A year without buying clothes & giveaway

The last time I bought a piece of clothing that wasn’t underwear or socks was June 8 2013, meaning that I haven’t bought any RTW for over a year now! This seems a good reason for some reflections and a little celebration!

Dresses made during RTW fastWas it difficult? No, not at all, but then, I never liked shopping for clothes. I didn’t even realise it had been that long until I signed up for the RTW fast in December. I am definitely going to continue not buying anything this year because it has been a lot of fun so far.

Since posting my original sewing challenge post I have made 2 dresses (here & here), 2 skirts (here & here), 2 t-shirts (here & here) and a scarf for myself that all get worn quite regularly. The scarf is a real bonus because I have learned how to crochet while I didn’t plan on learning that. It does offer some new opportunities for making cardigans and sweaters once I get better at it.

140621_skirtsI’ve reached my goal of sewing 2 casual skirts and 2 casual dresses, I do want more though! I especially like wearing the skirt that has a button front placket. Also, would it be really strange to make another Lady Skater dress or should I venture out to other patterns? The 2 t-shirts get worn almost as soon as they are dry after having been washed so those are definitely a success and I probably wear them too often…. I really need more of those.

140621_t-shirtsIt does still leave me with a long list of garments that I need to make to achieve a proper basic self-made wardrobe. I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know that I have almost finished the 1 item that I listed as being quite urgent… When that is finished I intend to tackle jeans. Yes, jeans! Sewbusylizzy is hosting a jeans in June and July challenge and I’ve decided to join in. I’ve unearthed the pair of jeans that I had started to copy using Kenneth Kings method. A real bonus of finishing that process will be that I can finally start wearing that pair again…

140621_scarfBesides not buying any RTW I’ve also recently passed the 50 post milestone on this blog. My goals when starting out were to blog at least once a week and to post at least one tutorial each month. I believe most of my posts were less than 7 days apart except for a couple of crazy weeks so I’ll call that a success and I intend to continue in this way. Anyway, I’m not going to lose any sleep because “I need to post something”. In the almost 10 months that I’ve been blogging I wrote 7 tutorials so less than intended. This is mostly because my work has been really busy in 2014 (finishing up your PhD apparently tends to be) so I didn’t have as much time and energy for sewing as I would have liked. Tutorials are the first to suffer because they take a lot of time to put together. Hopefully I’ll get another tutorial ready soon because I enjoy making them and based on my blog stats I think the ones that I have made so far are being used quite often.

Perhaps I should give it a press before I continue...

Perhaps I should give it a press before I continue…

Some random facts and figures:

Over 200 people are following my blog, either via wordpress, email or bloglovin and only a small number is biologically related to me.

I find photography a necessary evil of blogging. I take pictures because a “hey I made a dress” post doesn’t really work that well without pictures of the finished item but don’t expect dashing photo-shoots from me anytime soon. It’s just not something that I enjoy doing so I am usually satisfied after 5 minutes of trying to take the perfect picture.

I think blogging has improved my productivity because I am eager to show new finished items and am therefore more likely to just finish what I am working on instead of starting something new when I reach a boring part. My UFO pile has definitely shrunken in size!

I have found new blogs and interesting people to connect with that I am not sure I would have found without my blog and this has been a very enjoyable experience. I do like the interaction with other bloggers.

Now onto the celebration!

Giveaway to celebrate the joy of sewing my own clothes

Knipmode July 2014 issue

Knipmode July 2014 issue. On the right the line drawings for the patterns in this issue. If you click on the picture you can see a larger version.

Since so many of my lovely readers are from abroad and also into garment sewing I thought it fun to present you with a giveaway prize that is not so easy to get when you’re not in the Netherlands (it’s not impossible though). The most recent issue of Knipmode! It’s a sewing magazine that I use often. It offers multi sized patterns that have to be traced before you can use them. I don’t think this is difficult because the different patterns are drawn in different colours and the different sizes are drawn in different line styles. Seam allowances are not included in the patterns, as is the case for most European patterns, so you’ll have to add those yourself. Instructions are in Dutch, but I know there are non-Dutch speaking sewers that use this magazine successfully and if you’re still baffled after trying Google translate I am willing to be your personal helpdesk. I own the same issue so in theory I should be able to help you (no guarantees though!).

Some of the dress patterns that I like in this Knipmode issue.

Some of the dress patterns that I like in this Knipmode issue.

