Friday, November 21, 2014

Colourful top - KnipMode Special Oct. 2013


This top is really cheering me up with its great, vibrant colours. Something we could all use in these, most of the time, gray and cold days. At some places the colours look faded, but that's the print.
The pattern is from a KnipMode special, which I can't find anywhere by the way. The original has a little strip of fabric that goes through a hole in the front, just beneath the drape and then you tie the ends together and by that gather the drape. Boy, does that even make sense to you? Anyway, I didn't use it. Nor did I use it in the same top I made about a year ago. And that's a colourful one as well.


With that top I made a belt (not shown in the picture, couldn't find that either :-(
I left out the belt this time and instead took in the sideseams, and now it's a more fitted top. (You got to trust me on that. I don't feel like taking a picture of me as I am down with a cold and not looking too well.)
What I like particularly is the fact that the drape in the neckline is modest but at the same time looking really great. It looks even better when I wear it.

I warned you in the previous post that it would be a simple top again. And it is.
Trust me to make it diffcult...
When I sewed the shoulderseams, after painstakingly ruching the seams and basting everything together, I realised that it was not right. Something in the back of my mind told me that the first top looked different in that area. So I checked it and yes, it was different. I should have read the instructions even though I made it before. But hey...when the sewingmojo strikes, I usually fly without wings. Well, lesson learned.
The shoulderseam of the back should be hidden between the shoulderseams of the front and facingpiece, instead of showing the raw edges. Here's what it looks like after I fixed my mistake.
















So the next job to do was unpicking the stitches and ruching and do it all over again, but now in the correct way.
It paid off. Now it's finished neatly and I love it. The instruction tells you to ruche also the shoulderseam of the facing, but I didn't bother with that. Just made two pleats and that works fine.
The facing is attached to the frontpiece at all sides, except at the bottom. It stays in place very well.

Nice.

Now I am in desperate need of a denim skirt to pair it with. Once I will feel a bit better I will pay a visit to the fabricshop. It's been too long. Too long...

Talk to you next time.
Lilian

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The facing that wanted to come out and play.

Yes. Another simple project... I almost feel the need to apologise for the fact that my sewing might seem a bit boring lately. But for me it isn't. No matter how simple it looks, there are always some problems to overcome and when I do, I am quite happy with the outcome. This top is a good example of that (first picture is a bit crappy though...)

 
 
As you can see, my top has no sleeves. Here's why.It all started with a piece of fabric I bought at a local fair for only € 3 ($ 3,80 / £ 2,30). Soon after that the idea came up to sew a trendy, oversized shirt with short sleeves. It took some time to find a matching pattern. (MUST NOT BUY FABRIC WITHOUT A PLAN - I REPEAT...MUST NOT etc.)
This pattern is from a magazine called 'Diana'. (More about that later). When that was solved too it was time to cut the fabric. It was then I discovered a big yellow stain, which eliminated 1/4 of the fabric I could use. Bummer.....
So what was I to do? Start looking for a new pattern (which would cost more time) or make do with what I had? I choose the last option and decided to eliminate the sleeves. I could still use this top to wear under jackets, cardigans etc.

With full steam ahead I started to sew. Then I saw that the shoulderseams were not matching. The back was way smaller than the front. (This probably has to do with the fact that I had to draw a new size between the patternlines of size 42/44 and 46/48). I had to recut and reshape the front neckline in the shoulder area. That meant the facing had to be reshaped  as well.
Once that was done I attached the facing to the, partly ruffled, neckline. Because of the ruffles, the facing was behaving in a bad way. It kept creeping up from behind the neckline and I didn't know what to do. Downstitching the facing meant stitching through the ruffles. That didn't appeal to me at all. I was about to throw the whole lot in the bin when I had a (ahum) briljant idea.Why not give the facing what it wanted - it's own little place in the sun?
And there you have it. The little stripe of fabric you see above the ruffles is the facing, crawling to the surface. It almost looks like a designfeature. As if it was meant this way. Yay!
The facing is stitched down all the way round. I used the 'stitch in the ditch'-technique in the front.

Pffff....problems overcome...very happy sewist!


Because I wasn't going to put in any sleeves, I had to redesign the armscyes as well, but that was a quick fix. I finished them in my favourite way. When hemming, I left the back a bit longer than the front. And from a certain size up, the pattern has bust darts. Nice!













