Have you seen my Sewing Mojo?

Most of you probably have been there before, now I have lost my sewing mojo somehow. It does not mean that I do not sew at the moment, but it does not give me the joy it should. Mainly because I had a few failures in the last time. So I lost my confidence and with that my mojo went away. I am also behind with blogging (I finished my Marfy Jacket finally, a second version of the Emily culottes and a Watson bra).

After completing the Jaqueline Hoodie I was so eager to start sewing dresses and already chose some patterns and fabric. But I had promised my friend to sew sweat pants for him, so that came first. Sweat pants are easy, right, so this should not take too long. I somehow managed to mix up the front and back resulting in the pockets pointing in the wrong direction. I needed more time unpicking than actually sewing (black thread, black fabric, serged seams…).

Eventually they were finished and it was all dresses again. We will go to the “Phantom of the Opera” end of June for my birthday, so what better reason do you need for a new dress? And how about Marfy 3414? I had the muslin already cut out last year, so it was just basting it together. Alas, the fit was awful. A lot of gaping and too much fabric in the bust area and too small in the waist. Obviously I do not have a “Marfy compatible” body. I released the waist darts and pinned out the excess fabric along the princess seams. I also thought about shortening the straps a bit.

2015-05-14-Marfy_muslin

All these changes had a lot of impact to the neckline and the straps were no longer sitting at the end of the shoulder. I decided that this would take a long time to get the fit right and put it aside.

So I tried a knit dress. A knit dress is easy, right? You can sew it up on a weekend and usually you do not have any fitting issues, maybe a tweak here or there. I chose Vogue 8593. As I wanted to use a knit with a flower print, I eleminated the center back seam and shortened the back darts. This should minimize the disruption of the pattern. I made up a muslin (I am so glad I did), and the back turned out great. However, the front, way too much fabric below the bust. I know I have a small bust and usually have to make a small bust alteration for woven fabrics. With knits I usually can get awaywithout. Not with this pattern. I pinned out the excess fabric, but I have no idea how to change the pattern.

2015-05-14-Vogue_muslin (1)

The pattern has not front darts, I guess they disappeared in the pleats. I would try to hide the extra fabric in the pleats, too. Maybe I can try to drape it on my dress form. The two sides also differ. I assume this is due to the assymetric center pleat. Do you have any tip what I should do?

Maybe I should start developing slopers and drawing my own patterns, I am so tired of all these fitting issues. They are the reason why most projects lay around week after week…

In my despair I turned to knitting. I started a Myrna cardigan and are slowly deciphering an English knitting instruction. What would I do without You Tube? A big thank you to all the people who publish these great tutorials. I bought some yarn that was on sale as I am a total beginner with knitting and I have no idea how this will turn out. At the moment it looks quite promising, though.

If you have seen my sewing mojo, please ask it to come back to me. I will give it a warm welcome!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in knitting, Marfy, sewing, Uncategorized, Vogue | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

Itch to Stitch Jacqueline Hoodie and Giveaway

Kennis from Itch to Stitch called for pattern testers for the Jacqueline Hoodie two weeks ago, and I could not resist. This hoodie has so cute details that make it special.

2015-04-19-IS-hoodie-front

The hoodie has princess seams, welt pockets, decorative buttons, epaulettes and an off-center zipper.

2015-04-19-IS-hoodie-side

2015-04-19-IS-hoodie-backFabric:

The fabric I used was in my stash for about ten years. I always wanted to use it for a sweater, but thought that would be too boring. It is a cotton sweater knit. I was not sure if the print would work with the pattern, but it does!

2015-04-27-epaulette

Alterations:

I cut a size XS with the following alterations:

  • Small bust alteration: after basting everything together, the hoodie felt a bit loose on me. I took out 2cm width and 1cm length at the princess seams as described here.
  • Adding 1 cm to the shoulder: The Idyllwild Top was a bit small for me in the shoulder, this is why I added some width. Originally I wanted to add 2cm, but that had too much impact on the armhole. I think it went out ok though.
  • Adding 5cm width in total to the bottom. The instructions have “finished garment measurements” which is realy helpful. So I added the width before cutting my fabric. The instructions have you add only to the side seams in order to not destroy the design with the princess seams.

