Sep 27, 2010

Para las ocasiones :: Dressing for occassions

Muchos de los vestidos que hago los elijo pensando en alguna ocasión o celebración para estrenar. Eso significa que un par de horas antes de salir de casa todavía estoy cosiendo botones o haciendo dobladillos y a veces, si la cosa se me ha complicado, no me da tiempo de terminarlos en condiciones y tengo que ir quitando hilvanes en el coche. Como ya me ha pasado varias veces, siempre llevo en mi bolso (ese gran agujero negro sin fondo del que sale absolutamente de todo, vivo o muerto) un pequeño costurero.
El vestido de la foto lo hice en Mayo para una celebración familiar y es un ejemplo de lo que os cuento. Es de esta revista española, aunque tuve que hacerle alguna corrección al patrón. La tira blanca que se anuda en la espalda se debería abrochar con un botón, pero como no me dio tiempo de hacerlo, cada vez que se lo pone se lo tengo que coser con unas puntadas y descoser al quitárselo. Ya sé que desde Mayo hasta ahora ha pasado tiempo suficiente y que podría haberlo terminado pero es que una vez que el vestido es estrenado lo doy por terminado y NUNCA vuelve a la máquina de coser excepto que se haya descosido/roto/o sea convertido en otra prenda.


Most of the times my selection of the next project is based on forthcoming occasions. Sometimes it's for a birthday present, or a school party, or a weekend trip... And usually I have to stop the other 4 or 5 unfinished projects I have on my desk, to finish them off on time. If it's for a present I take my time to do it properly but if it's for personal use I relax a bit and, well, I always end up checking for missing tacks in the car. I always carry a sewing kit box in my bag just in case.
There is this dress (pictured above) from this spanish magazine that I finished in the last minute.
It was made back in May for a family celebration and I love it. I hemmed it by hand, with a few cms of allowance so that they'll be able to wear it next summer too. I didn't have time to sew the closing button and every time she wears it I have to sew it closed and unpick the stitches when she takes it off!! Once the garment has left my sewing table it is considered finished and never returns for the final touches, it just takes time off my other projects...


El vestido celeste con el lazo rojo lo terminé justo a tiempo para una fiesta de cumpleaños. Tuve que ir repasando las costuras en el coche y quitando hilvanes pero ha quedado muy bonito. Era un valor seguro porque el patrón es de mis diseñadores favoritos, Oliver and S, de los que os contaré mas cosas otro día. Ya he hecho varias prendas con sus patrones y no sólo son unos diseños preciosos, sino que se acaban muy profesionalmente y son mini cursos de costura. Me es fácil elegir la ropa que llevar en cada ocasión, pero cuando me invitan a esto:

The blue dress with the red ribbon was finished just in time for a birthday party. The pattern is from my favorite pattern designer Oliver and S and it is a lovely dress. I will write about their designs on a separate post, but I'll just say they are worth every minute and euro spent on them.
So it's easy for me to find the perfect outfit for any occasion, except for when I get invited to the local country fair (you know, with cattle shows and all):

Qué se supone que me tengo que poner para una feria de ganado? El vaquero y la camisa de cuadros? Alguna idea?

So what would you wear to this event?

Sep 26, 2010

super hero P

Qué regalar a un niño de 3 años por su cumpleaños?
What to give a three year old boy for his birthday?


Una súper capa de súper héroe!
A super hero cape!

Con tela que me sobró de los vestidos de Blancanieves le hice esta capa en menos de 2 horas. Usé el patrón de la capa de Blancanieves pero con algunas modificaciones. Le puse velcro al cierre porque no me gusta que los pequeños lleven cosas atadas al cuello y así es más seguro. Para tapar el velcro ingenié este sistema que lo oculta y lo hace muy fácil de poner y quitar.

I used some leftover fabric from my girls Snow White dresses and in less than two hours I had it done. I modified the pattern of this cape by adding velcro to the neck, as I think it's safer for a toddler. To hide the velcro I figured out this concealed system that makes it easy to put on.

Para la aplicación de su nombre primero recorté la forma de base en tela roja y la preparé planchando los margenes hacia el revés para luego poder coserlo a la capa. Recorté la inicial de su nombre en tela amarilla y la pegué directamente sobre el fondo rojo con un poco de entretela. Luego lo cosí con la máquina de coser usando la puntada de ojales con la patilla normal, siguiendo el contorno de la letra... y ta chaaaan!!
Era la primera que usaba esta técnica de bordado y sorprendentemente me quedó bien a la primera. Planché bien la aplicación antes de cosérsela a la capa azul con un pespunte normal (aquí podría haber usado también la puntada de ojal pero tenía prisa, como siempre). Después cosí el velcro a cada pieza, monté la capa encarando los derechos, le di la vuelta, y di unas puntadas a mano al cuello para ocultar el cierre. Lo planché todo bien y me fui al cumpleaños. Llegué tarde, aunque no por la capa sino porque me empeñé en terminar este vestido que llevaba varias semanas empezado, pero mereció la pena.

I applique his initial on a piece of red fabric. I first cut out a shape I was happy with and ironed the borders to the wrong side. Then I traced the initial directly onto yellow fabric, cut it out and used a bit of interfacing to iron it to the red panel. I used my buttonhole stitch with a normal foot to sew the letter to the red panel, and surprisingly it turned out great! It was the first time I had used this technique so I'm very happy with the results.
I pressed the pieces well before stitching to the cape, secured the velcro with a zigzag stitch, sew the cape pieces wrong sides together, turned inside out and finished the neck loop. I gave it a good press before wrapping and off we went, although I was late because I was also rushing to finish off this dress in time for the party... We had a great time.

Sep 22, 2010

revista patrones (con mangas)

Ya tengo el número de invierno de la revista patrones con el bonito eslogan: "moda ideal para el frío"... Que frío? Lo compré con muchas ganas y con más ganas lo cerré porque tanto abrigo me estaba dando sarpullio (ala, traduce eso google translator)

I got hold of the latest issue of Patrones, packed with lovely coats and winter jackets for the cold weather... what cold weather? I hear me asking
.
Casi todos son chaquetas para el frío y abrigos. Hay algunos pantalones y varias blusas. No he visto nada que me apetezca hacer especialmente, pero si alguna vez bajan las temperaturas por aquí me gustaría llevar la chaqueta de la portada (aunque es de Mango así que igual espero a las rebajas y me ahorro el sudor de hacer los bolsillos cartera).

Not all of them are coats. There are some wearable trousers and basic shirts. I particularly liked the green jacket that made the cover
, but when I read it's by Mango I decided I might just as well wait for the sales and spare me the grief of sewing the funny pockets.

Este abrigo en lana sería un modelo a tener en cuenta para meterme alguna vez en el engorro de un abrigo. Pero es que coser un abrigo son palabras mayores. Mirando el plano de corte de este modelo, hay 13 piezas a cortar en lana y 5 en forro. Si me meto en esto no sólo no lo termino en invierno si no que no coso nada mas en seis meses! Por ahora va a tener que esperar... Pero no todo son abrigos, hay un vestido:

Among the coats included this one is nice- if I ever embark myself on sewing a coat (you know, with sleeves, lining, pockets...) The cut out plan shows 18 pieces to cut. Unfortunately I dont have time this year to do this so it'll have to wait. But this dress looks like a winner:


Me gusta el corte y la tela cortada al bies. Creo que es muy favorecedor así que es el ganador de este número de la revista. Y con esto inauguramos la temporada de mangas. Hasta ahora las he evitado glamurosamente, eligiendo modelos tipo kimono o con manga abullonada pero ya va siendo hora de que me enfrente a un buen par de mangas con hombreras.

It's a flattering pattern cut on the bias. I might give it a go and open the fall season with it. My next challenge will be doing the sleeves. I've cleverly avoided them so far by picking kimono style patterns or gathered sleeves but this season I'll take the challenge so here I go...

Sep 16, 2010

Read the instructions



Remember this?. I was stuck with this skirt so I had to go to Mum. Have I ever said she´s a very experienced and talented seamstress? Have I ever said she´s done like a million miles of stitching lines, sewn all types of fabrics, done dresses, costumes, quilts, embroidery, you name it?
Well it just occurred to me that she might be able to help me here. So this is how it went:

Me: I´m stuck with this silly skirt. Can´t find out what´s wrong. The front is shorter than the back!!

Mum: But it´s a simple skirt, just put the pleated piece over the front piece with no pleats and...

Me: WHAT!!?

Mum: But look at the cut out diagram, you have to cut piece #3 twice, one for the back and one for the front because it goes under the pleated front piece, so that when you walk you won´t flash your insides

Me: Well, that´ll teach me to look at drawings and think.

I´m happy but I feel silly so when the silliness feeling disappears I´ll dig the skirt out of the POUP and give it another try.

I can make a japanese!!!


Mission accomplished.
I couldn´t be happier as I have finished this jacket just in time for the sew along that m is for make organized.

Things I have learnt:
  • Trust my instict. As I didn´t understand the instructions I relied on the diagrams and also my own experience. I have been sewing following patterns word by word, without thinking too much, just doing what each step told me to. This time was different and I´m pleased to discover that I still have a bit of common sense left.
  • Choose the right fabric. The drape of this linen is what makes the jacket so cute. I wouldn´t try in quilting cotton or a heavy linen mix, as it was my first idea. My Heather Ross fabric will have to wait in my your-such-a-gorgeous-fabric-I´ll-never-use-you pile for the right project.
Things I´ll remember next time:
  • DO NOT SEW FAST (again, I made the mistake of sewing like a compulsive maniac, just because my daily uninterrupted sewing time is a ridiculous 45 minutes slot)
  • Don´t be lazy and change the thread. White doesn't necessarily match everything. Just take the fabric outside at daylight and see for yourself.
  • Cut out accurately. I got away with it this time because it was an easy pattern with plenty of ease but it won´t always work.
  • The seam ripper is your friend. The seam ripper came with your sewing machine not because they think you´re stupid but because they know you can make it better. The seam ripper understands your needs.
Things I´m most proud of:
  • I can make bias binding in no time at all.
  • Despite what I said before, I really sew fast!! It took me just three naps*. One to trace and cut the pattern pieces, one to prepare the fabric and cut them out and one to put it together. I´m impressed.
  • I finished it on time for the deadline. Now, I´ll be delighted if you could vote for me... click here and scroll down without looking at the other entries please.
*nap= I measure my sewing time in baby naps

Sep 14, 2010

Mis super ikea shorts

Aquí os presento a mis estupendos pantalones cortos con cremallera y todo. La foto está mal hecha a propósito, para que no se vean bien algunos detallitos bastantes mejorables (probé el gran truco de Sara Montiel de poner la media en la cámara pero sale una porquería).
Mi idea era hacerme unos shorts para estar en casa y eso es precisamente lo que me ha salido. Podría haber escogido un modelo simple con elástico a la cintura pero quiero ir aprendiendo nuevas técnicas. Con este modelo he practicado pinzas, cremalleras con solapa, bolsillos y ojales, y para complicarlo un poco más, elegí esta tela de cuadros para practicar el corte de piezas simétricas y que luego casen los cuadros en las costuras. Esto es lo que he hecho y aprendido:
  • No modifiqué el patrón para ajustarlo a mi talla antes de cortar en la tela. Me di cuenta de el tiro era muy largo cuando estaba uniendo el canesú al pantalón, así que tuve que quitarle algunos cms de altura al canesú para que la cintura no me quedara a la altura del sobaquillo.
  • Las instrucciones de la revista son claras pero cuando llega a la cremallera parece que se saltan algún paso o que el dibujo está mal. Culpa de Burda, no mía, claro. Aun así salí victoriosa.
  • Para cortar las perneras de forma que los cuadros coincidan en las costuras usé este método: corté una de las piezas primero, y en lugar de cortar la simétrica usando el patrón de papel, usé la pieza de tela haciendo coincidir los cuadros el los márgenes. Me quedó muy bien pero no tuve cuidado al coserlo por eso las costuras nos están perfectas.
  • Tenía que haber usado entretela para el canesú porque se chuchurre un poco.
Time to show you my shorts with a zip . Firstly, let me not apologize for the quality of the picture because it's deliberately blurred so that you can't spot my bad topstitching etc. I embarked on this project with a stay-at-home pair of shorts in mind and that's exactly what I got. I could have picked a simple pair of shorts with a elasticated waist but I wanted to practice a few things. This model from burda has pockets, yoke, zip, buttonholes and darts, so it looked promising. To complicate it a bit more I chose a patterned fabric to try cutting and matching the fabric at the seams, so this is what I did and learned:
  • I didn't adjust the size when cutting. It was halfway through the yoke construction that I realized I had to take a few inches off the yoke length (if I wanted the buttons to fall near my true waist and not just under my armpits)
  • The instructions were explanatory enough but when it came to the zip fly there seemed to be missing steps. I fiddled with it and doesn't look right still, but I now know how to do it.
  • I cut out the mirrored pieces on the fabric using this method: I first cut one leg, then, rather than using the paper piece as a template, I used the fabric piece and laid it over my fabric, making sure it matched the lines. I got to perfectly matched and mirrored sides! I then messed it up when I assembled the pieces but again, I now know I can do it right.
  • I didnt't use interfacing for the yoke, and I should have because it doesn't hold its shape.
Aquí abajo os muestro detalles de la costura trasera:
Below is a close up of back, where you can see the almost matching lines at the seam:

Y en cuanto a la talla 42 y a si me queda bien o no... bueno, quizás debería haber ajustado el patrón un poquitín...
And as for the fitting issues, size 42 is not my size but well, they're my stay-at-home shorts after all...

Sep 12, 2010

japanese work in progress

So far so good.

The wonderful people at m is for make sent me this book I ordered from them with a helpful sheet of common japanese terms translated into english. I first tried to translate each of them but it took me too long. I had to memorize the crazy symbols, look them up in the sheet, going back and forth like a million times, only to find that the term I was looking up meant "front" or "back", which was quite obvious from just looking at the drawing. The pattern is quite easy, front, back, two sleeves and the neck binding. It wasn't difficult to find the pieces in the pattern sheet, but I highlighted them in red before tracing just in case. I suppose that those funny symbols are telling me important things before cutting but I have no way to find out. As my sewing time is limited, when I'm unsure about a pattern, I sew it first in a repurposed fabric so that it is wearable. For this jacket I had chose this gorgeous Heather Ross design but the first version will be made with a mauve linen from one of my old maternity outfits. It is actually a high quality fabric, 100% linen, with a lovely drape, but it's been worn a lot so I'm happy to turn it into something new from my girls.
My pieces are all cut out now. I'll head for the sewing machine soon...

Sep 11, 2010

another level

I remember the first time I traced a pattern from a burda. It must have been one of the ancient burdas my mother has in her pile, and it probably was something for me. I must have been begging her to let me help so much (and so loud) that she finally cracked. I unfolded the huge pattern sheet, with a zillion of different line types in red and green crammed over yellow paper and I traced proudly my first piece. I don't remember what it was or what happened with it. I do remember that it looked strange and I didn't understand a word. Sewing jargon was beyond my limited vocabulary, and the magazine was written in german so I relied on the graphics.

A few years later and I went through the same feeling when I saw this:



Yes. It's japanese. I don't understand a word (not even a letter) of it. I'm going to rely on my instinct, my sewing books and of course my knowledgeable mother. Others tried successfully so why can't I make it? This jacket is so sweet for my girls that I haven't got any other choice but make it.



The pattern is from a lovely japanese book called girly style wardrobe. I bought it from this shop, along with a selection of fabrics that I'll show you soon. I'm in a kind of hurry to finish the jacket because I'd like to enter the sew along before September the 17th, so off I go. Just wish me luck.

Sep 9, 2010

something is not quite right here

Skirt #2 is on its way. I chose this pink model from one of my latest burda, with a dotted dark navy fabric in mind. The yoke suits me and the pleats will give the skirt a bit of fun. I'll wear it with white shirts for work or T-shirts for casual days. I was eager to start and traced the pattern, cut out all pieces and labeled each one in less than an hour.
And it was then that something struck me as odd.


The instructions call for pieces 3 and 4 (front and back) to be cut twice and on the fold (??) Well, after re-reading the directions (I admit I should have done it before) it looks like the fabric is actually folded along the hemline, so that you have double thickness and no hem... It didn't sound good to me. Too much hassle and fabric. So I went down the easy route. I cut 2 pieces of each yoke, but only one of the back and the front, with hem allowance, and I would assemble it in a more traditional manner.

All my pieces cut (that is, two days later) and ready to be mounted.
Second thing that struck me as odd.

When I basted the pleats on the front piece, the width was shorter that the back piece. In other words, it didn't cover the distance between side seams, by at least 7cms. At this point I re-read directions again but couldnt find a logical explanation. Checked the pattern in case I had traced the wrong size but it was OK... time to put it to rest. I took it out of sight because there was a strong possibility of sending this project to my pile of unfinished projects (the dreaded POUP), and I liked the fabric too much to waste it that way. I had these options:
1. cut the piece again- I haven't got enough fabric AND I'm stingy and don't want to buy more.
2. Arrange the pleats so that the final length is right. Tried it and it looks ridiculous
3. Sew a piece of fabric as an extension and hide it within the pleats... dodgy

I'm angry because it was supposed to be a straight forward project and it's NOT. I still have to adjust the yoke so that it fits my stupid low hips and latino curves, and then the zip.

For the time being it's on the stand by pile, waiting for my mood to decide if I go for it or relegate it to the POUP for ever...

I'll keep you posted.

Sep 3, 2010

Stealing ideas again


My inspiration book is full of drawings of designs that catch my fancy. It can be from a shop window, a catalogue, books, a film.. (as if I had time to go to the cinema). Anything I like I log it in my book so that I can reproduce it later when the right pattern and right fabric arrive miraculously at my door.

The sweet little dress at the top was from a shop window and is by Chloe. At the time I didn't have a million euros to splash on it, so as the situation remains the same, it is high on my list of winter dresses for my girls.

But the dress that I have always wanted to make is the super cute sailor dress found in a vintage shop on etsy. Unfortunately I can't recall which one, but I remember it was a vintage dress. I will make it in linen with a pique collar. It should be easy to draft the pattern and put together but I'm leaving it for next summer as I'm done for this year on summery clothes.

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