Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Yet another dress!

I just can't get enough dresses, and I love the 3/4 circle skirt and I love having pockets in them. I've found a pattern I've been looking for a long time, and was very happy to find this New Look 6699. It's a very versatile pattern, with nine bodice options, two waist and two skirt options! Now for those of you liking probability, that's a total of 36 different dress options! Correct me if I'm wrong; I always liked statistics better. Anyhow I constructed a new skirt piece to get the 3/4 circle, and added side pockets. Next time I use this pattern (and there will be a next time), I will cut away some of the front forming the “tuck” to make this a little smaller. There is too much fabric in the front loop now, and I didn’t manage to tuck it properly. I would also like to experiment with pleats or darts instead of just tucks.

The dress was meant to be a more or less everyday dress, to be used with a cardigan, but the gorgeous, shiny cotton sateen makes this more formal. Still love it though, and for once I put lining in. I guess that also adds up with the formal feeling. I'm enjoying my serrated shears, and I think I've befriended linings. 

Sunday, 10 October 2010


The sunshine dress is finally done! The choice of buttonholes was what hindered me to finish this dress, and I am so happy that I didn't just rush to the normal ones in order to get the dress done! I am very pleased with the result, and making the simplified bound buttonhole tutorial helped me a lot! I was actually going to make an every-day-dress with this look, but both the shiny cotton sateen and the shiny buttons make this dress less casual. I love having pockets in my dresses, and this dress is no exception. 

The buttons are from Istanbul, and what I like about them is that they look just like sweets? For everyone who knows Minstrels (my favourite chocolate sweets), these look like a black liquorice version...

Note on bangs: What can I do to keep it straight? It always looks jagged!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

It's time for my first giveaway!

More than 50 followers just mean one thing, and that is celebrating with a GIVEAWAY! I hope you enjoy reading about my sewing and planning, and can use my page as a resource for bouncing further into the world of vintage and rockabilly style.

Some notes on the prize: The Simplicity 3860 is an adorable shirt dress in bust size 16. It is still uncut, and comes in short/medium/tall size. The Advance 8920 is cut in size 12, and in some places it’s torn because the tracing paper is so fragile. There are also some pieces missing, but these are facings and rectangular pieces, and should easily be constructed from the pattern. The two cover-a-buckle are for making your own belt buckles! Match your shirt dress with a belt! As the label states, it’s The professional way to make a buckle. The 6 buttons are all from my Istanbul find, and are 4 cm in diameter.

Leave a comment below this post if you want to participate in the giveaway! If  you tell me your favourite amongst the outfits I've made, or give me any tips on a style or pattern that I should be aware of, I'll give double chances to win. I will send to any country, just make sure to enter the giveaway before Sunday the 10th of October 12pm GMT.

Update: Having arranged the blog world's (probably) least popular giveaway just makes me laugh! Maybe I'll try again when rounding 100 followers...

Monday, 27 September 2010

Tutorial: simplified bound buttonholes

First of all, let’s go through some general basics about buttons and buttonholes. 
  1. The vertical buttonhole is the most common, and when the garment is buttoned up, the button will be at one of the edges of the buttonhole. This type of buttonhole should therefore start 3 mm (1/8") outside of centre front line (or whatever line you're aligning your buttons at). 
  2. The horizontal buttonhole is mostly used for shirt fronts buttoned up with many small buttons. Different rules apply for this one, but sometimes the buttonhole starts 3 mm (1/8") above the button marking. The top button in a shirt is often sewn in so it meets the top of the buttonhole. The rest of the buttons are lined at the middle of the buttonhole, with aligned holes. 
  3. The general rule for buttonhole length is that it should be equal to the button diameter plus the thickness plus 3 mm (1/8"), but for the bound buttonholes we skip the extra 3 mm (1/8").
A bound buttonhole should not be wider than 6 mm (1/4"), so each inset is 3 mm (1/8"). My book also tells me to sew all the buttonholes at once, finishing the same detail on each buttonhole before moving on to the next detail. Apparently that's the trick to get them identical! There's different ways of marking up the buttonhole, but I have to say the method I've used for my test was very convenient, marking both edges and the centre front with machine basting. This technique is of course dependent on your fabric, and you shouldn't use it if the stitches will show after you've pulled the thread out. Hand basting with silk thread will be better for fine fabrics.

