Stashbusting Stats

First off, a big thank-you to Cation Designs and EmSewCrazy for hosting the stashbusting challenges this year and for creating the monthly challenge for us to get inspired.

At the beginning of the year, I took the stashbusting sew-along challenge. I vowed to use 13 pieces of fabric from my stash this year. Here’s a recap of what I made:

I started off with fabric from over 10 years old, from when I worked at the local fabric store in high school and beginning of college. During the year I switched back and forth between old and new. For example, I got a bunch of knit fabrics at the fabric fair last year and the year before with the dream of making and selling my knit dresses. Instead, they turned into Megan Nielsen’s Briars (row 2). My sewing machine broke at the beginning of summer, so there was a bit of a lull in my sewing queue. I got some Colette pattern sewing in, went on vacation, then came back and sewed a couple of stash busting projects. But mainly my summer sewing was made from new fabrics.

A lot of nice pieces from my stash, especially those from 10 years or older, were originally intended for small projects, like camisoles or short skirts. Now that I have a love of dresses, I often feel defeated by the lovely things in my stash I can’t make any dresses with. However, I purchased a few nice blouse patterns that will likely work better with my small pieces, such as the Eucalypt and Datura.  From this experience, I have been buying more than a meter of most of my new fabrics, unless they are intended for toddler clothes, for which 1m often suffices, or if the fabric will not make it to my stash as it is intended to be sewn right away.

I sewed a few more projects than I actually blogged about, like the ones above I only posted on instagram. I also made a top for my SIL, which I didn’t take a picture of, and a jacket for my niece, which I only posted to my facebook page. I also have a few UFOs that I made with stash fabrics (sewaholic thurlow trousers, another briar, a burda top), but I don’t think I can really count them for 2013 as I will not be finishing any of them on new year’s eve. I also made a few softies out of scraps as christmas gifts, but I don’t really want to count those either.

Summary:

  • Pieces used from my old stash (~2000-2003): 3
  • Pieces used from my new stash (~2010-2012): 12
  • Exceeding my goal by 2 pieces!
  • Min points: I added fabric to my stash this year, which was not part of my original goal. My original goal was to only buy notions, linings, and interfacing as needed.

Did you reach your stashbusting goals this year?

Miss-fires of 2013


Unfortunately, it is easier to list my misses than my hits this year.  Some of it has to do with fit, and some of it has to do with sewing mishaps, and then there’s losing interest and moving on to new projects. Without further ado, here are the misses of 2013, in no particular order.

Black and White Cordova: A missed opportunity, in a way, because when I wrote this post early in the year I said I only had to add lining to the sleeves. I have yet to finish this jacket, and the more I look at the pictures the less I want to.  I don’t think it fits too well, actually.

Pink Sureau: This photo shows exactly why I hate this dress.  It bunches up around the upper bust. And you can see the bust darts come up way too high. I even held a giveaway to get rid of this pattern! I wore it only twice: to take these pictures and one day for MMM13. Someone in the comments mentioned I probably need a FBA, so I suppose I will try to master that in the new year.

copycat challenge dress: Why is this a fail, you may ask? If you read my post, then you know how much I love this dress.  Well, when I attached the skirt to the bodice, I didn’t extend the zipper into the bodice. So I am afraid to wear this dress and break the waist seam, as it is already ripping near the zipper.

Laurel contest entry: I’m not a fan of this make at all. I wore it only for the photoshoot. I tried to be all creative and shit for the Laurel challenge and by copycatting a cool, colour-blocked shift dress I found on the internet. I think the fit is a bit too loose for my liking and the block in the front makes my boobs look enormous. I was, however, super stoked at my sewing skills getting around those tricky corners.

Other (unblogged) misses include:

Redvelvet dress from Cake Patterns or as I like to call it, saggy side boobs: I was pumped for this dress from the get-go. However, the bust pleats ended up at the side of my boobs instead of in the center of them. I’m pretty sure it’s an easy fix but I just don’t feel like it… The good thing about this project is I found out my boobs are low.

The Ava dress muslin disaster: After taking the time to do a FBA, even tediously photographing the process to make my first tutorial, when I actually went to sew the muslin, it was an epic fail! I went with the larger size for my upper bust (a size 6 instead of size 4, even though it would end up being ½ inch too big), and then completely forgot about it when doing the FBA, therefore adding about 3 cm more than was necessary. I also completely forgot that most bodice darts are too high for me, so when I made the effort to make the bodice muslin (out of a slippery cheap satin, I might add), I tried it on and almost cried. So much for a last-minute New Year’s Eve dress… The only thing good about it was that I had remembered to add length to the bodice – 7 cm of length….

Skinnified Thurlow trousers: Making wide-legged trousers is not as easy as it looks. Fitted through the hips and upper thighs, and beyond that turned into a disaster. I already tried to take them in  myself, but I actually need someone to help me pin them. It’s not easy tailoring on your own!

What were your sewing misses this year? What have you learned from them?

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Top 5 Hits

Happy Holidays Everyone!

I shall be joining in on the top 5 lists for 2013. I have been experiencing a bit of a creative block as life has creeped upon me the last few months, so I haven’t really been sewing or blogging in that time. In October, I defended my thesis, then ended up having to hassle a few teachers to get my grades in by the end of the month, but missed the cut-off by a few days. I officially graduated on November 4th and went to the ceremony at the end november even though my diploma wasn’t ready, because my mom flew all the way from Canada to join in on the festivities. We had a lovely couple of weeks together hanging out, watching movies, and shopping. We even went to the infamous christmas market in Germany.

So on that happy note, I shall get into the top 5 Hits.

#5: Vogue 8651 tunic: I did not blog about it, and I did not take any pictures of it, but I made the sleeveless tunic for my sister-in-law and she wears it almost every time I see her since I made it for her birthday in August. I also made her a different tunic for her birthday last year and she wears that a lot as well. My brother-in-law tells me that she wears the things I made her ALOT, so I definitely consider this make a win.

#4: The Rebecca Taylor design dress (Vogue 1152): This dress doesn’t fit perfectly, and maybe I didn’t use the best fabric for the pattern, but I really like it anyway. I can wear it in the summer, or in the winter with leggings and a long-sleeved tshirt underneath. I am a big fan of versatility (and dresses!).

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#3: The retro-print, stash-busting Briar: This is probably my most-worn me-made make of 2013.  I absolutely love this top.  It is super comfortable and (imho) looks good too. I made two other briars in two different sleeve lengths, but I like the long-sleeved one the best because I am cold more days out of the year than not. There are also two more in my sewing queue – one for me and one for someone else. And I might just use up the rest of my knit stash for briars…

#2: Purple and green polkadot belladone: The Belladone from Deer and Doe is quite possibly my favourite pattern. Even though there are still fit issues (ahem, do a bloody FBA already, Joanne!), I love this dress! I love purple on me, and I coveted this fabric for almost half a year online before I bought it at a fraction of the cost at the bi-annual fabric fair in Leeuwarden. And don’t forget that green piping! I feel as though this garment was kind of an aha moment. It only took me 15 years to figure out that my torso is 4-6cm longer than commercial pattern bodices!

And the #1 hit of 2013: The not-so-retro dress.  It just goes to show how important a muslin is! I shall never make a fancy dress from a new pattern again without making a muslin first. This dress fits me like a glove! I got a lot of compliments on the dress, and had fun doing the crazy photoshoot with my best friend back home in Canada.

What were your hits for 2013?

Copycat Challenge Completed!

Inspiration

I first blogged about my copycat inspiriation here. But if you missed it, here’s a brief recap.

Click image for link

Basically I wanted the top with the lace applique with a plaid tulip skirt similar to the second photo. Angels Never Die is one of my favourite brands. Whenever I see a sale on Vente-Exclusive, I always buy at least one thing (but it often puts me in the red and then I promptly send it back…:(

I love that they mix fabric prints, textures, and weaves.  They often mix knits with wovens and they always have interesting draping, designs, and appliques.

Making the dress

To make my dress, I used the skirt from this Burda 09/2011 Dress pattern. The top part is a refashioned basic knit top I’ve had since last year, from the Hema. It matched the brown plaid I had in mind from my stash, so I went with it.

I cut out the skirt from the plaid fabric.  I had to do some creative cutting because I had only 1m of it and those front panels eat up a shitload of fabric. So some of the seam allowances were cut on the selvage but that’s ok. I ended up cutting the waistband on the lengthwise grain (if that’s even a term?!). Also, none of the plaid matches, but I’m ok with that because it’s not too noticeable. I did not use the instructions except to check how much to gather the top of the skirt to.

The skirt has pleats AND gathers.  And the pleats are gathered! It’s a lot of fabric sitting right there on my pouch, but I like to think it doesn’t make me look too huge because the back of the skirt is such a nice shape, kind of like the Elizalex dress. The hem is finished with bias tape. The inside seams are finished with bias tape on the waistband and with a zigzag stitch for the side seams.  I would have liked to do french seams, but I figured it would get too bulky.
I purchased some of the lace trim from the most recent fabric fair in Leeuwarden and some from my local fabric shop, Jan Sikkes. I attached the trim to the top using a zigzag stitch to help keep it from getting wavy. I folded the trims over at the top and slipstitched it in place.

