Playing With Pie Charts – Patterns and Garment Types

My current project is yet another dress, a blouse dress with a Peter Pan collar. But when I failed to find any useable buttons in my stash plus the fact the only fabric I had for the collar wasn’t really perfect, the project came to a screeching halt. I don’t like having multiple projects going on, plus with my “one in, one out” policy I need to make sure that what I make will be better than whatever I take out, therefore my sewing mojo is dwindling at the moment. It happens and it always comes back.

Instead of sewing I ended up playing with pie charts. I don’t feel very nerdy as I know stats and charts amuse many sewists around the blogosphere. As I was already making a list of my clothes, to keep track, freak myself out with numbers (I own way too much stuff, need full season variety, though) and to prepare myself for the “one out” I also started playing with pie charts. I wanted to break down what I had made and how I had made it.

As for what types of garments I’ve made

Kläder jag sytt
I find it no surprise that dresses and skirts come out on top. Skirts are so easy and quick to make and fit, dresses are fun! If I am to make something for a special occasion, it’s a dress. However, I was surprised to see so many tops as I don’t feel I’m very good at making tops. But one should keep in mind that this chart is made up with all things I’ve sewn, including those that are now deceased and it is mostly tops and toppers that have gone down that route, the conclusion being that I was right, I’m not very good at them. So, this tells me what I already know; I need to work on tops and toppers. I am hoping that Sewaholic’s Alma, Jenny Hellström’s Sy! and Cake’s Carmine and Cocoa might help me. But toppers will have to wait until fall.

My pattern chart is even less surprising, and very un-inspiring:Mönster jag använt

Burda, Burda and some more Burda. And then a little more Burda. Over 60% of my me-mades are Burda (old Burdastyle.com, magazines and book included). I think that is bound to change as I move more into indie pattern designers including Jenny Hellström, whom I suspect will take more ground. When I took up sewing the old Burdastyle site was launched. Remember that lovely place? You recognised the users, you got free patterns, the weekly creations were fun and inspiring. Now I hardly ever visit that site. Sigh. But I digress. Anyway, starting to sew and having that pool of resources, of course I ended up using a lot of Burda patterns. Plus Burda magazines were easy to come by in Sweden. Haberdasheries here don’t stock patterns, you must order them and it was too much of a hassle for me.

Then I moved more and more into the sewing blogosphere and discovered many more pattern companies. These days I hardly sew Burda, save for my old favourites or if there’s a pattern I love in the magazine, so the Burda quotient will sink but it has a major head start on the other companies. Since I treated myself to the Sy! books earlier this year I have plenty of patterns to choose from, plus I’m accumulating a small stash. Very small. It would be swallowed whole by other sewists’ stashes. Also, I’ve now found Swedish pattern stores online, making it easier to shop for patterns. However, envelope patterns are expensive (even the big 4) and I’m a bit wary about buying them, I want to make sure it’ll be something I can use more than once; either with different variations in the pattern or making them different with fabric choices.

This is my current status. Of course I’m already planning to include pie charts when I conclude a year, starting with 2013.

Do you have a brand or garment type you sewn the most of? Are you good at filling gaps? And, most importantly, do you like pie charts?

Sew For a Change – March

Another month of my consumption challenge has passed. The challenge this month was energy. Even as the challenge was introduced I knew I was going to fail it, but let me break it down.

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Contact your energy supplier and check what sources YOUR energy comes from. Also investigate what green/renewable options you have.
Check! Our supplier only delivers electricity from renewable sources – hydro, wind and biofuel. However, in a life cycle perspective wind power has pretty high CO2-emissions per produced energy, so for me that is not the best option.

Vacuum behind your fridge and freezer (and on their backs) and then defrost them – it will increase their efficiency and save energy.
Fail! Our fridge is fairly new, so it could be done, but I admit to laziness. Our freezer is old and is a freezer box, it could use defrosting, but it was just too warm, we have plenty of food in it. Yes, I’m lazy.

Check that your fridge and freezer temperature is not colder that what is really needed: +5C and -18C respectively (41F / 0F)
Check and dunno! Our fridge is at +6C. Our freezer I have no idea. I think it’s so old that there is no actual setting just on and off.

Leave nothing on standby overnight this month.

Fail! I could easily just switch off everything but it’s usually husband who goes to bed last. He doesn’t think it’s necessary and to be honest it doesn’t make that much of a difference. I know excuses… One positive thing we did last winter was to change windows in our bedroom, it was freezing before and now we don’t need to heat is as much. We usually charge our phones and the tablet overnight, but will pull the plugs when not charging.

No washing dishes under running water.
Fail! We try to stuff the machine as much as we can, so we only have a few items to hand wash every night. We don’t pile them up, so each night it’s a few things under running water. (In my defense my shower time usually averages about 5-7 minutes).

I have not bought anything this month. However, I don’t see it as a self-fulfilling goal to save all your points and have the most by the end of the year. I’m thinking that this is pretty much a challenge that can go on and on forever and then you need to buy things. For example, right now I need new Spring shoes. I will buy them, reduce my points and hopefully they’ll last me a few seasons. Next year I might need a winter jacket and no spring shoes. I’m not saying I need to stick to exactly these points, but be aware of my consumption for the years to come and spread it out. No point in having all my points by the end of the year and shop everything in January. My conclusion: I shouldn’t be afraid to spend points on things I need. Period.

With nothing bought and a failed challenge I’m still on 75 points. In April shopping will begin and I think I can do a pretty good job in the April challenge regarding paper as well.

Creation: Aqua Painted Dress

I am back to work since a couple of weeks following my parental leave. Now, don’t you worry about baby E (who, by the way is outgrowing her baby status soon) she’s at home being taken excellent care of by hubby. There’s a reason I write parental leave and not maternity leave. Besides working I am also trying to find time for my hobbies; sewing and judo (how stupid of me to have two hobbies that require to study and learn and remember more and more techniques). Tuesdays and Thursdays are judo nights. Seeing how Fridays and Saturdays are family nights that leaves three sewing nights; Monday, Wednesday and Sunday. I’ve have found that with limited time I am more efficient and can now present my next make.

I decided to use McCall’s 5974, “the perfect knit dress” and the pattern behind my Rule Britannia dress, yet again. Why ditch a winning concept? And it’s been my plan ever since January when I picked up the two pieces of fabric from the scrap bin.Aqua Painted Dress (3)

As I had already made this pattern once this dress went together rather quickly and only at the cost of one twin needle (although that was my own fault and I can’t put the blame on either the needle, the machine or the fabric). I made the FBA a bit smaller, for the Rule Britannia Dress it was 2”, for this one I narrowed it down to 1.5”. Instead of a narrow hem at the neckline, it bubbles a bit on the other dress, I sewed a banded neckline with a piece of fabric 2 cm wide and 80% of the neckline width. I liked that finish so much better. I also sewed the side and back seams with a 1.5 cm seam allowance as opposed to the suggested 1 cm. And yes, I’m uncontrollably mixing imperial and SI units. It’s how I roll.

Aqua Painted Dress (6)

The biggest challenge for this dress was stripe matching. I had 2 m of fabric, more than enough, so I knew  could do it. I cut the back first, on the fold, this was the easiest piece to match. The front has three pieces; bodice, midriff and skirt so I had to work with getting the lines as correctly as I could. You see, the lines are supposed to look tie-dyed, so they are not regular, the distance between them varies. With this in mind, I think I did a pretty damn good job.

 

Aqua Painted Dress (4)

Look at that stripe matching

 

The fabric is a printed cotton jersey, a printed tie-dye as opposed to, you know, a real one. I like the summery feel of the fabric, yet I think it works in the office (at least my office). It’s fun, comfortable, it fits and it’s flattering. I have nothing else to ask for. Although having made two jersey dresses in a rapid fashion I’m now in the mood for some woven fabrics, I have som eprojects lined up.

