Saturday, January 31, 2015

Handmade gifts part 2

Lets make this a series, here you can find the first one. In these posts I will discuss a collection of gifts (made over a undefined period) which didn't justify (I have a personal fuzzy standard) a post but I still want to show them.

I made a friend a weighted pillow to be part of the sensomotoric therapy for her son. She asked a simple pillow/blanket but due to the age of the boy (five) I wanted to make a fun one. I enlarged a pattern from La Maison Victors' plush animal book. The arms measure 42 cm across, so it really is a big animal and it is filled with four kilo rice. The wolf is a washable cover for a simple bag filled with rice.

My niece requested baby groot. I had no clue what she meant, but when I googled it I found a free tutorial. It turns out to be a character from a movie (that I had to watch of course and liked a lot).  I love how he turned out.

One of my friends are going to have a second child and they asked around if somebody knew somebody who could crochet them a monkey. I kind a jump up and started waving my arms (over facebook), me me me, I can do that. I slightly adapted an existing pattern.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Lounge wear

I recently found out that Sew it up (Belgian initiative) also has a monthly sew along. As you know I love sew alongs and I also put theirs on my (mental) to do list. Their January theme is lounge wear. I presume that many of you would be delighted by such a theme, an excuse to sew comfy clothes that you can wear a lot. I have a huge pile of (ugly) comfy clothes. I do not like throwing clothes away, many pregnancy trousers and shirts have become my comfy clothes and I have a ton of them. Sewing does not always have to be practical, but somehow it did not feel right to sew new comfy clothes from my precious fabric that I would only be wearing at home while I have a huge pile of clothes suited for that purpose.

After I finished my Project run and play sew along last week I actively started brainstorming, I even asked my husband if he had any ideas. I asked him which lounge clothes he prefers on me and based on his answer I realized I should make some summer lounge wear! In the last weeks I have seen multiple beautiful summer dresses so I am jumping on the summer bandwagon.

I took my pile of woman Ottobres and flipped through all of them and settled on a set of shorts and a sleeveless shirt from 5/2011. For the top I did (as usual) not fully follow the pattern directions. I decided to line the cups with flannel (upcycling from a flannel baby towel) to create more support, left out the button placket and I put in breast darts instead of putting elastic at the top seam as well. The breast darts were a first. I thought home wear would be perfect to practice with and I was right, I need practice. I used a meter of Eline Pellinkhof fabric that I bought myself last year just because it was so pretty (I bought the whole blue line). A meter was just enough (or just not, I had to make an extra seam in the back to ensure enough fabric).

I totally owned the pattern last year and it is clearly for me so I will also link this post up to sew your pattern stash. Besides sew alongs I love being efficient.

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, January 24, 2015

Quadruple striped shirt

As Miekatoentje I was inspired by the new Ottobre and the interesting things they do with striped fabrics. I needed to try this stripe blocking for myself. I started with the triangle Ottobre pattern pattern and transformed it into a square.

I was not totally happy with the result of the stripes alone, it was not interesting enough, the square in the middle somehow looked to boxy and boring. Trying to spin the whole thing I ironed a fitting text and graphic on it. I think it looks better now, but the shirt needs jeans to avoid the pyjama vibe as much as possible. The shirt is for my son, but my most willing model helped me out again.

I like the boxy shoulders in this pattern (also very easy to sew), although it doesn't really show while worn.

I love to hear what you think of them. 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).

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Upcycled bubble dress

When I (again) started to actively blog last fall, I sewed along with Project Run and Play. I loved to see all the different interpretations of one theme. This year Project Run and Play will have a different set up. Now, every month there will be a sew along and you will have three weeks to make your creation. As I understand it, every month there will be a tutorial and you can link up anything that you made inspired by the tutorial. I think it is a great concept, because it will probably mean that I will be challenged to use new techniques, or known techniques in different ways.

This months tutorial was a bubble dress tutorial. I had never made anything bubbly, so I was game to try it. Alida provided a nice Pinterest inspiration board as well. But before I was going to try making a bubble dress, I first wanted to try the technique, so I made a skirt. I took half a meter Michael Miller fairies from my stash and turned it into a very bubbly skirt for my middle daughter. The model showing the skirt here is actually my eldest (the photo was taken with my phone so I am sorry for the lesser quality). I wanted a full skirt for my twirly middle girl and took the whole 110 cm wide fabric, Normally this would lead to a nice full gathered skirt, but the bubble effect made it a bit too much for my middle daughter's height, but she will grow into it. I chose a very thin (polyester) lining and this gave a very nice gathering effect at the bottom. One of the nice thing about the bubble technique is that you do not have to hem, yeh!

Then I had to choose the fabric for the "real" dress. I now knew that the bubble technique gives a full skirt effect and I decided to take a maxi skirt that I had on my upcycle pile (this time I did make a "before" picture).

 The skirt is silvery/gray and has many embroidered details on it. I started by taking the waistband off and I used the upper part of the original skirt for the skirt part of the dress. The bottom width was about three times the waist. The lower part of the original skirt had different triangles with embroidered details and I used the flower triangles for the sleeves and placed one of the bigger details on the middle of the front. For the back I opted for embroidered details on the sides. The pattern of the bodice and sleeves are the same as for this dress and originate from Stof Voor Doe het Zelvers 2.

