Friday, August 28, 2015

Boy Otium and another Domi

School is starting all over the world, which equals back-to-school-sewing in the blog community. Bloggers are showing off their skills by sewing perfectly matching wardrobes. I am not one of those bloggers. I simply have an inability to sew matching garments. Everything I sew is bold or extremely bold. On her blog, this week, I already reacted that I love sewing dresses because they do not have to be combined with anything (I know other people create beautiful combinations with cardigans and shoes, I simply sew long sleeves for winter and ignore any matching issues with shoes).

One of the many back-to-school blog sewing activities is over here. You can win some great prizes if you sew something with the patterns of their sponsors and link up. I have a weakness for sewing link ups and I owned a few of the suitable patterns. One of the sponsors is Sofilantjes and garments sewn with the Domi, Otium for girls or Bueram patterns all qualify for entering the game. Being my enthusiastic self, I decided to sew all three of them. The Domi and Otium will be discussed in this post, the Bueram is for next time.

Let's start with the Otium for girls. The name clearly states for who this pattern is intended, well, I like to draw outside the lines. I hacked the pattern for my son and my eldest daughter loves the shirt that much, she wants one too.

The main change I made is putting in a zipper. Instead of having a lined front pocket, I doubled the entire front and used the lines for the pocket to position the zipper. I sewed the Otium with the honest intention of matching it with the Domi I sewed a week earlier. The shirt was to be a relatively plain shirt.

While searching fabric for the Otium, I noticed a piece of jersey that was too small for a shirt, but perfect for my Otium hacking plan. I had used the fabric here and all my kids had mentioned how much they liked the print. I mirrowed the position of the pocket because my son is a lefty. In the picture my son is pretending to be sad because of the huge cut in his shirt.

This lead to a non-plain Otium, reaffirming my inability to sew low-key garments. It doesn't match with the Domi, so I decided that I would simply blog about two different outfits. I matched the Otium with a pair of orange (store bought)  pants, I think the combination works very well.

Of course, my son had to have his good friend in the pictures as well. That good friend can now travel with him everywhere without being lost. On the picture below he is pretending to have a tummy ache from eating him.

I didn't manage to make good picture of the empty shirt without my son covering at least a part of it. This picture has the bear inside (and he is pretending to be surprised that his bear disappeared), in case you are wondering what that strange bump is. The dotted fabric is from Lillestoff and the black uni fabric I bought from Joyfits.

Now for the second part of this post, the Domi. After sewing these two, I simply had to sew the long version as well to complete the Domi trifecta. The main fabric is from Hilco. I used a decorative stitch, consisting of little stars, to make the pockets (because not enough was going on yet on that fabric, right).

I lowered the rise of the Domi because my son prefers to wear it on his hips. I just took of 5 centimeter around the entire top of the pattern . My eldest two kids have almost the same hip size, so I will use this lowered rise version for my daughter as well.

Sewing went smooth, taking pictures not so much. I matched the Domi with a plain red shirt. My son did not agree. He didn't like the red shirt, he wanted to wear the zipper Otium. Pictures without a shirt were the only way to avoid the non-matching Otium.

My son loves loud combinations (he is allowed to pick his own clothes) but for the blog I am trying to tone down the crazy wear a bit. I read on several blogs that people feel that blogs show a too perfect life, well that is true here as well. I therefore decided to also include a picture of how this will actually be worn. My son loves it, which is the most important thing right?

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).  

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Crocheted bracelet

Although my blog is now filled with sewing projects, I do still crochet as well.

My mother-in-law showed me some pictures of crocheted bracelets she had come across on the web and they looked amazing. This one I considered to be be the prettiest, if you search "freeform crochet bracelet" you see many more examples. I decided to copy the one I liked best as a gift to my mother-in-law.

I didn't have a pattern and just winged it, based on the picture. This year, I am crocheting along the crochet-along-2015 (which is being translated to English) and I used some stitches I came across in that blanket into the bracelet. At the top of the bracelet for example is week 9's pearl stitch.

When the bracelet lies flat, the sides curl up, but when worn, this does not create a problem. I used two perfectly matching (both theme and color wise) flower buttons from my stash to close the bracelet.

I crocheted the bracelet with very thin cotton and my 1.5 crochet hook. The little beads are also from my stash, I once bought two boxes of assorted beads. As a child I dreamed of having such nice beads, I remember them to be very expensive. Now they are just a few euros.

I like the result a lot and might make one for myself as well. I normally do not wear jewelry, but this is something I see myself wearing.

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). 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Toddler underwear

My youngest just turned two and we have started potty training her. My eldest was already potty trained at one-and-a-half because we started when she was half a year old. It took a whole year, but we lived very small at that time (all ground floor and open spaces) and it was easy to put her on they potty and keep her there. Now we have two floors plus multiple kids running around and I didn't find the energy and peace to start that early (with every kid we seem to start a bit later), but we are on our way now. Although she is two already, store bought underwear just doesn't fit well. She has a very narrow waist (47 cm)and huge belly so the smallest store bought underwear is gaping everywhere (or doesn't even stay up).

