Saturday, June 27, 2009

Craving color

This is a yearly phenomenon I'm only now becoming aware of.

Finally, summer is here, I mean real summer, temperatures in the high 20s (Celsius), sunshine 16 hours a day, blue skies, kelly green grass, flowers blooming all around... And every color popping just so, with the light and the contrast, and, maybe, the serotonin-induced high mood!
So, all of a sudden, I start craving color. My wardrobe has earthy neutrals, black-gray-and-white-neutrals, with the occasional shot of color. My summer wardrobe has tomato red, kelly green, bright turquoise, red-on-pink-on-yellow, and the occasional olive/brown. I cannot even fathom putting on a gray summer top, unless it's for work, of course.
This should have told me something years ago, but I really just realized it a couple of days ago, when I came home with this year's (brightly colored) swimsuit haul (H&M, told you so!), and proceeded to rip every juicy colored fabric from the stash cupboard, resolving to sew a new summer wardrobe.
We'll see how it goes (the best laid plans and all that). I have made myself proceed as planned and started on the dress; I hope this won't curb my enthusiasm!
Oh, and sun or not, I know I'll be done for as soon as the new fall fashion spreads (and fabrics) are out. I'm a true September girl that way!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ottobre 6/2007 no. 16

The girl's dress is done. Without the red buttons. I think I added enough detail that it doesn't need further decoration.

I really recommend this pattern. It went together well, is easy to execute and well explained. The pattern is for a lined dress, but the lining can be left out easily without making any changes in the sewing, since the neck- and armholes are bound with bias fabric.

I made a size 98 according to DD's measurements. In RTW, 98 would be much too small... Reverse vanity sizing for kids?!

The fabric and notions have all been used in other garments before - the denim from the last fabric market in DS's pants, as well as the striped ribbon; the red polka dot in this girl's dress from last year, and the whale fabric on the Easter dress and bunny shirt. I have enough denim left for a skirt for me. I'd really like a new denim skirt. But how boring!

The whale decoration is self-drafted, and now I have visions of a whole sea-inspired wardrobe floating (!) around my head. So many ideas, so little time...

Next up: This dress in that fabric. If I can drag myself away from the children's stuff.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sneak peek

Aaah... Girl's clothes. Soft, stable, easy-to-press cotton fabrics. Whimsical details. Manageable pattern pieces. What's not to love?

Maybe I ought to reconsider my sewing priorities. Sewing for myself, I (mostly) love the results. Sewing for the children, I enjoy the process. On the other hand, I'll keep wearing the "winners" for several years. The kids take them straight to the sandbox for a round of "dig and destroy". Priorities?

Anyway, so you don't get bored to tears, here's a preview of the dress details. I have to finish the zipper, neck- and armholes. Then I'll have to think about the (planned, not bought) red buttons some more. I don't want to be cynical and call myself the newest victim of the financial crisis, but the crisis took my buttons! The Arcandor group which owns the Karstadt department stores has declared bankruptcy. The stores aren't closed (yet), but when I went there for red buttons they were taking inventory, and the buttons were gone. So I'll have to wait or do without, and hope for Karstadt's survival, for the employees as well as all sewers depending on their fabric/notions department!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

You may uncross your fingers now

Thank you for the support; sewing the top actually went quite well. (If you call cussing-and-foot-stomping-but-coming-out-as-intended well...) I only have the hemming left, and wanted to post a picture when it's finished, but then considered the uncomfortable position you might be in since... oh... a week ago? So sorry. You may stand, or sit, comfortably now!

I have also cut out another girls' dress, not the intended garment sewing order at all, but it seems I can't help myself. After picking DD up dirty as... well, dirt, at the kindergarten every day, I thought a denim dress might serve her (and my laundry) well. It's pattern no. 16 from Ottobre's winter 2007 issue. It's a winter dress, but I'll leave out the lining and hope it works out in the end. I'm thinking of a little nautical design with red buttons; to be honest I think I've been subconsciously inspired by Debbie's cute denim dress. We'll see if I can do it justice!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sewing fine fabrics

I've chosen the pattern for this fabric.

I meant to choose something with little sleeves, a small collar, drawstring, maybe a peplum... Then my eye fell on Burda April/09 that I've already made the skirt and hat from.
The blouse on the title has other qualities, namely just four pattern pieces, which might work better with a busy print such as this. And, it could double as a coverup on vacation. And, its simplicity allowed me to trace and cut it in the short minutes I had free today.

But I'm a little nervous about starting to sew. The material's pretty, but very slippery - a crushed georgette I'd say, and to top it off: printed off-grain (either this has never happened to me before, or I haven't noticed). I cut it according to the print not the grain, hoping the crushed quality will be forgiving. I'm thinking of using french seams on the side seams, double hems on the bottom and cut-on sleeves, binding on the neckline, and hope I'll manage to sew a straight seam or two.
If you have any vital tips on sewing with thin, slippery fabrics, feel free to comment. Otherwise, please keep your fingers crossed!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Thank you! (and: sewing plans revisited)

The skirt may not have made me happy, but your sweet, encouraging comments sure have! I didn't think I was fishing for compliments or sympathy, but maybe I was, since it felt so good to read your nice comments. So, thank you!

On to new shores. The jacket and dress, if you hadn't already noticed, have taken a back seat. I trust that my blogging will hold me accountable so I'll return to it eventually!

Other things have come up that have commanded my time and interest. All those kids' clothes - and I don't think I'm finished with that for the summer -, and then as my diary filled up with more and more events this summer, I sat down and thought what I needed for that. I've been buying a lot less RTW these last months, and I'd like to keep that up if possible.

Coming up:

  • Our annual family reunion/garden party this month. I've been thinking of a summery blouse/tunic to wear with shorts. Possibly in this fabric. I walked circles around this, since it's a poly material I don't normally buy, but I love the print so much, I had to have it (and might get over my poly aversion).

  • An event that I don't even know how to translate. Translation software says "shooting match", but that doesn't hit (!) it all. It's a big celebration in a rural area that basically has the whole village in festivities, all that arranged around a shooting match. If anyone German reads this, Schützenfest. Click here, if you want pictures of such an event. I've never been to one of these before, but we've been invited by my father-in-law who won the annual shooting match 25 and 50 years ago, and now gets honored on his jubilees. I could certainly go in some decent outfit already in my closet (the long dresses you see in some of the pictures are only worn by guests of the current winner), but I think I'll use this as an excuse to sew a really summery

    dress out of this fabric.

  • My 20 year school reunion. Since closing my eyes and plugging my ears isn't going to make the 20 years go away, I may as well go. So I will need something understated (I don't think anyone is going to dress up for this) that nevertheless dazzles and makes everyone see how much better, if not younger, I look these days... I'm sure you understand!

  • Then, in early August, we're taking a vacation by the sea. If I'm not all sewn out by then, I might make myself a couple of tops and coverups. I'm not getting into swimsuit sewing, I think, not as long as H&Ms swimsuits still fit me.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Utilitarian sewing (I'm not in love)

I like to sew colorful, flowery, interesting or special-occasion wear. I wear a lot of simple, classic designs in neutral colors. So when I saw the skirt no. 101 A in Burda's April issue, also made up (very well) a couple of times on the 'net, and loved the lines, I decided to marry the design to one of my brown linens from the fabric market. So I'd have something to actually wear a lot.

I was apprehensive about the yoke, since others reported having difficulties with the instructions, and I didn't understand them just reading through either. When sewing, it all came together according to the instructions, though. It must be the language, certainly not my superior sewing skills, that made the yoke instructions understandable after all.

Speaking of sewing skills, I am a lot more dissatisfied with this project than I've been in a long time. And I'm not usually hard on myself, and will wear stuff others might deem unwearable. Have my expectations grown? Is it because I've seen other examples of the skirt that looked so good? My bones of contention:

The topstitching. I did not manage to get the yoke topstitched without some irregularities and missed stitches on the thicker parts. Since I used strongly contrasting thread, it's really obvious (to me).

The buttons/buttonholes. They're all lined up perfectly, but when taking a deep breath the top button slips outwards in the buttonhole, while the lower button, being so close to the yoke seam, stays put. Resulting in the yoke looking crooked.

The facings. Burda didn't give instructions on how to finish the facings, and the inside yoke is longer than the facings, so they cannot be finished as one. Not wanting to have a thick finish that will show through the thin linen on the right side, I just zigzagged the facings and tacked them to the seam allowances. Not the best look inside.

Exactness/angles. I'm not the most exact sewer, and it really shows on a solid color garment with angled lines. On the yoke and the pockets, I have noticed that instead of right angles, the top corners are bending upwards a little, like a slight wing shape. Poor pressing? Too much tugging when sewing? Should I have staystitched? Interfaced? It is noticeable, because the yoke parts should lie flat on top of one another, and the pockets should line up with the yoke bottom.

All that said, I've put it on and can see myself wearing it quite a bit. It's cool, comfortable, and fulfils my clothing needs (other than perfect workmanship).

Action shot: I know you all love a bit of local folklore, so here's the skirt on me at our annual Pentecost fun fair. Pentecost monday is a national holiday in Germany, and one of the annual fairs, with lots of carousels, ferris wheel, etc. in our city is held on this weekend. It's from Friday to Tuesday and finishes with fireworks tomorrow night.


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