pixelated flower kimono

I bought this awesome silky patterned fabric at the Goldhawk Road meet-up, when Lauren of Lladybird was doing her transatlantic trip. Here is a post and some pictures from the meet-up that Kelly of makesewdo shared. Ok, back to the fabric. Look at this!

kimono1

I didn’t have a clue what I was going to make out of this – my first thought was a dress, but it’s both a little thin, and a little overwhelming for me to wear as a dress, but I got 2,5 meters so I would have enough a dress-appropriate amount anyway. I bought some midnight navy twill for a Robson coat as well, and some dark grey silk charmeuse for a slip (oooo, luxury!), but this fabric I had no plans for.

It took me a short week, and then I realized that much better than making a dress out of this, would be making a kimono! I’ve seen people on the interwebs looking all stylish in jeans and heels and flowy kimonos, and I might try that, but more likely is floating about in my apartment, looking all bohemian and lovely when I have stuff delivered at the door. Yeah, much more likely!

kimono3I’m not quite sure what I’m doing here – channeling a stern prison warden perhaps? Haha! Photo by Linn Heidi Stokkedal

I used a combination of this Elle Apparel tutorial for some rough measurements and general ideas, this vintage looking diagram as a cutting layout guide, and a whole lot of eyeballing. The length is completely dictated by the length of the fabric, and then everything else followed from there. It’s roughly 36″ long, 31″ wide across the shoulder, and the sleeves are two rectangles of 16″ (folded double for the cuff) and 20″ for the armhole length. From the scraps I pieced together a rectangle for the belt, and another rectangle to hem the kimono.

A slight aside – this fall I’ve taught an evening class on designing and sewing, and have had a great little group of teenagers taking the class. We even had a photoshoot arranged for them at the end, and I managed to have a couple of pictures taken of me too. The photoshoot was great fun, and a little creepy since it was at a deserted prison! Peeling paint, elaborate iron cell doors, brick wall sections of the yard… the works!

kimono2Photo by Linn Heidi Stokkedal

watercolor hemlock

watercolor_hemlock4

Alright, moving along with my recent photoshoot pictures! This is a Hemlock tee that I finished last week. I made one this spring that I’ve worn a lot, currently out of commission because of a grease stain… Anyone have suggestions for grease stains that have been sitting for a while, or through the tumble drier? Dish soap did not do the trick!

Fabric: Viscose jersey from Stoff og Stil, unfortunately not on their website.
Pattern: Hemlock Tee from Jen at Grainline studio.
Techniques: Jersey fabric, neck binding, serged seams.

watercolor_hemlock2

I tried something a little different with this version, which I mentioned in the previous Hemlock-post. I narrowed the neckline by maybe 1″, and narrowed and shortened the sleeves as well. I was trying to make the fit just a little less casual, but I think the success of the fit is quite dependent on the casual details! I also did shorten the neckline band past the usual recommended 85%, since this fabric is extremely drapey, and the previous Hemlock neckline didn’t lie quite flat I think from not being short enough. I guess I overdid it a bit – this neckband pulls and makes the neckline significantly smaller than it was without. I feel like Goldilocks – the first was too big, the second too small – the third will be perfect!

watercolor_hemlock

The fabric is a little unusual for me, but I’m working on getting comfortable with prints and… well, non-solids. I really like the color of this watercolor-psychology-ink-blot-test-pattern – it’s kind of fun! I’ve lost the little sticker with the info, but I’m pretty sure this is a viscose jersey. It’s the drapiest I’ve ever handled – seriously, it was like sewing with water solidified.

watercolor_hemlock3

Next up I think will be the kimono/robe I’m making from fabric I bought in London at the recent Goldhawk Road meet-up! I’m almost done, so then it’s just a matter of getting pictures taken. I’m of course having the same issue as the rest of the bloggers in the northern hemisphere – freezing temperatures and lack of daylight. I will find a solution!

black lace belcarra blouse

Yeah, look at that alliteration in the post title! I have a bit of a backlog of garments I want to post about, so I did a really chilly photoshoot outside my apartment today. I think this Belcarra blouse is the oldest, judging by my instagram feed I finished this in mid-August. I remember wearing it tons right after finishing it, and being very pleased with it. Which I still am!