Do you use the same pattern more than once? Do you make version different from each other or are you fine with “having one in every colour”? How do you find time for all your hobbies?

A First For Me! Alma Toile

I am on the lookout for an everyday blouse that can work for the office as well as being casual. The thing is I want a feminine silhouette. I don’t want a female version of a male silhouette, ie. a button-down shirt. After re-discovering Alma I thought “hmm, maybe that’s the blouse I’ve been looking for!” I turned to my sewing nut group on Facebook and the opinions were divided, either you loved it or hated it. One member showed me her three versions, including a dress variation, and one member offered me to buy her unused copy, which she had purchased when everyone was singing Alma praise only to realise it really wasn’t her style. I decided to give it a go. (and I feel really bad for buying an indie pattern second hand, I should support the indie designers myself, but my conscience is somewhat rested in the fact that my seller said she should have never bought the pattern in the first place).

Before Christmas I visited IKEA with the family for some needed shopping, I don’t remember what though. As we passed by textiles I grabbed a bolt of fabric and bought 8 metres of the Ditte fabric. Husband asked if I planned to make red dresses aplenty, but I had another plan. Cheap fabric for muslins! With cheap fabric and some 20 people pulling in different directions regarding the Alma, I made my first real muslin.

I started with my measurements. Of course. I took my high bust, full bust, waist and hip measurement and corresponded those with sizes

HB: 35”
FB: 36.5”
W: 30 “
H: 39.5”

Full bust and waist were a 10,high bust an 8 and hip a 6. I also looked at finished measurements which were, for the 8

FB: 38,5”
W: 34.5”
H: 40.5”

I decided to start out by cutting an 8 and adjust that in what could be needed, I suspected an FBA.

 

First attempt - front

First attempt – front

For my first attempt using a straight size 8. I sewed a 1 cm seam allowance as opposed to the 1.5 cm included. I stitched on side and basted the other, to see if I could get the blouse on without a zipper. I could. It took a bit of wiggling and I’m not sure how it will work with sleeves, but once I’ll get there I’ll test. Anything to avoid putting in an unnecessary zipper, right? I was quite happy with the fit in the front, the darts ended up in the right place and were the right width.

 

First attempt - side

First attempt – side

From the back and side you can see that there is a bit of fabric bunching up on my lower back (which I have no idea what it’s called in English, but I take it as a sway back adjustment. Correct?). I tried widening the dart, 0.6 mm (as that was easy to sew) on each side of the dart, making it 2.4 cm in total

First attempt - back

First attempt – back

Onto version number 2, same pieces, just a widened dart. Now, I should know that widening a dart by stitching over an already sewn dart is not a good idea, but I did it anyway. It helped pull some width in, but I’m not too pleased with the results.

Second attempt - side

Second attempt – side

It’s still a bit wonky and I think I would fare better grading the pattern to a six size at the hip and keeping the darts as are. I’ve always thought my bottom had a pear shape, but I guess not as my hip measurement falls into a smaller size than bust and waist. Granted, baby E has left some additional waist width, which I’m trying to reduce, so maybe I can get my waist down a little.

Second attempt - back

Second attempt – back

 

I think I’ll make one more muslin. For that I will make it a bit longer, one inch I think. And grade it down to a 6 waist down on the back bodice. The front bodice fitted nicely. With my being on a consumption budget, I need to plan my makes and make them fit.

This look can also work tucked in, I think. However, after eating a yummy dinner of bacon-wrapped chicken stuffed with cream cheese and sundried tomatoes, it wasn’t the most flattering look on me so I won’t share any pictures. I didn’t even take any.

I was prepared to do an FBA (I even found a Swedish tutorial covering FBA on the Alma, what are the chances?), but the consensus in the Facebook discussion was that if your whole frame matched up ie. large bust and broad shoulders OR small bust and narrow shoulders this blouse will look good on you. If you don’t (small bust/broad shoulders or large bust/narrow shoulders) it won’t. I can’t wait to get my hands on some fabrics and make the real deal!

Do you regularly make toiles or are they saved for “special garments”? Have I missed something crucial in toile making, if so, what?

One Out, One In and Being Stupidly Cheap

In Sweden there is a word called “Dumsnål” , the literal translation would be Stupidly cheap. And I am one of those stupidly cheap persons. 

Let me explain. When you are stupidly cheap you hang on to every penny, not spending anything even though you know you have it. I felt this way when I bought my overlocker. Even though I had received money for my birthday to buy myself something special it felt wrong to spend that much money on myself. I dates back to my childhood, even though we didn’t have a lack of money at all. My dad is still the same, so maybe it comes from his childhood, which I have understood wasn’t the most affluent. 

So, how does being “stupidly cheap” relate to my Sew For a Change challenge? In three ways, actually. Let me count the ways.

 One major issue is that I don’t spend my points. I currently have 75 points and I don’t dare to spend them, because what if I’ll need them? What is necessary and what isn’t? Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t see myself having 75 points on Dec 31 and then spending the equivalent of it on Jan 1, 2 and 3, but it can keep me from buying something I actually need just for the sake of saving points. I talked to hubby about this and he agrees that I am “stupidly cheap” and that I in fact need to learn to spend money (or points) on things I need. I am also hoping that this will help me focus and think once and twice about what I buy, it needs to go together with what I have or plan to make/buy so hopefully learning to focus on my purchases can help me bring my wardrobe together.

 Secondly when I do buy something I want to get it cheap. Which is why my closet is stocked full with cheap stuff from the likes of H&M and C&A. I have bought bad quality (ie. polyester) fabrics just because they were cheap and I didn’t want to spend more money on a better fabric. A few years ago I came to the realisation that polyester isn’t comfortable and I’ve been avoiding it ever since. I still love making a great find in the scrap bin, but (and this is an important but) I no longer buy things I kinda like just because they are cheap. I have to like them. In the same manner I’ve also stopped entering every single giveaway I come across. If the prize is something I want and can see myself use I’ll enter, otherwise I’ll leave it to someone who will use it. There is no point in stocking up things just because I can get them for free.

Thirdly is that I hang on to everything. That’s why February’s challenge of de-cluttering wasn’t an issue for me. I could easily get rid of 25 pieces of clothing without a hitch. And I can still get rid of more. However, there comes a point when I can’t throw more out of my closet without replacing it, can’t walk around naked. But there’s plenty in my wardrobe that I never wear and that should be replaced with things I do wear. Although, sometimes these saving tendencies (I refuse to call it hoarding) come in handy, as I took up judo earlier this year I didn’t have to spend any money on a new judo gi, I just pulled out the one I’ve been holding on to, for no apparent reason, for 17 years.

 image

This leads up to a new challenge I’m giving myself. One in, one out. For every new item that makes its way into my closet I will take one out. I can refashion it, donate it, sell it or harvest it and throw it out. It doesn’t matter just as long as it doesn’t take up closet space in an unused form. Preferably I am to take out the same type of garments, in goes a dress, out goes a dress, or skirt or shirt… you get the idea. It wouldn’t be too bright to start with de-cluttering skirts, ending up with no shirts at all while I have restocked on skirts.

 I’m doing this to keep my wardrobe under control, not just adding more and more, but also to fill it with stuff I like and wear (I think I have at least 120 garments, not including undies, bras, stockings, camis and basic t-shirts. 120. At least. ). Being on a budget, albeit a point budget, makes me think more about what I want to add to my wardrobe, it should be things I use, things that go together. I don’t know how long I can keep this up and it will vary for different garments. Someday I will come to the point where I don’t want to take something out, when that point comes I guess I’ll have a perfect wardrobe in that category. I think I must start making a list over all my garment…

 Challenges like these surprise me. Here I thought I was doing a challenge on consumption and environmental issues and it turns out to help me with money management as well as wardrobe planning and de-cluttering.

