Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A Dress? Yes!

Hello hello!

How is spring treating you where you live? In Finland we are having an unusually cold spring, but things are finally looking up!

This dress is actually perfect for colder weather as the fabric is a french terry, so it's a bit too warm for summer (I hope!). The pattern is #120 from Burda Style 12/2015. I made some changes: the pattern is  meant for wovens, but I used a stable knit, which worked great. I also skipped the decorative pockets and substituted them with in-seam pockets. Much easier! For the neck line I drafted a facing, which is basically a wide curved band.

This is actually my second version of this dress. I made a wearable muslin a couple of months ago, and it fit great. I only took out 1 cm  from the back piece at each armhole. I messed up the neck band a bit on that one, but I reeeeally don't want to unpick it. The first dress is very wearable, but because of the fabric, which has wide grey and white stripes, it looks like pajamas or like I belong in jail. So the dress sits firmly in the "only at home"-pile.

I have been having some serious WTF-fabric-moments lately. I have used fabrics that change the fit of previously well-fitting patterns for the worse and leave me questioning my ability to read and sew. This fabric was one of those. My first question as I was making this dress was why did I trace the pattern at one size smaller than I always use? I can't remember why I did this, but the first dress fitted, so I got away with it. That is, until my second dress. I really believe that the two fabrics I used aren't that much different, but apparently that difference was still too great. The second dress was too narrow across the front, if you know what I mean. The girls felt strangled. Luckily I had enough of a seam allowance to fix it, so disaster averted. Btw, unpicking a stretch stitch from jersey sucks, as I'm sure you all know. WTF-fabric-disaster avoided.

Now, let's talk about how I feel about this dress. I'm not a dress person. I wish I was, but wearing anything but skinny jeans requires effort on my part. I look longingly at all the fit and flare dresses that float around the internet and blogosphere, but I know I just wouldn't wear them on a daily basis. This dress is kind of a compromise. The a-line shape without a waist seam feels easy to wear. I have worn both of my dresses several times and I would like to make at least one more summer version. Perhaps with short sleeves and in a woven?

PS. I'm now on Instagram too (@nillapurplepleats)! Come say hi!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Spring Flowers

Hi everybody!

In case you found my previous grey pants too dreary for spring, I present to you take number two! These were made using the same pattern as the grey ones, Burdastyle 7/2010 #103.

This fabric is a thin denim and a bit more substantial than the grey twill I used for my first try at this pattern. I was concerned that a thicker fabric might leave the pants too tight, but that was not the case at all. In fact, after wearing and washing both pants a few times, I now took the legs in quite a bit. I hope that this will eliminate the sagging that occurres after wearing the pants for a few hours. They FEEL better (as in tighter) now, so fingers crossed!

I'm so happy to have a pant-TNT pattern. Since making these I've tried another Burdastyle pant pattern,  and they turned out okay. Though despite tweaking the front crotch curve I'm still not happy with it. Maybe a second try is the answer?

I promise I will stop sewing and blogging about pants eventually! Right now I'm making a dress,  so I'm not totally hopeless... Have you ever gotten obsessed with perfecting the fit of something?

Monday, April 24, 2017

Makers for Fashion Revolution Week

Hi everybody!

picture from

Have you heard about Fashion Revolution Week? I hope you have! I'm taking part in a small way for the first time this year, so it's new to me too. What is this thing then? Fashion Revolution is, according to their website: 

"a global movement calling
for greater transparency, sustainability and ethics in the fashion industry.
We want to unite the fashion industry and ignite a revolution to radically change the way our clothes are sourced, produced and purchased, so that what the world wears has been made in a safe, clean and fair way.
Fashion Revolution Week is our #whomademyclothes campaign in April, which happens at the time of the Rana Plaza factory collapse, where 1,138 people were killed and many more injured on 24th April 2013.

We use this week to encourage millions of people to ask brands ‘Who made my clothes’ and demand greater transparency in the fashion supply chain."
This is such an important cause, but it's a difficult one. I have been actively aware of this issue for a couple of years now, but only recently have I been made aware of how all of this is important when making my own clothes too. The impact on the people and the environment is real when you are buying yarn and fabric too, not just clothes. 

What are Makers for Fashion Revolution then? Emily from In the Folds (@inthefolds) is hosting an Instagram photo challenge for the duration of Fashion Revolution Week, 24-30 April. She's doing so in the hope that this will spread the word about this important cause, and maybe encourage more people to take up sewing. By using #makersforfashrev, #FashRev and #whomademyclothes on Instagram we can all find each other. You can find me on Instagram @nillapurplepleats.

Is this an issue that is near and dear to your heart? Are you going to participate in Fashion Revolution Week?

Ps. I'm sorry about the different fonts and other inconsistencies, Blogger wouldn't play nice and kept changing them.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Grey for Spring

These pants may not seem particularly exciting, what with the grey color and all, but they are very special to me. These, my friends, are my first pair of skinny pants that fit!

The pattern is #103 from Burdastyle 7/2010. My game plan was to make a TNT out of this pattern, if at all possible, so I started out with a seam allowance of 2 cm all around so that I could let them out if needed.

Crotch curves are my enemy, but I think I did okay this time. Luckily the back curve was fine as drafted, so I only needed to tinker with the front. I also took the pants in quite a bit in the back leg from about mid thigh and down. The fabric is a cotton sateen that stretches out with wear, which of course annoys me. This is just a matter of fabric choice though. And it really catches the light and shows aaaaaall the wrinkles!

All in all I'm very pleased with these. I transferred all the fit changes to the pattern pieces for future pants, and I have already made a second pair. I find pants fitting very difficult, and it's quite challenging to figure out where to make changes. One thing that bugs me is the front rise, I cannot decide whether to take out a horizontal wedge in the front tapering to nothing at the side seam. Do you have any thoughts?

Like I said, I have already made a second pair using this pattern, so this is a win in my book! I had plans to make a third and a fourth pair, but I didn't have enough fabric. Damn you too narrow remnant pieces!

Are you taking part in the Tanks, Tops & Tees Knit Along hosted by Very Shannon? I am!  I'm looking forward to adding another top into rotation, since I like the first one I made so much.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Wickford Love


This make is about as wintery as they get, and I apologize to all of you out there who are already basking in the spring sun, ready to forget winter was ever even here. Here in Finland though we still have snow and I'm wearing my recently finished cardigan every day for as long as I can.

This is the Wickford by Alison Green and for me it was love at first sight. Obviously it took me months to complete, especially since I knitted some socks in between bursts of sweater inspiration. The difficult thing is I really should start my knitted cardigans in the summer (or even spring!) to have them ready for when the sweater weather begins. But who has that kind of self discipline?

I knitted the smallest size with smaller needles than suggested, but it still turned out bigger than I anticipated. I omitted some of the cables for a more sleek silhouette, and now I think that that might have had something to do with it. I also now suspect that my gauge gets looser when I'm knitting a large piece while watching TV, which renders my swatch unreliable. These are all just speculations though, but too big sweaters are a reoccurring theme around here.

By the way, you can find me on Instagram now too, @nillapurplepleats!

Do your sweaters turn out the way you planned? What am I doing wrong?

Monday, March 13, 2017

My first Winter Skirt

Hi everybody!

I haven't felt this excited about a make in quite awhile. I'm actually not a skirt-person, which makes a successful skirt even more awesome!

This is #105 from Burdastyle 12/2016. The fabric is a wool blend that was on sale, so I couldn't resist. I have almost no experience sewing with plaid, but it wasn't as bad as I expected.

When tracing the pattern I added 12 cm to the length, you know, just in case the "mini" length ended up too mini. I machine basted the skirt together, tried it on and immediately chopped the extra 12 cm off. It was bad.

The fabric is thicker than I realized, so there are some bulk happening. My plan was to sew a warm skirt to lounge around in at home, but I'm not yet sure if this will fit the bill. After sewing on the lining, the waist is not as flexible and forgiving anymore, but time will tell if it's still comfortable enough for lounging around in.

I'm happy I reached my goal of finishing this skirt before it got too warm outside to wear it. What to sew next? I think I'll get back to my mission to create some pant-TNTs. It feels a bit like a chore, but I really shouldn't allow myself to get distracted just yet.

What are you guys up to?

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Finally some sewing going on over here - or My New Pants

Hello all!

It feels like I haven't been doing a lot of sewing recently and it's probably true. Knitting has been matching my mood better than sewing this past summer and fall, which translates into quite a few unblogged knitted items, but not that many sewed ones. Luckily, I'm very happy with these pants!

My last fabric haul consisted almost exclusively of linen, which you might have already guessed if you have been following along with my most recent makes. (As a side note, when I first wrote this blog post, I hadn't stepped foot in a fabric store for months. Months! It felt really wrong. Luckily since that, I have rectified this wrong.) I've been re-organising my closet, which for probably the first time ever, resulted in some actual knowledge about what my closet is missing, which means I have sort of a plan as to what I'm going to sew this season. And I'm going to sew pants. And everyday relaxed dresses, but let's stick to pants for now.

I usually avoid sewing pants, because it's difficult and fitting is a nightmare. I'm a person that wears pants at least 90% of the time, so in the interest of sewing stuff I actually wear, I need to conquer my pants-sewing fears. I find the actual sewing to be okay, but it's the fitting that intimidates me.
I figured that what I need is a few pant-TNTs in different styles, so that when I find a lovely fabric all I need to do is sew, without all the fitting and pattern altering woes. And this my friends, is the first one. 

These are the Summer Pants from Burda Style 07/2012, #128. The loose fit and the fact that both crotch curves magically fit, made this an easy pattern to get started with. I also had a huge epiphany when I realised that Burda patterns, like this one, rise too high in the back for me, and by removing some height at the center back waist and tapering out to nothing at the side seams, make the pants fit so.much.better.
Other adjustments I made was to take in the side seams all the way and add pockets. Isn't the fastening cute? I was afraid that it would add bulk, but it's okay.

What do you think? Do you have any pant-TNTs?