Styling

I paired it with leggings because a) it’s getting cold out there, b) it’s not lined, and c) it’s a good thing I did because riding my bike to the photoshoot place made the dress open up pretty much right to my crotch. I might have to add a snap or tack it down.

In some of the pictures I’m also wearing an actual Angels Never Die jacket, which I love love LOVE (there would have been an exclamation point if the jacket had pockets, but it doesn’t so boo hoo). My boots are Dr Martens and are already like 3 or 4 years old.

I accessorized with a fake pearl necklace I inherited from my grandma because I thought it matched the lace on the top quite nicely.

I even did my makeup, which you can’t even see in the pictures 🙁  I did cat eyes with brown eyeliner to match my dress!

And now, for picture overload!

 

Thanks for stopping by!

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New Patterns: First Impressions

It’s fall, so pattern companies are introducing new patterns. I am especially interested in what the lovely indie pattern companies are doing. Aren’t you? With their beautiful instructions and great fit.

Most patterns I’m really excited about but some patterns I’m very underwhelmed by (I’m looking at you, Colette patterns). So I thought I’d give a roundup of all the indie patterns that I’ve seen. Maybe some of them you haven’t seen yet (I doubt it, though). Plus you’re getting my two cents on each one. You can click on any of the pictures to be taken to the website.

Zinna by Colette Patterns

Let’s start off with the one that is irking me the most. I’m sorry but I can’t get behind this pattern. The one pictured here is the one I dislike the most.  The chiffon one with lining, that one looks pretty, but nothing I can’t find in one of my back issues of Burda magazine. If you’re handy with patterns, I think you could easily make it yourself with a couple of rectangles and a fitted waistband. I gravitate more towards the Kelly skirt or the Beignet skirt for a skirt with buttons.

Hawthorn by Colette patterns

I was just added to Colette’s mailing list a few weeks before Hawthorn’s release. I was so excited because I really love their designs. I was a little bit disappointed by the Laurel, as I just don’t think it looks very flattering on me, although I saw a ton of beautiful versions in the Flickr group. But I was definitely underwhelmed when I saw this dress.  I thought it could just be the styling on Colette’s model, so I waited until a few versions popped up in the blogosphere. Some were beautiful, but most I didn’t like too much. I think shirt dresses just aren’t my thing. But I do love the half-circle skirt!

Aupebine by Deer and Doe patterns

This dress is so adorable. Since I made that apron of mine with the pintucks, even though they’re really annoying to sew, they look really cute. This is definitely high on my wishlist.  I think first I will make a tunic of sheer material to wear over a slip and leggings.

Red Velvet by Cake patterns

I’ve never been so excited for a pattern release before. I liked the tiramisu from Cake, but I never purchased it because I kept thinking it was only so-so.  But this…. This is really quite lovely. You have some options for the bodice and skirt, plus you can go crazy with colour or print blocking if you want. I’ve heard great things about the fitting of Cake patterns, so I think I won’t be able to contain myself when it’s released (there’s no release date yet; I’m hoping end of september/beginning october).

Virginia leggings by Megan Nielsen

I’m a sucker for leggings. I have a pattern from McCalls and they were way too low rise for me. I’m happy that Megan included both high rise and low rise in her pattern. Plus they’re available as a PDF download. Instant gratification! This is definitely coming up in my sewing queue after my unselfish sewing is finished, for which I’m actually using a Megan Nielsen pattern for! I’m making the maternity skirt for a pregnant friend of mine.

Dandelion dress & top by Disparate Disciplines

I was one of the kickstarter campaign investors, so I got this pattern for ‘free.’ I really can’t wait to try it out. It’s got really interesting seaming along the side, and you’ve got a lot of options in just one pattern: a top, a dress, and different necklines. I think it would be great for job interviews with a blazer over top.  She’s also got a ‘pay what you want’ cami pattern that was recently released. Also very pretty.

Anna dress from By Hand London

Ok, not so new, and they’re coming out with one or two patterns shortly (Georgia and Polly, I believe). But I just had to give a shout out to the By Hand London ladies for taking the blogosphere by storm! I’ve been seeing multiples shoot up on many blogs. I am also a fan! I want to make the short version with an asymmetrical v-neck.

Asymmetric Kimono dress by Ralph Pink

I thought I’d add this pattern by Ralph Pink. If you haven’t heard of this pattern company yet, go check it out.  Not that their collection is all that new. Kazz the Spazz wrote about their jumpsuit a few months ago.  There’s some interesting stuff over there, especially if you’re into making corsets.  The 2013 collection has some cool looking designs that you can have fun with colour blocking, like the jigsaw dress. I haven’t tried one yet, but I find them to be very reasonably priced.

