lunes, 24 de junio de 2013

A whole lot of firsts...

... and not everything is sewing related (but most of it is), so if you're only here to see what me and Aline made together, just watch the first photos and then move on to the next post in your blogroll, if you want to know what's next, just read on... I promise there is some fun stuff at the end...

Last time I was here, I left you all with a very intriguing question about my plans for the future and a picture of Taylor Lautner. Does that boy have a nice set of abs and some shiny white teeth, not to mention a nice belly-button. Who cares about winning an Oscar for your acting if you have all that going on...
Carolyn was spot on with guessing that I might be making a shirt. I feel like she deserves a prize for that... Maybe I will. I'll definitely brainstorm about it... Maybe I'll definitely do it.
She made shirts too, she made 2 shirts, one for each of her sons, you should check it out!

Due to a lack of a 20-year old son, I made a shirt for my husband.
Two weeks from now, we are going to a wedding and he's best man to the groom for the ceremony at city hall, another friend is best man for the ceremony in the church. Every male participant in the bridal party is required to wear the same -rented- suit. I hope Ward's suit fits, because we're flying in the day before the wedding and so his suit is ordered and "made to measure" based on the measurements of his own wedding suit. If that's not a recipe for suit-disaster, I don't know what is... But he really looks good in a suit. Don't believe me? See for yourself!

Yes, this is on our wedding day

He is supposed to provide his own white shirt. A white shirt looks great under a grey tuxedo but is there anything more boring and plain than a white shirt? I think not.

So, to make Ward feel a little bit more stylish and to add a bit of personality to his atire of the day, I made him a dress shirt. We went to Bilbao -again- to our favorite fabric store and bought a really lovely 100% cotton satin. It was great to work with, has a nice weight and a really pretty, but not to obvious, shine.

I chose Vogue 8889, a pattern with 3 variations on the package, but if you want to, you can make that four, just add pleats to view A...

I went for this pattern because of the pleated detail on the front, side front and back seams, hidden buttons and because the sleeves have a placket. All ingredients you need to whip up a nice shirt.

Before cutting I measured my husband again. I do that everytime I make something for him, to get him to take his shirt off just to be sure. It's probably my favorite step in the entire process of making something for him.
Just kidding... NOT!
Turns out that guy comes right out of the pattern-envelope. A perfect size 36! I would like to say a perfect everything, but I'm afraid you might run away from all the cheesiness...

So now on to the firsts related to this shirt.

Pleats were not a first for me, I already made a dress with pleats so I knew I had nothing to fear.
Pleats are great! They look classy but are really easy, just like me. Just kidding, for real this time!


What was a first for me were the flat felled seams. I thought this was quite a risk because of the importance of this shirt. But, I didn't mess a single one up... Yeay, job well done!

Caution - this photo of a white shirt taken with flash may permanently damage your eyes

I did make a mistake whilst flat felling the sleeve and side seams. I sewed the first row of stitches with the wrong sides together and it wasn't until after I was done with both sides that I googled the correct way to do this. Turns out if you want to flat fell sleeve seams you have to put them right sides together, but then you have to fuss about with the sleeve to make it pass under the machine without stitching through the other side of the sleeve. So I decided not to unpick the side seams and flat felled those suckers by hand...

That took me about 2 hours, but I think that unpicking and redoing the whole thing would take just as much time, if not more, and then the fabric would look really manhandled because pins leave markings on this fabric, so imagine what unpicking two entire seams would look like... From hand-made to home-made instantly. NOT what I'm going for here...

Another really exciting first was that I discovered how to attach buttons with my machine... It takes just as long as doing it by hand (to be honest, it takes longer) but it's a matter of principle. If Aline can do it, than I'm sure as hell not going to!

In the middle of making this shirt, my iron suddenly started to steam rust stains. Panic mode was activated and a new iron was bought. For those who are interested, it is a Rowenta, made in Germany (manufactured in the EU is a very important consideration in our purchases), gets really hot really fast and has nice steam. And it's really pretty because there are Gingko leaves printed on the outside... Gingko trees are my favorite trees, so it was meant to be...

So here is the final result. He wasn't really happy with the Taylor Lautner-pose I made him do, but hey, if you want me to make you a shirt, that's the price you have to pay...

And just to give you an idea of how it looks all buttoned up:

Now on to other firsts...

* My first Deer and Doe patterns arrived. The Bleuet dress and the Airelle blouse. All that is in my way of starting on them, is the pair of shorts that I already cut out last week... Can't wait! They include English instructions now, so no more google translating! And in the meantime, I saw a really pretty Datura-blouse made by Rachel.

