Friday, November 30, 2007

McCalls coat finished

Just a quick update with pictures of the finished coat. I'm happy with the result.
When I started making this coat, I was a little afraid it might be too special for my daughter to really wear it. Most 14 year old girls don't want to be too special. And of course I asked her before I started whether she really wanted it, and thought the answer was "yes", but you never know before you're finished.
And it looks like she's going to wear it, she was really smiling and happy with it. The only extra I did was adding a small shoulder pad and adding a little piece of fabric in the sleeve head, to make it more smooth.
And I omitted the buttons on the collar.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

It's about sewing

After two posts on making prints from the computer screen, back to the sewing projects. I got a lot done, though it's easy projects mostly.

First a shot of the buttons on my daughters coat. Tomorrow I'll finish this coat.

I made the Jalie twist top again, this time with long sleeves. The review for this is here.
Another Jalie set: the cardigan with t-shirt. That review here.

For my blog readers a few extra pictures. The cardigan with the twist top, and two details of the cardigan.
That's 3 of the 5 sewing projects I wrote about in my post of November 8 done. And a few more combinations in my closet. The gored skirt is cut, and still to decide on a pattern for a knit.

And I'm seriously thinking about what to do next. I want to do something that's new or a bit more difficult. Those quick projects are nice, but sometimes I want a bit more of a challenge, but just not sure which way it should go.

And do you remember I was working on Vogue 2987? It was given a veto over by my daughter: weird jacket and awful fabric. And as DH also wasn't very positive when he saw the result so far, I stopped, already some weeks ago. Maybe sometime in another fabric.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Capture a picture from a website

In yesterday's post I said I would describe a way of making a picture from a (part of) a website. Cidell mentioned in the comments she would like a system like that, only she's working on a Mac, and I'm sure there will be more Mac-users among you. Probably the Mac will have similar features, but I'm not familiar with them. But when there's a PrintScreen button and a basic picture editor like Windows Paint, you can do the same.

Here's the description for the Windows environment (screenshots in Dutch version of Paint):

  • Open the webpage needed with picture or line drawing
  • Press the PrintScreen button (Alt + PrintScreen will only capture active window, try the difference)
  • Open a new file in Paint
  • Paste (Ctrl + V or Edit, Paste)
    The screenshot is now a Paint image
  • Click the Select button

  • Drag around the part of the screen you want as a picture

  • Copy selected area (Ctrl + C or Edit, Copy)
  • Choose File, New from the menu, you don't have to save current picture
  • Paste (Ctrl + V or Edit, Paste)
    The selected are is now a picture on its own.
  • Choose File, Save as
  • Select appropriate folder where you want to save the picture
  • Type name of file/picture (I use year/month/number of the Burda issue)

  • Select JPEG(*jpg...) as File Type (I use this format as it can be used easily later to upload for a review or in my blog, but you may choose another format if you like)
  • Click Save
    The picture is saved.
When you select the folder in Explorer and show miniatures, the images will be clearly visible as I showed in yesterday's post.
Hope this is helpful.

Monday, November 26, 2007


I'm not a very organized person. And when I see pictures of an adequate pattern filing system, fabric storing system etc. I'm impressed. Because it always looks (is) so organized, and I'm feeling awkward, because I lack that ability.
My (small) fabric collection is in a closet and a drawer, and oh yes, one box with lingerie fabrics. But they're not labeled, I don't carry swatches with me all the time for when I'm in a shop and might find the correct matching fabric or garment. Well, that's just me, and I've accepted for myself that I'm like that.

There's only one thing I would like to improve. I do have a subscription to BWOF since about a year, and own a few of the years before. And when I see a pattern that I like to make sometime, till now I used post-its sticking out. But with the increasing number of magazines, it's difficult to keep track of my favorites.

