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12 June 2013

My Christmas lace dress Burda 02-2009-124

SETTING: A middle class suburban home. A family is getting ready to leave for Christmas dinner at the grandparents house. The wife has sewn a lace dress for this special occasion.

HER: Love, are you bringing your fancy new camera to dinner at your parents?

HIM: Of course, I'm looking forward to trying it out. Why?

HER: Oh, great, then can you please take some nice pictures of me in my new dress? I want to write about it on my blog and your pictures are always infinitely better than mine.

HIM: No problem babe!

Ummmm... Yup, that's them. Those are the best 3 out of the gazillion photos my DH took of me in my new lace dress... LOL! Do any of you happen to know a good fashion photography course? :-)

So here are a couple of pictures I took later so you can actually see the dress.

What do you think? I looove my lace dress. I only wish I can find more reasons/occasions to wear it!

The fabric is a guipure lace with a flower motif in that lovely shade of "greyple" that I always gravitate to only to later kick myself for it because I cannot match it with anything. It took me months to find a lining/underlining that would complement the lace nicely. As often happens, after trying out many, many different options (silver, skin color, white, tone-on-tone) when I found this China silk in a very light mint green I immediately knew this was it. The mint color really brings out the purple shades in the lace, enlivening it. And the shiny surface of the silk sparkling under the matte lace makes for a wonderful contrast.

I made the dress using Burda 02-2009-124.

There are lots of great versions of this dress at Pattern Review. My favorite is sewingelle's version in a gorgeous cherub print. Amanda made a super cute version in yellow flower print. Trena from the Slapdash Sewist made it in a beautiful geometric lace that looks both sweet and modern.

And Cindy-lou's 4 great versions show how versatile this simple dress pattern is.

For my lace version I made a few significant modifications to the pattern:

1. Moved the zipper to the side seam (since the neckline is wide enough to fit my head comfortably).
2. Removed the back seam on both top and bottom. The shaping from the back seam I redistributed to the darts making them deeper. This and #1 I did to keep the lace with as few seams as possible.
3. Raised the back neckline to the neck, closing it completely.
4. Converted the front neckline to a squarish "U" shape by closing it at the shoulder seams and bringing it a bit down at the front. I find this shape more flattering than a very wide neckline.

I've never sewn lace before, so I was more than a bit nervous about cutting into this lovely fabric. But the thing is, half the fabrics in my stash are by now "too good to cut into" so what are my options? Sew nothing?! Well, I tried that for many years already and it is obviously not the right answer. LOL!

Instead, I thought carefully about what pattern would work best and then I made a muslin. I also researched techniques appropriate for lace and made a few samples first. Nothing groundbreaking, just the good advice I've always heard from every teacher and experienced sewer but I somehow always ignored. And I think all that preparation work paid off!

I still had a few scary moments, like when I realized how stretchy lace can be, yikes! All that empty space I guess. Luckily the China silk underlining helped me keep it in its correct shape.

I used the flat lining method so that the raw edges would be nicely finished and the lining would act also like an underlining and give more support to the lace.

I love the clean finish this gives to the inside of the dress, so I have to show it off a little. Looks nice, no? It also makes it more comfortable to wear against the skin.

I used the scalloped edge of the lace for the hem and after some deliberation and research, I decided to scallop the lining as well and sew it to the lace by hand. I was a bit worried that the lining would be baggy, but it has held pretty well after a few months of hanging and the one wear for Christmas dinner.

For the neckline I added a facing in the same China silk as the underlining. To keep it from flipping out I edgestitched it and then tacked it further down to the lace by hand.

For the sleeves I simply did the same flat lining finish and then folded the edges over and sewed a hem by hand. With lace and a good color match for the thread, the stitches are absolutely invisible.

So, do you ladies have any ideas how I can dress my new lace dress down for more casual wear? I want to find a way to wear it to work. It is not a very conservative office. About half the people wear suits and the other half come a bit more dressed down, though there are very few jeans, mostly only on Fridays. I have seen a few colleagues wearing lace skirts, but not a full dress. Is it a simple as finding a top to turn the dress into a skirt?

Ah, yes, here is my review of Burda 02-2009-124 at Pattern Review

27 May 2013

A solid-color version of Burda 02-2012-117

Here's another dress I've been wearing for a while now but hadn't blogged about.

