20. Dezember 2011

Swapping again

This years SWAP rules is about creating TNTs and therefore perfecting fit. Great idea!

Here's my storyboard for this year:

All patterns but the cardigan will be self drafted. There will only be two dresses instead of the four shown, I wasn't decided on what it should be.

As always, we are allowed to include items sewn previously, that is before December27th. Though I am desperately in need of pants, I started off with a dress - I wanted something fun first!
After consulting with my husband, I decided on a sheath dress - a first for me, as I never had a fitted dress with a straight skirt part before. Sure enough I encountered fitting problems I had never before, but they were easily solved. Thank God I made a muslin!

So here's garment #1 for 2012 SWAP:

The fit is good, though there's still a little tweaking neccessary at the front: the curved princess seam line is located very much at the side of the skirt part. That means the dart of the skirt part (within the seam line) points towards the hollow next to my tummy, where the extra of the dart is not needed. There's too much fabric there. So, even I like the design that way, because of fit I moved the princess seam more towards center front in the pattern. We'll see how that turns out in fabric once I sew a second version.
I feel really comfortable wearing the dress -though it also feels odd. The dress looks so "grown-up"! Which is okay for a soon-to-be 42 year old. Just unusual for me.

Drafting info:
For better comprehension I include a photo of the pattern parts:

I took up the shape of the side seam line to create the princess seam line, curving the seam towards CF/CB underneath my hipline. To create a smooth line it is important to keep the edge of the inner pattern piece (CF or CB) smooth - this is the line you are going to see. The outer pattern piece can be "crooked" according to the darts you insert. Even so, it shouldn't be too weirdly curved as this can cause trouble when sewing the two edges together. Eg. originally the front side would be pointed at the bust point. The pattern pieces would touch, but curve apart from each other immediatly beyond the bust point, with the bust dart pointing toward the shoulder and the waist dart pointing down. I rounded the front side pattern piece right at the BP, leaving a little 3mm gap between the pattern pieces. But these 3mm less ease won't show!
The gaps between the pattern pieces are the darts which I created for fit. To show off the bust, I take the fabric in right underneath the bust. In the back I increase the intake gradually, as there is no "bump" to fit. The darts should end lower in the back than in the front (just where they end for a skirt, for me that's about 9cm below waist in front and 13cm in the back), but I was forced to elongate the front dart to let the to seams curve into each other nicely (you don't want to have the side pattern piece too wavy). This way the two darts are appr. the same length (though the front looks longer in the picture - not so in reality).
Looking at the front pattern pieces, you can tell where I had the original princess seam in the skirt part - more towards the side with all the tape on it. I drew in a new one, cut it open and closed the old line. You need to check if the changed dart takes up as much fabric as the first, else you must redraw the side front seam.
Funnily I found I had to do a sway back alteration with this sheath dress - something I've never done before. But it seems as this dress is very fitted on top AND bottom, this brings out body/posture issues more prominently.

29. September 2009


I am back at sewing - slowly, but sewing. After 8 weeks of abstinence I was ready to get at it again. I started by drafting a simple shirtdress. I used some wonderful blouseweight linen in dark blue that I got from Michael's last year. The skirt part is lined, the bodice not - I figure when it is getting too cold I will wear a cardigan with the dress. So bit I bit I made progress with the draft and then the dress itself and now it is finally finished.

I feel good about having finished a garment and it fits well, but don't think a shirtdress will be the most practical thing ever for a new mom. Being realistic I got to admit I am a pants girl. That's why I drafted a blouse with the same measurements I used for the dress (but different design lines) and will use the same dark blue linen to sew it.

31. Juli 2009

Road tested

Just a quick post to tell you how the nursing shirts work out:
The altered Jalie #2804 is great for the nursing mom. I must say, it works well! Next time around I would enforce the front neckline with some clear elastic. The fabric I used has a lot of lycra (8%), nevertheless the crossover section does sag a bit when being worn a few hours, from pulling it aside to nurse. The big plus on this shirt: The modesty panel can function as a burp cloth as well! ;)) Just in case you don't want your baby spitting up into your decollétage...

