Wednesday 27 November 2013

Sorbetto saga, part 2

Foxgloves and thimbles proudly present................the Jasbetto!



The round neckline on the Sorbetto was not doing me any favors. The boxy style of the top meant I would only use it for layering, but it looked just too plain and neutral under a jacket or cardigan. Accessorizing was tough, the curve of the neckline did not look good with any of my shorter necklaces, while the front pleat clashed with the longer ones. That's when I decided this top needed a focal point.

Since it's Bow Neck month I gave the shorter version of the Colette Jasmine necktie a try.
I started by carefully removing the bias binding.

Then I altered the front neckline by using a Jasmine pattern piece. The Sorbetto curve at the back was much wider, so I drafted a new pattern piece for the back collar.

I had just enough leftover fabric to cut the collars, ties and loop.

Binding the new collar was a bit tricky. I was working with tiny second hand seam allowances and had to stretch the bias binding a bit because the neckline was slightly wider now. Hand sewing for extra control, the things we do to save a top!

But it worked! The finished Jasbetto is looking so much better. The neckline is really flattering and I can make it work in different outfits.

Layered with a warm cardigan
With a lightweight silk cardigan and white jeans 

And remember the jeans I'm making? Look at those pockets, isn't it a match made in heaven?
Soon those two will be joined together and live happily ever after.
Isn't that a happy ending for a sorry Sorbetto that turned into a Jasbetto princess?

Monday 25 November 2013

Sorbetto blues

Earlier this year I made this Colette Sorbetto top.

It started with some very soft cotton in a nice color and subtle flowery print.

I picked the Sorbetto against better judgement. I knew this would not be the best shape on me, but I needed something simple to do some testruns. It was the first time I downloaded a pattern, I wanted to make a long overdue first full bust adjustment (FBA), had never sewn an indie pattern before and wanted to see if I could document this project for a future blog. With such a lot of 'firsts' I thought making a muslin would be a cunning plan.

If this is what it takes to construct a pattern for something as simple as a Sorbetto top, do I wanna know what a downloadable trenchcoat looks like??

To keep my spirits up I put up the inspiration pictures on my iPad. "Look, everyone and their mother is making good looking Sorbetto's. Don't despair, you can do it. Keep calm, tape on!"
(Not much later I discovered this post by Heather B. on assembling pdf patterns. Changing from tape to glue made all the difference!) 

Next up, a scary looking FBA. O joy.

Succesful? Not so much. It took me some time to realize that, other than most fitting books tell us, there is not such thing as a 'one solution, helps all' FBA. Some people need extra length above the apex, others in the underbust curve. The next few nights I read FBA chapters in fitting books as my bedtime stories. On to muslin number two. Mind you, we're still talking Sorbetto. I did not even make more than one muslin for my wedding dress!

Muslin number two. I was prepared for some serious slashing and even stitched lengthwise and crosswise grain, better safe than sorry. Muslin number one had been beaten up beyond recognition, who knew what would be next? Surprise! The fit was much better. In fact, it was rather good.

Since I was already on my best behavior I made some neat French seams.

Made some bias type:

And then took it outside to pin the binding to the neckline and armscyes. From the look of those flowers it must have been a sunny day in late spring. (Edit: pictures were taken on May 31)

Sewing in the garden, just what I needed to get things into perspective.  
So I made a Sorbetto. It looked good on the hanger, it looked ehhh....not too impressive on me. As was to be expected.
Did I care? Not really. 
I learned a lot about FBA's and I liked the presentation and instructions of Colette Patterns so much that I later ordered the Negroni shirt for my husband (blogged here). O wow. Can you guess the best part of sewing for guys? NO FBA. Never. Ever.

I put the finished Sorbetto in my closet and it never saw daylight again. 


This could be the sad end of a garment that was never really loved. Feeling blue and rejected in an overcrowded closet, the only way out being the bin. Somewhere deep down I must have felt guilty, cause last night I woke up with a possible rescue plan. This morning I immediately checked my leftover scraps. Could it work? Find out in the next episode of Sorbetto blues. Tomorrow, same place, same time.

