Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I am so proud of this make. I mean: I knitted a sweater!!

I had always wanted to knit, and had learned, but never got past the stage of the scarf. I was convinced that I did not have the skills and/or knowledge to knit something more intricate, which was what i actually wanted to knit. Scarves are a little boring (no offence to all of you who like knitting scarves)... I was also quite jealous of the skills of knitters, and of what they could accomplish. And in thruth, I really loved the idea of sitting in front of the tv, with a cup of tea and knitting. Mysigt (that's cozy in Swedish...).

So I just dived in. Ignored the fact I knew very little about knitting, signed up on Ravelry, downloaded the Miette pattern (which I have seen so many lovely versions of, including Lauren's, who was very inspirational to me in her approach to knitting...) and bought yarn. Then I just starting knitting, following the pattern and looking up Youtube and my Craftsy class Knit Lab, which was fabulous by the way, when I stumbled on something I didn't know.

And I knitted a cardigan! It's not perfect, but nobody will ever know, and I LOVE it! I wore it to work, and nobody asked me the dreaded question "Did you make that?". I hate that question. Makes me feel like it is obvious I made the garment, and that it shows in the poor quality. Now, I do think that I make nice things, and I pay attention to the finishes, but maybe others see my makes with a different eye. Well, maybe it's something I need to learn to take as a compliment?

Now I'm totally hooked to knitting and I ordered new knitting needles and accessories. And I bought yarn for my next two projects, a beanie for my boyfriend and the Chuck sweater for myself. Oh my, cables.

Detail of the lace pattern. It's most visible at the bottom. 

Close-up of the button band and collar band. The buttons are mother-of-pearl in a creamy color.

My labels. I had them printed, so they are unique (well, all 200 of mine). The text and drawing are actually woven, so am really pleased with the quality of these. I sew in one in every garment I make!

Project details:
Pattern: Miette, by Andi Satterlund
Yarn: Drops Alpaca, 8 skeins
Knitted on 5mm circular bamboo needles and 5mm double-pointed bamboo needles.
Link to my Ravelry notes.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Work in progress - burdastyle LBD

I spent the week-end working on my dress for the Burdastyle Vintage modern sewing contest, and I made lots of progress.

I made the final adjustments to the muslin as I was not quite happy with the sleeve. I have to say I totally hacked the sleeve by tracing a sleeve from another Burda pattern and adjusting the bodice armhole accordingly. I sewed a muslin (ok several) and adjusted from there until I was happy with the fit. I know it is absolutely not the proper way to do this, but it worked well enough. I am not quite ready to dive into block-making (too much maths involved, ha). I then ripped the muslin apart and used it as my pattern pieces. I was the first time I did that and it was quite a revelation. The pattern doesn't move at all on the fabric, and it solves the problem of what to do with muslins... I don't muslin quite as much as I probably should, so maybe this is another argument in favour of muslins?

Pinning pattern pieces to lace fabric.
 I then proceeded to cut the pieces for the bodice in both the lace and the underlining fabric, a black polysatin. I also cut pieces for an all-in-one facing. I debated wether I should line the bodice or use a facing. I thought the bodice was thick enough so the lining or facing was just to enclose seam allowances. I opted for the facing because I judged it would be easier to deal with, considering the thickness and body of the underlining. I always find it hard when a light and drapey fabric meet a stiffer one. Also, my fabrics are not fraying much, so a full lining wasn't mandatory. I did have concerns about the whole thing beeing too bulky, but it turned out ok.

I am treating the satin as a underlining for the bodice and a lining for the skirt, hopefully that won't cause any unexpected problems. For the bodice pieces, I hand-basted the lace to the satin, both facing up, and treated them as one piece of fabric for the rest of the process.

Basting the fashion fabric to the underlining.
 Then I constructed the bodice. The pattern has really lovely curved darts, which makes for a really nice fit.
Pinning darts. Front bodice at the top, back bodice at the bottom.
I setted the sleeves flat (another sewing first!), thinking it would make it easier to sew the facing in this was. I first basted the sleeve to the bodice, and then pinned the facing, and finally sewing the whole thing together. It was pretty akward, with the different curves, and making sure not to catch any layer in the seam. I did have to rip and redo a few times after sewing in the facing. Lastly, I sewed the facing on at the neckline and turned everything right-side out through the shoulders.

That is as far as I got. Here is the list of what is left to do
- understitch the seam allowance to the facing unit. I think I'll do it by hand, it's far neater and it makes the dress feel much more luxurious.
 - sew side seams and underarm seams
- pleat the skirt pieces and attach to the bodice
- bind the waist seam in some way
- insert zipper at center front. I am planning a lapped, handpricked zipper. I think it will really be invisible, considering the lace pattern.
- hem the skirt lining and hem sleeves and skirt by cutting the lace.
- if needed, sew in a waiststay.
Oh. That looks like a lot when I write down everything, but I think it'll be 3 to 4 hours of work. I'm really trying to take my time and make it well. Handstitching when it makes a difference, for example. I still have a few weeks before the closing date of the contest, so I am confident I'll finish in time to enter.

Now I'm off to do that understitching!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


I had something else planned as my next project, but there is a contest over at Burdastyle... It has the most amazing prizes so it seems like it's the perfect way to spark things up in my sewing room! I had ordered the book Sewing Vintage Modern even before it was available, so I'm all set.

Of course, I'm going to go with something 50's inspired, so the Elizabeth dress will be my starting point. I'm thinking a full skirt, fitted bodice and sleeves. I had picked up a few meters of black lace at the sales a few days ago, without have a specific plan for it. Well, now I have a plan! I'll make a litte black dress (I can't believe I wear black all the time and my closet still lacks a lbd!) with the lace as an overlay, and lace sleeves. I have this idea of cutting the lace around the flowers at the hems for a feminine effect. Hopefully, the lace won't ravel and it should work. I put together a Pinterest board (my username is joellestlaurent) as inspiration. 

I have a fair bit of drafting to do to get the bodice as I envision it, mostly around the shoulders. I want set-in sleeves as they will be in lace only. That means I'll have to draft sleeves too... hmm I'm in for quite a challenge!

The bodice of dress will be underlined in black satin, except for the sleeves and the skirt will be lined with the satin so that the lace can be free flowing. I foud a quite nice black satin with a bit of body, which should suffice to get a full skirt. 

Off to my desk for some drafting!

Monday, January 7, 2013

On my sewing table - bra making

In keeping with my sewing goals, I am kickstarting the new sewing year with Amy's Bra-making sew-along over at Cloth Habit!

I did make one bra, once. It turned out that the fit was disastrous... In my defence, I did follow the sizing on the pattern (Merckwaerdigh, BSH10, available on Etsy), but it was totally off. Since then, I learned a lot about bra sizing, and good fit, specially thanks to Kristin, so I feel up for the challenge. I also bought the Classic bra pattern, by Pin Up Girls (through Elingeria), which I believe is a better model, in terms of simpleness and fit. I am really looking foward the sew-along, especially since it will be the first one in wich I actually participate! I have gathered supplies, hopefully I have all that is required. I expect the fittings to be the most challenging (and time-consuming) part of the process, so I am really looking fowards the help we will get through the sew-along.

I plan on posting pictures and notes as I work, and hopefully I can put together a little inspiration post too. I never tire of pretty underthings... hopefully I'll soon be able to make them!

Friday, January 4, 2013



I hope this blog will become a way for me to sort through all of my ideas, help me be more creative in my sewing and push me to be part of the worderful online sewing community that i have been witnessing for months now. I see this place most as somewhere to document my crafty endeavours. (Well, that would mostly mean all the dresses I sew. But sometimes I do sew something else, I promise.) I want to have somewhere I can gather and document everything i make, look at them and ponder over them. Somewhere to reflect over my style and gather inspiration. My handstitched files!

I thought I would start this adventure by sharing my goals for the year to come, so that I have something to look back to and remind me of where I want to be heading as I progress in my sewing.

Make things that I will love and wear

That means reflecting on how an item will fit in my wardrobe, what I will wear it with, before making it. And not just sew up a little top just because a fabric is cute. It also means being careful with the finishes, redoing a shoddy zipper insertion, and not cutting corners short. Taking my time planning and making things carefully.

Fill my closet with me-mades

I am not ready to take the plunge and take the Seamless Pledge, but I really want to fill my closet with me-made clothes. There is something that makes me really proud and confident when I wear a garment I made myself, and that is the main reason I make my clothes. Sure, I hate taking part in the mass consumption party of the big chain stores, and it's definetely part of the reason of why I sew. But it's not the first reason on the list. The joy of creating something with my hands, of seeing a garment coming together, the ingeniering of it are just more compelling to me.

Source better fabric / get to know fabric better

Here in Malmö, Sweden, finding fabric is really hard. There is polyester in almost everything i can touch in one of the three stores in town and the selection is pretty restricted. I want to sew with more natural fibres, hopefully of better origins. I really want to sew something in wool, for example, but I don't even know how wool crepe feels. So I need to learn more about fabrics so that I can order online.

And finally, a few thing that I am itching to sew this year:

- a shirt for the boyfriend
- a coat, a perfect, beautiful, wool coat
- a pair of perfect-fitting pants
- a perfect-fitting bra and matching panties
- and dresses, lots of pretty dresses!!

Please join me in this adventure!