Category: organic fabrics

A New Killer Resource for Sewists: ‘Fashion Style – die Mode zum Selbernaehen’.

Fashion Style - die Mode zum Selbernaehen
Fashion Style – die Mode zum Selbernaehen

This German sewing magazine, brand new this year is fast becoming one of my favourites – here’re 5 reasons why.

1) It’s Good Value for Money

For just six euros, each monthly issued is packed with over 30 patterns including traceable pattern sheets.

fashion style patterns

2) Trendy, Modern and Classic Styles in a Range of Garment Types

fashion style styles

fashion style contents

Each issue includes a range of tops, skirts, pants and jacket patterns in modern styles and a range of sizes including plus sizes.

Plus sized fashion included.
Plus sized fashion included.

I particularly like the recurring feature of one pattern, five ways which shows one pattern in five different fabrics and ways to style it.

One dress made in five different fabrics and styled in five different ways
One dress made in five different fabrics and styled in five different ways

3) Includes Added Extras

The magazine has bonus features such as ‘how-to’s’ for accessory making and tips and trends showcasing new products on the sewing market.

fashion style diy

There’s also a knitting pattern and ‘how-to’s’ for home crafts included.

4) Styles and Designs for Range of Sewing Skill Levels

Patterns are rated according to sewing skill levels and each issue includes a range of patterns from beginner to advanced sewer levels.

fashion style patterns 1

Also there’s a helpful section at the start of the pattern instruction booklet with diagrams and explanations of basic sewing techniques, tricks and tips such as zip and sleeve insertions, seam finishes, waistbands, etc. Useful for sewing beginners.

fashion style sewing explanations

5) Pattern Drafting 101

Another regular feature in each issue is the inclusion of a pattern drafting exercise and demonstration using a garment seen on the catwalk as the design inspiration.

fashion style pattern drafting

The only downside of this magazine for the majority of English speaking sewers is that it’s only available in German at the moment. Although with some sewing experience and Google translate, I think this magazine is accessible to most sewers.

Conclusion

I think this magazine’s worth checking out! Here’s the cover jumpsuit pattern from this issue that I’ve made using organic twill cotton self-dyed with natural indigo.

fashion style jumpsuit

Happy sewing and wishing you a good rest of the week,

Christine

#MeMadeMay15 – My Organic Me-Made-May 2015 Pledge.

Me Made May 2015 kicks off today and this year I’m showcasing my everyday organic wardrobe.

me made may 1

I joined Me-Made-May last year and loved it! It’s a great way to connect with other sewists and share wardrobe creations – but it was a lot of ‘work’ to get the pics!

This year, I may not manage a pic every day but I’ll post a weekly roundup on the blog and pics on Instagram @yosamicontact.

Over the last twelve months, 98% of the fabrics I’ve bought have been organic so a fair chunk of my me-made wardrobe is organic, so to keep things interesting, I’ll only post clothes I’ve made with organic fabrics. Tala vest by Named Clothing in organic cotton fleece and sequinned wool coating.

For this rainy and chilly May 1st, I’m wearing this cosy Tala vest by Named Clothing in organic cotton fleece and sequinned wool coating and Alexandra Peg trousers by Named Patterns in organic super lightweight cotton denim. It’s a comfy outfit, with a bit of sparkle but still practical at the same time.

I’m a recent convert to Named Clothing. I’ve been trying out their patterns after picking up a few in their last sale. I’d been put off buying them before because they’re one of the pricier pattern companies. Some of their patterns are double or triple the price of Vogue patterns in a sale for example or Burdastyle magazine and I couldn’t justify splashing out on them.

I was also apprehensive about the sizing because they’re drafted for taller models than me – I’m a 162cm shorty. But now I LOVE Named Clothing and I haven’t had any problems with their pattern sizing, so expect a few more patterns from them as the month goes on!

What do you think of Named Clothing patterns? Are you in for this MeMadeMay15 challenge? Let me know in the comments below.

