Monday, November 28, 2011

My New Favorite Dress

I finally managed it! After weeks and weeks of having it lying on a heap in the corner, I finished my Floral Macaron dress.

I actually meant to make it in time for the Rose of Spanish Harlem theme over at Sew Weekly weeks ago, but after attching the yoke and inserting the zipper, I really didn't think the look was flattering on me.

The photo doesn't actually tell it all, but the sweetheart curve sat too low on my bust and made me look flat-chested, while the folds of the skirt really emphasized my hips. Paired with the sleeves that made my shoulders look even broader than they actually are, I was not impressed.

Which made me sad, because I really, really love the floral fabric. I guess it's the first fabric I've used that could be called "vintage", although I have no idea how old it is. My boyfriend brought it from his last visit to his grandma, when he helped her clean up the attic and came across her old sewing stash. Isn't it great that he thought of me? :)

After consulting a friend, we decided that the skirt and bodice part were actually fine and would look good if they just sat about two inches higher. So this weekend I reached for my seam ripper, took off the yoke and made a sleeveless knit one instead. (My very clever method was to put on a tight jersey top, put the dress on over it, mark the lines of the sweetheart and back neckline on the top with chalk and then use that as a pattern. Worked like a charm. :) )

The bust dart now sits about two inches above my bust point and I had to put in an additional (v-shaped) dart so the bodice wouldn't gape (looks like a princess seam now, you can see the shadow of it on the photo if you look closely). But I love the dress. I love the fabric, I love how comfy it is, it doesn't even crease all that much! I can wear it layered with longsleeves, my new black slip and tights, and it's just right for the weather. The sweetheart neckline and the flowered fabric make me ridiculously happy. And as I opted for sleeveless, I'm pretty sure I can wear it year round!

It also matches my friendship scarf and mitts. :)

In my excitement, I started on another Macaron yesterday, this one a fall/winter version with a longsleeved knit yoke, made of the teal plaid fabric and navy interlock.
For fear of pattern-matching, I cut the bodice on the bias with the same modifications that I did on the floral version. Not sure that was the best idea, the darts make interesting shapes of the plaid and I'm not quite sure how the bias cut will affect the fit... If all else fails, I have enough fabric left over to cut a second, on-grain bodice, at least. :)

What's on your sewing table right now?
Have a wonderful week!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Finished Things

How come it is Thursday already?! Wasn't it Monday a minute ago? Time seems to be flying by - as it usually does, when you have stuff to do.

So, things.

As most of you will probably have seen, I did a guest post on Holiday Treats (cinnamon stars and hot cherry chocolate, yum!) over at Rhinestones and Telephones last Tuesday! Hop over if you haven't seen it yet and want to try a new recipe for holiday cookies!

Last week was pretty busy. My drama group finally performed "Ajax // Don Quichotte (beta)" (an interesting and slightly experimental mash-up of the two pieces of literature) on stage, with several dress rehersals before opening night on Thursday and performances through the weekend. It was pretty awesome, even though I think 95% of the people who came knew at least one of the people involved.

My mom, sister and her boyfriend even came up on Wednesday and stayed until Sunday morning, and I spent the days shopping and walking about the city with them. Of course, evenings were spent celebrating, drinking, eating and having fun - so not much time for sewing. On the upside, I did quite a bit of knitting before the performances to settle my nerves. So now my scarf is finished!

I think it's about 2m long, I can wrap it around my neck 4 times! *g* Even with my blocking, it's prone to rolling up though. It might be that the bamboo rayon yarn doesn't block that well. Any suggestions?

I've also been scrambling to get my report sheets together. I'm starting my last year of uni and what most of you might know as medical internship in February, and the deadline to show that you have indeed completed all necessary classes and doing the required practical work is Dec. 1. Of course, my Uni doesn't do this digitally, we have to go to every secretary's office of almost every class we've taken, get a little piece of paper and take everything to the internship office. I might have started earlier with this, alas, I totally forgot and now one of the secretaries is sick. Hope she'll be fine again by Monday...

I did manage to finish another garment and Fall Essential, though. A raglan longsleeve from one of the Fabric Market jerseys, the pattern is from Ottobre 5/2008. Apart from a bit of rolling, the jersey was very uncomplicated to sew. Not too stretchy. :) I still need to hem, and I'm thinking of making a few matching fabric flowers for embellishment. It looks rather plain like that. But good for layering...
I've another cut out, that one in green with a gathered neckline. We'll see how it turns out. Until then, my next project for communting is already on my knitting needles - but secret for now, as certain kind of people read my blog. ;)

Hope you're all having a good week!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Sewing or Knitting?

I think I have found out why my sewing mojo has been rather down the last couple of weeks, while my knitting mojo has been really good. Today was the loveliest of days, crispy cold and clear, just above freezing and glowing a brownish gold. So lovely that I spent quite a bit of time cycling to and fro, shopping for yarn, knit dresses and make-up for out theater performance next week, instead of using public transport. Very different from gloomy, clammy, foggy yesterday...

