Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pattern love

I did some internet shopping and these arrived earlier this week:

I saw a liverpool dress somewhere and fell for it and once trying to find where to buy it, fell for the anna tunic as well. I've looked at Amy Butler fabrics before, but for patterns I had mainly seen bags. And I want sew clothes. But, back to the package: I was very excited! Because besides looking pretty these clothes look like they are comfortable as well. Then, I opened one, and what did I find...

Yes, these patterns are those ready to cut ones. The ones I've heard about, but not really seen before. So, I'm a bit disappointed. I mean if you cut one size and gain weight, you can't make another one. So, I think I'm trying to trace these in case I want to make another size/length. But it will be harder, since the paper is quite thin and might wrinkle/break. We'll see how it goes.

I still love the patterns and I even got some fabric samples and extra (very cute!) buttons with my order. And how can I not make my namesake tunic :) And I think I can get over my disappointment, since while writing this I also surfed in the internet a bit and look what I found: Alternative to cutting the pattern!!! My life is good again :)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sewing tips for beginners

Ok, so I've decided to change things around a bit. As I've read more and more blogs, I seem to enjoy the sewing blogs the most. So, what I've decided to do, is to keep sewing here in this blog, which is still also about style, but maybe more sewing than I originally thought. All other crafts and also non-clothing/accessories-related sewing will still be posted in The Monday Night's Sewing Circle.

But this was not the subject matter of today's post. While I was sewing my charleston dress, I noticed some things that might help someone else who is also either a total beginner or has a bit of experience like me (or I have quite a lot of experience, just that it was long a go and I was a kid). So here are my advice:

1) Use the slow gear, if you have one: I have this awesome thing in my new sewing machine, where I can change the maximum speed of sewing. I haven't used the fastest yet, but I use the middle one for straight and easy stuff and when I have a slippery fabric like my charleston dress and especially when sewing something curvy like the armpits, I found the slower gear totally awesome.

2) Pin & baste. And I mean baste by hand. Also iron. Especially with slippery fabrics.

3) Make a muslin. I didn't for my charleston dress and I wish I had...

4) Don't take shortcuts. Even if you want to or don't see the point of doing something that's in the instructions. When you get more skill you know where you can cut, but for starting out, it's better to do it all, especially if you want your clothes to look nice :)

5) Unpick, unpick, unpick. Unless your fabric shows it. But if you make a mistake, it usually is worth it to take it apart and do again. So many times that you get it right (this applies to any crafts, really). It's sometimes so annoying, but generally worth it.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

My Flapper Style

Ok, time to post about my fascination with 20s style. This sort of crept up on me, since first there was a 20s party and I had to get a dress. I found a nice red one in a costume store,  but it wasn't the greatest quality, so in the end it didn't last so well with dancing. Because I got further into this, when I took a solo charleston dance classes from our rock 'n' roll & swing dance club. I totally fell head over heels for charleston. It's just so much FUN! We also did a flash mob at the invite premier of the Artist in Helsinki (and got to see the movie for free). Here's a video about it, and you can see my red dress (I'm in the first row).

Well, after the red dress fell apart, or the decorations did, and the form wasn't that perfect to begin with, I decided I would make myself a dress. Especially since I didn't really see anything that I could buy that was in my price range and that I would like to wear. So I ended up sewing one. While making it I realized that my body isn't really the best for 20s fashion (see: What to do when taste and body don't match?). But I like it anyway, so I try to make the best of it.

But I had problems with this dress and not the least because I was in a hurry to finish it. But I did, in time for the Speakeasy party. It still needs some work, I didn't have time to add the lace and the lace isn't finished yet, but the dress was wearable - sort of. It worked for the night  with the help of safety pins. The upper part doesn't sit quite right so I had to attach my bra to the dress with safety pins and because the bra was as flattening as possible, a sports bra, the safety pins were eating my flesh pretty nicely. Luckily no one else could tell. But I will try to make this a bit usable, when I figure out how.

The dress actually looks pretty good in the picture and you can only barely see the line that comes from my sport bra. So things to be done: fix the upper part, decorate with lace and find a flattening sports bra without seams. I'll let you know how that goes.

Sewing Facts:

Strech satin (97% polyester, 3% elastane) 11,90 €/m, cost 20, 23 €
Barbara lace (70% cotton, 30 % polyamide) 16,90 €/m, cost 8,45 €

Pattern: Charleston dress, 20s, Suuri Käsityölehti 9/2009 (20s style pattern from Finnish sewing magazine)

Year: 1920s/2009

Notions: I added the zipper (2,55 €), which wasn't included in the original pattern. As I have planned this for dancing/20s parties and I want to try to create the whole look with hair and make-up, I want to be able to get into the dress after I have done my hair & make-up. Also planned some decorating, which will be added later if I can work out the kinks with this dress.

Time: ~13h
This includes learning to use my new sewing machine and few times taking the sewing apart. And yes, I think I'm just slow. I also tend to pin and then baste (by hand) all the seams before actually sewing.

First worn: Speakeasy 12.5.2012

Wear again: Sure, if I can fix the bugs.

Total price: ~35 €

Blog posts in Monday Night's Sewing circle about the dress and making it:
Charleston dress
Charleston dress: invisible zipper
Charleston dress: ready to use

Monday, May 14, 2012

Colour blocking

Well, I know I'm a year late, but as the colour blocking seems to continue this year, I thought I'd write about it. Especially, because I really like the idea (big fan of colours here). I think one of the clearest examples what it is is explained by Wendy from Wendy's Lookbook (see the video below). I found the beginning a little bit annoying, but it gets better :) She demonstrates well how to choose the colours as well as giving some examples of outfits. The video is about 10 min, but most of it is examples, so the beginning was the thing for me (the things about the colour wheel and choosing different combinations).

Color Blocking for Spring/Summer (2011):

Wendy has also made an introductory video about colour wheel, that I thought was fun and here also you can see the way of choosing which colours to combine:

The Painter's Color Wheel with Clones!

I have also included a colour wheel here for reference:


And of course some examples how to apply this. First there are some lovely examples from Shabby Apple's collection: The Block. I especially love the combination on the left. It's so vibrant and fun.


You should also check the tips of Fabulous after 40 about colour blocking. Don't let the title of the blog fool you, the tips are good for people under 40 as well. And if you want more ideas, just go to Pinterest and search for color blocking. And of course there's Google, but I think Pinterest gives better results.

Michelle Obama does colour blocking

Colour blocking on runway

Friday, May 11, 2012

Planning my wardrobe - part II

So, in part I I said I would track my activities and make some charts of the ways I use time (and of course, it all started from here). And so I did. And here are my charts. I have used categories that make sense to me, so I've mainly thought of different clothes I would be wearing, which is why sleep time is separated from home time. I add here the whole 2 weeks chart, but also the chart for week 1, since the second week wasn't really a normal week, because I had a day off from work and there was a national holiday as well, so there's more home/friends time in the second week.

What is fairly noticeable in both of the charts is that I spend a whole lot of time at home (I hadn't realized how much, although I think I've been spending a bit more time at home now than normal for personal reasons). And then from the rest a major part is spent at work (which I knew). So I think this is what I need to think when I plan the things I want to buy/sew for myself. But I also think I want a change to what I'm wearing in general. My work doesn't really require any specific clothing (not even office wear), but I'd like to be more professional looking. At least part of the time. And until now I've tended to wear old stuff that doesn't fit great at home, but I always feel better when I wear something pretty. But it needs to be comfortable too. I actually bought some pajamas from the sales after Christmas and I love them. They're comfy, but still look good. And that's what I'm aiming for clothes to wear at home.

I also notice that even though I have big plans for my swing dancing outfits, it's actually not a big chunk of my time. Then again I think dresses could be also worn at work. I think for a long time I've just wanted to blend in and I've sort of succeeded in good and in bad. So now I try to think what I actually want to wear and think less how other people will react and how they like what I'm wearing. This is actually hard: where to draw the line? I mean if you think about your style, part of it is that you want it to be a message, so it's not totally independent on what other people think. But when part of the message is that I don't really care what you think, then it gets a bit tricky. And then there are of course situations when I do care what other people think.

But I will keep these charts as a guideline of the new things I might buy and/or sew. But I think I really need to think about this, since I would love to just have a bunch of new dresses and skirts. But with skirts you also need cute tops to match... We'll see how it goes. As for the anomalies, maybe I'll try to chart my time again during summer or maybe fall when I see how my new life is shaping out.