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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Chevron Top

Did you know that a chevron is an inverted V-shape? And that it is also a term used in geology? And if that wasn't cool enough, did you know it's also a bone found in dinosaurs and kangaroos? I bet you didn't! It's got to be the most awesome pattern there is, right? What I made is actually not a chevron top; it's an inverted chevron. So that means it's an inverted inverted V-shape, i.e. a V-shape. But chevron sounds better, doesn't it? Or inverted chevron if you will.

I made this top on the last day of the challenge. I thought I'd do this one first, being the smaller project. However, it turned out to be the most time consuming! It took me 5 hours, without the cutting. My serger pulled some tricks on me so I had to do the neckline twice. I almost got really frustrated, but I quickly realized that I had to remain calm if I wanted to finish two pieces in one day. You just can't really pay attention if you're in a hurry, and that's when things are bound to go wrong.

As you can see, to create the V I cut the front of the shirt on the bias and connected them at the centre front. After reading some posts from others about sewing knits, I decided not to serge the whole thing, only the neck and armhole bindings. Knit seams don't need the finish, and the seam is less wobbly when you sew it with a straight stitch. It's a loose shirt, so I don't need the seams to stretch anyway. I like it this way, you need to think about the function of each seam and decide which approach is best.

I'm really pleased with how it turned out, it's super comfortable and simple but not boring. My goal for every garment I make, I guess :) The bias bindings worked out well, I used the Renfrew method. In fact, the whole pattern is again derived from the Renfrew. Matching patterns is not my favourite thing though. Allright, I really don't like it. Matching fabric is a pain if you ask me. It needs at least three attempts if you don't have a walking foot. But the result is very pretty, and that's what we're going for, right?

(15:60 #14)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Sewer's supplies #2

Nr 2, you might think, when was nr. 1? Well, back in April 2011. This was meant to be a series of posts. And that is also how long I've been wanting to make a ham and sausage. And so I finally did, because they are perfect for using scraps. I had to select on weight of fabric so they're not exceptionally pretty.

I used the tutorial Tilly just posted. I don't know if they have the right size, I don't have a printer so I transferred measurements from my iPad to paper. The sausage seems about right, the ham is on the small side. I'm not sure the pattern is right, even if you made it bigger it wouldn't be as rectangular as pictured in the tutorial. I stuffed them with the synthetic contents of a pillow. So, not much else to say about these, let's get back to work! 2 days, 2 projects...

(15:60 #13)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

On Pouches (And Keeping Resolutions)

Eeek! I just realised that I have 2 days less than I thought to finish the challenge, because I started it on the 29th and not the 31st. Luckily, I still had some small projects on my list. First up is the Current Knitting Project Bag. Stef grew a bit tired of the wool and needles lying around the house. I wanted to keep them at hand because if I put it away, I'll never finish my summer sweater. So I figured I could make a small bag that could keep my current project together. Another benefit is that it's easy to take it with you when you travel, instead of just stuffing it in your bag and the whole thing unraveling or tangling up. The fabric is a remnant of IKEA upholstery fabric. It's quite heavy, so no chance of needles poking through.

The other quick project has something to do with my New Years resolution! Starting the 4th of September, I'll be following a pattern drafting course! It's an elaborate one, that will continue until May. It's actually the first year of a four year dressmakers training. I'm not going to do the whole thing, just the first year. I'm so excited to start learning how to draft patterns in a professional way! I'm hoping it will really enhance my designs. For this course, I needed some supplies like a pencil, ruler, eraser and a file with squared paper. I wanted to make a pouch for the utensils. Stef suggested I add eyelets so I can keep the pouch and file together at all times. Smart, right?

The brown fabric is the oldest remnant I have. It was used for the school play in my junior year, we were expected to sew our own clothes for it. My grandmother helped me to sew a simple jacket and pants. In fact, these were sewn on the machine I'm using right now. I was so impressed, I still have clear memories of the process. This is what sparked my sewing interest! I thought it was only logical to use this fabric for something that will take this 'hobby' to the next level. And ofcourse I'll share some of the insights here with you. I can't wait!

(15:60 #11 & 12)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

End of Summer Dress

It was hardly worth it: we were about to have 5 days of very nice/hot weather (around 30C/86F) and on the first day, I realized I really wanted to have a light, fluttery dress that would come closest to wearing nothing without revealing everything. And I knew what fabric I wanted to use. I had thought of saving it for next year, but I really wanted to use it now. I tossed the longsleeve I was making aside, and started drafting. Ideas for garments don't come suddenly, they sort of simmer in my head for a while until the picture is complete. This was the basis for the picture of this dress.

