Sunday, April 19, 2009

Knip skirt - continued after all

I decided that after all the time it took me to understand this pattern, I'd better make it. When it was published in the September issue, I immediately liked it, and several times was on the point of making it.

So I took out some very dark blue linen from the fabric collection and cut it. The pictures got a bit of extra light, otherwise you wouldn't have seen a lot. My dressform certainly is a lot smaller in the waist and hips than me, but you'll get the idea. There's a lot of extra fabric space in the hips here, that's not on me!

I quite like it, it's different, but very wearable I think.

In the course of this week I'll put the lining in and add the waistband, perhaps I'll manage a picture on me, but as we'll be leaving for a holiday next Saturday, this week will mostly be finishing work, visit the dentist for a treatment that will remove the last pain I've been suffering (after days it finally was clear that a molar was the cause, while x-rays didn't show anything) and preparing for leaving to the UK.

After my return I'll start the lingerie sew along, stay tuned and see you in May.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


There is always a lot of discussion on sewing instructions with patterns. Ann of Gorgeous Things wrote about this subject this week, and there were very many people writing their views on the topic. Personally I prefer well drafted patterns with consistency in sizes (BWOF comes to mind immediately) that tell you where to match. It can be very helpful to have instructions on a specific, more advanced technique that is used in a pattern. In the 80-s I learned a lot using Vogue patterns for the first time, but now the internet gives so much information, the pattern companies could use these modern techniques to provide basic information or even more detailed pictures/movies on how to make a specific pattern. So I certainly second the opinions of those that these means of communication should be used better by the pattern companies.

Recently I  bought Claire Shaeffers pants pattern from Vogue, no. 7881, mainly because of the instructions. Reading the instructions however, I was very much surprised that there were no instructions for lining these pants. That is one point where I want to improve my skills, but I am disappointed.

Now the personal story about frustrating instructions:

Yesterday evening I thought to cut out a skirt from Knip Mode September 2008. It's this pattern:


I traced the pattern back in September but never made it. And I thought it might be a nice, relatively quick project for the little sewing time I have (postponing the piped vest till after the holiday). The instructions for the pleats in the front are quite detailed in the magazine, and the skirt as such looks simple to make. But before I got to the point of even cutting the fabric, it took me as much time to decipher the pattern and the cutting layout as I expected to need for basic construction, that I gave up in pure frustration. It is only now, after making pictures and doublechecking everything to write this post, that I see how it is meant! But the sewing spirit is gone.

First point: the line drawings of the back are hidden behind the line drawing of the front. As in my last post where I showed a jacket, some details can't be seen this way. They should really alter that as it makes evaluating a pattern more difficult.

Then: these are the pattern pieces.

The front, after taping the 3 different parts together. A bit of a puzzle, but nothing wrong here.

(exuse the wrinkled patterns, it has been laying around quite some time)
The back, in 2 pieces on the pattern sheet, the more or less dotted line a little off center marks the tape line. It has to be cut along the black lines to obtain the 4 pattern pieces that are needed.
& The frustrating cutting layout. And now that I finally know how it's meant, it seems so easy. But it took me a very long time to get it (could just be me though).
In the first layout (the fashion fabric) there are 4 pieces marked with the number 3 on it.
First one left on top is no problem, the top of the skirt with darts.
Then the two parts that I marked with a red oval. They have line in them that I finally understood to be the straight of grain line. This line is NOTon the pattern (checked and doublechecked). Now I know it must be the straight of grain line, but I was so puzzled how to interprete this.
The last part is the center back back. There too is a line (center back/straight of grain) that is not on the pattern. 
I will need that center back line when cutting the lining, see the red arrow in the lining cutting layout (the second layout drawing).
Apparently I have to draw the back lining pattern now, while I have not yet cut the pieces apart. They're not telling that!

It would have been more easy if the back parts would have been separate pattern pieces where there would have been no need to tape together, with clear indications where to match. For the front lining a separate pattern piece is provided, this should have been done for the back too.

OK, frustration written off me, now I have to work a bit, perhaps I will sew tonight? Some easy tnt t-shirt perhaps?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A new project

Very slowly I'm starting a new project. I've been busy and not too well last week, so my sewing mojo was completely gone. Tonight I made my first step to a new technique for me: piping. I must confess that I've seldom done that, and I think it was only on pillow cases a very long time ago. With more knowledge by reading sewing books and blogs I was tempted to try this. The new generic zipper foot is also a helpful tool.

