Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Girls' tunic Ottobre 1/2008 no. 8

Although I share Lindsay's sentiments on knits, I keep going there.

1st reason: They're basic, comfy, so I ought to learn.

2nd reason: I can't believe I'm not getting better. (Which I'm not. This may have to do with my stubborn low-tech everything-should-be-sewable-with-a-regular-machine-and-zigzag-foot approach.)

3rd reason: I also abhor making buttonholes. So blouses aren't a good alternative for tops.

Unlike Lindsay, I'm not above wearing, and especially clothing my children in decidedly Becky Home Ecky garments. So this will get worn.

Probably a lot, even. DD chose the fabrics herself. (I might have chosen a little less... PINK!) And the Hello Kitty apliqué. And she's one happy girl!

Speaking of happy girls, last weeks' tunics got worn to an outing in the forest. Quite the fitting background. A couple of pics:

Up next? I'm still torn between:

  • an appliquéd autumnal table runner (and playground for me!)
  • a jacket with my most recent fabric acquisition
  • lots of children's pants for fall

Happy sewing!

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Tale of Two Tunics - Ottobre 4/2009 no. 16

Here they are! I made use of today's early fall sunshine and took garden pics. Maybe I'll manage an action shot tomorrow, if the two girls cooperate.

I made up the pattern according to the instructions without glitches. One in size 98, one in 104. They don't look that much different; the six centimeters between 98 and 104 are probably evenly divided between upper and lower body, and 3 cm isn't that obvious.
I didn't add the called for rows of topstitching on the cuffs and lower band, because the dotted poplin I used was stiff enough on its own.
Also, the pattern called for three fabric covered buttons for decorating the front piece. While I thought this looked really cute in the magazine, I found myself playing with some matryoshka (yes, again) fabric and making little appliqués for whatever one night... Well, whatever turned out to be the tunics, and I think the matryoshkas fit the tunics to a tee. (But then, I may be biased.)
All in all a very cute pattern. I have visions of making it up in black velvet with red tartan ruching for Christmas, but I doubt I'll get around to it. We'll see.
Sewing or not, have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sewing ADD?

Q: How is it that when I'm sewing I find less to blog about?

A: It takes less time to shop for fabric/read a sewing mag/go to fabric market/ dream up new projects than actually follow through! (So... blogging less actually means I've been more productive? For me, it does.)

And when I'm halfway through with said plan, I'm so bored I change track. Case in point:

Right now, I'm sewing little girl tunics. Remember the "Russian Peasant" theme in Ottobre I swooned about? Well, I went and bought the same fabric that Ottobre used, only in a different colorway - something I never do, I don't sew to copy but to make it my own, right? But the fabric was too cute by far, so I hunted it down, spent more money than a ready-made tunic would cost, and set to work. In the end, I changed a few details, so it's all my own (or DD's, to be precise) after all.

Then, I'm proud to say, despite my sewing-ADD tendencies, I sewed up a second tunic for my cousin's little girl (sneak preview shown above). The tunics are as good as ready, and I'll take pictures soon.

Then I had a plan to sew DD a pair of matching (and needed!) corduroy pants.

Then my sewing ADD got the better of me, and I went fabric shopping. Aaaaaah... Rest my weary eyes on yards and yards of pretty fabrics. And buy for a new, wholly unplanned project. (More later.)

Now what? Back to the plan? Or the plan before that? Or on to new pastures? (Am I glad this is my hobby. No, I'm not ADD in real life!)

Any fellow sufferers?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Boys' pants Ottobre 1/2008 no. 25

The pants are done, have been fiercely worn already, and I lo-o-ove them. At first, I was sceptical - such a high yoke? Such low pockets? But this is a neat visual trick; it makes the pants look fashionably low-slung (via the pockets) without actually being so. They cinch right at the waist, so they don't fall off DS's non-existent butt! (No, really. The pockets are wider than his behind. Quite funny.)
DS was sceptical, too, what with the (slanted) "front pockets" being in the back. But as the big front pocket is large enough to hold a stone, a card game, three used tissues and a piece of candy (no, really! He tried this out today, all in the interest of science, of course!), he is mollified.
I used a wide-wale corduroy bought years ago for a pair of baby pants I never made (yes, I barely squeezed it out!), a fat quarter of quilting fabric (Orange Afghan Hexagon by Jay McCarroll - Woodland Wonderland), and some ribbon I bought at the most recent fabric market I never blogged about. Ahem.
What I did differently from the pattern: I put in a mock fly and left out the zipper. DS's waist-to-hip-ratio is basically 1, and the pants have an elastic waist, so I figured he'd get the pants over his hips without a zip (and he does). For visual interest, I put in a functional buttonhole and button.
In between sewing I got a bit frustrated with all the pattern parts, topstitching, etc, etc. and had visions of the three or so simple pants I could have made instead. But I find the result is worth it; I just hope DS doesn't trash them before the winter is over!


Friday, September 11, 2009

New camera, new pattern magazines

I turned 39 on Monday. It's hard not to get philosophical; while I' happy with my life and where I'm at, the years are racing by with lightning speed, and I can't believe I may already have lived half my life. See? I did get philosophical!

I made the best use possible of my birthday by
a) wishing for a new camera, which I got (if my pictures aren't good now at least I'll know it's my fault!);

b) having a typical German "Geburtstagskaffee" (cake and coffee) with family and friends;

c) sneaking a few minutes to read the new Threads and a couple of new pattern magazines I got.