Yesterday someone in de Burda English group wrote a post of scanning the line drawing pages and give them a tag to easily find them back on your computer. Good idea. But then I thought of the screenshots I make of pictures and linedrawings for my reviews and on this blog, I thought of a system that would organize my favorite BWOF patterns. And on the computer I'm pretty organized :-)

This is the idea: make a computer picture of the picture or line drawing of the pattern and store the picture in a folder with the type of garment (skirt, pants, blouse etc). When you show miniatures in Explorer, you easily see the patterns that you liked in the issues you have.
For me it is now taking a bit of time to make the files, but once I've done that, it will take me only a couple of minutes each month to update my inspiration folders.

I use a special program for screenshots (which I use for my work too), but you don't need to have that to make the files as in the picture above. In my next post I'll write an instruction how to do this with the default Paint program.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Coat almost finished

My daughters coat is not difficult to make. I expected to need more time, but it is almost finished now (Saturday night at almost 11 pm, and today there was a lot of shopping and cleaning to be done too!). The instructions are pretty clear, only a less experience sewer might be confused by the instruction "to make pleats as in picture".
The only thing I did different is the insertion of the sleeve. After pressing the sleeve seams to the body and topstitching the first sleeve as instructed on the body, I found that the sleeve had lost something (don't know how to describe this well in English). I removed the topstitching and pressed the seams to the sleeves and added a sleeve head. Much better.

For the gathering on the skirt the instructions tell you to stitch two rows of straight stitches and gather by pulling the thread. A classic way that certainly will work, but I made my life a bit easier here and used wide lingerie elastic. Color unimportant, it will be hidden.
Measured at the necessary distance and then stretched to the fabric. I used a triple zigzag to sew it on. The second picture shows the inside. You see the extra few centimeters that were lacking in the grey fabric. Initially I lengthened the lining, but that was not working, thus I added a strip of fabric to the skirt.

Still to be done:
  • line the sleeves (it is a separate step in the instructions after inserting the body lining, and I left it like that, because my daughter has to try first to determine the length of the sleeves)
  • handstitch the body lining to the skirt
  • make buttonholes, that is difficult, as my sewing foot for buttonholes can't deal with the very large buttons that will be on the coat. Must make them step by step myself and make sure they have the same length. Pity, my sewing machine makes such beautiful automatic buttonholes with the appropriate foot.
I hope to do this tomorrow evening, but not so sure that will happen. Tomorrow there's two windows

Friday, November 23, 2007

Guinness book of records

My daughter asked me this afternoon if I wanted to be in the Guinness book of records. I started to make her a coat: McCalls 5513. It was cut on an evening this week and I started sewing this afternoon around 3 o'clock. First I asked her to try the body without sleeves, and a little later with sleeves. That was when she made the remark: the sleeves went in so smoothly, that it took me only 15 minutes to set them both in. So I was back to her "in no time".

It's a cute pattern, but the pattern sizing of McCalls is a mystery to me. In the dress that my daughter made we ended using 4 and would have used 6 for a non-stretch fabric.
For this coat I used the 10, and could have used a 12 (but it's not on the pattern I have). I sewed small side and sleeve seams.
I referred to the finished bust size on the pattern, that I never really noticed, untill Summerset told me in the comments some time ago.

The construction is not so difficult. I was short of about 5 cm of fabric, and cut the lining a bit longer. It's a balloon sort of skirt part, so that's no problem I hope. The back will remain plain, not my daughters idea of embellishment.
I lengthened the sleeves, and will not do a lot of

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Set completed

Happy thanksgiving to all those in the US celebrating this event. Here it is a day as any other.

I made two panties to go with the bra I made this weekend.

To those who would like to start making lingerie I like to refer to a few tutorials in earlier posts. In the side bar there are links to these tutorials.
And I'm sorry Carolyn, but though I'd very much like to spend a few sewing days with you (I could certainly learn quite a few things from you too!), the US is too far away.

This set is made from one of the packages that Kantje-Boord in Amsterdam sells. Only a few scraps left of both the lycra and the lace.

