Monday, April 7, 2014

Cool Shoe Decorations - Tutorial.

I have been waiting to bring home this last post I did for the Sewing Rabbit back in December until spring started....choosing to do that on the longest winter ever is just bad luck I guess, ha. 
Well, it is April and officially it IS spring so here we go.

You might remember the golden wings that people put on their roller skates in the 70ies. Well, they are back and being produced by Shwings. I picked some up for Wilma at H&M who is always quick to copy trends, and I realized they are super easy to make.

I was determined to make something in this category that I have not seen before and one of the ideas I got was to use this ultra cool fluorescent vinyl. (You might remember THIS rain jacket from my participation in Project Run & Play.) You can buy the vinyl HERE.
And yes, that is star spangles I have put inside. Loose glitter would work too.
I have a mini tutorial further down for the version for velcro but the concept is the same. And most of you probably don't even need a tutorial. Pretty simple but great effect, right.

Here a pink heart version with big and small spangles inside.
Sorry, this pink vinyl is crazy hard to photograph. They are easier to see in real life.

I also made a version for shoes with velcro.
(sorry the dirty shoes but ahem no time to wash them before photo shoot).

Here comes a mini tutorial:

1) Here you can see the materials I use. I cannot draw at all so making the star was actually really hard for me, ha. Now I wonder why I did not just search for a free printable somewhere? Oh well. 
Cut two layers of vinyl, put the spangles in between and stitch the two layers together - using some sort of teflon foot (as you can see in photo 4) or rolling foot. I used a neon embroidery thread for the stitching but anything will do. You can even use normal thread and sew all the way around twice for a more visible stitch if you don't have any thicker thread on hand.
2) Now take the finished star and mark the hole for the velcro.
3) Stitch a square using the marks you just made.

I have no photo showing this but I used a sharp knife to cut out the square 1 mm from the stitch.
And you are DONE.

But this post is not done yet, woohoo.
Next up are letters.....

I chose to make my daughter's initials W and B as you can see above. But HI or YO or, well you name it! Or their age in a number on just one shoe...or on both for 10 years and up.
I used black pleather, gold eyelets and gold iron-on triangles (all supplies from Jo-Anns). And even though the iron-on triangles looks good it might not have been the best idea to put on pleather because they fall off easily because of the pleather's ultra smooth surface. Studs would have worked better! Or use some stronger glue since the pleather is not really happy to have a hot iron nearby for too long. BUT they made it through the photo shoot and here you can see the result and I am sure your head is already spinning with alternatives, right!

Last but not least I have made some pleather bows for you.

I purposely made them look sort of hand drawn and yes, one side is a bit bigger/crooked than the other for that reason. Or actually they ended up like that when I drew the bow and I decided not to correct it - what can I say, it seemed like a good idea at the time, ha. Luckily you are making your own pattern/stencil and can make them perfectly symmetrical if you prefer that, right! 

Mini tutorial below:

1) I used a textured silver and a smooth black pleather plus I added a layer of some thin batting to give the bow some structure and make it a bit more three-dimensional looking.
I simply sewed the black pleather directly on the silver and kept the seam raw (since it is pleather). The two black stitches symbolizing the knot is made by sewing with normal black thread like three times on top of each other to be more visible.

2) Sew the front and back side together - right against right. Leave an opening in the side. I made my pattern with 0.5 cm since most was going to be cut of anyway so no reason to waste material.

3) And here you can see how much I cut of the seam allowance to make sure the curves and corner are nice and smooth when I turn the bows inside out.

4) Finally I stitch all the way around the bow which both gives stability and also closes the opening in the side. And lastly the stitch works instead of an iron to flatten the seams.
Then you put four holes in...and no this crooked mess is not on purpose and should we just leave it at that, ahem. Luckily the tie bands will hide it, phew.

5) Add your preferred eyelets and you are done.

