The First Ten: Item(s) 7: Panties!

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My first pair – a little trouble with the elastic tension here.

 

Since I so far have thrown myself into sewing with knits and stretch fabrics, I thought that panties, could be a fun project to get familiar with. So after the idea rippening for a while and having looked at some tutorials online I decided it was time and ordered some some stretch cotton. I also had some black and white stretchy cotton-ish fabric that I had made a little sleeveless top from long ago.So I jumped in, and I am obsessed. It is so rewarding!

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My second pair

 

 

I started out finding a free pattern online, but that did not work out. So I set about making my own panties pattern, based on a pair I already owned and felt comfertable in. After making the pattern I followed this tutorial from Silver Linings Atelier for the actual construction and the sewing of the elastic, which was a new thing for me. And I must say it was a steep learning curve, so the first pair was not a great succes (but still totally wearable!), I felt confident that my next pair would be even nicer to look at. So I plowed on, and the first day I made two more pairs in a pretty pink stretch cotton I had gotten for this specific purpose. It was a great success.

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normal elastic

 

I really had not thought through how much elastic even one pair of panties would take, so while I thought I had pico-elastic enough for plenty of pairs. In fact there was enough for two pairs. I had some plain old elastic too, so that worked out to. I have ordered some more, both pico elastic and fold over elastic.

 

 

 

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I had however a long piece of dark raspberry-ish color stretch lace, so I have also made some lace hipsters following a free pattern from sew so easy which I graded to suit me (worked really well).

 

 

 

Sewing panties is seriously fun, and I am really happy with the results. I cannot wait to get some more elastic and then chop up some old t-shirts I do not use anymore. I have also thought about some ways to change my original design for some fun details. As soon as my elastic arrives I will experiment with making more variations. Thongs and laced back panties are next in line. I am also thinking how I can alter my pattern for other types of more fun and flirty variations. Rouching? colorblocking? See through panels? I have made a new pintrest board for panties-inspiration. Feel free to look!

 

I also plan on sewing a little camisole out of the pink stretch cotton.

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The First Ten: Item 6: Faux Leather “tights”

p1010027 So do you guys know how when you are working on a project, that sometimes it starts one place and ends up somewhere else. That was how my last project was.

I started out planning to make a pair of simple tights from this odd stretchy faux leather, but after several mis-cuts (cutting on the wrong way of the stretch, cutting to small because the fabric had to little stretch) I had to change my approach.

So I formed a new plan and got my trouser pattern out (the one I had made for the grey trouser that was item 1). It could work if I cut each front and back leg into two pieces, an upper and a lower part (also called a design detail, in case you were wondering). So I re-cut everything again and sewed them up. After having constructed the trousers I started modifying them, slimming in the legs for a tighter fit.

I also noticed that the back waistline sat lower than the front and also gaped like I had noticed on the original pair of trousers I had sewn from my pattern. I decided to try and fix it. One more seam hardly mattered at this point. So I attached a piece of fabric to the back piece, from side seam to side seam. Then I sewed up from the CB seam and made a big dart starting in the top of my back pieces and moving up into my new “flap” (is it a kinda yoke I have made?). Then I trimmed  the top of my flap. Now they sat into my back following the curve of my behind and sway back and I got a horisontal waistline all the way around.p1010037

A zipper, a waistband and a couple of quick hems later, done! Then I made the appropriate adjustments to my pattern, which was just as satisfying knowing I got one step closer to a great fitting pattern.

HAHAHA… no!

No, actully they looked terrible. Like biker pants, and not in the sexy bad chick way, but in the ill-fitting, pot-bellied midlife crises way. There was all sorts of strange baggyness going on in the front, and I had no clue how to fix it. I kept looking for answers online, and eventually almost gave up, thinking my shape was just to weird to fit too.

So I spent most of the weekend in depressed sew-frustration thinking about my shattered dreams of well-fitting pants. It wasn’t until I had a good sparring season with my boyfriend (who does not know much about sewing, but somehow have an intelligent eye for all things crafty), who kept suggesting removing fabric here and there. We also talked about other pants I owned that did fit me (so obviously it was possible), I tried them on, pondered about how they differed from the ones I had made and thought some more.

So today I got the pants out again and following my gut instinct, I started working on the CF/crotch seam taking them in as I went. In the end I think I took them in 7 times, but every time I could see it getting better. It was amazing! All in all I think I removed about 2,5 cm (1 inch) and more where it curves “under me”.p1010031p1010029

Satisfied with the fit I attached a waistband, or tried to. The rubbery faux leather didn’t go smooth through under the foot. So it was a huge struggle getting the waistband on. I gave up hemming them and just decided to leave them unheeded. I haven’t put in a button either, because I am not relishing putting it through the buttonhole maker. I think it will be hook and eye instead. As you can see in the images, the legs ended up a bit short too, so i might ad some fabric there. Also there is still som folds/wrinkles, but It looks much better in real.

Also I think I got to get a walking foot.

Well that is it for me for this time. Have you tried sewing with kinda fabric? How did it go? And do you have a perfect pants pattern? How long did it take you to perfect it?

Cheers!

Jannie

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The First Ten: Item 5: The Sports Top

So a while ago I went to the fabric shop, and there was a sale. And well. I am a sucker for a good sale. So I came home with a little extra, if you know what I mean. That extra included a weird grey fabric, with some silvery shine to it, and a little stretch. The sales person didn’t really know what it was made of, but we agreed it seemed pretty synthetic. It was at the insane price of 3 meters for 50dkk (7,5USD),  and i am pretty sure that was most of the reason I got it. Consumerism, god damn you. I am your bitch, it seems.

At the moment I got home and unpacked my wonderful bounty of fine fabrics and notions (and well, the grey one…), it was instantly clear I had no idea what to do with this strange silvery fabric. Mostly it made me think of listening to Boney M – night flight to Venus and hanging with my cousins in our childhood moving box spaceship (There it would have been more than appropriate! Mandatory even).

In the end it lay in my fabric stash for something like a month while I worked on other projects and nervously eyed it from time to time. It finally struck me that, space ship wibes aside, it kinda reminded me of the fabric some of my training tops, were made off. I double checked with a training top, and bingo!

So I decided to make it a princess seamed work out top, with slightly longer sleeves than regular (it just works better for my arms. The shape of my upper arms often makes the sleeves roll up). So I watched some video tutorials on youtube and referred to my pattern crafting book. Got my basic block, allowed for less ease, rotated some darts into the princess seams and this is what turned out!

 

Front 1 front 2 front 3 side 1 side 2 back 1 back 2 back 3

I plan to make one for my for boyfriend too (twinsies!!), for some reason we both have this little love-hate-loooove relationship with being dressed the same. It is disgusting I know. Disgustingly good! So this weekend I got out my measuring tape and measured him top to bottom so I got his measurements ready for when I am ready to make his top, or anything else really. Believe you me, we got aaaaall the measurements.

Evaluation:I am really struggling with my collar making. This final collar is the third attemt and honestly it is not very nice. But the fabric is too damaged from the seam ripping for me to feel comfortable to give it one more go. So this will be it, and I will continue to work on my collar skills with other garments. The princess seams turned out great – no sweat, I will do this again! By accident I made the sleeves a bit to tight by using the wrong seam allowance so I let them out. Seam ripping a three point zigzag well… it did a bit of nastiness to the fabrics, with a few snags, even tho I was fully focussed on being careful. So next time more attention, less ripping. I have not tried working out in the top yet, but I have worn it bit around the house, and it seems good.

Also when I look at my pictures I notice things I didn’t notice before. Lately I have been reading a lot about fitting clothing. Been wearing ill fitting clothing most of my life, it is not something I have thought about to that degree before, but now I start to notice. I can see the sleeves are still to tight and I got some draglines in various places. Maybe the bust area is also to tight, even though it does not feel it, or maybe it will fall into place when I get the sleeve size right. Also there seems to be an awful lot of fabric on my lower back, so next time I guess I should do some kind of sway back adjustment. Frankly I am new to this, so if you know or have a suggestion about what the problem is, every hint and comment will be appreciated.

What about you, do you sometimes fall victim to the consumerism ritual of “sale” and end up coming home with things you could have sworn did not belong to normal-sane-you? And what did you do with it then?

Thanks for tuning in, Talk at you soon!

Cheers

Jannie

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Friday Share: Thrifted Transformations and Self Compassion

So it is friday and the weekend is drawing close. For a lot of us that means ample opportunity to get sewing, crafting or creating. So I thought what better than to kick start the weekend with some inspiration.

Personally I can be inspired by a simple technique, a complete refashion, a dedicated attitude or a pretty fabric. Or anything in between. Since I have just added a new section to my blog that is focussing on online sewing ressources, I thought I would highlight one of these ressources today since it is a continual inspiration to me.

For those of you who do not know April from Coolirpa, this might be a treat. April transforms thrifted clothing to new garment. I would like to highlight this video in particular, since I found it to be awesome and inspiring.

Inspiration can also come to me from other places than sewing, because for me sewing is tied into a larger theme of self compassion and quality of life. It is about making myself and other people nice things, making my life more joyous, fun and comfortable. About feeling good, and doing something I love.

Therefore I would like to add another cool free online ressource which is about self compassion.

http://www.selfcompassion.org is a website from Dr. Kristin Neff, who has dedicated her work to the study and practice of self compassion. On this website you can read more about what self compassion is, take a test to see how self compassionate you are, and there is some free self compassion exercises and guided meditations.

direct link to the exercises and guided meditations: Practices

What inspires you? And why do you sew?

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The First Ten: Item 4 – Cloning The Rectangle Top

Hi again,

So today I wanted to tell you about my item number four, which I finished a while back. I finally got around to photographing it today, because I realized I could do it myself, since I am not going to model it. Item number four is a flowing strappy summer top in a rectangular design. In this item my challenge was about trying to clone an item of clothing.

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The original top

 

This is the summer top which I already own, and love to bits. And therefore wanted to clone. It was also meant to be a refashion of a kind, where the new garment would be made of thrifted mens shirts. However that part did not work out.

 

 

The plan was to make a pattern from the top, which I did.

My muslin top
My muslin top

However there was a little trouble in paradise, since it seemed that the original item had warped a bit with use and some places it was hard to get some sane measurements. In the end I think I did a good job, and managed to figured out some measurements which seemed plausible.

The blouse itself was based on a rectangular design, divided into 10 pieces (2 front pieces, 2 side pieces, 2 back pieces and 4 bottom edge panels, and 4 spaghetti straps). After making my pattern my plan was to redo it using some old mens shirts I had founds in the thrift shop. However before I cut into the shirts, I decided to make a muslin first to see how the pattern had turned out. I decided to use an old duvet cover, that I didn’t mind cutting into and which I figured came close to the shirts fabric wise.

 

 

Good thing I did. Because after completing the muslin I realized two things.

  1. It was too small for me (which is also why I thought no reason for me to model it so I could talk about the fit on me)
  2. The fabric had completely removed the flowing element i cherished about the top. And if anything the planned shirt fabric would be less flowing.

So I have decided to cancel the project for now, if it was just about the size I would have continued and altered my pattern, but I simply do not have the right fabric for it, so I will put it on hold for now. I debated wether I should do the pattern alterations now, so I have a functioning pattern, but I decided to wait until it was relevant, so I don’t have to change it again, if I gain or loose a bit of weigh by next summer. Also I think the days of summer is running out for this year in Denmark, so light flimsy tops is just not top of my list no more.

I still count this as a completed project even though I don’t have a wearable item completed. It was a good learning experience, and I think both the pattern drafting and the construction of the garment went very well.

Not sure what I will do with the mens shirts. My seam ripper suggest trying to make one of them into a me-shirt. Could be fun. We shall see.

Very nice speaking at ya, have a lovely day and see you soon.

/Jannie

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What is my style?

Since I have started reading sewing blogs, I have heard descriptions of what people thought their style was. A lot of sewers seem to like vintage, but besides from that, there seems to be a great variety of styles out there in blog land.

This has of course made me think of my style. What is my style really? Do I have a style, like just one, or combinations of several different styles? Or am I just a chaotic mess of impulse buys and practical wear?

I know I think about what I need to wear for work. In the workplace outfits I always aim for trying to look a combination of competent and approachable (for pretty much all age groups). Someone you would feel safe to ask a question in your moment of doubt, and someone you would feel confident would give you a competent answer. Sometimes more one of these aspects, than the other. Going into work in jeans can be fine for one type of day and a blazer the next. Nothing sexy, provocative or too elitist or artsy. No-one should feel under- or overdressed in my company.

In my free time I just wear what ever is comfortable and practical. I do not really feel I have a set idea of style. I do not go out much, so it is so/so with the party frocks.

 

I guess clothing never mattered a lot to me. I grew up a chubby girl, and I have stayed that way most of my life. And being a chubby kid, does make it more difficult to find clothing. I also developed early, and genrously, so there was that whole dreaded bra situation. Meaning, the bras i could fit were pricy, so I did not have enough, and most they didn’t fit well or was uncomfertable.

So for a big chunk of my life picking clothes was not about “what I liked”, but more about “what fit”. I could not fit anything slightly fashionable, and what I could fit tended to come from the same shops my grandmothers also frequented. So that was definitely out. That sorta led to that for most of my teenage years, I resorted to hiding out in jeans, t-shirts and hoodies, feeling completely uncomfortable with myself and my femininity. I hated buying clothing and especially I hated buying clothing for special occasions, where I could not trump, that a hoodie and jeans were “just fine mum!!!”.

So luckily a lot has happened since then. The selection and availability of plus size clothing and underwear has boomed, and especially in the underwear department I have gotten my own back with a vengeance. I wear nice clothing now, no hoodies  or baggy t-shirts in sight, and my relationship to my body is fine now. But shopping for clothing is still just a necessity for me. Because even though, I can get prettier clothes now, they still fit pretty awfully most of the time, even though it is my size (it is just never my size on all of my body at the same time).

But now I am here. I can sew it all (with greater or lesser success, but all in due time).

So what do I really want? Now that I truly have the power to pick, and all that is holding me back is such trivial things as imagination, budget and skill?

Inspired by Emeral Erin quest for style and wardrobe certainty (she got a great blog by the way, check it out. And she makes lingerie!)I also decided to try and think some more serious thoughts about my style. So I went on Pintrest and tried to create myself a look book for the fall/winter. And it seems I really like white shirts, chunky nits and dainty layering pieces. I also seemed to like soft woolen dresses, tan leather skirts, eyelet fabric, and a few pieces with some really stunning details, that would absolutely make me feel like the world was mine to have and to keep. Here is a couple of examples:

 

jakkewhite yoke blouseback pleates

When it comes to colours I think what suits me well, are some cool pastels, I think you would call me a “summer-type” perhaps with some wintery tones. Which suit me fine, I like those colors.

When it comes to cut and design, I find myself a bit torn between, what I like and what I know will suit me. These last years I have been wearing more clothing that I liked but that I knew was not flattering on my body. I have just had this feeling of exhaustion, in regards to always trying to use some kind of optical illusion (vertical lines is slimming! This black cut out really enhances… Singed in waist is so good for all curvy… BLA BLA BLA). Why do I constantly want to go around trying to trick people with fabric optical illusion, or flattering cuts? Sometimes why not let my body be my body without constantly having to try and hide or enhance things.

I do want to look good, but there must be some middle road here, and I am hoping I can find it with sewing.

Feel free to check out my fall look book lookbook efterår. I love Pintrest. If you got suggestions for something (a piece of clothing, a sewing pattern, a website etc.) you think I might like, then I would love to hear it.

Do you have a set style? And do you pick mainly on the basis of what suits you or how do you pick clothing? Have you made a fall look book that I can be inspired by?

Good talking at ya, more soon!

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The First Ten: Item 3: Scoop Neck Top

Hi guys,

So here we go. After my two first homemIMG_2634ade patterns, I decided it was time to try a commercial pattern. So I picked Burda Style Scoop neck blouse.

It is a simple design, containing bias binding (new to me) a few pleats and raglan sleeves (also new to me). the blouse is loose fitting, so I figured no big alterations were needed, except a upper sleeve adjustment. So it was the right beginners pattern for me.

And here is my finished result! I have worn it several times now, and I think it is definitely good. I especially like it tucked into some high waisted trouser.

 

Evaluation: In regard to the design/fit, I think I will change a few things next time I make it. The sleeves are kinda long, nothing major, but why settle? So I will make them shorter (I think I will make these shorter too). Also, I think the scoop neck is fine but I think it is a bit to wide on me, showing my bra-straps, if I do not stand perfectly still. So I will alter that (I think it should be possible to just lay out the pattern pieces and tape them together as were they sewn, overlay some tracing paper and draw the new neckline there, cut it out and stick it on the pieces, right?).

IMG_2641In this version, I got kinda confused and I accidentally made tucks instead of pleats. I liked the result, so I did not change it back, but perhaps next time I will do it with the pleats. Also the blue floral cotton fabric I used wrinkles like noones business, and it does not drape to well (I think this is why it worked well with the tucks). So in hindsight, not the best fabric I guess.

Speaking of next time… Well I have actually already purchased some fabric. I kinda wanted something with a better drape and more classic of look. I found this white modal which I will combine with some burgundy satin ribbon instead of the bias binding. The modal is smooth to the touch, and I think it will drape well. Also I was thinking of putting cuffs on the sleeves. It will be awesome I think. Cannot wait to make it and show you!

It feels like even though the blouse is done, the process of making “the good blouse” from this pattern is just beginning.

Fabric picking and handling is hard, but Im learning!

I hope you all are having a good time.

Cheers!

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Item 1+2: My first pair of trousers and what became a snuggle blouse

trouser behind/side
trouser behind/side

So howdy,

Here is my butt. It is its internet debut and it is a little nervous. So be kind to it.

The first thing I sewed this time around, and as part of my “The First Ten” was a pair of kinda high waisted trousers. The trousers come from a pattern I have made myself, using this book.

ny mønster konstruktionI do not know if you can find it in english sorry, but basically it is a book about how to draft your own patters, how to alter patterns and why you
would want to do it. So it covers everything from how to do your own basic block (sloper?) to rotating darts etc. It also includes som basic patterns and a lot of way to alter them to more specifik designs.

One of my biggest challenges with clothing have always been
finding clothing that fit me well. Generally I am different sizes  depending on where you measure me. Especially my upper arms and thighs tend to be an area of challenge for RTW clothing. So to be able to wear trousers that was NOT super tight on my thighs, while being gaping loose in the waist, not to mention too long.. Well that would be great actually.

So trousers was top of my list. I work in a semi-casual office environment, so office appropriate trouser was my aim. I had purchased some dark blue/black trousers fabric, I am not sure what the fabric really was (next time ill be sure to ask). The fabric had a little stretch, which I asked for. Somehow stretchy fabrics always seem like a little miracle to me, in the aspect of fit in ready to wear. Thinking, if I screw up the sizing, the stretch will save me! Because stretch always saves you – stretch fabric is like the jesus of fabrics. It will forgive you and accept you, if you dont quite fit in.

trousers front
trousers front

I’ll take the stretch, thank you sir!

I think the stretch kinda worked against me in this case. Since my sewing experience is limited, I figured since it was not a lot of stretch, it wouldn’t matter to much. Like I would not have to account for it. But err.. Ya.

I drew up my basic pattern. It was a very simple design, with a side zipper and button,  a waistband and a few darts. I made all my alterations, widening thighs, shorter length, changed curve over hips (i have that secondary hip/thigh curve… se picture). It turned out, that all the extra centimeters I added, I ended up removing again, after the first fitting. I wanted the trousers to be fitted without being tight, but they initially ended up quite loose all over so I took them in.

In the end, I am pleased. They are definitely not perfect, but for a first attempt I am more than satisfied. And they are probably the best office trousers I have. I have worn them quite a bit since then. With the wear they have loosened a little bit around the tummy/waist and when I took them in on the hips, I did not have a french curve tho, so it created a few bumps on the side (I do now!). Also I am a bit unsure about how to design for having to “bumps on the side”. Next time I will try to account for these things. I also had a little trouble with my zipper, but I guess practice will fix that one for future creations. Oh and pockets next time too.

This is also my first experience with taking photos for blog posts – wow it is harder than you guys make it look. So many things to account for. Can you believe I had just ironed the trousers, neither me or my friend taking the pictures thought they looked wrinkly, but with the flash everything seem to change

 

IMG_2618The snuggle blouse

Garment number two was meant to be a blouse-sweatshirty thing. I got this off-white stretchy fabric with an outer layer of some lace thing. Semi transparent. My ideas was to make a blouse, that was snug fitting below the bust (a double layered tube thingy piece) and loose and flowy on the bust (the blouse shape it self). I also made my own pattern for this project, with much less success, I am sorry to say. I used a sweatshirt basic shape and did the alterations I thought necessary, for size and fit. When it had sewn it up, it did indeed have the sweatshirt look. More than I liked. I hoped it would be better when I attached the lower part. However, that did not really work out because the stretch was just to stretchy and so the snug fit didn’t hold up, and it just became a weird addition. Also my proportions were kinda off. I had made the top part pretty long so I could adjust it in the fitting, so in the end I decided to loose the tube part and just let it be an oversize kinda snuggly blouse thing for the coming fall. I still like it, even though it was nothing like I had planned for it to be. It is very soft, so I am pleased to wear it.I also had some collar issues, god damn. It is incredible how hard something so simple can be! I think maybe it had to do with the amount of pressing i gave it (a lot), it sorta seemed to go from fine, to not so fine somewhere along there. So the collar didn’t turn out exactly like i wanted it too, but the fabric is insane to unpick, so I have left it. Maybe it will improve in the wash.

In hindsight I think the big flaw lay in my  tubedesign, that the tube was just a bad design for stretchy fabrics. Having puzzled some more about it, I’ve come to the idea, that instead of using a tube piece, next time I will go with a three piece design. With a back piece and a front top and bottom piece, so the back piece keeps things in place in the right spots. I got some coral more stable stretchy fabric I will use for this I think.

Oh well, that is it for me for this time, talk at you soon!

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