Monday, December 15, 2014

Leftovers of Spring - the Moss Skirt

This is the final post about stuff sewed practically ages ago - yay! If we keep up this pace, I may actually blog about all the garments I made in the last weeks before the year is out! ;)

These two really are from way back in spring, two Grainline Moss skirts I made in April. Since it has been so long, I don't remember everything about the sewing and construction. I do remember that I was happy about the thoroughness of the instructions, and that I managed to correctly insert a fly front zipper on the first try. 

The first version I sewed as a kind of wearable muslin was refashioned from a thrifted button-down dress. At first I thought it was made of linen, but then the tag called it "ramie", which seems to be made from a type of nettle.
Sadly I neglected to take a picture of the dress before I cut it apart... but I saved the golden buttons that went down the front, to use for the skirt.
The pocket linings are leftovers from my Hawaiian Macaron.
And yes, the skirt got worn several times over the spring and summer. It tends to wrinkle a lot, but I really like the bright blue colour!

Version no. 2 was made from a stretch cotton I got in a fabric shop in Cologne last year. I love the rose print on torquoise background so much!
You may remember these pictures, als I already wore the skirt during my Easter holiday in Italy...

Please excuse the wrinkles... This is also the very first jeans button I inserted. I used a hammer. It was very satisfying. ;) I think I had some problems with the attaching of the waistband on this version, because I neglected to staystitch the very stretchy cotton, so the lengths didn't match up. I'm definitely going to remember next time I sew with stretch cotton... So now, as best as I can remember:
The facts: 
Pattern: Grainline Moss skirt, version A in a straight size 10
Fabric: a thrifted Rami dress for the blue version, 1 meter of rose-print stretch cotton for no. 2 as well as some leftover scraps for the pocket linings and waistbands.
Notions: one metal zipper each, as well as two gold buttons for the blue skirt and a jeans button for the flower skirt and interfacing for the waistband.
Time to complete: I honestly don't remember, but not that long. The fly front probably took the longest... ;)
Alterations: I omitted the pocket on the blue version, because I forgot.
Techniques used: Fly front zipper, some topstitching on the pocket, turned-and-topstitched hem, machine-stitched button holes. Overlocked seam finish. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

A Pair of LBDs

So I'm slowly wrapping up the leftovers of my summer sewing. Here are two Little Black Dresses I made (in July!!). I guess they'd actually each deserve a post of their own but you know how it is - I can't believe that it's Christmas in less than three weeks...

Little Black Dress No. 1
This could also be called my Choir Dress. I've been meaning to make one since we agreed on our current dress code for concerts: a nice outfit consisting of equal(ish) portions of black and either of the following colours: red, green, blue or yellow. I usually go for either red or green, so I could have made a dress in one of those colours, and I may do so yet. But black gives me maximum versatility, and I usually pair it with some coloured tights and accessoires/jewellery and a matching fabric flower.
My choir dress is made of black jersey (because I can, it's so lovely when comfort and style go together - and for optimum breathing ability while singing ;) ). I used stretch lace for the yoke and midriff band.
It took me a while to figure out how to best treat the edges of the stretch lace. Then I had the bright idea of having a look at my one RTW lace dress and do you know what, it's both easy and pretty: a scalloped elastic zigzagged to the edge and then turned under. Looks great and gives nice stability! And so much easier than binding with self-fabric, as I tried with my first lace dress...
The only other "special technique" I included was to iron a knit stabilizing tape to the seam that connects the sweetheart neckline to the yoke, to keep the seam allowance from showing, and also to the turned under seam allowance of the sweatheart (which is then topstitched to the lace). The rest of the dress was made on my overlocker and the hem and sleeves turned under and stitched with a twin needle. (Btw, remind me to never try to sew with black fabric in less than full daylight. Those twin needle hems feature one black and one dark navy line of stitching. It's hard to see and if anybody asks, it's a design featur, but oh boy...)
The pattern, by the way, is my usual knit top/dress pattern, and I used my (modified for fit) Macaron bodice to copy the sweetheart neckline (and the construction method for attaching the yoke).

