Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Peek-a-boo striped Lola and a sparkly one

So it's a bit overwhelming, all those garments I made last year that I haven't blogged about yet. But I guess there's nothing wrong with taking it slowly, piece by piece, interspersed with what I'm making at the moment. And once I think about it, I guess there's also nothing wrong with not blogging about a garment at all, or just as a mention on the side, should it prove to be boring. Right?

And with that out of the way, let's start on this striped Victory Patterns Lola I made in December. Maybe I should stop blogging about Lolas, I've made so many of them. This is number eleven, and I've also made a number twelve, which I'm going to show you right afterwards. What can I say, they're perfect for everyday and the pattern is surprisingly versatile. Wanna see?
(I only left out the one that was a wadder from the start, due to bad fabric choice.)
To be honest, I don't wear them all equally frequently. The striped green one and the navy short sleeved one are made of rather flimsy fabric, which doesn't wear so well. Funny, as the blue&white striped one is a similar weight, but worn so often now that it's all pilly and has developed a hole under one arm. I wear the coral one a lot even though the sleeve bands feel pretty tight (they're meant to be made from ribbing, so need to be adjusted when using a less stretchy fabric).The green wooly one is a bit scratchy and rather too short for my liking. The most successful ones, really, have been those three made from sweatshirting, and the polka-dotted fleece version, which is so cozily warm, it's perfect for a cold winter day at home. But those I wear all. The. Time.

So when I saw some black&white striped sweatshirting at The Sweet Mercerie, it prompted a little fabric shopping spree to throw off my stashbusting numbers (to escape shipping costs), and filled my need for another warm-and-longsleeved winter Lola.
Look, I took inside outfit pics that aren't actually horrible!
I don't know if there's a lot to say about this one. I took some care with stripe matching, which turned out pretty well overall. I drafted the little collar to keep out the chill, and wasn't quite convinced that it worked at first, but I like how it comes out in the photos and now it's one of my favorite features. I finally drafted a pattern piece for the long sleeves, after eyeballing it mostly for my earlier versions. Although they're just a tiny bit tight, as this fabric has almost no stretch at all.
Is there anything else to say? For a Lola, this feels surprisingly elegant to wear. Well, maybe not elegant, but... smart? I guess the stripes and collar give it a bit of a mod feel. I really like the collar.  :-)

Beware, derpy looking photos ahead!

I think I mentioned that I got some sparkly black sweatshirt fabric from Lillestoff a while ago. I knew right away that I wanted to make a sweater dress for the holidays, some combination of comfy and elegant. And as Lola is my favorite sweater dress pattern... I left off the pockets to pare back the casual feel, and also eliminated the waist seam. I did the same with two of my earlier Lolas, by overlapping the seam allowances of the bodice and skirt pieces. It really only minimally affects the fit, I think.
This is the dress with a turned-under hem, which I ended up not really liking, so I let it out again and added a hem band.
I like it so much better that way! Funny how such a little detail can totally change the feel of a dress. It was perfect for the holidays, being so comfy for sitting around and indulging in feasts, while still being sparkly and festive. I wore it again for New Year's, and I think I'll have many more occasions to wear it. Also seems like I'm slowly filling my wardrobe gap of garments for fancy outings. :-)

Do you have any wardrobe gaps waiting to be filled?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Sewing Top 5 - Reflections, Goals & Highlights

I just had a read through last year's reflections and goals post, and it made me laugh a bit. I had very low expectiations for the year, it seems, mostly because I had just started a rather demanding new job. I'm glad to say that, looking back, it turned out to be a pretty good year nonetheless. :-)
Reflections

1. Looking at last year's goals, as undemanding as they were, I did pretty well. I kept sewing, made some trousers and two pairs of jeans, got cracking on that bathing suit, and I did actually get a new battery for my camera remote (and then replaced the remote, since it still wasn't working). I even got a few decent outfit pics (which you haven't seen yet, because I haven't blogged about those garments yet). I also did blog occasionally. Yay! ;-)

2. I went on a bit of a blogging hiatus during the summer months, because work was crazy and the weather was decent, so other things took precedence. 15 blog posts for the year still average more than one per month, so I'm not totally crushed.

