Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Winter Sewing Plans

Well, well, well. I don't know how this happened, but this post has been sitting around unfinished for over six weeks... I titeled it "Fall Sewing Plans", because back then, we were just going into the crisp, colourful part of fall, but by now I'm guessing winter isn't far around the corner, and the pretty red and yellow leaves have already turned dry and brown and fallen down. I also hear that we may be getting snow next weekend...
So it's a good thing that I've done at least a bit of fall sewing already, but since this post has been sitting around already half-finished, why waste it?? So here we go.

A while ago, I catalogued the fall/winter appropriate fabrics in my fabric stash. There are really quite a few, enough probably to make a whole wardrobe without buying anything new. Which means I really only have to pair fabrics with appropriate patterns and prioritize, and voilà: sewing plan! (Hehe, funny me, I never stick to plans anyway. But the planning itself is sort of nice...)

The next question, of course, if there's anything I need to make, to close a wardrobe gap. Well. I have the feeling that it would be nice to have a couple more leggings, and maybe a pair of Hudson pants, to lounge around at home. I also would love one of those warm, wooly, long cardigan, which seem to be in fashion right now, although that's probably something best knitted, which I'm not sure if I could finish in any reasonably amount of time. Apart from that, I think I don't have any actual "needs".

So, let's start with a few of the fabrics I'm really excited about! The first three are from Lillestoff, which had a pop-up store in Berlin a little while ago. I never tried them before (I usually stick to the cheaper fabrics) but after reading several gushing reviews (by Heather and Mary, among others), I had to at least have a look. The ones shown here are a cotton/spandex jersey with rose print, a black & silver metallic sweater knit and another teal/white striped sweatshirt knit.
I'm not sure what to make with the rose print yet. Possibly a simple long-sleeved jersey dress, maybe one with a knot detail. I'm pretty sure it will need a solid black midriff band, and possibly solid black neckline and cuff bands, to break up the rose theme a bit.
The metallic one will be a sweater dress. I'm not sure yet if I will go the princess-seamed, Lola-without-the-pockets route, or if there will only be bust darts. I think I'm going to make that one my Christmas dress. Sort of a casual-chic, glittery, secret pyjama dress. My favoirte kind. ;-)
Jasper dress
Now, the striped one will definitely be a Lola, or possibly a Paprika Patterns Jasper dress. Since the colour scheme is more spring/summer, maybe it will keep for next year. 
Oh look, more flower prints! I really love the print of the topmost fabric, and was meaning to make leggings with it when I ordered it online. It turned out to be a ponte/romanit jersey, though, with limited stretch and recovery, so now I'm a bit stumped. I've never used that kind of fabric before. So... probably a dress? Or maybe some kind of zippered jacket thingy? I've got the Waffle Patterns Cookie Blouson pattern... But I'm open for suggestions.
The striped one will probably be a longsleeved shirt. And I've already made up the bottom two fabrics. If you're following me on Instagram, you may already have seen the results. Hoping to blog about those soon!
This is my pile of miscellaneous jersey, most of them impulse buys from the Holland Fabric Market. I should stop that, all of them are just 1 m coupons, too. I was meaning to use the two at the top for a colourblock Jasper dress. And maybe make shorty pyjamas from the two in the middle...? I'm seriously short on sleep shorts (pun intended) at the moment, and they're practically all I wear to bed, even in winter. ;-) Last one is a nice, silky rayon jersey, destined to be a top of some sort.
These are my actual winter weight fabrics. A jersey jacquard at the top, followed by a textured wool knit and two textured cotton/poly knits. I bought the first one in inspiration of Gillians fabulous Jasper dress and want to shamelessly copy it, if I can find another nice textured fabric to go with it. Sadly, I think the wool fabric below it is a bit too heavy to work. I see that one as a sleeveless jumper dress, maybe with a cowl. No idea what to make with the dotty fabric, it's another online buy and I didn't anticipate the dots to be so close together, the effect is a bit psychedelic. Maybe a figure hugging skirt, though? What I wanted to make was a polka-dotted blazer, but for that I think the fabric isn't quite right.
The last one is a souvenir fabric from last year, when we were visiting B.'s grandparents in Wiesbaden. I guess I'm getting a bit repetitive when I say I planned on making a dress with it, probably long-sleeved and A-line, maybe with a bit of a 60s mod feel to it.
Another pile of miscellaneous fabric. The one at the top is a stretch cotton, which I thought might make a fun pair of leggings. Fun fact: it has no crosswise stretch at all, only stretches length-wise. Why??? Again, I'm open for suggestions. If I can think of nothing else, I guess it will make a cute little girl's dress (seeing as I recently acquired a 1-year-old goddaughter :D).
The lace print rayon is quite thin, and also just a 1 m coupon, but I was wondering if I couldn't maybe manage to get a Colette Macaron dress out of it, using either black stretch lace or jersey for the yoke and sleeves. And the last two fabrics are a leftover from another jersey dress. I've been thinking about making a kimono-sleeved top with a patterned back and solid front. I've never actually worn a kimono top, so I have no idea if it's my kind of thing at all, but it's fun to try something new once in a while.
Ooh, blue stretch lace and matching jersey! The lace is actually a cut up dress that I won in an internet giveaway a few years back, which sadly didn't fit me at all. Low-waisted, dirndl-skirt dresses just don't work for me. I've always been meaning to salvage the fabric, 'cause it's really nice and a lovely colour. If I raise the waist and make the skirt an A-line, I'm pretty sure that should turn out nicely.
And last but not least, I bought that blue&black wool fabric at the most recent Holland Fabric Market. It's destined to be a princess-seamed winter coat, but I'd really like to pair it with a nice, solid black fabric for the sides and possibly the sleeves. I'm still on the lookout for some decent black wool fabric, though, and I haven't found my pattern yet, either. I think view B of McCall's M5525 (with long sleeves) is rather cute, but I also really like Simplicity 2508, especially with the funnel collar in the white version.
I've dithered about getting either of them, because they seem to be difficult to get in Germany and shipping prices from the US are quite ridiculous. Maybe I'd better have a look through the current Burdastyle patterns, to see if I can find something nice there... ;-)

So, that's it for my fall/winter sewing plans! If I actually manage all of that, I will be quite impressed. ;-) Then again, depending on how long winter is going to last, it might even be possible. I started a new job at the beginning of November, where I only work 4 days a week, which so far has been absolutely fantastic! For now I'm still catching up on stuff that has been piling up the last few months, but once I get that done, I'm hoping to make that one my sewing day. :-)

Do you have any definite sewing plans for winter? Anything exciting? Coat sewing?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Summer Sewing I

Oh, hi! Look who it is - yes, that's me. Not quite sure how to start this blog post, since reiterating that time's flying by incredibly fast feels like I'm repeating myself ad infinitum. But yes, um, it's been more than two three months. *waves* Life happened, and summer happened, and I'd like to pretend that I took an intentional break from blogging and blog reading, but it just kinda happened. Oh well. There was a lot of reading (books) and meeting friends and enjoying the sun though. Lots of work. A bit of travelling and knitting. And a bit of sewing, too. :-)

Has anyone else noticed that Bloglovin' has started to delete all unread posts that are older than about 20 days? Like, sometime in April? I haven't been reading blogs with any kind of regularity since I started working on-call, but even less since Bloglovin' made it impossible to catch up. So if you've been wondering why I barely comment, that's why. I've even put together a must-read list, but still can't manage to keep up. Oh well. It hasn't been a priority, I guess. Happily, I manage to check my Twitter and Instagram once or twice a day on my commute, so I'm not totally out of the loop. ;-) If I'm not following you already, feel free to put a link in the comments!

