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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Happy New Year!

2013 is coming to an end! This has been a wonderful year with lots of big changes. We have turned our life around and are now living it exactly the way we want. Without a house and only a truck, seeing different parts of Europe, doing the jobs we love most and generally living life at a slower pace. The first half of the year was mostly about preparation, the second half mostly about adjusting to our new life. Paprika Patterns had its start, although we haven’t been able to get the first pattern out yet. It was difficult to get a good overview of all the work that needed to be done, and thus difficult to do some realistic planning. Alongside our lifestyle changes, the months just flew by.

A big part of it is the fact that we are travelling now, and we need the right circumstances to be able to work. A place where we can stay for a few days in a row, have access to the internet and preferably can also get electricity. Our way of travelling knows different phases in which we alternate between periods of travelling and periods of staying in one place. We’re in the travelling phase now, discovering the island of Sardinia with friends. Soon we’ll get to the other phase and then work can continue. It’s been hard for me to accept the fact that we can’t work all the time. I needed to let go of this idea to be able to enjoy the travelling phases. It’s how we envisioned our life to be, but I’m just super impatient to get that Jade out :). We just don’t want to take any shortcuts in either the pattern or the online space we’re building, so we need to give it the time it needs. Although the endresult is starting to look pretty much the way we want it to, we still can’t give a release date yet. In the future, I’ll be sure not to talk about a new pattern before we’re 100% certain of the release date.

In terms of sewing, this has been a year in which I learned yet more. I feel like I’ve become more precise in all areas, from cutting to sewing. I can appreciate a neat seam more now that I’ve gotten past the ‘OMG I made something!’ phase. I also started the Pattern Magic Project to get into new ways of pattern manipulation. I had to put it on hold after working on the Jade took up more time, but I hope to continue it sometime next year. My favourite makes of this year are already listed in the post I wrote in august, and not a lot has been made since then. I hope to show you some more after we've settled down. For now, we wish you all the best for the new year! That you may you find beautiful fabrics, sew perfect seams and make new lots of sewing friends!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Archer shirt

I finally made something I can blog about! I have been making lots of stuff but they're all prototypes for Paprika Patterns next pattern, so I want to wait with those for a bit. This make was born both because I really wanted to make a button down and because I needed something nice to wear to my grandfathers funeral. He passed a couple of weeks ago and we went back to the Netherlands for a few days to attend. My grandfather was known for his jokes and the funny little things he did, but also for always dressing like a gentleman. I didn't bring any clothes with me that would be suitable so I decided to make myself an Archer for the occasion.

I ordered this fabric from Cousette, a French online fabric shop with the most gorgeous fabrics. The longer I browse through them, the more I want. This one is now sold out but was called 'Souffle le vent' and is a Japanese double gauze. I had never seen or touched this kind of fabric before so I was curious and I really loved the print. The pattern is weaved in on one layer, the other layer is the same colour but plain. It's nicely displayed in the pocket, made using Jen's alternate pocket tutorial. It is the most beautiful cotton I have seen; it's kind of heavy but it still has some drape, and it hardly creases the way you'd expect from a 100% cotton. If you ever doubt, take a double gauze. They're not cheap but you'll love touching and wearing it. Cutting it out was a puzzle though, I ordered the amount of fabric for 60" width, but I discovered it was 45". It took me quite a while but now you know that it is possible if you cut size 8 or under.

If I would have followed the size chart, I'd have cut B/W/H as 4/2/10. I wasn't sure about the bust and decided to play it safe with a 6. Not because of my actual bust, but I have broad shoulders. Drafting between sizes from 6 to 2 to 10 would result in a ridiculously hourglass shirt, so for the waist I went with 4. I checked the ease on the hips and figured I could go with 8 instead of 10. Although I am happy with those choices, there's clearly some problems. I am too tall and my shoulders are too square. It might look like the shirt is too tight at the shoulders looking at those draglines, but they're fine in terms of movement. I think the problem is that the slope of my shoulders is less than what the pattern is drafted for.

The other problem is my length. I am 5 ft 10" and that length is equally divided between body parts. That means that the shirt is on the short side at my hips, but my waist is also lower than the shirt's. I hemmed the shirt with bias tape to lose as little seam allowance as I could. It makes for a pretty neat seam finish anyway. The sleeves were on the short side too. I made good use of the seam allowances on the sleeves and cuffs to get some length, and they're just about right. Overall the shirt looks fine, I just would have liked it like, 2 inches longer.

Seeing those problems it's kind of a muslin, but a very wearable one in an expensive fabric :) It was perfect for the occasion, and I could not have done it differently anyway because I barely had enough fabric as it was. I loved making it, I really tried my hardest to sew it super neat. I love how a button down sort of shows your skill level in that way, with all the topstitching and buttonholes. I've adapted the pattern and my next Archer is waiting to be cut out in a wool flannel. The quest for the perfect Archer continues!

P.S. Have you read about Archer Appreciation month? Join Rochelle and Erin in a celebration of this pattern!