3. Sewing wise, it also was a much better year than I thought! I counted 29 sewn garments (of which 16 are still unblogged). Three of those sewing-for-others. 15 were dresses (including a toddler dress for my goddaughter), 5 were tops (including a shirt for my stepdad and a pullover for my sister), 3 trousers, 3 pairs of knickers, 2 skirts and one bathing suit. That's actually only one garment away from my count for 2014, and I'll stick with the impression that it's a sustainable number for me - enough new garments to not get bored, without letting my wardrobe overflow! I also did some knitting, mostly Christmas presents (cowls and mittens, this year) and one Miette cardigan for myself!

4. I started keeping an excel sheet with my fabric buys and the yardage I sewed this year, with the vague goal of only buying as much new fabric as I was sewing up. That didn't quite work out. On the fabric acquisition side I bought 51.3 meters of fabric, and I sewed 35.7 meters, of which 23.7 meters were from already existing stash and 12 meters from new fabric. It's really interesting, though, to see how much I actually buy and how much I sew. I don't feel too bad about not meeting my goal, and I'm really happy that I managed to sew up so much stash fabric.

5. Apart from not blogging regularly, I also had a hard time keeping up with the online sewing community. Blog reading and commenting came very low on my list of extracurriculars, and the only community/challenge thing I participated in was Me-made May.

Goals

1. Since I'm back at the doctor's office (orthopaedics at the moment) and my daily commute has shortened from 1.5h to about 20 mins, I'm thinking this year will be a lot more relaxed than the last one. I'd love to take part in a couple of challenges (the German online sewing community has weekly Me-made Wednesdays, and I really like this Bread&Butter project) and I really want to get back into blogging and commenting more regularly!

2. My fabric shelves are fuller than ever. Still, I really love me a piece of new fabric now and then. So I've decided that I'm allowed to buy a new meter of fabric for every two meters that I sew from my stash. I'm also going to try and find some local sewists for a fabric exchange. That really shouldn't be too hard in Berlin, right?

3. I've actually never taken a sewing class before, but I recently saw that one of the local sewing studios has a lingerie class. I'd love to take a class on bra making this year!

4. I feel a bit ridiculous saying this, but I've been meaning to sew myself a handbag (or two) for... almost as long as I've been sewing? I have a collection of at least 10 bag patterns. I have several canvas fabrics put aside for the purpose. I've been collecting notions (without a concrete plan in mind, so I'm sure I'm still missing some...). But that new dress/top/garment has always been more important! I'd like to make a bag this year.

5. I'd also like to get this blog updated a bit. Especially the "Handmade Closet" part has been sadly neglected for the last couple of years and I wouldn't mind an updated design (even though I still like the polka dots after more than 5 years...).

Highlights

What does it say about me that I could pretty much copy and paste last year's highlights in here and it would still mostly be true? I guess I'm a bit boring and predictable in the things that make my life a happy place. On the other hand, my life is a happy place and that alone is pretty awesome. :-) So...

1. The people around me. B., the handsome love of my life who makes me ridiculously happy just about every day. My family, who are supportive and fun and who I love spending time with. My friends, who are all just a wee bit extraordinary in their own way.

2. Stories. Most of my hobbies floundered a bit this year, but I think I read more than usual, both because of the long commute and because reading in bed (or in the bathtub) is such a fantastic way to relax and wind down after an exhausting day.

3. Travelling. I went on quite a few trips in 2015, though mostly around Germany. Weimar turned out to be a beautiful city, we spent a few days on the Baltic island of Usedom, went on a wine tasting trip to Volkach/Würzburg and visited B.'s family in Wiesbaden, spent half a day in Erlangen, and of course we spent some time at my parents' and went on a short trip to Italy.

4. My job. Even though working on the Geriatric ward was exhausting, stressful and challenging at times, I learned a lot and I think I grew both as a person and a doctor.

5. The little things. I managed to grew some tomatoes and even two small pumpkins on my balcony. I tucked some coffee dates and dinners with friends in whenever I could. There was a bit of knitting and even some short story writing, and a couple of rather amazing choir concerts that I took part in.

So yup, all things considered, I think 2015 was a pretty good year. Let's see what 2016 brings. :-)