viernes, 31 de mayo de 2013

She's alive!

Let me introduce you to my sewing machine, also referred to as My precious (yes, with the Gollum-voice)... Her name is Aline and I consider her to be my best friend in Spain. Not in the world. I left some truly fabulous people behind!

Here we are being retro/vintage 8 years ago

Here we are being retro/vintage 2 years ago... Do I sense a theme?
And my friend is pregnant is both pictures, what a coincidence...

At the beginning of the weak on Tuesday I nearly had a heart attack. My most precious possession (I don't consider my family my possession, although they are more precious to me!) didn't function as she should anymore.
My stitches were all loose on the bottom... GASP! Did it have anything to do with the shirt for my husband I am finishing up? Did she not like the fabric, the design, or just the fact that I was not sewing for myself again? (Aline loves me very much...)

I don't know what was wrong with her, but I couldn't rush her to the sewing-machine doctor quite fast enough.
It was like when I got her, two years ago, my old Toyota (that I didn't particularly love and didn't have a name either) had just broken down at 4o'clock in the afternoon, so I quickly did a bit of searching on the internet and rushed out the door to get me a new sewing machine in the Netherlands (that sounds really crazy, going to another country to buy a machine, but I lived really close to the border, it was actually the nearest sewing-machine shop...). 
Now that I think of it, it was also on a Tuesday... (I remember because it was when I was still working and feeling miserable doing my job and it was my half-day off... HALF-day off, pff, can you believe that?!)

To my horror the machine-doctor (doctor of machines, not a machine being a doctor like in StarWars or StarTrek) told me she had to stay over in his little hospital and that it would be at least a week before he would call me to let me know how much this was going to cost me. A WEEK! Another GASP!
Fortunately, she wasn't alone... A whole bunch of other machines were there too.

So to my big surprise, the man called me yesterday morning (in Spain that means anything from 10.00 a.m. till 2.00 p.m.) to tell me he could fix her that same day for a price that was within my budget (buying a house really takes a huge slice out of a budget...)! Angels were singing - or maybe it was the sound of the rain falling - again/still!

So in the afternoon (in Spain the afternoon goes on untill like 8.00 p.m., got to love them, even if it was just for that) I went to pick her up. The man complemented me on her soft touch and excellent sewing. I knew she would do me proud!

So now she's back where she belongs, in the mess that I call my sewing space! HOORAY!

martes, 28 de mayo de 2013

Colette Eclair

My Colette Eclair is done! Yay! 

Another pattern chosen by my man for my birthday!

I will show you a few close-up pictures because I won't show the dress on me before the wedding it is made for. My first idea was to make this a maxi-dress but maxi-dresses aren't really my thing. I love them, and I always try one on, but they're just not meant for me. Just like jumpsuits - oh, how I want a jump suit...

The dress came together like a dream! I made a muslin first out of a sheet that had been left here, made a few alterations that were easily transfered to the real dress.

The fabric is the most gorgeous silk-poly blend I have ever laid eyes upon. It's the Violet's fabric big sister, with (almost) the same background color and big bright pink birds flying around. Cutting this fabric wasn't really easy because it really shifted around all over the place. And this fabric had a lot less issues with threads running and leaving little white stripes all over the place!

The lining is a simple purple polyester fabric, to which I added black knit fusible interfacing and I used the sew-in boning for the first time, and I am sold! Way easier than making tunnels to pass the boning through. Won't be doing that again!

I did use a piece of sturdy cotton on each end of the boning to prevent the boning tearing through the fabric, or my skin - that happened to me once with my favourite dress ever, my wedding dress... By the end of the night I had scratch marks all over my belly...

To make the inside pretty again after sewing in the boning, I added a strap of ribbon I had lying around - I think I used it to put a bow on gifts - over the stitches of the boning. No-one will see it, but I will know it's there. I love that about self-made things, the details are not all on the outside, you can have a little secret on the inside too if you want.

Then there was the zipper - how I do not like putting in zippers. 
I once bought 100 zippers for 30€ from e-bay and they came in quite the rainbow of colors and an enormous variety of lengths. I chose an invisible pink zipper and put it in with my regular zipper-foot. I have one of those plastic feet for invisible zippers but I don't like using it and I have noticed that putting in an invisible zipper with my regular zipper-foot works just as well.
I had a bit of trouble lining everything up, so right where my armpit is, there is a very small irregularity, but no-one will notice as it is up my armpit and I don't expect someone taking an interest in that...
I think it would be best if the instructions for the Colette were the other way around when it comes to inserting the zipper. Next time (and there will be a next time, summer is around the corner after all) I will first close the side seam of the skirt, then put in the zipper and then sew the lining and the shell together. I think that will make closing the side seam easier... 

All that is left now is to sew the waistlines of lining and shell together - I will do that last minute so if I have to make changes to the dress I won't need to separate the pieces first - and the hems. I'm thinking about inserting fishing line in the hem(s) so that I get this nice curly effect.

Image from this page - I don't particularly like this dress but you get the idea...

When I first showed it to my husband he wasn't quite convinced that it was festive enough. Maybe because I was wearing leggings and sneakers. So I put my glitter-shoes on and that gave me his stamp of approval too. Yeay!

Only worn twice before, so still considered new shoes.

The wedding is July 5th, we are flying to Belgium on July 4th and are heading back home on the 7th. Very short trip, but it will be massive fun! Pictures of the dress in action will be posted fairly soon after that!


domingo, 26 de mayo de 2013

Burda - a challenge

Don't let these pictures fool you, it is still supercold around here, and right after we took these pics I put my sweater and winter coat back on...

There is a Burda challenge going on in blogland where you have to make an item from the previous issue of BurdaStyle magazine before you can buy a new one. I admire the ladies that enter this challenge because I am a hoarder when it comes to patterns. I download, print, buy, pin them but then easily forget about them and go for a new one before even making the patterns I got earlier...

Anyway, last month I was in Bilbao again, shopping for fabric for my husband's wedding shirt. The fabric we wanted wasn't in stock but we did find a nice piece of fun summer fabric in the remnants bin with my name written all over it:

You can' t really tell from this picture, but this is neon-green!

 I wanted a quick win after the struggling I had with my Violet, so I thought I'd go with an easy top. I went through all my patterns and Burda magazines and settled on this one.Burda 07/2012 #116.

Never trust a pattern where the model is shown lying down...

I remeasured myself and went for the right size this time, but I still felt like the top was way to big. So I took in the raglansleeves and took a whole bunch from the side seams and then, just as I was about to enter the home stretch, or so I thought, I cut in my fabric. Not just a little cut close to a side, NO, a big gash in the middle of the fabric. I hate it when things go wrong... 
So, I put my peanut to work and came up with a solution, not a perfect solution, but a solution anyway... So that explains that little strap hanging from the front... It's just a cover-up... But shh, don't tell anyone please!

I'm still not satisfied with the neckline after adding a lot of pleats (1 in the center front, one on each sleeve and 2 in the back) and I think I know how to fix it (by adding 2 more pleats :-(  ) , but I'm a bit tired of removing and re-attaching bias-strips for a while, so I'll just leave it like this for now...
What was supposed to be a quick top took me several hours (days), and a lot of headaches and almost a heartbreak thinking I had ruined my great fabric...

So I guess there is more than one way to interpret a Burda-challenge...

domingo, 19 de mayo de 2013

Colette Violet

After a lot of hesitation I cut into my gorgeous fabric I got for my birthday...

I decided to make it into a Colette Violet, one of the patterns I got for my birthday.

I don't know where my head was at when I decided on the size to cut out, but it must have been lightyears away... I cut a size 12 while my actual size would be a 6... But I think I know where I went wrong.
You see, my actual bustsize is 32", which would be a size 6. But my RTW European size is 40, so I was looking at the table on the back of the pattern and I saw the number 40 and I must have thought "Oh, so I have to make a size 12". This didn't seem odd to me, because I have a Karen Millen dress that fits me perfectly and that dress is a UK size 12... Circumstancial confusion...

Fortunately I made a muslin first, something I usually never do, but because I love this fabric soooo much and I really didn't want to ruin it and because it cost a lot of money and because there were a lot of sheets left behind in the appartment we just bought, I decided to make a trial version first. I thought it was really big, but it didn't occur to me that it was not the pattern but me. So I replaced the darts, removed width from the front and removed width from the back, and on top of that I took in the side seams about 4 cm each... I guess there were enough signs there to know something was wrong... I just didn't see it...