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Fitting buddies for a day

A few weeks ago I was celebrating my birthday. For me the best thing about birthdays is having the kids around. And they brought the best of gifts!

A Kenneth D King inspired ruler, a gift card from my youngest daughters favorite fabric store in her hometown Enschede, flowers and a big chunk of beeswax. Sewing related presents and flowers, those girls and their boyfriends know me so well!

One of my daughters could stay for another day and she wanted some help on sewing a Sewaholic Pendrell blouse. Since she wants to make all three views of the pattern we decided to make a muslin, tweak that to perfection and then make all necessary adjustments to the flat pattern.

She's just over 1.80 m tall so I was hoping to check if the waistline hit her at the right spot. Boo! No waistline mark! So we eyeballed one on pattern and muslin and checked the fit. Not too bad. We took the princess seams in, adjusted the shoulder seam and then it was time to make those corrections to the pattern.


Things are obviously progressing well in Amsterdam cause she sent me this picture recently:

Look, mom! Matching seams!

Since I don't have sewing buddies around on a regular basis I asked her to check the fit of my jeans, aka Garment of the Month October (blush). Together we reached a surprising conclusion. As I was grumbling about the extra fabric at the back of my upper legs my daughter pointed out my original jeans had the same issue. Nooooo! Really?? Well, it turned out I DID succesfully copy my favorite jeans after all.
That's good, because I proved the method worked and in theory I know how to copy anything in my wardrobe now. But. My favorite jeans has its flaws.
Flaws I won't accept in my bespoke jeans pattern. So we pinned out the extra fabric and I'm in for some quality time with my seamripper. It will be fixed!

In the meantime I prewashed my fabric for the bow neck blouse that will be Garment of the Month November, I've traced the pattern and will be making a muslin. Since I'm not sure which of the sleevetypes I prefer the muslin will get one of each. I'm also opting for a bigger bow so it's playtime in the sewing room!

Friday 8 November 2013

Royal bows

Bow Neck Blouse buddies, here's some Dutch inspiration!  Today Queen Maxima was wearing this awesome dress by Dutch designer Jan Taminiau.

Taminiau also designed the famous Investiture gown and cape that Queen Maxima wore in April. The royal blue gown was made with a base of crepe and thin overlay of embroidered chiffon. 

Later today, when the King and Queen met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Maxima was wearing a dark brown bow neck blouse. A girl can't have enough bows!

Another special dress that comes to mind when we're talking bows is the wedding dress of Mabel Wisse Smit. In 2004 she married the King's late brother Friso in a Viktor & Rolf dress, covered in bows.

In a picture made from a high viewpoint in the church you can clearly see the signature bows of the famous Dutch design duo.

Prince Friso was in coma for a year and a half following an avalanche at an Austrian ski resort. At the Investiture of our new monarch Mabel was seen wearing a black dress, again by Viktor & Rolf. Part of the train of her wedding dress was used for the left sleeve, as a reference to her absent husband. Friso died last August and Mabel wore a shortened version of the dress to the Memorial Service.

After these royal bows, happy, sad, big, small and oversized I'll finish this post with some over the top examples by Viktor & Rolf.

Happy bow sewing!

Wednesday 6 November 2013

Garment of the Month November

Although I did not yet finish the Garment of the Month October, I will ignore this tiny calendar issue and cheerfully reveal my plans for November. I've chosen a less complex item. Yeah, steep learning curve!
This month I'm planning to make a Colette Jasmine blouse in a chocolate brown cupro.

Colette patterns

The bow will probably be changed for a much bigger one. Soon after I made up my mind about this months challenge I discovered the Bow Neck Blouse sewalong hosted by Seamstress Erin. On her blog Erin is sharing inspirational pictures of blouses and dresses with bow necks, from the 1920's till now.

I will be checking Erins blog and the BNB-Flickr group for inspiration on the size of the bow.
Regarding my jeans, I had some fitting help and know what to do next. More on that tomorrow!