[sewing] Such a useful tool

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Yes, here is an extremely useful tool for your sewing space. I copied Christelle’s very clever make: as soon as she published this, I thought I had to do it. As usual it took me months to finally do it – I largerly prefer sewing garments – and I waited another couple of months to show it to you. It’s a very quick project as you can imagine: no more than 30 minutes, including chosing the fabric.

 

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It stays in my sewing box, no need to remember what type of needle is in my sewing machine: it’s the one indicated by a pin, and no need to wonder which needle in the case is already used and which is really new. Now I know all the needles in their cases are new!

So in all a very quick make, that really helps me in my sewing. I’m now thinking a lot about a pincushion for the sewing machine I’ve seen in the Craftsy blog. What about you? Do you have tips for some very useful tools such as this one?

[sewing] Underwear

For Christmas, I treated myself to a Craftsy course on bra sewing with Beverly Johnson; I’ve started watching the videos and I’m very happy so far, it’s really interesting. I’m hoping to start as soon as I can gather appropriate materials. Do you know good online shops in Europe for underwear fabrics and notions? In the meantime I decided to keep sewing underwear and used a pattern traced on well-fitting undies.

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I used different types of knit, with different stretch and of course, results are quite different. But I think the main difference comes form the type of elastic used. For the blue/grey, I used picot elastic and regular fold-over elastic for the pink/black. Clearly fold-over elastic is less stretchy than picot elastic. This left me wondering how much stretch I was supposed to have.

 

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Then Amy’s article on lingerie elastic popped up in my reader, and as usual this smart lady answers all my questions! To make it short, you’re supposed to keep around 5% reduction and not use 3-step zigzag stitch on every single seam. Which is sad, because I like the look of the 3-step zigzag stitch :/

For now, I’m going to keep watching the bra sewing videos and if you know of good online shops for this type of fabric, please share!

See you soon!

Sophie

[sewing] Sewaholic Robson Coat

Robson Coat_01

pattern: Robson Coat, Sewaholic Patterns

fabric: Cotton gabardine, Cousette

size : 14, sleeves and body shortened

When this pattern came out last year, I was really enthusiastic about it and wanted to make it rapidly, but I was also already 7 months pregnant. So anything closing over my belly was a wrong idea.. I finally ended up buying pattern and fabric over Christmas and made it over the month of March, when I took a couple of days off work.

I’ve seen very beautiful versions of this pattern, starting with Lauren’s stunning lace one, but I needed a more subdued version for my everyday life: I chose navy blue, which actually makes me think of policemen.. But I did chose very contrasting bias band! I went for fuschia.

 

Robson Coat_02

I had troubles with the use of bias binding and topstitching. When you apply your bias binding to your seam allowances, it looks really good, but then comes the topstitching, which adds another seam on your bias band and makes it less appealing I think. I tried to find a way to avoid this problem but ended up with nothing.

 

Robson Coat_04

 

Marrie had said something about adding a lining to the sleeves to make it easier to slip your arms in, and I managed to remember it. Now she’s sharing a tutorial she made! I used the same lining as in my Amy skirt, because it’s very nice to the touch, not too clingy and rather thick. Unfortunately the colour doesn’t work very well with the rest of the coat. I’ve used this fabric not as a lining but more as an underlining: I basted both fabrics together before treating them as one. You can see on the picture above a different colour of bias binding, that’s because I ran out of the bright pink one. I had ordered the amount mentionned on the enveloppe back, so I don’t know what happened.

 

Robson Coat_03

I had lots of troubles with my interfacing, as I discovered too late that: 1. it’s not fusible and 2. when ironed, it shrinks. That damn thing made all the interfaced areas look wobbly, like the collar in the picture above. It makes me really angry and it’s the main reason why I don’t wear this coat very often: it looks like I haven’t bothered to iron it… There’s not much I can do about it apart from taking apart all the pieces when interfacing is present. And that means undoing the whole coat! I’m not sure I want to do that yet.

Instructions for this pattern are really clear, as usual with Sewaholic patterns. One last thing I would add – I’ve seen it mentioned on blogs, but too late – the pocket openings are narrow, nearly too narrow for me: when I want to put my hand out of  my pocket, I need the other hand to hold on to the coat. Silly… FYI, I wear a size 8 gloves.

See you soon!

Sophie

[sewing] Pauline Alice Carme blouse

I’m so late to post about this blouse! I finished it a loooong time ago, as I sewed it in the week following the release of the pattern by Pauline Alice. I was very impressed by the tester‘s versions, especially Andrea‘s. So pattern purchased, downloaded, printed and assembled. I didn’t even take time to trace it 🙂 I did however check against my sloper that it would be wide enough in the critical areas. Here is my wearable muslin:

 

Blouse Carme_03

Can you spot the zebras in the middle of the flowers?

I really like the pattern and as some have pointed out, the way the yoke is applied to the front is clever! I enjoy wearing it, I think it looks great and I received many compliments from family and colleagues, which is always nice. I was worried that it would be too tight the first time I wore it, but it’s simply because I’m so used to wearing knit tops that I forget how it feels to wear a woven blouse.

 

Blouse Carme_02

The instructions could be a little clearer in some aspects, I’m thinking about the drawing showing how to insert the bias band on the sleeve opening. I had done this before so I knew what to do and I’m grateful for that because the illustration is totally baffling! As some have mentioned too, the sleeves are too short for me, and so is the sleeve bracelet: I can hardly close the button with my arms straight and my wrists are not particularly wide. The collar is a little small too, but I don’t really mind as I wouldn’t close the last buttons anyway.

 

Blouse Carme_01

This being said, I’m totally going to make it again, this time in a solid colour, I have a nice aubergine poplin waiting to be cut.

See you soon!

Sophie

[sewing] Amy skirt

There is a recurring trend going on among sewing bloggers about identifying the gaps in your wardrobe, sewing things that you will actually wear etc. I had already been thinking about this because I hate the idea of sewing only things I will wear once, just because they look good. Because what makes me happy is being able to pull out of the wardrobe a me-made garment each morning and feel good wearing it. That and my sewing time being more restricted than before, I’m concentrating my sewing on everyday garments, just like this skirt.

Amy SKirt 2

Amy SKirt 1

Quick monday morning picture before going to work

  • PatternAmy skirt, by FarbenMix
  • FabricShell fabric: black cotton velvet / Lining fabric: probably 100% polyester fabric, very good quality. Both fabrics are from Lener Cordier in Hazebrouck.
  • Things I learned in the process: not much actually, there isn’t much to say about the construction, it’s a basic A-line skirt with a pleat at the front, lined, with a large waistband and belt loops. I don’t know if the instructions are good as they were in German: you can chose between Dutch or German when buying the PDF pattern. I can say now that my skills in sewing are good enough that I can sew a lined skirt without instructions. Though I enjoy brainlessly following a pattern…
  • Things I really like: the large waistband and the beautiful lining. I love the outer fabric too!
  • Things I didn’t enjoy in the process: design ease in this pattern is really too big, good thing I made a muslin before this! I also needed to make drastic changes to the waistband, I removed at least 2 inches.
  • All in all: it’s a great basic skirt, the only thing that bothers me is that spring is very close now and I won’t be able to wear this skirt a lot…
Amy SKirt 5

this lining is brilliant!

 

[sewing] Muslining & painting

Have you heard about Natalie Chanin’s work? The designer behind Alabama Chanin? I’m sure you’ve already seen some of her (and her employee’s) beautiful work and mostly the stunning versions made by talented ladies like Carolyn, Andrea and Isabelle? I bought one of her books last year – Alabama Studio Sewing + Design – and I’m only starting working from it now. It is still a work in progress and I don’t have a photo of it just now, but I can show you the previous steps, because it’s a looong project.

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AC Skirt 3

I chose to make a simple knee-length skirt: 2 fronts and 2 backs, it could’t be simpler. But before engaging on stenciling, embroidery and sewing, I did a muslin in an ugly jersey knit bought over the Internet (I like the big dots, but the description said grey when it’s actually lilac) : I can destash, yeah for Stash Diet 2014! After checking the finished measurements, I clearly needed a little more room around the hips, so I simply slashed the pattern along the grainline and spread both parts. The fit is now fine! I didn’t know what to expect because I’ve never bought/worn a knit skirt. It is proving to be rather confortable.

AC SKirt 2

 

AC Skirt 1

Next step: stenciling. I used a sheet of plastic (you know the ones used in the old days when you did a presentation?) and a sharp blade to cut through. I used Pebeo textile paint, but apparently basic house paint could work. I’ll have to swatch, and it would be good if it worked because there aren’t many colours available in textiles paints. I used a little foam roller to apply the paint. Despite a few mistakes like forgetting on which side I put the paint on the previous pattern repeat then applying the already painted side to the fabric (grrrr, I had to re-cut a front piece), this step didn’t take as much time as I thought it would. However the very next step took forever: ironing the fabric to stabilize the paint (5 minutes on each repeat).

AC Skirt 4

 

AC Skirt 5

Next step (not the final one): stitching around each motif. This is the part I like best of course, confortably sitting on my sofa, watching tv or listening to podcasts. I try to knit a little less at the moment because I have a painful elbow tendinitis (or more precisely a tenosynovitis), but I’m not sure embroidery is any better, I’ll have to ask the physiotherapist. What about you? Do you like long-term pojects like this one? I wonder if knitters/sewers are more prone to this than sewers only?

 

[sewing] Sewaholic Robson Coat: in progress

The Robson Coat is a pattern I saw popping up last spring did not have time nor energy to sew up. Then autumn and winter came and I thought it was too late to make it. But now it’s time! My plan for 2014 is to make a garment a month, I know it’s not a lot, but I want it to be realistic. So far I’m doing well, but am very bad at taking pictures, it’s even worse than before.. So you’ll have to trust me when I tell you that I’ve sewn an Anna Dress over the Christmas holidays, then an Amy Skirt and two Plantain t-shirts. The Ottobre skirt I told you about in the last post is finished but needed so much fitting that I donated it. What a waste of time! I should have made a muslin first I know: take time to save time…

So lesson learned, this is my muslin for the Robson Coat! I sewed a size 14 for the top part, grading to a size 16 at the hips. This is how I had worked my Minoru Jacket muslin and ended sewing a size 14 for the whole coat as it’s flared enough. Well the same goes for the Robson Coat: a size 14 will be ok. And I’ll apply the same modification I seem to do for all Sewaholic patterns: I’ll shorten the sleeves, apparently my arms are too long 🙂

 

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Following Marrie’s advice, I will shorten the body by 4″, it’s a little too long for my taste as is. And I’ll underline the sleeves with lining fabric since I don’t always wear slippery tops.

DSCN2861I plan to do this during my two-day break next week when my daughter will be at the nursery and I, bad mother that I am, will stay at home and enjoy a couple of uninterrupted hours of sewing!

 

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Next on my radar is the Carme blouse by Pauline Alice, Andrea’s version made my buy the pattern right away!