* My first PaperCut Patterns arrived. The Rite of Spring shorts and the Watson cape. I thought about making the shorts first, but since someone said there isn't going to be any summer in Spain this year, I might get started on the cape first (I think they might be right, because up until 3 days ago I was still wearing my winter coat).
Let me tell you, these patterns look really great. A lot of thought went into the packaging as well, and I love the fact that everything is made of recycled paper. Yeay!

* I knitted a scarf. I wanted a faux-fur scarf to wear to before-mentioned wedding because the weather in Belgium can be a little unpredictable. I stumbled into a yarn-shop and saw the most amazing thing... Fur yarn. Just really hairy yarn and if you knit it, it looks like fur. It's great! So that's what I did. Pictures will be posted when the wedding is over.

* I made jewelry. I don't consider myself very handy when it comes to things like that, but I was looking for accessories for -again- that wedding. I could seem to find anything I really liked RTW, so I went to a shop where they sell beads and threads and earpins and God knows what else, and bought everything I need to make my own necklace and earrings. It's work in progress but it's almost done. All I need to finish is a bit of superglue.

I'm not really crazy about the whole skull trend, but it was the only bead that was black and glittery, and I really wanted a bead to match my shoes. Is that irational and exagerated? I think not...

*** Update *** Husband-dear didn't like the necklace I made and sent me out to buy one we saw in Zara... But I'm still going to wear the earrings.

* I made curtains. It's not the first time I did this, in our old house I made curtains for the kitchen and the hallway, but they're the first curtains I made for our new house and a lot more are to follow, so it counts as a first. I still have to hem them, but the shirt was deemed more important... 

* For the first time since we've moved to Spain almost two years ago, my husband and I went away alone without our son. I instantly named it our Romantic Lovefest. That's because Ward's parents are visiting for a whole month and they didn't mind playing babysitter while I tagged along on a work-trip to A Coruña. I will tell you more about this later, but let me just leave you a picture of my Flamingo-dress in action, and Holy Mother of Jesus, did those Flamingos get some action!

Yes, I am doing what you think I'm doing...
While we're at it, let me show you another one of my creations in action:

Give Buddha some sweet lovin' baby!
Yes, we are crazy like that.


lunes, 10 de junio de 2013

Indie Pattern Month 2013 - and some finished Indie Pattern House Slippers

Mel and Kat decided to declare June 'Indie Pattern Month' to show them our love. A lot of love is already being thrown to all those great Indie Pattern companies, but a whole lotta love never killed anybody.

Just click the badge in the sidebar to go to the sign-up page.

I decided to jump on the wagon, because I have just completed 3 Colette Patterns and I loved them! The little booklets are just such a joy to look at, and the care and love and dedication that goes into these patterns just oozes right of the pages. I like the patterns of the big patternmakers too, but there is a lot less personality in their endproduct, and thus less attraction for the consumer.

Confession time: I am a pattern-hoarder in the making - I am working on my collection. I love patterns even more than fabric. Don't know why, I just do.

Let me show you my pattern and sewing bookcollection:

 That is an orange-crate full of books and patterns and a big binder full of internet-patterns and tutorials. 10 years ago I inherited cardboard boxes full of sewing magazines like Burda, but I donated all those to my sewing class teacher because I was still living with my parents and my mom didn't like all those boxes lying around...

And these are my Indie-patterns, very few but also a collection in the making, including 2 books by Belgian Sew-Heroins - Allemaal Rokjes (Just Skirts) by Mme ZsaZsa and Stof voor Durf-het-Zelvers (Fabric for DIY'ers - Dare it Yourself'ers).

And I have more on my harddrive, but that's too hard to show...

Patterns that I don't have but would love to own:

Papercut Watson Jacket      **** JUST GOT THESE****
Colette's Crepe
Deer and Doe Bleuet - that and everything else they sell
Sewaholic Thurlow Trousers
StyleARC Pippa's Dress  - I would be happy with Pippa's backside too.
Papercut Rite of Spring Shorts - I guess I would need Pippa's backside for this first     ***JUST GOT THESE TOO (the pattern, not the butt)***
Victory Patterns Simone   

And then some...

I already finished my pledged work: House Slippers!

I went from THIS - these look like smurfboots:


I made Kimono House Slippers from IThinkSew.
Made from remnants in my scrap pile, so they were kind of free... Yay!
Mine don't look nearly as put together as those on the website (maybe I should press them?), but hey, they're house slippers, so who cares anyway, right?!