Black belcarra blouse (4)Check out my new glasses! I’m really pleased with them. They are the Tame Cat pair from Bergen-based company Kaibosh.

Fabric: Soft bamboo twill and lace in black, both from Stoff og Stil. I don’t see either fabric on their webpages, but I think I saw them both in the store last time I was at the Bergen location (for any locals looking for it!). Also black bias tape from the depths of my stash. It’s probably vintage by now.
Pattern: Belcarra Blouse from Sewaholic Patterns, view A. Size 0 at the hips, and size 2 pretty much everywhere else. I did bring the neckline in, roughly following the size 4 markings, graded to nothing at center front and back. Also, a 1,5″ FBA resulting in a bust dart.
Techniques: Raglan sleeves, bias binding, handpicked understitching.

Black belcarra blouse (2)

I made the most rookiest of mistakes in preparing for this blouse – I didn’t check the test square when I printed out my pdf pattern. I never have my printer set to scale anything, so I simply didn’t bother to check until after I had assembled and cut the pattern, and yes! It was 10% smaller than it was supposed to be. Ha! After some careful pattern measuring, and realizing I barely had enough left of this bamboo twill to make the smaller size anyways, I decided to not re-print the pattern. A quick muslin showed I needed more room at the waist, and to narrow the neckline. I’d seen several people mention the width of the neckline, so I was prepared for that regardless.

Black belcarra blouse (3)

Despite being a smaller than intended size, I still didn’t have enough fabric without piecing the back! I made it curved to look a little more intentional, and even shaved off some length in the middle to make a sort of sway-back adjustment while I was at it. It doesn’t bother me too much to have a seam across the back – but then again, I can’t even see it when I wear the blouse!

Black belcarra blouse detail

I sewed on the bias binding by hand. I could have done that by machine of course, but the width of the bias tape had me worried about terrible stretching. Also, by handsewing I could turn this into a portable project, like knitting! I actually did most of this while visiting a friend and drinking tea. I pickstitched to function as understitching (because I love understitching and it makes everything prettier), and then sewed the bottom edge down as invisibly as I could. I hemmed the bodice in the same way – well, I overlocked, then turned up and slipstitched.

Black belcarra blouse (1)

So there it is! Success! And yes, it wrinkles, and yes, the bamboo twill is a little stiff, but it’s also a little shiny, so it’s forgiven. And yes, the black fabrics are two different kinds of black, and yes, I have some small adjustments like lowering the bust dart and taking out a wedge from the apex towards the raglan sleeve seam, but I use this top lots, and I like the way it looks. I’m thinking of doing the version with the pintucked sleeve next!

twisted jersey skirt

twisted jersey skirt

John’s camera did some really wacky blurring on this photo, but I thought it was still cool! This weekend Bergen has been host to 70 sailing ships in this years Tall Ship races, the couple thousand crew members of the ships, and about half a million in visitors. It’s been a lively weekend, to say the least! There has been concerts, beer gardens, activities and open ships to visit. We took a stroll on Saturday and enjoyed the sunshine and the crowds, and I made a skirt for the occasion. This was seriously a 30 minute project from start to finish! It might look like a dress in the picture above, which is of course because I’m wearing my nearly perfect tshirt in the same fabric. A belt in a contrasting fabric helps the illusion that the two pieces are actually a dress – double duty garments are the best!

