The last day of 2009 got me thinking about the past year. And despite all the obstacles and set-backs, it actually was a pretty good year, especially the last month was absolutely wonderful.
Just to name a few things that marked my 2009:
- found some truly wonderful friends
- figured out what I really want to do with my life and stopped caring how that fits into other people's expectations and plans
- started exercising regularly
- danced at the belly dance performance, sober :)
- started learning Italian
- became less self conscious about sewing, my body and my abilities in general
- ended a long-term relationship
- got a new job and got promoted soon afterward
- made a huge step towards accomplishing my dreams by enrolling in a designer course
I do feel like 2010 is a sort of a new beginning for me. I'm starting the year single, with wonderful friends, with a new promotion and enrollment papers for Milan in my hands. Pretty good, huh? Now if my closet was full of designer shoes, I could easily be the fifth friend in the Sex in the City. lol
For me, 2010 will be about following my dreams and passion.I'm determined to improve my sewing skills, my pattern drafting skills and produce some original designs of my own. And all that before I go to Milan.
So motto for the 2010: Just do it! Not very original but indeed words to live by. Sometimes you just have to do the things that scare you.
Probably the only thing I dread about 2010 is one thing I will have to do and that is: turn 30. But I guess I'll survive.
I wish you all a Happy 2010 and be sure to live each and every day to the fullest! May all your dreams and wishes come true and most of all I wish you all health and happiness.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
The last day of 2009 got me thinking about the past year. And despite all the obstacles and set-backs, it actually was a pretty good year, especially the last month was absolutely wonderful.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
[Warning: some cheesy emotional lines coming up]
Life has been so good to me lately it's unbelievable.
The greatest news is that I have applied for the Fashion Design Summer Course in Milan, got accepted and already paid the admissions fee; so it's official... I'll be spending July in Milan, one of the fashion capitals in the world. Now, how exciting is that?
Then yesterday, I received a new contract at work, got a promotion and from the January 1st I'm officially the manager of the brand.
Probably the most important thing I have realized lately is how incredibly lucky I am. I realized that I'm surrounded by the most amazing and wonderful friends, I could ever hope and wish for. People I can truly count on and who I love deeply.
It also seems like all the pieces of the puzzle are coming together, I feel at peace and at ease with myself, everyone I meet is willing to help me in some way on my road to achieving my dreams. I feel truly blessed and happy.
[end of cheesy lines]
Happy Sewing everyone!
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
I made this dress for the New Year's party at work. This was one of those Project Runway moments when you race to finish the dress at 1 a.m., go to bed, wake up at 6 a.m., work all day and party half of the night.
Pattern Description: Dress - top is a tube top ending in V-shape; bottom part has ruching on the hips.
Pattern Sizing: The pattern comes in sizes 40, 44 and 48. I started with size 40.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, except I intentionally omitted the applique on the top.
Were the instructions easy to follow? I didn't follow them, because the only word I understood was 'vestido' :-)
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love everything about the pattern. I had a few issues with the V point, but I knew that was going to be the most challenging part of the pattern.
Fabric Used: rayon-lycra knit
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: First I took in the pattern. As I wrote above, I started with size 40, but ended up taking the pattern in quite a lot. On the top part I took in: 3cm at the center front (the V part), 2.5cm at the side seams and at the back 1cm on every seam. The back consists of 4 parts. I then changed the skirt part accordingly.
I also omitted the applique part, mostly because I didn't have anything appropriate at home.
Sewing: I've sewn the entire dress on my SM, no serger. I did the ruching by sewing with the largest seam length and gathered it by pulling the thread, I then pinned it and slowly sewed it to the top.
For the upper part of the tube top there is a facing pattern piece. I used the facing, but reinforced the seam with clear elastic. It worked perfectly. I minimized the slipping of the dress. I only had a few of those pulling-up the dress moments :-)
The only part I didn't like is sewing the V-part. The fabric kept stretching and the V didn't look good at all. I finally managed to put it into a satisfactory state. I'm not entirely happy with it, but oh, well.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I probably won't sew it again, but I do recommend it.
Conclusion: Great party / evening dress.
Dress on me:
Btw, did you notice I made a white cover up for Mimi. I like it better than the red one she came in.