The Henley-shirts are also great. They were just perfect in the first week at home, when I and Rieke were learning how to nurse - just like Elizabeth from Stitcher's guild said, it is great to be able to see your child in the very beginning. I tried a regular shirt once, by pulling it up. Awful, the fabric kept falling onto the face of the baby and I wished for a third hand. However I would say the henleys are rather for home wear. When opened up, they reveal the whole upper body, as the jersey is soft and doesn't have the body to stay up by itself, like blouse fabric would. So if you want one side open for nursing, the other side falls open also, giving yourself a cleavage down to the belly button.

So I guess there will be some more Jalies in the future...

17. Juli 2009

She's here

Our adorable daughter Rieke arrived on a warm and rainy summer Sunday evening, 18.50h. 3360g, 51cm, looots of hair.

3 days old

Everything went well and smooth- before, during and after birth and we are presently getting used to life at home as a family! Being happy and overwhelmed. And overtired.

10. Juli 2009

While waiting...

While waiting for the baby to arrive, I am doing a little sewing (it's sewing and reading now, as there is nothing else planned). I am slowly working my way through the skirt suit for my friend. I have to admit it is going slowly as I don't like sewing the jacket - I don't feel very confident about my jacket sewing abilities. Well, it is coming along, the outer shell is finished and I just have to do the lining and bagging. I am contemplating about a fitting together with my sewing teacher...


Sewing for myself (much easier stuff, extending that nursing wardrobe that I started with the JCC) is going much faster. I sewed another Jalie#2804, the empire cross-over top. Great pattern. As I plan on nursing (hopefully in VERY near future), I changed the modesty panel into a nursing panel by doing cut outs. I also lengthend the upper cross-over bodice. I find that in the original cut the empire line rides a little high. Not so much as to bother me, but doing changes to the pattern anyway, I added 3cm (1.25") to the upper part (I forgot to shorten the lower bodice accordingly and had to take the extra off at the hem :0 by now the pattern is corrected). Lengthening the cross-over results in a few pulls at the bust. It is not too bad, as it corresponds to the lower gathered bodice (you can't tell in these pictures because of the belly, but believe me, there IS gathering in the lower bodice). With the next version, I will shorten the cross-over as to not have it cross over that much. Hope that helps. As you can see, I keep with the colour choices I made for JCC - I plan to have everything I sew for now coordinate at least colour wise (if not style wise). As I have to sew for a bigger bustline now, I don't have much stuff to wear. So starting off with coordinating things gives me the most possibilities of mix and match. Who knows how long I will be wearing this bigger size? Could be as long as I wore my maternity stuff, could be longer. Time will tell.


I have some great cotton-lycra sateen in seagreen in my stash- in the very beginning of my sewing career I sewed a nice little blouse from it (it was the reason for buying all that coordinating fabric which I never sewed up). As the fabric has a little more body than the usual blouse fabric, I wore that garment sometimes as a blouse, sometimes as a jacket. I like this "double-agent" thing, and as this first blouse doesn't fit right now (no remote chance of closing it-I gained 10cm/4" in bust circumference), I decided to sew a bigger one. Drafting the pattern, I kept the bodice simple (princess seams), but added a lapel that is a bit on the dramatic side as it is big! The neckline I kept simple with no collar. Regarding the sizing I have 12cm (4.75") of ease in this to my "now" measurement and hope this will be okay when nursing.

I experienced a small mishap when cutting the front - I didn't realise, that the fabric was not cut straight across the grain, so there was a bit missing at the shoulder of the lower pattern piece. As I really like the fabric and there's enough left for a skirt, I didn't want to recut the front completely. So, remembering that the sewist is the designer, I cut off 4cm off the front shoulder and added a yoke. This way I only used left over scraps... and nobody will ever know!

Every seam and the edge is topstitched. I also made a few little pintucks at the sleeves, for them not to "wing out" so much. The sleeve being straight and the fabric being medium weight I didn't like the look of the hem just turned up. You can see the difference in the lower right hand photo- on the left is the pintucked sleeve, the sleeve on the right is just straight.

There are no buttonholes/buttons yet, as I want to wait adding those until I slimmed down enough to close the front and determine the placing. I am happy about this little summer item, which I can wear as a stand alone or instead of my usual cardigans over tshirts. Best of all- it is easy wash. Something I guess I will be in need of around a newborn...
The review is here.

3. Juli 2009

JuneCC continues into July

I didn't finish all required items for the JCC in June. Just too much other stuff still going on here. But I did sew two things right at the beginning of July - another shirt (the same Burda shirt as the first henleys), this time with a V-neck, and a shirred skirt. For the skirt I used a poly crinkle chiffon (matching the placket of the first Burda henley shirt) and my TNT 6-panel gored skirt (same as this maternity skirt). This time I cut the panels straight up from the hip. After sewing the fabric and lining together at the top I pulled the skirt in with elastic cord. I sewed over the elastic cord with zig-zag stitches and then pulled in the ends of the elastic till I had the desired circumference. This way the skirt will fit me whatever my waist size will be this summer - it even fits me now (only theoretically - it makes me look huge)! The hem of the skirt is a rolled hem - this was a quick and easy project, apart from cutting this wiggly fabric and getting the hem even in the end...

Somehow, even though I wanted seagreen as the main fabriccolour, I ended up with rose and burgundy mainly. Hmmh. I see a seagreen blouse in the near future.

29. Juni 2009

Just for fun

Are you looking for additional storage space? I found an at least temporary solution:

27. Juni 2009

UFO finished and working along at JCC


I got a half finished skirt for JCC lying on the work table. It is a trumpet skirt in chiffon with lining. I cut the top very large (almost 120cm waist) and want to add shirring to the top, pulling the fabric in quite a bit. I figured this way I will have a summery skirt, nonregarding the size of my waist/belly after delivery. Thus far the theory, I am curious if it will work out...

The fabric was a pain to cut out, it slipped this way and that (you can tell I never worked with such a fabric before, can you?). Luckily it is a crinkle chiffon, so I am counting on the fabric to hide the flaws. It is poly chiffon and I got it together with a matching jersey in my early sewing days, three years ago. The jersey was used to make a shirt, but I since discarded it. I did learn a lot about sewing since then... ;) A remnant of the jersey I used for button placket of the burgundy henley shirt, so I tought a matching skirt would be fun.

I also finished a UFO today - a jacket that only needed buttons. I am not into buttons that much. I think I sewed the last stitch on this blazer in March... Now I am happy, as I really like the garment. It is a self drafted pattern, fitted (well, fitted for my old self, before pregnancy) with a yoke and wedges as design details. The fabric is a seagreen corduroy with a burgundy sorto paisley/flower pattern. The designlines I topstitched in dark red. In my current state I cannot remotley close this jacket, but the fit in the back is great. AND it goes with the JCC stuff! Well, at least the accessory and the shirts. Not sure if the style/length of the jacket and the skirt will go together.
Corduroy blazerCorduroy blazer

Corduroy blazerCorduroy blazer

13. Juni 2009

Opening up

These are the first shirts I constructed for "after birth". I plan on nursing the baby (and hope it will work out), so I need top suitable for that. Alas, my pre-pregnancy tops are too small (I sewed pretty fitted stuff for a smaller bust measurement), so I really have to sew shirts and blouses!
I will try to keep to a colour theme for now. Seagreen will be the base colour. I got quite some seagreen fabric of light and dark value in stash. And it coordinates well with colours, like midblue, dark blue, burgundy or pink.

I also entered the JCC 2009 at Stitcher's guild, to start me off. I'll just try to sew as much as I can before the baby arrives.

