Sunday, 22 January 2017

Hello To Summer

When doing my yearly sum up I actually found pictures of this dress on my computer which never got to the blog and yet, I think it was quite a success. So here we go...

The dress is Burda 101B from April 2016. This number was just full of treasures, I must have sewn several pieces from it this year so I am totally getting my money worth of it. The Burda dress is a maxi which I am never sure of wearing: being on the short side (158cm), large maxi dress just seems a bad idea. I might be wrong as I see a lot of them on Japanese sewers but for me it just feels wrong. Also, the dress is supposed to be pretty large and I did not have so much fabric.

I call the fabric balloon viscose even though the motive is not quite balloon-y. Contrary to what I usually buy, it is a fine viscose with a very soft feel. Probably this dress would also be nice in some kind of silk chiffon, but the viscose weight keeps it properly in place which is not a bad idea at all.

I had already sewn with viscose in my early days and it often ended up in a disaster: gaping, stretching out etc. So for this dress I knew I had to be very careful and interface the maximum.

Actually, I used sewn-in interfacing on the whole top of the dress for several reasons:
- avoid any possible gaping on the cleavage (it is quite deep anyhow, so I wanted to make sure it remains in place)
- support the weight of the skirt part, as there is a lot of it - I even decreased the skirt volume little bit and remember, I shortened it, but still, that's a lot of fabric there

As you can see I did not bother with pattern matching, anyhow, the fabric is too busy and the folding in front of the dress would not allow me to do it properly. I only made sure the colours continued in the same way on the whole dress.

Not quite sure how this colour goes with my pale skin, but it is probably just a particular issue of this picture. I think it is a very cute and flowy summer dress which is extremely comfortably during the very hot days. Unfortunately, as our 2016 big vacation was a road trip, this beauty got out only a few times (it is quite inappropriate to wear to work), but hopefully I will be able to wear it more next year.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

One Thousand and Two Nights

Just because one pair of shorts and one pair of trousers with two tops are not enough, and most importantly because I still had some fabric left, I decided to complete my home-wear collection.

As already said, I had three different but perfectly matching silk fabrics, completed with orange silk-cotton and I figured out nothing better would get sewn from the remnants than some other home-wear.
I need to say that the most orange fabric had already been used for a dress which is basically a copy of this one. However, even on the second try I did not get the fit right (wrap is slowly becoming my nightmare as I fail each and every time) and on the orange all errors were much more visible than on the black one, therefore no real-person pictures, only dress form ones.

It was kind of a pity as the fabric is nice and very comfortable and the sewing was nice and clean.

So I decided to recycle the dress into another pair of shorts for the home-wear collection. Using the same pattern as last time, I just put in elastic instead of a tie band and that's it.

To complete the batch, I used the rest of the orange cotton-silk to sew another Anna-based top.

And the chiffon pieces became little summer tops based on Burda 123-12/2014

The tops are sewn from quite small remnants of the silk chiffon, being careful with the pattern directions. As usual, all underlined with brown silk-cotton.
The colours and pattern being rather busy, I ommitted all other decorations suggested by the pattern and am quite happy with them as such.

I really like that none of the pieces are the same and yet, they match perfectly with each other.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

2016 Hits and Misses

Reflecting the past year is always strange but I feel that it helps you to realize what you have actually achieved and not only what did not work.
So here comes my list of 5 tops and 5 lessons learned.
Let's start with the positive ones:

1. Remnant's Dress
This got so much wore and the fabric still holds up which makes me so happy I do not need to sew up a replacement

2. Flowery silk dress
Because I just looove the fabric and the fit and the fact that you barely feel it on yourself which makes it the perfect hot summer dress which even fits into my work wardrobe

3. Another dress... I know
But this one was a surprise, as I was not sure about the colour palette at all. It is the favourite one of Mr. so that counts as well :o)

4. My black mini-skirt
Just a basic but extremely comfortable and OK even for cold weather

5. My new home-wear
Because of the colour and the fun fabric and the fact that I motivated myself to sew something for every evening. I even added some more pieces to the set (more to come on the blog). These are also items which will get the most wear of all

As for the lessons learned, some did not even get to the blog, I just kept a picture so will try to document why that particular item did not work as intended.

1. Orange polka-dot top
I took time to take pictures and everything but I do not think it got really worn, something about the fit is quite wrong but I cannot figure out what...

2. Green cotton-silk top
This was meant to be a wearable muslin of a pattern I pinned to my wishlist long time ago. The muslin proved that the pattern is not for me. At all. Pity for this fabric though.

3. and 4. two tops with poor fabric choices
One was based on the success n°2 dress but in a much sturdier fabric, in addition too narrow over the hips. The other was a creme silk top which just happened to be to transparent in the end -> binned immediately.

5. False wrap dress
Which I sewed in black AND orange silk. The black one was my 2015 X-mas dress, the orange never got worn and I ended up recycling the fabric. Somehow the fit is off. It is slightly masked on the black version, but was too obvious on the orange one. You would say you cannot go too wrong on a flowy wrap dress but believe me, you can. The wraps still seem to be something I cannot figure out, as each and every attempt is rather a fiasco. Which is a pity because I consider them quite flattering.

Monday, 2 January 2017

2016 - Late Check-in

Contrary to what many people around me say, for me 2016 was a great year. We bought a house, we moved in, we spent great holidays in summer, and yes, I might have had my last marathon cancelled on a last minute, or it was kind of stressful work-wise, but all-in-all it was a great year.
Also, sewing-wise, I was the most productive so far. I did sew some 38 pieces, which was helped by the fact I made a bunch of easy separates, but these are things I also wear, so it counts.

Stash-wise, I actually decreased my stock level! I sewed up 53m of fabric and only bought 35m, which puts me at 18m down this year, YAY 👍👍👍! More importantly, I did not feel deprived, I was still buying some fabric, some of it was actually lining so that I can sew up the fabric from my stash which is a good thing.
It still brings me to some 125m of stash at the end of the year, while my aim would be somewhere around 100, but the end-result is grand. If I continue like this, it might be quite realistic soon. As a reminder, 2015 actually added 33m to the stash.
Here is the result by month:

I was really happy to use some fabrics which I liked but had no idea what to do with them:
Like this bunch of orange silks

But also that black rosey cotton-silk below which I just considered too pink..

Also, this black-blue false lace was a piece I acquired early in my sewing career and it was just waiting to be donated.

I learned to use stash and small remnants thoughtfully, so a few of this year's makes were tops made from the remnants of fabric already used for something else.
I am no longer afraid of using other linings than black, since my sewing skills improved, nobody can see it, but it is kind of fun and uses up too some crazy silks from my stash too.
Case in point:

And also here

While I restrained myself on fabric shopping, I continued to buy Vogue patterns and Burda. The individual patterns still need to be sewn.. ahem, ahem.... but this year's Burda was full of good surprises.

My yearly statistics:
23 pieces based on Burda (mostly magazine, but a few individual patterns bought as well)
2 pieces Newlook - actually 2 dresses from the same pattern
4 Simplicity - mostly repeats
2 Vogue
7 others - includes a top based on Anna by Hand London sewn 3 times and 2 GBSB dresses (one for myself, one for my sister)

So I can honestly say that occasionally buying Burda makes totally sense, but I should definitely stop with the others, as I am less motivated to sew them up.

This year I also learned that often the less I plan, the better the result. Many of this year makes were quick decisions, sometimes even on a coup-de-tête and honestly, these projects scored high. On the other side, those I wished for for a long time or planned for were rather flops. I am naturally a planner so this revelation is kind of a surprise but I like the fact that it is working :o)

Another thing which worked well and which helped my productivity: I stopped thinking I needed half a day off to have enough time for sewing. I am now sewing in smaller time slots (even 30-60 minutes counts) in the evening which is still sufficient to do something. Mostly for sewing muslins, cutting the fabric, while the real sewing is then done during the weekends.

Last, but not least, I need to keep up with blogging: I just realized one of my quite successful summer dresses never got posted (while I have all the pictures done), not talking about my November/ December productive period. So hopefully this is to be improved in 2017.