Tuesday 31 December 2013

Monday 30 December 2013

Lace skirt finished

My lace skirt was finished just in time for Christmas. Considering the fact that working with lace is a bit time consuming this skirt was a relatively easy make. In my earlier post I described construction details until basting the hemmed underlining and lace together. I stitched the side seams and inserted the zipper by hand.

The pattern used satin bias tape as a visible finish at the waistline. I chose to use grosgrain ribbon on the inside and added a hook and eye instead of a button. The waist ended up a tad wide, lucky coincidence taking the amount of food at the Christmas dinner in consideration!

Looking at the picture I'm not very pleased with my styling. This skirt definitely asks for more delicate tights and high heels. Well, sometimes you need to make a concession. Specially when travelling by public transport and walking the streets of Amsterdam with the furry assistant.

On Christmas Day we went to the theatre to see The Sleeping Beauty, a magnificent production by the Dutch National Ballet. Principal dancers Anna Tsygankova and Jozef Varga stunned the audience during a overwhelmingly beautiful performance and received well deserved standing ovations and curtain calls.

Here's another picture, also at the theatre. I'm standing next to one of the amazing costumes from The Sleeping Beauty. Those are real works of art. Delicate fabric, beautifully embroidered with crystals and pearls. Yep, there's lace skirts and lace skirts!

Although the one on the left is in another league I'm very happy with mine!

Thursday 26 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

Now look who's sitting under the Christmas tree!

Can you guess?

It's a limited edition whisky in a box designed by GBSB's judge Patrick Grant!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday 19 December 2013

Lace for Christmas

During a city trip in Ghent, Belgium, I bought some lovely lace.

It disappeared into my stash until I saw this skirt in the december issue of Knipmode:

Because I wanted to use the scallops of the lace for the hem I decided to make a muslin in order to make sure the length was right before cutting. Hooray for the muslin! The length was just perfect.
That was about all that could be said in favor of this skirt. I like my pencil skirts to be tapered towards the knee and at first glance this picture looked okay. Ehhmm, you know, I like how the skirt is going down to the right knee. Now look again. What's going on behind that little silver evening bag? Right. Lots and lots of fabric. That line drawing should have been a clue. That's one boxy skirt!

Out with the ruler! It took two rounds of adjusting, in the end I lost over 20 cm of hem circumference.
Taking out more would mean making a kick pleat, in lace. Don't think so.

Next challenge. Hips. I'm curvy, but this skirt got some prefab hips like you would not believe! Ruler making overtime to flatten out these kingsize curves. Ha! It's finally starting to look like a pencil skirt. 

The pattern instructions are for a lined skirt. Since I don't want my darts and side seams showing through the lace I chose for underlining. My inner stash police voice told me to use what I've got, which left me with the choice between satin for a shiny look (tempting, very Christmassy!) and this fabric of unknown origin:

Right color, perfect drape. We have a winner! 

I hemmed the underlining by hand. As you can see, or better can't see, it's pretty much invisible. I really love those relaxing couture techniques.

Then I put the lace over the underlining, matching the hems at the top of the scallops.

It's a dark and rainy day so I'll put on some candles, pump up the volume of the Love Actually soundtrack and start hand basting my layers together.

Happy sewing!

Friday 13 December 2013

They're back!!

Please. Don't call, text, or visit me this Sunday evening, unless you're willing to shut up and sit quietly in front of the telly. They're back! The Great British Sewing Bee returns for a Christmas reunion with judges, Savile Row's Patrick Grant and sewing teacher, May Martin, and this year's semi-finalists; Stuart, Sandra, Lauren and 82-year-old winner Ann.

Embroidered napkins, table runners, handmade gifts and fabric wreaths, you can already watch some video clips and download instructions at the website of BBC2.

Don't miss it! Sunday, December 15 at 20.40 hrs (Dutch time)

Tuesday 10 December 2013

Chocolate Jasmine

Finally finished: the chocolate Jasmine bow neck blouse. It was supposed to be my garment of the month November and entry for the November Bow neck blouse sewalong so I thought: let's take an autumn-ish picture and no one will notice ;)
It could have been finished only one day late, at the first of December,  but I took the advice to let the finished blouse hang for at least 24 hours before hemming a bit too seriously. Cut on the bias and we don't want a wonky seam!
So I painted a small room, put in some new flooring and went back to the blouse.
By that time it was closer to Christmas than to November so the next picture, which shows the color in a more realistic way, was shot in the holly tree. Even though I'm always late, I DO know what time of year it is, see?

What's the verdict on this pattern? When I made a muslin I was unpleasantly surprised by the size of the sleeves. I'm a swimmer, and I'm blessed with..ahem...quite full upper arms, but really, the Hulk himself would not burst out of this sleeves in his most impressive moments! Even after removing two inches of the width I still think the sleeves are overpowering the look.  
My fabric was a bit of a nightmare. It was somewhat slippery, but not in a way I couldn't handle. However, it was very difficult to press! Before pressing the bow ties I hand basted everything  flat, pressed, removed the basting thread and pressed again.

And yes, those darts needed three more rounds of pressing!

Next challenge. Making bias tape for the neck binding. Ever done that with fabric that presses so badly? After adding several layers of spray starch the fabric finally surrendered.

The drape of the fabric is very nice, which is a bonus in a bias cut garment. It's flowy and lightweight. 
When it came to constructing the collar those flowy qualities became a drawback. I used the same collar in my Jasbetto, made of cotton lawn. it was nice and crisp. The muslin collar also turned out fine, but this collar in cupro could have used some interfacing. Again interpretation of the muslin proved to be tough because of difference in drape.

Excusez the wrinkles in the sleevehead. I should have pressed again after wearing it. Sigh. Technically there's nothing wrong over there. (Just checked after seeing this picture)

Surprise! Closer inspection of the pattern made me realize this collar is supposed to be wobbly!

The lack of interfacing in the collar is more than made up for in the cuff. Even though I used very delicate fusible interfacing, the cuffs are a bit stiff compared to the rest of the garment.
Maybe next time I'll use silk organza to stabilize both collar and cuffs.

In the end I like the finished project, although I'm glad it's done! I think this blouse will fill a gap in my wardrobe and I have a nice cardigan to wear over it on colder days. That is, after I made some minor changes to it.
Can you imagine the design genius that wakes up in the middle of the night, shouting: 'Eureka! Let's put white buttons on burgundy cardigans!'

Button box to the rescue

I cleaned my sewing room and ironed the Anna dress pattern tissue so now let's hope for a nice, carefree run on my next project.

Happy stitching!

Monday 9 December 2013

Next up: the Anna dress. For real.

The Jasmine blouse is finished, I just need to take some pictures of it. Preferably outside, because the color and details are hard to catch in flash light. Update will follow soon.

Next up is By Hand London's Anna Dress.

When I planned to make this dress in september I needed the long version in black, to wear to a ballet gala. The pattern got lost in the mail and there was no urge to make the formal Anna any time soon. Sewing plans were piling up and I forgot to return to the pattern. Until recently. Wouldn't it be a nice, comfortable dress, perfect for the holidays when made in a vibrant red ponte knit? Midi, V-neck and long sleeves. This time I'll make it. For real!