Monday, April 30, 2012

A work in progress

Here's a sneak-peak of my next project: the V8333. This is just the muslin, but I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Finished Projects: The Green Dress

It took me a week longer than I had planned, but I finally finished it! Vogue V8766! I did spend a lot of time altering it: nothing 'big' though. When I first tried it on, it seemed that the dress was wearing me instead of the other way around! So, I took it in: made the darts in the front longer and bigger and the one in the back longer. My upperbody must be smaller than the average person, because I had to take several inches from the length. After those alterations (and two muslins) I thought it was OK to try it for real. Guess again. Last minute, as I was putting in the zipper, I decided that I had to take in the back some more. So I took 3 cm (about 1 1/4 inch) away at the top and gradually let it end in 0. I have to admit, because I did this at the last minute, the dress isn't even. The back runs slightly more down than the front. But who cares? It's not like I'm not learning, right?

Anyway, I still need to dismiss those 3 cm from the pattern. Apart from these alterations, the dress came togehter very quickly. Everything lined up very nicely. The only thing I regret, is the kind of fabric I used. Don't get me wrong, I love the feel of it and the drape, but it was a hell of a job sewing it! Apparently my sewing machine isn't one to sew very thin fabrics with. Even double layered, it didn't transport the fabric! So, as a result, my fabric constantly shifted from one side to another. Eventually I ended up adding a lot of pins just to get the fabric transported thru the machine. All in all, I'm very proud of myself. It still could use some perfectioning, but I'll leave that for next time, when I'm making the dress I'm going to wear to my friend's wedding.

Now, I had planned for the dress to be finished last weekend. But the zipper wasn't coordinating with me, so at first, that took me a little longer. Then I decided I wanted to use a contrasting biais binding instead of one from the same fabric. I had some pale yellow ones in my stash and was delighted with them. They really give that extra to the dress. Of course I didn't have enough of it! Especially because I ended up putting it at the bottom of the skirt instead of hemming it. So, last thursdag, I went to the shop and bought 3m (about 3.28 yards) biais binding. Alas, it was still not enough! I was surprised at how much biais binding this dress demanded! So today I went to the shop again and bought me another 3m! Guess what? I only have 45 cm (17.7 inches) left! More than 5,5m ( 6,01 yards) biais binding!!! How stunning is that? I dare say that the dress is wide enough.

But, enough chit-chat, ready to see some photo's? My fabulous new shoes and that yellow belt really make this outfit, don't you think? My Other Half and I are going to this event (The red star museum ballroom opening) tonight, and is there a better dress for me the wear than this one? I mean, look at that swing!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Clever links: Photographing your own projects

Sarai from Coletterie has combined her photographic skills in one post. Or at least, she posted some tips on how you can get the best out of your ordinary camera. These tips will help you get the best results with surprisingly little effort. It's just a matter of wanting to step outside and really look at your surroundings.

It's not really necessary to go outdoors. Even indoor photography can be really beautiful! Just make sure you use the natural light. Go stand next to a window or open your door, just get that natural light inside. Natural light will give you that soft look you'll want for your pictures.

When you go outside, you should find some spots in the shadows. This way you won't get that harsh light you have at the middle of the day. You could also make your own shadow: put that umbrella to good use (or get the sunny version, looks beautiful AND retro!)

These are just a few of her tips. Just go to her blog and check it out! I'm sure you'll find numerous interesting posts. I know I did!


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Finished Project: My Other Half

This week I planned to finish two different projects. Unfortunatly, I finished only one. The other one is a bit... well, big, so it needs a little more attention than expected. My other project went together like it was nothing.

Perhaps, that's because it was nothing! My Other Half asked me if I could insert two pockets inside his vest. The only problem: it was at the back af the pockets outside the vest. Because of those pockets, I couldn't use my sewingmachine, unless I wanted to ruin those pockets. But that wasn't an option, so I went for the only one left: handstitching. You must know, I'm not a big fan of handstitching. Sew on a button? No prob. But sew on a whole pocket? Yaykes! Talking about buckling knees! I've never sewn something as large as a pocket on by hand. But, my OH asked it and I wasn't about to let some handstitching get over me!

I cut the pockets I inserted from an old vest, so that didn't take me long. Made my work that much easier (as if this was a hard project :P). Now, as for the handstitching, I came across a website with numerous handstitching-stitches a while ago. I don't recall wich one: it never crossed my mind back then to write it down. So all I can say to you is this: make a stitch, go back half a stitch, stitch a full stitch, go back half a stitch, and so on and so forth. It wouldn't suprise me if you looked funny and that 'wtf'? Sorry I can't be more helpful, but that how it sounded in my head as I was sewing (and watching TV)

Oh, by the way, I made this really yummy birthdaycake today, but I didn't had the chance to photograph it: it got eaten before you could blink with your eyes :P

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sewing Essentials

I've got my Dutch blog for over a year and after all my post on what you can sew and how you sew it, I only now realised I've never posted something about the essentials you need for sewing! Of course, you'll need your sewingmachine, sewingthread, sewingmachine needles and fabric. But that's not the end of it! Just keep reading and you'll find out what else you definitely need!

First of all: a pair of scissors. Not the blunt kind of type, like you'll need for cutting paper, but the sharp ones - to cut your fabric. You'll also need a smaller one to cut those loose threads when you're done sewing. Unfortunatly, your scissors don't stay sharp when you use them. So you need something to sharpen your scissors with. When your scissors get blunt, they can damage your fabric and make it difficult to cut thru thick fabrics.

A pair of scissors isn't the only thing you'll need. A flat-iron is very important. If you want to sew by the book, you'll need to iron every seam you sew. I have to admit, usually I don't do this every time. I tend to wait until I've sewn all the darts in, iron, sew the toppiece together, iron, attache to top at the bottom, iron, and so on and so forth. Without ironing your fabric, you'll never get your project to be exactly right. The darts will look funny, something will fit odd. No matter what you make, you'll always need a flat-iron. An ironing board on the other hand, isn't something you really need. Just put an 'ironing blanket' on a flat surface and your good to go. At least, when you're not ironing with steam.

Tracing your pattern
But before you can even begin with cutting and ironing, you need to make your pattern. For that, you need tracing paper. Tracing paper isn't always easy to handle because they come in HUGE papers (I believe 1m x 1,5m). So a large table is really helpfull here, although you can do without. The good thing about tracing paper is that you don't need to cut your original pattern to pieces. You'll be able to use it over and over again, making changes without ever losing your original. To transfer the pattern onto the tracing paper, you'll need four things: a pencil, a ruler, a (black) pen and a pair of paper scissors. With the pencil, you trace the paper onto your tracing paper. Afterwards, you use your pen to trace the pencillines while you use the ruler to make neat, straight lines. The paper scissors obviously are for cutting your finished paper pattern. Don't use your sewing scissors, because they'll become blunt.

Cutting your pattern
You've got your pattern transferred on tracing paper, but now you need to transfer it to your fabric. To do this, you need 2 things: pins and chalk. Pins are obvious, if you ask me: you use them to pin your pattern to your fabric and hold it there. Chalk. You can find it in every sewingstore, it doesn't cost a lot and you can find it in different colors. Still, I'm not a big fan of chalk. It wears off a bit too fast for my liking. Recently, I came across a special pen. Although you use both for the same purpose - transfering the pattern onto your fabric - I find that the pen won't fade as fast as chalk. It will disappear after a few days and/or when you wash it. Chalk on the other hand fades when you use your fabric. So when your sewing/cutting/or just moving your fabric, your tracinglines will disappear. The only disadvantages of the pen is that it's slightly more expensive than chalk, a bit more difficult to find and not available in as many colors.

Seam Ripper
Last, but not least: the seam ripper. This is a great invention wich allows you to easily remove the stitches when you stitched something wrong. It's something you really want in your sewingkit!  I know I couldn't live without my seam ripper :-)

VoilĂ , there you have it: the sewing essentials! There are some other things you'll need for sewing, but than we're talking buttons and stuff. Who knows, perhaps I'll write about those in the near future!

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Block Pattern

Madalynne wrote a very clear tutorial on how to make your very own block - also called a sloper. Using your block, you can alter EVERY pattern you will ever sew! It's the basic pattern every seamstress needs. You don't need to check your pattern every 5 minutes or so or call someone with sewing experience to help you get the fit right. A mannequin is a very, very useful tool, but it'll only get you this far. It hasn't got any arms or legs and the fit is never exactly like your own body. Whenever you want to make a tight jeans or a fitted blouse, you need the help of a second person (with sewingskills) to help you.

Luckily, they came up with the block. From now on, making a fitted piece of clothing won't ever be a problem! Just take your block and your pattern and match those to! Wether it's a skirt, shorts, pants, dress, blouse, ... you'll see that it'll fit you right away! Now, how do you make such a block? Well, just follow these steps below!

Be careful though to read the instructions very carefully. Make sure that you read them one by one, proces them one by one. This way you won't get overwhelmed by how difficult it looks. 'Cause really, it's not as difficult as it looks. It will take some time to make it, but it's all worth it!

The Block Pattern - The beginning
The Block Pattern - Part 2
The Block Pattern - Part 3
The Block Pattern - Sleeves

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Every month a garment

Recently I came across this idea (in dutch). Because I liked the concept of making one garment every month, I decided that I would begin my own challenge. Not for anyone else to enter, but a challenge to myself. A challenge to make one of these patterns into a dress, skirt, blouse, ... until I have made them all! It's just that I have a lot of patterns just lying around the house without ever being made/finished. Though this was not the first time I saw something like that, I did think about it seriously for the first time. I never wanted to compete with others (just not into competing stuff) and today I thought: Hey! I don't have to enter the challenge to make a garment a month! I just make one and post about it on the blog!

So, now I challenge myself to make one piece of clothing every month, starting this month - april! Probably I'll be at it for at least a year (I hope) because I do have a lot of patterns to start (or even finish!). And with the good weather of last week, there are definitly dresses on the program! Even a short here and there. For starters, I'm making this dress from Vogue. Mostly because a good friend of mine is getting married in August and I plan to wear it. And who knows, perhaps I'll even make the strapless version :-)