Monday, October 6, 2014

Simplicity 2215 in Nani Iro


Pattern: Simplicity 2215, size 12
Fabric: Nani Iro Pocho, from Miss Matatabi


 
 
This is a dress that started with the fabric. A few months back, I discovered the treasure trove that Miss Matatabi's Etsy shop is, and fell for some Nani Iro Pocho double gauze. It is arguably amongst my top 5 favourite fabrics, along with silk crepe, wool flanell and cotton lawn. Double gauze is squishly, a bit thick but lightweight and opaque. It is wonderfully well-behaved under cutting and sewing and presses easily. When it is printed with shimmery gold dots to boot, I get a bit weak in the knees.
 
 
To make the most of my Pocho, I wanted a simple pattern, and Simplicity 2215 fit the bill exactly. It's a Cynthia Rowley pattern, and once you look past the fringe, it's a lovely pattern. A simple bodice closing with buttons on the front, paired with a pleated skirt. The pattern "features" uneven pleats as a design element, but who in the world has the patience to mark and pleat these? Not me, anyways. So I made up pleats of my own. The bodice is lined, wich makes a clean finish, and I sewed the skirt with my beloved french seams. I hemmed with a machine blind hem, a finish that truly disappear completely into the fabric. Interestingly, the bodice is interfaced with pieces of interfacing in the shape of facing. Does it makes sense? I suppose it gives definition to the buttoned front without requiring interfacing the whole bodice, which would be plain weird.
 
 
A simple dress to showcase a stunning fabric, and I am really pleased with the result. The bodice is a bit big in the upper chest and shoulder area, but has a nice amount of easy at the waist. I am wondering if I should have made a size smaller in the upper bodice, or maybe removed some lenght abobe the bust? Hmm, something to ponder until next time...
 
 
Finally, I have been thinking about trying to blogging in both English and Swedish. I've been thinking about this for a while, since I live in Sweden and would really like to try and connect with local seamstresses. What was holding me back is that I am unsure if the language really actually is a barrier between me and other swedish seamstresses, as swedes really do speak and read English well. If there are any swedes reading me, please, can you give me you input about this? I'm thinking it might be easier to find me if I blog in Swedish too? I really do sew in English, simply because most of my sewing knowledge and all of my sewing inspration comes from sewing blogs, so it would be a bit of a challenge to discuss sewing in swedish! Also, it would be a bit unsettling to communicate with the world in the two of the three languages i speak that are not my mother tongue... Lastly, I really suck at translating, so it may not be the exact same content in the two languages. I'm thinking something in the lines of posts in English, and a shorter text in Swedish. Anyways, let me know your thoughts on this!
 
 
Jag har funderat ett tag om att börja blogga på både svenska och engelska. Jag har nu bott i Sverige i sju år och skulle gärna vilja att min blogg blir ett sätt att nå ut och träffa andra svenska sömmerskor. Franska är mitt modersmål, men jag syr verkligen på engelska (på grund av att mina kunskap i sömnads kommer mestadels från alla bloggar jag läser!), så det skulle vara en utmaning att skriva om sömnad på svenska. Men jag undrar om det gör en skillnad för ni som är svenskar? Läser ni gärna på engelska, eller skulle det bli positivt att läsa mig på svenska? Jag tänker okcså att det kanske skulle bli lättare att hitta till mig om jag skrev på svenska? Jag är inte alls bra på att översätta, så jag kan inte lova att innehållet blir exakt densamma i båda språken. Jag tänker mig något i stilen om ett inlägg på engelska, med en sammanfattning på svenska. Vad tycker ni?

 
 
 








p.s. sorry for the frizzy hair, it was quite windy on the beach!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Silk wrap dress


Pattern: Buttericks 5898, size 12. View B with sleeves from view A. 
Fabric: silk crepe (?), received as a destash gift

 This was made last spring, when all I could think about was make. all. the. dresses. Now my sewing mojo has left me for a long vacation in Timbuktu, but at least I have pictures to share, and a pretty dress to cheer me up. This is a dress I love despite it's small flaws. I feel elegant and beautiful when i wear it, and that counts for much more than everything else I have to say about this make. Note to self: silk is amazing, wrap dresses are even better.

I fell for the classic cut of this pattern, and the very feminine cascading wrap of the skirt. The construction features two cut-out darts pointing outwards (meaning that they start at the edge of the wrap and points towards the sides of my body), and lots of easestitching to fit the fronts into the facings. I was quite concerned while making it that it would en up beeing gathered, but it actually very effectively creates nice blousing while remaining securely in place, close to my body. I whish I could have gone the french seaming way to really treat this silk with the care it deserves, but the ties needs to pass into an opening that is placed in a side seam, and I could not figure out how to combine french seams with this opening. Also, I am not a big fan of facings in general, and here, well, I'm on the fence. They are a bit floppy despite that i invisibly catch-stitched them in place, but it is also the only finish i can think of that affords the clever easistitching action. And finally, I am not the one to make muslins of a loose-fitting dress, but I should have made an exception this time, because it turned out a little big. Now, it's a wrap dress, so it's not too noticeable as I can just pull the waist ties a bit tighter, but the shoulders are a cm or two too wide.

But I will definetely revisit this pattern. I have a lenght of 4ply silk I bought at Moods last year, sitting in my stash waiting for the perfct project. That might just be it, because this dress made me realise that I do not need a fitted bodice and a full skirt to feel feminine and amazing.






Monday, September 1, 2014

A blog hop!


Also a part of the process... (getting dolled up for a photoshoot)

I have been nominated by the lovely Marie from A Stitching Odyssey to participate in a blog hop! I hade been reading Marie's blog for a long time and always admired her fun yet feminine style, but was given the chance to get to kow her better when I was paired with her in Kestrel's Spring Sewing Swap. So I was more than happy to oblige when she asked me to take part in this little (well, maybe not so little, just try and see how long it goes back!) blog hop. Let's dive in!

Why do I write?
I started this blog as a way to document my sewing and other creative endeavours. From the beginning, it was much more a place for me to record my thoughts about my projects, and hopefully som construction and fitting notes, than a social space. However, with time, I have come to appreciate the value of my blog as a place to connect with others who share my passion. I have really enjoyed meeting amazing people (like Marie!) through my blog, and I am slowly shifting gears towards a content that is more in the spirit of sharing, teaching and inspiring through my projects.

What are you working on?
Blog-wise, I am working on improving my photography, even if that often means booking more photo sessions with my friend :) And as I mentioned above, I am thinking about where I want to take my blogging and how I will be doing that.
I am also planning my fall and winter wardrobe...
But on my sewing table right now is Colette Patterns' Myrtle. Next up is Sewaholic's Yaletown!

How does you blog differs from other in it's genre?
Oh, dear, I cannot even try to pretend that my blog is unique, even in this (relatively!) little community of ours. I do see my blog as very personal in many ways. Sure, it means I put my work out there for the world to see, but I do it primarily for myself, to share my thoughts about a project. No matter how much I do love seeing blogland beeing swept over by hi-low hems, two-pieces and oversized prints (preferably all in one outfit), I try to resist all the trends, an really make things that works for me. I love the inspiration, though.

What is your writing process?
I try really hard to take notes while I sew, but oftentimes, I get too carried away to take the time and stop to write down anything. I do keep my favorite Moleskine notebook by my sewing machine as an incentive, but it does not work so well... I should really learn, though, because I spend an awful lot of time trying to remember what I did when I sit at my computer to write a blog post. So mostly, it ends up being a mash-up of my thoughts about the pattern, the fabric and the finished project. Oh well.


To continue this little hop, I am nominating Alessa from Farbenfreude and Nicolina from Docksjö. Alessa is a smart and colourful lady living in my favorite city, Berlin (I should really go spend a week-end there soon...). She always write thoughtful posts about style and sewing, and I'm always curious to see what she makes next! I have got to know Nicolina through her blog and Instagram, and really enjoy the inspiration she provides. Both in her finished makes and in her meticulousness through the projects. She is also a great inspiration for me getting into lingerie sewing.

Monday, August 18, 2014

And the winner is...




Alessa!!! Please email me your address and which Deer and Doe pattern you would like to receive! 

Also, thank you everybody for entering the giveaway, it's heartwarming to hear from all of you. 

I will be back soon with some sewing, and maybe some knitting too!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

100 followers giveaway! And my second attempt at bramaking


Hello!
I have been really busy in the past 3 weeks with beeing on vacation, and am therefore a few days late in my celebration of 100 followers of The Handstitched Files. Bad blogger. I have also been quite busy with this and battling off weeds.


