Now that my Secret Valentine has received the gift I made for her I can tell you something about how I made it.
What to make?
I wrote before how exciting it is to participate in the Secret Valentine Exchange. The first thing you do after you receive your valentine is a search of what to make.
I have a board of suitable handmade gifts on Pinterest and there I found a pin of a tote bag and one of a coin purse. My mind was immediately made up as my valentine likes useful things. Also, because I really wanted to make both things for a long time. Win-win!
In my stash, I found some leftovers of upholstery fabric reflecting the favourite colours of my valentine: raspberry and rose gold. So I was all set!
How to make the tote bag?
Drawing the pattern
First, I copied the measurements of the design to tracing paper and as I was staying at our holiday home at that time—where I don’t have garment rulers— I used a plate to form the circle line.
The dimensions of the bag are good so I didn’t make any alterations.
Cutting the pattern pieces
I have cut four pieces—two out of both fabrics. Unfortunately, the board on the board fabric did not have the same position on both sides so that is why it is rather low. 1 cm of seam allowance is included.
Stitching the bag
The bag comes easily together. To do so I followed the directions of the scheme I found on Pinterest.
1) stitch all the side seams
2) stitch the bottom seam minus one opening for turning the bag to the right side
3) stitch the curves of the handles minus 5 cm on each side
4) measure 8 cm for the boxed corners, stitch and trim
5) turn the bag inside out through the opening on the bottom
6) stitch the inside bottom seam
7) pin and stitch the handles in both layers—work very strict here
8) Voilà, tote bag is finished
9) Take pictures
I also made a matching coin purse but here I had some difficulties with gluing the frame to the fabric. So there are some imperfections but isn’t that the charm of hand made gifts?
An eye-catcher is a person or thing that attracts the attention
The online sewing community is very visual. A lot of images are published on social media and on blogs. So, every day I see a lot of sewing related images and some of them are eye-catchers for me. Why? Because they make me think, they give me inspiration. That is why I want to share these eye-catchers with you.
Ever since Beth from SewDIY made a linen version of this jumpsuit, I am dreaming of making one myself. This gorgeous version of Rachel really puts me on board.
More, at this moment— until 11 March there is a 50% discount on all the Vogue Patterns at naaipatronen.nl so I already bought my pattern. *** Update: naaipatronen.nl is a Dutch site but the sold Vogue patterns have English/French instructions! ***
This version that Annika made really caught my eye this week. The red-white stripes and the neat neckline are a match made in heaven. I have some striped knits in my stash just waiting to use for this pattern.
The raglan top for men
Buster from Mensew sewed several raglan tops for men and I absolutely love this striped one he made. Again, I have some striped knits in my stash to make some for my husband and sons.
A piped tab for a coat
Vesna decided to add a piped tab with buttons on the beautiful coat she is making. I think it is a very good addition. The pattern is coat #4333 from Lekala Sewing Patterns. I didn’t know this pattern company. Apparently, you can give in your measurements and you receive a personalized pattern. Do you have experience with it? Does it work?
At least the coat Vesna is making looks great.
Sienna from ‘Not a primary color’ proved again how you can make some very funky underpants from your left-overs. I also did it before but didn’t use the Watson pattern for it. I have this pattern— and a lot of leftovers— so I will sure give it a try.
An eye-catcher is a person or thing that attracts the attention, according to WordReference. Additionally, the Merriam-Webster says: an eye-catcher is something that arrests the eye and also mentions the first use of the word was in 1787. Now I wonder what it was that arrested someone’s eye.
The online sewing community is very visual. Every day a lot of images are published on social media and on blogs. So, every day I see a lot of sewing related images and some of them are eye-catchers for me. Why? Because they make me think, they give me inspiration. That is why I want to share these eye-catchers with you.
Emma from Dressmakers Social posted this jumpsuit on Instagram. This is an unknown pattern for me and I really like the crossover design of the front. I have a long desire to make a jumpsuit and this one could be the one.
As one of the mods of SewMyStyle, Jessica Lorraine showed how she sewed a beautiful version of the Saunio Cardigan. More, she made a belt hack for it. I have to confess that the Saunio Cardigan is way out of my comfort zone but I committed to the Project SewMyStyle so I’m going to sew it in February. The way Jessica did it really gives me some ideas how to do it.
Look at this amazing sew Helen posted on her blog: Helen’s closet. Not only did she sew a superb bra but also she took some awesome pictures wearing it.
The Watson Bra has been on my sewing list for more than a year. After seeing these pictures I really want to dig in and go for it.