I have some more great news, but I'll share them in my next post. Until then....
Happy sewing everyone!
Friday, November 20, 2009
Hi guys. My life has turned upside down in the past month. In a nutshell: my long-term relationship ended; a few other people also left my life, new ones entered; a few doors closed, new ones opened. Everything made me re-think my life, my goals and my priorities. I finally feel I'm doing things right and I feel awake, alive, my creativity is through the roof, and I feel a sense of peace and calmness. I guess sometimes in life you need one huge shake to get back on the right path.
Anyhow, meet my new sewing buddy Mimi:
I got Mimi a few days ago. I think she'll be a great help with sewing, fitting and detail work. Plus, I'd *love* to learn draping. I'm planning on getting some draping books. After reading reviews, these two ended up on my wish list: Draping for Apparel Design and The Art of Fashion Draping.
I did manage to get some sewing done. I have two small craft project to show. First one is an eye-mask I made for my ex-BF's mom:
It's made of fashion fabric which I interfaced with Pro-Tricot Fusible interfacing from SewExciting. (Btw, don't you just love her interfacing.) Then I sewed together two layers of black jersey to make the inside of the mask soft and so that no light comes through.
And the second one is an sunglass case for me, since I lost the original one. I lined it with some white jersey, so my sunglasses don't get scratched.
Next on the sewing table is a dress for my work's New Years party, so stay tuned.
Happy sewing everyone.
Friday, August 28, 2009
I just realized I haven't posted in a month. There are a lot of wonderful things happening in my life at the moment. I'm meeting and re-connecting with lots of wonderful people who are all somehow connected with my interests and who are offering me wonderful opportunities. For example, my best friend's cousin is belly dancing and would like me to sew costumes for her. I'm really scared to do this one, though. Then, I re-connected with a friends from elementary school (gotta love the Facebook) and he's a yoga master and his club needs someone to sew tunics and pants for them. Talk about coincidences and opportunities.
Then, the best news I've had in a long time: I found a wonderful fashion summer course in Italy, I want to attend next year. It's a fashion design course and involves everything from designing to pattern drafting to sewing on industrial machines. Plus it's designed to meet the needs of individuals and to the level they are at. It's not cheap, so I'm saving all my cents, because this would be a dream come true for me (well, one of the dreams anyway). I started learning Italian and I'm getting the basics down pretty fast. The classes are available in English, but I'd like to shop (did I mention the school's in Milan) and order food in Italian.
Consequently, I applied for a position at a multi-brand store and I'm waiting to hear from them sometime next week. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for this one.
As for the sewing, I'm working on the Vogue 8386 dress. I've cut it out and sewed the bodice parts. I'm planing on finishing it this weekend.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
This is the newest addition to my sewing room. It's an old Singer Hartley machine. I bought it off from a friend who wanted to throw it away (!!!!).
I have no idea which year it is from. It's still working though. I haven't tried it on the fabric yet, I still have to figure out how to thread it :)
Here are some detailed shots:
Isn't it pretty?
Update on my machine: It's working perfectly. Apparently it can't sew with the thick denim thread. I took it to the shop and they checked it and it sewed perfectly. It wasn't until I got home and tried it again, that I discovered that the thread was the problem, not the machine. Knowing that before hand would have saved me some time and an embarrassing moment in the shop. But hey, it's working and I saved some money.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Today while I was trying to hem some RTW jeans, my machine got jammed, well actually the jeans and the thread got jammed, and while I was trying to save the jeans, I must have moved something inside the machine. My machine is a bit off now and doesn't sew nice stitches. I'm taking it to the shop on Monday morning.
Anyway, this leaves me time to do some planning. I made a promise to myself that I will try to sew as many summer fabrics as I can before the summer is over.
And the other promise I made myself is that I will try to incorporate more dresses and skirts into my wardrobe.
First thing on my list is the Vogue 8386 dress that I will be making in this brown and white knit fabric:
Then, I'll be making the Vogue 8489 using this off-white knit with red dots:
Then there are two fabrics I don't have patterns for yet. The white cotton eyelet will definitely become a skirt. I'm leaning towards wide gathered-at-the-waist style.
And then is this knit fabric:
This fabric has been in my stash for 2 years now and I love it. I'd love to make a dress, but I'm having issues with the print. The print is quite big, so I'd need a pattern with minimum seams, but a style that would complement this sort of tribal print. Any ideas for the pattern?
As for the request: Would anyone be interested in making a swap? I have this Patrones Ninos magazine. It's spring/summer 2009 issue. I'd like to swap it for the new Vogue 1119 dress pattern.
Here are some photos of the magazine:
Anyone interested in a swap can contact me at: aikkam [at] gmail [dot] com
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Pattern Description: Relaxed scoop neck tops gathered onto a deep neckband, choice of short, cap or no sleeves and 2 lengths plus banded finish.
Pattern Sizing: Multisize 6-26. I made my muslin in size 8, which should be the right size for me according to my measurements. I found it to be too big, so I made my final garment size 6.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, except mine looks ore gathered at the front.
Were the instructions easy to follow? I actually followed the instructions on Pam's Off the Cuff blog.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the style of this top. I, however, don't like the gaping neckband at the back. I had to re-draft the neckband piece.
Fabric Used: Rayon - lycra knit with a wonderful drape.
Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: As I mentioned before, I first made this top in size 8. First thing I did, in order to fix all the gaping parts, was I went down a size. That solved everything except the gaping at the back. I took some scraps and made a neckband piece and played with it and slashed it until I got the desired effect. Here's how my pattern pieces look like:
The red lines are alteration lines.
This is the neckband piece looks like after using my pattern alterations.
You might be wondering where did this brown come from... Well, I wanted to have a contrasting neckband, but the final look was just not what I had pictured in my mind :)
As you can see, due to all the alterations, the neckband piece turned out quite pointy. The red lines on the right are the stitching lines (except less wonky, I can't draw with my mouse). I went in 2cm on the inner edge of the neckband because I found the original too wide. On the outer edge, I just smoothed out the pointy part.
I interfaced the inner neckband piece with Sew Exciting's Pro-Tricot Fusible interfacing and I truly cannot say enough good things about this interfacing.
I also didn't use the ribbing on the waistband. I used my fabric and made 2 bands 14cm wide, folded them in half and sewed them to the top using a narrow zig-zag stitch.
Back of the top:
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? After the alterations I made, I will definitely sew this top again. And I do recommend it to others.
Conclusion: I have to admit I was a bit frustrated with the neckband, since I didn't find any reviewers who had this problem. But, as they say, all's well that ends well. All in all, this is a great top and I'm sure I'll be making a few more.
Monday, July 6, 2009
photo credits: Hot Patterns
I just made a muslin for this top. It was supposed to be a wearable muslin, but I have some fitting issues with it, so it ended up being just a muslin.
The front view:
First of all, I had to sew the side seams 2cm wide (instead of 1cm), to eliminate the gaping at the armhole. That fixed it a bit, but unfortunately not entirely, as you can see from the photo.
Also, you can see that the neckband doesn't lay completely flat.
One even bigger issue I have, is the gaping at the back:
I think making it in size 6 should fix these issues. Even the gaping at the back, or should I make additional alterations. What do you think?
Saturday, July 4, 2009
There's a funny story behind this skirt. I made it yesterday and only today while I was writing my review on PR, I realized that the pattern was in fact a bubble hem skirt pattern. Well, I'll be darned..
However, there were some clues along the way, but I guess my mind was off yesterday. First clue should be that the pattern called for lining and that the lining was a lot shorter than the skirt. Then the fact that I had to shorten the skirt length by 20cm should be another.
However, I love my new skirt:
I wore it to lunch today and I got compliments on it; so it's all good.
Anyhow, lesson learned: it's ok not to read the instructions once in a while and that mistakes truly are design options.
Here's another photo where colours are more true:
For more information and more pictures check out my review on PR: click
On a different note, there are a few sales going on: Sew Exciting is having an interfacing sale; then Ann at Gorgeous Fabrics is having one and also Hot Patterns have one.
Make sure to check them out :) Oh, And I'm not in any way affiliated with any of them
Monday, June 29, 2009
I finally had some time off to clean and organize my sewing room. I re-folded my stash and organized it according to fabric type:
top shelf: knits
bottom shelf: wovens
Here are my nicer and more expensive fabrics:
top shelf from left to right: knits, wovens and miscellaneous fabrics
bottom shelf: wools and coating fabrics and my mom's fabric
As you can see I don't really have much of a stash; at least not as large as I've seen them online.
As for the patterns, I do have many of them.
I keep my patterns in brown manila envelopes which are then placed in plastic bins: (these are not all the bins I have)
I store my magazines in these magazine holders from Ikea.
(from left: Japanese magazines, Patrones - 2 holders, Rundschau Damen magazines and Threads magazines)
I don't save Burda magazines as they take too much space. I cut out the fashion pictures of the patterns I like and store them in 4-ring binders according to pattern type:
These binders also hold my envelope patterns together with their traced versions:
(yes, I trace all my patterns)
Every binder is labelled according to the type of pattern it holds.
I do photocopy Styles at Glance pages and keep them in a separate binder and I mark the technical drawings I like:
Traced magazine patterns and self-drafted patterns are stored in sheet protectors with quick reference and pattern number:
This is how I organize my stash. It took me a few days to get it done, but I really like having all my patterns stored in binders. I tried different storage options before and this one takes up least space and is the cleanest, at least for my taste.
Just a quick note on my belly dancing skirt...
Here is the photo of the finished skirt:
The performance was great, it was loads of fun. I honestly cannot wait for the next season to start. I also got to see the other performances at the rehearsal, and I fell in love with bollywood and tribal fusion. Next year I'll be taking one of these classes as well.
After the rehearsal, we, the performers, had a small Arabic food dinner, and it was delicious.
Here's the link to my PR review where you can read more about the pattern and the construction of the skirt.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
I have a belly dancing performance on Friday (wish me luck). It's a production at the end of the course where every group will perform one dance to show what we have learned.
I drafted the pattern for the skirt following the instructions from the book Skirting the Issues. I made a full circle skirt with two panels. Usually it's three, but I bought the whole fabric from the bolt and there wasn't enough to make three panels.
This is the photo of the pattern piece, it's 1/2 of the circle and it's huge:
The skirt is made of two different layers, the darker one on the outside and the lighter one on the inside, to lessen the see-through quality of the fabric.
Fabric used: 100% polyester
The fabric gave me lots of problems. I had so much puckering, I managed to get it almost to none at the end, but still... I was so mad. I tried using starch on the fabric, but it didn't wash off completely, so I decided not to use it.
Using the sharp microtex needle helped. I let all the seams dry and cool off flat after pressing, which also made the difference.
Construction: I used the French seam on the side seams. The skirt is not finished yet. I will let it hang over night, add the elastic at the waist and hem it with rolled hem.
I'll post the pictures of the finished skirt tomorrow.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
This is the final trial version of the harem pants for my belly dancing class before I cut into the pretty fabric. These pants are wearable, I already wore them to a class last week and everyone absolutely loved them. I already received a request from another girl.
I followed the instructions from the Pants for the Dance book I wrote about in my previous post. I started with a pattern for yoga pants, morphed together both, front and back, sides to eliminate the side seam, widened the pants and dropped the crotch. The book encourages you to start with a commercial pattern so there are no actual measurements, except recommendations for widening the pant leg. Which means that everything I did was pretty much an educated guess.
Two days later I found this diagram on the internet:
I measured my version of the pattern and realized I was off by mere 0.5cm = 0.2in. (Sweet!)
The pants really simple to put together. There are 2 inside seams and a crotch seam. For the waistband and the ankles I folded the fabric and inserted the elastic and voila! my own custom-made harem pants. It took me less than an hour to put together.
Fabric: I used a gauze-like cotton fabric I had in my stash for a while.
Here are a few extra pictures:
Here you can see the width of the pant leg:
Detail of the elastic at the ankle. You can also see the fabric here:
I'm planning on making the same pants from this polyester fabric:
The darker fabric will be on the outside and the lighter will be used as lining.
Construction wise, these pants will be more challenging because of the see-through quality of the fabric. Although I have seen the seams on the store-bought pants simply serged together, I'm leaning more towards the French seams... I'll try and see which will work best.