So, what do you think? Which fall patterns are on your wish list? And did I forget to mention any new patterns?

 

*disclaimer: all pictures are copyright of their respective owners. I’ve used them here for illustrative purposes.

Gathering Apron

I made this back in July I think. I meant to photograph it sooner, but I wiped my beet-juice covered hands on it and it was sitting on my laundry pile for a while. Maybe I should have taken photographs anyway, to make it more ‘real.’ So here it is, freshly washed: my Gathering Apron from Sew Liberated.

I’m wearing it with my Kelly skirt (not intentional). And what also wasn’t intentional was to show my crazy life in the background. haha, I thought I cut out my laundry in the shot, and I didn’t even notice the knocked-over bucket. I decided to leave the photos as-is, as it kind of goes with apron photos. They aren’t supposed to be glamorous or anything, though this pattern is more glamorous than most. Not unisex at all.

The pattern features adorable (yet annoying) pintuck details at the waistband and the bottom of the apron. The best part is the huge pocket in the front, perfect for gathering produce from your garden, or eggs from your chicken coop. I don’t have a large garden myself, but I could see it being useful to put clothespins in and various kitchen stuff while cooking.

I made it out of a thick grey linen I got for €4/m at de stoffenspektakel this past spring. And I can see why it was such a good price. The fold line is permanently faded, as you can see a line down the front of my apron. I chose linen because I wanted to have a teatowel feel to it, someting that would be absorbant, because I like to wipe my hands on my clothes, which is why I had to make myself an apron!

And now for my little rant, I mean, review of the pattern. You see that cute little gusset? There are only written instructions on how to attach it, and it’s a bit confusing. Fear not! There is a video of the sewing process to help you if you are a visual learner. Um, yeah, I had to put in my password to access the video 3 times before it worked, because it’s one of those rnadom number and letter passwords. Then I finally access it and I see that the pattern piece in the video is  completely different than the one included in the pattern. In the end, I figured it out. You’re supposed to line up the bottom of the gusset with the bottom of the bust cup and sew from the pattern marking to the top of the gusset. I hope that helps someone who is trying to figure it out.

The rest is fairly straight-forward. I finished the straps differently than the pattern called for. I believe you’re supposed to sew the straps closed by topstitching it, but instead I just sewed them inside-out and used a long-handled wooden spoon to turn them inside-out.

And I also did only the bare minimum of pressing because I made it during our heat wave in The Netherlands. It was around 25 to 32 degrees for a good while, so you really don’t want to be handling a hot iron. Most of the apron is finger pressed. I think I only did a final press, actually. And pressed under the seam allowance on the belt so I could top stitch it down. It’s just an apron, so I’m not terribly sad about it. It’s one of the reasons I chose this project to do in the heat, actually.

Here is my new tiny kitty! His name is Walter and he is either completely crazy or completely relaxed. Kittens are so fun and exhausting! After Korban died, we decided to just get a new kitty rather than waiting a year to get one (we were basically at the end of the spring kitten season). I sure miss Korban but Walter keeps me so busy that I don’t think about him too much. I love him and his craziness.

One last note about Sew Liberated Patterns: I got this pattern as well as their skinny jeans pattern. I am grateful that the gathering apron pattern is one size  because the skinny jeans pattern is multi-sized but does not distinguish between the sizes using labels nor different line dashes. There is also no size chart. So I guess I’ll have to give it my best guess. So these jeans are no longer high on my priority list for sewing. Better to make some Thurlows I think. Lauren totally skinni-fied them. So I think I may do that too.

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Terribly sweet blogger

I am so terrible for not posting this sooner, but I’m going to have to say ‘sorry, not sorry’ after reading this blog post by So, Zo. I’m not sorry that I have a life in addition to sewing and blogs. But I do thank all my readers for following me and posting all of your lovely comments.

So, a couple of months ago, I was nominated for an award by Sally of Sally Bee Makes! 😀 Thank you Sally, again. Sorry it took so long to get up this post (sorry, not sorry).

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So, this is what I have to do now:
1. Thank the Super Sweet Blogger that nominated you.
2. Answer 5 Super Sweet questions.
3. Include the Super Sweet Blogging Award in your blog post.
4. Nominate a baker’s dozen (13) other deserving bloggers.
5. Notify your Super Sweet nominees on their blog.
The questions:
Cookies or cakes?
Cakes. I love making them and I love eating them. Especially the mini kind.
Chocolate or vanilla?
Chocolate please!
Favourite sweet treat?
At the moment, panna cotta. Just got back from Italy where I ate a lot of it, and now I’ve made it twice! It’s got calcium, right…
Sweet nickname?
My nickname is Jo. Sweet? I think so.
My nominations:
And I’ll probably be away from the blog for another month or so because I’m most likely doing my thesis defense at the end of the month, so I need to put all my energy into finishing off my thesis, giving a presentation, etc etc…

Copycat Challenge Inspiration

Hello everyone!

