Sunday, January 31, 2010

Skirt with cross-stitches

When I get into something, I tend to repeat it over and over. Hence the stripes and now the cross-stitching. My first attempt using cross-stitches on knits was successful enough to make it worth a second attempt. This time I used fusible interfacing underneath so it was much easier to get an even result. And I switched to another scrim weave which made it a little easier to remove the strands.

The pattern is based on a design from an 50's embroidery book that I got from my mum. The book is packed with wonderful designs, that actually feels more up-to-date and current than the patterns in most modern embroidery books. Though Sublime Stitching does great new stuff. The fabric I used for the skirt is a mid-weight rayon/lycra jersey

I know I said I would do more colourful stuff, and this skirt doesn't quite fit that description. But I did do a colourful outfit shot - straight from our kitchen!

Top: La Redoute, bought many years ago.
Shoes: Ecco (see pic above)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The bridal project - pt2

The bride-to-be came over tonight to have her measurements taken. I think I am as giddy as she is! At first I thought she wanted the kimono sleeve version of this Stephanie James  dress, but it's the corset bodice look she going for (see above). The base pattern for the project will be Simplicity no 4070 (a big shout out to the helpful folks at Pattern Review who helped me with the pattern suggestions!).

Right now I see three challenges that needs to be figured out:
  1. How to make the hem scalloped. The bottom is a circle skirt with scallop edging, but you can't get scallops all around when making a circle skirt. So what is the best way to get lace scallop all around? Melissa (who owns the book Bridal couture) suggested that I attach the scallop edging separately. Another option I am pondering is using gores, maybe 8-10 or even more?
    Any ideas on the best method?

  2. The tulle lining. Should it be a separate skirt or attached to the dress?

  3. The ribbon organza embellishment. We suspect it's made of real silk, but the only organza ribbon that the bride-to-be found in notion stores was synthetic. And it shows! It just doesn't look as refined as the original. Plus the original ribbon has an ombre look, that looks hand dyed. Is there such a thing as silk organza ribbons? Or do I have to cut it by hand?
Any ideas would be more than welcome. I will buy the Bridal couture book that is out on cd in February, but it would be great to get some additional input.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Striped sailor shirt

I don't have much to say tonight, probably because I have written four articles for my day job today and must have run out of words! But I still wanted to show the striped top that I made this weekend.

I think it's time for me to start thinking about spring and warmer weather so expect to see a bit more colour on this blog from now on! 

The shirt is also availble in my Etsy shop.

Monday, January 25, 2010

In full make up

Of course cell phones were strictly forbidden in the studio so I have no exciting photos to show you from that. But I will at least offer a little web exclusive - a photo of me wearing make-up! And the outfit that I settled on after a mini meltdown - I didn't realize that dressing for the cameras could be so complicated.

I can't divulge into the details of my performance, there were papers signed  after all, but I can say that it felt pretty good overall and I didn't make a total fool out myself. I was really nervous beforehand but once the cameras were turned on I found some kind of inner calm - or at least it felt that way, though when I stepped down from the set my heart was pounding like crazy. The bad news is that the show won't air until May the 20th, I was a little disappointed when I found that out, but at least it gives me plenty of time to get perspective on it!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dressing for the cameras

Remember the quiz show that I talked about ages ago? Well tomorrow morning I am heading to the tv-studio to film it. I don't know when it's going to be telivised, they shoot a whole weeks worth of shows in just one day. And if worse comes to worse I will only be on for a few minutes (if I fail to make it through the first round). I suppose you can't see the show outside of Sweden, but I will at least supply some screen shots and goofy captions here on the blog! 

Anyhow, they sent me a long list with instructions on how to pick clothes for the cameras and apparently neither stripes, dots, white or black is recommended - which rules out about 2/3 of my wardobe! I guess dots and stripes don't work well with the camera and black and white makes you look "plain". Instead they advised me to "dress colourful" which is going to be tricky, since I wear mostly neutrals and I don't want to stand there like a lightning rod, just because I'm on tv. So I need to decide on that today. Right now I am leaning towards this blouse, hope the print is not too busy for the cameras. 

I'll be back tomorrow with a report on how it went and hopefully I can sneak in some mobile pics from the set. Don't know how regulated it will be. See you tomorrow!

A note for Swedish readers. The show is Vem vet mest? med Rickard Olsson. They are apparently always on the lookout for female contestants, so if you are a female and up for some quiz show appearances you can apply for it on their homepage. 