The dress has held up well for the past few concerts. :)
in-action shot of our last concert :)

Little Black Dress No. 2

Polka-dot LBD! This spring, I got the Ultimate Wrap Dress from Sew Over It and decided that a polka-dot wrapdress would be a brilliant idea. For some reason I very much like the idea of wrap dresses, but in the end I usually have problems with gaping, so I don't often wear them. (The exception to this is Colette's Crepe dress, obviously, which wraps in the back. Such an ingenious concept, maybe I should try that one in jersey, one of these days...)
I'm not quite sure if this pattern gapes naturally, if it's my fabric choice or if my pattern alteration (shortening the bodice by 4 cm right at the point where the wrap ends) aggrevated the problem. The facings definitely didn't help. In the end, I just bought a lace bustier to wear under the dress, to prevent indecent showings of cleavage and it's quite wearable like that, even if the waist ties still sit a tad too low for my taste. I did wear it quite a bit during summer, though.
I'm pretty sure that there will be a next version, possibly even a long-sleeved one for winter/spring. Next time I will try to remember to add an elastic waist stay and I will bind the neckline instead of doing facings, which should help with the gaping. I'm also almost sure that I can go down a size. There are a few more bodice tweakings I'll try: change the angle of the neckline and raise the waist ties. I'm also going to shorten them, since I have a feeling that they're almost ridiculously long... ;)
So that's two Little Black Dresses down. The Choir Dress really filled a wardrobe gap, whereas I'm not so sure about the wrap dress... Is it the fit? Maybe it's just not quite my style? Maybe I should have made the tie in a contrast colour? Anyway. I feel like there might be another LBD (or two) in my future. One a bit classier, because every time I want to wear something elegant(ish) that isn't quite a taffeta cocktail dress (ahem) or a ballgown, I'm a bit stumped... But I have the perfect pattern! Now I just need to find some really slinky black jersey...

Saturday, November 29, 2014


I'm slowly working my way towards blogging about the rest of this year's makes, so I can start the new year with a fresh mind. There' s only about two posts of spring and summer makes left, before I can get to the more recent ones! ;-)

You may have noticed that I like making and wearing the Lola dress by Victory Patterns, I already made five versions last year and it's one of my favorite patterns. I made another two this spring and one in early autumn, and I'm planning at least two modified versions for winter wear. :-) 
 Green striped Lola
This one has been worn a lot during spring. The fabric is a jersey with tiny green and cream stripes (same kind of fabric that my strawberry stripe top is made of) and I used green interlock fabric for the bindings. That's the only thing I really don't like about the dress: the interlock has very little recovery and the bindings tend to bag out. I think I may switch them out with actual ribbing, as soon as I find some in the right colourway. 
The other issue that has prevented me from wearing it yet this autumn is that I prefer to wear it with nude tights (not warm enough in this weather), and the long sleeves don't lend themselves to being covered by a cardi. I have a new pair of green tights that could work, though. Or do you have any other colour suggestions?

Green Hoody Lola
I had high hopes for this dress, since I loved the idea of a hooded Lola since seeing this one(psst, it's colour blocked, too!). However, in this case the fabric choice took it from a win to a fail. It's made of the aforementioned green cotton interlock (actually, a tiny 1x1 rib - is that still called interlock?), which felt actually really nice and medium weight, but stretches out like nobody's business. I had the bright idea of lining the hood with quilting cotton, which I've seen succesfully done in Bench sweaters. Not a bright idea with this stretchy interlock, though. 
The hood was traced from an existing sweater and is probably fine, except that my (lowered from the original) neckline was a bit too low and wide. Overall, this dress just doesn't work well and even around home I've only worn it a couple of times. (The photos were taken right after making it - it was baggy about 5 mins later and I'd already taken all four seams in by about 3cm...) I'll probably retire it, since I don't even know what kind of garment could work with this fabric if I wanted to refashion it. I haven't given up on the idea of a hooded Lola, though, and I'm mightily in love with this navy star print sweater fabric, which even has a soft and fluffy wrong side...