Fabric: A rayon jersey from Stoff og Stil, in a heathered blue.
Pattern: Totally and experimentally made up.
Techniques: None. Well, if you count overlocking and twisting fabric, then sure, those.

twisted jersey skirt

That is the Russian vessel Kruzenshtern in the background, the largest participating ship. It’s crazy big! And that is me cooling my feet on a recordbreaking warm day for Bergen. It felt so nice.  So, the skirt! I’ve been wanting to make a jersey miniskirt to fill a gap in my wardrobe – I’ve realized I reach for my striped miniskirt a whole lot, and it’s the only miniskirt I have! I’ve seen these twisting jersey skirts several places, and think it’s a great way to make a jersey skirt more interesting. The tutorials I found on the webs were really confusing to me, so I sort of went with what I thought would work.

This is pretty much just a tube that has been twisted before being joined together along the short end. Let me explain: I cut a square about 1 yard x 1 yard (that is 2x the length of a well-fitting miniskirt x a little less than the hip circumference of a well-fitting miniskirt), folded in half with right sides facing in, and sewed the long edge shut. Then I turned the tube right side out, and before lining up the two short ends to overlock across the four layers, I twisted one side so the first seam intersection was nudged about 1/3 of the way down from the top. This means that the long, first seam runs from the top edge on one side of the center back seam, around the body but spiralling very gently downwards, and ending at the center back seam further down than the starting point. Yeah, so not the easiest thing to explain, but I can expand if anyone is interested! I did have to shape the back seam a bit, to hug the waist but not be super-tight across the hips.

twisted jersey skirt

Later in the evening we went back downtown to sit outside and have a beer after it had cooled down a bit. We took these pictures right about midnight actually, so that tells you 1. how warm it still was, and 2. how much light we’re still getting here at night! Love that. I did an outfit change too, so you can really see that it’s actually a skirt, haha! I call this a success, and looking forward to wearing this well into fall with tights and boots. But for now, I’ll be baring legs for as long as I can. Happy summer!

Ohhh Lulu Grace panties

Ohhh Lulu Grace panties in silk and lace.

I think the sewing world is obsessed with underwear right now! I’m not complaining, I’m loving seeing all the people who are whipping up gorgeous looking bras and underwear sets – like Tasia and her longline quilted fabric bra, Maddie’s stunningly photographed underwear set, and Novita of very purple person and this graphically cool bra in progress. Seeing all these projects has definitely piqued my interest in trying to sew bras, but for the moment I will continue with the panties part of underwear. The ultimate instant gratification project! Not to mention stashbusting project – I was really intrigued by how this pattern combines both woven and stretch fabrics, which means pretty small scraps of all kinds of fabric now has potential to become underwear!

Fabric: Remnants of sandwashed silk and black stretch lace
Pattern: Grace Panties from Ohhh Lulu, size M
Techniques: bias cut fabric, stretch fabric, FOE (fold over elastic)

Ohhh Lulu Grace panties in silk and lace.

I really like the fabric combination in this pair, with the blue silk and black lace – a touch of sexy! I cut a straight size M, and depending on the fabric selection for my next pair, I might go up in size. The woven portion in the middle gets cut on the bias, so that will always have the same amount of stretch. The black lace I used for the side panel isn’t super stretchy, so the underwear is a little snug on. If I use a stretchy jersey for the side panels next time, I think the size M will fit me just fine though. I followed the instructions exactly, which are good, with illustrative step-by-step pictures.

Ohhh Lulu Grace panties in silk and lace.

The design of this low-rise pair of underwear is really nice. I love being able to combine woven and knit fabrics, the princess-line and cut of the underwear is flattering, and the finished panties look pretty professional in finish. I think they are comfortable on, though a smidge tight because of my newbie fabric choices! The only thing I’m planning to change for my next version is to trim down the lining piece, since it ends of bunching because of “turn of cloth“. I think taking an 1/8″ or 1/4″ of each long side will fix that. I am very pleased with how these turned out! I’m planning to reorganize my stash tomorrow, and I wonder if I will come across any little gems of fabric scraps that can become more awesome homemade undies!

