Made by me

Skirt with cross-stitches

Sunday, January 31, 2010Johanna / 2 kommentarer
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)

wedding dress

The bridal project - pt2

Thursday, January 28, 2010Johanna / 13 kommentarer

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.
Made by me

Striped sailor shirt

Tuesday, January 26, 2010Johanna / 5 kommentarer

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.

In full make up

Monday, January 25, 2010Johanna / 4 kommentarer

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!

Dressing for the cameras

Sunday, January 24, 2010Johanna / 7 kommentarer

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. 
Floremark Made by me

Olga blouse in organic cotton

Monday, January 18, 2010Johanna / 7 kommentarer

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.

Buttonholes on knits

Sunday, January 17, 2010Johanna / 4 kommentarer
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!

One way stretch interfacing method
This method works very well on jersey, interlock and rib knits. The tricot interfacing I use for this purpose only has one way stretch and I place the interfacing so that it stretches crosswise and subsequently takes away the lengthwise stretch of the fabric, which is good since I will sew vertical buttonholes.

1. First interface the placket. If the fabric is relatively firm I only use interfacing on one side, but for stretchy fabrics it's good to have interfacing on both sides of the button placket.

2. After you stitched the placket just sew regular vertical buttonholes, just like you would have done with woven fabric.

3. There you go! The upside of this interfacing method is that it keeps the buttonholes from stretching out. The slight downside is that it makes the placket a little stiff, but it's a minor thing in my opinion.

Using elastic thread
This method is great for fabrics that you can't or don't want to interface (such as ribbing). You can also use this method in combination with 4-way stretch interfacing.

1. What you do is stitching over a thin elastic thread which keeps the buttonhole from losing its shape when stretched out. My Bernina buttonhole presser foot has a special slot for the elastic, so it's easy to sew on the elastic thread. I assume other brands has similar solutions.

2. Afterwards it looks like this

3. Then you just drag the elastic to remove the loop

4. Using a needle, move the elastic to the back side and attach them either by making a knot or sewing them to the fabric.

When all else fails
I am not good at making buttonholes in delicate knits or spongy knits, though Connie Long has great pointers on that in her book. Instead I resort to my favorite "cheat" which is using a combination of metal snaps and buttons. Like this:

Yes, it's not the same thing as proper buttonholes, but I really like this style as it reminds me of vintage garments.
wedding dress

The wedding dress maker

Thursday, January 14, 2010Johanna / 14 kommentarer

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?
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Kelly cardigan

Tuesday, January 12, 2010Johanna / 11 kommentarer

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!

2009 - a year of sewing

Friday, January 08, 2010Johanna / 9 kommentarer

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.

Life of Johanna Made by me

On embroidery and sucky ISPs

Thursday, January 07, 2010Johanna / 11 kommentarer

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.