Month: January 2014

2014 – The Chinese Year of the Jumpsuit!

Did you know that 2014 is the Chinese Year of the Jumpsuit??

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Ralph Pink jumpsuit x Grainline Studio Archer shirt in Liberty

No?! That’s probably because I just made it up – but it should be! It’s still January and I’ve made two jumpsuits already and anyway, the animal theme is getting a bit old isn’t it??

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I made three jumpsuits last year and and I’m on a jumpsuit roll again this year! It started when I began searching for patterns to make something similar to this eye-catching  jumpsuit by Italian designer Luciano Soprani.

Luciano Soprani jumpsuit
Luciano Soprani jumpsuit

The closest pattern match I could find was this Ralph Pink jumpsuit. 

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Ralph Pink jumpsuit pattern

This has the same front opening that my inspiration jumpsuit has and unlike the other jumpsuits I’ve made before, doesn’t have an elasticated waist.

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The pattern comes as a downloadable PDF in multiple sizes. You can choose to print and then cut out whichever size pattern you choose, so there’s no need for pattern tracing. I made the UK size 8 and made no alterations to the pattern other than shortening the legs by about five centimetres and putting D-rings on the self-fabric belt.

Two D-rings sewn onto one end of the self -fabric belt
Two D-rings sewn onto one end of the self -fabric belt

I recommend adding two D-rings to one end of your belt as the belt fastener because they’re fabric savers – you don’t need as much fabric for your D-ring belt as you do for a belt that’ll be tied in a knot or bow. Also, once fastened, the belt sits flatter and doesn’t need constant readjusting like a bow or knot do. Plus I think D-rings look edgier!

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This pattern is a fabric eater depending on how wide your fabric is. Ralph Pink recommends using 3.5m of a fabric with good drape, such as silk. The pattern is cut as one whole piece, not bodice and pants pieces as it looks like the Luciano Soprani jumpsuit is.

Pattern cut into pieces spanning the whole length of jumpsuit
Pattern cut into pieces spanning the whole length of jumpsuit

For my first trial of this pattern, the only fabric I had in my stash in this quantity, that I was willing to sacrifice for a pattern test was this blue cotton. This has very little drape and is so crisp, it rustles as I walk but it worked fine just to see how the fit of the pattern was.

Ralph Pink jumpsuit pattern version one in cotton

I much prefer the pattern in this supple Italian linen/cotton mix from Anita Pavani Stoffe, that I chose for my second version.  As well as having a better drape, the fabric was also wide enough that I could squeeze the pattern pieces out of only two metres.

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Ralph Pink’s instructions were easy to follow and I didn’t have any major issues making this up. My only advice would be to take your time with the fly front. Care needs to be taken when sewing up the centre front seam on the crotch so that the front left piece can still overlap the right front piece once the seam has been sewn up. Then you need to decide how to close the fly. For my blue jumpsuit I went with buttons.

Buttons on fly opening
Buttons on fly opening

For the grey, I used poppers. I prefer the poppers.

Poppers on grey jumpsuit fly opening
Poppers on grey jumpsuit fly opening

I’m not finished with this pattern yet! I want to try it in a patterned fabric and I’m definitely making a lightweight denim one for the spring. I’m still searching for a teal green suiting so that I can finally make a closer match to Luciano Soprani’s wonderful jumpsuit.

Anyone else following this year’s jumpsuit theme?? What’s on your sewing table?

Irrelevant ramblings and some goals for 2014

I’ve enjoyed seeing other people’s sewing wins and fails of last year and goals for this year but I’ve resisted doing the same because this blog is only six months old so it doesn’t seem relevant. Instead I’m offering a bit of an expanded self introduction that I haven’t given until now.

I pre-warn you though – this isn’t very interesting, it’s long and it’s probably only useful for me but I offer it anyway! You have been warned! Read at your own peril! On the other hand, if you’re having trouble sleeping then this may well be for you!