 Have you ever learnt something that wasn’t the point of a challenge? How do you work on your weaknesses regarding your hobbies? Why do we end up with a wardrobe full of clothes and still nothing to wear?

Wardrobe Architect: Hair and Beauty

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For this week’s exercis of Colette’s Wardrobe Architect it’s all about hair and beauty. To build a complete style and look I believe hair and beauty is key. We were to answer a few questions about ourselves and our routines, so there’s no need to drag on:

  1. What hair style has been most flattering and comfortable for you? How did it make you feel about yourself? Did it invoke any of the words you came up with in our core style exercise?
    After cutting my hair fairly short earlier this year I came to the conclusion that I have a 2.5 year cycle of my hair length. I cut I short, play with it in various lengths and then decide to grow it long. After I’ve grown it long I question myself as to why I decided to grow it long (usually since I don’t have to go to the salon so often) and cut it off again.

The thing is, I do prefer shorter hair. It’s easier to style for me, as I always end up slinging my hair back in a ponytail when it’s long enough. You see, I have plenty of hair. It’s full and I also have a lot of hair. When it is long it doesn’t really lay down and I need products to keep it down, even though it’s perfectly straight. Plus I like the edge short hair gives me.

Confession: I have never, ever dyed my hair. It has gone lighter over the year, as a teenager my hair was very dark brown, to the point of being black without actually being black. Now it’s more of a dark brown. I have also lucked out and haven’t gotten any grey hair (yet?) so I don’t have the need to cover anything. For now I’m sticking with my real colour and play with lengths instead.

My core words were put together, colourful, feminine, structure and comfortable. (I’m thinking of adding “fun” to the mix, just to remember to not take it too seriously and just have fun with style). I think my short hair falls into those categories.

  1. How much makeup are you comfortable with? It could be no makeup, or a full face with contouring (and all that jazz I could never figure out). Or it could vary day to day..

I feel comfortable in no to a little makeup. I have no problem leaving the house without anything on, but for work I usually put on eyeliner, mascara and eye shadow. For my lips I go with a coloured chap stick for most parts, but I could go for a little gloss if I want to branch out. However, I think makeup is fun and I would like to take a lesson in it, learning what colours I should use and what products to make it a bit better.

  1. How does your makeup and hair reflect your personal style? What do you feel they say about you and your aesthetics?
    Keeping with the fun I think my hair can be played with. Or styled more business if I need to. I like to play with spikes and shapes but also hair accessories.
  2. How much product do you want to own? Do you like collecting products, or would you rather just have a few essentials? How much bathroom clutter are you ok with?
    I want to own a few products, the essentials. I have no need or desire to stock my shelves with things.
  3. What requirements do you have for the products you buy? Do you stick with all natural products? Are there ingredients you avoid?
    Too little at the moment, but then again I’m committing the horrible crime of keeping products until they are gone or too messed up to use them. I definitely want to get more high quality products that haven’t been animal tested and are natural. I don’t want parabens in lotions, otherwise I must confess that my knowledge is poor. Some research before I buy more is in order.
  4. What colors feel best near your face? How do they relate to the color palette you created?
    I usually go for earth tones; warm brown, purple and pink depending on the occasion and what I wear. Which is odd since I don’t go for earth tones on my clothing, I like my clothes more bright. But the colours, or nuances of them ,are in my palette and match my skin tone and eyes (or so I think, see above about a lesson in makeup).
  5. What colors never look right near your face? What colors have you tried and given up on before?
    I don’t want too bright colours on my face, for every day I don’t want makeup to be a focal point. For special occasions I don’t want to look like I’ve been trying too hard.
  6. How much time do you realistically want to spend getting ready in the morning?
    I don’t spend a lot of time getting ready and it wouldn’t bother me if I had to do a bit more. I find it more annoying having to wash my makeup off at night or before workouts. That’s what I love about short hair, I just comb it down and I have a style, which I can amp up if I’m in the mood.
  7. What types of scents do you gravitate towards? Do you wear perfume? Other scented products? What do you feel the scents you like communicate about your personality?
    I don’t think I even own a perfume. I wear a scented deodorant (and I feel that the one I currently have is too strong in smell). That’s it. I’m not much for scenting myself and I don’t care for it too much in others either. A natural, neutral smell is the best.

The picture is me on my wedding day. In a hairstyle I like and with great makeup, my sister did it. Plus happiness as an accessory.

Wardrobe Architect: Prints or Solids?

I’ve fallen behind on the Wardrobe architect project, so good thing there haven’t been any new tasks recently. I’m still on prints…

Now, seeing how I am lazy I won’t do the tasks as Colette instructs us, but I still want to think about what prints I do and don’t like, I’ll follow the post from Colette:

Prints vs. solids: I think solids are easier to match so my basics are pretty much all solids. I need my solids. However it is fun to mix it up with some prints, but I am not a person of print matching. I just don’t do it or like it on me.

Scale: Thinking about what I wear and what I feel comfortable in I have made the conclusion that I am a small, but not tiny, print person and my prints need to be regular. However, if the print is too small it can be overwhelming for say a long sleeve button down shirt. Scale and garment must work together.

Contrast: If I’m going to work a print, I want it to be seen that it is a print!

Naturalism: I tend to like softer prints, not a big fan of geometric prints that I find too sharp for clothing. Although I just made a geometric dress, so one should probably never say never.

In my early days of sewing I liked prints that were simple and literal (examples: Another Belle Skirt, …) but now I gravitate more towards interesting lines and classics (examples: The Leaf Skirt and Leaf Dress, Blueberry Sorbetto). Like I mentioned above I want to keep my prints regular, after all “structure” was one of my style keywords. Paisley gets a big thumbs down from me, it has nothing that appeals to me, they tend to be very light in colour too and I prefer my colours bright! Stripes I like and I thought I liked plaid, but after wearing my Plaid’n’Wrap skirt the other day I didn’t feel totally comfortable in it. Maybe it is just that plaid, but I just threw out another plaid skirt that I didn’t like. Is it bad plaid or is it that I just don’t like plaid?

I tend to think novelty prints look fun, but I don’t see myself wearing those; I’d probably feel that I was playing dress-up. Kudos to those who can pull it off (Dolly Clackett comes to mind) but I will settle for admiring her pieces and sticking with my own safer choices. Also, animal prints: not my cup of tea.

Currently I feel that I have moved past the “oh, look at that lovely quilting cotton print” that is totally impractical and into more thinking of what will work and how the print will be displayed for the garment I’m planning. The smaller the garment, the more daring print I go for. I want to work more on bringing in prints I feel comfortable in, prints have the tendency to make clothes more fun because clothing should be fun and not taken too seriously. With that in mind, I’m thinking of adding fun to my keywords, just to remember what it’s really all about.

Are you a print or solids person? Do you like your prints to be stripes, plaids, novelty or something completely different?

Sew For A Change – February

The first month of Sew For a Change is completed. I have not spent any points this month and it hasn’t been hard. The reason is that I’ve been on maternity leave and haven’t needed any new clothes when you lounging around the house, having lunch meet-ups and hanging on playgrounds. But I got a Save the Date for SIL’s wedding so at some point I will buy new fabric for a dress.

Plus I have added 10 new points to my stash by clearing out at least 28 items. I donated 25 garments to second hand (5 dresses, 9 tops, 3 pants, 3 lounge wear, 4 skirts and 1 sweater). I also donated 14 books. In addition I also re-fashioned one dress to a shirt. I think I can award myself those 10 points.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to sell the items I wanted, a baby car seat, a baby chair and a nursing dress. Granted I wasn’t very active in trying, but hopefully they’ll get sold eventually. I also gave away one piece of fabric, which will go in the mail tomorrow, I hope, or by latest on Monday.

