Category Archives: Sewing keeps me sane

1000 followers on Instagram

My Instagram profile picture.
My Instagram profile picture. Sewing keeps me sane!

When I posted my first Instagram photo in August 2015 I could never have guessed that I would ever reach 1000 followers. I am even more in disbelief because about 950 of them are people I don’t know in real life! But I am thrilled to have met this wonderful online sewing community.

 

What!?? 1000 followers!

 

First post, August 2015

I joined Instagram with a photo of me in our Tuscan garden. I wanted to share pictures of my two loves—besides my family—sewing and Podere Santa Pia, our Tuscan holiday house. Back then I could never have predicted the joy it would bring. I met so many inspiring dressmakers, pattern designers, fabric stores… I even met the fabulous Anne Whalley in person.

Anne Whalley
Meeting Anne Whalley was an amazing experience.
All the sewing joy

Thanks to IG I had the opportunity to test several patterns: the Nita Wrap Skirt from ‘Sew DIY blog’, the Daphne Dress from Sew This Pattern and currently I am testing a dress pattern for Schnittchen (still a big secret).

Testing the Nita Wrap Skirt and the Daphne Day Dress

 

I was flattered and excited to be featured on the Girl Charlee UK blog. The Secret Valentine exchange brought me a beautiful bag from @sophomorestudio.

I really love the-photo-a-day challenges in which I participated like #sewphotohop, #bpsewvember, #MIYMarch, #makersforfashrev, #mmmay, and #dressmakers52.

I can’t forget the Moneta Party. A virtual party only attended by sewists of Instagram all dressed in their Moneta Dress.

The Moneta Party.
And the sewing joy continuous

At this moment two new and exciting challenges are running. First, there is the Sew Together For Summer. We all sew together a shirt dress before June 21.

Second, the Restyling Exchange which is very thrilling. You receive a garment from somebody to restyle and to refashion and you send one of yourself to another sewist. Although this will give a lot of sewing joy it is also a bit nerve wrecking: sewing for somebody you don’t know. But everything is perfectly organized by Pilar and Amy.

The men’s skirt I received from @elisabetefcarvalho.
The dress I sent to @listokap.

And last, but not least, it was Instagram that stimulated me to start this blog. I felt that I wanted to share more than was allowed in the comment section beneath the photos. But I get a lot of inspiration for my blog through Instagram like you can read and see in the Eye-catchers feature.

Thanks for all the love, here’s to many more years of Instagram sewing!

Eye-catchers #10

An eye-catcher is a person or a thing that attracts the attention

The online sewing community is very visual. So, every day I see heaps of sewing related images on social media and blogs. Some of them catch my eye because they make me think or they give me inspiration. Here, I want to share these eye-catchers with you.

eye-catcher

Follow below what caught my eye recently

 

The Seamwork Jane T-shirt by Becs

Seamwork JaneBecs made a real eye-catcher from a basic T-shirt by using this beautiful, bright floral jersey. Again evidence that the right fabric choice can bring a pattern to a higher level.

The African wax Tunic Dress of Eleonora

Burda Tunic DressI love African wax and when I see something made of it that immediately gets my attention. So I was intrigued when I saw the Tunic Dress Eleonora made. It is a pattern from Burda. The straight lines of this pattern make the design of the fabric sparkle.

The Winterdress from Bianca

Winterdress Patternreview

Bianca, from the blog Thanks! I made them, made this Winterdress from Patternreview in a double layer cotton jersey. She airbrushed and stenciled it. Then she handstitched around the shapes and cut out the middles. That’s the way to have unique fabric. Very impressive!

Suzy’s Jumpsuit

Jumpsuit Bridgetown Dress hack

The April entry of the project SewMyStyle was the Bridgetown Backless Dress from Sewhouse 7. Suzy took the challenge to a higher level and created a jumpsuit with the pattern. Therefore she used the bodice of the dress and combined it with trousers. This is an ingenious idea and the result is stunning.

The Mirri Dress from Ariane

Mirri Dress Wardrobe by me

I discovered a new pattern designer by looking at and reading about this beautiful dress Ariane made. It is the Mirri Wrap Dress from Wardrobe By Me. I like faux wrap dresses and this one has a nice shawl collar. Also, the left under-piece has no pleats and that gives the dress a smooth look.

Did anything catch your eye this week?

Eye-catchers #3

An eye-catcher is a person or thing that attracts the attention

Eye-catcher

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.

Follow below what caught my eye this week:

  • Split sleeves in a blouse

    Split sleevesOn Craftsy Beth Galvin wrote a very do-able tutorial to transform almost any sleeve in a split-sleeve. I really think it is worth a try to spice up an ordinary top.

  • The wide leg crop pants, McCall’s 7445

    McCall's 7445Wow! Look at these pants Lori made. I really love a pinstripe and I love cropped pants. That makes this combination very inspiring.

  • McCall’s 7153

    McCall's 7153The mcCall’s 7153 is a reissued pattern from 1933—from the Archive Collection— and I think the design of it is striking. Also, I adore that Annie used stripes, that really gives it an original touch.

  • Riga Coat from Orageuse

    Riga CoatThanks to @sewinglovelythings I caught this amazing coat this week. The Riga coat is a rather new pattern from Orageuse.  I just fell for the clean lines and that it closes solely with a belt.

  • The Ellsworth Coat

    Ellsworth Coat Trudi proves again what difference fabric can make to an already great pattern. This is simply gorgeous. No more words needed!

