Sunday, 23 July 2017

Big Quilting Project

I am not gone for vacation, but I started an enormous project beginning of July which only got finished this week-end.
A few month ago I decided to make a large bed patchwork cover, I spent my spring finding the right supplies and bought some missing black fabric during my last fabric shopping. I have sewed enough summer clothes to have something to wear to the office. All stars have been aligned so I could start the patchwork.

I decided to do a simple post-stamp patchwork and for the other side, as I had different pieces of black fabric, I added some colour pieces as well. The size is 216*170cm.
Cutting out this part was quick and easy.

Then I spent a week cutting some 1770 little squares (there is a whole shoebox of them)

Then I spent another week assembling all of the little pieces together.

And yet another week quilting the whole thing.
Honestly, I did not imagine it would take so much time: according to my count, I spent 38 hours on this project; that is an equivalent of 3 line dresses.

The great thing of this project is the fact that it used up a lot of fabric. Like really A LOT. Over 8m, according to my excel. I not only used the whole of black cotton, but some batiks bought in Indonesia two years ago which I loved but could not possibly imagine a piece of clothing made from them.
Also, you know when you have like 30-40 cm of fabric left from a project which obviously cannot be turned into even the smallest top but you just do not have the heart to throw it away.
All this went into the patchwork, yay !!!! The downside is that as of now, I will never ever throw away a piece of cotton which could possibly go into any future patchwork :o)
And yes, it is official, my living room is not big enough!

But back to the bed cover: once everything was assembled, I only quilted in vertical stripes to attach all three layers and then sewed the hem. I was quite overhelmed by the size of the thing because let's be honest, I only sew for myself, and all my clothes are rather small so manipulating 2m of fabric around my sewing machine was a challenge for me.

At first I only wanted to fill half of the stripes, but when I saw the result, I decided all of them need to be quilted which was a good one but meant I had to spend almost one more week-end finishing the quilting.

Being a total beginner, I tried to vary the patterns as much as possible, some being rather easy, or close to the border so much easier to manipulate the fabric and do the pattern, some were just long and complicated. Again: I am not used to such amounts of fabric around me and I only have a standard sewing machine, no walking foot or any other quilting perks.

Final verdict: I am extremely happy I finished it and very satisfied with the result. The cover fills perfectly its role (now I only need to sew a cushion cover to go with it :o), I really like the colour combination and I learned a lot about quilting and patchworks.

Here you can see how my guest/piano room looks like right now.

And one last - as with every thingI sew, my BF asked me to put it on so he can take photos of it :o)

Monday, 3 July 2017

Back to Basics Again

It was really fun sewing the jumpsuits, but let's be honest, they will only be worn on vacation and very hot week-ends, while I have an office job and desperately need some basics.
Last year, I had a flowery period and sewed a bunch of coloured dresses which are nice but again, not what I would be wearing every day to work. Our office is quite open-minded and you can see pretty much everything from suits to sneakers, but I like to keep things simple. To be honest, what I do wear most are dresses from black fabric with some motive or simple uni ones.

So on this year's wishlist a few models of interesting cuts which are best seen on one-coloured fabrics. And here is the last one, so far.

I cannot believe that I bought this fabric this year and it got sewn in like - two months. It is an incredibly soft cotton-silk which is probably suitable to much finer or drapier garments. Nevertheless, I liked the colour and could not resist the softness so I decided to sew a simple dress from it.

This is a pattern from an old Burda - 126 from May 2013, which is a number I have already sewn a few things from. Sometimes the magic just works with Burda! Actually, I have already sewn this particular dress as well - in some white broderie anglaise.

In order to get some body for my dress I interfaced it with silk organza and lined with some dark green silk - a woman needs some luxury in life. I think it worked rather well, or more precisely, without the organza, the dress would end up a fiasco.

It was a rather quick make, even though the armscyes are sewn by hand, there is an invisible zip and for most little finishing touches I always prefer to do it by hand.
I am quite hesitating whether or not try to shop for some black lace to decorate the waist or whether keep it as it and accessorize, if needed.

Yes, I know, it is a simple dress, but it will work very well for work, meaning, it will get worn and this is what counts.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Kay Unger Never Disappoints

I must admit, I just love Kay Unger's offer on Vogue patterns. I do not know this designer outside of Vogue world, but anytime I am looking for a nice somehow interesting fitted dress, I always end up choosing one of her models. In the past I bought a few of them but they are still waiting for the "right occasion".... hmmm... It is also true that sometimes I am little bit intimidated by them - which was typically the case by this pattern - V1432 - I totally loved the look, I wanted to sew it as a summer dress in linen, but I thought it would take too much time, concentration etc so that many other projects got ahead of it.

However, in my summer-dress-sewing-phase this year, I dag the pattern again (knowing I already had the fabric and everything) and I went for it. My sewing tactics of preparing the muslin and cutting out everything during the week evenings and really sewing during the week-end worked magic again. I started sewing early on Saturday and by Sunday evening the dress was finished - in the end it felt even too quick.
Of course, I did sew a muslin - the pattern is just too complicated in the bust area where I usually make most of my adjustments, and I was right. I think that I had to take 5-6 cm from the shoulders, however, almost no modification on the bottom of the dress.

I used this beautiful dark-blue linen which was really great, it pressed amazingly well and obeyed perfectly. Of course, the upper part of the dress is completely interfaced (very light interfacing, but totally necessary, knowing that linen stretched too easily and all the pieces were cut either on bias or on curves).
Also, I took time to stay-stitch all the seams, which took ages but I thing it was definitely worth it.

And once the upper part was ready, the rest of the dress was a piece of cake and went together pretty quickly.

The morality of the story: do not get intimidated by what seems like long projects, the result is totally worth it and I loooove this dress. It is just the perfect summer work dress: simple, unicolour, but somehow very interesting.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Orange is the New Black

I am very proud of myself as for once I am sewing the things from my wishlist. I think this dress was on that list for like two years, maybe even more, as I own the Burda with this model since I started sewing 3 years ago.

It is a simple shift dress with interesting inserts (therefore a simple one-colour fabric) and little decoration just for the fun. I really love how these cute details completely change the dress, while keeping it simple still. The model is n° 117 from June 2013. People might not like Burda, but honestly, there are real jewels in this magazine.

All the fitting is done thanks to the inserts, so the fitting changes can be a challenge. Fortunately, my Burda adaptations are always more focused on the shoulder area, and on the general lengths of the dress, which was totally doable.

I used some dark orange linen bought last year during sales period. I only had about a meter but that was all what was needed. I was hesitating about the lining. Black would be the obvious option, but then I discovered this flowery silk lining in my stash which fits perfectly with the orange and that was it. There was no way I would add black lining once I saw the colour combination. And it is my little secret in this dress.

Sewing with linen, I was very careful when ironing and stabilized properly all curves, I have now learned my lessons :o) Also many seams were catch-stitched, just in case.

As for the decorative top-stitching, I had originally bought dark brown embroidery floss, but in the end, I went back to pick up something clearer. And I do not regret.

To be honest, the end result is much better than what I have expected, the fit is OK, the colour nice and the little top-stitching is just what had to be added.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Another Jumpsuit?

Upps, I did it again.... Actually, I really liked my first jumpsuit and jumped immediately in another jumpsuit project. 

I do not have much viscose in my stock, as I do not sew from it much (and there is a good reason for that). However, I bought this full red viscose back with little whte triangles in 2014, I think it comes from the first batch of fabrics, I actually took it because it cost only 3eur/3m telling myself that it would work for muslins. What a crazy idea, but I was young and inexperienced then... Of course, the fabric got never used for muslins and slept in my stock, so I decided to use it for this rather funny project.
I am not used to sewing with viscose and honestly, after these 2 project, will definitely not do it again, so I am very careful not to buy it anymore. Both viscoses are very soft on touch and extremely comfortable on the skin, no issues with that. But sewing them is a nightmare, the fabric was moving in all the directions, it did not want to go under the machine and I had to be very careful not to stretch it. Stabilizing became my favorite verb - I put vliseline everywhere - around pockets and around all the openings. It paid! All the time I was screaming: "please give me some silk mousseline to work with!!!!". Really, what is the point of putting the effort and ending up with a viscose piece of clothing when you can put in the same amount of pain and effort and end up with a splendid silk garment. Just a question...