Summary:

Ingoing points:
65 p
Purchases:
Pants and belt, both second hand, no points

Created:
Rule Britannia Dress
Midnight Sun Shirt

Outgoing points: 75p

I found this monthly challenge quite easy, perhaps I made it too easy on myself, but I will continue to get rid of things if I find we don’t use them. Baby E is just barely one, but in a while we will be able to get rid of a bunch of baby toys, but that’ll be next year I think.

Creation: Midnight Sun Shirt

In the spirit of Sew For a Change I decided to mend and make do. This led me to cut up one of my me-mades and make myself a shirt.

Midnight Sun Shirt (12)

The long wrap dress was made from a wrap top and was ill-fitting and I felt very hausfrau when I was wearing it. I was never really comfortable in it. The fabric however is a lovely cotton poplin that is wonderful to wear, so there’s no way I would let it go to waste.

Violet Dress

I cut off all seams and just used the piece for a new pattern, the Lily shirt (same pattern as dress above, only shortened) from Jenny Hellström’s book Sy! Från hood till skjortklänning. In the book she instructs us not to mess with darts and rather take the clothes in at CB/CF and side seams. But, after my Rule Britannia dress I was on an FBA high, so I tried that out. It’s not a perfect FBA, the vertical darts runs from the bust to the waist, so it was a bit hard. Even if the fit is not spot on, I think my attempt of an FBA made it better than using Jenny’s idea. However, she wants everyone to sew and that you could be a beginner and making her projects and I honestly don’t think FBAs are for beginners, they come at a later stage and shouldn’t hold back enthusiam.

Midnight Sun Shirt (14)

I was a bit short on fabric so I had to cut the collar in halfs and set a seam at the CB. It’s not that noticable. Also, I had no fabric for sleeves, so a sleeveless shirt it is. I used black bias tape for facing the armholes. The belt is a leftover from the fabric’s stint as a wrap dress and I like it with the shirt too so that gets to live on as is. Plus, do you see how well my shirt gos with the matching Midnight Sun Skirt?

Midnight Sun Shirt (9)

This was a rather quick make, I can’t belive how fast it took me to sew this up (the buttons were hand-stitched on during that fatal Olympic hockey final). The instructions tells us where and when to sick-sack/overlock the edges and we are only instructed to do so for the seams that get a lot of strain. That saved me a lot of time, so let’s hope the shirt doesn’t fall apart.

Midnight Sun Shirt (13)

Mind you, this fabric is not black, it is blue, so what do I have? Another look for #SewBlueFebruary!
Here’s a closeup of the collar as well.
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Sy! by Jenny Hellström

Jenny Hellström is a designer and was the head of her own label from 1997-2008, making clothes inspired by the 1950/1980s, before her business went bankrupt. Truth be told, I didn’t know much about her or her label when it existed, I’m not that into the fashion scene, especially back then. So, how is it that I write about her here? Well, last year she published her first sewing book and recently she published her second. I now have them in my ownership.

Sy! Från hood till skjortklänning (Sew! From Hoodie to Shirtdress) was released last year and holds patterns for some of the designs she earlier sold. Her second book is Sy! Urban Collection which focuses on looking good in comfortable clothes. Both books have the point of view that sewing and creating should be fun and not taken too seriously. She encourages the reader to experiment, make changes in the patterns, customise. It’s liberating, but hard since I want to do things by the book, but this book tells me to be more free so maybe I should try that. She tells us to mix and match fabrics, paint and do appliques, try different fabrics, all held together by her love for sewing. She tells us not to worry if it’s not perfect, wear what you’ve made with pride!

Her point of view with these books in that anyone can sew and that there are projects for everyone. In the end of the book there is a sewing school with illustrations of some of the techniques. It is true that there are projects for everyone, but I think every sewist gets to the point where they want to evolve and I don’t think these books are good for that. Beginner projects and more advanced projects, but for learning techniques there are other better books. When I look back at my earliest projects, I loved them then, but I can also see that my sewing isn’t the best and there are things I’d change if I’d make them now. I probably wouldn’t recommend this book to a beginner, but once you have the basics down, these books are filled with inspiration!

Sy! Från hood till shortklänning offers designs that Jenny Hellström sewed for her own brand. A total of 18 patterns of skirts, dresses, shirts, blouses, jackets, coats and tops, in various difficulties.

Sy! Urban Collection is also characterised by the love of sewing and keeping it fun, the book has fashions for looking good while being comfortable.

There’s another shirtdress and blouse (pictured above), which I personally think are a little too close to the ones from the previous book, although these are a bit softer. There are many basic knit tops, skirts and dresses.

This book also has a unisex pant, a t-shirt for men and a hoodie/pants set for babies and toddler. I don’t know how good I am at selfless sewing though.

I think it is very generous to share your own designs like this and I love the vibe throughout the books that sewing should be fun and happy. Still, this isn’t a book I’d recommend to someone who want to learn to sew. At least it should be accompanied by a book on techniques, such as Colette’s sewing handbook. There are some things that are hard to learn just by doing, sometimes you need a reference. That said, I really think these books are fun and full of inspiration. The only issue I have with them is what to sew first.

I realise that talking about patterns without showing them is a bit boring, but there’s no overview of the patterns and scanning them all would take a lot of time, time I don’t have. So you’ll get to see the patterns as I make them, at least some of them. Some of the looks can be seen on Jennyhellstrom.com and there’s always an Image Google for reference. The next creation I will post is a shirt from the first book.

Wardrobe Architect: Colour Palette

For the past weeks I haven’t done my Wardrobe Arcitecht homework. Shame on me! All I can say is that I didn’t want to. Simple as that. As for putting shapes together, I don’t have a good programme/account anywhere and I would just combine the shapes which I liked. As for colour I had already analysed them a while back and didn’t really feel like doing it again. However, for this week we were supposed to organise the colours into “neutrals, nearly neutrals and statement colours”. Looking back at my old work and trying to organise them I came up with these charts, one for summer and one for winter.

Colour palette

This was a useful exercise for me as I find my chart a bit boring. I think I have too few colours, although in my mind I’m including nuances and shades of the colours. So while I will try and stick to this, I will also try and bring in a few more colours too. Nothing’s written in stone. At least I think I have my neutrals in place, so my focus will be statements.

I won’t catch up on the weeks I didn’t do on Wardrobe architect, but hopefully there’ll be some more exercises I like coming up.

(My off-white was more off-white on my computer and my beige wasn’t as yellow. Trust the text, not the pictures)

Creation: Rule Britannia Dress

Can you imagine I’ve sewed something for a sewalong? It currently is #SewBlueFebruary and while I didn’t have that in mind as I bought the fabric, I later realised that I could join in. See, the fabric has blue in it.

The Britannia

Last Spring I saw a documentary on Queen Elizabeth II, BBC had made it in honour of the diamond jubilee. It was very easy to state two things: One, the queen is so much cooler than our king and two, I want to see this documentary on the Swedish king (it was very neutral and a Swedish documentary would be either pro or con monarchy). Another thing that stuck by me was how fondly the queen spoke of her yacht, the Britannia. One of the queen’s grandchildren talked about that the yacht was the only place where the queen could totally be herself, which I can understand as she was out at sea with no risk of paparazzi or journalists stalking her. In 1997 the British government decided that the ship was too expensive and the queen had to give up her beloved ship. It is now a museum in Edinburgh, if I’m ever there I will make sure to visit it.

