Shop Opening

Today is the day and I open my shop! If you are interested in sewing patterns translated into German please visit the  corresponding German blog post for all the details.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

2016 Sewing Year in Review

I wish you all a Happy New Year!

I like the beginning of a new year, because it is an opportunity to reflect the past year and to start fresh for the new one. I like beginnings: I am full of expectations and optimistic and can start something new with all the best intentions. It really is like Hermann Hesse said: “Jedem Anfang wohnt ein Zauber inne” (a magic dwells in each beginning).

To make the best out of the new year, it is always good to look back and learn from the experiences. Let’s start with some numbers: In 2016 I made 17 garments (lingerie sets counted as 1 item) and 1 set of little owls and knitted one pair of wristwarmers. This is just half the amount of items I made in 2015. Was, then, 2016 less succesful for me? No! Because I think success is not dependent on numbers. Nearly all items I made turned into favorite and loved pieces. This is my personal success. So, it was quite difficult to choose my top 5 makes of the year, but here they are:

From left to right (links in the pictures):

The Butterick 6285 skirt is the garment I am most proud of. I implemented all couture techniques I could think of and had joy making it as well as wearing it. Even if it took some time, such projects give me more satisfaction than an 1 hour knit top.

The Bonn shirt is just so lovely to wear and I plan on making more.

I wore the wristwarmes quite a lot. Unfortunately, I lost them just before Christmas, but I have already started new ones from the same wool.

This lingerie set is the one I wear most often, in fact as soon as it is back from the laundry. I will have to make more bras from my self drafted pattern, as the fit is so much better than from the first ones I made.

I love both the Vienna tank top versions I made and wore them so often during summer, the black one for office, and the grey one at home.

Now to the 5 items that were either less worn or could need improvement:

From left to right (links in the pictures):

I like the style of the ITS Zamoura blouse, but I am not in love with the test version I made up. The fabric choice was not perfect and for a next version I would raise the V-neck a bit.

I wore the Style Arc Posh top at home. It is a nice for hot summer days, but both fabric and style are not my favorite.

My modifed bras were made mainly for trying out new techniques, so they have fulfilled their purpose even if I am not wearing them often.

I made a partial band bra whick looks quite cute, but this style is just unsuitable for my shape. There is nothing to hold the bra in place when I lift my arms.

I wear the Ginger jeans quite often despite it flaws. Soem day, I hope, I can figure out all my issues I have with pants fitting.

I do not have precise sewing goals for 2017, but I want to work on the following:

Sew up as much of my UFOs as possible

I have a lot of UFOs (unfinished objects) laying around. This is so stupid, because you put a lot of money and time into them and then you have nothing in the end. Also, they take up a lot of space and they stress my mind. Some are already nearly 10 years old, some only a few months. Most of them are unfinished because I encountered some fitting issue.

Work through some of my Craftsy classes

I have become something like a craftsy addict. I was quite embarrassed when I discovered that I own over 40 classes. At least I want to work through one of Suzy Furrer pattern drafting classes. I hope this helps me to understand my fitting issues better.

Participate in the 365 challenge

I discovered this challenge end of last year. You sew a little block every day and end up with a quilt at the end of the year. I am quite sure that I will not be able to presevere for a whole year. Also, I am not a quilter, but I have the feeling that this would improve my skills for accuracy and straight seams. And, maybe, help me get rid of some of my fabric scraps.

Sewing Active Wear

I started with yoga a few months ago, and I am quite enthusiastic. What better reason to replace my old active wear with some nice selfmade one?

In addition, I have things like “sewing more dresses”, “sewing up my fabric stash”, “finding my style” etc. in my mind. As this is far too much that I could achieve, I take this just as guidelines and not goals :-).

There is, however, one goal that I have: 

Build my business

This will be the biggest challenge for me in 2017. As you might have noticed I started to translate Itch to Stitch sewing patterns into German and I will open my shop in a few days (stay tuned for that!). This is all so new for me and takes a lot of time and sometimes I am really scared and feel overstrained. But I take one little step after another and so far everything worked out in the end, last but not least also due to the support I got from Kennis (Thank you so much!). 

Often when bloggers take the step to get commercial, the blogs lose a lot of the personal content and change into advertising tools. I really do not want to take this route but keep my blog as it is now. Let’s hope that this will be possible!

I want to thank all my readers for stopping by at my little blog and I look forward to another year with you!

Do you have sewing goals for the new year? Are you like me and have a much too long list in mind? 

 

Posted in General | 4 Comments

Blouse Burdastyle 09/2011 #128

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and enjoy the last days of the year. Here is one last garment that I made in 2016 and that I want to show you.

I finished this little blouse already last summer, but somehow I did not get around to take pictures. Later, I totally forgot to blog about it.  But this pattern really deserves to be  shown. As I am not as brave as Fleurine and did not feel like modeling a summer blouse outside in the winter cold, I only have pictures of it on my dress form. Here is a picture from the magazine so that you can see how it looks on a real person:

Burda Blouse

The blouse is loose fitting without darts and features a small collar. 

Burda Blouse

Burda Blouse

Fabric:

I used the scraps that were left from my Style Arc Sissy blouse. It is a sheer cotton batiste with a nice texture. I had the pieces cut out and lying around for almost a year before I took them with me to our summer holiday in Sweden where I thread traced everything.

Alterations:

I cut out a size 36 and made only minor alterations:

  • adding 1 cm to the back shoulder seam at the side tapering to zero at the neck
  • cutting off approximately 10 cm from the hem.

The pattern is described as long so that it can be worn tucked in. However, it was much too long for my taste, so I compared it to my other blouses and cut off a good part of the hem.

Construction:

The side seams are french seams. Armscyes and shoulder seams are finished with bias binding. What I really loved was the construction of the collar. First, the collar is sewn to the back. Then the shoulder seams are closed. After that the collar is wrapped around the front in a way that all raw edges are enclosed nicely. It really felt like magic when sewing this together. 

I topstitched the pleats a few cm so that they lay more flat. With a more drapey fabric this should be no issue, however. 

Burda Blouse

The last buttonhole is sewn in horizontally so that the blouse should not unbutton itself during wear.

Burda Blouse

Here is an inside view:

Burda Blouse

Conclusion:

This little blouse got a lot of wear. I paired it with a pencil skirt and felt dressed up even during the hot summer days. 

The pattern is a little treasure with such a clever construction for the collar. I had so much fun while sewing and I think it would also look great in a silk fabric.

Posted in Blouse, Burda | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Tutorial: How to extend a sleeve hem allowance

Last year I started working on a wool knit dress, but then spring was comming and I was not in the mood anymore to sew a warm winter dress. Now I have started working on it again, and maybe it will be finished before the winter is gone.

When I hemmed the sleeves to the length I liked, I was left with only a small hem allowance. This hem allowances is far too small to attach a lining properly with a jump pleat. I remembered that Susan Khalje explained in her Craftsy class “The couture dress” what to do in such a case. And this is what I did:

  1. Catch stitch the sleeve hem allowance in place

Tutorial sleeve hem

2. Cut a bias strip from the lining fabric. The strip is approximately 3” wide and long enough to go around the sleeve with a little overlap. Turn one long side up and press.

Tutorial sleeve hem

3. Pin the strip to the sleeve hem with the folded edge towards the hem. The raw edge is enclosed.

Tutorial sleeve hem

4. Attach the strip with fellstitching

Tutorial sleeve hem

5. At the end overlap the strip folding the raw edges under

Tutorial sleeve hem

6. Secure the overlap with fell stitches

Tutorial sleeve hem

7. Attach the raw edge of the strip to the sleeve with catch stitches 

Tutorial sleeve hem

8. Complete! Now there is enough room to install the sleeve lining properly

Tutorial sleeve hemI hope this little tutorial is helpful for you. I think this technique can also be applied to the hem of a skirt or dress.

 

Posted in Couture, Tutorial | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Closet Case File: Ginger Jeans

When I am in a bad mood or unhappy I tend to buy fabric, patterns or sewing books. It is like I disappear into another world and I often have the illusion that with buying a pattern I already own the finished garment. Sounds silly, I know, but happens often enough. This is how I came to the Ginger Jeans pattern. I am in a desperately need for  a pair of jeans. I love my Liana Stretch jeans, but the color is difficult to combine and the raise is a bit too high for my taste. And as the fabric I used for the Liana jeans wears out already minutes after putting it on, it is really difficult to assess the fit. This is why  I decided against altering the Liana jeans and starting with a new pattern dreaming of a perfectly fitting pair of blue jeans.

So now here they are, my Ginger Jeans, not blue and not perfectly fitting, but a real pair of jeans! I made view A: low-rise with stovepipe legs.

Ginger Jeans

Fabric:

I bought some denim from stoffe.de that were on sale for a first test version of the Ginger Jeans. Unfortunately they only had black denim but it was rather cheap and so I decided for a test version this would be fine. The fabric has 2% elasthan. It feels a bit stiff, but it holds the shape over days and does not wear out. For the pocket lining and inner waistband I used some cotton scraps I had in my stash. I love how the orange flower print looks against the black denim.

Ginger Jeans

Alterations:

I do not know how often I read on blogs “I made the Ginger jeans without alterations and the fit is spot on”. So, I am not one of those lucky girls. My experience with pants so far is not the best one and I knew that I would need to fit the pattern and I would need time for that. I had a week off in October so I decided this would be the time for sewing up the Ginger Jeans. I spent three complete days with fitting! And there are still issues to fix. Maybe American patterns just do not fit my body shape? But RTW pants do neither….

Ginger Jeans

I cut the pattern with huge seam allowances so that I would have room for alterations. I started with a size 10 according to my hip measurements. Here is what I did:

  • removing approximately 1.5 cm at the side seams and inseams and tapering to zero at the knee
  • Shortening the leg below the knee by 2 cm (I had to add this later on again)
  • Adding 0.5 cm to each side seam below the knee
  • removing 3cm below the butt and adding the same amount at the bottom of the back leg
  • sway back adjustment (reducing 1cm height and width at the back center seam, tapering to zero at the side seams)
  • lowering the back croth curve by 1 cm
  • removing 3cm at the front crotch and tapering to zero at the side seams to reduce extra fabric
  • shaping the waistband

Ginger Jeans

There were still wrinkles at the back knee but at that point I decided to sew the jeans up and wear them for a time and then decide what further changes would be neccessary. It is also such a difference if you only stand before the mirror, or if you are wearing a garment a whole day. All in all these jeans are wearable, comfy and the overall fit is ok (except for the front crotch). There are still some issues to solve:

  • shaping the waistband more
  • dealing with the knee wrinkles
  • still too much fabric in the front

I also noticed that the point where the inseam and crotch seams meet is shifted to the front. So I think my attempt to reduce the excess fabric at the front crotch was maybe not the right one. With the next version I would try to bring the seams back by lengthening the front crotch and reducing the back crotch seam by the same amount.

I am also a bit frustrated because until now I have not found a solution how to get rid of excess fabric at the front crotch. I have this issue with all pant patterns so far, but I have not found this described in my fitting books or craftsy classes. My first attempt was to make the front crotch curve more straight, so it looks more like a J. But then it was too tight and I had to go back and immediatley there was this excess fabric.

I often have the feeling with pants fitting that I make an alteration to solve one issue, then I make the next alteration to solve another issue, and this reverses the first alteration. Which means the whole process is somehow ineffective.

Ginger Jeans

Construction:

I did not look at the instructions but followed Heathers Sew Along. As this is a test version I kept the construction simple, no flat felled seams. I finished the seams allowances with my serger. For the topstitching I used my regular thread but doubled it. The hem was a bit short, so instead of double folding it to the inside I used a facing. This helped me to get as much length as possible.

Ginger Jeans

Conclusion:

I haven’t made up my mind yet if I like my pair of Ginger Jeans or not. Partly because of the rather stiff fabric (but that is ok, it was cheap after all, and this is a test version) and partly because of the fitting issues. There are still so much wrinkles. And I feel a bit lost as I have no idea how to improve the fit. Maybe I should go back to the Liana jeans and lower the rise. 

Posted in Closet Case Files, Jeans | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Testing Call: Hepburn Turtleneck from Itch to Stitch – German Translation

Hi all,

I have exciting news. I have teamed up with Kennis from Itch to Stitch and started translating her patterns into German. The first one was the Lisbon Cardigan which is available at the moment at Näh-Connection. Now I have finished the translation of the Hepburn Turtleneck and I need some proof readers who are also willing to sew up the pattern. 

itch-to-stitch-hepburn-turtleneck-pdf-schnittmuster-v1-page-001

You can find the full description of the pattern including material here.

Requirements:

  • You are a native or fluent German speaker with a good feeling for the language
  • You like the pattern and intend to sew it up as is
  • You have enough time to send me the corrections and pictures of the finished garment until December 05.
  • Ideally you have a blog or facebook page to share your finished Hepburn Turtleneck and to participate in the blog tour.

Timeline:

I plan to start testing on Friday, November 25 and would like to receive the proof read pattern as well as your modeled photos with the Hepburn Turtleneck on Monday, December 05. 

Testing Procedure

Testers will be invited to a facebook group where we can discuss the translation and share pictures. In return for your effort you will receive a copy of the final German pattern.

Interested?

Then please leave a comment or send an email to sewingdreams (at) web (dot) de with ref “Hepburn”. 

Posted in General, Itch to Stitch, Pattern Tester | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Bamboo Knit Lingerie Set

I made a new lingerie set from some bamboo knit scraps I had in my stash. The set comprises a bra, two panties and two camisoles.

lingerie_set

The Bra:

For the bra I used the pattern that I drafted in a bra pattern making workshop I participated in last July. The 3-day workshop was packed with pattern drafting and sewing. It was a lot of information and I am not sure if I am able to draft a bra pattern from scratch again. But I now have a pattern that fits me really well and that is all I wanted.

lingerie_set

lingerie_set

I made foam cups as these are my favorite bras to wear. As you can see the lower cup is quite big in comparison to the upper cup. Now the cup seam hits the bust point perfectly. I tried to achieve this with my last bra but it did not work out.  Also, my bra pattern now has a back band that is curved downwards. This was a result of my obviously broad back. I gave the neckline a subtle curve and I really like how it turned out. Only thing I will change in the future is the angle of the strap extension. You do not see it in the pictures very clearly, but they are pointing outside.

lingerie_set

I lined the cups with the bamboo knit as described here.

lingerie_set

I made the bra already some weeks ago and it immediately became my favorite one. It feels really soft and cozy which I like for the colder season. And, much more important, the fit is perfect, neither restrictive nor too loose and everything is just in the right place.

The Panties:

There is not much to say about the panties. Again, I used my TNT pattern, the Watson bikini from Cloth Habit. I just do not see the need of trying a different pattern when I am so happy with this one. I applied some lace scraps for more interest. Due to the stretchiness of the fabric I cut off 1cm at each side seam. Usually, I make the elastics 15-20% shorter than the circumference. This time I made the waist elastic 15% shorter and the leg elastic 10% shorter. I did this to avoid that the elastic cuts into the skin. The leg openings are perfect. The waist is a bit snug but still ok.

lingerie_set

The Camisole:

For the camisole I used my other TNT pattern, Butterick 6031 that I have already sewn a few times (here and here). I had ordered some lace to go with the fabric, but I did not check how much I would need and orderd only 1 m. It was just enough to use a strip below the bust. On the other hand the lace would have been too wide to use along the neckline and the hem. I like how the camisole turned out, simple, but still elegant.

lingerie_set

lingerie_set

Conclusion:

I reach to this set as soon as it is back from the laundry. So it is a winner. However, I have to admit that I do not like sewing lingerie. I know a lot of people who, once started with lingerie sewing, they could not stop anymore. Not me. I just hate applying the elastics and still struggle to get it on without wrinkles (and as you clearly can see I still loose this fight). Don’t get me wrong, I love the finished product, but not the way to it in contrast to sewing with wovens. There I love evey single seam.

Also, I now have enough bras and panties and camisoles in my drawer so that I will declare my bra project finished. I did not sew a bra every month, at least not in the end. But that is OK. From now on I will probably sew a bra only when I am in need and some old ones are worn out.

What about you? Do you love or hate applying elastics? And do you have some tricks to share?

Posted in Bra, Cloth Habit, Lingerie | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Itch to Stitch: Arenal Top

Once more I have been testing for Itch to Stitch – this time the Arenal Top: a simple shirt featuring a V-neckline and a front yoke. As always with Itch to Stitch patterns you have different options: a regular or handkerchief hem and long or 3/4 quarter sleeves. 

The Arenal top is a real wardrobe staple. I love v-necks and with the front yoke you can give the top different looks. I totally copied Kennis’ version with a lace yoke as I liked it so much. the possibilities are endless as you can also see when you look at the other tester’s versions.

Arenal Top

Arenal Top

Fabric:

The main fabric is again a 100% organic cotton from meterwerk. I was so in love with my Burda top that I ordered some more fabric from this shop. And I am in love again. Maybe it is just my iImagination but I have the feeling that organic fabrics have a different, more lively feel to them.

The top is designed for a 100% horizontal and 50% vertical stretch fabric. My fabric had only 50% horizontal stretch so I went one size up. Looking at the pictures I could maybe have cut it two sizes bigger. It is very fitted around the bust area.

I bought the lace some years ago at Karstadt. It is a cotton lace, and I thought this was great so, now I have a big yardage in cream, red and black in my stash.   This is the first time I have used it, though.

Arenal Top

Actually, I wanted to sew the handkerchief hem, but my fabric was too stiff for that. So I changed to the regular hem. For the handkerchief hem you only should use really drapey fabric, else the hem is sticking out. 

Alterations

My usual size with Itch to Stitch patterns is 2. As my fabric was not as stretchy as the pattern calls for I went up a size and cut a size 4. Else I did not any alterations.

Construction:

I made a V-neck already a few times and it was always a matter of luck if it turned out well or not. Kennis’ instruction really is very good and foolproof. I think this is the best “V” that I ever sewed.

The shoulder seams are stabilized with a fusible stay tape. All seams were done on my serger. The hems are turned to the inside and coverstichted.

Conclusion:

A simple top which is very versatile due to the front yoke. I liked the slightly curved V-neck. I am sure that I will sew more versions of this top. By the way, on the pictures I wear my new Ginger Jeans from Closet Case Files that I made recently. I will write all about them soon!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I got the pattern for free in exchange for testing. All opinions are, however, my own.

Posted in Itch to Stitch, Pattern Tester, Top | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Goya wristwarmers

When I made my first pair of wristwarmers last year, I was not sure if I would wear them very much. I made them because it was a nice little project and they looked so cute. But they got lots of wear. Therefore I decided I needed a second pair. This time I made the Goya wristwarmers. This is a free pattern, also from Alexandra Brinck that I found on ravelry. They feature a leaf motif on the front while the palm-side is worked in twisted, broken rib.

goya wristwarmers

goya wristwarmers

The pattern was quite easy. I did have to do some unraveling, but this was totally my fault because I made some mistakes and I wanted everything to be perfect. And for this little project this did not bother me at all to unravel.

goya wristwarmers

The yarn is again LANA Grossa Cool Wool this time in anthracite. I knitted the wristwarmes with a bamboo set of 5 douple pointed knitting needles size 3mm. I know that many do rather like knitting with circular needles, but not me. And I especially love the feel of the bamboo needles.

Now that summer is definitively gone these ones will get a lot of wear until it is cold enough for full gloves.

 

Posted in Knitting | Tagged | 4 Comments

Finally completed: Burdastyle 1/2007 #109A

I wanted to sew this top as soon as I read the magazine back in 2007. It only took me 9 years, but maybe it wasn’t too bad that it took so long as my sewing skills have certainly improved over the last years and I am really happy how this turned out. It soon became my favorite top.

"Burdastyle

Fabric:

The fabric is an organic cotton knit from Meterwerk and it is really cozy and comfortable to wear. It is quite stable and was easy to sew. Meterwerk is specialized in organic fabrics. I had this fabric already for two years in my stash, but they still sell it. I am really happy with the quality. Recently I try to be more thoughtful with my fabric purchases and to include more organic and sustainable ones and this one was a good choice.

Burdastyle 1/2007 #109A

Alterations:

I cut a size 36 and except for the sleeve cap I made no alteration. Burda always has these awful high sleeve caps and in knit fabrics I like more flat sleeve caps. It was a bit of try and error how much to take away. I basted the sleeve into the armhole, tried it on, ripped the sleeve out and basted again until I was happy. On the picture below you see how much I took away.

img_8803_bildgroesse-aendern

Burdastyle 1/2007 #109An

Construction:

Due to the shirring and the button placket the top is not a quick sew as a usual t-shirt. For the shirring it is really important to secure the elastic and not cut away the knots while trimming the seam allowances (ask me how I know…I had to redo half of the shirring).

Burdastyle 1/2007 #109A

Most seams were sewn with my serger. The hem is folded to the inside. At the seams I cut into the seam allowance and turned one seam allowance to the other side to reduce bulk.  

img_8802_bildgroesse-aendern

For the hem I used the cover stitch of my serger. I get the best results when all the stitches are on the double layer  and I cut away the excess afterwards.

img_8800_bildgroesse-aendernI had a bit of a trouble with the bottom of the placket. There was a little hole. I am not sure if I did something wrong or was just not careful enough during the construction. In the end I used some handstitches to close the hole.

One of my pet peeves is inserting snaps. I am always petrified that something goes wrong. And it did. I used snaps from Prym specific for knits. One of the little teeth did not go into the second half but bent to the center and now the snap can not be closed properly. Luckily this was the lowest snap and it is not noticeable as I will always wear the top with all buttons closed.

Burdastyle 1/2007 #109A

Conclusion:

As I said this one is now my favorite top and it is the perfect match between fabric and pattern. The design is a bit special, so I will probably make a new one only when this one falls apart. 

Burdastyle 1/2007 #109An

Do you also have garments that you put on as soon as they come off from the sewing machine and you do not want to take off again?

Posted in Burda, Top | Tagged , , | 2 Comments