Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Really the last

Post for this year, at least here it's still 2008. In other parts of the world 2009 has already begun!

My day was filled with making traditional Dutch "old years evening" snacks: oliebollen en appelflappen. As far as I know this is a tradition only in The Netherlands, and some searching learned me that the tradition is already a few hundred years old, but the exact origin unknown. This is eaten on the last evening of the year, and a lot of people here are baking these (frying actually) themselves.


We're spending the evening with friends, and this year it was my turn to make these. My son helped me and it was quite fun to do.

Next year I'll be back with sewing related posts, for now I want to thank you all for reading my blog, the very nice comments and e-mails I've received that were so wonderful to read. The international sewing community is a great place to be part of.



Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Jacket done

Yesterday I finished the jacket, I had to buy buttons and as they had to be simple black, that was no problem. It's a comfortable jacket, but I should have thought about the open neckline more. I can see why some of you have this made or cut for summer wardrobes. So Carolyn, something to take into consideration!

My solution is wearing this with a turtleneck shirt, which I bought today. I can't tell you how lucky I was: it was in a sale in a good store, beautiful quality. The neck is not too tight (I don't really like turtlenecks) and the length was long! Especially the last point always gives me trouble in RTW. Mostly the tops and blouses are cut so short, that I feel uncomfortable or even cold.

When spring comes, I can wear this jacket with another top underneath that has no or short sleeves, but not now, it's freezing here.

Two little details:

I bagged the lining (how easy this is, I've done it only once before, and didn't even refer to my book again!) and did a decorative topstitching in the center back seam of which Tany is the inventor. It's been copied by many, and now by me too.

Though my sewing machine could be an embroidery machine too, I did not buy the software for that. And never will, as I don't embroider my clothes (or anything else for that matter). But it has two kinds of alphabet's too, and in the lining I sewed my name. I should investigate the possibilities for some real labels. It gives a nice finishing touch.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Threads inspiration

Yesterday I received Threads magazine no. 141, which is quite early, as I received no. 140 only two weaks ago. From the website I read that this issue will be available in the US in January. Strange, but I'm not complaining.

I like this magazine and was very much inspired by the white blouse variations shown in the previous issue, and there are two more inspiring in this issue too.

There is no magazine here in the Netherlands with this kind of information. This morning I took some time browsing and reading. I like articles about the making of dressforms, or the two sided coat, though I won't ever make one I guess, enough trouble getting a one sided coat done I think ;) .

This is a pants pattern that was made in the "Pattern review" section of the magazine:

A Marfy pattern that is only available through the Marfy website on request, not shown on their site anywhere. I did some internet searching, but couldn't find more information. It doesn't help that the Marfy site doesn't have a search system.

As I won't fit in any pants pattern without serious alterations, it's no use ordering this pattern anyway. It might be a project for one of my next pair of pants. I'm intrigued by the waistband and the pocket details in it. I would omit the slit in the front and probably the buttons on the left leg. I guess it would be fine to make it with a invisible zipper in the side. Something to think about.

There is one article which I'm curious about. It's called The Golden Rule of Proportions. I'm familiar with the "golden ratio" concept, and how it's used in art. But in garment making? The Fibonacci series (a mathematical series of numbers) as a starting point for designs????

Tell me, is there anyone among you who uses a "calipher" or a "phi ruler" in your sewing adventures? I didn't know the existence of these tools, and don't feel a need to have them.

In the article itself I don't read any new things, "look at a skirt's width in proportion to its length", "Compare style features adjacent to each other, such as the size of embellishments next to one another". Ok, not all articles can have everyones interest, but this one highly surprised me.

Friday, December 26, 2008

A quick jacket

A last project for this year. A review of McCall's pattern 5007 (now out of print) on Pattern Review reminded me of this pattern. This was one of the patterns I bought 2,5 years ago and with which I started sewing for myself again. I made it of a too red fabric and was not satisfied with the buttonholes. It hang in my closet for two years and finally threw it away a few months ago.

But it liked the pattern, so I decided to try to make it from a bouclé fabric I recently bought. It was a last piece of only 1,3 mtr of fabric (1,5 yard), so not very much to make a jacket of. I'm making the view as shown in the drawing in light green, only without the slit in the front. Due to the lack of fabric I have cut the facing for the front in several pieces, a real puzzle.

As the bouclé fabric ravels very easily, I first cut the pieces of fusible interfacing with large space around them, ironed those to the fabric and then cut out the pattern pieces. The picture shows a piece before cutting exactly.