These can of course be added anywhere on the shoes, not necessary on the top the way I showed you. They would be super cute on the front of the shoe too.

Like I said...endless possibilities!

Have fun, thank you!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Out and About Dress by Sew Caroline

Oh, lookie lookie...a blog post. And yes this dress is exactly as stylish yet comfortable as it looks. Love at first sight for me.

It is the Out and About Dress from Sew Caroline.

I absolutely love this style of dress with a fitted bodice and a skirt with some width in. It fits my pear shape perfectly.

This is a size M with no alterations....except adding a bit more length to the knee length option.....which is absolutely expected when you are 5"10 like I am.

I might also move the waist a tiny bit (up or down...not sure yet) but again that is just me who has a very long upper body....perfectly the times I have been pregnant not so perfect when you are sewing standard size patterns, ha. And moving the waist would really just be nit picking for the absolute perfect already works as it is.

Because the pattern is so simple it really is a great base for tons of variations. I am dreaming of making a high-low version and now that I have seen Alexia's (Lexi Made) non-gathered skirt (slash and spread) I totally want to do that too. And maybe I one day will get the courage to make the maxi skirt version....Am I the only one who has nightmares about falling in a maxi skirt? Yikes. But my legs could really use some covering up most days if you know what I mean, ahhhh.

The fabric is this super soft and pretty light/medium weight heather grey/hunter green striped cotton jersey from Girl Charlee. Seriously perfect for this dress.

Thank you SO much for inviting me Caroline. That made my day!

You can buy the Out and About Dress HERE.

Thank you.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Industry Insiders - Line, Seamstress and Sewing School Owner.

Today's Industry Insiders guest is a bit of a rock star for me. Not only is she extremely focused on, and determined to deliver quality - both regarding sewing techniques and fit but also fabrics. She is a Liberty fabric addict and knows the names of the different prints...I mean who does that or is that just me? 

Her blog Marapytta was also the very first sewing blog I ever saw - before Rikke (from the very first Industry Insiders post) showed it to me I did not even know you could blog about sewing. She is definitely without doubt a big inspiration for starting my own blog.

She has started a sewing school with a unique concept and is now sharing all her knowledge and her super cool style to all her lucky students. I wish I lived in Denmark so I could go there just so I could sew her amazing patterns.

Okay, let's hear Line's story:

Name, age, civil status, kids:

Line Galst Jørgensen, 41 years old. 
I have been married to Sebastian for almost 11, that long!!? 
We have a daughter Lily, 7 years old.

Education (where, when, what)

Seamstress/sample machinist - 2002 from CPH West.

Current job:

Own and teach at 'Marapytta Syskole' (Marapytta Sewing school, red.)
I offer classes both during the day, evening and on weekends.
The sewing school is build around my personal universe. 
Once in a while I have students with their own personal projects, but mostly the students are sewing my self-drafted kids and women patterns. The students have free access to them during the classes and are allowed to copy the patterns and bring them home to sew more at home.

I have all the models sewed up  for inspiration. (You can see a lot of them on her blog Marapytta. I know it is in Danish but do yourself a favor and just scroll through and look at the photos - AMAZING clothes! Or check out her Made By Me Pinterest Board. red.)
I started the sewing school 3.5 years ago with 6 students - now I have 60-80 students a months - and yes sometimes I pinch myself!

Former (sewing related) jobs:

I have worked as a freelance streamstress in the Danish fashion Industry for many years before I opened the sewing school.

I have worked a little bit on costumes for movies, theater and commercials. And I have sewed a lot of wedding dresses and other custom orders.

I never had a full time/one place job - always freelance.

You can see my portfolio HERE.

What do you like the most about your current job?

I absolutely love the thought about me having build up this little business. All by myself with no start up money and no one to help me with the process.....since there are hardly any sewing schools and definitely no one with this concept in Denmark. Today I can live from the income the sewing school is giving me.

