December 26, 2011

A jumpsuit, seriously!

This summer, I made myself a cropped jumpsuit, playsuit or whatever you'd like to call such a thing.
It looked cute enough, but it could have done with a little more length in the torso... I won't elaborate on the implications but believe me when I say that I've only once attempted to wear it all day.

Ever since, I've been considering a revisit of sorts. At first, I just wanted to make a long legged version of it, with that essential bit of added body length. Later, I started thinking about other options. Strange though the concept of the jumpsuit may be, I've spent enough time around people who like it to be somewhat intrigued.
So, just before the holidays, I tried again.

It's a completely different design from the one I made last summer but it incorporates tried and tested elements.
I took the bodice of my pinstripe dress and changed the collar/neckline arrangement. To that, I added trousers based on my tried-and-tested belt pleated trouser pattern.
This did involve some choices and guesswork because, as I learned before, you have to add lengthwise ease to the body section of a jumpsuit pattern in order to make it work in real life. My pattern making book recommends between 3,5 and 10 cm. 3,5 cm is what I used before and which was inadaquate. Now, figuring that with the belt pleated bottoms, a low-hanging crotch might be OK, I went for 10 cm (which I think is actually intended for designs with blousey tops and with elasticated waistlines). Having horizontal seams in the body left me with the opportunity to alter this, if necessary.

I first machine-basted the trouser section to the waistband to see what the length would look like. I decided to keep it as drafted. Then, I took them off again and did the back pockets.

So, I ended up with a jumpsuit with a fairly fitted bodice, a dropped waistband and belt pleated trousers which taper towards the ankle. It has a blind zipper at center front, scoop pockets at the front and double welt pockets with button loops at the back.

The neckline can obviously be adjusted with the zipper and is topped by a partially free-hanging collar stand. And the collar and the tab at the waistband have bound buttonholes.

It's both un unusual garment for me, and yet fits in perfectly with my normal look. I think I like it. And I've been wearing it a couple of times now and it's very comfortable (it wasn't easy to photograph though. winter.... it may not be cold so far, but it sure is dark)

December 22, 2011

Finally here!

This is something I have mentioned before, but it's a while ago: I'm a contributor to the Burdastyle book.
Like a lot of the others, I announced that fact on my blog when we were allowed to, shortly after we sent our garments to Burdastyle the summer before last.
If you visit Burdastyle regularly, you will know that there has been a launch party (two in fact, one in New York and one in San Francisco. Unfortunately for me and other contributors worldwide, those were the only locations...) and the book is now for sale ( is listing it at two prices, with the with cheaper one available from 7 Januari. I think that's because is it at this moment only for sale in the US but will be released worldwide at that date. So, with the expensive one, you're paying for shipment).

As a contributor, I was to receive a free copy. It was supposed to be sent out after the NY launch party but didn't arrive for weeks.
And then, just when I was really getting a bit worried and annoyed about it, it was delivered to my door last Tuesday. Together with another package containing the jacket I made for it. A package which Burdastyle sent my way last Friday. I don't know which part of the system of international mail to blame for this and it may have something to do with the Christmas card rush as well...

I'm just so happy to get my hands on the book. It's quite a substantial thing really (judging from browsing through it. I obviously haven't had the chance to read the whole thing yet).
Spiral bound so you can keep it open and refer back to it while sewing, nicely designed and including a huge amount of information. They even explain basic things like how to use your sewing machine and how to use a cutting diagram!
And then of course, there are the patterns and their variations. Which is where we come in...

It's pretty cool to see the fruits of my labour on the glossy pages of a real book!

And they made these wonderfully clear technical drawings based on my construction pictures...

Just a shame I didn't send a better picture of me to print with the little interview... There was too little time to rope in any of the great photographers I know...

Anyway, it's no use whining about it now. I guess the design will be and should be the star of this sho ;)

P.S. If you are wondering about the obvious lack of frantic sewing for Christmas, you should know that giving presents for Christmas (although some people do it) is not traditional in the Netherlands. We have Sinterklaas, on the 5th of December as the occasion for giving presents (athat's mostly for kids).

December 19, 2011

Ehh, hi there

Are you still willing to believe me if I say I didn't mean to go without posting for so long? I hope you are.
The truth of the matter is that I've been without internet for part of last week because we were switching to a different offering from the same provider (if that makes any sense at all). And, added to that, I have to say I wa
s a bit disappointed not to get even a single comment on my last post. I thought that sweater looked Ok, or I wouldn't even have posted it...
As I already mentioned, I understand my 'oh, look I made this' posts may not be the most interesting to comment to. However because I don't use patterns and often start new projects on a whim and because it's winter so there's very little daylight when I'm at home, they're all I can manage when I'm busy with other things.

Right now, I'll only need to do a bit of hand-sewing to finish a new and more involved project. I'll show you later this week.
I'm also still waiting on mail and email stuff, so I can, hopefully, tell more about projects I have been/will be involved in.
And, catching up on blog reading, I've noticed that many people have begun reviewing their year in sewing and/or announcing their intended last projects for 2011. I don't think I'll do the latter just yet, but I will try to take a good look about what I need/want for the holidays.