[Click on read more for, eh, more...]

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Bound buttonholes for my buttons

I've been a good gal and read through the different ways of making bound or jetted buttonholes as presented in Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing. It was no more than eight pages + 2 pages introduction! And as I'm not known for reading sewing instructions, I was quite proud as I followed it step-by-step, and even took pictures with a tutorial in mind! What do you think, anyone interested? I was at least happy with my first test, although I need some serious measuring of my sewing machine foot, to find exact 3/6mm marks...

It is very tedious, but it is not very complicated if you just work accurately from the first step. I chose the technique called 'simplified technique', recommended for beginners. The good thing with this is that you can control the length and width of stitches and folds before you cut open the buttonhole. Quite clever, ey?

My aim is to make bound buttonholes for this dress. You've probably forgotten all about it, but it's been pinned on to my dummy for ages, making me guilt-ridden. Well, now the skirt is sewed on, and all it needs is hemming and buttons! And of course, buttonholes... 

Are you pro bound buttonholes? And do you want me to whip up a picture series (hopefully it'll deserving the name 'tutorial')?

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Buttons? I'll give you buttons!

I've just come back from a work-related conference in Istanbul, and didn't expect to buy anything sewing-related. I didn't even do any research for possible sewing areas or shops. This was a business travel with a tight schedule, and I didn't think I'd see anything else than the Hagia Sophia and The Blue Mosque on an organized sightseeing. I was wrong! Really wrong! By pure chance we walked around an area around the Spice Bazaar (I think the name of the street is something like Vasif Cinar Caddesi, but I'm not sure) and suddenly plenty of fabric shops and shops dedicated to buttons popped up! I told my colleagues that I just had to go into this one having a very tempting façade and windows... I got the card, and think the shop is called Has-Er Tyuhafiye. The very polite, young gentleman behind the counter told me that this was all wholesale, but when he told me the price of a box with 60 buttons, I tried not to laugh: It was ridiculously cheap! I looked around at the ground floor and didn't see any red buttons, and asked him whether they had something like this and that, and he said: Next floor, madam, we have more upstairs. It turned out that there were 4 floors altogether! I didn't dare check out the topmost floor, because this was apparently a floor with other sewing stuff than buttons... I planned to go back one of the other days, but didn't have time. I'm glad I at least bought these:

The sad thing is of course coming home with plain, black buttons, but I also bought these, having my planned red trenchcoat in my mind: 

I just love the boxes they come in:

Monday, 6 September 2010

Ellen is a lucky girl!

I made a slip of the tongue, and promised Ellen I'd sew another dress for her. That was maybe half a year ago, and suddenly the wedding she was going to attend came really close... So I convinced her that the dress she already has is a very good fit on her, but this time we'd make a longer and wider skirt . So in two weeks (having it really busy at the lab as well) I finished this dress for her.

I did two fittings, and since she's quite short, I shortened the front pieces with 4cm. By doing so, I kept the curve from the halterneck, and the curves around the arms became very flattering. By having more than enough fabrics and having bought serrated shears, cutting the polyester micro satin and the acetate lining from Stoff&Stil was a lot easier than expected.

I love this pattern, neue mode/stil (S23127), because it is quite easy and Ellen looks so gorgeous.  I skipped the gap on the front pieces though, to make it a little bit more decent.Unfortunately, I get headaches from wearing halternecks, so I would had to do some compromises if I were to make this dress for my self. Too bad, because I felt so elegant 'trying' it on (Ellen is tiny, so I could only slip the halterneck over my head, pretending I was wearing it...). Does anyone have any ideas on how to make a dress like this, but avoiding the halterneck? Full covered back or crossed back pieces?

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

All things cupcake!

I've been featured! I stumbled across All Things Cupcake while I was looking for a cinnamon cupcake recipe and to do picture research for a cross stitch idea I have. Being in an immodest mood, I sent off an e-mail with links to my cupcake birthday dress... All. Things. Cupcake. Indulge!

Sunday, 15 August 2010

The London catch

It's been a while since I came back from London now, but I haven't had much time to appreciate my lovely new treasures. Like my new gorgeous Robuso shears. Aren't they just gorgeous? The sound they make is heavenly! The cherries are a brooch I bought at Vivien of Holloway.

I knew I wouldn't be able to avoid buying fabrics. It's just not possible when I go to London. But, I have to say I was quite moderate this time, and didn't buy fabrics which are similar to what I already have. Just take a look:

This is a wool mix, and I'm planning a skirt. Maybe I'll make the Jenny skirt. Gertie's version is so gorgeous, and although it should be easy enough to draft a pencil skirt, I might just go for the pattern skirt. Note to myself: Make a muslin first, you only bought one metre.

These two took me by surprise! I'm not known for being particularly happy about prints, but I guess that's history now. I'm planning shirts of these light cotton fabrics.

And look! Another Hawaii print fabric! This is a bit more sturdy cotton, with some stretch, and I bought enough for a dress. Maybe similar to my V8280-inspired red beauty.

And how could I resist this? It's a bit silly, but I think it'll be fun together with a pencil skirt, with short sleeves. Maybe as a Sencha-inspired blouse. It's a bit heavy cotton, a little flannelette-like maybe, so it's not a typical blouse fabric, but we'll see. 

And then all my bought, ready-made goodies...I spent quite a few hours and quite a few pounds at Vivien of Holloway. Even though I have principles saying that I shouldn't buy what I can make! So the Rocket Originals shoes are legitimate:

They are in fact very comfortable, and the comfort lasted a whole morning at Borough Market and the Queen's walk. Too bad there won't be so many opportunities to wear them here in Bergen, but I guess that'll make them last!

Buying dresses though doesn't match my principles, but I must say it's inspiring. I bought two dresses at Vivien of Holloway and a petticoat (it's huge!), and this is one of the dresses (oh, miss angry face! Taking self-portraits aren't easy!):

I also went to Brick Lane and tried to shop for vintage dresses, but I have to admit that the synthetic fabrics from 50s and 60s don't appeal very much to me. Also, it's so disappointing when you find something nice, and it's just way too small. It's inspiring though. I found a really nice 50s inspired dress at The Laden Showroom. Those pleats exaggerating the hips are just amazing! I will make dresses with pleats!

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Horrockses Fashions

I've been quite a tourist in London this time. I've visited London Transport Museum where I learnt all about the underground and its very interesting (!) development, the Geffrye Museum showing English domestic interiors from the 17th century to the present and strolled through the lakeside terraces near the Barbican Centre. Also, I was lucky enough to visit both the Horrockses Fashions off the peg style in the '40s and '50s at The Fashion and Textile Museum and the Grace Kelly Style Icon at the V&A. Both exhibitions were great, but I have to say that inspiration wise, the Horrockses rocked... It's just sad that you cannot touch the fabrics, look at the zips, try to figure out who they did that and this and look at the seams on the inside... Nevertheless, I got some photos that inspire! For those of you who don't live close to London, I share the pictures below. 

Horrockses Fashions was a respected ready-to-wear label in of the late 40s and 50s mostly associated with cotton summer dresses. From the exhibition catalogue: The practical nature of Horrockses Fashions meant they were considered ideal for everyday wear. Cottons ranged from soft and draped, to heavier poplins and cotton corduroys, woven in Preston. The arrival of the New Look in 1947, with its full-skirted exaggeration of the female form, was quickly taken up by ready-to-wear manufacturers and was perfectly suited to Horrockses' crisp fresh cottons. Doesn't that just sound lovely?

