Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Rhapsody in Raglan

I think I did mention at some point that I'm way behind when it comes to blogging about my finished garments, right? There's still some garments from about 6 months ago that I haven't really blogged about. Since I tend to make multiple garments of the same pattern, I thought I might just present you the different "batches" of makes. Some are loved and much-used patterns anyway, although there are some new to me patterns among the mix.

This one is Ottobre 05/2008-14, a raglan-sleeved top that I've made three or four times before, but never really reviewed. I guess there really isn't much to review, either. It's a basic raglan-sleeved top, with four pattern pieces if you count the neckband. It comes with no seam allowances, but since I only add about 5-8mm for the overlock finish anyway, I don't really mind. The original neckline is pretty high, the classic crew neck, which I more or less immediately changed to a scoop neck.

The pattern fits me nicely in a straight size 40, no alterations needed. I've made some variations, mostly changing sleeve length or neckline. For the neckline gathers, I sliced and spread the pattern a bit. The boatneck isn't perfect yet, originally I only widened the neckline and added a wide band, but I should have eliminated the depth from my scoop neck variation and chosen a high neckline instead. I'm pretty sure there will be a next time to get it right. ;)

So, on to my different variations:
Straigt out of the package raglan top, made in February (?) with red&white striped rayon jersey from (I think) my favorite stall at the Maybachufer market. Scoop neck and long sleeves (and a fine bit of stripe matching, If I say so myself).
This has been my summer work outfit. Black trousers and one of the two white&black polka dot tops. These have cap sleeves and some gathers at the neckline. I also kinda sorta forgot to add seam allowances, so they're a tiny bit tight. Still ok, though. The jersey is cotton with a bit of spandex, from Hüco.
These two are my boatneck variations, one with short and one with three quarter length sleeves. As you can see, the boatneck doesn't sit quite right, it's a bit too high on the shoulders. I don't mind all that much, and both have been worn a lot since they were made. I think the trick to get it right is to make the neckline higher and wider... Both fabrics are from the Maybachufer market and feature blue and white stripes and I think they're both cotton with a bit of spandex, although the white feel pretty silky and might also have some rayon in there.
Last but not least, here is my most recent raglan make, with the pattern hacked off below the bust and an A-line skirt attached. I think it actually fits alright in the back, except when posing for photos (I always try to put my shoulders back a little to look less slumping...) ;) I like the dress a lot, the colour blocking and wild print make it look similar to a Desigual dress, but the blue tones it down a bit. The blue fabric also feels absolutely wonderful, very soft and silky. I have no idea about the content, since both fabrics are some more Maybachufer market finds, and I don't really trust the stall sellers to declare them correctly - and anyway, I didn't ask. *lol* I mostly buy by feel anyway. The dress, by the way, has also made the transition into my autumn wardrobe very well - with blue tights and a cardi. ;)

Oops, actually there is an even more recent raglan top that I totally forgot about, because I haven't managed to take any decent outfit photos yet.
However, my flowery dressform models it almost as well. ;) The scoop neck is a bit wider, there's neckline gathers and a three quarter length sleeve. The fabric is a cotton spandex from the Maybachufer market.

There's a funny little story about this top and a little Lola dress I haven't blogged about, yet. I bought 1.5m of the navy polka-dot fabric, not really sure yet what it was supposed to be but thinking about a long-sleeved Lola. A few days later I decided to use it for the top you see above, instead, because I wanted a long-sleeved navy top to go with my red sailor shorts. I couldn't get the polka-dot Lola out of my head, though, so I tried to get all the pieces for the Lola *and* the top out of a 1.5x1.5m piece of fabric. I'm insane, I know. It didn't work, of course. However, I could squeeze in all Lola pattern pieces except for the side pockets, and using only short sleeves a tiny narrow hem band, as well as all top pattern pieces (although the sleeves are cut on the cross grain and only 3/4 long. The Lola now has lace pockets). The thing is, the fabric cost about 5 € per meter. The market is 2 days a week. I could well have gone there and bought some more. But I'm lazy. It's 45 min by public transport. And I wanted those garments right away! (It did take me another couple of days to finish them, of course. I don't think I've ever hemmed a garment on the same day that I've cut it out... ;)

Do you make insane or totally unreasonable sewing decisions sometimes?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Thoughts about an Autumn Wardrobe

Here in Berlin the leaves are turning and the last two or three weeks have been decidedly autumny, still warm-ish during the day but with a definitive nip in the air. Paired with the fact that it's now dark by about 7:00 p.m. (compared to 10:30 around midsummer), I feel that fall has definitely arrived!

And what confuses me a bit is that I really don't quite know what to wear. For some reason, I don't like the thought of already wearing tights again (something I try to avoid in summer) so just pairing my summer dresses with tights and a cardi is right out, also helped by the fact that I find my selection of cardigans quite uninspiring at the moment. So that leaves leggings and the portion of dresses/tunics that I like wearing with them. There are a few - the ones on the shorter side, with the slimmer skirts - but I'm not quite feeling inspired yet.

So I guess that brings me to the question: what do I want to wear this fall and winter?
For one: Jumper dresses - knit, jersey or woven. This isn't really a surprise, though I will think about which patterns to use. I might even think about knitting one, in a thicker wool... Apart from the fact that I have foolishly decided to make hand-knitted Christmas gifts this year, I have a Miette cardigan planned, so maybe refashioning one from a big wool sweater will be easier. As for a woven jumper dress, I recently won a Deer&Doe Belladone pattern from Joëlle of The Handstitched Files (thanks again, Joëlle!), and I bought this blue plaid wool fabric on a whim last year, which I think might go well together. I'm also wondering if I can justify any more Lolas or Lola variations in my wardrobe... ;-)
I trawled around Pinterest a bit to get some inspiration for autumn fashion, and it looks like skinny trousers and oversized tops/sweaters are all the rage. I'm actually a bit shocked how skinny and stick-like the legs of some of those pinned models are. Yeah, obviously I don't follow fashion much and I'm easily shockable. ;)
Needless to say, while I think the look is quite cute, I'm not a big fan of skinny trousers. I also feel restricted in button-up shirts, so the sweater-over-blouse look won't be my new fall uniform, either. I kinda like the oversized-sweater-and-short-skirt look, so I should probably make a skirt or two... And I also like the long cardis.
Then I dug some more among my pins from last year and had a look around Modcloth (cause they have pretty much every cute dress you can imagine).
 
Stripes! And maybe I will try a peter pan collar one of these days?
Autumn always makes me want to wear plaid. And shirtdresses. I don't know why, I can't even remember ever owning a shirtdress. I've certainly never made one. But they're so pretty! Mary of Idle Fancy has even started the Autumn of 1000 shirtdresses, and Deer&Doe released this extremely cute tunic-length shirtdress, called Bruyere...
Meanwhile I'm wondering if I can get away with wearing a dress made of light teal quilting cotton with dark teal stars on it, because I bought some for a baby blanket and boy, it's pretty... It could make a cute Macaron. Or maybe even a shirtdress?

I guess I'd best start sorting through my autumn and winter weight fabric stash. I always plan better when starting with the fabric. Do you have a favorite autumn/winter garment, that you don't want to live without? Or a garment that you definitely want to sew for this colder season?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

OWOP - A Week of Macarons

I just checked out the post I wrote for OWOP 2012. I hadn't fully realized that was two and a half years ago! Funny, to think back and see how much has changed since then... Two years ago, I wore my self drafted jersey top and dress pattern, which by now has actually been succeeded by a raglan sleeved top from Ottobre magazine as my go-to jersey top pattern... And actually, I was going to use the Ottobre top as my pattern for OWOP 2014. A bit boring, I know, and I changed my decision last minute since, for one, you've already recently seen half of my Ottobre versions in the Holiday Capsule Wardrobe. For another, only one of those tops is short sleeved and the weather forecast was so nice, I rather wanted to wear something summery. :)
OWOP Day 1: Macaron-inspired lacy jersey dress

To be honest, though, I'm not sure if it was all that smart to change my decision. I went for the Ottobre top in the first place because I have two tops I wear at work made from that pattern, so I would have been guaranteed to wear those anyway. Plus, I tend to put on leggings or yoga pants and knit tops as soon as I get home if we don't have people over, and the Ottobre pattern certainly qualifies for a comfy knit top.
Day 2: Hawaiian Macaron, Day 3: Strawberry Macaron

As you can see, I wore the Macaron Dress by Colette Patterns instead this week. Well, the knit and lace dress from Day 1 actually only shares the general idea and the curve of the sweetheart with that pattern (or at least my modified version of it). Still, I'm going to count it. I love that dress.

The downside of my choice was, of course, that some of those dresses only got worn on the way home from work, being exchanged for leggings and a t-shirt as soon as I got home...
Day 6: Blue Plaid Macaron, Day 7: Strawberry Macaron with RTW cardi

Even so, after a week of wearing Macarons, I am reminded why I love this pattern so much. It's cute and a bit quirky, easy to wear and comfy. All of mine (except for the Hawaiian Macaron) feature knit yokes, which make them even more comfortable, and the pocket placement in the front pleats is one of the most ingenious I've ever come across. Of course, styling wise it's not as versatile as a blouse or skirt, besides wearing it with leggings/tights or different cardis, or maybe a scarf, I don't think I could come up with a lot of different ideas for outfits. I'm pretty sure I could come up with a few dozen more fabric combinations that would make eminently wearable Macarons, though. And I think I may have room in my wardrobe for maybe one or two more... ;-)

Do you have a pattern that you can't seem to get enough of?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Almost a Capsule Wardrobe - Holidays at the Seaside

So I spent a short holiday at the Baltic Sea with B. and my family at the end of August. :) Even though Berlin isn't far from there, I'd only been at the Baltic once before since moving here, and that was only for one night. It's beautiful, though (and "only" 4h by car), so I'm convinced now that I need to go back soon!

Having seen quite a few cute selfmade travel wardrobes, I wanted to take a capsule wardrobe of only me-mades, too. In the end, I slipped in a couple of RTW garments (bikini, a couple of cardis, rain jacket etc.) anyway. I guess I'll work that out for next time! ;) Despite only going for 5 days, I packed quite a lot of garments. I rather like to have a bit of a choice when getting dressed, and it still all fits into my little bag (I love how squashable most of my garments are...), so I tend to pack the same amount no matter if it's five days or ten. As you can see, I went with a nautical/stripey theme. :)
My capsule wardrobe: three longsleeved tops, two shortleeves ones, two skirts, three dresses, a pair of trousers, a bolero shrug and five pairs of knickers - all me-made - plus some colourful leggings.
Four of those garments are as of yet still unblogged, I think. The blue Moss skirt, the white and the blue striped boatneck tees (adapted from my TNT Ottobre raglan top pattern) and the red shrug, traced from RTW. All have been pretty useful this summer already! I didn't actually manage to wear all those garments (and I missed taking a picture of the first day travelling there, when I wore the green striped Lola), although it's just the two dark blue tops and the polka-dot dress that got a miss. I actually "saved" the dress for the drive home, anticipating some colder weather -  that didn't turn up, though, hence the Lola again.

(Oops, and it seems I omitted the red polka-dot dress from the capsule picture... never mind, I think it may still have been in the wash.) The weather was a bit chilly and pretty windy for the first couple of days, but for the last couple, I almost regretted not bringing any really summery dresses. Such is the fickle weather at the seaside, I guess.
I really have no room for complaints, though, because aside from a light drizzle on both the day we got there and the day we left, we enjoyed incredibly gorgeous blue skies (admittedly slightly enhanced by a polar filter in these pics), good sea air, lovely food, walking along sandy beaches and even a dip or two into the Baltic.
They have wicker beach chairs. It's adorable! The water is pretty clear, too. Lots of jellyfish, though, although mostly of the non-stingy variety, so far as I know.
This is the island of Rügen, btw, the biggest German island. It's connected to the mainland by a bridge and a dam, so you can take your car over there without taking a boat. It is pretty big, too, at least 25km across and maybe 45km long, and it has internal "seas" connected to the Baltic, too.
It's pretty touristy even this late in the (summer) season, one day we wanted to visit the town sporting the main port but couldn't get a parking spot and it was packed with tourists wanting to go on boat trips. We decided to retire to a smaller beach instead...
We went looking for chicken gods there (no idea why they're called that, and the dictionary tells me they're adder stones in English - stones with a natural hole washed into them by water) and even found a few. They're supposed to bring luck or protect you from evil, I think.
In the end, I left them on the beach, though, for the next lucky finder. :)

Did you get up to any adventures this summer? And how much do you tend to pack for a holiday/vacation?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Hopping the Blog

You may have seen the blog hop that's been going around, about why bloggers write and stuff? Well, I've been tagged by Joëlle of The Handstitched Files to participate! Joëlle is a lovely sewing blogger from Sweden, and I admit that I may have started following her blog because of her blog's gorgeous lace header... Nah, I'm kidding, it's because I'm in love with her self-stitched wardrobe and would totally steal it and wear it all if I could. Plus, her photos always look so pretty - and she's a lovely style of writing, too. :)
Joëlle in a lovely Carme blouse
What with blogging pretty irregularly (and posting mostly crappy photos) since I started my job in January, I'm pleasantly surprised that anyone is still reading this blog, let alone tag me for a blog hop! So thank you kindly, Joëlle, and thanks all of you who're reading this for sticking with me. :)

