Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Japanese Shirt Pattern plus Vertical Button/Buttonhole Placement Tutorial.

The first Japanese Sewing Week has started and I sort of cheated my way into it. But I will tell you about that later.
The series is arranged by my good and talented friend Sara from Made by Sara. You can read all about the series HERE. In that post you can also find a link party so YOU can join in on the Japanese sewing fun.
In the end of this post you will find a great giveaway with prizes such as Japanese Sewing books from Tuttle Publishing and a fabric voucher to Urban Sew.  

You know what a giant fan I am of Japanese Sewing patterns. Not only of the aesthetics but just as much because I 8 out of 10 times agree on the suggested technique - which I find remarkable since techniques can be somewhat of a subjective matter. I'm always in awe of the illustrations in the books. They are clear, precise and informative and 100% make up for the fact that I (obviously) do not understand a word of the Japanese tutorial text.

It was the great and informative Japanese Sewing Book Series on the blog You & Mie that gave me the bits of information that I needed (e.g. the japanese sign/word for CB which is always good to know, right!) to dare to try them out and I have not looked back since. I highly recommend that you start there if you have never tried sewing from them before.

Let's get to my contribution. I have dreamt of making this shirt ever since I saw Celina making it for the Shades of Me series. Find the post HERE.

It is from the book Simple Chic. I also made those two knits tunics I posted about two weeks ago from from that book. 

So how did I cheat myself into the series. Well, you know that I try to stay away from series because they come with a deadline and that does not work so well for me since my blog is a hobby. BUT when I got the invitation I had already made this shirt. It was hanging in my sewing room and was just waiting to be photographed, so that was exactly the kick I needed to get it out of there.

The reason for the procrastination was because I was not sure it turned out the way I hoped. More precise I was worried that the fabric (delicious organic cotton double gauze from Organic Cotton Plus) did not have enough drape for this type of shirt and that I looked more square than you are suppose to in styles like this.

So it was actually only when I looked at the photos that I realized that I actually really like it on me and I have used it many times since, doh!

I changed the pattern a little bit. The book both have a dress and a shirt version and I made something right in between - I guess you can call it tunic length.

It's pattern C and it only comes in one size which took me quite a while to figure out while I looked the pattern sheet over and over haha. So now you are spared that waste of time!

It is a VERY roomy style (and a fabric with lots of drape (silk, rayon etc) would work great with the original shape - just like Celina's.
So after making a muslin and knowing that I would make it with double gauze, I ended up making it quite a lot more narrow. I took 2.5 cm / 1" off the CB bodice piece and then the same from the front center piece. But I took it off on the side that is sewed together with the front side piece not at the very center where the buttons are. (I hope that makes sense?!)
So it became 10 cm / 4" less wide in total. 

If you remove from the center back piece just remember also to adjust your collar piece otherwise it will be too big. In other words you are making your neck opening smaller too.

Here is a look from the back. 
And for the 100th time did I wish I had a stylist with me when I'm taking photos that could just give that collar a hand stroke so it would lie down nicely. Yeah, I know...I'm obsessing over tiny ridiculous details!

I made the shirt version and added length to it. You could probably also choose the dress version and shorten it. (I think the collar fits both since the styles are called C-1 and 2 but I haven't actually checked).
I think I added about 15 cm / 6" to the length in total. I didn't bother to add any width at the bottom even though it would now had to cover my bum because I knew those gathered side inserts would add plenty of width.

I absolutely love those gathered side inserts and I'm almost feeling proud of myself for not color blocking least this time.

I have wanted to talk about button placement forever and well, this post is as good as any, right. Especially since it contains a garment with buttons, haha.

Buttons are not placed in the middle of a buttonhole. 
I'm going to focus on vertical buttonholes in this post and a button is placed so that the stitches used to sew the button in is holding the buttonhole in place. So you button your shirt and then you pull the side with the buttonholes down (the wearer's right side if you are a woman and left if you are a man) and at the same time pull up in the side with buttons and boom you have a shirt placket that stays in place.