As I don't live too far away, I go there myself occasionally and find combinations of lace/lycra and notions that I like. But in the shop they also have the packages they sell through the internet, and I bought this package there some time ago, when I did not have enough time to browse through all their fabrics and laces.
Through the internet they sell only packages, no separate notions. The owner says he doesn't speak English very well, but he's very friendly and helpful. One package is 17,50 euro (and no, I don't have shares!)

A few other sources for lace/lycra/notions:

Merckwaerdigh: an e-bay store of a Dutch lady who sells her own patterns and some fabrics/notions (don't know her personally, but she is a reliable vendor)

Two in Germany that I have experience with:

- Exclusive Stoffe, look for the heading "Alles für Dessous"

- Elingeria

Apologies to my non-European readers, I don't have experience outside Europe, except EmmaOneSock and GorgeousFabrics, but they do not sell lingerie lace or lycra. There certainly are other online shops in Europe and elsewhere, but I have no experience with them.

And Tany, thanks for the attention to the vintage pattern, the BWOF picture really doesn't do it justice. It's great, and I can see myself making that in spring (for now I want something with long sleeves, it's cold here)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Inspiration from December Knip and BWOF

The December issue from Knip Mode is in the shops here, and BWOF is to be seen online already. I bought the Knip Mode to pass on to someone else in the US, but I will buy another one, as I'm going to keep this one myself. A quick scan in the shop showed nothing to catch my eye, but I think there are some great patterns in it, especially blouses.
The on the left is on my (too long) to make list.

From the online BWOF issue I like this blouse very much. And I want to make a few things that are a bit more special than my usual blouses, I consider making this blouse for Christmas.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

T-shirt with cowl collar and new bra

Can you stand another bra? I made yet another one. Not that I need any, in my drawer are more bra's and panties than I ever had when I didn't make them myself. But it is an addiction!

This is the Sewy bra I made before, only now the wrinkles are gone and the fit in the back is better. My adapted review is here. The cool new widget from Pattern Review on the right doesn't show it, because the original date is from several months ago, and in the list the new ones are on top.

Still to sew: two panties to go with this bra.

And I made a T-shirt with cowl. In my post from Thursday I showed the pattern change.
This is the original Butterick I made last winter, from a very drapey buttermilk from EmmaOneSock. It is very difficult to make a good picture, but the "lines" tend to go round my breast, instead of straight down.

I had a "lightbulb" moment when I read Claire Shaeffers solution of a collar stay in the book High fashion sewing secrets.

This is what it is about: an extra front in a non-elastic material, that prevents the cowl from draping in a way it shouldn't.

And this is the result on me. Quite a nice result I think, no pulling over my breast. As mentioned in my earlier post, I took a Jalie pattern for the overall fit and combined this with Butterick 4606.
Next time I will not make the necline in the back higher, but keep it like a

Thursday, November 15, 2007

BWOF 01-2006-111 shirt finished

As some of you have seen already, I finished my shirt and published a review on PR. I really was happy about my third attempt at the collar, it was sewn by machine on one side (the inside collarband to the inside of the shirt) and handstitched on the outside of the collarband. Then there were only the cuffs to make and buttonholes and that went smoothly.

On looking at the picture I think that the front might need a bit extra width in the fba, but in wearing this shirt it doesn't bother me. A few more pictures you can find here.

Now I will sew a few easy shirts. The first one was already made yesterday evening. A simple Jalie shirt with collar. Sewn in an hour, not special at all, no pictures to share yet.

Tonight I wanted to cut a black top with draped collar. But after fussing with the pattern of Butterick 4606 and combining it with the Jalie t-shirt, found that the fabric didn't have as much drape as I thought. The reason for using the Jalie pattern as basis was that I wanted to make a collar stay, as described in Claire Shaeffers book. I made the Butterick top last winter, but it was not completely right. I wore it a few times, but it could have better fit and drape. I found it too difficult to make a stay based on the Butterick pattern (did not know how to fold the pattern back in the right shape to use), so chose a pattern which I know fits me well as starting point and convert that.
The Jalie pattern without alterations can now be used for drafting the stay.

