Monthly Archives: January 2018

I ❤️ the Bombazine oven mitt

It started with a joke. On a family pizza night, our daughter exclaimed that she would give us some oven mitts as a Christmas present. Because she burned herself by pulling out the pizza’s and we didn’t have mitts. “That’s not necessary” my husband answered out of the blue, “because your mom—that would be me— just sewed one for everybody!” I sighed: “Oh baby, now you’ve spoilt the surprise.” Everybody laughed of course, little did they know I hadn’t sewed any oven mitts at that point. A few days later I discovered the Bombazine oven mitt on their site. Now I laughed too because no longer I had to search for my Christmas gifts. So that’s why I sewed 11 Bombazine oven mitts.

Bombazine oven mitt

The Bombazine oven mitt pattern

The Bombazine mitt pattern is a free downloadable pdf-pattern. It only has four pages: two with instructions and two for the pattern. So you print and tape together the pattern in a blink of an eye! You use the same pattern piece for the three layers of the mitt. Simple and easy!

Bombazine oven mitt

 

The fabric

The Bombazine mitt is THE project to use up your leftovers. I used a combination of leftovers from sewing projects, pieces of old jeans of the kids, and pieces of fabric from the thrift shop. I sewed together some of the scraps with a medium weight and then I cut out the outer pieces.

Bombazine oven mitt

For the heat insulation layer, I used an old woollen blanket. Bombazine oven mitt

For the inner lining, I used leftovers from cotton fabric.Bombazine oven mitt

The sewing process

Sewing the Bombazine mitt is a joy! The instructions, with designs, are very clear and easy to follow.
New for me was hand quilting the layers together with sashiko stitches. I have never done this before but I love learning new techniques. The stitches are still wonky but I like doing it.
Bombazine oven mitt

 

After sewing the outside of the mitt, you sew together the lining but you leave a gap near the top. Later you pull the outside layer of the mitt through this gap.
Sewing together the three layers can be a little difficult. When an opening of a pattern piece is small I always sew on the inside. This prevents sewing accidentally wrong layers together.Bombazine oven mitt

 

According to the instructions, the trickiest step would be bagging the mitt (or ‘mitt birthing’). I found this not so difficult. The woollen layer is easy to handle and pull through the gap.
After the birth, you finish with topstitching the edge of the mitt and a good press.

bombazine oven mitt
‘mitt birthing”
Bombazine oven mitt
These mitts need only the finishing topstitch of the edge.

 

Conclusion

I enjoyed myself tremendously sewing these mitts. Due to the great design and the easiness of the sewing process, they came out fantastic. And giving them as a Christmas present was pure fun. Everybody had a laugh and they were very happy with them.

Will I sew more Bombazine mitts? Definitely! They will also make a perfect 2018 Secret Valentine gift.
So thank you Bombazine ladies for this cute free pattern.

Bombazine oven mitt Bombazine oven mitt Bombazine oven mitt

 

Top 5 of 2017: reflections & goals

The final part of the Sewing Top 5 Series: Reflections and Goals

sewing overview reflections goals

Reflections

sewing reflections goals

Some, not 5 though 😉, thoughts about my sewing in 2017.

*Deadlines

The common thread for my sewing last year would be sewing against a deadline and not reaching that deadline. That’s no fun because often it left me with an unsatisfied feeling or even with unfinished projects, like the Carolyn Pajamas Dress.
How did I keep ending up there? Because I want to sew everything for everybody and for myself: birthday presents, Christmas presents, party clothes, … Plus, I love to participate in all these exciting sewing challenges the sewing community launches. This was infeasible and led to situations that I was still finishing the party dress for my daughter 5 minutes before she had to leave. So, I had to stop myself making all these sewing promises. In fact, this happened naturally because I lost my sewing mojo last fall. In hindsight, I think this was the underlying cause. The last part of 2017 I did not make any more promises and I feel more confident about my sewing now.

