Friday, May 31, 2013

Me-Made May, Days 21-26

Oh, look, it's the very last day of May! How did that happen? What with travelling home last weekend for my little half-sister's christening, studying for orals and rehearsing for my choir concert tomorrow, the last couple of weeks went by really fast... I'm not going to overwhelm you with pics today, though (mostly because I'm still in my jammies, which, even though they're me-made, I'm not too keen on banning on digital celluloid), so you'll get the rest of the round-up tomorrow... ish.
 Day 21: floral Macaron and lacy spring cardi, worn to studying in the library. A girl from my study group complimented me on the dress and asked where I bought it. Yay! :)
Day 22: green spring Rooibos, which worked fine for a morning coffee walk with a friend, but then it started raining and temperatures dropped. I had to change into Lola, because it goes so well with my wellies. ;)
 Day 23: green corduroy skirt and very old striped longsleeve.
 Day 24: Slowly running out of knit dress options, but this worked well enough for the 6h drive home. Green tunic dress  and me-made leggings (which are slowly falling apart and need to be replaced), on my mom's balcony.
 Day 25: Two outfits for today, one in the morning (Zoe ruffle top, new, unblogged aqua tank top and navy pleated skirt) and one for the christening (nautical Crepe and my handsome boyfriend on my arm :).  
Day 26: Did I mention that I finally shortened the bodice of my Lacy Tiramisu? It fits really well now! :D I also removed the pockets. Not that I don't love pockets, but in this jersey, they just warped the fabric (even though I used stay tape) and made my bumps more bumpy. This is better. :)

Thanks for your thoughts about my wool question! I hope it'll be alright to use the parts that didn't shrink, and next time I'll definitely be more cautious. I'm in the process of tracing off the pattern pieces for the jacket, then I'll make a muslin/toile from the cotton I will use for underlining. That way, I hope I can use the same pieces for underlining, afterwards.

Now on to some German sewing words! I thought I'd go with some embellishments today:

Spitze ['ʃpɪtsə] lace - Isn't it interesting that Spitze also means the top or tip of something (like a mountain, or a needle)?

Zackenlitze ['tsʌkən'lɪtsə] ric rac - Zacke is a zigzag or spike, but I actually had to look up Litze. Turns out it's an old-fashioned word for a woven ribbon. Makes sense.

Paspel ['pʌspəl] piping - those look like they could have the same etymologic root, although the German word for piping has no similarities at all with the word pipe (which means Rohr - except, now that I think about it, it also means Pfeife, which is the one you smoke).

Talking about embellishments reminds me that I have a couple of crocheted yokes I've been meaning to use for summer tops... What's your favorite embellishment?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Me-Made May, Days 16-20 and a Wool Conundrum

Another Me-Made May update! Are you getting bored of these yet? I admit that, while I truly enjoy seeing other people's outfits, I'm very overwhelmed by the immense amount of pictures in the flickr group...
Day 16:  me-made halter top, leggins and (unseen) knickers.
Day 17: my very first me-made skirt and recently made yoked flower top, plus me-made knickers. The luxerious breakfast was because it was the anniversary of bf&my first kiss. :)
In Sewing News, I'm still in the cutting out stage for several projects (two blouses and a Lola!). But I had a rather panicked thought a couple of days ago: I have nothing to wear for Orals! Ok, this is possibly a lie, since I have an (ill fitting) white blouse and a couple pairs of dressy trousers, but no blazer. There's also going to be a few job interviews in my very near future. What to do?!? 
Day 18: me-made dotty jersey dress. Me-made knickers. And yes, I'm posing with an  umbrella, even though it isn't raining. It was raining earlier, I promise!
Day 19: me-made striped jersey dress and me-made knickers. Also: me-made bird earrings. 
Well, I only added the bird charms to the hooks. But it still counts, right? 
So, since I recently bought Gertie's Book for better Sewing, and also own her Craftsy Starlet Suit Jacket class, I was thinking it might be a nice idea to make a suit jacket and matching (Colette Rooibos) dress out of navy wool with white piping. It might also be a crazy idea. Brilliant? Crazy? I don't know!
Day 20: me-made black&white jersey dress and me-made leggins. Me-planted seedlings. The plentiful green stuff behind the watering can is lettuce! It grows crazy fast!
So, I bought 3 m of navy wool fabric today, and already put it into the drier with a couple of wet towels  for 45 minutes to pre-treat it, because it has been suggested on the internets that that is a good idea.
I fear that it wasn't, quite, since the only part that seems to have shrunk is a strip about 4 cm wide, running down the whole length of the fabric, smack dab in the middle where the fold line was. Umm, ok? I can probably cut most of the pieces around it (I hope), but I'm wondering if the fabric is pre-treated enough? It was pretty hot and steaming when I took it out of the drier. Nothing has actually felted (relieved sigh). But since it shrunk in that funny way, I'm not sure it has shrunk enough? Do any of you know enough about wool fabric to tell me what's going on?