And, did anything caught your eye this week?

Eye-catchers #2

An eye-catcher is a person or thing that attracts the attention

eye-catchers

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.

Follow below what caught my eye this week:

  • V9015 Jumpsuit made by Rachel from Sew South London

    Vogue 9075

    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! ***

  • The Wanted-T-shirt from Vanessa Pouzet

    Wanted T Vanessa Pousset

    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

    raglan top

    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

    lekala 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.

  • The Watson bikini

    watson bikini

    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.

Did anything catch your eye this week?

 

Eye-catchers #1

Eye-catcher….

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.

eye-catcher

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.

Follow below what caught my eye this week:

 

  • The belt hack for the Saunio Cardigan


    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.

  • Cloth Habit Watson Bra by Helen

    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.

  • Fabric shopping in Berlin

    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.

 

Did anything catch your eye this week?

 

9 inspirations from the sewing community

Do you lack sewing inspiration?

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.Project #SewMyStyleSewMyStyle 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.

    Patterns for SewMyStyle
    The 11 patterns for SewMyStyle. The 12th pattern is yet to be released.

     

  • 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.

    2017 secret valentine exchange

  • Dressmakers52

    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.

 

  • Moneta Party

    Moneta Party
    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.

    The Triple Stitchers
    © The Tripple Stitchers

 

  • Le défi dentelle
    Le défi dentelle
    A lingerie sewing party hosted by Marion, Eugénie and Barbara.

    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?

 

  • Jungle January

    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.

    Jungle January
    Teaser for last years Jungle January © Pretty Grievances

    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!

    Japanese sewing inspiration
    RepostBy @bloglessanna: “My #sewjapaneseinjanuary plans are underway. I’m hoping to sew two items from two of my newest books (inc. this top). Are you joining in?” )

 

  • Blusen Sew-Along

    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.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.2017 Sewing Book Challenge

    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.

9 things to sew in 2017 (and some more)

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.

2016MakeNine
My 2016MakeNine

 

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.

My 2016MadeNine

 

2017MakeNine
Because I still like the not yet sewed projects of 2016 I decided to keep them on my makenine list for 2017. The new ones are (top row):
* Snowball dress –  Yuki Waffle Patterns
* Jane shirt – Ready to Sew
* Falda Jacket – Pattern Fantastique

My 2017MakeNIne

 

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?

2017MakeNine with the already sewed Paxson sweater and Hudson Pants for man

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!

What I Sewed – 2016

I was working on my 2016 overview when Saturday Night Stitch posted her 2016 hits, using an infographic. I found this such a cool idea that I copied it shamelessly and made my first infographic ever.

What do these numbers say?
In one sentence: I sew for women, using a pdf pattern from an Indie Pattern Designer!

41 sewing projects
I am a little disappointed about this number because one year ago I pledged to myself to sew one item a week. Until September I was on track—using #wgsewing16 on Instagram keeps me up-to-date—but after August my sewing mojo decreased dramatically. Currently, I even have 5 WIPs, all started the last trimester of 2016. But hey! I did sew 41 things, didn’t I?

5 hits from 2016
Because you can approach this from different angles I find it a little difficult to select five hits. Do you choose the most worn? The toughest sewing-challenge? The best fits? The ones you get the most compliments for? So here are my 5 sewing hits from 2016, randomly picked.

Nino Jacket * Paulin  Alice
It was on my #2016makenine and it is one of my favourite things to wear. I haven’t taken it off since November.
I picked a sublime wool from The Fabric Sales. The pattern was challenging with belted buttonholes and belted pockets but there are very good instructions on the Pauline Alice blog.

NO.7 VANLØSE * How to do fashionOne of the five paper patterns I sewed this year. This pattern from How to do fashion, a Danish Indie Designers, comes in a very beautiful package.
I used this floral crepe Lucy, bought from Mon Depot. For this project I made muslins for the first time ever and it paid off. I had to do some alterations at the trousers, I even had to shorten them! The first time that ever happened.
Because we had this real hot weather in September I could wear it a lot and I love wearing it.

Rushcutter * In the folds
I already acknowledged the greatness of this design on Instagram. New for me was sewing French seams and thanks to the thorough instructions, it worked out fine. I loved this dress so much, I couldn’t help myself and immediately made two, both in cotton.

Hudson Pants * True Bias

The comfiest pants ever! I sewed 4 this year, do I have to say more. The Hudson Pants for men is definitely on my sewing list for this year.

African Wax Prints

Sewing with African Wax was on my wish list for a while and I’m glad I finally did it last summer. If you wonder what African Wax prints are and where they come from, Tamara from Zoona Nova Design wrote a very interesting post about it. The fabrics I used are from Hi Target, which I found in my local fabric shop.
I made the  Brooklyn skirt from Seamwork and the Velo Culottes from Sew This Pattern out of it. The rigidity of the fabric gives both patterns some body, that I really like.

These are my impressions about 2016. My wishes for 2017 are coming soon.

A warm and happy Sew Year to you all!

 

2 new things and 1 not really new

New blog
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?

Wren dress Colette Patterns

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.

Wren dress Colette Patterns

The Wren dress comes together easily and I find the instructions from Colette patterns very clear.

Wren dress Colette Patterns
I find the lower neckline a nice touch in the design.

Alterations
* 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.

Wren dress Colette Patterns
So thrilled with my Wren dress!