In my quest to sew other things than dresses, I decided to sew her underwear. I took a diaper cover (that was wide on her bum but fitted well on her legs) and started from there. I started this project when I just received the ordered framilon and I used the framilon elastic for the legs and regular elastic at the waist.

The first (the yellow with flowers) fitted quite well, but I lowered the front pattern piece to accommodate that huge belly. I finished three pieces of underwear the same day (one of them is not pictured in this post) and in the evening, while watching tv, I cut 13 more. I used all kind of knit scraps I had, so if you follow my blog you will see many familiar fabrics.

If you know me, than you know that cutting 13 sewing projects is very ambitious for me. I quickly loose interest, I often change my mind, but I was really planning to sew these up quickly. I could have bought an existing pattern, but I just wanted to drafts it myself. I thought it would be a nice challenge to make perfect fitting underwear for her. I even didn't look on the web before I cut all those pieces. I had consulted my Ottobres, but there they didn't start in such small sizes.

Then coincidentally, I came across an existing toddler underwear pattern and surfed the web a bit on this topic. It turns out that pdf patterns do support very small sizes (with hindsight very logical, many mothers will face the size problem). Looking at pdf patterns, I realized that using knit binding would be better (and cheaper) than the framilon. I got discouraged, because I liked the ones I saw on the web more than the ones I had cut, and my 13 unsewn pieces remained on the shelf.

This week I collected all my resolve and just finished them. For a moment I considered re-cutting the pieces, compensating for the knit biding, but I decided against it (I needed to finish quickly before I lost my resolve). I sewed up the first, it fitted and just kept going until they were all done.

On the overall pictures (which I made with my phone so the quality is a bit less) you can see 12 of them, the thirteenth was already in the laundry bin, because we are not there yet with the potty training. Two days later the smaller group where the ones that where still clean.

The orange binding is from the Lillestoff package that I won and that fabric is perfect for this project. It doesn't have the standard rib texture that I am used to in bindings, but both stretch and recovery are even better than the usual Lillestoff fabric. The orange color matched many of the prints, but to create a bit more variation I decided to use some other colors as well. Those are regular knits.

I considered providing the pattern I used, but decided against it. Although I am very happy with them now, I feel that I have to redraw the pattern slightly because of the knit binding, but I am not in the mood. I also drafted them to be one layer everywhere, so no extra fabric at the bottom, which is not how you should make them. So if you want to make your own underwear just take a look here or here for pattern reviews.

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, August 16, 2015

Hand smocked dress

Every month, I try to participate in this year's format of Project Run and Play. The previous two months I skipped due to an overcrowded sewing agenda, but for August I was game. This month's designers are the sisters behind Frances & Suzanne and they came up with a fun challenge, incorporate a truly hand made part in the garment. They suggested embroidery and smock, but I presume they are flexible judges. Usually, I find it hard to play by the rules, but this time it somehow all just came together.

We were on holiday last week and during the week I tried out some modern (non-traditional) smocking techniques like the one I used for the pockets of my Ishi dress. I didn't know smocking would be this month's challenge, I simply was trying to pass the time without my sewing machine. On the Frances & Suzanne blog they posted a few posts on smocking (with foresight of course) and I though that such a time consuming technique would be perfect for holiday evenings. I didn't find a (free) English style smock pattern that I loved and I didn't really understand how much fixation a smock would need on the back side, so I didn't try an English smock. But then, like a sign, my parents-in-law gave me the A to Z smocking book last Friday. I decided to keep my modern smocking ideas on ice, and make an English smocked dress.

While flipping through the pages of the book I decided to go for an easy raster pattern. I wouldn't know where they pre-pleat fabric around here, so I pleated by hand as well. To make the pleating and smocking as easy as possible, I chose a fabric with a small repeated square and dot pattern. This fabric is Wicky Pikes from Soft Cactus and really perfect for smocking. The fabric is very light and due to the repeated pattern it was very easy to determine the position of the stitches. Smocking this piece took me a few hours (pleating included), by far not as long as I had expected.

I decorated the raster with some small flowers. The flower pattern is from the book. It looked very easy, but I had a hard time with pulling my needle through 20 loops. I decided that these five flowers were enough. I put a small bead on them (following the book's example).

This is my first smocking piece and I wasn't following a garment pattern, so I had no clue how wide the end result would be. When pleated, the hole thing was very narrow, but I knew smock is supposed to give a nice elasticized piece. When I took out the supporting threads, and saw everything remained together nicely, the next phase could start. What would it become and for whom?

The stretch of the smock was big enough to make a dress for my eldest. I drafted a dress pattern based on an existing dress and a sleeves set from an Ottobre pattern. I am satisfied with the dress but I am considering creating one or two extra lines of smocking. The bodice is now relatively short.

The smocked fabric was a (large) scrap piece, I used it earlier here, and I didn't have enough to make the back of a dress from the same fabric. I also feared that the dress would become too sweet for a seven year old that way, the light pink smocked fabric needed a more spicy accent. I looked through my stash and found a knit piece that had a similar vibe as my smock (bought as a coupon without a brand name). That reddish fabric combines great with the little accents on the main pink fabric. I sewed a little piece of pink jersey at the top of my smocked panel to be able to cut a full front dress piece. I created the small curve intentionally.

The front is the best side of this dress. The back is a bit strange, the front is wider and is visible from the back. I have to get used to it a bit, but my daughter immediately liked the dress (she never sees the back anyway).  Of course, the dress has pockets, my daughter really wanted to show them to you.

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, August 9, 2015

Ileana times two

Today is the last day of the Ileana blog tour, which means you will all know that Compagnie M's newest dress pattern has tons of options. You will know that there are two bodice types, several sleeves, collars and pockets. Besides knowing this information, you will have seen several dresses already. But, If you know me, then you will also know that I will manage to show you something new (which sometimes might be unintended).

During pattern tests you are supposed to follow the pattern and I really tried. While thinking about which option I would sew first, I was thinking about the faux button placket and thought it would be so cool if it was a functional placket. A functional placket would eliminate the back zipper and would allow my daughter to dress herself. She strongly prefers clothes she can close herself when she has gym classes at school, or goes to her after school sport activities, which comes down to four out a five week days. I prefer the clothes that I sew,  to get a lot of wear, so front closing would be perfect. I therefore asked and got permission to make a functional button placket. Marte mentioned she is planning a tutorial on how to do this, making this pattern even more versatile.

When you are in a test group, you get the privilege to see everybodies lovely dresses first. I didn't immediately start sewing the dress, because I was actually sewing four tests in two weeks (that was a bit too much indeed), so it was a challenge to come up with a fresh type of look (the placket looks the same as the faux one, so that doesn't count).

Eventually, I chose to make a winter version. This meant that I chose for the sleeveless option (I know that sound paradoxal but just bear with me). Sleeveless dresses are great for layering, this dress will look great with a long sleeve and tights (mental note: sew unicolored long sleeves). Instead of using a collar I used piping and I used it everywhere. I used it at the neckline, at the armholes and in the side seams (okay you got me, I didn't use it at the bottom hem, nearly everywhere than). Sewing the piping in the pocket curve wasn't a very relaxing experience, but I am satisfied with the end look. I did some hand sewing there though.

The fabric is from Birch and the colors are perfect for fall. I bought it at Modes4u last year. The piping I made from a Softcactus cotton. The color matches the green in the Birch fabric perfectly. The buttons are squares and I tried to make a small leave pattern to fixate them, but this doesn't really show.

As you also will have read, Compagnie M organized a joined shoot with some of the testers that lived close by. I went, so you might have even already seen a glimpse (or more) of this dress in the blog tour already. I didn't just took my eldest, I thought it would be a nice outing for my middle daughter as well. I therefore also made her a dress.

This time I chose the floral collar, the half circle skirt, the other contrasting pocket shape and the raglan bodice with short sleeves (you see how many words you need to describe the dress version you choose). Of course I didn't actually read the manual (mental note 2: just read it next time, learn from your mistakes!) so I didn't iron on any stabilizers and I topstitched. If you want an example of a perfect flower collar, check her's out.

 I also bought this fabric at Modes4u. It is from Cloud 9, both fabrics are from the same line designed by Rea Hoekstra. The pink butterflies I had already used for this dress. I should have again chosen the circle skirt, I had had enough fabric, but I just wanted to see the difference in look. My middle daughter did complain immediate that it doesn't twirl enough (mental note 3: always choose full circle if you have enough fabric).

Besides the slightly different flower collar, this dress also has a different than suggested closure. This time I didn't intend it though. After cutting all my pattern pieces I realized I had cut the back piece on the fold (and I used the pattern without seam allowance). I didn't want to re-cut the back, because I just hate wasting fabric like that. I therefore made this into a learning experience and sewed my first side seam zipper.

A side seam zipper only isn't enough as opening, so I made a closure in the top of the back as well, to allow her head to actually go through. I was planning to use a button and a loop, but while fitting I realized that I could also use a snap. I really like the result. I used a small white flower snap, so it even fits the fabric's print perfectly.

During the shoot Marte distributed balloons and these were a big hit. My eldest managed to break the balloon relatively quickly, but my middle one treasured the balloon. She took it with her the entire day.

Untill the 11th of August you can buy the pattern on release sale with a 10% discount with the code ILEANA-10 in Compagnie M's webshop.

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).