My Sewing Backstory

I decided to buy a sewing machine ten years ago when we moved to southern Germany. I’d just finished a Masters course and was looking for something light and fluffy and creative to occupy the void that finishing that had left. I had the luxury of some time on my hands and I was ready to take on a new hobby.

Also coming from England, I didn’t have the right clothes for the hot summer weather that we get here in Germany and I begrudged paying for a new shop bought wardrobe, so I decided to try and make my own instead.

I could have taken sewing classes locally but didn’t bother because my German was terrible at that stage so classes seemed like a waste of time and money. The sales woman in the shop that sold me my sewing machine showed me how to put in an invisible zip using my new machine and that was the extent of my formal sewing education.

At the beginning I muddled my way through foreign language patterns with the help of dictionaries (paper ones, remember those!) – mainly German (Burda), Dutch (Onion), Spanish (Patrones) and Japanese sewing books –  because none of the resources that I had available around me were in English.  But somehow I managed to make stuff and I liked my new hobby.

Our dog Yoda!
Our dog Yoda!

I’d always enjoyed photography but it was nice to have sewing as another creative outlet. I tried my hand at knitting too, had some hilarious results with that but didn’t really take to it like I did with sewing.

Then I got a pet and started having babies and for the most part, shelved sewing for a while. It’s only in recent years that I’ve really picked it up again.

My daughters!
My daughters!

It’s so wonderful that home sewing has had such a resurgence in my absence and so exciting that there are so many new opportunities and possibilities to learn new skills and sewing techniques online and an international sewing community to share it all with.

I swear, I feel like that East German woman in the German film ‘Goodbye Lenin’, who wakes up from a 25 year long coma to discover that communism has ended and Eastern Germany has been liberated. There is just so much new stuff to find out about, so much I’ve missed and so much to catch up on!

2014 and New Beginnings

2014 is a big year for our family! Next month my younger daughter starts Kindergarten and in the autumn my older daughter starts school. This will free up a few hours in the morning for me which I’m really looking forward to and I hope it’s onwards and upwards for us all!

I started this blog six months ago as a prelude to this. For a fresh start, to discover new opportunities and to reconnect with the world and rediscover my identity outside of my Hausfrau existence.

What’s in a Name? – YoSaMi

The name of this blog, ‘YoSaMi’ is an acronym of the first two letters of my dog’s and my daughters’ names in the order they came into our lives. I like how the letters go together and form a completely new word – entirely coincidental btw – the way our family has evolved to what it is now. I feel like this new word, ‘YoSaMi’ forms the basis of who I am now. The sum of the most valuable things I’ve contributed to the world so far – apart from my red silk Anna dress that is, of course! It represents the basis for a new beginning.

2014 Goals

1) My first and main goal for this year is to sleep more! Seriously, no kidding. I think if I accomplish this then many other goals will also fall into place.

I’ve got into a really bad habit of trying to compensate for the lack of daytime selfish hours I have by forfeiting sleep.   I’ve been staying up far too late at night and doing all the things I wish I could’ve got done in the day, when I should be catching up on my beauty sleep instead. Obviously long-term this strategy hasn’t really achieved anything worthwhile, I’m just really worn out!

2) Improve! I could be here until 2015 if I list all of the ways that I need to improve but I’ll keep it as brief as I can.

Sewing skills – I hope to take advantage as much as possible of the online learning opportunities to improve these. So far I’m really enjoying joining in with Sew-A-Longs as an easy and accessible way to do this.

Blogging skills – It’s crazy, I’ve had this blog for half a year now and I still don’t know how to upload stuff into that right hand column. And what exactly is a widget? I’m going to trawl through the WordPress tutorials and figure this stuff out this year.

3) Expand the list of blogs that I follow – I’m utterly astounded and humbled at the wealth of talent out there and I plan on discovering more of it this year.

