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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Batwings With Buttons

When I wear somthing that I've just made, I usually am not very concious about it. But with this new sweater, I was so happy with the execution and the outcome in general that I was hoping that people would say something about it. That did not happen: maybe because it is a nice, but not a super special sweater. I've been wearing it almost non stop because it goes so well with the rest of my self made wardrobe. Or at least with my mustard skirt and the folded mini skirts.

The dog had to get in the way ofcourse. When I set up the tripod, she, knowing the drill by now, immediately installed herself at the spot I usually stand. I am not the kind of person who puts clothes on their dog, but she would be a great model, hehe. Anyway: I used the Renfrew again as a sloper and adjusted it to make batwings. The only thing I should've done is a square shoulder adjustment, IF I had known such a thing existed. Tanit Isis just mentioned it and I think that would be a good idea for me too. I wanted to keep it simple but interesting, so I added the buttons at the back. They are functionable, but I don't use them. I actually managed to sew them in evenly spaced intervals this time :). The fabric is sort of a synthetic knit. Not the best fabric there is, but it's good enough for this purpose. The fabric covered buttons come from a second hand jacket my mother was going to give to the thrift store. So to the person who is looking at that jacket now: I'm sorry I ripped off the buttons! They were just destined to be used on this sweater!

I thought about it for a while, made some test buttonholes, and then decided it would be best to place the buttonholes horizontally, to prevent them from stretching. I did not interface the button edges. I just folded the fabric and stitched the buttons and buttonholes in place. I thought plackets or interfacing would make it too stiff for the overall french elegance (Stef's words. I sometimes suspect he has a secret identity as fashion blogger.) of this sweater. It works fine without enforcements, and I didn't even have to blindstitch the edges on the inside.

For those who have the Renfrew pattern and want to know how to turn it into a batwing shirt, I made a drawing. I used the same technique for the back and the front, with the only adjustment that I added more to the neckline at the back. For the sleeve measurement, just take the sleeve pattern, measure it down the middle and add this length from the shoulder onwards. Depending on whether you want to add the cuffs, add this length (-3cm seam allowance) to the sleeve length. Same with the waistband. I chose not to add it this time and added the waistband length (again -3cm seam allowance) to the bottom of the bodice. You can draw the batwing curve as big or small as you want. I chose a rather small curve this time, but I'll be using it soon with a bigger curve as well. Tasia gave you three options, now you have a fourth!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Giveaway Winner

So, out of the 200+ followers, an astonishing amount of two people wanted my skirt :) Was it the measurements? Or the fact that I admitted that this was not the best skirt I've made? Anyway, I'm glad there were actually two people because that means it'll make someone else happy. Besides the one comment I got, someone else entered the competition through facebook. I assigned her the nr. 2 because she commented after Alice, and then used the random generator.

Tada! Congratulations Judith! She commented that the skirt would be a gift for her niece. I hope she'll give it a ton of wear!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Refashioned Summer Skirt Giveaway

Remember the Summer Green Skirt I made exactly one year ago? Well, I never wore it. This was due to a couple of issues:
1) I did not like the length
2) I did not like the shape
3) I had nothing to combine it with.

The first two problems were fixed last summer. I detached the waistband, cut about 10 cm off the top of the skirt, unpicked the pleats and used shirring elastic to make gathers. And this also gave me an opportunity to redo the not so blind zipper. I found the magic word to do this: blind zipper foot. Major aha-erlebnis! I kept wondering why other people seemed to get such a good result with their zipper foot, until I saw that I had just read it too quickly and it actually said blind zipper foot. So I got myself one, and can make invisible zippers now too! I have to be honest though: it is not the best skirt I ever made. The lining is a bit short and not very neatly hemmed. But I did use french seams, and the outside is fine. I should have ironed it before taking a picture though, it looks a bit messy.

The third problem with this skirt was combining it. I thought I was going to make something to go with it, but when I was sorting out my closet yesterday I thought: No. It's a nice skirt, but it's just not my style. So I'm wondering: is it yours? If it is, leave a comment and I'll send it to you! If you're the only one, you're lucky, but if not I'll randomly select a winner on thursday at 00:00 +1 GMT. Oh, and it measures 52 cm total length, the waistband 38 cm. The fabric is cotton and poplin, and has little green dots. I hope I can make someone happy with it!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Thrift Store Treasures #4

The title of this post could easily have been 'I wish I made this'. It was a question I got asked a few times actually, and I was sorry I had to answer with 'no'. I found it in a thrift store whose racks I've had my eye on for a while. It's the kind of store that only sells the good vintage stuff, not the place to find 1€ bargains. I thought about altering it at first. Maybe lower that neckline, take some length off the skirt. But in the end, my sewing machine did not come near this dress. I thought I'd share it anyway because I love it so much! I find the shape and the use of batwing sleeves in combination with the placement of the stripes (OF WHICH SOME ARE MUSTARD) very inspirational . It also makes me feel like a woman. Which is OK for someone who just turned 28. The label says C&A, and also: Made in West Germany. Last time I looked, West Germany ceased to exist as such when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. So this dress must be from before that time! Cool :) Our vintage wall paper had the same label by the way, made in West Germany. And my boots are from the 80's, too! I think I've found my time period :)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mustard Hoodie: The "Pattern"

[[ UPDATE (27/2/2014): We have released this design as a PDF pattern! What started as the yellow hoodie has now become an actual pattern with a lot more design details than the original. More flattering, better thought through, a sweater and a dress version, and a collar option next to the big hood! 

