Sunday, 21 August 2016

A productive rainy weekend and a KnipMode pinafore

Would you be surprised if I told you that it rains a lot in Ireland? Especially in winter and spring. And autumn... And, sometimes, in summer...Last spring was particularly rainy, I wished I was in Spain! It was cold and miserable, and I did not feel like going out at all. One rainy weekend of last April, I ended up spending 48 hours indoors, but I set myself a goal to make this time productive.

When I got hold of the March issue of KnipMode, the Dutch sewing magazine, which attracted me with the amount of amazing everyday garments, this this pinafore became my absolute favourite. So I made it! I used 1.7 metres of very soft stretchy denim, the exact amount provided in the pattern instructions. I know how KnipMode patterns work, as I used them before. I cut a straight size 36 and added seam allowances. Remember, KnipMode is just like BurdaStyle does not provide seam allowances for their patterns!

Maybe because of the weather, or maybe because I was really inspired to wear this apron-dress as soon as possible, I had absolutely no problems with it. Not a single ripped seam! To make the inside part of the dress as neat as the outside, I used the flat felled seam and bias binding tape in order to hide all the raw edges. Look at how well this turned out!

A few words about the pinafore’s construction. Besides the front bib, which has a pocket, big enough to fit a smartphone, I love the back of the skirt! It’s like a reverse wrap skirt! It is especially comfortable for riding my bike. Skirt pockets are not included in the construction and now I regret not adding them. Otherwise, this pinafore is perfect! The pattern also offers another variation of this dress, but without the bib, and it turns into a skirt.

I also liked how the KnipMode stylists paired this dress with a stripy t-shirt: and I had a perfect pattern for this in mind too! I used the Style Arc Ann T-top pattern, which I used once before. The original pattern features side ruching, which I did not like. Also, the previous t-shirt ended up being too short for me. This said, when I worked on it during last weekend, I omitted the ruching and added a couple of centimetres to the hem, and it turned out to be a cute top. Check the stripe matching! The knit fabric I used for the t-shirt, has been sitting in my stash for years, and I am so glad I unearthed it! There’s enough fabric for three more tops: one with short sleeves and two with long.

After finishing both garments I was still on fire, so I chose to trace the patterns, which I have lined up for my further spring sewing: midi-skirt, top, maxi-dress and jumpsuit. Now, I am waiting until I find both time and inspiration on another rainy weekend in Dublin, which will not take long! :)

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Perle de Nacre, Japanese pattern and some embroidery

Do you even have this gut feeling, when you know, that something is going to be wrong, but you don’t do anything about it?

Once upon a time, I got hold of a book Grains de couture: Homme et Femme, and made this little skirt, Perle de Nacre. For once, I went straight to cutting this beautiful Nani Iro fabric, without making a muslin. As I cut the fabric, a voice inside me was telling me to spend some time on a trial garment. Ignoring that niggling feeling, I skipped this important part. How stupid was that!

According to the size chart, my measurements perfectly corresponded to the size 38, which I cut with large seam allowances, just in case. To my big disappointment, the seam allowances were not large enough to fit the skirt perfectly. I ended up with a skirt, which sort of fits, but instead of its waistband being on my hips, it’s now above my navel. Call it a high-waisted skirt. Do I like it? Not so much, but I will wear it, I think. My big advice to all of you, please, try not to skip the trial garment stage, even if you have some experience and you think you know what you are doing. On the other hand, if a garment you work with is rather shapeless, skipping the stage of the trial garment can be rather acceptable. Look at this oversized top! I would never have issues with its fit :)

For the top, I used double gauze, light and soft: perfect for baby skin, and for mine, obviously. When I lived in Japan, I could easily buy double gauze, but I did not think of stocking up on it and now I regret it. After my epic Ukrainian embroidery, I wanted to continue working with this type of embellishment, developing this skill. That’s the reason why those are little sakura flowers on the pockets of the top. I embroidered them, using sashiko, a Japanese decorative stitch. The pattern comes from one of the early Nani Iro sewing books. Two years ago, I sewed a peasant dress, which I still wear, using another pattern from the same book. If you are into Japanese sewing books, you will not be disappointed with this one, since most of the designs are quite different from what we usually see, putting accents on beautiful fabric prints.  

What I’ve learnt from sewing these two garments is that you are never experienced enough to avoid mistakes. Taking the time to do something always pays off, whereas rushing into something may cause trouble. I am quite sure, that this is not my last mistake, and in a way, I am kind of looking forward to the next one!

What about you? Have you made any mistakes recently? When was the last time you went against your gut feelings?

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Something big has happened!

Something really big and important has happened in my life! It is so big that I cannot not be quiet about it! No, I am not engaged/married/pregnant/fired/hired. Neither have I launched a new pattern line. What has actually happened is that I have discovered watercolours!

I have always been crap at drawing and could not even draw a stickman, that’s how bad I was. Like many people, I was sure that drawing was not for me and I did not have enough “talent”. When I started sewing, people often asked whether I created my own designs as well, but I answered ‘Pffff, I can’t draw a thing!’. However, something changed inside me a couple of years ago and I started feeling that I was missing out on something. An urge to start drawing, especially using watercolours, has been very strong in me for years, and I finally signed up for an online beginners’ course in June.

What I discovered cannot be expressed with words! The formerly unreachable world of watercolours has become a dear friend, who I now cannot live without! Since mid-June I have been painting so much that it has become hard to keep up with sewing, which has suffered from my new addiction. And you know what?  I don’t regret at all: it’s better for the planet and my overloaded closet!

With watercolours, I feel like a child again, discovering something completely new! Since my mind is a tabula rasa, I am trying to read every book I can find in my local library, I am devouring any piece of information on the Internet on the subject with fascination. I try to imitate different styles to help me find my own. Every new technique, every new colour mix makes me incredibly happy. If you follow me on Instagram, you have probably seen a few doodles. Please, bear with me, I am just at the beginning of my journey, but I am really willing to share my new passion with you. My paintings are far from being good, but as Samuel Beckett said: “ Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better”.

Simultaneously, I am also teaching myself how to draw, since to me this is an essential skill! Not so long ago, a friend recommended that I read the Betty Edwards book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, and it’s phenomenal! I borrowed the book from the library on July 27th and two days later I could draw my hand. Compare this with my first drawing from one month ago. Currently, I am working on drawing my three quarter portrait and auto-portrait. While I don’t expect it to look exactly like me, at this stage, my main goal is to nail the proportions.

Some people, who have seen my paintings, tell me that I am talented, but I disagree! As with any skill, one has to practice and persevere. They say, that it’s possible to teach a rabbit to smoke if they want to. So if you are like me, a person, who wants to draw/paint or develop any new skill, but are scared of not being able to or of outside judgment or of something else, I say ‘bullshit’! Just start doing it! Don’t even try: JUST DO IT! One has to do whatever makes one happy! Do you think Picasso or Dali woke up one day and started painting?
As you can imagine, I will continue sharing my new passion along with my sewing projects on this blog and my Instagram account. Now, I am curious: have you also started a new hobby recently?