And I know it looks like I totally screwed up the placement of those side pieces with gathers (another thing to think about when placing buttons: lining horizontal lines up across from each other), and I have several times gasped and grabbed my measuring tape but they ARE at the same height. It's simply because of the width of the shirt that it does not always looks like it. I'm the type that could not handle one being higher than the other....I know, I know I need help, hehe.

Okay, back to the tutorial:

SO to measure where to put your buttonholes you start by placing your top button on the garment (where it eventually will be buttoned through a buttonhole and end up being visible). The buttonhole has to start 2 millimeters above the top hole(s) in the button. Use your preferred way of marking buttonholes. I stick a pin through the top hole of the button and then I lift the button off the pin and move the pin up 2 millimeters. (I use slim pins with a tiny head all in metal in case you wondered).

Next step is deciding where you want your lowest button placed. Marking method is obviously the same.

I realize that many women have to start by determine where the button over their bust has to be placed as the very first thing (to avoid gaping over the chest) and then place buttons upwards and downwards from there but the principles are still kind of the same although the math is of course a tiny bit different.

Third step is to decide/determine how many buttons you want on your placket in total. I simply play around with the buttons and see what looks the best. You obviously do not want a too big gap between them and you do not want a too small because that means more buttonsholes to make, gah.

Now that you have determined/decided on total number of buttons, you need to measure from the start of the top buttonhole to the START of the bottom buttonhole, divide with ONE LESS than the total numbers of buttons, mark all your button holes and get started.

Let's do an example:

So if the total number of buttons are 8 like this shirt and the full measurement (from top buttonhole to top of bottom buttonhole) is 60 cm / 24". Then divide 60 cm with 7 (one less than the total number of buttons remember). That will give you the measurement from top to top of each buttonhole all the way down: 60 / 7 =  8.6 cm.

I don't know if anyone need this information or everyone is doing it this way but hey, now it is here!

I also wanted to give you my opinion about when to use vertical buttonholes versus horizontal buttonholes. 
So in my opinion as soon as there is a placket or a stitch creating a placket effect I think vertical buttonholes looks the best.

In other words the only times I use horizontal buttonholes are in blazers, vests or skirts with no stitching along the front. I have two reasons for it and the first one is pure aesthetics (and therefor subjective). The other reason is more practical but since I'm not talking about horizontal buttonholes in this post I'm going to save it for another time, sorry but this post is already long enough, ha.  

Lastly I wanted to give you an example of how to style it for another occasion.... like leaving the house and not pick up kids or go grocery shopping, hehe. I love the contrast of the cropped jacket with the long tunic under. The jacket is from my favorite Danish brand Baum und Pferdgarten and after borrowing it from my sister so many times she finally gave up and gave it to me. Yippie.

Okay, I definitely think I need to stop rambling now and you need to enter this giveaway is you haven't already!

Good luck!

And please check out all the other incredible participants. They truly are an honor to post together with!
There will be links to all the posts on Sara's blog HERE.

Thank you!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Halifax Hoodie by Hey June Patterns.

I have been eyeing Hey June Patterns for awhile but I'm going to be totally honest and admit that I have become a bit more hesitant to try out new (to me) pattern makers . I can't turn off my knowledge, my critical eye and my expectations of a somewhat professional level when a product is sold for money and you just never know what you get before you open up that pattern file. I'm not saying that everyone have to make patterns to my standards but that's the type of patterns I personally prefer to work with for obvious reasons.

But I had a feeling I would not be disappointed with Hey June's patterns and luckily I was right. 
This is the Halifax Hoodie.

First of all this pattern is very generous. In other words you get A LOT for your money. A zip up hoodie, a version with the twisted side seams and high-low hem (like I'm showing you in this post) and a classic sweatshirt with normal side seams plus you have the choice of adding either a hoodie, funnel neck or regular rib neckline plus a kangaroo pocket. That is basically 3 different bodice patterns in one package plus the extra add-on details...together that gives a ton of versions...for $10. Wow!

This is my first version and when I looked through the photos the other day I realized I only (literally) had 3 photos that was not out of focus. GAH!! I must have stepped out of the focus zone without realizing and somehow I didn't notice when I quickly liked through them after finishing the photo shoot. Jeez!
I will focus (get it, haha) on the fact that one photo is actually pretty good and the other two I'm only making slightly weird facial expressions. Hallelujah.

SO this is view B from the pattern with the twisted side seams but with added length to the bodice. First of all I started with a size M because I wanted a slightly oversized look and that was the perfect choice.
I added 10 cm / 4" to the length of the bodice pieces while cutting. I was worried that the longer length would collide with my hips so I also added a bit of width (5 cm / 2" total) to the lower part of the front bodice (green knit quilt / sherpa in this post).
The original pattern has two bottom rib pieces for view B - one that fits to the big back and half front bodice and one smaller one that fits the half front bodice. I moved my rib seams to be on my side although there is no side seam to match up. This is just a matter of taste and what I preferred. No biggie and easily done. I obviously had to make my bottom rib bigger anyway since I widdened the bottom circumference for my FBA (Fat Butt Adjustment - thank you Alida for that one).

The green quilted knit is from Miss Matatabi. The green is sold out now but she usually have some sort of quilted knit in stock. I have been saving it for the perfect project and this was IT! The heathered black French Terry is from Girl Charlie. This has sold out but they now have something very similar HERE (I know because I have bought some of that too, ahem did I hear someone say French Terry addiction?!).

Okay, on the the next version. I love it so so much. Mostly because I had this vision about this faux sherpa knit and it turned out exactly as I had hoped. I was literally squealing when I tried it on. I wanted the texture from the sherpa but obviously not look like a round sheep ready for it's next hair cut, haha.

I did make one more adjustment to the pattern and that is a more general one. It regards the sleeves. On me it looked like the sleeve was a bit too wide - as in I had some extra fabric on the sides of the of the sleeve. I looked though the post with tester versions and a few others had it too but not at all everyone. It might just me my body, ha who knows! 
SO I curved the sides of the sleeve head (both front and back) more and then I also raised the sleeve head so the sleeve still fit in the armscye (plus a little bit of ease).  
Problem solved!

Okay, this is probably the most boring 'from behind' photo ever, haha. SO I want to mention how much I love my CoverPro 2000 from Janome. We started out pretty good friends and now (after some practice) we are really really good friends. I just love how all rib seams are stitched down and it still looks great after washing too - which both these have been at the time I took the photos. I simply had to wear them right away and all the time.

The pattern (view B) includes the high-low hem which I absolutely love!

Okay, that's it folks. I absolutely plan to make some of the other versions too, but this one was to me the most fashionable and fun so no doubt I had to start with that, and then I will be back with some more Halifax Hoodie Goodies (sorry, that was a bad one!)

Get your own Halifax Hoodie HERE.

Thank you!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Knit Tunic with a Front Yoke.

So this is the first installment in the trilogy called spam-with-blog-posts-containing-photos-of-me.

Today I'm showing you an altered version of a knit swing tunic from the Japanese sewing book called Simple Chic.
Maybe it's easier if you jump over to the blog Japanese Sewing Books. She made a review and is showing photos of the original tunic HERE. The pattern is H-1 - Jersey Flared Tunic. It's kind of easier to talk about alterations when you have seen the original, right.

I'll be right here waiting...... 

Okay, so now that you are up to speed on the original tunic you can see that I
 didn't do any mayor alteration but I think I did some important ones. 

The first thing I did was adding the front yoke. I didn't have enough fabric to either make it grey or blue so to make the color blocking a bit more purposeful I added the yoke so that the color from the back piece continued on the front. I'm not sure if that makes any sense besides in my head but hey, that's where it matter, right!

