Sunday 31 January 2016

Message from the jungle

Roarrr! Or better: Beep beep! Oonk-a-lunk! According to the Onomatopoeia Dictionary those are bird sounds. (Onomatopoeia ((ŏn′ə-măt′ə-pē′ə, -mä′tə-) is the formation of words such as buzz or murmur that imitate the sounds associated with the objects or actions they refer to). Isn't that interesting? It undeniably proves the educational value of Jungle January, the annual party hosted by Anne of Pretty Grievances.

For the second year in a row I joined the jungle parade (you can find last year's entry here) so I spent the last weekend of January in my sewing room, turning tropical bird fabric into a wrap dress.

Last night it got a bit creepy, when an army of  decapitated woodpeckers and oonk-a-lunks were giving me the side eye, giving the jungle a spooky Hitchcock vibe. Despite this unfortunate collateral damage things went really well, except for modelling this dress. Why, you ask?

A monsoon flooded the concrete jungle! What's a girl to do, except grab a vine and swing to the highest tree to protect her not-so-jungle-proof footwear?

With less than two hours to go in Jungle January I leave you with a sneak peek of my dress and the promise to show more of this birds/roses/leopards tropical surprise soon. Spoiler alert: I love it!

Punk-er-lunk! Chacalaca!

Tuesday 12 January 2016

Review Knipmode February 2016

The opening of Knipmode's February issue is quite spectacular: four designer knockoffs, straight from the catwalk. A Michael Kors coat, a Salvatore Ferramo top and skirt, a Stella McCartney suit and a DVF wrap dress, all from Spring 2016 shows.

Knipmode 2/2016, Michael Kors (Getty Images)

Knipmode 2/2016 Salvatore Ferragamo (Getty Images)

Knipmode 2/2016 Stella McCartney (Getty Images)

Knipmode 2/2016 Diane von Furstenberg (Getty Images)

Although Knipmode offers designer knockoffs on a regular basis, I can't recall seeing official catwalk images next to Knipmode line drawings before. The replicas are usually presented as sewn up Knipmode interpretations next to a picture of the original. Like this DKNY inspired pattern elsewhere in the magazine:

Knipmode 2/2016

Similar, but with noticable differences in the proportions. The line drawings for the designer patterns look like accurate copies. The models are obviously wearing the real thing, but unlike the pattern makers of McCall Pattern Company (as discussed in this post) I doubt if Knipmode's crew had access to the original designer garments at any time. Let's hope they sew up looking as stunning as the originals. I certainly like where the inspiration is coming from!

On a side note, in her foreword the editor mentions these patterns were created for the real fashion victims. Seriously? Addressing your readers as women who are unable to identify boundaries of style, slavishly following trends against better judgment? 
I say that's uncalled for. 

Pattern overview Knipmode 2/2016

This month's illustrated sewing course is for retro styled tapered pants #23

Knipmode 2/2016 #23

Knipmode 2/2016
A collection built around panel prints, designed by Knipmode.

Knipmode 2/2016

More colour blocking, a peplum top that I feel strangely attracted to, despite the fit issues on the model, and a faux leather dress that's embellished with studs in the DIY section.
And lots of skirts. 

Knipmode 2/2016

I really like this set. The cropped jacket is a good match with the intriguing design lines of the Donna Karan style skirt. My personal favourite of the month must be this skirt:

It's on my sewing list and it fits right into my sewing and stash busting plans. I have the perfect fabric (in red). It was earmarked for a dress, but this skirt is well worth changing plans for! 

All in all another inspiring issue. I can't help thinking there are patterns in this magazine that would cause some buzz in the online sewing community had they been released as a single pattern by any pattern company with a stronger online presence!

Thursday 7 January 2016

Sewing plans?

Reading everyone's sewing plans at the beginning of the new year made me stop and think about where I am heading. In recent years I filled some gaps in my wardrobe and now I've reached the point where I can honestly say I don't need to sew anything. What's more, I don't need fabric. Or patterns. I find that a very liberating thought.

I can fully concentrate on what I really want to sew! 

When I reflect on last year's sewing there was one project that I enjoyed from planning stage till sewing on the last carefully selected button: the trench coat I worked on for almost three months. Underlined, bound buttonholes, flat piping, lbeautiful lining, lots of details and some hand sewing. It's the kind of project I love, also resulting in the kind of garment that I know will last for years. In order to make more projects like this I'm going to change directions and slow down my sewing even more. 

When I look at my stash I see a lot of fabric that I like, and only a small pile that I really love. Most of my fabrics are bought locally, or within a radius of 20 km from my home. Cotton and knits are easily available but don't ask for silk, cashmere, tweed or even crepe or you'll get the side eye. 

For a few special projects a year I'd rather buy one length of designer silk than add ten lengths to the stash that don't spark real joy. Ha! Enter the life changing effects of the Marie Kondo method ;)

Now when will these changes in my sewing start? Probably during the second half of this year. After three years of inactivity, caused by a painful back injury, I went back to the gym in November. Just two months later I'm not only regaining strength but I've also noticed a change in my measurements. I'll give it a few more months to see where it's going before starting to make close fitting tailored jackets or other time consuming garments that could turn into a potential alterations nightmare.

So what are the plans  dreams for 2016?

During the first half of the year I hope to:
- Sew a dent in my existing stash by making wrap dresses, shirts, tees and casual skirts 
- Sew a shirt for mr Foxgloves
- Watch all Alison Smith Craftsy classes
- Try new techniques from various Claire Shaeffer books, Kenneth D King's Cool Couture and 
- Learn how to draft slopers
After the summer holidays:
- Make trips to Nanucci Tesutti and Silk Route in Amsterdam, collect swatches from Linton 
  and who knows, maybe even take the train to Paris, to buy special fabrics 
- Start working on one or two jackets

Maybe you noticed the question mark in the title of this post. Perhaps these plans are more ambitious than realistic in a year in which we also plan to redecorate our home and maybe even build an extension. I also know myself well enough to foresee that it only takes one exciting release of a shiny new pattern to change what I want to sew overnight. But a girl can dream. 

To keep myself focused I ordered Vogue 1721 on Etsy, an Oscar de la Renta pattern that will get a prominent spot in my sewing room as it embodies all of my plans in the best way imaginable. For me the picture of that jacket paints a thousand words.

Whatever your sewing dreams are, I hope you'll make them come true in 2016!