12 oktober 2018

How To Disappear Completely

Here is the second garment I made for our roadtrip, and also the least practical! I took one backpack for three weeks of travel and didn't want to do laundry all the time, so I packed a sort of capsule wardrobe with mostly basic tops and bottoms that would easily mix and match. And one exception: a cheery tropical print dungaree dress! Can you even see me in this beautiful palm tree beach background?

I've made this exact same dress before, in black velvet. It's really just the Grainline Moss skirt with my usual side closure adaptation and an added bib and straps! I only had 1 m of this fabric (from Stoff & Stil) because I had bought it with shorts on my mind, so there was some creative pattern cutting to make this happen (this really seems to be a trend in my sewing, it would save me a tremendous amount of stress if I either bought more fabric or didn't change my mind about what to make with it all the time).

One of the things I did not have enough fabric for was cutting the strap piece twice, so the bottom of those has been cut from some white cotton (I used the same fabric to line the bib and for the inside waistband pieces). This works well, but in hindsight the cotton was a bit too lightweight and it makes the straps a bit too thin for the buckles to stay in place. I resorted to keeping them at the same length with a pin while on holiday and will probably add a few stitches now I'm back.

There was absolutely no way I was going to pattern match this print with that amount of fabric, but it doesn't bother me for once. I like the print a lot, it's a bit more colourful than what I usually wear these days (almost feels like a throwback to cuter times!) and it's perfect for walking around by the beach in California. Not that that's going to happen again anytime soon.

I also added about ten cm of length to this skirt and hemmed it with the narrowest bias tape hem I could muster, by the way. The Moss skirt as drafted is VERY SHORT.

I think I'm done with dungaree dresses for now, but am considering turning this skirt pattern into a button-front skirt. Maybe in velvet.

05 oktober 2018

Monumental Shorts

I'm back!We spent an amazing three weeks in the USA. It was crazy and a little bit hectic, but we saw so much and had a blast! I did a little bit of sewing before the trip, and managed to photograph two new garments. This is the first one, a very boring basic pair of shorts against a not-so-basic background:

Welcome to my blog, man on the right.
This is the shorts version of the Named Alexandria peg trousers, with a few modifications. I had a small piece of this textured linen in my stash and wanted something breezy with an elastic waist to take on this trip, since I knew it was going to get really warm (and there was going to be FOOD).

This is a very simple pattern that reminds me of those sporty shorts with the curved hem, but with a few special details. There are a few pleats in the front, one of which sort of hides the pocket openings (it's hard to explain but it looks interesting).

I made a few changes to the length and shape of these. When I tried them on before hemming the high-low hem was so pronounced it looked ridiculous on me, with the back almost reaching my kneew (not a good length!). I shortened the entire thing and made the difference between the front and back a bit more pronounced. This is not a garment that can be considered 'flattering' with all the extra fabric around my butt, but it was exactly what I needed for this occasion!

The waist is finished with elastic inserted into a channel and an added drawstring. I later used this to tie a rock to my towel to try and fish my hat out of a ravine. It has since been reinserted.

The pattern has you finish the hem with facings and I did cut them out, but after changing up the hemline (and eyeballing it) I opted to finish it with a bias tape facing.

I'm not sure if I'd make the long version of these, I think there is room for a looser-fitting pair of lightweight trousers in my life, but I'm not sure if I like the shape of these enough... I might make the shorts again in jersey to replace some pyjama shorts that have gotten too big/worn out!

These will be packed away until next summer now, sadly enough. I have one more really summery garment coming up!

02 september 2018

Professional Pictures With a Beautiful Background

I apologize for the quality of the pictures in this post. I was getting together with my friends Karen and Hélène to plan some things for our upcoming holiday, and by the time we got around to taking these I had gone through some terrible sleep, a very long and busy workday and loads of falafel. It was also dark already. SORRY.