For the collar there are two pattern pieces (for the upper and under collar). According to the instructions the undercollar must be cut on the fold, but I ignored that and cut it on the bias. To make sure that I didn't forget to cut a seam allowance, I pinned with the pins so that I had a clear reminder when cutting that this part was not to be cut exactly at the pattern piece. A trick I learned from a Threads dvd, which was kindly lent to me by a Dutch lady (thanks H.).


I marked the pieces with basing thread.


It really is an easy jacket, so I hope to finish it this weekend. This is a picture of the collar, topstitched and sewn together at the seam. You can see the amount of extra space that is in the upper collar. It seems a lot, but it's basted to the jacket at the moment (no picture yet), and it's the perfect amount of extra ease in the upper collar.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

3 tops

Thank you all for your nice comments on my ling.erie sets. The heart in the center which Summerset and Vicky mentioned was unintentional, but a pleasant suprise when I unfolded the part after sewing together.

For those looking for the source of my notions, this is the link to a post where I wrote about that earlier. I'll leave this kind of sewing now for a while again, back to more conventional sewing projects.

I've been sewing quite a bit the last weekend. This is the Rick Owen Knock off top.

The general idea is a bit like the original I think, but there are more diagonal pleats in the original. I used the Jalie t-shirt of the twinset pattern 2566. The front is double, and I used the inside for fixing the pleats at a few locations. It's quite nice, but not sure whether I will wear it a lot. I'll have to get used to it, though everyone of my family says it's "typically me".

I've been afraid that the pleats would give too much attention to my bust, as some have expressed for themselves in the comments here and on the discussion thread on Pattern Review. This is not the case, at least, no more than usual, in fact I think it's hiding my bust a bit.

Then I made the famous Jalie 2974, the sweetheart top. I have this pattern for quite a while, but never got round to make it. If you have it and not sewn it yet, do! My first one immediately inspired me to make a second. The black one is a bit more formal than the second one, for which I also lengthened the sleeves. I really love the neckline, and am sure that especially the black one will be a favorite top the coming months. The grey one is nice, but gives the attention to the bust I don't want. The black neckline facing is the cause of that in my opinion.



Wishing you all a very happy, peaceful Christmas.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Another set

Below a little detail of the second set. If you click on it and browse further there are a few more details. A picture on my dressform is the best I could do.

I had wanted little red bows as embellishment, but they were not available at the moment, so I decided to finish with black bows.

In the comments I was asked where I did learn to sew ling.erie. I did take a few courses and workshops and learned most of it there. Later I started sewing a couple of commercial available patterns and as with other patterns too, I learned from the instructions in these patterns too. And as I've said before (but not all of you will have read my posts on this), sewing this is not as difficult as it perhaps seems. You have to be accurate, and you need a lot of different notions, but sewing is not that difficult.

Fitting is another matter, don't be disappointed if your first bra doesn't have the perfect fit. The problem is that you can only try on a bra when it's nearly finished. And I assure you, my first bra's weren't perfect either. But I'm glad I persisted and can wear this more luxury style in different variations and not too expensive. 

Some background to my history: when I started buying bra's myself there hardly was any choice (D75 in European size). Having a D-cup at the time (late 70's) was having a choice in white or flesh color, with very wide straps in a style you don't want to wear when you're 18. There wasn't anything nice in a "normal" store (at least in my memory), and the possibility to go a specialized store was something I wasn't aware of for some time.

When I first got to such a specialized store a new world opened for me, there really was something else. I remember vividly the French Lou, and American Warner being the two companies that had bra's that fit me. I got addicted to these and even remember going to stores in France when on holiday there. But as a student I could never afford to buy a lot and wore them till the very end. Just too expensive and I remember friends who couldn't understand the amount of money I paid for a good bra. And later, when money wasn't that short any more, I kept to those brands for most of the time.

Fast forward to about 2001-02, when I learned to make my own sets. Since then I made a lot of sets for myself, and last year some for my daughter. It's fun to do, but as with other garments too: it's difficult to buy something RTW now I know how to make them.
But I'm very happy for DD that she has ample choice in the shops (and not a difficult size). A lot has changed.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Knock off top

In November this Rick Owen top was discussed on Pattern Review.  NancyK brought the top to our attention, and several ladies (I among them) wondered how this was made. First I thougth there was a twist of a kind, but this was not the case.

This is a summary of the points I noticed in this top.

One of the PR members, knows there as Goodworks, drafted an initial idea of how to start to make a pattern for this. Based on that idea I adapted the front of a basic Jalie pattern, and cut it from some leftover fabric and draped it to my dressform. It gets the idea of the original.

That was where I left off, because I had no fabric with enough drape to make it for real.