(the black line is traced with a mouse in a picture editing program, not very stable line)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Couture exhibition

Wow, I'm going to London in December. With a good friend I made plans to visit the Henry Moore exihibition at Kew gardens (hope the wheather is reasonable) and the plans are final now. It's only two days, but it's so special.
The other reason to visit London now is the couture exhibition in the Victoria and Albert museum.
So looking forward to this.

The sewing of my shirt gave me a headache and a very low sewing spirit. On Pattern review there was only 1 review of this BWOF shirt by Sew-4-fun. She mentioned the great amount of sleeve-ease. But I was stubborn and didn't change it. Lesson learned: listen to reviewers with more experience than myself.

I did manage to get the sleeve in without puckers, but in the end there was too much fabric in the front, giving a strange "puff". Yesterday evening I took out both sleeves. They were already topstitched, but it only took me a little over an hour to take them out, take a bit off the top and sew again. Much better.

Then I took off the (second) collar and made a third one. This one still has to be finished, but looks more promising then the other two. And I thought a shirt like this would be ready in one weekend!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Collar with stand

Thanks to the ladies who commented with suggestions on my last post. A cardigan it will be. And Vicky, I very much like your suggetion of a contrasting band, so I'll look for a matching fabric.

In the afternoon and evening I did have quite some time to sew and worked on my blouse. When working on the collar with stand I was thinking of a thread at Pattern Review: sewing goals for 2008. I don't have specific sewing goals at all, but tonight I thought "mastering the perfect collar with stand" could be one for me.
I've sewn quite a lot of these collars, but everytime it is taking me sooooo much time to complete it to my satisfaction. This one no exception. The first one was ripped off, the second must do.

I've tried Gigi's method the first time (link on the right side), but somehow managed to go wrong. Then I tried "perfect collar with stand in 10 minutes" in one of the sewing books I have (upstairs now, too lazy to find the title).
Well, 10 minutes seemed a very, very optimistic way of looking at it, and it was. The end result is not perfect anyway (my fault, not the instruction in the book). And I ended by doing it the "old" way, slipstitch one side of the collar band, which gave the best result in the end.

On the left a picture of how I always do the fusible interfacing: the interfacing is the pattern without seam allowances, and give a very accurate line to use for stitching.

I show you two pictures of my collar, on both sides. The left one is a little unsharp, but this is the one on which I handstitched the undercollar. The right one is "by the book".

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Next projects

Strange, but I feel a bit relieved by the decision not to swap. Still, I want to go on making clothes that can be worn in more combinations.

Yesterday evening I took out the fabrics in my stash, without the real spring and summer fabrics, as I want to make clothes to wear in the coming months.

In my stash the colors navy, brown and black/grey are leading. No surprise to me. For a very long time I had navy as a basic color for most of my clothes, later black was added. More recently I started to use a lot of brown. My stash is not very large, if I compare it with the hundreds of meters I have seen others mention. It will not be more than 40-50 meters, which I still find a lot, half of it was bought in the past half year. Certainly has to do with restarting sewing for myself last year, what will my stash be in a year??

From my closet I took a few clothes I made in the past year, to match with fabrics.
Two Jalie tops (2682 and 2449), a white blouse from a Knip issue (don't remember which, it's a very basic blouse).
The blue, pinstriped trousers I made last week, the Knip skirt (October 2007) and grey pants made last year. These are the same as the pin-stripe pants.

To this I'm going to add a blouse (the fabric on the left) and a Jalie top in off-white (in the middle). Together with a rtw navy jacket this will give me a lot of combinations.

This is the blouse I planned. A very basic one again, but that's great for making combinations. I'll make it with visible buttons though.

