Sleeveless summer

Bonjour mesdames, monsieurs et mademoiselles! I am back from France, where we spent a week in a quaint little cabin in Normandy. We were in Perriers sur Andelle, which is near Rouen. Close enough to the coast so we could do a day trip to Étretat and Honfleur, but far enough away to not have to spend the whole week around tourists. Our dog came with us and especially that day on the coast he became quite a tourist attraction himself. Somewhere in Asia a girl will look through her holiday pictures and fondly remember that moment in which she was poking a dog (trying to pet him?) captured in a photograph.

I took three me made items with me on holiday, which I thought was pretty good, considering I’m quite the sewing newbie still. I took my floral Adelaide, which I coincidentally ended up wearing to a market again (so it’s been dubbed my ‘market dress’ now). The other two items are sleeveless blouses.

I bought a sleeveless blouse on sale a few weeks ago. It was a really thin chiffon type fabric and I was already hesitant about buying it. I shouldn’t have because I had a great big tear in it before the day was out…

I decided to get my 12 euros’ worth though and cut the whole thing apart to draft a pattern from it. This means this post is not going to be very interesting to you at all, so I’ll keep the details short and let you enjoy some holiday pictures at the same time.

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The first version I made of a cotton I still had in my stash (yes I think I should admit my ever growing fabric collection is officially turning into one…) The print, especially the use of dots, reminds me of aboriginal art, but I am sure I am offending people by saying that, so I won’t. I though the print was a little busy and therefore I still had it lying around, but it works for this blouse!

I am looking out the window of Chateau Gaillard, medieval castle ruins on a hill near Les Andelys overlooking the Seine. The castle was built on the orders of Richard the Lionheart and there’s a whole story about how when the village was attacked all the people fled to the castle and then at some point were kicked out again and had to survive a gruesome winter out in the cold. It wasn’t pretty… The castle site was though.

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The next version of the blouse I made from a white cotton lawn with a geometric beehive-like print in metallic turquoise. It’s very subtle, the blouse looks plain white from far off. I tweaked a few things after the first version and am really happy with the finished product.

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My stitch-in-the-ditch presser foot was my friend for all the topstitching and I French-seamed everything.

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These two blouses will get plenty of wear now and they’re really good for autumn too, combined with a cardigan or blazer. Yay!

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Something new, something blue.

Two weeks off from work, so I decided I was going to sew at least two new items of clothing. It’s the first day of the second week, and I can show you my first item! This time it’s something I’m quite happy with, so that’s an improvement from the last post.

But before I tell you all about it, I’d like to point out I added this neat little button to the right side of this blog, so it’s now very easy to find and follow me on Bloglovin’! (So please do đŸ™‚ )

So, a few weeks ago I was in H&M – where husband can buy lots of cool shirts and trousers in fancy colours like vintage green and light petrol and I never fit in anything, so end up only buying hair elastics –  when I spotted something in the LOGG section. It was terribly overpriced and I seriously doubted it was going to fit me, but I tried it on, and it has been my new favourite dress ever since. Of course, whenever I see clothes I like now, I automatically think “Can I make this?” and sometimes even “I can make this!”. This tunic from H&M doesn’t look very complicated at all. It doesn’t even have bust darts, but it has some gathering at the shoulders, and a pleat in the middle, so I wouldn’t know how to draw it out exactly, and this one landed somewhere between those two categories…

Instead, I started looking through all my sewing magazines and sewing patterns and found a pattern for a blouse that had quite some similarities, and thus my new sewing project had been found! It’s a pattern from a Dutch sewing patterns magazine I bought back in the summer of 2012. It’s called Knipmode (which literally translates to Cut fashion…) and usually only has a few plus-size patterns per edition. I read this is going to change in autumn though and they will make all their patterns up to size 54 (about 24UK/ 20US). Hurray! That said, the magazines often contain very weird and ugly patterns, but it’s good value for money even if there’s only one pattern you like.

The pattern I chose is this one: blouse 45 from Knipmode 6/2012.

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I decided on the size by comparing the pattern measurements with my H&M tunic and added some extra length, because I hadn’t quite decided yet whether to make a blouse or a dress.

The result: a dress in lightblue linen bought at a fabric market. Sewing with linen is a charm, because even though it creases like crazy, it’s also very ironable, which helps create nice seams and all.

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I finished this dress on Saturday and wore it yesterday for my father-in-law’s birthday. We went for a walk with the dog first, and ended up in the pouring rain, but William managed to take some pictures when it was still drizzle…

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(doggie has a loooong tongue!)

The technicalities:

  • French seamed the side and yoke seams.
  • First ever henley button placket (cue Boys of Summer here).
  • Size is okay, but I have the same issue I had with my black floral McCall’s 6696: when I want to wear something over it, it pulls in the armpit area. In this case it could be due to my forgetting to add seam allowance for the armscyes. (I did, but then was silly enough to think it shouldn’t be there… I was thinking sleeveless I suppose.) You can see what happens really well in this picture. I should really find out what to change so this sits better. It fits fine though, I can move my arms and all that!

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  • I used interfacing for the collar, but I think it was too thick, which causes the sagging you can see here.

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  • I followed the magazine’s description for adding the collar, but definitely should have used the method Andrea of Four Square Walls uses in her collar tutorial. I’ve used that for my shirtdresses, and I think is much easier than how I did it now.

Overall, I’m quite happy with this dress (even with some top stitching glitches) and it gave me a chance to use a collection of sewing feet such as the 1/4″ seam foot and the stitch-in-the-ditch foot for the collar facing.

The pattern calls for a hem with facing, but after reading through a few tutorials for curved hems, I decided to go with the method described on Coletterie. I should have used gathers or a tiny (rolled?) hem though, because this fabric was too thick and left some weird creases on the inside. Oh well.

Pfft. I think I’ve said more than enough now, and I haven’t even mentioned the weird middle pleat measurements (wider than the button placket) or how I harvested the buttons from a jacket I bought at a flea market..Or that my sister and mother-in-law don’t like this dress think this dress is a bit plain and suggested I make something “with flowers”. 

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What do you think?

It’s not easy being green…

So, I hoped I would have been able to show you my newest make by now, but catastrophe struck again. I got my sewing machine back and I finished my Mathilde blouse over the weekend, apart from the buttonholes, because I didn’t have any buttons yet.

Lacking any good haberdashery stores around here, I waited for the weekly market and bought six lovely buttons this morning. I got home, got all excited to finish my blouse (it’s green by the way), clicked on the fancy four-step buttonhole foot, set the dial for step one and then… Nothing. The fabric wasn’t going anywhere.

So while I said yesterday I wasn’t going to buy a new sewing machine for a while I might have to give that another thought…
At least, when the mail came that made my day a bit better!

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So, more to follow soon, I hope!