Saturday, November 7, 2015

New fabric, new plans

Hi there,

In the period I was unemployed I didn't buy much fabric. It wasn't so much that I didn't have the money for it. It was more a matter of prioritising my expenses. I have enough fabric lying in piles, to last me a long time so there was no actual need of buying anything. It wasn't necessarily hard to be on a fabric-diet, it was just not much fun. As you will probably all understand.

Finally, last weekend I treated myself on a trip to my local fabricshop. I just love to go there. The shoplady is very sweet, the choice of fabric is great and, as it is a rather small shop, the visitors always end up in a little group chatting with each other. It's cosy and it's fun.
There was this little girl - she looked not much older than 8 or 9 years - who asked the customers "Can I help you?". And she did. She was very helpful and seemed to know quite a bit about fabric and notions. As I wondered what her relation to the shoplady was (I assumed granddaughter), someone else asked her that same question and her answer was "I just work here. I needed (?) a job and I can work here on saturday". Turned out she was already 16 years old. But she was sooo petit... We started talking (yep, in a little group) and I asked her if she did sew for herself. She did. For herself and for her mother. She had to, because obviously she couldn't find any age-appropriate clothes in the store. And yes, she would lóve to get a job in fashion, or in fashion-related business. It was so much fun to talk to her. I wanted to tell her to keep chasing her dreams and not do what I did back in the days.... (I wanted to become a fashiondesigner. But when the time came to decide on an education, I got cold feet and chose the safe way of becoming a secretary. No real regrets, but still....). But I didn't. Nowadays, these youngsters are so well aware of what they want and they are not afraid to take the steps to get there. I'm sure she'll get there too. And if she chooses different, than that's her choice. Just like I chose another way.

Anyway, about an hour later I left the shop with two pieces of fabric. I realised a while ago that I really have to buy fabric with a plan. If I don't, I find it very hard to decide later on what to do with it.
These two pieces came home with me and I hope I will find some time this weekend to work on the things I have planned for them. The denim - which is quite stiff by the way and way darker than the picture shows - will be a long pencil-skirt. I plan on using the white self-edge and the wrong side of the fabric in the design. The blue knit is gonna be a sweater.The pen is just there to show you the size of the pattern.
Both pieces will be reruns of former projects and it's gonna be fun!
Next time I'll tell you more about my plans.

For now, have a great weekend and enjoy the fall which is falling upon us (pun intended) quickly now.


Friday, October 9, 2015

Good News!

That's right. Finally the moment has arrived that I can say: "I got a new JOOOB!"

After this weekend I'll start working as an executive assistant, at a regional education centre, which includes 20 schools that provide Preparatory and Secondary Vocational Education and Training. (For my Dutch readers: it's an ROC).
The jobdescription is just my cup of tea. I already met a few people and I am really looking forward to working with them. There's another executive assistant I will be working with closely (we share an office) and I have a feeling we will be getting along just fine.
It's only 25 kilometers from my house and the building is just beautiful.
I hope this will turn out to be a long-term job. But these days, who can tell. I'll start fulltime (40hrs) but there is a chance that some hours will be eliminated after a certain period. Ah well, I just can't worry about that right now. At this point, I only want to count my blessings.

It was my 90th job-application since February 2014, that got me here. I guess I am lucky. Being 49, it gets harder to find a new decent job these days. At least that's what everyone says and after a while I started to believe this. It is súper-important to keep believing in a positive outcome, but at the same time it's the hardest thing to do.

Before I lost my last long-term job (due to the economical crisis) I had never been out of work since I left school at 19. Not a day! Needless to say that last year I entered a world I didn't know anything about. I was lucky to find a temporary job at an elementary school for 5 months (sep/jan) but after that it was back to searching for that job that didn't seem to exist. There were times I almost felt sick and very, very angry with the whole situation.
Until 2 weeks ago...when I got the invitation for that job-interview. And then the second one. And then, the long-awaited: welcome!
I must admit it took me a few days to let it all sink in. I still feel like it can be taken away from me any moment. Silly maybe, but I guess that's what being unemployed does to you. And learning the hard way that there are no guarantees in life.

