Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Dresscode orange

Orange is the must have of the season in The Netherlands. We are not just talking dresses. Orange is a neutral in our streets. This is what our quiet village looks like these days:

This is considered modestly decorated, in the cities the streets look like this:

Foto:ANP/Marcel van Hoorn

A few weeks ago I discussed Dutch women's World Cup fashion, but let's not forget the guys. This tasteful 'cheering suit', believe it or not, was completely sold out by pre-order. Sorry not sorry, boys!

Boys and their toys: stylish accessories for cars.

And we all eat orange pastry. By the bucket.

It's matchday and since it's a well known fact that Team Holland has 16.8 million coaches you understand I have important meetings coming up. Must discuss tonight's line up with family and friends, tough decisions to make! 

The Furry Assistant, ready to beg for orange cookies.
Hup, Holland, hup!

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible. 
Team Holland lost the semi finals by penalty shoot outs. 

Monday, 7 July 2014

Lace Moneta

A few weeks ago I wanted to make a new dress for a special occasion. Sometimes I select a pattern before buying fabric but his time the fabric led the way. When I discovered this blue stretch lace I knew it would be perfect for a Moneta dress.
I underlined the bodice with a very lightweight jersey in dark navy.

 All seam allowances were catch stitched to the underlining. These are the shoulder seams, you can see the clear elastic used for stabilizing sticking out on the right side.

For the sleeves I used a single layer of the lace, the neckline was turned under as per the instructions and also hand stitched to the underlining, a nice and clear finish.

This dress is a remake of my Floral frenzy Moneta, with a slightly more scooped out neckline on the front. The neckline is staying nicely in place, even when I'm bending over to reward the furry assistant. 

For the skirt I chose to use separate layers to keep a flowy effect. In order to prevent extra bulk at the waistline and hips I drafted a straight skirt for the lining. Both skirts have French seams. I gathered the lace overskirt and sewed both skirts to the bodice, adding clear elastic.

Easy to make, a pleasure to wear!

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Saved by the scissors

A few weeks ago I was cleaning out my closet and found a dress in the far corner. It was the kind of dress that adds five years and twenty pounds to your appearance. For said reasons I'm not going to model it on da blog, but you get the picture. No?
Now you do:


I was ready to toss it but then it crossed my mind the polka dot fabric could be re-used for facings or pocket linings. Okay, toss the bodice, keep the skirt. 

On closer inspection of the construction I got a new plan. I'd been wondering for some time whether or not a peplum top would work on my body type. So instead of throwing the bodice in the bin I tried out some peplum variations. Added a gathered piece of muslin..nahh. Looked as frumpy as the original. I tried a half circle, better! I even started to like it! 
As you can see the (wrap)dress had a slight A-line skirt so there was not much to play with once I decided to go see if refashioning could rehabilitate this sad piece of RTW. I drafted some pattern pieces, shaved, hacked, cut, added a back seam, all to make it work. 

The original waistband was a bit large so I used the ties to create a better fit. Hence some extra wrinkles, but I'm okay with those. In fact they remind me of the little pleats in the bodice of Vogue 8379, a wrap dress I made last winter.

I'm happy with the result and I have already been wearing it a few times, together with my Mabel skirt. A fun project!

Happy sewing!

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

BHL Anna, dressed to the nines!

Oh lala! Here's a picture heavy post starring a By Hand London Anna dress. 

Where shall I begin? Last year I wanted to make this dress for a ballet gala. The pattern got lost in the mail, was sent again, but arrived too late to use it for the occasion. I moved on to other patterns and once in a while I looked at the Anna dress but lost a bit of my enthusiasm. It looked so...I don't know. Everytime I put it back to the end of the sewing queue. Fast forward to Sewing Indie Month. Laura Mae of Lilacs and Lace hosts a Dressed to the Nines competition for Indie patterns. In one of her posts she mentioned being underwhelmed by the Anna dress until she put it on and it came to life. I had the pattern, I already bought the fabric, only one way to find out if I would like it. Cut it! And cut it fast so I could finish it in time to link it for Sewing Indie Month.

I wanted to create a bla(n)ck canvas. A dress that could easily be changed into another outfit by simply adding a cropped jacket or silk scarf. So black it was. I lined the top because I prefer a lining over facings. I used fusible tape to stabilize the neckline and shoulders. 

This picture shows the typical pleats, instead of darts. And of course I could not resist making the split.  I made no changes (wow, couldn't believe my luck!) except for cutting off nearly 6 inches at the hem. And yes, yes, yes, I like my dress! 

To finish the outfit I teamed it with a self drafted silk jacket. Very cropped, because it was a very small piece of silk that had been in my stash for over twenty years. I lined it with matching satin and used the leftover pieces to make some flowers.

I put the flowers on safety pins so they can be removed.

The pictures aren't the best, sorry. The deadline for the link party is today and at 4 pm I could finally start the hemming. By hand. An hour later a thunderstorm passed, it was dark inside and soaking wet outside. No time to lose (and as you can see: no time to press the hem either), as soon as the rain stopped I found a dry spot for the tripod and modeled the dress under a tree to keep the silk as dry as possible. 

This is where I spotted the next thunderstorm. Time to grab my dress and run!

Sewing Indie Month was just the little push I needed to finally make this pattern, and I'm glad I did!
The pattern is still on my sewing table, my next dress will be another Anna. I just have to decide whether I'll make the shorter version or a relaxed summer version of the maxi dress. Or both. To be continued!

