Thursday 31 December 2015

My year in patterns

New Year's Eve. Can't think of a better moment for reflections on the past year. Don't you love reading all sewing hits and misses posts? When I was looking back at my sewing I found it hard to select five hits and five misses, so I tried something else. Sewing statistics! This year I sewed a total of 15 garments. Only one of them was a dress. I don't believe in rules for the sewing room, but I had a vague plan in the back of my mind to sew less dresses and more separates. Win!

Four tops (one unblogged), three skirts (one unblogged), two jackets, two sweaters, a cardigan, a blouse, a dress and a coat. All of my garments have been worn. Some an awful lot, like the jackets and the coat, others less, due to the nature of the garment.

Most worn: Ottobre trenchcoat
This coat took a big chunk out of my sewing time, yet it was worth every minute!

Least worn: M6696

My Christmas dress , finished too late for Christmas 2014, was my least worn handmade garment of 2015. I still call it a big hit because it was there when I needed it: for an opening night at the ballet, a formal dinner in September and, as you can see above, this year's Christmas dinner with the family!

No misses this year, although some projects were more challenging than others....

....but  eventually everything turned out fine and although not very productive measured by the number of finished garments I call it a succesfull sewing year. All handmades in regular rotation, that's what it's all about, right?

During my first year of blogging I discovered a lot of new to me pattern companies and I wanted to try them ALL. This year I'm pretty much back to my regular routine. 

More on the philosophy behind my pattern selection in my next post. For now I want to end with my nine most popular pictures of 2015 on Instagram. If you haven't joined IG yet, please consider to do so because it is so much fun!

Thanks everyone for another year full of sewing inspiration, and I wish you all a very happy, healthy and creative New Year!

Monday 28 December 2015

Free Knipmode pattern

As a special Christmas gift Knipmode magazine offers a free pdf download of any pattern in their shop. It's a thank you to everyone who showed an interest in the magazine by following their blog, Facebook page or subscribing to their newsletter. All you have to do is enter the code KERST, valid until December 31.

I think it's a wonderful opportunity to check the fit of a new to you pattern company or perhaps rediscover the Knipmode patterns. The announcement was made in a video, so unfortunately Google translate can't come to the rescue for non Dutch speakers. I got some emails from foreign Knipmode fans, asking for help. So here's a quick guide to the Knipmode pattern shop.

You can scroll until you find a pattern to your liking, or search by category: vrouw (woman), bruidskleding (bridal), zwangerschap (maternity wear) and more.
When you found your pattern of choice push button Aan mandje toevoegen (add to shopping cart)
Go to winkelwagen (shopping cart) and push button betalen (payment)
If you already have an account you can now enter the code KERST and push bestelling plaatsen (place your order). If you don't have an account yet, just fill in the required name, mail, address and create a wachtwoord (password).

That's all! The newer patterns (since September 2015) all come in an extended size range (European size 34-54), older patterns come in regular and Plus sizes.Seam allowances are not included. Have fun browsing around!

Thursday 24 December 2015

Burda/Plantain for the holidays!

Hi all! I'm typing this post with sticky fingers as I'm in between making vanilla fudge, baking almond  cookies and making ice cream. You know, the type of job you don't want to do while wearing your new Christmas dress. Last week I finally finished a sweater I cut out last winter, right in time to wear it while cutting holly and other evergreens from the garden, decorating the tree and, well, baking and more baking. 

It started out as a Burda magazine pattern which turned out too short and boxy, so I only used the shoulder and neckline section of that pattern (can't remember what issue it was in, around 2003 I think) and used my tried and tested Deer & Doe Plantain from the bust down.

My earlier Plantains all had a scooped neckline and I'm quite happy with the v-neck for a change. I used a light weight wool knit fabric, bought some time ago because I both liked the colour combo and the houndstooth print. Instead of the neckband I cut a facing, the hems were serged, fold over once to reduce bulk and then hand stitched.

It was getting dark during my photoshoot and I finally managed to get a picture of the back.......

......After several failed attempts to be in the right position in time ;)


The upside of last year's disaster, when I failed to finish my Christmas dress in time, is this year's dress has been ready since January. So relaxed!
Today I'm turning the sewing room into a guest room, carefully removing all pins and seam rippers from the floor. I'm ready to party and spend quality time with my loved ones.

Wishing you all a wonderful time!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday 9 December 2015

Knipmode A-line skirt

Look! Living proof that there's still some sewing going on chez Foxgloves! And it's a first, as I've surprised myself by making an A-line skirt. I can't remember ever owning one before. My skirts are either pencil skirts, half or 3/4 circle skirts or flowy gored skirts. Why not try some other styles?
When I saw the line drawings of an A-line skirt in the Knipmode December issue I remembered an end of the bolt piece of fabric that was waiting for the right pattern to come along. It's a mix of velvet and shiny jacquard roses and it was a dream to sew.

The only picture of the skirt in the magazine was this one:

Not very helpful, to say the least. Fabric suggestions were a bit confusing. The cutting layout shows the skirt is cut on the cross grain of a non stretch fabric. Yet stretch lining was advised?? I could not think of any reason to follow that suggestion, especially as the only stretch lining I can get locally is the thin, clingy, inferior quality that doesn't go well with tights. I had some nice Bemberg lining in the stash that looked much better. Last change I made was to go for a black velvet waistband, instead of the pattern's faux leather. Much softer to the skin!

When you end up with some giant roses on your bum, pattern matching is a must. Even when there's not much fabric to work with. It kind of worked, and the lapped zipper is well hidden too. Hooray for busy prints!

On the left you can just see the black bias tape I used to hem the outer shell. The lining could have been a tad longer, don't know what happened. Slight miscalculation I guess. On the right a close up of the lapped zipper. I hardly ever do this anymore, but for once I obediently followed instructions and I'm glad I did. Invisible zippers usually are my first choice, but on heavier fabrics the good old regular ones are a safer choice.
The fit of the skirt was spot on, I didn't change a thing!

Happy moment. No changes!

When I use Knipmode patterns for a pencil skirt I usually have to change the hip curve, the drafted hip curve sits too low on me. No need to do so on an A-line. The skirt length, 62 cm, is the original length of the pattern. Knipmode drafts for 172 cm and I'm 173 cm, but from the picture in the magazine I could never have guessed that is was over the knee! (By the way, those are not bra straps. It's a shirt by Dutch designer Mart Visser with a double neckline band for special effects in front and back)

So. Now I'm the owner of my first A-line skirt. What else can I do with it?

Casual, with a cardigan and boots

Dressed up with a jacket

What's the verdict? It's comfortable, the pattern was flawless and quick to make. I'm not sure about the A-line being the best shape for me, here's the same jacket paired with a pencil skirt, but let's see what I think after wearing this new to me style for a while.
I can think of more combinations to try out but this is as far I got before it started raining again.

Window dummy look. Just unscrew the arms to give her a different outfit ;)

 That's all for now. I'm going back to the Donna Karan jacket I cut out last night, more on that soon!

Thursday 3 December 2015

Next up: Vogue 1465, a Donna Karan jacket

Just a quick post to share what's going on in my sewing room. I finished a pencil skirt, a lace top, a warm sweater and an A-line skirt, all Knipmode patterns and all unblogged. We've had an usually warm but wet November in The Netherlands. Whenever I was trying to take blog photos it was either raining cats and dogs or gale force winds would blow my outfit over my head. Forecasts changed from bad to unpredictable now, so maybe in the next few days I'll find a dry spell to drag all my new stuff outside!

Sewing room view

For my next project I picked Vogue 1465, a Donna Karan jacket. It's an unlined jacket with front and back princess seams and two-piece sleeves. Mitered corners, a shaped hemline, five rows of top stitching and 12+ meters of bound seams. Just the kind of project I was looking for!

As you can see the wrong side of the fabric shows in the lapels so initially I was looking for a fabric with different textures on both sides, as used in the original. All I could find were fabrics with different colours or prints, resulting in contrasting lapels. The longer I looked at the line drawings, the more I liked the idea of keeping it simple, to highlight the design.

Luckily one of my favourite fabric suppliers had a high quality Punta di Roma in stock in a lovely deep, warm red. I also bought Bemberg lining in a slightly darker colour to make the bias seam binding.

I was surprised to see how few images showed up when I googled V1465 for inspiration. Just two reviews on PR? (both with contrasting lapels) Is anyone else planning to make this jacket?

Happy sewing!