Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Blogging Break that is. I decided there was not enough time to work on the jacket prior to our holidays. I only prepared all pattern pieces, also for facings and lining and will not start cutting and sewing till I’m back from a  holiday in the UK.

Hope you all have a lovely summer (or winter in the southern hemisphere) and enjoy it, sewing or otherwise. I’ll be back in a few weeks.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Jacket muslin

Remember my struggles with fitting a jacket last year? I lost count of the amount of muslins I made, the tweaks I made to patterns to get it right. These struggles with fit have led me to learning pattern drafting (better). I had some basic knowledge of it from a few lessons in the past, but never did work on it properly.

I’m convinced now it is a good approach for me. Last week I drafted a pattern for a jacket, the same idea of jacket I made  last year. I wearit but after all the work I’ve done on it I still think it could be better. It was made from a Burda pattern which I altered and altered…

The muslin of my self-drafted pattern. Could not find shoulderpads which will help with the fit in the back, but otherwise I’m pretty pleased with the result. Remember this is also not interfaced or otherwise stabilized. Just muslin fabric. Taking it to class tonight to hear what my teacher thinks.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Busy with.....

A lot of things actually, so much that blogging was put on the backburner. The usual life and work things of course, a day out with friends to an open garden scheme (so nice), but also being absorbed by pattern drafting, making (muslins of) the patterns drafted and a “new” activity: after 20 years or so I’m knitting again. Which fascinates me, as for some reason I thought I would never be taken to knitting again, but well, I am.

What have I been drafting? Two tops were on my wish list to try: a pattern from Ottobre that I have used before and like for a summer top. In the Ottobre pattern I did an FBA and still thought I could use some extra space. In my class I drafted the pattern to my measurements and it fits well. Nothing spectacular, but I’m trying to get a grip on drafting. The pictures on the dressform don’t show the fit, I’ll try to get better photo’s later.


It still needs buttons and a good pressing.

The other top is an experiment to make Vogue 9006, one of the spring 2014 patterns. Less easy I must say and after two versions my conclusion is that it’s not for full busted women. At least my version of it, I did not use the Vogue pattern. Perhaps I should consider a sort of stay underneath, as it tends to pull sideways at bust level. Another thing I noticed is that the shoulderstraps of my bra show, cut in shoulders are not for me.

I used two different fabrics: the green emerald one (gorgeous color btw, which I love) is a polyester (?), the second one a rayon with a lot of drape. I cut the center panel on the bias. The green one pulls a bit at the seams because of all the unpicking and re-stitching I did. I think I will wear these tops, but mostly under a jacket or cardigan.


And to give you an idea of the drafting: it’s a lot of lines! It might look intimidating, but actually it’s not that complicated, it’s a step by step process and this picture is from the end of that process.

It’s for a jacket, I’ll be making a muslin this weekend. Keeping my fingers crossed it will fit well.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Bra making tip – band elastic not wide/stable enough

Recently I bought some new fabric and notions at Kantje Boord (the famous shop in Amsterdam) and the color elastic I wanted was not available in the quality I like for the band. I prefer the elastic in the band wider and more stable. There is some weight to be stabilized ;)

Initially I thought to use a different elastic for the band but working on it tonight I came up with another solution: sew the more narrow elastic to a wider one.

The two elastics that I sewed together before sewing it into the bra.

DSC01377   DSC01376

The bra in construction: on the outside only the colored elastic is visble, on the inside you see the more firm elastic.
Thought it worthwhile to share. I’ve discarded elastics in the past because of the fact that I could not find a good firm one for the band. Probably will use this myself more often.


Monday, June 2, 2014

Three dresses

In the past two weeks I did something I’ve never done before: sewing 3 dresses using the same pattern. It’s Vpgue 1809, a Donna Karan pattern (out of print).

This all started when I was clearing out my sewing room and sorting my patterns. I stumbled upon this pattern with all the pattern pieces ready to cut. I was planning a sheath dress anyhow so the decision to use this pattern was easily made. After the first one two followed.

The dress was one of the first patterns I blogged about (June 2007). That version is long gone from my closet. I did not like the fabric a lot and have not worn it often. I made it longer this time, and lowered the neckline a bit (on the last two a little more than on the first one). Otherwise no changes, which is good after 7 years.

This was the first one I made, the fabric is linen, bought at a fabric market here in The Netherlands. After finishing it I immediately wore it the next day and it felt very comfortable.

Another linen version, this fabric bought in a shop. Very summery.

The last one was made in cotton, bought in Paris on my trip with sewing friends. Sorry for the face in this set. A smile would have made a difference.
The fabric was a bit thin and it took me a lot of time to match the invisible zipper. Even basted it was a little off after sewing and I had to unpick twice.

I was inspired to use this fabric by Linda’s blog where she posted about this outfit.


A red jacket is still on the “to sew” list, for the time being combined with a red cardigan.


All dresses are lined, using the full pattern for the lining and sewing the facings on the lining.


lining with facing

The zipper is inserted by machine, also the lining is sewn by machine. This method is described by Amy from Sewaholic here.

Think that’s my share of dresses for this season. I made 4 dresses, which is certainly more than usual for me.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Susan Khalje online class

About two weeks ago Susan Khalje released her first video class on her own website. This first class is for a cocktail dress, made from a pattern that you receive with the class. I was offered this class for free (lucky, lucky me and a big Thank you to Susan Khalje!) and as I had loved the couture dress class at Craftsy and having heard so many good stories from those who have attended a class in person, I certainly accepted the offer. Even though I don’t really have a need for a cocktail dress in the near future I was sure it would be a great experience (best thing apart from taking lessons from Susan Khalje in person).
I have not yet watched the complete course, but would like to share a my impressions on the course so far .
The class is about making a dress with couture techniques. Susan Khalje’s pattern shows 3 variations of the dress on the envelope. In the class she shows you the construction of the one shoulder dress. I like it, but would never make it, as it prompts the difficulty of the bra underneath for me. So I will make either view B or C when I start on this project. One of the things missing on the website is a clear picture of the dress (and its variations) prior to buying the class. I would also like to see views B and C made up.
That said you can of course use another pattern, the techniques covered are not specifically for this dress only. You’ll learn a lot that is useful in other projects too.
The course is detailed and clearly presented. It works from the muslin to the completed dress. There are detailed instructions for working with lace, how to work around the beads  (the lace Susan Khalje uses has lots of beads), how to finish, how to line and the little details that make it perfect.
A screenshot example of the subjects covered in the muslin chapter:
Contrasting thread is used in the video, which helps seeing it well and making it clear.
The pattern itself comes in sizes 4- 24, and because you will muslin it and have it fitted before you cut it from the final fashion fabric, it will be made to fit perfectly.
The pattern is printed on tissue paper. VERY important is that there are no seam allowances included. I love that, as I’ve written before I tend to cut off seam allowances when they are included or mark the seam lines anyhow. I have always liked to work with the actual seam line, mostly because that’s the way I learned it. European patterns always came (and usually come) without seam allowances.
The envelope and the pattern itself are not giving a lot of information. There is a size chart on the back in imperial values only. I’m very metric and have difficulty visualing every inch measurement that’s more than 4 inches (which is 10 centimeters), so it would have been helpful to have those too). Online conversion charts came to the rescue…
The course is not interactive like Craftsy courses are. I don’t think that is a problem as Susan Khalje presents the techniques well. When you buy the class you have 3 year access to the online videos. I don’t know the reasons why it’s limited but consider a class you take in person: when you leave the class you can’t go back and ask/see again wha’t’s done either. Making a lot of notes might be a good idea. And 3 years is quite a time to watch and watch again.
As it’s been some time since I watched Susan’s Craftsy class I’m not sure about all the differences. The initial steps of making the muslin are more or less the same, but the construction of this dress with lace is completely different. This morning I watched that part and it was great!
To me this is a great addition to the online resources about sewing high end (couture) garments and I’m looking forward to the other classes Susan Khalje is going to offer. There will be one or two that I will buy. It definitely is a great way to learn from a fantastic teacher when you’re (like me) too far away to take classes in person and want to take your sewing to a higher level.
Actually sewing this dress will be later in the year, I’m sewing up a storm (sewing mojo very much alive at the moment). Hope to show you 3 (!) summer dresses very soon.
Have a lovely weekend!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Skirt detail and two tops


Thank you all for your kind comments on the skirt, it was a fun project to do. Special thanks to Anita from StudioFaro. She offered help if needed for my next attempt at the Double Drape Tee. I’m not making one very soon as I really have a huge to-do/to-sew list, but the offer is much appreciated.

AllisonC asked whether the ruffles were hemmed or double: they are hemmed with a narrow hem. It was difficult to see on the original but it is a narrow hem there too.


Vivienz asked whether I planned more of these and I might, it was an easy, relatively fast to make project and it would be nice to have it in a darker color. But you know how it goes: one day the mind is set to do something, the other day the fancy strikes to do something completely different.

I won’t bother you with my list as I’m notoriously not keeping to them (see the above). On it are nine garments I would like to make pretty soon, two of them are lingerie sets for my daughter and myself. And yesterday I managed to make two items of the list. Easy, quick projects, sewn in “production line”. It’s an old tnt Ottobre t-shirt pattern, for which I lowered the neckline.

The first fabric was bought at one of the fabric markets that are held here, the other was bought in Paris last month. As you can see even on the dressform pictures, the drape is different. The fabric from Paris has more drape. It shrank a lot in the laundry, I bought 1.5 meters, after washing it only 1.25 meter was left. These are casual shirts. I really need some as a few others are worn so much that they have to be thrown away because the fabric shows the wearing.


Out of nine planned projects, seven still to be made. Next project in next post.

Happy weekend all, I’m going to do a 5K run on Sunday (a ladies run). Luckily the weather has improved.