Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Last Week...

... I did some sewing. Finally! I took this week pretty slow, but an amazing number of things got done. Started and finished one dress.
Preview of dress #1
Finished another (ok, hemmed and re-fit another. the rest of that one has been done since... September). Pretty much finished a third, but I have issues with the collar, and I'm thinking about changing it. Cut out dress #4.
dress #4, currently on my sewing table
And apart from sewing, I had some lovely time with good friends. A yummy dinner of oven-roasted veg&pumpkin with a bunch of them, followed by a night of improv theater with mostly the same bunch of friends the day after, coffee with a lovely acquaintance who's in Berlin for the weekend, a visit to the Turkish fabric market and falafel with my best girlfriend, coffee and a walk through the park with my best guy friend. Has it only been a week?
fabric market purchases from this week - all jersey/knit fabric. :)
fabric market purchases from a little while ago: wooly sweater knit in green(ish) and petrol sweater jersey
Oh, and while we're at it: this is the lovely stretch lace that I bought in Italy. *happy sigh*
blue and black stretch lace
On top of that, the weather has been so beautiful, with lots of glowing autumn light and almost summery temperatures. I've ridden my bike almost everywhere instead of taking public transport, which always makes me happy.
the tree in our courtyard
The weather is supposed to be nice until the middle of this week. For afterwards, I've already bought a pair of "earbags". Actually, they've been pretty awesome while biking this week, too. I've also remembered that I lost one of my fingerless gloves last year. And I don't have any of the yarn I used leftover. I checked. Twice. So. Making a new pair in another colour? I have both green and sky blue wool in that weight. Trying to find the same colour of yarn and make another one to match? Making the right mitten in a contrast colour (again, green or blue) and wear them mixed up? Or make an entirely different pair in that light green baby alpaca silk I've got lying around...? Decisions...
Ear bags (which match my new red sweater jersey) and a single left glove
In totally unrelated things, have you seen these awesome shoes that StephC painted hersef? I've got major shoe envy...
Also: did you know that the London-based SewOverIt shop has released some patterns of their own? I'm totally in love with this 1940s Tea Dress:
And Kathryn has put together some very good tips for topstitching, which I had to bookmark right away. Because there's a small heap of denim fabrics that wants to be made into garments. You know.
I'll leave you with a view of the amazing sunset that we had from our balcony a couple of days ago. :)
sunset from the balcony. isn't my picture captioning amazingly witty?

Monday, October 28, 2013


Do you know Becca from Becca's Creative Notions? She has a really cute style and recently came up with her first pattern: a jersey top and dress called Verity. Now, as you probably know, I have a self-drafted knit top and dress pattern that I use a lot, so why stray from TNT, right? But, this pattern has the option of a split shawl collar that I quickly fell in love with, and also some gathering under the bust, which, I was thinking, should totally optimize the fit! So I went and got the pattern. :)
the Verity dress: isn't it cute?
It's a pdf pattern that prints on both letter and A4, and after about two episodes of Star Trek - The Next Generation I had my pattern. The instructions are also pretty thorough, with three different options of sewing the pieces together: flat, in the round and flat with set in sleeves. Although, to be honest, I didn't use them beyond glancing through them, to see if there was something unusual.

I made my usual alteration of shortening the bodice a bit, which in this case was actually superfluous. Now the midriff band covers part of my bust, so I'm going to add the length back on for my next iteration. Apart from that (which is, of course, my own fault and not the pattern's), I'm pretty happy with the fit. The back skirt is just a wee bit wider than I usually like, so I may take out a couple of centimeters at the fold line in my next version. It looks fine in the photos, though, so maybe not. I also took in the side seams from the midriff band down by about 1.5cm after taking the photos. And I'm thinking the midriff band may be a bit too wide for my short torso, so slimming it down a bit is probably a good idea.
The gathers really help with the fit, especially in this 100% cotton jersey. It's one of those from last year's Girlcharlee order, and as such is rather thin, unflexible where it's printed and prone to bagging out. What can I say. I loved the colour way. Probably because it reminded me of this beautiful silk dress by Sue. Ahem.
if I hadn't shortened the bodice, I'm pretty sure them hem would hang right, too.
So, apart from the questionable fabric choice (but yay for stash busting!) I'm pretty happy with this dress. The only issue I have is that the split shawl collar turned out a lot tinier than I thought. Have a look at the difference between Becca's and mine (please excuse the hair...):
It's a lot smaller, isn't it? I'm wondering if I made some mistake, but I'm pretty sure I used size M, just like for the rest of the dress. I had to stretch it quite a bit to be able to attach it to the neck of the dress, so I'm probably just going to cut off the current collar, widen the pattern piece by... hmmm, I'm guessing at least 10cm, but probably daping it first would be a good idea. Or what would you suggest?