Have you heard about Peneloping’s Copycat Challenge? If not, you should go check it out.

In short, here are the rules:

  1. Choose a garment as your inspiration. Make sure you reference it and acknowledge where you found it. Pick several if you want!
  2. Make it the way you want with your own touch and style.
  3. Blog about it! Tell us what pattern(s) you used, what inspired you about the item you chose, how you styled it, whatever you want!
  4. If you don’t have a blog and want to participate, send us an email and we’ll add it to the submissions post for you.

So here is my inspiration board for this challenge:

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I want to use the skirt (and maybe waistband) from the burda dress pattern because I love the tulip skirt on the first ANDie dress, and for the top I want to use an newish knit top and embellish it with lace like in the second ANDie dress photo.

So here’s what I need to do:

  • Trace burda pattern
  • Purchase trim and zip
  • Cut out fabric (and try to match those plaids!)
  • Sew together
  • Take awesome photos
  • Blog and submit!

The best part: we have until the end of September to submit! 😀

Good luck to everyone who is taking this challenge!

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Photo Sources:

Angels Never Die Dress 1

Angeles Never Die Dress 2: I originally screencapped it last year from vente-exclusive.nl and can’t find it anywhere on the internet anymore. 🙁

Burda 09/2011 Dress pattern

The not-so-retro dress

This retro-inspired dress jumped out at me immediately when I saw it in the Knipmode magazine in April. I wanted to make a dress for my Grandparents’ anniversary party in May, and I knew I wanted to make this one (and you can make one too from this PDF pattern). It has deep pleats in the skirt and the top has kimono sleeves. There is also a side zip that you can’t see because it’s invisible. I mean, really invisible!

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I made this dress while I was in Canada in May because I of course procrastinated, but with good reason, because I was working on my thesis all day everyday up until I left. You may recall I also finished off this dress while I was in Canada. But this one I had to make from scratch.  And I was going to do it right! Muslin and everything. I bought my fabric online before I left and took it with me. However, I had to get a few supplies from the local fabric shop, which I found out got WAY more expensive from the last time I went there. Since the muslin fabric was going for $15-$20/m, I settled on some plain cotton from the bargain basement, which was still $5/m. I just got 1m to muslin the top of the dress.

So I just sewed up the top from the pattern as-is. And it was clear that I needed to make adjustments! It barely came below my chest! And not having bought very much fabric, I had to improvise big time. I think I ended up slashing across the bust and underbust and adding 2cm at each slash. I moved down the front pleats and tightened the back pleats with the help of my mom. It was great to have someone to help because I’ve never done for-real adjustments on a muslin before! It was a really good experience and I wish I’d taken some pictures to show you all, but instead we’ll have to make due with the finished photos.

So I finished the muslin in about one evening. Then the next day, when I went to cut out my super awesome printed cotton fabric, the pattern didn’t fit!!! I was freaking out a little bit, but that quickly subsided because it meant that I got to go fabric shopping again (with my sister’s discount card, no less). I chose this beautiful printed cotton (cotton lawn? not sure) and got some bias tape to match (because I did not have time to mess around with making my own). After pre-washing and drying, I got down to business. Cut out the pattern and started sewing.

My friend, who also took these fabulous photos, helped me make it because it was just a few days before the party and I needed to get it done fast. So I sewed and she pressed. And everything went well until I had to attach the skirt. I thought I correctly adjusted for the new pleats, because the waistband attached easily to the top, but I was WRONG. And after a few hours of sewing, I was not in the mood to do any maths to try and attach the skirt to the waistband. The next day, I was able to fix it. No biggie. I attached the invisible zip using a universal invisible zip foot from Unique brand. And it worked perfectly! You can’t see that zip at all! *jumping up and down* I finished off the dress the morning of the party by hemming the skirt by hand using a herringbone stitch, my new favourite hand stitch by the way.

Uncomfortable model pose

And best of all, it fits. It really fits. I couldn’t be happier. The only thing is, I forgot that my grandmother does not like purple (it’s mostly green, right?).

A big thank-you to my friend for taking the photos and letting me borrow the props (parasol, pipe, hat, hair flowers). And those sexy Guess shoes I got from my cousin.

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