Most patterns are drafted for bust size 83 to 107 cm (33 to 43 inches) but there are also several patterns for bust size 107 to 137 cm (43 to 68 inches). This particular issue offers a lot of dress patterns and also some tops, trousers and skirts, some of which I really like the look of. Somehow they also always manage to include at least one pattern that I really don’t get…

And then there is this dress... I'm lost for words.

And then there is this dress… I’m lost for words.

Giveaway rules:

  1. Giveaway is open internationally.
  2. To enter leave a comment that clearly states you wish to enter the giveaway. If you comment but don’t state that you want to enter I will assume you are not interested in the magazine.
  3. You can enter until Saturday June 28th, 20.00h UTC+1.
  4. Only 1 entry per person.
  5. Friends and family are allowed to enter.
  6. Prize drawing will be performed by my boyfriend.
  7. Results are incontestable.
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Completed: Sunnyside baby quilt & giveaway

I finished my first quilt of 2014. It was made for the newborn son of one of my friends. She’s the first of my high school and university friends to have a baby so it was a very special occasion.

Sunnyside quilt frontI used Kate Spain’s Sunnyside collection for Moda. This fabric makes me happy (even though there are clouds and raindrops featured on some of the fabrics!) and I think it’s perfect for a baby quilt so I bought a fat quarter bundle. Note to future self: When you want to use a whole fabric collection to make one baby quilt, it might be better to get a layer cake instead since a fat quarter bundle featuring 40 fabrics amounts to 10 yards of fabric which is enough to make at least 4 quilt tops…  Just saying…

The finished quilt measures 35’’ x 47 ¼’’ (90 x 120 cm). I wanted this to be a relatively quick make and didn’t want to do any seam matching while piecing. For the front I cut 6.5’’ x 8.5’’ rectangles that were assembled in alternating columns of 5 or 6 pieces. The top and bottom of the columns with 5 pieces were filled up with 6.5’’ x 4.5’’ rectangles.

floral fabrics SunnysideI didn’t use all of the fabrics in the collection. There are a couple that are a bit on the floral side that I think are too girly for a boy’s quilt. I tried to include the two blue fabrics on the bottom row in the picture but on their own they looked out of place so I decided to duplicate some of the other fabrics instead.

At first I wasn’t sure what to do with the back. I considered using a solid with some blocks of the Sunnyside collection pieced in. The problem with this idea was that I didn’t have enough of a solid fabric in my stash that really works with this collection and there are no quilt shops in Leiden so buying something new would either mean going to another city or buy online. The risk of the latter being that the colour I pick might not work with the collection after all when I get it. Since I had a lot of fabric left over from making the top I simply cut 6’’ strips of varying length and assembled these in rows.

Sunnyside quilt backFor the quilting I wanted to stay in theme with the fabric and did a huge sun with sunrays in an orange variegated thread using my walking foot. The rays turned out pretty straight but the sun is a bit wobbly/wonky in some of the circles. I probably wanted to go too fast. In the centre of the sun I quilted the boy’s initial, I like this detail.

Sunnyside quiltFor the binding I had the same issue of not knowing which solid would work well. I realised that the fabrics that I could be certain would work were the ones that were already in the quilt. I searched Dutch online fabric stores and could find only 1 fabric from this collection for sale in the whole of the Netherlands and that’s the one I ended up using. The binding was handsewn to the quilt and I think this process took longer than the piecing of the front and back of the quilt. I love the look of a handsewn binding so I suppose it’s worth the time and effort.

Sunnyside quilt handsewn binding

Giveaway has closed!

Unsurprisingly, I still have quite a bit of fabric left over from my fat quarter bundle so I thought it would be fun to share some of it with one of my lovely readers. I cut pieces that measure at least 6’’x12’’ of each fabric from the collection.  Most are more generous. This is enough fabric to create a decent sized quilt top. I leave it up to the winner to cut it up into squares, rectangles, triangles, hexagons or whatever else takes their fancy.

Sunnyside giveaway

This could be yours!

Rules:

  • Giveaway is open internationally.
  • To enter leave a comment that clearly states that you wish to enter the giveaway. If you just comment “hey, I like your quilt” I will assume you are not interested in the fabric.
  • You can enter until Wednesday March 5th, 20.00h UTC +1.
  • Only 1 entry per person.
  • Friends and family are allowed to enter.
  • Prize drawing will be performed by my boyfriend.
  • Results are incontestable

140301_Sunnysidequilt_folded