The second alteration I did was making it more fitted in the upper body and then have it flare out just below the waist (instead of starting to flare out under the arms like the original). It's hard to see in these photos because I ended up putting a belt on but later down in this post I'm showing you another version without the belt.

Looking at myself I do prefer it with the belt but I think I can just about swing it without too and I have totally mostly worn it without a belt.

I made the smallest size based on my bust measurement (and the fact that my fabric is quite stretchy) but I was forgetting one important detail. While my bust might be small my shoulder width and arms are more medium sized. Oops.
The sleeve was suppose to be longer but I had to cut the lower part off because it was simply too tight. And you can see at the photo above how the sleeve is crawling up my arm whenever I was moving.
It's not so bad that I felt the need to cut new sleeves but I definitely fixed it for the next one...further down in this post!

The fabric is this amazing thin, stretchy and drapey Rayon Bamboo French Terry from It's a bit pricey ($15/yard) but worth every penny and comes in great colors. I cannot not recommend it enough - and no I'm not an affiliate!

Here is my second version where I fixed the sleeves. Ah, much better.

The stripe is an amazing cotton interlock (leftovers from an earlier project) and the heathered black is another thin and drapey French Terry. This time from Girl Charlee.

A style like this is just perfect for leggings, jeggings (like I'm wearing) or skinny jeans if you don't quite feel showing off your thighs that day. I honestly feel like I'm wearing pajamas but I would mean I look like I dressed that day. And the boots are just for show, I would just stick my feet in my black leather Vans and be on my way.

I'm sorry but I don't have any more photos of the last version. The rest are either similar to the above or blurred and out of focus, so this will have to do but I think you get the idea, right!

Thank you!!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween 2015 - Bubbles costume.

Oh, hey there, it's me with a rare weekend post. 
You know that you are not a serious blogger when you post costume posts on the day of halloween. Who is going to be inspired by that? If you don't have your costume ready by now, you are probably not going for this one, haha. It's not really a last-minute-idea. BUT there is always next year!

And besides we all know I'm not a serious business blogger!

SO big sister W wanted to be Bubbles. I was like "WHO?" 
Apparently Bubbles is a cape wearing dolphin from the (awful) Spongebob movie. That movie was one of those times where I rented a movie for my kids so I could do something else in peace and quiet. I cannot handle Spongebob's annoying cackle laughter, ugh.

To my knowledge you can't actually buy this costume (yet) so there was no way around making it. I did buy this dolphin tail though and that seems like a great supplement for a reasonable amount of money.

The 'real' Bubbles is wearing a long cape but we decided to make a short one so she could show off the tail and fins more. Plus it would be easier to wear.

My starting point for the dolphin hoodie dress is of course my favorite hoodie pattern - The Rowan Tee by Titchy Threads.

The blue sweatshirt fleece has no stretch whatsoever so I made it a bit roomier and added length to turn it from tee to dress.
I made a muslin especially so I could make the hoodie as fitting to her head as possible and then I started building the dolphin layer afterwards. My goodness that was hard and I ended up making 5 (yes f.i.v.e.) muslins before I got it right. And it would never have happened without your help. Thank you social media, phew.

I think I put a bit too much filling in between the fitted inner and the dolphin outer layer because the hoodie kept moving backwards (away from her face as you can see above). Oh well, at least it stays on her head!

I made the collar and the cape separate and just like with the musketeer costume is the cape attached with velcro for safety reasons.
I can't believe that I took all these photos and not noticed that one side of the cape was flipped (because of the gold ribbon) throughout ALL the photos, haha. Now I just wanted to reach in on the photos and fix it.

The sunglasses are not part of the costume but simply us (me) trying to get through the photo shoot. The sun was smack in her eyes so we improvised with Mommy's sunglasses.

She is very happy with her costume and I hope she is not going to get too tired of answering the question "And who are you dressed up as my friend?" tonight when we go trick or treating.

