About time…

(Note, I finished writing this post only 8 weeks after I started…)

Dear reader of this nearly-nonexistent blog,

This is where I bore you with anything but a photo report of a newly sewn dress, because I haven’t sewn a dress in a long time. I have a new desk, in a new house and right now, when I look over the top of my monitor, I can see my 4×4 Kallax filled with beautiful fabrics that I bought over the summer and autumn at various fabric markets, just idly waiting to be turned into dresses. But when I look at my monitor, I see my OneNote page with notes on Oliver Twist, just idly waiting to be turned into an essay.

The last dress I made was a Colette Myrtle. (This was in July.) I used a lightweight jersey featuring various London landmarks. At first sight I didn’t really like the print very much, but was cheap and I’m an English teacher, so I couldn’t not buy it, now could I? As a dress, it doesn’t look half bad though.

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Ths photo isn’t the best. I was 24 weeks pregnant when I finished the dress and according to Instagram I had also been writing an essay on Sylvia Plath’s poetry, so I mean: “Pfff!” The fit also isn’t the best. I think the bodice is too long, so the elastic doesn’t sit at my natural waist. It creeps up at the front, but sags at the sides, which makes the skirt hem look lopsided. You might think this was due to my pregnant belly, but it’s still a problem now.

Now, because hurrah, on November 2nd my husband and I became proud parents of a little, funny, amazingly lovable bundle of joy, whose main skills, at 3 weeks old, are peeing all over himself and slapping himself in the face.

I’ve sewn him two things. The Oliver pants, made  from a free pattern from famous Dutch sewing blog Emma & Mona. I changed the measurements of the cuffs a little from the original pattern , but the finished product fits him perfectly.

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The other thing I sewed that I was really enthusiastic about when I saw the pattern and sample outfits online is the Brindille & Twig hooded hooded zip coverall. So, I sewed one up with fabric that my sister gifted me from her shop in Norway, Kjekk og Søt, but I made the fatal mistake to misread the seam allowance and ended up chopping off quite a bit of fabric with the serger, so it ended up a little narrow.

On the hanger, it looks like a super cool space suit. On Rowan, it just looks weird. I really like the fabric, still, but the hood is way too big, and it just looks too much like pyjamas, which it cannot be used as due to the hood and the zip. So, unfortunately these space dogs have mostly just seen the inside of a closet instead of galaxies far, far away…6tag_071016-123437

Now, since it is now 8 weeks after I started writing this post, I will end it by saying I did finish that Oliver Twist essay and I made more Oliver pants to celebrate! Featured below with a Thread Theory Finlayson I made for my husband. Why is sewing for men so so SO much easier than sewing for myself?

Alright, time to wrap this up now and continue with my summary for the Pragmatics exam I have next week…. I will sew something for myself again, I promise, but I’m starting to think that something will be my graduation dress. wp_20161217_17_18_14_pro

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New year, new dress

I’m not really into this whole New Year’s Eve thing where people look back on the past year and forward to the next and reminisce about everything that’s happened and make huge plans for the coming year. Maybe it’s because I have the worst memory and just forgot most of what I did, or maybe it’s because growing up we never even knew where or when we would go on summer holiday until a day in advance (there were always several options for departure days  and destinations, depending on when my dad finished work and what the weather was like), so making big plans is just not something I do, especially not for an entire year!

Fact of the matter is, my studies are keeping me more than occupied and even my plans to sew a Christmas dress went out of the window because I couldn’t finish it in time. So instead I wore a rtw dress I bought in England on sale three years ago, which I did shorten a bit because it had an awkward length for me, does that still count?

However, this week I managed to finish a dress I started two months ago. It’s the Harriet dress from La Maison Victor, edition November/December 2015. I like the design a lot, but it turned out just not to be so very flattering on me (or maybe I’m just not very flattering). I’ll show you why.

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I’m pretty happy with the bodice fit, although there is some room above my bust, which I could probably lose by adjusting the princess seams. I love the sleeves with the folded hem. However, I think the bodice is a little too long and the skirt is really not flattering on me. It’s a panelled skirt with pockets in the side seams and hugs my belly just too tight.

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Also, wow, my back is just not pretty like this! But let’s not focus on that but instead look at the backdrop I chose for today’s photos. There are murals all over Heerlen (where I live), mostly covering up empty buidings or graffiti-prone walls. This one features a tiny picture and the woman on the right is actually pouring out the orange paint onto the street. It’s a bit damaged from wear and tear, though.

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Some of the murals are huge, like this one. Some are more beautiful than others, but overall it livens up the streets and I really like them.

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Maybe it’s the fact that it’s plain, maybe I really should lose weight again. The fabric for this dress is punta di roma, quite heavy, nothing wrong with it, other than it not being floral 😉

Construction-wise, it has 15 pattern pieces, times 2. Most of the seams are serged then topstitched, which is time-consuming but pretty. I installed an invisible zipper, a red one, but I messed up bigtime, stitching too close to the zipper teeth and it broke, so I installed a black one instead, only to realise I really didn’t need it. (So far, none of the zippers I have installed in dresses have been necessary, which says something about my bodice fittings skills I think…

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Overall, I like the design on this dress, but it needs some New Dress resolutions:

  • better upper bust fitting
  • a different skirt (I’m thinking of the June dress skirt)
  • me losing weight

And I’ll add one more: actually sewing something once a month. Okay, you caught me, I do make plans sometimes…. Check back next month to see how I’ve got on. 🙂

For now, I’ll leave you with my mural collage and Happy New Friday to you! And wow, blog writing and watching Homeland really don’t go together, I’ve spent over two hours on this post…

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(PS more at http://www.heerlenmurals.nl/en/)

 

Adelaide in pink “…’cause today it just goes with the fashion”.

Actually, I doubt the colour pink is in fashion this summer. But when given the chance to integrate a song lyric into a blog about sewing one must take it, right?

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A while ago when I saw the Adelaide dress in Seamwork magazine, I just knew it would be a perfect project for me. Only three hours, right? And a lovely summer dress to boot!

So I printed the pattern, taped it together while watching a show on Netflix (so there’s 45 minutes gone), chose size 20 based on the sizing chart, traced, cut, pinned, cut and then I had a stack of pieces of a dress that I didn’t touch for days.

Then, when I had pinned the back to the front, I figured it was going to be a tight fit. I decided to finish the button placket first, so I could get a better idea. I also used a small seam allowance on the sides. Yes, well as you can see, it’s a little snug. A little too snug.

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I admitted defeat and hung up my unfinished dress in my sewing room. Another two weeks passed by. Then this weekend, I tried it on again and figured I was going to finish it. I’d spent hours making bias tape and I knew that if I didn’t finish the dress now it would probably never get finished.

I made some changes. I had sewn the shoulders together, but there was a lot of gaping at the back. I realigned the shoulder seams, which reduced the gaping somewhat, but it didn’t solve the problem completely. It probably has to do with the fact the bodice is too tight as a whole. The bust darts are a bit high too.
I used a very-sewing-machine-friendly pink cotton chambray. The dress is originally designed with snaps instead of buttons, but I went to the market in between lessons and meetings, the haberdashery market stall didn’t have any suitable snaps, so I went with buttons instead (add another hour please).

Disaster struck when I cut open the 9th buttonhole. Even though I used a pin, my seam ripper shot through the end of the buttonhole and about 1.5 cms into the fabric above. I fixed the buttonhole, but decided not to do anything about the tear. I will find out how good an idea that was soon enough. But oh, the agony!

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Now, what about these back darts? I don’t like the dip in the fabric at the end of the darts. I have quite some room there, but if I make those darts bigger, it will take away ease  from my belly as well and I don’t want that. Maybe I should lengthen them a bit?

Because I’d sewn the button plackets first I had to fiddle with the ends a little to get a clean finish (it has some very decorative stitching now). I finished the armscyes and neckline with bias tape, but because it was quite bulky, I decided to fold it under. I really like how it turned out. Because I’d made enough tape to cover the Earth’s circumference I used it to finish the hem too, similarly.

I decided to make a smaller belt (turning it took another episode of Royal Pains, add that) and I left off the button loops because they weren’t really necessary and now I can also wear it as a shift dress (and quite frankly, I’d spent enough time on this bloody dress!)

Yes, I was quite disappointed with how time consuming this dress turned out to be, but I do like it. For the next one I’ll use snaps and store-bought bias tape though…

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