Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Heatwave sewing: a breezy Knipmode blouse

Hi all! Although I vanished from the blogosphere during an unplanned two month hiatus everything is well and I have a lot of new sewing projects to document here.
Soon after my previous post mr Foxgloves and I went on holiday to the north of Portugal. We had the best of times and we managed to take some blog pictures of freshly sewn summer wear in a few beautiful spots. Coming soon. The weather in Portugal was lovely and sunny, but much to our surprise we heard it was even warmer in The Netherlands. Turned out this was the start of an unprecedented heatwave. When we returned the garden desperately needed our attention and up till today we didn't get any rain. If you've ever experienced a Dutch summer you'll know how unusual that is. After nine weeks of drought with temperatures rising to 38 Celsius this picture sums up the state of our country rather well:

Photocredits: De Telegraaf

Our infra structure is designed for keeping the water out, keeping the water in is something else!

Amidst the struggle to keep the garden alive I felt the need to sew a lightweight cotton top to stay as cool as possible. I found this lovely floral and dots fabric (two prints in one, winner!) that almost feels like batiste. It has a lovely drape and I decided to pair it with this Knipmode pattern that was on my to-sew list ever since I first saw it in August 2017.


Simple, but with a few nice details like the v-neck insert, a self lined back yoke and high/low hem.

Based on my high bust measurement I was in between size 46 and 48. I chose the smaller size, did my usual 1 inch FBA (which resulted in adding a side dart) and made a muslin which turned out too big at the bust. I pinned out all excess fabric and much to my surprise that equalled completely undoing the FBA and getting rid of the dart. Must have something to do with the release pleats coming from the shoulder and the loose fit in general. Okay then, taping the slashed pattern piece back together. Fine by me! The only other flat pattern adjustment I made was adding 2 cm length to both front and back. From there on it was easy sewing, even with a melted brain.

Not mentioned in the Knipmode instructions, but always a highlight: the burrito!

My fabric perhaps wasn't the best choice for showing the details. I'm tempted make this top again in a solid crepe for autumn.

The shape is definitely more boxy than I usually prefer but it is a joy to wear on hot days. 

The back, showing the curved hemline.

And a close up of the back yoke and pleat.

One last picture of the blouse 'out in the wild' on a trip to Germany:

To everyone enduring a heatwave: keep it cool!

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Roses all over: Vogue 8379

Around this time of year I often feel the urge to sew all the rose prints. This is probably triggered by my view from the breakfast table, which is so beautiful in June.

View 2018 and 2015 (Knipmode top)

My most recent rose print summer garment is this Knipmode top, made in 2015. The reason why it took me three years to add another rose covered outfit is that's it's quite a challenge to find a bright print with the right scale. As much as I like Liberty, Laura Ashley or Cath Kidston rose prints on others, they're just not working on me. Imagine my jump for joy when I discovered this (now sold out) large print in the online shop of TST stoffen:

Rayon jersey with a lovely drape meant the pattern was a no brainer: Vogue 8379. I've used this pattern before for three dresses and a top.

This new wrap dress is basically the same as my jungle dress.

Adjustments I've made to the pattern:
* Lengthened the bodice by 2,5 cm
* Used interfacing for the ties
* Lengthened the ties by 25 cm
* Omitted the facings. Turned under and stitched the seam allowances instead.
* Left off the cuffs and shortened and slightly tapered the sleeves

I'm very happy with how this turned out. The ideal summer dress that rolls up to almost nothing in your suitcase!

Totally ready for summer!

Monday, 14 May 2018

Floral party in the back Concord

This is my latest version of the Cashmerette Concord tee. I've lost count, but I've made this pattern at least a dozen times. Not bad, considering I was firmly in camp 'why sew a t-shirt if you can just as well buy one' for decades.

One of the many things I like about sewing is the planning stage. The hunt for the right fabric, deciding on a colour, finding notions and adding little details. Step by step the project that only existed in your head comes alive, resulting in a one of kind garment. For years I believed this approach was only worthwhile for special projects. Coats, evening wear, jackets. But once I started making t-shirts I was amazed by the number of design choices you could make for such a simple top.
All Concord tees I've made have different necklines, lengths, and sleeves. I know find that picking fabric for something I know I will wear till it's worn out is even more fun than selecting fabric for a seldom worn special occasion dress. Long story short: once I started making my tees I've never looked back.

The fabric for my umpteenth Concord tee is a rayon jersey from TST stoffen, a Dutch online fabric shop. It has a lovely drape so I wanted to make a flared swing top, just like the blue one I made last year. I kept the sleeves at elbow length because it turned out that's what gets the most wear during our rather unpredictable summers.

Because the blue top is still going strong I didn't want to make an exact copy and I used every last bit of the leftovers to create ties for the back. When mr Foxgloves first  saw my tee he said: 'Oh, nice.' And when I turned around he said: 'Oh! That's really, really nice!' So I guess the ties do indeed add a little interest.

There's nothing more to tell that I haven't discussed previously when it comes to this curve friendly pattern that comes in cup sizes and has become a true wardrobe staple for me.

