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Friday, September 28, 2012

A Treat For Me

Maybe you know I've been working as a freelance algaefarm startup consultant for the past couple of months. Well, my employers are satisfied and have offered me a new contract! I'll be working as a project manager at one of the locations. This also means working more hours and less time for sewing, but I like my job and that's what's most important! To celebrate my new contract I treated myself to a new bag. Not self-made, but handmade by someone I know. Megan makes beautiful bags and other accessories under the name of Frank and Gertrude, as well as paper goods and jewellery under the name of F&G Forest.

The bag I treated myself to is a rust coloured vegan suede 3-in-1 clutch/purse/wallet. I had set my mind on this one a month ago, all the while crossing my fingers it wouldn't sell. I love the autumn colour, the batik lining, and the tassels Megan added just for me!

A friend of mine also just got a contract renewal, and she told me she celebrated by buying herself a new dress. This sunday we'll be celebrating some more together, treating ourselves to coffee and cake :) Aren't we typical women! Do you treat yourself if you've accomplished something, too? Is there something you have your eye on at the moment?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Winter Coats

I know, Autumn has only just officially begun, but I thought if I start later I'll probably finish in Spring. I haven't bought a winter coat for 2 or 3 years now, and I want my next one to be perfect. Or at least close. I'm ready to tackle a big project like this! Here's what I want in a winter coat:

A big collar or hood
No matter how warm your coat is, if it leaves your neck bare you'll still get the chills when it's windy. Brrr I get chills just thinking about it. Yes you could use a big scarf, but I don't want that to be absolutely necessary.

A zipper
Buttons look pretty, but again, the wind will blow right through. Especially when you're cycling, and you know how cycling is part of our cultural genes. Even a zipper can be a weak spot in your warm cocoon. Preferably, I'd like a zipper with a facing behind it.

Some length
The coat I have right now is pretty cool, but it leaves an open spot right at my belly. This is the second most important place you'd want to keep warm, so the jacket has to at least fall below the belt. Even better would be mid thigh.

So what patterns would fulfill these criteria? To my surprise, I found nothing on BurdaStyle that came close. And then I spotted this magazine, Ottobre, that had not one but three candidates in it. Ottobre is a Finnish magazine translated in Dutch, German, English and Swedish. This is the autumn/winter issue, it only comes out twice a year. It has 19 patterns with a big size range, from 34 to 52 (6-24 in US sizes). As you can see they use models in al sizes and ages to show the patterns on. They have only a meagre website, but they also have a blog on which you can find more information about the patterns. They also sell fabric on Etsy.

This jacket attracted me mainly because of the colour. I has no real closing, except for an oversized safety pin. This doesn't make sense to me. What use is a winter coat if it has no proper closing? I do like the overall style though.

This one is a nice and simple jacket, with a cosy collar and raglan sleeves. It has no facing behind the zipper. I guess you could add one if you wanted.

Looking at the pattern, this seems to be the same pattern as the first one, only shorter and with a zipper. I like the asymmetrical zipper. This coat is simple and yet a bit different. I'd change the hood into a regular one though, pointy hoods are a bit too odd for me. Otherwise, I think this is my no. 1 choice! What is up with this fabric btw, isn't it hiddeous?

I find it pretty hard to decide on a pattern. It's different from anything else because you only make one. With dresses, you have plenty of choice and you can sew as many as you like. I guess you could sew more than one coat, but seeing that I've never made one before, let's just start with one. (Actually I did make one, about 6 years ago. It went reasonably well considering my skill level, but I couldn't figure out the lining so I had that part done by a professional seamstress.)

For those of you wondering about the other patterns, here's an overview. I like how they give their drawings some texture, it makes them look more alive. I haven't sewn anyhting from it so I don't know about the instructions. It's all text, no drawings.

Nothing too spectacular (except for that evening dress, which looks spectacularly awful), but those jeans look interesting. They look good in the pictures, although not one picture in the magazine shows them completely. They do have some up on the blog.

What about you, have you ever sewn from this magazine? And are you planning to sew a winter coat this year? Have you found a pattern yet? I'd love to hear!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Wanna Trade?

OK, so here's the deal. I really want to get my hands on this months Threads issue. I can't pick it up in the store because I don't know any store in Holland that sells it. I don't want a subscription, just this one issue. I've looked into the Insiders subscription: a free online trial period of 14 days, but it doesn't say anywhere how to cancel if you don't actually want to subscribe. I generally don't trust these kind of magazine subscribing tricks, so I figured it'd be safer and more fun to do it this way! So the question is:

Is there anyone out there willing to trade with me?

What I have to offer in return is a yard of fabric and the September (or October if you already have September) issue of Knipmode!

The green one (the first picture depicts the true colour) is a stretch jersey with retro ladies looking sultry, perfect for a T-shirt or top. The grey one is a light cotton-poly blend eyelet with cute embroidered flowers. Both are 65" wide. If you're willing to trade, let me know in the comments which fabric you'd like, and which months Knipmode, and we'll make a deal! If there's more than one trader, I'll use the random number generator. This trade offer will end on Sunday 0:00 CEST. Cheers!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Giveaway Follow-up

Both the giveaway packages have arrived at their new owners, and it makes me very happy they were recieved with love! Me.anna did a post about it, and Kate has already used the fabric! I really didn't know what to do with this fabric, but she knew immediately and got not one, but two projects out of it.

You might recognize this skirt pattern: it's Tilly's Picknick Blanket Skirt. An excellent choice! Kate used this tutorial for gathering fabric.