(We bought a summerhouse, my boyfriend and I. Despite it being barely 40 square meters, I find it quite overwhelming. Funny how something that should be quite simple and actually quite exciting can turn into something hard to manage for reasons not really related to the thing itself. Buying a summerhouse turned a few things upside down for me, but it's settling down, I hope. It's also been much more work than expected. The previous owner left everything in the house, down to dessert spoons and rusty pot hangers, wich is both a blessing and a curse. I have lost count of how many times we filled our car and drove to the landfill. At the same time, it is nice not having to buy a thing. It's been lots of work trying to clean the house while repairing a leaking roof, but I think I'm starting to get on top of things. And having grass between my toes while drinking my afternoon coffee is a quite amazing feeling!)

Anyways, it is never too late to celebrate!

I did not have to think really hard to decide what I would be offering. I want to celebrate the joyfullness, the creativity and the open-mindedness of this wonderful little community that we have. And what better than an indie pattern to do that? So I am offering a pattern from my favourite pattern company, Deer and Doe. (I am not affiliated to Deer and Doe, by the way, I just really love Eleonores designs!) My love of Deer and Doe is recorded here, and I have a Belladone and a Centaurée, both already worn several times, still to be blogged (bad, bad blogger). So up for grabs is the pattern of your choice from Deer and Doe's catalog. The giveaway will be opened until sunday the 17th of August, and I will draw a winner on the next day. To enter, simply leave a comment on this post. Why don't you tell me what you have been up to this summer?

Ok, back to sewing! I have LOTS of unphotographed/unblogged projects, but I have been really excited about lingerie lately, so I wanted to share my second bra. This is also Pin-Up Girls Classic bra, although I modified it quite a lot this time. I changed the fabric straps for elastic straps (and this alone would make a world of difference for the sexiness factor of the bra!). I also lowered the rise of the cups. They still provide good coverage, but feels much prettier. Finally, I changed, ever so slightly, the curve of the cup seams, flattening them a tiny bit, which made quite a difference in the final shape of the cups. I am much happier with the fit and feel of this bra, compared with the first. It is very comfortable, too, and way prettier! I have happily put it in my lingerie drawer and use it regularly. The fabric and findings are from a kit I purchased at Sewing chest. It's a great kit, with nice fabrics, and it includes everything for a bra, including lace, powermesh and stable tricot, as well as all the elastics and trimmings. It even has tiny ribbon bows! I find it hard still to judge the quality of lingerie fabrics, but these felt quite nice, and were nice to work with. I did not realise when I purchased the kit, but the materials are not enough for a matching panty, these are sold as a separate kit. Just something to keep in mind! I struggled once again with attaching the hooks and eyes tape, anyone has tips or suggestions? I also had some issues with bulkyness in a few places. Maddie recently suggested hammering down bulky areas, so maybe I'll try this next time.






Friday, July 11, 2014

Stitching interlude


Pattern: Urban Threads
Embroidery on linen with DMC cotton thread



I blame Pinterest for this new obsession. Pinterest, and a guest toilet in need of some decoration. Very glamorous, I know.

I actually really do not remember how it really started. A pin of a beautiful embroidered piece (probably intricate flowers in satin stich), leading to more boards loaded with inspiration, leading to some more googling, and also probably an email from Craftsy about summer sale and a new class on hand embroidery. I might have a slight addiction to Craftsy classes. The video medium is just great for us visual learners, and when classes go on sale I usually snap up a few. I personally think that 20 or so dollars is great value. The only times I have been disappointed was when I didn't like the teaching style of a particular instructor. The contents is always interesting, though. OK, enough about Craftsy. Anyways, I had bought the class Design It, Stitch It: Hand Embroidery with Jessica Marquez, watched it and loved every minute of it. It is a great embroidery primer and covers all the basics, and Jessica makes it sounds so easy. I also love what she creates, and she has been a great source of inspiration.


 
 
So I gathered supplies and bought this beautiful fox pattern at Urban Threads and started stitching. The tedious part is transferring the pattern to the fabric. I used a water soluble pen and a window as a lightbox, wich works well but is not very ergonomic. The stitching was just so much fun, and I barely put it down for an entire week-end. So it was completed rather quickly, even though there are many hours of labour in the finished piece. I had beforehand decided on orange for the outline (because well, foxes are orange, plus it will match the backsplash in the guest toilet) and a general colour palette, but just followed my fantasy for the stitches and colour distribution.
 
