Wednesday, December 26, 2012

What I've Been Up To

It's been a long time since my last post, basically because there was no sewing going on here. The reason was not a missing mojo or anything more deeper than that, but a simple lack of time. I very much meant to get something together for the baby boy I'm expecting, but it was quite an ambitious plan for someone with about a thousand items on a to-do list :-). 

But I have not lost my sewing-related ambitions altogether. I was sorting out all the sewing stuff laying everywhere around the house, to be prepared for sewing during the maternity leave. Am I too naive to think I'll actually have time to sew with a baby "on board" :-)? If yes, please, leave me in this unaware state of mind for a bit longer. Thank you :-).

In the meantime, I've got some more learning material, so that I am ready to get my sewing skills to the next level. Which means any level at all, because usually I am only following instructions included in a sewing pattern or help myself with a smart book or a DVD, but I'd like to be able to know what sewing technique to use in diverse situations without feeling basically clueless most of the time ;-P...

So, this is the newest addition to my learn-to-sew library and I am pretty much looking forward to watch and actually use these. As someone who learns to sew mainly (and presently only) from books and DVDs, a good book or a DVD can make all the difference.

I have to admit, that I tend to prefer DVDs to books, because I find it to be a foolproof way of showing a sewing technique and the next best thing to a living human teacher when there's not a real one available. I discovered my love for the DVDs after bumping into these on the internet and from that time on, I managed to get some more.

So, as you can see, I am well prepared - my fabric and pattern stashes, as well as books and DVDs pretty organized and waiting to be used. I don't see me sewing in the next month (my due date is in the second half of January), but I hope to get to it as soon as possible.

In the meantime and until the next post,  
have a beautiful Christmas Holiday
and a Happy New Year 2013!


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Decisions, Decisions...

I made quite a long pause in blogging, but I was not just lazing around. I was making plans for my future sewing. I am in a mood for sewing, but as I mentioned already in my last post, as a constantly (horizontally :-/) growing woman expecting a baby, I don´t want to sew any pregnancy clothes and I don´t feel like sewing for my future surely-very-slender-myself :-), because my present figure does not remind me of my original proportions in no way.

So I made a decision to sew something for the baby. I am not a huge fan of the classic gender-showing color schemes to be used for baby textiles (a girl - pink, a boy - blue), but I still felt the urge to know who I am going to sew for. So before sitting down to think (and browse the internet) for some coordinating cotton fabrics, I waited to find out the baby´s gender. I have to say, I was somehow relying on having a girl (I already saw myself making all the flowers and bows and ruffly skirts :-)), but as you can already guess, I am having a boy. First, I was cogitating my chances to still sew some ruffly stuff full of bows for a little boy :-), but ended up putting his future mental health (and chances to survive among his future little male friends :-)) first.

My plan - to sew some bedding necessities for the baby´s bed (a bumper for the bed, a pillow cover, a blanket cover, a quilt...). After hours and hours of looking at hundreds of different baby nurseries on the internet, I ended up in quite a sad and confused frame of mind. The girl nurseries are always so sweet and cheerful, but the boys´ ones are somehow... murky. After having a look at about all the cotton fabrics out there, I now know why. It is very challenging to find a color scheme for a baby boy, that wouldn´t look somehow a) grown-up or b) girlish. 

So, it looks like I will end up in the grown-up-look group. I liked quite a handful of color-coordinating fabric collections that would be great candidates for my plans, but the final decision was just nowhere to be seen. Eventually, after some ridiculously long time, I did make up my mind and this is my final choice of the fabric palette:

I used pictures from the Fat Quarter Shop website to create this fabric palette

I further played around with the fabric pictures and ended up with this possible-quilt-to-be. I was inspired by a free quilt pattern I found on the internet, but can´t find again right now for a proper reference (will add it here as soon as I find it again). 

This is just a first attempt to make a visual plan of what I have in my mind. After some centimeter-counting I found out the quilt will probably have 4x6 squares (not 3x4) and I still can´t swear I won´t change my mind about any aspect of this quilt decision :-). I don´t have much time to make this plan into reality (still need to think about the bumper and bedding covers), then find out how much of which fabric I need and then order it ASAP. Oh, yeah, and sew it up...

I am already studying some quilt literature (this is going to be my first real quilt), because I only made one set of bedding covers and a bumper in my past in a quilted look (for my friend´s baby girl), not really knowing what I was doing :-). 

So, this is the plan so far. 

I really hope I´ll be able to transform the plan into reality - especially time-wise, since I still have a great lot to do before my due date which is in January. And, oh yeah, I have a full-time job, so that could pose a minor obstacle in the way of all the things I have to accomplish too :-).