(About that holiday: I'll be on a roadtrip on the West Coast of the USA between september 9th and 28th! We'll be in LA, Las Vegas and San Francisco so if you're in any of those cities and want to meet up, let me know! This blog will probably be a bit quiet but I'll try to get some pictures posted on my Instagram.)

Anyway, here is my version of the super popular Persephone pants pattern!

The story of these started with a need for a new pair of skinny jeans. These are the only jeans that still fit me, and I noticed they are almost see-through in the butt area and probably wouldn't survive my trip (wearing them feels like a bit of russian roulette at the moment). The fabric shop closest to me is on vacation, so I ordered two pieces sold as 'stretch jeans' from this place and thought I'd be good to go (it's where I bought the fabric for those other jeans). Those pieces arrived and... One had no stretch at all (or very little), the other one was not nearly stretchy enough. They were on sale and I could use them for other things, but I did decide to e-mail them suggesting they get a bit more clarity in their fabric descriptions (the way it is now on the site it seems it's all the same quality, but in different colours).

I got a bit of a snotty e-mail back saying I should have e-mailed them before ordering so they could have advised me on what fabric to get. I replied to this saying that maybe adding the stretch percentage to the fabric description would mean that people could figure this out for themselves, and got another reply telling me 'there's a picture of the fabric content with the percentage of spandex in the listing'.

Not the same thing, but I got pretty cranky about it so I didn't reply anymore.

After all this I had a cheap piece of fabric with no stretch and some time to kill before my second attempt at ordering jeans arrived (from the Fabric Godmother, who do post stretch percentages), so I gave the Persephone pants a go!

Everyone and their mother is making these or has made these, and I gave them a chance because they seemed to work on a variety of body shapes and sizes. I wasn't too worried about fitting since my measurements put me into a straight size 6 and I'm not crazy picky on the fit of my pants, but I wasn't sure if the style would suit me! So I treated it as a good occasion to practise some techniques, and when it turned out they fit really well after a first try-on I made an effort to finish them well!

We didn't get a clear picture of my crotch so I took this one on the floor.
The pants close with a button fly which came together without a hitch. I put a classic jean button on the waistband but went for flat buttons on the inside of the fly to reduce the bulk somewhat. They are a bit visible at times, especially when I sit down, but not enough to bother me! I liked the way the pockets are inserted, even though they are not exactly functional:

I wore these for an entire day and they are a lot more comfortable than I expected for high-waisted non-stretch pants. The pattern as drafted were not exactly cropped on me, but I thought full length was boring so I cut them shorter.

All in all, this was a pleasant surprise and unexpected good result from a mildly crappy situation! I'll definitely pack these for my trip!

I will leave you with this picture of my beautiful friend Hélène, providing moral support in the background:

15 augustus 2018

Garbage Dragon

So, I don't know if you noticed, but more and more women's patterns are appearing on freesewing.org! I didn't have anything to do with any of them (apart from the Carlita coat of course) but I was keen to try the Sandy skirt because circle skirts are pretty high on my list of things I like to wear!

I have drafted a full circle skirt for myself so I set the circle percentage to 75%, making this slightly less dramatic. My own pattern has a straight waistband which works reasonably well because it sits on the natural waist, but I had been thinking about drafting a curved waistband instead. Now I can just be lazy!

I did make some extra modifications, the biggest one adding side seams so I could have pockets! I had set the waistband position at 50% because I thought trying something that doesn't sit at my natural waist could make for a nice change (and it would be a good way to test the effectiveness of the curved waistband), but I quickly gave up on that. It might just be in my head but I feel like skirts that sit lower on my hips make it look like I have this really long body and no legs. I couldn't just take in the back seam because that would move the pockets back too much, so I had to add a center front seam.

I had a cotton canvas with a tropical leaf print in mind for this, but even my pattern tetris skills were no match for the (small) amount of fabric I had. All in all that turned out to be a good thing, because the extra front seam would have been very jarring in that print! Instead I used a sort of coated bouclé I'd had in my stash for a while, making it more of a winter skirt (hence the tights, which came off as soon as the last picture was taken). The texture reminds me both of dragon skin and garbage bags. Both are fine.

