhere. I used to see blogging as a release, another creative outlet, but now it’s this nagging thing in the back of my mind that I procrastinate doing. And I think that the moment you stop enjoying something - particularly something that’s a hobby - you should step back from it before you make yourself hate it.

    I honestly feel like I don’t have much to contribute to the blogging community anymore. Don’t get me wrong: I still love dressing vintage, reading other blogs, sewing, knitting and chatting with other vintage lovers online, but I no longer feel like Retro Reporter is the right outlet for expressing myself. 

    While there are still blog posts I’m interested in doing - particularly post-wedding - I just don’t have the energy for the daily, weekly, or even monthly posts when I frankly have other things I’d rather do. And as someone who spends all day on the computer, on social media, frankly it’s become the last thing I want to do when I get home, even if it’s a completely different topic.

    For the next little while, I am going to put Retro Reporter, and my blog Facebook page, on hiatus. I may come back after my wedding. I may not. I may be gone for a long time and then decide to pick things back up in a few months or years.

    I am still going to be on Instagram and may even get back into Twitter. If you’re interested in keeping touch, feel free to add me on Facebook (just let me know if you’re coming from my blog, because I won’t just add random strangers).

  7. I’m back with another sewing project! This time it’s my version of the 1936 Sports Halter.

    Outfit details:
    1936 Sports Halter playsuit - me made, pattern by Eva Dress
    Sandals -  Sears
    Pineapple Earrings: Estate Sale
    Engagement ring substitute - a piece from a ring sizing kit to quell my anxiety about not having my ring while it's getting its matching wedding band custom made

    I actually debated not posting these photos because I don't like how I look (too squinty! Not sucking in enough!) but c'est la vie. I neglected to do something that I've done with most other sewing projects - a trial run! After wearing this to Heritage festival I found that I didn't put the snaps on the top in the right place and didn't take in the shorts enough, so they fall well below my natural waist and just make it look like my pants are about to fall off. Blech.

    Anyway... I bought the pattern earlier this spring from EvaDress Patterns, and I am very impressed with the company! It was shipped quickly, was printed on heavy paper, and packed nicely in a ziplock bag (which I prefer over those fiddly paper envelopes that I can never fit the pattern back into).

    I had high ambitions of finishing it in early July, but since I sew at a sloth’s pace, I just finished it on the August Long weekend, just in time to take photos at Heritage Festival with my gal pal Heather.
    (For the uninitiated, Heritage Festival is like a cultural fair, with dancing, demonstrations, souvenirs and, most importantly, FOOD from hundreds of countries in the beautiful Hawrelak Park. It’s by far my favourite festival in Edmonton, because food.)

    I used this blue novelty print Hawaiian cotton, which has Hawaiian “stickers” on it depicting beach girls and Hawaiian scenes from the 30s to the 60s. It’s slightly anachronistic for a 1930s playsuit, but how could you NOT make a playsuit from this fabric? I got this fabric from my parents last August for my birthday, and I’m so excited that I finally have something to wear made from it!

    There’s two reasons it took me so long to make this playsuit. One is that I was making some seriously derpy sewing mistakes. The fabric loops confused me, despite doing them in previous projects, I failed hard on the zipper pocket (despite doing it perfectly on my skirt) and sewed the snaps on the wrong side. Like I said, just silly little mistakes. Clearly I need to do more than 1 project every season.

    The other thing that slowed me down, but in a good way, was the lining of the halter top. Once I decided that I would make this playsuit, I realized that I didn’t have a bra to wear with it, as my only strapless bra is a longline. Rather than buy another strapless bra (I seriously just bought that longline one, and I just bought my wedding bra, and I need to buy another everyday bra, so I’m kind of sick of bras) I decided to make a sew in one, and I’m glad I did.  This top shows A LOT of skin, so much that I’m not sure I could hide a strapless bra in there.

    So I followed this tutorial to make a built-in bra. I cut another halter piece that ended at my bra band line, then sewed on some elastic. The elastic is only attached to the front of the lining, and hangs free from from the halter waistband in the back. I kind of just eyeballed everything, and it worked! I’m so pleased with myself, and it is great support. I may be tempted to do this in a few other tops.

    My other favourite thing about this top, which kind of gets lost due to the busy print, is those giant collars. Strangely enough, I had no issues with adding the collars, despite my wide range of other silly problems with this top, and confusion last time I made something with collars.

    I did a bit of creative troubleshooting with this make. While I love rompers, playsuits etc etc, I hate having to get all the way naked to go to the washroom, especially since the top requires three different closures. So, instead of following the pattern instructions to sew the top and the shorts together, I added snaps instead. Sneaky sneaky.

    The shorts are really weird because there’s no real waistband; the instructions actually call for you to use bias tape to finish the shorts waist and hem. Since I didn’t feel like mucking around making my own tape, I just turned them in. If I ever make this playsuit again, or even just the shorts, I think I would add an actual waistband with interfacing. It's just doesn’t feel like enough support to keep it up (especially considering this is called a “sports halter”) on it's own, so in the future I'm going to wear it with a matching elastic belt.

    This is definitely going to become a summer favourite, and I plan on wearing it every day when I get home from work and have to sit in my un-air conditioned house.

    Photos by Heather McIntyre / Laurie Callsen