I love using British wool tweeds. The fabrics are so warm to wear and durable. I throw this dress in the washing machine on a wool wash and it’s fine – it just gets softer and more comfortable with each wash! (BTW – not sure if this is recommended. I suggest checking with your retailer before you throw your precious wool fabric in the washing machine!)
I also love the richness of the colours. From afar it appears to be greenish blue, but on closer inspection, it has flecks of many other colours within it!
This fabric is just a little thicker and sturdier than the tartan wool that I used for the Anglomania dress and I think it holds the shape of the side gathers and cowl just a little bit better.
It’s week three of Project Sewn and this week’s theme is ‘If the shoe fits’.
The designer contestants have come up with knock-out clothes and images again! It’s so inspiring to see their interpretations of the themes and how expertly they put their looks together. They truly are a talented bunch of ladies!
For the rest of us mere mortals, I think it’s great that we get to join in with the fun. This week though, I thought I’d have to bow out because I’m busy making for my children and haven’t had time to make something for this challenge.
Then, just as luck would have it, a trawl through my archives unearthed these photos taken in Italy last summer of an outfit not yet blogged about, which also happens to showcase this sparkly pair of ballet flats quite nicely.
The Simplicity 2215 skirt is a pleated skirt pattern with uneven pleats on the front and back pieces and pockets in the side seams.
Once you’ve marked out and basted down the pleating, this skirt comes together really quickly and easily – with just one catch! I found putting the zip and the pocket into the side seam a little perplexing. I managed to put them all in in the end by attaching the zip to the side of the pocket but it wasn’t the neatest of zip insertions!
The main body of the skirt is made from linen from the Hollander Stoff market and I lined the skirt with organic cotton batiste from Lebenskleidung. I added a fabric covered button to close the waistband and zip fastening and hand stitched the hem for a neater finish.
The Grainline Studio Scout woven tee is one of my all-time favourite staple patterns! It’s so versatile and easy and can be squeezed out of just one metre of fabric – always a bonus IMO! I’ve made several of these now but this white one and my Breton striped one are the most worn.
For this tee, I used cotton eyelet batiste and underlined the main body pieces with cotton batiste – both from Anita Pavani Stoffe and did French seams on all seams including the armholes.
This cotton eyelet batiste is the same as I used to make my first Anna dress in black. I really love this fabric, which is why I was so pleased when I saw a blouse recently, made from the same fabric in a boutique in my town by Italian brand 0039 Italyfor 150 euros! Mine cost a fraction of that to make! Isn’t it great when that happens!
Don’t forget to cast your vote for your favourite outfit over at Project Sewn.
I’m so looking forward to the finale of the competition next week. What will the contestants pull out of the bag for that one, I wonder?
I’ve just finished this coral pink and red dress, it’s literally hot off the press, so I’m including it for the Project Sewn ‘Make it Pink’ challenge.
I’d seen this Marc by Marc Jacobs dress (see below) and fallen hard for the tonal colours and simple shape and thought that the Lady Skater dress pattern by independent pattern company Kitschy Coo would be a good match to replicate this fit and flare dress design.
Here’s my version!
I thought this coral colour teamed with the red gives the dress a vibrant flair. The bodice is made from coral pink organic cotton jersey, with coral pink organic cotton rib cuffs and the skirt is made from red organic sweater knit jersey all from Lebenskleidung.
When you make this PDF download dress pattern, you choose your size based on your body measurements. I was between sizes for the skirt so graded the bodice out to the waistline. I cut a size two for the bodice and sleeves and between a three and four for the skirt pieces.
I would describe the fit of the finished bodice as – ‘swimsuit -like’ which I wasn’t happy with at first but I’m getting used to now! The pattern instructions did suggest sizing up the bodice to the next size if your fabric isn’t very stretchy, which being 100% cotton, mine isn’t but for some unknown reason, I chose to ignore this useful piece of advice!
The sewing up of this is really quick and easy – this was a ‘one evening’ make for me. The pattern comes with extremely helpful and thorough making instructions – you really couldn’t want for more! I sewed the whole thing up on my overlock machine, including the neck-band which was probably a bit reckless for a first attempt but luckily worked out ok-ish!
I haven’t hemmed the dress yet, this is the unfinished length, but I’m thinking I’m just going to overlock it because I don’t want it too short.
I put the dress on today to take these photos, with every intention to change back into my jeans as soon as I finished because it’s was such a yucky cold and stormy day. But these colours made me feel so happy and spring-like that I ended up keeping it on! I layered it up with one of my favourite John Smedley cardigans and a scarf and I was toasty and warm all day.
This dress feels like a departure from my usual style – not sure exactly what my usual style is, but this seems out of it. However I’m growing to like it. I feel like I’m wearing something too young for me, which it probably is, but it’s nice to wear something a bit girly for a change!
All in all, this was a joy to make (although I didn’t enjoy attaching the neck-band!) and the dress is a cute style.
Again, don’t forget, if you haven’t done so already, go over to Project Sewn and cast your vote for your favourite outfit!
It’s week two of Project Sewn, the online sewing bloggers knockout sewing competition and this week’s challenge is ‘Make it Pink’. It’s really nice that us voters get to join in the fun by posting our makes too!
I made this McCall’s M6553 dress, one of the Fashion Star pattern series, last summer but didn’t get round to blogging about it. This Project Sewn pink theme has given me the perfect opportunity to clear some of the back log from my blogging in-tray and slip this unseasonal make into my winter posts!
It’s a case of – ‘here’s one I made earlier!’
I was attracted to this dress pattern by the relaxed fit of the pull-on-over-your-head style, the princess seam shaping, the pleated back and the shaped hemline. The combination of these features make this dress shape quite unusual and unique IMO.
I particularly like the contrast between the feminine bow of the belt in the front and the box pleated, loosely draping back. I think the overall shape of the dress is body skimming and flattering. Well at least Beatrice, my dress-form looks good in it!
There isn’t a zip to deal with or buttonholes or anything else that you could imagine to be complicated, it’s just an easy to sew-up loose fitting dress that gets it shape from the waist cinching belt that threads behind the back piece and ties in a bow at the front. Plus it has side-seam pockets so you can slouch like me!
There is a neck slit on the back bodice piece that closes with a button and thread loop. I’d never done a thread loop before this dress, but I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to do.
One word of warning about this dress – it is quite short. I’d read many online pattern reviews of this before I made it so I knew this. To compensate, I added five centimetres to the length.
However, I still found the dress short, so ended up doing a hand-stitched lace hem finish because I didn’t want to lose anymore length. The finished length is still above my knees and I’m only 162cm tall!
As a bonus though, I like the way the lace peaks out on the uneven hem of the back of the dress. It’s added another cute detail to the finished dress.
Another word of warning – this pattern is very loose fitting! I made the smallest size six, which is a smaller size than I would normally choose from the big four pattern companies.
I made this dress out of pale pink cotton gabardine bought from Anita Pavani online. It’s a firm fabric that holds the shape of the pleat and bow quite nicely.
All in all this pattern got my thumbs up! It hasn’t become one of my summer staples, but it is a fun dress to wear occasionally!
The Project Sewn contestants have made another stellar effort this week with this week’s theme- there are some really knockout clothes and images, so if you haven’t voted for your favourite pink outfit yet, then I suggest you go and do it right away young lady!
For the week one ‘Style Icon’ challenge of this season’s Project Sewn, I want to pay homage to fellow Brit, Vivienne Westwood and her Anglomania collection.
I’m not a follower of fashion but I am a fan of Dame Westwood, who has been the UK’s culturally most significant fashion designer for as long as I’ve been alive!
She personifies the potent and subversive originality of British fashion and her expansive body of work traces the socio-economic and cultural climate of Britain for the past four decades – my whole life time!
She’s won British designer of the Year twice, in 1990 and 1991 and was honoured with the Order of the British Empire in 1992 and made Dame Vivienne Westwood in 2006.
Dame Vivienne Westwood is the same age as my parents and she continues to sustain the ultimate design contradiction: producing the unexpected while defining the spirit of the decade.
I love that Vivienne uses very traditional British fabrics in her Anglomania collections such as tartan (a woven wool check fabric) and makes them modern and fashionable. I also love her drape neck dresses and decided to combine these two elements – the drape neck dress with side waist-shaping rushing and tartan to make this dress.