4) Stash-busting – I’m joining blogger Lelie of Bouquet of Buttons for her fabric stash-busting challenge 2014 of three fabrics out, one new fabric in. Anyone else want to join us for this? There is a button for this to upload to your site, but see above blogging skills point – I don’t know how to do this yet!

5) Audit my pattern stash and assess my core wardrobe patterns and concentrate on making those and those only.

6) Get involved in some sewing meet ups. I kept missing my local ones last year so I hope I find out the deets for this year and can make this happen.

I could go on and on, but luckily for you, it’s my new bedtime, so I’m signing off!

I’ve got two makes to share so I’ll be resuming pattern reviews as soon as.

Have you forfeited anything to make your sewing or blogging happen? I’d love to hear how you keep all the balls in the air. Let me know in the comments below.

Happy 2014 and ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Skirt’!

Happy 2014 everyone! I hope you’ve all had a ‘Guten Rutsch’ (good slide) into the New Year, as they say in these parts!

I’m posting this skirt review later than I’d planned. Holiday travel, sick children and other seasonal distractions completely derailed my blog posting schedule at the end of 2013 and thus far this year – but I’m British, so I’m keeping calm and carrying on regardless!

This is Skirt Three of my ‘Schwarzwald Autumn/Winter 2013 skirt trio collection made from BurdaStyle skirt pattern 12/2012 #105.

BurdaStyle 12/2012 skirt pattern in sequin wool fabric
BurdaStyle 12/2012 skirt pattern in sequin wool fabric

The Schwarzwald inspiration for this skirt was the beautiful and sparkly frosts we get here in the Black Forest in winter.

Frosty Black Forest in Germany
Frosty Black Forest in Germany

To combat said chilly frosts, I made this skirt out of a thick wool fabric with a sequin top layer bought from Canepa Spa Outlet – the factory shop of Canepa Spa Italian designer fabric manufacturer at Lake Como, Italy.

Wool from Canepa Spa Outlet, Lake Como, Italy
Wool from Canepa Spa Outlet, Lake Como, Italy

The wool keeps me toasty warm even on the frostiest days. However the thick sparkly fabric adds bulk where I’d rather not highlight bulkiness and so if I were to make another sparkly skirt, I would definitely choose a slinkier sparkly fabric with better drape!

bulky fabric highlights all lumps and bumps!
bulky fabric highlights all lumps and bumps!

No need to ask ‘Does my bum look big in this?’, I already have the big, shiny answer!

Anyway, moving on!

Again this skirt pattern was super simple to make even in this thick wool although the invisible zip that I put in the back centre seam has misbehaved a bit and keeps jamming in the wool. I may have to replace this at some point.

Viscose lining and ribbon waistband
Viscose lining and ribbon waistband

I lined the skirt with a viscose lining and used more of the Mokuba grosgrain ribbon that I used for the other two skirts as the waistband with an invisible zip in the back centre seam with a hook and eye closing at the top.

Frumpy length?
Frumpy length?

I hand-stitched the hem after pondering for some time about ways to finish the hem off nicely. After I’d finished the skirt, I spotted a sparkly skirt on my travels in Zadig and Voltaire in France. For their version, they left the hem raw and the poly lining of the skirt protruded down below the hem a couple of centimetres, frayed for about a centimetre at the end, which gave the bottom of the skirt a softened look and also made it edgy looking. I prefer this finish so if I make this skirt over, I’d finish the hem like Zadig and Voltaire did.

Frumpy length?
Frumpy length?

The other main difference between their skirt and mine apart from the huge price tag of the Zadig one! is the length – Zadig and Voltaire’s skirt is fashionably mini.

'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Skirt'
‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Skirt’

Despite my skirt being a frumpy length and exaggerating all my lumps and bumps, it does keep me warm and the magpie in me does like the way the fabric sparkles!

Have you made anything that may not have been the most flattering thing for you but you liked it and wore it anyway??

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