I inserted a good old exposed zipper in the back because that's what I had around and exposed zips look cool. I'll definitely use this waistband again, since it fits really well! It's basically a reminder that I should have stopped being lazy and drafted a curved waistband ages ago.

Yay for all these new patterns! I'm curious to see what else is coming up in terms of women's stuff (or men's clothes I can wear as well, because it's not like women are very well represented in the sewing world or anything).

12 augustus 2018

I Almost Fell Off This Tiny Wall

So, it's been pretty warm these past few weeks. And most of the clothes I have that are suitable for these temperatures are either shorts and tank tops or old and too large. I had bought some pretty cotton-linen fabric on my recent trip to Brighton and thought it would be perfect for a summer dress!

Now, I had some plans for this fabric at first. My initial vision was a grey linen dress covered in golden beetles, so I carved a few stamps and got ready to print. Alas, I forgot that these kind of yarn dyed, slightly textured or two-toned fabrics don't play well with block printing, so I had to abandon that idea and go for something more basic instead! (I did end up using the beetle stamps on some black sweatshirt jersey)

So, no beetles, but not a bad result after all! I decided to try the Ariana dress by Style Arc, a pattern company I haven't used before. There are a few of these button-front strappy sundresses around at the moment, but I liked the comfort of the shirred back and the overall shape of this one the most!

My measurements put me between sizes, which meant there were some alterations involved. With Style Arc you buy one size and get the one below and the one above along with it, but they aren't nested, so grading between them isn't really an option. My bust circumference put me in a size 10 but my waist was a 6, so in the end I decided to go for the size 8 (hoping that the elastic back would provide enough ease in the bust area) and removed a bit from the side seams at the waist. For a while  I was a little worried it would be too small (and the seam allowances are tiny, so no letting out) but things turned out fine in the end, and the fit was pretty bang on right away.

The only thing new (to me) about this pattern was the shirring. I read a few tutorials and wasn't really looking forward to it since most people said it would take a lot of trial and error and tension adjustments to get this right. In the end, it pretty much worked out immediately. I wound my bobbin by hand and lowered the tension a bit, and that did the trick. The biggest challenge was keeping parallel lines (not always succesful) and making sure the elastic didn't disappear into the bobbin after cutting it. I like how comfortable the panel feels, but I do feel like it adds some bulk.

There is a pattern piece provided for the interfacing on the front bodice edge, but not for the skirt. The instructions briefly mention to interface the front skirt edges as well, and I definitely wouldn't skip that, especially on a lightweight fabric!

The main change I made was to shorten the skirt considerably. I cut the original length because it's a style I don't usually wear and I was curious to see if I could make it work, but it ended up feeling very frumpy, especially combined with the colour and texture of the fabric. I kind of felt like I should be wearing clogs and hauling pails of fresh milk, and while that does sound pretty cool it wasn't the look I was going for. So out came the scissors and up went the hem!

After finishing, it did feel a little bit plain, so I added a beaded bee I still had around (its little sister is hanging out on this shirt!). I'm still not entirely sure about the placement, but it works for now!

I did not follow the order of construction as given by Style Arc, inspired by this blog post. It just seemed a lot cleaner/less fussy/more logical! The given instructions are really minimal anyway, and I didn't really look at them, just gave them a quick glance to make sure I didn't miss anything important.

I did enjoy my first experience with a Style Arc pattern, it was really well drafted and easy to put together (if you have some sewing experience). I've had the Ziggi biker jacket waiting for a while now, just have to find the right fabric! Until then I'll just keep exploring slightly industrial backgrounds in a sundress and sandals. Or something.

04 augustus 2018

Practical Hiking Gear Is Overrated

As I said in my previous post, I've been sewing a bit, but haven't found the time or opportunity to document things! So when I wore this dress to Hanne's baby shower I grabbed my chance and asked Lieke to take some pictures while I was pretending to be a forest goblin.

