Saturday, 6 April 2019

Monetta - my thoughts

So I seem to be rediscovering some good old patterns which have already done their tour of the blogosphere. Here is another one: Moneta dress from Colette patterns.

I wanted another jersey dress for those days when you just do not feel like wearing something very sophisticated but you want to look put up. Within one week I found two cotton jersey fabrics which would perfectly fit the bill, so I decided to buy the Moneta dress and sew a fit-and-flare silhouette, which, to be honest, is no longer my usual/preferred one.
But again - the combination of jersey (=comfy and relaxed) and large skirt (=put up) made me think it would work.

It appears that I am no longer used to seeing myself in large skirts, so I have a few doubts. But it does not mean, I will not wear them, au contraire!

My first Moneta is from black cotton jersey with many flowers. After sewing dark grey items for most winter weeks, I just need colours. Also, the weather was just amazingly sunny and cool for the past two months, so I got out of my rust and bought myself some colours.
As for the pattern, there is not much to say about it: simple and quick sew.
I adjusted the shoulder area little bit, as usual, and shortened the dress significantly. Everything was sewn with my machine, as I do not have an overlocker, even the pockets were easy peasy. However, this is not an everyday dress, but I like it a lot anyhow!
I did not read the instructions, because... well, nothing really complicated.

Pleased by this one, I cut out a rusty cotton jersey from Stoff&Stil for a second Moneta. This piece was sewn in an evening, so yay for instant gratification. I wanted to wear it the other day but somehow could not put it on. I tried a few days later and that's when I realized the skirt is just too large for me or for what I am used to wearing.

I took away the skirt, narrowed it by easily 18 cm (cut away the pockets :o() and attached it again to the bodice. The end result is much better and much more wearable for me. It works well with a little jacket and still feels like wearing a pyjama. Not to mention that I totally love the colour.

During this operation I shortened the bodice by 1 cm, so potentially it feels little bit too short, but that's perfectly OK with me.

The good news is that I still have 30-40 cm of this fabric which will make a cute little top, I hope.

It was rather windy the day we took these pics and my hair got totally crazy.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Green Wool Jersey Dress

Is it just me or is the general offer of jerseys in a terrible mix of polyester and viscose, at best? Sure, there are many cotton jerseys as well, but chilly as I am, for winter I need something warm. Ok, apologies to everybody living in the really cold countries, but I tend to be chilly all winter long and I learned one thing: warm clothes are a basis for my everyday comfort.

So, when the winter seemed to have started here (I know, I know, we are having -1 to 3°, so nothing even compared to where I grew up), all my sewing plans fell away and I just needed a real wool dress. At the same time I found this double interlock which has 50% wool, mixed with some viscose and poly, and in addition, in this amazing dark-green colour. Actually, I was little bit worried for the shade, because with internet pics, you never know. When it arrived, I just loved it, it is a perfect colour for me!!!

Also, I just had an occasion where I would put it on - some in-laws coming over - so that would make this perfect comfy, yet, nice dress. I ordered the fabric on Sunday evening praying would ship it ASAP and I would have it before the next week-end. In the meantime, I had enough time to work on the pattern. My inspo picture comes actually from Burda, but I figured that the pattern is not difficult and I could easily recreate it with some pattern I already own. I found this Burda dress 110-08/2017 - it is a tall pattern, but with some muslin playing, that should work.
I shortened the skirt a lot, but kept the top almost as is, as it have me some more volume there. I shifted the shoulder/sleeve line easily 8cm higher, kept the sleeve length, but shortened the cuffs according to my inspiration picture.

Once the muslin was done, my fabric washed and ironed, the construction was rather quick, as with all jersey dresses. I even added a stretch lining, hopefully this will help with the tights-sticking issue.

I was not sure on how to finish off the neckline, so finally, I only sewed in a strip of fabric and turned it in. For the hem, I used a different stretch stitch, as on my ponte dresses, the double needle stitch tends to break in the end.

Ok I finished this dress about 30 minutes before the in-laws were supposed to come (but you know, we are in France, so I had plenty of time to pack all my sewing stuff, prepare the dining table etc.), so no stress.

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Discovering Knipmode

I have heard about Knipmode (FashionStyle in France) several times before, but never got really interested in it. For me it fell in the category of “other sewing magazines available on French newsstands with very basic patterns”, like Mode &Travaux, something very very far away from Burda and the reason I like Burda a lot.

But then 2 of the bloggers I follow did a review of this autumn issues and I went to check their Dutch site to see the patterns in detail. And I was rather positively surprised by the original patterns and some good ideas. Also, they tend to present one pattern sewn with very different fabrics which really show up its full potential. Then I found the paper versions and checked again and really liked the Oct and Nov issues and bought both.

I had had plans for at least 2 dress patterns in them, but strangely the first pattern I sewed was a skirt. I got a French version of the magazine, so normally, I am supposed to understand, and therefore read, the instructions, but honestly, I did not bother. They are as short as Burda ones, only written with bigger font and the skirt was rather simple. Also, for zip insert, waistband and lining I just followed my gut and sewed as I thought was the best way.

I used a very soft violet corduroy (this season, I am falling in love with violet and honestly, I start thinking it is actually a neutral colour!), lined with a remnant of the lining from my coat. The fabric was fraying all the time and I had violet pieces all over my living room, so I zigzagged all the seam allowances. Most of the seams are topstitched, which helped keeping them in place.

As for Knipmode, I would have a few remarks/comments:

  •        They do not separate normal and plus sizes which is a great one. I always envy the plus sizes dresses in Burda which never exist as normal ones. It makes tracing out more complicated, as there are many more lines, but they also start at 34 (and it fits) even though they say they start at 36...
  •          They do not do petites – I can understand that there are not many petites in the Netherlands, but I am and before sewing any dress, I will have to do many adjustments
  •          They have a surprisingly many patterns for stretch fabric. Even this skirt was supposed to be sewn from something very stretchy and with elastic in the waist – well, my corduroy is only sliiiightly stretchy and I stabilized my waistband a lost. Such a pity for such a sharp design. Also it does not look like that on the photo.
  •          There are less patterns in one issue than in Burda – it goes back to them showing one pattern in many fabrics
  •          Their “fashion comments” are as bad as Burda’s. But then, writing these comments must be a quite tiring job, so I just will not look at them and all will be fine.

So will I try it again? Probably yes, as I am trying to sew more jersey things and as I quite like their novelty patterns.

PS: sorry for the bad hair day, it was very windy today...

Sunday, 17 February 2019

New Year's Dress

We like to leave for New Year's for warmer countries to enjoy some sun and get a dose of vitamin D o survive the rest of winter. This year, though, the New Year's destination was Bergen, Norway. Funnily enough, this city being on the Atlantic coast, it is much warmer than Oslo (which is pretty much on the same parallel) and the day we were leaving, it was even warmer than Paris.
Anytime we said to somebody that we were going to Norway, the reaction was "oooh, cool, you will have a lot of snow!". So yes, we saw a few snow flakes the last day, but in general, it was rather nice, with temperatures around 5 degrees.

But I kept to my tradition of sewing a X-mas/New Year's dress which this year had to be warm. I used a wool thick knit and Knipmode 09-23/2018 pattern which has a covered neck and real long sleeves.

I have a blog prepared about my experience with Knipmode, which I tried twice this year and honestly, I am still not decided whether I really like them. They have some cute patterns and they have all of them in size 34 (even if they say they do not), but the pattern sheets are really a mess compared to Burda and they design for big Dutch women:o)

Anyhow, this dress was a success: the crossover is cute, the neckline warm and covering. I am just hesitating whether to add a lining because it tends to stick to my tights.

Sure, it is a dark grey without much frou-frous, so rather basic but it is very cozy, so a win for me.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Vichy Dress

Buying Burda magazines is actually quite dangerous for me. I am not a subscriber (even though my boyfriend tries to tease me with the yearly subscription every x-mas), but I play along the rule that of I like at least 3 patterns in the magazine, I buy it.
PS: I think that if I saw a super top exciting pattern, I would buy anyhow, but this rule works pretty good, as I end up buying 3-4 issues every year, plus some of their older pdf patterns (you know, when you need to sew a men’s pyjama, then the 2012 pdf comes quite handy).

However, I am currently sewing around 3 pieces each month (I changed jobs and have now a more exciting, but also more demanding one, with longer commute which means that my weekday sewing time decreased significantly). It is an average of course, as it goes from one great coat of the year to 5 jersey easy peasy pieces.

