Sunday, 13 April 2014

Megan Nielsen, you saved me!

There's not much more to say: Megan Nielsen's Ruched Maternity Skirt really saved my maternity wardrobe. I've only made two so far, the houndstooth version and this black version, and I have been relying on these two skirts in so many occasions, and they always make me feel well-dressed. I'm really going to miss these skirt post-pregnancy! 

The houndstooth version might soon be a little too tight over the belly, but I might have more fabric to make another one. When I made the black version I graded out one size on the front piece around the belly and hip area to accommodate for a growing belly (week 26 now!). That was a success! It still has a lot of stretch to grow in.

I have started to think of my post-pregnancy and nursing wardrobe. I have to admit that I'm not a huge fan of the classic nursing tops, so I'm trying to figure out the alternatives. Not knowing how my body will look like afterwards, it's difficult to plan anything, but one idea is using shirts like Gertie's B5895 shirt on top of a regular nursing tank top. Another idea is Made by Rae's converted Washi top with a bow covering a zipper in the front of the bodice. Any other ideas?

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Houndstooth fever (I love houndstooth part 2)

Miss Lindy Lee asked commented couple of days ago, that she hoped I hadn't stopped blogging just because I got married, and even though you might think so, the answer is no! To be honest, there haven't been much sewing the last year, and life has been to exciting, too busy and fun, and sewing is one of the things that I haven't prioritized. My passion for knitting is a different story, and very compatible with sofa and TV-series for relaxing nights...

Another thing that has haltered my blogging (for some strange reason) is the death of Google Reader. I haven't gotten completely comfortable with Bloglovin, and Pinterest and Instagram has become my main sources for inspiration hunts. It's sad, because the blogosphere has been such a great tool for connecting, and now I feel slightly disconnected! So please, if anyone have some recommendations for a good, easy RSS feed, comment below!

Anyway, my circumstances have given me a new challenge: How to keep my stile while being pregnant! Since most of my wardrobe is rather waist-focused, I realized quite early that I had to do something with my clothes, and I have bought some really nice jersey tube dresses, making it possible to wear all my cardigans. What I missed though was wearing skirts with my tops and blouses. I already knew Megan Nielsen's maternity patterns but hesitated since they're a bit pricey (I guess you all know my issues with commercial patterns) and not downloadable as pdf's. I had to give in though, because after hours searching for decent maternity patterns elsewhere, Megan's patterns are some of the few I would imagine using!
I've been following Kristy from Lower Your Presser Foot for some years, and she's always impressed me with her maternity-adapted commercial patterns, but I haven't found any good tutorials on how to adjust commercial patterns to maternity-friendly garments! I have been so desperate that I sent an e-mail to Craftsy and asked them to do a "adjusting patterns for maternity class"! Zoe from So, Zo... has a tutorial on how to make a pattern for maternity tops, which is very helpful, and I'm sure I will make a dress or two based on that tutorial, but should I base my whole maternity wardrobe on jersey??

As you can see, the first skirt I made from Megan's patterns, Ruched Maternity Skirt MN1008 (bought from Backstitch), turned out as a success! I'm super happy with it, and feel "in touch" with my style! I just need a couple of black ones, and some bow belts with stretch (I've found a nice tutorial for inspiration here), and I'm good to go with my regular tops and blouses (I hope) and cardigans!
Wow, I can't believe how quick that belly grows... Only 17 weeks now, and yet it'll get a lot bigger! Oh, anyone notice something else that is new?

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

She's married!

Photo by Øystein Rye Eriksen | photo4you
And then, I was married! I just want to share som photos with you, it's not that I made the dress. It's an ivory satin dress from Vivien of Holloway, that I had adjusted with the help of a good friend. The dress turned out to be a dream to wear!

He's perfect...
Four-houndred-and-something handmade paper flowers...
Polkadots and records. Just like home.

The colours for the day: Red and mint. Perfect combination!

The wedding invitations were inspired by my record-collecting husband-to-be.
I knitted this lovely capelet for the wedding outfit. (Un)luckily, with the warm weather I only wore it before the ceremony. The colour were (by pure luck) matching the table cloths! Pattern and more on Ravelry.

For a trial honeymoon we went to St Petersburg (to be honest, I was going to a very unromantic conference, and then the husband came later). Unfortunately the fabric shops I walked passed were closed at the time, and we didn't find time to go back. Luckily we're travelling more this summer: Cuba and San Francisco is on the list! So any tips for fabric shopping in San Francisco?

We borrowed my favourite car for the day (and our brother-in-law did an excellent job as the chauffeur).

Life as a married girl is great. One thing that I've noticed is that I suddenly have time to think of non-wedding stuff. No need to worry if there's enough paper flowers, or when the table cloths should be ironed, or finding time to punch dymo name tags. All in all, more time for sewing! The weather's been too good, though, so I haven't started any new projects yet. But, more houndstooth, polka dots and strawberries are coming up!