Wish me luck,

C U all (I swear I´ll try my best) soon :-).

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pretty Amazing

Today I have a day off (a bank holiday in this part of the world :-)). As my sewing mojo is on its highest, I wanted to use the day for sewing. In reality it´s late afternoon right now and I haven´s even made a first step towards sewing anything. My problem: I didn´t find a single piece of fabric in my fabric stash, that I´d be willing to sacrifice to make a pregnancy outfit, that will only serve me for a couple of months (or weeks, looking at the speed my weight is going up. Blah.) I also don´t have the courage to sew anything for my post-pregnancy life, because I don´t feel like sewing without being able to do any fitting is a good idea. I´ll have to think about a plan to solve this dilemma, because I really want to sew something up! :-D

I have one idea in my mind - I want to make some things for the baby (a quilt, a pillow and blanket cover...) - things like this, but since I don´t know the gender yet, I don´t know what colors to use. And I don´t see yellow as the central color of my choice :-)...

Talking about the baby. This is also the second reason for which I wasn´t blogging for quite a long time (I talked about it in this post). I wasn´t feeling well and I was terribly exhausted as soon as I left my bed in the morning. Fortunately, this has improved with time and I don´t fee like sleeping 24/7 anymore. 

Now, back to the present.

Can this post get any messier :-)?

As I was feeling as quite a useless creature today - a day off and no sewing going on (!), I went to my last refuge - other people´s blogs. I mean, at least someone else is sewing, right :-)?! So I stared with the most recent blog post on my following list. It was from a blogger I just began to follow recently. A couple of nights ago I couldn´t sleep and I was browsing the internet and looking for talented bloggers for some feel-good read and inspiration. That´s how I discovered Rhonda Buss of Rhonda´s Creative Life. According to the picture that was showing on my blog roll, Rhonda blogged about the same dress that I blogged about lastly - the McCall´s 6553. Ah, great, I want to see it!

But waaaaait :-O! I nearly fell off my feet. Well, only nearly, because, fortunately, I was sitting :-). This lovely lady had put up a post about two bloggers, one of them being ME! I mean, I nearly had a heart attack, because there are so many wonderful bloggers out there, that I can´t even compare with (so I better won´t...) and someone has really wrote about me and my humble blog. 

I have to say - THANK YOU, RHONDA. Thank you even for the survived almost-heart attack :-), because the reason was a very flattering act. It has also brought me to the thought, that I should mention other fellow bloggers more often, especially because a huge amount of inspiration, good read and things I keep constantly learning come from them. Meaning you, other sewing bloggers :-). 

With this feeling of gratitude - towards Rhonda and other great bloggers out there, I am leaving you for now.

Happy sewing and see you soon!

Monday, August 27, 2012

McCall´s 6553 Dress

On Saturday I used my post-vacation sewing mojo to finish the two knit dresses, that I mentioned in my last post. One of them is a black knit dress - McCall´s 6553.

I was really looking forward to sew this one up. I had a look at some reviews and the pattern looked like a simple one, consisting of just a few pieces, that come together easily. It has proven to be true - it is not a complicated pattern, just a great fabric eater. 

I used a piece of black knit bought particularly for this dress. It is not too heavy, nor too thin, so an ideal material for what I had in my mind. I was trying to avoid using any even a bit stiffer fabric to not to end up with a big black tent.

Soo, since the pattern is so simple, why not to make it a bit complicated, right? I decided to add about 7cm to the length of the dress. Not so complicated, right? Well, I added 3,5cm at both "lengthen/shorten here" lines and thought that it would be easy to blend the side lines and keep the width of the dress very close to its original size 6. Nope, it wasn´t easy for me. I didn´t want to lose the shape of the dress and couldn´t manage to draw a line that would keep both the longer length and the original shape of size 6, so I had to broaden it at both sides as the pattern was leading me. Thinking about it, I think I might be able to do better now, but, well, too laaaaaate. Grrrrr :-)... So, I ended up with a dress, that is longer, but also wider than the original pattern. Not a big tragedy with such a loose dress.

I wanted to take some quality pictures to show the one-of-a-kind shape of this dress, but the weather does not cooperate anymore and I couldn´t wear it out yet. So I snapped a couple of pictures inside, but inside pictures of a black dress in a rather gloomy weather behind the windows never turn out really well.

