F2F: September blocks

Sometimes you make something and just know that what you made is good, that it works. That’s what happened to me when I made Sue’s blocks. Her colour scheme was white, black and a bright colour of our choice. These blocks were a joy to create, they made me happy, they put a smile on my face when I looked at them. They belong together. I love them so much that my boyfriend asked me several times whether I wouldn’t regret mailing them off to someone I never even met in person. I do somewhat.

Next to eachother on my design wall.

Next to eachother on my design wall.

What I love about these blocks is that they look modern and vibrant. I believe I managed to dose the bright colours enough to make them pop. I love these blocks even more when they are put next to each other as I think they truly are a set.

I started by picking three bright colours that I liked together and combined them with several white, black and white/black fabrics.

For my first block I was inspired by this string pincushion from V&Co and the fractured quilt from the book Quilting Modern by Katie Pedersen and Jacquie Gering, two quilters that I greatly admire. Katie mostly for her use of colour and Jacquie for her bold, well thought out designs.

Fractured Quilt from Quilting Modern by Katie Pedersen and Jacqui Gehring.

Fractured Quilt picture taken from “Quilting Modern” by Jacquie Gering and Katie Pedersen.

To me the wonkiness in this block results in a suggestion of movement. It was foundation paper pieced and I took pictures while I constructed it, so if anyone is interested I could do a quick tutorial.

F2F_September1For my second block I was inspired by a mini quilt from the book Scrap Quilt Sensation by Katharine Guerrier, although I decided to not make my block wonky.

Picture taken from

Picture taken from “Scrap Quilt Sensation” by Katharine Guerrier.

I created four log cabins that were connected by a single cross and then sashed these in more white. The white (and some of the black) fabrics read like solids from a distance, but when you get closer you’ll see that they’re very subtle prints.

F2F_September2For my third block I thought it would be nice to incorporate details from the other two blocks to create a coherent set. I used the narrow strips from both blocks, the wonkiness from the first block and the log cabin from the second block. The entire block is created as a wonky log cabin, but in such a way that you can follow either the black or white strips in a spiral from the centre to the outer edge of the block like a labyrinth or maze. One of the white/black fabrics was used as black and another one was used as white to create additional interest. The yellow fabric was also used as white.

F2F_September3As always, the blocks created by the other participants can be viewed on the F2F page.

Completed: Julia Women’s Cardigan and Lady Skater T-shirt

Julia Women's CardiganNot one, but two finished garments today! For reasons of picture taking efficiency I’m modelling them together.

Julia Women's CardiganFirst, the Julia Women’s cardigan from Mouse House Creations. I bought this pattern ages ago but never got around to actually using it until this week. I could use a new cardigan or two this autumn since some of my older ones are getting a bit too worn and this pattern looked like it would be quick and easy.

Julia Women's cardiganThe PDF was fairly straightforward to assemble, I liked that the details that are different for the various sleeve lengths were indicated in colour. The sewing instructions were clear. I chose the variation with long sleeves and the doubled over collar. I made size M at the top and graded to size L at the bottom to ensure that it wouldn’t be too clingy around my hips.

Julia Women's CardiganThe fabrics are viscose knits from my stash. I didn’t have enough left of either colour to make the entire cardigan so decided to make the collar in a contrast colour. I quite like how it turned out and think it will get much wear this autumn and possibly winter as well.

Julia Women's CardiganThings I consider changing next time:

  • Slimming down the sleeves, I find them quite wide at the bottom.
  • There are some draglines in the sleeve at my front upper arm, I’d like to fix this.
  • I’m not entirely sure about the back length, a little bit longer might look better on my figure?

Lady Skater t-shirt

Second, another Lady Skater t-shirt, pattern based on the Lady Skater dress from Kitschy Coo. If you ever wondered what happened to the ridiculous drawstring-detail drape top after I applied my rotary cutter to it, this t-shirt happened. I could cut the back of the t-shirt from the top’s back, keeping the center back seam. The front of the t-shirt and one of the sleeves fit on the drapey front. The second sleeve couldn’t be cut from the drape top and while I did have more of the grey fabric left, I chose to make it pink. Pink is not one of my favourite colours but I like it in small doses. The neckband was cut from black ribbing left over from the Indigo sweater.

Lady Skater t-shirtI think this t-shirt is a lot more wearable than the drawstring top ever was.



F2F: August blocks

In August it was Susan’s turn and her colour choices were white/blue, white/red or a combination of both. I opted for two white/blue and one white/red block. Finding blue fabrics in my stash is no problem, I love blue. However, I don’t use red very often as I find it can easily dominate over other colours in a quilt and as a result I don’t have a lot of reds in my stash.

For my first block I started by making flying geese units and sewed them into three strips with alternating light and dark blue triangles. The strips were pieced together to make a block and white fabric was added around it to create an off-set look.

August F2F block 1For my second block I pieced some light and dark blue fabrics into short strips and started playing on my design wall. This is the layout that I came up with and I added white fabric to fill in the gaps between the strips and the edges. It reminds me of a windmill. This is my favourite of the three.

August F2F block 2I was starting to run out of time, so for my last block I decided to do another log cabin as these are fairly quick to assemble. Instead of a wonky one I made a rectangular log cabin in a square, if that makes any sense? I think it is quite striking.

August F2F block 3

The blocks that were made by the other participants can be found on the F2F page, scroll down until you reach August.

Completed: Drape drape drawstring-detail drape top

Drape topThe day my brother took pictures of me wearing the Indigo sweater, he also took pictures of another top. I must have been in a quirky pattern shape phase the week I made both garments. This top is the drawstring-detail drape top (pattern no. 12) from drape drape, a Japanese pattern book by Hisako Sato. The top only has 2 pattern pieces, and I think these could even be turned into 1 piece since the center back seam is completely straight.

The pattern lay-out certainly looks interesting don't you think?

The pattern pieces certainly look interesting don’t you think?

The draping at the front is created by folding the fabric back up to create the front hemline. There is a tunnel right below the right shoulder through which I threaded a ribbon instead of a self-fabric drawstring.

150903_drape4While 10 out of 10 people present (including me) agreed the Indigo sweater is a good look for me, 10 out of 10 people agreed that this top is ridiculous.

drape top side view

Uhhh, no, I couldn’t be bothered to press this top before taking pictures…

The size range for the patterns in drape drape is very limited. My bust (88 cm) is in between the L and XL sizes, while my waist and hips are already out of the size range and I consider myself very average sized for a Dutch woman. For this top there is only one pattern for all sizes and it is huge, so I can only imagine what it would look like on someone who is size S (78 cm bust)…

Yes, it really is that large...

Yes, it really is that large…

One of the problems is that the hem appears to hit me right at the widest part of my hips, which is not a particularly flattering look. I also suspect that I should have used a much drapier knit instead of Laguna jersey.

drape topMy sisters suggested I could hide a full-term pregnancy in this top and they are probably right. One of them was even so helpful to suggest I gift this top to a pregnant friend to use as maternity wear.

Dear pregnant friends and family members: you needn’t worry. There is no way this monstrosity will ever be bestowed upon you.

no more drape

Completed: LMV Indigo sweater – not just for teenagers

I suppose I was 12.... 18 years ago.

I suppose I was 12…. 18 years ago.

Meet my new favourite sweater. The Indigo sweater from the July/August 2015 issue of La Maison Victor, a Flemish sewing magazine. I didn’t know this magazine existed until my co-workers gave me this issue for my birthday. When I saw the shapes of the pattern pieces for this sweater I was sold.

Indigo Sweater pattern pieces.

Indigo sweater pattern pieces.

It is a guest-pattern by Valerie Boone, author of Remi & Cosette for teens, a book with sewing patterns for teenagers. The Indigo sweater pattern is also featured in this book. Since it was designed for teenagers the size range is, unfortunately, rather limited. I made the largest size, 36, which corresponds to a 88 cm bust. This sweater has no side seams, the only shaping comes from the princess seams on the front. The front and back pieces are sewn together in one continuous seam, which even includes the pockets. The sleeve seam is not on the bottom of the sleeve but is sewn continuously with the shoulder seam. I think the whole construction is quite ingenious.

Indigo sweater backI made a muslin and one of the first things I did was to sew the pockets closed. I really like them in theory, but on a person with hips I thought they added too much emphasis on said hips. I moved the shoulder seam forward by 1.5 cm and also shifted this seam on the sleeve since shoulder and sleeve are sewn together. The sweater length was reduced by 2 cm at the waist.

Adjusted pattern. Pockets removed. Shoulder seam moved 1.5 cm forward. Reduced length 2 cm.

Adjusted pattern. Pockets removed. Shoulder and sleeve seam moved 1.5 cm forward. Reduced length 2 cm.

The fashion fabric is a mystery knit that came from the stash of a friend’s mother. She decided that she wasn’t going to sew anymore and wanted to get rid of the fabric she still had, lucky me. I thought it might not be opaque enough on its own and feel scratchy against my skin so I decided to underline it with black laguna jersey. To do this, I cut all pattern pieces twice, layered underlining and fashion fabric on top of each other, pinned so that nothing would shift and then stitched with a wide zigzag stitch around all edges. This basically turns the two layers into one which is much easier during construction later on.

underliningThe seams were stitched with a narrow zig zag stitch using my walking foot. Instead of pressing the seam allowances to one side as instructed, I pressed them open because I found the 4 layers of fabric too bulky otherwise. The neckline and sleeves are finished with black ribbing. The bottom hem should also have been finished with ribbing, but I did an invisible hand sewn hem instead. When I was testing fit during construction I already liked it a lot without the ribbing and I realized that I don’t really like the ribbing on the hoodies that I occasionally wear so decided to skip it. One of my co-workers gave me some tags to use for my handmade items and I sewed one to the interlining of the back.

150826_tagThe downside of the fabric I used is that it completely hides the interesting seam lines, unless I wear it inside out…

Indigo sweater insidesNow all I have to do is wait for cooler weather so I can actually start wearing this sweater…


All outside pictures were taken by my brother who I should probably turn into my official blog photographer because he only took a couple and nearly all of them turned out great.

F2F: July blocks

This month was Annett’s turn and she chose orange, turquoise and green with a white background. I struggled a bit this time. I tried several ideas but didn’t like how they turned out while it took quite a bit of time to make them. These experiments, unfortunately, also ate up most of my white fabric so I had to throw in some off-white instead because I had no time left to get more. It made me realise that I don’t work with white very often; I only had 1 fat quarter in my stash. This has been remedied now as the next two months also require white.

failed experiments

Some of the things I made and ended up not using. Perhaps they’ll make another appearance later in the year in someone else’s block?

Anyway, eventually I managed to produce 3 blocks that I like and they were sent off only a couple of days late.

The first is a wonky log cabin, the simplicity of this shape and the asymmetry really attracts me.


At least I managed to use two of the diamond strips in the second block that I made. I really love these strips (and the point matching on these turned out pretty awesome if I may say so myself), but when too many of them were put together it just didn’t work for me.


The last block was started by playing with the left-overs from the other two blocks and turning them into narrow strips bordered by white. I quite like the abstract art feeling of this block. The orange border was a happy accident, it was originally not planned but I didn’t have enough white fabric left to make the block 12.5” x 12.5”. I think the block would have had less visual impact without the additional orange.


The blocks made by the other participants can be found on the F2F page.

Completed: BHL Anna dress

Anna dress frontThere seem to be a lot of weddings in my life right now and when you don’t want to buy any new clothes this means some sewing is in order. For the summer weddings this year I chose the Anna dress from By Hand London. I made size 8/12 at the bust grading to size 10/14 at the waist. For the front bodice piece this gave me a bit of a headache because of the way the different sizes are printed for this pattern piece. Getting it right meant I had to move the pattern piece a couple of times while I was tracing it.

150817_dressdetail1The fabric is a Robert Kaufmann cotton chambray; I like how soft it feels against the skin. The dress is unlined and all hems are hand stitched because I prefer how this looks over a topstitched hem. A hand stitched hem is also suppler than one that is topstitched. The seams on the inside are finished with a 3-thread overlock stitch. The dress closes with an invisible zipper and hook and eye in the center back seam.

Anna dress insidesI am pretty happy with the fit at the front, although there does appear to bit of gaping at the front neckline. The shoulder seams were moved forward, a modification I make on nearly every garment.

Anna dress sideThe fit at the back is not so great. The back neckline was way too large (I think it is on everyone who makes this dress) and I used this method to remove the excess. The back waist seam was raised. I also felt the skirt was too wide at the back and it fell in some weird folds. I simply removed it by taking the skirt in at the three seams at the back but I don’t think this was entirely successful. This dress was sewn in the hottest week we’ve had this year at the end of June, start of July and I fear this made me somewhat less meticulous than I otherwise would have been. At some point I was ready to use the half-completed dress to mop up the sweat on my forehead…

150817_dressbackIt’s been years since I wore a dress with a center back zipper and I now realise that I hate them. I am not a contortionist and I really prefer to be able to dress and undress myself without pulling a muscle. From now on I’ll avoid center back zippers like the plague or move the zipper to the side seam if that is possible.

Hand stitched narrow hem. I love how it is nearly invisible.

Hand stitched narrow hem. I love how it is nearly invisible.

I thought the dress was a bit plain when I first put it on and I think I actually prefer wearing it with a belt.

Anna dress with beltI’ve already worn this dress to two weddings this summer and have another one coming up soon. Since all three have a completely different set of guests I don’t mind wearing the same dress again.

From now on I expect to be able to post more regularly because I turned in my thesis last week. There will be more time for sewing and I’ve already completed two more garments! One I really love and one utter failure. Pictures have already been taken and both will hopefully be featured soon.

Anna dress

Let’s see what happens when I stand on this random piece of concrete…