Sunday, November 11, 2018

Another Bazinga

A year ago, I sewed a Bazinga back pack for a back to school tour. I sewed it mostly because I wanted to try it, I wanted to see if I could do it. I sewed it with our youngest in mind, but the back pack turned out a bit big for her. Our eldest has been using it every day since than. This daily reminder to the other kids that mommy can sew back packs led to my son asking for one of his own. He indeed needed a new back pack, but I was not sure if I wanted to sew another bag, I still am on the fence when it comes to bag sewing in general. I even tried to sell him on the idea of a store bought bag. But he was clear, he wanted a mommy made, one with many pockets.

Many pockets... I considered for a moment designing my own, but quickly decided to just sew another Bazinga. I think my biggest problem with sewing bags is that they are made with woven fabrics. Woven fabrics just are not my go to fabric. I have some awesome prints in my stash, but I strongly prefer working with knits. A long long time ago I got some awesome dino fabric from Droomstoffen, such a cool print that I did not dare to cut it. Our son decided he is not wearing woven shirts, so I did not know how to use it to the fullest. For this bag I only used a tiny amount, The rest is now again waiting for the next special project. I have at least three more very cool boy fabrics that are waiting for something special.

Besides the awesome Dino fabric the bag contains a small amount of this fabric, a bit of orange cord fabric that I once won somewhere and a very big load of upcycled denim. I cut into three different jeans to make almost the entire inside, the back, the straps and that small pocket on the front. Color wise the whole thing became a bit too wild, even for my taste. The color balance is a bit off and I think that the small dark blue pocket is a big cause of that but, come on, it was too perfect not too use it as the extra front pocket. I got three pockets without no effort at all. I had not planned to, I just saw after cutting some other pieces that that pocket piece under the waistband for the perfect piece for that front part.

I squeezed in two extra pockets in one on the inside of the bag as well. Yes, that extra inside pocket is not straight, but my son really does not care and and I could not angle it differently due to earlier cuttings from those jeans. I had been planning to sew the bag for weeks, but the fact that there was a denim upcycle challenge in the Flosstyle group finally made me do it. I actually won a free pattern with it, so somewhere in the coming weeks I hope to be able to show you an Alice tea set, the pattern that I chose as my price. Another great pattern to sew with some of my woven treasures.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Continued Nivalis love

Now that winter is really coming, the wardrobe of our two eldest kids clearly needed some new pieces. The younger two can simply use the stuff from the older two, but the girl and boy that have nobody above them and are growing in record speed needed some quick and versatile pieces. For our daughter I decided to make two very different garments with the Nivalis pattern. Although very different, both I hope will last more than a year.

Our eldest loves long dresses and because long dresses means more wearing time, I love them too. I therefore made her a calf length Nivalis, this is longer than the original dress idea, but this way she will be able to wear it the entire winter/ spring and with some whishfull thinking she might actually wear it next fall and winter too, but then with a more traditional dress length ofcourse.

The other thing that I made with the good old Nivalis pattern is an extremely cropped top. I used the upper color block piece, the sleeves and the hood  of the Follis (but this totally works with the Nivalis own hood as well) to make the perfect winter accessory. This way she can wear her favorite summer dresses all year round. In the pictures she is wearing the Vallis, her favorite dress hands down, but this hood and sleeve combi fits on many more of her summer pieces.

I made the Follis hood because I love how it sits on the back, but it might be a bit on the heavy side for this specific project, so next time I will simply use the Nivalis hood. I raised the neckline a bit such that the Follis hood would fit, I will probably do that as well next time, because I do not want a summer dress itself to be visible at the neckline.

Monday, October 22, 2018

The other "magic" fabric projects

Before the summer, I showed you three items that I sewed with magical fabric that changes in the sun. This Cessim, this Pearlie and this Playtime dress. As you might have guessed, our fourth child in the family also got a garment with this wonderful fabric. She was very clear in what she wanted, the wanted a play suit, so I sewed her one. I was intrigued by the magical qualities of the fabric, so when I saw another type that I liked even more, I actually bought an entire bolt of 12 meter (the minimum that I could acquire wholesale), because it seemed perfect gift material.

The fabric arrived a bit later then expected but I did manage to squeeze out four gifts before the summer holiday's, but I only made pictures of two of them. I made one shirt for my brother's birthday, he once was a physics teacher so I knew that he would appreciate the science behind it. I also sewed a shirt for our eldest daughter's teacher's son. That particular teacher was always admiring the dresses that our daughter was wearing so I thought that it had to make a perfect gift, and it did.

The two projects that I do have pictures of were gifted to the daughters of my colleague. I very often receive the clothes that her twins have outgrown, and I give back once in a while some hand made. I correctly assumed that this fabric would be highly appreciated. Our eldest is showing off the dresses, but she has a slightly different size. This makes that the fit is not perfect, and the color changing fabric is a bit too light weight, I should have used a more stable knit to back it. Lesson learned for next year, because I still have a good quite some meters left. I wanted the dresses to be similar but not the same so I made a Solis and a Foras  and I also worked with another contrasting fabric.

The play suit that I made our middle daughter is hacked Mila suit from La Maison Victor. The play suit that I made is not a halter, but actually has a back and a button closure. The result was perfect for our little gymnast, she prefers doing cartwheels over standing still any minute of the day. Seeing that the season for playing outside without a coat is over, the rest of the bolt will remain in storage until next spring.

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.