Coming back to my jumpsuit.
The pattern is 124 from Burda 04/2016, I omitted the waistband and the back zipper and put in an elastic in the middle. I changed the back opening to 2 hooks and eyes instead of the laces - with long hairs it is much less fussy. And of course, I sewed a short version, an pockets - yes I have pockets.

Sorry for the overexposed pictures, but it was too nice not to go out for the pics. 
As for my previous jumpsuit, this one is also a success and will make a cute piece for holiday season.

And promised, this is the last jumpsuit of this season, I am starting my dress serie now.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Where is the World Going?

America voted for Trump, Britain to leave the EU, the French had an extreme right candidate in the presidential run off and I made a jumpsuit! And I am really considering wearing it.
Ok, I know these are not very comparable, but the French presidential elections were rather stressful for myself, being an EU citizen living in France, an election of Marine would have serious impact on me staying or not staying in France in the future.

So while watching the "Grand débat"- big discussion between the 2 candidates which was extremely hard to follow, I needed a project to occupy my hands. And while my sewing queue is full of little dresses in order to prepare summer (in case we have some this year), I decided to sew up a jumpsuit. Yes, you hear me well, I sewed a jumpsuit.

Just to explain little bit: for me jumpsuit is like wearing pyjamas outside and even though I have seen cute and very elegant ones (on real people, not in the fashion magazine), I was rather skeptical. Also: how much time do you need to spent at the toilet taking it off and on again?

Anyhow, I bought the May Burda (looking into my archives I buy May Burda every year, there must be something about it then) which featured 2 jumpsuits again, one for standard and one for plus sizes. Started thinking, looked into the previous Burda magazines which ALSO feature jumpsuits (is it like: February - carnaval, September - dirndls, May - jumpsuits - go figure...) and found my favourite.

So mine is a model 129 from May 2013, with a simplified bottom from this year May Burda. I was rather surprised by how little adjustments were needed. Basically I only shortened the length of trousers and closed the cleavage by 2cm on each side.
I found this blue/turquoise viscose in my stash. It was originally bought for some homewear/pyjamas. I tried to sew a shirt from it two years ago which was a pretty bad idea: the fabric is slippery and stretches very easily. For the jumpsuit I interfaced the front diagonals, as well as pocket openings, I also staystitched the sleeve curves and it worked magic.

I did not put any pressure on myself, this was supposed to be more of a wearable muslin, if it turned well. And actually I kind of like it. It looked fine already without sleeves, but eventually, I decided to set them as well, any protection of my shoulders against the sun is always welcomed.

The end result is pretty good: it is comfortable, the viscose is very light and feels nice against the skin, it has pockets and the colours suit me well. I put a little snap to keep the cleavage closed, just in case.

The worst thing: I am actually thinking of sewing another one, as I have another piece of viscose in my stash I do not know what to do with it :o)

Sunday, 14 May 2017

I Made a Jacket!

Or a blazer ... whatever... it is tailored, lined and fits!
While I am very confident in sewing and fitting dresses, the jacket/coat thing has always been a little mystery for me. I had tried sewing a spring coat 2 years ago but without much success, the whole thing ended up being thrown away. So this time I decided to do things right. I was offered 3 sewing courses by my dear BF which did not have a specific topic. You just came with your project and asked as many questions as necessary. Of course, all this meant I had to be sewing in between the courses to bring my jacket-work-in-progress at the right time: fitting the muslin, inserting sleeves, inserting the lining. I was under pressure and sewed till the late hours several times but it was definitely worth it.

So here it is: my very first jacket, from Burda 103-04/2014, a model with detailed instructions in the magazine. I used some cotton-linen, as this should be a summer light jacket, lined with black silk. The fashion fabric behaved very well, I also interfaced the whole front which helps avoid some linen-creasing. The lining is probably too light so was not so easy to sew. However, once in, there is nothing to say.

In general I am very happy with the jacket: maybe the fit around the shoulders could have been a little tighter, but on the other hand it feels really comfortable like that.

A few details:

So what did I learn during my lessons: I need to be more precise when sewing this kind of things and pay attention to the markings - one of the teachers kindly requested I resew my sleeve and she was totally right.
Jacket is no longer an issue, I am actually planning to sew another one, on my own now :o)