While I love my Burdas for bringing me lots of patterns, fashionable ideas, and something new to enjoy every month, I also often feel a bit overwhelmed with the sheer amount of patterns I have collected with several years' worth of Burdas. When looking for a pattern or ideas, I sometimes get frustrated trying to process all that information. This is something I like about my Ottobres, which are just two (slim) issues a year for women and four (a bit thicker) issues for children.
So, while I wouldn't give up my Burdas anytime soon, I decided to take a closer look at those magazines that are published seasonally rather than monthly.
(For some reason I couldn't get the picture to turn. Time to read the camera manual, I guess!)
"Sabrina" is one of several German publications like that (I know of two others called "Diana" and "Lea"). These aren't as glossy as Burda, but Sabrina is certainly fashionable enough. It's not graded for difficulty, and the patterns appear rather simple, with few seams, darts, and linings (all the jackets and coats are from warm fabrics but unlined!).

"Knipmode" is a Dutch monthly that is quite fashion-forward (Melissa makes a lot of beautiful garments from Knip issues). This is the first issue I've seen in German, although there may have been others. It's not a monthly but a fall/winter issue that is, as far as I can tell, close to perfect!
It features nine pattern (in several slightly altered versions) that are made up to show four big fall trends, each of them a different style and colorway, and all with just nine patterns. A real lesson in the versatility of sewing patterns! Also, great clothes, beautifully photgraphed. Real eye candy!
And both magazines, as well as the aforementioned Ottobre, only show clothes made up with their patterns, not RTW like Burda. This makes it so much easier to decide on possible combinations/ensembles. Burda used to feature "mini wardrobes". Bring them back, please!

I hope this peek into German/Dutch magazines was interesting for you. Next up: the finished boys' pants. Phew!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Gaultier kiddie pattern

Did the header grab your attention? It sure grabbed mine when, returning from our summer vacation, I bought a magazine for the ride home and discovered this gem.

Luna is, well, probably a parenting/family/children's fashion magazine. It's very glossy, the fashion pages are quite beautiful, there is a lot of product placement/reviews/marketing, and some editorial content. In short, a glossy aimed at parents with cash to spare.

One laudable thing about Luna is that although it isn't (I think) aimed at the alternative/crafter/DIY set, it features sewing and knitting patterns for children's clothes. Which goes to show, as I already discussed in my Brigitte post, how mainstream sewing, and not for reasons of saving money but because it's fashionable, has become.

There have always been a lot of knitting patterns around, in women's as well as parenting mags, but this focus on sewing is new, at least that's my impression. Now Luna has been around for a couple of years, and has been publishing a sewing pattern per issue, usually by German/European designers specializing in children's clothes. Imagine my surprise and delight when I opened the magazine and discovered that this issue's pattern is by JPG! It's in schoolgirl size, so DD will have to wait a couple of years, and there's a warning that this is not a beginner's pattern, but it's a Gaultier! It also has to be ordered and paid for separately from the magazine, while the other patterns had usually been enclosed printed on tissue paper, but I have ordered it and will keep it in my treasure box until DD is old enough to make it up.

(In case you think I'm an uncritical designer fan, I also love the dress. Nautical is all I will/need to say!)

P.S. I ordered an extra. I think I feel a giveaway coming up!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Monkey patch

When in doubt, sew kids' clothes! This monkey patch was inspired by my son's favorite soft toy, a monkey named "Charly", and is on its way to becoming part of a pair of boys' pants.

Thank you for the input on the coat. I had a good long look at all the material on The Great Coat Sew-Along (an amazing site; if you haven't seen it, go look!), and now I'm more motivated to make a coat than ever. But your comments were right; while it's a great pattern I'd love to see made up, my fabric may not be the best option for it. Or the other way around, I may need another pattern.
So I might:
a) get more fabric and make up the pattern in question,
b) search for a better pattern and make up my fabric.
While it's percolating, I'll plod on with the kids' fall/winter wardrobe!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Thoughts on coats

I bought this fabric for, oh, not pennies, but really cheap at a fabric market last year (I know, don't hate me!). It's a border print, shown folded in half; the other half is solid cream. It was intented to be a coat from the beginning, but I did not have the confidence or stamina at that point to make one.
So the fabric went into the stash, or "collection", as Carolyn calls it, which may be a better word, because a collection is enjoyed whether it is useful or not, and I certainly enjoy having beautiful fabrics even if I don't get around to sewing them for quite some time.

At this point, I have the confidence, and if I don't have the skill I know enough resources to look everything up (and then I have you, my sounding board and encyclopedia all in one!)

I'm just not sure whether I have the stamina. Now this is the first day of September, another glorious late summer day (and I'm sitting here thinking about coats - go figure!). Enough time to finish a coat at leisure and have some winter left to wear it. It's just that I'm not very good at repetitive tasks. That incudes looking at and handling the same unfinshed garment for too long. What to do?

All this doesn't deter me from considering patterns, of course. I really like Burda 9/2009 no. 102. It fits my requirements of a short coat (covering hips but not knees), and of corse I love the folklore/vintage vibe. But it's a three-and-a-half-dots pattern. Ouch! And I'm not sure whether the hidden folds would go well with a border print such as mine. Anyone interested to weigh in?

So how about it? Should I make a coat? Is anybody else planning one? I know there was a coat sew-along last year; too bad I'm late for that!


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