Stefanie of Sea Of Teal wrote a very informative post about fabric shops in Berlin. This really got my interest because I went to Berlin recently and did some fabric shopping as well. It was very interesting that she mentioned 3 fabric stores I didn’t know of and I went to another place: Neuköllner Stoff. As I am planning to go to Berlin again this Spring I sure will visit the places she mentions.
Finally, I sewed my beloved pants for my husband. It was already my fifth one so I had no trouble with the sewing. I made it in a real soft light-weight jersey I found at the Neuköllner Stoff in Berlin. I used some leftovers from my Wren dress for the pockets. The fit is spot on but my husband is not really in favour of smaller legs and the ankle cuffs, so he made his demands for the next one! But he sleeps in it.
The Seamwork Paxson was on my #2016MakeNine list. Last December, I cut one out for my son but accidently sewed the back with the wrong side of the fabric to the good side of the fabric. That’s why it is still a WIP today. Luckily, I could use the same size of the pattern for my husband, so that was a win.
Because the plan was to use this sweater together with the Hudson pant from above, I cut it in the same jersey. The sewing went easy—like all Seamwork patterns. Alas, the arms and the bodice were too short. Luckily it fits me. So now I have a new sweater and my husband has half a pyjama.
Pyjamas for my godson
He got them as a new year’s present but I only managed to finish the pants. So he received a PIP—Present in Progress. I made them in this funky skeleton cotton that I also found at the Neuköllner Stoff in Berlin.
7 Hudson Pants
To celebrate New Year I made matching Hudson pants for my family and myself. How I did that I will tell in a future blog post.
January was also the first month of the SewMyStyle project. I finished the Toaster Sweater with ease last Thursday of January and I love it. You can read all about here.
Did I finish any WIP’s? No! Did I create new WIP’s? Yes, the pyjamas for my godson. So now the score is 6 WIP’s.
What are my sewing plans for this very short month? And it seems the theme is secrecy.
Second, I’m going to test a pattern for a dress. It’s the Daphne Day Dress from Sew This Pattern.
Third, the second project of Sew My Style: the Saunio Cardigan of Named Clothing. This pattern is a little out of my comfort zone but Jessica—one of the SewMyStyle leaders—made already a very inspiring make.
Fourth, making a muslin of my first self-drafted pattern of a straight skirt—assignment for my pattern drafting class.
Do you also make a lot of photos when you try to make a photo of your makes for your blog or Instagram? Well, I do and that results in loads of photos on my phone, tablet and computer.
That is why I had to make a backup and I used Google Photos for it. So far I can’t tell if it is a good app because I only installed it yesterday. Nevertheless, one feature immediately caught my eye and made me smile: the assistant automatically makes animations when there are two or more photos taken in a small time frame. Below are some of my favorites, they are all of my sewing projects of earlier years
I can’t believe it is nearly the end of January. Mostly because that means the first piece of the Project SewMyStyle has to be finished.
I already wrote about the Project SewMyStye in my previous post. The goal is to create a wardrobe capsule and to sew twelve garments in twelve months, together.
The January pattern is the Toaster Sweater#2 from Sew House Seven
Is this a quick sew?
I have a lot of jersey/tricot in my stash but none of it was sturdy enough for this pattern so I went to buy appropriate fabric. At 6 p.m. I bought the fabric at Soie Unique and at 11 p.m. the sweater was finished—and I cooked a risotto in between. So yes, this is an incredibly quick sew. Fabric
I went for a black double layered jersey with a lot of structure because I truly need some solids in my wardrobe. The fabric has a good stretch and is very easy to work with.
The Toaster Sweater#2 pattern
Based on my bust measures I cut out a straight XL but in hindsight, I should have taken the L because my measures were closer to that size and it turned out a little too big. I also added 5 cm to the length, not only because I am a #tallgirl but also because—although I like the cropped version a lot—I think for my figure a little bit of length is better.
The pattern is straight forward and beautiful in its simple lines. I really like the neckline with the included facing. It is also very helpful that the stretch direction is added on the pattern pieces.
The sewing process
The instructions in the booklet were very clear so I followed them step by step. A few days ago I read the sew along on the Sew House Seven website and remembered to mark the vent dots at the side seams and the neckline. This was very useful. I sewed the whole thing on my sewing machine, using a walking foot and the stretch stitch.
The only thing I had some problems with was putting in the sleeves. Although it was a flat insertion I really had to ease the sleeve caps and I hadn’t read this in any of the reviews. And here I think the pattern is too wide. Next time I will downsize the sleeve caps and the armscye.
With a little marking, the sewing of the side seams went very easy. I used my beloved fagot stitch to hem the seams.
I really like this sweater. The feel is very warm and cozy but the for the next one I probably go down one size. Also, I wouldn’t have sewed this sweater if not for Project SewMyStyle, so in that way, the year is off to a great start!
