Completed: Two Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono Tees

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Yes, there are alpacas on my t-shirt! We’ve been experiencing some uncharacteristically good weather for the past month or so and with it came the desire for some fresh new t-shirts.

I downloaded Maria Denmarks Kirsten kimono tee pattern in early 2013 (I just saw that there was a pattern update in September 2013 but I used the earlier version which apparently has a slightly different sizing). You can get the pattern for free by signing up for her newsletter.

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I believe I finally printed and assembled the pattern sometime in 2015 but somehow never got around to actually making it. During my recent sewing room clean up it turned up again and it was just what I needed.

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I made a size S without alterations and I am happy with how it fits. For my first version I used a solid rayon knit fabric that I still had in my stash to test fit and the alpaca version is a cotton knit fabric I found in a local fabric store. I really like the background colour. The alpacas are not really what I would ordinarily choose to wear, but I quite like them too.

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The top only requires 75cm of fabric and I can make one in 1.5 hour or so using my overlocker and coverstitch machines. If the good weather continues I may end up sewing another one!

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Completed: A wedding jacket

When my husband and I got married two years ago I knew I wanted to make some things for the wedding. I considered sewing my own wedding dress, for about 5 seconds. With all the other things going on in my life at the time, sewing a wedding dress had the potential to become a bit too stressful.

We had chosen a dark fuchsia colour for our wedding and this was featured on our invitation, a belt on my dress, my jacket, my husband’s tie and the corsages for the wedding party.

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Picture take by our wedding photographer Rita van de Poel.

 

I debated for long time whether I wanted a white dress because white is not the best colour for me to wear and I don’t really care about these kinds of traditions anyway. To both my sisters’ relief I did eventually buy a white dress but I simply had to add some colour. The dress came with a black belt that I didn’t like so it was removed and I replaced it with a dark fuchsia one. I also made a jacket because I don’t like being cold and as it turned out I wore it for most of the day.

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Picture taken by our wedding photographer Rita van de Poel.

My first attempt at a jacket didn’t work out at all (imagine the stress if this would have been my dress!), so I switched to the cropped version of By Hand London’s Victoria blazer that I had made once before (but unblogged). I removed some of the fullness in the back as I found it stood out quite a bit on my first version. I also moved the shoulder seams forward and made some small changes to the sleeves. I used the collar but left off the lapel.

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Construction wise I changed a whole lot of things. The entire jacket is underlined in silk organza. The seam allowances were catch stitched to the silk organza so they remain flat. Sadly, I don’t think I made any in progress pictures of this step. I also created facings and a separate lining pattern. The lining was attached by hand.

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For the lining I originally intended to use a white Bemberg rayon, but I found it was a bit too sheer as you could see all the seam allowances (and catch stitches) through it, which for a skirt lining would have been fine, but not for a jacket where the lining can be on display while you’re wearing it. I found a pretty wild fabric that had some of the fuchsia colour in it and used that, I like how it added even more colour to my outfit.

We had a great wedding day and after two years we still can’t help but smile when we bring back memories of this day.

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Because I know some of you will be curious about the dress without the jacket. Picture taken by our wedding photographer Rita van de Poel.

Completed: Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

180527_1We are having some warm weather and I wore my first (unblogged) Sewaholic Belcarra blouse this week. It made me realize that I would like to have another one because the loose fit makes it very comfortable to wear when it’s hot. Because I had already made this top once before the construction was quite straightforward and I was able to complete it in a weekend.

For my first version I had made a muslin (size 8) and on my traced pattern moved the shoulder seam forward, which is a standard adjustment for me, and made a horizontal slice above the bust to drop the front a bit to reduce draglines.

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Because the shoulder seams have a curve I folded the front sleeve to remove some width and sliced through the back sleeve to add the amount that I removed from the front.

The fabric is the sacred seeds Mojave fabric from April Rhodes Wanderer collection for ArtGallery. I really like this colour and the subtle V-shape pattern. It’s a colour I don’t wear often so it also adds a bit of variation to my (very blue) wardrobe.

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The wide neckline is also not something I wear often, I considered narrowing it, but after trying on the muslin I decided that I could live with the occasional bra strap peeking out. If you can’t, there is a tutorial on the Sewaholic blog on how to narrow it.

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The blouse was sewn on my sewing machine and the seam allowances were finished with my overlocker. I did have one mishap when I overlocked the seam of one of the front sleeves as I caught some of the sleeve fabric. Luckily I hadn’t yet overlocked the seam of the front so I could easily remove the sleeve, cut a new one and continue. I do feel so stupid when this happens.

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I am not the only one this happens to, right?

 

The only real downside to these tops is that they really need to be ironed before I can wear them and even then I don’t get them completely wrinkle free, but that’s probably mostly due to my ironing skills…

Completed: Maternity t-shirts

Having experienced over 8 months of pregnancy so far, I can safely conclude that I don’t like it. I am looking forward to holding and seeing this little human that is growing inside me, but wish the growing inside me part didn’t have to happen first. If only I were a bird, or a man. My husband might argue that being married to a pregnant woman is not easy either but I don’t see him willing to trade with me right now. Especially with that whole giving birth part of pregnancy looming on the horizon.

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Funnily enough, I don’t think I look all that pregnant in these pictures.

During the moments I didn’t feel too crappy I managed to do some sewing but not that much. My sewing machine hasn’t been neglected this much since I first got it! Today I thought I’d show you some maternity wear. Actually, I’ll show you the only maternity wear I made…

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From the side though, there’s no mistaking what’s going on in there!

When my belly started to expand a bit too much to still fit comfortably in my regular wardrobe I adapted a t-shirt pattern hoping that I could use it to sew some t-shirts/sweaters that would last me through the rest of my pregnancy. I believe I was 24 or 25 weeks pregnant at the time (it took a while before I grew huge). I used the t-shirt pattern from Meg McElwee’s Sewing with knits Craftsy class. I made two t-shirts from this pattern years ago and at 25 weeks I was still wearing these although they started to get a bit short in the front. The fit of this pattern is a bit looser than the other t-shirts I made for myself which made it more suitable for an expanding body and a good starting point for a maternity shirt.

Changes made to the pattern:

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Schematic of changes (in red) made to the sewing with knits t-shirt pattern. The original pattern has shaped side seams but I found it too much trouble to incorporate this into the drawing.

  1. Added 1 inch to bottom of both front and back bodice because the rise of maternity pants is much lower than in regular pants and I wanted to keep the belly band of the pants covered.
  2. Added notches on both front and back bodice to make sure I could align the pattern pieces properly after all the changes that were later made to the front bodice only. The top notch is 18 cm from the top and the lower notch 6 cm from the bottom. I based this on how the original t-shirt fit me and took into account that I would lose some fabric in the seam and hem allowances. The area in between the notches is basically where I expected my belly to start and end at its largest, so where extra room is needed.
  3. Added 8 cm of extra length to front bodice to allow extra room for expanding belly.
  4. Added ½’’ of extra length to bust area of front bodice to allow extra room for all those additional cup sizes that you accumulate during pregnancy (it’s quite crazy, really).
  5. Graded out the sides of the front bodice to allow extra room for expanding belly. Started with nothing just below the top notch to 1 inch at widest part of belly and then straight down to the hem so in total 2 inches were added to the t-shirt circumference.
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My husband calls me turtle when I wear this t-shirt…

Construction wise the only changes that were needed were that the extra length that was added to the belly part of the front bodice was gathered to fit in between the two notches of the back bodice. The extra length at the bust was simply eased into the back by stretching the fabric between the top notch and top of the bodice as they were sewn together with my overlocker.

I managed to complete 3 t-shirts and I have pictures of 2. The third one is plain grey and I prefer to wear the ones shown here. Pictures didn’t happen until 36 weeks in a quick “let’s a least get pictures of these shirts while I’m still pregnant shoot”. I should have paid more attention when I put the shirts on, the one with 3/4 length sleeves was twisted a bit, the left side seam is oriented too much toward the front and the right side seam towards the back. Ah well, at least there are pictures…

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After more than 10 weeks of wearing these shirts regularly I can say that I am very happy with how they turned out. They are very comfortable and the changes I made to allow for expansion appear to be sufficient to also last the couple of weeks I still have left. I am glad I managed to make these shirts, I think I have worn them often enough to warrant the time spent making them and I feel much more comfortable in them than I would have been in the ready to wear shirts I tried on in stores and didn’t buy.

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Normal service will most likely not return anytime soon on this blog as it took ages to get this single blog post done… I’ll be back though, there are too many things I still wish to show you.

Completed: Sweater 3b from Knippie 5 – 2010

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A friend recently had a second child and I made a baby sweater. I wanted to try a new pattern and use a new technique to challenge myself somewhat. The sweater I chose has a neckline that is finished with a binding, but closes with snaps. This is a closure I had never made before.

160214_linedrawingThe pattern is from Knippie, a Dutch sewing magazine with patterns for children. I made sweater 3b from issue 5 of 2010. I had enough blue fabric left over from another project to make size 74. The child probably won’t fit into this sweater until autumn but I like to give something that they can wear more than once. The orange jersey was left over from an abandoned project that was cut out but never sewn. I really like how this shade of orange pops against the dark blue.

To make my life easier I decided to remove several seam lines that were only decorative in nature. For the back bodice this meant not cutting through the yoke line of the pattern piece. For the front piece it meant I had to tape the front yoke pattern piece to the right side so it became one pattern piece. This is not difficult to do but you have to be careful to line up the correct line of the yoke and front piece.

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Construction wise this was not a difficult project. All seams were overlocked and top stitching and hemming was done with my coverstitch machine. Attaching the neckline binding was fiddly and the most challenging part of the sweater. I ended up ignoring the instructions completely. I am still not entirely sure what I was supposed to do but I thought it became an annoyingly bulky affair that didn’t look pretty. Instead I took a single layer of the jersey, stitched it to the right side of the neckline with short extensions at the opening. Folded these edges to the back and stitched in place by hand. Folded the neckline to the inside and again stitched the ends in place by hand. The binding was then topstitched with my coverstitch machine.

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The instructions told me to stitch twill tape around the armholes and add applique but I ignored this as well. I like clean and simple.

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You can see how I folded the binding to the inside and stitched the ends down by hand. If you look carefully you can also see where I missed part of the binding with the coverstitch machine and remedied this with some handstitches. From the outside you can’t tell.

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.

Win!

Win!

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…

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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.