The sleeves are a bit on the long side. I did not shorten them, because I like a bit longer sleeves for this hoodie, but if you don’t or if you usually have to shorten your sleeves, this is something you definitively should check.

2015-04-27-Knöpfe

Construction Notes:

Due to all the details and a lot of topstitching, this is not a quick afternoon project. And you have some bulky seams to handle. The topstitching is absolutely neccessary to tame this bulk. My sewing machine is a real workhorse and did not complain once. However, I put my serger on its limits. While attaching the zipper one seam was so thick that it nearly was to thick to get cut by the serger blade. Here is a view of the inside:

2015-04-27-innen

Check out the other tester’s versions:

Monday, Apr 27: Coralie (stitch-n-smile.com)
Wednesday, Apr 29: Jordan (goddessofsewing.blogspot.com)
Thursday, Apr 30: Elsa (lacasacactus.canalblog.com – you are welcome to do it in French)
Monday, May 4: Stacey (allsewnupbystacey.blogspot.co.uk)
Tuesday, May 5: Rachel (onceuponasewingmachine.com)
Wednesday, May 6: Debbie (stitchitnow.net)

The pattern is currently on sale and in addition to that you also have the chance to win a pattern here.

Happy sewing!

 

Posted in Giveaway, Itch to Stitch, pattern tester | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Simplicity 1849 and some underwear

Do you plan your next sewing project while on work? I do, sometimes. Especially when I am standing in the rest room and looking into that big mirror. This happened a few weeks ago when I was thinking about a top that might go with my new pair of Emily Culottes. A white T-Shirt was in my mind, and as I do not own a single plain white T-Shirt I would have to sew one. But a simple T-Shirt is a bit boring, right? I wore a version of Simplicity 1849 that day and while looking in that big mirror  it occured to me that it would look great together with the culottes. I would just shorten the sleeves to make it more summer appropriate. One weekend later I had what you already saw in this picture.

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There seems to be a bit of gaping at the neckline. I do not have this with the version I made two years ago:

2015-04-04-B1849_alt

Fabric:

The fabric is white cotton knit with elasthane. I got it during the sale when Elingeria closed down her business. It has a great recovery and was perfect for this top.

Alterations:

I cut a size 10 without any alterations.

Construction Notes:

This top is actually a shirt with the twist as an overlay and a front facing. I fiddled a bit with the V-neckline to get it right, but else this is an easy sew. Seams are all finished with the serger.

From the leftovers I made two more Watson Bikinis and one Butterick 6031 camisole.

For the Bikinis I tried to add lace scraps (I hate to throw away fabric scraps and are constantly searching for ways to put them into use). I like how it turned out.

2015-04-03-bikinis

I even made some ribbons. It took me a whole Sunday morning to make these two, but aren’t they cute?

2015-04-03-bikini-detail

For the camisole I changed two things. Instad of using clear elastic to sew under the edge of the neckline lace, I used very tiny white “Dekollete” elastic. The reason is that when I iron my camisoles I always melt away a bit of the clear elastic. Secondly, I did not use small lace for the straps but usual lingerie elastic. The lace straps always come out of the washing machine quite crumpled.

2015-04-04-B6031
2015-04-04-B6031-detail

Posted in lingerie, Simplicity, Top | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Cloth Habit Watson Bra and Bikini

Have you already seen enough Watson bras in the blogosphere? Please bear with me, here is one more…. I sewed it already in January when Amy from Cloth Habit started the sew-along. As you probably already know, this is a soft bra. I thought it might be a good starting point to get into lingerie sewing, and I still think it is. The fit is forgiving, and you do not have to pay attention to underwires, let alone find the correct underwire size…. It was already quite an adventure to get all the notions.