The shirts are Burda WoF 10-2006-114, a very simple tee that has a (for a knit) unusuably high cut sleevecap. This results in a great fit! The shirt is fitted but not snug (like Jalies), I guess they constructed it with zero ease (instead of negative ease like Jalie). Just the type of tee I like. And as the style is completely basic, it is a great base for all kinds of design changes! Some ideas are given in the issue itself, like Mod. 114A or 115.
I made a henley shirt with a placket and snap closures- this way I can open it up for nursing. I don't know yet how far down I will have to open the shirt but to better be safe then sorry I made the placket really long - down to my belly button, that is. The snaps are great, they don't open unintentioanally but open up pretty easily- ideal for nursing, I guess! For the placket, I used the instruction of my Burda sewing book (sadly only avaible in german, as it is really nice). There are several methods shown, the one I used is for contrasting fabric. Great way to use leftovers of other projects! I used all knit fabrics, but I guess you could use woven fabric for the placket as well. Here's the review.

Finally here are the shirts together with the "orphan" I will use for JCC, a greenish-teal scarf that I only wore twice (or three times?) since buying it three years ago.

3. Juni 2009

Getting married

This weekend my wonderful boyfriend and I went on a 5-day trip to Norderney to get married. It was just the two of us! We couldn't have chosen it better- the weather was great, the island was beautiful and we felt so happy and content!! It was a wonderful wedding trip to be remembered.

Even though we didn't regret the decision of getting married without our families and friends, we did miss them. And it was nice to have them call, wishing us all the best!

This is what we came home to:

Friends of ours decorated the door and my youngest brother brought the banner and the fake cake (decorated with shaving lather- originally all around, but it soaked into the cardboard so he had to redo it with the rest of the foam), which were the decoration of the little gathering my youngest and eldest brother's families held on saturday in honour of our wedding! There was also a fun photo album with photos of Stefan and I and lots of smart notes to go with it. Boy, my sister-in-law (wife of my elder brother) and my little brother sure had fun making this!! :)) We had a good laugh.

So Stefan and I really enjoyed this weekend - I guess the last weekend in quite a while for just the two of us...! Baby is due in 5 weeks.

(And to make this post sewing related: The white pants are from Swap, the grey top I sewed after Swap. It is again a self-drafted pattern and I used a beautiful grey cotton damast with Kois (the fish) woven into it that I got in Japan in Jan 2008.)

15. Mai 2009


I am speechless, I still cannot quite believe it- but I am one of the winners of this years SWAP!! I am even allowed to display this nice little thingy:

Thank you sooo much!

Grand prize goes to the wonderful, all self drafted SWAP of Audrey. She has awesome clothes and used the Japanese Magazine Lady Boutique for drafting her patterns. AND, what I thought was particularly neat, she presented her garments with photos of her in everyday situations! "Guys, help me with the groceries" and asuch, showing off this years twist: the wardrobe has to represent a week in your life.

Second prize goes to Mary, who "finished with only moments to spare" - and has this beautiful, classic wardrobe. I love the colours and fabrics, the elegant and sleek lines. This wardrobe looks extremly versatile, and I would gladly take it, as it is really wearable. Alas- it wouldn't fit me...

I could say nice things about every single other SWAP but will leave it at that: I had a real hard time deciding whom to vote for. Even narrowing it down to a few was almost impossible. I didn't actually check but have the feeling that there were less entries this year than last, but the quality of the entries were throughout high. I feel good sewing alongside such a bunch of great sewers! The ladies of Stitcher's guild have a very high motivation factor... which is why I am in possesion of a great maternity wardrobe that really work out for me. I would have probably sewed a few items, but not the whole set. So, thank you everyone!!

Last but not least I want to thank the sponsors for giving out prices! Have a look at Gorgeous fabric, Hot patterns, Sew organized, Michael's fabrics and Fine fabrics. They are sooo generous!!

12. Mai 2009

Jalie #2787

First of all I want to thank you all for all those wonderful compliments I got from you concerning my SWAP. It has been such a motivation boost!! Thank you very much (little curtsey inserted here).