Monday, January 18, 2010

Olga blouse in organic cotton

In between watching the premiere episode of the new season of Project Runway (yay! it looks very promising) and my new "guilty pleasure" The City (it's in New York, it's about the fashion world, - what can I say?) I have been a busy sewing bee the last few days. My latest knit top is a new version of this design . It's done in organic unbleached cotton jersey, the best I have ever got my hands on, it's silky soft and falls beautifully. I even managed to score some matching ribbing in organic cotton, so I am a very happy camper today.

It's available in my Etsy store and currently included in a Treasury (Etsy's user curated galleries). Go check that one out, because the curator has put together a very clever mix, where I share place with some very desirable vintage wallpaper tools (honest!) and a cool screen printed camera diagram amongst other lovely stuff.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Buttonholes on knits

Gail asked about how I sew buttonholes on narrow knit bands, so I thought I should share the methods that I use when working with knits. I'm sure there are more ways out there so please chime in in the comment section if you have other tips!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The wedding dress maker

Maybe I'll jinx it by announcing it in my blog but I have been asked to make a bridal dress. And yes it's the full monty with a corset top, precious lace, hand sewn embellishments and layers of tulle! I have done two corsets in my days, but that was 15 years ago, so this will definitely be a handful for me. But I do thrive on challenges. I know several of you readers are much more savvy with formal wear than I am so I will probably shout out to you regularly throughout this process!

The dress she wants is inspired by this dress (okay, a knock-off really) from Stephanie James couture. Though I have been married, wedding dresses are alien territory to me. I had a simple courthouse wedding and wore jeans, a vintage cardigan and a tank top (but it was made in silk!). So this is going to be one big learning venture, that's for sure. Maybe I should do some undercover research in bridal stores?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Kelly cardigan

I forgot to talk about this cardigan that I made during the Christmas holidays.  It's done in a soft wool rib and the placket is decorated with lingerie lace. I feel that this design is very much a sum of parts. I bought the lace over two years ago in Copenhagen but it took me until now to find the perfect use for it. The buttons are a similar story - I fell in love with the them last year, bought a whole tube, tried them on all kind of things, but it wasn't until I paired them with the lace and the navy wool rib that I felt they found it's proper place.

I put the cardigan in my Etsy store as well. No sales of this style there yet, but my mum loved it and ordered one last week when she visited :) I do find it easier to sell in person, clothes are such a tactile experience and you can to appreciate fabric and fit much better in real life than trough pictures.

I have gotten quite savvy sewing knits over the years, and one reason is practice of course, but another reason is the book Sewing with knits by Connie Long. It's the definite bible on knits in my opinion but it looks like it's out of print, so snag one if you don't own this book already. Which reminds me that I should do a proper review of this book!

Friday, January 8, 2010

2009 - a year of sewing

I made a blouse with a tea dyed lace insert.


I sewed the Diana bag for a friend.


I joined Clevergirl's pant sew-along and decided to a Anthropologie knock-off. Here is the end result.

I sewed my first silk velvet garment. It was a struggle, but I love the dress.

I went fabric shopping with Melissa in London.

I made my first rain coat and won a prize for it.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

On embroidery and sucky ISPs

Sorry for the radio silence, internet in our neighborhood went bust last week and our ISP is clearly incapable of fixing it in a timely manner. So today I went to work extra early to publish a blogpost before the work day begin.

So what to do when you suddenly don’t have internet to spend your days away with? Well mostly I have been annoyed, but I have also taken up embroidery. I bought this amazing soft wool rib knit fabric a few weeks ago but didn’t quite know what do with it. But then I had what I thought was a stroke of genius – I could embroider it with a cross-stitch motif. The reality of the plan was however much more grueling, doing cross-stitches on a super stretchy knit is no picnic. I used one of those removable embroidery grids that I picked up in a charity shop a while ago, but those strands proved to be really hard to remove.

For the embroidery I used regular knitting wool yarn that I had in my stash.

You know I have this image of embroidery as being a very relaxing craft, but I almost got RSI from just doing these two stars and removing the grid. The second star was a little easier though, so maybe it’s an adjustment thing?

Maybe I should have bought a better, less tight, grid weave?

Love the scarf though, having this kind of crafted details does add a certain something to the scarf. And the end result shows that it’s totally doable to embroider knit this way, though it won’t look as exact and symmetrical as on woven fabrics.

The scarf is just a rectangle that I sewed together and turned inside out.