Monday, November 30, 2009

I forgot to mention...

In the post I wrote yesterday I talked about the Slinky Shrug-pattern. I forgot to mention how I found out about the existence of this pattern. So I'll make up for that:

If you want to see it already made and get some great tips, then go over to the blog of The Sewing Divas by clicking here. Mary Beth wrote a post about it and already made one up!
And thanks Sigrid for your comment in which you mentionned the post of Mary Beth. I did found it there initially, but your help is highly appreciated.

And now I wrote this I feel like I want to thank all of you who leave comments on my posts and everyone who takes time to read my blog. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy yours. (And if you don't have a blog yet, start one. It's fún !!) Please feel free to leave a comment any time. I absolutely love it. With my blog I try to give back what I receive from the sew-and-blog-community. I read so many sewingblogs, I thoroughly enjoy them and I will try to leave a comment every now and then.

Now, this was my third post in two days. I'm gonna take a break from blogging now. At least for a few days....

Have a great week everybody.


New plans

This morning I wanted to clean my sewingroom. Or at least tidy up a bit. But I didn't get much done. After finishing my skirt yesterday the thought of a new project hasn't left my mind since. I started flickering through all my sewingmagazines and came up with lots of ideas.

I wrote that I own about 12 pieces of fabric and therefore am not allowed (self-imposed rule!) to buy anything new but have to sew with what my stash provides.
So I decided to look in my stash and see what was waiting there for me. And guess what? The major part are summerfabrics ! Now, I can't go sewing summerthings in winter, can I? So, what does this mean? YES, I CAN BUY MORE FABRIC.

Silly rule, actually. I think it origins from the time that I didn't sew up that much. I sewed regularly but not as much as I do now. I bought one, maybe two pieces of fabric and sewed them up before I bought new stuff. I didn't have a stash so to speak.
Maybe it also has to do with the way I buy fabric. I read on many of your blogs that you buy fabric (large pieces) and afterwards you decide what you will do with it. Most of the time having enough fabric left for another piece.
I choose a pattern and buy the amount of fabric that is needed (and a bit more because of my length, I am 1,79m / 5 ft. 11 long). Buying this way is somewhat restrictive but on the other hand, every piece I buy is spoken for and will have it's place in my wardrobe. That is if it not ends in a wadder of course. It's not very adventurous, I'm aware of that.

When I started reading sewingblogs (about 2 years ago) I really liked the idea of SWAPping, and I still do. I never came round to do a SWAP of my own so far. But maybe I should do it. And that would mean buying lots of fabric. Well, that's another plan and I don't want to talk about that today.

My plan for today was to show you the things I want to make next.

Blouse / KnipMode 1998-12 / 23
This blouse I made years ago. I remember I loved it dearly but I made it a bit small. In those years I gained some weight and it became too small too soon. I especially liked the way the buttons were fastened with little loops, made from the same fabric. A trend you saw a lot in those days. So this is a new try in a larger, more sensible size. I don't have a good picture of the fabric I'm gonna use but it's armygreen and has a suede-like feel and look, but is much thinner and fluid. Hope you get the idea.

The picture in the magazine (not of great quality I'm afraid):

Chanel jacket / KnipMode 2001-10 / 17b
I already bought the fabric a while ago. On the right the picture in the magazine:

And last but not least:

Blouse / KnipMode 2008-05 / 5b
This pattern is a bit more recent than the other two. This blouse I also made before. The fabric I'm gonna use is purple with tiny little white dots. This is what it looks like in the magazine (don't you just love those puffy sleeves??):

So these are my plans for the nearby future. I hope to come up with some pictures of my work in progress very soon but I don't think I will get anything done today and tomorrow my workweek starts and that's usually not the best time for blogging/sewing for me.

We'll see he?


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Red pencilskirt is finished - and new plans

Yay!! my pencilskirt is finished. Let's start with a picture, shall we?
The picture is a bit dark but in the other pictures you can see the fabric more detailed. (I don't like pictures without a head, but I understand sóóó very well why people publish them that way. Today I wanted to be brave though. And I assure you: I cán laugh you know. I réally can).
I'm glad it is finished, for several reasons. First of course because of a new addition to my wardrobe. Overall I'm happy with it but I did have some issues making it. It all went together very well and I had high hopes that this would become a winner. But altough I measured everything very well and I used a tnt-pattern, the band is a bit too wide. If I wear it, it stands away from my body. Just a tiny little bit but also just enough to annoy me. I first wore a belt in the picture but that accentuated this problem in a rather hilarious way. Just below the belt, the band was peaking out, like two little sidetables. Awfull!! Actually I think this has to do with the fabric (and of course NOT with my sometimes insufficient sewing skills, my impatience to finish, or my aversion against making muslins ;-) It was very stretchy in the parts where it was cut off-grain.

