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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Summer Knitting

I'm knitting again! It's pattern from the Ariadne summer issue of 1980. Basically a few squares with a pretty pattern. I'm using 4mm needles, the yarn is a cotton with 4% polyester, Lana Grossa Elastico. It's light and perfect for summer. I'm knitting it in black though, as you know white does not go well with my outstanding food spilling capabilities. And I'm making the sleeves 3/4 instead of long. I'm halfway through, so I have good hopes of finishing this before the summer ends!

On the train. Knitting in public, yo! Only for cool people. 

ALSO, did you know my 2nd blogoversary is coming up in a few days? I am a big fan of celebrating whenever you can, so stay tuned for some grand giveaways! Woohoo!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Some Sleeves

You know what the problem is with stash busting? It creates more scraps! I'm trying to reduce both, but every time I make a garment, I am left with more scraps. And I know there are things like small purses or pincushions or headbands I could make, but one can only have so much of those. Hmmm...

Anyway, I've made a laptop sleeve for a friend. When I made my first sleeve, she asked me if I could make her one too. I said yes, she bought fabric. That was about a year ago. She bought a new laptop in the meantime. Moral of the story: never ask me to make you something :) At least there's one advantage: I learned to sew much better in the meantime. I finally made her sleeve last week. I needed a new one too, so I made another one with the leftover fabric to prevent my scrap pile getting higher.

The pink one is my friends sleeve. The outer fabric is a soft wool, the lining is a super soft and flowy something. This girl knows quality when she sees it! I handsewed the lining close to the zipper so it wouldn't get stuck. I also made an extra piece of fabric to protect her laptop from the metal zipper. And I used an extra piece of white cotton in between because the pink fabric is see through. It turned out well, but it was hard to combine a coarse zipper with such fine fabric. It took me about three hours to get it right! I made mine second, and was done in about half an hour. I used a smaller zipper this time, and a piece of quilting cotton from the scrap pile. There was no need for handsewing or an extra protection strip.

Doesn't the pink one remind you of an oyster or mussel? I used this tutorial for both sleeves, but omitted the iron-on fleece. If you choose the right materials, it's a fun half an hour project!

(15:60 #6)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Summer Dress for Next Year #2

As predicted, I never got to wear the first summer dress I made last year. Even worse, I wore it only once this year. Nevertheless, I like the pattern and wanted to give it another go. Sadly, this summer is as bad as last years. I have worn the second version once in France but with my fleece jacket over it. Which kind of takes all the summer out of the dress... Anyway, unlike the summer, this dress is a better version of the last one!

The fabric is a kind of rayon I guess. I got it from the clearance section, and these pieces are never labeled. Pff, half of the fabric on the racks isn't even labeled. Another reason to dislike the local fabric store. Anyway, I used the patterns from last year. They were quite horrible! I didn't transfer the adjustments I made in the dress to the patterns, but I could remember some of them fortunately. I did not use the slippery stretch fabric, but a soft white cotton as a lining. I gathered the bust again but moved the gathers a bit inwards, and used a dart in the lining because it might become to bulky if you gather both. I also added some length to the dress.

This dress is easy to finish because of the way it is put together. You start at the bust pieces and work your way down (or up when going towards the back), so all your seams allowances will automatically fall between your fabrics. I made this in France too, so I had the lots of time to be precise and not take shortcuts. It took me about 5 days from cutting to finishing. It's nice to see that I was proud of the way I finished it last year, while I've done a much better job this year. You can't but learn a lot in a year! I only hope I don't have to wait another year before I can wear it...

(15:30 #5)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Perfect Blouse

I am proud to present to you: the best thing I have made - EVER.

The pattern is Burdastyle 7/2012 132. It's been a long time since I made something from a pattern. I was a good girl and followed nearly all the instructions, did not take shortcuts, and made the inside look as pretty as the outside. All the seams are flat felled and topstitched. I made my first plackets and they turned out great! I was a bit scared of them at first, because the Burda instructions were completely unclear. They could have been written in Chinese for all I knew (I was going to say Klingon first. I've been watching too much Big Bang Theory). So I used Peter's instructions for the Negroni plackets to understand how they work. It was not so hard after all!

I can't tell you how happy I am with the result! The stitching is neat, the buttons evenly spaced, it's a style that has been on my list for a long time, the fabric is fun and great for summer and perfect for this pattern, it was only 3,- and it hardly creases. It can also be worn both with rolled up and long sleeves, loose for casual purposes and tucked in for work. White is still a bit tricky though. Half an hour after finishing I cut my hand and almost bled all over the shirt. The next day I spilled sateh sauce on it. I don't even dare to drink red wine or eat pasta sauce when I wear it...

I can see now what no stress sewing does for the quality of your endresult. I had ten days off, with nothing else to do but sew. I sewed this shirt in three days, sewing about 4 hours a day. Normally I just have one day and I like to get something finished at the end. 4 hours a day is ideal though, and now I've seen what a difference it makes not to be in a hurry, I might just take more time from now on.