Ever since I made my color-blocked version of the wonderfully geometric Burda 02-2012-117 I've wanted to make one in a solid color. Catherine Daze's version in particular looked wonderful in that daaaark shade of blue.

So I bought a heavy, super dark navy ponte knit and set about chasing my visions of solid sophistication.

What do you think?

If you thought "OMG, that is too much undifferentiated darkness!" I have to say I agree with you. :-)

I really must laugh at how I am constantly improving my sewing skills, constantly getting better at this or that technique, and still I find a way to make new mistakes! LOL!

In this case, the mistake was my deciding to topstitch all the seams. I usually love the definition that topstitching brings which is why I thought it would be a great idea for this dress. And if I may say so myself I did a pretty good job keeping this topstitching straight. But what I didn't expect is that in ponte knit the topstitching actually makes the seams less visible instead of more.

What I've now figured out is that seams in ponte knits are quite visible because the fabric doesn't lay perfectly flat. The shadows that are thus created are what make the seams so apparent. But of course, what the topstitching does is flatten the seams hence making them less visible. Why didn't I figure that out first? Oh, well!

As you can see, I added long sleeves so that I could wear it in winter. I used the sleeves from my TNT t-shirt pattern (which I will blog about one of these days) and modified the dress's armholes to fit the sleeves.

I still love the dress, I have to say. It is incredibly comfortable and in real life the seams are not really that invisible, really! :-) It's been in constant rotation as part of my work wardrobe.

Plus, I've figured out that it is the perfect background for my so-ugly-it-is-beautiful-again bat pin.

Well, what do you think?

Don't worry, you don't have to answer that one. LOL! :-)

05 May 2013

My Galaxy dress!

Celebrities (and me!) in Roland Mouret's Galaxy dress. Original photo from Diamonds and Lions blog
Roland Mouret's Galaxy dress has got to be one of the most famous dresses in the world. Obviously I couldn't let Dita and Cameron and the rest of the girls have all the fun, so I had to have my own Galaxy, even if I am 6 years late to the party!

Mine of course is made using pattern Vogue 8280. I made view A and added 3/4 sleeves, and from what I can now see in these photos I didn't do a very good job, hmmm.... I wonder what causes all those wrinkles on the sleeves? Did I have the sleeve on twisted for the photo? I'll have to investigate...
Vogue 8280 technical drawing, courtesy of Vogue Patterns.

Anyho... I do like my Galaxy dress and have worn it many times to work already, but there are two things that I must definitely change for v 2.0. First, is that I feel a bit too sexy with such an open neckline at work. So I think in the next version I will try to bring up the horizontal piece by 2-3cm. Or maybe I'll try the version with the sweetheart neckline.

The second thing I would change is something that many of the reviews on Pattern Review already pointed out: the side flange pieces are a bit too large and stand away from the body. I should have made the alteration that Pattern Review member Cristinagf describes in her Galaxy dress review. Instead as usual I forgot to read any reviews until after I was done with my sewing. My solution for the too large flanges was to ease some of the additional length at the bottom where they join the front bodice piece. Well, that worked to keep the flanges close to the body, but it also brings the bodice up a bit. That distorts the front skirt by bringing the hemline up a bit on the front compared to the back. You can see this on the side view, middle photo above. Not a good solution!

But I would say these two things are somewhat minor. I am quite happy with my Galaxy dress and I do wear it often. It looks stylish and because I made it with a pin stripe wool it brings just the amount of serious business for the office. Perfect combination if you ask me. :-)

I usually finish my posts with a link to the pattern review, but there are enough reviews of this pattern at Pattern Review, so I got lazy and decided to skip it this time...

28 April 2013

The punching bag dress

This past week at work has been absolutely horrible. Record-breaking awful. Ug. Actually the whole month had already been pretty bad. But this week, with my husband away at a conference, I just oscillated between being absolutely furious and totally depressed. Now, some people head to the gym and take it out on a punching bag, yes? I instead headed for the sewing machine.

So, this is my punching bag dress. The rest of the world knows it as McCall's 6278. And let me tell you, the poor thing has had to withstand some seriously furious sewing, I'm afraid.

Yes, I know, it is still missing a sleeve. In fact, I will also have to remove the one that is already attached so that I can take the dress in quite a bit at the shoulders. I must have traced the seam line for the sleeveless version, because it comes about 2cm lower on my arm than it should... And, that is not the only problem, you know...

