Monday, May 22, 2017

Suit up for summer

It is beginning to look a lot like.. summer! Each year when temperatures are rising, our kids immediately start asking if they are allowed to play with water in the yard.  This means that for weeks I have to tell them it is still too cold, the sun looks nice compared to the cold winter months, but still no summer weather. Now, it seems we are finally there, water play season is open, at least for the coming week. That gives me a good reason to do some swimsuit sewing ( I would need a reason). I was not alone in my desire to sew with lycra's, today is the start of the "suit up" blog tour, so you are treated on a lot of inspiration this week.

I decided to dress all of my kids in something new. I had quite some swimsuit fabric left from last year's first attempt to sew swimwear. While searching through my upcycle pile I found an old bike short of mine from 15 years ago. The fabric was still in perfect condition, only the elastic had dried in the mean time. The black fabric was the perfect contrast to spice up my blue and purple. I had actually already bought some other lycra for the tour, but that will have to wait for another project.  The thought of dressing them in coordinating pieces became too good to ignore.

Jalie generously offered a free pattern from their swimsuit collection and I really wanted to try them. Browsing through the catalog, my eye fell on the skin suit pattern.  It sparked a memory of longing, I remembered needing that pattern after seeing this awesome costume. The pattern includes sizes from small child to grown up, so you will see this pattern more often on the blog here. I foresee my son will want to be Batman or Spiderman real soon.

Based on the size table I cut a straight 8 years and it fits perfectly. After making all the pictures I realized there is no picture of the back. I found one from the side, but you can not see the fit on the back, so you just have to take my word for it, that it fits great everywhere. I slightly adjusted the pattern by making an exposed zipper. I wanted the suit to have some black in it, and the zipper seemed to be perfect for that. I also omitted the collar/hood and just finished the neckline with a bias of the purple

For my son, I used the Suat boxwear pattern. I made several of these already that have not been blogged yet. My son loves the fit of the pattern and it is super easy and quick to sew. The pattern includes both a boy and girl front, and I decided to sew a small one for my youngest as well as part of a bikini.

The last pattern that I used for this post is the Azure swimsuit pattern. I bought this pattern, by Titchy Threads more than a year ago. It is reversible, color blocked and with several options. A must have pattern I would say. I personally prefer the totally color blocked side of the swimsuit that I made my middle daughter. My daughter, of course, prefers the other side. She claims not to like black, but I think the contrast is lovely (maybe a bit too much like the original pattern picture, but lovely). My daughter likes to have options so a reversible swimsuit is perfect for her desire to regularly wear something else. The reversibility also increases the likelihood that one side will be loved my her younger sister when she will inherit the suit.

I hacked the Azure pattern into a bikini top for my youngest. I tried to be as economical as possible with my fabric and I probably cut the lining and main in two different directions. Or maybe something else went wrong, but the top is bunching up a bit, fortunately, the receiver did not mind at all. She loved the entire outfit and refused to take off the top for two days.

In the beginning, I already said that these garments were made as part of a swimsuit tour. In this picture you see all the sponsors and below it, you find the line up of all the bloggers. This tour is organized by the lovely Paisley Roots and SewSophieLynn you can find all the information about the give aways on their blogs.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Nena dress and top

Last year, Katrien from Kaatjenaaisels designed the Tulip dress with Eva and earlier this year she drew the Vienna together with Isabel. Both those patterns had a lovely unique front and now Kartien has released a dress on her own, Nena. The Nena has several lovely design details and has a perfect finish. The pattern includes a top and dress length. It is for woven fabrics and does not have a zipper, so perfect for those with zipper fear.

I tried both versions, the top and the dress. I first sewed the top and I made a small adjustment to the pattern. The fabric that I wanted to use was a bit too small to cut the entire top from. I solved this by color blocking the back in such a way that the back pleat is a contrasting color. I always like to make fixes (a mistake or alack of fabric) look intentional. During this phase of the pattern the back split had to deepened a bit, there was no new version yet and  I did it myself. I decided not to cut a once-piece back. During sewing I realized why Katrien designed it as one piece (it created a beautiful finish), so I followed the pattern for the dress.