This magazine - 'Diana' - is, I believe, a German magazine but sold in the Netherlands completely in Dutch. The pictures have a Burda-feel to it but the patterns are much nicer and wearable (in my opinion). For example:
Picture taken from sewing-magazine 'Diana'
Can you feel the Burda-vibe of a long, long time ago??

And now, probably with sweet Burda-memories filling your head, it's time for me to go. Next up will be another jersey knit top in quite thrilling colours. And yes, I'm afraid it's simple again ;-)
Better get started.

See you next time.
Lilian

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Alterations

First of all: a big, big thank you to everyone who left a comment on my last post, suggesting what could be the problem I was having with my yellow blouse and possible ways to solve that. This is so much appreciated! Sometimes in life you need help and you don't know who to turn to. But ask fellow-sewers for help and they all come to your rescue. That's so kind and sweet! So again, from the bottom of my heart: THANK YOU GUYS!

Now. On to the alterations.
Some of you suggested that maybe I need to create more space in the upper-back. I started to take a closer look at pictures of me from the side, and I was surprised to notice that I do have a rounded upper-back. Why didn't I notice before?! Besides that, I Always feel that my tops and blouses are hanging shorter in the back than the front. That may also be a result of the fabric pulling up at the top. Wow. This does make a lot of sense.
I definitely have sloping shoulders. That could be part of the problem too. But I am curious to find out if a rounded-back adjustment could do the trick. I found a very useful instruction here by 'Surefitdesigns'.

Rounded-back-adjustment
I used the instruction mentioned above, and this is what I came up with. Yeah, there is a dart in the shoulderseam but if that's what it takes, than that's what I am gonna do. Because you want the dart to end on top of your shoulder, I had to replace the shoulderseam. In the original, the shoulderseam is about 4 cm more to the front. I simply cut of the extra of the back and taped that to the frontshoulder.

The amount of extra space is absolutely a guess. The best way to find out how much I need might be to cut up the yellow blouse and see what happens when I put it on. Obviously, that's not gonna happen...


Full-bust adjustment
I also had a little trouble with full-bust draglines. This pattern has a princess-seam so that makes it a bit difficult to do an adjustment. But I found the perfect instruction for an fba for princess-seams by 'byhandlondon'. Unfortunately my apex is located on the front part so I had to be a little creative.
You see the red arrows? When I looked at the altered pieces I was worried that that extra space as to where the red arrows are pointing, was gonna be a problem. Then I suddenly realised that I was completely thinking in the wrong way! The extra space in the frontpiece is a (mini)dart, of course (!). And therefore, the extra space in the sidepiece can be eliminated. Pffff.....what was I thinking..... ;-)

I do not want the extra space that an fba creates at the bottom, so I let the two pieces next to the vertical cutting line, meet again at the bottom.


(The third piece on the right is the back-pattern....)
Now. I can hear you think. Where is the result of all these alterations?! Sorry, don't have that yet.... (hangs head in shame....) I want to make this a wearable muslin, but I don't have the right fabric for that at the moment. As soon as I do, results will follow.

* * *
 

There were more plans to do some summer-sewing but I just waited too long I think. The weather has really taken a turn for the worse over here and I am already wearing my fleece sweater. So I guess it's time to turn the focus to fall-sewing. Which means making new plans. Yesterday, while doing the dishes, I had a thought... Why not do a mini-swap? The one I made in 2010 was so much fun and it could be fun again. It's been a long time since I heard about any swaps but hey, who cares. The more I think about it, the more fun it seems.
But there is also the need for new pj's, a new jersey top, and I want to make an apron, and sew some home-dec, and..... Well the list goes on and on. Time to set priorities!!

Talk to you soon!
Lilian


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I need some sewing-advice

First the good:
 
 
Then the bad:
I have a problem. And I need your advice. Please! I can't go on sewing blouses like this.
Everytime I sew a blouse in a non-stretch fabric, the same problem occurs, namely this:
 
 
You see the draglines in the back, pointing from the neckline to as far as under the arm?
I'm sooo tired that this happens every time. I just don't know how to make them go away.
It looks like my arm is pulling the armscye down, like it's too high for my body. At first I thought I could solve this by lowering the armscye as a whole. I once tried this on another blouse. It helped maybe a little bit, but unfortunately, if I moved my arms, the complete shoulder/neckline moved upward, like someone had put a clothes hanger in it and lifted that up. Not a good thing.
I also don't think that the armscye is too small. There's enough room to move.

So yeah, I need your help. If anyone knows a way to solve this, I would love to hear it!
Feel free to point out some body-imperfections. For the sake of getting a good fit, I don't mind.

In spite of this all, I do like this blouse enough to wear it. 
After all, just look around and you see a lot of people wearing clothes that have this exact same (or other) problem. Still, it's proof of an ill-fitting garment.
Sometimes I think we are too critical on our own work. More than once I see on other people's blogs they aren't happy with the result of their sewing, when all I can think is: Wow, that is just so lovely!
Maybe it is because we believe, or...let me rephrase that: I believe, that by making our own clothes we have the chance to attack these flaws and make sure the endresult is nothing less than perfect.
Not a very realistic thought, I know. And one that can give you a lot of headache. And quite frankly, that's not worth it. Sewing should be fun!!

KnipMode - May 2009 - 2c
I accidentally forgot to cut/sew the seamline in the waist. It would have been a nice extra accent. If I will ever make this blouse again, that will be added, but not before I have a solution for the above-mentioned problem.
I also tried to fiddle with the princess seam to eliminate some of the fullbust-lines. But there was not enough fabric to work with (1,5 cm wide seams) so I eventually stopped trying. Should have thought of this before I cut the fabric >:-(
The midcenter backseam is taken in a bit to do a swayback alteration.
 
 
 
 
At the moment I'm sewing with my stash, which is mostly built with pieces that I bought without any particular plan. I always find it hard to find a match between those pieces and a pattern. The amount of fabric is limited and I always seem to choose a pattern that requires a bit more (or much less). I think I will return to my original way of planning: choosing a pattern and than buying fabric that works for that pattern. This works best for me. But before I start buying new fabric, first I'll be doing some more stashbusting.
 
Talk to you soon.
Lilian

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

No words.....

(source: 'BeeldBlog Brekend.nl')

Friday, June 27, 2014

Yes, finally!


Whooheee!! It took a lot of tweaking but it was worth e-ve-ry minute!

As you can see I decided on plan b: a band to finish the neckline. First I tried plan a: deepening the pleats, and that seemed to work. But after I stitched the neckline to secure the pleats in place, it had become widen again. Whaat?!
So plan b it was.
I pinned the pleats in the patternpaper so that I could use that as a guideline to draft the patternpieces for the band, which is 3 cm wide. And that did the trick. This fits and looks so much better on me. Now it's not gonna drop of my shoulder or show any bra-straps. Nor do the pleats end in an awkward and rather abrupt way next to my skin. Yes, I am very pleased with the outcome.

I sewed the pleats in the back as darts. That eliminated just enough of the excess fabric to create a smooth line. There is no bulkiness above the waistband any more.

When I basted the hem, I saw that the back was higher than the front. Suppose having a swayback does that for you. I lengthened the centerback hem by 2,5 cm, tapering to nothing at 10 cm past the sideseams in the front. Now, when I wear it, the hem is even all around. Good decision.

I am so happy that I can't stop staring at it. Silly me... In earlier years I wouldn't have bothered to make all these changes. Many times that meant I ended up with something I wasn't gonna wear. Now I know I will be wearing this a lot! It definitely pays off to tweak a bit here and there.




 
After the fail of the green cardigan and the simplicity of the darkblue shirts, this was just what I needed to cheer me up sewing-wise. This makes me want to start with the next project immediately.
Time to figure out what that will be.

Have a nice weekend everyone!

Lilian

Thursday, June 19, 2014

KnipMode blouse - a lot of tweaking

After all that harsh blue I was in the mood for something a bit more cheery.
The fabric I'm using for my next project has been attracting my attention for a long time. It's a lovely vibrant lilac colour with embroidery. I had no idea what to do with it, until I found this pattern:

I love all the pleats, the round neckline, the short sleeves. I just love the whole silhouette of this blouse. Especially the way how the pleats are sewn down from the waist to the hem. This gives a nice fulness in the upper part of the blouse, but creates at the same time a more fitted lower part. Very much to my liking. There are however some issues. Things that need changing.







The (lower) pleats
Unfortunately, the pleats that work so well in the front, are misbehaving in the back just above the waistline.
What I will do is sew the pleats up from the waist and treat them like darts. This should take away some of the excess fabric.