The sewing community provides you with a lot of sew-alongs, sewing challenges, giveaways and even a sewing party! I give you 9 online sewing festivities that maybe could give you some needed inspiration.
Project Sew My Style
Alex from Bluebird Fabrics launched this year-long project last December 2016 and it is such a challenging project that I immediately signed up.SewMyStyle is all about raising awareness about the slow fashion movement and about encouraging young women to take up sewing. I’m not young but I felt spoken to. They want to show you that sewing your own wardrobe isn’t an unachievable dream.
The goal is to create a wardrobe by sewing 12 garments in 12 months, with the entire community. We’ll post photos of our makes on Instagram on the last Sunday of every month. In the end, we’ll all have a nice little capsule wardrobe of handmade clothes. To make the project achievable, the patterns that are chosen are relaxed in fit and most are accompanied by instructions.
The first pattern on the list is The Toaster Sweater #2 from Sew House Seven. Currently, I am in the phase of choosing my fabric.
2017 Secret Valentine Exchange
The 2017 Secret Valentine Exchange is a non-conventional handmade gift swap that occurs worldwide, hosted by Ute and Shanae. I already gave you 4 reasons why you should participate.
Sign-ups are closed now but you can follow all the makes on Instagram with the #2017SVE hashtag. At this moment I’m racking my brains to find something to sew for my Secret Valentine.
After a very successful MakeItYourself March 16, co-hosted with Wendy from WendyWard, Emma from Dressmakers Social started a year-long project: #Dressmakers52.
Every Sunday, she picks a new theme from her deck of cards with prompts, to use as inspiration for posting a picture on Instagram. It started the first week of April 2016 and we are now in week 43 with the theme: dresses. I really love this challenge, it gave me a lot of sewing inspiration so far.
A real sewing party hosted by The Triple Stitchers: Abigail, Elle and Rachel.
This is fun! It’s a party held on Instagram! Everybody can participate, no matter where you live—simply post a picture of your handmade ‘Colette Moneta dress’ on your Instagram feed between Friday, February 24th 18.00 GMT and Sunday, February 26th 18.00 GMT 2017 using the hashtag #Monetaparty. And there are prizes to win!
I am really looking forward to this party because I am planning to sew a Moneta for my daughter for more than a year already.
Le défi dentelle
Do you fancy sewing your own lingerie? When you do, post a picture of it on Instagram and you receive a lingerie pattern from Barbara—Je fais mes dessous. You can post until Valentine (of course!). Wow! Don’t these beautiful pictures give you inspiration?
Anne from Pretty Grievances started it 5 years ago: sew anything you want using an animal print fabric. Check it out on Instagram and Twitter with the #junglejanuary hashtag.
I never used an animal print before and at this moment I don’t have an animal print in my stash but I do love all the Jungle January sewing! And you still have 10 days to sew something with an animal print! If you have an animal print in your stash—sew it!
Sew Japanese (patterns) in January
Launched by Blogless Anna on Instagram. So far I didn’t sew any Japanese patterns, although I like a lot of them, especially the coats. Unfortunately, I will not have some spare time to sew Japanese this January (due to 2017SVE, SewMyStyle and the upcoming MonetaParty). But you can!
No, it is not impossible to sew your own shirt! You just have to start. That’s why Elke —a German sewist is organising a Blusen Sew-along.
This is the schedule of the sew-along:
* January 22: Choosing of the pattern and fabric, what inspires you?
* January 29: Do you have to make changes? Are there hurdles?
* February 5: Work in progress. Did you learn tips and tricks or do you need help with your project?
* February 9 (Thursday): Presentation of the finished blouse. FINALE!
You can follow all the makes on Instagram and social media with the #blusenSA2017
2017 sewing book challenge
Do have a lot of sewing books with patterns in it and you never sewed one these patterns? With the 2017sewingbookchallenge you can solve this.
Carla Peicheff looked at her sewing book library and realised she nearly didn’t use one of the patterns in it. That’s why she launched the 2017sewingbookchallenge: make at least one project a month from your stash of sewing books.
I only have one sewing book and sewing something from it is already on my #2017MakeNine list.
Free patterns For me, one of the perks of the online sewing community is free pdf patterns. I discovered them when I restarted sewing after a hiatus of nearly 20 years—they didn’t exist in the eighties and the nineties. In fact, the first dress I sewed in 2013 was the Eva Dress and this was a free pdf pattern from Your Style Rocks.
So, mid-December 2016, when So Sew Easy announced “The Easy sweater pattern for non-knitters: Let’s call her Cami” this model immediately caught my attention because I love raglan sleeves and it was a free pattern. Also, it looked like an easy sew and I needed that because my sewing mojo was really low at that time.