Monday, 12 July 2010

It isn't a sewing meltdown...

I certainly want to sew, but the above picture illustrates my sewing room at the moment... I was forced to move a month ago, as my landlords needed the flat, and then I had to pack all my fabrics and stash in plastic bags and boxes. I have to admit that I was a little surprised about the amounts... It looks so much better when all the fabrics are folded nicely and lays in shelves. I guess I won't be doing any sewing soon, but I'm soon off to London to join a class in Professional Sewing Techniques. Hopefully that'll give me the encourage to unpack all my stuff, and do some serious sewing for the winter wardrobe.

So have a nice summer holiday, ladies and lads!

Sunday, 13 June 2010

All I can think about is dresses!

Summer is visiting, and that influence my way of dressing. And all I want to wear is dresses. With all my stash, ready to join Zoe's stash bustin' project, I make up dresses in my head as I work, in my sleep, while I eat... meaning constantly. I'm not tired of my basic block, but browsing through Butterick patterns yesterday made me dream about perfectly fitted commercial patterns. I mean, they do come in different sizes, and I have promised myself to practice tissue fitting and muslin making! So, without saying I will make all these, I want  something similar to these Butterick dresses: Top row: B6582, B5350, B5315, and B5029; bottom row B5209, B5176 and B4443.

I would also love to try out the Ceylon dress from Colette Patterns. Tilly shows off her stunning Hollywood starlet version in the picture below, and I've also seen a brilliant version on the blog Needles, thread and love.

Oh, and by the way, I've styled my hair into the smallest victory roll ever, but it is a victory roll, nevertheless! Not as nice looking as Miss Margarita or Brittany, but with my short hairstyle what could I expect...

Sunday, 6 June 2010

From wiggle failure to red triumph

How much trouble hasn’t this dress given me? It nearly made me loose the belief in commercial patterns. Maybe not even nearly, because it made me understand that muslins are a must, and that fact probably is going to make me stick to my basic block for a long time. Unless I want to challenge myself, which I know I should. It also made me realise that I’m quite a slipshod because I can’t be bothered to read instructions and sew-as-I-go. Honestly, I don't read instructions at all! My sewing mate was shocked when we discussed it, and she told me that she's read the Reader's Digests Complete Guide to Sewing from cover to cover, a book I know is excellent, but I use it as a reference book. What I found intriguing, was that she then asked me how did you learn to sew then, if you don't read the instructions, how do you know the logical way of putting pattern pieces together?  
The celebration of a good friend’s 30th birthday was in the end what trigged me to finish this. And I have to admit that I’m quite pleased with the result. I love to dress down dresses for everyday wear, but this is a little bit difficult. Maybe with a superlong-sleeved top à la Vivienne Westwood's, and my Dr. Martens this could work during November.
When I cut the pattern, I shortened the back piece about one inch, but still it seems to crawl a little up the back. The front darts are a little bit too high for my natural bust point, but the curve looks OK. I like the flaps on the front piece, but I had to fasten them to the front piece to make them look nice. I don’t know what the instruction says about this. I’d love to make a version of the original V8280 wiggle dress, but I know I’d have to do some serious tissue/muslin fitting, so I might just alter my basic block instead.
More pictures below!

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Festive times!

Because I'm proud and the cupcakes look gorgeous, colourful and fun! And also because I had a great birthday party with my great friends! I got stripy candy from Sarajevo, tea in a cute box from Brewhaha, cups with polka dots, a Wanda Jackson LP, bird-shaped pegs, firecrackers, a bottle of wine, a fish yet to be caught, 2 packs with cute table napkins and a Professor Pez CD. What a treat!
Update: Oh, and because it blended so well into my kitchen, I forgot to mention the kitchen towel with cupcakes!

Happy birthday to me!

The cupcake dress is done, and with enthusiasm, persistency and a deadline it only took me two days! And that's including baking a zillion cupcakes, a three hour hike and late mornings!