The neckline
The neckline is also very wide, although the picture is not showing that very well. (The model wearing this in KnipMode is wearing a jacket over the blouse, covering almost 90% of it. Damn...is KnipMode doing a 'Burda-ish cover-up' or what??)  I could wear it like this, but I would be very conscious all the time wether it would drop off my shoulders, because there is a serious chance of that happening if I don't change it. The original instructions tell you to zigzag or serge the neckline, so no seams or binding are used to finish it. That would mean the neckline stays exactly as it is now. There are 2 things I could do to solve this:

1. Deepen the neckline-pleats.
2. Put a flat round band on it, which means drafting a new pattern-piece to place on top of the neckline.

I'm strongly leaning towards option 2, but I could try option 1 first to see if that would help.

The sleeves
I already widened the sleeves a bit by cutting the patternpiece and moving the pieces away from each other. Then I redrafted the new sleeve. I think I could have done without this alteration but it's ok as it is.

Stay tuned if you want to find out how this ends. I hope it ends gooood  ;-)

Lilian


Monday, June 9, 2014

Though the plan was to NOT make a sleeveless summertop, I realised there wasn't enough fabric left to make anything else. So I went on with it. I drafted the pattern myself about a year ago, using a store-bought shirt as an example, and this is the third time I'm using it. So I guess it qualifies as a TNT. Anyway, here's the picture:


Like the Swedish popgroup Abba sings in 'The winner takes it all':  "It's simple and it's plain, why should I complain?"
Yes it's simple but I can use this top a lot this summer. I was able to make two pieces out of this lovely fabric. So yeah, I'm content and not complaining.


(The Blue Lady, who has been in my life for more than 20 years and has served as a model numerous times, has begun to show some signs of aging. Like most ladies start to wrinkle when they get older, she is no exception. (Poor thing!)

After three fairly simple pieces, I think it's time to make something with a little bit more interesting details. But at this point I don't have a clue what that should be. I have some lovely summerfabrics in my stash so that shouldn't be a problem. But ideas? Nope. None.

I need some input to keep this blog rolling though. Last week I had a moment where I was thinking: "Why only blog about the new things you make, when there are a LOT of things from the (recent) past that you didn't blog about. Maybe that's what I'm gonna do. Dig out some ghosts from the past and show them to you. I think that could be fun. I hope you do so too ;-)

As for my unemployment: three weeks ago I had the chance to start in a temporary job on a primary school. Due to reasons I don't want to go into on this blog, this ended for now. Maybe there is a chance that I can return at the beginning of the new schoolyear. It depends on a few things that we'll have to wait to see how they develop. (sorry for being so vague about this....) But if the circumstances haven't changed by then, they want me back and I would absolutely love to go back!!
It will be temporary so I still need to look for a more permanent job, but I'm ever so proud that I managed to get some job at all! This proves to me that all hope's not lost!

Talk to you soon!

Lilian

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Knit top finished






















This was an easy but very satisfying project. I have to say 'thumbs up' for the fit of this design. I just had to add a little bit of width at the hip and some at the sleeves (but that's a normal adjustment for me). That was all. I also narrowd the neckline because it was a bit too wide to my taste.
The ruched sleeves are not very noticeable in the front, but are still a nice feature on this - let's face it - otherwise rather plain shirt.

My favourite way to finish a neckline, with a binding:



You can't see it in the linedrawing but for the sizes 46 and up, they added length to the front-pattern at bustheight. By gathering this surplus of fabric - we're talking about approximately 2 cm (5/6") over a length of 14,5 cm  (5 2/3") for size 46, you create some extra space and shape in that area.
I wouldn't call this an FBA, but an SBBA (Slightly Bigger Bust Adjustment - Yep, I made that up).

I've never seen this technique before but I already love it! Chances are I will be adding this to all my t-shirts and knit tops in the future, unless they already have a bust-dart of course. But this is way easier than a normal FBA.  And the gathering doesn't show because a. it's only a mild gathering, and b. it's right under your arms. Unless you are doing 'the wave', noone will notice. Extra bonus: you get the extra length in the front at the bottom, but not the extra width that an FBA would create. I think that's where I went wrong with my green cardigan.
Don't know yet if this is something that could be applied to a non-stretch fabric.

Talking about fabric: this blue jersey was soooo nice to work with. It has a great stretch-recovery. I still don't know what fibers it contains, but I'm sure I will recognise it when I see feel it in a store. Ahh...fabric-love...

I said if I liked the fabric enough and if there was enough left of it, I would make a tanktop out of that. But then I realised I already have a tanktop in almost the same colour. So maybe it's best to choose another design. I wouldn't call that a punishment...

That's it for now. Talk to you soon!

Lilian

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Ottobre Design - summertop - that's the plan

While it's raining cats and dogs outside, I'm thinking about summersewing. So I looked up some old magazines and found an issue of Ottobre Design (Spring/Summer 2012) that I once got as a birthdaypresent from my sister-in-law. There are some interesting designs in this issue but I never came round to sew with these patterns.
Browsing through the magazine, my eyes were immediately drawn to this shirt:


Not very difficult to make and not a lot of work. Exactly the kind of project I need after the outcome of the green cardigan. Besides that, I like the ruffled sleeves. My narrow shoulders could do with some extra room in that area.

The instruction for sewing the sleeves is rather unpractical. They tell you to sew the elastic (to ruffle the sleeve), onto one side of the (open) seam. Then close the seam while stretching the elasticated side to accommodate the other side. Wháát??
No way I'm gonna do it like that. I'll just close the seam and sew the elastic on the seam at the wrong side. Done!

I'm not familiar with Ottobre Design magazine, so I don't know what to expect size-wise. But a simple shirt like this is already a start to find out more about that.
If the neckline is as wide as the linedrawing predicts, I will be narrowing that. And I will be adding a small band to finish the neckline. I'll probably need to widen the sleeves a bit and furthermore....we'll see what comes along.

For the fabric I've chosen a piece from my stash. I don't remember where or when I bought it. It's probably enough to make a sleeveless summertop as well. If I haven't fallen out of love with this fabric after finishing the Ottobre-shirt, that might be the next project.

Right. Let's get upstairs and start this job.


Gr.
Lilian

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Room for improvement

Well, what can I say about this?
That's a rhetorical question of course. What can you nót say about it? It has draglines in the front (FBA-fail) and folds in the back, both sleeves and bodice are too short, sleeves look twisted, also the sleeve-inset is weird and shows lines where there aren't supposed to be any,  I did not use the right colour of thread because I didn't have it in my stash and I was too lazy to go out to buy some. And to top it all off: when I cut through the buttonholes, two of them got damaged in the stitches. Two!! How did that happen??
Oh, and I had to rethread my serger about 8 times before it finally stopped snapping the thread.

In my previous post I was telling you how proud I was that I finally mastered the famous FBA. I have to rephrase that (hangs head in embarrassement...) Let's just say I understand some of the technique but not enough to make it work. Not yet anyway.

The good news? I didn't give up and persevered to the end! And I spent some time behind my sewing-machine, which is always a good thing. And I like the colour which is a lovely bright green, like this:
and not blue-ish as you would think. It's hard for my camera to catch the right colour.

With flashlight...


 Without flashlight....
 
 
Yikes......could do with some darts!! 

All this makes me a bit hesitant about what the next project will be. I haven't figured that out yet.
No need for another failure like this, that's for sure. Hopefully I will be starting something new soon but right now I'm not feeling too well. For 4 days now I'm having spells of headaches, dizziness, nausea and feeling hot or cold. Mentally I'm feeling low and not up to anything. Best to take it slow for a few days.

Talk to you soon!
Lilian

Friday, April 25, 2014

Back. Again.

Hi guys, it's me!

Let's talk about sewing!! It's almost been 1,5 year since I showed you something. Waaaay too long! I have been sewing but just didn't feel like blogging. I want to pick that up because it was always good fun and God knows I need some fun in my life right now. And I would lie if I said that I don't have the time for it.

Let's start the next phase of this journey with a green cardigan. It's still early days as you can tell:


Years ago I used this pattern to sew a jacket in a boucle-fabric and I wanted to use it again. This time the fabric is much thinner (cotton with just a bit of stretch). It's gonna be somewhat of a challenge to make it look and fit nice again. I hope it will work out in the end. My body changed through the years and adjustments here and there are required. The biggest change is a full-bust-adjustment (FBA). I'm so proud for figuring out how to do that. Besides that I lengthened the pattern 3 cm in the waist. These days a standard adjustment for me.

Full-bust-adjustment

Wow.....feels great to be - sort of - back.
Talk to you soon. And this time, my sewing friends, that's a promise!

Lilian