another perfect t-shirt

I am continuing with the knit-kick! After two t-shirts, two sweatshirts, and two pairs of underwear I am continuing with… another t-shirt.

perfect_tshirt_2 (2)

I mentioned in my first post about the perfect t-shirt quest that the original was a light grey, heathered cotton shirt from H&M. On the last trip to my local fabric store for some costume sewing supplies, I found a yard of mystery jersey that looked pretty perfect to make my replacement t-shirt out of! Again, it’s a little heavier of a jersey (and probably a poly-cotton blend) than the original, but unlike the previous shirt I made, this seems to be more cotton and less viscose. It’s not as drapey, a little more stable, and wow – so soft and comfortable.

Fabric: Mystery jersey in a heathered grey from my local fabric store.
Pattern: Self-drafted from a beloved old H&M t-shirt.
Techniques: jersey fabric, neck binding, serged seams.

I did make a couple of changes from last version, which were to reduce the width at the bottom of the sleeve by taking a wedge out, and to add a few inches of width to the bottom hem. I came across a tip to use dental floss and a zig-zag stitch to gather jersey, which sounds like a clever idea. It went ok, but I think the length that needed to be gathered is so short that the dental floss method wasn’t really necessary. This time I just handbasted to gather instead, and it worked fine. The gathers are actually the trickiest part of making this t-shirt!

perfect_tshirt_2 (4)

Other than that, quite simple and straight forward. The thing that’s taken the longest is waiting for my sewing machine to come back from boot-camp a tune-up, so I could hem the shirt! After so many knits lately, I’m switching gears and working on a plaid shirtdress, like I mentioned in the last post. It’s coming along nicely, but slowly – those stripes require some focus and attention matching up, and lets not even talk about the bias cut hem pieces. Hello interfacing!  But don’t worry, I still have some yardage left of jersey fabrics, I’m sure there will be more t-shirts soon!

tiny hoodies for tiny people

Ok, maybe not tiny, but at least way smaller than what I normally make!

hoodie_blue_full1I realized after the photo-shoot-fact that there is not much to indicate scale in them! This dress form is on the small side of my size, if that is a good helps. They fit a couple of 5 year-olds!

You see, I have a pair of twin boys in my family, and for Christmas I wanted to make them something. I think it’s more fun if they can be involved themselves, so I sent them a line drawing sheet from an Ottobre design sewing magazine I have, and asked them to pick something out. They wanted hoodies, so I ordered some jersey fabrics in blue and green, and got to work!

Fabric: All from Stoff og Stil. Blue cotton isoli jersey, green cotton rough isoli jersey, grey star-printed cotton stretch jersey, blue and orange striped cotton stretch jersey. About 0.85 meters or 0.9 yards of each was enough for size 116 and 122 centilong.
Pattern: Pattern 15 (hoodie) in Ottobre design Winter 6/2012
Techniques: Jersey, fully lined, separating zipper, bound hems.

hoodie_blue_full

hoodie_green_full

Aren’t they cute? They were a lot of fun to sew, being so small that they were finished quite quickly, and looking so much like something you could actually buy. I had fun picking out and combining fabrics for these. The pattern instructions called for fake fur fabric for the lining, but I chose plain stretch jersey instead. The outside fabric is thicker, something called isoli. It’s sweatshirt-like, but for some reason the blue fabric was very loosely woven compared to the green, so I kept being afraid it was all stretching out. The green isoli was much more firm and well behaved.

hoodie_blue_hood

I also wanted to offer a review of this pattern, since it’s the first one from Ottobre I have ever tried. When I first got seriously into sewing as a 14-year old, I would scour the library for Burda-magazines and check out stacks of them at a time. The things I made didn’t come out terribly well, which was probably a combination of my skills and fabric choices, and the fact that I would add random 2″ seam allowances, but sew at 1/4″ (yeah, I know. I don’t know what possessed me to do that other than overcationness on either end. Ha!).

