Friday, October 12, 2018

French Terry by Lotte Martens: Dots fiery red

Yesterday, Lotte Martens released another fabric collection and I was again honored to be part of bloggers that are delivering you some extra inspiration. I received my fabric on Wedneday afternoon (yes that is two days ago), so a few hours before launch, but I still managed to sew up two garments and a hairband that same day. Some fabrics just deserves it to be used the instant they arrives, and this was clearly one of those.

The new fabrics are all French Terry, which is perfect for the fall season and there are four different designs. The Fiery dots, the fabric that I got, is my personal favorite, because I love the rusty main color. The main color is calling out fall outfit to me and I love the irregularly placed dots in blue and pink.The other fabrics from the collection are the Hands mineral blue, Squares coral pink and Squares indian teal.

I took the very safe strategy for patterns, time was tight so I did not want any unpleasant surprises. For myself, I again used the Martini dress pattern in my usual hacked way (having a symmetrical front). I also still use the same pattern pieces that I drew five years ago. This Martini pattern and the original test Domi pattern pieces are the only two sets of pre-cut pattern pieces that I can just take from the shelf without having to reprint, that is how satisfied I am with the Martini. I again just sewed the neckline down instead of using a facing, the French Terry is stable enough for creating such a neckline.

I am so in love with my dress that I wore it today while making studio recording for my students. I knew that I would be shown in front of a blue background (within the studio the background was of course green) and I was told not to wear stripes. My non-to-busy printed clothes are all stripes or uni colored blue or grey which I feared would be rather boring on a blue background. I clearly needed a fun new dress, which is the other reason why I got to work that quickly on Wednesday.

After cutting my dress from the fabric, I judged the amount of leftovers and saw that it had to be doable to create a sweater from it. I made a Regem for our youngest. I wanted to play with some color block and the Regem is perfect for that little splash of extra contrast. I only used the front color block pieces and the sleeve color blocks. For the ones that are paying close attention, yes I did use the sleeves the other way around. The bigger part of the triangle is supposed to be on the front. By switching the sleeves I could put the extra seam that I had to make to be able to cut two sleeves at the back of the sweater.

All four French Terry's are now available in store. Check your local fabric store or shop online. If you follow Lotte Martens, you will get to see a lot more French Terry inspiration.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Cicero in Shoft shell

In the week that I sewed this dress on request, I also sewed a coat on request. I hacked the Cicero jacket, a Sofilantjes' pattern for knit fabrics into a true fall/winter coat from Soft Shell. In this blog post I will give you some tips and tricks in case you want to go on a similar endeavour.

The Cicero is intended as a jacket to be worn over a thinner long sleeve, not as an outside layer over a thick sweater. I therefore measured the chest of our daughter while she was wearing a sweater, this way I automatically took into account the fact that her chest would be wider. I decided to size up one size above the measured size with sweater because Soft Shell does not stretch. In our case that meant that I sized up two sizes in total. I only sized up width wise. I did make her regular length, because she would not become taller by wearing a sweater. I also decided to use the neckline of the size that she usually wears, which also meant that I could use the hood of her regular size.

Sizing up a jacket is of course not the same as using a coat pattern. I expected that especially the sleeves might cause some problems. It is important that a coat gives you enough freedom of movement, so I decided to widen the sleeves. The Cicero sleeves are cut on the fold and I widened half of the sleeve by making a vertical cut (at about the middle of the pattern piece) and spreading the sleeve pieces such that the extra line that you have to drew at the top was one centimeter long. If you remember your geometry that means that you actually put slightly less than one centimeter between your sleeve pieces. To make sure the bigger sleeve would fit I drew the arm whole one centimeter lower. Setting in a non stretching sleeve is harder than setting a stretching sleeve. You need to pin and go slow to avoid puckers. The sleeves on our coat are wide enough for sure, a slightly narrower sleeve would also have worked, but I do not feel that they seem too wide.

I lined the jacket, so I cut all my outer pieces both in Soft Shell and in my lining fabric. Except for the pockets (those I only cut in lining pieces) and also all pieces out of ribbing were cut only as often has the regular pattern prescribes. I lined the coat with jersey. Sewing jersey to a non stretching fabric is not the easiest thing, but again, if you pin and make sure that you are pushing the jersey a bit faster than you woven, it is totally doable. If you have not done it before, I do recommend choosing a non stretching lining. I lined the sleeves with a silky lining fabric such that she easily slides into her coat.