You get the pattern through a link on the site of So Sew Easy that leads to Craftsy where you can download it for free.
The pattern consists of 28 pages to print and it has a very clear layout. On the site you find detailed instructions and a tutorial with photos. I had not any difficulties putting it together.
I traced size 16 following my waist measurements. Being a tall girl, I lengthened the body at the hem with 6 cm.
The fabric I used is a loosely woven, lightweight rust-coloured tricot that I bought at The Stoffenspektakel last Spring.
What I really like about this pattern are the inserts between the bodice and the sleeves. They give you the opportunity to use some contrasting fabric or ribbon to spice up the classic raglan model. I used vintage ribbon that I found at Nahkontor in Berlin. This was a little bit smaller than the inserts so I stitched it on top of the fabric.Nahkontor in Berlin. This was a little bit smaller than the inserts so I stitched it on top of the fabric.
Second sweater And it was a quick sew so I immediately sewed one for my daughter too. I had some grey knit in my stash that was very suitable but in fact a little too small. But it was a 4-way knit, so I cut the sleeves cross-grain. Here, for the inserts I used black jersey, leftovers from a sweater I sewed for her a few years ago.
2016MakeNine At the end of 2015 when everybody posted their #2015bestnine makes, Rochelle launched the #2016makenine: ‘The nine projects you plan to sew or to craft’ on her Lucky Lucille blog. That was a great incentive to think about the nine projects I really wanted to sew in the then near future. In fact, I’d already planned some in the back of my mind and I had bought all my patterns.
2016MadeNine Did I sew these nine projects?
In my 2016 overview you see that I finished 41 projects last year but only 3 of them came out of my MakeNine selection. Why? Do I not like the ones I didn’t sew anymore? No, on the contrary, I still want to sew them but somehow they tumbled down on my priority ladder.
2017MakeNine, the sequel My first two makes of 2017 happen to be from my #2016makenine roster. What to do now? Mark them as realised or put two new in it?
Some more things to sew in 2017: 5 WIP’s or should I call them UFO’s? As I mentioned in my 2016 my sewing mojo drastically decreased after August and somehow that brought me 5 not yet finished projects.
Duffel bag to use for pattern drafting class
Started in September
I cut all the pieces and bought a zipper
Boxer shorts for my sons
Started in September
I cut all the pieces and made a mistake: the front and the back have different colours from the same fabric!
Jacket for my husband
Started in October
Only needs the second sleeve and the lining
Rosa dress from Tilly and the Buttons
Started in December
I cut all the pieces
Sewed the side seams
Very slippery fabric
Paxson for my son
Started in December
Cut all the pieces
I put the sleeves with the wrong side of the fabric up!
Note to self: please finish these projects in 2017!
The 2017 Secret Valentine Exchange is a non-conventional handmade gift swap that occurs worldwide. It’s the fourth time it takes place and it is organised by two very creative and inspirational women: Sanae from Seattle (US) and Ute from Berlin (Germany). You can read more about the exchange on Sanae’s blog.
Last year I participated for the first time and it really was a heart-warming experience.
Here are my 4 reasons why you should participate as well!
1 You get to know new people
Like I said before, the hosts, Sanae and Ute, are amazing people to meet.
Then you meet your assignment: the person you have to make a gift for, in my case that was Elle from the UK. I received an email from the organisers with some information and her IG-account for inspiration.
And of course, at the end, you get to meet the person who made something for you. Last year Angela from Oakland was my Secret Valentine.
2 You get challenged
The purpose of the SVE is to make something yourself with barely any costs, to use materials from your stash. I learned that Elle’s favourite colours were: grey, navy, gold and mustard. Luckily I had some scraps in my stash with these colours.
Then you have to let your creativity work. Elle is a great sewist, so I decided to make some pattern weights and a bag for putting them in. I used the open wide zippered pouch pattern from noodlehead for it.
I pimped it with some cuberdons, a famous sweet from Ghent, my hometown.
3 You get thrilled twice
It is very exciting to send a gift to someone and have to wait to receive their response, whether they liked it or not. Elle expressed her thanks extensively and still does, and every time I get warm and fuzzy all over again.
It is also very exciting to receive your gift, especially when it comes from overseas and when it is beautifully wrapped gift containing a block print of David Bowie on a white canvas bag. I use it all the time, because I love it so much.
4 It is very easy to sign up
Just fill in the google form. The deadline is Friday, January 6th, so you have to hurry a little bit. You don’t need to have an online presence to participate. You just have to let your creativity work!
Are you participating?
2017-01-05 1:11 GMT+01:00 Wis Geysen <email@example.com>: