December 24, 2009

Weekly outfit nr.13

This skirt was the first item for which I drafted the pattern myself. I made it when I was taking a course in pattern making with M 2,5 years ago. It has a high waist and curved pieces set into the sides. The fabric was a wool remnant I bought at the fabric store. I wanted some good material for my first real own garment and it is. However, that also meant I had to make do with a small piece and was limited to making a fairly narrow skirt. It really is a winter skirt and I still love it.
The cardigan is one of a pair I whipped up last year from what was then a mystery fabric, which I had been able to buy very cheaply. On closer inspection, it turned out to be cooked wool knit. It's warm, a bit bulky and it doesn't fray or curl up. For those reasons, this cardigan is one of very few of my creations to have unfinished edges.

December 22, 2009

Cold snap

When I posted last week's 'weekly outfit', I fully expected the snow to be gone pretty quickly. That was why I took the effort to take the picture on my balcony. Usually, any snow we get here melts within two days. Little did I expect what happened next. On Saturday, the snow didn't melt and on Sunday, it was snowing again. We had snow all day on Sunday. It ended up being a layer of between 10 and 20 cm. In The Hague, the Netherlands! I haven't seen this much snow in my hometown for at least 5, but more likely 10 years. I know it's pretty pathetic compared to a lot of other places, but it's pretty impressive here. There were no trains on Sunday. A collegue of mine was stuck in another city and didn't get home until Monday afternoon.This is what it looked like from my kitchen window on Sunday morning (the layer of snow got thicker later on).

The snow is slowly starting to melt now, but might freeze up again tonight. Luckily, I can walk to work. Normally I ride my bicycle, but I'm not biking on slippery surfaces. Now, I walk through an eerily quiet city (the trams are still not back to their usual timetable). The pavements are covered in caked snow, the roads are muddy slush. You can't actually see where the one stops and the other starts, so I take big steps over the snow/slush mounts at the edges of the roads.
As M says, it has been great weather to stay indoors. Which is just what E and I did on Sunday. That gave me the time to do some sewing and look through my stash materials. I didn't really get to my fabrics because I spend a lot of time looking through this, and another (less picturesque) box like it.

My grandmother gave me her old boxes of buttons last year. There is no really fancy stuff in any of them, but I just love the stories these little collections tell. Similar buttons are oftern threaded on pieces of string, to keep them together. With the small ones, they often don't all match. It seems that some ladies in my family would cut the buttons of all worn-out, un-salvagable pieces of clothing and kept them in these boxes. As organized as possible. I used some of those not-quite-matching little mother-of-pearl button for my white shirt, and as always, told myself to come up with a design which would make use of some of the more eye-catching buttons. There are two other, very small boxes holding old cufflinks, plastic broches and a belt clip. I'll show you those later, hopefully when I use some of their contents.
I just love sewing supplies with a history. Do you have any of those stories as well?

December 19, 2009

A new and different shirt

From time to time, I tend to get a little annoyed with the strict and structured look of most of my creations. Most of the time I love it of course, but not all the time. Owning a serger and being able to make things in jersey has improved this matter, but especially when it comes to tops, it will still hit me every once in a while. This time, the topic was the blouse. Most of mine are fitted and made from a fairly stiff cotton. It is shirtweight but tends to seem a bit starched and just never gets drapey. It happens to be one of the fabrics I can always buy at the local market, so it gets used a lot.

I wanted something flowy, with a wider but still feminine fit and preferably still having the features of a normal button-down shirt. I made some muslins with a wider, undarted body shape and hated them all. Then I remembered this picture from an '08 magazine and decided to do something a bit like that. I drafted the pattern, including my widest sleeve to date.

The fabric I used has been in my stash for a year and a half. I bought it at the fabric market, which is held twice a year. Back then, I thought it was all cotton, but on closer inspection now, I realised the weft threads may be cotton, but the warp threads are something else, most likely polyesther. The things you learn in a year...

When sewing this, I loved my new sewing machine. The old one would have eaten such a delicate fabric. This one didn't even make it pull at the seams.
Because the fabric is a bit sheer, I used white organza instead of the usual lightweight fusible interfacing. I had never done this before, but it worked quite well. I just cut pieces with seam allowance and treated them as one piece with one of the pieces in fabric.
Originally, I made big cuffs for the sleeves, but as soon as the first one was on, I tried the shirt on and hated the look of it. In the end, I opted for binding the sleeve edges with strips of bias cut fabric. They are kind of three quarter length but I think that's OK with such roomy sleeves. It keeps them out of the saucepans ;)

I can see myself wearing this, as soon as the weather starts to warm up again. I still have about a meter of the fabric left, which will become a sleeveless top with ruffles (yay! for rolled hems on the serger)

Oh, and don't forget, there's still plenty of time to enter the giveaway...

December 18, 2009

Weekly outfit nr.12

A picture in a different setting this week.
So far, apart from a few days in early November, we hadn't had much in the name of cold weather here in Holland, this winter. Until this week that is. The first part of the week was cold and bright, with midday temperatures around freezing point. Then, yesterday, there was snow. Lots of it, in the northern provinces. Where I live in The Hague, in the southern half of the country and close to the sea (yes, it's a small country, but for things like snow, a few miles can make all the difference), it got to about 5cm. Which is a lot by the standard of recent years. We tend to get between two and four days of snow here. It's here now, but that's by no means a garantee for a white Christmas. In fact, just a single day of frost around the clock is enough the make skating enthousiasts dream of marathons on the canals.

For me, the weather offered the opportunity to show off the city I live in in unusual garb and to show you some of my warmer clothes. I made the coat in late winter, two years ago. So late in fact, that I could hardly wear it anymore that year. It's an A-line coat in thick black wool with broad leather edges. It closes with covered buttons. With it, I'm wearing my wide, belt pleated tweed trousers and a simple black shirt, both made about exactly a year ago.

December 13, 2009

links etcetera

I have just started on the creation of a list of links here. I have added the links mentioned in the comments, so under "fellow selfmade fashionista's" you will find fellow seamstresses, sewing forums and ladies who record their personal style and their sewing efforts. This is by no means a complete list yet, so if you know something I really show include, feel free to let me know.
Under "tutorials and (free) patterns" I have mentioned only those sites that also have free and/or unusual stuff on offer. After all, we all know how to find the nearest pattern seller. I'm sure I forgot a great source of historical sewing patterns, but I didn't bookmark the site, so I can't find it right now.

added comment: I have just found the site I was looking for, fortunately the URL was on a pattern I downloaded from there. I've added it to the list.

December 11, 2009

Weekly outfit nr.11

Tonight, my boyfriend's band, Apparition (he plays the bass guitar) is performing for the first time in months. So, of course I'm going along to show my support. Which is, at least partly, the reason for this outfit.

T-shirt: Apparition-bandshirt (first version girly shirt ;)
trousers: black jeans I made about two years ago. I believe these were my second pair of self-drafted trousers, sporting my first set of bound pockets.
'winged' cardigan: made this summer. I posted a how-to on Burdastyle.

December 10, 2009

verdict and teaser

Thank you all for your comments on my last post! I am wearing those trousers right now, they are quite comfortable and I no longer feel so self-conscious about it. When I was in the fabric store this afternoon, the lady cutting fabric for me asked whether they were self-made, and told me she really liked them (Ok, I was wearing my coat, so she couldn't see the top part).

Unfortunately, it's been another dark, grey day so I haven't been able to take any pictures. I need to, not just for this week's outfit but as illustration for a new little plan of mine, too.
This is it, and how it came to be. Months ago, I send a pattern I made to fellow-seamstress/blogger Melissa, who at that time needed things to keep her busy during a long hospital stay (to which she could bring a sewing machine). Now, she has just posted about the dress she recently made from it. Quite enthousiastically (my old cell phone used to have a 'smiling and blushing' smiley, if I knew how to make that one on my keyboard, I would use it now).
Now, I do rather like to get great reactions to my pattern making efforts, so I thought I'd go ahead and make a pattern for one of the readers of this blog (just to keep it do-able, I'll stick to patterns for knit/jersey things based on Burdastyle's Lydia for sizing). There will be an official post about this tomorrow, outlining the 'rules' for the giveaway and, most importantly, showing sketches and pictures of the pattern options you will be able to choose from.

December 7, 2009

trying a new shape

I would like to ask you to give your honest opinion about this.

I've been looking at belt pleated trousers in high fashion magazines for a while now, and the idea slowly warmed to me. So I decided to try and make a pair for myself. As usual, I drafted my own pattern (some of the belt pleated trousers I liked in magazines had lower waistbands, but I kind of liked the high waist in the muslin). I'm reasonably satisfied with it, if I wanted to make this again my only change would be to make the pocket entry a little deeper than it is now.
For fabric, I used the same thin wool as for the flared trousers.

What I'm not so sure about, is the look. It doesn't help that it seems like it just doesn't go with just about anything in my wardrobe (proportion-wise, that is) but that isn't even the whole point. I've been trying it on while I was working on it and afterwards and my own reaction varied from: "Wow, this is cool" to "this is just weird".
My boyfriend, who is usually quite helpful at a point like this because he is utterly unbiased by any knowledge of the latest fashion, only had to offer one very helpful (not) comment: "it's 80's". Now, normally, that makes something just wrong in my book. I did the 80's first time around. In this case, I'm not so sure. I was a child in the 80's so although I did wear leggings by the end of the decade (meaning that I 'did' that 80's staple first time around), I'm pretty sure I didn't have trousers like these at any point. And even if I did, would it really matter? What comes around, goes around, and in fashion, the weels only seem to turn faster and faster...

I hope you can see my point. I'm looking forward to reading your thoughts on this and I should really give these the wear-out-of-the-house test this week.

weekly outfit nr.10

Ok, I know I'm cheating a bit here. I should have posted this last week, but I was busy with other things and the weather was so hidiously gray and dark that there just wasn't enough light in the house to take any photographs.
If I swear I wore this last week (on friday, to be precise), had it on a chair in my bedroom for a few days, and put it on to take this picture before putting it in the laundry, would that make any difference? ;)

In this picture, I'm wearing the new dark grey trousers I wrote about before, a cooked wool cardigan I made about a year ago (I posted about it on Burdastyle back then) and a very simple black top from H&M which I have owned for at least 2,5 years (this is one of a very few RTW staple items which I still wear a lot).