And finally, there is some real news in this post: when cutting the fabric for my now-almost-finished project, I decided I was fed up with my scissors. I've been making do for all these years with fabric scissors from Ikea (good value for money, I'd recommend to any beginner) or brandless ones bought at the notions stall at the market. All of those start out fine but soon develop their own idiosyncracies, leaving me with a drawer full of scissors (I've counted 5 pairs...) but having to make notches using paper scissors on thread clippers because none of them will cut at the very tip.
It was definately time to invest in a proper pair of fabric shears. I've gone and bought these:

They are not the fanciest scissors you can get, not by far. They are, however, very hard wearing. designer friend M uses this kind, and the workshop she works with as well. They will cut through almost anything (just not ideal for cutting very thin silks), keep their edge and they are not ruined by something as simple as being dropped on the floor.
I bought mine from the same place where I bough my sewing machine, at what is (as far as I've been able to find out) a very low price. It's a Dutch site and shop, but for those few of you reading from anywhere near my location, I really recommend them.

December 7, 2011

Something warm?

First up, I would like to tell you that I realise my recent posts tend to concentrate on 'show-and-tell'. And to talk about things which I've drafted myself, making them impossible to recreate. I'm aware of this but, for various reasons (I'm not even sure all of them are clear to me) my time online seems to be limited lately. Which cuts into my ambition to create clever general interest posts...

Anyway, after that little disclaimer, here's another thing I've made:
My first ever loose fitting sweater. It's a look which I think only works for me with skinny trousers, shorts or maybe with mini skirts. With those, I like it.
I drafted a very simple pattern for this, basically just rectangles with some curves cut out. The fabric is a sweaterknit which is drapey and loosely knitted.

And, to make things more interesting, I decide to try and immitate a structure well known from real knitted stuff: a cable.
It's actually a braid made from tubes of fabric sewn into the front. It's a bit heavy compared to the rest of the sweater but I like the look. I considered using strips of fabric instead of tubes which would have kept the weight down but wasn't really an option with this knit (loose knits can easily unravel).

Oh, and the title of this post? The sweater is in fact quite cozy, though not so warm that it doesn't work indoors. However, I'm well aware that an outfit which includes shorts can never really give off that 'warm for winter' kind of vibe...

I hope everyone of you is doing well and I'll be back later this week with another kind of post, I won't promis but I'll really try ;)

December 2, 2011

I did not make this

But I want to show it to you anyway.
I have been known to knit (I've got two perfectly wearable items in my wardrobe to proove that point. One of them, a little black cardigan, I wear quite often) but I'm slow. I didn't learn until my late twenties, so if I ever want to use knitting as one of my major methods of garment construction, I'll have rather a lot of practise ahead of me. Which doesn't appeal that much, I must confess.

This lovely turtleneck sweater was made by my grandmother. She's in het eighties now and obviously belongs to a generation in which girls were taught how to knit from the age of four. Needless to say, she's very good at it.
She's taken on a big project now: She is going to knit an item of clothing of their choice for each of her children (4), grandchildren (8) and children's spouses (2) (not sure about grandchildren's significant others yet, I guess she'll see about them when she gets through the rest of us ;). She did tell us not to pick any very fussy designs like cable knit or multi-coloured intarsia, but that still leaves a lot.

I picked this sweater from a Phildar brand knitting magazine which I bought last year. It was written for, and executed in, their 'tweed' yarn. My grandma said (confirming my earlier experience) that using the yarn the pattern was written for, the first stitch sample was perfect and the whole thing was easy to knit. And, as you can see, the fit is spot on as well.
Obviously, I offered her to let the other female grandchildren (so far, I've only bought ladies' patterns, of course I would be more than willing to pick up one which includes men's patterns for her) pick patterns from my (rather modest selection of) knitting magazines as well. That way, I can find her the right yarn for them and help her, in that little way, with her project.

December 1, 2011

Another red skirt...

So, this afternoon I had a bit of time to take pictures of my latest creations and the sweater my grandmother knitted for me. I set up the camera and took my pictures quickly because I didn't have much time and the weather (and with it of course, the available daylight) was particularly unreliable today.
And now, when I get a chance to look at those pictures on the computer, I find out that they're all very blurry. Must be my mistake, I probably adjusted the focus by accident when setting the self timer...
Anyway, I'll show you the pictures of my new skirt now and re-do the lot of them this weekend.
In fact, the weather was a lot brighter today, so there was some daylight left when I got home. And this time I actually managed to re-take my earlier pictures with any kind of charm ;) So I swapped the pictures in this post for new, focussed ones.

Between this post and the next, you may see a bit of a theme developing in my wardrobe... colour. And not just any colour but red and green in one outfit. In this case, it's the skirt that I made and the blouse which was a second-hand stall find (1 euro for a silk shirt, who could say 'no' to that...).

I've wanted a pencil skirt in this fabric ever since I bought it. Pencil skirts and variaties of them are much easier to mix and match with all kinds of tops than fuller skirts and I just love the colour.

Being a Dutch girl, I prefer skirts which allow me to ride a bicycle with little or no trouble. True pencil skirts aren't great for that, so I made this one with gores which flare out widely at the back. The back is also longer. The skirt has a high waistline which curves up at the front and it has pockets which wrap around the sides (sideseams only in the upper bit).
I hope you can see most of these things now, but I will be back with properly focussed pictures.

P.S. What is it with red skirts? I have consciously made two mustard yellow skirts but I now own four red skirts without having ever given it a moment's thought...