At least some pathetic attempts:

There are some other minor changes I made:
- I omitted the loop and the button on the back side. If I read the sewing instructions carefully before the actual sewing process, I would have known, that there is no sewn-in fabric loop or a button hole, but a thread loop recommended. This was no option for me, so I have just sewn the two parts together from the inside with a couple of hand stitches and the collar is wide enough to serve its purpose without a button.
- The side holes for the sash are quite wide - so wide, that you can see the skin through them. I read this in one of the reviews, but obviously, I had to see for myself to actually believe how big they are... No big deal, So I made them a bit smaller with a couple of hand stitches from the inside.

Don´t ask me what this pose should have looked like. It makes me look pregnant.

Oh, maybe because I am :-).

See you soon :-).

Friday, August 24, 2012

Back From The Summer Vacation

I had no idea that it´s been such a long time since I last blogged. As always, I had no intention to be absent for so long, but there are two reasons that might apologize my silence. Well, not that I am somehow obliged to blog, but I suppose these reasons are apologies to myself.

First - I finally got out of the city for my summer vacation. We´ve been to Spain, Andalusia, and made trips to Spanish Seville, Portugal and Gibraltar. It was great, the beach was amazing and I wish the vacation was longer, but, oh, well... 

the beach along the sea was covered with seashells

Plaza de EspaƱa

The one thing that was connecting me with the sewing world even during the holidays was my hunt after the Patrones magazines. While on the trip to Portugal I had a revelation - I remembered a blogger - (have no idea who it was, since I read so many sewing blogs :-)) - who got some of the Patrones issues in Portugal and from that time on, I looked into every magazine shop and stand to get some. And I was quite successful - getting four issues, both in Portugal and Spain. A happy smile :-):

It was a nice feeling to get them for around 4€ right from the newsstand instead of stalking after them allover the internet for like 10€ a number :-)...

There is also a second reason why I was absent from the blogging world, but I´ve just made up my mind and I´ll give this one away in the next post. Yes, it´s a bit mean - I hate it when people begin to talk about something and not finish the whole "story" too.

Now to the sewing part of the post. Before leaving for the vacation, I nearly finished two knit dresses. "Nearly finished" meaning - both need to be hemmed, one of them has unfinished some of the inner seams and the other is missing a sash. I pretty much hope I´ll get at least one of them finished tomorrow. A post will be following. I am really looking forward to be back to sewing after the vacation.

I hope you all have a great summer...
... and see you soon :-).

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Burda 7488 Dress

Yes, it has actually happened - I have sewn up something. A dress. I used a piece of fabric from my stash - a blend of cotton and elastan and made it into a fifties-like dress. At least I think it looks like a 50's style. 

Since the fabric has got quite a busy print, I wanted to use a sewing pattern with simpler lines, so that the print and the style don't clash. I used Burda 7488.


The dress pattern was pretty simple to sew up. Fortunately, because the English version of instructions was missing from the pattern envelope (I don't know if it was never there or if I lost it, but I somehow think the first is the truth, arghhh), so I had to follow the instructions in German. Maybe it wouldn't be such a problem, because I speak German, but I am not completely familiar with the sewing vocabulary, so I was lucky that the dress was pretty straight-forward to sew up. I even made my (I think) first attempt ever to match the fabric print on the upper front bodice sewing lines :-).

Here's the result:

This is the first fully lined dress I made - at least lined this way, with a concealed zipper. 

The changes I made to the pattern were minor - I added interfacing to the neckline, left out the band on the skirt hem and omitted to make the belt. I think that the busy fabric print needs to be disrupted a bit to show the dress silhouette, so I used a brown leather belt on the dress form. And I intend to wear it with a one colored belt in real life too.

The concealed zipper:

(The dress needs to be washed yet - the fabric markings are still visible here)

I added interfacing to the neckline:

The concealed zipper in the lined dress wasn't such a problem to sew as I always dreaded. The result is not perfect, but I think it is good enough for my first concealed zipper in a lined dress. The problem I eventually had was the very fine lining fabric. In fact, I managed to insert the invisile zipper on a second attempt (yay!), but as I tried to close and open the zipper a couple of times, it made a hole into the lining. This really disappointed me, because I thought that the zipper was sewn in pretty well and was not it the way of the slider. I had to resew a part of it to salvage the lining. 

The one thing I hated doing was sewing the shoulder seams. This is really quite a trivial part od a dress to sew, but because these seams played a part in the lining insertion, that I didn't understand fully until consulting one of my sewing books, I eventually had to sew them completely by hand. I partly blame the Burda instructions, which are never really explanatory in great details, but to be honest, I should have thought about the dress construction more profoundly before actually sewing some parts of it. The next time I'll be wiser. (Fingers crossed :-P).

Aside from that, I think I like the dress. It still needs to stand a test of being worn, but my dress form looks quite happy in it :-)...

I hope to get to sewing again soon, hopefully the next weekend.

