Sunday 26 January 2014

Another McCalls Shirtdress and a new iron!

First of all, thanks a lot for all your lovely comments about my last stash diet post! Your comments about what to make from my 1 m of fabrics were really helpful and you can expect to see some blouses soon :) January is almost over, but I managed to finish my first garment of 2014 before the end of the month, yeah! I made another McCalls Shirt Dress (you can find the first version here)!

Pattern: McCalls M6167, Version C, which has three tucks at the bodice front.

Fabric: Shirt fabric from my stash!!! It actually was not in the photos I uploaded last week, because I had already started to cut out the pattern. I bought the fabric in Brighton last autumn for this shirt dress :) and I am so happy that I finally used it. I was dreading to cut out this pattern, because there are so many pieces, you have to match plaids and you have to hand sew a lot (and I almost hate hand sewing).

Construction: As always the plaid matching took me ages! And as the fabric seemed not to be straight/ on grain, I was not able to match all seams. I have the problem of off-grain fabric quite often and I have started to wonder, if I treat the fabric wrong when I dry it and that's why its off grain? I usually tend to dry the fabric outside on a long clothes line. So my question for you:

How are you drying your fabrics? Any tips? 

I have no idea where this massive fold at the top button is coming from. It was not there before I put my coat on top! Can you spot the tucks? There are three rows.

But I am proud that the shoulders almost match the front bodice! I have made the pattern before, but without the tucks, thus it came together without any major problems. I am still not 100% happy about how my cuffs turned out. But hopefully I am getting better with time. I also bought the Craftsy Class "The classic tailored shirt", so that should help me out next time. And next time will be a shirt for Lescha!

Placket and cuffs. The buttons were from my stash as well! And here you can actually see the tucks!

Have I worn it yet? Only for the photo shoot. Because I am working from home at the moment, I am just not in the mood to wear pretty clothes.

I stitched a rolled hem with my overlocker, so neat!!!

Do I like it? Yes a lot! Although I would like it more if I had matched the plaids correctly. And I am a bit disappointed that you can't see the tucks. I guess I should have known, because the fabric is a busy print. It it just annoying that I put so much time and care into these tucks and now you can't see them! But at least now I know ;)

Philips GC7619/20 PerfectCare Steam Generator Iron Review

When making this shirt dress I used my new iron that I got from my mum for Christmas for the first time and I just thought I say a few words about it for anybody who is interested! I got a Philips GC7619/20 PerfectCare Steam Generator Iron, which you can fill up with 1.5l of water - so loads of ironing fun! The good thing about it is that you don't have to adjust the temperature because it does this by itself thanks to its OptimalTemp Technology. I really like this feature, because I managed to shrink fabrics before when I forgot to change the temperature on my old iron. Up to now I only ironed cotton fabrics and polyester lining with it, which was fine. 

There are only a couple of things that I have to get used to:
 (i) if you need steam, you have to keep pressing a button on the irons handle the whole time (my old iron always had steam on), if by accident you press it twice it releases a steam boost and I managed to burn my fingers because of this when pressing a dart.
(ii) It shuts off automatically (again my old iron didn't) and I keep forgetting about it. Luckily it does take only 2 min to heat up again...
(iii) when you are done ironing, you have to empty the water tank if there is any water left. And as you can't lock the iron to the tank, it is always a bit complicated when holding both above the sink and I am scarred that the iron falls down. I have to admit, when buying this iron I knew a new version would be out soon where you can lock iron and tank to carry them around. But I thought, who needs that? Might have been useful.

But all in all, the iron works lovely and I really like it. No water dripping from the iron onto my clothes, just perfect :)

Wednesday 22 January 2014

My stash diet rules!

In case you were wondering what my stash diet rules are, I have written them down for you (and me, otherwise I might conveniently forget them)!

Let't loose some pounds!

The Rules: 

1. Use up as much fabric from my stash as possible before buying new one. I know that this relative, but I was thinking about at least 4 fabrics!

2. If I buy fabric, I will not choose cotton poplins or voiles. I will try to buy something I haven't used before, such as chiffon, silk and denim.

3. As I tend to accumulate patterns, I will use first the patterns I have in my stash. And if I buy a pattern, I will try to use it immediately!