I wanted both a hood and a collar, Anne had shown us that it can be done. I had made a different type of hack before because I feared a lot of bulky seams, but this turned out to not be an issues. If you sew a collar and a hood, this trick is to change the construction a bit. First finish the hood (without needing a turning whole) expect for the bottom of the hood. Then you place the outside coat (the one that I sewed in Soft shell) on the table in front of you with the outside of the coat up. Then you place the hood with the outside of the hood facing the outside of the coat. You align the necklines. Because Soft Shell does not stretch, your hood will be slightly shorter than the neckline. This is not a problem, just center it nicely, with a bit of open space on the side where the zipper will come. Now place the collar on top of the neckline, on top of the hood. The wrong side of your ribbing should be face up, meaning that the right side of your ribbing is facing the lining of the hood. Keep the collar open, do not fold it. Now sew all three items together, outside coat, hood (already completed with lining) and collar (unfolded). I then sewed the lining coat to the other side of the collar, the one that remained unsewn in the previous step. Now you can also sew the bottom waist band first to the outside of the coat and then to the lining. Make sure that you always put the pieces that you are sewing together such that the good sides of the fabric are facing each other and that nothing is twisted.

The most complicated step of sewing a fully lines garment is sewing the sleeves. There are several tutorials out there on the web that can explain how to strangely interlock the sleeves together to create the end result that you want. If you pin it correctly the garment will end up looking like strange octopus. I always forget how to do that exactly, so I use a different method. I just put the sleeves in each other the way that they have to end up and pin the layers how they should be sewn. I pin only a small piece, just 2 centimeter (you will not be able to pin the the entire top anyway from the right side). Then I put my hand through a turning hole somewhere in a side seam and grab those 2 centimeter that I pinned in place. I then pull the top of the sleeve through the turning hole and once that it is through that hole you can relatively easy pin the rest. I use the same, pull through the turning hole trick when I have to sew in zipper in a lined garment. It goes beyond the scope of this blog post to create pictures on how to sew the lining pieces, so I hope my simple trick will totally make you just see the light.

Friday, September 21, 2018

One Thimble 20 continued

The nice weather that we had the last few days made me remember that I still have two summer sews from one Thimble 20* to show you. I already showed you these two outfits made from issue and today I am showing you a beach cover and a romper. Both got a different use than what they originally were for though, but both have already been worn a lot.

Let's start with the beach cover designed by The Eli Monster. The pattern is designed for woven fabrics, but as you might know, I do not own that much woven. I do have plenty of jersey and this striped Lillestoff jersey was begging to become a colorful beach cover. The fabric that I had was slightly too narrow, but I solved it by adding a wide jersey strip instead of a hem. Added bonus, it did make finishing this garment very quick and easy.

Seeing as we are clearly moving towards fall, this beach cover will probably never see the beach. Although it work would great as a pool coverup, my daughter loves using it as a bath robe (without actually using it after taking a bath). It is super comfortable to wear and easy to put on, which makes this one a true winner for my at-least-3-times-per-day-changing-clothes 7 year old.

The Retro Romper is designed by Thread Faction for girls, but I made one for our son. It was somehow really breathing vintage boy sport outfit to me. With hindsight I should have made the legs a bit longer, now his boxer sometimes shows at the legs, but that does not stop him from wearing it two days a week during school gym. He really likes it. He is growing quickly though, so I assume I will have to make him a new one in a few months.

The plain green is a clear contrast to the screaming beach cover fabric, but I felt it was very suitable for this romper, especially combined with the muster yellow. The combination in my eyes is truly unisex, and because our 7 year old daughter loves rompers, I know that this one will get a lot of wear in our house.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Hibernis dress

The Hibernis is one of my most favorite shirt patterns and for more than a year I had been planning to lengthen it into a dress. Last week, I finally did it, and I am totally in love with the result. The fabric that I used for the dress had been on my "fell out of love with this fabric but I have to use it" pile, and as usual I again totally see why I had to buy it in the first place.

There are several ways  to hack the Hibernis into a dress but I chose to simply lengthen all the pattern pieces. This way the pocket is very long, but I knew my daughter would not mind. She usually only uses pockets to stash her hands and they will not get lost in deep pockets. I determined the length that I needed by subtracting the Hibernis length from the Vivax length and lengthen the pieces with the difference in length between the two patterns.

Our kids always loved to wear hoods, and now that it becomes colder weather they are rediscovering this love. Someone in the Sofilantjes group asked last week for a Hibernis with hood hack and I assumed that the Nivalis hood would totally work. I was right, the Nivalis hood works perfectly on the Hibernis.

