Monthly Archives: July 2018

The Mystery Blogger Award

I have been nominated by the lovely Diane, from Dream. Cut. Sew, for The Mystery Blogger Award. As she is a sweet lady and an inspiring sewist and blogger I’m thrilled to join in. Thank you, Diane,  for the nomination.

Mystery Blogger Award

The Mystery Blogger Award: how does it work?

Mystery Blogger Award is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion.”
Created by: Okoto Enigma

The rules are as follows:

  • Thank whoever nominated you and include a link to their blog.
  • Tell your readers three things about yourself.
  • Answer the questions from the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate 10 – 20 bloggers you feel deserve the award.
  • Ask your nominees 5 questions of your choice, with one weird or funny one.
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.

 

Three random facts about myself

FACT ONE

In August I’m going to be a grandmother, of a little boy, for the first time.  I’m so looking forward to this, you can’t imagine. Also, this will give me a reason to sew all of the cute baby clothes.

FACT TWO

My husband and I met in 1979 behind the dishwasher at the student restaurant where we both had a student job. Two months after that moment we kissed for the first time and we still do.

Rein & Wis

FACT THREE

I hate doing sports because I have a.b.s.o.l.u.t.e.l.y no talent for it. I once was a goalkeeper for a benefit football game with the youth movement of which I was a member.  We lost with 0-20! And I made one of the goals.

 

Diane’s Questions for me
  1. Do you have a bad habit and if so what is it?
    Procrastination, I guess.
  2. If money was no object,  where would you fly to in the whole world?
    Seychelles!
  3. What food do you hate?
    Warm red cabbage! This is a real childhood trauma.
  4. How many sewing machines/overlockers have you got?
    I have a 38-year old orange Toyota, a 2-year old Brother and a 1,5-year old Juki overlocker.
  5. Name 3 famous people you would love to share a dinner table with.
    Tilda Swinton, Frida Kahlo & Nick Cave.

 

My nominated bloggers, in no particular order:

Belle Citadel

O! Jolly! Crafting Fashion

The Compulsive Seamstress

Swarm of chickadees

Anne Whalley

Jess sews clothes

Small Bobbins

Dream Aloud

Sew Sarah Smith

Sew Becky Jo

 

And my 5 questions are
  1. What is the first thing you ever sewed?
  2. What was your favourite garment for dress-up parties when you were little?
  3. What is the strangest thing you had under your presser foot?
  4. Where is the furthest you travelled?
  5. What is the funniest movie you have ever seen?

I would love to read your answers but don’t worry if you don’t have time for it!

1000 photo posts on Instagram!

On 25 Juli 2015, I posted my first Instagram photo and today—almost three years later— I posted my 1000th. Say what? Yes, I posted 1000 photos on Instagram! Just like when I reached 1000 followers, I find it difficult to comprehend what this number means. But I love the interaction and sharing of photos and experiences with this wonderful online sewing community.
Below I share with you my 5 most liked and my 5 most commented on photos, ever! I go to Squarelovin to get this information. And my most used tag is #isew! No surprise here, I guess.

1000 photo posts on Instagram
First post on July 25th 2015
1000 photo posts on Instagram
Reenactment of the first post aka post 1000!
Top 5 of my most liked photos
#5 The measurement tape!

1000 photo posts on Instagram

I posted this photo for Day 1 of #sewphotohop September 2017: Intro! I thought it would be nice to show a typical sewist’s attribute for the introduction photo of this challenge.

It took a lot of practice to throw the measurement tape; even my husband had to demonstrate it!

#4 The Vogue 9075 Jumpsuit

1000 photo posts on Instagram

This photo is taken, and posted, on 25 May 2018 at the South wing of the Sint-Baafs Cathedral in Ghent. We were on our way to the official celebration of the diamond wedding anniversary of my parents-in-law. I justed finished this jumpsuit and wanted to show it off!

#3 The DKNY V1349 Dress

I took these photos for #mmmay17 but I made this collage, and posted it, for the ‘Curvylicious’ theme of #sewapril2018. I made this dress two years ago from a vintage curtain. There were some serious fitting issues (gaping armholes) the first time I tried it on but at the end I made it work. I love wearing it!

#2 The African Wax Selvedge Statement Sleeve!

Posted on Instagram on 10 April 2017 as an entry for #sewapril2018 for the ‘Statement Sleeves’ theme. I took the photo in August 2017, when I was working on the Laneway Dress. I love this African Wax selvedge and that’s why I use it as a natural hem!

#1 Sewing at Podere Santa Pia

This is my most liked photo on Instagram ever! My husband took it at our holiday home, Podere Santa Pia. I remember it took only a minute to make the photo. I posted it on 1 April 2017 for the last week of #dressmakers52: Happy place. “When I am behind my sewing machine I am in my happy place. But when I am behind my sewing machine at our holiday house I am in my happy happy place.”