My "furious sewing" has not been without consequences. Those sharp points at the hips are unforgiving, even if I had been in total command of my mental faculties. And because I was not, I also forgot to redraw the sleeve cap to match the 1cm I took in at the horizontal seam over the bust. And then I somehow thought that an inverted pleat at the top of the sleeve would fix it all. Not quite!

Despite all that, the dress looks quite nice on me. Plus I've kinda grown fond of it. I guess I'm thankful for its help.

So, I've set it aside for a little while. It deserves a rest. I will come back to it to fix those few things, certainly in time to wear it this summer.

In the meantime, and because I know that my woes at work will continue for a while longer (we are "re-organizing" you see...) I've now set my eyes on re-organizing the sewing room...

Wish me luck!

17 April 2013

Vogue 1117 by Michael Kors

OK, 2 posts in 4 days is hardly a "whirlwind of activity", but that's the speed for which I'm known I'm afraid. So without further ado, here is another dress I've been happily wearing for a few months already, I just hadn't blogged about it.

The pattern is Vogue 1117 by Michael Kors, and it was the last garment from my Spring 2012 SWAP, the one piece dress. I originally wanted the dress for that SWAP to be made using Vogue 8648, but I could never get rid of my worries about the side skirt pieces being on the bias, so I went with this gorgeous Michael Kors model instead.

Making this dress was a bit tricky because all the pleating is fiddly. I kept checking and double checking, and wouldn't you know it? In the end I still made a mistake! I ironed the pleats on the left skirt towards the top instead of towards the bottom as I had done on the right skirt, aaarghhhh!!! I only realized this once I had attached the skirt to the bodice and serged the seam closed. Ug. So I left it alone and have been wearing it like that quite happily thank you very much...

The truth is that what bothers me now the most is not the pleating mistake but the fact that this polyester blend is rather "spongy" and it makes the pleats stand out a bit too much. I think I may try again this dress in a tropical wool fabric or maybe even a nice cotton sateen where the pleats might behave better. But that's a bit nitpicking, actually. Until I make a version 2.0, I'm quite happy keeping v1.0 in my work clothes rotation.

My review of Vogue 1117 by Michael Kors is at Pattern Review.

14 April 2013

Shawl-collared dress, Burda 08-2011-125

Hi, I am Lucia, I am a fabricholic.
I still buy and buy, but a sewn wardrobe is beginning to materialize, yay! Here is to keeping that up.

This weekend I finally got around to photographing most of the garments I haven't yet blogged about, woohoo! So hang on to your hats, the next few days will be a whirlwind of activity around here.

Let's begin, shall we? Here is Burda 08-2011-125. I was attracted to this dress because of the knotted collar. I especially liked its "fluffyness" or "bulkyness" or whatever you call the fact that the collar folds rather thickly around the neck.

But then I made mine with a lightweight wool boucle with a great soft hand. And you can guess what happened, can't you? Yep, my fabric is much less bulky and so the neckline is much wider and open than in the magazine. Sigh!

Right after I finished it, this bothered me a lot. So I shoved it deep in the closet with a humpf! But after a month or two it looked again fine to me. I've now worn it a couple of times and it is definitely a welcome addition to my wardrobe.

That's not to say that I don't have a few bad memories about this dress... When I noticed that the fabric was a bit loosely woven and thus prone to raveling, I decided that the best way to handle this was by flat-lining all the pieces.

Why did I think that was such a good idea on a princess seamed dress with 18 seams!! With the flat-lining technique you have to sew 5 lines of stitches for every seam. Are you doing the math in your head? Yup, that's 18x5=90!!! Ugh, what was I thinking??? It does, however, look very pretty from the inside, if I say so myself...

My review of Burda 08-2011-125 is at Pattern Review.

10 March 2013

Cute plaid top with back tie detail

Hi, I am Lucia. I am a fabricholic.
I still buy and buy but a sewn wardrobe is beginning to materialize, yay! Here is to keeping that up.

I have been a good girl lately and have been making good progress on all those UFO's you saw in my New Year's resolutions post. Two of the dresses are already finished. Hooray! By contrast, I have made very little progress on blogging the considerable backlog of garments from last year. Ug! My bottleneck is definitely the photo-making. The indoor photos are just appallingly bad and I don't get home early enough from work to still catch the daylight outside. Which leaves only the weekends. At least until the days get longer. Maybe I'll just have to do multiple garments in each photo session...