Even after Swap I keep on sewing maternity stuff - I drafted a tunic (empire line, sure enough) and have two version almost finished. Still in need of buttons for the second, the first needs some special fiddling. I'll have photos of those as soon as they are done.

I also thought about what I would need after the birth - some nursing tops or nightgowns. I had tried my hand at this Jalie pattern (#2878) quite a while ago but wasn't satisfied. Even though the size was okay, the side seam kept pulling forward and the crosspanel was gaping underneath the bust (see purple shirt). Now, after the Swap, I was decided to tackle this pattern. I made a wearable (nightgown) muslin. I did my best but am still not satisfied. I came to the conclusion that this pattern is only suitable for a small to non-busted figure. I will not proceed with this pattern for myself, but will keep it for a childs version. I really like the style. The complete review is here. I guess I will just modify a regular tshirt pattern for a nursing acess via Empire waist, I guess...

On another note:

I am in the process of painting our old baby bed that was used for my brothers and me. My mother had offered to paint it and did a wonderful job of sanding and preparing it for the varnish. But somehow the paint I gave my mother for this (childrensafe stuff) wasn't good, it came out all streaky and was easy to peel off. My mother felt soo miserable... So I took over (she rather wanted to buy a new one for me, but I am determined to have the old one. You know how it is when a woman has her mind set on something...), took it apart again and started sanding it. I asked around amongst my friends about a childrensafe, good, eco-friendly (and harmless for me) varnish and found the perfect stuff. I tried the paint out on one side panel of the bed and it looks great. So now I am preparing the other three elements, sanding them and painting them one by one. To be able to paint it and let it dry I hung up the side part on my balcony. So here it is, drying until tomorrow, waiting for a second paintlayer...

10. Mai 2009

Final Swap pictures

Aah, Ann from Stitcher's guild was sooo quick in getting everyones Swapphotos sorted out - Thank you!! You can have a look at everyones entries here. They are awesome - so full of great styles, great ideas and great details. And everyone seems so content with their clothes! That is the best part of the whole contest. You sew 11 garments, because others do it too. And in the end you have a big wardrobe extension, lots of stuff for you to wear. Wow.

This is an overview of my entry this year:

We were supposed to make a wardrobe that represent a week in our current life. What can I say? I started this maternity wardrobe from scratch and (besides long camis I like to put underneath everything for temperature reasons) have only these things to wear! Above wardrobe plus two more pants and two shirts is all I have (one each sewn and one each RTW from a neighbour), so I wear the stuff constantly. I guess makes my collection qualify for everyday life...

If you want to have a more detailed look at the photos, have a look at my photobucket account.

Something funny for last:Yes, this is obviously how I look like when I change clothes. Wait, gotta pull up those pants first!

29. April 2009

Use your white balance feature

This is an example of how the white balance feature of the camera can improve the picture. See how my camera turns the purple to blue, together with the whole background.
I made a whole series of photos that turned out well, when on this last shots the camera couldn't picture the colour correctly. So I went to the white tablecloth on the terrace, adjusted the white balance with this white surface and went back into the garden to make the right hand side picture. Much easier than having to work it out later with a picture editing software.

23. April 2009

I needed something white

As spring comes along (it has been beautiful weather here for almost two weeks!), I feel the need for a white pair of pants. Last year I made up a pair, and I liked (and wore) them a lot. They were made of RPL (well, rather the other way round, Poly/Rayon/Lycra). I know I already praised this fabric type, so I wont repeat myself here. I just went out and got some more white RPL (it is the same fabric as for the grey maternity pants) and whipped up another pair of maternity pants today.

I am soo happy, I think I really needed those white pants in my Swap wardrobe. The teal pair I don't like because it wrinkles so badly, the jeans I wear but don't think ideal with the Swap because of its colour. The fabric was originally purple (and has a purple wrong side), but it looks more and more blueish. The white ties in well with the teal and purple tops and together with the grey garments gives a neutral look. Here are some more bump pictures: