Monday, June 1, 2015

Paprika patterns gems: Onyx and Jade

It's time to revive the ol' blog. What better excuse than to show off some recent feats of sewing! I've been experimenting with clothes making for at least a year now, and I've made a few items that get worn quite a lot. One of these is the Paprika Pattern's Jade skirt. It sits so nice, it's comfy, and looks pretty good too (if I say so myself). I wear it so much that the fabric is starting to get worn. I've even made a Jade skirt for a friend as well. Even better than wearing a self-made garment is seeing my friends wearing them!!!

But I digress from the main point of the post, and that is to review the other Paprika Patterns gem: The Onyx. I received this pattern for free from Lisa in exchange for an honest review, and I decided to challenge myself. I wanted to work with a new fabric for me, and I wanted a really easy breezy lightweight shirt. I thought to use some double gauze at first... but then I decided to try to try my hand at crepe-de-chine (or at least I think that's what it is). EEP! It slides! It frays! It's really thin and the stitches are really obvious. It's clear I had to be careful.

I planned to use the fabric to make a dress, so I thought it would be nice to practice sewing with it, to see how it felt. I still had enough left to complete the dress with it as well. I wanted to follow the instructions EXACTLY this time, to really test out the pattern as it is. I have to say, my meticulousness with this shirt made the adventure last a whole day (from cutting the pattern and taping together to a finished garment) but damn, I was gonna get those french seams and that flat bias neckline!!!

More experienced sewists have been saying it sews up really quick, but of course I had to choose a tricky fabric.... and I was determined to get it right the first time. The flat bias-neckline was a first success for me this time, but it really did take time, you can't just rush though this step. Especially not with the fraying sliding fabric I used. The tutorial from the website, and linked from the pdf instructions was very thorough. I used this and the cuffs tutorial. I did get slightly lost near the end of the cuffs, just before the folding bits, but they still worked out fine. Not sure how that zig zag in the pattern works, but it just does! And its great! I like how the little stitch in the bottom keeps it folded there, and the epaulet has the top part secured in a fold too. Clever!

I only had issues cutting so close to the seam on the epaulets cause the fabric frayed so easily through my stitches... but i managed by adding a topstitch on each epaulet to keep the fraying to a minimum....

The pdf pattern was easy and quick to tape together. The instructions were very clear and the pictures were thorough enough for a seasoned- beginner or intermediate sewer. The large enough seam allowances left enough room for the french seams, though I think I would have preferred the armholes to be a bit looser (I've got pretty beefy upper arms...).

My version was made in a size 4 and graded to a 5 at the hips, and I extended the length of the shirt down to the lowest line on the pattern. Otherwise I followed view A to a T, and here's what I got (don't get scared by the purple hair!)

Also showing off my Jade skirt with my PaprikaPatterns outfit!

I just have to show the inside seams, and just look how flat that neckline sits! <3 p="">That hour making bias tape and shaping and ironing that thing in place was worth it!

All in all, a really nice shirt, and awesome pattern!! It's classy and with this fabric a winner for a professional conference or dinner, or any semi-fancy workplace thing, or just a breezy summer day in the city. I really like the cuff and the neckline finish, it makes me feel great knowing that my shirt looks great on the inside and out;)

Thanks Lisa, and great job on another awesome gem which completes a 100% PaprikaPatterns outfit!!

Definitely check out the Paprika Patterns site and the Blog for useful tutorials and construction tips.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Me Made May Fails but life wins.

Bit of a tough challenge that "Me Made May" but I guess I tend to bite off more than I can chew. What really happened was, I vowed this:
"I, Jenny (, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '14. I endeavour to make at least 4/5 items in the Perfect Pattern Parcel #1 or at least 3 new summer garments; and wear one handmade piece of clothing each day for the duration of May 2014"

...I didn't take into account that I was
a) camping one weekend (even managed to get some climbing in, and introduced our friends to the lovely climbable rocks in the Eifel National Park in Germany...)

b) going to Belgium for another weekend, awesome family weekend in a lovely house, complete with canoeing, and a trip to Spa

c) going to Berlin for another: Love Berlin... Especially with friends visiting us from Canada!

d) Leaving for a  week to Kefalonia, Greece, on the last weekend....

and e)had enough hand made clothes, yet most shirts I made had long sleeves....

Basically, lots of excuses, but I didn't make enough hand made clothes to make it for the month, and didn't have time to make any new clothes.

I did however sew madly in the spare minutes of the busy month of May. I sewed one birthday gift bag/purse, and 4 beach bags for the girls on our trip to the island of Kefalonia!!! I had to test them all out before we left....:

Here's one of my bags in action in Kefalonia:)

May was a marvelous month... But not entirely ME MADE enough.... There's always next year!!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Full week of Me Made May!

I've committed to Me Made May, and made a possibly-overambitious decree that 

"I, Jenny (, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '14. I endeavour to make at least 4/5 items in the Perfect Pattern Parcel #1 or at least 3 new summer garments; and wear one handmade piece of clothing each day for the duration of May 2014"

Turns out, I've already made a lot more clothing than I realised, and wearing at least one piece per day that I've made myself hasn't been too difficult yet! I might be running out soon though, so I better hurry and make some more... but the summer-clothes-making part of the decree has proven a lot more challenging than I expected. May is a busy month.

There are a lot of other bloggers participating in Me Made May, and I've noticed that many of them have also set the same goals, and have also taking to proving their success by showing weekly round-ups of their self-made-and-worn successes. Here's a perfect example: 

Peneloping- Love all the things she makes, but her version of the Belladone with a cut-out back, I think I might try that dress again with a drapier fabric. Curtains I used are just too stiff.

As some of the other bloggers, I also didn't round- up the first week, since it was short, and I was sleeping in a tent for most of it- so I decided that it doesn't really count.

Here's my round-up from the second week of May, starting with my recently complete Moss skirt from ikea fabric
May 6: from Grainline's Moss pattern.                  May 7: of my favs, the Autumn-love dress by Nette.

May 8: The Cation Dolman Top                  May 9: A Datura, by Deer & Doe

May 10: The modified Plantain shirt-dress by day and Reddish Moss miniskirt by night

May 11: Lounging in my Summer Knit Cardigan- which is a nice and easy pattern but with that kind of fabric, it was really tricky to sew.
May 12&13 Moss skirts in different colours, and an up-cycled tank top from an old H&M longsleeve (The tank is my first summer piece towards my May goal of making more summer clothing)


What I've learned this thus far: 
-I have a lot of clothing that I made myself!!! 
-I don't love the Datura blouse, at least not with the fabrics I've tried it with so far. It's just not that flattering on me.
-I learned about the BurdaStyle magazine, and got overwhelmed with all the things one can make. I can't believe each issue has so many different patterns. I need to learn more about how to trace and make muslins. A friend brought about 12 of them over and I spend a whole day ooohing and ahhing. Lots of new projects to start!
There's something so relaxing about candles lit in the daytime, a cuppa tea, and sewing:)

I started with this dress as well as weekend, but after laying it all out realized I probably cut the wrong size, and should try it first with a muslin... grumble grumble. Something about having to sew a dress TWICE doesn't appeal to me. But since it uses close to 3 meters of fabric, it would be a shame to make it and then have it all not fit at all and be a total waste. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Belated Moss Making and Climbing in the Eifel

So, if you're a sewing addict like me, you'll know that last month was Moss Making Month, and that means, if you like to read blogs, and you like sewing skirts, and you like to participate in weird sewing randomness, you'd make yourself one of THESE beauties. I'm not gonna lie, I had already made two before the skirt's namesake month, but what the hell, what better excuse to use this awesome IKEA fabric that I just couldn't resist?

It's amazing how quick these skirts come together after you've made a couple. The first time I found it really uber-zupah challenging, and now I only get a little stuck around the fly part- but it's getting easier every time! This time I made it a tad bit more A-line and a smidge longer since I was finding it hard to cycle in it without flashing everyone on the street... a very important factor to consider now that I'm cycling from each end of my train-ride to work....  gotta look classy on my new bike;)

In other news, this weekend we arranged at the last minute to go to camping in the Eifel in Germany! We found some friends crazy enough to come climbing with us outside on the awesome outdoor playground near Nideggen:

Climbable and bolted;) What a treat!

 The lush green of the spring fresh forest smelled and sounded amazing.

 And the views from our hikes were not too shabby either!!!

Of course we had to take photos of the local lovelies:

 These poor little guys got kinda massacred along the hiking paths...

Wish I could fly through this canopy...

...but I still managed to make it up there at least:)

He lead some pretty tricky routes as well! All in all, much fun was had by all:)  

Therefore, my plan for Me Made May is a bit delayed. I started May off with my newly made Moss; but then had to switch to my merino clothes for the weekend since it's the only fabric I know of that I can wear for three days straight, not smell and stay warm enough and cool enough in.

So I think I'll have to add a caviat to my proclamation of last week that, if I am not sleeping in a tent, I'll wear self made clothes in May:) So far so good! Plaintain shirt for the win!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Inspired by Cardboard.

Big news.
I'm really excited. I got a new bike!!! She's a beauty. Meet Teagan the Sparkly Sparta (look at the cute blue tires!):

BUT the thing that's got me itchin' to CREATE ALL THE THINGS is.... the cardboard box Teagan arrived in. A really HUGE box. I can't believe it ever even crossed my mind to chuck it out with the Vrijmarkt clean-up.

It all began last weekend. Friday and Saturday were the Kings Day celebrations in the Netherlands, and our neighbourhood happens to become the centre of a massive garage sale (the Vrijmarkt).

Everyone can just stand outside their house selling all their old crap- crap that ends up being someone else's awesome new thing. I LOVE the Vrijmarkt. Actually, as it turns out, I'm a but fan of other people's "crap", (not too surprising, seeing how excited I get about cardboard). But really, I got a bunch of jackets and boots and shirts! But anyway, I digress.

Lets get back to the cardboard. The one that's taking up half our bedroom now since it's the only place it seemed to fit in the house.

Seriously, what CAN'T you make from it?
Exhibit A: Those guys even had more than 20 people standing on that cardboard bed and it was still standing sturdy. Pretty awesome.
Exhibit B: Inspired me the most.

So I set out to try to calculate how much cardboard I need for this beauty, and I think with my enormous box, I'll have JUST enough for a 45cm sphere. Surprising eh? First we have to calculate the widths of all the rings... Bit of math and thinking, and then we create a file to cut up all that cardboard with a fancy "laser" cutter. 

And then probably take a week to glue all the rings together...
Lets see how that goes...

In other news... Remember, I promised to take part in Moss Making Month? Well I barely made one in time, but it's ready now... Finished the first day of May:) Will have to show it off in an upcoming post since I'm starting my first "Me Made May" challenge!!!

"I, Jenny (, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '14. I endeavour to make at least 4/5 items in the Perfect Pattern Parcel #1 or at least 3 new summer garments; and wear one handmade piece of clothing each day for the duration of May 2014"

Wish me luck;)

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Wandering Walden Cooper

I've made a backpack!!! I'm actually really proud of how my version of the Walden Cooper Backpack turned out! I'm quite enamoured with it actually... It's got a classic sort of feel. There's something timeless and simple about it. Ahhh... It's such a pleasure to make something so useful, and perfectly tailored for my needs. Just feels so... productive, and creative at the same time. What could be better, really?? I so enjoy those suede accents and the snappy snaps and twisting closures... Ok, done gushing... but aww... it's so pretty. I think I feel just like Andrea with her new duffel- in looove. Maybe the red insides of that duffel inspired my colour choices here... just maybe:)

Even fits a water bottle!

 I spent a lot of time browsing through the other bloggers' versions, and I really loved the concept of a back section with snaps for a laptop like this one by annadeschamps, and of course it had to have a zippered pocket in there too (other side), I added the other two pockets from the pattern under the zipper from my zipper pocket too (also handy for little random things one keeps in a backpack. I also made the front centre pocket with a zipper as well. Probably will keep my wallet or train card in there... keys? Anyway, its just super handy to have zippers. and sections. and SNAPS! The pattern was great and I followed it ALMOST exactly (except for the extra add ons I made). The only part I found tricky was the explanation for the straps. I just made up my own version of dangle-free adjustable straps cause I found the instructions to be a bit too confusing for me, somehow...


Why the Walden Cooper? Apart from it's awesomeness, I felt like I really needed a backpack. When I finally made the pride and joy that is my "Mary Poppins" Bohemian carpet bag, I wore it all over town, and took it as my carry-on; and brought my laptop to work with it... But I quickly discovered that for work, that bag is just too big; and for cycling around with my laptop, its just a little unhandy, for every day. It's a nice travel bag for bringing one place and leaving it there, but for hauling back and forth everyday, it is just a bit much. Anyway, now I have the perfect to-and-fro Walden Wanderer! YAY!

Wondering where the Walden wandered first?

Took it to IKEA!!! and sat in the little itty bitty picnic tables. OF course!!!

What's next??? Maybe I'll join in with "Moss Making Month" even though I already have two of these awesome skirts ;) Since I can't resist the IKEA textiles section... What do you think about this beauty fabric as a Moss skirt? With proper pattern placement, of course.... Hmm....