Whatever the weather, happy sewing!

Edit: If you like this outfit, voting is open now at this page, my dress is #18, 
       Anna dressed to the nines

Monday, 26 May 2014

Everyday casual floral Tonic Tee

In honour of Sewing Indie Month I wanted to try some patterns by new to me independent designers. I was curious about SBCC, short for Skinny Bitch, Curvy Chick.

Their logo made pretty clear what category to choose. At least, I thought so. What I initially failed to notice was the Curvy Chick line was designed as plus size for petites. At 5'8 I don't qualify as petite. Plus size? Depends on the sizing, but usually not. There was no in between (Curvy Bitch?), but there was a free pattern available for downloading. Enter the Tonic tee for testing. I also had some end of the bolt cotton jersey, bought at the recent Stoffenspektakel. Perfect match.

At first I silenced the 'petite' alarm bells by telling myself I was after a fitted, short tee that would go well with my Mabel skirt. Tight and short were fine. Silly mistake. Some quick measuring later I knew the waistline of this pattern hit me over two inches above my natural waist. SBCC to the rescue. On their site it says: 'Not a petite? No problem! SBCC patterns are easily modified for taller girls as well.' I cut the pattern above the waistline, added two inches and hoped for the best.

Such a simple project is perfect for some sunny cutting, pinning and basting in the garden.
The instructions for adding the neckline trim came as a surprise, but I followed them closely cause new patterns, new rules and you never know when you'll pick up some interesting trick. 
SBCC tells you to close just one of the shoulder seams, add the trim and then close the remaining shoulder. You end up with a double layer of trim at that shoulder, causing unnecessary bulk. Also the directions tell you to topstitch the neckline binding to the back to prevent from poking out. No bulk and no poking out when I use my preferred method so I'll stick to that.

The pattern instructions were simple but clearly illustrated. No mentioning of stabilizing the shoulder seams, which I did anyway by using clear elastic. For the hem and finishing of the neckline I used a twin needle.

I'm pretty happy with this Tonic tee!

Yesterday I was wearing my new shirt while enjoying Sunday lunch in the garden.

Afterwards my youngest daughter agreed to take some pictures of me in a 'every day casual' setting. Why not in my natural habitat, taking care of the foxgloves?

Okay. Next.

Uhh? What does this tell us?

a) I'm too curvy to hide behind a foxglove
b) No more denying, daughter inherited the gardener's gene and got sidetracked 
c) Blame the Chardonnay 

One last picture to show this shirt is in heavy rotation. A real everyday casual asset!

Happy Indie Sewing!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Floral frenzy Moneta

Let me start with a sentence I thought I'd never use. I made a dress and the fit was spot on, straight from the envelope! No alterations, no FBA, the waistline of the bodice is hitting me on my true waist, even the length of the skirt was fine. My, can't remember the last time that happened. If there ever was such a lucky time. Turns out the Moneta dress is just as wonderful a pattern as the Mabel skirt, Colette patterns and Alyson Clair nailed it again!

In my earlier post I expressed my doubt about the print of this fabric. This week's theme for Project Sewn and the sew along, Floral frenzy, gave me the push to step out of my comfort zone. And I'm so glad I did! 

It's a happy dress and the thought of running around in a dress with flowers as big as a dinner plate makes me smile. It's a very comfortable dress, feels like wearing loungewear but still looking like you made some effort ;)

As said I made no alterations regarding the fit, but I made some changes in the finish. The instructions tell you to turn 3/8" at the neckline and hem it by using a twin needle. Since I don't like the tram rails effect of twin needles and coverstitch machines I handstitched the turned hem.

I also hemmed the sleeves and skirts by hand. The next picture shows the finished hemline, and the testdrive results with the twin needle. I prefer the clean look and I don't mind some relaxing hand stitching.

For the floral theme I dug up some shoes with flowers, bought a few years ago during a city trip in Lille, France.

What else can I say about the construction of this dress? Clear elastic is used to shirr the skirt and stabilize the waist seam at the same time. I never used this method before but it was easy and works really well.

 I think it's time for some more experiments with prints!

O dear. No pockets, no doggy treats! Sorry! 
(I skipped the pockets deliberately, don't need anything adding bulk to my hips. This disappointed look of the Furry Assistant makes me reconsider)

Never mind, can be fixed in the next Moneta. Sure, there will be a next!

Flower power greetings to you all!

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Stepping out of my comfort zone

I love colour, I know how to work with texture, but prints? Not so much lately. When I look at my stash the solids rule. 

See? Some plaids, but I feel these looked better on the bolt than on me. Just not that inspired by them.

So when I felt strangely attracted to a flowery fabric last week I did some soul searching. Been reading some wild sewing blogs? Influenced by magazines? Or perhaps it was my husband's remark about me making 'safe choices' in my sewing lately? Touché! I already noticed that myself.

Back to the fabric store and this flowery fabric. To buy or not to buy?
It's not that often I find a fabric that speaks to me like this one did, so of course, it went with me.

Ever since I've been torn between 'Awesome fabric!' and 'What was I thinking? Was I low on sugar when I bought this?'
Only one way to find out. Cut it! Make it into a Moneta dress!

When I saw this week's theme for the Project Sewn sew along I decided now is the time to grab my scissors and attack those giant flowers!