Anyway, today I want to show you a simple top in a pretty plaid print that I made last summer.

The pattern is Burda 08-2012-122. It is a very simple top, it doesn't even have darts! The only thing that makes it special is that scarf on the neckline that ties at back.

I made mine with french seams and bias binding at the armholes and it still went together very quickly. It does take a lot of fabric because of the scarf on the bias. I pieced the scarf differently from the pattern, with a diagonal seam to save fabric. I still made the scarf as long as I could. I always do this, as I love looooong scarves. But in this case I think it was a mistake because the scarf is heavy and it pulls the facing out. I had to take a few stitches to hold the facing in.

The fabric is a polyester georgette with a satin stripe and it does not wrinkle no matter what I do to it. Perfect for work! I do love the top, and I feel all chic walking around with that scarf at my back. But I have to tell you it is only for summer. That knot at the back is somewhat uncomfortable under a jacket and even a little when leaning back on a chair. But, come summer I'll wear it as much as I can.

My review of Burda 08-2012-122 is at Pattern Review.

05 March 2013

A new temptation: Vlisco!

Hi, I am Lucia, I am a fabricholic.
I still buy and buy but a sewn wardrobe is beginning to materialize, yay! Here is to keeping that up!

Over the weekend I picked up this book at one of my favorite bookstores. It is in Dutch, so it is slow going, but so far I've gathered that Vlisco is the latest name of a company that has been producing wax printed cottons for 210 years and has been a leader in the African fabrics market for a few decades. In 2006 Vlisco made the conscious decision to become a "fashion label" and has been setting up flagship stores all over African capitals.

"Yeah, yeah, very interesting... I wonder if they have a web shop?" Google Vlisco, bingo! OMG! Run to the Vlisco webshop right this minute! (Photos courtesy of Vlisco)

Still here? OK, let me tell you there are good news and there are bad news. The good news is that they have upwards of 700 gorgeous, outrageous, colorful and totally scrumptious prints to choose from. Now the bad news... did you think I was going to say price? Well, you'd be kinda right... The thing is that their prices are not too bad, around €10 per meter. The trouble is that they sell only in 6 meter increments! This is apparently the traditional African way of buying and selling fabric. Every African woman needs 6 meters for a full outfit. Hmpf!!

They do seem to have a limited selection of prints that they sell in 2m and 4m quantities. I think I might try something from that group first.

There are two other things that "give me pause" (if that was ever the case with me in the vicinity of beautiful fabric). I cannot find anywhere how wide their fabrics are. So they could be a full 150cm but they could also be 90cm, cannot tell. And, I think that all their pattern photos are showing a full width of fabric, because I can see the printing on the selvedge on both the top and the bottom of the image. This means that their print motifs are even bigger than I expected!!

Anyway, if nothing else, head over there for a jolt of color and design that will have you dreaming for a couple of days.

Be sure to check out their "inspiration" photos. And if you do order something from them, do tell!

28 February 2013

I heart Christopher Kane

Hi, I am Lucia, I am a fabricholic,
I still buy and buy but a sewn wardrobe is beginning to materialize, yay! Here is to keeping that up.

For my daily dose of eye candy I follow the Red Carpet Fashion Awards blog. For 99% it is gorgeous evening stuff that I would never have the occasion to wear. The rest of the time there are photos of celebrities in day or casual clothes. And every once in a while, among the wearable day dresses, there is a true stunner like this Christopher Kane pleated dress with overlay (photo courtesy the Red Carpet Fashion Awards).

The minute I saw it I knew I wanted to have my own, and with a very level head I pinned it to my Pinterest board to remind me to look for professional pleaters in my area.
One week later, I realized it was now halfway through the Pattern Review's annual RTW Contest. I don't know what it is about that contest but it gets my heart pumping every time. And this year the prize is free fabric?! From Mood?! Nothing could stop me from joining. Nothing. Not the fact that I didn't have fabric for this dress. Nor the fact that half the month was already gone. Nor the fact that I was 2 days away from leaving on holiday which would leave me with less than one week to work on said dress. Not even the fact that I would have to pleat the fabric myself (!) by hand (!!) because there was no time to have it done professionally since I didn't even know where to do that...

To make a long story short, I now have a pleating board of my very own after following Nicole Beaufrog's very helpful video. And, with a few tips from a 90's Threads article on pleating fabric for skirts, I managed to cook up my very own Christopher Kane knock off in 5 days flat.
Wow. For me, this is like having achieved warp speed.

Let me tell you I cannot believe I got this done. Sure, the pleats are not as skinny nor as sharp as on the real thing, but I'm kinda proud of my beautiful knock-off with fat, wonky pleats :-) And that diagonal pleat on the bodice? Nightmare, I tell you. I first sewed it to the lining bodice at the inner pleat fold, but in the end I had to give it a few stitches near the outer pleat fold as well to stop it from curling out. Darn bias!
And that skirt overlay you see? That's the second one I made. This one has a silk organza underlining to stop any waving at the diagonal edge (that darn bias again) and it is wider at the bottom hem to compensate for the sideways pull from the pleats underneath.
All in all I am loving my dress and the crazyness that made me make it in the first place. I do wish that I was a better photographer (or this fabric was easier to photograph) so you could see the great color and shine of the fabric. And I also wish (and this is something I realized only while wearing it for the photos) that I knew how to tame static cling, because the more I move in it the more it clings! Yikes! How can I ever wear this in public??? I will need to research that next, sigh...
Here are a few more photos, next to the original Christopher Kane. Yeah, the one in the professional photographs with professional lighting and "professional stuffing" or whatever it is that they do to make it look so perfect while floating freely in space?! How DO they do that??

And now, I'm going to enter it in the Pattern Review's RTW Contest. Wish me luck! :-)

Ah, almost forgot. To make this dress I used Burda pattern 03-2013-110 but heavily modified. My review of Burda 03-2013-110 is at Pattern Review.

It really bothered me how appallingly bad those photos above are, so tried to make better photos today in daylight. I am still a very bad photographer, and the wind wasn't helping either, but at least you can see the dress details a bit better in this one. BTW, many thanks for all the kind comments, they make my day! I'll respond individually when I have a bit more time.

15 February 2013

A skirt for my knitted poncho

Hi, I am Lucia, I am a fabricholic.
I still buy and buy but a sewn wardrobe is beginning to materialize, yay! Here is to keeping that up!

I can't believe that in my 2012 inventory I forgot to mention the garments I knitted last year! Granted it was only one poncho and one purse. The poncho is a copy of Laura Biagiotti's Fall 2010 white poncho and I looooove mine! So much so that I made a skirt just so that I could wear it exactly as in the knitting pattern photo.

The skirt is Burda 08-2007-113, but without the beautiful draping at front.

I know, I know, that is precisely what makes this skirt special. Well, the original plan was to make it with that bit. Then I forgot to lengthen the draping piece by the same 4cm that I had lengthened the other 3 skirt pieces. Argh! I only realized my mistake when the side seam came up short. See that at bottom right on the in-progress photo? Yup that's it...

I still had enough fabric to cut another front, but not another draped front. Then I happily decided that I was better off with just a plain skirt because
(1) the hem on the draped portion was not going to look very nice with the reverse side showing and (2) the draped bit was too fussy for under the poncho as intended.

And you know what? I really am very happy with the plain skirt! It is a great basic.

Here is how I wore it today to work. That green jacket is a vintage find I bought in my grad school days and it was always impossible to wear with anything except jeans. Voila! Perfect with my new basic skirt.

Please do ignore that overextended blob at the right back. I ride a bike to the train station on my daily commute and the skirt got a bit stretched from the bike seat.

The skirt is made in a medium weight Ponte knit and because it is stretchy I eliminated the back zipper. Since Ponte doesn't ravel I didn't finish the seam edges.

Even though I had to redo the front piece it still took me only 2 days to make, which for me is lightning speed. Mmmh... I wonder if I can make another skirt like this in a single day? That would be a first for me!

My review of Burda 08-2007-113 is at Pattern Review.

08 February 2013

How exciting!

Well, the moment is here, to select the winner of my first ever giveaway!

And the winner is... comment number 4! That's Ruth. Congratulations Ruth!

Send me a message to amalitarmx at gmail dot com with your mailing address and I will post the book to you. I hope you like it!

And thank you all for your kind comments and for visiting my blog. This was a bit exciting, I have to say. I don't know why I didn't do this earlier. I think I'll keep an eye out for another opportunity to have a giveaway...

07 February 2013

So not my style

Hi, I am Lucia, I am a fabricholic.
I still buy and buy but a sewn wardrobe is beginning to materialize, yay! Here is to keeping that up.

