Sunday, 29 March 2015

Black Top with Brown Eyes

Ok, actually these are no eyes, but a false leopard print, but I have difficulties accepting that I am wearing leopard :o)
It was a quick and very rewarding project. First, I think the fabric is gorgeous, it is a mix of silk and viscose, thus it is quite soft on the touch, but does not stretch as viscose itself, also it is slightly, but only slightly shiny, which makes the top a real top, not a simple t-shirt.

I combined the Burda pattern 125-02/2014 with a few ideas from a RTW blouse I own. Being wary of Burda, I muslined the pattern and, as usual, took in a few cm on the shoulders.
The sleeves are gathered with an elastic band, I totally improvised on this part, I do not know if it was a good idea, but the result looks pretty good.

I added a slitch and used bias binding on the upper hem, finished with a small button.

It all came up together quite quickly and smoothly, I must have finished it in one day or so.

When I bought the fabric, I knew I wanted a top, but have found myself searching desperately for a top pattern. It seems my pattern shopping is rather limited to dresses and ... well, dresses. Fortunately I have a few Burdas, hoping they would save me in cases like this.

Any ideas of an original (not too drapy) top with sleeves ?

Inspiration: Nice fabric
Pattern: Burda 125-02/2014
Pattern changes: many
Technique: biais binding
Fabric: leopard rayon-silk
Time to Complete: a week-end

Total Cost: 15 EUR

Sunday, 22 March 2015

What Is Your Security Stock Level?

I always lived in a house full of fabric. My mum never threw any piece of fabric (well, she never threw anything in general), so sewing for my dolls meant there was always a lot of choice.
When I started sewing again a year ago, I did not have a single piece of anything even related to sewing at home, apart from white and black thread used for occasional reparations, so unconsciously, I felt obliged to build a certain basis stock. However, probably as any other sewist, I stock more quickly than I sew.

Since my fabric stuff is stocked on several places in our apartment, I keep track of all my fabrics, with material, quantity and its price (I also calculate the price of each of my creations). This not only helps me to find the appropriate fabric to my projects quickly, without undoing all my fabric drawers, but also gives me a clear view of the total stock quantity.

Three weeks ago, I realized that I had not gone fabric shopping for three months, almost unthinkable, I KNOW!, but a new job, X-mas and vacation resulted in no time for making a shopping trip. As I did not stop sewing, my stock attained unacceptable lows and I quickly went for replenishing.

Which brought me to the question: what is the level of my security stock
To be honest, I keep track of items starting at 0,5m (which, in some cases, might be just a rest from another project). I make about 2 projects a month and I sew with fabrics for all seasons (summer – winter – 2 mi-seasons).
Based on the observation, I need to have enough fabric for at least 3 months to come.

Which brings us to…. (6projects * 4 seasons) + 7 small pieces … 31 pieces of fabric would be my minimal stock where, on the other hand, I have no choice but to sew only from stash. Not funny, right?

That’s why I have gone on a three-weekend splurge to get to a more comfortable stock level: arriving at 60 fabric pieces.

What is your security stock level? Or your current stock level?

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Copying the RTW

Hopefully, the last from my series of uninteresting but favourite and easy-to-wear garments. Promised, I will stop sewing brown, black and grey once the winter is over. I have actually made a few fabric purchases containing more colours.

The main inspiration for this dress was a RTW dress which I was very excited about when I saw it in the shop.
High waist – perfect
Back opening – niiiiice
Polka dot – cuute

Until I put it on, of course... While the dress fitted very well in the waist-hips area, there were 4-5cm too much on the shoulders and arms. That's huge. I bought it anyway and spent a week-end unpinning the whole armscye and sleeves, adjusting them to my apparently little shoulder and sewing the dress back.

Beside having a wake-up moment: spend time shopping, pay 50eur + spend a week-end to adjust the dress > better spend the money on fabric and sewing it by myself; I must admit that I got a great fit on this one!

So naturally, I soon decided to copy the pattern on another wardrobe basics.

My version is made of light wool, lined with cotton-silk on the bodice which makes it very warm, without looking stiff and bulky. (The original is from cotton, not lined).
Should I make it again (and I probably will), I would add the skirt lining as well; the wool tends to stick to my legs sometimes.

Of course, I have put in an invisible zipper, and paid attention to darts matching.

Inspiration: RTW
Pattern: NN
Pattern changes: bodice adjustments
Technique: matching the darts
Fabric: dark grey wool, cotton-silk for bodice lining
Time to Complete: 1 week

Total Cost: 30 EUR

Sunday, 8 March 2015

One-Year Anniversary

Today I am celebrating a one-year anniversary of the existence of my sewing blog and also one year of me sewing again on a regular basis.

At the same time I almost stopped buying RTW clothes (not counting underwear, jeans and sweaters), which was a very natural process, not a challenge.  The reason is pretty simple: I only rarely fit into RTW clothes. At 1,58m, French size 34 with high waist I know very few brands where I can find the appropriate size.

When I started sewing (and reading books and blogs about sewing) I also became very picky about materials. My rare shopping trips include checking all the etiquettes and constantly being disappointed by the percentage of polyester and polyamide in RTW clothing, and believe me I am not even talking about H&M or Zara.

But let’s talk about my year of sewing, not my year of not-shopping:
In one year, I have made 25 pieces of clothing, out of which:
16 dresses
4 skirts
2 shorts
2 tops
1 cap (accessory to a dress)

So we can say I am quite monothematic in choosing my models, but I wear dresses a lot and it is a piece of clothing for which it is the most difficult to find (and to make..) a good fit, so I am alos craving them the most.

Out of these 25, the biggest successes were:
Bordeaux dress
Great material, simple pattern. This has become my go-to dress when I am afraid to be cold; to the point that the fabric is already used. Fortunately, I still have a 1,5 meter so I might sew it again.

Blue guest dress II.
Worn only on 2 occasions, but creating a totally different look based on my accessories. Also, I managed to work the fine silk muslin and appreciated the material on a not-so-hot summer night.

Apple-seed black dress

As for my misses, or lessons learned:
Grey 60's dress
My first make and worn only a few times. I do not like the fabric since it feels too “plastic” and find the dress too short and out-of shape.
Lesson learned: stop buying polyester

Black/White skirt
Looks great in the pictures, but got never worn. The polyester is sticking to my legs and I have never dared a real 50’s look in my “normal” life.
Lesson learned: stick to your favourite styles

Blue guest dress I.
I had to downsize the pattern by 5 sizes for which I did not have enough experience at that point of time.
Lesson learned: invest in interesting patterns, but only close to your size

All in all, I spent 700 euros and 312 hours on all my makes, which is totally reasonable :o)

As for my goals for the next year:
  • Continue sewing – this should be easy to achieve, as shopping is no longer an option for me
  • Sew a classical shirt – I only tried a pyjama shirt this year (not blogged) which was a success on the collar and a total flop on the fit
  • Sew a jacket or a trench (or both) – I wear jackets to work quite often and am missing a trench for some time now

PS: a big thank you to my photographer for all the great pics taken during this year. Check his page over here.