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!

change of lace plans

Thanks for your feedback on which color lining to use with my lace skirt! It was a pretty clear vote for the purple, which is probably the color combination most in line with my style as well, so purple it is!

Lace skirt in progress, purple lining

The process and comments I got from you guys threw me for a loop though. You see, I was planning on using Sewaholic’s newest skirt pattern Rae, which is an easy panelled a-line skirt. I was a pattern-tester for this one, and after making  the test-skirt I thought it would make for a fun skirt in lace. My thought was that a fancier fabric like lace paired with an easy-going silhouette like the Rae skirt and a colorful lining, would dress it down and make for a fun but more casual skirt. I still think I’m right, but what I didn’t fully take into consideration were my own preferences for dressing! The truth is, I don’t really wear that style of skirts. I feel better in straight and fitted silhouettes, and the fuller skirts that I have are panelled and flared rather than gathered.

Anyways, I stood in front of the mirror and lamented how little the purple would be visible if it was hanging freely like I had planned. As I smoothed the fabrics taut across my legs to see how close the lining would need to be to show through, it made a pencil skirt shape, and bam! I should be making a pencil skirt instead! I might have smacked my head at this point, since duh – I wear a whole lot more pencil-shapes in skirts and dresses than I do gathered waists, and it makes sense to make what I would actually buy. So, new plan is to make a pencil skirt instead, and I am far more excited about that, so that’s a good sign.

portrait_blouse1  Ireland-dress_crop  Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail  Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

Since I’ve already cut the panels, I’ll stick with those – there are six of them; four side pieces, one front, and one back. I’ll need to take the sewn skirt apart though, since I’ll be underlining with the purple polyester, and I’m thinking a wide facing on the inside to work as a waistband. I’m not putting an invisible zipper into lace fabric, so I’m thinking either a lapped zipper on one side or an exposed zipper in the back.

Anyone else change their tactics in the middle of a project? Sometimes I keep going, even though something feels a bit amiss, but it usually results in a garment I end up not wearing much!

help me choose lace skirt lining

I am making a skirt in a black lace fabric, and I want to do something fun with the lining so you can actually see the lace pattern! It won’t be underlined, just a free-hanging lining layer. If you’re thinking this is the same lace I used for the Oh lulu Grace panties I made recently, you’d be totally correct. I’m thinking a couple of Belcarra blouses might be my next project, and I’m picturing using this lace again for the raglan sleeves, with maybe some black bamboo twill for the main part. We’ll see!

Lace skirt in progressKitten… “helping”.

Anyways – I pulled out some lining options from my stash, but I’d like some help in choosing which one to use! I took some close-ups and some bigger-picture pictures to help see how it looks up close and from a bit further away. Inside, in front of a mirror, these all definitely looked a little more muted.

Purple

 Lace skirt in progress, purple lining Lace skirt in progress, purple lining

Pros: I like the color. It feels classy. Cons: Polyester staticy fabric. Very little contrast.

Pink

Lace skirt in progress, pink lining Lace skirt in progress, pink lining

Pros: Fun color! Awesome silk charmeuse (same as the lining in my Valentine’s day skirt!). Cons: A little too much contrast in brightness?

Yellow-green

Lace skirt in progress, yellow-green lining Lace skirt in progress, yellow-green lining

Pros: Another nice fabric, dyed china silk. I do love the color. Cons: So much contrast! I think that is too much for me.

Yellow-orange

Lace skirt in progress, yellow-orange lining Lace skirt in progress, yellow-orange lining

Pros: Slinky fabric, it’s remnants after my Ireland-dress. Cons: I love the color, but paired with black it just reads Halloween to me. No?

Patterned warm colors

Lace skirt in progress, patterned lining Lace skirt in progress, patterned lining

Pros: Not as… abrasive in contrast as a few of the other options. A little unexpected! Cons: It might look a little messy?

Alright! Please chime in guys! Any favorites? Any clear “no way”? I’m thinking of this as a fun and casual dressy skirt – going out to dinner and a movie, birthday parties… the like. I’m just having a hard time deciding what looks fun and casual and what looks like “too much”!