Was it all bad? No. Having to deal with the lows in your life means 'growth'. I definitely have grown as a person. I've tackled little and not so little hickups. I had to dig deep in myself to move on. Every time after a sort-of depression I had to pick myself up. And I did. At a certain point I realised that every new day meant new chances. Often I felt beaten and down, like I was trying to move a dead elephant. But I knew that the next day could be different and it often was. Being single, I had to be véry grown-up about things and about how to solve my problems. (Geezz...I sound like a 20-year old now haha...) I learned to economize and be wise about money. (Never was a big spender, but when you asked me outside of the supermarket what I had just payed for my groceries, I didn't have a clue. Money had just never been an issue.) I started volunteering in different fields and met some lovely people. And maybe most importantly, I have become more appreciative about the people around me that were there to listen patiently to my repeated stories about unsuccessful job-applications. Family, friends, and those that turned out very valuable networkconnections.... I'll never take them for granted again.

So. Fulltime working. It's gonna take some time-management. Like, how am I gonna find time to sew? But don't worry, I'll find a way.
Now I feel the urge returning to sew something, in the same way you get hungry afther the fever's gone. Sewing with a happy (nót a heavy) heart. Enjoying it again. I've missed it só much!

Talk to you soon

Monday, August 31, 2015

Jersey Top (x2) - Not so identical twins

This is a pattern from KnipMode July 2012. One of the patterns that, through the years, I immediately fell in love with. Again it's an example of simple with a 'twist'. The ruffles are the real center of attention here. The assymetrical neckline also does its best to attract attention. I like the 3/4-length sleeves. It makes it perfect to wear after summer. Great transitional wear so to speak. I am rather proud of how evenly the ruffles are divided. I took my time to get it right and it really payed off.

There is one flaw in this pattern. Once the top is sewn, the shoulderlines are no longer aligned. (See the yellow lines in the picture below.) Probably because of all the pulling that is going on. I assume you can change this by extending the diagonal neckline at the shoulderpoint, but I am not gonna try this. I already have to take off 3 cm of that same neckline at the other side, to prevent it from hanging too loose. I don't think adding length at the shoulder side will do it any good. And anyway, if I hadn't told you, you never would have guessed, right?

Now, why am I talking about (not so identically) twins in the title of this post?
See this? Looks familiar? That's right. It's a top I made a few years ago with the same pattern. Only did I somehow manage to make it in reverse this time.
The blue fabric has more stretch than this grey fabric, so it's less tight at the bust-area.
I won't ditch the 'old' one, but I like the new version better.

It's a great piece to make and to wear. But I have to make sure my bra-strap is not showing. To avoid having to check all day, I secure it with a safetypin on the inside.

I had plans to pick a new sewing project but I didn't. And to be honest I don't have the desire to do so anymore. We'll see what tomorrow brings. A lot of other tasks were done today, so I'm pretty tired now and apart from cooking/eating/dishes there won't be much action in da house for what's left of the day.

Talk to you soon

p.s.  I received a question from Anonymous about subscribing to KnipMode when you live abroad.
Anonymous, if you read this: this link might come in handy. At the bottom of the page you'll find an email-address and a phonenumber you can use to ask any questions about subscribing to KnipMode. far as I know, there is no English version. So, maybe that's something to take into consideration.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

My (re)view on KnipMode September 2015 - The Make-over

Months ago it was announced: Knipmode was going to get a make-over. Main change was gonna be an adjustment in the range of sizes. Each pattern was going to be offered in sizes 34 to 54. And as it goes with everything that is announced far in advance, suddenly the day has come that you find the new magazine in your mailbox.
In this post I would like to give my opinion on the changes that have been made. Feel free to disagree.

From: KnipMode Magazine - September 2015

The first thing you notice is the size of the magazine. I didn’t measure it but I think that it’s about an 1/2 inch larger in width and 1 inch in height.
Does that matter? I think it does. Apart from more room for larger pictures, they used a larger font size for the descriptions, which is easy on the eyes.

Next thing
 is the cover. The previous covers were made of shiny paper. Now it’s matte, firmer and more solid. Nice! Altough I cherish my old issues of KM and Burda, more than one cover has come loose or is torn apart. Maybe the risk of that happening is now smaller.

The number of patterns has gone down. This is actually quite logical if you consider that the larger and smaller sizes are now combined.

And then…..the size-range. When I got a prescription back in 1993, the sizes were all over the place. Patterns for only small-sizes, only big, or combined. For example: S36-38 / S40-44-48 / S38-42-46 / S48-50-52, and so on. Therefore, for your specific size there was a limited amount of patterns to choose from, although it has to be said that the smaller sizes were more represented than the larger ones.
About 6 years ago they divided the ranges in S34-46 / S44-56. (This was a great time for me, being a 44-46. I could get my pick at both sides!).
And now, every pattern is available in S34-54. And that’s a great thing. A lot of people agree, according to the messages left on KM’s facebook-page. But there is a strong demand for more pictures with plus-sized models, and I think that’s a fair request if you want to project that you now provide patterns for (almost) every size.

Still there is one thought that I can’t get out of my head: I believe that not every style is suitable for every size. How is this gonna affect the style choices KM will make? Will there be compromising in design as in ‘one design should fit all’, or are they just gonna put S34-54 under every design, regardless of whether it’s a style that suits the bodytypes that come with the different sizes? Don’t get me wrong. I am a very liberal person and I believe that everyone should wear what he or she is feeling comfortable and/or great in. But in my opinion, I truly believe that certain styles are better left alone cause they are absolutely not flattering for your bodytype. (I am a 46 so I am dealing with this myself.)

But hey, as long as there are enough patterns to choose from, let’s not dwell on this. And we’ll see how KM treats this ‘issue’ as time goes on.

New categories. I really had to compare it with an older issue to see what the differences are. It's not very clear to me. I don’t even know which of the categories will be published every month. They’re mostly about  trends and themes in fashion, and ‘pimping’  your clothes. Oh, and don’t forget making your own accessories. Great for those who are in to these things, but for me it’s a waste of space. In fact, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they won’t add a cooking-item like they used to in the old days. Just saying haha…

From: KnipMode Magazine - September 2015
But one item is really cool. The sewing of one of the patterns is explained from A to Z, with pictures, on three pages. That always comes in handy, especially for those who are new to sewing. I remember I used to love these instructions when I started sewing. As a matter of fact, I still do.
From: KnipMode September 2015
From: KnipMode September 2015
From: KnipMode-Magazine - September 2015
From: KnipMode-Magazine - September 2015

Overall I really, really like the new KnipMode. The vibe it has makes me happy and wanting for more. Especially the choice of fabrics is making my mouth water. The styling and pictures seem to be prettier. Is this all due to the make-over? Or has this also to do with the fact that it’s the september-issue. After a long summer, every september fashion-magazine is welcomed with open arms, showing us all the new, inspiring goodies that will lead us to and through a wonderful fall. I guess it’s a bit of both.

Anyway, I look forward to choosing my new projects from the new magazines and start fall-sewing.
Hope you enjoy it just as much!



Sunday, August 16, 2015

New Fabric

It's been a while since I last showed you some newly purchased fabric. Recently I visited the weekly market near my town and I didn't had the intention of buying any new fabric. There is more than enough to work with at home. But you know how these things go, don't you? Once I have a piece of fabric in my hands, I just need to buy something. It's like an addiction. Let me rephrase that: it ís an addiction. Normally I don't like buying stuff without a plan. All the orphans in my stash are the ones of which I thought I could find a matching pattern. For most of them I'm still searching.
But when you are at a stall with remnants costing no more than € 2,50 a piece, it's hard to withstand the call of fabric. So I dived into the piles and found myself 4 nice pieces to take home with me.