After about 45 minutes in the drier with a couple of wet towels, on a high setting:
Should I steam/press it again with my iron? Is it alright to use it like that? I'm confused.
Have you ever sewn with wool? How have you pre-shrunk it? Is there anything else I have to know about sewing with wool?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Stashbusting in April

I didn't sew much in April, what with exams, but after they were over I had over a week, which I used to stitch and cut out some basics for Me-Made May. 

#1 Macaron Flower Tee
Seeing how many jersey dresses and longsleeved tees I own, it's a bit of a surprise that I only have two me-made short sleeves, one of which I don't really like to wear, as it's pretty clingy. I had some leftover fabric from the flower-top dress, and I really liked that fabric combination, so I used my self-drafted Macaron knit yoke and traced-off top/dress pattern to make this top:
I'm not quite satisfied with the shape of the sweetheart curve, and will re-draft it for the next version, but otherwise, I really like my new top!

Pattern: traced longsleeve/dress pattern with shortened sleeves, self-drafted knit Macaron yoke
Fabric: leftovers from floral fabric (originally Girlcharlee, bought spring of last year) and torquoise fabric (from Holland fabric market, bought last year)Notions: some fusible knit stay tape to reinforce the sweetheart line
Time to complete: A coupla hours, tops.Alterations: Apart from frankenpatterning the yoke with the top pattern... none reallyTechniques used: Topstitching (the bodice to the yoke), finishing the hem, sleeves and neckline with a self-fabric band.

Before I actually cut it out, I determined that I really needed some more me-made knickers if I wanted to get through Me-Made May, so to make the most out of the fabric remnants, I cut them out simultaneously with the top.

#2 Flowery Knickers
The pattern is the same as with my other six pairs of me-made knickers, traced from my favorite RTW pair. The elastic I got from a shop on e*bay. The blue pair seemed a bit boring, so I cut out a couple of flowers from the other fabric and zigzagged them on.

#3 Roxy Pyjamas
And last but not least: a pair of pyjamas! My one me-made pair from last year's Pyjama Party does need to be washed sometimes, so I thought that another pair for Me-Made May would probably be a good idea. Add to that fact that this piece of fabric, bought from Girlcharlee on a whim, has been lying around for over a year, because while I think the print is really cool, it's the flimsiest cotton jersey I've ever seen (the print has bled through to the left side practically everywhere), with close to zero recovery.
But: when in doubt about a fabric, make pyjamas. Nobody will have to see them but me (and I think they're kinda cute, even though they get kinda baggy after the first wear, and for some strange reason, my boyfriend likes them, too. Possibly because I wear them. He's sweet like that). Plus, another piece of stash fabric busted! And the black bands give the hem and shorts enough elasticity and recovery to be both comfy and moderately well-fitting.
I also tried a new-to-me neckline finish: knit binding!
I used this tutorial by IkatBag. I could have been a bit more careful with my stitching, but all in all, I guess it looks alright for the first time (and for pyjamas), and I like the general look. I'll be sure to use it more often!

The top was actually finished on May 1st, but we'll count it for April, because I hope I'll get some more things finished for the May stashbusting reveal. Possibly. I hope. ;)

So, just some basics, but both the pyjamas and the knickers have already seen quite some wear and I've worn the top twice. Would have been more often but I'm trying to not repeat garments too much...

Do you sew basics? These are more along the line of bread than cake, even. But some fresh baked bread with butter does hit the spot sometimes, doesn't it? Am I taking the metaphor too far? Personally, I'd take a fresh buttered bread with chopped chives and a bit of salt over frosting any day of the week, and I see a bit of a parallel to jersey dresses and me-made knickers... ;)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Me-made May Days 10-15

