around here – summer edition

2014-06-09 16.23.432014-06-05 21.42.152014-06-28 17.35.532014-06-29 00.03.552014-06-20 13.09.062014-07-09 14.15.362014-07-04 18.39.00
2014-07-04 12.46.042014-07-04 10.30.142014-07-03 13.42.022014-07-02 14.01.572014-07-10 20.41.38

Quite the picture-dump! This is my summer vacation (more or less) summed up in pictures of plants and colors, travels to Italy and Copenhagen and the quick rock-climbing/tenting trip to coastal Telavåg, and eating and biking and friends, and finally a very tired little kitty. We’ve had absolutely amazing weather here in Bergen for what is starting to feel like months, and for a city know for its incessant rain that is a huge deal! Ironically in this hot weather I’ve picked up my Bayview Street Cardigan again, but then it’ll be ready for the fall. Good planning! The plaid shirtdress is also almost done – I just need to sew in the sleeves and add buttons and buttonholes. The fit is looking really good, but I’m a little concerned all that earth-colored plaid is looking a bit “Little House on the Prairie”! We shall see.

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!

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)

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?

 

around here

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Since last time, I have been…
- travelling to Kristiansand and their impressive culture house Kilden, for a folkdance and folkmusic performance I did the costume design for. I really enjoy getting out and seeing a part of my country I’m unfamiliar with!
watching the little kitten grow bigger and bolder. She is adorable and playful and a handful, but mostly adorable.
taking it slow. I’ve needed to really step back and not be working on something *all the time*.
sewing, still. A few things made not for myself to share here, and some things that just need that last row of double stitching that is on hold until my sewing machine is back from a tune-up.
planning my summer vacation, which will include a girl’s trip to Copenhagen, and a week at our place in Italy where eating mozarella and sweeping leaves of the patio will be the only solid plans. Mmm, looking forward to that already!
celebrating 17th of May (constitution day) yesterday with friends, food, drink, ice cream, flags and fireworks. Not having my bunad close by this year, I wore my grandma dress instead and felt nice and festive!

blog update

You’ve probably noticed I updated the look of the blog! I was craving something simpler, so here it is. As always, there is a transition period where I get things to work, and with this update it’s the links. They’re invisible! For some reason the links are in the same color as the text unless you hover over them, making it very difficult to see where there are any links at all. I’m working on it, but in the meanwhile – sorry about the non-visibility of them! Please do let me know if you find something else acting wonky – email me at indigorchid@gmail.com.

And to not post without a picture, here is the kitten being adorable!

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