Let me introduce you to:

nice blue cotton with tiny dots, probably for a late-summer or fall blouse

jersey with a very, very soft feel to it. The white is a bit off-white.

sheer multi-pastel-coloured fabric

jersey with a panel-like print, lots of grey (more than you see here) and a band of bright-coloured strokes at the side. I just lóve this!

That's it. I guess you can't call this a splurge. But these four pieces were just enough to get my needs satisfied. I went home a very happy girl!

Stay tuned for more. Yesterday I received the very first KnipMode with a new and fresh face, and some changes that are very interesting. I am thinking about doing a review.
There's also a finished project I want to show you.

So, talk to you soon!


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Royal Blue Cardigan - KnipMode July 2014's raining cats and dogs here! What better time to sit down and write a post.
This cardigan was still to be reviewed and shown to you, so here goes. The fabric is a super-lovely interlock jersey in royal blue. And I wouldn't be surprised if it contained some lycra. (I bought this at a fabricmarket and I didn't ask about it....  But anyway, I want more of that stuff!!

I'm looking somewhat goofy in this picture. The real reason behind this is that I tried to pull down the cardigan to eliminate the draglines, which are caused by the absence of a fullbust-adjustment. That's right. I thought, since this is a jersey, I could do without one. I thought wrong. I will also show you the picture which shows all the flaws. And I didn't even take a picture of the back. Believe me: móre gooey badness!
Oh...and don't be fooled by that smile. I was feeling pretty frustrated at that time because every picture looked nasty, so what you see is a very artifical 'happy me'  haha...

See how the hem is pulling up? I put this picture on Facebook and got very nice comments. But I wonder if people are just being nice, or am I really too critical about my own work?

I wonder if the day will come that I make something that fits just fine. There are always issues at almost every point you can think of. And I already tried a lot of adjustments, but I'm still not where I want to be.
Maybe I should contact someone who can 'translate' my body proportions to standard sewing-patterns.
Or maybe I should search for more information (internet or real books) about adjusting sewing-patterns.

There is already one thing I discovered recently that might lead me in the right direction. I tried on a jacket I made years ago. I don't know what size I was at the time but certainly smaller. Much to my surprise it fitted perfectly in the back. And yes, I still could move my arms. No pulling, no draglines! That made me think: when drawing a pattern, maybe I should size down at the top of the back! Now I always stick to a size 46, but maybe I am only a 44 there. Interesting food for thought don't you think? I am gonna investigate this some more. Because it might just help to get rid of (some of the) draglines in the back. I am sooo done with them.

Sorry for this rant but sometimes you just have to.
And thanks for listening :-)


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Ottobre shirt, second time around

Sometimes you're lucky. Sometimes you make something and everything goes smoothly. This t-shirt is an example of that. Even my serger was nice to me and had no hickups whatsoever. No unpicking of seams, no stupid mistakes in cutting the fabric, no......just no problems at all.
And to top it all off, it fits perfectly and wears heavenly...

Apart from that, there's not a lot to say about this shirt. It's the second one I made from an Ottobre pattern. The first one you can read about here and here.
The fabric is a jersey knit with lycra. Pretty thin, but heavy enough to hold its shape. And a joy to work with.
And I just lóve the colours and the tie-dye print. The green and blue are vibrant but toned down by the white and grey. It's perfect for this time of year (altough today it has been raining here for hours on end).
The shirt itself is simple. The only design feature is the ruffled seam on top of the sleeve.

There was not enough fabric to cut the sleeves horizontally, so I cut them upside down. The fabric is a two-way stretch so that gave no issues.
The instructions in Ottobre tell you (if I'm correct, too lazy to look it up...) to fold the neckline to the wrong side and sew it. Oh no no... Not gonna happen. Once you learn how to finish the neckline of a knit top this way, you'll never go back.

The next thing I wanna show you is already finished. I'll be posting in a few days or so.
But for now, this is it. Talk to you soon!