Sunday, November 24, 2013

Pencil skirt à la Gertie

This is my third iteration of this pattern. I can safely say it is my most repeated pattern... There is something so satisfying in sewing a pencil skirt. Once you have the fit sorted out, it goes together very quickly, especially if it isn't lined and it is such a wardrobe staple. At least for me! Even paired with a simple long sleeve tshirt, like here, I feel polished and grown-up. And what can I say more about this print than I love it? It's just gorgeous. It a slightly stretchy cotton twill. I bought it a while back at the sewing and craft convention here in Malmö, and I got 2,5m thinking I would make a dress out of it, but it felt a bit overwhelming. So it became a pencil skirt, and now I have enough left for another item. I'm playing around with the idea of a bag... So that I could have this print with me all. the. time. Ha.

The pattern is the pencil skirt from Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing. I really need to crack on the other patterns in this book. I love them all! But I think the shirtdress has to be next. Shortly followed by the coat. Ohhh.

Also, I turned 30 (!!) two week-ends ago, and I received the BEST birthday present from my boyfriend and his family...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


I have been sewing up a storm, but I don't have much pictures to show. Days are getting increasingly shorter and finding daylight is proving more and more challenging. I have also been quite absent from Instagram and blog commenting, although I am always avidly reading and getting inspired by all of you!

I haven't quite followed through with my sewing plans either. I am one skirt, a shirt for Erik and two refashions short. But as I have completed 7 of the 8 garments I had originally planned, I'm going to call that a success and make the skirt later. I did make a little Chardon that I hope to share soon!

So here is my Belladone. I'm really late to the party, as usual, but better late than never! I'm really liking this pattern, simple but with a striking feature with the open back. It was fun to make, quick (as it is not lined) and it's really easy to wear. I made a straight size 38 and other than lowering the bust dart a little for my next version, there is not much adjustments needed. The back opening is gaîng a bit depending on how I stand, but I'm afraid I'd restrain my movement ability if I made adjustments there. I did sew strips of selvage on the bias edge, so I'm pretty sure that they did not stretch. About that, the pattern instructions suggests that you sew strips of bias to prevent the bias edges of the back opening from stretching, which I find really odd. Any thoughts on that?

The fabric is a cotton from Minerva Crafts. It's a bit stiff, which works well for this style, and well, dots! Makes me happy. Also, it seems to me that Minerva has lowered their shipping prices, which makes it that much more fun for me to order from them, and the selection is huge, and I loove the blogger network. It's just so great seeing the fabric in action and getting some thoughts on it. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Early Fall Sewing #6: Floral Cambie

It isn't much early fall as actual fall anymore, but I am working away with my plans. This Cambie has been finished for a while, but I find taking pictures very challenging. I found a set-up that seems to be working, but it involves a pile of books on my ironing board and the timer on my camera, so it is not optimal. But at least I don't have to drag my boyfriend to a nearby park and coax him into taking pictures of me. Plus, you get my vintage Husqvarna in the background. Next time, I might even think about removing the cover so that you can actually see her. Ah, well, at least there is a pretty dress to look at!

This is Sewaholic's Cambie, and a truly wonderful pattern. It's really nice to sew a bodice that is not just a variation on a sloper, if you understand what I mean. The shoulder pieces gathering into the sweetheart neckline are just enough sweet for my tastes, and I surprise myself liking the cap sleeves they form. It works wonderfully on it's own, and will look just as good with a cardi on top to keep me warm in the winter.

 Construction-wise, everything went together smoothly. It was a bit akward to go and sew the sleeves in with all the bulk of the finished dress in the way, but it is such a clever trick that I didn't mind too much. I handpicked a regular zipper instead of inserting an invisible one, because honestly I'm still a bit scared of zippers and I don't have an invisible zipper foot. I like the control I have when stitching a zipper in by hand, and the result is almost invisible.

Even more wonderful than the pattern is the fabric. A soft, floaty, swishy rayon in a small-scale floral. Pink and white on black. How can it be better? Rayon is such a great fabric. Easy to work with, presses well, drapey and doesn't wrinkle too much if the quality is good. It does tend to shrink a lot, but I always prewash my fabrics so it isn't much of an issue. I found this fabric in copenhagen, in a small store kept by an adorable arab lady. I speak swedish fluently, but my danish is rubbish so we had quite some communication issues... I kept fondling the fabric and draping lenghts on me asking my boyfriend what he thought about it, and the lady kept saying, in english: cheap! very high quality! a dress for you. you need 3 meters! i've been meaning to go back and get more wonderful rayon in pretty prints...