I bought the cat fabric two years ago, when I I was in awe of digitally printed animal fabrics. But somehow I fell even quicker out of love with those fabrics than usual.  That is alos why I am buying more uni colored fabrics now and just print my own print on them. With this dress I did manage to use the kitten fabric to its fullest.  I had to make an extra seam in the sleeve and hood and add a band, but it is almost invisible due to the busy print, even though there was no attempt at print matching at all. I still have a horse fabric on the pile, that one will probably be next for a Sofilantjes hack.

Friday, August 31, 2018

A bag and chicken

I was planning to show you the other clothes that I sewed from One Thimble 20, but than I realized that also have two very cool projects from OT 19 that I have not blogged about yet. So, today, I will show you two non-clothing items, a bag and a plushie.

My mother in law took up weaving and for my birthday I received a fully hand woven fabric in beautiful shades of green. Coincidentally the fabric piece was the perfect size to turn into a Pinky Promise bag. I wanted to use as much a possible from the fabric so I also created the straps from the fabric, added two extra pockets and made an extra big lip balm holder. The only thing that I could make from the leftovers was a small bow for hairband, everything else was incorporated in this bag.

The Pinky Promise bag is an extremely cute bag pattern designed by Little Moo designs and perfect for kids/ teens but also for grownups. It can hold your phone, keys, cardholder and a pocket of tissues. Perfect for a night out or going for ice cream. The instructions tell you to use a magnet closure, but I am a very frugal bag maker and did not use one. I also attached the shoulder strap differently to avoid needing bag hardware. The pattern also includes an option to make a ear phone hole which I think is the cutest and smarted thing ever. By not having the ear phones go under the flap, the phone is much more secure in the bag.

The second non clothing item is this chicken based on the pattern by Frazzydazzles. The original pattern is to make a Silkie chicken, a type of chicken that is super fluffy looking and has a bunch of feather on its head. Unfortunatly I did not have fluffy fabric. I did have short haired fur, so I made a Dutch type of chicken. One with comb on her head. I used some upcycled denim to make her feet, beak and comb.  Our children were obviously fighting over who was allowed to play with her.

This chicken is the reason why I dared to sew these two. Sewing this chicken was so much easier than I thought it would be. I somehow expected it to be quite hard with all the small pieces, but is was not at all. I sewed her almost totally on my serger but afterwards I realized that on some places I sewed a bit too close to the side due to the fur. Those small holes were so quickly and easily solved by hand, that I was inspired to sew the other two by hand alone.

Both of these patterns and the patterns from this and this blog post are all part of One thimble 19*. You can buy these two patterns plus many more as one magazine, but these individual patterns are now also available through their own designers.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Fibre Mood, issue one the Phoenix

I always like sewing up new patterns, a new outlet of many new future patterns is therefore something I find worth celebrating. Fibre Mood is just that, a new source of future inspiration. Yesterday, the first paper mood book fell on the doormat of the Belgian subscribers and let's hope that it is the start of many inspirational new patterns. Fibre mood not just equals new patterns, but actually a new sewing community. If you want to learn more, hop over to their website and sign up. There you can also get the free Frances pattern for women.

To celebrate the first Fibre Mood issue, bloggers were invited to sew up one of the patterns from that particular issue. I chose for the Phoenix, a sweater to start the winter wardrobe of our quickly growing son. In the pattern the shoulder seam is shifted to the front, and to show off this feature I put a strip of jersey in between the seam. If you make the back of the sweater in a different fabric than the front, you can easily create a nice color blocking effect on the front without sewing an extra seam compared to a standard sweater.

To decorate your sweater, Fibre Mood also supplies illustratons of four funny animals wearing clothes. You can embroider  them on your garments or cut them from flex foil. You know me, I always have to hack a bit, so I actually used the print to make a screen print. I decided to only print the head and I did make some minor adjustments such that I do not have any loose pieces in my stencil. Still, the result looks very much like the original drawing. I printed it with my Bobbinhood kit and metalic golden ink.

The pattern is drawn for sweater fabrics, but it worked fine in the French Terry that I used. A little less puffy as the pattern describes it itself, but still nice and warm. Our son was exactly in between a size 8 and 10, and seeing that I am sewing for winter I made a 10. The fit turned out perfect, so not too big as I feared. I would therefore advice to size up when in doubt about the size.

As I mentioned before, I was clearly not the only one that sewed up one of the Fibre Mood patterns. Several bloggers sewed up their version and you can find them gathered nicely together on the Fibre Mood link up party from 0:01 am Thursday morning on the Fibre Mood site.