She even managed to squeeze another project out of it: a loop scarf. Seeing how well she used the fabric that had been in my stash for over a year, I'm thinking I should give away fabric more often! A dangerous thought, because this could justify buying more fabric without having any plans for it...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Baby Blue for Real Men

The most surprising result of this project is not a reasonably well-fitting shirt, but the following: if you sew for others, you get to look at what you made all the time. Not just when you happen to look in the mirror. This is an aspect I hadn't thought of! Ofcourse this is only a good thing when you're satisfied with what you made. But otherwise, it's an extra advantage over sewing for yourself. Anyway, moving on to the long awaited shirt! The fabric is a medium weight knit jersey. Stef was a bit surprised it was he who picked this colour last year, but I think it suits him well.

First I tried making my own pattern from an existing shirt but failed miserably. So I used the Föhr pattern from Farbenmix (thanks for the tip, me.anna!) because I liked the shoulder patches (or how do you call these) and the different options you have with sleeves, neckline and pockets. I already knew what fitting issues I needed to tackle. This is what most of Stef's RTW shirts look like:

On fitting the Föhr pattern, I noticed the same problem: pulling at the armholes. I lowered the armholes by a good inch (meaning I also had to re-cut the sleeves). Other than that, the fit was pretty good. I didn't notice the folds hanging down from his chest though, come to think of it it could be due to the fact that I just enlarged the armhole, instead of also lowering the shoulder at the same time. Judging by this post, that could be it anyway. What do you think?

I went for the V neck because these suit him best. I spied the best technique over at Male Pattern Boldness: making the bias strip overlap seemed to be the easiest method, and I agree it looks more elegant.

I'm really pleased with this first attempt at a men's pattern! And, not unimportant, Stef is too. It's even his new favourite shirt! And I liked sewing for him much more than I thought I would. I felt confident with my skills and I felt I could handle potential criticism from my 'customer'. Both these things are the reason why I postponed this for a year. I knew Stef wasn't going to wear it just to please me. An honest customer is better in the end, so I think it was right for me to wait untill I could handle it. And now, to my own surprise, I'm already looking forward to the next Steftember project!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

On Shopping



It truly has been two years and I thought I didn't need to, didn't want to, got over it. But I loved it and it made me happy. I GOTS MUSTARD PANTS, YO. Lovely, deep mustard. So gorgeous I want to swim around in it. (How come mustard is 'in' again this fall? Is that a sort of crisis measurement? So people can recycle their outfits from last year?). The way I shop has changed very much. I went and got 4 things that not only go together very well but can also be combined with things I made.

Pretty birds! 
This blouse is flowy and transparant and has pretty birds. I want to make more of these blouses. They're great for layering and looking pretty. I also ordered a dark green blazer that goes with it (and the mustard) very well.

These are just a few things I grabbed from the closet. I bet the possibilities are endless. ENDLESS.

Sorry for shouting. Blame the mustard.

Monday, September 3, 2012


For his 29th birthday, I promised to make him a shirt and pants. He just turned 30 and I still haven't made him anything. I figured he deserves a full month dedicated to projects just for him! I'll probably never make a promise like that again, but I have to keep this one. I would love to love sewing for others, but I just don't. Sewing is just something I do purely for myself. So that's how it is, I have to make a public declaration to get myself to sew for my boyfriend! How about that? Now that I've made it into something official though, I am actually looking forward to this themed month. I've been sewing a lot for myself these past months, and I could use the change. I'll be learning about men's patterns and fitting issues! I'll also sew a circle skirt for a friend, as a birthday gift. We went fabric shopping today, and it'll be very interesting to sew for someone with a very different style and figure.

Is it just me or is it hard to find nice mens patterns? These three are from Neue Mode. All 80's and 90's it seems, but at least they have patterns that are not button up shirts, blazers and pyjamas (sooo many patterns for pyjamas!) So, my question for you today is: what are your favourite men's patterns? I'm looking for a longsleeve and maybe 3/4 pants. I want to start simple, but maybe a hoodie would be cool too. I already have the Negroni, he actually wants to sew that one himself. But I might end up doing it for him anyway. I'm curious to hear about your experience with men's patterns!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Ultimate Batwings

At the end of the last 15:60 day I was tired, hungry and thirsty, but... very content! I really wasn't sure if I'd make it after spending 5 hours on the Chevron top. It was 3 PM and I still had to do the cutting, go to the store because I didn't have enough fabric and on top of that the pattern instructions were written in Japanese... But I didn't cave, my last project had to be this dress. Keep calm and sew on. In the end I finished it at 8 PM, spending only 4 hours working on it including cutting.

It's Dress no. 7 from Drape Drape 2. The one that was the inspiration for my folded miniskirt, after spotting it on Karin. The ever generous Tj sent me the pattern after making her fantastic version. I was so excited to finally have this pattern! I had this knit fabric, a remnant which said 200x155 cm, the exact amount needed for the pattern. Except that it was 2 meters wide instead of long. Argh! More reason to dislike that fabric store. So that meant I had to go out to get more fabric, and I had to cut the front piece in two. The sewing was pretty straightforward, and I was impressed with my serger being able to handle four layers of this medium weight knit.

It's still a bit too warm to wear this dress but I already know it'll be one of my favourites. I love wearing mini skirts in winter. And it's totally my style, a bit quirky but not just plain weird. I have to agree with Tj, it's a bit of a waste of fabric. But look at those batwings! They might even be big enough to fly. And if that doesn't work out, at least your skirt won't get pulled up if you reach for something.

And so this challenge has come to an end! It was fun to completely focus on sewing for two months. I was finally able to get most of the ideas floating in my head out there in reality, and reduce my stash at the same time. I'm also glad it's over though, it has left my sewing mojo at a very low level after this marathon. Plus I'm afraid I have become a bit of a hermit spending all my free time sewing and blogging. I may even have lost my mind a little...

(15:60 #15!)