I used BurdaStyle pattern 10/2012 #118A for this cowl neck dress in size 36. I made this pattern when the magazine first came out in 2012, in a green herringbone tweed woven wool fabric so I knew that the fit and pattern were fine for me. For my first version, I left the dress unlined and used a Hong Kong finish for the seams and hand stitched the hems. For this version I used this very fine merino wool tartan and decided to line it with a very fine viscose lining fabric.
This did present some extra challenges and made making it much slower – I actually still need to hand sew the hem and the sleeve hems because I didn’t have time to do this before I could get some photos of it in daylight to put on the Project Sewn site!
The dress is simple to make. It has an invisible zipper in the back and back darts, gathering at one side of the front piece and the cowl top.
I’m not sure that the bias cut tartan was a success but it was fun to experiment with the fabric pattern! I only left myself two days to make this because I was in Munich this week at Munich Fabric Start.
I wore my Ralph Pinkjumpsuit to the fabric trade fair and I’m so glad that I did! It was comfortable to wear all day.
I’ve cast my vote over at Project Sewn but boy was that a tough decision! How fab are all of those outfits! I don’t want to see any of those ladies leave the competition! I wish them all luck!
And to pass on the textile trend setting motto from Munich Fabric Start for Spring, Summer 2015:
This is the Archer shirt pattern View B from Grainline Studio and I absolutely love it!
My love for my new Archer shirt is akin to the love you have for a newborn baby. I just can’t stop looking at it and marveling at what I’m made! Not because it’s anything unique. Hundreds of people have made this shirt pattern, it’s not like I’m the first or anything, but making this represents a huge personal milestone.
I’ve finally conquered shirt-making!
It feels like a sewing rite of passage on the road to self-made wardrobe greatness!
The sewing doors that this opens are very exciting. I can now make my hubby a shirt or tackle some more interesting garments for my children. Or just make more shirts for moi!
Either way, I feel like I’ve jumped a hurdle and I’m moving forwards and it feels goood!
I made this during Archer Appreciation month December 2013 – well almost made it. I ended up finishing it off at the beginning of January but it was the Archer Appreciation fervor that got me motivated to make it in the first place.
I’d had the PDF pattern bought and downloaded for several months but was too initimitated by it to make a start on it. I’m so grateful for the Archer Appreciation drive for getting me going.
I followed Jen of Grainline Studio’s Sew-A-Long for the shirt and it made making it a breeze. The sewalong breaks the making process down into manageable chunks and holds your hand the whole way. The only tricky part for me was finishing off the collar, but even this wasn’t really difficult, I just waited until I had a chance to finish it in daylight, when I wasn’t too tired so that I could concentrate properly. I make most mistakes when I’m tired and rush things.
I really like the pattern design. The shirt isn’t too fitted, just comfortable. Also the sleeves turned out the perfect length for me. This isn’t the first shirt I’ve made but it is the first well-made shirt that I’ve made and the other patterns that I’ve tried all had sleeves that were too long.
I chose to make this first trial of the pattern in Liberty Art Fabrics tana lawn cotton because:
a) I wanted a small, busy print that would hide any mistakes I made – although this wasn’t necessary thanks to the great sew-a-long instructions!
b) Having seen so many great versions of this pattern and read so many glowing reviews, I was confident that I could go ahead and cut into some ‘good’ fabric because it seemed unlikely that I’d encounter any major fitting issues.
c) I love Liberty tana lawn cotton fabric especially for shirts! It’s easy to sew with and to cut out and it’s great for layering in the cooler months and light and cool to wear in the summer.
I bought my fabric from Shaukat online because it’s much cheaper than buying from Liberty itself. I didn’t alter anything on the pattern and the fit is really good. I did all seams as French seams.
I’ve got so many more of these shirts planned of course, this pattern is just so useful for my everyday wardrobe! It would really be a crime not to repeat it!
On another note – I’ve just finished rearranging and organising my sewing space and I think my youngest daughter is now settled in Kindergarten. So I’m rolling up my sleeves and getting ready for some serious stash-busting!
Did you know that 2014 is the Chinese Year of the Jumpsuit??
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??
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.
The closest pattern match I could find was this Ralph Pink jumpsuit.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
For the grey, I used poppers. I prefer the poppers.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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 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!
The Schwarzwald inspiration for this skirt was the beautiful and sparkly frosts we get here in the Black Forest in winter.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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??