Tuesday, June 30, 2015

KCW part one: Sashiko embroidered Ishi

Last week was Kids Clothes Week. I didn't manage to post about my KCW sewing because I was too busy sewing (and only finished this dress yesterday). After I participated in my first KCW, I wrote that in next seasons I would either have an easy project every day or one very extensive one during the whole week. In the previous KCW, I posted something everyday. This time I went for the big challenge version. I hand embroidered a dress. It took a lot of time (I easily reached my one hour a day and more), but I could do this sitting next to my husband while watching our favorite tv shows (which I usually can't because I can not machine sew and watch). So this slow sewing was a nice change.

My extensive project was the Ishi (the embroidery part was extensive, the dress was a quick sew) from Straight Grain. The Ishi is a dress pattern for woven fabrics and has princess seams and big pockets. The dress is perfect for interesting fabric combinations. Ishi is the Japanese name for "pebble" or "stone", the dress got this name because girls can put their treasures in their pockets, and when playing outside many of those treasures are stones. To honor the name of the dress I wanted to use a Japanese embroidery technique. Sashiko means running stitches and this technique was used in the past to mend clothes. Holes or weak spots were fixed by sewing another piece of fabric on it with decorative running stitches. Now a days it is mostly used for decorative purposes. I had seen some lovely examples of this technique and I wanted to try it. The side panels and the front panel are embroidered with two different patterns and different colors. I first cut my pattern pieces, than I embroidered them  and the last step was sewing the dress. I think a dress with a Japanse name and Japanse sewing techniques perfectly qualifies for the "traveling" theme of KCW. I did also make two very quick travel themed projects, more about those tomorrow.

The pockets are made with the same smocking technique as this bag which I made a few years ago. This is not Sashiko but the technique is from a Japanse book. I loved the result and wanted to use the technique again. I think it is amazing how you can make these cure flowers with polka dot fabric.

So instead of using three different fabrics I actually only used one (scrap) fabric to make the entire dress. I made my eldest a dress with this fabrics once (no blog post on it) and I had a piece left that would be perfect for this dress. The pockets demanded more fabric that I anticipated so I had to sew two pieces together to get enough fabric, but the seam is almost invisible.

The invisible zipper was a challenge. I wanted the dots to line up perfectly but my fabric had a bit of stretch. I almost succeeded but after (partially) seam ripping for the third time I decided it was good enough.

In real life, it really seams that the dress is made from four different fabrics. It was hard to capture this on the photos, I hope you can see it. Both my model and the sun were not being cooperative, but I had a competition deadline to make so these pictures had to do.

I wanted a sleeveless dress and therefore redrew the shoulders slightly to have cap sleeves. I wanted the cap sleeves to be an extension of the princess seam, I am very satisfied with the look. I had to redrew the pattern size wise. My skinny girl needed a size smaller than the pattern provides at the chest and the length of size 80. I started from the smallest size and slightly redrew the chest. The fit is perfect now, which means that the size table is accurate.I fully lined the dress with an old cotton sheet because I wanted the embroidered back of the fabric not to be in contact with my girls body.

I love to hear what you think of my creations. Feel free to leave a comment in the language you prefer (although Google translate might have to assist me if you choose something different than English, German, Dutch or Hungarian).

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Domi sweat pants test

Sofilantjes is again releasing a pattern today, she is on a roll! This time she is releasing Domi, a uni sex sweatpants pattern. Most of my sewing is girly sewing (due to the fact that I have more girls to sew for) so I had to make a pair (or two) for my son. The pattern has three lengths: bermuda, 3/4 or full length. I signed up for the bermuda length, but after seeing tester pics from the 3/4 version, I wanted those aswell and I wanted them now. There are two pockets shapes, so I decided to test them both.

For the bermuda version I used Lillestoff fabric. The pattern supports a cord in the waistband  (due to these trousers I finally tackled my button fear and feel comfortable sewing button holes) and I also made the cord myself. This really is very easy, and this way you always have a perfectly matching one. I used this (Dutch) tutorial to make turning super easy (scroll down to about half way and look at the pictures).

The second pair of pants, the once supporting blue gecko's is made from Hilco fabric. This fabrics really was a dream to work with. The fit of both pants is perfect, my son loves them and has worn them both already.

The pattern is a relatively quick sew and has many options. When I drew my pattern, I cut the full length paper pieces and simply folded them when I drew my shorter versions. This way you can very quickly switch between lengths, after you sew once you are bound to quickly make another.

The pocket options are great for mixing as well. One squared and one round pockets also looks great, and what about switching up construction methods for the pockets. This will give you round contrasting pockets or you can sew the squared pocket to the main fabric from the inside. Enjoy playing with the possibilities!

The pattern will be on sale on Sunday and Monday (CET) for only $5 (excl tax). After the sale the price goes up to $8.95(excl tax). This Wednesday Sofilantjes is one of the featured designers on #pdflove (find more information on the facebook page). This means that besides the possibility to win prices with your Sofilantjes's sews, you get a 25% discount on all Sofilantjes patterns (excluding bundles) if you use the code "pdflove" in her shop. The code is valid until Thursday (Central European Time).

I love to hear what you think of my creations. Feel free to leave a comment in the language you prefer (although Google translate might have to assist me if you choose something different than English, German, Dutch or Hungarian).

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Nina test and tutorial for a contrasting frontal zipper Nina

This post contains a tutorial at the end, scroll all the way down for the zipper Nina tutorial.

Compagnie M  has released a new pattern: the Nina culottes for girls and I was allowed to test it! Last month Marte released the Nina for women, but now you can fill your girl's closet with this staple item. The pattern contains instructions for an A-line skirt and culottes, so two different garments for one price. I really wanted to make the culottes because here I always see my girls' underwear. Legs seem to be made to stay up. With the culottes, this isn't a problem anymore.

Compagnie M is known for her pocket options and I love pockets. During the testing we were encouraged to experiment with the pattern as long as we didn't change the fit. I love getting permission to hack and I changed the front pockets to faux welt pockets. This were the first faux welt pockets I sewed. The pockets always gape a bit, because I didn't stabilize them and due to their position, this is my own fault and not because of the pattern, welt pockets like this are not even part of the pattern.

The fit of the culottes is simply perfect, just look at this picture where she crunches down with her legs open. Culottes give here freedom of movement, no visible underwear and still are a very girly garment.

There are so many option in the pattern that hacking really isn't necessary (but I always have this need somehow). There are several closure options, and as mentioned earlier, several pocket options. Whatever your style, you will find an option in the manual that will fit it.

Before I made the culottes, I first made an A-line skirt, to test the size (not that it was necessary the size was spot on). The skirt was just for size testing and I allowed myself some more freedom with the pattern and I added a visible contrasting zipper on the front.

Both fabrics are from Cloud 9, and I bought them at Modes4U. The zipper I bought in a big batch at Aliexpress once. With the code NINA10 you can buy this pattern with a 10% discount. When you buy both Nina patterns (girls & women), you’ll get a 20% discount with the code NINADUO. Both codes will be valid till the end of the month.

I like the result a lot and so did Marte. Therefore I wrote a tutorial (scroll down) on how to make your own zipper Nina. The tutorial is heavy on pictures, I am still experimenting when it comes to writing tutorials, so feel free to tell me how I can make a better tutorial next time. Marte's instructions are great, so I really tried to be extra thorough myself, but I might have overshot it a bit.

For the tutorial I made my eldest a zipper Nina. The main fabric is again one that I won in the facebook competition last month. This one is from Michael Miller and I got it from Koning Uil. I wasn't in top shape when I determined the size and actually took one too small at the waist, totally my mistake, so the skirt is a bit higher than it should be but still wearable.

 Zipper Nina Tutorial

Extra materials needed: an open-ended zipper (deelbare rits). You can make the zipper Nina with a normal zipper, but in that case the bottom will always stay closed, my girl loves the fact that the skirt can be totally open. 

For this version you will need pattern pieces 1 and 3 for the front. You need to add seam allowance to the side that you normally cut on the fold. The visible zipper will add to the width of the front. In my case the zipper coil plus the width of my zipper foot (on both sides) is one centimeter extra. You can adjust your seam allowance for this difference. In my case I only had to add half a centimeter allowance instead of 1 centimeter (half a centimeter less on either side makes up the difference). If this sound very complex just add one centimer allowence on either side, you can adjust the final fit due to the elastic in the waistband.

To avoid my daughter's skin getting caught in the zipper I added a zipper guard. The length of the guard is the total of your front. In my case I took 38 centimeter.

The width of the guard piece is the width of your zipper plus seam allowance times two. So in my case 3.5 centimeter plus 1 centimeter times two is 9 centimeter.

Use the manual to sew the pockets, sew the sides of the skirt, the sides of the waistband and sew the waistband to the skirt. Do not hem and do not yet sew the waistband to the inside (every other step should be done). Now lay your zipper upside down on the skirt, align the side of the zipper with the side of the skirt panel. Your zipper's good side should face the good side of your fabric (the zipper coil might not differ depending on the side, so focus on the position of your runner). The skirt has a two centimeter hem allowance so place the bottom of your zipper just above those two centimeter and pin in place.

Make sure you fold the seam of the waistband (the seam between the front of the waistband and the skirt panel) totally up.This seam will have to end up under the waistband and should be folded in that direction.

Pin the other side as well, turn you fabric with the pins in it to see if you did it correctly (avoid having to use your seam ripper).

Use your zipper foot to sew as close as possible to the coil (if possible also adjust your needle position). Sew both sides and start/end your sewing 3 millimeter after/before the waistband seam (the seam between the front of the waistband and the waistband's facing). You shouldn't sew to close to that seam to be able to turn it over later.

Fold your zipper guard piece and sew the long side and one of the short ones closed. Cut the corners and turn it.

Pin the zipper guard on the side of the skirt with the zipper runner. Put the guard slightly higher (1 mm)  than the end of the zipper. This step I didn't do myself, but I learned from that. So in this step the bottom of the zipper should show a bit under the zipper guard. 

Again, turn with the pins in it, and check if everything looks okay. In your case, the zipper bottom should be a bit lower than the zipper guard (in my case the guard is slightly lower).

Take your normal sewing foot and sew the guard to the zipper (and the skirt).

I never use zippers that have the perfect length, so for this tutorial I assume you didn't either. Cut the zipper about three centimeter from seam (seam between front waistband and waistband facing).

Remove the extra teeth with pliers (only the teeth not the entire fabric). Remove all the teeth above the seam and probably one more. Start with a conservative removal and you will see in the next step if more have to be removed.

Fold over the waistband facing (to the back) and pin the facing to the zipper. In this step you fold the zipper top between the waistband front and the waistband facing. If you can not fold the facing over, and make zipper disappear neatly you might have to remove another teeth (or two).

Fold the bottom of the waistband facing under (itself), to be able to finish your waistband as explained in the manual.

Turn and your waistband should look like this.

Fold the guard in on itself and sew closed invisibly (by hand). Invisibly close the waistband (by hand).

Now the bottom hem. Hem as explained in the manual, or like I did, blindly by hand.

 Your zipper guard should be slightly higher than mine.


I love to hear what you think of my creations. Feel free to leave a comment in the language you prefer (although Google translate might have to assist me if you choose something different than English, German, Dutch or Hungarian).