And if you’d like to stay updated (it’s free) with latest info and blog posts from this blog, then sign up for the YoSaMi newsletter by leaving your email in the box at the top of the sidebar.

Happy sewing,

Christine

 

Monday Make: 3 Tips for Hand Dyeing Fabric with Indigo Crystals.

Three years, that’s how long it took me to do this!

indigo fabric 1

THREE YEARS!!

I’d had indigo crystals for a third of decade and only got round to using them a week ago.

What took me so long and why now?

Cooking up chemicals with two small children and an inquisitive dog around scared me a little and I never seemed to find an opportunity to set it up.

But last weekend, disappointed I couldn’t go to the Amsterdam Denim Days festival to try the indigo dyeing workshops, I dug out my dyeing kit and had an indigo party in my garden! Not quite as cool as a weekend in Amsterdam, but hey, we can’t have it all.

After two weekends of dyeing experimenting, here’s what I’ve learned so far.

Tip One: Be Prepared

Gather everything you’ll need before you begin and make sure pets and children are out-of-the-way.

Obvious points, but you don’t want to be in the middle of cooking up your dye vat and realise you forgot something important like the thermometer – ahem like I did!

What you’ll need:

1) The indigo dyeing chemicals.

Indigo dyeing kits vary and many online suppliers offer them. Follow the guidelines and instructions of the supplier of the kit that you’re using, it may differ from the kit I used.

My kit consisted of indigo crystals, spectralite and soda ash bought from Wild Colours online shop. Some kits have the chemicals pre-combined but I bought mine individually and had to concoct the dye vat mixture myself.

The chemicals - indigo crystals, spectralite and soda ash.
The chemicals – indigo crystals, spectralite and soda ash.

2) Equipment and shibori-making materials.

10 litre bucket, protective gloves, spoon, thermometer, glass jars, clamp, string, wooden shapes.
10 litre bucket, protective gloves, spoon, thermometer, glass jars, clamp, string, wooden shapes.

2 Buckets or similar containers – one 10 litre. I used one bucket filled with water to pre-soak my fabric in and another to transfer the dyed fabric from the dye vat to the washing line to hang.

measuring jug to measure the water needed to mix up the chemicals.

spoon for mixing the chemical/water solution.

– protective gloves otherwise your hands’ll be like the rubber gloves in the pic above.

measuring scales to weigh the chemicals. 

– 2 glass jars to put the chemicals in.

– thermometer to check the dye vat temperature.

Shibori - the fabric on the left was clamped with wooden circular pieces and the piece on the right was folded and tied with string.
Shibori – the fabric on the left was clamped with wooden circular pieces and the piece on the right was folded and tied with string.

– string and/or clamps and wooden shapes, scissors for shibori resist dyeing to make the patterned pieces. I got the clamps and wooden pieces from my local DIY store.

Indigo dye vat on gas camping stove in the garden.
Indigo dye vat on gas camping stove in the garden.

– stainless steel pan suitable for heating to make the dye vat in. Mine has a lid and is 10 litres – the volume needed to dye one kilo of fabric. Make sure you use a pan that you don’t use for cooking because you won’t be able to use it for cooking food again.

– portable cooker such as a camping stove to heat up the pan of water, if you’re cooking up your dye vat outside like I did.

– face masks. I used this the first time but didn’t bother the second because being outside, the fumes didn’t seem strong but it’s recommended to use face protectors.

– apron or old clothes – any splashes are going to stain whatever you’re wearing blue.

– white vinegar for adding to the rinsing water after the fabric’s been dyed.

temporary hanging line in garden using climbing rope.
temporary hanging line in garden using climbing rope.

Washing line outside to hang the fabric so that the oxidisation process can occur (when it turns blue). I set up a temporary line using some climbing rope I had.

Fabric for dyeing.
Fabric for dyeing.

3) Fabric

I used organic natural coloured hemp jersey, off white coloured linen/cotton, a heavy duty untreated cotton jersey and organic cotton twill in for-dyeing quality. You could use anything including garments already made but it’s advisable to pre-wash fabrics and garments before dyeing.

