Friday, November 22, 2013

Dotty Top

Some time ago, my mom gave me her sewing patterns. She hasn't been sewing clothes for ages and figured I could put them to better use. A lot of the patterns are a bit outdated right now (think cotton pants with an elastic waistband or drop waist 80s dresses) and my mom was apparently very fond of 'quick and easy' patterns. Which means: nothing fancy going on in pattern design land...

Nonetheless I was really excited to start making something with one of the patterns. It's a sort of top, Burda 5160 Super easy! What's not to like about a super easy top?!

I used a polyester fabric, with a bit of sheen. At least that's what I think it is, this fabric has been sitting in my stash for I don't know how long and I don't even remember where I got it from. It has a lovely drape and I really like the print, especially the black and red polka dots.

I changed the pattern quite a bit to fit in with my wardrobe and not to make people want to send me back to the 80s. (Though that's the decade I was born, haha!)
I shortened the top and took in the whole shoulder area. My shoulders are broad enough on their own that they don't need a lot of extra attention. You know, the 80s silhouette...
I didn't use the facings the pattern provided, but finished the neck area and the bottom with black bias tape. My fabric was too slippery to even think about cutting and sewing facings.

I quite like the result and have worn my top on many occasions already. I also love the back. The closure (which you can't really see well in the picture...) breaks up the pattern a bit and adds a twist to the whole thing.

PS I also got a few lovely patterns for little girls summer dresses. I know what I'll be sewing next summer!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Laurel in Roses

I attended a pattern drawing workshop this summer at -the very appropriately named- Workshop in Leuven. We learned how to draw a basic pattern block for skirts and to design skirts from that block. It was all very interesting and I loved the whole experience.
Workshop also sells beautiful fabrics, yarns and patterns. During the workshop, I of course spotted a fabric that really caught my eye. The fabric consisted of panels, with roses. I bought two panels and the Laurel pattern from Colette.

I must admit that I really like this Laurel. I was a bit apprehensive at first, Laurel is not the kind of dress I usually wear. I like rather tight fitting clothes and that's not what Laurel is about. However, I needed a pattern without too many darts, so as not to break up the roses on the fabric too much.

I made some pattern alterations. I did a sway back adjustment. I finally figured out that I need this and suddenly all my dresses seem to fit better... I also took the back neckline in, just a little bit though. I think I lengthened the dress a bit, but I'm not sure, since I chopped the pattern up to create the bottom tier...

I used a blue stretch cotton for the sleeves and the bottom of the dress. And I found a jacket in the exact same colour, to match my dress :-) Hooray for matching colours!
PS I forgot to iron this dress before taking pictures... But the wrinkles really show how much I love to wear it! Hah!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Vintage Simplicity 7124

I do like fall. It's my birthday season after all. Although it's still a bit too warm for my taste, the leaves are turning beautiful shades of brown and red. I love that!

So I made a dress with some red in it, to celebrate fall. It's one of my first knit garments, but it's a very stable knit and I didn't encounter a lot of  issues while sewing this. I used a 'straight crooked seam', which was suggested in the fantastic Professional Sewing Techniques for Designers. It worked really well and the seams are stable enough. I used bias tape to hem this dress and also for the sleeve hems.

I just love the flowery print. Usually I don't really like to wear grey, but combined with the red, I don't mind.
The pattern I used is Simplicity 7124, a pattern from the sixties. I didn't change anything, except for a sway back alteration.

I would love to make this pattern again, in a crisp cotton without a print. I love the fact that knits are so comfortable, but I think cotton would perhaps result in a more interesting (and sixties) shape.
And one last picture to show how happy I am with this dress!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Oh the pictures!

I have to admit something... It's not that I'm not sewing at the moment - though it's going rather slowly compared to the last few months - but I hate taking pictures with the self-timer.
I hate having to run back and forth on high heels and never being able to take the exact picture I had in mind. It's so stressful (and perhaps I'm too clumsy).

I like it when I have my personal photographer around, though: Mr. Lientje Driel. Sadly, he and I have very different work schedules: I work a lot of evenings and he works on Saturdays. That means we only have Sundays and sometimes Monday evenings together to get the job done! Not easy, with a little one running around. (Not yet running actually, but it won't be too long...)
So I took a couple of pictures from something that involved sewing, but not myself ;-)

Yes! I made some sort of ottoman. It's really comfy and Lily loves sitting on it, to read a book. That's a winner :-)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Playing and Eating!

Enough talk about babies sleeping (or not sleeping...)! Soon enough they grow out of their swing chairs and you need a high chair so they can sit at the table together with the rest of the family. 
I must admit that we enjoyed this moment so much that we splurged on a new Ikea baby chair, instead of hunting a second hand one.