This is McCalls 7591, and a rare foray into Big 4 territory for me. I often tend to dismiss these patterns and it's not necessarily because of the sizing issues (measure your pattern pieces people!) but mostly because these aren't readily available in stores here... Burda is a bit more common so you can browse a catalog (but the catalog styles are often a bit too boring and conservative for me) but the only way to get these patterns is by looking at tiny pictures of them on a website, and I sometimes feel like I'm missing out on some gems that way.

I know my bra straps are on show but I honestly don't see the point of making something that feels like pyjamas and then wearing a strapless bra with it.
Eleonore alerted me and some others of a sale on McCall's patterns, so I made the effort to take a look and thought this would make a really good slightly fancy summer dress. I was determined to make the maxi length in some black viscose twill from the stash and did not let the 40 cm I lacked according to the pattern envelope deter me! It took some INSANE pattern tetris but I made it work.

I had measured the pattern pieces beforehand and thought it would be fine (since the fit is very forgiving) but when I tried on the bodice after it was almost entirely assembled I noticed something weird: the fit in the back and across the bust was really good, but there was so much extra fabric in the sides the underarms drooped down and my entire bra was on show. This was easy to fix by taking some out of the side seams, but I wonder who this was drafted for. Very flat and very wide people?

Sewing was pretty uneventful after this minor adjustment. I added inseam pockets because I hate myself if I don't, and hemmed everything by hand for a clean finish. The instructions tell you to sew the waist seam and sew a second line of stitching near the edge to create a casing for the elastic, but I though it would get bulky and weird if the casing could just move around so I sewed the waist seam and topstitched it down instead. If I make this again I'd definitely increase the seam allowance and make a wider casing, since the very narrow elastic the pattern tells you to use doesn't feel substantial enough to really cinch in the waist.

I managed to cut every piece, including the self fabric tie, and I'm really happy I did because it makes everything look way nicer. I still have to add a snap on the wrap part in the front to keep it from gaping, but a safety pin keeps things decent for now!

I like this dress a lot but I'm not sure if I'll sew it again anytime soon, there's not really a suitable fabric in my stash right now and I have a lot of other projects planned! There are quite a few new patterns in my life at the moment and it's all very exciting.

31 juli 2018

A Sketchy Post

I kind of disappeared lately, for various reasons! I was working on a few different things I either couldn't show you or aren't finished yet, and it was way too hot to do anything apart from the things I absolutely had to do! There's a sundress waiting to be photographed, but in the meantime I'll show you some of the recent scribbles from my sketchbook. If you follow me on Instagram you might have already seen some (most) of these, I apologise for what is essentially a very lazy blog post!

This was a sort of diary sketch from something that happened in London the last time I was there. We were hanging out in a park on a Monday morning, enjoying the sunshine, slowly waking up and watching all the other accomplished people jog and do yoga. This one shirtless young man seemed to be doing really well with his sun salutations when a very drunk shirtless man walked over and tried to join him. It looked really funny from a distance, but the poor guy seemed so confused!

I released a new postcard a while ago (get it here) and have been thinking about the next one. It's going to be an apology card and it will probably involve bird poop.

When I visited my parents a few weeks ago my mother gave me an old book about the space race and moon landing that I loved as a kid, and I spent an afternoon scribbling astronauts for shits & giggles. It's very different from what I usually draw and I really need to learn how to draw smooth shiny things (fur is easy guys!) but it was a lot of fun. I like tiny details (sometimes).

There has also been some fabric printing lately, and of course I needed stamps for that! These were supposed to go onto the summer dress I recently made but the print did not show up well on the fabric so I used a black sweatshirt jersey instead. This means you'll have to wait a while before it will make an appearance, because black sweatshirts are really low on my list of priorities now.

And lastly I've been drawing these little guys because they were in my head and made me smile. Not sure what will happen with them!