Things I am happy about today

Tuesday, March 30, 2010Johanna / 2 kommentarer
  • That I soon (hopefully!) will get my hands on these bright red sneakers from Ecco.
  • That spring has finally arrived after the snowiest and coldest winter in decades
  • That we can finally afford a holiday in the sun this summer. Yesterday I booked flights to Athens for two weeks of trekking around the Grecian archipelago!
  • That I have sold 28 Floremark garments since October (which also explains my lack of "on-line presence" lately, pretty much all my personal leisure time is dedicated to work - so some things gotta give and now I realize that I used to spend a lot of time on-line. Which I loved BTW, no guilty feelings about that - in fact I miss it).
  • That this weekend is the easter weekend, which means four days off work. Yippie! 
Made by me

Cardigan revisited

Monday, March 29, 2010Johanna / 9 kommentarer

The failed cardigan has gotten a makeover. And I think it works much better now! I cut up the old cardigan and reused fabrics for both the sleeves and back piece and had some more fabric left which became the new front. The fabric is a wonderful cotton/rayon rib that feels like a silk knit, but it was incredibly hard to work with. The seams stretches out like crazy and hemming was a nightmare. I ended up using the blind hemming method, but had to constantly pull and push the fabric to keep it from expanding and I would be lying if I said the end result looks anywhere near perfect. But I think the cardigan will be perfect for summer - the fabric is soft and light and feels cool to wear.


Stewart + Brown = gorgeous
eco friendly designs

Monday, March 22, 2010Johanna / 6 kommentarer

A work mate showed me an ad for the American design duo Karen Stewart and Howard Brown the other day and let me tell you it was love at first sight! Maybe they are well known in the US, but I had never heard of them before. Their label stewart+brown makes absolutely gorgeous clothes in primarily organically grown fibers, like these jersey dress beauties above. I want to own almost everything in their line! And they also donate a percentage of all sales to non-profit, non-governmental environmental and social welfare organizations. I want, no I need, that dark gray wrap dress.
Life of Johanna

You and I won't be going places

Sunday, March 21, 2010Johanna / 10 kommentarer

Okay so I have made a total wadder. Sigh. I was super excited about this new cardigan design, I had it all planned out and even did a dummy in a different fabric that looked good enough. But the end result is just yuck. Everything streched out and is just a baggy mess, like an Anthropologie cardigan on a really bad day. Or something one wears in a hospital or possible in jail, as my boyfriend noted. 

The fabric is the main problem I think, it is a slinky rayon/cotton knit that needs to be kept firm, otherwise the end result will be a slouchy mess. I tried to hem the cardigan with both coverstiching, invisible hem and the walking foot - but all three failed miserable. This one is heading straight to the bin.

But first here are some lovely detail shots from my pocket experiments:

Hated the first bow design so I tried to cut it loose.
But I had attached the bow so hard with hand stitching that I couldn't remove it.

Another pocket design after the first bow failure. Incidentally, this one didn't work either.

Roxy t-shirt in organic cotton

Thursday, March 18, 2010Johanna / 7 kommentarer

I am slowly working on adding new designs to my shop, and this is the first one - a sailor striped t-shirt in black and ivory organic cotton jersey. I really want to work more with organically grown cottons since they are much more eco friendly than the regular kind. Plus the quality of the organic knits that I have bought over the years has all been of excellent quality, with only exception that I can think of. And this striped jersey is just wonderful, so soft and comfortable, washes very well and is a little more substantial than regular t-shirt fabric. I named this one Roxy because I was thinking new wave in the early 80's when I made it, and will wear mine with my super skinny "can't really breath" waxed black jeans and Converse type of sneakers.
Parting shot. While I was taking the photos my daughter came into the bedroom to see what I was doing so I did a couple of shots with her too. In this one the brief was "look tough" and I think she did a much better job with that than I did! 

Walking foot review

Friday, March 12, 2010Johanna / 11 kommentarer

I have finally given my Bernina walking foot a bit of a test run. Here is a mini review of my results:

Overall impression
Very sturdy, not flimsy and also surprisingly quiet. It sews at a slightly slower pace than a regular presser foot, which takes a little getting used too, since I am usually a full throttle kind of seamster. But it is not super slow by any means, so it is not a real issue.

Sewing striped knits
I do this a lot and sometimes I need to do things that a serger can't. And a regular presser foot will push the top layer forward so it is really hard to get a nice even result, i.e. the stripes won't align. Well the walking foot made a big difference on all my test samples! Even when I sewed a stretchy striped knit on the bias the stripes aligned pretty well.

Sewing on vinyl
The regular Bernina presser foot does a pretty good job with vinyl, but the walking foot made it even smoother and the stitches got more even. So again, success.

Top stitching jersey 
I also tried top stitching a facing onto regular t-shirt jersey (non-lycra). With a regular presser foot the fabric would stretch out horrible (unless I interfaced the facing) but with the walking foot it didn't stretch out the fabric at all, which was very impressive!

Top stitching rayon/lycra
A nightmare to top stitch on a regular machine, there will be bubbles and skipped stitches. Well the walking foot didn't do a better job than a regular presser foot, unfortunately. I am gonna stick to cover stitching.

Sewing slinky satin
Again the walking foot didn't exactly excel, the fabric still slipped, but it was a little bit easier than with a regular foot.

I didn't have any velvet in my stash, so I can't give my verdict on that. But from the trials that I have done so far, the walking foot deliver very well in most cases. So I am happy with my purchase!


Thursday, March 11, 2010Johanna / 2 kommentarer

Hello, remember me? I have been working the sweatshop lately, so it has been pretty quiet around here. Luckily I sent away a batch of orders today and now I got time to talk again! So tomorrow I will post a review my new walking foot and then I will try out my new Prym bias tape maker to see if that was a good purchase.
Life of Johanna

Disappointment and some
button theraphy

Friday, March 05, 2010Johanna / 8 kommentarer

This morning I traveled by bus to the other side of town in an ungodly hour only to find out that the supplier did in fact not have any more unbleached organic cotton jersey. Instead it turned out that what they had labeled as single jersey was in fact a cotton interlock. A nuance that is lost on everyone outside the fabric world I am sure, but the difference is substantial. You would have thought that one of the biggest Swedish fabric supplier should be able to tell the difference, but apparently not! Though the sales assistant was a little embarrassed when she noticed the mistake. Anyhow no more fabric available of the kind that I want, so I spent the bus ride to work calling suppliers with dismal result. But I think I might have a lead now. Just need to check out the swatches.

Anyhow, I needed some retail therapy after that, and since the mall near work is kinda boring, during lunch I ventured to the "secret place" which is a store that sells fabric and notions from the 60's and early 70's. The shop is really old and they must have bought a lot back in the days, because the store owner never seems to run out of things. Here you can see a photo from the bustling interiors. I came back with some lovely buttons from the 60's that will surely find a happy home in my growing button stash.

By the way, is it just me, or have buttons gotten more and more boring? While I was waiting at the supplier I checked out their button section and didn't find anything that I wanted. While at the "secret place" almost all the vintage buttons are really desirable. In fact I buy almost only vintage buttons these days (and some from Ebay), because the new ones are often both boring and really expensive.
Life of Johanna

Busy, busy and my little helper

Wednesday, March 03, 2010Johanna / 3 kommentarer

Mostly due to having a garment featured in an Etsy newsletter (yay!) I ended up getting five orders on Saturday. Which means that all I am doing this week is working - from morning (day job) to night (Floremark). So yesterday I enlisted my eldest daughter as a pattern maker assistant. She helped me trace the patterns and prep them for grading, and did a wonderful job with it, even though she grunted a bit. I think I might enlist her services again in the future. 

Anyhow my plans for making the bridal dress muslin, finishing the blouse and sewing up a spring collection  is a little on the hold. Lets just say I got a lot on my plate right now! And on Friday I need to get up before 6 AM to pick up more fabric from a supplier for the sold out Olga blouse before I go to work.
Thank gawd for coffee. So yes, updates might be a little spare this week, (though I do plan to post about the walking foot that has finally arrived) . But next week I'll hopefully be back on my regular schedule!