The fabric is gorgeous but a real pain to sew. It is a silk-poly blend, but my machine handled it really really well. (I changed the needle to a 60, and tested different types of stitches to see what worked best. Did I mention I really didn't want to ruin this fabric?) The only thing that made it really nerve-wrecking was that when I put a pin in or when I was sewing my buttonholes, something happened to the threads of the fabric and I got tiny little white stripes. But you have to be really close by to see it, so it doesn't really matter.

Too bad for the little white stripes :-(

I inserted three times three buttonholes placed together and used buttons with 3 different shades of the same color. It's just a small detail, and maybe I'm the only one who notices, but I love it. I got the idea for the grouped buttonholes from the Colette-website, the ombre-effect buttons idea is all mine.

I like the result, it is not the best it could have been, but those who don't know about my stupidity confusion, won't notice...

martes, 7 de mayo de 2013

Me Made May - Week 1 - Update

*** UPDATE***
I failed miserably during my first attempt at joining in on the MMM13-fun... The reasons why I failed are as follows:

1/ The weather - I don't have a lot of me-made winter clothes, and May was much like winter here... I got tired of wearing the same 5 things all the time pretty quickly.
2/ Moving house - We bought an apartment in March and moved in May, so I didn't want to ruin my hand-made things while filling and transporting boxes and painting and cleaning and so on.
3/ Daily photos - I got tired of this before I got tired of wearing the same thing over and over again.

Next year I will be entering again, and I am counting on it that the weather will be better, although I have a few cold-weather proof items that I am planning. Think pencil-skirts (adore those!), another Violet, another pair of trousers (I just wore out my last pair of jeans :-(  and maybe a Watson-cape.

Hope I do better next year... 


The first week of Me Made May is coming to an end, and it was easier than I thought even though the weather wasn't really perfect for all the summery dresses I have waiting to show you.

As I said in my pledge, I will wear at least one Me-made item of clothing everyday, but I will have repeats, I am just the kind of girl that wears the same outfit more than one day in a row...

Here are the pictures of last week. I only have 3 pictures of me actually wearing my creations due to the bad weather and because my photographer wasn't around a lot last week. Hopefully next week will be better... Once we get the hang of things and kind of develop a routine, I'm sure the pictures will improve.

 First up, my polkadot blouse. Looks pretty from afar, but is far from pretty up close. The fabric I bought at a local fabric store here in Santander and was from the remnants table. The pattern came from Patrones, the Spanish version of Burda. If you think Burda is scarce with explanations, Patrones is even worse. You can't see it in this picture, nor when I am wearing the shirt, but I couldn't manage to sew on the front piece like it was supposed to be, so there are gaps on both sides of the shirt, yes actual holes where I can fit my finger through!

The Dress is a completely different story. It is Butterick 5559. It came together really easy, the fit is fantastic and I look kick-ass in it. Pictures of me wearing the dress will probably soon be up, because it is one of my favourite pieces of clothing. I made this with a fabric from my stash. I bought it last year in London and it is just fantastic... 
The inspiration for making this dress came from this post. I have another knit sitting in my stash and I am almost 100% sure I'm making this dress again. That way I will have a winter version and a summer version. YES!

Sunday we had great weather so we went for icecream and a nice picture. The pattern for the tunic comes from Knipmode, a Dutch magazine and I got the fabric at a fabric-/DIY-fair in Belgium.

The second one is Colette's Violet in a silky fabric from Rafael Matias in Bilbao, my new fabric-walhalla. I'm planning a post on my Violet later, so you will definitely see more of that one. Sorry for the hair in this picture, today was not my best-hair day ever...

The pants are a Burda pattern and the fabric is also a London find. They're really comfortable and great for a cool spring day. Too bad I only have one single sweater that goes with them...And my right leg looks really weird in this picture, in real life my butt looks better, believe me...

In addition to wearing a me-made garment everyday I am actually working on two other projects and have another three queued up after those and bought a two patterns for a skirt because I don´t have any decent skirt that fits me properly... So I will be back soon.