So, this is my first ever Watson bra and bikini:

2015-02-03-Watson bra 3

2015-02-01-Watson-bikini

Fabric:

Honestly, I do not know what fabric it is I used. I placed an order at Wien 2000 and this fabric was in the parcel as extra. As it had the right amount of stretch I thought I could just use it for a first test version. Inspired by Amy’s bra that she showed during the sew-along I used black elastic I had in my stash.

Alterations:

I made no alterations for the bra. I cut a size 32A. For the bikini I cut size S. The first version is as the pattern came. For the second version (in the front of the picture above) I raised the leg opening a bit and added 1 cm lenght to the front piece at the crotch seam. I always feel that I need more lenght in the area, else the front always dips in a bit.

Construction Notes:

With the help of the sew-along I manged to sew the bra together. I did not try to have neat seam finishes, I just concentrated on the constuction. I struggeld with sewing the cups to the cradle, this needs a lot more of practicing.

2015-02-03-Watson bra 2

2015-02-03-Watson bra 1

Conclusion:

I love the bikini pattern. The fit is how I like it and they are a great starting point to play around with the design. This will become my favourite pattern.

For the bra, I am not sure. It felt uncomfortable when wearing it and first I thought that the band was too tight. But now I think that it is the cradle which is lined with some non-stretch fabric, as the pattern tells you. I do not have any RTW bra with a cradle, most of my bras only have a very narrow bridge. So I think that I am just not used to have a whole unstretchy cradle around my ribcage. For the next version I will try what happens when I use two layers of the outer fabric. This should reduce the stretch but still have some give.

 

Posted in Cloth Habit, lingerie, sew-along | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Itch to Stitch: Emily Culottes, Blog Tour and Giveaway

Hi all,

For the second time I had the opportunity to test a pattern for Itch to Stitch. This time it was the Emily Culottes and I enjoyed the process and the finished garment as much as last time.

2015-03-08-EC-front1

The pattern has different options:

  • pleated or unpleated front
  • waist tabs or waist tie
  • lined or unlined
  • slanted welt pockets or patch pockets
  • shorten or lengthen line

I made a lined version with unpleated front, waist tie and patch pockets. The length is the original length of the pattern.

2015-03-08-EC_side

2015-03-08-EC_back

Fabric:

Do you recognize the fabric? It is the same I used fo the Marfy blouse (no, I won’t wear both pieces together…). It is a lightweight cotton. Due to fabric shortage I skipped any attempt of pattern matching, but I think it is ok with this print. First I did not want to line the culottes, but the fabric was too sheer, so I used a white cotton batiste as lining.

Alterations:

I cut a size 2 according to my measurements. The fit was spot on. The only alteration I had to do was to tweak the center back a bit due to my swayback. I took out 1 cm at each side in the center back at the bottom of the waist band and the top of the back.

Construction Notes:

The instructions were easy to follow. Kennis from Itch to Stitch really takes your hand and explains everything very clear and detailed. While still struggling with the lining of my Marfy jacket and not really knowing what I do, I was so happy to have this break and the straightforward sewing of the culottes. I even managed to sew in the lining by machine. Usually I do this by hand (a process that I really love) but for the testing I followed strictly the instructions and it never hurts to learn a new technique, right?

2015-03-15-EC-inside

You can see how the seam allowance gets wider where the center back meets the waistband. This is what I took out (I did not grade the seam allowance afterwards….).

Below is a detail shot of the patch pocket. I found this cute buttons with flowers:

2015-03-15-EC_Pocket

The hem is just folded over and machine sewn in place. The instructions tell you to do a blind hem which I skipped because my fabric is rather thin.

2015-03-15-EC-hem

The lining is tacked to the outer fabric at the side seams and inseams to avoid any twisting. As you can see, I finished all the seam allowances with the serger.

2015-03-15-hem-tack

Conclusion:

This is a straightforward and versatile pattern. Unfortunately it is still too cold to wear my new culottes. I have already cut out a long version with the welt pocket and waist tab option. I plan to use some piping, too. You can see some other tester versions here:

Jordan from  http://goddessofsewing.blogspot.com
Jessie from http://jesssewfabulous.wordpress.com
Stacey  http://allsewnupbystacey.blogspot.co.uk

And now for the fun part:

The pattern is currently on sale and in addition to that you also have the chance to win a pattern here: a Rafflecopter giveaway.

