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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Fun Repairwork With Embroidery

I hear you thinking - how can repair work be fun?? It seems that mending clothes is one of the things a sewist dreads the most. Mending for others? Even worse! I am no exception, my repair pile is usually quite high. For me this has to do with aesthetics and the satisfaction of creating something beautiful. The thing that makes repair work so annoying for me is that you are usually not creating something pretty. Yes, it is wearable again, but does it look as good as before the tear? Even with a well done patch it's usually a compromise at best.

So when my favourite jeans started to tear at the knee, I really wanted to find a way to repair them in the best way. They're skinny jeans and the tear was at the knee, it would be hard to mend with the machine. So since I had to do it by hand anyway, I decided not to try and make it look invisible, but instead to make it into an interesting detail.

I cut out a cotton patch and pinned it to the inside, covering the tear. I didn't have embroidery floss so I created some by doubling up sewing thread, twisting it and then let it twist in on itself, creating a 4 strand thread. I did this for every new line, but you could also make one long strand of each colour. I then started with the red chevron line, to make sure the tear was held in place. Since the whole area was wearing thin I extended above and below the tear to make sure it won't tear in some other place close by. I made the pattern up as I went along, creating a rectangular patch. After finishing I trimmed the patch at the back and finished the edges with a serger-like stitch I have on my machine.

Embroidery is by no means something I'm good at or do regularly, but it really was fun to do. The best way to go at it is probably to draw the pattern on the fabric first. And depending on the size of the tear, maybe also stitch it closed in a matching thread, and then embroider over that. If you like I can do a little tutorial, also on how to make the embroidery floss out of sewing thread. My other pants  also have a tear anyway :) Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sloppy Jo & What We're Up To

This blogpost is coming to you from within the cosy walls of a Mongolian yurt! We're not in Mongolia though, but in the hills of la Marche, Italy. We're alternating short periods of travelling with one month stays at organic farms (wwoofing). We've been travelling for five months now, and it seems we've figured out the right balance between travelling and working. The travel periods allow us to see different places and give the travel experience. The wwoofing gives us temporary homes where we learn a broad range of new skills, and also have a comfortable place (with internet!) to work on Paprika Patterns. So far we've stayed on a back-to-basics donkey farm in Sardegna, a high-end Agriturismo with cashmere goats and now we're experiencing the yurt-life. If you’d like to follow our travels, you can find us on Facebook.

Needless to say, travelling has slowed down our work a good deal. We've discovered that full time travel and full time work just doesn't go together. Instead of getting away from everyday life you end up feeling more stressed! Looking for a place to safely park your truck for the night and drafting patterns in Illustrator is just too much for one day. It was a good lesson in acceptance and patience on my part, as I'm so excited about getting Paprika up and running. I just had to let go if I wanted to be able to actually enjoy our travels. It sounds a bit ridiculous, right, with the life I lead now, what more could I wish for? But, we're still making steady progress! Somewhere in the (hopefully near) future, there will be a nice website where you can get the Jade :)

I do manage to squeeze in some sewing time here and there. I feel a big urge at the moment so I'm hoping to sew up a nice wool flannel Archer in the next days. But first, here's an easy basic make, because that's just what I need most right now. I modified the Sloppy Josephine pattern I made earlier. It's turning out to be my go-to Tshirt pattern. This time I lengthened the sleeves to 3/4. Jen has a tutorial on how to do this, it's really easy. I also lengthened the bodice a bit, and added an inch to the neckline so it's a bit higher. I got into trouble with the neck band, it was a bit too tight. Instead of unpicking I crossed my fingers and tossed the finished shirt into the washing machine, and that took care most of the wrinkles. You can still see them a bit, but not enough to bother me.

I wanted the neckline to be a bit less wide so next to heightening the front I also traced the XS lines at the neckline at front, back and sleeves, and then graded out to S at the waist and M at the hips. This works quite well and is easy to do. The fabric is a lightweight jersey from Cousette, designer Aime Comme Marie. They still have it in mustard, grey and blue. It's wonderful stuff, very drapey but not too thin. I just keep ordering from Cousette, they have such nice quality fabrics.

This shirt gives me the option to layer and combine different outfits with a minimum amount of clothes. The colour is basic but the feathers make it a bit more interesting. It could be easy to make this pattern yourself with some stamps too, maybe I'll try that in the future. If I find the time between planting olive trees, building compost toilets and drafting new patterns :)