Now for the most important question: are they comfortable? Not really... I need to insert an elastic band in the heel section because they fall off when I walk, the inlay-soles are really uncomfortable because they shift around so I will be stitching those down or just leave them out entirely. They do seem to be more wearable without the soles.
I like the fact that they are made of cotton, which is huge progress compared to the polyester fur that lines my old slippers... Sweaty feet, anyone?
These new slippers will make for great sewing slippers! I'm already used to wearing them!

Oh no, what is happening here?

The new slippers are approaching their enemies
And kick their butts!

And now on to the next project... Here is a tip:


Is it a six-pack, blinding, shining white teeth, being a cover model or being a teenage idol that I aspire? What could it possibly be?

miércoles, 5 de junio de 2013

Colette Peony - aka Stashbusting Flamingoes

I have had this pattern lying around for 3 months now, along with the fabric I bought especially for this.

A gorgeous yellow-pistachio silk jacquard.
I love yellow fabrics, there is just something about the bright vibrance that cheers me up instantly (not that I need a lot of cheering up, I am a pretty cheery person by nature).
But somehow, the foresight of letting my scissors have a go at this fabric left me with a feeling of gloom.
After reading a lot of reviews of this pattern (here, here and here amongst others) and the fitting issues, I felt even worse about starting this project.

When I finally did decide to go for it, I left ALL precaution behind and cut in the original pattern right away...
Yes I do!
While I was cutting away my pattern, I had an epiphany.

I still had this in my stash. A soft yellow, Michael Miller quilt cotton sporting crazy flamingoes.  Doesn't this just SCREAM summer?
Once I made the decision to change my fabric, I felt a huge weight being lifted of my shoulders and I was feeling enthusiastic about this project again.

I really wanted sleeves and pockets in this dress, I don't know exactly why, just an irrational desire I guess, so I omitted the belt part because I only had 2 yards of this fabric (don't know how much that is in metric, just that you can just, just, just fit a size 8 Peony without belt out of it). I can always add a belt later if I really want to, but I don't think that's likely as I'm not a belt-person. (Do those even exist?)

 I am really self-conscious when my picture is taken, I guess I have to get used to these photoshoots... This time we went to one of the twelve beaches of Santander to snap some photos, it was the first time in over a month that the sun was out, it was still pretty cold, 17º, and my legs are still awfully white, I haven't been to the beach yet this year to get a tan...

While perusing through my pattern-instructions (I always do that before starting, I think it's half the fun) I saw the suggestion of adding piping to the waist- and neckline. Lucky for me I had some white piping sitting in my stash so I could add that. I also added piping to the sleeves. I thought about adding piping to the hem as well, but I didn't have enough piping left (I'm on a very tight budget so buying piping wasn't going to happen) so I just did an invisible hem with bias-tape and using the special foot that came with my machine.
I love the effect of the piping, it gives such a retro-girly feeling to the dress.

I thought about inserting an exposed metalic zipper, but I really wanted this dress finished as soon as possible so I could pick up my husband from the airport in it (He went to the Canary Islands for work. How unfair is that?) so I used one from my huge zipper stash (last year I bought a surprise bag of 100 zippers on E-Bay). I found a really long, beige, invisible one, perfect for this dress.
I have one of those plastic feet for invisible zippers, but I don't like using it, so I use my regular-zipperfoot for inserting invisible zippers. I think they end up looking better (or looking more invisible, in this case) than with the plastic foot.

I forgot to add the piping to the neckline, and thought about leaving it so, but 'lucky' for me I sewed the pieces for the facing together the wrong way so I ended up with an odd-looking standing-straight-up neckline. This meant unpicking the staystitches, the seam and the bias tape I used to finish the raw edge of the facing. Lucky me, indeed...
So, I redid the entire facing, WITH the piping this time (silver lining people!), but the neckline still does something weird, especially in the back. This could be due to an excess of fabric that many of you already commented about.

I hope it will be allright when the dress gets some wear or maybe when it has been in the washing machine. We'll see, I won't lie awake worrying about it.

And then there are the pockets so many of you love so much.
I am somewhat impartial as to the pockets (in dresses in general). I'll probably use them, but wouldn't be heartbroken if there were no pockets in this dress either. I really don't care about them. At all.

So my dread about the Peony and all it's fitting issues, proved to be unnecessary after all. This is an out-of-the-envelope-size-8 (I was feeling lazy) and I am really really really satisfied with the fit and outcome.
This goes right to my top-3-favourite-makes of all-times, along with my purple knit dress and my blue polkadot dress, and my husband loves it too, he even noticed the piping...
HOORAY for Colette Peony... and flamingoes...  and using the stuff you have in your stash!

This is me, imitating the crazy flamingo that is on the fabric.