So I'll end with a few more pictures of the shirt taken out in the wild during a trip to Germany last week, starting with the obligatory Schnitzel und Bier moment.

That's the first of summer holiday sewing done.
Till next time!

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Review Knipmode June 2018

Just a quick post for those of you interested in the contents of the Knipmode 6/2018 magazine.

Pattern overview Knipmode 6/2018

The emphasis is on dresses. Many different styles and lengths, and, apart from a few exceptions, all necklines look very modest. Peter Pan collars, fully buttoned up shirt dresses and neck ties. No halter necks or strapless dresses for the beach, but if you're looking for an office approved summer dress there may be something in here.

Dress 5 on the left doesn't exactly look like a summer dress to me, the autumn vibe we've seen in all spring Knipmode magazines this year is continuing. And so demure. Is that a fashion trend?
Dress 15 (middle) is a combination of tunic 14 and skirt 16. Looks like separates, but the pieces are sewn together and have a long zipper at center back. Not sure why you would want to do that as those individual pieces would be much more versatile. (In the picture below you see the tunic on the left and the skirt on the right)

These garments are all part of a mix & match holiday wardrobe. The pants are a repeat of the same shapeless variety we've seen in previous magazines and I've seen better versions of a cold shoulder dress. But the cropped jeans jacket looks good, either paired with shorts or over a dress or jumpsuit on a chilly night. 

Mix & match holiday capsule

Although it's not my usual style there is something about this month's designer dress (23) that makes me want to sew it immediately. With a v-neck perhaps.

These linen trousers (7) are also on my to-sew list. It's a simple pattern with a v-shaped yoke at the front, slash pockets and a side seam zipper. Not too many details so the focus will be fully on perfectioning the fit.

All in all I'll rate this issue as a useful one. The longer I look at it, the more I like it.

Happy sewing everyone!

Disclaimer: this review contains no affiliate links. I paid for my copy and all opinions are my own. Photocredits: Knipmode. All pdf and paper patterns can be found at the Knipmode shop

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Two Ottobre Design tops

Another finished duo! Lately I seem to be making my garments per two, not sure why? Maybe it's a sign that reality is starting to sink in. The combination of a long RTW fast, combined with my slow sewing pace, is now causing serious wardrobe gaps. Using a pattern that's already gone through the fitting process is considerately speeding things up.

This top started out as a Knipmode dress. That didn't work very well, to put it mildly The knit fabric was too clingy and the tiny print didn't do me any favours. It was both a matter of scale and colour. Up close I liked the mix of chocolate brown, turquoise and white. From a distance the overall colour looked rather muted and there were just too many mini daisies all over me in a knee length dress. The dress was out of sight until it resurfaced during a recent sewing room cleaning.

Before tossing the fabric I checked if it would go with any existing garment in my wardrobe. And it did! Dark brown linen trousers, brown Mabel skirt, white jeans and a turquoise RTW cardigan. This fabric could be turned into the missing link for three different outfits. I figured that as a layering piece the clingyness wouldn't bother me so much, extra colour could be added by the cardigan and the daisy overkill would be reduced to an acceptable level. Triple win!

The top is #9 from Ottobre Woman 2/2014. It's the only Ottobre magazine I own, and it was bought for the pattern of the trench coat I made three years ago. I always flip through the pages of new Ottobre issues but haven't bought any in the last four years. Too many hoodies, leggings and t-shirt dresses. The patterns may lack interesting details, the drafting does not! At a closer look this basic looking top came with a few surprises.

The pattern is half lined. The lining ends just above the waist and the bottom is finished with clear elastic. For European sizes 44 and upwards there's a built in cheater FBA. The front bodice is slightly longer between the arrows to provide extra room for the bust. The extra fabric is gathered before sewing the side seams.

And it worked! No drag lines indicating a bigger FBA was needed. I really like the polished look of the neckline and armholes. No bands, no visible stitching.

Inside (back)

I also made this top in white. Instead of the half lining I used a full length lining as I feared the end of the lining would be visible. Now I'm tempted to line all my tops as it feels so luxurious!  With the half lining you still notice the button and belt loops of my jeans poking through, the full lining is more forgiving and smoothing out lumps and bumps.

As you can see I used off white for the lining as I had only just enough fabric for the outer shell. A good way to use up scraps. This top is waiting for warmer weather to be worn sleeveless with a bright floral skirt. But you have already seen me wear it my previous post, together with a Blackwood cardigan.

I can see myself make a few more of these tops. Maybe change the neckline to a square neck, sweetheart or any kind of neckline you won't be able to create with a neckband. I'm not a fan of facings in knit garments but I sure am a fan of lining from now on!

Monday, 16 April 2018

Two Blackwood cardigans

I don't know why it took me so long but I finally made my first Blackwood cardigan, immediately followed by the second version.

For those of you not familiar with the pattern, it's a PDF pattern, designed by Helen Wilkinson of Canadian pattern company Helen's Closet, and can be found here.

