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!

Sunday 11 May 2014

Grateful tears

I'm not a softie, but this beautiful blogpost, written by my daughter and posted on her brand new sewing blog Canal Couture left me speechless. Thanks darling, for such a wonderful Mother's Day gift!

Saturday 10 May 2014

Fitting the nation

Suddenly a nationwide debate on dress fitting is going on in most Dutch newspapers. What brought this on? Brewery Bavaria, known for handing out promotional dresses in the run-up to soccer tournaments changed it's successful 2010 design from a stretch (one size fits all) dress to a woven (one size fits no one) garment.
The debate started when the owner of a plus size fashion store stepped up for plus size women who felt left out by the sizing. The dress 'fits' women with sizes between 34 and 40 (US 4 to 10). Official comment by the beer company: we think this dress looks best on girls with smaller sizes. O, really?
Then 'smaller' girls with large busts complained about the fit and how the dress was flattening the cleavage. Now we were getting the attention of the male part of the population! Can't have that, ey?
It is interesting to see how the discussion will evolve!

To understand why this is a matter of National Importance you must know that during World Cup tournaments our streets look like this:

and our squares look like this:

So, as you see there is a demand for orange dresses. The 2010 World Cup dress, designed by fashion label SuperTrash could be customized by wearing it as a mini dress or a tunic. Due to a lack of shaping it could be worn with the v-neck on the front or the back.

Needless to say it was not a good look on everyone, but what can you expect from a 'Buy a six pack of beer, get a dress for free' type of dress. Fit? No one seemed to care.

How different will it be with this year's garment:

It's reversible, lined in a flowery Brasilian-type fabric. I'm fearing a lot of girls will get depressed when trying on this dress. Let's hope the discussion will get the message across it's the dress, not their body, that's causing these fit issues.

Luckily there are other options. Like these dresses, designed by three girls from Delft. Selling for 54,95 euro, size range xs to xl.
But I suppose this years winner will be the flag dress, some kind of infinity dress that's basically a flag with two small straps.

Good news for international Foxgloves readers: this design is not just available for Dutchies.
Bad news though for Australian followers. (Does that mean you're as mad??)

Let's hope the discussion results in more awareness about the importance of a good fit and will lead to more creativity!

Thursday 8 May 2014

Fabric frenzy

Isn't this a peek at paradise? Eye candy deluxe? This is only one of the 140 fabric stalls at StoffenSpektakel, a touring circus of fabric sellers, visiting various cities in The Netherlands and Belgium twice a year.
Since we don't have any big chain stores like Jo-Ann's and recession led to the closing down of many small retailers I often find myself hindered by limited choices in fabrics. Of course I could order online but I much prefer touching and stretching, feeling the weight and judging the colour in real life. So whenever the StoffenSpektakel makes a stop less than 50 km from my home I'm game!
During yesterday's event in Apeldoorn fabrics were offered from 1.50 to 200 euros/meter, the latter being exquisite haute couture silks.

Some beautiful digital prints were on display. How about a shift dress, showing excerpts of Rembrandt van Rijn's 1642 painting of the Night Watch?

Needless to say my stash got company. Lots of knits for shirts, dresses and skirts. Can't wait to start another Mabel in croco print (!) but I don't want y'all to start thinking I'm a one-trick pony. So I'll behave myself and make some dresses first.

Happy stitching!

Wednesday 7 May 2014


Thank you all so much for your kind reactions on my latest makes! Thanks to Colette Patterns for featuring me on Twitter and Facebook, and welcome to all new visitors and followers to this blog! 

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to do some serious fabric shopping.
Must. Make. More. Mabels.
Warning! Dangerously addictive pattern!

Tuesday 6 May 2014

The hills are alive...

This weeks Leading ladies challenge of Project Sewn made me think of this picture. Anyone else thinking Sound of Music?

Although Maria von Trapp's curtains provided her with ample fabric to dress seven (!) children, after cutting my Capri pants I only had tiny leftovers from my piece of home decor fabric. Just enough to make cropped trousers for a two-year-old. Which then led to a request from her five-year-old sister and the search for more flowery fabric.

Funny, I can't remember my pants being so baggy. Apparently upholstery fabric behaves better while sitting on it than sitting in it during a long car drive?

My, look at that waistline! Where did that go? Ehmmm, what's that other song again?
Crisp apple strudles
and schnitzel with noodles
these are a few of my favourite things

On the other hand, I'm pretty impressed with my choice of footwear! Running after little ones at a German Autobahn Raststätte in high heels!

And no, I'm not using a cell phone. This picture was taken in 1991, when mobile phones looked like this:

Sunday 4 May 2014

Mabel, all dressed up

Yup, it's Me-Made-Mabel-May chez Foxgloves. After the success of my first Colette Mabel skirt I couldn't resist whipping up another one. I had some black ponte in my stash and this time around it only took me one and a half hour, from cutting to hemming.

The feel and drape of this fabric wasn't as good as the brown ponte I used for the first version. It didn't press that well, the hand sewn hem is less invisible (to put it mildly) and the overall look is a bit less sophisticated. Too much poly? Oh well, at least the fit and finish are a lot better than in most RTW.
Although I don't think this particular version is posh enough for dressing up, I still wanted to show the versatility of this pattern. In a better quality knit it would certainly work for a comfortable night at the theatre!

So, did I mention versatile? Let's dress it down!

Still thumbs up for Mabel!

Next Mabel? Oh yes, yes, yes. Flowers, polkadots, gingham, who knows!

Happy sewing!