I say "was" even though it's hardly 4 o'clock, because the sun is already low enough that I had to switch on the light. I'm not winter depressive or anything (books, cozy blankets, knitting, hot chocolate, cinnamon spice tea, risotto and the occasional crispy, sunny winter day make me mostly like the season, at least until mid-January) but fact is that, even though my sewing nook is right by the window on the top floor of a 5 storey building, it is pretty gloomy and not very well lit, at least between mid-October and March. And I can knit while listening to teachers, watching TV, going on the bus... good lighting is not essential for knitting. :)

Which is possibly why I have accumulated a yarn stash in the last couple of days. :)

As I said before, we don't really do Christmas gifts in my immediate family. There are a few frinds and family members I've decided to knit gifts for, though - Christmas gifts or just "a little reminder that I love you" gifts, right? ;) You may be able to find them over at Tilly's Crafty Christmas Club in a while - my family and some friends do read my blog sometimes. :)

Sewing mojo notwithstanding, I went to visit the Holland Fabric Market in Potsdam last Sunday. It's only 4 times a year, and they usually have pretty good bargaigns. I was looking for some more nice doubleknit fabric for another knit dress, possibly some nice wool for a winter Rooibos or Macaron, a lace collar for embellishment, jersey for longsleeves, some fun (polka dot?) lining, red curderoy for a little girl's Christmas dress... but wasn't impressed by the selection. I did find some non-expensive jersey coupons (1.5x1.5m, 5€ each) for longsleeves and a bit of stretch poly garbandine (?) for a pair of trousers. Honestly, that was possibly a good thing. My stash is getting pretty big as it is and I did spend quite a bit of money on yarn in the last two weeks. *g*

So, no new sewing projects at the moment (though I want to sew up a couple of longsleeves sometime soon) but my friendship scarf is coming along well!
Also, something I totally forgot to post last week: I finally took a picture of the lovely hat that was gifted to me by Jessica! I totally love the little felt flowers she used for embellishment. And it looks really lovely with my polka-dot Rooibos layered for fall weather! :)
So how has your week been going. Are you happy with the weather in your part of the world? And does it influence your sewing/knitting mojo?

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Finally more Fall Essentials

Thanks for your lovely comments on my last post! I'm doing fine, the cold is gone, and this week, uni is taking up a lot less time. So I actually had time to do some stuff! I should really blog more often, because things are accumulating. I have a reason for this, and I'll try to be better about it - probably from next week on... ;)

Sooo. I managed to finally finish some more Fall Essentials and take pictures of them! First one up: a cheater Fall Essential, as the dress itself was finished in spring. It still lacked quite a bit of handsewing, though, because the instructions for attaching the lining (Rooibos style) confused me to no end.

The pattern is Burda 3477, a basic princess seamed sheath dress, and I made it up in some teal wool fabric that my lovely friend Ismeta gave me, when I visited her in Kentucky around this time last year. :)

I really love the color, and the fit is fine for a sheath dress, I think. Unfortunately, I kind of missed adding a slit to the back. It's fine for the wool, which has enough give to sit comfortably, but the lining is less stretchy. We'll see how it works, but I've even tried biking with it and didn't have any problems for now...

No. 2 may be my new favorite dress. It's so comfy! It's a sheath dress from Ottobre 5/2008, originally meant for a woven fabric, but I used a doubleknit (I think?) from the Turkish fabric market.

Since it's a knit, I made the pattern without the back zipper, which was easy enough. I traced size 42 from the magazine and added seam allowances, which I took off again at the side seams, since I wanted a slightly tighter fit for the knit.

(Incidentally, I lost my camera remote while making these pictures - it slipped out of my hand while throwing a big handful of leaves into the air and even 30 of searching under the leaves wouldn't produce it. I also almost kicked my shoes into the lake behind me during the jumping pictures, which is why I decided to jump barefoot the second time around... ;)

My boyfriend calls this my mouse dress, since it is grey. It does look slightly mousy, but I like it with contrast longsleeves. Black is fine, but I like green even better and I have a purple longsleeve on my to-refashion list...

Also, look at the black cloche that I got last month... :) And labels! :D

I really like the fabric for this dress. I feels so soft and the bias look is very cute. Unfortunately, even after a few wears it pills like crazy...

Other stuff: I've been thinking hard about Christmas presents. We don't do presents in my immediate family (the money not spent on gifts is put into a pool , to contribute to a Christmas feast or vacation) but I think some small handmade trinkets for my friends would be nice, especially since I've found that knitting is a really soothing activity. :)

My friendship scarf is progressing moderately well, even though I almost only knit during my 1.5 hour evening class. This is how it looked two weeks ago. Right now I'm at about 80cm, I think...

We got a bread maker! We eat quite a bit of bread, and I've found that the bread made by bakeries in Berlin is so much worse than in the bakeries at home. I think most of them get the almost-finished bread delivered and only finish baking it, so it's got lots of preservatives and stuff. With the bread maker, we can make smaller breads so they stay fresh and we know exactly what ingredients are in it. Plus, fresh warm bread whenever we want, without leaving the house! :D

(We're still working on the look, though...)

I'll leave you with an impression of my Hallowe'en costume. :) (In case you wonder, I called it Celtic Druid Priestess.)

Have a lovely rest of the week!