Sunday 30 November 2014

Around the sewing world in 30 days

Imagine having a look around in sewing rooms all over the world, taking a peek at pattern stashes, sewing room organization, the craziest fabrics you've ever seen and as a bonus seeing a variety of views of the world outside those sewing rooms, including mountain tops, back yards, rivers, traffic lights, meadows, woodlands, rooftops and crowded streets. Instagram challenge #bpSewvember showed it all, and more!

When Amanda of Bimble and pimble announced the sewing photo a day-challenge she wrote: "This challenge is for all rad sewing people out there. It’s a chance to share a glimpse of your sewing world. Sewing can often be a solitary pastime and for some of us it can be hard to find other sewists nearby. So let’s share our sewing spaces, our pattern stashes (eep!) and epic wins. It’ll be like having a gang of sewing buddies popping by everyday!"

Amanda was right! What I did not foresee though was how this challenge made me contemplate on where I am coming from and heading to as a sewist. What do you consider your best make? And why? How did your early makes look? What is your best finish, where do you get your inspiration? Sewing soul searching! I absolutely loved this challenge. For those of you who did not take part, here are the 30 daily themes and my 30 pictures.

From left to right and top to bottom: Sewing space, Technique, Stash, WiP, Tools, You, Insides, Signature style, Next project.

Inspiration, Early make, Favourite finish, View, UFO, Sewing library, Organisation, Planning, Fun.

Fit, Notions, Craziest fabric, Tried and true, Patterns, Challenge, Complete, Red hot mess, Best make.

Hem, Learning, Top tip.

I want to thank Amanda for this brilliant idea and I want to thank all sewing buddies, old and new, for popping by each day. You were inspiring! What a success it was, over 12.600 tagged pictures on Instagram, and still counting. Take a look (#bpSewvember) and if you don't have an Instagram account yet, you might consider getting one cause it's FUN!

Monday 10 November 2014

The 'Hepburn' buttonhole scarf

This summer Julie of JetSetSewing shared a pattern for a 1950s inspired scarf. Julie made the scarf with her 'Swiss intern Karl', a Bernina 560. Last time I looked there were no handsome interns around chez Foxgloves but I do have one of Karl's ancestors working for me. His great-grandaunt happens to be my long term employee, since 1987. She recently underwent major surgery after a silly act of spontaneous combustion but she's fine now. Tough broad.
Just like her owner, she's always in for a good challenge. So when I found some pretty silk dupioni during a shopping trip in Amsterdam the two of us were ready for pattern testing!

The pattern can be found as a free download at We all sew . It's only 8 pages and it's a fun job to match up the stars while taping. On to the instructions!

The scarf is taken from an original 1950s design, and it has a little secret . . . it holds its flirty shape with some inside tucks and a big buttonhole.

Some tucks?  THERE'S 24 OF THEM!!

(Julie refers to them as 'tedious tucks' and the scarf will be fine without them) We're going for the full 50s 'oomph' and if 24 tucks is what it takes, well, 24 it is! 

Auntie may not have the looks, she still has the muscles and when she puts on her dancing shoes she makes a mean corded buttonhole!

Some more stitching and pressing and it's done! 

If you're looking for a nice little sewing project or a pretty Christmas gift I really recommend this pattern. Thanks for sharing, Julie & Karl!

Tuesday 4 November 2014

French jacket, construction

Ahh, the never ending story of the French jacket! After finishing quilting the lining to the bouclé it was time to start assembling. Mind you, this is by NO means a tutorial. Just me documenting my struggle using various resources in an attempt to make my first couture cardigan jacket. Usually you would sew the outer shell from your fashion fabric, the inner shell from your lining pieces and then sew the two together. With lining and fashion fabric already joined a different order was needed. First I pinned and basted all vertical seams in the bouclé. The lining was carefully folded out of the way.

The seam lines were stitched by machine. (These pictures were taken very early in the morning, hence the blue undertone). This is what it looked like when all princess seams and side seams were sewn.

After pressing the seams, using a silk organza press cloth, the seam allowances had to be trimmed. I cut them so that the seam allowances lined up with the first row of quilting. A very precise job! When all seam allowances lay flat I carefully trimmed the lining. The lining seams were pinned as lapped seams with one lining piece pinned just passed the bouclé seam, the other one folded just over it, the final seam ending up directly over the bouclé seam. Hmmm, not the best explanation but if you like to see more of this technique I do recommend these video's by Leisa of A Challenging Sew. The seams were then closed by hand, using a fell stitch. 

Cutting, cleaning and hand stitching of the seams took me about an hour for each seam. There are six in the bodice and four in the sleeves.

As much as I like hand stitching, it is of course very time consuming. There is still so much more to do! Putting in the sleeves, finishing front edges and hems, sewing on trim, a chain, maybe pockets. This could easily take up all available sewing time till Christmas. Now that I finished the bodice seams, cut the sleeves and basted the shoulders I feel like it's time for a different approach. Just three pieces to deal with now, it's on a hanger and I can easily put it out of the way. I will continue working on this jacket, but since it's a summer jacket there is no rush. From now on it will be a side project, instead of dominating all work spaces in my sewing room. I'll put in some hours when I have the time, but it will no longer be an obstacle that's keeping me from my autumn/winter sewing plans.

This is what it looks like now. A hot mess, slowly taking shape. 

To be continued!