new fabrics

I haven’t finished the grey Birds in Shoes shirt yet. Nor the Little Grey Flowers shirt. I haven’t finished drafting the new shirt pattern yet. And I haven’t finished reading Shirtmaking: Developing Skills For Fine Sewing by David Page Coffin yet.

But what I did do was buy a whole lot of new fabrics:

buit van Stoffenspektakel. vooral linnens

The last couple of weeks I’m gearing up to make a whole new set of basics.
This is my inspiration board:

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 21.03.59

Clean lines, no ruffles. Functional garments. Natural fibres.
Light blouses, light trousers/skirt. A darker dress over it, a dress with pockets. With a light shawl or collar framing my face.

I’m studying to make the shirts in the funny patterned fabrics at the moment so that when I can do a half decent job I can turn these:
buit van Stoffenspektakel. vooral linnens
into nice shirts.
Two linens, one cotton and the white one is silk (for a more shaped/draped garment).

Here’s four meters of mid weight linen:
buit van Stoffenspektakel. vooral linnens
For a shirt and a skirt or trousers.

Some darker and stiffer fabrics:
buit van Stoffenspektakel. vooral linnens
The denim is for a pinafore dress, with pockets, like my main inspiration picture:

Dress by Bespoke tailor and designer Ivey Abitz

The dark linnen will become trousers I think. I have one pair of linen Summer trousers in olive green and I love it. We’ve drafted a block for trousers on my drafting course and pretty soon I’ll learn to make a pattern from it. I’d love to have another pair of trousers.

The olive green grey piece of linen in the picture is intended to become an exact copy of this vest:
 design by Marcy Tilton, fabric seller.
Make it stiff, shape it with top stitching and facings and linings. And make it work for a girl.
I love the “bib” shape and it will give me a firm front while lots of shaping can happen at the underbust. The neckline also makes a perfect frame for whatever I’ve got going on there: a blouse with an interesting collar; a handknitted lace shawl or a sparkling necklace.

With the fabrics I keep contrast in mind. It resembles the contrast in my own face colouring: medium to halfway harsh. I look good in these contrasts.
Before I found it necessary to buy funny patterned fabrics, to keep myself entertained during sewing.

Now I’m working towards silhouettes, ensembles, combinations that form a unit. The quality of the fabrics will bring (tactile) delight to the process of sewing and the entertainment will now come from precision sewing. I’m so enthousiastic about it!
I cannot yet get my hands and the fabric to do what I’m seeing in books and internet tutorials but it’s vastly entertaining and I sometimes get it right and that’s a real boost.

Wait until I can do this:

Or this:

In the mean time I bought these cufflinks:

*off to wash my fabrics*


my fabric stash November 2014

100% Cotton. Sturdy. Good for daily dresses and skirts. Dresses to wear when roaming the fields, climbing trees.
The idea is sleeveless dresses, with a bit of ease. Wearing a longsleeve and woolen tights under it.
Bought to combine into colour blocked dresses. One or two are stretchy canvas. The petrol is heavier than the rest.

For lined and underlined dresses and skirts.

Jacquard, the wool from Dublin, upholstery fabric with butterflies and my woolen handspun and handwoven.
Butterflies is for a skirt, it will need shaping as this fabric is not souple. The other fabrics need various degrees of fortification (the handwoven most of all.) The jacquard can do without lining.

The mauve I got from Lieneke and petrol silk I bought at a sale.
They need attention when cutting and some fortification to help them maintain a dress shape. And also fraying prevention.

Very light weight grey textured cloth. Batiste I guess.
Stretchy loud fabric, the same material as my blue dress.

little pieces of cloth. For accents, colour blocks, pockets and WIPbags.
Cotton, flannel, linnen, stretchy cotton, silver lined EMF blocking cloth, upholstery owl cloth.

all kinds of silks. Organza, chiffon, plain weave. Some dyed to match the green handdyed linen above.

Cotton. Muslin. Bed sheets. For trying out patterns, making muslins.

Japanese Knot Bag: “rrrrrrrr…rrrrrrrrr”

I have a friend who sews amazingly cute Japanese knot bags. These bags have one long handle and one shorter one. You pull the longer one through the shorter one and hang the bag from your wrist.

They are excellent knitting/crocheting bags because they can hold the yarn while you knit away. There are no zippers or velcro to damage the yarn. And there are such great fabrics to be used!
My friend loves to use IKEA fabric or old sheets from the ’70s.
I have at least two of her bags and I use them all the time.

One day we asked what the best way is to make these bags. This is what she said:

“First sew together the little tops of the handles. Then sew the outer edges untill the markings for the handle holes. rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.rrrrrrrrrrrrrr all the way.”

“Then: inner bag in outer bag, right sides together, the big innercircle of the handle-bag-handles….rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.”

“Clip seam allowances, turn…. right sides out. Sew the big innercircle close to the edge. rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr”

“Then the small outer circles of both handles: turn seam allowance in, pin it and then sew rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr close to the edge. At the bottom where the bag starts sew a double seam to prevent tearing = gaping of the seams…”

“Finished… With cutting the fabric and lots of pinning it takes about one hour and a half I guess?”

Yeah… left me guessing too.

Either way I’m trying to make one for another friend. With the fabric I told you about before. Which has to remain a secret.
I wanted to cut the fabric for my dress first so I’d know how much there’d be left for the bag. But that’s not happening, it seems. My dress is still at its toile-stage and has been on my chair for weeks.

But I don’t want to wait any longer with the bag. So I cut. And started sewing. Using above instructions.
I’m halfway done and once you’ve got fabric in your hands above instructions make sense!

I’ll show you pictures in a couple of days, when it’s finished and received by my friend. I hope my rrrrrrrrr-friend is proud of me.

New Dress: Gnomes at work.

SPOILER ALERT: I want to use some of this fabric for DE KIKKER so if you know her, please keep it a secret. And if you are De Kikker, do not scroll down.

jaja, ik heb een geheimpje voor De Kikker.  Gaan we het verklappen?

So, I’m planning a new dress, in fuchsia pink with a front panel of gnomes on wheels:


On the left an old sheet to be used for…. backing/lining. I have not decided yet.

The pattern is based on the pattern that is used for the Crafty Course The Couture Dress by Susan Khalje: Vogue 8648

A sheet dress with princess lines and a broad band around the waist.

I’m planning to make the front panel with the gnomes but still have to decide if/how I will bring them back in the front panel of the skirt.

I traced my sloper and made the darts into princess lines.


I must remember that these lines have not yet got ease in them.
If I use these to trace unto fabric I must add ease first.

The other decision is wether or not to line this dress. Or use backing. I’d want to because it makes finishing the seam allowances so much easier.

But the dark pink fabric is stretchy cotton (though not as stretchy as the Anemone dress). It is “keper katoen” of which I only know the Dutch name.

Where I to line or back this dress with the light pink fabric I would use a non-stretch fabric on a stretchy fabric. I have to think about that first.

What guides my thinking is how I am going to use this dress. If it’s going to be a day-to-day dress I’d like a sturdy finishing. I’ve been known to do forest maintenance and saw trees in dresses and I bought this sturdy cotton for a sturdy working dress.

Right now I am leaning towards backing the cotton and just forgetting about the slight stretchiness of the fabric. But I’ll ponder some more.

UPDATE: thought about it.

1. make a muslin. This way I can play around with the ease and I will end up with pattern pieces I can re-use. THis dress pattern will probably be a staple in my wardrobe.

2. trace the seamlines onto the light pink fabric. This will probably become a backing.

This way I get to follow all the steps in the Craftsy Course and get a chance to soak up all the knowledge I missed by merely watching the videos.

first step now: iron the muslin.
Pity I’m getting visitors at any moment now. Our coffee table is my ironing board.

UPDATE on the UPDATE: I started pressing the cotton anyway. I only get visitors who appreciate life and living 🙂

this is as far as I got before the doorbell rang.

Wriggle Dress: cutting the fabric

I spend a day thinking about Butterick 6582. The various aspects, how to approach it, what to solve. I researched the internet, laid out the tissue paper and studied the instructions. At the end of the day I traced a slightly personalized version of it and cut the fabric and the facings. Linen and brand new cotton sheet.

After the sizing fiasco of the Summer Dress (B5603 which advised me to cut a 16 which then was 4″ too wide) I decided to cut a size 12. This approximates the measurements I take from the now fitting Summer Dress. (pictures pending)

Yes, I cut a size 12 but with wider seam allowance at the top of the body. Because of the folded fabric in the upper part of this dress this pattern does not allow for a FBA (Full Bust Adjustment), the fabric has to be already there.

Here’s how my first pattern outcut differs from the oficial Butterick 6582:

As size 12 should cover a size of about 97cm I think I’m good but you never know. I’ll also trim down to the hips a bit.

As per this review I expect to have to raise the hem, the waist and the arm holes. I too am 5′ 4″ (1.61m)
At this stage I already raise the hem but have not decided on the final length yet:

The smaller shoulder part, the left side, I’m going to make without gathering or pleats. Lots of people have complained online that the pattern ends up very high on the front and that it is difficult to make the two sides sit nice or even centered.
So I’ll make one side sit nice: the right one with the folds. The left part will be honest in its difference: flat and off centre.

For this I used the left front facing as a template for the left front fashion fabric.
Here’s the now cut out left front piece atop the original pattern:
No room for pleats or folds.

For cutting the back pieces I folded the fabric double and pinned it. Pins away form the cutting line. I laid my personalized paper pattern (PPP) on top and traced it with a byro or stylo. Yes, a simple pen. The one used for shopping lists. As I don’t want pen residu on my fabric this will remind me to “cut away the line”. The importance of that I learned here from Kathleen Fasanella, the Fashion Incubator.

trouble cutting the fabric

I wanted to cut the fabric but I am having troubles.

I drafted the pattern onto sturdy paper. I’ll show you the details in a next post. First I want to talk about cutting the fabric.
Here’s a pattern piece positioned on the fabric. I matched the grain and I decided the total length from underbust to hem should be about 70 centimeters. Of course I only made the paper part for the part of the dress that matters. The line going down down down to that 70 centimeters I can cut without a guiding pattern. I have a steady hand and it doesn’t matter much.

The trouble I’m having is with the actual cutting. The scissors need some working room between the table and the fabric that makes them less accurate. Also, I suspect they are not sharp enough. I am getting ragged edges and I am unable to follow the precise line the paper dictates.
This is unacceptable.

I tried tracing the paper onto the fabric, with yellow chalk, so I wouldn’t have to handle the paper and the fabric together. That worked ok but doesn’t solve the problem of the scissors lifting up the fabric and not being able to follow the exact line.

All the cut pieces have a few millimeters varying marge around them. Given that I was very precise in drafting this pattern and plan to be very precise in its seam allowance when sewing it I am not satisfied with this.
A cutting mat and rotary cutter sound like a good idea. It’s just that I hate to spend money (on that).
First I’ll look into better tracing and wielding fabric layers together so cutting can be easier. And sharpening those scissors. For these cut pieces I could opt for tracing the stitching lines and using them as a guide. But I’d rather not draw on the fabric, the chalk doesn’t come out very well. And the irregular seam allowance will give me trouble when finishing the seams later on.

So I’m a bit stumped for now, how to proceed.

In the mean time: here are the ‘raw’ pieces:

without ‘accessoires’: