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!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Me-Made-May 2015

Hi guys! Short question: can it really already be the last week of April? Honestly? Where did the time go? I spent four days last week in Munich on a course (learning how to do an ultrasound, cool stuff!) and when I got back two days ago, the lilacs and linden trees were in full bloom. It was raining. Rainy late spring days are my favorite, and a sure sign that summer is just around the corner. Wasn't it winter just a moment ago?

Ok, I'd better stop before I get into a long monologue about the fleetingness of time and life and whatnot. ;-) Anyway. Late spring of course means that Me-made May is just around the corner!

Like last year, I thought long and hard about participating. The first ever Me-made May in 2010 was actually one of the reasons I got into the blogosphere, one of the reasons I started sewing with a mind to an actual everyday wardrobe. Self-stitched September of that year was my first me-made challenge, and I haven't left one out since, even though last year I only did me-made weekends. I have a similar "problem" this year, which will probably continue for years to come: German doctors wear scrubs. Actually, working in a practice you can often get away with wearing a lab coat over "normal" clothes, but in hospital, it's definitely scrubs (or, in my case, white trousers and a white polo shirt).

I've decided to not let it bother me, though. :-) I wear regular clothes on my way to and from work. There's weekends and evenings and days-before-nightshift. I've lately been feeling that I wear the same three jersey dresses pretty much all the time. So yes, there is definitely going to be a Me-made May for me this year. It's time to get out of the rut. So:

'I, Alessa from, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '15. I endeavour to wear only me-made garments aside from bras, tights and outerwear each day for the duration of May 2015, additionally I will endeavour to wear trousers at least once a week and try not to duplicate any outfits.'

I probably won't be participating much in the social media aspects of the challenge. I haven't written a blogpost in six weeks, and haven't yet managed to blog about any of my makes from this year. My blog reader sports a backlog of about three weeks which translates into 300+ blogposts, so I'm already quite behind on pretty much everything that's going on. ;-) I'm a bit sad about it, since the discussions and the getting to know each other and finding new blogs to follow are some of the things I liked best about this challenge. Then again, I quite enjoy what free time I have in RL. So we'll see how much I manage. My outfits will definitely come up here (probably once a week) and possibly on instagram and I'll probably look into the flickr group now and then. Apart from that, we'll see.

Are you participating?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Winter Wardrobe - a pair of snuggly Lolas

Did you see the calender? It's already mid-March and spring is just around the corner! Actually, today was a very lovely and mild day, and I managed to run some errands riding my (new to me) bike (the old one was sadly stolen in January...). I also had a lovely coffee sitting in front of an Italian café in the sun, and it was warm enough to take off my jacket! Then I had the first gelato of the year. I felt like I was on a short spring holiday in Italy. :)
Now I had better tell you about the last of my winter makes before all I want to make and talk about is pretty spring dresses.

This one is a dress I've worn through most of January. I hardly ever wanted to take it off. Warm! Soft! Snuggly!
The pattern is, of course, the Lola Dress by Victory patterns, and I used a navy sweatshirt fabric with a little star print from The backside is a bit fluffy and so cozy!
You can't really see it very well but I drafted a hood (well, I copied it from a RTW sweater), and while I hardly ever wear it up, it's perfect for tucking in a scarf and protecting the neck from a nasty draft. Smartly, I haven't actually taken any pictures of it. Oh well.

It also goes really nicely with the Anise jacket. :)
The other Lola is a refashion I made from a cardigan/coat thingy that was gifted to me by my paternal grandma last year. She was actually a seamstress when she was younger, though sadly we were never very close and I didn't even remember about that until a little while ago. She gave me that high quality wool sweater since it was too small for her, and it took me almost a year to think about something to refashion it into.
This is a modified Lola pattern, I eliminated the waist seam and left off the pockets. Even so, I hardly had enough fabric to work with but it worked out just so in the end. I left on the front pockets, which are now placed a little awkwardly right on the hips. I may have to take them off and attach them a little lower at some point... Turning the sleeves into raglan sleeves for the Lola left them 3/4 length, which isn't quite ideal for a winter dress. But then I got to keep the sleeve hem and the little buttons. :)
The dress turned out a bit short for my taste, and the wool is a little scratchy, so I haven't worn it all that often. It is toasty and I like that it reminds me of my grandma, though. :)