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!

plaid shirtdress in progress

plaid_shirtdress_patter+fabrics

I’ve started working on a shirtdress – the 0451/2246 Traveler dresses by Lisette. I know – that fabric does not exactly scream summer, which is finally coming here in Norway. What can I say? I was browsing Lauren of Lladybird‘s archives and it made me really want to make a plaid shirtdress! You can see on my pattern stash Pinterest board that I have a handful of shirtdress patterns; several vintage ones and this modern one. I wanted a fairly straight silhouette for the skirt, since they have done me well in the past, so Simplicity and Lisette is the pattern of choice. I’ll be using the fitted bodice of view C, the long sleeves of view A/B, and a hybrid skirt of view A but with darts to match the bodice. I wonder if the fabric is some sort of linen/poly blend, I’m not sure. It does have some puckering texture going on.

Since this is a pattern line I’ve never made anything from before, and since I wanted a fitted bodice I went ahead and made a muslin. Actually – I made two! Knowing wearing ease can be quite… ahem, excessive in the big four-patterns, I measured a well-fitting shirtdress across the bust and compared it to the pattern envelope (the bust measurement is the only listed finished garment measurement) which indicated a size 6. I sewed one up and it was completely wrong, way too tight. So this is a size 8, which is much closer to the fit I want. I took the pictures so I could record the changes I want to make, so here goes!

plaid_shirtdress_muslin (3)

Front view:
- Looking overall ok. The sleeves are too long. I’ll shorten them by 4″, so they end right under the elbow. I think I’ll taper down to size 6 right after the armpit to narrow the sleeves a bit. I also want to cut a bias piece for the cuffs for some plaid interest.
- It’s a little too long, so it ends at the waist, but bags above. I’ll take out a wedge from CF towards the side, pinching out 3/8″ or 1/2″ from the length at the side seam.
- The darts are a little high, I’ll lower them both 1/2″.
- I need an FBA. It is a little tight across the chest, but the fabric is stretchy so I’m not super worried about gaping. But I’m seeing draglines up to the mid-armhole (especially clear on the right side of the picture), so I’ll slash from that point down to the apex. I think 1/2″ at the most will do the trick, for a total extra width of 1″ across the bust.

plaid_shirtdress_muslin (6)

Back view:
- Look at all those draglines! Some of it is the length I mentioned for the front, so 1/2″ of the side seam length will be shortened in that process. It looks like I need a swayback adjustment as well, so I’ll take off another 1/2″ I think from CB.
- The wrinkles by the armhole I think is partly because it’s a little high. I’ll drop the armhole on both the bodice and the sleeve. At the same time, I want to add some width across the sleeve cap. The sleeve cap is pretty narrow, and I’ve already lowered the top to get rid of some of the height and gathers I don’t need. It still needs a little more width though.

plaid_shirtdress_muslin (1)

plaid_shirtdress_muslin (2)

Side view:
- The side view shows pretty clearly that the bust darts are too high, and that a bit more room is needed.
- Finally, the waist is a little snug, and even though I want the dress fitted, I want to be comfortable too! Since the side seams are balanced (in terms of the width of the back bodice), I’ll add the extra width to the front bodice, about 3/4″ in total. The draglines are pointing from the apex to the bottom of the side seam, but I think it would throw off the balance to add it all there, so I’ll do half and half on each bottom side of the front bodice.

plaid_shirtdress_muslin_handstitching

I know that’s a lot of changes, and usually making this many changes in one fell swoop is not the best idea. If this was a very fitted dress, like a strapless dress and in a fancy and treasured fabric, I’d probably make another muslin. But I’m not, so I won’t. All in all I’m glad that this second bodice is so much closer to functioning than the first one. Oh, and check out my neat handsewing! My sewing machine is getting a tune-up, so I basted this musling together with running stitches. It wasn’t bad! It was quicker than I thought, and a little meditative to sit with it in my lap outside in the sunshine. I’ll leave you with a picture with kitten, the photobomber. Happy weekend people!

plaid_shirtdress_muslin (5)

case of leather

leather case 1

One day I got the idea to make a leather tablet case as a present for a dear friend. I had a quarter hide of leather left over from my fashion collection project, and an idea for how I wanted the tablet case to look. I only knew he had an older iPad, but fortunately they are all pretty similar in dimensions so it was enough information to go by. Ready, set, start!

leather case 2

It was a surprisingly quick project once I had the measurements all sorted out, so it only took me about an hour from start to finish! I knew from last time working with this leather that the feed-dog on my sewing machine would leave marks on the bottom layer of the leather, so I opted to punch holes and handsew with a denim-weight thread (wax the thread first to avoid breakage). I think it came out quite nicely, and happily my friend is pleased with his gift too!

leather case 3

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