I am in love with the final result. It's colourful, modern and happy. Some stitches are wonky, but it makes me love the final piece just that much more. I really enjoyed the organic process of creating this piece, with the outlines of the pattern as a starting point and choosing colours and stitches as I went. I am really looking forward to build on my skills and explore different styles of embroidery.
 
It still needs to be framed, once I decide what colour to spray-paint the frame. Midnight blue or gold? In the meantime, I stocked up on thread, patterns and added countless embroidery inspiration boards to my Pinterest feed.
 
Finally, I noticed that I have 94 followers on Bloglovin! There is probably people following me in other ways, but I'm not sure how to check that out? Saying this makes me feel prehistorical. Oh well. Anyways, I thought that I would host a celebratory giveaway when I reach 100 followers! I have yet to decide what the prize will be, but I will come up with something good, promise. So check this space, I will, in the meantime, compulsively check my Bloglovin stats :) See you all soon whith som wearable stitching and a celebratory giveaway!
 






Monday, July 7, 2014

The bra story



Pattern: Pin-up Girls Classic bra, size 30D, slightly modified to fit my wires
Fabric: White dotted cotton from stash, white powernet from Sewing chest and white notion kit from Merckwaerdigh on Etsy.

I have been wanting to sew lingerie for a long time, ever since Amy over at Cloth Habit posted her serie about bra-making. I had great plans then to follow the sew-along and learn how to make beautiful, handmade bras. I entusiastically bought kits from Merckwaerdigh, a pattern from Pin-Up girls, and fiddled around with plush and picot elastics. The results were, sadly, less than stellar and I quickly lost interest, confused between powermesh, stretch lace, linings and trims.



Around the same time, probably due to my extensive research about bras and fit, I realised I had been wearing the wrong size bra. No wonder, since my size is barely available in specialty lingerie stores, and definetely nowhere to be found in the usual chain stores. (As a side note, I do not consider that I have a large bust. The letters in the size of my bra have very little to do with the actual size of my breasts, as the volume they refer to is in direct correlation to the lenght of the band, and my breast are certainly not bigger because my bras are! It took me forever to actually really understand this, and I will not try to explain. Rather, I suggest you go read what Butterfly Collection has do say on the subject.) I discovered high quality bras that fitted very well and were pretty and fun and colourful, like Freya and Panache, and for a while I was happy with my drawer full of store-bought lingerie. Who said I have to make everything?

So I continued, for the last year, to admire Novitas and Amys beautiful bras, thinking that "one day" I would be skilled enough to sew a bra that actually fitted. Then Tasia, from Sewaholic, started to post lingerie too, and it somehow managed to give me the kick I needed. I suddenly was super inspired, and eager to finally demystify bramaking.



I re-read all of Amy's sewalong posts and studied my RTW bras. I finally understood what parts need to stretch (the back band), and which should not (pretty much everything else), and that was the lightbulb moment for me. So I simply sat down, traced a 30D from my Pin-Up Girls Classic bra pattern, cut my fabric, a little lace to be pretty and constructed a bra. Just like that! Well, I had also ordered a few different wires in different models and sizes from the Sewing Chest and that also really helped in getting a good end reslut. The sewing itself is rather simple. Inserting all the different elastics does take a bit of practice, but is not really difficult. It does require a lot of precision, which I rather enjoyed. The hardest was attatching the hooks, I had to unpick several times because I was not catching everything properly.

The result is a bra that is very wearable, which I a super happy and proud of. I always considered it a muslin, and there are many things I will adjust for my next version, and my stitching can also be perfected. About the pattern, I will say that the instructions are extremely detailed and pertinent. The fit is quite good, straight of the envelope, on me at least, and feels quite true to size. The model is, however, quite dated. The bra gives lots of coverage, and the wide straps feels a bit old (i do think I messed up somehow with the elastics and seam allowances and that my straps are larger than they are intended to be). It also gives me a very pointy shape, which is awesome for a retro look, but maybe not what I would go for daily. I believe that all of this will be easily altered with a bit of drafting and Amy's helpful posts.

p.s. My lingerie photographing skills are also something I hope to improve... ;)