That's probably also the reason for this problem:
The band in the back on the left is wrinkled. (It's not on the other side). Sometimes this problem disappears after ironing it, but not this time.
I can't undo the band and put it back on. I cut of quite a lot of the (inner)seams to make them thinner and the fabric is really of the fraying kind. But I'll accept it just the way it is. The problems I mentioned cán be hidden problems if I combine the skirt with the right tops or blouses. So all in all, I'm glad with it and plan on wearing it this week to work. It's fully lined. The lining is black and not blue as you would think seeing this picture. 

It has the right 'body' for this time of the year. (It would also be see-through if I hadn't lined it). It has a little gusset which is hardly functional but I feel that this model needs it. It makes it just a bit more funky.

Now something else. Did anyone of you see this pattern? It's called The Slinky Shrug and it's a free download pattern from Hot Patterns/ If you want to download this pattern (or get a better picture) click here
 Big chance you already came across this on the internet for I saw it at different places and I have to say it really caught my eye. I love it. I want it. Yesterday someone was wearing a similar one and it was so cute.  I never used a download-pattern before and with this fairly easy pattern I thought I'd give it a go.

So after I printed everything out and placed it in the right order on the floor I turned my back for a second to do something else. Only to come back to this:

Now, thís is what a guilty cat looks like. Not for long though. Only a few minutes later when I had rearranged everything again, this happened:

I think he's trying to tell me: "Make me a cute littly shruggy too, pleeeze". Well, no harm is done. Everything is still in one piece. 
This is definitely something I wan't to make, but not yet. I want to find the right fabric for it and right now I feel like I first need to sew up some fabric that's already in my stash. You can't keep bying can you? Ok, ok, stupid question I know. It's just I'm not a stashbuilder. Not at all!! I think I have about 12 pieces of fabric at the moment and I already feel guilty. Yes, go on, have a good laugh you all.

One great aspect of finishing something is the fact that you can start afresh with a new project. Let's see...hmm..the other pencilskirt? A blouse? Pyama's? (I have seen the most beautiful cotton fabric for new pyama's.
Yes, I know, it's pink again. That's not my favourite colour or anything, it's just the fabric caught my eye and the first thing that came up in my mind was: pyama's !!!! (The two different shades of pink are caused by a shadow, I guess).

But:  can't buy yet, must sew stash first.

To make a long story short: I haven't decided yet on my next project and that's absolutely not gonna happen tonight either.
For now I'm in desperate need of a chinese take-away and a quiet evening in.
In my next post most likely the reveal of my next sewingadventure. So stay tuned!


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pink sweater finished - and do I like it?

The pink sweater is finished. It was already on monday last week but due to a very busy schedule, both day and evening, I haven't been able to sit down and write this post. Now it's sunday and I slept in until 11.30u (boy, did I need that extra hours of sleep!) and now I can finally put this new addition in the blogosphere for everyone else to see.

First a picture:

I am very, very happy with the outcome. When I finish something I usually put it on a hanger where I can see it and I have to say that last week, everytime I passed it, I had feelings of sheer joy. Why such a casual, not really thát interesting piece of clothing can get me over the moon like this, has me puzzled.

Well, let's start with a list of points why I dó like it, maybe then it becomes clear:

1. The fabric. It's fleece, it's soft, it's warm, it has a light stretch, it's comfortable.

2. The colour. It's a pastel pink and it's the perfect colour to match the creamy softness of the fleece. Makes me think of strawberry-icecream.

3. The fit. (If you are an avid muslin-maker, please don't read any further and skip to number 4 immédiately. This is a warning). 
A sweater is of course not the most challenging thing to make when it comes to fitting. I don't make muslins (yet). So I just measure myself, I measure the pattern and where any alterations are needed, I try to fix that by adding or removing width, length, etc. With this pattern I changed the length and created a bit of a waist (the original sideseams were straight). That's all I changed and I have to say that the fit is just so right!

4. The way all the patternlines and topstitching on the left and right side of the zipper matched beautifully.

5. Finishing it my way. I normally follow instructions religiously. If I had done that this time, I would have hemmed the sleeves and the body in the normal way. But they were quite wide and my fear with this kind of fabric, especially for the seam of the body, is that it's going to stretch while wearing. And I HATE that. The bought sweater I own has elastic finishing and I knew right away that I wanted that for this sweater too. It's 2cm (4/5 inches) wide elastic. I chose to let the seam of the body end below my but (oohh...first time I use this word) and chose the length of the elastic so that it would be fitting, minus a few cm. When I wear it now it doesn't look like a lot of fabric drawn together. You can't almost see that there is any elastic involved. Nice one! With the sleeves of course you can tell but that's no problem at all.
The sleeves:

6. The new door that has opened for me. Up until now the things I sewed were always clothes for work, parties etc. All the other casual stuff was bought. I never gave it any thought really. It's just one of those things that get stuck in your system and you don't feel the need to change that. Maybe somewhere in the back of my mind I thought that making casual clothes wasn't that fulfilling because they're not..well..pretty, or something. Was-I-Wrong-Or-What? Glad I found out!

7. A new TNT. Maybe not an endless-one but I definitely will make this one again.

Was there something I didn't like?

I think a lot of bastingthread is left behind in the fabric. I could cut the stitches where I could see them, but if I tried to pull them out, some of them just wouldn't move. And that is in an area where no sewingmachine-stitching is involved. It looks like the fabric is eating it. At those places I had to cut away the thread as close to the fabric as I could. Still have no explanation for that.  

Another thing is: When I put the zipper in and topstitched it, it looked great on the outside but on the inside I discovered that the right side of the zipper (left in the picture) wasn't fastened by the stitches in a solid way. At some places it's just holding on by a few threads. I think it will survive but when you open the zipper completely you can see the difference between left and right very well. The zipper however will never be opened completely when I wear it so it's a hidden problem. A good lesson for the next one tough.

Here you can see the problem. Both sides are topstitched on the right side, only one inner-side shows the stitching.

Next up is a post about my red pencilskirt. I already have everything cut out so now it's a matter of getting behind that machine. For what's left of it: you all have a great weekend!


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pink sweater - so far

Yesterday I started on the pink sweater (KnipMode December 2002) This is the linedrawing:

and this is what I came up with so far:

As I wrote in an earlier post I was a bit scared of handling fleece since I hadn't worked with it before. But I have to say it's a pleasure to work with. It has a little stretch and so far sewing it has been a breeze. I'll skip the pockets though, maybe next time when I will use this pattern they will get their moment in the sun. I also narrowed the waist as the original pattern has a straight sideseam and I don't want it to look too baggy.

Before I start with a garment I always go through the steps in my mind, several times. Sometimes trying to figure out how to do things. This time I kept thinking about how I had to insert the zipper but I couldn't figure it out. When I read the instructions everything became clear and it seems to be very easy. (Maybe that's what instructions are for, right?) You just need a little handstitching (basting), but that's not something I mind. (I always picture myself as one of the seamstresses in the Chanel sewing-room as seen in the 4 episodes of 'Signe Chanel', silly I know but it works. It makes me feel ever so 'coutury'. You should try it if you dislike handstitching).

I wanted to show you some detailpictures about the construction but no matter how I placed my work on the table, even I couldn't figure out what the pictures I took were all about, let alone someone else. Then I got the brilliant idea to put it on the dressform inside out and that finally gave the picture and the details I was looking for.

In the picture you can see the opening where the zipper should be placed. I have to fold the seamallowance of the front, the collar and the facing (all in 1 straight line) to the wrong side, baste it in place, fold the facing to the inside and then baste the zipper in its place and machinestitch it.
The patterndescription also calls for piping in the horizontal frontseam. The effect of piping is great when done properly, but I shied away from it. I wanted this sweater to be a project to get to know fleece-fabric and learning how to use piping was not on my list this time. I know, after 17 years of sewing I still have a lot to learn.

I should be able to get very far with this sweater today. My plans are to finish it. Talking about plans, I haven't decided yet on my next project. I really!! want to make one of the pencilskirts I bought fabric for. But actually I would like to lose some weight before I do. I know, THIS IS STUPID (x15). It's like buying something a bit too small, thinking that you'll fit into it once you loose a bit of weight and then, after a year or so, the thing you bought ends (with the pricecard still attached to it) in a charitybag. 
But I can't help myself. I have a tnt-pattern which is just a bit too tight for me at the moment and I know that it looks sóóóó good when it fits (in my opinion that is).
So, there are my options: waiting till I loose weight and most likely end up with two pieces of fabric that once thought they were destined to become a lovely skirt, or not be so silly about it any more and just sew up those babies.

Well.....thinking about it......maybe I have just convinced myself.

But we're not there yet. First my sweater. Pictures of the finished project in the next post! Hope you all have a lovely weekend.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New fabric

Today I received my package of fabric I ordered on monday. I had totally forgotten about it so I was pleasantly surprised when I opened my mailbox this evening. This was bought via a webshop and therefore it's always a surprise what you will really get. It's also a risky business because you can't refuse your order because the colour is a bit different then you thought or the pattern is a bit more bold than you pictured it to be. And I must say, this has happened to me once or twice. Once I bought a fabric I thought was purple-brownish coloured. I wanted to make a skirt of it. When I opened my package a bright and sunny orange was 'smiling' back at me. I made a summerblouse with it and I think that was a good choice. But can you imagine this looking purple-brownish in a picture? Well it did.

Today's experience was a similar one. But this time it was the size of the pattern that startled me. Of course I knew it had circles, a lot of them. But they're sort of XXL in real life. Probably I just have to get used to the idea. What will happen now is: I spend a day away from the fabric, not able to see it but in the meantime the circles start to grow to a very serious size in my head, and then I come home, see my fabric and think: Oooohh...they're really not that big at all!
Works every time :)
Well, here's a picture of it. The zipper I placed on it is 30 cm (about 12 inches) long, so you get the idea. The colour is black with petrolblue. It's a polyester-viscose with a bit of spandex in it. It has enough stretch in it to sew anything without a zipper.

Don't get me wrong, I still like it very much. It's just that I don't want to attract attention in a dress with a pattern shouting: Hey..over here, look at me!! That's a bit out of my comfortzone. But if everything goes to plan then I will make this dress (hey, hey, whaddayouknow..circles!):

It's from the dresses-special (june 2009) that Knipmode published to celebrate their 40th anniversary and it contains patterns for 40 dresses! Now isn't that a wonderful idea!!! (By the way, when is it Burda's 150th birthday? No, just kidding of course..). I like the simple lines of this dress but still it's a very classy look. And sorry for the beheaded lady, but I wanted to picture the dress as big as possible.

Before I can start this project I still have lots of other sewing stuff on my mind. And it's about time I kick my lazy butt and get some work done!! Next weekend I don't have any appointments (yet), so that should get me back behind my sewingmachine.
Oh, I almost forgot, I also received the black lining I ordered. I'll use it to line the red pencilskirt I've got planned. Here you see the combination of the two.

I know that a red lining maybe would have been a more appropriate colour but the way the skirt is made, no lining should be seen on the outside so I don't see a problem there. And I could only find a very red lining so I figured black would suit it better. The lovely lady of the shop also added a free bobbin with black thread. Now isn't that sweet! She always adds something, like a zipper or thread, just as a gift.

Parting shot:
Look who was also really chuffed with the new delivery? 

Once unpacked, there's always a nice empty package to play with! Of course this little one wasn't left unattended when playing with this bag. I'm a responsible 'kitty-mum'.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Getting better, bit by bit

Last week I've been under the weather. It started on monday with an irritating feeling in my throat. That's always a sign that a cold is about to knock on my door. I managed to keep working for the rest of the week but on friday my boss agreed it would be better to work from home and take my rest when needed. 
On saturday I wanted to rest as much as possible to get better because sunday-afternoon I had plans to go to the Night of the Proms  in Antwerp. And thankfully I had recovered enough by then to do so. 
It was really great, as usual. All the performances were accompanied by the music of a symphonic orchestra: Il Novecento, and a wonderful choir: Fine Fleur. We saw performances of Orchestral Manouvres in the Dark, Roxette, Sharon den Adel (leadsinger of Within Temptation, a Dutch symphonic metalband), John Miles, the Katona Twins (two brothers (siblings) who played the guitar, both modern and classical), and of course, Toots Thielemans, a Belgian harmonicaplayer who's music was really sooo beautiful. I heard it before but now, seeing him live, and feeling the jazzy and melancholic vibe of his music, that was really amazing. I bet you've heard his music before. You think not?? Well, listen to this, and dream away....:

That's enough about the Proms.