This dress is a bit of a conundrum for me. The pattern is Burda 11-2011-120 and when I first saw it in the magazine I loved it. I used a beautiful tweed in my stash trying to balance the super feminine design of the dress. I worked hard at it. I added a lining and had to figure out how best to deal with the ruffled neckline and the lining (I gave the lining a super-scooped neckline and finished it with my first-ever rolled hem from the serger). I added shoulder pads to improve the shape of the sleeves. I had to sew the ruffles twice to get them just right. And then, after all that work... I just don't like it on me!
How could that happen? I thought I knew what I liked and what I don't, when did I forget? Sigh! I still love that tweed and the dress actually fits me well, oh, okay a bit on the fitted side, but nothing I wouldn't wear. Nope, the problem is all the ruffles, I really don't feel comfortable in this dress, it is just not my style. Has this ever happened to you? Made a garment that was just fine in all respects but you still didn't want to wear? Or do bizarre things like this only happen to crazy me??
Well, now that I have blogged about it I think I'm ready to give it away to the charity shop. Good bye dear tweed, I'm sure you'll make someone else happy. P.S. I know I should have also eliminated those wrinkles at the waist on the back, but back then I was still in denial about needing a sway back adjustment. In fact, after taking those photos I went and investigated how to make sway back adjustments. I don't quite get it how to do it when there isn't a horizontal seam at the waist (as in this case) but I'm working on it!
My review of Burda 11-2011-120 is here at Pattern Review.

03 February 2013

A gingham blouse, V7903 by Sandra Betzina

Hi, I am Lucia, I am a fabricholic.
I still buy and buy, but a sewn wardrobe is beginning to materialize, yay! Here is to keeping that up.

I have a largish backlog of pieces I've made in the past few months, but haven't yet blogged about. I think I'm going to pretend that I planned this all along since this backlog is now quite handy while I try to establish a blogging rythm. So without further ado: A fitted blouse in blue gingham.
The pattern is Vogue 7903 by Sandra Betzina. I really liked the multiple darts to showcase the waist and the sleeve cuffs. I've been thinking that I need more blouses to go with all the skirts I've been sewing lately, so I chose this pattern for my first try.

I love the look of a crisp, fitted shirt. So, in my delirium of Carolina Herrera-dom, I picked the crispest fabric I could find. This poly taffeta in a blue gingham print comes from the home-dec department and is clearly intended for puffy valances over a kitchen window. OK, see there, at least I can admit it now... Luckily there are plenty of good news. I am very pleased with the fit, and with such a crisp fabric I needed no interfacing at all which saved some time. I also love the cuffs. On the photo they are not so visible because of my obsessive stripe matching, but in person, with shadows and motion they do stand out as a very nice feature. Seeing how it is so crisp there was no chance that I would ever tuck it in, so I shortened the length a few centimeters to what I think is a more flattering length for me. With the many darts it looks a bit as if it has a peplum, which I find quite nice.

But the best of all are the buttons. I love, love, love, those tiny rectangular buttons. They are vintage, from a flea market in Annecy (France) and I was so pleased that they matched this shirt. So, despite the poor fabric choice, I do like this blouse and wore it a couple of times last summer, with white jeans as in the photo above or with my cobalt blue skirt which it matches perfectly. One of these days I'll get around to making another version in a more suitable fabric like cotton popelin.

31 January 2013

A book giveaway

Hi, I am Lucia. I am a fabricholic.
I still buy and buy, but a sewn wardrobe is beginning to materialize, yay! Here is to keeping that up!

While doing my Christmas shopping on Amazon last month, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to buy something for myself as well...

Yup, Vintage Couture Tailoring is now part of my library and I'm very happy about it. The book is chock-full of detailed photos and explanations on every step of making a tailored jacket. It has 4 pages and 13 photos on Ironing techniques alone! I'm in heaven... The focus is all on technique and not at all on design, so there are no other jackets than the one in the cover. The point hopefully is that once you learned the techniques you can apply them to any tailored jacket design you want.

And now, the exciting part: Amazon sent my order in two separate shipments and they mistakenly included a copy of the tailoring book with each shipment, so I now have two. I obviously don't need two copies so this is my very first giveaway!