Tip 2: Give yourself plenty of time

One mistake I made first time was not allowing enough time. We spent so long preparing, by the time we started to heat up the pan of water and mix the chemicals it was already getting late in the evening and the kids were hungry, etc, etc. Not an ideal start!

The preparation, such as gathering all the things we needed and folding and clamping the fabric for the shibori experimenting took much longer than we anticipated. You then need to heat the water in the pan to 50 degrees celcius, mix the chemicals, add these to the heated water in the pan and then add the fabric. The fabric remains in the vat for about five minutes and then is hung for 15 minutes, rinsed and then this process is repeated if you want a darker colour.

The fabric then needs to be rinsed and hung outside overnight. Depending on how many times you put each fabric in the vat and how many items you’re dyeing, this process adds up to a fair chunk of time, which ideally you don’t want to rush.

Rushing isn’t good because it can mess up the indigo oxidisation process which is what makes the fabric turn blue. When you put the fabric into the dye vat, the indigo dyeing mixture is green/yellow and it’s only when the fabric emerges from the vat, hits the air and oxidises, that it changes colour to blue. For this reason, you have to lower your fabric into the vat slowly and remove it carefully and slowly to avoid introducing air into the vat which’d oxidise the indigo crystals prematurely before they’ve had a chance to bind the colour to the fabric.

Rinsing the dyed fabric pieces.
Rinsing the dyed fabric pieces.

I’d also suggest keeping a time slot open the following day post dyeing for the rinsing and washing of the dyed fabrics. This process is time consuming so don’t underestimate this.

Tip 3: Dye Outside

If possible I’d recommend dyeing outside. Dyeing in the garden was perfect because we were able to immediately hang the fabrics on a line to drip while they oxidised when we removed them from the dye vat. It saves a lot of mess indoors and is well-ventilated for the chemical fumes.

We kept our dye vat for a week sealed with the lid on the pan after dyeing but it had already oxidised by the second dyeing session and could no longer dye the fabric, so we disposed of it down an outside drain and rinsed the drain with water.

Conclusion

Indigo dyeing is lots of fun and produces beautifully imperfect results. We didn’t know how each piece of fabric’d turn out until the end of the dyeing process, which made each hand-dyed piece unique and kept the dyeing process exciting.

Different fabric types reacted differently to the indigo dye. The way the fabrics were pre-treated before they were dyed also affected the results. For instance I ironed the fabrics before I dipped them into the dye vat in the first dyeing session and put them in the vat twice. For the second dyeing session, I didn’t pre-iron and only put the fabrics in the dye vat once. The second batch is much patchier and less saturated than the first ironed batch and a lighter shade of blue. I like the results from both sessions though so I definitely recommend experimenting.

Have you tried indigo dyeing? What tips would you offer someone indigo dyeing for the first time? Please let me know in the comments below.

If you enjoyed this blogpost and would like to keep updated, sign up for the YoSaMi newsletter by leaving your email address in the box at the top of the sidebar.

Have a great week and happy dyeing,

Christine

 

 

Friday’s Fabric Focus: Can We Really Trust Organic Fabrics?

Organic GOTS certified cotton
Organic GOTS certified cotton

I’m a fabric-aholic! Self confessed and unashamed.

I started this blog as a way to share this addiction to sewing and fabrics, but particularly my love of fabrics.

Fabric Love

There’s something about textiles that I find irresistible and I’ve built up quite a sizeable fabric collection over the years. I began acquiring bits and pieces of cloth, here and there, long before I started sewing.

I’m coveting batiks from Singapore and Malaysia; silk from Thailand; cotton wax prints from Namibia, Africa; denim from Japan; silk from Italy; Breton striped jersey from Brittany, France; boiled wool from Austria; lace from Switzerland; Welsh woven wool; German jersey – the list goes on and on! I even have ostrich leather given to me by a German ostrich farmer!

I’m as curious as Curious George and like my little terrier dog, have a nose for sniffing out fabric manufacturers wherever I go!

yoda 11

Switch to Sustainable Textiles

Since moving to Germany and having children, I’ve got more interested in sustainable fabrics particularly those made in Europe. I studied sustainability in Sweden a few years ago which added fuel to my organic-textiles-choosing fire, but sustainable textiles aren’t always easy to find on the high street and tend to be pricier than non-organics.  Frustrated with the lack of choice, I started going to international fashion fabric trade fairs to dig deeper.

Findings

What I found has raised more questions than it’s answered. The organic textile world isn’t as clear-cut as we’d like to think it is. Yes there are a wide selection of organic and sustainable fabrics are on offer and the variety and number is expanding every season and now also includes additionals such as buttons and thread.

mfs

All encouraging signs, but it starts to get murky when we try to define what we mean by ‘organic or sustainable’ textiles and clothing in the fashion industry.

What’s in a Label?

The problem is we don’t have a global brand, global label or global governing body that can certify that a fabric or piece of clothing is organic. Fabrics and fashion are produced all over the world, across many different countries, making it almost impossible to have transparency in every step of the production process.

GOTS and CERES certified organic cotton
GOTS and CERES certified organic cotton

For instance, I was browsing the site of my go-to online sustainable fabric supplier today – Lebenskleidung, winners of the Global Source Awards 2013 for best sustainable fabrics supplier to the fashion industry. When checking out their ‘made in Germany’ linen, I noticed that the linen plant was actually grown in northern Europe and only the cloth was woven and finished in Germany. Just like all ‘Italian-made silk’ starts life as raw imported Chinese silk that’s dyed and printed in Italy and finished with ‘Made in Italy’ labels. Don’t worry, it’s all legit and above-board. I’m telling you this, not to discredit either, just to illustrate it’s not always as clear-cut as it first appears.

What does ‘Organic’ or ‘Sustainable’ Mean?

Here lies the problem – it can mean all sorts of things. It can mean the plant was grown organically, or it can refer to the production or the social conditions of the workers or all of these things at once but it can’t be assumed that a textile or garment labeled as sustainable or organic was necessarily produced in an organic or sustainable way for its entire life cycle – that global label unfortunately doesn’t exist at the moment.

A couple of years ago, German Federal Development Minister Gerd Mueller announced he was going to initiate a global organic textile label, unaware of the complexity and inter-relatedness of the fashion industry and the almost impossibility of the task.

At last count, there were roughly a dozen labels developed and managed independently, each one dealing with a different part of the value added chain. And all of them work well, unfortunately not together.

Until a global sustainable textile label can be created, the hope for the future is that these existing different sustainable labels can unite forces and work together to improve the standards and the overall sustainability of the fashion industry and organic-ness of our textiles.

Friday’s Fabric Focus

I’ve started Friday’s Fabric Focus to discuss the different organic textile labels as well as to feature fabrics and fabric sources I find locally in Europe.

Now let me know what you think

Now I’d like to hear from you. Do you sew with organic fabrics or buy organic clothes? Which organic labels are you familiar with? Please let me know in the comments below.

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3 Tips for Making a Denim Jumpsuit You’ll Love

Happy 2015, I hope the year’s treating you well and you’re sewing up a storm!

I’ve completed a few projects already and although it’s soo last year, I’m still making jumpsuits and LOVING them!

I’ve made 11 in the last 18 months. #jumpsuitobsessed

Here’s my latest denim one.

Burdastyle Easy S/S 14 jumpsuit in organic cotton 6oz denim.
Burdastyle Easy S/S 14 jumpsuit in organic cotton 6oz denim.

Love them or hate them, you can’t deny that jumpsuits give you all the fun of a dress in a ready-for-action form, and are comfortable and practical to wear.

So from all this jumpsuit-making action, here are my three tips for making a denim jumpsuit you’ll love.

1. Choose A Fabric That’s Easy To Move In. 

A denim jumpsuit is a suit you should be able to jump for joy in, so when you’re choosing your fabric, do the ‘star-jump test’. If you can imagine star-jumping comfortably in it, then the fabric’s probably suitable. (This is an unofficial test obviously, strictly for YoSaMi followers only, LOL!)

Organic cotton 6oz denim.
Organic cotton 6oz denim.

To make a full length long sleeved jumpsuit like mine, I’d recommend using a lightweight shirt-weight denim. I used an organic 6oz cotton denim (98% cotton, 2% elastane) which has some drape to it and a little stretch and is soft and comfortable to wear. A regular jeans weight 12oz denim would be too heavy to wear all over and wouldn’t be so nimble in the ‘star-jump test’.

A linen twill or linen mix would also give you a ‘denim’ look and be comfortable to wear and be reasonably hard wearing.

2. Choose Practical and Functional Details.

I’d recommend a front opening with a zip or buttons that extends down into the pants. I’ve found this is the easiest opening to get in and out of.

Adding elements such as zips, are also opportunities to soften and feminise the look of your jumpsuit and take it out of ‘boiler-suit’ territory. I used a gold zip for a bit of bling.

Front zip opening and adjustable waist band.
Front zip opening and adjustable waist band.

For the ultimate casual slouchy look, pockets for me are essential in a denim jumpsuit. This Burdastyle Easy S/S 14 jumpsuit pattern is packed with pockets. There are front welt pockets on the top and front pockets on the pants and back welt pockets on the pants.

Back welt pockets.
Back welt pockets.

The adjustable waist is also a winning feature of this jumpsuit and is relatively simple to do and a refreshing alternative to an elasticated waist. You could alternatively make a tie belt or finish the belt with a buckle or press studs.

3. Choose a Pattern With Options.

I recommend the Burdastyle Easy S/S 2014 jumpsuit pattern that I used because it offers lots of customising options, such as choice of pockets, sleeve and leg lengths, neckline finishes and waist fastenings. It’s useful to have the flexibility to remake it and alter the style to suit changing seasons. This pattern for instance has a cute sleeveless shorts version.

Denim jumpsuit that can be worn with layers.
Denim jumpsuit that can be worn with layers.

I’ve been wearing this long sleeved version layered up this winter, as you can see in the above photo. You can also make the pattern as a separate jacket and pants.

Alternatively you could experiment by putting a top pattern and a pants pattern that you like the style and fit of together and create a custom-made jumpsuit.

Top joined to pants with waistband.
Top joined to pants with waistband.

You can join the top section of the jumpsuit to the pants with a waistband as mine is. To do this, cut two rectangular pieces of fabric the length of the circumference of the waist section of your top and pants pieces, and the width you’d like your waistband to be, plus seam allowances.

Then with right sides facing, sew one piece of the waistband to the outer/right side of the pants. Turn the piece down and press the seam allowance towards the waistband. Then press the seam allowance of the waistband piece to the inside of the waistband and sew – hand stitch or stitch-in-the-ditch to the top. Repeat for the other waistband piece on the inner/wrong side of the top. Then hand stitch or stitch-in-the-ditch the waistband to the pants.

In my next jumpsuit pattern review, I’ll tell you how I made this tartan jumpsuit below. It’s a Simplicity pattern mash-up.

Simplicity pattern tartan jumpsuit mash-up.
Simplicity pattern tartan jumpsuit mash-up.

I hope these tips are helpful and if you’ve got any more I’d love to hear about them, so please leave a comment below.

If you enjoyed this post, sign up for email updates with the YoSaMi newsletter (they’re free!) by leaving your email in the box and clicking on the button at the top of the sidebar.

Happy sewing,

Christine

M.M.M.’13 Version 2.1 and Collegien Giveaway news!

My-Maxi-Miette 2013.

This pattern hack of the Miette skirt pattern by Tilly and the Buttons, was the result of an online search of Miette pattern reviews and a suggestion by the lovely Oonaballoona on her blog to make the Miette into a maxi. I thought this was a great idea and immediately stole it  was inspired to make one myself.

Maxi Miette skirt on tour in Venice, Italy
Maxi Miette skirt on tour in Venice, Italy

It’s really easy to make this pattern into a maxi. All you have to do is lengthen the bottom of the front and back pattern pieces to your desired final skirt length, being careful to follow the angle of the outer lines of the original pattern and remembering to include a hem allowance. Then construct the skirt as usual and voila, you have a maxi!

One more maxi skirt to add to this summer's growing collection
One more maxi skirt to add to this summer’s growing collection

I used a really lightweight and fine linen bought from Anita Pavani online shop (http://www.naturstoff.de) in the Italian designer fabrics section, to make mine. It’s really nice to wear and has washed well. I did French seams to join the main skirt pieces.

(BTW – Anita Pavani provide washing care instructions for the fabrics they sell and they recommend not spinning linen in the washing machine when you wash it, you should hang it and allow it to drip dry instead.)

Very fine and slightly transparent Italian linen
Very fine and slightly transparent Italian linen

I partially lined my maxi-skirt with more of the organic cotton batiste that I bought at http://www.lebenskleidung.com, that has served me so well as a lining for all of my summer makes this year. The batiste is really lightweight so it hardly added to the weight of the skirt at all but just gave me enough coverage and confidence to step out in bright sunlight, safe in the knowledge that my undies weren’t on show! I didn’t line the overlap piece at the back because it wasn’t necessary.

Lined partially with organic cotton batiste.
Lined partially with organic cotton batiste.

I made another Wiksten tank top in a Liberty Art Fabrics cotton print to go with this skirt, which I wore on this day-trip to Venice, Italy during our summer holiday this year. Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of it in Venice because by the time we’d reached the city from where we were staying, I’d already put my jumper on over the top of it, so here it is on my dress-form Beatrice.

Wiksten tank top and Tilly and the Buttons Miette skirt
Wiksten tank top and Tilly and the Buttons Miette skirt
Wiksten tank top in Liberty Art Fabric cotton print
Wiksten tank top in Liberty Art Fabric cotton print

BTW – If you’re planning to visit Venice, I would suggest getting to the Rialto bridge in time to catch the sun setting over the Grand Canal – the view is spectacular!

The view from the Rialto bridge over the Grand Canal, in Venice, Italy
The view from the Rialto bridge over the Grand Canal, in Venice, Italy

It gets a bit jammed with tourists though! You wouldn’t believe how many people I had to elbow in the face to get a bit of clearance for this photo!

The Rialto Bridge over the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy. Elbows come in handy here!
The Rialto Bridge over the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy. Elbows come in handy here!

Of course I’m exaggerating – it wasn’t that many!!

Anyway back to the Miette maxi skirt. It was comfortable and practical to wear for a day’s sightseeing around the quaint little streets of Venice.

Hanging with my kids in VeniceHanging with my kids in Venice

The skirt performed well under pressure, even under the harshest of test conditions, such as when I was hurling my toddler over the bridge into the canal for misbehaving! The back flap of the wrap didn’t budge all day, successfully avoiding any embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions!

No wardrobe malfunctions of the back wrapover flap.No wardrobe malfunctions of the back wrapover flap.

Again, only joking of course – MY kids don’t misbehave!!

Very posy looking - I was actually just readjusting the wrap when my husband snapped this!
Very posy looking – I was actually just readjusting the wrap when my husband snapped this!

All in all, Tilly and the Buttons has created a very versatile skirt pattern and I love it!

As I write this, Tilly’s busy finishing off her first book for sewing beginners which is due out next spring. I can only imagine how good that’ll be! I wish her lots of luck with it and I’m sure it’ll be a huge success!

More YoSaMi news – don’t forget to stay tuned for the giveaway soon, it really is worth waiting for! You could win your very own pair of these delightful Collegien slipper socks!

Collegien slipper socks - they're French!
Collegien slipper socks – they’re French!

Also, I’ve finally finished my red silk Anna dress by By Hand London after what feels like f-o-r-e-v-e-r! I’ll be posting it as soon as I’ve had a chance to photograph it!!

Have a great week,

Christine

Minikrea Anorak 30500 review

It feels like a while since my last post and honestly I don’t seem to have had much time to sew or blog since the new school term began! It’s getting closer to winter every day and I haven’t even really begun my autumn sewing!

But onwards and upwards as they say. No time to dwell on what’s not been done! So I’m reviewing a kid’s pattern that I actually made last year, although these photos of my daughter were taken about a month ago.

The sleeves aren't quite as long as they appear here, it's just my daughter being an uncooperative model and keeping her hands inside the sleeves.
The sleeves aren’t quite as long as they appear here, it’s just my daughter being an uncooperative model and keeping her hands inside the sleeves.

This is ‘Anorak – 30500’ by Minikrea, a Danish children’s pattern company. Minikrea have a large selection of kid’s patterns and this is the first that I’ve tried so far. The patterns are written in Danish but you can download English instructions from their website – www.minikrea.dk.

‘Anorak’ is a hooded pullover or dress pattern that comes in sizes age four to ten and I made the size age four.

More like a sweatshirt dress than a top
More like a sweatshirt dress than a top

As you can see in the photo, the sizing is quite generous. My daughter’s five and half and it’s more of a dress on her than a top.

I think the pattern makes a cute sweatshirt dress for girls. My daughter isn’t very keen on dresses at the moment – she’s into climbing trees and other not very dress-worthy activities so she insisted on wearing trousers under the dress so she can break out into action at a moments notice!

Practical hood
Practical hood

This dress is ideal for active kids. The styling of it reminds me of Finnish kid’s clothing brand, ‘Finkid’ which I love. The pattern’s designed for fleece or sweatshirt knit fabrics and is simple to make.  It’s practical and cosy with the hood but with some cute details too, like the front patch pocket.

Patch pocket
Patch pocket

I used a natural coloured organic sweatshirt-knit from www.lebenskleidung.de to make this. It’s a heavy duty sweater knit fabric and is super fluffy on the inside making it really cosy and warm. I bought ten metres of this last year when there was a sale on with the intention of dyeing some but I haven’t got round to that yet. I have made a pair of pants for me and a sweatshirt from BurdaStyle patterns from last year and they are really comfy to wear at home.

If you haven’t already checked them out, I highly recommend a virtual visit to Lebenskleidung or an actual visit if you happen to be in Berlin, Germany. The company is German but all the staff speak English and the website is also available in English.

I first met them at Munich Fabric Start, (the twice yearly fashion industry fabric trade fair held in Munich) and whilst most of what’s on offer at this fair is beyond the scope of the home sewist – unless you’re in need of a few thousand metres of fabric of course which is quite a few maxi dresses – but there are some gems within our reach and Lebenskleidung is one of them.

Lebenskleidung is a retailer of organic fabrics, both woven and jersey knits which is primarily for B2B but the minimum order is five metres so I think that it is also within the reach of the rest of us. It has a vast variety of fabrics on offer at reasonable prices.

P1270342

I used some of their cotton batiste woven fabric on the inside of the hood and on the front pocket on this sweatshirt dress to give it a bit of detail. I’m really happy with the way it turned out.

organic cotton printed batiste used to add detail inside the hood and on the patch front pocket
organic cotton printed batiste used to add detail inside the hood and on the patch front pocket

Lebenskleidung have an interesting system for ordering new fabrics too. They have a regular stock of basic knits and woven fabrics and they also offer group bulk buys on other fabrics. You can chip in with a minimum individual order of five metres and be part of a larger group collective order. If collectively enough people place orders to reach the minimum amount needed for production then the order is successful and is processed but if not enough people collectively want it, then it doesn’t go through to production.