It's past midnight now, so happy birthday to me! 

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Me-Made-May Conclusions

Conclusions already, you ask? Yes, indeed there will be some conclusions. It took me less than one week to realise that Zoe's Me-Made-May challenge was bigger than I first thought. For instance, I seriously need to plan my to-do list in order to get a more thought-through wardrobe. An inventory list shows that I don't really have enough to cover a whole month if I want some variation:
3 basic tops
1 pencil skirt
1 high-waisted skirt
1 dress
2 shirts (one that only works with the pencil skirt)
1 pair of leggings
In addition to the garments mentioned above, I have the red dress with the back zipper, the amanita dress and some other dresses that I don't really wear that often (sunny days for the amanita dress might come along). 

And hey, who did I try to fool, thinking that drawing clothes for Minnie-Me would be quicker and more fun than posing in front of my door and take a picture each day. Besides, I should be sewing, not drawing. I guess this is the crux of the matter, to actually expand my wardrobe during May to meet the aim of the Me-Made-May-Lite challenge! Because, apart from one day, I have worn a garment made by me each day minus one.

The conclusions are: I won't manage to have Minnie-Me dressed up for each day in May. I must do some seriously sewing. I must plan.

And Zoe? Please do not blog "Me-Made-May-Murder"... I had a dream last night where you blogged about people not following up the challenge (I am, I'm just not blogging!), and there was only one person to "murder" and that was frk.bustad... I had a sigh of relief this morning when I realised it was just a dream...

Thursday, 6 May 2010

All those possibilities...

Sometimes The Internet is a bit overwhelming, but in that fun, I-want-everything, money drizzling way. Tart Deco has blogged about two extremely tempting possibilities that will cost you, but I'm just glad these possibilities exists! The first one: Remember I said, that luckily I have to buy the shoes? Well, I guess you could always take a short course, say at London College of Fashion, but I think I will keep treating myself with buying those shoes. So when Tart Deco shared the link to Shoes of Prey, I fell in love! It's way too expensive, and I hardly ever wear high heels (although you can get flats also), but if I had an endless savings, I see myself ordering dozens of shoes, in all imaginable colours and combinations, just to own those beauties!

The second one: Spoonflower is a online fabric shop printing custom design on demand! I'm not a print girl, but the times I'd really like to make a dress with print, wouldn't it be great to have designed the print!? I'm thinking a dress with crystal structures of my favourite protein, 14-3-3... ha ha! The fact that this possibility exists, makes me breathless...The fabric  in the picture above is from Heather Dutton.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Mad Men season 4!

Picture from Fashion in Motion.
I can't wait, I can't wait, I can't wait! New season due 25th of July!

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Minnie-Me for Me-Made-May-Lite

I've told you how I've actually been wanting to do paperdolls again, and guess what? I did! And all because of the Me-Made-May challange by So Zo... She did a Me-Made-March in well, March, where she only wore items made by herself, and decided she wanted to try once more, and make it 'bigger, brighter, more colourful and more fun'. And with that she challenged her readers to join in! She modified requirements for us who saw it as a too big challenge, and presented us for the Me-Made-May-Lite, where the aim is to wear at least one handmade garment each day. The lite version appeals to me, but being realistic and honest, I know that I won't post a picture everyday, so I'm going to do another version, partly inspired by Polka Dot Overload's Mini-Wardrobe Storyboard. So I hereby introduce you to Minnie-Me!

My drawing skills are nothing to brag about (I made an improvised light table for Minnie-Me... I guess you can recognise the picture from the flamingo shirt photos), but I will make paper clothes of what I wear every day, and make a post about once a week during May. Fun at work, sewing meltdown and sunny weather have kept me from sewing, but I hope this challenge inspires me to wear new clothes as I haven't prepared any new ones for Me-Made-May. Yet. 

Apropos sewing meltdown... The fact that I managed to shorten the same leg on a pair of jeans twice made me quite resigned... But today is a new day. Happy sewing!