It's the same fabric I used for my first loopscarf, I'm guessing a light cotton. I had heard about the stretching of fabric at the place where it's cut on the bias, and as you can see now have first hand experience with this phenomenon. Cutting on the bias is unavoidable with circle skirts, and this fabric is one that you should let hang for a day before you hem, apparently. Or should you always hang circle skirts before hemming? Anyway, the uneven (but symmetrical) hem is not something that bothers me a great deal, but the idea of redoing it is not off the table yet.

I was afraid I'd have to line it, but fortunately it's not that transparent. To keep it as light and airy as possible I used my pinking shears as a seam finish. I didn't think of using my serger until after finishing! I made a muslin of the bodice to see if my pattern would work. Then I read some things about darts and tried to figure out how to incorporate them into the pattern. I wanted it to be sort of fitted from the bust down so it would smoothly continue into the half circle skirt. I figured I needed two vertical darts to get a nice fit. I didn't seem to need bust or armhole darts at that point. Maybe because the unbleached cotton I used is everything but fluttery and I didn't make a complete bodice muslin.

I was a bit surprised at my own math skills when it turned out the bodice and skirt lined up perfectly! It shouldn't be that complicated, but when you don't have a tutorial there's always the chance you're overlooking something. When I had sewn up the complete dress, it turned out I did need armhole darts. So now there's four darts in the bodice, and it fits really well around the armholes and bust. The only thing is that the waistline should have been, well, at my waist. When I had just sewn it, it was half an inch below and I decided I could live with that. Partly because I didn't want to redo the blind zipper :). But now it has stretched to an inch. Maybe I could make some beltloops and use a belt to keep it at my waist. Those are the cons of fluttery fabric, I guess! What do you think, would you shorten the bodice and redo zipper?

This is the bodice pattern I ended up with, including armhole darts and a shortened waist for next time. I am quite happy with the dress, despite the shortcomings. It served it's purpose as a fluttery summer dress for what were probably the last two days of real summer. But I've already spied a dark green knit fabric to make a cardigan that goes with it so I can keep wearing it!

(15:60 #10 - 5 projects, 10 days to go!)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I Found Something

The last few days have been too hot to do anything really. I did sew a dress for the occasion, but it was too hot to bother with pictures. I'll post about that later this week! The best thing to do with this kind of weather is to sit still, have Iced Coffee (made with these) and read. I spied a new (well, it's the 7th edition so I guess I've missed out on a few) magazine that seemed to be about sewing - the big scissors gave it away. I was excited to find a different kind of sewing magazine that wasn't Burda or Knipmode, so I thought I'd share since they provide worldwide subscriptions.

It's called CUT - Leute machen Kleider. As you can see, it's in German but I thought I'd manage. (How funny is that word - Flaschlappen). It's about everything DIY, but has "People make clothes" as subtitle. It's not cheap but you get 144 pages for it. It starts off with a roundup of Etsy and Dawanda funky stuff. The DIY Couture book is listed too. (I WANT IT) See how they use different kinds of stitches in their layout?

It's not a sewing magazine like the Burda is: it has only three patterns: a simple drape-neck dress, a rainponcho and men's swimming shorts. The dress is not that exciting, but the cape and shorts are interesting!

It has (what seem like) clear instructions with pictures and pattern pieces to trace.

Other than patterns, it's got artsy pictured tutorials on how to upcycle plain totes, 5 ways to make your own lamp and ideas on making your own jewelry (nice stuff, you know, nothing with beads and feathers). Apart from that, there's also interviews with independent designers, tricks on how to get different kinds stains out of fabric, a city-review on Amsterdam and a lengthy article about trends (what they are, where they come from, why we follow them) which I'm planning to read to practice my German.

I don't know, this magazine just has something that makes me happy. The same thing happened when I discovered Apartamento. It just seems a break from all that we know and to have a refreshing take on what a magazine should look like and what kind of content it should have. Plus I'm developing a tiny crush on Germany in general. Making German friends in Norway, discovering German blogs, there seem to be lots of cool things going on there. Maybe I should pay more attention to our neighbours!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Take 2: Circle skirt

After taking apart the failed maxi skirt I figured the colour wasn't really my thing either. So I dyed it Ocean Blue (Dylon machine wash), with an interesting result. It turns out the threads on the grain are synthetic, and the threads on the cross grain are natural. The natural ones make up the colour, but the synthetic ones underneath give the skirt a bit of a shine. Plus the synthetic fibers makes the fabric less prone to crease. And I figured out how to use this fabric: in a circle skirt!
I have no idea why I never made one before. It's so easy, the overall fit is great and it's truly the best summer skirt; light and breezy. It's actually a half circle skirt. I used the SnugBugs circle skirt calculator to draw the pattern, and the Vivat Veritas' Scallop Waist Skirt Tutorial on how to put it together. I actually started this because I'm going to make a circle skirt for a friend and I wanted to try it out on myself first.

The obligatory twirling photo shows the light white cotton I used as lining. I installed an invisible zipper which had to be truly invisible because it's cream coloured. A good way to force yourself to be precise :) But it worked out well, I think this is the best one I've done so far. Except that I now forgot to check if the waistband lines up at the zipper. Ah well. To close the top I used a hook and eye (which have apparently come loose again, I discovered through this photo). I inserted them between the waistband layers, like Karen I used to just sew them on the inside until she mentioned inserting them. I took no shortcuts and finished every seam. A nice finish is a big part of what constitutes the feeling you have about something you just made. So no, past me, you can't just do whatever you like, following professional sewing rules is a good thing. They're not there to take the fun out of sewing, they make your garment better and more durable.

I absolutely love the outcome! All in all I made this in an afternoon, including drawing and cutting. The thing I love most about this skirt: it fits seamlessly (hehe) in my wardrobe! There's so many pieces I can combine it with because it's plain and basic. Below are the cool top, a thrifted H&M shirt, the basic floral top and the batwings with buttons sweater. I bet it looks great with the perfect shirt, too. I think I like the first one the most, but I also like the third one because I've made that top a long time ago.

Unfortunately it has fallen victim to my best trait twice already. This time it was mayonnaise and banana milkshake. Sigh.

(15:60 #9)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Winner x 2!

We have two winners! Chosen by mr. Random Generator. I would've picked all of you, but this cold hearted, unbiased machine picked only two.

The winner of Package #1 is... Me.Anna!

The winner of Package #2 is... Kate Price!


Thank you all for participating and for reading my blog. You can't imagine how happy it makes me to see that people read my blog and leave such kind and encouraging comments. I started it because I was inspired by Rensz and it's absolutely wonderfull that you now tell me you are inspired my me.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Wear More Pencil Skirts

After all of your incredibly nice comments on the refashioned pencil skirt I never wear, I'm also feeling more comfortable wearing this one. Stef had some wise words about that as well. He said that I have a potentially great style, but I sometimes lack the courage to actually take it on. This applies to the pencil skirts: they look great on me, it makes me stand out in a good way, if only I could become comfortable with wearing them. The solution to this would be to just put them on and get used to it. Because I really do see that it looks good, standing out just makes me self conscious. But wouldn't it be great to look good and feel good about that at the same time? To put this into practice I'm wearing the dressed-down version on the right today!

This time it's made out of a heavy double knit jersey. Which is already a lot more comfortable than stiff cotton. Another geometric print, in black and white so it can be easily combined with coloured tops. I didn't use a pattern, but started with two squares of fabric. I pinched them at the sides starting at the top, and then noticed that if you take in all the fabric at the sides, the skirt will hang down straight from the widest part of your butt. Which is not what you want: you want it to move towards your legs again so it curves around your butt. I figured out that you need to start pinning bottom up instead of top down to achieve this. And if you do, you notice that you get excess fabric at the top. Which is what darts in the back are for. MAJOR AHA-ERLEBNIS. I used to think that these darts were for people with bigger butts. Seriously. It's okay, you can laugh now.

For those who didn't know this either (probably no-one), I've illustrated the pin-direction and the way the fabric will fall when seen from the side with arrows, red being the wrong one, green the right one. Instead of darts I inserted an exposed zipper and took fabric in this way. Which is not a very good idea because then you get this extra fabric at the end of the zipper. But the damage was already done so I fiddled a bit with some thread to minimize the bulgeing. Another lesson learned. See, this is why I like to design stuff myself, patterns never explain why certain features are used.

Anyway, I'm happy with the skirt because the fabric is awesome and comfortable and although it's not perfect, it's good enough!

P.S. Last chance to enter the Giveaway, it ends tonight!

(15:60 #8)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Thrift Store Treasures #6

I must have promised you the results of this refashion a dozen times already. It's the crazy maxi skirt, that some of you didn't even find that crazy! I bought it in Bergen back in November. A small reminder of what it looked like:

Oh foggy Norway, how I miss thee!
I made it into a pencil skirt by cutting it in half (almost) and tapering the sides. I also adjusted the front seam and the gaping waistband. I did this already in Norway, but I haven't worn it since. I didn't know what to pair it with. I guess my white shirt is an option, but maybe something a bit tighter would be better. I'm also short of occasions to wear it. At work I already stand out by having put some thought in what I wear :) Maybe I should go work in a proper office just to be able to wear it.

I sure don't look like I enjoy wearing this skirt, but in fact I do :) It makes me feel very adult and businessladylike. I think it turned out pretty well. There's a slit in the back as well, I couldn't walk without it. I also like the V shape of the waistband. I am not sure about the length though, shouldn't it reach just above the knee? And I also think it would be best to make a pencil skirt in a fabric with a little bit of stretch. There's a bit of horizontal wrinkling going on at the front that might get worse should I actually wear it.

So, what do you think? Better than the crazy maxi skirt? Or would you rather wear that one? I have to say, when I see it from a distance like this, it doesn't look all that crazy. What do you think? Enlighten me you fashionista readers! :)

P.S. Don't forget to enter the Giveaway!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Giveaway x 2!

To celebrate my 2 year Blogoversaire , I've prepared two packages for you to win! In accordance with the 15:60 challenge they're all made out of scraps. The giveaway is open internationally, and ends on Sunday, August 12th 0:00 CEST.

Both packages contain a matching tote and pincushion and some fabric!

Package #1
Package #2

The totes are lined with unbleached cotton so they can hold heavy things. These scraps are among the oldest ones I have. The dark blue ribbed bottom of pincushion #1 is the first fabric I ever bought. I hand sewed a top with it when I was 15! You might recognize the blue fabric too from Tilly's Loire Valley skirt. I once made a dress out of it. The bottom of pincushion #2 is a leftover piece from my yellow hoodie. The purple flowered and dotted fabrics are quilting cottons.

One is a yard by 60" of orange polka dot fabric with a light sheen. It's beautiful but white and orange do not go well with my pale skintone. The other one is a 45 inch by 1,5 yard fabric with golden threads woven through. I meant to make a button down shirt with this, but it's not really my style. Could be perfect for Fall!

If you'd like to win one of these packages, leave a comment stating:

1. which one you'd like
2. which garment from last year is your favourite (choose here)
3. and a way for me to contact you!

(15:60 #7)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

2 year blogoversaire!

Hurray! Two years have passed since I started my challenge to stop buying and start sewing. It was supposed to last only a year, but it has just become such a part of my life that I didn't stop after the first year. I do buy the occasional thing from a thrift store, but I still haven't bought any new clothes. The whole concept of shopping has just dissappeared completely from my system! Weird huh? Never thought that would happen.

Not much happened in the first half year because we were in Norway and my machine broke down. I did manage to make a tutorial for the mustard mini which drove people nuts until I added a video. The skirt appeared on Pinterest and got repinned like crazy (80.000 hits, can you believe it?) and then I got a serger for my birthday. I've been pretty productive since and new and exiting plans have started to form. But I'll tell you more about that when the time comes.

I liked doing a roundup last year to see what I've made, and which of those things were a succes. Here goes!

  • The matching shrugs. Not the right pattern (because I eyeballed it instead of printing the pattern) and not the right material: already gave them away!
  • Pink shirt refashion: wore it in Norway, but not back home. Gone!
  • 2nd mini skirt: still wear it! More often than the first one. This one is half an inch longer and more comfy!
  • Refashioned sweater: Practical for Norway, but just gave it away. 

  • Crazy maxi skirt. I refashioned it but haven't worn it yet. I'll finally show it to you later this week. so you can help me decide!
  • Refashioned sweater. Not sure what happened to this one or why, but I don't have it anymore. Probably because it's still not my style. I do like the technique though. 
  • Mustard with eyes skirt. Do still wear it but not very often. 
  • Norwegian sweater. Yes! Looking forward to winter so I can wear it again.

  • All serger sweater: Do still like it but it has stains that don't come off. Probably olive oil. 
  • Batwings with buttons. Wearing it right now! 
  • Cool shirt, pronounced by you. Should wear it more often!
  • Altered men's shirt. Not good enough. Gone! 

  • Smocked top. Yes!
  • Failed maxi. I've ripped it apart and dyed it. I have new plans for a circle skirt.
  • Puzzle shirt. An great basic for warm days. 
  • Escher shirt. I wear it a lot, also a great basic piece. 

  • Perfect blouse. Still my favourite piece! It recieved its first (tiny) inevitable red wine stains this weekend. 
  • Summer dress for next year: turned into a summer dress for this year!
11 succesfull pieces, 6 bad ones. Of which 4 are refashioned items. Not too bad! I guess the general trend is that the most recent pieces always get worn the most. Last year the score was 5 bad ones, 14 good ones. But of those 14, another 5 have not made it to the end of this year. Plus, I gave the Dance pants to Stef and refashioned the party frock yet another time. I didn't like the purple, so I took it out, dyed the purple piece black and set it back in. I don't hang on to pieces I don't REALLY like anymore. If I have doubts about it, it will never be my favourite, I will always choose other pieces to wear instead and so it has to go. Simple!

So now I'm off to prepare a giveaway to celebrate this event and to distract you from the fact that my blogoversaire was actually yesterday. Ahem. The fact that my dad got married on friday has something to do with that, and also the fact that my new stepfamily is Belgian and they are known for their eating and drinking festivities. I blame the red wine stains on them, too. À plus tard!