19 May 2013
At last, I decided to sew something!
As I wanted some 'instant satisfaction' I went for a cheap project, with no muslin! I choose the Sewaholic Alma blouse which has intrigued me for a long time. This time, since the fabric was for free, I didn't want to spend time with making a muslin. In the past made several Sewaholic dresses and the fit was always right. For a casual fit I choose to make size 8 bust and tapered it to size 6 at the waist and hips. Just like I vid with my Lonsdale dress.
I've bought the supplies above: green thread, a red zipper, green bias band and two pretty gold-and-green buttons and used a christmas-y colored table cloth which I've had for about 10 years but have never used:
The fabric is 55% cotton and 45% rayon and feels light and soft. Washed and ironed it hot and unpicked the seams. The size was 1.4x1.4 m. Not bad at all! Unfortunately, it was still just too little to make the long sleeved version which requires 1.9 m. Matching the plaid makes it impossible to use every inch of the fabric well. I have a plaid blouse with roll-up tabs on the sleeves which I like, so I decided to make a 'fake' long sleeved version, by eliminating the cuffs but keeping the full length of the sleeves.
I've cut single layers as usual.
I am missing part of my sewing stuff, so I must do it without my pins (again). I just used ordinary sewing needles since I do have 2 boxes of those on hand.
I didn't feel like making the facings for the neckline so I used the green bias tape to finish the neckline.
1. Achieve the perfect shape by stretching and steaming the bias tape in a curved line:
2. Pin or baste bias tape to neckline (right side to right side):
3. Stitch en trim seam allowance, then clip:
4. Finish lower edge of bias tape, and here is what it looks like on the inside:
5. For a perfect row of top stitching I used my sewing machine's top stitch guide foot (also called a 'stitch-n-ditch' foot) with the needle placed to the left. Easy!
to be continued...
13 May 2013
We are approaching our deadline (1st of june 2013) for finishing the house and moving in. Made a lot of progress with one important + big task left: the bathroom. We are kind of avoiding to start on that and finish everything else first. Honestly, I think we are just afraid to mess it up... Really don't want to take tiles off again or solve all kinds of practical problems on the spot (walls that aren't straight and stuff like that)
In the meantime we managed to finish the dining room area. By breaking down a wall we created a light an spacious room and we are really pleased with how it came out! Ultimately we are going to break out the window and install french doors somewhere during the next few years. The door on the left isn't insulated at all so that needs to be changed as well:
Here is the current (almost finished) project: walltiles in the hallway. In the 50's when our house was built it was common to put tiles on the walls in the hallway. One of our neighbors have a few meters of the original hallway-tiles: light blue with a row of black square tiles at the bottom. Since blue is not my colors when it comes to interiors we decided to use the same size tiles as the original in a greyish-cream color that goes well with the other colors in the house. We 'reproduced' the row of black square tiles as well. Pretty!
There are a couple of things that originally came with the house in the 50's and we wanted to 'recycle':
The brass edge for the doormat:
The bakelite free/occupied sign for the downstairs toilet:
The 'ding-dong' doorbell (ugly plastic and quite big, but has the perfect spot there and has a beautiful, old fashioned sound)
One of the old kitchen cabinets found in the garage (I'm going to clean this one and leave the paintwork as it is. After repairing the doors we place it somewhere in the living or dining room)
After starting with cleaning the stairs we quite like the original bluish-grey color. We consider to leave the stairs after removing all the carpet glue as they are - didn't decided on this one yet:
Outside there is one little corner kind of 'ready': where I've put a climbing jasmine plant (found elsewhere in the garden) and moved my pretty double-flowered hortensia from the other house (after a rigorous trimming session).
The front garden is still empty, but we planted two more rows of the beech hedging to frame it around (the brown bits on the right are the new ones, they have leaves now) I like the beech hedging because the leaves are retained in a dry state throughout the winter.
1 May 2013
Yesterday the world was watching The Netherlands where the new king was crowned. Of course, everyone was curious to see what dresses the new queen Maxima would wear. One thing was sure, there would be something there from a dutch designer. And she didn't disappoint us, she looked really, really beautiful in every outfit!