Is spring finally creeping into your corner of the world, too?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Winter Wardrobe - The Anise Jacket

So today I'm going to tell you about a project that I'm pretty proud of. I know that a lot of the garments that I sew are rather basic, quick and easy knit dresses and tops that are usually finished within a few hours. That's fine, because that's pretty much what I wear most days. However, it's also neither very challenging nor very exciting. (Hmm, not quite true. I'm always excited about wearing something new, or trying a new pattern.) Anyway - I made a Colette Anise jacket!
I  started making it sometime in mid-November. Cutting it out was a bit of a challenge, since I only had 1.5 meters of this burgundy herringbone wool blend, a remnant purchased at But I'd been dreaming about a red herringbone coat or jacket for years now, so it had to be this! A game of very careful pattern tetris later, and I had actually squeezed out all of the pieces for this jacket, even managing to make long sleeves. Yay, me! ;) 
It took me until Christmas to finish the jacket, and I think it's the garment I have put the second most care and work into, second only to my Starlet Suit Jacket (and only because I didn't make a muslin this time). There are welt pockets and bound button holes and shoulder pads and quite a bit of handstitching. 
And a cute label. Not to mention it's underlined with fleece (repurposed from an old blanket) for warmth. And of course it has a very pretty polka-dotted lining (that I bought in Italy, near the Lago di Garda). I even bought Karen's ebook on How to Make Bound Button Holes - but in the end I used the tutorial that accompanies the Colette Patterns instructions. It's a bit less involved than Karen's method but I think the results are very satisfying.
The construction didn't go quite without hiccoughs. For one, with all those curves and the collar and sleeves, I kínda missed having a pressing aid, like a tailor's ham or a seam roll. Um yes, I've been sewing for almost five years without ever bothering to buy one. Did I mention that I sew mostly knits? I mostly don't even bother to press the seams when sewing with them. ;) But I can now totally see how they would come in useful when sewing something like a wool jacket.
The other hiccough was the insertion of the sleeve lining. I must have read the instructions wrong, since I attached the sleeve lining to the bodice lining first, then attached the lining to the facing and then wondered how to get the it attached at the cuffs. In reality, the instructions have you attach the sleeve lining to the sleeve cuff first, and then hand sew the sleeve lining to the bodice lining, for a better fit. In the end, I wasn't in the mood to undo my stitching, so I attached the lining to the cuffs by hand. I hear there is a strange technique called "bagging a lining", which may possibly be an easier way. At least there is way less hand sewing involved, and I may try that next time.
My final thoughts about this Anise jacket: it's pretty, but I have the feeling that it doesn't go with everything. Possibly because it's a tad short for my taste. It's works rather nicely with dresses, and also with skirts, but as you can see in the picture at the beginning of this post: the bottom part of my top shows. Thus it's not quite ideal for the cold days of winter, but it's fine for intermediate days and for colder spring and autumn days. I made bound button holes for the first time and love how nicely they turned out! And I think this won't be the last jacket I made. It may not even be the last Anise. :)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

An Oufit with a Twist

This is the story about my new favorite knit dress pattern. 

Although to be completely honest, new is a relative term, since my first version (the one with the flowers) was already made in... October? Possibly even September? Oh my...  In any case, I've been looking for a knit dress pattern with a knot or twist along the neckline for a pretty long time. They show up from time to time in the blogosphere, I think the first one I saw and fell in love with was made by my fellow Berlin sewing blogger Wiebke, who has made several cute versions of Onion 2022. Then there was also Amy, who has made at least two cute versions of a twisted Burda maxi dress, the same one that Allison made. There's also a cute Ottobre pattern (as seen here), McCalls 5484 (which Sarah made a cute green version of) and which looks pretty similar to a pattern from the Dutch pattern company Knipmode. Plus, Desigual got out a line of cute twist-front dresses sometime in the fall, which might have been what tipped me over the edge of actually buying a pattern. ;)
looks like that dress is just a bit too bif on that model... source
After a long bit of dithering, I decided to buy Onion 2022, which was pretty hyped and often sewn in the German sewing blogosphere, oh, sometime in 2012. Call me a late bloomer. ;)
This is the result, although I have to admit that it took me a little while to get there. My first version, before altering the heck out if it, looked like this:
See the uneven hemline and the big fold in the front? Yes, I should have guessed that from the pattern pieces (which featured an almost straight line where the skirt connects to the bodice, even though the bodice, after being twisted, forms a definite upside-down V in the middle). The correction, thankfully, was done easily enough by making the middle angle more acute, as seen in the picture (dotted lines) below.
I also scooped out a bit along the middle of the back skirt to make the fit better. The end result, as seen in the first picture, is still not quite perfect (the back neckline gapes a bit, and the front is low enough that I always have to wear it with a slip or tanktop underneath), but it got to be my favorite dress this autumn. I'm pretty sure I wore it several times every week, mostly with a cardi and tights. :)

I liked the style so much that I used a slinky blue rayon jersey to make a top for work. Actually, the fabric may have been too slinky since it shows every bump, but I never quite noticed in real life and wore it a lot. With a white tank top underneath, of course. No peeks for the patients. ;)
Last but not least, I filled a definite wardrobe gap with that pattern! If you have a look through my handmade wardrobe, there's a definite bias towards cute, fun knit dresses. There are a few everyday woven dresses, a couple of skirts, a whole lot of every day knit tops, some "Sunday Picnic" dresses - but really nothing chic or elegant. Nothing with a bit of sexiness to it. The type of dress that pairs nicely with your man's best suit. So, with Christmas in sight, I thought I'd finally get cracking on a chic dress with a bit of sexiness to it. The twisty neckline dress in a light navy cotton jersey seemed perfect: sexy neckline, chic, classic colour, comfy jersey.

I was actually not sold on it, the first time I tried it on. It looked... boring.

That was before I put on the black tights and lace-edged slip and necklace.
Now it's perfect.
It saw me through two office Christmas parties, Christmas Eve Dinner (which is A Thing in my family, a.k.a. a three-course meal with champagne and wine and all the trimmings, and yes, the men wear a suit or at least a dress shirt), New Year's Eve, my stepdad's birthday party.
I may need to make a sleeveless version for summer. Then we can live happily ever after.

The End. :)

PS: This blog post was inspired by Karen, who wrote about "The power of Story" this morning, and gave me the impetus to finally write another blog post about sewing again. Head over and read it, because she really has a way with words. :)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Knitting for Others - X-mas

So I'm still a bit behind on blogging about stuff, but before we begin with the actual sewn garments, I'll show you the X-mas gifts I knitted real quick. :) We don't give gifts in my immediate family (and aren't I grateful - instead we try to spend time together and have fabulous dinners), but there's always a few people requiring gifts: my two grannies, B.'s family, mostly (my tiny half siblings like it better if they get actual toys, not pretend-gifts like me-made stuff).

This is what I made for B's family. The headbands are more or less self-drafted and knit with chunky wool. They're very fast to knit, maybe an hour? Two at the most. The green one was for B's cousin, the navy one for his dad and the teal one for his mom.
His brother got the acid green mittens, he's an IT guy / programmer so I was thinking that mitts he could wear while programming were probably a good gift. The pattern is Maize by tincanknits (free on Ravelry). The fuchsia pair of mittens was for B's grandma, a most lovely old lady. She used to sew and I even recieved some of her stash fabrics some time ago. They're made of Alpaca yarn and the pattern is Cranford Mitts (which is part of the p-hop initiative by Médecens sans frontières).
I also made a pair of self-striping socks for B's grandpa. I bought a book on how to knit two socks at the same time, which is pretty marvellous! Combined with the fact that I used 6 ply wool, these were even knit up within a week, which is definitely a first for me.
The pièce de resistance is the Percy shawl I knit for my granny, though. I started it the fall before last Christmas and didn't manage to finish it in time. It's knit from the apex of the triangle to the base, so every row takes longer and longer to knit... Then at some point, the nupps start, which is where I pretty much gave up last year. ;) First knitting 7 stitches into one, and then purling all 7 stitches together on the back row??! I felt like I almost broke my fingers several times. But I was so happy when I finished it!!! It turned out truly beautiful, and my granny may have shed a couple of tears when she unwrapped it. :)
And because I can't do a whole post just about knitting for others... when there was still some knitting time and yarn left over the holidays, I made a headband for myself. :)
Do you tend to give hand-made Christmas gifts?