Anyways, I am really pleased with this dress, and I can see myself making more Cambies in the future. I'd make three more right away, but there are so many other patterns tickling my fancy and that I want to try... I've worn it once and got complimented on it, wich is always a great deal for me. I was told the my dress looked like an evening gown and that I looked like I was going to a fancy party...

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Early Fall Sewing #5: Shirtdress, Fall for Cotton

As soon as i read about the Fall for Cotton sew-along, I knew that this dress would be my entry. I was still planning it at the time, but everything fell togheter too well not to do it. I wanted a classic shirtdress with a full skirt, a very 50s silhouette but in a modern way, which is the style I try to develop. Feminine and classic, with pretty details but not fussy and with a silhouette that emphasize my waist. 

So a cotton shirtdress was made! I had this pretty cotton poplin I had bought in the beginning of the summer, and added a hem band in contrasting beige cotton. I finished all the seams by binding them with beige bias binding, as a little extra. I love knowing that the insides of my garments are just as pretty as the outside...  Working with cotton is such a joy. It doesn't shift, it presses wonderfully and this poplin has a great crispness to it, which gives a nice structure to the bodice. 
The pattern is McCall's 4769, with the 3/4 lenght sleeves and the cute little winged cuffs. I switched the skirt for a full dindrl, but kept the button band on the skirt. I made a straight size 10, and I'm very happy with the fit. I still haven't really understood how the collar gets sewn up... My collar turned out great, but I'm not quite sure how that happened as I had no idea what I was doing, other than blindly following the instructions. Oh well... I just feel there has to be easier ways to sew a notched collar? The instructions has you reinforce corners and clip into them, which is always scary.

 I leave you with a few more pictures. They were taken yesterday, which I fear was the last day of summer... I have my project #6 (a floral Cambie) finished and waiting for pictures and appropriate fabric for project #7 (a black and cream Chardon), so I am quite on track with my fall sewing plans. Project #8 is a circle skirt, but I can't decide on what fabric to use. A light black polyester that will twirl wonderfully, provided I have enough of it, or a grey/silver wool that is really more of a winter project? While I make up my mind, I cut into some navy batiste for another shirtdress, a Cami this time!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Earlly Fall Sewing #4: Anise

Just in time for the first chilly mornings, I completed the fourth item of my fall wardrobe. The Anise is the one Colette pattern I bought the second it was released. The clean lines, the peter pan collar and the little tailored details, such as the welt pockets, appealed to me. But then it sat in my pattern box, waiting for the perfect fabric.

When I was planning my fall wardrobe, I really wanted to include a jacket. Partly for the challenge of sewing a jacket, partly because I wanted a new jacket. I can't be bothered to go shopping for a specific item anymore... The Anise was given, and then I thought about the linen herringbone fabric I had bought in Paris with just a jacket in mind. I immediately envisioned this jacket, and I am pleased to report it turned out exactly as I imagined it. This Anise is probably the garment I am the most proud of so far. Good it's a jacket, so I get to wear it everyday!

I didn't do any changes to the pattern, apart from modifications to make it fit. I made a muslin (I was not going to gamble this one), and ended up taking it quite a lot in the princess seams in the back. I also remembered to shorten the sleeves. Now I keep thinking the sleeves are too short, when they actually are the right lenght, because I am so used to sleeves that are too long. Eh. The fit is really nice through the shoulders, and the lenght is perfect to wear with a dress. No long-ish cardigans, though. I like it's not too fitted, but not boxy either. As all double-breasted jackets, it looks much better when buttoned.

I changed the order of construction, and made the welt pockets first, so that the facings would not be in the way when making them. I also waited to have the facing attached before making the small windows for the bound buttonholes, so that they end up in exactly the right place. I made all eight bound buttonholes, but only opened windows in the facing for the four that are in use. I didn't see the point of slashing into my garment for a buttonhole that would be sewn close anyways. The buttons are leather, and utterly perfect. Worth every penny.

The fabric is a soft linen herringbone in blue and cream tones. From afar it reads grey, somehow, but it has a lovely texture. The weave is quite loose, but the fabric behaved quite well anyways. I was afrait the fabric was a bit on the flimsy side, so I underlined with a heavy cotton, which worked wonders. I underlined even the sleeves, even it was not called for in the pattern, which I'm glad I did. I regret not underlining the upper collar, as it is a bit shifty. The undercollar is fused, so it works anyways as it has a stable layer. Underlining was quite a revelation. It was fascinating to see how the fabric behaves completely different when attached to another, heavier fabric.