1. The first outfit for the office-part of the inauguration (where the paperwork was signed) was from the Belgian fashion designer house Natan, from designer Edouard Vermeulen. A pale, greyish-
2. For the ceremony in the church she choose a dress designed for this occasion by a dutch designer, Jan Taminiau. Everyone expected something white because traditionally this is the color the queen should wear for an inauguration ceremony but the dress had a royal-blue color. Since the king was wearing a traditional cape the designer made a cape for the dress too with a slightly lifted shoulder line to match the king's cape. This made her look very statuesque
3. After the crowning the new king and queen stepped onto a ship to make a tour along the river Ij with her family. Maxima was dressed in another Taminiau-dress. This one was a nude silk crepe dress with a bordeaux lace layer embroidered onto it with flowers, sequins and Swarowsky crystals. Very pretty!
4. On the official portrait pictures which were made earlier and released yesterday she was dressed in another Natan dress she also wore a couple of times before. This dress is simple but elegant and has a flattering color:
5. The day before the crowning for the abdication gala diner of Queen Beatrix she choose one of her trusty Valentino dresses (Valentino couture fall 2006) which I personally didn't liked that much:
24 Apr 2013
watch episode 1 here
watch episode 2 here
watch episode 3 here
Edit: For those who want to practice, here is a list of the Sewing Bee challenges:
A standard pattern in a standard size (without any adjustments)
- A-line skirt: 3,5 hours
- a pair of men's trousers: 4 hours
- child's dress (with shirring): 2,5 hours
- men's shirt: 4 hours
A self chosen pattern made for a model and adjusted to size:
- Made-for-measure dress: 7 hours
- Made-for-measure blouse: 6 hours
- Made-for-measure jacket:7,5 hours
- Made-for-measure evening dress: 8 hours
I watched the final episode of the Great British Sewing Bee yesterday.
I must say, I really liked the Sewing Bee series! Of course, the search for 'Britain's best home sewer' sounds unrealistic (especially when some contestants never inserted a zipper before or don't know in which direction the fly of a pair of men's pants should close) but it was so much fun to watch!
I loved that the jury talked for like 90% of the time very objective about the execution of the garments and there was no such thing as liking the chosen fabric, pattern or not. Though they mentioned if the choice of fabric wasn't right because of the fabric weight or patterns. But that was just what they observed. What you see is what you judge. There were no eccentric, theatrical contestants fighting all the time and picking on each other like in most reality series, no judges who try to 'strike a pose' and make the contestants cry. Everyone seemed to be very supportive. It was not about the 'show' but all about craftsmanship. I believe that watching the Sewing Bee make people thinking about why sewing your own clothes can be such a fulfilling hobby.
The winner is (not really surprisingly) Ann. Well, she deserves the best home seamstress award for sure! Amazing that she already was sewing in the 'make and mend' period! What she did so well during the episodes is working very precise and executing the tasks perfectly. She did take almost no risks but she new exactly what she could finish well within the given time frame. While everyone was aiming high, having trouble with finishing the garments in the right way or finishing at all, she did a great job on almost every item she made.
Watching the series made me think of my own sewing skills. Could I assemble an A-line skirt in
1. Work very, very neat!
Start by measuring and cutting correctly and you are halfway there!
I personally hate tracing the patterns and cutting the fabric, but spending more time on that really pays off. (However I don't mind spending hours on seam finishing and everything else.)
2. Practice the perfect topstitching!
Don't we all started once by trying to sew straight lines on our grandma's sewing machine? Just try to make even, parallel rows. Seems so easy but it isn't. At the end of the day, a neat finish still gives a boost to your garment.
3. Practice difficult things like making a fly zipper.
Never using a fly zipper on your garments can't be an excuse! You never know when it comes handy...
watch episode 1 here
watch episode 2 here
watch episode 3 here
watch episode 4 here
Click here for a list of the Sewing Bee challenges.
23 Apr 2013
There is some progress, at last! We've spent 4 days with finishing ceilings, painting doors laying floors. The weather finally turned sunny and summery and it was a joy to spend all those days in the new house and the huge (and quiet!) garden. There are still enough things that have to be done but I think we will be able to move in by the end of may!
(I'm still wearing BF's rather ugly workwear bib-trousers, but thankfully not for long anymore!)
17 Apr 2013
Claudia Winkleman presents the semi-final. The four amateur sewers return to compete in three more challenges. Savile Row's Patrick Grant and sewing teacher May Martin set them a pattern for a child's dress which tests their ability to follow couture techniques on a miniature scale. In the alteration challenge they are asked to tailor a dress with precision and they create a made-to-measure jacket which must fit their model perfectly, after which one of them is asked to leave the Sewing Bee.
link to episode 1 here
link to episode 2 here
link to episode 1 here
link to episode 2 here