The Inspiration and Aquisition

Anyway, this fabric came out in 2012 and I thought it was too much. Then I saw Anna’s (of Mormor hade stil) dress in that fabric and as I stumbled across a 1.75 m piece in the scrap bin at the store I bought it since she made the fabric work. Thus, I ended up with a comfortable dress in an abstract British flag dress. (Husband did not see that it was inspired by the British flag, my sister did). The fabric is a Jersey from Stoff och Stil. I didn’t sew it on my overlocker, I wanted to sew and not worry about working the machine, so it is completely sewn on my regular machine.

Rule Britannia Dress (4)

The pattern is McCall’s “Perfect knit dress” (5974, OOP), which I won from Stephanie at Starcross Sewing. I did view A with a U-neckline and short sleeves, it was the only version I could squeeze out from my piece.
This is a Palmer & Pletsch pattern so it has slash lines for alterations printed on the pattern, this prompted me to make my very first FBA. It fits great! So well that even my husband pointed it out. Why haven’t I bothered with these before? Lazy self! I added one inch on the bodice, so two inches in total. It was probably at bit too much, so for my next version I’ll take it down a bit. I also took the dress in at the side seams with 0.5 cm per side, it was also shortened to hit me at the knee. I finished the neckline with twin stitch on a narrow hem, for any upcoming versions I’m thinking I might make a band finish instead as the stitching stretched the neckline a bit.

Rule Britannia Dress (6)

Final Thoughts
I love wearing this dress! It is comforatble and fun, yet appropriate. Does it fit in with my style words? Comfortable, colourful, feminine, put together and structure. I think so! I paid 137 SEK (€15.5) for the fabric and it became a dress that fits beautifully and is fun. I’m expecting heavy rotation on this dress and have already planned another one with the same pattern. That one, however, requires pattern matching (striped fabric).

Have you avoided any techniques out of fear? Do you do patriotic clothing, even if it’s not for your country?

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A Folles Dress

Last Saturday I went to see La Cage aux Folles at the opera in Gothenburg. A girls’ night out with women of two generations; my two SILs and myself, my MIL, her sister and their friend. It was a very nice day and the musical was a lot of fun as well as thought-provoking and touching (the final song of act 1, I Am What I Am) was very emotional. In a contrast we should all learn to live by The Best of Times. The character of Ann Dindon was wearing an extremely cute dress, which I fell in love with.

image

I apologise for the bad quality photo, I photographed the opera programme. I am lazy like that. Anyway, the dress was very flowy, had flutter sleeves, a bodice which was gathered under the bust and a wide midriff band. I couldn’t quite figure out what skirt it was, I want to say half circle, but I think it hangs too straight. Or could it be gored, bias cut or is it a half-circle. I don’t think it felt full enough to be a circle skirt.

Another thing that happened this weekend was that we got a save the date card for SIL’s wedding. So much fun! Plus, the perfect occasion for a replica of Ann Dindon’s dress. I pressured my SIL for the dress code so I knew what to work on, the dress code is “kavaj” which is the lowest formal dress code and equivalent of smart casual. To keep this dress “low” I will make in a simple fabric; lightweight cotton, rayon or something similar. I want it in a bright colour, but that’s about as far as I’ve gotten in that matter.

So I need a pattern. My guess is that I won’t find a pattern that totally matches this dress (leave a comment if you know one) so I’m thinking of Frankenpattering. What I need a pattern for is mainly the bodice and the midriff band. The skirt can be drafted if it’s not a total match and for the sleeves I’m thinking that Colette’s Taffy sleeves can work.

I browsed patterns yesterday and at first thought of Simplicity 2145 . But I wasn’t totally convinced that it would match the dress above. The Burdastyle Shari was also an idea, but I don’t think it’s flowy enough, plus the bodice isn’t quite right. By chance I then stumbled upon the 1940s tea dress by Sew Over It. I’m thinking it might work.

I want to make a special dress, suitable for the occasion, but still me and definitely me-made. It’s the perfect match for the dress I fell in love with at the opera. I just need to find the dress.

Have you ever seen a garment you “must” have? How much are you willing to work for a garment like that? Do you know any patterns I could use?

Fabric Giveaway!

It’s a trend this year, to stashbust and de-clutter. I’m on team de-clutter and I’m hoping someone out there won’t mind bringing home some fabrics.

I have two fabrics that have been in my pile for so long and since I haven’t used them yet chances are low I ever will. So I’m giving them the opportunity to get chopped up and put together awkwardly elsewhere… wait, I’m giving my readers the opportunity to get some fabric!

First up is an army green netting. It has stretch and is slightly stripey in the netting (more and less tight weave). I have 1.5 metres on 1.4 m width.

Stretch netting

The second fabric is a purple cotton/linen blend. Medium weight, slightly sheer and drapey. I have 1 metre of 1.4 m width of this.

Purple Fabric

If you wish any of the fabrics (and help me in my de-clutter challenge) leave a comment stating which fabric you want (maybe both?). I’ll ship it anywhere in the world and hopefully I’ll see these fabrics finally made up as a garment. I will keep the giveaway open until Sun Feb 16 (which in practicality will be 7 am EST on Monday morning).

I hope someone out there likes my fabrics and will make more use of them than I have! Good luck.

The Nap Time T-shirt

I’ve broken in my new overlocker and made myself a t-shirt. I didn’t quite get where and when to use the overlocker and when I couldn’t. So the side seams and the sleeve attatchment is sewn on the overlocker, the gathers, hems and neckband are sewn on my regular machine.T-shirt front

The Yay!
It was a rather quick project, finished over the course of several nap times for baby E. I can imagine making more of them, long sleeved as well as short sleeved. The t-shirt is comfortable and I like the sleeve gathers.

I had some problems getting started on my overlocker, but with this first project I’ve learnt a lot. There is probably much, much more to learn, but I like learning by doing.T-shirt bakc

The Meh
Being overwhelmed by my overlocker I didn’t even try to do the gathers on it. I used my regular machine. I always find it hard to attach gathers, there’s always somewhere the fabric gets twisted. This is my second sleeve attempt. My first was a mess. I had to restitch the first sleeves so many times and then having three och four sets of overlock stitched on top of each other was very chunky. So, I cut them off and re-set new ones- The first ones were also yellow, I used had a contrast neckband. Since I was re-cutting them anyway I figured I could might as well do contrast sleeves as well as making them long, my first ones were short. The fabric is visocose jersey, so it’s not very comfortable in too much heat anyway.

As I mentioned in my 2013 reflections post   , I tend to take shortcuts. The gathers for this t-shirt was one of those in my mind. I only do one row, even though I know you should do at least two, and then I have issues distributing the gathers evenly, keeping the fabric from rolling, pinning it and I end up spending more time correcting these things than it would have taken to do them properly. Lesson learnt.Sleeve

The Facts
Both fabrics are viscose jersey and since they are the same weight it was easy to do the contrast sleeves. I might even make a totally opposite t-shirt later. The only thing else needed was thread, I used cream thread on my overlocker, so I used cream thread on the sewing machine as well.
The pattern is Burdastyle 02-2012-127, a great pattern for a raglan tee, I’ve seen it widely used across the blogosphere. The sleeves, as well as the bodice are long, but that’s one of the easier pattern adjustments to make. The neckband is a bit too long for me, if I make it again I will reduced the length of it. Otherwise it’s an easy pattern for a quick t-shirt with a twist.

T-shirt sideThe Name
The t-shirt was mostly sewn during several of baby E’s naps. As soon as I’d put her down I’d rush to my project to hopefully get at least one hour of work.

The Summary
I’m pretty pleased with this make. Bold colours, I don’t think anything in my wardrobe is in either colour, and a perfect t-shirt for hanging around the house or doing leisure activities. The inside of the sleeves are a mess though since I had to redo the sleeve seams a few times, but let’s not talk about them anymore and move forward with my lessons learnt.
There’s definitely more to learn about my overlocker, this is just the beginning!

