Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 projects

It’s that time of the year again, looking back and looking forward, making plans. Considering that I haven’t touched my sewing machines for more than 2 weeks now and have been sewing irregularly in the past year, I have completed more items than I thought: 31 projects finished. Not a lot, and quite a few of those projects were easy tops, but still a number.

The tops: most of them are liked and worn, with the exception of the blouse with the flowers and the white wrap top. The flowers are not “me”, and I should learn to buy fabric not too impulsively. I can’t pin down what is wrong with the wrap top, perhaps I should take it out again when spring comes and I will like it better?

The bra’s, mostly tnt patterns that I can make up in an evening. The exception is the MakeBra pattern I recently tried. That I will try again and make a few little changes for my comfort.

Only 2 jackets. The first one I’ve worn very, very much. The second I finished  in fall, while I think the colors suit a different season better. Consequently I have not worn it a lot yet.


Dresses: even 4 of them. I’ve changed quite a bit. I also bought 2 rtw dresses and wear a dress quite regularly now.


This change is reflected in the number of trousers I made: only 1! By now I feel a shortage of them in my wardrobe. I’ve thrown out a few that I found too wide, and now I miss a few basic winter ones. Must work on that.

To finish the list I made 2 quite distinctive skirts. I like them but haven’t worn them. Perhaps I should stick to a solid color or make a combination to wear. Now they are more or less orphans in my closet.


Well, that’s my 2012 summary. Of course I have a few things planned for sewing. No fixed list though. In the next week or so I want to go through the fabric collections and make a plan for a wardrobe collection of some sort. I’m thinking of doing the “one pattern, many looks”  contest on Pattern Review which starts January 1. I’ll keep you posted in the next year on my sewing adventures.

Here’s to a wonderful 2013, let it sparkle and may all your wishes come true!

Monday, December 17, 2012

On friendship and blogging

I would like to thank Pauline and L for giving met the ‘one lovely blog award’. I’m honored and thankful for this. I have been blogging for almost 6 years now (can’t believe it is that long) and I have been fortunate to meet so many new sewing friends through this. I had the pleasure of meeting both Pauline and L in real life and enjoyed meeting with others as well, but feel that I have a lot of sewing friends too that I have never met in person. It is such a pleasure to know you are there and occassionally commenting.
one-lovely-blog-award very-inspiring-blogger-award-2
Now I am to tell you 7 things about me that you don’t know and pass the nomination. I’ll do it a bit different: I had already written a post in draft to thank all my readers and sewing friends for being there, supporting me  in what has been a very difficult year (to most of you unknown, so that’s one thing you didn’t know).
My sewing, blogging about it and reading your comments has helped me enormously, though sometimes a few weeks passed without much activity or commenting on other blogs. It has been a period of life in which you get to know your real friends and those who let you down when things are not so good. I’m not going into details, my blog has never been about the details of my personal life, and in the past 12-18 months I didn’t talk about it at all.
I wouldn’t mention this if I would not feel that things are better now, I’m happy to see 2012 go and look forward to a happier 2013. My sewing inspiration is coming back, I have a lot of plans for next year and I look forward to sharing my sewing adventures with you. I enjoy reading all the other sewing blogs. I’m not going to mention anyone in particular now, let’s keep up the sewing, enjoy it and learn from each other by the inspiring garments and techniques we use.
If I get some sewing done, I’ll be blogging, but the year-end is busy as always, so I might not get a lot done.
Seasons greetings to all of you, have a wonderful time!

MakeBra wearing experience

I want to give an update on the MakeBra bra I made recently. When I showed it on my blog, I hadn’t worn it except for trying it on. I have worn it now and I will make it again, the cups are very comfortable. BUT: I made the straps too short, which resulted in irritated shoulders because of the tape I used. My skin is irritated very easily and next time I will either make the straps shorter and use a longer length of regular shoulder straps, or I will sew the tape in between the foam and the lycra.

