Month: November 2013

A Mini European Union and Collegien Giveaway!

We’re jumping for joy here at YoSaMi over this festively-coloured make and our first ever Giveaway!

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It struck me as I finished this dress that it’s a micro European union of sorts!

Organic cotton sweatshirt dress
Organic cotton sweatshirt dress

It was sewn by a Brit, using a Danish pattern design (http://www.minikrea.dk). It’s made out of cotton sweatshirt fabric bought from a German fabric supplier (http://www.lebenskleidung.com) and organically grown in Turkey ( a European wannabe!). It’s accessorised with French made tights and slipper socks (http://en.collegien-shop.com)and finally so as not to neglect the immigrants to Europe, it’s modeled by my dual nationality British and Japanese daughter!

Minikrea Anorak Pattern - 30500
Minikrea Anorak Pattern – 30500

It’s the Minikrea Anorak – 30500 pattern that I’ve made before. I used my existing pre-cut child size age four pattern and made the dress version again.

Variations of the pattern
Variations of the pattern

I really like the Minikrea children’s patterns because they’re multi-sized – this one is age four to ten, and the pattern envelopes always include lots of ideas for variations of the pattern including optional extra pattern pieces.

Optional cuff pieces
Optional cuff pieces

I made the dress up in organic cotton sweatshirt fabric from Lebenskleidung as before but this fabric is their mid-weight sweaterknit so I decided to line the dress with organic cotton rib knit jersey also from Lebenskleidung. The pattern is lined so it was straightforward to follow the instructions to do this. The upside is,  the dress is now reversible.

Reversible!
Reversible!

I used my overlocker machine to sew most of the seams and then topstitched with my regular sewing machine and a jersey needle around the hem and hood opening.

Topstitching on hood
Topstitching on hood

My only problem now is that I have to sew another one for my youngest daughter, but this size is still a bit too big on her!

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We styled this dress with these lovely tights gifted to us by Collegien and which we are very grateful for! They are really great quality, made from long-fibre Egyptian cotton and they are a really nice thickness – warm and robust but not too thick and bulky and they come in the widest selection of yummy colours you could imagine!

Collegien tights and slipper socks
Collegien tights and slipper socks

Which finally brings us to The Giveaway!

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

The Giveaway Lowdown

The lovely folks over at Collegien are offering a lucky reader the chance to choose any one item from the Collegien online shop. (I don’t envy you trying to choose only one item though – everything is so tempting in that shop!)

Also don’t forget to stop by Collegien on Facebook too and ‘like’ them if you do!

How cool are these?!!?
How cool are these?!!?  Image courtesy of Collegien

The offer is open worldwide but the postage is only covered within Europe –  you would have to pay the difference yourself to have it shipped outside of Europe.

How to Enter

Just leave an answer to the following question in the comments below:-

What are you hoping to find in your Christmas stocking this year?

I’ll draw a winner at random and post it on the blog on Monday 2nd December 2013.

I wish you luck and have a great weekend,

Christine

A Red Etro Silk Anna Dress from By Hand London

Firstly a reminder about the Collegien giveaway.

If all goes to plan, I’ll be posting the Collegien giveaway on Friday, just two more sleeps! So don’t forget to check back for all the details this weekend!

My Second By Hand London Anna Dress

This dress seemed to take forever to finish for no other reason than because I dithered over unnecessary details!

By Hand London Anna Dress
By Hand London Anna Dress

The pattern is perfectly straightforward, it was also the second time that I’ve made this dress and I was following By Hand London‘s Anna dress sew-along so there was no excuse for this not being a super quick make.

So what took you so long, I hear you cry?!

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Well I’m blaming my fabric choice! I used a silk twill by Italian designer Etro, bought from Anita Pavani and a nude-coloured viscose from my stash, to line it.

The silk twill feels fantastic and is so lush to wear and was relatively well-behaved and easy to sew but the viscose was much more slippery and challenging. It wasn’t the material though that caused so much strife, it was the design on it.

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The red Etro silk twill has this interesting stripe pattern but with stripes you always have the challenge of matching the stripes up at the seams. So for this dress, to avoid not being able to precisely match up the stripes where they meet at the vertical seams of the skirt’s seven panels, I decided to cut the back four skirt pattern pieces in one direction of the fabric and the front three in the other direction. I then arranged the skirt pieces alternately to deliberately mis-match the stripes so it would be obvious that they weren’t supposed to match up.

The deliberately mis-matched stripes of the skirt panels
The deliberately mis-matched stripes of the skirt panels

I also thought that horizontal stripes across the top of the dress would be beneficial because they would give the illusion of broadening my smaller upper frame but I thought it would be better to break up the stripes on the skirt of the dress to avoid this widening effect on my lower body.

Also a quick mooch around Etro‘s website confirmed that Etro mixes and matches their prints as well, in fact, it’s their signature look, so I was confident that design-wise, I was on the right track.

Etro dress courtesy of Net-a-porter.com
Etro dress courtesy of Net-a-porter.com

When I began assembling the skirt though, I started to second guess myself and was certain I’d butchered a perfectly good stripe pattern and ruined the look of the dress.

Disgruntled and frustrated, I set the dress aside while I considered my options, which were limited! I didn’t have enough fabric left to cut the skirt out again and Anita Pavani had sold out so it wasn’t possible to buy more.

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What to do, what to do? I used to be indecisive, but now I’m not so sure! Finally I decided to persevere with plan A and now that it’s finished, I couldn’t be happier! I’m so glad I stuck with it! What do you think? Did I mess it up?

Back view of Anna dress
Back view of Anna dress

Lessons I learnt from this experience

– Listen to your gut and don’t second guess yourself! When a decision is made based on sound reasoning, stick with it!

– Always baste seams first and try to avoid unpicking stitches in silk too much because it will eventually stretch the fabric.

– Use sharp pins and as fine needles as you can find when working with silk. Also sharp scissors for cutting out or a rotary cutter are essential.

– Check the garment’s finished measurements on the pattern info before choosing your dress size!

I was reminded when I made this dress again, just how nipped in it is at the waist. My winter body definitely isn’t as comfortable in this as summer me was!

Fitted bodice
Fitted bodice

When you’re making dresses, you’re often advised to choose your pattern size based on your bust measurement and usually this works well for me. There is usually enough ease in the bodice and I don’t have to alter anything but for this dress the bodice has very little ease and so I would recommend checking the finished garment measurements on the pattern information before selecting your size.

Construction details

I used French seams throughout, with an invisible zipper in the back and a hook and eye and finished with a rolled hem using my sewing machine’s narrow hem foot. P1280128Have you made anything that you made unnecessarily difficult for yourself? Do you like experimenting with patterns?  I would love to hear about your pattern hits or misses.

Bfn

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

M.M.M.’13 Version 2.0!

My-Midi-Miette skirt 2013.

I made two linen wrap skirts this summer that I didn’t share, so I’m rewinding a couple of seasons and doing a double post review to catch up.

Miette skirt midi-length in linenMiette skirt midi-length in linen

This is the Miette skirt pattern by Tilly and the Buttons. It’s a wrap, front tie-fastening midi- length, A-line skirt. I bought the pattern from Tilly’s website as a downloadable PDF.

Tilly’s designs are simple and feminine and work for a range of body types and her construction instructions couldn’t be easier to follow, especially as she provides visual and written explanations. If you are new to sewing, her patterns are very beginner-friendly and a good place to start your sewing journey.

I made the midi-version of this skirt first which is the original length of the pattern with no alterations. It was straightforward and quick to make and because there is no zip or button fastening, just the tie, it’s easy to adjust the skirt’s fit.

Miette skirt - Tilly and the Buttons and Scout woven tee - Grainline Studios
Miette skirt – Tilly and the Buttons and Scout  woven tee – Grainline Studios

I made mine from a fairly lightweight and fine linen and so it isn’t as structured looking as it would be in a heavier fabric like denim. I paired it up with my Breton-striped Scout Tee by Grainline Studios and together they made a very easy to wear and comfortable summer outfit.

I like this colour combo
I like this colour combo

I really want to make another one in a heavier fabric for winter, especially after seeing the lovely denim version that Tilly recently posted on her blog. It’s definitely a skirt for all seasons and I can’t stop making them!

Have you made a Miette skirt yet? If not, what’s stopping you??

In other exciting YoSaMi news, very soon I’ll be hosting this new blog’s first ever give-away. So stay-tuned for more details to follow shortly!

The cutest slipper socks ever!

The weather has taken an abrupt turn for the worse here. After a perfectly pleasant and tolerable t-shirt wearing autumn, we’re now heading full speed into cold, dark winter.

warm and sunny autumn
warm and sunny autumn

This is fine by me, I can get stuck into sewing up the cosy wools that have waited patiently for my attention, but getting the kids to grasp the season change has proved another matter entirely! They resist wearing extra clothing layers like you wouldn’t believe and we live in Germany where it’s ‘verboten’ for kids to go out hatless when it’s less than twenty degrees celsius! Trying to get them appropriately dressed for the chillier weather is a constant uphill battle! If they had their way, they would spend all of their days running around naked.

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The problem isn’t only when we’re outside either. We’ve got stone floors in our house. Great when it’s baking hot in summer, not so good when you’re freezing in winter and trying to get the kids to wear something on their feet at home was proving impossible.

cuter than your average slipper sock!
cuter than your average slipper sock!

Until that is, I came across these adorable slipper socks! Then I instantly knew that my parental woes were over – well at least in terms of banishing cold feet as a source of worry!

sizes and designs for the whole family
sizes and designs for the whole family

Thankfully our kids love them and have chilly toes no more!

They come in children’s and adult sizes so the whole family can enjoy them. If cute faces aren’t your thing, they come in a variety of designs and colours too.

Their non-slip and breathable soles, make these slipper socks very practical and a bit more special than your average ones. Their design reminds me of Japanese ‘jikatabi’, or rubber soled socks, split between the big toe and the second toe that are worn by workmen in Japan and hark back to ‘ninja’ days.

Hard-wearing soles with a good grip
Hard-wearing soles with a good grip

You can dance, run and do all sorts of fancy ‘ninja’ type moves in these!

Flexible and perforated sole
Flexible and perforated sole

The best bit though is they’re still being made by the fifth generation of a French family in one of the last textile companies in France! Here at YoSaMi, we’re right behind businesses making quality stuff in Europe.

Made in France
Made in France

They’re machine washable too! Really what’s not to love???!!

http: //www.collegien-shop.com

P.S. Almost finished my silk Anna dress by By Hand London and have a few other finished makes to share reviews of, including my Tilly and the Buttons Miette skirts , so will be back soon with those.

Are your autumn sewing plans going well?

Enjoy the rest of the weekend,

Christine

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