When looking at the pattern pieces, I saw a perfect opportunity to use my first screen printed fabric. I gifted myself a Bobbinhood kit over Christmas but somehow did not dare to use it. I therefore wanted to follow screen printing workshop. I was so intended to do at least one that I ended up doing three in a period of two months. This blue fabric was the result of the first one. During her bachelorette party, we had a screen printing workshop with chemical screens (that were prepared for us in advance). I designed a screen with drawings from my kids and this fabric was actually my test cloth. It was a remnant of a white sheet earlier this year, that I dropped it in the blue paint that was left after making this dress. I used it to "test" my screen and I thought it had become too pretty to throw away. On my second workshop I printed this dragon and on the third this Harry Potter combi (both Bobbinhood workshops).

Let's talk about all the small details in this pattern. The pattern has elastic in the waist for both the dress and top version to create a nice fit while not using a zipper. The pattern explains how to add a small tie to make a bow on the waist of the dress, but I omitted that one. The pattern has a small pleat on the front at the shoulder which is best visible in my top version. The front has a v neck with a small horizontal ribbon/elastic in it. It is up to you what you sew in between, I twice used elastic to make dressing as easy as possible. The garment closes with a hook and eye, I actually upcycled those from a bra that I stopped wearing.

The dress was sewn with the final version of the pattern. I sewed the dress in a fabric that I took from our sewing weekend. I asked who I could thank, but nobody was sure it had been their fabric so I can not tell you anything about this mystery fabric. With the dress, I followed all the french seam instruction, so the inside is almost as beautiful as the outside. Except for the edge of the facing, there are no visible seams on the inside. Of course, I ran into a small obstacle that I had created for myself. I wanted to add pockets, but I also wanted to have a french seam finish. Fortunately, the web can usually tell you the solution, so I found a tutorial here. The picture is a bit obscure, but you see the inside of the dress with the pocket.

Due to the release of Nena, the entire shop is now on 10% sale with the code HAPPYNENA. I also sewed the Tulip and here you can find my version.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Camellia dress

Petite Stitchery recently released their new spring collection (although the patterns are suitable for other seasons as well). The Poppy skirt, Periwinkle top and tunic, Lilly dress and the Camellia dress. A lovely set of patterns, each with their own special features. For example, the Lilly is a combination of woven and jersey and you have to check the back of the Periwinkle! I decided to sew Camellia which for me stands out  due to the double collar and the front closure.

I used two Soft Cactus fabrics from my stash, both with the same print, but different colors. I always think that I almost out of wovens but when I actually look in my stash there seems to be plenty of choice. I really like how these two fabrics work together and I feel the main color really suits my youngest.

I did deviate from the pattern a bit, twice. I added pockets, my youngest has enter the phase that when I tell her I am making her a dress, she asks if it will have pockets (after she asked if it twirl). The pattern includes instruction to make the dress close with visible buttons. Some of the example dresses in the pattern do not have buttons on them. I wanted that look and I wanted it to be suitable for a three year old. So, instead of using a hidden button holes or snap strips, I actually used a long strip of velcro. This way she can easily dress and undress herself. With hindsight, having separate velcro island might have been better. The dress now has the tendency to curl upward slightly. It is not that obvious, but a lesson for next time.

The sizing of the dress was spot on. Based on the measurement table I made a size 2 and lengthened the skirt a little bit. My little one is really loving our photo shoots. She is into doing all kind of poses, she makes them up herself and she holds them for a short period to avoid blurry pictures. She apparently really likes the pose where she holds her own face. It is super cute, for our family album, but no so much in showing the dress. I could not resit showing you at least one of them though.

You can buy the Camalia pattern or the other three patterns individually or as a bundle on the Petite Stitchery website. Here and here you can see more Petite Stitchery from my hand.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Dax trousers

One Thimble fifteen* was released today and I tested one of the new patterns, the Dax trousers* bij Gracious Threads. The pattern is for a pair of classic chino pants complete with full fly and welt pockets on the back. The pattern  includes the option to roll up the trousers and to fixate them (with a flap on of the inside) to turn them into summer trousers . We needed some summer pants, so I slightly adjusted the pattern (just cut of the bottom part of the leg pieces) and made pair of shorts.

The instructions of the pattern are perfect, do not worry if you never made trousers with a zipper or welt pocket, you will do great with all the tips and tricks. There are even movies that you can watch. I did sew trousers before and this new pair of shorts was actually one of my sewn trousers in the past. I love upcycling, but I rarely upcycle items that I sewed (I am trying to decrease my fabric stash and putting back things I already sewed is very bad for my moral). Due to loosing weight, I could not wear these trousers anymore, and I am very happy that they got such a good new destination. I reused the zipper and the belt loops, that is why they have a golden top stitching.

The pattern has elastic in the back of the waistband to create a perfect fit. We love color around here and an unexpected color pop makes me very happy. I therefore chose to have a light blue color pop behind the welt pockets. I lined the side pockets with the same light blue fabric. As a (blue) cherry on the pie, I used blue snaps for the flaps and on the waistband

The pattern is available as standalone pattern* on the One Thimble site or as part of the new One Thimble 15*, which has nine other patterns and of course several articles and tutorials. You can read about the full content at the bottom of the listing. Feel free to leave a comment in the language you prefer (although Google translate might have to assist me if you choose something different than English, German, Dutch or Hungarian). If you buy anything through my affiliate links (*), I get a small commission (the price stays the same for you), I am very grateful for everything that feeds my fabric addiction.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Louise release

A few weeks ago, one of my best friends pointed me in the direction of Misusu patterns. I  had never seen her designs and was super impressed. Not just the designer was new to me, but I instantly loved the innovative ideas behind the color blocks. I have been planning a Dia sweater since, but before I cut my fabrics there was a tester call. Elles, the woman behind the brand was releasing a new pattern and one with bigger sizes (her current pattern mostly go up to size 6y), and I was honored to be among the testers.

The Louise is a perfect addition to the Misusu innovative pattern list because it is a pattern that mixes jersey and woven! The pattern comes in both shirt and dress length and with long and short sleeves. I made my eldest two short sleeved shirts. Both where made with the final pattern, so the second version was just for fun and not to test another version. In both versions I used a woven scrap, The back piece is the perfect size for those treasured scraps that are way to big throw away, but to small to turn into something decent. I have plenty more of those!

The purple version was the first one that I sewed and I might have gone a bit overboard with my fabric combination. I think it works and I really like it, but I totally understand it if you think it is too much. I used the blue from the back earlier in this and this garment. The front was fresh and new in my collection. I got is as a gift from Cas en Nina for participating in the Battle of the blogs. All three jersey's of this picture where part of my gift, so I have to admit that I felt that I won instead of lose after the first round.

For the yellow version, I used an older Soft Cactus (before used here) and the yellow jersey front was a scrap from making this dress. The side seams of the Louise are strongly curved towards the front. This makes the front piece rather narrow and probably many of your jersey scraps will work for it. For the pockets you can use a contrasting fabric, which I did in the purple version. For the yellow one I kept it more subtle. Something went wrong when I hemmed the purple sweater, the front jersey part is a bit pulling, but that is all me (I chose a wrong stitch) and not the pattern or the fabric. On the yellow one there was no problem at all.

I bought myself a present, I bought two new lenses for my camera. These pictures where shot with my new 85mm. I had made pictures outside earlier that week but was feeling a bit depressed about the quality. I had gotten used to the plain white  background from when it was too cold to go outside and I felt the outside background was just too cluttered. An 85 mm gives a strong blur of the background, making my garage door a lovely dark colored backdrop.

The Louise is now on release 25% sale, making the pattern 7.50 dollar. Feel free to leave a comment in the language you prefer (although Google translate might have to assist me if you choose something different than English, German, Dutch or Hungarian). If you buy anything through my affiliate links (*), I get a small commission (the price stays the same for you), I am very grateful for everything that feeds my fabric addiction.