Appropriate underwear for a swing dress!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

I love houndstooth part 1

 
I didn't intend to be silent for 6 months, but as you all know, time flies and there's nothing that can be done to make it slow down. In addition, planning a wedding (yay!) takes more time than I had imagined. Even though I many months ago decided against sewing my own wedding dress, there hasn't been time for much sewing. Sometimes I do regret buying a dress (like at the moment, when it's a tad too big and need some stitches anyway), especially when I see all the gorgeous dresses out there that could be made! I also looked at Zoe's pictures from her wedding, and she is glowing! I bet it's partly because she is getting married in that gorgeous dress she made for herself!

Well, the fact is that I'm often just too tired. The sofa is soft and comfortable, sewing feels like a challenge, and there's always the fear of getting disappointed. I really appreciated the post from Karen (Karen from Did You Make That?) in the series about true confessions, and how she sometimes is just too tired to sew

Luckily, the wish for a new dress was persuasive, and I slashed into some houndstooth fabric I bought in Berlin (Stoffhaus, Frankfurter Allee 50, Friedrichshain). The fabric is probably some viscose (rayon) cotton mix, rather heavy and extremely nice to work with.
 
I used my good, old self-drafted pattern, but had to add a waistband due to the too high waist from the original pattern (note to self: Measure how much and alter the pattern). Also, I had to adjust the waistline, as the waist was not in line at all, so I fastened the waistband 1.5 cm higher up in the back. Still the front waist line is actually higher than at the back, and there's still wrinkles across my sway back. Annoying, but I'll ignore it.

I made a kick pleat based on the tutorial from Threads Magazine. It's a super easy, and very elegantly finished kick pleat! I recommend it. I also think it gives a little extra to the dress by breaking up the "big" back piece.

I didn't do anything fancy on the inside of the dress. I've realised I'm not good in spending time with inside details - if I did, the dress would never be finished (and yes, I finished it the same evening as I was going out for drinks...). So there's the red overlock threads for you, but I did give myself time to sew a label onto it. 


What's funny, is that I've many, many times thought of sewing a skirt based on my basic dress block, and this time, I at least tried the skirt part on before attaching it to the top. And look! It seems to fit, an rather good! I did do a small 'prominent abdomen' adjustment (adding ~1 cm in the front), and it looks rather flattering, if I may say so myself. I won't wait too long until I try this out in a more sturdy fabric.
 




Saturday, 24 November 2012

Back to basics and basic block construction

Remember my misfortune with Jenny? I have almost given her up, mostly because it's been such a long time since my friend helped me with the fitting, so I don't remember the meaning of all the lines and dots and arrows. Shame. It inspired me, however, to go back to basics and construct a basic skirt block.

A gorgeous sewing book was published last year by a Norwegian fashion designer: Mari Melilot. The book, Syboka (translates to The Sewing Book), is visually extremely appealing with gorgeous, vintage-looking photos, and the front page promises "a complete sewing school". Having said that, when I first flicked through the book (before I bought it), I got rather upset. Even though the book covers sewing from pattern construction, fitting the pattern and finishing the garments, it's in my point of view not complete as the author claims. Many of the garments sewn in the book are far from good fitted. Yet, I had hopes for my skirt block (and by the way, the instructions are the exact same as you can find at BurdaStyle for free).

The muslin to the left is the front before any adjustments. The wrinkles to the centre is quite obvius, and after consulting my book The Perfect Fit, and did a 'prominent abdomen' adjustment. The sound of it is horrible, but the outcome is quite good, as the second muslin to the right shows. 

The pictures of the back muslins aren't very good. There seems to be more wrinkles on the second muslin (right), but the excess fabric below my waist on the first muslin has been removed by a swayback adjustment. In addition, I raised the waistline, based on the tutorial from House of Marmalade, and I believe the wrinkles on the second muslin are caused by the raised waist. Most importantly, the overall fit is much better!

For the wearable version, I narrowed the skirt at the hemline around 6 cm, and the side seams needed to be adjusted. Lesson learned from that: never have a side zipper in your skirt if you're not sure about the fit! I unpicked it once, and couldn't be bothered to do it twice. The result is that the skirt is rather loose around the hips, creating strange wrinkles around the zipper (inside circle to the left) and in this picture there's also wrinkles on front of the tummy as if the skirt is too big (it acutally fits fairly well front-tummy-wise):
The arrow shows my main concern with the finalized skirt, and that is a result from the fact that my body folds. I guess that's not very unusual. Also, the body fold is enhanced by elastics from my tights and sitting. You can really see it from this picture (it also shows the visible facing, I guess that is a fabric problem):
Is boning the only soltuion? Or is it a matter of fabric choice? Should I instead have the waist seam and a waistband in 'my fold'?

I know the skirt is yet not perfect (and I mean perfect, not just good enough... I'm a perfectionista after all). The next one I make will for sure have the zipper in the back, as I'm quite sure the side seams need to be adjusted and narrowed a litte. Anyway, to make the long story longer, here's some more pictures of the skirt!