I think only a handful of people read my blog, but just to be fair in case more than one person wants this book here's how we'll do it:

  1. Leave me a comment on this post saying you would like to win the book.
  2. On Friday February 8 at 10pm Amsterdam time I will run a random generator to select the winning comment.
  3. I'm happy to ship anywhere in the world, so don't be shy and let me hear you want that book!
Good luck!

30 January 2013

I want to be good, I really do!!

Hi, I am Lucia, I am a fabricholic. I buy and I buy and never finish anything. Here is to changing that.

Oh dear! This is so typical of me. Barely one day before January ends I finally force myself to write my sewing New Year's resolutions... I am definitely entering worst-blogger-of-the-year territory... LOL!

But I want to be good, I really do!

So, without further ado first a look back at 2012 and then my goals and aspirations for 2013:

I started this blog first in 2009 and then re-started it in mid 2011, but it was really in 2012 that I began to find my groove sewing. I think three main things made that possible:

  1. Having a dedicated sewing room. Living in a tiny Dutch house I am keenly aware of what a luxury it is to have the attic all to myself and my nearly 1,000 yards of fabric (I know!), but without it I would never manage to sew. Really.
  2. Finding a "sewing routine". I am a creature of habit. At some point in 2012 I began to put my son to bed and then walk up stairs for 1-2hrs of sewing every night. And, miracle of miracles, despite plenty of mistakes, my usual daydreaming and similar malaises, by the end of each week I could see tangible progress!
  3. Encountering the sewing blogosphere. Oh, the inventive and varied voices out there! Not only am I motivated and inspired by other sewers' creativity and skill, but some of them are generous enough to send encouraging words my way... I still love big hugs the most, but friendly comments on my creations are a good second.
And when I finally did find my sewing groove what did I discover? I do get better! Practice does make perfect. The seams in my first dresses didn't always match, assorted inexplicable problems would arise. But the later dresses have matching seams, they go together more smoothly. And there is an unexpected bonus: I am also becoming faster. Yay! This all helps to build my confidence to try new things, to continue learning and expanding my sewing skills. A virtuous cycle. Nice place to be!

But there are definite "development needs" (to borrow a phrase from our HR department):

  1. The blogging is clearly sub-par.
  2. I am still buying more fabric than I sew (which is obviously unsustainable!).
  3. I quickly start a new project when I get stuck with the current one. Witness the 4 unfinished dresses, one jacket muslin and one coat fully cut-out (in fluorescent orange, no less!) in the picture at the top of this post.
  4. And most importantly: I still don't always make appropriate fabric choices for a given pattern (did I mention it was fluorescent orange?).
My 2012 in numbers:
  • I bought 83 patterns, 24 of them vintage (90's counts for me here)
  • I bought every Burda Style issue and 5 Knip Mode issues
  • I bought 14 books on sewing or fashion topics
  • I bought 109 meters of new fabric
  • I sewed 46 meters of fabric
  • I made 29 garments: 4 skirts, 7 tops, 15 dresses, 2 jackets, 1 pair of trousers
  • I made 4 "wadders"; 2 were wearable dresses that are simply not my style, 1 was the worst interfacing choice, and 1 was just stinky, literally!
  • I wrote 21 posts on my blog and 14 reviews on Pattern Review
So, where do I want to get to in 2013?
  1. Keep on sewing!
    • Keep improving my skills. Take 1-2 more online lessons.
    • Try 2-3 jackets,
    • Find one other skirt shape that suits me beyond the pegged skirt,
    • Make one coat or raincoat
    • Sew with a full outfit in mind, so I don't end up with loose unwearable pieces. And remember, all the pieces don't all have to be sewn.
  2. Blog and review every item I sew. No excuses, even the wadders. It gives me closure and is how I contribute to the dialog with you all out there.
  3. Write 40 blog posts. Establishing a routine will be the key here too, and I really have to make the effort.
  4. Stop feeling guilty about my stash. What, you thought I would say "stop buying new fabric"? Can't! It would never happen. But I see lots of very prolific sewers out there being very proud of their stashes and using them with great effectiveness. It's like having one more shop to choose from, one that happens to be free (really! they tell me it's called sunk costs...). I want to be like that. I think it is a realistic and healthy goal for me, (if a little self-indulgent, but hey, I'm worth it!)
And that is all she wrote folks! Let's see next year how I did. Many thanks for visiting and for your encouragement. You've all made my life richer this past year. Here is to another even better year.