What about sewing?
Well, not much going on in that department. I'm still getting tired waaay too soon when doing something, but I keep dreaming and planning and... 

My next project will be a fleece-sweater. I never used fleece before and I have to say, I'm a bit scared of it. It's thick. Not thát thick, but just...thick. Thicker than a cotton, a tweed, a jersey. And it's fluffy. It's new to me and I wonder if I can handle it well. What if I have to unpick stitches? Ohh..the horror of it.

Anyway, it's going to be a very simple sweater (linedrawing in next post). I wíll insert a zipper, so that's really pushing my luck as far as I'm concerned. But we'll see. I'll post pictures as soon as I have any. Oh, and did I mention the colour is a sweet candy-pink?? Should be fun to make right? So stop being scared Lilian!!

Till next time.


Monday, November 2, 2009

My version of Halloween

For everyone of you who has been celebrating Halloween or taking part in activities, I hope you had a really fun time. In the Netherlands we don't have Halloween. You see the odd pumpkin here and there, but no dress-up parties or scaring other people, or trick-or-treating. There is, I must say, a growing interest but that has more to do with the commercial side of things. (If you are confronted with all kinds of advertisements, telling you that you HAVE to buy all kind of halloween-related things, yes then maybe in a few years we will have a halloween-tradition as well. But it will not by far be the tradition that you all have).

Of course I couldn't wait and decided I had to make my own scary version of Halloween.
How? I'll tell you.

There once was a blouse, it was nearly finished by its creator, only buttonholes had to be made and buttons had to be attached.
Since its creator had the access to a wonderful, electronic Pfaff-sewing machine with fully automatic buttonhole-option, the making of them was a job not worth mentioning. Just pointing out on the fabric where the buttonholes should be placed, type in the length and let the sewing machine do the rest.
The first buttonhole was made. The thread its creator used was the same as was used for hemming, and that looked alright. So why then did the buttonhole look like a brown spot in a snowwhite field?
That was no good. Its creator thought: "O well, I'll change the thread and redo that one later. Thread was changed and all was going well. Next buttonhole was a beauty. Colour was right. On to the third.

Third buttonhole was ready. But, oh no! it was only 2/3 of the length it was supposed to be. That really puzzled its creator and got her a bit scared. That should NOT happen when it's fully automatic! Suddenly, making buttonholes with this machine was no longer considered a fun thing to do. It had become a scary thing and starting the fourth one was a bit nerve-wrecking. But she overcame her fear and finished the fourth one. And it was ok. That gave her strength and courage to start on the fifth and last one. But disaster struck again when after only 2/3 of the length (yes.....sigh.....) the sewingmachine decided the buttonhole was long enough and it was time to stitch back in the opposite row. Now its creator started to get really angry and uttering..uhh..not so nice words as in trying to make the bad spirit, responsible for all this misfortune, go away. And it did. It FINALLY did. But not after giving a last kick. With horror the creator discovered that there was not much thread left and she still had to unpick and redo 3 buttonholes.
And this was the only right colour of thread that she had. And she really wanted to finish this blouse. So, fingers crossed, she started unpicking, all the time thinking: "Am I going to succeed?" and "Am I not going to damage the fabric as that's quite likely to happen, considering everything that's going wrong?" But her luck changed, and she managed to do all three of them, in the right length! and had even some thread left to sew on the buttons.

So we can happily say that all's well that ends well. The blouse was finished and disaster struck no more.

The end.

I know it's silly but I keep thinking: could all this have anything to do with the fact that it's a full moon, haha..

Now, a picture of my finished blouse. No face today, I don't look too well.
I wish I was able to post sharper pictures. In the software I'm using they look absolutely fine, but once I post them on this blog they get a bit blurry....(whoaaa....could that be the bad spirit returning???)