Another picture from my closet/stash:

The pin-stripe navy pants again, BWOF 10-2007-115 brown pants are finished.

To add:
  • Denim skirt (as Summerset suggested when I made my Knip skirt, I will make the same skirt with contrasting topstitching)
  • the off-white is the same as above
  • T-shirt from the print on the left (pattern to decide)
  • On the right a woolen stretch. Still not sure whether to use the Jalie wrap top for this one, or make a cardigan of it. Any opinions on this?
That's 6 items to make in the coming weeks. And in the meantime still working on my Vogue jacket.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


The last few days I got some things done, but there was not much time to blog. Time now for a little update.

DD finished McCalls 5512 (with a little help) and she's very happy with the result. The fabric had been cut a few weeks ago, but a lot of schoolwork prevented her from finishing it, and she wanted to do it herself.

Surprise to me was that she found it very difficult to work with default seam allowances of 1,5 cm. From the few things she did till now, she apparently already got used to working with actual seam lines as used with Knip and Burda. The review on PR is here.

I finished my red Patrones pants with the alterations as described in earlier posts. Because I had cut wide seam allowances, I could make the muslin to a wearable pair of pants. Strange that the wrinkles are back a bit again, but still this is a big improvement. It will take a few more pants to get it perfect, but for now you have seen enough pictures of my back!

The altered review is here.


I've definitely decided not to enter the Timmel swap. As mentioned earlier I like the idea of a swap very much for the end result of having 11 garments that go together well and for the joined effort and inspiration of others doing the same. But the rules for this year just don't fit me.

I will make my own swap (inspired by Carolyn in this post and from the results of previous contests with Timmel and PR), but without the wardrobe rule and just starting and finishing as I want. My swap will have a lot of Jalie and Burda patterns in it. I hope to make a plan in the coming week.

Adding to stash

Today I had to be in Amsterdam for business reasons, and I took the opportunity to shop a little at Kantje Boord, my favourite shop for all lingerie notions. You could easily spend hours there, they have so much in store.

This is what I bought: a lace that was available in a left and right side to make symmetry possible. And with it embroidered lace to match. As it is very sheer, I will use ecru lycra underneath. In the picture this is already under the lace. Not to be made very soon however.

Parting shot

A few of the beautiful iron-on flowers I received from Laura, together with some beautiful lace. The lace I will show in a finished project. The flowers will be a great embellishment. Thanks very much Laura.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Pants Vogue 2896

I managed to find some time to sew. So I sewed last of the three I cut two weeks ago.
It's the pants of Vogue 2896, a Anne Klein pattern. Last summer I bought this pattern, my first Vogue in years.
The pants are very simple, no pockets or other details. I won't do a full PR-review, as I don't exactly remember what I changed last year, when I first made these. I do remember starting with size 16 and making it smaller afterwards.

Knowing what pattern change I need since my experiments of last week, I should have changed this pattern a bit too, but it was already cut. But luckily it is a wider pants, it is not too bad in the back. I even lean a bit to the left, hence the extra wrinkle there.

From the line drawing, it looks these pants have a straight waistband. This is not so, the waistband is actually very much shaped. So much that I couldn't get into the pants when I used this waistband (also already found out last year). I straightened the waistband, but did not make it completely straight.

The fabric is a very beautiful quality wool, with great drape. I lined it with a good quality (Venezia) fabric too, and these pants feel great.

Two pictures of the inside: I always sew the upper part of the center back seam last, I find that this gives a better fit. I learned this from RTW pants that I could easily take in because of this seam, but saw now that it is also recommended in the Burda sewing book to do it like this.
It made it a bit more trouble with the lining, which I hand-sewed in center back. Next time I will try the lining method as described in Sandra Betzina's book Power Sewing.

I did not sew a hongkong finish to the whole of the waistband (if you want to do that, a good tutorial was written by Tany in this post). But I did make such a finish at the sides of the waistband in the back. And yes, the stripes do not match in the back of the waistband. Grrr.