As I said, this is probably my best garment so far. It is one of the most technically advanced projects I have made, and it is of much superior quality than the other jackets I've made in the past. I'm really proud of what I have accomplished with this garment, and I think it really shows how far I have come in my sewing in the past year. So to celebrate that, here comes way too many pictures...

oh, and also:
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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Early Fall Sewing #3: Archer

On to project number 3: an Archer!

After seeing all the beautiful Archers popping up on the interwebs, I decided I wanted one of my own. After making a shirt for my boyfriend, I knew I could tackle a shirt...

I cut a straight size 8. In retrospective, I should have cut a size smaller, but mostly because the style is more casual than what I had in mind. In a flowier fabric, the fit would have been quite nice, breezy and soft. But I used a crisp cotton, and it would have benefited from being a bit more close-fitting. Also, I apparently have very short arms... Note to self: measure sleeve lenght before cutting fabric. Oh well, rolled-up sleeves works well with the look of the shirt.

The pattern is beautifully drafted and everything went together smoothly. I'm quite smitten with Grainline! I think I'll put the Scout tee on my list, once I get through with my fall sewing. I hear Jen is working on a blazer? I would buy it the second it comes out. Anyways, back to the Archer. It has all the details I want in a shirt, and will work in many fabrics. I think I wand a flannel plaid one!

I used a white cotton poplin with tiny white dots. The print is very subtle, but I quite like the effect. As said, I think the fabric is a bit too stiff for the style, but it kind of works. Like I stole my boyfriend's shirt... Which is not at all a bad style. But I'll choose something else next time. While I was sewing it, I was thinking a chambray would be nice, but I'll have to find a very soft and drapey one.

Up next:

Monday, August 26, 2013

Early Fall Sewing #2: simplicity 2444

This is the second item in my early fall sewing project.

I used Simplicity 2444, a pattern I had wanted to make for a long time, but for some reason didn't. It's a theme in this current sewing plan I have, to finally make patterns I have wanted to make for a while. S2444, an Archer (coming soon!), a Cambie, a circle skirt, a proper shirtdress...I'm really liking these plans!

This is Simplicity 2444 in a straight size 10. I always choose my size according to the finished measurements that are usually printed on the pattern pieces. I couln't find the waist measurement, so I measured myself instead. I obviously wasn't very meticulous about it as the finished dress is a tiny bit small at the waist. I also adjusted the lenght of the sleeves.

I lowered the back neckline in a V-shape, just because it's so easy to do and I think it's a sweet detail. To do so, I simply folded the pattern piece, making sure not to affect the shoulder seam. I also replaced the facings with a lining, wich I prefer. A lining makes the dress looks much neater inside, and it allows to enclose both the waist and shoulder seams easily. Facings are so often floppy and annoying.

The sleeve hems are bound with a contrast bias tape for a bit of contrast. I played with the idea of binding the neckline as well, but I can't make up my mind. Well, I can always go back and add a bias binding later. I hemmed the skirt with the same bias tape as well, wich is my new favorite technique for hemming skirst that are not straight. The bias tape just eases into the curve, so no puckers! In this case, it also gives a bit of body to the skirt, as the tape is stiffer than the fabric. I prickstitched the zipper in place, after stabilizing the zipper opening with some strips of fusible interfacing. Stabilizing the zipper opening is such a game-changer. Seriously, it makes inserting a zipper so much easier, I can't believe I didn't do that before. Sunni demonstrates it in her Craftsy class (which is awesome, by the way) and I'll never look back. I don't have her nifty tape, but I cut strips of fusible interfacing and it works like a charm. I added a hook and eye at the waist seam, because it was opening up a bit. Finally, I cut the front skirt piece on the fold, as I didn't see the point in having a seam down the front of the skirt and my fabric was too narrow to not cut on the fold anyways.

The fabric is a printed polyester i bought in Paris. I love the print! Simple and graphic. The fabric drapes nicely, but has a tendency to cling. Maybe I'll go back and add a lining to the skirt as well. Or just wear a slip.

I really enjoyed this pattern. It's simple and versatile and the double slanted darts are cute. I love that the pattern includes sleeves (even if i had to fuss quite a bit with them because of the insane amount of sleevecap ease) so that the pattern can easily transition into winter. It's easy enough to modify the neckline or switch the skirt for a totally different look! It is a pattern that can be appropriated and modified endlessly.