Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bring on 2010......I'm ready for it !!

(Sorry, no pictures this time, but I hope you will be so nice to read my post. Thanks).

Having had a few days free from work, I've had lots of time to read loads of blogs. And as I already expected (and hoped), lots of you have done some kind of year-review. I would have loved to do one myself but my blog is only a few months old, my digital camera only a few months more and I can't even remember all the things I sewed this year. But..

if I look back at 2009, what do I see?

- Lots of sewing. Some of the things I made were really great. Most of them just great. And some of them I have never worn. And thát's not a good thing. It made me realise that I have to think very carefully before I decide on an outfit or a fabric. Most of the times I went wrong was when I really liked the fabric before it was cut, but once it was made into a garment it was looking funny-strange-not to my liking. Lesson learned!

- A new sewing-machine, as my old and dear Pfaff died suddenly in spring. It has been serving me for at least 17 years, so that was a machinelife well-lived. T'was a short-felt pain though. I'm ever so glad with my Pfaff Expression 2026. That I wanted a Pfaff again was not a question for me. In those days I kept thinking of an old dutch commercial-advertising about Pfaff-sewingmachines. It was broadcasted in my younger years and it went something like this: (a woman's voice says:). "My grandmother had a Pfaff, my mother has a Pfaff, I have a Pfaff and later my daughter will want a Pfaff-sewingmachine as well"
And no, I'm not joking, my mother had a Pfaff also..LOL !... 

- A serger: Pfaff Hobbylock 4842. (Yes, Pfaff....sigh...I'd like to state right here and now that I don't get payed for all this advertising, by the way). Can't speak of a new one because I never had one before. It's great. Especially since now I'm able to use all that jersey I was craving. It's a joy to use and it gives great results and a nice and professional finishing. What's not to like?

- A strange sewing-insecurity that occurred in the second half of the year. I absolutely don't know what it is or where it's coming from but I've been sewing for years now and all of a sudden, this year, I started questionning my sewing-skills. Being suddenly 'afraid' of using certain sewingtechniques that I had used many times before, and successfully I might add. Strange, but not something that can't be handled.

- A change in the patterns Burda and KnipMode are producing. I don't like them anymore the way I did some years ago. I had a subscription to KnipMode from 1993 up until 2008. I have 22 loose numbers of Burda, varying in years from 1995 up until 2009. I played with the idea of getting a subscription to Burda but I never did. And now I'm glad I didn't. I sometimes feel I have enough patterns here to last me a lifetime. I pick up both magazines in the shop every month (I know I'm lucky to have easy access to both of them) and look through them. If one has an interesting feel to it, it comes home with me. But most of the time it doesn't.

Looking forward to 2010, what do I hope for:

- Lots and lots more of sewing. Especially dresses. I'm lacking dresses soo badly!

- Less wadders.

- Building up my fabric-stash. Yes my dear readers, the number of pieces of fabric I have waiting to sew up, is pathetic compared to what some of you got. I don't think I will go overboard with this one though. I'm the kind of girl who would get bloody nervous if she saw all that fabric, compared to the time she has to sew. Just a nice, decent and comforting amount. That will do.

- Which brings me to my next hope for the coming year: more time to sew. Which could be achieved by applying some kind of time-management. I'm not good at planning my time. That is one of my new-year resolutions as it happens. And that one could easily be linked to the one: making my job/work part of my life. NOT making my life part of my job/work, as I feel I've been doing the past year.

- Lots of pleasure in blogging, be it reading others or writing my own. It's a source of inspiration, joy, relaxation, that I now can't live without any more.

***

I think that will be enough. For now. I have other goals as well but they relate more to my personal life. Probably not that interesting for y'all.

At this moment, as I'm writing, only 5 hours and 23 minutes of that year 2009 are left here in the Netherlands. A year cursed by some, loved by others. All in all a year lots of us will remember because of certain things that happened to us, good or bad. I think we can wish for a wonderful new year but we can never expect to get it as life involves all kind of events that hit us or pass us by, weather we like it or not. It's just part of it. And it's a cheesy saying but oh so true: because of the bad moments we know how thankful we should be for the good ones.

I don't have to tell you all this. You already know.

I'm wishing you and your loved ones a new year in which there will be many moments to be thankful for and hope you can say at the end of it: It's been a góód year!

Cheers!!

Gr.
Lilian

Sunday, December 27, 2009

It doesn't often come that easy



In less than an hour I finished this garment. Cutting the fabric took more time than sewing it.
When  I had finished it and put it on I had a real mwah-feeling about it. First thing I thought was: I don't hate it but I am definitely never, ever gonna wear this outside my home. Than a question: If I only wear this at home, will I get a lot of wear out of it? And at that point the love for this garment started to grow. I could see myself using this in the summer as a quick pull-on when I get a bit chilly. Or on other days when you don't want to wear a sweater but only a shirt is not enough. Or if you want to read in bed and you need something to keep your arms and shoulders warm. Man, I can tell you, I took these pictures today and as I write this post I'm still wearing it. The love keeps growing. Isn't that amazing?

