Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sew Colette: The Book

I ordered the Sew Colette book, since I really liked all the clothes and that I can make them and learn different techniques. This seems like a perfect sewing book. My inspiration for buying the book came from the recent sew along. If you click the link, you can see lovely versions of the different garments in the book made by the participants of the sew along. I think the best thing about this book is that I like all the clothes and I will learn so much if I manage to sew all of them. The book is nicely organized, so that you first get the relevan theory and how-to instructions and then you have a project in which you can use and practice the introduced techniques. Since in sewing (and all other crafts as well) you only learn by doing, I think this is a great idea for a sewing book.

The garments to be made are:
Meringue Skirt
Pastille Dress
Truffle Dress
Licorice Dress
Taffy Blouse

I have been buying fabric and I have fabric ready now for all of the 5 garments, or have ordered it anyway. This is the first time I've ordered fabric online, so I hope they are what I think. Then again, I'm not that particular about the exact color, so as long as it looks good, it's enough. I also have the notions ready. I bought the lining fabrics from, and they had a great service: when you buy fabric, you can check a box and they will add a matching thread to your order. I think this is awesome and should be offered everywhere. And if you think you don't need it, you can just leave the box unchecked.

Here you can see the fabrics I have bought for these garments:
Fabrics for Meringue, Pastille, and Licorice

Fabric for Truffle

Fabric for Taffy

The blue fabric is for Meringue, the pink for Pastille, and the green for Licorice. The two others have been ordered from the internet, but since I only did it yesterday, I don't have them yet. As I said, I'm a bit nervous what they are for real. I can't wait to get to sewing all these. I will start with the Meringue skirt tomorrow.

I also bought some extra fabric from Eurokangas while I was wondering what to use for these garments. They have these boxes that have remnant pieces of the fabrics and you can buy them by the weight and they're priced like 25 €/kg. So these two fabrics I bought from that. Originally I thought I would use the orange see through for the Taffy Blouse, but since I found the embroidered one, I just couldn't not buy it. But maybe if it looks good, I'll make another one from this fabric. I originally thought the green one for Meringue, but it might be to thick for the scallops. But I think I could make another version without the scalloped hem from this. Looking forward to sewing something from these as well!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


I wasn't going to post anything today, but then I saw something which made me want to: The Craftsy courses are on sale until the 2nd of July. If you don't know what Craftsy is, go and check it out. I've been drooling several courses, but I thought I would wait until I have more time, since I have quite a few sewing plans at the moment (more about this in a few days). But they are so much cheaper now, and they never expire!

So I decided to buy the Jean-ious! course and the Sew Retro Perfect Bombshell Dress course. The Jean-ious! teaches you how to reproduce your perfect pair of jeans without taking them apart. So you can basically copy the perfect fit to other fabrics and/or colors. This is something I've wanted to learn how to do, although I would like to do the same for dresses... But maybe this will give tips in general. The Bomb Shell Dress is a course by Gretcher Hirsch whose blog I can also recommend if you like the retro styles at all. She has a book coming out also in the fall that I would love to get. But yes, back to the course: This teaches you how to make a fitted bodice with bra cups and boning! I really would love to learn this, since I need support if I have a dress with which I can't wear a bra. And I would love that halterneck style... I was a bit worried about the boning, but I was convinced at the first ever #sewingsocial twitter chat, that it will be ok with the instructions.

But, I have few (or quite many) projects before I can get to these, but I just wanted to advertise if anyone's interested about these courses, since they have been going up in price recently. Now they were just $ 20 ~ 16-17 €. So, go sign up now! Oh, and look for the next twitter chat on Tilly's blog, since everyone wanted it to be a monthly thing.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Moomin pajamas

Well, this is a long time UFO, that was started here. Finally getting a new sewing machine this spring, is what actually got me sewing. The old one (my grandmother's old) just didn't work properly and even the basic straight stich and zigzag gave me gray hairs. Well, I bought a new machine and I LOVE it! Everything's so easy! Well, not everything, but machine related things anyway. So, I finally picked up the start of my pajamas and went ahead and finished them :) This is also good, since I realized when I was tracking my time spent on different activities that I actually sleep about 1/3 of my time...

The sewing was quite easy, especially since the fit didn't have to be just so. For sleeping, I think it's more comfortable to have something a bit looser. The fabric could've been softer, but I really liked the moomin print. I've always been a big fan of them. I loved the books and comics as a child, and still do. Never really got into the new tv show, though, it wasn't around when I was a kid. It's something we call "Japanese Moomin". So not quite the original like the books and comics. Not bad, but just not for me. But, I'm getting sidetracked, since this was supposed to be about the sewing, not about my love of Moomins. So, the fabric is a bit rough, but I (really!) hope it softens in the wash.