The first result, one corner is not quite as it should be, I must practise a bit more. I used a piping tape that can be bought per meter. The fabric is linen.


The project I have in mind for this is a vest from the BWOF February 2008 issue. Pefect to play with the stripes and add a bit of piping. I'll omit the ruffles. I might pair it with the pants from the Vogue 1066 pattern (the Badgley Mischka pattern) in the same fabric. It will be May before I get to that, as we're spending a holdiday week in England the last week of April and I want to loose a bit of weight before I allow myself to make pants again.



And especially for JoanneM a picture of the line drawing of the Knip Mode jacket with the special folding (and the Dutch "vouwwerk" means folding). Pity the line drawing of the back is hidden in the most essential part: the peplum that has also folding in the back. A better picture you can find on the front of the magazine here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Knip Mode May 2009

Knip mode is a Dutch pattern magazine, like BWOF. It's only available in Dutch, but is used by quite a few ladies who don't speak that language. It's not that difficult when you're familiar with the way these pattern magazines work. I use Patrones sometimes, while I don't speak Spanish. No problem at all. Summerset wrote a great series on how to use these magazines if you're not familiar with them.

I do have mixed feelings about Knip Mode: sometimes I like some of the patterns, more oftenI find nothing to my liking. For that reason I don't have a subscription, but buy it occassionally. The March issue (that some found so nice) was a disappointment and will not be used by me. Last weekend I bought the May issue, and that has quite some nice patterns, and even an extra insert with 5 skirt patterns. I think they are good in that: skirt patterns with a twist.


Another theme is folding, I don't know whether I'll find the time, but some nice options here. 

And the most aweful pattern (my personal opinion of course) is this parka. I don't like the pattern, the fabric used and the way the fabric is cut (I'm one of those matching plaids and stripes, sorry). Not inspiring at all! 

But if you like skirts with a twist, this might be a good issue for you. Now I must find some time for sewing.

Monday, April 6, 2009

3 new tops

Though I still have a feeling that I don't sew a lot at the moment, this weekend I completed 3 tops. First the BWOF blouse.

Especially with the belt it looks good over my jeans. I like the result, the busy print is not somehting I usually have, but it's fine (Kat, I don't know the aura of migraine, possible I wouldn't have chosen this print).

I didn't make the sleeves longer, like I used to do, and they are fine. I think I used to wear my sleeves too long, overreacting to rtw sleeves presumably, that are always too short on me.

This a great basic pattern, and I'll make more blouses of this one.


And yesterday afternoon I made two t-shirts of New Look 6735. I need a few basic tops in solid colors, the black one is the first. The other is a fabric I bought last year, and later regretted a bit. Because sewing this top is so easy (first time for me though), I made it to see how it would be. Not bad, but certainly not a favorite.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Pff, I'm happy it's Saturday, the deadlines were met. Still a lot of work to do (happy with that in these times), but not this weekend.

I received the book Bra makers manual on Wednesday. I ordered it last Saturday from Elingeria in Germany, very fast shipment! And I'm very happy with this book. The book doesn't have patterns (I knew that) but has a wealth on information on bra making. In general it is written for those sewing for others, she often writes about "your clients". And I do think that if you are making bra's for others, this is a very, very good book. It's not the book to order right away if you never made a bra before, too extensive and too expensive for that.

The language and drawings are clear, the pictures of finished bra's not very inspiring, you'd better look at a few rtw lingerie sites for inspiration. On techniques it is great, and that was what I was looking for. I've read a bit in it and will for sure read it from cover to cover, and have seen a few things that I want to try for myself. I'm not sewing bra's for others, and have no intention to do that, but for me I can find information in this book, that I never got in any class/workshop I took, especially on sewing for larger sizes. And it's the first time I find a size table that tells me I have a DD or E cup. In other size tables I usually find that I have C80 (no way!) and for a check just now I calculated on a site that tells me I have A80 (who are they fooling?).

Enough on that, I'm sewing a blouse. I used a very nice quality cotton, feeling very soft and easy to work with. I also used interfacing from Sew Exciting. Pro woven fusible for outer collar stand, cuffs and button placket, pro tricot fusible for the inner collar stand (which I cut on the bias). It made sewing those parts so easy! It's much better than the Vlieseline fusibles I used till now.

It's from BWOF September 2003, a blouse with princess line seams, back yoke, button placket and cuffs with vent. I did an FBA and changed the point of the collar a bit.

For the collar with stand I used the method I always use, with good results again. The method is described a few times, you can find them here.