*Sewing classes

Sewing class

In September 2016 I started a pattern drafting course for a year. Here I learned to draft my own pattern blocks for a skirt and trousers using the method of M. Müller & Sohn, aka the Rundschau method. These lessons are intense but they also taught me a lot. I enjoyed it so much that this September I started the second year: drafting a basic pattern for a dress. More, I also started another sewing course: couture techniques. This year the focus of this course is sewing pockets. So every Monday I have now 7 hours of sewing lessons and I love it.

*Sewing is a verb

This is the most important insight I gained last year. Sewing takes time and when you take your time for it,  you get smashing results. Take your measurements with care, control the finished measurements on your pattern, maybe make a muslin, baste tricky seams, do some fitting and make the needed adjustments, etc….  This year I learned to enjoy doing all these steps and leave the quick-sew road behind.

*Sewing blogger

I started this sewing blog a year ago and I don’t regret it. Okay, it is some work and there are already a lot of sewing blogs but it made my connection with the sewing community stronger. That’s why I am going to keep on blogging. I wrote all this in my one-year anniversary post.

 

Goals

sewing reflections goals

*Sew 300 times a year

The first criteria for setting goals is: “Be realistic!”. That’s why want to sew 300 days a year instead of every day. I’m lucky to have my own sewing room so I can easily start sewing most of the days, even if it is only for fifteen minutes. To keep the score I mark my sewing days on the Sew DIY sewing calendar. (How nerdy can you be?)Counting my sewing days

*Make no sewing promises

Like I wrote above I will not make sewing promises anymore. This does not imply that I won’t sew for other people. No, I am still going to do that but without outspoken promises. Also, I still am going to participate in some sewing challenges but I will be more selective.

*2018MakeNine

What am I going to sew in 2018?  A variety of garments I hope, but certainly bra’s. The attentive readers of my blog may be a bit skeptical here because I said this also for 2016 and for 2017.  Indeed, the Watson Bra was on my 2016MakeNine and on my 2017MakeNine.
Even though I sewed 40 projects in 2017 I only made two garments of my 2017MakeNine: the Paxson sweater and the Hudson Pants for man.
But I still like the not yet sewed patterns of 2016 and 2017 so I decided to keep them on my 2018MakeNine. The new ones are:
*The V9075 Jumpsuit
*The Ellsworth Coat – Christine Haynes

2018MakeNine
2018MakeNine

I wish you all a very inspiring sew year!

°°°

Read more about The Sewing Top 5 series: Hits, Misses and Highlights!

Top 5 of 2017: the misses & the highlights

Following Gillian in her Sewing Top 5 series, next up are: my misses and highlights of 2017.

sewing top 5 misses highlights

It’s a bit strange to make a podium for your misses, isn’t it? You don’t want to honor them but would rather forget them. On the other hand, you learn something from your blunders. That makes them a kind of necessary evil for improving your sewing skills. In no particular order are here 5 of my misses:

1 The Bridgetown backless dress from Sew House SevenThe Bridgetown backless dress from Sew House Seven

What went wrong? First, I cut the sleeves cross grain because I thought the stripes would give a nice effect. On the contrary, this made them pop up instead of falling on the arm. Second, the fabric was somewhat too stiff to give the dress the needed drape. Third, there was not enough ease around the hips. I should have looked better to the given finished measurements. I never wore it.
What can I do with it? Restyling it into another garment will be the only solution for this dress.

 

2. The Saunio Cardigan from NamedSaunio Cardigan Named

What went wrong? What was I thinking using a woven fabric when the pattern asked for a knit. It could have turned out ok if I’d made the arms a bit wider. Now they are at their narrowest. I wore it a few times but I’m not really comfortable in it.
What can I do with it? Perhaps I should make a belt for it like Jessica did. Otherwise, it is also going to the restyling pile.

