Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Knipmode January & February 2017, a double review

On the seventh day of the new year Knipmode February 2017 was dropped on my doormat. So, basically within days of setting my goals for the KnipmodeChallenge I was already two issues behind! For the sake of completeness I'll do a quick post including pattern overviews for both magazines, starting with the January magazine that was sadly neglected last month during decorating and cake making madness.

January was a Readers Request edition. A few months ago readers were asked to send pattern wishes to the editoral staff. These requests were translated into patterns. Not exactly a recipe for a coherent collection, but it was rather interesting to see what Knipmode readers would like to sew, and why, as they motivated their choice in a short interview.

Top row: art teacher chic dress, victorian blouse and a skort.
Bottom: bodyblouse, cardigan jacket and boyfriend jeans.

Note: nr 21 is a men's jacket

My personal shortlist of patterns for the sewing queue:

Clockwise: knit dress, knit top with draped cowl, button down shirt with interesting neckline and a fit and flare winter coat.

The theme of the February magazine is 'in between seasons'. Cardigans, sweaters and jackets, lots of layering. Sporty elements, preppy sweaters and biker jackets are on trend here, I just read a headline stating 'Biker is the new black'.

Top left is a knitting pattern, bottom right is a hand dyed skirt.

My shortlist:

Top row: two views of the same jacket (15 & 16), soft sweater and faux leather pencil skirt.
Bottom: long cardigan, wide legged trousers and (surprise!) trousers for mr Foxgloves.

Between January (men's jacket) and July a total of seven men's patterns will make an appearance in Knipmode. If I had sent a Readers Request it would have been just that!

Regarding the Knipmode Challenge: so far 12 people in 5 different countries joined on Instagram, blog or Pattern Review. It's never too late to make your own rules and sew along. Let's use those magazines and pdf's!

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Knipmode Challenge 2017

Happy New Year to you all!

A few years ago I embraced the 'no rules'-policy for my sewing. Rules, restrictions and deadlines are part of my working life. Sewing is my creative outlet and my creativity thrives on freedom and flexibility. Guilt free fabric buying and stress free sewing was my new motto!

Little changes made my sewing life happier. No more rushing to finish a dress meant significantly less last minute drama. Sometimes a little flip-thinking was required: that Christmas dress wasn't finished four weeks late, it was eleven months early for next Christmas!

The downside of sewing at this very relaxed pace was of course the lower output. Last year I made 7 tops, 3 dresses, 1 jacket, 1 nightie and a skirt (not all blogged)

Top favourites were my Butterfly Cashmerette Upton dress for summer and the Vogue 1465 Donna Karan jacket for autumn and winter.

After three consecutive years of peaceful, slow sewing I feel it's time to find a new balance or else I might sew myself to sleep one of these days.
I noticed a few wardrobe gaps that really need to be filled, all the more reason to make a plan in order to increase my output. I still don't like sewing deadlines and it's highly unlikely I'll ever enter a sewing competion, or even a SWAP, but perhaps I could benefit from setting a few soft goals.

Just I was contemplating possible new goals I saw the announcement of Burda Challenge 2017 on the Pattern Review forum. First rule: no rules! Just use those magazines!
Interesting! The no rules-rule almost made me join instantly. Then I remembered just in time that 98% of my massive magazine archive is filled with Knipmode magazines.
Why not set myself a similar challenge?  A Knipmode Challenge 2017?

It's not that I want to turn this blog into Knipmode-only, far from that. There will always be new and shiny patterns to distract me and I love my growing collection of Vogue designer patterns way too much to set them aside. Not to mention that Chanel jacket that still needs to be finished. But as you could see in my previous post there are serious gems in that pattern collection that really deserve better than to end up in a pile of unused magazines. That stack in the top picture is only the tip of the iceberg!

Over the last few years I've enjoyed seeing Knipmode patterns being sewn in about every corner of the world.  I hope other Knipmode lovers will join me in this challenge. Surely I can't be the only one who thinks it's so inspirational to see these patterns on women with different shapes and sizes!

