Thursday, June 26, 2014

Fabric overdose

So... summer sale at my local fabric store just happened... Do I need to say more?

This shopping spree pretty much doubled my fabric stash, so it wasn't so bad to begin with, right?

All of this happened before I took the Summer Stashbust 2014 pledge, I promise! Luckily I now have  quite a stash to sew from.

Do you see a theme here? Apparently I'm into black and blue at the moment. Hmm, didn't realize that until now. Last year this pile would have been all red and yellow. Funny how things change.

So what am I going to make out of all this loveliness? Well, as you all know, sewing plans tend to change. Often. But I can tell you what my plans are at the moment.

This black and white (surprise!) chiffon is destined to become a flowy sleeveless summer top. I'm thinking of copying the fit from a RTW favorite and just widen it at the hem. But we'll see, maybe a perfect pattern pops up before I get around to sewing it up. But I'm definitely thinking simple, no sweating over button bands here, thank you very much.

And some blue chiffon! I'm thinking flowy top here again. I know I said that blue + flowers isn't my thing, but apparently my subconscious begs to differ. I could put it down to the summer heat, except that we've been freezing our butts off here recently. Summer decided to take a rein check, but that only means more sewing time before I need all my me-made summer clothes that are still on the drawing board (not literally. Literally they are just things I ramble to myself before I fall asleep. Seriously, you should hear my thoughts sometimes).

Ooh, and this I'm particularly proud of, since it's a totally new style to me. I'm sure I have seen similar fabrics in the blogosphere, and admired how effortlessly chic and modern they look. I'm especially thinking of Kelli from True Bias here. I hit a real jackpot this time around and found several pieces of pre-cut printed viscose, and this is one of them. I'm thinking flowy shorts, perhaps with pleats in the front. And pockets, definitely pockets. I could always alter my favorite pants pattern, that would probably save me a lot of teeth grinding. 

More printed viscose! I honestly have never had this much viscose in my stash. I'm not sure, but I have the feeling that it's not that common in the fabric stores I go to. Or then I just tend to gravitate towards heavier fabric with more body. Yeah... I definitely tend to do that. For the black one I already have a pattern in mind. Last year I made a playsuit from a Burda Style pattern and loved it! It's a bit too big though, so it ended up on my Summer Project list. I definitely want another one, and this time in a lighter fabric and a cool print. Success! I have enough of the white and blue one to at least make a dress, but it will have to be something special because I really really like this fabric already. 

No more viscose here, but a fabric of unknown blend. It's heavier than the others, and I already have a pattern in mind for this one too. That is, if I don't have time to change my mind. This is a more typical fabric for me in the sense that it is a bit stiff. The colors on the other hand are a rare sight in my wardrobe. I've begun to really like white, but I usually avoid all things beige. The print on this one isn't exactly beige, but a light brown nonetheless. But at 3 €/meter I just had to have it. I'll deal with my aversion for all things beige later.

I've been craving seersucker for a couple of years now, so now that it was on sale I just couldn't resist. And look, I managed to accidentally sneak some yellow into my stash again. The black hasn't taken over completely yet! I'm still contemplating what to make out of this one, but I'm thinking a summer dress. I just have to get over my irrational fear of feeling like a milk maid, a toddler or a beach towel when wearing it.

Oh yeah, and owls happened. Tiny, cute viscose owls. I stood with the fabric in my hand, doubting my sanity, when a thought occurred to me: if Sally from The Quirky Peach can rock a dress with giraffes on it, then I can definitely rock a shirt with some owls!

At the bottom of my pile is also some really stretchy denim. I plan to make jeans shorts to test out a RTW knock off of my favorite pair of jeans. Sadly they have come to the end of the road, but on the bright side they now get to live on as a pattern for new jeans. Garment re-incarnation, yay!

Has anyone else fallen victim to a fabric summer sale?

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Knitted sunshine scarf

Didn't I warn you that I love knitting as well? Well I do - sometimes even more than sewing. Knitting is so relaxing: it lets your mind drift off, you can curl up just about anywhere and all you need are your knitting needles and some yarn.

This is the Fan Lace Scarf from Designer Knitting Magazine Spring/Summer 2014 (known as Vogue Knitting in the US). This magazine is my knitting bible. I have been a dedicated subscriber ever since I stumbled upon it four years ago. When I first saw this scarf in the preview, I knew I had to make it. Isn't the pattern just beautiful? 

The scarf is designed by Faina Goberstein. In the magazine they use a light cashmere/linen blend yarn, and it looks gorgeous. Sadly the yarns featured are often a bit on the expensive side and not available in every yarn store (at least in my corner of the world), so I usually end up substituting them with something else. This time I used Gjestal Bomull Sport, which is a mercerized cotton. This was the first time I used this yarn, and it became an instant favorite. It knits up easily and has a beautiful sheen. I made mine into an infinity scarf by joining the ends, as you can see in the picture above.

The pattern was described as "easy", but I disagree. It took me quite a while to learn the pattern repeat by heart, and I think a beginning knitter might get frustrated. The pattern is not symmetrical, which makes it more difficult to memorize.

I love the yellow color, it's like a little ray of sunshine. Unfortunately the weather has been a bit chilly recently, but at least I have had good reason to wear my scarf. 

I'll need to remember this yarn in the future, it's by far the easiest cotton yarn I've ever worked with. You know how they tend to be so loosely twisted that your knitting needles get caught in the yarn and split it? So frustrating. What are your favorite yarns for summer knitting? Do you too find that there aren't enough affordable summery alternatives to wool out there? 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Blue flower dress

Hey you guys, this is my second refashioning already! Wohoo! (You can see my first one here)

This cutie is a (now sleeveless) shirt dress from Burda Style Magazine, issue 6/2012, model 104. There's not much to say about shirt dresses -this one has a collar, buttons and a drawstring at the waist- except that they're awesome!

When I saw the fabric, I just had to have it. It's cotton, which is lovely, and light and airy without being see-through. That's a win-win! Besides the material, this fabric is all kinds of wrongs for me. I usually feel like I'm wearing someone else's clothes when I'm wearing flowers, for some odd reason. I mean I love flowers, but it always feels like I'm a bit out of my wardrobe comfort zone, which is probably a good thing anyway! I might have been able to justify all the flowers, but then there's the fact that they're blue. Pale blue on top of that. I don't wear that color, ever. There's absolutely nothing wrong with the color, it's just not me. I like my blue dark and in jeans-form, and that's it.

Somehow all the wrongs -busy, flowery and pale- make it just right. A girl knows when a girl knows. Now that I pulled the dress out of the black pit that is my refashioning bag, I love it even more.

So what was wrong with this flowery darling? The "only" little thing was the sleeves -for two reasons. The long sleeves kind of pushed the dress from 'cute and girly' to 'grandma's nightgown' in no time. When in doubt, show more skin. Nothing cures a grandma-look like a little cleavage (or in this case, arms!). The second issue was that the sleeves made it fall in between 'chilly spring-weather' and 'too hot for clothes' summer weather. It didn't help to roll up the sleeves either, when it's hot it's just too hot.

So off came the sleeves, and I couldn't be happier with the result! Inspired by all you fabulous seamstresses out there, I used self-fabric bias binding for the first time ever. I've always been to lazy to cut out the binding, but it wasn't much work at all. Good thing I never throw away left-over fabric (but don't tell my fabric hoarding self that)! I love how neat and inconspicuous this finish is, and I may just have to use it for every single project from now on. No matter if it needs it or not, this is just too good not to use.

Detail - drawstring at the waist

Just as my previous refashion, this dress could also have used a kick pleat. It didn't take long for my unladylike self to rip the fabric by the lowest button. Oh well, I can live with that, but yet again...bad Burda.

Taking blog pictures requires a lot of thought
And look, my sister gave me this beautiful and totally seamstress-appropriate
necklace by Ted Baker <3 I absolutely love it! Thank you sis!

Friday, June 6, 2014

... and so it became a tunic

My first summer project is done! In my previous post I told you how I have a whole pile of me-mades that need some re-fashioning, and as promised, this dress was first on my list. I can't believe I actually found the self discipline to do this. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that it's purple...

This dress is from Burda Style Magazine issue 6/2011, model number 105. I used the recommended fabrics, linen and satin. 

The original dress 
Now that I look back at the technical drawings, I can see that I made some alterations to my first version too. I added bust darts and darts to the back, for a more fitted silhouette. I also omitted the gathering at the front of the shoulder seams. I remember being afraid that the extra fabric would draw unwanted attention to my shoulders.

So why did this one end up on my summer project-list? The length. Oh the length. How can it be so difficult to get right? The dress was an odd length that didn't flatter me at all. It was too long and the horizontal line across my thighs didn't do me any favors either. Need to watch out for those in the future! The dress is straight and quite narrow, and doesn't stretch due to the linen and satin. Therefore I realized (too late) that it would really have needed a kick pleat. Bad Burda for not including that!

So the dress became a tunic! Originally, I was only going to shorten the hem. But then I took a long hard look at my picture in the mirror, and decided to also shorten the sleeves and take it in even more at the back. I have a swayback and no waist, so I usually take out most excess fabric in the back, just to convince myself that I'm not shaped as a barrel. 

To shorten the hem and the sleeves, I cut off most of the satin and then used the same technique as earlier to finish the seams (I sewed the satin and the linen right sides together, turned the satin around the raw edge, turned the raw edge of the satin to the wrong side again and then stitched it into place along the previous seam line. Not sure what the correct term is in English though).

So what did I learn from this project? I learned that I'm not that big of a fan of satin. And I learned not to give up on clothes right away. Sometimes you just need a little time to figure out what it is that you don't like and what to do about it. 

I definitely think the new length is more flattering and I think I really really like it now! Summer is just around the corner, so it might have to sit in the closet until fall, but then I'm hoping to wear it - a lot. I just need to figure out HOW to wear it. I still haven't whole-heartedly hopped on the leggings-train, but maybe I could get away with wearing it over a pair of jeggings...?

Cute detail - the inside of the button strip is made of satin