Well, these didn't really turn out the way I hoped. I think I had too big a size or maybe I was that size when I started 2 years ago... I don't really remember. In any case, I don't mind if my pajamas aren't really body-hugging, but especially the top: the part under my arms is just too big and there's no quick fix for it. So, all and all, not a big success. I will learn and do better next time, though. I think I learned this from my mother: just don't make it too small. Which is a good advice as such, but I always end up taking the bigger size and it's just not that flattering. So, I will take the smaller size next time, and really make sure whatever I'm making is fitted the way I like. Although, even if the fabric wasn't the softest and the look wasn't that flattering, this was quite comfortable to sleep in. So, as a sleepwear it performs nicely. When I learn to sew better, I might try to fix the problems, or not. We'll see. I might try the pattern with different fabric and smaller size at some point.

The picture quality isn't the greatest, since I took it with my iPhone. Sorry about the wrinkles, I took this in the morning... Also: there's no way I'm gonna wear this in pictures...

Sewing Facts:
Fabric: 100 % cotton, actually a curtain fabric, don't remember the price (& don't have the receipt anymore)
Pattern: Suuri Käsityölehti 2/1995 (Finnish craft magazine)
Year: 1995
Notions: Satin bias tape, rubber band for pants
Time: no idea... I wasn't timing when I started this. But I would say, I had maybe worked on cutting & the initial sewing for about 2h. So that + ~8h (although watching Mad Men the same time might affect a bit...)
First worn: Last night
Wear again: Probably, since they're pajamas and no one's gonna see me in them... and the comfortableness factor saved them, I think.
Total price: I would estimate ~15 €, but it might be more or less. I didn't keep a record at the time.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

French chic

Ok, so I haven't been updating awhile. I was in Paris for a week for an interview about a PhD position and then last week I was in a hurry to finish my Master's thesis. Well, now that it's all done, I was inspired to post about French chic as I just came from France. I wouldn't say it's completely my style (not enough colour and I don't look so great in black/grey/white), but I think there are some things for me as well.

So what is French chic then? It's the kind of style that looks effortlessly stylish. Read more about it at The Focus on Style or How to be Chic. Also, here's a great video about French chic:

Also, I think this applies, even if it's not particularly about French chic. In any case, I don't think that wearing something you don't feel comfortable in or doesn't feel like you, is going to make you look stylish. It should always feel like you. But you can choose more stylish things that are you and try new things to see if they actually might be you and you just haven't thought about it.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The right style for YOUR body

I have thought about this before, but especially when sewing the charleston dress: there are certain styles that just fit better for certain body types. No matter how much I love 20s charleston style, I will never look great in it. Then again 50s style suits me a lot better. Well, there are things I will wear anyway, but it is nice to know what really suits you and what to avoid. To help, there's a great collection of videos at Videojug: Videojug - Fashion for your shape

Basically, it's a collection of videos with the tag - fashion for your shape. You can find the best styles and avoid the ones that really don't work. I'm trying to take these as guidelines, not as strict rules, but I think they might help with defining your own style. Also, it's good to look at few different makers of videos. Sometimes the tips disagree a bit, so seeing a few videos gives more idea what's best in general. Also, now that the summer is almost here, they have advice on the best swimsuit styles as well, so if you're updating your swimsuit, take a look at the advice first!

What I realized watching these videos is, that I've noticed lot of the stuff myself while just choosing clothes. Sometimes, when you really like something, though, you might not realize that while it looks amazing on the hanger, it just doesn't look great on you. So, I think I will keep these in mind while planning what to buy/sew/wear. And it will make the decision that much easier.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Pin it! Clip it! Chip It!

There are several sites I like to use to plan wardrobe and sewing. The one that everyone probably knows by now is, of course, Pinterest. If you haven't checked this site out, you totally should. It's basically a website to build inspiration boards. You can pin pretty much any picture from the internet, except from Facebook. You can make any boards you like. You get few ready made, but these can be deleted. I like to use it for planning something special, like I had this inspiration board for my charleston/flapper dress (well, I might still use it and make another one...). If you want, you can follow me here.

Well, I don't talk more about Pinterest, since everyone seems to know it already. But there are other sites that seem to be less known. One, that I like, where you can make mood boards or plan outfits, is Polyvore. I like that you can actually plan what goes together, since I use Pinterest as a more general inspiration. I haven't used it a whole lot yet, but to get the idea, here's one of my mood boards for spring outfit:

Spring style

You can see my other sets and follow me here. I also sometimes pin Polyvore sets to Pinterest. You can use the ready items from different online shops or you can clip your own images with Polyvore's clipping tool. There are also templates you can use, if you don't like the white background, or you can make a template of your own. I did a little practice run, but the sets are easy to design, especially with a white background. Why don't you give it a try?

The last site I want to introduce is Chip It by Sherwin Williams. Here you can take any picture from the internet and their program gives you the main colours from it. Here is one of mine as an example. It's not as social as the other sites, but you can also pin these images to Pinterest. It's a great way to get colour palettes, if you like colours in a certain picture.

I'd love to hear in the comments what is your favorite inspiration site!