Sew For a Change – January

Today it is February 1st, which means my sustainability challenge Sew for a Change begins. I’m thinking it will be easy “since I don’t shop that much”, but last year I’ve been on parental leave and haven’t needed many new things. I don’t know how that will change now that I go back to work. Perhaps it is true that I don’t shop that much, at least not retail, or maybe I’m in for an awakening. Either way I will learn something about myself and my habits.

Sew for a Change – The Rules (credit sewyourboat.blogspot.se)

Anyway, I thought I’d do a monthly summary to see how I did. In this summary I will include purchases, creations and how I did in the star challenge.

 

We were starting out with 75 points for shopping according to a point system; RTW costs more points than fabrics and environmental friendly materials are cheaper (full details here). I did buy some fabrics in January, after I signed up for the challenge, but before it officially began. My conscience doesn’t let it slide that I hoarded (fabrics from stash are free from points), but since the challenge hadn’t officially begun, I’m taking half the points. Thus, I have so far spent 10 points on fabrics.

For February’s star challenge we are suppose to de-clutter. One item per day, and we can’t throw it in the trash. Since I have a bag full of clothes meant for goodwill, I should be able to pass this challenge. But I am also using it as motivation to try and sell our baby sitter and baby car seat, as well as getting rid of some books.

Ingoing points: 75p
Purchases:
1.75 m and 2 m of jersey
3.25 m of cotton/poly blend
0.75 m stretch denim
1.25 m manchester

Total fabrics: -10 p
Created:
Raglan t-shirt
Bow t-shirt

Outgoing points: 65p

Are you participating in a challenge this year? Is it about style, sustainability or something else?

Wardrobe Architect 3: Shapes of Me

I found this week’s task fairly simple. I have a good feeling for what shapes I like on me, so it wasn’t very hard to so the assessments that this week’s exercise called for.

For things on my upper half (dresses, blouses, tops) I prefer a fitted or somewhat fitted ease. I may wear something somewhat loose, but then I will most definitely tuck it in or belt it, if I can’t have anything else I will at least have waist definition. For tops and blouses I prefer the “above hip” length, with an occassional tunic length. No crop tops for me!

Layering pieces, such as cardigans, jackets and outerwear, I may go a bit longer and with a bit more ease, if I can belt them. I can also go cropped length with these as I will wear something underneath.

For skirts (both separates and in dresses) I prefer knee length or mid-thigh. No minis or midis (mid-calf), but the occassional maxi could work. As for fullness, I do like everything except very fitted, with a preference for somewhat full and A-line.

I like my wasitline natural or a bit low, skirts I like to wear on the hip. No dropped waistline in dresses and rarely no waistline. However, I do want to try and make a dress with no waistline to see how it would look. As I said above, it must be belted to give me definition. I do not care for clothes which hang straight down from the breasts.

Regarding necklines it is easy to draw the conclusion that I don’t like things high up around my neck, turtlenecks and boat necks are out! The cowl also go low rating do to the fact that I don’t like adding things to my chest. Plus I wish to wear a proper bra, so anything that would show bra straps is also out. That leaves v-neck, u-neck, squarte, sweetheart, jewel and scoop.

With sleeves I want no sleeves, short sleeves or full length sleeves. Nothing in between. And no cap sleeves, I really don’t like them on me.

There you have it, a bunch of text on which shapes I like. It wouldn’t be too hard to figure this out by looking at the things I’ve already made, but it’s good to think about and have it written down.

Next week, I might even publish a creation. Imagine that!

Cross Stitch Birth Record for Kiddo

I have a creation to show! This is truly labour of love and it has been eating most of my spare time this past fall. I finished it on Friday and it was a huge weight of my shoulders. I still need to frame it, but otherwise it is done.

The Whole Picture

Gustav korsstygn (2)I began working on this when baby E was even more of a baby, and didn’t sleep through the evenings. Since I was tired from breast-feeding her at night I just wanted to sit in the TV couch, and because she was waking up several times during the evening I had to be near her.  So I decided to work on a craft I could do in the couch. So I decided to do cross stitch birth records for the kids. The kiddo chose his own motive, with cars obviously. Little did I know that it was filled with details such as plenty of back stitching and French knots. It wasn’t anything particularly difficult, it was just a lot. Every night I would stitch away and by then end of it I seized every given opportunity to sew just to finish the thing. Baby E will have to wait for hers, I don’t want to sew another cross stitch right now.

 

The French TrailerGustav korsstygn (1)

This trailor was one of the last things I finished. I had to learn to do French knots. That trailor has 66 of them. 66! I know they are a bit wonky, but frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn. I’ve replaced the worst looking ones, but kept some others. I like how some patterns are repeted in the motive, such as the tree, the lawns and the tractor, the orange car and the orange tree. Plus the animals are cute and varied.

The Tim Gunn CarGustav korsstygn (3)

I sometimes here Tim Gunn when I’m working on something. I hear his concern about over-designing. I actually did hear his voice when working on this cross-stitch. This blue car is an example of that. It has two colours, blue and orange (the blue also uses two strands in different colours) and back-stitching details and French knots. It felt as if Tim Gunn should have stepped in and said that you shouldn’t just keep adding stuff, but also removing them so it doesn’t look over-designed. In the end I think it looks pretty good, but some element could probably have been removed.

The Name

Gustav korsstygn (4)

Yes, here I reveal the kiddo’s full name, as well as birthday (which should be read as June 4, 2010). Gustav is what we call him, but it didn’t sound allright to put Per behind it, it fell weird of the tongue.

There you have it, what I have been working on for about six months. Now maybe my sewing machine can get some attention as well. And my blog. A weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I feel as if I have plenty of time. I wonder how long I will live in that illusion. I also wonder when I will dare to pick up Baby E’s motive (although, it’s not as detailed).

Wardrobe Architect: 5 Words of Me

When you are wearing your favorite clothing, how do you feel (e.g. confident, sexy, poised, powerful, etc)?
When wearing clothes I like, I feel poised, confident, empowered. I feel as if I can do anything and no one can get to me. Like I mentioned last week, I get this feeling when I put on my judo gi (which is the correct term for judo outfit) and that’s a feeling I wish to move over to my regular clothing. I think this will be more evident when  go back to work, right now I’m on parental leave and don’t really dress well since I spend a lot of time at home, on the playground and all outfits musts be breast-feeding friendly.

When you’re wearing something that is not quite right, how do you feel? What are the feelings you want to avoid about the clothes you wear?
When I was 18 I was given a corduroy blazer by my parents. When I put it on I felt like a little girl playing dress-up in my mum’s clothes and blazer still give me that feeling. I don’t feel old enough or haven’t been feeling confident enough to pull that off. I’m working on it. The feeling I get is best described in body language, it’s arms crossed over the chest, shoulders down, hunching and, if the clothes feel too short/too much cleavage, it’s a lot of tugging.

Who do you consider to be your style icons? What is it about them that appeals to you?
I don’t really have style icons that I follow. I like looking at red carpet photos as much as anyone, but I can’t really apply that style to my wardrobe. But I do remember I really liked the looks of the Gilmore Girls. Earlier I was drawn to the put together, but still young and fun, look of Rory, but I now realise that I am in fact closer in age to Lorelai. She is a bit boring, too perfect, but I like her look at work as a ground to start from. Both of them are always put together (Rory at least in later years) and it was fun to see everyday wear as well as the more fancy Friday night dinner. I like that they were not afraid to dress up and use fancy fabrics in their choices.