Okay, I will finish up and go carve those pumpkins with the kiddos.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Halloween 2015 - Girl Musketeer.

I feel like the older the kids get the faster time goes.
We were well into October before I realized that we really needed 'the talk'.....the one where we took the final and unchangeable decision on halloween costumes that is, hehe. 

This girl musketeer costume has seriously been one of the most fun things I have sewed in a long time. It was one of those lucky projects that just worked. Sometimes you rip every seam and sometimes things are just flying along.....this was the last kind which is probably why it ended up much more elaborate than I originally planned. I don't think I ripped a single seam during this project. Which is not normal for case you wondered, ha.

When E decided she wanted to be a musketeer (after getting a mask with a big feather - I'm still mystified on how she made that connection. She says "she just knew.") I of course started googling for inspiration. I found a pretty good girl musketeer costume but I was too cheap to buy it SO I went to Jo-Ann and bought materials for nearly the same amount. Great! Of course this is way more fun plus it is hopefully sewed a bit more long lasting and with a perfect fit.

I realized I needed a dress pattern with a basic bodice plus a circle skirt as a starting point and since An from StraighGrain has just relaunched her Tinny Dress pattern (with more sizes and endless new and amazing details and variations) that pattern was the first one that came to mind and it was the perfect base!

I just drew a line (and added seam allowance) on the front bodice for the center insert plus I added the gathered extra skirt piece and sleeve flounces (both self-drafted).

 Easy peasy!

And then I drafted a cape pretty much out of the blue and how I imagined the shape to be. In other words, it was not difficult and didn't involved much math or technicalities.

Since the outer layer of the cape is made form stretch velvet and the inner layer is a much thinner and non-stretchy viscose lining, the outer layer becomes a bit longer when it is hanging vertically. I should have made the outer layer a tiny bit shorter but I didn't, ha. It's really not that much and it is only center back and I can totally live with it. I hope you can too, hehe.

It is only for her back and it is attached with velcro on the back side of the shoulder seams.
I might be overprotective but it feels good to know that if the cape catches on to anything it will just be ripped of instead of potentially choking her.

After seeing this photos - more specifically the hem of the cape, especially left side - I had to go back and look at the actual cape because in the photo it looks crazy bulky and gathered and just plain awful and I didn't remember any of that happened while making it. And I do not know why it looks like this in the photo (maybe something with velvet and the way it catches the light??) but you just have to take my word for it because it looks fine and smooth in real life. Haha, I just needed to let you know!

The leather belt was a bit of an afterthought. She needed a loop for the foil (in between fencing matches you know. Or maybe to have hands free to shovel in candy while trick or treating) and it was easier to tie a string to a belt than sewing it into the dress' waist seam and it adds a great contrast to the fancy dress if you ask me.

Another detail is the musketeer 'boots'. I bought some knee high black socks. Then I sewed a flounce on a 2 cm wide elastic measured to fit under her knees, added a square gold 'buckle' made from gold pleather and boom, you got faux musketeer boots.

The hat is mine and with a gold ribbon, a wild turkey feather from our last vacation and a hand drawn fleur-de-lis cut in gold pleather it became the perfect musketeer hat.

She is thrilled with her costume and she loooves her fencing foil.

This silly girl is SO ready for halloween!

I'm off, I have another costume to finish and this one is in a WHOLE different direction.
Thank you!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Tip Top and Morocco Pants by Petit à Petit Patterns.

I have been SO looking forward to post this....even though you wouldn't think so considering that I took these photos over 3 weeks ago. Phew, time flies!

It's Celina from Petit à Petit Patterns two recent patterns The Tip Top (which also comes as dress) and The Morocco Pants.

Let me just make it clear from the start both patterns are AMAZING!
It's funny because the top looks like a lot with the extravagant sleeves and yet it is a super fast and simple sew. 
And the pants look pretty straight forward but they are not a one hour project (okay, nothing is a one hour project for a slow-sewer like me but you know what I mean, ha). As with all Celina's patterns they have a million options so you can make them more or less advanced. I have made a pair (not blogged) with all the bells and whistles (see them HERE) so the pair I'm showing you today is one of the more simple options with elastic waist, faux zip fly and faux back pocket flaps.
 Okay, I'll tell you more later on. I want to talk about the top first.

I'm obsessed over this top! 
I have said it before but managing to make loose and 'oversize' styles look flattering is an art form and Celina has done exactly that with this pattern.
Those sleeves are just incredible and the option with a double layer is just gorgeous and opens up for a lot of fun fabric pairing ideas. The option of hemming with bias tape adds another dimension.

The patterns has lots of options.
Gathered or pleated neckline, elastic or fixed neckline, dress or tunic, welt pockets, side panels etc etc.
I'm dying to make a dress with welt pockets from this pattern but for now I have forbidden myself to sew more for my kids. Mommy needs new clothes now! 

Both fabrics are cotton voile and the rusty red was so thin and sheer that I cut the center front and back pieces double but simply treated them as one layer. That worked great and didn't cause me any problems.

The sewing step you will spend most time on is hemming the sleeves - especially if you choose the double sleeves (obviously) but again do not fret. The patterns has several options for you depending on your sewing level or temper, ha.

I choose the gathered/elastic neckline. I made my own bias tape and for extra effect sewed it on so it's visible from the front side. The bias tape also works as a casing for the elastic.
Super simple and super smart!

Let's move on to the pants!
Oh gosh, another favorite!
This pattern is a $10 sewing lesson in classical dress pants. Really!

Zip fly (regular or faux), waistband (3 different kinds), belt loops, front side pockets and back welt pockets (regular or faux) all done the classical way with facings and beautiful finishes and illustrated in the pattern's tutorial. Excellent!
Seriously, you will learn so much sewing these. Or if you already know these things it will be such a lovely and relaxing sewing experience.
Nothing in this pattern is really difficult but like I already mentioned I would be lying if I said it is a quick least if you want a nice result. So take your time, check your work after every step and you will end up with a result that might even surprise yourself, ha. A pair of beautiful and pro looking pants.

I absolutely love the tuxedo stripe option but the pattern also comes with a fully classical pants version without the stripe. And the best thing is that you can easy print which option you need without having to print the whole thing.

You know my obsession with this gold elastic from Dritz (and I just saw they made it in silver too - woohoo) so even though the pattern already offers 3 waistband options I decided to make a fourth (because that's what make sewing fun, right!). That worked pretty well. The way I make it (yeah, I still haven't made the tutorial but it's on it's way, promise!) hides the seam but it also means it's double folded and that became a bit bulky because of the front pocket and my medium weight fabric. But the result was good enough for me to keep. And my daughter totally loves her gold elastic waist pants and these are no exception.

The floral fabric is a printed denim from Hancock Fabrics (It seems to be sold out online) and I think I bought the blue solid denim at Michael Levine. Both fabrics has a bit of stretch.

I sized these pants up a lot compared to the previous classical pair I made (that kind of became too small the week after they were finished, wah) so these are a size 8. That explains the baggier overall fit but I love them on her and I love that they will definitely fit until next summer...and maybe next fall too, who knows!? 

I emphasized the bagginess by hemming the pants with elastic. Not super tight, just a bit of gathering. I used my Cover Stitch and it was soooo easy that way but you can of course do this with a sewing machine too.

And yeah they are a bit long at this point...I don't have to mention kids grow like weeds, right ha!

Here are the faux back flaps. And I promise I sewed them on symmetrically, ha. She is just twisting in this photos so it looks like one is placed higher than the other. 
Everything is faux about these. I even just sewed the buttons on afterwards. No pesky button holes to fight with.

That's favorite outfit I have made in a long long long time.

Get your own Morocco Pants Pattern HERE and your Tip Top and Dress HERE.

Thank you!!

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