In the meanwhile...
... happy sewing to you :-)!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Confessions of a UFO-holic

I've had no plan to stop sewing or blogging for such a long time. But around Christmas, as I was "forced" to change my sewing room (a.k.a. our living room) back to what it really is, a living room, you know... it took me a looooong time to get all my sewing stuff back from where it was unwillingly hiding. This doesn't mean that I wasted all this time just lazing around. I was working on some other stuff, doing some other crafts, which I might talk about some time later, but I don't feel like it could be a consistent part of this blog just yet.

On the other hand, to tell the truth, I had no idea that a virtual space such as a blog can make me feel guilty for not being active on it :-D. Haunting me around for letting it hibernate in a winter sleep. Well, now I know :-). 

Anyway, since I obviously need a kick in my non-sewing butt, I stopped hiding from myself and cleared my closet from all the skeletons, understand UFOs. Nooo, I haven't finished them up, haha (who was so naive to think that?), but I was brave enough to count them and give myself a long mental lecture on my inability to finish up (so many) sewing projects. (In fact, I can judge myself pretty lucky that this only applies on my sewing and not the rest of my everyday life!)

So, here are confessions of a UFO-holic:

This dress is waiting to be hemmed and get a single button on the back. The reason why I originally left it like this was my fear to hem it. The sheer fabric is flimsy and frays like hell, so as a beginning sewer I was afraid to potentially destroy an otherwise well-sewn dress. McCall' s 5805:

Another dress. Needs to be hemmed and sleeves and collar facing are missing. Well, they are cut and prepared to be sewn where they belong. Prepared... for a looong time now. Simplicity 2444:

A floral coat. I had it nearly done, but I forgot one small detail. So, to make it properly, I had to take apart a part of its collar. I also had some difficulties with the vent. The details were time consuming. At that time more than anything else I needed to sew and create some decorations and accessories for my wedding and just didn't come around it anymore. McCall's 5525:

This should have been an instant gratification project. It turned out as an instant annoyance project. Everything went well until I accidentally made a hole into the fabric. It wasn't that bad - it was near a seam under the breast area, but after fiddling with the fabric for some time I just got so annoyed, that... I obviously let it lay like this and walked away from it for that moment. I meant to finish it up the next day.  Weeeeeeell, looks like that had not happened... Butterick 5497 top:

The Vogue 8333 jacket I was so proud of. I put a lot of working hours into this jacket and the only thing it needs to be finished is to attach the lining to the lower hem and sleeves and make 5 buttonholes. Do I need to say more?

This top was made with a pattern from Burda Style magazine. The reason why it's not finished up is very simple - I can't finish its armholes in a presentable way. This one is laying around unworn only because of this. (But don't ask me why I didn't place the pattern on the fabric in a more fabric-pattern-friendly way... :-D).

Another dress. Stumbled upon a sewing problem with a convex and concave angles. I believe I might be able to sew it now. After that, only sleeves and a hem will be missing. Butterick 5279:

Dear fabric pieces, what would you like to be when you grow up? We want to be tops! Vogue 1217 and McCall's 5977:

Another unfinished dress. One day it's going to be Vogue 1154 - as soon as I overcome two issues. One is that I put on some kilos and won't be able to stuff them into this current dress size (hopefully to be tackled soon :-)) and this one (hopefully to be tackled as soon as I will be able to get into the pre-cut size).  

Please, bear with me, "only" two more left. If you haven't fallen asleep yet, here they are. Vogue 1189 dress (purple snake fabric) and Burda 7444 top (purple double-knit). 

Yes, there is no mistake. You can count - it makes twelve unfinished sewing projects. I was trying to fool myself into believing that it's not that bad, since they were emerging in the course of more than 2 years, but who do I want to fool...? (Me! :-D)

So, this was a self-torturing process of fighting my I-am-not-that-bad-at-finishing-sewing-projects denial. Not that I would feel anyhow relieved - now, that I assured myself that I actually am that bad at finishing sewing projects :-D... Frown...

Anyhow, I really like some of these poor unfinished garments and some of them would be great for the (hopefully) upcoming Spring temperatures, so I will try to finish them up. 

Hmmm. Have I heard this somewhere before...? ;-)

Before coming to the end of this terribly long and probably pretty boring blog post, I'd like to thank to every reader, especially the following ones, who were patient enough to not to unsubscribe from my hibernating blog. Another thank you belongs to those new followers who were nice enough to newly follow my blog although it was in the before-said hibernating state!

I wonder, am I actually a better blogger when I don't blog... :-D? Hmmm, I've something to thing about... ;-). 

Until next time :-)...!