I strongly advise you to buy the pattern instead of following the steps below. Those measurements are not accurate and I do not guarantee a good outcome, unless you are creative and willing to tweak it until it works. I know it was me who wrote this, but it was also three years ago when I had just started sewing. You've been warned ;)

 So go check out the pattern here! ]]

At first I thought it'd be nice to get people to email me if they wanted the measurements of the mustard hoodie. That way I could 'track' how popular it was. I was really excited to see people were interested, and I still get a few requests every week! But, I thought I'd make it easier for you (and me). Below is the content of the email I used to send: much easier for you to access it this way! It's not really meant as a tutorial though, and I don't think it is suitable for beginners. I'd still really like to see the outcome if someone manages to make it!

Check the previous posts about this hoodie:

The Reveal
How It's Made

Mustard Hoodie

Important tips:

- These measurements are in cm
- I can't guarantee it will work out perfect with these patterns. I'm sorry I can't make it any easier for you, when I made this I had no idea the response would be so overwhelming. I did not write down the whole process, I just tried them on, adjusted, tried again and so on, during all the steps below. If you keep this in mind, it should work out fine!
- Make a muslin, for the reasons stated above. In that way you're sure to have a well fitting hood.
- For the sweater you can use a standard V-neck pattern, or trace a sweater you already own (as I did). You can adjust the size of the V according to your hoodie pattern.

Quick sewing order:

  1. Sew the back of the hood together (the edges marked with a *)
  2. Finish the seam with bias tape
  3. Sew the two frontpieces together between the triangle-marks. Sew with right sides together, then turn inside out, press. 
  4. Sew the back of the hood to the neckline
  5. Sew the part of the rim and the frontpiece that will be on the outside to the sweater and the hood (you can do this in one go). Where the rim meets the frontpiece again, put the rim between the two frontpieces.
  6. Sew bias tape along the neckline
  7. Sew the inside corner of the frontpiece to the rim, at the place where they meet again. 
  8. Iron the seams of the rim flat. Take the inside of the rim together with the half of the hood-seam that's pointing backwards, and sew them together using bias tape. This way the inside part of the rim is attached to the hood without making extra seams visible from the outside. Also use bias tape along the whole inside of the frontpiece: you an just take a very long piece and use it for the front piece and the rim together. See photo below for a view of the hood inside out.
  9. Handsew the inside frontpiece to the sweater. The buttons will also hold it in place.
  10. Handsew the outside corner of the frontpiece to the rim.

I hope it will work out this way. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask me! Or if you have any ideas about better solutions, I'd like to hear them too. Good luck!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

(Mini Skirt Update: Folding Video!)

After hearing some rumours about ruined fabrics, crying mothers and wasted hours, I thought it was time for a video on how to fold the miniskirt. It's not that hard! It's just hard to express in words and drawings :) I hope this helps. I've also added it to the tutorial. Good luck!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

All Serger Sweater

Before I start on new fabrics I thought I should use up some of my stash. This sweater has been on my mind for a few months now. I bought the fabric on sale for 3 euro per meter. It's a soft medium weight knit fabric. I liked that both the front and back could be used, so I set out to think of a design that would utilize that. I'm really glad I waited until I had my serger to sew this, because it only cost me about 6 hours to put it together! With this sweater I've also switched from using pattern paper to drawing directly on muslin. This has several advantages: 1) It can withstand my clumsyness. I accidently rip pattern pieces all the time. 2) I can try it on immediately, which is necessary because I draw most of my patterns myself which means more fitting turns 3) Its easy to pin onto the fabric, and it also sort of sticks to the fabric.

I wanted to try and see if it would work to draw the bodice and collar as one piece instead of making a separate collar. I used the Renfrew top as a bodice block and expanded it for the collar. It worked out well, it's a nice design feature. I like the stiffness of the cowl-collar, it can be shaped into different forms. Not having a separate collar does mean that there has to be a seam down the middle. An excellent opportunity to add an extra feature by using the back of the fabric in the middle. It looks grey in the picture, but it's brown and white. I kept the cuffs and the waistband of the Renfrew for an easy finish, and I think it suits this design.

I'm very pleased with it, I think I've managed to give the design a certain boldness while using a kind of fabric that could look a bit twee when using the wrong pattern. And it's the first time I've not used my regular sewing machine at all. The inside looks perfect and almost store bought - except for the hand sewn collar edge. It's amazing how easy sewing knit and stretch fabrics has become with my serger!