Happy sewing!

2015-03-08-EC_front2

Posted in Itch to Stitch, pattern tester | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Knitted Cardigan

I finally completed my knitted cardigan last week.

2015_03_08_cardigan_sitzend

I am slow with my sewing projects, but with knitting it is worse: I started with the cardigan in July. I am glad that I chose a simple pattern. It is from a German women’s magazine, Brigitte. Front and back are basically rectangles.

08-cardigan-im-musterstrick

The pattern comes in two sizes, small and large. I chose the small size, but it turned out to be too tight around the hips. So I just knitted two side panels and inserted them into the side seams.

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The pockets and belt are my own idea. I always need a pocket, and the belt keeps things closed.

2015_03_08_cardigan_back

Despite having finished the cardigan at the end of winter, it got already a lot of wear. After completing the bodice I sewed it together and wore it without sleeves. Later on the sleeves were added and it already kept me warm while knitting the side panels which I actually had to knit twice: First I used the same pattern as for the bottom band, but that looked just awfully. So I decided to follow the pattern as for the bodice to keep the side panel a bit more inconspicuous (Please excuse that my English knitting vocabulary does not exist and I can not explain what stitches (?) I used…)

2015_03_08_cardigan_front

I am quite happy how everything turned out. The cardigan is so warm and cozy that I will never ever have to be cold in winter again.

Side note: with this piece I actually completed my casual wardrobe 1!

Posted in knitting, wardrobe architect | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Cloth Habit Ladyshorts

For years I have tried to sew underwear but always without success. I have used different patterns and tried to copy RTW underwear. Often the fit was not as I expected and they all looked ugly as I, of course, used knit scraps for my attempts. This was my biggest mistake, as the fabric I used was in most cases just not the right one.

After discovering “Cloth Habit” everything has changed. I have read through the blog for a few weeks now and learned so much about lingerie sewing and the different fabrics and how to sew on the elastics. Amy explains on her blog how to take into account the stretch factor of fabric and, most importantly, on her patterns is indicated what kind of fabric they are designed for.

I decided to try the “Ladyshorts“, the free pattern from Cloth Habit. I made a muslin first with a fabric that did have the 60-70% stretch as needed. It did look ugly. But I looked beyond the ugliness and found that the fit was good. So I ordered some nice lace and different trims and sewed four different Ladyshorts.

2015-02-01-Ladyshorts

I am so happy with the result. They do not only fit well, they also look nice.

The only issue I have with the pattern is the crotch lining. Next time I will make it wider so that it is the same width as the front piece. I am not sure how to sew the overlap of the lace trim. The first version is sewn as the pattern instruction tell you: first make a circle with the trim and then sew it on to the shorts.

2015-02-01-LS-band1

I found the seam a bit bulky and for the other versions I did not close the trim before. However, the overlap is not as neat as I wished it to be.

2015-02-01-LS-band2

Maybe the better method is as the instructions tells you and probaby I just need some more practice to get it right. Next time I will pay more attention to match the scallops of the lace.

The instructions also explain what to do when your fabric has less or more stretch than the 60-70% the pattern is designed for. This is one of the lessons I learned: always find out the percent of the fabric’s stretch. This will influence the fit considerably.

The great thing about sewing lingerie is that the pieces are small and you do not need much time. AND you can search for all those nice laces and other stuff…You will definetively see more lingerie on this blog in the future!

Posted in Cloth Habit, lingerie | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Itch to Stitch: Idyllwild Top & Dress

This is my first make of 2015. I already finished it a few weeks ago, but did not get around to taking pictures. It is so difficult in this season of the year to take good pictures. So please excuse the heavily photoshopped and dress form images.

The pattern is from Itch To Stitch and I was one of the pattern testers. It comes with different options for neckline, sleeves and lenght. I made one version with cap-sleeves and one version with ruched long sleeves and ruched T-shirt length.