So without pinning myself down on fixed numbers (freedom & flexibility!) I'll use my Knipmode magazines and pdf patterns more often. I'll strive to make at least one pattern each month, either from the latest issue or the archives.  I'll share what I make here on the blog, on Instagram (@foxglovesandthimbles) and on Flickr, using the tag #KnipmodeChallenge2017

Please let me know if you'd like to join! 

Friday, 30 December 2016

Knipmode overview 2016

Knipmode published an overview of all the patterns from the 2016 magazines.
Food for thought, more on that tomorrow!

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Coat sewing, part one

It was love at first sight. Coat fabric with felted roses in vibrant colours! My projects usually start with a pattern, followed by a long search for the right fabric. This time it was the other way around. I immediately envisioned a simple coat with black accents. Piping, bound buttonholes? During the drive home from the fabric market I thought about some of my favourite coat patterns that either needed more drape or had details that would get lost in the busy print. Then I remembered a very simple Knipmode pattern that only needed some minor adjustments to fit the bill.

Knipmode October 2016 #104

I liked the panels and the two part sleeves but found the zipper too casual for the fabric. I added an overlap and underlap tat centre front and made a muslin, using badly faded 20+ years old wool from my stash. I'll draft a new collar, taking inspiration from the asymmetric collar on my husband's Hugo Boss coat. 

The fit was fine. Maybe a bit roomy, but I always find that hard to judge on a coat muslin. Lining, underlining and inner works take up space, but how much exactly? To be on the safe side I marked all stitching lines and added generous seam allowances. Fitting on the go will still be an option.

I underlined with a soft olive green flannel for extra warmth. Cutting all pattern pieces in wool, flannel and lining resulted in piles of fabric on every surface of the sewing room. Basting outer fabric and underlining together already reduced the mess considerately.
To accentuate the side panels I added black satin flat piping. Sewing inset corners with two layers of wool, two layers of flannel and piping was challenging. I started with the back panels, the easy part.

At the front I needed to incorporate the pockets in the insets. That's when adding piping became a puzzle that kept me awake at night. Catch stitching the seam allowances of the vertical seam to the underlining really helped getting a clean finish and a sharp corner.

I've done a few test runs for the bound buttonholes as soon as my buttons arrived. My favourite sewing technique. I'm enjoying this project so much!

Best colour representation

To be continued!

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Fabric shopping in Barcelona, tourist edition

When I was planning our trip to Barcelona I did some research on the whereabouts of the local fabric shops. Don't you agree fabric makes the best holiday souvenir? Much to my surprise it was harder than I expected to locate the shops. Some broken links on Artisan's Square and bloggers mentioning a severe lack of fabric shops in Barcelona didn't bring me any closer. Eventually I found a small lead on the blog of Barcelona based designer Paco Peralta and took it from there. Some google sessions later I had four fabric shops marked on my tourist map. Best news: three of them were on the same street!

This triple fabric shop bingo can be found on Carrer Roger de Lluria, a small street in L'Eixample district, only a few blocks away from Placa de Catalunya. Not hard to find, but also easy to miss if you don't know where to look. We took a detour through the little street when we were walking from Sagrada Familia towards our hotel in the city center. It's rather close to Gaudi's Casa Mila, in case you need to deposit a travel companion at a nearby tourist attraction first ;)

La Casa del Retall - Teixits, 
Carrer Roger de Lluria 9

A small shop, selling lots of knits. A quick scan of the collection showed a lot of fabrics I can easily buy at home. I even discovered the same floral print I was wearing, albeit in a muted olive green colourway. Reasonably priced fabrics for every day wear.

Ribes & Casals
Carrer Roger de Lluria 7

Next door: Ribes & Casals. A very large fabric shop, selling all kinds of fabrics from quilting cotton to silk, lace and suiting. The top picture of this post was also taken here.
While I looked around Mr Foxgloves, who is not a frequent visitor of Dutch fabric shops (to put it mildly) was photographing like crazy. Apparently he's attracted to texture: lace, feathers, faux fur and tweed.

I was tempted by the silk section but most fabrics were either too warm or had too much contrast for my colouring. Ribes & Casals has a large bargain basement which also houses the home decoration and haberdashery department.

Donna Teixits
Carrer Roger de Lluria 6

Across the street is another fabric shop with a deceptively small store front. I found this shop the most interesting one of the three. A section of bridal and evening wear fabrics with beautiful guipure lace, silk dupioni and sequins. The back of the very deep store houses a section of special fabrics for fancy costumes and FC Barcelona home decor fabrics for soccer fans. Only one picture taken at Donna Teixits, as the attention span of my photographer started to fade...

Speaking of fading. As much as I liked the print, you can see why it was a big no as it made me look tired and washed out even during a very relaxed and sunny holiday!

In the end all I bought were some notions, and of course the latest issue of pattern magazine Patrones which can be found in most newsstands, together with the Spanish edition of Burda Style. It's a coat special with coats in the style of Ralph Lauren, Karen Millen, Pepe Jeans and Prada.

The fourth shop on my list was closed when we passed by during a late night walk but if you're interested in Japanese fabrics or organic cotton Nunoya on Carrer de Trafalgar 14 is the place to be!

While this list is by no means a complete overview I hope it can be helpful for future fabric loving Barcelona visitors!

Friday, 11 November 2016

Concord tee goes Barcelona, part 2

You can take a girl out of her garden, but you can't take the gardener out of the girl.
Touch all the plants, sew all floral fabrics!

By now you'll all recognise this pattern, it's Concord tee #6. Thanks to mr Foxgloves I finally have a decent picture of the back.

The fabric is a dark blue cotton/rayon jersey,  a bit less stretchy than the fabric I used for my previous shirt. As a result the neckline ended up slightly higher. I opted for 7/8 length sleeves to balance the busy print.
You can spot some pooling at my back. I don't think this indicates the need for a sway back adjustment, my other Concords are perfectly fine. It's more likely caused by a less forgiving fabric or being (temporarily?) too tight at the high hip. Guess that's where all the tapas, sangria and palmera cookies went.

There's nothing to tell about fitting and construction that I didn't already mention hereherehere or here so I'll leave you with some Barcelona action pictures of my new shirt.

Outside Gaudi's Sagrada Familia:

Inside the breathtaking masterpiece:

In my natural habitat:

And drinking sangria at the beautiful Placa Reial:

When we returned to our hotel I found my Concord tee nightie stylishly draped on the bed. That night I dreamt about imaginary tiny waistlines ;)

Next: Barcelona fabric shopping adventures!

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Concord tee goes Barcelona, part 1

¡Hola, I made another Cashmerette Concord tee! It's my fifth version of the pattern so I can't blame you if you're getting bored, but hey, there's sangria, music and pretty pictures of Barcelona too!

I used a viscose knit fabric, changed the sleeves to full length and hand stitched all hems. I don't like the look of twin needle or coverstitch finishes and although it takes a little longer I like the invisible hems on this shirt. I redid the neckband, as I initially thought it would be nice to have the white stripe on top. It just didn't look right, the rhythm of the stripes looked a bit off. Next time I'll check the look before stitching, ughh!

Using 4-way stretch fabric definitely influenced the fit at the shoulders. Or maybe it was the bag full of tourist essentials I was dragging along, but the left shoulder looks slightly dropped in the top picture.

Window shopping at the Passeig de Gracia. I guess you are all zooming in now to see that jacket behind me. I know I would!

Isn't it gorgeous? Sleeve perfection. Sigh.
But I digress, as we were heading towards the famous Casa Batllo.

Later that day, in the stunning surroundings of Museu Picasso, my stripes felt like an appropriate neutral amidst all vibrant colours. It was such an impressive visit!

Clingy fabric and horizontal stripes are not my best look, so I always envisioned this shirt as a layering piece. (I'm wearing it right now, with a black jacket and bright red shoes and accessories)
Luckily the temperatures in Barcelona were much higher than we expected so jackets and cardigans didn't get much wear. Oh well, who cares about clingy tees. Not me after some sangria!

White sangria with lemon and oranges, divine!
And of course 4-way stretch means plenty of room for tapas.

If you're ever in Barcelona and have the chance to go to a concert in Palau de la Musica Catalana, don't hesitate! It's a beautifully decorated concert hall, designed in Catalan modernism style and built between 1905 and 1908. 

The most beautiful venue for a concert of the Maestros de la Guitarra:

To be continued....