So this Burda pattern was one of those “main reasons why I bought Burda 09/2017 issue”, waiting patiently the time it would climb up the priority list. Not helping was the fact that I did not have a special fabric in stock (or in mind), so no urgency.
Last year, when I discovered sewing with ponte, I figured out that the dress does not need to be sewn with wool suiting but a nice thick ponte would be great as well. And I found the right one at Pretty Mercerie. It is a grey/bordeaux/black vichy with an almost scuba feel. It has some more poly than I am used to, but the viscose content keeps it soft and, in the end, the fabric is also rather warm (some chemical magic, probably).

And anyhow, I already had the fabric piece at home, so I just decided to sew the dress, whatever might happen then. As usual, my perfectionist dark side came up to the surface and I decided that I would not let the pattern matching to the sewing fairy and I would work hard to make it happen. And you know what – I did and am so enormously proud of that.

Since the ponte is stretchy enough, I did not put in the zipper (also, zip in stretchy fabric = recipe for a disaster) and I do not have any difficulties putting it on. I stabilized the crossover with thin interfacing and was pinning and basting everything. And it totally paid off.

I had a few questions on the neckline finish, as all the ponte dresses I have sewn so far were finished with a t-shirt neckline, but this fabric was rather different, so I sewed in a facing and it worked miraculously. It is slightly basted on a few key points, but in the vichy, nothing can be seen.
I was little bit worried about my machine as it started skipping stitches on the double needle stitch, so I played with the tension for some time and hopefully, fixed the issue. We will see on the next make, otherwise, I will have to have it serviced soon.

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Out of the Comfort Zone

Well, not 100%, it is still a grey dress, hehehe.

I put this dress on my to-sew list some time ago, actually, the moment this Burda came out (August 2016, model 109). I must say, Burda guys did a great job styling it, it just looks really amazing in that large vichy. However, I knew from the beginning, that this is not completely my style and at some point of time even wanted to sew it for my sister, not for me. Also, I never took time to decide on the fabric.

Then, winter came, I was constantly freezing and going through my winter stash (my stash is stored in three drawers - silks, cottons and wool) and found this quite old stash piece of pinstriped wool flannel. So maybe I could be playing with the stripes instead of the vichy and it could work as well.

Burda oversize models tend to be really oversize, so I traced size 34 and sewed a muslin. I took the dress in, shortened the bodice as usual and shortened the skirt as well. I also wanted pockets because when I am sewing a large skirt and a comfy dress, I need pockets. I even managed to attach them to the waist seam so that stay really flat.

The result is quite cute, even though still large. I am not totally convinced of the kimono-like sleeves, I just think there is too much fabric in there (and yes, the fabric is stiff, but so if the Burda version).

On the other hand, it makes for a nice winter vacation dress, comfy and all. I lined the bodice and the skirt with black silk, because ... well, because it is always nicer to have silk against your skin. And I am quite happy about the strip-matching.

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Little Black Skirt

You know the moment when you have a perfect sewing plan, you choose the next three projects to be sewn, trace them out (yes, all Burda), sew two muslins, start sewing one of the projects and then, read some blogs on your commute and suddenly, you just have to sew a little black skirt.

Actually, I saw this blog post and liked the silhouette, even though the post was more about the sweater and not the skirt. The skirt is a Zephyr from Deer&Doe, but honestly, does not look so complicated so as to justify buying the pattern. I figured out that a semi-circle one would work fine for me.
Also, I just had a remnant of half a meter of black wool crepe which is drapey enough for this skirt to work (yay for using up the little remnants). I cut out a semi-circle with about 40cm of length, well, the maximum I managed from my little piece of fabric and hoped it would be enough. Since the crepe is somehow not 100% opaque, and tends to stick to my tights, I lined the skirt as well and it actually changes everything.

I do not think there is anything special to mention about the skirt, it is really a simple semi-circle one with a straight waistband. I interfaced the waistband with some iron-on interfacing and a piece of very stiff cotton because the crepe would be moving too much and not hold the shape at all. There is an invisible zipper on the side and that's it.

I finished the skirt rather quickly, left it hanging for almost a week and I was right; both the crepe and the lining moved a lot, so I then leveled out the hem and used some lining bias to finish the hem (it is little bit stiffer as well).

I know this is no sewing challenge, but I now have a cute little skirt for the week-end days when I just want a different silhouette from my usual shiftdress/pencil skirt.