April 10, 2010

All the usual excuses...

Oops, it's been quite a while, hasn't it? I could try to explain why, but it all comes down to the usual 'life getting in the way of blogging'. Maybe more on that later.
For now, let me ensure you that 'life' didn't get in the way of sewing, thrifting, reading those few blogs I do follow (way to few, I know, I wish I could follow all your blogs, but I guess I'm just slow at those things), dreaming up new ideas for clothes and looking at fashion stuff.

To start with the last thing first: I finally went to see the 'Voici Paris' exhibit at the The Hague Gemeentemuseum. I will probably go there again with a friend, but yesterday, I was lucky enough to be invited to come along with the highschool class, to which M is teaching sewing technique. I went along as their 'house photographer' (note to any of you going to this exhibit, or the Gemeentemuseum in general: photography is allowed as long as you don't use flash or a tripod. That means phone pictures etc. turn out as rubbish, but I got some rather fine shots using my digital SLR camera on a very high ISO setting. I have had a few years training for that steady hand at the camera though.)

This is the display which awaits the visitor in the first room of the exhibit: genuine pieces from a very recent (I believe it was winter '09/'10) Chanel show, on loan from Chanel and set in these stunning, very appropriate surroundings. In this shot, 'my' class is milling around the pieces, but otherwise it wasn't that busy (several school classes on guided tours, but no more crazy crowds, at least not at 10 a.m.). These exquisite pieces of present-day couture were (almost) close enough to touch, so I could finally figure out just how that dainty square shoulder is achieved (maybe more on that later ;)
In the rest of the exhibit, the sense of decorum in creating surroundings for the pieces continues. There are loads of fabulous clothes, from Worth dresses to those last year's Chanels, and originating mostly from Paris but also from the Netherlands and China. I loved it, but it made me quite hungry to see more of the alledged 4000 pieces in possession of the museum. Please tell me: where do I go, what do I do, to become a fashion curator??

On other news: I kind of promised I would try to answer some of your questions as put to me in the comments. I'm always very happy with all your imput, but sometimes, people will ask me specific questions which require a seperate reaction. I will try, starting at the most recent one.

- lorrwill asked me, in the handbag refashion post, if I have any tips on sewing leather. I do, but none of those were used on that bag. I have made leather bags before, but for the one in that post, I just glued a piece of leather to a worn-out vintage bag.
If you want to make a leather bag you will definately need special needles. There is a special type of needle for leather (with a cutting tip) and it comes in sizes from 80 up to 110 (as far as I know). The size you need will depend on the kind of leather you use. In a lot of cases, especially with thinner 'clothing weight' leather, you can use ordinary thread, but if you were waiting for a project on which to use that 'extra strong' thread (as sold by Gutermann), sewing leather is it. Machine feet can be an issue as well. Leather tends to stick to your machine on both sides and because of that, I was taught to sew it sandwiched between two layers of tissue paper. Since then, I found out that there are big differences between sewing machines in how well they deal with this issue. I have never had the opportunity to try out sewing leather with a walking foot, but I have heard/read good things about it. My advice would be: try on a scrap first and always sew slowly.
One last note from me: just sewing bits of leather will not give you a handbag as structured as the one in my post. All bag manufacturers (even the very posh ones) use inner structures of things like cardboard and plastic to create shapes like that. Using only leather, you can make fabulous soft and even fairly structured bags, depending on the thickness of your material (and what you can use, will depend on what your sewing machine can handle)

- Ana, I'm sorry to hear my jeans skirt pattern on Burdastyle has now developed downloading problems. It was working on the old site, but this is the first time I get any information on how it behaves on the new one. I will check, but I know they should have the correct file over at BS.

- All of you who asked for how-tos on the lingerie: the problem is: finishing is the hardest part. Sewing on that elastic. And you can really only learn that by trying, preferably with some real-life help and advice. For advice on it, and for great pattern tutorials, take a look at patternschool (I haven't used their patterns myself, but they seem both understandable and good). For the rest, I'll keep your comments in mind for my next lingerie project.

- Miaaa asked (in a comment to the gored skirt tutorial) about the pattern for my bias cut skirt of December '08 (as featured on Burdastyle, and on an outfit-post on this blog last winter). That skirt was made using an adeption of my personal skirt sloper, however Burdastyle has the Sidonie skirt which is also a sleek bias cut skirt. I know that skirt is kneelength and uses a facing instead of a waistband, but you could lengthen it and make a simple straight waistband (that's what mine is)

- hing12133 asked if she could link to the gored skirt tutorial, and did so in this lovely blog post

Ok, that's it for now. If you need an answer to any question put forward in an older comment, please let me know about it again. I promise I will try to answer.
Recent creations are coming up tomorrow!


  1. Looking forward to some new creations! :)

  2. My favorite is the red dress-timeless style! I love a good vintage find!