But it has a problem:

On my left side the ribbing is standing out, like a little pocket. That's actually the main reason why I don't want to wear this in public. I took the advice of Mary-Beth from The Sewing Divas and cut the ribbing a bit longer than the pattern prescribed. I'm glad I did or else I think this wouldn't be wearable. Not with this ribbon, which is quite stiff compared to the very soft and light pink fabric. Now, some of you may perhaps think: why don't you redo that part? Yes, that could be an option but as I said, if I'm only gonna wear this at home, I can live with this minor imperfection perfectly.


There is, however, a way I could solve this problem without having to go back to my sewing-machine: if I would wear it like this. But that would mean I have to attach some sort of fastening to it (right now I'm thinking of push-buttons). It would somehow alter the character of this garment and I don't want that. So I think that will be a no-no and I will wear it just like it is.
***
Next thing on my sewingmind is getting me a real sewingplan.
Or in other words: a SWAP.  It's not gonna be a big one, I'm a SWAP-beginner after all. But I will think it through thoroughly and carefully. The plan is to use only BURDA-patterns. I'll keep you posted on that one.

Parting shot:
Remember when I posted a week ago that we had snow in The Netherlands?
Well, this is what is left of it at my place. Typical dutch! But I think we shouldn't complain as a lot of you in America and other places in the world are really suffering from the bad winter-weather. My heart goes out to all you people and I hope the weather-conditions will improve soon!
 

Gr.
Lilian


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Almost finished for this year

The year has nearly come to an end. I've sewn quite a lot. Since I started blogging in september, I've shown you everything I have made so far. So here goes one more time:



Again, I'm very, very happy with this blouse. I was not sure wether this puffy sleeves would still be in fashion, but after browsing a lot of the stores lately I can safely say that they still are.

I had forgotten how cute the buttons are.. Don't you agree on that? 

Funny thing:
If you keep looking at this picture (slowly move your eyes up and down at the line where the shadow is darker) it seems like the fabric on the right is laying on top of the left side. Which is not the case of course, it's the shadow that's playing tricks with your eyes. The left side with the buttonholes is lying on top of the right side on which you can just see the line of stitches peeping out.

I'm not done sewing yet! I still want to make the Slinky shrug. Yep. Got everything washed and dried and am ready to cut it out and start sewing. My goal is to finish it and post about it before the year ends. Should be doable imo.
But of course I too have some Christmassy stuff to attend to in the coming days so I'm gonna be absent for a few days. But next week..I'll be back!

Have a wonderful Christmas everyone.

Gr.
Lilian

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas everyone




MERRY CHRISTMAS
to all my fellow-bloggists and their families

Starting blogging this year has been
a wonderful and exciting experience.

I'm glad I've entered this sewing-world
in which we all love to take part.

Thanks for all your comments and
thanks for all your wonderful blogs.

Thanks for the relaxing time they give me
and the distraction from everyday's worries.

Thanks for inspiring me and thanks for
all the sharing and caring.

Lilian


Saturday, December 19, 2009

We've got snow!


Last wednesdaynight it started snowing in Holland. So now we have a beautiful white world surrounding us. I love it! Makes me think of my youth when snow was a rather common thing in the winter. Now we sometimes have years when it's not snowing at all, or there is not enough snow (and frost to accompany it) to let us enjoy such a view. So I enjoy this very much. It brings out the little girl in me that got so excited when snow was forecasted. The anticipatition of waking up in the morning to this wonderful white world that had so many promises in it. Couldn't wait to go outside and play in the snow.
With the years I've grown a bit wiser of course. I stay in and enjoy the view from behind my windows... Well, I had to go out to take these pictures of course. But I made sure there was some hot coffee waiting for me when I got back in :)

Today is the first time I see my own neighbourhood this way because in this time of the year I have to leave for work when it's still dark and then return in the dark again. But guess what...today is not only the beginning of the weekend but also of my TWO-WEEKS HOLIDAY. Ok, ok, I'll have to go back to work for one more day in those two weeks but who's complaining right? So there will be plenty of time to sew....or do something else. I won't promise a sewingmarathon with loads of posts writing about it because right now I'm not sure I can live up to that promise. We'll see, right?

I'll leave you with some more snowpictures. Have a nice weekend/holiday everyone!

After 10 minutes he begged to come back in.

Frontview

Backview

Okay birdies, today's lesson: Walk in a straight line!

Gr.
Lilian

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A few things on 'cuffs'

First of all a big thank-you to the commenters on my latest post, for the compliments on my blouse-under-construction. They are well appreciated.

A second big thank-you to Sigrid who suggested a link to a tutorial for sewing a collar with a stand, the way I've done on this blouse (and some blouses before). This is definitely the technique I was talking about, Sigrid.

And as I promised, for everyone who's interested to read and see more:
http://off-the-cuff-style.blogspot.com/2008/05/collar-part-2-hotpatterns-blouse.html . As you can see this is part 2 so check out the other parts too for a complete tutorial.

After a busy week, today I finally had some time to do more sewing and I finished both sleeves. I love the way they are finished at the cuffs, it's so feminine. The cuff is just wide enough to put my hand through (which is normally a lot smaller than the pattern suggests). Here's a detail:


(I promise you the sleeve was there first ......)

So the things left to do are:

- Inserting the sleeves
- Buttonholes
- Attaching buttons
- Hemming

Shouldn't take too long right? My next post will show the finished project and, for a change,  I'm planning on showing it 'in the flesh' :)
Till next time.

Gr.
Lilian

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Blouse is under construction

The blouse I started working on last weekend is still under construction. There's not so much to say about it except that it is coming together just fine. I am working on the sleeves now and one is partly finished. So this is what I came up with so far. (The sleeve is not attached but lies draped over the shoulder, click on picture for sharper details):



It was too small at first but by letting out the darts and the sideseams a bit now the fit is just fine. Strange actually....I used this pattern twice before and never had any fitting problems. (And those blouses still fit! in case you're wondering if this could be caused by gaining weight).

It is a bit too short to my liking and I am mad at myself for not checking that before I cut the fabric. It seems lately I start making more and more of these stupid mistakes. (Sorry if I sound a bit harsh but for someone who has been sewing as long as I have this is a mistake not-to-make). I will have to make sure the hem will be as small as possible, just to save some length.

Now for the good things:
I like the way the collar(stand) turned out !!



I'm definitely improving on my skills here. This has probably also a lot to do with the technique I once read about and have used ever since. But I can't for the life of me remember where I read it or who wrote about it. (I also forgot to take pictures when I was sewing).

I'll try to explain it :
Before you sew the collar between the two parts of the stand, fold over the seamallowance of one part and stitch it in place. Then sew the collar between the stand as you would normally do and turn the collar to the right side so it's ready to be attached to the neckline. Sew the unfolded side of the stand to the neckline. Then fold over the already finished side of the stand and tuck in the seams of the neckline.

Oh dear....does anyone understand what I'm talking about? Those of you who use this technique probably will. But those of you who are not familiar with it probably won't.

So if anyone of you knows a link, or hás a link, in which this technique is described, maybe you would be so kind to let me know so I can mention it in my next post? I'll give you the well-deserved credits of course!

If on the other hand such a link shouldn't turn up, and you are still curious what I'm talking about, let me know also. It will be my pleasure to make some kind of an instruction.

L-o-v-e to share and make sewing easier (= more fun).

Have a great week everyone!

Gr.
Lilian

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The cursed pattern....and some other stuff

A cursed pattern. Is it possible? I don't know, you tell me.

When I decided on my next project, a blouse, I started thinking about what I would write about it on my blog. I thought it would be fun to show the two blouses I already made from the same pattern. And to write a little bit about them. Then I realised that both blouses had suffered some major accidents. First let me show you the pictures and then I'll tell you.





They look ok, right? Well, let me tell you that I had to dye the blue one because of brown stains that were left on it when I stupidly washed it together with a brown skirt. I had only worn it a few times at that point! Luckily I did manage to save it from the bin. But if you look close (click on the picture) you can see that the thread I used to sew the buttonholes is a lot lighter. So was the fabric.... It's still ok, I can wear it and I'm thankful for that. (The colour I chose to dye it in was actually as blue as the colour of my dressform, but the fabric only took a bit of the colour).

The brown/pink blouse was already hurt during the sewingprocess. When I ironed the front, somehow I ironed it too hot and now at some places in the fold at the front, it's split. Just like a scissor cut through it. If you don't know, you can't see it. But it's absolutely not right. I wore this blouse a few times in this condition but I know that I have to fix it before it's damaged too much. I haven't figured out yet how I'm gonna do this. Well, it's a spring/summer item obviously so I still have some time to get to that.

And now I'm gonna try for the third time! Third time lucky he? It's gonna be a copy of the blue one with the long, ruffled, sleeves. I'm using my purple-white dotted fabric. I cut out all the pieces and interfaced them. The picture only shows a few pieces, just to give you an idea of the fabric. And for once the colour in the picture is just right.



So that's what I'm gonna work on today. I must find me some sewing-mojo first though. Right now, the thought of curling up on the sofa with a good book is much more appealing to me.

Yesterday I bought fabric in my local store for the slinky shrug. (Just can't get this pattern out of my mind!). I'm not completely smitten with the combination of these two colours but it's okay. I loved the soft pink fabric and it was hard to find ribbing that suited this kind of pink. There's a bit of grey in it so it's definitely not clashing. It's probably gonna be my next project. Here's a picture so you can check the material and colours yourself.



Now...time for lunch.
Hope you all (did) have a great weekend.

Gr.
Lilian