What is the most perfect thing you've ever made?

(15:60 #4)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Package from the other side of the world!

Stuffed full of goodies!

I won ThePerfectNose's giveaway last month! Apart form the Pattern Magic book (My first! So exciting!) she was so kind to send me the pattern of the Drape Drape Dress no. 2. This is the pattern I wish I had but didn't and then made the Folded Mini Skirt instead. I already know it will be my favourite dress :) Plus some beautiful iron-ons and a sweet kangaroo card! Thank you TJ, you're awesome!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Escher Shirt

I've got a new obsession: geometric prints. I think it started with this fabric, bought in May at the market. It reminds me of M.C. Eschers prints of impossible objects. For a long time I wasn't sure what to make with it. A dress? Pants? It felt like I had to be careful with this one, it might become twee if I chose the wrong pattern. Then, remembering my 'Don't think, sew' - resolution I cut a square, made an incision at the top and tried to turn it into a simple tunic/dress resembling Sweet Verbena's Maxi dress. Well, that didn't work. This patterns does not need gathers, there's already enough going on. I guess sometimes overthinking something isn't such a bad thing. So I decided to keep it simple and just make a batwing top. I was lucky to be able to squeeze these sleeves out of the square.

I used the Renfrew as a sloper and drew mini batwing sleeves (as done with the batwing sweater). I'm using these a lot lately, I like the style and I can forego setting in sleeves which I still haven't quite mastered yet. Added cuffs and a waistband à la the Renfrew and that was basically it. I thought of making a wide neckline, but these tend to slide off one shoulder and I wanted to be able to wear this to work. I think a pattern like this doesn't need a complicated design anyway, it's interesting enough in itself. And I need some basic shirts that you can just throw on.

One question for you: how do you finish raw serged edges like these? Now I hand sewed them flat at the end, but maybe there's a better way? I'd love to hear your tips and tricks!

P.S. Number 3 of the 15:60!
P.P.S. If you like it too, I saw this fabric somewhere in an online shop, but I forgot where. I do know they had badly photoshopped examples of garments made with it. Anyone know which shop that is?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Actual Small Things

The name of this blog is completely irrelevant to its content. It started out as a blog on which I wanted to focus on the small things in life that make you happy, but quickly changed into a sewing blog. I haven't been able to come up with a better, original name for it though. If you have any suggestions, please let me know!

Anyway, I made some things that could be considered quick projects, so I thought I'd make use of the blog name. These are the first two items that count for my 15:60 challenge! First up is a birthday gift for Stef: a yogamat-bag. Made out of scraps, as promised. We have two pillow covers made out of the orange IKEA fabric. I did buy the strap though. I sewed two 2 metre strips on top of eachother for extra sturdyness. I found some actual sturdy straps later on at the market, but it was priced at 4,95 a metre. Yeah, no thanks.

We practice Ashtanga Yoga, the kind of yoga that is more about physical exercise than meditation. At least for us beginners :) We're both very stiff, so sometimes we need a belt to get further into a position. This is why I made the strap of the bag detachable with two D rings as a closure, so Stef can use it during yoga as well. I tried to give it all a nice finish, using french seams and neat stitching. All he needs now is a yoga mat :)

And another loop scarf! I'd seen this fabric a couple of times at the shop, but I didn't quite know what to use it for. Something about this fabric makes me want to look at it the whole time though, so I bought half a metre for another loop scarf. I wrote before I should get into accessories more, but bracelets and such just don't work for me. I simply forget to put them on. Scarves do however, because they have an extra function which is to keep you warm. I guess I like the things I own to be functional in some way.

2 down, 13 to go!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Perfect Holiday one spent among green hills, sunshine and a light breeze, wine and cheese under grapevines, an old French cottage with lightblue windowpanes, long walks in the woods with two sweet dogs, a French neighbour who brings us homemade crème brûlée, and the best part of all: a sewing machine for me to use...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

15:60 challenge

Last week, I went out to buy this:

What I came home with is this:

I decided it's time to stop buying fabric and start using up my stash. There are two reasons for this: 1) Recently Stef and I discussed the 100 thing challenge (again). Although we're not yet going to take this challenge, we are constantly thinking of what stuff we actually need and cleaning out more and more. In this spirit, I want my fabric to fit in one suitcase again, instead of stuffed in bags in every corner of the bedroom. And 2) I read about Megs 30:60 challenge and thought that would be a good opportunity to help me reach that goal. I'm going to modify it a bit though, and make it a 15:60 challenge. 15 things in 2 months is still a challenge for me, my current rate is about 15 things a year. The starting date is the 29th of june, Stef's birthday and the day I bought my last fabric. It's on!

P.S. This is another reason why I love the blogging community so much, there's always a challenge you can join if you need one!