I lined the bodice with interlock. The fabric of the original skirt is wrinkled thin cotton which makes the dress stretchy, but due to the fabric's light weightiness I was afraid that the dress would become to baggy if there was nothing to hold the wrinkles together. The dark blue lining shows at the neckline which I think is a neat detail. Due to the interlock lining I also did not have to use a zipper (double yeh!). I again opted for the thin polyester lining as I did with the trail skirt. It is a very nice purple and my colorful daughter loved the fact that the colors of the two linings were not the same. I did not line the sleeves

After some serious pictures she of course also had to twirl, jump and bow like a princess.


Although Kid's Clothes Week has not started yet (almost though), I decided to also put it among my projects for this season due to the "upcycle" theme. I had planned on using the original skirt in that week, but I still have a nice pile to be upcyled (and I might even make something from the skirts's leftovers.

I love to hear what you think of them. 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).

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Charles Dungarees

My son started asking for dungarees a few months ago, about the same time Compagnie M released the Charles dungarees. I bought the pattern, but then got distracted by other sewing projects. Last week my son asked for dungarees and this time I immediately acted on it.

At first he only wanted to pose in the shirt he was already wearing, the three little pig ones, but during the shoot I convinced him to switch to a bit less crowded shirt which combines better with the dungarees. The best combination would be a uni color shirt, but  none of those were clean unfortunately.

The fabric I used is the same type as my own trousers, the Kaufman Shetland flannel which I bought at, just a different color. My son is very skinny so I made him a size two width and size five length. The size two turned out perfect, the size five a bit to long. The extra length is not a big issue the breast piece has a perfect height, only the legs and shoulder straps were a bit long, but that was easily overcome.

Due to my son's a-normal proportions the side fake pockets stayed open too much, which you can see on the next two pictures. The pockets are a bit too high, for the next dungarees I will have to adjust this, now his underwear is showing. I first thought about putting another button but I decided to sew the lower part closed. I was afraid the extra kam snap would create friction and my son can easily go in and out of the trousers even with the button of the pocket closed. 

When my son first saw the dungarees he was on one hand exited but on the other hand a bit disappointed because the breast piece did not have a small pocket. That was easily fixed. I changed the details of pattern a bit to make it less girly by replacing the rounded pieces with corners. This turned out great at upper part of the breast flap, the pockets still seem a bit round though.

Before I closed the lower part of the fake pocket my son loved to put his hand there, he loves pockets. After I closed the holes he quickly found another way to still put his hands in.

The contrasting fabric with the whales is from Lillestoff. I bought it to make this dress. I still had a small part left and the colors matched very well with the flannel. The fabric has a bit yellow in it and I decided to take the same color of kam snaps. I love how the back turned out with that contrasting band of jersey. All jersey pieces were lined with flannel.

In my quest to limit scraps I made another baby onesie from the piece that was left. My model was already sleeping when I made the pictures.

I love to hear what you think of them. 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).

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Foldable bag

This post also has a dutch version which you can read here.

After seeing several beautiful projects based on the patterns from the book Zo Geknipt 2, I could not resist and bought the book (I am weak like that). I get very motivated to sew by sew alongs and the Zo geknipt 2 Sewalong is the most special sew along I have seen yet. It is not a link up or facebook page, it is a blog a true blog. Every month two projects are tackled and sewing along means that you make your own blog post on the blog about the projects you sewed.

January is the month of a foldable shopping bag and reflectors to put on a child's bag, to make them visible in the dark. I am trying to reduce my fabric stash so a foldable bag it is. I do not own any reflective fabric. A few foldable bag were already sewn and one of the first sewist's advised to make the triangle (that keeps the bag folded) a bit bigger. Keeping this problem in mind, I choose a different solution to avoid the bag  from falling apart. I added a kam snap to keep everything in place. Another thing in which I did not follow the guidelines was the fabric prescription. I used a cotton sateen from Michael Miller, where the pattern suggested two thin layers of cotton. The sateen is much stronger and heavier than simple cotton, it feels like canvas. I therefore forwent a full lining of the bag and as well as the iron on stabilizer. To give the bag a neat finish I did line the handles, but this lining stops a few centimeters below the handles.

For the triangle piece I chose a scrap piece of Birch fabric from my stash. This fabric was the trigger for re-starting my blog and is therefor special to me. Now I can often enjoy the fabric.

The neat finish of the bag requires to tightly roll the fabric, after sewing the handles, and stitch closely next to the rolled fabric. I thought I totally understood the instructions, rolled my fabric and started sewing. It turned out I was being a fool and folded both front and back of the bag together, but this is not necessary. The front and back are not yet connected and you can sew them separately. For me this meant that even though I rolled very neatly it was very hard to sew (no wonder because I had a double amount of fabric on my roll. It simply was impossible to sew on both the outside and the handle, one of the fabrics was always slipping away. It was the first time I actually screamed at my sewing machine, fortunately I was the only one home. After I finally succeeded to have both sides connected (it looked horrible), it was really hard to unroll the bag. I already decided that next time I would have to adjust the distance to the handle when the two piece separated and I saw the light.

