Polka Dots Again!

cami1Why did I wait so long to sew my first shirtdress?! I’ve been collecting patterns, fabrics and inspiration for years, but so many projects, so little time, such a slow seamstress, you know how it works…

Anyway, here is my first shirtdress then! The pattern is Pauline Alice’s Camí dress. This version is actually a wearable toile: I used some very inexpensive cotton (the same as this one and this one but in a smaller scale) which had a few flaws so that it wouldn’t bother me too much if things didn’t pan out. The buttons are vintage, from my mother’s stash.

cami2I first cut a size 36 bodice with 38 shoulders, but it was way too tight so I sized up to a 38 with 40 shoulders. It’s still not a good fit at the shoulders nor at the collar, which sometimes hangs a bit funny, but it’s passable. I wonder if lengthening the collar stand buttonhole a touch could not solve part of the problem. At the moment this button is not perfectly in line with the rest of the buttons/buttonholes as it should be, and this makes the collar tighter than intended. Not truly uncomfortable, but less comfortable than the collar of my Cardamome.

cami3The rest of the dress fits well (I lowered the waist darts by 2 cm), contrary to what some of these pictures, taken after a day of wear, would have you believe. The waist could maybe stand to be taken in a tiny bit? I’m not sure. The shoulders fit better (and the collar points hang better, too) when the collar is open, but I always wear it closed, so that’s not a satisfactory solution. This has not stopped me from wearing the dress a lot, especially since I usually pair it with a cardigan! Still, I really must learn to fit my (giant?!) shoulders!

cami4I didn’t use the skirt that is included in the pattern but cut twice the whole width of the 150 cm wide fabric x (60 cm + waist seam allowance + wide hem) for an extra full skirt! I also added a buttoned breast pocket (inspired by Annie Coton’s Camí and using Pauline Alice’s optional breast pocket template).

A lot of reviews of the pattern complain about too low pockets, and rightly so. I personally used Clémence’s nifty tutorial (in French, but she links to this one in English) to raise them and couple the left one with the invisible zip instead of placing it right under the zip.

cami7

Pocket AND invisible zip!

Another small complaint I have, which I haven’t read about anywhere, is the lack of precision of the pattern: a grainline arrow that isn’t parallel with the button placket by a couple millimetres (unless that’s intended?), shoulder and side seams that aren’t the exact same length on the front and back pieces (and yes, I triple checked, my tracing isn’t to blame)… Nothing serious, but it does make it look a little bit amateur, and I prefer it when things are more rigorous. I don’t remember encountering the same kind of issues making my Quart coat, so I’ll chalk that up to the Camí being Pauline Alice’s first pattern.

cami6I’d really like solving my shoulder fitting problem on this pattern, so I do intend to sew it again, but first I want to try the other shirtdress patterns I have in my stash, so it may take a while before I revisit this one!

Just you wait until I find my TNT pattern and the shirtdress might become the new gathered skirt!

cami5

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Made With Love

bb1You know me by now, I’m a terribly selfish sewer/knitter. I have to be really close to someone to even think about sewing/knitting them something. And the worst part is, I don’t even feel bad about it! Sewing is my hobby, not my job, and I want it to stay fun… Not that sewing for other people can’t be fun; it’s just not my personal preference, and sewing for myself also puts way less pressure on my shoulders!

bb3But I do appreciate the occasional selfless sewing project, especially when it’s something I wouldn’t sew for myself. Sewing for my boyfriend (blog post about the jacket I made him in March still to come, ahem!) gave me the occasion to have a stab at menswear, which I enjoyed a lot, and sewing this little outfit for my goddaughter, my first time sewing baby clothes, was very rewarding, too!

She turned one in October and I could not not sew her anything! I browsed my Burdas to find something I could see her wearing, and this baby collection caught my eye right away: such cute patterns! I liked the idea of sewing a whole little outfit, so I chose the quilted jacket, the blouse with ruffle collar and the stretch trousers to go with them.

bb4Fabric wise, I went digging through my stash. I own a few cotton pieces I impulse bought at Veritas that are too small to use for adult garments (except maybe a fitted blouse), but so cute I could never bear to part with them. This cherry one was a favourite and I knew it would look so cute on my goddaughter, so that was an easy choice. After that I looked for matching pieces in my stash: a red cotton jersey for the outer layer of the jacket and a blue one (the same I used for this Ondée) for the leggings. I just bought the batting, bias binding (polka dotted because I know my goddaughter is not afraid of print matching!) and buttons (glittery ones for the jacket and plastic snaps for the blouse).

I only had two 75 cm x 100 cm pieces of the cherry cotton and I wasn’t sure it would be enough for the blouse and the jacket lining, but it was, literally to the half centimetre! I sighed in relief when all the pieces were cut! Same with the red cotton jersey, but this time literally to the millimetre, phew!

bb5Burda advises you to cut the pattern pieces before quilting the outer layer, adding 3 cm seam allowances, then re-cutting these seam allowances to 1,5 cm after quilting. I quilted the whole piece of fabric (“basting” batting and outer fabric with spray adhesive and using masking tape to get even lines), then cut the pieces.

Other than quilting the outer fabric, which was looooooong (but not difficult at all), the jacket was a breeze to make! The instructions were perfectly clear, and I don’t know why, but I found it quite fun handling such tiny pieces!

bb6The blouse was also lots of fun to make. I only deviated from the instructions for the hem of the collar ruffle: they have you turn it once, zigzag stitch then cut the excess fabric. I preferred turning the hem twice and using a straight stitch it to make a baby hem, which I think gives a much cleaner result.

The trousers were less fun to make (just boring in comparison with the cute jacket and blouse), but they took about an hour from start to finish, so no complaining on my part. I used my serger to assemble the pieces and a zigzag stitch for the waistband casing and the hems.

bb2I finished the whole outfit way past my goddaughter’s birthday (but way before the next one so I’ll count that as a win 😉 ) and could only give it to her mother (who seemed to love it, yeah!) very recently, so I don’t know yet whether it fits her* (I made a size 80), but in any case I’m really happy with the look of the outfit. And I truly liked sewing for her, so this is definitely not the last time I do!

*EDIT: It does! 🙂

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Ciré Jaune

cire2Even more than a pair of jeans, a rain jacket had been desperately missing from my wardrobe. I bought some K-way fabric at Les Tissus du Chien Vert some time ago with the intention of making a Minoru jacket, but then I changed my mind when I came upon Kwik Sew K4015.

cire4This pattern was very easy to sew, but even though it’s perfectly possible that the problem was due to an error or miscomprehension on my part, I suspect there is a mistake in the instructions regarding the way the main fabric sleeves are attached to the lining sleeves (step 8 for anyone making the jacket): there was no way I could turn the jacket right side out following these instructions. I unpicked the bottom edges of the sleeves and reattached them my own way (which I’ve seen in several tutorials such as this one). Aside from that part, the instructions were very clear.

cire3Fitting wise I just had to lengthen the sleeves as much as possible by sewing the sleeve bottom edges with a 0,5 cm seam allowance instead of 1,5 cm. Other than that I made no changes, and on any future version I’ll be sure to add even more length to the sleeves at the cutting stage: most of the time they are okay with only that added centimetre, but I could do with a couple more when I’m on my bike. If I ever sew this view of the jacket again, I might also lengthen the front pieces to make them as long as the back (and in that case I’d also lower the side slits): I’m not a fan of the asymmetry there.

I’m in-between sizes and I chose to make a size S, the upper size, because I was going to interline the jacket with polar fleece. I’m glad I did, the jacket would clearly have been too tight otherwise!

cire5The (white) fleece interlining, in addition to adding warmth of course, had the advantage of stopping the lining from showing through the main fabric. You can still see it through the pockets (aren’t they a cute shape, by the way?) and hood, which I haven’t interlined, but I think it would have been much more of an issue had it been showing through the whole jacket.

To interline the jacket, I simply cut the body and sleeve pieces in fleece and basted them to the corresponding lining pieces, then treated them as a single layer: the lining being a simple cotton (the same I used for this skirt, but with bigger dots), I felt it would be simpler to handle than the main fabric.

cire6And indeed, any fabric would have been easier to handle than that beep of a fabric. It’s by far the worst fabric I’ve ever had to work with. I mean, it’s great quality, but it was an absolute nightmare to sew! It was close to impossible to get an even stitch length since it kept sticking to the machine, argh! I thought I was never going to get a decent looking jacket, but once I stepped back I realised this didn’t really affect the general look of the garment.

I used metal snaps to close the jacket, and I like both their look and their practicality. The whole jacket is so practical, I’ve actually been wearing it way more than my Quart coat, which I didn’t see coming! It’s light yet warm, casual yet cute, and it’s such a relief wearing it when it starts raining.

cire1I have no intention of making this view (B) of the pattern again any time soon, but I do have a piece of Liberty set aside for View A, which doesn’t look like much on the envelope picture, but I’m sure has the potential to make a very cute little quilted jacket!

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

Hello Polka Dot Skirt!

PolkaDots1Aaand here it is! Not the most complicated project, but I like the result very much!

I had been meaning to sew myself a skirt like that for years, but you know, so many ideas, so little time… The fabric is actually one of the firsts I ever bought! I had already sewn a skirt with it, which I wore a lot, but I’ve gotten more used to high waisted skirts (and pockets!) so I had been wearing it less and less and meaning to replace it with a new one.

PolkaDots2After sewing my modified Sureau, I was in desperate need of a simple project, one that I could complete in a day or two. I contemplated sewing a tote bag, then I set my mind on that gathered skirt. While I do need a (few) tote bag(s), getting a new skirt was much more tempting!

PolkaDots3The skirt itself took me a day but I decided to put off sewing the pockets to the next day so as not to rush things and make a mess out of them. And I must have made the right choice because everything went smoothly as can be; I didn’t use the seam ripper even once! Even the zipper went in without a hitch (okay, it’s not the most difficult kind, but still!).

PolkaDots5I used Gertie’s book to make the skirt pattern, but you can find the same information on her blog (part onepart two). For the pockets I followed A Fashionable Stitch’s tutorial. Both Gertie’s and this one were very clear and easy to follow and yielded great results.

PolkaDots7I’m really happy with the buttons: big ones on the pockets, small ones at the waistband. They’re from Gotex, one of my favourite fabric stores in Brussels, from a €1 bin full of old dusty button cards. The two buttonholes that close the waistband are a touch too small for the buttons, but at least they feel secure and they were parallel and the same size as each other, so I didn’t bother remaking them.

PolkaDots6I haven’t worn the skirt yet (I always fear if I wear a garment I haven’t photographed yet it will get ruined before I can take the pictures or something), but I’m pretty sure it will get in heavy rotation as it’s the kind of skirt I can see myself wearing both with or without tights, which means I can wear it all year long. I guess you’ll see it again soon with Me-Made-May coming up!

PolkaDots4

Sketchbook: Polka Dot Skirt

PolkaDotsThis skirt has actually been finished for more than a week, but I couldn’t muster the courage to draw before today. As for the courage to take pictures, well, I’m still looking for it. Thankfully I’m on holiday at the moment, so it shouldn’t be too long before I find it.

It’s a simple gathered skirt (following the explanations in Gertie’s book) to which I added cute pockets per this great tutorial. I have to say the result is much prettier in real life than on my poor little drawing. Better that than the contrary, right?

21st of July Playsuit

July21.1Remember I teased you about an upcoming refashion project? Well, it took me a looooong time, but I here it is at last!

July21.2

I heart pockets.

I almost threw in the towel numerous times on this one… At first I didn’t have a playsuit in mind but a dress, but it was impossible to get all the pattern pieces on the fabric. Then I thought of a playsuit after seeing one in a book I was reading, so I dug through old issues of Burda magazine and found this pattern. I thought it would be pretty easy to shorten the legs and add shoulder straps (I don’t do strapless), which it was. I also thought I would it would be easy to place the pieces of this small playsuit on the fabric of the huge eighties dress… which it was not.

July21.3

Do you see any bra straps showing? I don’t!

The dress was very old and there were holes and black stains in a few places, which made it a real headache to place every pattern piece on the fabric. I had to think about it for two whole days before I found a solution. And it was the layout that determined the length of the legs, so I was afraid the whole time that they would be too short.

July21.4You can see on the above picture that I used black seam binding inside the hem. It helped me keep as much length as possible. About the hem: I actually didn’t have a fabric piece big enough to cut the second leg, so I had to add a scrap of fabric to fill the gap. That scrap of fabric from hell was almost the end of me: I don’t know why (well, I think the grain must have shifted while sewing it or something), but it sat in a weird way that made the hem of the shorts awfully uneven. I don’t know how many times I had to redo that small part, but I was ready to give up.

Finally I got a tolerable result so I decided to power through… and now I don’t really see the problem if I’m not looking for it specifically. This is so often the case with my sewing projects: I obsess about a detail almost to the point of tossing the project away, but once I wear the completed project I completely forget about that detail…

July21.5I was really afraid such a playsuit would not suit my figure very well, so when I first tried it on I was relieved to see that it was actually pretty cute. I’m not used to seeing such an ample top on myself, but with the flowy fabric I think it works.

Also the length of the shorts had me doubt, but with the heat we’ve had these last few days I’ve gotten into the habit of showing my bare legs again and I don’t think it looks that scandalous.

July21.6I cut a size 36 for the top and graded up from a size 36 at the waist to a size 38 at the hips for the bottom. I have plenty enough room even though my hip measurement would be closer to a size 40. As regards the two elastics, I have no idea of their length because I pulled them around my waist/bust until I found them snug enough so I didn’t measure them.

I used black cotton voile for the pockets and for the wrong side of the shoulder straps. You can see it peek out from time to time, but I think it looks nice against the black polka dots (which, come to think of it, you can’t really see in the pictures because they are so small), so there’s no real problem here.

The buttons I used came from an old cardigan of mine.

July21.7I finished the playsuit yesterday, which was Belgium’s National Day, so it was quite suiting that I wore black, yellow and red, which are Belgium’s national colours! These are colours I don’t usually like together, but with only a touch of yellow (my rubber duck earrings, and you could also count my golden sandals and straw hat as yellow), I think it works.

So even though this won’t be my most worn garment (playsuits are not renowned for their practicality), I still find it cute and will most definitely wear it in the unexpected heat of this Belgian summer and in Spain where I’ll be spending three weeks in August.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I can also totally see it worn in Fall with black tights and a black cardigan… Or is it just me? Well, if the frail vintage fabric holds up until then, that is!

Enregistrer

To Be Refashioned…

Before1Is this the most flattering dress ever or what? I mean, the shoulder pads, the billowy sleeves, the hem length, what’s not to like? 😀

I bought this dress two weeks ago from the sales rack of a local vintage shop because, despite its 80s awfulness, it’s made from a very nice fabric, a drapey red viscose with tiny black polka dots.

Before2There are a few dark spots on the skirt portion (which is why the dress was so cheap I guess), but I think I can either cut around them or cover them up with black ribbon or something.

Stay tuned for the result (hope I didn’t jinx it by showing you the before and not having even begun to cut yet)!

Enregistrer

Watching the Seagulls

Seagull1Wouldn’t this hat be perfect for a stroll along the North Sea? I chose the colour of the straw first, then I saw the block I would be using, with its cloche-like asymmetric brim, and I immediately had this idea of a hat that would evoke sea bathing in the 1920s. So I decided to add blue and white trim in order to achieve that look.

Seagull2It took me a long time to complete, since as per usual with my hats I let it lie unfinished for too long because I sort of lost interest after I had done most of the work and I had to begin another hat for millinery class. But I have just realised that the end of the schoolyear is fast approaching and that I’d better quickly finish all of those languishing projects!

Seagull3The base is parasisal, molded in two pieces (one for the crown, one for the brim) then sewn together. The trim is store-bought bias tape. Seeing as the polka dot one wasn’t wide enough to look right around the base of the crown, I sewed three lengths of bias together (that’s the only thing that was machine-sewn by the way, and it was also sewn by hand to the hat): two polka dot ones at the sides and one solid in the middle. The one at the edge of the brim covers millinery wire, which you can see has suffered a little bit at the back from being lugged in my backpack (that’s when I realised I had to find a better way to carry my hats when going to class on my bike!).Seagull4I added this strip to cover the seam at the back of the trim, and I thought gathering the trim in a smaller tube would add more visual interest than leaving it straight all around.

Seagull5The inside of the hat (I used a wider petersham ribbon than usual because that’s all they had in that colour in the store), plus you can see the asymmetric brim more clearly. All in all I’m happy with this hat and it really looks like I had envisioned it, BUT in order for the crown bias not to gape I tightened it a little too much and as a result the hat is now a little too small (which it wasn’t before). I’m leaving it as is for the moment because at least it really stays in place on the head (which is nice if I ever bring it to the sea – hello wind!), but I’ll loosen it if it’s actually uncomfortable after wearing it for real.

Have a nice weekend!

Enregistrer