So after a relaxing first half of May, part two hast decided to be waaaay busier. I tried to coordinate a dinner date with a friend yesterday, but between his schedule and mine and my boyfriend's, we had to settle for June... But as we're still having the loveliest late spring/early summer weather, and I've been relaxing on my balcony the last two nights, wearing short-sleeves and having a beer while enjoying the smell of the lilac trees across the street and watching the crescent moon - so who cares about a bit of busy-ness. ;)
Day 11: Minnie Dress and RTW cardi, plus me-made knickers, which I've actually successfully wearing every day so far!
Day 12: me-made navy linen trousers and aqua raglan sleeved  top.  And a Star Trek communicator. We went to see Into the Darkness after choir practice. I'm totally enjoying the new Star Trek films!
Studies for orals are going reasonably well, even though I haven't done much yet besides meeting my exam group twice a week and checking out a huge load of case books from the library.
The salad is getting bigger. The strawberry blossoms are getting more numerous. And I'm thinking the lemon balm seeds are finally starting to germinate. 
Day 13: Christmas Parfait, worn for tea with a girlfriend. In spite of being made of corduroy, it does actually work well for not-too-hot spring days. Yay!
Next weekend I'm off to visit my father and his family for the christening of my little half sister, the next day we're going to visit the theater performance of a friend of mine in Zurich, and then the day after we're having birthday tea with one of my grandmas before going back to Berlin. Two days after that is the dress rehersal for our next choir concert, which we're performing on the first of June.

After that, the rest of June looks blissfully empty. Except for that oral exam, of course.

Day 14: navy linen trousers and strawberry striped longsleeve.  The navy trousers are getting quite a workout on days that are too cold for bare legs, but when I'm not in the mood for tights...
In sewing things, apart from a few necessary basics at then end of April/beginning of May, I haven't actually sewn a stitch this month, but I have a Lola experiment all cut out and - as my plan was to designate May woven-top-month - I'm in the process of cutting out (and taping) the Sassy Librarian Blouse and Sewaholic's Pendrell blouse. I've also planned on tracing off a babydoll top, because I really like wearing them with shorts or leggins on hot summer days. It's a bit ridiculous, how many woven, blouse weight fabrics are in my stash, especially regarding how seldom I actually wear blouses! But maybe that'll change when I actually own a couple of cute blouses. We'll see.

Day 15: blue polka-dot jersey skirt and petrol top. The top is rather clingy, I sure know why I don't wear it more often...

You know, I'm really enjoying this one last summer before being ultimately grown up and starting an actual job with actual pay and actual 30-days-vacation-at-the-most. :)

Anyway. Sewing words. We had Bluse but maybe you want to know about different sorts of garments?

Rock ['rɒk] - is it a very heavy garment? Nope, it's a skirt. You can get it pleated: Faltenrock ['fʌltən~], or maybe as a circle skirt (which is a plate skirt in German): Tellerrock [teler'~]. Pleats are fun, for example, a box pleat is called Kellerfalte ['keler'fʌltə(which actually translates into cellar/basement pleat) and an inverted box pleat is called Quetschfalte ['kvetʃ'fʌltə(squeezed pleat).

Hose [hozə] pants/trousers. Unrelated to sewing but maybe etymologically interesing: an English hose (like, for gardening) is a Schlauch laʊx]. The American word pantyhose (tights) are derived, though, I think. They'd be Strumpfhose [ʃtrʊmpfhozə] (stocking trousers) in German.

Kleid [klaɪ̯d] dress. The fun thing is that Kleidung [klaɪ̯dʊŋ] means garments, as a whole. Maybe because a long time ago, everyone dressed in dresses? ;)

Friday, May 10, 2013

Me Made May, Days 6-10

How can a third of May be over already, and me with almost nothing to show for it?! Although I guess that isn't quite true, as I did some very nice relaxing, and visiting with my parents, and gardening, and some sewing got done, too, and I went to an outdoor jazz concert where the boyfriend of one of my friends played, and had a candy apple... And I had my first meeting with my study group for orals today, too. So I guess some things did get done this month.