Lacy Polka-dot Lola
This is my most recent Lola and it worked wonderfully both for the last summery days and now for the colder ones, paired with tights and a cardi. It is made from the same 1.5 m piece of navy dotted fabric as this top, which is why it has short sleeves cut on the crossgrain and lacy pockets. :-) Since the fabric is a 4-way stretch, there's no problem with tightness of any kind.
You'd think that I've got enough Lolas now, but as I said, I have at least a couple more still planned. They're going to be made from sweater knit, one of them a refashion from a knit cardi/coat that my grandma gave me. I think the princess seams should work well for pattern placement and I'm probably going to eliminate the pockets and waist seam, to get a slimmer line, as I did with my Star Trek Lola. The other one is going to be made from this interestingly patterned wool sweater knit.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Stuff around here // October&November

Do you ever get blogger's/writer's block from having too many little things on your mind? I've been meaning to write a blog post for ages, but there's so many little things, I never quite know how to start or what to concentrate on. After thinking about that for a bit, I realized that much smarter minds have already found a solution to that problem: the week (or month) in review post. ;-) Ah well, I'm very bad at keeping to any kind of regular schedule. But anyway, here's what's been occupying me for the past weeks.

1. Season changes always makes me want to make plans. Although recently, I've kind of been wary of putting down any explicit plans, for fear of never actually completing them. ;-) But I've managed to sort my stash a couple of weeks ago, and I pulled out everything that could make a possible fall/winter garment (and then sorted the rest into "will definitely need warm weather to be sewn up" and the inevitable "in between, will think about it" pile). So now I know where to reach when the urge to sew something comes up!
upper part: summer fabric, lower part: might be used
 2. Stephanie instagrammed her collection of sweater knits a while ago, and then was having their annual autumn sale, so there was some fabric buying. ;-) I acutally got some cute sweater knits, some nice jersey knits, and some more rather cheap jersey knits, but overall the selection was nice. All of them except for the wool knits are already washed and added to the stash...
possible stash to be used this fall/winter
3. Patterns. Do any of you remember a time when Colette was the only indie pattern company (I knew of) out there, and the new collection was awaited with baited breath? I love that there's so many new indie patterns coming out nowadays, but it also stresses me a bit. ;-) Like that kid-at-the-candy-store feeling - very excited but a bit overwhelmed, right? New patterns all the time, and even if I had the money to buy them all, when would I sew them??? So. I got the Pattern Parcel #6. It was too amazing to miss. I've already made the Bronte top, and taped together the Hudson pants and the Julia cardigan. I've also gotten a copy of Closet Case File's Ginger jeans and Nettie bodysuit. I caved in and finally bought Deer&Doe's Bruyere shirt. And when Colette brought out their new Daliah dress pattern, I bought both it and the Anise jacket, which I'd been thinking about makinge since sometime last year.
cutting out the Anise jacket
The good thing is that I have fabric options for each of those patterns, and may even be able to make them all this fall/winter. I've already cut out the Anise jacket. And I spent a couple of days in Hannover this weekend to watch a performance of some friends of mine, and found some lovely fabric for a Bruyere shirt. Yes, I know it has been done already.
polka-dot denim for a Bruyere shirt and green-striped sock wool!
4. Since I mentioned Colette, have you heard that Sarai is going to produce an online sewing magazine complete with patterns? It sounds very interesting and you can sign up for a preview and also win a subscription here.
5. Since November always has the best knitting weather, I have started a Miette cardigan and have resumed working on a lace shawl for my granny. :) Good thing that I've had some journeys by train and car, so I've managed to knit away quite a bit!
And what is going on in your corner of the world?

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?