2015_01_25_IWT_capsleeves

2015-01-25-IWT-front

2015-01-25-IWT-sideview

Fabric:

I used lightweight knits for both T-shirts. The blue one is viscose, the other one with the nondescript color (it was described as taupe on the website where I ordered it) is a bamboo knit. Except for the color I love it very much. It is the first time that I have used bamboo knit and it is incredible soft and feels very comfortable on the skin. It was a bit slippery while sewing, though.

Alterations:

I cut a size XS according to the measurements chart (which also comes in cm and not only inches!). My bust size is somewhat smaller, but usually I can neglect this fact with knit garments. The only fitting alteration I needed to do was lengthening the shoulder line. I added 1 cm for the blue version, but the sleeves were still pulled up a bit. For the long sleeved version I added 2cm and this is the right shoulder width for me now. With the new shoulder point I had to draw a new line for the armscye. I did not change the sleevecap. I assumed that the knit would be forgiving enough and still fit into the new armhole. the dashed line in the picture below is the original cutting line.

2015-05-25-IWT_pattern_alteration

For the long sleeved shirt I made the neckband wider. I also had to shorten the band by 1cm. I am not sure if this was because of the stretchiness of the fabric or because the band was wider now.

Construction Notes:

As this were simple T-shirts there is not much to say about the construction. Kennis provides detailed instructions with drawings, so that you will have no problems to sew this together even when this is your first T-shirt ever. I serged nearly all seams. For the neckline I sewed in the band with my sewing machine, folded the seam allowance to the inside and finished with the cover stitch of my serger. I am still not able to use my serger for sewing in a circle…All hems are just folded under and stitched in place with the cover stitch.

2015-01-25-IWT-neckline

I was quite curious how a cap sleeve is sewn: the whole sleeve is doubled with the hem as foldline. Then the sleeve is sewn to the top of the armscye. The seam allowance of the lower part of the armscye is folded to the inside and stitched in place. It is a bit fiddly if you do it the first time. I also sewed in some clear elastic to the lower seam allowance to prevent gaping.

Conclusion:

I really love the fit of this T-shirt: it is fitted but not too tight. For those who do not want to draft their own variations I think it is a nice idea to have many different options inluded in one pattern. In addition to this, Kennis is selling this pattern for only 1$ and all proceeds will be donated to Salvandos Corazones who care for child survivors of commercial exploitation.

Disclaimer: I got the test pattern for free with no strings/review requests attached. 

Side Note: I now have also a faceook page which you might already have noticed from the little icon on my side bar! I am quite new to facebook and still learning how it all works but it might be quite useful if I want to post something that is not worth a whole blog post.

 

Posted in Itch to Stitch, pattern tester, Top | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

2014 in Review and Plans for 2015

I was unsure if I should write a review of my sewing year. 2014 was not the best one for me personally. But after reading so many of those posts in the last days I decided that it might help me to analyse my sewing and maybe get a bit of structure to my sewing plans for 2015. So, this was my sewing year 2014:

I sewed 21 garments, and I blogged about most of them. My absolute favorites that I wear again and again are:

2014-08-10-B6031-version1

2014-06-15-singe dress front

2014-09-10-KS-3555-front

2014-11-06-Aline-front1

2014-09-10-MC-6796-front

2014_09_01_casual_1

  • The camisoles are really a basic and I wear them every day during the colder season, that is 6 months of the year.
  • I wore the Singe Summer Dress nearly every day at home during the unusual long and warm summer.
  • Shirt, skirt and pullover are in regular turn worn at the office.
  • T-shirt and pants are worn nearly every day in the evening at home.

All these garments have in common that I need them in my every day life, fabric and pattern were a good match (that is something I still struggle with…) and they fit, are just comfy and loved. I think I will add the Style Arc blouse to the list above, but I did not yet had the possibility to wear it (it is just too cold).

The other garments I made were either complete failures, like my pants, the fabric choice was not good or I just simply forgot that I have those new garments! Does that ever happen to you?

