Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Stencil printing - a little messy and a lot of fun


A while back me and Cattie got together to print our personal roller derby tank tops. Here you can see Anja supervising Cattie's print process. Notice the red wine in the background. This might explain my less than stellar result. 


We used old school stencils that was kindly cut out by a teammate. The stencil is made out of overhead plastic sheets and the sponge is just some cheapo scotchbrite. 


My white tank top looks better than the black one (which was a mess and I also forgot to photograph it) but even on this second try there are still blotches of colours here and there.



Cattie's vest. She clearly has a better knack for this than I do, or maybe she just deals with the combination of wine and stencil printing better?

Anyways it was a lot of fun and while I would normally be kinda disappointed making something that was less than perfect, but the punkish/DIY nature of roller derby somehow makes the end result suitable.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Making a grosgrain ribbon waist facing


The Burda magazine shorts that I made last month had a rather messy solution for waist facing. Or maybe it was just my having a hard time grasping how it should be sewn together?
But to be honest: "Burda, It's not me, it's you" 

So instead I decided to opt for a grosgrain ribbon facing. Which made me realize what a fantastic way this is to create a smooth, and stable, waist. Plus it feels a little luxe.

Here comes a quick tutorial on how to do it:



First attach the grosgrain ribbon by top stitching it onto the seam allowance (I use a 6mm allowance). I use a blind hem presser foot to make the seam more precise.


The waist after the top stitching is done. Look how discreet the seam is.


On the the flip side. Not as slick, but it will soon disappear. I created a self fabric hook for the button.


Fold the grosgrain ribbon over and press into place.


To secure the ribbon I sewed a line of stitches in the ditch of each seam (including the darts).


What it looks on the other side. This will keep the ribbon in place.


The finished shorts. I used the them plenty in Portugal and the ribbon facing really kept the waist from growing. I normally have problems with this, even though I use interfacing and stay stitching.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

My season in sports

With the Olympics in full swing I thought it would be timely to take a look at my own sports accomplishments lately (okay, that was just a lame excuse to finally put together this post that I have been meaning to do for a month. I've been trough a blog drought lately which has created a loong backlog of blog posts).   


The running season started off with a 5K run with my roller derby team. As you can see I love my aerobics during the warm-up. This was a great race, both because we had such fun and because I made a big improvement compared to last year. Running has been kind to me lately.


Which boded well for my 10k run which took place in June. My time was 53:34 which was over 7 minutes faster than last year's 10k race. Yes I'm the one running in a pale blue polo shirt. Notice my winner's gesture, that was when I saw the clock. I'm such a competitive person and can't help showing it.



After failing the roller derby qualifying test twice I finally nailed it. Three times a charm as they say. To be honest I was about to quit if I didn't make it. Because even though I can be pretty determined, one needs a little encouragement from time to time. The downside was that all that intense training resulted in a knee overuse injury, so now I haven't been able to train properly for a month. This sucks so bad, and my running has been cut way back too. I do think I am recovering now and I've been pretty zealous with the rehab work. But the real proof will be when I return to proper derby training after the summer hiatus.

So right now I am in a bit of limbo training wise, as I'm not able to train at the intensity that I'm used to, which makes exercising feel less rewarding and thus less fun. My next goal is to be fit enough again to do good in the 12h skating games in late August. I'm not actually skating for 12 hours though. We compete in teams of six and take turns during 12 hours. I think it will be mostly inline skaters competing, but our roller derby team is doing it on classic roller skates of course!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Burda halter top



My first ever halterneck top. The reason why it took so long is because it would have been unthinkable before due to all the bacne. Yes I was pretty self conscious about that unfortunately. But luckily my home blended BHA/AHA treatment is still working. As you can see on the right picture there are still some spots, pigment marks and scars and I might never have entirely clear skin, but I don't really care since there has been such a big improvment. 



Anyways the pattern is from May's issue of Burda magazine. Super easy to assemble and no pre-made pattern pieces, just three rectangles that you draw yourself. Inside there is clear elastic holding the bra piece firm to the chest. In hindsight I should have made the elastic snugger, but the top still holds up, obviously mostly due to the neck ties. My only quibble is the fit in the front, it accentuates the stomach and creates a little weird shape in the front. And when you look at the magazine photo it does have a poofing thing going on as well. Maybe that is why the model is doing such a pose? There are no photos of her standing straight. 
I think the issue is that the top is pretty tight around the hips and loose around  the stomach. If I would do it again I would either add more width/gathers or omit the gathers completely and just make the top skin tight. 

I wore this top in Portugal, but only once since I was a bit freaked out about burning my bare shoulders since the sun is so strong there. I had already burned the shoulders once due to not applying a thick enough layer of sun cream at the beach. I really like the top though and would like wear it again, though here in Sweden it will probably be too cold instead!




Thursday, July 26, 2012

A trip to Portugal














We just came back from a two week trip to Portugal, or Lisbon and it's surroundings to be more precise. We stayed in the both quaint and lively seaside town Cascais, a 40 min commuter train ride from Lisbon. Cascais is not a typical tourist destination in that it has no massive hotel complexes and feels much like a regular town. We also rented a regular apartment in a residential area, all things that contributed to giving the trip a slightly different vibe compared to staying at hotels in typical seaside resorts. But I really enjoy living a home life in another setting, I am the sort of person that gets a kick out of just doing grocery shopping in a foreign country. I had been in Lisbon and Cascais before, in 1998 when the world exhibition was held in Lisbon, and liked it so much that I suggested a return visit. 

We did plenty of daytripping, visiting Lisbon several times, Sintra of course and the fantastic Guincho beach. Plenty of beach life in Cascais too, however the Atlantic is really cold, even i July, so no long stints in the water, at least for us adults. But Stella and Anja were better at braving the chilly water. The two weeks just flew by and there is so much to do and visit in this area of Portugal, I could easily been away for another week. Being homesick is not a feeling I am familiar with, I just love travelling so much and as a result I can get a bit sad and tired when I get home. The first day I was lying in bed the whole day. But now I am slowly getting used to my regular life again.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

African batik shorts



Finally the summer holiday is upon me. Which has just done wonders to my energy. Apart from doing some summer cleaning, wardrobe purging, defrosting and piping cleaning I have also sewn my first clothes item in quite a while (apart from another pair of sequin hotpants for a roller derby teammate, more on that some other time).



Way back I talked about African fabrics, and it sure took a while before I put that thought into action. I bought this genuine wax batik from Ebay.co.uk and was very impressed with how rich the print is, and it's just as prominent on both sides. I don't know how they do that, but I guess the colour must run very deep.

The fabric was stiff before washing, but afterwards it feels like all the residue is gone. I wouldn't use this fabric for flowing styles, but for pants, straights skirts and fitted dresses I think wax batik fabric would work fine. 


The pattern is from Burda magazine issue 2010/10. The waist lacks waistband, instead the design calls for facing. But I used grosgrain ribbon and will post a tutorial on that soon. The only thing that didn't work out perfectly was the side pockets, I never seem to get them to lie flat. Perhaps the issue wasn't helped by the fact that I forgot to use interfacing, but even when I do I still get the same issue with gaping. And advice would be deeply appreciated.