Blackwood cardigan
The Blackwood Cardigan is a cozy and versatile addition to your wardrobe. Designed with layering in mind, it has minimal excess fabric in the front and a close fit around the neck and shoulders. Its fitted shape and extra long sleeves make it perfect for wearing under jackets and vests, while also looking stylish over tank tops and dresses. View B ends at the hips, while View A extends down to the mid-thigh and includes patch pockets at hand level.  The Blackwood is intended to be worn open and is not designed to close at the front.

Actually now that I'm writing this blog post I can suddenly see why I wasn't convinced by the looks of this cardigan when it first came out. I don't like those extra long sleeves (reminds me of ill fitting RTW) and I hate pockets in knitwear. When the Blackwood first popped up on blogs and Instagram everyone seemed to be raving about the features that I knew would make me look frumpy.

After a few less than stellar results with the popular M6844 cardigan pattern (not yet blogged) I took another look at the Blackwood and decided to give it a go. Without pockets of course, and with considerably shorter sleeves.

I had an end-of-the-bolt piece of  wool knit, just enough for the shorter version (view B). It's a good thing I shortened the sleeves by 6 cm, otherwise I would have ran out of fabric.

I love how this pattern came together. The shoulder fit was so much better straight out of the envelope than I ever achieved with the McCall's pattern, despite making several adjustments. I like the overall length of the cardigan and the cuffs are a nice way to finish the sleeves.

The only thing I will change when I make this view again is the width of the hem band. I'm just not fond of that horizontal line across the high hip, which unfortunately highlights my widest part.  I'll make the hem band the same width as the front band and add extra length to the bodice to compensate.

While the pattern was still on my sewing table I decided to have a go at view A as well.

This time the fabric was a rather lightweight wool/rayon knit. I kept the hem band at the original width, thinking the hang would benefit from the extra weight. In fact I do like the wide band on the longer version.

Now that's my kind of outfit! Ames jeans, Concord Tee and a colourful cardigan.

I equally love both lengths of this pattern but I prefer the look of a plain cardigan/print tee over the print cardigan/plain tee. It took me a while to find my perfect cardigan pattern but nothing will keep me from sewing a rainbow of Blackwoods now!

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Review Knipmode May 2018

Bamm! Another 25 sewing patterns and 1 knitting pattern just landed on my doormat. I can hardly keep up writing these reviews, let alone keep up with the sewing! Although Knipmode made the latter easier by producing a few boring issues in a row. Let's see what this magazine brings.

Pattern overview Knipmode May 2018

For a mid- to late spring collection again a lot of long sleeves. And just like last month, many drawstrings and belts to suggest shape in otherwise shapeless patterns. But the overall vibe is certainly less depressing and a wider range of colours, prints and shapes makes this edition definitely more interesting than its predecessor.

Dress 7, Jacket 1 and pants 3, tunic 15 (a long shirt with attached wrap)

Three versions of the same easy pattern, (22, 21 and 20) 
Quite different looks and styles. I like how the belts completely hide the elasticized waists.

Dress 23

May's designer dress is a flowy knit dress with piping along the yokes and belt.

Coat 17, culottes 10, maxi dress 8

I hope I'm not offending anyone with plans to sew is this yellow coat, but it's a strong contender for the 'Monstrosity of the Month' title. Please prove me wrong!

Coat 17, jacket 18, pants 4

Nope. Not getting any better in close-up, and imagine how long it takes to dry after a spring shower with all those pleats! It does look much better as a short jacket. It's not just the shorter length that improves the proportions. The neckline and cuffed sleeves also create a more polished look that goes  well will the slim capri pants.

Skirt 19

I had to blink a few times when I first noticed the plaid skirt. Really, Knipmode? 'Let's turn the bottom part of that yellow coat into a skirt! It would be a shame to only use those awesome pockets once!' But okay, if you're into the style I can see how it works in satin with a good drape.

Four versions of blouse 24

From crispy white cotton to drapey olive green rayon, these pictures highlight the effect of the fabric on the overall look. A nice and versatile shirt pattern. I'll put this on my to-sew list to compare this to the M6436 shirt I posted last week. I like the slimmer sleeves and it's interesting to see if my usual FBA ends up with a less gigantic dart.

Dress 5

Interesting seam lines! Six darts in the bodice, four in the skirt and one in the sleeve cap. Nice!

Dress 6

Same bodice with a pleated skirt in a lovely mix of fabrics. The pleating looks different from the line drawing, check the unfortunate placement of that pleat on top of the models hip! 

Well, overall not an earth shaking collection, but at least a few patterns that I consider making.

And now for the latest Knipmode news: remember how back in January the editors announced changing the pattern nomenclature from unique number code to female names? And we wondered how long this silliness would last? Now we know: four months. Back to numbers it is.

In other news, chief editor Peggy Weyergang will retire in July. It will be interesting to see whether the new editor has a background in fashion, publishing or marketing and whether or not she/he has affinity with sewing. More on that later when the new chief editor is announced.

Disclaimer: this review contains no affiliate links. I paid for my copy and all opinions are my own. All patterns are available as PDF over at the Knipmode shop  Photocredits: Knipmode.