So, what are my plans for 2015? Considering what I learned from my analysis, I will try to focus on fit, the correct fabric choice and consider how the garment will fit in my life. I also want to finish some unfinished projects like the Marfy jacket (I did not forget it, how could I, it looks accusingly at me every day from the dress form). I want to sew more dresses, reduce my fabric stash, sew some projects that I have in mind for years, start bra making, sew some pants that really fit, improve my blog writing, make better pictures, build my wardrobe so that everything fits together, include more couture techniques….And I have decided to participate this year in the RTW fast, as you can see in my sidebar. However this should not be too difficult. Last year, besides underwear and socks, I only purchased two cardigans.

And I have no idea how to achieve all this or how to get some structure into my plans. Maybe first I should try to reduce the list and focus on what is the most important for me.

Or just start sewing.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Style Arc Sissy Blouse

Finally I have finished my Style Arc Sissy Bouse. While working on it I got the feeling that it would never be finished. I got sidetracked by the Sewing Bee contest at Pattern Review (I passed the first round, but failed in the second. Honestly, I was glad I did. It was a great experience, but I love much more to sew what I like and in the time I need). But now, the blouse is finished and I love it.

2014-12-28-front1

2014-12-28-back

Here is how it looks untucked, but I think I will wear it tucked in:

2014-12-28-front3

Fabric:

The fabric is a lightweight white cotton that is semi-sheer. It has a nice striped texture which means that I did some stripe matching. Also, as the fabric is so sheer, I made sure that the two yoke pieces and the collar pieces were cut exactly the same.

Alterations:

This was my very first Style Arc pattern and I was curious how it would fit. I needed only minimal changes:

  • adding 1 cm at the hips
  • lowering the front darts by 1 cm
  • I took in 1 cm at the center back where the back joins the yoke tapering to nothing at the sides to accomodate for my swayback

There are some wrinkles at the back armscye. I do not know if this is due to how I am standing or if this needs to be fitted (I would not know how…). Nevertheless, this blouse feels very comfortable to wear. If all Style Arc patterns fit so well, this will be my new favorite pattern company.

Construction Notes:

I did a lot of hand sewing for this blouse. First of all I made a rolled hem for the ruffles. It was the first time that I made a handrolled hem and I really looked forward to try this new technique. It is time consuming but not at all difficult and the result is lovely. I was a bit afraid that the ruffles might be to prominent, but they are not.

2014-12-28-Rüschen

I tried to make the inside as clean as possible. I used french seams for the sides. The armhole is finished with a silk bias tape (I used a bias tape maker for the first time, but failed badly. I ended up pressing the tape without the tape maker). I reduced topstitiching to a minimum. Only the collar and the yoke are top stitched. The inner edges of the cuffs, collar and front tab are folded under and fell-stitched in place. I also sewed the hem by hand…I could not bring myself to sew it with the machine.

2014-12-28-Armnaht

2014-12-28-Kragen

2014-12-28-hem

I followed the Style Arc instruction for the sleeve tab. I like the shape of it, but I am not happy at all with the method. The edges of the tab are just folded under and sewn into place, the same is done for the opposite slit side. The result is that there is a weird little gap at the top of the slit. Luckily this disappears in the folds when the sleeve is buttoned up. Next time I will look for a different method.

2014-12-28-Slit2

2014-12-28-Slit1

Collar, collar band, cuffs and front tab are interfaced with silk organza. I had some light colored, but no white silk organza in my stash. As the fabric is so sheer, it looked yellowish when I layed it over the silk organza. So I went to Port of Silk in Hamburg, a store that is specialized in silks. But they also did not have white, bleached, organza. Their lightest color was however lighter than the one I had at home, so I purchased some. If you look closely you still see that there is a yellowish touch, but if you do not know you would not notice it.

Originally I had planned to use white buttons, but again, all buttons I had looked yellowish when I layed them onto the fabric.  So I used the black ones that I found in my stash.

 

Posted in blouse, Style Arc | Tagged , | 7 Comments