4. A lot of my stash fabrics are leftovers from other projects. Therefore, I will trace and fit new patterns before buying fabric to estimate how much I really need.

I organised my stash - finally!

Naturally, there are a few exceptions :) 

1. I love to wear jersey and don't have any in my stash (two don't count), so I am allowed to buy some when I am ready to sew the garment. I am ready to sew another Lady Skater. But I am trying to hold off for the last 4 weeks.

2. Travel allowance: I can buy 3 fabrics max (excluding quilting fabrics). And as we are going to Kiev over Easter, I might just make use of that!

3. I am allowed to buy linings, trims, buttons and threads but only after checking I really can't use anything from my stash.

Sunday 19 January 2014

Snooping around in my stash.

I don't know about you, but I love to snoop around in other peoples stash! It's like snooping in their wardrobes, which I like (of course) as well. You get to know people better because of their choice of clothing. The same might be true about stash fabric, but I just love to see the fabrics and colors other seamstresses use to get inspired :)

You might remember my last post (at the end) about participating in the stash diet organised by Gail from today's agenda and Andrea from stitch parade. I haven't written down my dieting rules yet (but soon to come) and I also didn't show my stash. I mean, I am telling you I am dieting, but actually you don't know if I pretend and really use what there is in my stash ;) That's why I am showing you my stash today and then I can count down the fabrics that I have used so far, hua.

My lovely stash:

Cotton poplins and voiles:

Most of my stash fabrics are cotton poplins or cotton voile and as you might notice most of them ended up to be blue! Speak about color preference. Most of them have a pattern. I love patterns, but the problem is, you just can't combine them. I need more plain ones! Also, most of the fabrics are only 1 m long (they came from the blogger meet-up in August 2013) and you can't make a dress out of them.

More cotton poplins and lawns.

Do you have any ideas what I can make with as little as 1 m of fabric? Have you used a specific pattern that you would recommend?

Linen, denim, wool and brushed cottons

I also have some linen, denim, wool and brushed cottons in my stash. The grey and red denim (on the far right) are actually from 4 years ago when I started to sew. I tried to make trousers from the grey denim and they just looked hilarious big. I still have the trousers and plan to cut them apart so that I can use the fabric for a skirt. I bought the red denim for a canvas bag I made. Also a fail, because with an jersey lining (!) it was just not stable and lives hidden away in a box now. The white-black checked fabric is made from wool and I bought it in Kiev (Ukraine) four years ago, when visiting Leschas family. (Leschas mum has finally stopped asking me, when I am going to use it. Embarrassing) I planned to make a dress out of it, which I think might still be lovely because it is a thin wool.


My jersey stash is really meager, that's why I am so keen on buying new ones. And as these are all purple, I should definitively get my hands on another color. Some blue maybe? The berry one on the right is actually only half a meter left over from my Burda top. So, there is not enough left to make a whole jumper. But I could combine it with the pale purple one in the middle.

How about you? Is your stash bursting as well? How do you keep your stash organised? I though it might be a good idea to measure every piece to have an idea what resources I have available!

Sunday 12 January 2014

Floral Lady Skater Dress

So, finally I hopped on the bandwagon as well and made my own version of the lady skater dress! Shall we have a look?

I made a pantie as well!
Fabric: I was really lucky and got the loveliest jersey ever from Goldhawk Road. It is a grey jersey with pink roses all printed over it. It was around £8/meter and I managed to squeeze my long sleeve version out of 1.5 meters! And I had even enough left to make a pantie :) So far, this jersey is the softest one I ever used and I almost overlooked it in the shop. The shopkeeper was just going to start cutting a different (but not as nice) jersey, when I spotted this one over her shoulder and started yelling "stop" :) My budget allowed me only to buy one fabric, so that was a close call! And as I bought the fabric and made this dress at the end of 2014, I didn't violate my stash diet rules (They are in my head, but I still have to write them down).

Pattern: The well-known Lady Skater Dress from Kitschy Coo.

Alterations: I only did a sloping shoulder adjustment by moving the shoulder seams forward 5/8". Surprisingly, I didn't need a sway back adjustment, so yeah! I cut out a size 2 for the bust and graded to size 3 towards the waist.