The tape made for no stretch at all, my own mistake in not realizing that. It’s not a pattern fault, my mistake but something to be aware of if you make this bra and compare the length of the shoulder strap to the length of an existing bra, which I did.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

New patterns

I’m not usually posting when a new series of patterns is launched by the “big 4”, I only use Vogue patterns occassionally. I do receive the emails when new patterns are added. Just now I received an email announcing McCalls spring patterns. Spring! Winter only just started here. Being in need of a break doing end-of-year billing and organizing I clicked on the link for the new McCall patterns.
The patterns: I’m not a McCalls girl, I find them pretty boring (I’ll leave it to others to find the gems I’m missing), but the photos with bicycles are …. not always the clothes for this type of activity:
If you really want to get in trouble on a bike: this type of bicycle and that dress!
The same problem.

Two on a bike with no carrier part at the back?? Clothes more appropriate to the activity though. May I say boring?
Quickly back to my administrative tasks, then perhaps tomorrow evening there is time for sewing. Makes for more interesting posts hopefully.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Another easy top

I’m a bit on a roll with easy tops. Partly because I want to try patterns, partly because I’m into easy sewing at the moment.

This time I made the StyleArc Robin top. An easy top with square neckline, bust and waist darts, cap sleeves and an invisible zipper at the back as it’s designed for a woven fabric.

I made it straight out the envelope, no alterations at first. After finishing I took in the waist darts a bit more, otherwise the fit is good.

The invisible zipper is sewn in the middle of the center back seam, so there is a seam above and below the zipper. I found this a bit more hassle stitching the zipper in the correct postion, but the end result is very good. The back facing is one piece in this way and makes for easy sewing. No hassle with the top of the zipper, facing that has to be turned etc. I’ll remember that for any other top or dress with a center back zipper. If the neckline is wide enough to get your head in and out without the opening of the zipper this is a very neat way.

Look at the line drawing to see the placement of the zipper.

The neckline is higher than the drawing suggests, I will lower it next time. Also I will make sure that the vertical dart in the front is ending a bit lower. Like the Jenny blouse I made the dart ends at the bust point, I prefer that to have a little less marked. No problem in this printed fabric, but in a plain fabric I don’t like that so much.

As this was more or less a trial run, I used a remnant piece of fabric from a dress I made this summer.

The photo’s were taken just before going to the gym, hence the white stripes at the side. They’re from my gym-pants.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Quick and easy

The kind of project everyone needs once in a while. I’ve traced and cut this top yesterday evening and was at my sewing machine at 8 in the morning finishing it. Can’t remember the last time I did sew so early in the morning. I’ve given myself a day off. Have spent my morning sewing, chatting to my mother on the phone, baking bread rolls. A quiet morning on my own. Children will be home later in the afternoon, but for now, feels good to do everything at my own pace.

The top is from the Vogue 1141 (OOP) pattern. On PatternReview there are a few reviews from others who bought the pattern for the top only. Which I can understand, as the rest of the garments don’t speak to my imagination. This top is (almost?) the same pattern as the top from another OOP pattern which I had been searching for a long time (V2925). I learned from reviews that the top in Vogue 1141 was the same. I saw this pattern for sale on a Dutch site and placed a bid on it. To my surprise (and probably the sellers too, we both use different names on the site), the seller was a blog reader I had been in contact with about patterns in the past year and she sent me the pattern for FREE. Thanks again Ruta.

The larges size in the envelope I have is a size 12, which I would normally think is too small. I compared the pattern pieces with a very close fitting top that I wear under jackets and it was quite a few centimeters wider than that top. Which made me decide to go with the size 12. It is a close fitting top, but not too tight. There are gathers at the side to give some extra bust space. If the fabric has less stretch I will do a small fba next time. In the back the fit is very good. Though I can’t show you now, I have only dressform photos. Most of the photos are made lighter, to show the details of this very black fabric.

The pleats at the top are the main feature of this pattern. A lovely detail.

As said, gather at the side give some extra bust space

The back
The front, a lovely neckline

And tonight I will wear it with this (rtw) skirt. It’s Sinterklaas (December 5th) in The Netherlands, but as our children are not small any more we are going out for dinner with the family tonight. For my Dutch readers who do have the “Sinterklaasfeest”: have a very happy evening.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

MakeBra DL01–finished

As mentioned in my previous post: a quite different style, no lace, no frills. I’m not sure about the fit. It is so different from the bra’s I’m used to wear that I must wear it for a day before I can have a final verdict on that. When I first put it on after finishing I was disappointed, the fit looked quite off, which surprised me too, as I made a muslin.

Then I realised that the shoulderstraps have almost no stretch (result of the extra tape (red in my version, I had no black) to stabilise it, as per the instructions. Worked like it should do, but the remaining stretch is only in the 4-5 centimeters at the back where the shoulderstrap is. That should have been a bit more. My fault probably, I didn’t even look at the instructions for length but used the same length as on my other bra’s. Which have a longer shoulderstrap with stretch. After giving the strap the longest length possible, the fit was a lot better.

What is very good about this pattern is the coverage at the under arm. Definitely a plus for me. The bra is not my best work, the fold over elastic at the sides gave me problems (I just don’t like the stuff) and working with the foam was also a bit of a learning curve.

I like the shape of the cups, and I’m already thinking about trying this with a non-stretch lace. But first I’ll wear it.


The instructions for construction are mainly on the site of the MakeBra company. I can’t completely judge them, as I did it my own way mostly (which you probably do after making bra’s for many years). I used extra interfacing for the side/back to get extra support there, but did not attach the boning in the side, which the instructions tell you to do. Simply because I never do that and don’t need it.



I used a smaller hook/eye closing and adapted the widt of center back.




The fold over elastic, difficult to work with

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Already not following instructions

I always have a hard time following instructions. Whether it's a sewing pattern or a recipe, I often change something in order or way of construction, or in a recipe an ingredient (usually I add spices and herbs). Now I'm doing that again on the bra I'm making. The instructions are for using fold-over elastic. I've done that before  long time ago, but wasn't happy with the results, especially at the center front part, where a lot of layers of fabric and wire channelling meet. Tonight I made the cups for the bra. Construction takes a bit more time than I"m used to, as this is a new pattern with some new techniques. And then I'm changing things as well!

Instead of the fold-over elastic for the upper part of the cups and straps, I've cut a seam allowance to the upper parts of lycra pieces and have sewn them right side to wrong side of the foam. Then turned it over to the right side of the foam. I'm curious to know whether this will effect the fit of the cups when it's finished. Time will tell.
BTW: Amy from Cloth Habit is starting a bra sew along in January. If you want to try making a bra and like some guidance and inspiration, you might want to check that out.

No lace this time, rather basic black and white. The outside of the cup.
 The inside, looks neat this way I think.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Testing a bra pattern

The 3rd item I wanted to finish will have to wait. My eagerness to try a new bra pattern wins. Some weeks ago I was alerted to the site A Finnish company that sells bra patterns and some fabric and notions for sewing lingerie. When I first browsed the site I was interested, but did not yet order a pattern. Then they announed a downloadable pattern. Though I don’t like downloadable patterns so much, a bra doesn’t have that many pieces so the amount of printing and taping together would be do-able.

After checking the measurement charts (the downloads are for one size patterns) I decided to buy the DD75, a measurement I expected. I was very happy with the buying process, the link for the download was received immediately and the printed pieces were easy to understand (I’m not affiliated, just a happy customer).

The bra’s are for foam cups you make yourself. On the MakeBra site is an instruction for making a test version, which I did as this is almost new to me. With some remnant pieces of shoulder straps and wire channelling this was easily done. The cotton for the back muslin was cut wider, as there is no elastic. It looks very promising, the fit of the cups is good. I compared the front and back pattern part with my tnt bra pattern and it’s quite similar and the length at the bottom is exactly the same. I know this to be important. Also on the site are instructions for making the bra’s, I’m looking forward to trying this pattern for real. Stay tuned.