The chair was a bit too big though, so I made a cushion for our daughter to sit more comfortably.

It's made out of a beautiful cotton and I filled it with some special soft filling, used for cushions. I used four buttons on each side, to keep the filling in place.

Now that Lily doesn't need the side wings anymore but still likes a soft cushion, we fold the wings backwards.

So what did I do with the fabric scraps, left over from this project? I made her a cool clipping toy which she absolutely adores, using this tutorial!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Turquoise Sorbetto

My sister celebrated her 26th birthday in June. I made her a wonderful present, if I may say so myself (hehe): a Colette Sorbetto top.

I used the same fabric as for the sash on her Crepe. It's a cotton/poly blend. 
This top is actually the second try. I messed up the first one completely. That happens sometimes, right? You think something is so simple and than you completely ruin the whole thing: I ironed it on a setting that was too high for the polyester, so it melted a bit. The armholes were too tight, the whole top was too short, the darts wouldn't sit right and the bias tape wouldn't stay on.... A disaster!
I'm very happy that the actual gift turned out all right!

I made my own bias tape from a fun print I found in our local haberdashery Veritas. They sell all kind of fun fabrics in fat quarters and even smaller bits. Practical if you want to make some bias tape without having to buy too much fabric!

My sister loves her top and has worn it a couple of times already (at least that what's she's led me to believe!).

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Summery Crepe

We're having an Indian summer. Instead of planning my fall wardrobe, I'm still thinking about bright summery dresses like this one.


It's a Crepe from Colette Patterns I made for my sister. The fabric is cotton from Liberty of London. I underlined it with a simple white cotton to make it a little more opaque. You may recognize the Liberty fabric from this baby peasant blouse I made for my little one.
The sash is made from a cotton/poly blend in a beautiful turquoise.

The back
The dress was really easy to sew. I used the pattern pieces from my own Crepe dress (post coming soon!) and adjusted the fit a little bit. I made a Small Bust Adjustment and repositioned the front darts a little bit. I also made some changes in the back and adjusted the cap sleeves. I think it fits my sis beautifully and all in all I'm very happy with the result.

 Liberty! Yay!

This dress was originally made for a wedding my sister had to attend. She has worn it already several times and thinks it's a really comfortable dress and chic at the same time. That's always a winner!

Look, I can do the Marilyn!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Sew Weekly!

  Hell yeah!

The Facts
Fabric: Cotton/polyester blend as fashion fabric + cotton for the lining
Notions: Zipper
Pantone Challenge colors: Vivacious!

Year: 2013

Time to complete: 6 hours
First worn: Today
Wear again? Yes!
Total Cost: 30€

I love pink, huh, I mean Vivacious!

I actually made this top last week. It was supposed to be the muslin for another top in the Pantone Fall Palette (Acai and Koi). But life got in the way and I won't be able to finish the other top for The Sew Weekly deadline, so luckily I made my muslin in Vivacious, which is also in the Fall Palette! Hah, foresight ;-)

The back

I made this top in a cotton/poly blend. It's kind of see through, like lace, so I decided to line it with a simple pink cotton. Unlike lace, the combinations of both fabrics proved to be a bit bulky for a top... However, I do like the look of both fabrics combined, so that makes up for the bulkiness.

 Silly face!

I didn't make a lot of changes, I only lowered the neckline and took the back seam in a bit. I'm happy with the fit though.
Oh, and this might be the one Burda pattern that isn't actually too big! Luckily I cut out a size 38 and not a 36 as I had originally intended!
 I love those jeans!

On a side note: the jeans are a refashion from a pair of my boyfriend's jeans. He'd bought them too small and they fit me perfectly! I skinnified (is that even a verb?!) them and added exposed zippers to the side. Love them!
I'm sorry the pics aren't perfect, but it is getting dark outside so early already!

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Pattern and Notions Swap

A couple of weeks ago I decided to join The Sew Weekly Reunion. Great was my surprise that there was also going to be a Pattern and Notions Swap. I registered just in the nick of time. 
I was really excited and a bit scared at the same time to get the name of the person I was supposed to send a parcel to: Adey Lim. I mean, seriously, what can a humble seamstress like myself send to this sewing Wonder Woman? I don't really have a lot of vintage patterns and neither do I have a whole stash of vintage notions.... So, I sent her a modern pattern and some modern notions with a vintage touch. I hope she likes what I chose for her. Lesson learned: it's really hard to chose something for someone else!

When I came back from holiday, a surprise parcel was waiting for me. I opened it as soon as I laid hands on it and found these wonderful goodies (I especially love the buttons with the flowers on them):

 Yes, the little bag with the pink bow are really sweets and I love them!

I also received an e-mail from Mary with some lovely pdf patterns (some of which I had been eyeballing for some time!).

In the meantime I'm getting ready to make something for The Sew Weekly Reunion. I've already made a test version, which turned out all right (I'll blog about it soon). I can't wait to finish it and show you all!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Camping Trip with a One Year Old

I've just got home from holiday. We went camping and hiking with our one year old daughter. A lot of people thought it would be next to impossible doing this with a small child, but we had a lot of fun. A few impressions... 

The Aletsch Glacier - impressive!

We went to Switzerland and decided to pitch our tent on a camping site we knew from a previous holiday. Our goal was to do some hiking and this way we knew the terrain, so as not to embark upon unknown adventures.

Camping with Lily was a lot of fun. There weren't a lot of things she wasn't allowed to do - besides jumping in the garbage or trying to eat grass. That resulted in happy and relaxed parents and a happy and relaxed child (a bonus!). The only problem we encountered was that Lily wouldn't sleep in the tent during the day time. Too light and too hot... That of course resulted in a tired child at the end of the afternoon. But it also meant she went to bed very easily in the evenings, and fell asleep almost immediately every night.

She learned to open zippers and at the end of our holiday she could let herself in and out of the tent.

We'd bought her a Didrikson's waterproof suit. Perfect for those rainy days when she wanted to crawl, but the ground was humid, cold and everything was really wet.

We received a Deuter child carrier from a colleague of mine and bought a rain cover to go with it. The first two walks were really hard but after that you adjust to the weight of your child and it becomes easier to carry. Lily is used to being carried around and she loved every bit of the walks. She could easily sleep in the Deuter and the rain cover proved to be very effective on the rainy days.

 What is cuter than a sleeping child...

I guess that if your child isn't used to being carried, sitting a whole day in a child carrier can be a bit of a challenge though...

 Lily and me on the Swiss border with Italy (Albrunpass) - yes, those are the shorts!

On the camping we used our tried and true Ergo Carrier (also received from a colleague) to carry Lily around when we had some cooking or other chores to do. I guess this would be something I'd never thought to buy but it's the one item that I couldn't live without anymore. We use it a lot at home as well, to carry her around and get some work done. We didn't bring her pram and actually didn't miss it at all.
So all in all a very relaxing and fun holiday! I guess the bottom line is that like always the idea of what you can and can't do with a child is mostly a mental barrier that you create yourself...

Monday, August 12, 2013

More Sleeping Sacks!

My daughter really loves to sleep in sleeping sacks and I love making them. Talk about a perfect combo :-)

We've really got quite a collection in the meantime! I suppose though that the last one I made, will be the last one she wears. We're planning on buying her a duvet in the fall, when she's old enough. But who's said that I can't switch to making duvet covers?

These two were made for the cold winter months. They consist of one cotton layer and one fleece layer. 
One has the cotton on the inside because I loved that colourful fleece too much to hide it!

The other one has the softest white fleece I've ever felt on the inside.

The last sleeping sack is made out of two layers of cotton and some fusible interfacing, used for quilting.

It has the most lovely cotton fabric on the inside. The pattern reminds me of waves or even dragon's scales! What a great way to begin a bedtime story!

And one last picture with a roundup of all the sleeping sacks I've made so far :-)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Crib Bumper

Babies sleep in cribs. Everyone knows that! But what comes after the crib?
Lily spent her first months in a crib that we borrowed from one of my aunts. When she got too big, she spent some months in a second hand baby bed. Our backs soon began to hurt until we were kindly given a baby bed by another aunt. It's a bed my grandmother actually bought for my aunts, uncles and my mom. It's a real 50ies number and is called vintage nowadays! One of the sides opens, which is great for people with bad lower backs! (And let's be honest, who hasn't?)

The bed, however, came with a 14 year old mattress and without a bumper. We've had a new mattress made for the bed, which hasn't got modern standard dimensions. I, then, made the bumper myself, using some lightweight denim fabric with white stars on it and some white fabric with grey stars on it.

I attached some bias binding to the top and bottom of the bumper to tie it to the bed. That way you can turn the bumper upside down (and change its appearance from denim to white).

I had some fabric scraps left after making the bumper and decided to use them to sew another baby sleeping sack.

I actually copied another sleeping sack that we were given when Lily was born. It's proven to be a really useful design! I lined it with the same fusible interfacing I used for her first baby sleeping sack. Just fine, not too hot and not too cold for a typical Belgian summer.

Here's a pic from the back, which I like best. I had to patch it together like this, because I hand't got enough fabric left to cut it out in one piece. Sometimes working with scraps can really stretch your creativity!