After sewing the bag I first attached the snap on the small triangle (I had ironed on some stabilizer). Then I folded the bag. The last thing that I did differently from the books guideline was the folding. The book advices to fold the bag vertically four times, I chose to fold only three times because this gave the folded bag better dimension than if I would have folded it four times. I determined the place of the second snap, unfolded the bag, ironed on some stabilizer, and placed the second snap. I folded and unfolded the bag a few times and it is not hard to fold the bag in such a way that the snaps meet.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Woman's trousers

I did not make a clear list of new year's resolutions of my own, but I simply joined some lists of others. One of the lists I joined is an initiative of Sew Not Perfect. She has created a facebook page where we can all sew along on patterns from our stash. The goal is to sew something every month from a pattern that you owned in the year 2014. Every month has a different theme and January's theme is woman.

I own a lot of pattern, most of them child patterns but I also have a huge pile of woman patterns which are mostly bundled in sewing magazines (I own all Ottobre Woman for example). For this months theme I decided to sew something totally new to me. I decided to sew a pair of woman's trousers. I had sewn a few child trousers and was ready for the next challenge.

I have very good experience with the fit of Ottobre patterns and decided that my first trousers should be from that source. I picked a trousers pattern from Ottobre 5/2007. The fabric I used is Shetland flannel from Robert Kaufman. I read that this fabric makes great child trousers and bought a few versions from it at I liked the fabric so much that, although I planned to use them for my son, I confiscated one and now turned it into a pair of trousers for me. I bought one and a half yard, and it was a bit of a puzzle but I managed to cut all the pieces from it, I only had to make the back pockets slightly smaller.

These trousers contain my first trouser zipper, the previous trousers all had a half (fake) zipper fly. I did not feel ready to make a button whole yet, but that is on the list of things I want to tackle soon. In these trousers I simply opted for a red kam snap. The waist is rather high and nobody (besides my husband) will see the button anyway.

I think the fit is perfect, I very much like how the trousers turned out. I was not planning to put on belt loops, but I am happy that I did, it was not as much as work as I expected. 

In case you are wondering about that strange right corner in some of the pictures, that is because the angle of the pictures was off. I turned the pictures to having to avoid you having to tilt your head, but my feet would have totally fallen of the picture if I would have cropped the pictures such that the bottom would have been straight. I preferred to have at least partial feet on the picture, so this was the result.

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, January 4, 2015

A Julia sweater variation

Like I mentioned before when I posted about my first Julia, my breast and waist usually do not fall in the same size category (44 versus 40). For my first Julia I did something resembling a full breast adjustment, this time for my second Julia I did something different. I added a horizontal line by splitting the front piece just below my breasts to accentuate both my breasts and waist.

The Lillestoff jersey I used had been in my stash for over a year. It was one of the first jersey's I bought for some selfish sewing. I bought one meter without a specific project in mind. Shortly after I bought this jersey, I found several nice women fabrics and this fabric kind a moved to the bottom of my stash.

Last time (also my first time) I sewed a Julia, I first added fabric to the middle of the sweater to accommodate my bigger breast size in a size 40 sweater, to later see that I had to remove the approximately the same amount of fabric under my arms. Lillestoff is very stretchy and I decided to just risk it and to make a size 40 allover. When I started to draw my pattern pieces on the fabric I realized I again had been too optimistic about how much fabric a women's sweater (and especially a Julia) needs. There was no way I was cutting the two basic Julia pattern pieces in one piece from this fabric. Those are the moments that my creativity thrives and I decided to add the horizontal bar just below my breasts. Those horizontal stripes are also often found in store bought cloths, but they are never on the place I would like them to be. The stripe usually ends up somewhere around my nipples.

I measured the distance from the waist up to just below my breasts on my first Julia. to determine the optimal position of the bar. I cut a five centimeter wide strip from rib knit with a width of a few centimetres shorter than the main pattern pieces. I am very satisfied with how the sweater turned out. The fabric is not to tight around my breast and nicely curves around them.

I do not like throwing fabric away, but I also do not like all those small fabric scraps that I will probably never use but are taking up quite some space in my fabric closet. I usually cut and sew all the projects I want to make from a fabric at once, to avoid having to add to my very wobbly scraps pile. From the scraps for this sweater I managed to cut a baby onesie, but I had to be extra creative with the front pattern piece.

Our kids are very skinny and store bought onesies just keep on slipping from their shoulders. A year ago I  sewed three great baby onesies (which are unblogged). In the summer I tried to sew four more in a bigger size, but this lead a very frustrating sewing experience. I opted for a fast binding method and used a zigzag to quickly get that over a meter of binding done.

This left me with only a few scraps which deed not exceed my imaginary 15 times 15 centimeter or longer than 25 centimeter strips criteria, which I therefore just thew away (it feels like swearing when I am speaking about throwing away scraps). I already have enough small strips which might once be used to fill two pillows, so please please do not give me new ideas how to use those small scraps!

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).