A little while ago I announced on the Sewing tutorials blog that I have stopped updating that site and will eventually take it down. I have realised though that I will miss some of those tutorials myself as well and want to keep a few links. So I started to use my Pinterest account more and started saving the links there, including a few links to my own tutorials (how vain).

For those interested I added a link to my Pinterest account on the sidebar. It’s a personal selection, I’m not trying to be complete in any way and will add to it occassionally. It’s quite a bit easier to do than the format I have on the blog, which might make for adding pins regularly.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

2 of 3 projects done

My week was very different from what I hoped and expected. Not a lot of time to sew after all. Work, having dinner with a friend, friends to dinner yesterday evening, daughter needing to be cheered up, unexpected  visit to doctor with my son. Well, that sums op my week. All’s good now, but it gave a little bit of stress and not a lot of time to sew. But… 2 of the 3 projects finished. They both only needed about an hour to finish after I left them in an unfinished state earlier on.


First projects is a pj top. Nothing complicated. The fabric was given to me in the sewing weekend in the UK recently and is a lovely, soft cotton. I didn’t make sewing life more complicated and omitted the piping that is in the pattern envelope pictures. Too much hassle. The buttons are all a bit different (accidently thrown away a detail shot). A danish clothing brand always attached a button to the labels on their garments, even if it was only a t-shirt. I kept those buttons and now used them on this pj top, that’s why one is different in color than the others.


The other project was a bra I started in the UK weekend. Now I still have the panties to make (which was not the 3rd project to finish). I will make those next, so as not to keep this bra unworn too long.

Dressform pictures of a colour that I couldn’t name, but Pauline calls “mink". The lycra has some shine on it and is a nice match with the lace.



The inside: powernet in the side/back to give more support, the lycra is too thin to give me enough support. As always the under and side pieces of the cups are interfaced as well.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sewing friend, designer studio, lace shop and a dress

I had a wonderful weekend. Pauline was in The Netherlands again for work and stayed with me and my family this weekend. On Saturday we went to visit the design studio of Viktor and Rolf in Amsterdam which was possible through a business relation from Pauline. It’s located in a wonderful building on one of canals of Amsterdam, always a nice place. It was special to have a look “behind the scenes”. See Pauline’s blog for some more photo’s.


After this we went to a buttonshop and to the famous Kantje Boord shop. Always a treat, at home I was greeted with “was this all you bought, that’s not a lot???”  so I behaved well. (I’ve started reorganizing and tidying my sewing room, when I post some photos of my lingerie collection/stash you will know that I certainly have no lack of material ;))



Thanks again Pauline for a lovely weekend.

As I said I started reorganizing and tidying my sewing room this afternoon. Very, very necessary. There are also a few ufo’s that call for finishing and a little backlog of reviews. I have promised myself that before starting on sewing something new, I MUST finish 3 items first. As there is a new bra pattern that my hands are itching to make, I’ll have to do the 3 items very soon. I made a quick muslin for the bra yesterday evening while Pauline was tracing a pattern and it looks promising.

In my previous post I showed you the finishing of the neckline of a dress I was making. At least that is finished. It’s an easy pattern from the October issue from BurdaStyle. I’ve seen a few versions already, but am a bit too lazy now to look for the links. I used a stable knit fabric with a velvet feel to it. Because of the knit I thought it might be possible to omit the back zipper. Before serging the seams I have sewn the center back and side seams with large straight stitches and tried to get in and out of the dress. This worked and no zipper was used. This makes it to quite an easy dress which I quite like.

DSC_1354DSC_1359  DSC_1360

It looks like this week I can get some more sewing done, hope it works out that way. Stay tuned.