The facts: 
Pattern: Verity by Moxie Patterns
Fabric: 1.5 yards of printed cotton jersey by Girlcharlee, plus about 0.5 yards of leftover black cotton jersey with some elasthan content (I'm guessing about 4%).
Notions: none.
Time to complete: a bit over an hour for preparing the pattern, half an hour cutting out, less than 2h sewing. Equals less than 4h total, I'd say, but spaced over three sessions.
Alterations: shortened the front and back bodice by about 1.5cm, which I'll have to add back to the front the next time. Took in the skirt side seam a little.
Techniques used: Gathering was done on my regular sewing machine, for everything else I used my overlock machine. Oh, and following one of Gillian's Lazy Knit Sewing Tips, I serged my hem with a bit of a gather to make hemming easier, then used a twin-needle.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Bella Italia

Argh. After not blogging for a while, I always have to think so much harder about what I want to write. I wonder if that's a second language thing? I regularly read English texts but I hardly get/have to write it, except for comments and blog posts...

Anyway, since I'm not feeling particularly verbose yet, here's some pics of my holiday in Italy at the beginning of the month. :) It was a lovely holiday, nice and warm(ish), and full of wonderful food, exceptional coffee (oh, Italy, this is why I love you so) and explorations of the beautiful towns on the shore of Lago di Garda. 
Sirmione, which is beautiful but chock full of tourists, both Italian and international. Interestingly, they all go away around sundown and leave you to have dinner in one of the fabuous restaurants looking over the lake in peace. :)

Tignale, up in the mountains, which holds a truffle festival every October. Which we visited. And had pizza with truffle. And polenta with truffle. And bought actual truffles. To take home. And make pasta with truffle. Three days in a row. *oh yum*
Verona, home of Romeo&Juliet. And, very possibly, some of the most beautiful architecture in northern Italy. Yes, we visited the Arena. We also had cappuccino sitting on three different piazzas and bought some more truffles.
(In sewing news, I also talked my parents into visiting a fabric outlet. I wasn't very impressed with most of the fabrics, but found some lovely stretch silk in black and petrol, and some navy&white polka dot lining. Polka dot lining! Needless to say, I bought 3 meters...)
Desenzano, where we visited the weekly market, and bought such delicacies as sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil and small pickled onions. *happy sigh* Also: gelato. And a couple of cardigans, which I'm a bit ashamed to say, were probably sewn by tiny children's hands somewhere in China. They can't have been otherwise, for the price of € 10. But. Wool, cashmere and silk cardis! One in navy, one in green. They're so soft, I constantly need to pet them while wearing. Oh, but the child labour...
Brescia, where we wandered the alleys for a while until we found the really beautifull piazzas and streets. Fun fact: Brescia offers free wifi in their city centre! And there's some really lovely views into courtyards. I love me a pretty courtyard.
On the way back home, we stopped in Merano for coffee and lunch with a friend of my parents, who also took us to this little farm to buy some excellent salami and pancetta, which they smoke themselves. They also had lovely kitties. :) We had excellent lunch at the Gasthof Hanswirt: spaghetti with deer bolognese, quark/topfen dumplings with porcini sauce, handmade ravioli with pumpkin filling... So yummy. I'm glad that we always switch up our meals when I'm eating out with my family, so I always get to try every dish. :D And honestly, if I had to pick one cuisine to eat for the rest of my life, Northern Italian would probably be my pick. :)

Do you have a favorite holiday destination? Does it have as much to do with food as mine does? What's your favorite dish from another country?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Wardrobe Planning

A holiday is a great opportunity for wardrobe planning, don't you think? There's nothing like a limited choice of garments to think about what you like to wear, and why. Especially now, that we're in the changing of seasons.

Even though it's still sometimes hitting 20°C during the day, the mornings and evenings are pretty cold, so I've started wearing tights again, which I never do in summer. I might put on leggings, if I'm wearing a short dress or if it's colder, but I want the option of bare feet during summer. Putting on tights is a sure sign for autumn, even though they aren't the wooly kind, yet.

I'm only now realizing that, while I prefer dresses in summer, autumn (like spring) is my time for separates. While I may still reach for a dress and cardi now and then, it's mostly skirts and longsleeves, and I prefer wearing a cute tank top underneath, should it be warm enough to wear shortsleeves in the afternoon. This has made me realize that I own hardly any cute tank tops.

I've also realized that, when I have the choice between a solid and a striped top, I go for the striped one, nine out of ten.
I may need more striped tops. Or maybe I need to think about ways to decorate my plain solid ones. Applique, maybe? I really like Gillian's t-shirts here. Or transforming them into cardis? I like plain cardis fine, especially if a cute tank top is peeking out, and I wouldn't mind a few more.

So this is most of what I've been wearing during my holiday here:
The white striped top is actually my sister's. She lent it to me, to go with the pair of shorts she gave me. I like it a lot, it's got a boatneck and cute mother-of-pearl buttons at the neckline and sleeves.

So I've got bottoms in red, green and blue/denim, and tops in red, green, blue and white. Quite the neat little colour palette, isn't it? 

I like the decorations on the RTW tops, the buttons on the white one and the little patch pocket, placket and lace on the red one. I'll have to remember and try that with my me-made ones, too.
As for tank tops, I'm thinking I might like a few white ones with polka dots in my colour palette, and maybe a lace edge. 

I realize that this doesn't quite fit into my stashbusting plan, but then again, it will augment my wardrobe with garments I'll wear again and again. So I guess that means a trip to the fabric market!