 

3. The Carolyn Pajama DressCarolyn Pajamas Dress

What went wrong? This Carolyn Pajama Dress hack was supposed to be my entry for the ‘Sewtoghetherforsummer challenge.’ Unfortunately, I didn’t reach the deadline of 21st of June to finish it. Now, it is still laying there on my WIP-pile.
What can I do with it? Finish it! It’s cut and I have all the needed notions.

 

4. The Skeleton PJ’s for my godsonSkeleton Fabric

What went wrong? I promised my godson PJ’s for his new year’s present but I only managed to finish the pants on time. Hence he received a PIP—Present in Progress. He triet them on and they were on the small side. I could solve this by putting a band on the side seams. I had also already cut the pieces for the top so probably these will be on the small side too. In fact, in the rush to get the present ready on time, I used a too small pattern for his measurements. I made some alterations on it but it was a lost cause. Now, almost a year later, he has grown more than 7 cm so the PJ’s are not usable anymore.
What can I do with it? Use the pieces for a PJ for a smaller child.

5. Turning my WIP’s in UFO’s

I started 2017 with 6 WIP’s—finished two— and I ended it with 4 UFO’S.

  • Duffel bag to use for pattern drafting class
    Started in September 2016
    I cut all the pieces and bought a zipper
  • Boxer shorts for my sons
    Started in September 2016
    I cut all the pieces and made a mistake: the front and the back have different colours from the same fabric!
  • Paxson for my son
    Started in December 2016
    Cut all the pieces
    I put the sleeves with the wrong side of the fabric up!
  • Hudson pants for my daughter-in-law
    I made 7 Hudson pants for my family’s New Year’s present. Unfortunately one for my daughter-in-law was too small.

What can I do? Finish all of them!!

 

sewing top 5 misses highlights

Life isn’t only about sewing! Or, is it? So here are my highlights of 2017.

 

1 Podere Santa PiaAbout ten years ago we bought a holiday home—Podere Santa Pia— in the South of Tuscany, Italy. It is our heaven on earth. Going there as much as my working schedule allows is truly a highlight of my life! More, I can also sew there and that makes this place even more of a paradise.
Every time we visit Podere Santa Pia, or we have friends or family visiting us we take a goodbye picture. You can see them all on Instagram with #ciaosSantaPia.

 

2 Spending time with my familyWe have three, now adult, children and I love them and their significant others to pieces. We installed a tradition to make pizza’s on Sundays, when we are at home. These are great nights.

 

3 Quiet days with friendsEnjoying a “quiet day” at the Martin Creed show at Museum Voorlinden.

We have a more than 35-year long during friendship with another couple. More than 15 years ago we decided to no longer give each other material gifts for birthdays. Instead we give each other time. We call this “our quiet day”, which we organize for each other several days a year. This can involve visiting an exhibition, or a historical place and have a nice dinner together. When this “quiet day” is in Podere Santa Pia (see highlight 1) the joy is double.

 

4 City trip to LondonMy husband had a business meeting in London last May and we took advantage of it to stay there for 4 days. It had been 15 years since we visited and we were excited about the renewed acquaintance with this fantastic city. Totaly new for me now was the discovery of the famous Goldhawk Road, THE fabric shop street. Strolling around in this street and, of course, buying fabric was the crowning point of this trip.

 

5 Nick Cave concertI don’t often go to concerts anymore. This year I only went to two: Bob Dylan’s Never-ending Tour and Nick Cave’s Skeleton Tree Tour. Both of these concerts were amazing but I was totally blown away by Nick Cave. This was so heartfelt and moving, and at the same time energetic and diabolic. The best concert I’ve ever experienced.

 

Next Up in the Sewing Top 5 series are: the reflections and the goals.

 

 

 

 

 

4 reasons to participate in the 2018 Secret Valentine Exchange

Woohoo!! The 2018 Secret Valentine Exchange is back. I love this “sewing-community- handmade-gift-swap” so much that I give you—again—4 reasons to participate. I wrote this blog post exactly one year ago for the 2017 Secret Valentine Exchange but everything is still true!

2018 Secret Valentine Exchange
Design made by Sanae

The  Valentine Exchange is a non-conventional handmade gift swap that occurs worldwide. It’s the fifth time it takes place and it is organized 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.
In 2016 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 organizers 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 of these colours.

Grey and mustard scraps from my fabric stash

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.

The pattern weights are filled with lentils
The open wide zippered pouch from noodlehead

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  Wednesday, January 10th, so you have still a few days. You don’t need to have an online presence to participate. You just have to let your creativity work!

Are you participating?

** I also posted about my 2017 Secret Valentine Exchange **

What I sewed in 2017-Top 5: the hits

There are two reasons why I love a new year. One, you can start a lot of things with a clean slate, and two, you can look back and reflect on the past year.
Like last year I collected all my sewing data in an infographic and here below you see the result.

what I sewed 2017 sewing top 5 the hits

What do these numbers say?

In one sentence: I sew for women, using a pdf pattern from an Indie Pattern Designer. No drastic changes here in comparison with last year.

40 sewing projects

These 40 sewing projects are all finished ones. (I may have a few UFOs also). That’s one less than in 2016. Like last year I am a little disappointed with this number because I have this irrational idea in my head that I want to sew something new once a week. I knew I didn’t succeed at this because last September and October I totally lost my sewing-mojo.

 

Top 5 of 2017

I am joining Gillian from ‘Craftingarainbow’ for the #SewingTop5 of 2017. It’s already the 5th time she launches this annual blog series. Like she says: “It’s a chance to review what worked or didn’t, celebrate the highlights, reflect and get some goals for the next year.”  All the things I like about starting a new year.  So, here I start with my Top 5 Hits.

Top 5 Hits

My hits are sewing projects that gave me the most joy. This joy can be derived from various sources: from the pleasure of wearing it, the challenge of the sewing, the first time of tackling that particular technique, or the gratitude you receive from the person you sewed for…

Here are in random order my 5 Hits of 2017.

The Vogue DKNY V1235 Dress1. The Vogue DKNY  V1235 Dress
I sewed this dress for my daughter to attend the wedding of her best friend. I worked very hard on this dress: I made two muslins for it and executed my first FBA—that still sounds like a medical procedure ;). It was also the first time I sewed with border fabric. I love how the placing of the border I had in my head came out. My daughter received a lot of compliments on the dress and she loves wearing it. This makes me sew happy!

 

Toaster sweater 2 Sew House 72. The Toaster Sweater#2 from Sew House Seven
Thanks to the SewMyStyle project I sewed this Toaster Sweater and I am so glad I did. It was a quick sew with instant gratification. I wore it a lot and I would never have thought that I could pair it with a variety of clothes, old and new ones, like the A-line skirt and the plissé skirt.

 

Chari Dress Schnittchen Patterns3. The Chari Dress from Schnittchen Patterns
I was a pattern tester for Schnittchen Patterns new collection and though I am not a ruffle kind of girl, I’m glad I picked this pattern. It turned out that ruffles could be stylish for me.
This dress also proved to be the ultimate summer dress when we had temperatures around 40°C last August. So, no surprise here that I wore it A LOT!

 

restyle refashion4. The restyling of a men’s shirt
Wow! This project had several firsts for me! I never restyled/refashioned something before and I never hand-printed fabric. I succeeded in both new skills and I am very proud of the result. Extra exciting was that this project was for the First Restyling Exchange. So it was not for me but for Elisabete, who sent me her husband’s shirt and received a top for her. It was thrilling to wait whether the top would suit her and if she would like it. I got two yesses!

 

plissé skirt Lotte Martens5. My Plissé Skirt
I only sewed this skirt on Christmas Eve but it feels like my best sewing project of 2017. The fabric is exquisite and it took only half an hour to transform it into a skirt. More, I feel like a queen when I am wearing it. A fabulous project to finish my 2017 sew year.

Next up are  Misses & Highlights, and Reflections & Goals.