Saturday, January 31, 2009

Blogging question

After (finally) figuring out a few pattern numbers for garments I've sewn, I've considered putting the line drawing, picture from the sewing magazine, etc. in here.
1. Am I allowed to publish these? Do I hurt anyone's copyright or other laws? Do I need to ask, or any other requirements?
2. How do you do it? Do you scan pictures, or copy them from the website, or what? (I use BWOF and Ottobre almost exclusively.)
Thank you for your input!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Summer dress

(No still life, no dress form, just me.)

As always, I had high hopes and colorful plans for last summer, to sew lots of airy dresses (with the summers becoming hotter and hotter in northern Europe). Shorts are often a tad too casual for my taste, and believe it or not, not just DH, but even my (then 4 yo) son likes his mom in pretty dresses and says so, often. Early sense of fashion? Oh please, yes! (Even though he doesn't look it in the first picture, above.)
The dress is BWOF ca. 2006 (and yes, I intend to go back one of these days and add the missing pattern numbers!). It's an interesting pattern that has a waist piece/band in back which extends into a diamond-shaped inset in the front. It went together very well (I went slowly as resolved!), and I half regret not making it in a solid color so the lines could be seen. The fabric was from Alfatex, a German fabric chain store, a cotton lycra mix that washes and wears very well, so it was, after all, the perfect (if only one) summer dress.

My DD calls all her dresses "dance dresses", but when it comes to fit, dancing's as good a test as any, isn't it?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Blogging, not sewing - oh, and Alaaf!

Wow, this blogging thing is really neat! Thank you all very much for already leaving so many nice comments - Lindsay really was on to something when she said, try it, you'll like the results.

On the sewing frontier, I'm still trying to post some past projects before my vacation, and hope to have more when I return, because... drum roll... I'm taking my sewing machine with me! So in between walks on the beach (nothing to get jealous about; it's still winter here) and playing with the family, I'll get to spend some quality time with my sewing machine.

(What's up with these Germans?)

My project: Children's costumes for "Karneval" which is the German Mardi Gras, but where we dress up like Halloween, with some circus and Disney World thrown in (and where people shout madly "Alaaf", nobody knowing quite what it means!). In the past, I made the children (fast, easy) clown costumes,

(and DS wanted to be a dwarf for his first Karneval)

but this year they want to be an angel (ds) and a witch (dd). So I'll take some inspiration from Summerset ( and her wearable art, and try my hand at appliqué and borders. Now don't get your hopes up, this will be very simple and nowhere near Summerset's sewing level, but still... I'm inspired!

(This is what I'll probably look like every year until I'm through with sewing kids' costumes!)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Half wadder: bag

(Photo on me for scale.)
'Tis a sad thing to work on something, have it almost come together, only to discover: not quite good enough. Almost, not quite.
This bag was completely self drafted (possibly the first mistake), vaguely inspired by YSL's Muse Bag, which has the same dome like shape. I've always loved the Gucci-esque bamboo handles (and only now discover I'm a terrible designer-name-dropper. Forgive me.), so I bought those too, and drafted the bag with two zipper pockets - one almost hidden on the outside, one on the inside - and four small inside pockets, cut a bit roomier than the lining and pulled together with elastic sewn onto the seam allowance, for putting in all those odds and ends we lug around all day.
So, as resolved, I took my time, measured twice, ripped out, cussed a bit (what a pain to pull a whole, interfaced, stiffened bag through a hole in the lining...), and really liked it.
I used quilting cotton and a linen-structured brown rayon, a softer iron-on interfacing on the sides and top, and a very stiff interlining ("Schabrackeneinlage" in German) on the front, back and bottom.
Three problems: First, the bottom drops a bit, not too bad. But second, the top gets pulled down by the lining when I put something heavier/bulkier inside, and not just the top parts right and left of the zipper, but also the printed, stiffened front and back parts, causing the bag to lose its dome shape and look - shapeless. Third, these pretty bamboo handles really hurt my shoulder, because they are so hard. Ouch. How does Gucci do it?
I still can't bear to part with it, though, because I really like its looks. Maybe I'll use it as an evening bag for carrying one hankie, or so?!
Do you keep any of your wadders because you've become attached to them? Or am I the only one?
Happy sewing!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ottobre skirt

Not sure what I was trying to convey with that pose... hunger? Anyway, this skirt is an example of last year's resolution to sew (grown up garments) slowly and with care. I even tried to make it look nice on the inside, thanks to the amazing seam finshes I've seen around the blogging world. Sorry, no detail/inside pictures. Here goes: Pattern from Ottobre fall 08 issue, size 38. I took it in quite a bit at the waist, but the hips were fine. I re-drafted the side seams because it seemed a bit too pencil-slim for my taste (or stride). It is almost straight now. I topstitched with black buttonhole thread. The fashion (wool) and lining (acetate) fabrics are from one of the last department store chains that still has a fabric department here in Germany, Karstadt. I love internet shopping, but for a quick fix, or basic staples, or seeing and feeling the real color/material, I appreciate the brick-and-mortar-stores. Luckily, I live close to Cologne, with several large fabric stores/departments within walking distance of each other. Funny, how I never come home empty-handed... Back to the skirt: I faced the waistband with a peacock-like Kaffe Fassett quilting fabric print, and tried sort of successfully to finish the lining seam allowances (that I hate to have peek out and not look neat) by leaving one s.a. longer and wrapping around the other, then stitching together. I found this technique quite fiddly and had some bubbling and creasing, though. I'm trying to get up the patience to use a hong kong finish next time. Too slapdash after all, I'm afraid. How do your garments look on the inside? Do you just want to get it done and put it on - like me - or do you make it all pretty?

Happy sewing!

little el

One of my "little el"s in a sweater I sewed for my goddaughter about five years ago. I don't remember the size, but she was 5 months old at Christmas when I gave her this, and I sewed an identical sweater for my godson who is 2 months older, so it must have been an 80 (9 months) at the most, possibly smaller. I never saw either of them wear it, and now I know why. See how wide it is? It has amost too much ease even for my daughter who in this picture is 2 1/2 years old. But the fabric is one of my all-time favorites, polar fleece with little sheep/lambs printed all over. So I made my daughter wear it with fashionable 3/4-sleeves! The pattern, by the way, was BWOF. Now I have my own kids around to measure and try for fit, but I admit this has me using Ottobre rather than BWOF for children's wear. (In case anyone reads this: what is your experience with BWOF kids' patterns and fit?)

Happy sewing!

Little girls

Having a little girl has its advantages. Cute dresses in half the time with a quarter the fabric. Shamelessly over-decorating everything with "Hello Kitty" without having to wear it oneself, which at 38 would be a bit... well... cute. Fabric: linen from a fabric market. (Dutch fabric markets in Germany... now that's something. But, another time.) Dotted fabric from Kitty from H & M. Pattern from Ottobre, I think Spring 08-issue. Actually, this dress was for my BFF's daughter. As good as my own. Happy sewing!

Tote bag

On the chance chance that somebody happens by, let me publish another project: fast, easy, colorful. I love bag sewing! I used this ( tutorial (see, I'm already getting better at naming my sources!), IKEA fabric on the outside, Joel Dewberry quilting fabric on the inside. And a bit of a Farbenmix border - I do envy the American sewers for their quilting fabric sources, but nobody does cute borders better than . And no, I'm not affiliated with them.
Happy sewing!

First: UFO

Fittingly, when looking for a sewing picture, I happened upon my latest UFO. I would pose a question, if I had any hopes of somebody answering: Do you finish garments intended for a certain date/occasion, if the occasion passes and it's still unfinished? (I know what Trena - - did with her inauguration coat, but I did not intend to sit in church with a stapled dress hem and a half open zipper). This was meant to be my christmas dress, only it wasn't meant to be... Oh, and it was a BWOF pattern from... uh... must remember to get organized for blogging.
P.S. One reason the zipper didn't get done might be that it's a pain to sew zippers without a zipper foot... yes, I do that... I believe that I am the original slapdash sewist, but Trena beat me to that title.
Happy sewing!

little el - A short introduction

The last year has been spent sewing a little, reading sewing blogs - a lot. I haven't even commented anywhere so far, lurker extra-ordinaire, probably figuring I had nothing to contribute in return. So I have Lindsay T's recent post ( to thank for inspiring me to join the sewing blog community, hoping I'll find something to give back to all those wonderful sewing bloggers who have delighted me with their craft in the past months.
A little something about me: I live in Germany, have two little ones (5 yo boy, 3 yo girl), have intermittently sewn since I was 12 yo or so, mostly garments and a few accessories/home dec. I will post in English since most blogs I read, love and admire are in English also.
I plan to write up some of last year's sewing (making me seen really productive... not) in the next posts. We'll see how far I make it since we're leaving for two weeks' vacation on Monday.
I am new to blogging, so bear with me while I - hopefully - figure out the technical details.
Happy sewing!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin