Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The denim challenge

Sewing a biker jacket has been on my wish list for quite a while, so when Project Run and Play announced this season’s themes, I immediately knew what to make for the ‘Denim Challenge’.
And a challenge it was indeed! This jacket was definitely out of my comfort zone. The pattern is the Young Hero from Ottobre 4-2012. Used as I am to sewing simple tees and sweaters, the number of pattern pieces was overwhelming in itself: 19 pieces and 3 zippers! And reading the instructions, I was intimidated… I simply didn’t understand!
However, when going through it step by step, it turned out not to be too complicated after all.
The jacket is upcycled from three pairs of jeans, which required some creative cutting. The largest pieces -the front and back panels- were cut out of a pair of men’s jeans. It just fit. The other parts – sleeves, collar and yoke pieces- were cut out of two women’s jeans.
The lining fabric is a wonderful heathered teal blue knit that I got at the local fabric market. All topstitching was done in neon orange-pink thread.
The end result: not perfect but very OK for my first jacket. Most important is that my girl loves it (which is not always the case with the things I make for her).
After this adventure I quickly slipped back into my comfort zone and whipped up this cool sweater. The sweater is made from the same teal knit, and is embellished with denim shoulder patches and a big fat M. The edges are left raw, and will fray over time.

As pattern I traced out a well-fitting tee. When sewing up this sweater last night I thought it would end up way too big for her, but low and behold, it fits perfectly! I clearly need to update my mental image of this rapidly growing kid.

For the sidetag (as well as for the hook on the jacket), I folded a piece of twill tape and zigzagged a line with the coral thread. Simple but effective. 

I was a bit afraid that the neon coral thread would be dismissed as too pink. I already had a cover story ready to convince her (it’s the same color as the stripes on Dutch police cars, and they are cool right?), and was even ready to replace it with another color if needed. But again, she surprised me by declaring that this was her favorite sweater! Pheww!
I love it too. It's cool, but not overly boyish. And this soft blue color is perfect on her.
So, a happy girl and a satisfied mom. Now on to cleaning up the mess in my sewing room, which I abandoned way past bedtime last night!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Taking steps

Look! I'm walking!
For that occasion, mom made me some fancy pants.
Upcycled from grandma's linen pants
With backpockets
Tuxedo stripes
and front pockets
Don't I look handsome?
Since they're not very sturdy, I promised mom not to crawl anymore...
So, I'll start running instead

Note from mom: The pants are self drafted. They are a bit slimmer than regular baby pants, and they fit him perfectly. The only downside is that they are made from linen, and will not last very long. 
So I'm already on the lookout for some sturdier fabric for the next version...

Linking up to Project Run and Play, week 2 (hand-me-down).  

Sunday, September 21, 2014

(Un)finished business

While digging through my stash in search of some fabric for a new project, I came across a halfway finished sweater. I started it about a year ago, but after lots of struggling, sweating and seam ripping, I tossed it away, discouraged!
I struggled mainly with the binding around the hood and the zipper. While the hood became reasonably OK after many attempts, I just couldn't get the bottom of the zipper right. It was all skewed and ugly. But upon seeing it again last week, I suddenly knew how to fix the problem. Hide it! I ripped the leather tag from one of the kids' jeans, cut out a triangle, and stitched on top of the flawed part! Hurray! A sweater saved!
Now it was just a matter of finishing the side seams, adding some elbow patches out of the last remains of my favorite fabric, finishing the bottom hem, and voila, a new fall sweater for my boy.
The color scheme is very 2013, but the boy won't care about that. More importantly, the sweater fits him perfectly, even after waiting a year in my stash. Fortunately, I cut out a roomy size last year!
The pattern is the Autumn Forest from Ottobre 6-2012. I must say that I'm not very enthusiastic about the pattern. First, the hood is enormous and quite out of proportion.
Furthermore, the pattern asks for ribbed knit for the binding. At my first attempts, I had trouble getting the tension right, resulting in a very wavy hood. So that's the part were the seam ripper was used more than I liked.
Finally, the pattern does not ask for lining. However, since the inside of the hood is always visible, as is the backside of the zipper (when zipped open), it would look much better if the hood and body were lined. I did line the hood with a heavy furry fleece (causing even more trouble for the binding), but in hindsight, I would have lined the body too. Furthermore, I would have encased the binding between the two layers. That would probably have resulted in a much nicer finish of the hood and zipper.
O well, at least I learned a lot from my mistakes. I do like how the binding goes all around the zipper and hood, so maybe another, similar sweater will follow, but with my modifications!
And that little triangle really saves the day, don't you think?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Knitting time

Fall is in the air, so that means that I feel like knitting again.
This hat is for a little newborn girl. It's the aviatrix again, a free pattern which you can find here. Even though it looks quite complex, it's actually very simple. A very satisfying little project!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Winners of the giveaway

I have good news for two people. Annika and Ann, you are the lucky winners of the Van Ikke giveaway. Congratulations! 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Ode to a humble knit!

Do you spot the common denominator in the creations above?

Today I want to bring an ode to one of my favorite fabrics!
The color of this knit is hard to describe. Would you call it tan? Beige? Khaki? Anyway, it has played an important part in many of my creations.  Often, its role was quite humble, providing a neutral background for other colors to show off. But of course those colors could only steal the show because they were backed by this solid, calm color.
It was fun to find back all the different creations that it has been part of.

Unfortunately, the end of the fabric is near! It's final pieces are already cut out to become a Charlie sweater. They were originally meant to be used for the owl sweater, but I changed my mind, and used it only for the collar and cuffs.
So now I’m in doubt: how to combine this final piece of fabric? What to pair it with?

Should I go for coffee?



Or something completely different?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Owl sweater - the photoshoot

As promised, some photos of the owl sweater modeled by its proud owner.
The photos were taken during an after-dinner walk to the ice cream shop. The 'golden hour' turned our nearby park into a magical place.

Notice how the colours are changing? I read in the newspaper that nature is a couple of weeks ahead of schedule, just like last spring....

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Back to school and a givaway

Finally! After a long and busy summer during which I never touched my sewing machine, I finally found some time to sew again. Although a high pile of to-be-mended items was waiting, I decided to start off with something fun instead. The idea for this owl sweater had been in my head for quite some time, and it felt so good to finally realize it. The result was even better than I envisioned!
The owl applique is from Van Ikke, my favorite webshop. I love their funky, retro prints. The appliques are really high quality and stay on forever!
I went through my stash and found the perfect combination of fabrics for a fall sweater: dark brown, beige and mustard yellow, lined with an old shirt of mine.
The pattern is the Charlie sweater from Zonen 09. A great pattern. It's as easy to sew as simple tee, but the collar and lining make for a very finished look.
My favorite detail!

Did I already say that I love this color combo? I do! It's perfect for my brown-eyed, dark-haired boy.
You'll have to believe me on that, because I haven't had the chance to take photos of him wearing his new sweater. As soon as the weather turns a bit colder, I'll drag him outside for a fall photoshoot!

To celebrate my return I have a small giveaway! Two lucky winners will get a full colour applique (of their own choice) from Van Ikke. Leave a comment below in which you indicate which applique you would like to win. Post your comment before Sept 12, 8 PM CET. After that I'll randomly select two winners!