So, sewing. As with most years, my summer to-sew list was way longer than what I actually managed to make, but I did manage some crucial bits:

Bombshell Swimsuit

That must have been my favorite part of summer sewing! I spent a week at my parents' while it was 30+ degrees outside, and whiled away a couple of afternoons on the veranda putting this together.
The fabric is quite lovely, a hawaii print bathing suit fabric that Gillian graciously picked out and sent to me, because it is entirely impossible to get bathing suit fabrics in cute prints in Germany. Don't ask me why, everything I found online and at the shops was either boringly solid or weirdly neon or definitely old-lady prints. Anyway, thanks again, Gillian!
As you can see, I am a tiny bit uncomfortable posing in a swimsuit. Even though this one makes you feel remarkably covered. :-)
For a bathing suit, this took quite a while putting it together what with all the layers and the gathering and the elastic. It's worth it, though, since the look seems to be flattering on pretty much anybody. :-) Thanks for this wonderful pattern, Heather!
In the end, there are a couple of things which I am not quite happy with, and will do differently when I make another version (there's still a red&white polka-dot fabric, also sent to me by Gillian, waiting for it's turn!). For one, the suit is quite snug on me. I can get it over my hips, but it's really hard when wet, next time I should probably go up a size. Not quite sure if I measured myself incorrectly or if it's the fact that I'm pretty sure I used bigger seam allowances than the included 1/4 inch, what with all the basting and gathering.

The other thing is that I used a quite substantial nude swimsuit lycra as a lining, instead of the recommended (mesh) swimsuit lining. This makes the suit quite heavy, especially when the 3 layers and all that gathered fabric are dripping wet, plus it takes forever to dry! Does anyone know a (European) source for swimsuit lining - the thin, mesh-like stuff?

Green Maxi Dress

This is the dress I spent most of my summer wearing. Honestly, I think I only took it off to wash it. ;)
It's a rather lovely, thin jersey with a bit of texture to it. The pics actually don't do the colour justice, it's really quite a bit more vibrant in real life. The pattern is just a version of my regular go-to to with lowered neckline, no sleeves and two little tucks below the bust.
The skirt is mostly a trapezoid with slits from the knee down. And no, I didn't bother to finish the slits or hem. But it's got binding at the neckline and armholes and clear elastic to stabilize the waist.
It's nothing fancy, just the best sort of secret pyjamas really. I think maxi dresses are my new love affair for summer. You always look put together, even you missed shaving your legs for a few days in a row. ;-)

That's actually only the beginning of what I made this summer. More to follow. And then I may even manage to tell you about my fall sewing plans...

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Hopping on the Ginger Jeans Train

It seems like forever since I wrote a blog post about sewing something. Heck, it seems like forever that I sat at my sewing machine the last time (and as, objectively, that has been mid-March and end-of-April, respectively, maybe my feelings are not so far off). Anyway, I cut out a quick sewing project a couple of days ago (just a knit top), and I'm on night shift today, so I actually have time to sew! And it seems I have time to blog, too!

There's actually quite a few projects I have managed to finish this year (seven, to be exact, with only one already blogged) but I'll start with the most recent one: Ginger jeans!

Even though I got the pattern within weeks of its release last year, it took me a long while to gather the courage and motivation to actually start making them. Why? Well, I bought my last pair of jeans in 2010 (in Sydney, incidentally). I wear jeans about twice a year, mostly on cold summer days when I'm really not in the mood to wear tights under a dress, and all my leggings are in the wash. Jeans are uncomfortable, and it takes forever to find a pair that fits. Plus, they never looks quite right on my short-legged body. But after reading what felt like the millionth blog post of an awesome sewing lady about the general awesomeness of the Ginger pattern (all of them looking seriously lovely in their jeans), I felt compelled to try

Well, turns out that, like many others, I just never had a pair of jeans that really fit before.
This first pair of Gingers is made of a really stretchy denim I bought in Hong Kong five years ago. IT'S SO COMFORTABLE! Almost like a pair of jeggings. It did take me several tries to get the crotch curve right. In the end, a flat-bum adjustment plus a sway back adjustment seemed to do the trick.
I really enjoyed the process of putting them together. The topstitching proved to be surprisingly painless. I did that portion of the sewing on the Pfaff machine that I inherited from my paternal grandma, which has an integrated walking foot. It's certainly not perfect, but I'm pretty happy with it. The seams are finished on the overlocker. 
I was very happy with the thoroughness of the instructions, too. I don't think I have ever installed a fly front that went in that easily. 
As with many first attempts, not everything went perfect. For one, I cut one leg short for some reason. Happily, my legs aren't that long, so they're still full length. For another, when I took the legs in to get a more skinny fit, I took all the width from the back leg sideseam. Why? I have no idea, it was a totally silly idea, because now the leg twists.
I'm pretty sure people in real life don't notice, though. ;)
Version number two is made with a strawberry coloured denim that I got in Cologne a few years ago. It has a lot less stretch, but is still pretty comfortable to wear. Must be the fit, then... 
I drafted a pocket stay for both versions, following the directions at the Curvy Sewing Collective. Although I hear that Heather has updated the pattern to include a pocket stay now. Plus, there's a discount code for 20% off all patterns viable until today, in case you still need your own Ginger jeans pattern (or Bombshell swimsuit or Nettie or whatever)!

I love the happy colour, it's perfect for the cooler summer days. It also fits right into my colour palette (good thing I have several navy tops). Both Gingers got worn several times during MMMay and I'm really happy that I managed to finish them in time, because the weather was pretty unseasonably cold this year. Actually, it's still pretty cold most days, even though it's June! 
Have you ever sewn something you weren't quite sure about, only to realize that it perfectly filled a wardrobe hole you hadn't noticed before?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

MMMay outfits - part II

Hi everyone! So here are, finally, the rest of my MMMay outfits. In the middle of June, I know. May was the busiest month, ever. Lots of work, visits from both my and B.'s  parents, among other fun things like the aforementioned choir concert, an anniversary, a trip to Hannover to see an operetta at the State Opera, which a friend of ours has directed (I have such talented friends...) and a trip to the Baltic Sea! I also broke the lcd screen of my mobile, so two outfit pics are missing... 
 day 16: jersey dress // day 17: Colette Crepe dress & jersey bolero

 day 18: striped top & McCalls skirt // day 19: Macaron-inspired top & Moss skirt

 day 20: strawberry Ginger jeans & Ottobre top // day 21: self drafted linen trousers & Ottobre top

  day 22: strawberry Ginger jeans and striped top // day 23: Ginger jeans and aqua top

 day 24: polka-dot jersey dress & bolero // day 25: Paprikapatterns Jade skirt & Ottobre top

 day 27: polka-dot&lace Lola dress // day 28: summery maxi dress and RTW bolero

 day 29: striped off the shoulder top and linen trousers // day 30: blue Jade skirt and Ottobre top

In conclusion: I did wear only me-mades except for the one RTW jersey bolero on day 28, not counting socks, tights, bras, scarves and jackets. I also think I managed to go without repeating an outfit! As a goal, I'm not sure if it wasn't a bit silly, because I tend to repeat outfits a lot in a normal month. I liked how it forced me to consider different garment pairings from what I usually wear, though. Definitely harder than just grabbing the next best jersey dress every morning! ;) And a bit of a challenge, since I already wear about 85% me-mades in any given month, anyway.

Weather wise, we had an exceptionally cool May (not that the weather as such unusual, it's just that normally there's at least a week in-between that approaches the 30s) so none of my breezy summer dresses got worn. Ah well. I was very glad about the two pairs of Ginger jeans that I finished just the day before MMMay started, at the very least. More about those soon(ish).

I didn't sew a stitch during May, either, even as my mental to-sew list grows longer and longer. A flowery Cambie. A rain jacket. A bathing suit. Another pair of linen trousers. I'm hoping that June is going to be a bit more relaxed, so I can tackle that. I also think that I need a few more leggings and legging-appropriate tunic tops. Some days just scream for the comfort of leggings... ;)

Do you have any fun sewing plans for June? I think I need to tackle that bathing suit first...

Friday, May 15, 2015

MMMay 15 Outfits - First Half

Ok, so I will just refrain from the whole "omg May is half over" thing, right? Instead, for your viewing pleasure, my MMMay outfits for the first half of the month.

 ginger jeans / striped top * flowery McCalls 6011 / handknitted sweater
 bruyere shirt / Espresso leggings * dotted jersey dress

 flowery Macaron dress * coral Lola / flowery Espresso leggings

coral Ottobre raglan tee / polka dot Jade skirt

And yes, quite a few of these garments haven't been blogged about yet. It is to come, it is to come. Soon. Ish. :)

Happy (MM)May, everyone!