Constructions: The pattern is stated as a beginner pattern and gives you detailed instructions how to sew with knits. You also have to attach clear elastic to the shoulder and waist seams (before sewing the actual seams together) to prevent their stretching. It was my first time working with clear elastic and I absolutely didn't like it. The needle had problems piercing the elastic and I ended up stretching out my seams, although I tried to not stretch at all. So, if anybody has some tips how to stitch on clear elastic, please share!!

I stitched most of my seams with my serger, which was quick and easy and used the twin needle for the hem. I do have the feeling that my twin needle liked this jersey more, as I had no problems with skipped stitches this time :) The only thing I had problems with, was to attach the neckline. I had to stretch it like crazy and than it was a bit short at the end and I had to stretch even more. But luckily jersey is forgiving and you can't see a thing!

It took me only about 5 hours to sew the dress (minus cutting out time that I did the night before) and it is thus the fastest make I have ever made!!!

Have I worn it yet? Yes I have, several times and I just love how comfy and soft it is!

Will I make it again? Cover your ears: YES! The pattern is just perfect and I know that there is more lovely jersey at Goldhawk Road. Actually, I have to keep myself from going to Goldhawk Road for the last 2 weeks, because I vowed to use up some fabric from my stash first and unluckily there is no jersey in there! So let's see how long I can resist...

Almost forgot the pantie! I was planning to make some panties for ages and as I had just enough jersey left, I finally gave it a try. I used the pattern made by Zoe from So.Zo...What do you know?. Zoe even wrote a lovely tutorial about how to construct these pants, so if you haven't tried it, you are missing out! And also check out Novitas tutorial over at very purple person about how to use different elastics, super helpful as well.

It took me only 1.5 hours from start to finish to make these panties, yeah. I can see myself making more! The only think I have to improve are my elastic sewing skills! I think I didn't stretch it enough and now the panties feels a bit loose, because the elastic is not pulling in. But it is still very comfy to wear, does not move around or down by itself, hehe. You know what I mean!

Have a lovely Sunday! 

Sunday 5 January 2014

What a lucky guy: Knitted men's vest

This will be a knitting post. So if you are not really interested,  just scroll down to the New Year Resolutions and there will be some more general thoughts about sewing ;)

Yep, I am still knitting! And this time not for me, but for Lescha. I am not sure how he convinced me to knit a vest for him, but I guess I felt bad that I still haven't sewn him his shirt. But it is so much more fun to make stuff for myself! He was not jumping happily around when I gave him the vest (maybe because he had to go outside in the garden, so that I could take pictures, hehe). So let's talk about the vest! I am not going to bore you with the detailed knitting, but if you are interested have a look on my Ravelry notes.

Thread: It had to be cotton, as Lescha doesn't like wool. So I used Rowan Handknit cotton in chocolate.

Pattern: None :P Lescha wanted to have a vest similar to one he saw at Ted Bakers. So, I had a look a Ravelry, but couldn't find one that I really liked. Thus I made up my own pattern.

Ted Baker vest, image source

Leschas vest

Construction: I measured Lescha (hips, waist, chest, shoulders...) and then calculated the number of stitches I needed corresponding to my gauze swatch. I knitted the vest bottom up and knitted fronts and back together, so that the vest does not have any side seams. Then I split fronts and back at the armholes and grafted them together at the shoulder seams. Finally I added a button band and buttons. But I have to admit, I got some ideas about the armhole and shoulder shaping from looking at other knitting patterns.

Next time: sway back adjustment

How long did it take? It took me only 3 weeks to knit the vest, including blocking, because I had loads of time over Christmas and even more on the airplane and train. I am not bothered anymore by people looking at me :P

See how that pulls? Makes me cringe. 

Does he like it? Yes he does! Not in the jumpy, happy, screamy way (my way, hihi), but he is wearing it.

Am I happy with it? I think it is a bit tight (he wanted it to have some negative ease and he also gained some weight over Christmas, buh) and tries to pull apart at the center front. It is an annoying sight, but hopefully with some time, everything will get a bit loose and fit better.

Side increases.
I know the vest does look different then the one from Ted Baker. I could have probably added the pockets and used different colored yarn, but honestly I just wanted to finish it so that I could start knitting a sweater for myself :) (Good that he is NOT reading my blog.)

New Year resolutions?
One thing that I noticed is that I am knitting more than sewing at the moment and that is not only because I like to snuggle on the couch. I think that is because I have so many sewing projects in my queue and so much fabric in my stash that I don't know where to start. But for the knitting, I am only having one project at the time at home and thus I don't have to decide with which one I should start next.

So, one of my New Year resolutions is to use up some more fabric from my stash and then try to keep it small, before buying new ones. Also, I will try not to buy any new patterns, before I have made the ones in my pattern box, ha! Have you seen Gails post (from today's agenda)? She and many other bloggers are currently on a stash diet and have set themselves some rules about using mostly stash fabrics and not (rarely) buying new fabrics. I really like that idea and will participate in the stash diet. What about you? Do you feel like you stash is crushing you?

Wednesday 1 January 2014

Christmas pressies!

Now that Christmas is over, I can finally reveal the gifts I made! And yes, I made most of them. That's a first for me, because usually I would buy most presents and make only a handful. So, yeah!

Kindle cover: My sister and my mum both got a kindle after having finally gotten over there fear of not holding a proper book (3 years ago, when the kindle was hardly known in Germany, they just couldn't understand why I loved it so much)! So, I made a kindle cover for both. I used this amazing tutorial by Ashley from Mommy by Day and Crafter by Night.

left: for my sis and right: for my mum :)

The corners of the kindle are just covered.

I had only one problem: I was not sure at which position I should put the elastic so that it does not cover the screen. I looked up the dimensions of the kindle (mine is an old version, so a giant in comparison to the new ones) and made the cover the right size, but unluckily and very frustrating the elastic is too far out and only touches the edges of the kindle. Nonetheless, my mum and sister loved it. And as they both are not travelling much, the fit shouldn't be a big problem. As you might have guessed the one with the matrioskas is for my sis and the one with the roses for my mum :)

Table cloth: Then I made a quilted table cloth for my mum. I used the butterfly blocks I had left over from her birthday quilt. As I was in a hurry to finish the table cloth, I only free motion quilted it with stippling.

That't the quilt I gave my mum for her Birthday!
Knitting bags: For my sister I also made a little bag from the leftover matrioska fabric. I have made the same bag for myself to store my knitting in. I even added 2 small pockets for my sisters version. I sewed a similar bag for a friend, who told me she would like to start knitting as well. (I forgot to take a pic, buh). And to really encourage her, I gave her some pink wool, knitting needles and the wheat scarf pattern from tin can knits. I haven't heard back from her yet, but hopefully she liked it :)

Pockets inside

Cushions: My grandparents loved their cushions and couldn't believe that I made them myself :) You can have a look here, if you want to know more about the cushions. And these were actually the presents that took me longest!

Vest: For Lescha, I knitted a "self-drafted" vest! I just finished it in time for New Year, which is when Father Frost brings presents in Ukraine. I am still blocking the vest, so he has to wait until it is dry to wear it. As soon as this is done, I will take some photos and write a post about it. So, stay tuned!

Sewing box for me: I also got some sewing related presents, yeah. My little sis gave me a lovely sewing box, in which I can store my quilting threads and some bias tape. She got a wooden box, whose lid she covered with owl fabric (and there is plenty left, so I am playing with the thought to use it as a lining for a blazer I want to make) and then she painted it white and even added a little lock. So, much detail. Thanks so much, sis!!!

So cute!

The lock almost looks like a beak :)

Who is going to love ironing? The rest of my family contributed to my new ironing board and steam generator iron station! I only had a tiny Ikea ironing board, which is not very stable and starting to fall apart. As for my iron? I hated it, because after 10 years of use the water was constantly leaking out of it causing near misses like dropping from the ironing board into the floor socket. I also couldn't iron on my tailors hem as in a vertical position the water would immediately come out of the iron. So ironing was a real nightmare for me! My mum told me then about these steam generator iron stations and thus I decided to invest in one of these! I haven't gotten it yet, but will keep you posted about my experience :)

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and had as much fun as I had when giving (and getting!) my presents! I wish you all a Happy New Year 2014!!!!

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