I’m skipping the next questions on finding words on styles I like but aren’t me, gathering plenty of words and skip straight to the last task of defining my core words. I must admit that remembering the Gilmore Girls as style icons really help me a lot since they look like I want to look. Really. Maybe a bit more modern, but I think I have plenty to learn from them. (Can you tell I miss them? Whatever happened to them? Did Lorelai and Luke end up together? Is Rory a big shot journalist? Who can tell?) Obviously I won’t copy them right off the bat, but take inspiration from them. Another one I’m inspired by but don’t know as well is Zooey Deschanel and I’m a frequent reader of What Would Zooey Deschanel Wear? I love that the site has regular wear from New Girl as well as red carpet.

Put together
This is a word I really want to live by. Both for work and playtime I want to look put together and polished. I’m not a fan of torn jeans, cut-offs (well, maybe for yard work) or things that just hang off. The last summers I’ve resorted to skirt/shorts and a plain tee or tank that doesn’t really fit. I don’t like that. I want to be happy with my look, regardless of if I’m at the office or at the playground.

Colourful
This doesn’t probably come as a surprise since I’ve been working on this previously. I want to wear more colours, it’s a challenge of finding colours that look good on me as well as daring to stand out.

Structure
For myself I like wearing structured things. Interesting lines and definitions. Flowy and loose, especially on top, is not for me. I do like an occassional maxi skirt or dress, but that is pretty much as flowy as I’ll ever go. I definitely want waist defintion otherwise I’ll look huge, but I also like shaping clothes with darts and interesting pleats. Fitted and structured are key.

Comfortable
Yeah, I still want to be comfortable. I don’t want to feel restricted. Right now I’m even considering ditching pencil skirts, even though I love the shape, since they are not practical for the life I live. Who doens’t want to be comfortable?

Feminine
I like dressing in a feminine way, with skirts, dresses and shaped. So I want to keep that up.

Once I did talk style with a co-worker. We talked about “European Fashion”, she had recently lived in the UK and said she did not care for the fashions there. It was flowy, loose, not fitted. French fashion on the other hand is structured, feminine, fitted, so you can say I want to be more French in my style. (If there is a country I love, it is France. The landscapes, the wine, the food… I dream away)

So, this exercise left me with the words put together, colourful, structure, comfortable and feminine. It’s where I’m aiming. Plus I want my clothes to show attitude, not necessarily a tough attitude, which usually is the first thing associated with the word, but they should get noticed, which I think they will if I stick to words above.

Wardobe Architect: 7 Bits of Me

For the first step in Colette’s Wardrobe Architect we are supposed to describe how our experiences and views effects the way we dress. There were seven questions to answer for different parts of ourselves.

HISTORY
How has your personal history informed the way you dress? When did your tastes crystalize? Have they changed over the years, and why?
How does your philosophy, spirituality, or religion affect your aesthetics and buying habits? Or, what aspects of those things would you like to see reflected? How has your cultural background shaped the way you look? How did the aesthetics and values you grew up with affect your tastes as you got older?

During my defining years, junior high school and high school, I was an outsider. I was never really bullied, just not a part of the usual groupings. It was more during junior high school than high school, but my feelings were carried on. So, I dressed to blend in as I didn’t want to draw any unnecessary attention to myself. Plus I attended a fairly snobbish high school with lots of focus on brands and appearance, which I wanted to distance myself from (if I had only sewn then!), so my way of dressing was trying to show that I wasn’t trying. I’m now 31 and it was only in my late twenties I realised that I could sew my own things, look good and dare to stand out. So now I want to stand out in a way I didn’t want to in high school, I want to redeem myself and be that girl I wanted to be all along, but didn’t dare.

PHILOSPHY
How does your philosophy, spirituality, or religion affect your aesthetics and buying habits? Or, what aspects of those things would you like to see reflected?

Just recently I’ve opened my eyes to what I’ve known all along about 3rd world textile industry. After the fires and generally the working conditions in those factories I can no longer justify to myself that I should buy the cheap H&M t-shirt or skirt. Plus I’m disgusted by the consumerism that is flowing over Sweden (maybe other parts too, but I don’t follow that scene in other countries) where people just shop and shop until their wardrobe are sold off, each item being unused or used just once or twice. Disgusted.

CULTURE
How has your cultural background shaped the way you look? How did the aesthetics and values you grew up with affect your tastes as you got older?

This relates to the History as well. I grew up (and still live) in Sweden. During the eighties and early nineties the law of Jante was very strong in Sweden. Another way of describing it is that Sweden is the land of lagom. This means that you shouldn’t try to stand out or think that you are better than anyone else.  It is quite hard to explain if you haven’t grown up with it (see the “cultural significance” under the lagom link), but it means that you shouldn’t do anything to draw attention to yourself, you should blend in. So this portion, in combination with my not wanting to stand out really shaped me. This was phased out in the Swedish psyche during the nineties, but it’s still a part of us, if a small part. I’m trying to break free as it is no longer “un-Swedish” to do something different.

COMMUNITY
How are you influenced by the people around you, including friends, family, and other communities you’re involved in?

I would love to wear beautiful dresses more often, but most times I feel overdressed. I am working on bringing in clothes that look good but are still relaxed (I just bought two cool jerseys for this purpose). I tend to dress for the occasion and people. Dinner with our best friends are in a casual skirt and top whereas dinner with the parents I can get away with a bit more.

ACTIVITIES
How do your day to day activities influence your choices?
Right now I’m on maternity leave and the days I’m just at home I don’t make much of an effort. Jeans and a t-shirt. I don’t particularly like it, but, especially now in Winter, I don’t know of anything else to wear since most days I spend at least some time at the playground. Going away, doing indoor activities, I prefer a casual skirt and cardi.
For work, since I have to go back in a month and a half I can dress pretty much any way, but I prefer too look polished and put together. However, since the kids arrived, I want clothes that I can wear to work and still have room to move about in, no pencil skirts! Again, jersey dresses.

LOCATION
Does the place you live inform the way you dress? How does climate factor in?
We live in a four season place so I need clothes for all weathers. I’m not very good with layering, even though I should, and my summer outfits feel too easy from time to time.

BODY
In what ways does body image affect your choices in clothing? What clothes make you feel good about the body you live in? What clothes make you feel uncomfortable or alienated from your body?
I’m pretty comfortable in my body, but I am working on finding an exercise and food routine that can help loose a few pounds. I don’t like the way clothes look on me right now. Also, being busty, I don’t care for too much cleavage or things that aren’t fitted, they just hang down from the chest. I’ve just taken up judo again (which I practiced as a teenager) and I love the feeling I get when I put on my judo gi. I feel strong and empowered and that’s a feeling I want in my everyday life as well.

Sew For a Change

With all the stashbusting I can’t join I feel left out. However, thanks to a good link about an FBA tutorial, I found a new blog and a new challenge. The Sew For a Change Challenge.

It’s two Swedish bloggers behind this challenge, Alexandra and Malin. The challenge is about sustainability in what we buy and wear. At the beginning of the year each participant is given 75 points to spend on fabrics and any items of clothing, with different costs for different garments. Through monthly challenges we can receive extra points to spend on other things. All rules can be found here.

This challenge is actually perfect for me since I’m allowed to shop my stash for free, but it is not forbidden for me to buy new fabric, as long as I stay within budget. Also, second hand shopping is encouraged since it is free, but again, I’m not forbidden to buy new items within my points budget.

So, this is what I will be doing during 2014. A new challenge, I like it! And I’m so committed that I’ve already got the badge up, see right column.

Why I Don’t Stashbust

One common goal in sewing seems to be stashbusting. There are groups and sewalongs dedicated to this matter and I wish I could join in on the fun. But I can’t, my stash is not big and diverse enough. Don’t believe me?
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This a picture of my uncut fabrics. However I’ve excluded two pieces, one that is meant for curtains and one I’ve bought as a muslin fabric. This is it. I don’t drown in fabrics or can swim around in them. I do however have a few UFOs as well as some fabric that has been cut but not gotten any further (do to sizing). So, the way I see it I don’t have THAT much fabric that I “shouldn’t” be allowed more. (I have some scraps too, but since I usually buy for specific projects, I throw away the leftovers. There are a few “big enough pieces too, but not many)

So, if I don’t have that much fabric, it wouldn’t be too hard to use it before I buy new, right? The thing is, most of these (excluding one) are wovens. Most of them also have an idea. For the first part of 2014 (and perhaps longer) I want to focus on getting in shape, find an exercise routine and, as much as I hate to say it, lose some baby weight. I want my clothes to fit better and look better on me. It’s not very smart to make fitted garments in woven for a body I want to change and hopefully will. Apart from this, I also want to work with knits (did anyone say Tiramisu?) and whenever I buy knits they tend to get used right away, therefore I have no knits in my stash. What I can do is focus on buying knits instead of wovens, but if a luscious piece in the scrap bin, I’m not sure I’ll be able to resist. I’ll try and focus my shopping on knits, though.

I do however want to focus on the patterns I have, they are not many, but they shoulnd’t be left unused. Apart for the ones I have (a number of magazines (like 10), 7 envelope patterns and Burdastyle’s and Colette’s sewing handbooks) I will buy two sewing books and hopefully get buy on that this year (although, the Cabarita looks so tempting and I don’t know what pattern makers have up their sleeve).

There you have it, my version of stashbusting. Focus on buying knits and using the patterns I have.

Do you stashbust? Or do you, like me own a modest number of fabrics/patterns?

(Fabrics in the picture
Left Top to bottom: Black heavy denim (probably skirts), dark teal satin (thinking Hawthorn, but it might not be enough), aqua silk (Thinking Taffy), grey poplin, stretch netting (no ideas. Giveaway?).
Right TtB: Printed cotton (a dress of some sort), purple linen (no idea), polka dot cotton (heavyweight, a dress), pinstripe stretch denim (planning a suit, but I need more time than I currently have), aubergine “party satin” (jacket or structured skirt), teal satin (Secret Santa Gift, a blouse)

Inspiration Process

Having watched several season of Project Runway (11 so far as well as two All-stars) I’ve come to one conclusion. I am not a designer.

What I like most about Project Runway is seeing the process, from taking in the given challenge to interpret it in lines and fabrics, ending up with a garment that is unique, yourself and that reflects the challenge frames. (However, I don’t like in latter seasons that this process has been toned down to make room for drama.) I find it amazing how differently all the designers interpret the challenge and most time I can’t figure out what I’d make, let alone knowing what fabrics, trims and notions I’d want within that time frame.

Anyway, I’m not the person too see something special, in nature, in the city, anywhere and think how I’d change that into a garment.Well, once when I saw this tulip in our garden last summer. I thought of a yellow skirt in gores, with red highlights along the seams.

Tulpan

But that’s it. I couldn’t sit down and make a sketch of a garment I wish to make or wear. My creative process doesn’t work like that.

I’m inspired by seeing other people’s finished creations. Yes, I need clothing to inspire clothing. Or browsing pattern magazines, knowing I can make almost all those garments. Then I still need to combine it with a fabric, from the selection available. It’s a wonder I make clothes and don’t hate them all, having all of these things coincide.

Just yesterday Little Stone Cottage wrote about the sewists’ equivalent to the chicken and the egg, which comes first, fabric or pattern? In my case it’s mostly pattern. I’m constantly behind everyone else though, since I want to see the pattern made up in several ways before I commit, I bought Colette’s Hawthorn six months after it came out. One of the things I really like about Me-Made-May is seeing patterns made up and worn for regular life, it’s the biggest inspiration of the year!

How does your creative process work? Can you see a picture of something abstract and turn it into a garment in your head? Or do you need concrete inspiration to make your own stuff? Does fabric or pattern come first?

My Sewist’s Secret Santa Gift

By the nick of time, meaning I sent my e-mail the day after final closing, I managed to join Sewist’s Secret Santa, hosted by A Krafty Kat. I’ve sent away my own package and now I’m stalking my recipient’s blog to see if she liked it and, of course, I’ve opened my own gift.

Since I was in the “international” group I know which country my gift comes from, but I’m not going to reveal that… Onto the gifts!

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I recieved a piece of fabric and a card. The card was lovely written about christmas, sewing and family relations. However, seeing it made me realise that my letter to my recipient wasn’t as lovely, let’s hope she doesn’t mind! (Oh, and Santa, it was kind of good you didn’t find a merino jersey since wool makes me itch.

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The fabric is an aqua-teal silk (bad lighting on this last day of 2013). It has small squares on it. As I pulled it out of my package I immediately thought “blouse”, perhaps a Taffy, but I’m not sure there’s enough for a Taffy since it’s cut on the bias. I will search for a blouse pattern that will suit this fabric, which is very light and flowy.

Thank you so much Santa, I hope to sew my new fabric in 2014!

Top 3 of 2013: Goals

wpid-11384379103_a621f96522.jpg(How many times have you seen this image in your reader? I stopped counting way back)

I’ve already talked about how I want to develop my blog and style, this portion will focus on sewing. Thinking about this post has set off plenty of ideas in my mind. However, not knowing what it’ll be like to work full time, have two kids and getting back into an exercise routine, I don’t want to set numerical goals, such as “sew at least 10 garments” since I have no idea if that’s doable or not.

The blog. I will try and publish at least one post a week (OK, so I started with a numerical goal). A creation, musing, guide, reflection. I want to keep the blog afloat. I do want a new name (though, not a new domain, the great thing about having chose a uiniversal domain), new layout (which will be a tmeplate, I suck at graphic design) and new feeling. Lately I’ve been playing with the idea of publishing posts in both Swedish and English, to reah out to the Swedish community more, but I still don’t want to lose the international possibilities. I also want to work on my photos, more outdoor shots, in action. Perhaps finally involve hubby in taking pictures so I don’t need to rely on the self-timer and a place to put the camera.

The wardrobe. I will focus a lot on building a wardrobe, with stuff that go together in style and colour. I will work out from my colour palette. This also includes getting rid of things, I have too many things in my wradrobe, things I hardly wear or really like. I’ve already donated two big bags to charity, there’s more to follow. If I need something I can’t sew, the first place to look will be thrift stores. I don’t limit myself to thrift stores and if I find something irresistable in a regular store I will allow myself to buy it. However, I won’t randomly stroll RTW stores and buying things that look cute, the things I buy, no matter where, need to fill a purpose. In addition, what I will focus on with sewing will be tops. I haven’t really found a great top pattern for me so I will look for that and make tops. I have plenty of skirts (although some are clearly made by a person in her early 20s) and I find them easy to make, now it’s time to find and make tops.

The stash. Regarding patterns, I have plenty of patterns I haven’t used. I will treat myself to 2 pattern books next year, otherwise I will make use of what I have (well, with a disclaimer if I were to the the PERFECT top pattern). Regarding fabrics, I will try and use up some of what I have, but I’m allowing myself new buys if they serve a purpose, or is a find. My goal is that my fabrics shall fit into two shelves by the end of the year, wish me luck. I will also try and finish a few UFOs I have lying around, or discard them.

I have big ambitions for the next year, one of which is to loosen the grip the TV has on me. Another is getting back in shape, I started out pretty well this fall, but then it got dark and cold, meaning I didn’t take as many walks as in the early autumn, Christmas came and we have treats all over. So, 2014 will be the year when I take control over myself and my time and hoping it won’t leave me too exhausted. If you can dream it, you can do it – Walt Disney. And I’m dreaming… (but still well aware that life may get in the way)