hoodie_blue1

Anyways! My experience sewing with this Ottobre pattern has been good. My first thought flipping through the magazine is that the designs are modern, but so very wearable. I haven’t really paid much attention to kids patterns in sewing magazines, but I think they can easily get gimmicky or costume-like. I bought this issue (#6/2012) very intentionally for the range of patterns they have, thinking that hoodies, t-shirts, coats and jeans are great staples that are fun to sew when they’re so small! Here is a pfd with the line-drawings for that issue. One thing I appreciate is that they’ve offered the same design for several age groups. In addition to the hoodies that I sewed (number 15) for a couple of 5-year olds they have another hoodie in toddler sizes that more or less looks the same. The same is true for a pair of jeans, a set of coats, and button-down shirts. I actually love this – not only is it good for the magazine being able to double-duty the instructions across different designs, but it means that I’m not as limited. The really cute coat isn’t out of bounds because the sizing stops at kid-size, but is there in a teenage-appropriate version along with details appropriate for the size and age group as well.

Two thumbs up for the designs, and the styling is great too. They are kids, they are dressed in colorful but nice looking age apporpriate clothes, and they look modern and adorable. Yey! Ok, moving on. Tracing off the patterns! The magazine had two or three sheets with patterns, meaning that the sheets are a managable size. The patterns were printed on both sides of the paper (which was a nice weight paper too, none of the crappy tissue stuff that turns into a monster after you unfold it the first time), and marked with letters A, B, C, etc. The instructions for each garment tells you which sheet to find the pattern, what color the outline of the pattern is printed in (how clever!), and a little diagram of which pieces to cut and their numbers, and how many of each piece to cut in which fabric. The pattern sheet itself has markings almost like a map – if you’re pattern is printed in orange, and you need pattern piece number 7, you look for the orange number 7 at the bottom of the pattern sheet and then move your finger upward to find the patternpieces (how clever!). They definitely have Burda beat here! Or at the very least, my memory of what Burda was like working with.

hoodie_green_pocket

hoodie_blue_pocket

As for the instructions themselves, they are fine. Some parts were a little confusing, some I doubted the outcome of (mostly unneccessarily as usual), but overall they were perfectly fine. No illustrations and pretty bare-bones instructions, but they are fine. I did tweak a couple of them to get a neater end result, mostly agressively trimming at corners and such. The pieces all lined up perfectly, and the sewing was straight forward. I sewed this all on a regular sewing machine with a jersey sewing needle, so no overlocker is necessary! That’s of course partly because it’s partly lined, so none of the seam allowances are finished except the bound edges on the pockets and hems. The instructions called for twin needle stitching for the binding on the hems, but I did zig-zag stitches instead, and I think it came out looking rather nice and sporty!

A couple of things I thought strange was the length of the zippers, which called for a length of 42 cm (16.5″) and 43 cm (16.9″) in the two sizes I made. Anyone else see something strange? Those sizes don’t exist! The hoodies of course need separating zippers, so they can’t just be shortened either. I ended up ordering a 16″ and a 17″ zipper from the shop Zipperstop on Etsy, which were great. They have a mind-blowing selection, sooo many colors, and made a custom listing for me and were very quick to respond. O I ended up having to extend the binding around the corner at the bottom hem for the portion that wasn’t covered by the zipper, since the zippers really are supposed to go all the way to the bottom.

hoodie_green_zipper

hoodie_blue_sleeve

Another oddity is the seam allowance on these patterns. Generally, hem-allowances are included, but nothing else is. I find it odd to include some seam allowances but not all. Granted, you get to add whatever seam allowance you want, and the instructions clearly tell you where to add and where it’s already included. Still, just a little strange I think.

hoodie_green_inside

This last image is my favorite – I just love the star-printed lining! I hope these jackets fit, and will be worn to shreds. That’s always what I hope for! Anyone else doing some unselfish sewing?

 

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