The company also actively encourage and showcase new emerging German designers who are using their fabrics and you can check them out on their website. I tried to persuade them to release patterns from these new designers when I met them this year at the fair. Of course I was only joking with them but maybe if enough of us ‘lobby’ them, then it may happen!! They were wearing some very cool knit tops from German designers, when I met them, that I would love to make!

Anyway back to the dress. I also used natural coloured organic cotton rib knit (also from Lebenskleidung) for the cuffs.

Organic cotton rib knit used for cuffs
Organic cotton rib knit used for cuffs

I’m no expert when it comes to sewing with knits, they still intimidate me a lot if truth be known, but this was really easy to sew and with good results I think – even my daughter likes it and she’s particularly difficult to please!

Have a great week,

Christine

Vintage Lace Blouse Burda 3/2013 #137

Today I want to share with you a review of this vintage lace blouse that I made using pattern 3/2013 #137 from the BurdaStyle magazine and let you know about a good online source of organic fabrics that I found here in Germany.

P1230082

But first the review.

I’d had this vintage cotton lace in my stash for literally years.  In fact I’m shocked when I think of how long it’s actually been!  It was vintage when I bought it and must be uber-vintage now! How time flies, especially after you’ve had children!  Anyway I bought it on a flea market during a holiday in Provence in the south of France many moons ago.

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It had matured in my stash ever since, just waiting for a suitable project to come along and then I saw this blouse pattern in Burda Style and thought that finally it was a chance to give this lace a life.

Vintage cotton French lace from the South of France.

The pattern is rated as intermediate in the magazine, which I think is fair.  The main body of the blouse is made from a very fine organic cotton batist that I bought online at lebenskleidung.de.  I bought ten metres of it in the end of summer sale last year for forty euros and it was such a good buy – I’ve literally used it for everything!  I’ve lined so many dresses and skirts with it because it’s so soft and fine, it feels great next to the skin.

Organic cotton batist vintage lace blouse
Organic cotton batist vintage lace blouse

The cotton is so fine and transparent that I’ll have to be more careful about what I wear under it in future. As you can see in the above photo, a white vest is not recommended! It didn’t seem so see-through on the day that I wore it until I saw these photos – Oops! The camera never lies as they say! The cotton is natural coloured so I can obviously only get away with wearing cream or nude coloured under-things.

This was also why I chose to do French seams on all the seams, because I knew that they would be visible from the outside.  This made the construction of the blouse much more time-consuming and trickier than it should have been.

The basic construction of the blouse isn’t really complicated, just very fiddlely.  BurdaStyle magazine is available here in German although I’d downloaded the sewing instructions in English from the BurdaStyle.com website. And as anyone who has made anything from Burda magazine knows, the sewing instructions are often complicated to understand and the lack of pictorial guidance to further assist only makes matters worse which made wading through these instructions bad enough but it was those front and back yoke pintucks that caused the most headaches – and I’m sure added to my growing collection of white hairs!

buttons on back opening and close-up of pintucks
buttons on back opening and close-up of pintucks

French seaming everything made it really difficult to match the pintucks up on the joining seam of the yoke to make a nice and sharp ‘v’ shape.  They fitted together nicely for the first seam and then were all off for the second.  So finally after unpicking them several times when they refused to match up neatly, I surrendered and made the extra effort of basting them first to make sure they lined up correctly before I sewed them.  Thankfully, this worked!  They are not absolutely perfect, but nothing that I make is and I can live with that.

I left off the neck piece of lace mainly because I didn’t have enough lace left but I also thought it would have pushed the laciness of it over the top.  I was actually thankful to have run out of lace because all the lace on the front and back yoke pieces was hand-stitched down and I’d simply had enough by that stage!

I’m not a patient sewer. If truth be told I prefer quick and easy projects. Fast sewing. It’s just where I am right now.  I have a toddler at my feet most of the time, what more can I say!

Burda 3/2013 #137
Burda 3/2013 #137

Overall though, I’m pretty happy with this blouse.

How about you?  Do you like quick and easy sewing or slow-burn projects?

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