While we're speaking of getting stuff done: do you know how magical it is to watch stuff grow? This is the first time in ages that I'm growing things from scratch (last time I was about six years old, and literally no carrots survived my inquiring mind, they all got pulled out before their root was even a couple cm long). On Debbie's suggestion, I planted a couple rows of lettuce, and look how far along they are!
The nasturtiums (nasturtia?) grew from nothing to about 5cm high in about three days, my strawberry plants are already bearing fruit, and the tomatoes are starting to look like tomatoes instead of generic plant stuff! It's magic! (And my logical mind is wondering what I'm going to think of being pregnant, when the time comes, if itty baby plants are such a big source of delight and amazement for me... ;)
And also, me-made garments were being worn.
Day 6: navy pleated skirt and new flowery t-shirt. This is based on my one-for-all knit-top/dress pattern, from last year's OWOP and the knit yoke I drafted for my Macarons. More details about construction later. Btw, the photo was taken in the park across the street, which is just overflowing with lilac bushes. I love lilac! I love it almost as much as I do chestnut blossoms. It's the smell of spring... :)
Day 7: red refashioned skirt and polka dot Sorbetto. Also, let me present a vintage Berlin street lamp and the Victory Column, lovingly known as Golden Elsie. This Sorbetto somehow only gets worn for me-made months, possibly because it's a bit short and I'm not too sure about the fit. It works with this skirt, though.
Day 8: cutout knit dress. This also get worn almost exclusively during me-made months, mostly because I only have one strapless bra that goes well with the cutout, and that one isn't only uncomfortable, it also doesn't give enough support. Add that to the fact that the fabric, while having a lovely hand, is rather thick and warm - an inspired choice for a longsleeved fall dress, not so much for a cutout-back summer dress - well, there you have it. I'd love to make another one in a more appropriate fabric, though. And find a well-fitting strapless bra...
Day 9: On my way to the bus stop. Striped tee and navy linen trousers. Still the one and only pair of bottoms-that-aren't-a-skirt I ever made. Since I only wear trousers on cool/rainy summer days when bare legs would be too cold but I don't want to wear tights, I guess that's ok. 
Day 10: navy polka dot dress. Both this dress and the striped top above are made from the same pattern as the flowery top from Day 6. Also, sadly, my tripod doesn't take pictures as nicely as my mom or boyfriend. But it'll have to do for this round-up.

As for the German sewing words: Debbie asked for some basics, so here we go!

Nähmaschine ['næ:mʌʃi:nə] (I bet you're loving those umlauts and schs... I'm having fun with the International Phonetic Alphabet and looking up sounds in Oxford's Dictionary. ;) sewing machine. Yup, sewing = nähen.

Spule ['ʃpu:lə] bobbin. Although actually, this could be anything that has something thin and thread-like wrapped around a cylinder, like a coil, or a reel, or - indeed - a spool.

Another fun one: Nadel ['nʌ:dəl] needle. Would you have guessed? 

Stecknadel ['ʃtek 'nʌ:dəl] pin. Or if you want to have the literal translation: stick needle. 'Cause, you know, it's kinda like a needle but you stick it into stuff. It also doesn't have an eye, which, incidentally, is an ear in German. Are you having fun with etymology yet?

A last one to add to the confusion: Stoff ['ʃtɒf] fabric. Although it also has half a dozen other meanings, like material, (chemical) compound, substance, matter... I like the last one best, kinda in a "fabric of the universe" meaning. And what's with the word Fabrik [fʌb'rɪk], do you ask? Well, that one is rather unrelated to sewing, excetpt with a look to where our fabric and other stuff comes from, as it means factory. 

Did you know any of these words already? Do you have a request for others? Are you having a lovely May, wherever you are?


Monday, May 6, 2013

Me-Made May Day 1-5

Time flies. My parents were visiting for the long May weekend. The weather was lovely. The plants on my balcony are progressing, it's fascinating how quickly they are growing now that it's warmer. I also bought a few herbs and a couple of strawberry plants. Can't wait for the first fruits to be ripe for picking.

The first three days of May are a little mini-OWOP. Three days, one pattern. I thought I'd build a little separats-Karma and wear my Ottobre raglan tees.
May 1: coral raglan long-sleeve and strawberrry skirt.
May 2: strawberry striped raglan long-sleeve and green corduroy Simplicity 2451 
May 3: torquoise raglan long-sleeve with navy self-drafted pleated skirt
  Then, the weather turned even nicer and I had to go with some of the dresses in my wardrobe.
  May 4: coral Lola, paired with an incredibly cool pair of fake-tattoo tights.
May 5: blue roses McCall's M6011
 I know I promised some German sewing words, but I'm not quite sure how to go about it. Do you want the strange/complicated ones? The ones that sound almost like their English counterparts? The ones that every German would know about? The ones that are specialty sewing knowledge?

Maybe we'll start with a couple that are almost like their English counterparts. For example:

Bluse [blu:zə] : can you guess what that means? Yup, it's blouse.

Or I've got another one:

Garn [Garn] : This sounds similar to yarn, and it's used for thicker types of thread, like embroidery or topstitching thread and sometimes also for thinner types of wool, like you use for crocheting.

Are there any words that you'd especially like to know about?
Hope you're having a lovely May!