 
 And lastly, look how good it goes with the gorgeous Jersey with a Soft Bow my sister knitted for me:

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Gertie's Sweetheat Sundress in Gingham

I managed! The dress turned out not too bad indeed, in fact I'm quite happy with the result! As always I sewed a seam only minutes before I rushed out the door, and as for now, the dress is only lined in the top. I'm afraid the seam allowances in the waist will suffer from yet another layer, as the pleats make the seam in the waist rather thick. 

I shortened the waist with 1.5 cm, and due to my swayed back, I shortened the back piece 1 cm in the centre back, and evened out to the side seams. I also took in 1 cm on front/back piece under the arm and evened out to the waist. The bias band was too wide in my opinion, so I shortened the height with maximum 2 cm towards centre back. 

I made a faux button placket from increased seam allowance on the back pieces, and when I attached the skirt I just made a fold and top-stitched. The zipper was therefore moved from centre back to the left side seam, and I inserted it with lapped technique.

The pattern is very easy to work with, however, I'm a bit surprised by the sizing. According to the size chart, I'm closer to a size 10 (39"/32"/41") in bust/waist, but when I compare the adjusted pattern pieces with the original pattern, I'm closer to a size 8. A possibility is, of course, that the pattern have taken boning into account, and therefore extra width to the pattern is added. 



~~~*~~~UPDATE~~~*~~~
Yay! On the front page of BurdaStyle!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

The birth of Gertie's Sweetheart Sundress

My sewing machine is up and running again after moving into our new flat and unpacking my sewing space. It took some time to decide on which project to start with, but since Gertie's new book is out, I though that I wanted to give it a try. There's so many nice patterns in her book and I'm determined to sew through some of them. My favourite is The Wiggle Dress, but I assume it'll require a lot of fitting, and I didn't want to hop into that as my first Gertie-project.

So The Sweetheart Sundress is my first from Gertie's book. I got so inspired by this dress with  red buttons down at the back, and slashed into my black and white gingham fabric that I've had for ages. I didn't reflect on adding seam allowances or not, as it didn't say anything on the pattern pieces. Also, I had read in the book it says (p. 125) that Unless otherwise noted, all the projects in the book are constructed using a 5/8"- (1.5 cm-) wide seam, and regarded that as an advice. I happily added 1.5 cm in the side seams (except the centre back where I added 3 cm in each side to get the overlapping button placket). I was really eager to try it on to see how the fit was...
Something is wrong, and I bet it is the fact that every seam now has 3 cm seam allowance, adding up to 12 cm too many... I am really happy with the front, though, so I will try to remove the seam allowances from the sides only. The back suffers from having too much fabric in the height grain, creating the classic sway back fabric fold, and I will do my best to remove that too. Here's a teaser of how the back will look like:

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

The summer holiday dress

We spent two weeks in southern France and Barcelona this summer, and before we left I realized that I didn't have any suitable summer dresses. Again working with a deadline, as I started this a week before we left - the same week we started moving to our new flat. Not surprisingly, I mange to finish it, but left the hem overlocked instead of properly hemmed, and parts of the lining isn't (still) properly attached. A 'frk.bustad' label is also missing.

I spent some time fitting the bust piece, as I realized that the self drafted pattern has some excess fabric above the bust area. Also, drawing the curve freehand didn't really work, so I did some alterations after the bust piece was sewn together. I drafted the collar after the bust piece was more or less finished, and sandwiched it between the front fabric and the cotton lining.

The skirt is based on a 1/2 circle skirt, but as the back piece is 5 cm shorter than the front piece (a result of sway back adjustment of the back), I drafted two circles that would fit the waistline. The sway back adjustment should be a chapter on its own. The dress looks rather funny when it lays flat, with an extremely curved back waistline. However, when I wear the dress, the waistline come out all even on both front and back. My conclusion is that my dresses should always have a waist seam opening up for alterations.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Alison abroad!

If someone told me before I did this project, that it was easy to sew a swimsuit, I'd probably just laugh. However, with the Alison pattern from BurdaStyle, swimsuit fabric and my overlocker, it was surprisingly easy! I read most of the reviews on the swimsuit from other seamstresses at BurdaStyle, and did some changes based on that.

I added 2 cm to the torso, since many reported the pattern as a little short. You can also see this in the pictures of the original, where the bottom of the bust piece is (in my opinion) too low. I'm really glad I did that, because it would've turned out to short if I hadn't!

Also, I added some height on the back piece and skipped the centre back strap, based on the review from Lucha Suarez. I love silvermink's sailor style Alison, and did something similar with the back straps as halter-neck is a no-go for me.

The bust piece was a little bit saggy, so I added the button in front to 'fix' the gathers in the front tab.

I lowered the side seams 2.5 cm to get an even more vintage look. I just folded and tacked the hem, and then sewed an elastic strap as I went along without pulling it.
I did say it was easy to make, but the pattern does require some logic thinking, both when it comes to sandwiching the crotch and the bust piece with the tab. If you have never sandwiched before, it doesn't seem very logical. Also, the fastening of the back/neck strap was a little tricky and I had to concentrate. Some close-up picture of the seams and gathers: