Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Knock knock...

anybody still out there???

I really wish life would slow down for just a moment, so I can have a bit of a breather, but that´s just wishful thinking.

So much is going on right now, I don´t know where to start.
I am moving on Friday (not far, though). Just two flights of stairs higher. That apartment is still in the making, so there is lots of work. A friend of mine is moving into my current apartment, which I really like, but my new one will be much nicer!
Currently, this is what my future living/dining room looks like:
This used to be two rooms (my brothers and mine). We took out the wall and the carpet, on saturday a friend will install all necessary utility lines for the new kitchen (which is where I was standing while taking this picture) and some girlfriends will come to help me take down the wallpaper. Then, I need to sand the wooden ceiling beams, plaster the ceiling in between the beams, paint the beams and put up new wallpaper. After that, I will put in my hardwood floor and so on... The kitchen will be delivered at the end of january, which is deadline for all work in this room.
One of the awesome things about this apartment is the walk-in closet, where there is room enough for a dedicated sewing space! Luckily, the bathrooms, my bedroom, the walk-in closet and the sunroom don´t need any work done, just this huge room and the corridor, which will become my library.
This is the part where I will put a nice comfy armchair. The double doors open to the sunroom, which, as of now has nearly all of my stuff in it, at least the stuff I don´t need or don´t have time for at the moment (books, cds, sewing stuff :-( and kitchen utensils).

It is much fuller now, but there is still room... :-)

Obviously, I have not been sewing since we started this project (which was 4 weeks ago). Before that, there was not much time either. That means, my Vogue Couture suit jacket muslin from our sewing weekend in England is still untouched. I really need to get back to sewing because I have lost 8kg in the last 2 months and absolutely nothing fits me anymore. And there is no time for shopping either, so it´s alterations time. Have I mentioned that I hate altering clothes???
I think, this will turn into a remodeling blog for now, we´ll see. I really want to document the process. :-) Until now, we (my mom and I) have redone the walls in three of her rooms downstairs (about half of her apartment) and are ready to move her bedroom downstairs, so that I can move mine all the way upstairs. I will take pictures when the move is complete.
Ok, back to moving stuff...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Burda easy fashion 06-2006-6A Wrap Dress: Review

Still playing catch-up on my backlog of reviews! Here is another one!
I really need to get someone to take pictures of my clothing on me. It fits me much better than my alter ego since I managed to lose 20lbs. and my alter ego didn´t! lol
I really need to sell this alter ego and go down a size. I would really like to get a pin-able dress form padded to my exact measurements but that is a project for some other time...

Pattern Description:
Wrap dress

Pattern Sizing:
I cut a 44 but probably could have gotten away with a 42 (especially in the waist).
But the sizing is pretty forgiveable in a knit wrap dress! :-)

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes it did.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, but I hardly glanced at them and did a few things differently

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
It is a cute pattern!

Fabric Used:
ITY Jersey from fashionfabricsclub.com

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I sewed clear elastic in the neckline to prevent awkward gaping. The stitching is not very good but no one notices!

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
This is my second version and no I will not be posting pictures of the first version (Can we say welcome to Frumpyville, please?), but I might sew it again. I want to try some other wrap dress patterns first. There is one in an old BWOF that I want to try next.

Nice basic pattern for a classic wrap dress that can be used a base to adapt to your own needs.

HotPatterns Uptown Downtown Knit Dress - Review

Here is review copied from PR:

Pattern Description:
Simple to make and easy to wear, this super-cool Dress is a great modern take on the classic sweatshirt, and works in all sorts of knits...try T-shirting, silk-y jersey, sweatshirting, double or single knits, or ribbed knit fabrics. Use contrast or matching ribbing or self fabric to finish the neckline, hem & sleeves.
Relaxed-fit Dress has a scooped ballet-style neckline and a choice of cap, elbow length or full length raglan sleeves with an overarm seam for a superior fit. Bodice can be worn bloused over the elasticated waist or dropped down onto the upper hip. Skirt finished just below the knee. We’ve included instructions for the optional narrow and Obi-style tie belts, plus the infinity scarf.
Depending on your fabric and sleeve length choices, this is a true year-round style...wear it with knee high boots or opaque tights and a chunky heel when it’s chilly, try it with sheer nylons and a chic heel, or team it with strappy sandals for warm-weather style.

Pattern Sizing:
6-26 I cut a 16 in the bust graded down to a 12 in the waist and up to a 14 in the hips.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes they were, although I hardly glanced at them. Instead of following the instructions for the elastic insertion I winged it and just sewed thin clear elastic (called Lastin') to the skirt top and bodice bottom before joining them. Worked out fine!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
The pattern envelope conveyed a certain feeling: comfy, slouchy yet stylish and I loved that the pattern managed to hold what the envelope promised!

Fabric Used:
A sweatshirt fleece in muted blue/grey that I had in my "What was I thinking"-pile...
I wanted to try this pattern without risking one of my favorite knits in case I didn´t like the style on me.
Turns out, the fabric is very cozy because of the fleece inside.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I only had 1m of this, which really isn´t enough but the fabric was extra wide (I think 2m). It still was a tight squeeze and the hem band of the skirt didn´t quite make it to the depth as designed! :-) Also, the neck band is pieced a little weirdly...
Since this is just intended for loungewear or a casual coffee date with my best friend on weekends, I really don´t care about those things!

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I will most definitely sew it again, probably in a drapier knit, to see how it looks on me then.

Great pattern!

What I forgot to write on PR was that I can only agree with previous reviewers regarding the hem band. It is too long to pull in the hem as shown on the pattern envelope.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Updated Plan for March

This was my original post (with yellow remarks on where I stand 3 weeks into March)

Plan for March

I am awesome at compiling lists and I suck at following them. So I am challenging myself to actually follow through with my plans...
Anyhoo, I will make a monthly list divided into 4 (at the moment) categories.
This months list:
1. Sewing:
- march jacket (McCalls 5759): lining is constructed, buttons bought and fashion fabric cut out. Will continue as soon as I finish my Mini-Wardrobe entry (hopefully this weekend)
- silk slip (no pattern yet): um yeah,  not so much! Possibly in April
- fix some things lingering in my alterations pile (skirts, dress): Alterations? Who said that? Hopefully in April!
the list will have more things added as I go along
- Mini Wardrobe Contest at PR: 1 item completed, 1 needing hem, 1 needing zipper and hem, 1 completely untouched (at least I finally decided on a pattern)
- black doubleknit skirt for girls night out: need it this coming friday and probably won´t use a pattern.

2. Knitting:
- finish Clapotis: done!!! Love it! Sooooo soft!
- finish Hope Cardigan (yummy cashmere): it just needs buttons: buttons bought, sewed on. Then tried on FO and hated it! Way too much ease through torso. Don´t know what happened there. Thankfully this is knit top down so I will just have to rip to the start of the waist shaping and make it smaller! Need to get cracking on this or it will be too warm to wear it.
- finish teal throw for my bed: it just needs the fringe attached and a good
blocking: not touched yet, I already have it lying on the bed and the fringe on my nightstand... might be a good project when insomnia hits again!
- my Wisteria needs to be fixed in one armpit: have I mentioned I hate mending? It´s actually just a loose end that hastbecome dangerously loose!
- find new project to cast on: nope. I grabbed a cotton shell (I don´t like knitting with cotton and neither do my wrists! But this seems fine so far) I have had languishing in my WIP basket for too long. Front is finished, back is halfway there.

3. Quilting:
- I am only a beginning quilter and have decided to sew a king size (I know, what
was I thinking???) quilt for my bed, crazy nine patch blocks in batiks (color
scheme: blues, greens, purples) alternated with simple black silk taffeta blocks
and I want to get a little bit done each month: haven´t done a stitch this month except buying the silk taffeta, washing and ironing it. Want to make another stack of crazy nine patch blocks this month. ( 1 stack down, 3 to go) 
more on this later: this project deserves it´s own post, which it will get as soon as do another stack of blocks

4. Redecorating:
- reupholster that cocktail chair from this post: Yeah, finished
- build cd shelf (the plan is in my head): I´ve got all the supplies save for a really big sheet of plywood which I can´t fit into my car, so I will have to ask a buddy to help me out here.

Recovering an old chair

The color is actually true in these pics. Who knew the original cover was royal blue?

Remember this grimy little chair? It is now this ubercool thing:


I first posted about it here. Since then I have torn off the old cover, covered the seat with a layer of upholstery foam, padded the back with some quilt batting, covered the whole shebang with muslin (which I traced off the original cover, then traced onto my usual pattern foil), sanded down the legs, primed them and painted them with two coats of black paint followed by a coat of clear varnish.


Then I covered the chair in the intended fabric with some black piping on the edge of the seat (just bias tape folded in the middle with yarn in the middle). It wasn´t easy getting the staples I had through the sometimes many layers of fabric, batting etc. The back does not look as good as I would like and I may change that.

Btw, while tearing off the original cover, I found a german pfennig from 1966 in a fold of fabric! It was so well placed that it couldn´t have been a coincidence. My guess is that whoever made this chair put that in there as a lucky charm. I put it back in there and will add a Euro cent from this year, as soon as I find one!
I googled if maybe that was a tradition but couldn´t find anything... ( I will post a picture when I get home tonight, I forgot to upload it to my computer...)

Now I can´t wait to recover that second chair to see if it has the same lucky penny in it! I haven´t found a suitable fabric though.

I have enough of the zebra print leftover for a throw pillow for the couch. I am waiting to make the pillows until I have collected all of the fabrics I want to use in my dining/living room (I have leftovers from my drapes as well) and then come up with a plan.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Self-drafted Knit Dress - Review

The following is a project I made before I started my sewing journal so I have no idea, when I finished it...
But I do remember the fabric:

Sweater Knit (95% polyester/ 5% spandex) "Marina" from buttinette.de and it is still available in lots of colors.
It costs €10,95 which isn´t cheap for a poly knit, but I think it is worth it and I am seriously debating buying more of the stuff. I just can´t decide which colors... lol
I hope to get pictures of me in it some time this week including the shrug...

This is the review as posted on PR:

Pattern Description:
Sleeveless Knit Dress with Drop-Waist and slight cowl neck

Pattern Sizing:
just my size!

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
There was no photo, except for the image in my head. It turned out almost like that!

Were the instructions easy to follow?
No instructions!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I would have loved a more pronounced cowl neck but my brain wasn´t up to the task...
The skirt is a half circle (if I recall correctly) cut in one piece. If I make this again, I will probably do a front skirt and back skirt separately.

Fabric Used:
A spongy blue polyester sweater knit

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
The original image in my head had sleeves but I managed to mess up the sleeve cap /armscye bigtime, so I chopped them off and bound the armholes with a strip of fabric, turned that to the inside and topstitched it.
Since I wanted the option of long sleeves (this knit is pretty warm and is more of a fall/winter dress), I cut a rectangle the length of my "wingspan" and a width equaling the circumference of my upper arm and sewed it together for the length of my arm on each side (tapering to the wrists). I turned up a hem at the wrists but left the other seams unfinished. Same goes for the dress (just cut the hem evenly - at least I tried to).

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I will sew it again, at least once for my mom. She wants this with a calf length skirt.

Not bad for a completely improvised project. I´ve worn it several times and really like it.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Yeah, we have progress!

The cowl neck top in my alternate fabric is nearly done (just needs a hem!) and I am not unhappy with it. Please note that I am not 100% happy either. I have this vision of a certain drapey cowl neck that I can´t seem to duplicate...
But it really isn´t too bad and I know I will wear it. It needs a little taking in at the waist and I am unsure of the length and will decide on that tomorrow.

I also nearly finished the teal pencil skirt: skirt is assembled and lining is assembled, the zipper is inserted. Tomorrow I just need to join the lining to the outer skirt and hem the whole shebang!
That means two almost completed items for my mini-wardrobe with two to go.
Not bad considering tomorrow is halftime!

I have kept busy with other stuff: remember the grimy little chair? Well I tore off the old cover, cut a muslin and just put the last coat of paint on the legs.
And now I am dead tired. I really don´t know why, the weekend was pretty low key.

I doubt, I will get very much done tomorrow because I am meeting two former co-workers for dinner. We try to do this on a regular basis, but life gets in the way quite often, so I am always happy, when we manage to actually get together! :-)

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Well, not really...

I keep hitting a wall regarding my Mini-Wardrobe plan:
I wanted to cut out my tulip skirt today (BWOF 09-2007-116) and discovered that 1 yard really is not enough fabric when the pattern calls for 1.3 meters... Duh!!!
So I got out a different pattern, one I had made before: another BWOF (need to look up which one) skirt pattern with a cut-on flare in the back; layed it out on the fabric and again: not enough fabric... geez!!!!
With some clever piecing (chopped off the flare and cut those pieces separately) I managed to get everything cut out.
So on to the next disaster: my HP 3 Graces Cowl Neck Shirt out of a wild jersey print. I remembered having used some of this fabric for a shirt about a year ago but I really thought I could get a huge cowl neck shirt out of the remnant! Which had been rolled up and looked like it would be more than enough... duh!!! Again!!!
I unrolled it and realized that, while I would definitely be able to get a normal shirt out of this piece, it would never be enough for the cowl neck.
So stash diving I went for a different fabric because I really wanted to sew this pattern. I came up with a lightweight (11oz. rayon jersey) in a purple and blue paisley print on a white background. Will post pictures of my updated storyboard tomorrow.
Traced the pattern and cut it out and kept thinking that something was off about my wardrobe... I kept looking at the fabrics and thinking spring or summer, which made me wonder why the hell I would want to wear a pair of dark brown pinstripe dress pants with what was changing from a work wardrobe with a splash of color into a colorful and casual spring/summer collection??? WTF???
Sooo, I am exchanging the dress pants for a pair of white RTW jeans. This gives me more options for the tops.
Ok rant over, I will post my revised storyboard tomorrow...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Little progress

I am away on business so there is not much to talk about...
Although I did manage to get the front of the Luna Shell completed last night. It took just over three skeins of the Elann Luna in chocolate fudge (I think I have 8 skeins, so I´ll be good to go for the shell). I am hoping to get the back done in just under 3 skeins for a total of 6, so that I have two whole skeins of the brown left to add to the 8 skeins of the same yarn in liquid teal for a cardi. That is going to be a tight squeeze and the cardi may end up with 3/4 sleeves (hopefully at least that long!).
So far (knock on wood) my wrists are fine and I will continue on as long as that is the case...

In sewing news, I had planned to take the HP 3 Graces shirt pattern with me to trace off in my hotel room but I managed to forget that at home... which means no progress on the mini-wardrobe. Ugh!!!!
Skirt - pattern traced
3 Graces top - nothing done
BWOF blouse - still on the fence if I like the pattern for the fabric
2nd BWOF top - ditto!

If I remember correctly, there is a cute top pattern in one of my older Easy Fashion magazines. I´ll look for that tonight and hopefully substitute one or both of the previously picked patterns.
I really need to get cracking on this because I have my March Jacket as well. Here, I´ve got the lining sewn and the fashion fabric cut out save for the collar (fabric decision pending).

My dad is coming for dinner next friday and I really want to get some more stuff done in the apartment and I REALLY need to clean the place so that is what I will be doing this weekend. Have I mentioned I hate cleaning??? I would rather install lighting or paint stuff than clean my apartment and that is exactly why it is in such a sorry state...
No, I am not going to show you a picture of my grimy place instead I will leave you with a picture from my trip to Australia in November 2009:

Sydney harbour

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

WIP: Luna Shell

This is the random WIP I pulled from my lovely pink WIP basket (I will do a show and tell in an upcoming post!):

Luna shell
 According to Ravelry I started this in May 2010 with high hopes of making a cute little twinset with the shell in brown with turquoise trim and the cardigan in turquoise with brown trim. It languished in the WIP basket after my old problem (pain in the wrists when knitting with cotton) reared it´s ugly head, again!
Because I wasn´t in the mood for something new, I pulled this out after finishing my Clapotis. As long as I don´t knit on it excessively, I hope I will be fine!
As always I use a knitting pattern as a loose guideline only and change lots of things. Since I tend to need more room in a top for the girls than most patterns provide, I decided to try something new for this shell: I split the number of stitches into thirds and increased one stitch at each of the two marked points. 4 rows after that I increased one to the left and one to the right of that mark and every 4 rows after that, I increased one stitch before the first and one stitch after the second and repeat for the second marked point. This forms a subtle upside down triangle below each "girl"! :-)

I am ready to decrease for the armholes next.

On a different note: I love the way my pictures with the white background look. Like the knitting is floating in the air. Instead it´s just my white coffee table... lol

Monday, March 7, 2011

Mini-Wardrobe Contest

This is my storyboard for the Mini-Wardrobe Contest over at Pattern Review. I have yet to finish a contest but I have high hopes for this one. I like the idea of creating a wardrobe based on an item already in the closet. And I chose a pair of pants I made a couple of weeks ago (review here). I chose this fabric and color combination because I tend to wear a neutral (brown, black, navy, tan) bottom with solid colored sweaters, cardigans or button-down shirts which makes for very boring office attire. And I desperately want to branch out, both color wise and regarding cuter and more interesting tops. I guess this is a start and I believe that 3 tops and a skirt (albeit lined) are completely doable in about 3 weeks... Ok, watch me eat my words... lol


The yellow fabric is a dotted swiss cotton for a short sleeve version of BWOF 07-2007-101, the polka dot fabric is a cream and brown cotton crepe for BWOF 03-2008-109 (still thinking about both the fabric and the pattern choice), the crazy print is a poly/lycra jersey for the cowl neck version of the HP 3 Graces shirt and the teal fabric is a subtle floral jaquard destined to be a tulip skirt (BWOF 09-2007-116).

So there. That´s my brain dump regarding the contest!
Progress has been made, I managed to trace the skirt pattern. I really wanted to have the skirt cut out as well but I am soooo tired and the couch seemed soooo comfortable.

But in other news, I did manage to sew a pleated skirt for Carnival tomorrow. Review forthcoming with pictures if I can remember to take them before going out! The construction and fit is slapdashing at it´s best (that is a word, isn´t it?) and I believe this will be a "one time wear"...
We shall see...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sunday Recap

I didn´t get all done that I had planned...

"For tomorrow I have great plans:
cut the houndstooth fabric for the March jacket DONE! I had to cut in single layer layout because the printed houndstooth pattern was ever so slightly off-grain... I haven´t cut the collar yet because I´m thinking of using a different (dark) faux fur but I want to wait until I have the body constructed to decide!


sew the muslin chair cover nope, no time
sew a costume for carnival (I´m thinking rocker girl with Doc Maartens, fishnets, a short plaid skirt and some
    sort of top); the only I would need to sew is that skirt and I think I´ve got a suitable pattern in my BWOF
    collection; for the matching jewelry, I think I will raid the hardware store :-) that will wait until tomorrow
    but I found the skirt pattern!"

Sooo, I was not very successful, but I have an excuse: about a week ago the large roller shutter on my (thankfully even larger) living room window (leaving me with at least a little bit of sunlight as the other third of the window has it´s own roller shutter) crashed down (the belt used to raise and lower it tore off the top roll). So I spent the better part of today fixing this. It is fixed but I managed to stick a pair of very pointy scissors into my thumb (don´t even ask how...) in the meantime!

Right now, it´s off to the couch for a movie and some knitting and surfing!
Have a nice evening!

BWOF 08-2006 Designer Pattern Bogner - Pants

Pattern Description: Fly-front Pants with contoured waistband*

Pattern Sizing:
I cut a 44

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, except for the fly, but that just might be my brain...

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like the classic lines of the patterns and I am always on the lookout for classic dress pants for work that will actually fit.

Fabric Used:
a rayon poly stretch woven in brown with cream pinstripes from www.stoffe.de for €11,99/m. I used 1,5m.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
on this version I did not alter a thing and it came out too large as you can see in the photos. I would cut a smaller size the next time.
The rise is too high for my taste but the legs are roomy enough for my protruding thighs!
The crotch is too roomy: about 3-4cm can be taken out below the zipper with a dart on the pattern

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I would sew it again, in fact I have. I made that dart below the zipper and cut a 42 in the waist and hips, grading back to a 44 for the legs.
I messed up the fly front on this version big time, so I doubt I will wear it. And I didn´t lower the rise... Oopsie!

Classic dress pants with a nice enough fit. I most always have to alter patterns and this one was no exception!
Nonetheless, a double thumbs up for this pattern.

*I don´t know, if these Designer Patterns were available in the foreign issues of BWOF. Burda put a Designer Pattern in each magazine for a while. In order to get these you had to pay €5 and send in an order form. You would receive the pattern in the mail a couple weeks later. They were only available for a limited time (if I recall correctly, only the month in which the magazine appeared)

Added after posting over at PR:
This is my first pair of pants that I have actually worn to work without fussing over flaws and will gladly wear again!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Slow Saturday

No sewing today, no knitting either, although I might pull a random WIP from my WIP basket after I finish writing this. I have no idea what to cast on.

I spent half the day trying to get the lighting in my vintage cabinet to work... After blowing the fuse three times my little brother came down and helped me. Now, one spotlight works and the other needs to be exchanged because apparently it´s broken.
After that I went to Zumba class with my friend, grocery shopping and cooked a lovely dinner (lamb filet with a green salad). Now I´m sitting on the couch with a nice glass of red wine.

I managed to get the lining on my March jacket sewn up last night and the fit seems good. I seem to have a problem with sewing the buttons and buttonholes on the correct sides... On my February jacket I managed to get my sides mixed up and here (the buttonholes are made by leaving holes in the seam between the right front and the right front band) I managed to do the same! I forgot that the lining gets worn "inside out"...

For tomorrow I have great plans:
cut the houndstooth fabric for the March jacket
sew the muslin chair cover
sew a costume for carnival (I´m thinking rocker girl with Doc Maartens, fishnets, a short plaid skirt and some
    sort of top); the only I would need to sew is that skirt and I think I´ve got a suitable pattern in my BWOF
    collection; for the matching jewelry, I think I will raid the hardware store :-)

And because I have no new pictures here is a squirrel in Battery Park:

Friday, March 4, 2011

Sewing Plans for March

I have been thinking about what to sew next and this is what I came up with:
- March Jacket: obviously! I´ve already cut out the lining and will cut out the fashion fabric after I sew the lining up to check the fit. Since PR is doing a Lined Jacket Contest, I will try to finish in time and enter.PR is also doing a Mini-Wardrobe Contest designed around an item already in the closet and I sewed a pair of pants a couple of weeks ago (brown with cream pinstripes) that go perfectly with the jacket. This got me thinking about some coordinating fabrics in my stash.... more on that later

- a loungewear suit (Vogue 2064; a Donna Karan pattern): my closet is sorely lacking in the comfortable loungewear department and I have the suitable fabric earmarked for this pattern


  I will be making Views A and D (the jacket out of a teal jersey and the pants out of a chocolate brown jersey)
- trying to recreate the look of the following dress will be another challenge for march

 last year, in NYC I bought a gorgeous wool knit in a heathered brown at Metro Textile that seems stable enough for this dress. I have shirt pattern that would probably work, I´ll see once I get it muslined.
- Inspiration: Embellished knits at Grosgrain
  I have two turtlenecks (at least) that I hate wearing as they are but they´re definitely in too good condition to throw out (both Tommy Hilfiger cotton sweaters). I want to refashion these in some way.

Ok, that´s enough for now, I hope I can finish all that in March!