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?
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!
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.
You are never too old to start something new and it is never too late to start a new sewing blog. For a while now I’ve been feeling like I want to tell a bit more about my sewing-encounters so I’m giving it a try. I hope you’ll enjoy reading it.
The Wren dress
Last summer I already sewed two Wren dresses for E., my daughter-in-law. The first one was a wearable muslin in an old rose lightweight jersey which was a perfect fit. Then I sewed the ‘real’ dress in a woven mint crepe—what was I thinking?
Therefore I had to broaden the bodice to her measurements to make it fit. Also, because she is very lithe, and the front has quite an opening she was able to put it on over her head without a zipper.
I loved sewing the Wren dress and adored the end-result in both fabrics. So, when I found this beautiful midweight jersey at Stofferia in Cologne I knew it was perfect for another Wren dress, this time for me.
This fabric has a nice stretch, feels very soft and is very drapey. Excellent for this model. And I loved how it turned out, like secret pyjamas.
Pattern matching is my thing but this print is so full that I could lay my pattern pieces randomly. The neckbands are even upside-down.
The Wren dress comes together easily and I find the instructions from Colette patterns very clear.
* Being a #sewingtall girl I lengthened the bodice with 6 cm. Especially because I found it rather on the short side when I made the first two Wrens. Now it hangs perfectly on me.
* To cover more cleavage I crossed the body pieces 2 cm further than the original marks.
* With the previous dresses, I struggled with the clear elastic, so now I used a small and soft regular elastic. Stabilizing the elastic with a few stitches on the two side seams and CF and CB also helped, but it remains a chore.
* The instructions also tell to use a twin needle for hemming but that is not really my cup of tea. I always have problems with the tension. Instead, I use the fagot stitch that is programmed on my sewing machine.
New sewing machine
We were lucky to receive a serious tax refund this year so I could gift myself a new serger. I have a 25-year old 3-thread Toyota whose tensions I couldn’t get right anymore.
Wow, this new 4-thread Juki is really a queen. No threading and tension problems. I serged all the seams (except the insert of the sleeves). This even speeded up the whole sewing process.
Will I sew more Wren dresses? I think I will and I am even considering about a Wren top like Jess made.