Apples and Pears

So apparently I’ve decided to break my own record for longest time between taking pictures of a garment and blogging said garment. I took these on May 26th, close to three months ago! These three months flew by between a very busy end of school year and a whole month of July in Spain. And when I remembered these pictures after coming back from my holiday, I found them so bad that I didn’t feel like publishing them. Then I realised that they were actually no worse than my usual pictures, so here we are! I even threw in a few holiday pictures at the end for good measure!

I sewed this dress last summer, right before leaving for Spain that year. The pattern is the Lucie dress from République du Chiffon. It’s a very simple pattern; I think I made it in one day, two days tops. The most time-consuming part (still not very time-consuming) was finishing the neckline and armholes with self-made bias tape, from the same fabric as the dress.

While we’re on the subject of fabric, I bought this one from Les Tissus du Chien Vert yeaaars ago. It’s a lovely apple and pear print viscose (as always, you can click the pictures to enlarge them and see the details), which at first glance looks like the same kind of fabric as this one, but is way better quality. My only quibble with it is that it is quite see-through. This, coupled to the quite low back, makes it a holiday only dress: I’d never dare to wear it at work even on the hottest of days!

I made a couple small modifications to the pattern in that I added side-seam pockets and lengthened the skirt pieces (but not the bodice pieces) by 3 cm. I then added some more skirt length by sewing a 0,5 x 1 cm hem instead of the 3 x 3 cm hem of the pattern.

This is by far one of my most comfortable summer dresses. It really feels like I’m not wearing anything (in a good way, not in a “I feel naked” way). It’s so comfortable in fact that I wore it so much in Spain last summer that I didn’t even want to take it with me this year for fear of not giving my other dresses a chance to get worn! Look, it’s the perfect dress:

to eat arroz con leche,

to eat your bodyweight in churros,

And to pretend you’re freakishly strong! I mean, what more could you ask for?

In all seriousness, though, I’m wearing this dress on half our vacation pictures from last year. So this year it stayed in Belgium, and I was very happy to find it when I returned during this August heatwave!

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Lait Fraise

Taking pictures, or rather the fact that I find it difficult to muster the energy to take pictures, is usually what stops me from blogging regularly. So when I took these pictures, I thought I’d write a blog post the next day for sure… Two months later, still no blog post, oops!

So don’t worry, I’m not crazy and did not wear this outfit in November, but in September, when the weather was still warm enough to wear a summery sweater!

The sweater in question had already gotten used to waiting quite a bit, seeing as I started knitting it in May 2015 and finished it in March 2017! I had actually almost finished it in summer 2015, with only the ribbing bands left to knit, but I didn’t feel like knitting those pesky little bands (on 2 mm needles, ugh!) at the time, knowing I couldn’t wear the sweater until the next warm season anyway. So I put it away… and then kind of forgot its existence until not one, but two years later! :-/ To think it only took me two more days to finish it once I got back to it…

The yarn is Drops Safran (uni colour 01 light pink), yet another great value for money from Drops, if not for a small tendency to split when it’s being knit. I love the finished product though, so I wouldn’t let that put me off from using it again in the future.

The pattern is the Babette top by Belgian magazine La Maison Victor, and it was my first time knitting in Dutch! The pattern itself was… okay I guess. I changed a few small things: knit in one piece, grafted the shoulders, extended the eyelet pattern to the back, added buttons… Should you need them, all the details are on my Ravelry. With all those changes, I must say I really like the finished sweater. I mean, look at that back: isn’t it just lovely?

I’m starting to have quite a collection of sleeveless or short-sleeved cropped cotton sweaters, which are one of my favourite things to wear in (not too) warm weather. I love their vintage look, and on a less glamorous note, I also love that they don’t show sweat marks! 😀

Colourful Airelle

airelle1I bought this small piece of Liberty tana lawn (Garden Wonderland) a few months ago with the intention of making a blouse out of it. Then I changed my mind and decided to make a gathered skirt with a back elasticated waistband instead. I made a mess out of said gathered skirt (don’t ask!), and all I was left with were the front and back panels of the skirt, which luckily were juuuust enough for a blouse, so back to square one.

airelle4I decided to try the Deer&Doe Airelle blouse (if you clicked through those links: doesn’t one of the models look familiar? 😀 ) with the sleeve caps of the Réglisse dress, because that was all I could squeeze out of my skirt panels. I had to shorten the Réglisse sleeve caps for them to correspond to the armholes of the blouse, but style wise I think they suit the blouse very well.

airelle3I made a straight size 36, which fits pretty well I’d say. Had I cut the normal Airelle sleeves, I would have graded the shoulders up to a 38, but the sleeve caps allowed me to forgo that step.

airelle6It was a straightforward sew that didn’t take me more than two days from tracing the pattern to finishing the blouse, and God knows I’m a slow sewer! I finished the seams with my serger, which I’ve come to value more and more: it’s fast and easy, yet looks so professional.

airelle7My favourite part of the blouse has to be the collar: I can’t even begin to understand why so many people have sewn collarless Airelles, but different strokes for different folks… I appreciate the darts, too, which give such a flattering fit through the bodice.

airelle2It’s a nice little blouse that can be worn in a lot of different outfits. I have been wearing it both tucked in high-waisted skirts and untucked over jeans and, although I’m more used to my high-waisted skirts and think those kind of outfits are more my style, I couldn’t really tell which way I prefer it. By the way, those are Ginger jeans you see in some of the pictures, but more about them in a future blog post!

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Pastel

pastel1Yes, another gathered skirt with giant pockets; yes, two new Ondée sweaters! I know, I know

What can I write that I haven’t written before, especially since the fabric I used for the Ondées is the same as for my first version, only in different colourways, and the fabric of the skirt is the same as for last week’s culottes, only with vertical stripes instead of flowers? I also used the remnants of the culottes for the pockets and the covered button, so really, nothing new under the sun. I even bought the fabrics in the same place.

pastel5Oh, but wait, I did use a new pattern for the pockets of the skirt! Burda 06/2015 #103a is a gathered skirt, so they only provide you with measurements, no pattern pieces, except for the pockets. I used my usual gathered skirt measurements instead of the pattern measurements, but I did use the pocket piece! I love those pockets: I can literally fit a cat in each one! Now if only my cats would cooperate.

pastel3I have been more into skirts that fall below the knee lately and I would have liked this skirt to do so, but I didn’t have enough fabric left after straightening the grain (I lost about twenty centimetres, grrrrr!), so this length had to do. Judging from the crazy amount of times I have worn this skirt in almost four months, I think I might survive the trauma.

pastel4I have realised since making the two Ondées (and two others after that, oops!) that I should have cut at least a 38 at the shoulders instead of a 36 like I did. It’s funny how at first you don’t see something, and then you notice it and it’s all you can see. I am now the proud owner of ten too-narrow-at-the-shoulders Ondées! Now that won’t stop me from going on wearing them. Also, being the positive person that I am, I see that as an opportunity to sew ten more! Silver lining and all that…

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Ma Pomme Dress

MaPomme1I made this dress as a replacement for one of my go-to summer dresses, which was one of the first garments I sewed. The dress in question was actually a vintage dress refashion, so it’s kind of a miracle that the fabric had held up for so long, but I was still sad when I realised I couldn’t wear it anymore.

Then again, I was also glad to have an excuse for sewing myself a new one of course!

MaPomme2I had bought the fabric (100% cotton; the brand is Little Darling) earlier this year at the Stoffenspektakel with this exact dress in mind. It was a delight to sew and is also really nice to wear.

As for the pattern, well, I didn’t use one! I drafted this dress myself, you see… OK, OK, my “pattern” is literally a rectangle! 😀 And two of the sides were in fact the selvedges of the fabric. So the cutting part was not too difficult: I just had to tear a piece of roughly the length of this dress (and a few centimetres more just in case – which I ended up using as you can see on the finished dress)… and that’s it!

Same with the shoulder straps: after I measured the desired length and width of my straps, I simply tore four pieces (not forgetting to add seam allowances), then rounded one of the short edges of each.

MaPomme3What makes the dress is the shirring of course. I used a method similar to this one (after sewing the fabric piece into a tube – with a French seam – and making a casing at the top to insert a piece of elastic afterwards to avoid ruffles) and it was, once again, very easy. But man did it take a long time! Eighteen rows of shirring along 1,50 m of fabric, I was feeling murderous near the end! Then I saw how cute the shirring looked and I relaxed a little bit. 😉

MaPomme4I forgot to take close-up pictures of the pockets, but they are almost the same (just a little bit deeper) as these ones, made following this tutorial. I did take a picture before attaching them to the dress, though. The buttons on the pockets are the same as the buttons on the straps, only smaller. I bought them at Veritas… in Luxembourg (I hadn’t found any I liked here in Brussels and I was spending two days there)! None are functional.

MaPomme5There are two small things I’m not so fond of with this dress. The first one, the fact that it creates a sort of semi muffin top under the arms (front and back), is inherent to this type of garment, at least on my body. And the second one is simply that I didn’t think to interface the shoulder straps and that they are a touch limp as a result. These two details are what stops me from loving this dress as much as I love the previous one I showed you, but I still like it a lot!

See you soon for the rest of my summer sewing projects!

Peachy Dress

Blush1Judging from my blog, you’d think I’ve completely given up on sewing and knitting, wouldn’t you? But I haven’t, not at all! I blame Instagram for the languishing of this space: it is so much easier instagramming what I’m working on or what I’ve just finished than bothering to clear up the space where I’m taking my blog pictures (you didn’t think it was always this pared-down, did you?), set up the camera and tripod, and check my hair, and strike a pose, and blah, blah, blah.

But I’ve decided to stop with the slothfulness and blog those unblogged garments already! My obsessive nature compels me to present them in the order I made them, so we’ll start with this dress I finished in, ahem, February!

Blush3The fabric was a birthday gift from Mimolette, who knew I had been fawning over Atelier Brunette’s beautiful designs but hadn’t taken the plunge yet (I have since bought three meters of this beauty). Bye Bye Birdie Blush: gotta love the alliteration. My birthday’s at the very end of September, so this fabric only spent five months in my stash, not too bad compared to the usual lot of fabrics in my house.

Like all cottons, it was very nice to sew with, but man does it wrinkle! Also, it has a tendency to forget that it’s 100% cotton and sometimes attracts lint like a common synthetic. I mostly wear it with this cardigan, which I wear with a lot of other pieces, yet this dress is the only one it sheds tiny pieces of black fluff on. Not that big of a deal, but it was surprising at first.

Blush4The pattern is from Stylish Dress Book 3 (Dress B). It’s a very simple pattern so I was sure I’d be finished in no time, but you know me, I’m never finished in no time!

I quickly realised that with such a light-coloured fabric, I’d have to add a lining or run the risk of putting my underpinnings on display. Luckily I had some beige Bemberg rayon in my stash, and putting in the lining was not too difficult. I did have to think twice about how to manage around the neckline facing and the sleeves, and finally opted to simply attach the lining by hand at the sleeves (but by machine everywhere else). While we’re on the sleeves, I trimmed those with a very small piece of this lovely cream lace (oops, still haven’t started on that blouse!).

Blush5I had planned on adding patch pockets to the dress, but later realised that there was no way the pockets I had in mind would work with the gathers of the skirt. So I had to ditch them in favour of side seam pockets, for which I had to unpick and redo the side seams of the skirt, argh!

Blush2The only thing I’m not happy about with looking at the finished dress is how high the waist is compared to the dropped waist I was imagining. I should have measured the pieces beforehand and compared them with my other dropped waist dress. Like most sewing mistakes, it never bothers me while wearing the dress, but I’ll definitely lower the waist if I ever sew that pattern again.

Now only eight more finished projects to blog to catch up on my backlog!

Adelfa Cardigan

Adelfa1Three knitted projects in a row, not a single sewn project in between. What can I say? Three weeks in Spain, far from my sewing machine, followed by the start of school and its unavoidable fatigue… Not the ideal conditions to get back to sewing!

Ah well, at least my beloved knitting needles can go everywhere with me and one row here, one row there, I ended up with a new cardigan!

Adelfa2Most of this cardigan was actually knit in Spain, on a stone bench next to an oleander – adelfa in Spanish. For my last two weeks there I was staying in a village where I didn’t have a lot to do but to knit or read (I’m not complaining here, this is my ideal kind of vacation!), so in those two weeks I finished the body and a sleeve and I knit more than half the second sleeve. Then I came back to Belgium (and to work), and the remaining half sleeve and neckband took me two whole new weeks to knit.

Adelfa4The (free) pattern is Que Sera by Kirsten Kapur and the yarn is Cascade 220, knit with bigger needles to get gauge. I made a few small modifications to the pattern: first, I added three buttonholes to the five of the pattern. I thought they looked a little too far apart in the pictures.

Then I lengthened the sleeves by one pattern repeat (12 rows) and I knit them in the round. I had to adapt the lace pattern a bit for it to work in the round (see my Ravelry notes), but that was really easy. Because of my knitting the sleeves in the round, I was afraid the sleeves would end up too wide for my taste (since there would be no seam allowance to take in account), so I knit them a size smaller than the body. Note that knitting the sleeves in the round also made them much more difficult to block correctly (which is why I’m particularly glad that I lengthened them a touch!). But I was very happy not to have to seam them up afterwards, so there’s that.

Adelfa3Also, when I first tried on the cardigan with the buttons closed, the button bands gaped like you wouldn’t believe. So I had to stabilise them with petersham ribbon. I used a method that is very similar to this one, except that I didn’t interface my petersham and that I took care to make all of my hand stitches virtually invisible because clearly I’m a psychopath. It took me four episodes of Murder, She Wrote (Have I ever told you about my passion for Murder, She Wrote?) to sew on the petersham but come on, look how pretty!Adelfa5So that’s it, I’m delighted with my new cardigan; I love its style and colour (closest to the detail picture of the petersham button bands, by the way) and I’m sure it will look great with a lot of my clothing pieces, existing or to come!

PS I forgot to mention this in my last two posts, but I’m on Instagram now!

Guest Post at Georgette’s: Watercolour Skirt

GuestToday I’m a guest on the Georgette blog, where I was asked to contribute a piece around the theme “Go Through Your Wardrobe: Make Do and Mend”. So if you want to see more of the skirt I was wearing last Sunday (MMM ’14 – Day 18) hop on over to the Georgette blog!

Winter Heather

Bruyère1Phew, I don’t think I’ve ever spent so much time on a knitting project… According to my ravelry notes, I started this one at the beginning of November, which means it took me close to four months to finish it, yikes!

Bruyère3It’s not even a very intricate project, but as I said before, the lace made me lose my sanity. Well, the lace at the bottom of the body did: the lace of the sleeves went without a hitch (yay stitch markers!).

And just when I was done with the scary lace, I realised I still had to knit more than sixty centimetres of ribbing for the sleeves… I HATE knitting ribbing! Oh, and after completing the sleeves, I realised I still had to knit the equivalent of a sleeve for the collar, gaaah! The collar went really fast, though, especially since I knew I would be done after that.

Bruyère4

Resting bitch face!

And I love the end result, so I don’t even regret spending so much time on this one. After all, if after spending four month and a few stressful moments looking at the same yarn (Drops Alpaca Silk – colour #08/Heather), you still love its colour, it means you made the right choice. I also love the style of the sweater, so light and flowy! It looks great with the Sureau dress you see on the pictures as well as with a few other pieces from my wardrobe. I’ve already  worn it a few times since I finished it, which bodes well for the future.

There were two things I particularly liked about the construction of this sweater: grafting the shoulders and the way you knit the collar. Grafting was one of those techniques I had never tried and was pretty scared of until I actually tried it and realised how easy it was and how good it looked (I used this video). As for the collar, they have you knit double its height, then fold it to the inside and sew it down. That way the collar holds its shape perfectly.

Bruyère5The only part I’m not really happy about is the lace: even after blocking it doesn’t really look like a garland of flowers like the original. The sleeve lace looks closer to the original, so I’m wondering whether it’s not just the yarn that suffered too much from being unravelled and reknit so many times. In any case, at least it still looks cute, so I’m not going to fret!

Bruyère2PS: Here’s what I’m working on now.

Pink Elephant

ElephantFaceI still haven’t finished my coat, so it’s official then, my first finished project of 2014 is a pink elephant! And it’s not even for me! Will you look at that face: how am I supposed to let it go?

Last Wednesday I was working on my coat and kind of loosing steam when I realised I had completely forgotten to either buy or make a gift for one of my best friends’ baby girl’s first birthday the next day. I thought no problem, I’ll use that cute elephant pattern I recently bought and I’ll be done in no time! Hahaha, how wrong was I?

ElephantProfilAfter spending the whole evening and Thursday morning working non-stop on the elephant, all I had were an empty body sans tail and an empty head sans eyes and ears. Turns out the pattern is cute for a reason: it uses a thousand pieces with darts and you have to clip/notch about a million curves! Nothing difficult really, but time consuming, oh yes!

Let me cut to the chase, I finished the elephant yesterday. Yep, it took me four days to make a stuffed elephant, I’m definitely not the world’s fastest sewer, if one still needed proof!

Style2052The pattern is Style Craft Pattern 2052, from 1979. There are two versions: adult and baby. I chose the adult, but I didn’t think to check the measurements of the finished elephant, so I was kind of surprised to see the size of the beast: 30 cm at shoulder height, 40 cm length without the trunk, oops! Ah well, I’m not the one who’s going to have to find a place for it in my apartment!

What I didn’t like in the pattern (except for the fact that they would have you baste most seams before stitching them – I didn’t and I had no problem whatsoever) was the fact that you have to hand stitch the tail, ears and tusks (as you can see, I chose to omit the tusks: the elephant looks way cuter for a baby without them) afterwards instead of sewing them into seams. The eyes are also supposed to be hand sewn afterwards, but I machine sewed them before attaching the head to the body. There are no seams where you add the ears, so there’s no other solution for them (and it’s possible to get a nice and secure result with invisible stitches, contrary to what the envelope picture would have you believe…), but if I ever sew that pattern again, I’ll be sure to sew the tail into the back seam: it will look better and be more secure.

Also, the sample is sewn in felt, so the tail and ears (and tusks) are sewn wrong sides together, with visible seams. Since I used corduroy (remnants from this skirt) and I didn’t want it to fray, I sewed the ears and tail with right sides together. This caused no problem for the ears, but for the tail I had to adjust its end so that I could turn it right side out.

Elephant3:4Stuffing the elephant was an adventure of its own. I bought a giant (and I mean GIANT, like 1 cubic metre!) bag of polyfil for a song at least seven years ago and although I had used some for a few projects, it must have been self-regenerating or something because all of my projects barely made a dent in it. But this time, the giant polyfil bag has found its master! The elephant literally ate most of it, leaving me with about a fifth of it, if not less. The pattern has you stuff it firmly, so you wouldn’t believe how much polyfil there is inside. And it was not an easy task getting it all in: it took me about an hour, sweating and short of breath, and my arms are still a bit sore.

PinkElephantIt’s not easy drawing with a sore arm, but I didn’t want to abandon my resolution, so here’s the third page of my sketchbook! I normally draw before finishing a project, but the impromptu nature of this project made it impossible, so afterwards it had to be.

I’m really happy with the end result of the project, I’m not kidding when I say it’s going to be difficult to give it away! I really took my time (four days, you bet I did!) to get the best result I could and there are not many things I would change if I had to do it again. And I want to sew that pattern again, though I’ll take filling my wardrobe over adding to the clutter of my home any day, so it will have to wait for another special occasion.