Top 5 of my most commented photos
#5 Memories

A photo from 1986, I was heavily pregnant with my firstborn. I’m wearing my self-made bathrobe and nightdress. I posted the photo on Instagram on 15 November 2016 for the Memories prompt from #bpsewvember.

#4 The Summer Dress restyling

From a Summer Dress to the Venus Kimono. The collage of the two garments I posted on Instagram on 24 June 2018 during the big reveal weekend of #restylingexchange2018.

#3 The Velo Culottes

For day 14 of #mmmay18, I was wearing the Velo Culottes from Sew This Pattern and the Juniper Cardigan from Jennifer Lauren Handmade. This outfit received a lot of compliments!

#2 My 58th Birthday

I only posted this photo two days ago, 10 July 2018 for my 58th birthday. Thank you for all your birthday wishes.

#1 A photo for my 57th birthday

This photo was taken on my 20th birthday in 1980. I posted it on 10 July 2017 for my 57th birthday. I loved that I got a lot of birthday wishes even if I was knitting, not sewing. The sewing community is the best!

1000 photo posts on Instagram!

Thanks for all the love and comments, here’s to 1000 more Instagram photo’s!

A tale of two Venus Kimonos

When I restyled a summer dress to a kimono a few weeks ago I absolutely wanted to sew one for myself. I already had the perfect fabric in mind for it. Then I went to the market in Castel del Piano and I found some nice remnant pieces of fabric at my favourite stall. One of them eminently suitable for a kimono. So the only thing to do was to sew two Venus Kimonos in two days!

Venus Kimono

 

Venus Kimono #1 in African Wax Cotton

I got this fabulous—but impossible to photograph—piece of African Wax as a present from my sister-in-law. I don’t know where it came from or what its origin is but it has some vintage vibe. The piece was 1,80 m by 1,40 width.  I was intrigued by the design and I wanted to use as much of it as possible. African Wax

Therefore I placed the shoulders of the front and back in the middle of the fabric and lengthened both the front and the back, until the borders. Just like the restyled kimono, I made before, I put the back at the centrefold, after folding over the seam allowance of 12 mm.
The front pattern was too big for the width of the fabric so I cut off 21 cm at the arms and placed these pieces at the selvedge. This gave me more of the fabric design on my kimono and the selvedge didn’t need hemming!

Venus Kimono
The back of the kimono with the beautiful design.
Venus Kimono
The front with the design in the middle and the borders on the sleeves.
Venus Kimono #2 in sheer flower fabric

When I touched this fabric at the market I knew immediately it would be perfect for a kimono: light, fluid and drapey. The only problem with this kind of fabric is that it is devilish to work with.

Sheer FabricSo, I treated it with starch to make it easier to cut and sew. And it worked! I didn’t have a single problem.Using starch

A small pattern hack

The sheer fabric was 1,65 m on a 1,50 with. I wanted a longer kimono so I lengthed the front and the back at the side seams with 35 cm and redrafted the hem.Venus Kimono

Venus Kimono
The lengthened kimono.
The Sewing Proces

It’s not difficult to sew the Venus Kimono. Annie, from Sew This Pattern,  has a detailed sew-along on her website with clear instructions and pictures.
The next three steps made it even easier for me.

#1 The 1/4 inch presser foot

1/4 presser footFor me, a 1/4 inch presser foot is an unmissable guide for sewing french seams. Here you see that I use some tissue paper for the start of a seam of fragile fabric.

#2 A stitched line to prepare the rolled hem

rolled hemThis I do slightly different than shown in the sew-along. I stitch a line 1/4 inch from the edge of the hem.

rolled hemThen I fold the fabric on the stitched line and press. Next, I fold the fabric again 1/4 inch and sew the hem at 1/4 inch. Here again, the 1/4 inch presser foot is unmissable.

rolled hem

#3 Basting the curves of the rolled hem

bastingWith my first Venus Kimono, I had trouble with the rolled hem at the neckline so I finished it with bias tape. For these two kimonos, I followed Annie’s advice and basted the curved neckline. And I learned that basting isn’t slowing your sewing process but in fact skilling it up.

Venus Kimono

Conclusion

Do I love my new Venus Kimonos? I do! Do I have a favourite? No, I don’t. It’s difficult to choose one because both are different in style and in how they feel. Will I sew more Venus Kimonos? Not in the near future but you all know: never say never!

Venus Kimono

 

P.S. All the time when I was sewing these Venus Kimonos I was singing Venus from Shocking blue. This song is a huge teenage memory. The strangest thing is, that when you look at the video, Mariska Veeres is wearing some kind of Kimono.

 

 

Summer Sewing at Podere Santa Pia

Exactly today 10 years ago we bought a holiday house—Podere Santa Pia—in the south of Tuscany, the Maremma. No need to say that this is our heaven on earth and we don’t regret this investment for one second! Of course, we try to go there as much as my school schedule allows. My husband is self-employed and can take his work with him wherever he goes. So, we are staying here for at least 8 weeks during the long summer break. This also means that I have to organise 8 weeks of sewing in advance. How can that be done? Below, you can read the story of a summer of sewing at Podere Santa Pia.

sewing at Podere Santa Pia

What do I bring with me?
1. My sewing machines

Ten years ago I was in a non-sewing-period and my sewing machine was gathering dust somewhere back in the attic. So, when we bought Podere Santa Pia there was no urgent need for a sewing space there. This changed in September 2013, when I started sewing again and enjoyed it so much that I wanted to sew all the time. Including when on holiday; maybe especially when I was on holiday because then I had time for it. That’s why I brought my trusted Toyota sewing machine and some projects with me. The start of a new tradition.

Sewing at Podere Santa Pia
July 2014, first time sewing on the terrace of Podere Santa Pia. I’m sewing a swimsuit.

It’s 1444 km between our two houses and it takes about 16 hours to drive there. Luckily, our car has a huge boot to take all my sewing luggage with me.
After buying a new sewing machine on Easter 2015, I left my Toyota sewing machine permanently at Podere Santa Pia. This is handy for when we come by plane. We fly when we have a short break. Then I only bring with my special sewing feet:  the walking foot and 1/4 inch foot. I didn’t research it when I bought a new machine but my two sewing machines have the same foot mechanism. Very handy.
I still bring my overlocker though. Especial this summer as I want to sew a lot of knit projects.

Sewing at Podere Santa Pia
The sewing machines on the desk I use as a sewing table.
Sewing at Podere Santa Pia
The sewing luggage: my overlocker, baskets and bags with fabric, a box of WIPs, a roll of A0 printed pdf patterns and a bag of sewing notions.
2. Sewing materials

Of course, you need more than a sewing machine to sew. So a few days before we leave I  make a list of all the projects I want to sew and I make a list of all the materials I need: fabric, zippers, lining, interfacing, buttons, etc…  It is necessary that I bring this all with me because there are no specialised sewing shops in the neighbourhood. Podere Santa Pia is situated in a quiet and rural area and the nearest small sewing shop is in Castel del Piano, about 30 minutes away.  In this village, there is also a monthly market with a fabric and haberdashery stall. Luckily this exists, because last year I had not brought enough fabric for the Laminaria Swimsuit and I found suitable fabric at this market.

Sewing at Podere Santa Pia
Selecting fabric at the market in Castel del Piano.
Sewing at Podere Santa Pia
Cute haberdashery stall at the market at Castel del Piano
The drawer with notions and supplies I collected last 3 years.
What do I want to sew this summer?
1. Finish some WIPs!

First of all, I want to finish some WIPs. I have several projects I started last year, or even before that,  but didn’t finish.

  • Boxers for my sons and husband.

It’s the Jalie 2326 pattern. All of them are cut out, most of the side seams and flies are sewed. They just need hemming and elastic put in.

  • The Highlands Wrap Dress

Oops, this was supposed to be my entry for #sewtogetherforsummer this year.  Again I didn’t make the deadline. I cut out all the pieces—and there were a lot—I just have to sew it together!

I cut out this pattern of the leftovers I had from the Cashmerette Turner Dress.

2. New projects
  • Sewing for babies

We are expecting two new babies in our family this summer and one of them is going to be our first grandson. So I brought with me some cute fabric to sew some presents for these little ones.

  • New garments

Starting at the top:
– African wax for a Venus Kimono for myself.
– African wax for a second V9075 Jumpsuit.
– Black linen for comfy trousers for my husband.
– Polka dots for the Dartmouth Top for my daughter.
– Red & Black plaid for the Zéphyr Dress from Deer&Doe for my daughter.

  • Testing a sweater pattern

I had to bring several medium heavy knits to test a sweater pattern. I can’t tell you more at this moment.

  • 2018MakeNine

I also brought the patterns and fabric with me for two items of my 2018MakeNine: the Jenna cardi and the Watson bra. In fact, they were on my 2016 and 2017MakeNine too. Will I sew them this summer?

  • The Ellsworth Coat

Sewing at Podere Santa Pia

 

At the end of the summer, I want to start on the Ellsworth Coat from Christine Haynes. I have the pattern, in A0 format, and I have this beautiful, red, vintage, heavy cotton. This coat is also on my 2018MakeNine.

Conclusion

So this is how I sew during the summer at our holiday house, Podere Santa Pia. What do you think of my sewing plans? A little too ambitious? I will let you know at the end of August!

Do you travel with sewing luggage?