Why do I write?
Honestly, sometimes I'm wondering myself. ;) I started this blog way back when (ahem, that would be in 2010, after the first ever Me-Made May), to participate in that lovely growing sewing community. People were making all those lovely garments, and blogging about them, and starting sew-alongs and challenges, and I wanted to be part of it, to start on my own me-made wardrobe and share the process and the inspiration and the wins and the fails. By now, the sewing community has grown so much, there are so many different things going on, so many new and pretty Indie patterns coming out all the time, it's hard to stay on top of things. Coupled with holding a full-time job for the first time in my life instead of living the languish life of a university student, I feel that pretty much everything about my blogging has suffered. The frequency, the quality of the photos and the writing, my participation in things... Reading blogs and commenting, too. Ah well. At least I'm still sewing. :)
polka-dot blouse made from quilting cotton, one of my first makes way back when
What am I working on?
Sewing-wise? Well, there is this bunch of happy patterned knit fabrics that I bought at the Maybachufer Market a couple of weeks ago, because they reminded me of Gillian. Since the weather is still warm(ish), I was thinking short-sleeved dresses. I also have an almost-finished muslin of the Sewaholic Thurlow trousers, and a bunch of pretty linen-blend fabrics. And when I'm finished with the leftover summer sewing, Sarah's Fall Essentials Sew-Along is beckoning. I've already made a tentative list. Will I ever get around to blogging it? I have no idea...
Fabric! 
Oh, blog-wise you mean? Well. I'd actually like to catch up on all those unblogged garments, and maybe get back to taking nice-ish outdoor pictures of my makes, instead of making B. (aka Mr. Farbenfreude, who absolutely hates taking pictures) take a cell phone pic. Or manage to actually get back to that a-post-a-week schedule, and not only post about what I'm sewing, but, you know, inspiration and stuff. Mind, I'm not actively working on that (yet). It's more like on my wish-list. ;) But maybe I should start writing a list. And while I'm at it, I might also start on that shopping list to organize my sewing space a bit better.

How does it differ from others of its genre?
Ahem, does it? I don't know. I've honestly never blogged with a goal in mind like starting a brand or a business or even making money fom sponsors, so I've never quite given a thought to being different or unique. Well, not more unique than you are without trying, anyway. ;) I guess my niche (that I'm sharing with a few others) is making fun, comfortable, colourful garments, mostly out of knit fabric, and making multiples of my favorite patterns. I also now and then slip in little posts about the tomatoes on my balcony, or possibly food.
Tomatoes. :D
How does my writing process work?
Right. I'm not sure there's even a process to it. I tend to just write what's on my mínd. I also like to start with the pictures. Because they break up the paragraphs so nicely. After putting in the pictures, I can nicely fill the space between. ;) If I write about a garment from a new pattern, I usually have a few points I always review, plus some thoughts. Since I'm very bad about taking notes while I sew, I usually forget about half. ;) Oh well.

So, to keep this blog hop going, I'm nominating Silvia the Sewingprincess and Becky from Sew and So. Silvia is from Italy (my favorite country for holidays!) and always makes very elegant and stylish creations. She also dances the Flamenco! Becky's blog I love because of all the fun stuff she's making: pretty jewellery, Dr. Who related stuff, Disney costumes, and she's a champion trouser maker and sewed her own incredibly lovely wedding dress!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Summer Sundress

So it looks like the warm temperatures of the last few weeks have gone and left us with some chilly days. Which means I'd better tell you about my pretty sundress before autumn decides to fully take over. ;) This one I made to wear to a good friend's wedding, three weeks ago, although in the end I decided that it wasn't quite elegant enough for the occasion. I wore it to breakfast the next day, though. ;)
The bodice, as with my Oonapalooza maxi, is the sundress bodice from Gertie's book. I love that sweetheart neckline! And with the shirred back, it needs no zipper and fits really nicely! The skirt is just a pleated rectangle, because the fabric I used has such a pretty lace border. However, instead of doing just straight box pleats, I used the idea from an RTW dress and angled them a bit, which gives a nicer fit. I haven't seen this in any pattern before, but I think it makes actually a lot of sense, because the sewn part of the pleat follows the curves of the body between waist and hip before the fullness springs out. Does that make sense?
I'm not sure if you can see it very well, but the pleats are trapezoid instead of rectangular, kind of like a dart that isn't sewn all the way up to the apex.
The dress acutally ended up too long for my taste, ending slightly below the knee (sorry for the blurry pic - it was the night before we left for the wedding!). Which is why I cut off half the lace border. Um yeah, I know. All that pretty lace! But I like it better that way. :)
The leftover lace was actually snapped up by a friend of mine, who now uses it as a kind of belt with a pink dress. So we're all happy. Yay! ;)
I'm also happy that I managed to blog about this just in time before the end of the Summer Sundress Sew-along!
Are you still doing summer sewing or are you already working on your plans for autumn?