During the discussion on PR it appeared that there was a pattern for this top published in the Italian magazine Mia Boutique. Marita of the blog Paradise for me made this top from the magazine. She kindly showed the pattern piece, and to my surprise we were not too far off with the idea how to make this.

Below is what I did to the pattern. I'm thinking about making a sort of stay on the inside, to be able to make some hidden stitches to hold the pleats in place. And probably I will skip the long sleeves.

But as said, this project is to be made after my second ling.erie set. These pictures were already made some time ago.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Black with gold lace

The first set I'm working on is finished. No picture of the bra on me, because it takes too much time editing myself out of it. That makes it a bit harder to see the shape, but I'm very happy. The fit is exactly right. (click on the picture for a larger view)

For panties I mostly use about 5 self drafted patterns, which are basically the same, only the position of the lace is different. It makes quite a difference whether the lace has stretch or not. Obviously that is true for the cup of the bra too. But in a panty you can't use a lot of non-stretch lace at the waist, unless you compensate a lot in the lycra part (or perhaps are very thin, which I'm not).

I don't like non-stretch lace to be close to my legs, because that gives me an uncomfortable feeling. That's why I use small portions of lace in the panties when using non-stretch lace, like this one.

Thank you for your nice comments on the review of 2008 projects. It was nice to do the graphs and going through what I did this year for myself too. And it's great to see that quite a lot of other bloggers have followed Lindsay's idea in one way or the other.

Friday, December 12, 2008


The first set of bra and panties is almost finished. Some elastic to the top of one of the two panties, then I'm done. In my post of this weekend I showed you a piece of lace of which I have only 60 cm. It was the last piece, normally I won't buy less than 1 meter, but as it was wide I couldn't resist because of the wonderful fabric and quality.

And on these items I have an obsession for symmetry. But with only 60 cm of fabric to play with, this is not easy. I cut the upper cups first, these are the largest pattern pieces for the lace and 'must' be identical (if you make bras and are not as obsessed as I am, you make your life a lot easier, I assure you).

This is what was left of the lace after cutting the upper cups and center part of the bra.
The pattern piece below it is to be cut twice, and will be on the left and right of the front of the panty.
Obviously this can not be done, symmetrical or not.
On the scallop side, I put the pattern at the most narrow part, and traced the contour of the flower.
Then the pattern piece is turned and the flowers matched. Happy face with me, it works!
I changed the pattern so that it's possible to cut two smaller parts. The part I cut off, I put to the back pattern part.
Two identical lace parts for the panty.
There was a little piece still matching on the scallop left. I used that for an extra detail at the band on the outer side of the bra.
And this is really all that's left of 60 cm of lace.

This set won't be finished very soon, but I certainly expect to show you some pictures end of next week. Another busy weekend ahead with friends visiting and celebrating my son's birthday. This "little boy" turned 13 today. Taller than his mum already, which pleases him enormously.

And some time ago I promised to make a tutorial for a partial band bra. It's finished and I uploaded it as pdf file earlier this week. It's too many pages to publish here. Click on the Tutorials (pdf) link on top of my blog to see the list of pdf-files.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

What did I sew in 2008

This post is inspired by Lindsay's post in which she looks back on her sewing in 2008 and goals for 2009.  This is my looking back to the last sewing year, which was less productive as hoped. I checked which reviews I made this year on Pattern Review (25, wish it was more), I checked my blog to see what I sewed and didn't write reviews for, and added 2 or 3 things I made, and never wrote about at all (no time as main reason).

The next graph gives a picture of the pattern companies I use.

Not surprising at all, BWOF for the main part, self drafted is mainly due to my linge rie items. Knip has a larger share than I would have guessed, but there the clothes for DD are giving the number more emphasis.

The other chart I made was for the type of garments I make.

Well, what can I say. I'm not a dress or skirts person. Only 1 skirt this year, and 2 dresses! I do see nice patterns for these, but somehow other things come first. And even those in my closet, are not worn very often. Must be my in general casual life. Blouses and t-shirts are quite the main part of my sewing.

Most liked garments

Oops, all BWOF patterns.

  • Summer jacket
    Really nice and good fitting. Got a lot of compliments on that one when wearing this on a few occasions
  • My last pair of pants Worn several times already in three weeks, today including, it's so comfortable
  • The famous wrap top from the January issue, absolutely a winner to me. Wondering whether this is one of the most reviewed tops on PR this year.



Both are too low in the front, and the fabric of the white Knip blouse is itching. I've worn the BWOF top on the right once with a cami, but it just didn't feel right.


Unfinished projects, not beyond muslin stage

This has been perhaps the most frustrating this year: starting something and not finishing. Sometimes I'm just so eager to start something, and then life gets in the way, and it just doesn't work. In that feeling I also count the pieces of fabric I bought with the intention of sewing "right away", but on which I didn't do a thing beyond dreaming of what could be. And that is not too bad, dreaming.



I have no specific goals for next year. I'd like to sew one or two capsule wardrobes (5-6 accompanying items), and I'd like to sew a few more bags, though I've been thinking that I just don't have time to do those too and skip the idea of making bags. We'll see how it goes. I might do something completely different and adjust my plans to the latest BWOF issue each month!

Technically I just want to improve my skills. And I would like to knock off a few more garments. 

Starting with this one: a Rick Owen top which was discussed in a thread on Pattern Review and for which I already made a draping of the front. Yesterday I finally found some great knit fabric with enough drape. First finish the sets I'm working on, then this is the next project.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

December already

How fast this year is going by, and what little sewing I'm doing at the moment. The 5th of December is the feast of Sinterklaas, and I wrote about that tradition in this post. So I was busy with presents (that I don't sew) and silly poetry and had a wonderful evening.

Saturdaynight DH and I went to the theater to hear 3 Dutch singers (for my Dutch readers: "Aardige jongens", een aanrader), and today I spent the afternoon with friends from my student days making a christmas decoration. Quite a busy and very pleasant weekend.

Little sewing, but I did start something new. as you can see it is in construction phase. I changed my pattern a bit, as for some reason (age, fitness?) the pattern I always used seems a bit too small.  And I cleaned out my ling erie drawer, resulting in a definite need to make a few new sets. And these things are relatively easy to make in small time slots. I did have a lot of other more conventional clothes in mind, and I did trace a few patterns in the last two weeks, but have nothing cut. I'll tell you about those plans when I get to them.

And the next fabric is so lovely. I only have a piece of 60 cm, but it can be used on both sides. With careful cutting it should be possible to make a bra together with one panty.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

All's well that ends well



Vogue 1063 in my second version. As I told you, my jacket of 100 errors. But the endresult is quite good, so I'm very happy with this. I made bound buttonholes showing the other side of the fabric. This fabric has two " right"  sides, so I thought it was nice to make the buttonholes like this.

I comtemplated doing the upper collar like that too, but decided against it. I have enough of the fabric left to make a skirt, so perhaps I'll use the black/red irregular stripes side for that.

In a post of September I told you about the differences between the sleeve drawing of Vogue 1063 and 1064. For this jacket I changed the sleeve and made the pattern like the 1064  sleeve. I did change the pattern further by adding a hem allowance of 5 cm (2 inches), and make my own lining pattern. Pfff, I'll think about that a second time when doing that for a pattern that has seam allowances included.  I'm more used to working with patterns without seam allowances, and because of that I made a mistake there too.

To the sleeve I added sleeve heads in the way described by Els of the sewing diva's. I interfaced the front and back of the jacket as I did with my summer jacket.

I'm finished with this pattern. It's a nice result, but two is quite enough. Can I make anyone in Europe happy with this pattern (size 14-20)? (Apologies to the US ladies, but I think you can get your vogue patterns a lot cheaper than in Europe, so I'll limit it to European readers this time.)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New technique again

I'm certainly not planning to be a daily blogger, but I want to share this progress with you. This is my jacket of 100 errors as I refer to it. It's Vogue 1063 and I was not too happy with the first version. There were several reasons for that, but one was the lining method I used in that jacket. So I started another version, but used a combination of tailoring techniques and finishing it with a rtw lining method: bagging a lining.

As said in an earlier post, this is something I've never done before. I read about it for the first time (2 years ago) in the book Power Sewing by Sandra Betzina, which was one of the first sewing books I bought in the English language (and  still consider it as one of the best books I bought on sewing. It gave me so much inspiration for making my skills better) . After reading about several methods (Kathleen Fasanella's tutorial on the internet and the method described in "Jackets for real people"), I decided to use the method Sandra Betzina described.  The main difference (if I understood it right) with Kathleen's method is ... Here stood some text in which I was wrong, as Kathleen made clear to me. I was not aware of another method described by her and used a tutorial that was written for a very specific series of jackets that were not her design. She prefers a reference to the tutorial you can find here. But I didn't know this "nameless tutorials series" untill tonight. Sorry Kathleen.

Let me say that NancyK was right in her comment. She said: "Once you bag the lining you'll wonder what you were waiting for." And it's true, not difficult at all, and I will certainly use this method on future jackets.

There are no pictures of the construction of this jacket, and final pictures of me wearing the jacket will be made in the coming days.

Now to decide what to sew next. So many ideas, and just don't know what to start with.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Welt pocket

On Pattern Review there is a contest currently "Try a new technique", managed by NancyK. As I'm in a definitely in a no-sewing commitments phase right now, I'm not participating. But I read a bit on this thread and seeing that welt pockets are regarded as difficult. On another thread on the message board Kathleen Fasanella's method of making welt pockets was mentioned.

I don't regard welt pockets as extremely difficult, as with a lot of things it just requires precise work. But I never tried Kathleens method, and it was on my to-try list. And that's what I did. The first sample is on the upper half of the picture. The welt is interfaced, the fabric is not, which makes quite a difference.

On the second sample you can see that the fabric is interfaced (the flash of the camera made it visible). It's imperative for good results, even on this cotton fabric, let alone on a fabric that ravels more easily. As you probably know, you cut to the exact corners of the welt and fold back.

In my second sample the right corner is not completely straight, I should have taken out a stitch, but it's a sample so I didn't.

All in all, I found this method extremely easy, the first one was made in about 40 minutes from start to finish, the second didn't take me half an hour. Certainly a method to try if you want to make welt pockets.

Instructions on Kathleen Fasannella's blog here and here. (and I've noticed that I didn't include this tutorial on the tutorials blog, clearly an omission that I'm correcting right away and soon I must add more entries there)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Two projects finished

Last week I finished the blouse for DD and my pants. For both I wrote a short review at Pattern Review.

The blouse for DD, she wore it today and managed to get a stain on it right away. So it's soaking in water right now. No chance for pictures on her (nothing to do with the stain btw). 

The pants pattern in general fitted as I thought it would. As my waist is two sizes smaller than my hip size, I trace the size that I need for my hips. With BWOF that is consistent size 44, (oh how I would like that it would come down to 42, but alas, the fitness programm does help, but not too much). Next step is make the dart in the back deeper, or add a second dart in the back. I also make a dart in the front (which is seldom there to start with).

The final alteration is making the crotch seam deaper, and adding the space that I took away there to the side seam. Which looks like this in a pattern.

In construction I sew the center back seam as a last step (after the waistband is sewed on), which gives me the last possibility of finetuning the fit.

With these pants I basted all with the longest straight stitch on my machine and fitted. All seemed perfectly alright, till the pictures were taken by DD: wrinkles/folds in the back. I think it might be the fabric, and of course the camera just takes a picture while standing still. I'm accepting this (must accept this), and I wore the pants yesterday and they felt good.

It's nice to have both projects finished. First in the line of completion will be the lining for the Vogue jacket I showed earlier. Then I might try my hand at another knock-off. I've seen so much inspiration for tops. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A single welt in back of pants

After the front pocket, the back pocket gave me some trouble too. I made the first one and had to do the topstitching around the welt (as seen in RTW ) in two passes. Not easy to work and I thought of doing it another way.

In the past I've found many tutorials on (welt) pockets, but not this particular one. I decided to make the opening first and adding the welt later. Inspired by the method that Ann shows (which she described in an article in Threads too, and I've found the same technique described by Claire Shaeffer) .

As I was making a sample, I made pictures so that I could share it with you.

Notice my new sewing foot in the fourth picture,  it is open in the front so that you can see exactly what you do. I already know it's worth every euro I paid for it.

The red is the wrong side of the fabric, the location of the welt has a lightweight fusible interfacing.
To the right the welt itself and the inner pocket (a lining fabric).
The opening is marked on the interfacing, exactly the height the welt will have.
Sew the inner pocket to the welt and press down.
Pin silk organza on the front of you fabric, making sure that there is enough fabric around the opening.
From the back, sew the marking line. Make small stitches in the corner and keep the needle down while pivoting.

Cut the opening, slashing to the corners exactly (but of course not through the stitching)
Press the opening
Pin the welt to the opening (other way round then I did in this sample, you'll want the seam pointing to the wrong side)
Pinned  to make sure everything is in place, basting might be better in a real garment.
Topstitch the edges. I use the blind seam foot for that.
Here you can see the opening of the welt.
The welt is topstitched all around. The little white strip you see is my table underneath.
Cover with the pocket facing.
Open the top so that you see the seam allowance from the opening.
Stitch the seam allowance to the pocket facing.
This stitching doesn't need to be too secure, as the seam allowance itself is already secured by the topstitching.
Sew the pocket all around. It's now ready to serge the edges (not in the picture).
The finished look on the inside
The finished pocket in my project.