It all started almost by coincidence. The fashion industry was not doing good because of the recession so I needed a new income source.
Through my blog - which is just a hobby for me - someone encouraged me to start a sewing class - and from the 6 original students it suddenly took off.

It gives me so much back to teach. It is an absolute pleasure to see my students grow and enjoy their new found skills. I am being confirmed daily that this is a special place.

I have a skill (sewing) that I am very proud of and I value it so much more, now that I am teaching and sharing it, compared to when I was working in the hectic fashion industry where everyone is always so busy and stressed.

And the least?

The worst about being self employed is definitely the boring bookkeeping.
I wish I could afford a book keeper and a cleaning / tidy up assistant.
I hate when I do not have time to be creative and the ideas just keep piling up because I have to do all the practical things first.

How does a normal work day look for you:

My day usual starts with answering a lot of emails. Then I love to take a trip around cyberspace - Instagram, blogs, Pinterest etc. I am always looking for new inspiration.

When I am not teaching, I am drafting new patterns and sew whatever I want.
Almost everything I sew is used as inspiration for the students at my school.

Sometimes I am teaching during the day and other days my classes are in the evening.

If you could forget about logistics, family, sleep, money etc: what would your dream job be:

Honestly, this is my dream job and I could not imagine doing anything else.

BUT if I won the lottery, I would buy a beautiful house somewhere nice in Copenhagen and I would invite my creative friends and 'colleagues' to make a workshop with each their specialty on each floor and we could be one big creative collective.

It had to be a big house because I work best when I am alone so I need my own floor.

But it could be soooo cool. You could take embroidery classes at the 1st floor, textile printing on the 2nd, knitting on the 3rd floor and so on and so on. (Uhm YES that would be cool! red.)

Line thank you SO much. 
Please don't ever stop what you are doing! 
You are amazing!

 And raise your hand (or leave her a comment here) if you think she should look into the pdf sewing pattern market! I know she is thinking about it, so maybe she just needs a little friendly push?


I have more amazing and interesting ladies who have said yes to participate but I am not sure when I will receive more material from those busy ladies sooooo all I can say is stay tuned because it is hopefully not over yet.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Small Fry Skinny Jeans by Titchy Threads

I am last stop on Titchy Threads' Small Fry Skinny Jeans World Tour...or something like that (together with the amazing ladies Tasha from I Seam Stressed and Celina from Petit a Petit and Family - make sure you do not miss their posts!). 

You can always judge the quality of a pattern on the results of people's sewing (and jeans is not an easy thing to make)....but we have seen one amazing pair of jeans pop up after the other. Yeah, this pattern is amazing!

Flat felled seams, top stitching, zip name it and Laura gives you a clear instruction on how to do it. 

My industrial sewing machine is a dream sewing jeans on and is 'made' for top stitching. I definitely got reminded how (sewing) geeky it is to sew jeans and I totally loved it.

And yeah....I made color block again....I am sorry! I am even boring myself now, ha. But I really really like the mini trend with patchwork jeans (Farrah from Mingo & Grace made an amazing upcycled pair HERE) or what about THESE from GAP or THESE from Comme de Garcons that I have pinned - love! 

I wanted to make a spring version and all the fabrics are fairly light weight and mostly light colored.
For the same reason I was planning on making them with roll ups on the legs so I added bias tape to the lower part of the seams (see photo further down in post) - except the inner seams that are flat felled and already pretty pretty.

I reinforced the zip fly with some bartacks. 

I skipped to decorate the back pockets. I guess the color block was making them busy enough to look at. That is also the reason why I kept most seams with just a single top stitch.

They turn out real pretty on the inside too.

Here you can see the bias tape to make a pretty roll up.....and a bit blurred vision of the flat felled seam from the inside (the seam to the left with the double stitch).

A few close up photos in questionable quality. It was the most beautiful warm spring sunday when I took these photos and I just completely ignored the few things I know about thing is: do not photograph in direct sunlight. 
Yup, good advice....because they turn out like this, ha. But the photo shoot was nice near our little local dam, river and greenway so you know..... 

Get 20% off the Small Fry Skinny Jeans Pattern until March 15th (yes tomorrow so go go go) with code TOUR20.

But don't forget to check out all the other amazing jeans that have been made on this tour. A click on the names below will take you to their blogs.

Paisley Roots RebekahSews Handmade by Brienne If Only They Would Nap Mingo & Grace La gang à Nat Lexi Made Sutures & Sandpaper Elsie Marley Probably Actually Groovybaby and mama 2 Little Hooligans Sew Jereli Kitschy Coo Sew a Straight Line A Jennuine Life Lauren Dahl Miss Matatabi Welcome to the Mouse House Things for Boys Skirt As Top sewpony Charming Doodle EmmylouBeeDoo Caila Made Heidi and Finn Max California Petit à Petit and Family Sewing Like Mad I Seam Stressed

Thank you Laura for inviting me and congrats on an amazing pattern!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Industry Insiders - Stine, Designer / CEO

For this week's Industry Insiders we are back in the fashion world but from a different perspective than the first post in this series (you can catch up HERE in case you missed it).

Stine has taken three fashion relevant educations (gulp, red.) and started in 2009 her fashion line called The Baand with her friend Julie.

BUT it is not just a fashion is mostly made with eco-friendly materials and sustainable production. SO Cool! 

Let's hear more about it, shall we!

Name, age, civil status, kids:

Stine Bauer Boskov, 33, married, no kids (yet). For many years I thought I did not want kids, I wanted a dachshund instead. As time has gone by, I now have 2 cats and I do want kids. Luckily my husband is ok with all of it ;) 

Education (where, when, what):

Trained as a seamstress and finished about 6-8 months after Mie (December 2003) if I remember correctly. After that I specialized in Textile Purchasing at TEKO (finished in June 2006) and recently I decided to go back to school and learn some more - which has been an absolutely amazing experience, and I finished just a few weeks ago with a bachelor degree in Brand Design from KEA

Current job:

I am the founder and owner of The Baand. We do high quality fashion basics and call them "everyday heroes". They are the kind of wardrobe staples that just go with everything and makes you look and feel good. We work mostly with eco-friendly materials and sustainable production in Peru and Nepal.
It is buttery soft T-shirts in all shapes and sizes along with knitwear in to die for chunky alpaca and sleek cashmere. 

Most of our garments are made from cotton. But cotton is not just cotton. Cotton comes in many variations. It all depends on the fiber. Cotton fibers comes from cotton plants, but just as there are many different sorts of roses, there are also different kinds of cotton plants. 
The "pima" cotton grows only in Peru. It has very long fibers which makes it softer and more longlasting. The handfeel is very different from the cotton most people are used to touch. Many customers think there is silk added to the composition of our garments, but no - it is just pure cotton! 
The superior quality of the cotton we use for our garments, is often something we hear mentioned by our customers - they are surprised to have a white T-shirt that stays white after washing many many times. The shape stays the same for years. Some of my own T-shirts are now 4 years old and still looks as new. Pretty amazing!

In the US you can find "sub pima" cotton, which also has long fibers, but the peruvian cotton is even softer. "sub pima" is of course much nicer then the cotton used in highstreet shops. 

We use only organic cotton. Organic cotton is free from pesticides and other chemicals which can be harmful for us as consumers. Chemicals like pesticides are very harmful to the enviroment. 

In Peru they pick all cotton by hand. They do not have the equipment to do it any other way. This means cotton farmers are exposed to chemicals more or less on a daily basis, meaning a lot of the farmers working with conventional cotton die quite young.

My collage Julie and I travel to Peru approx. once every year. I still remember our first visit to a cotton field. It was a great experience! 

When you pick cotton in Peru, the weather is hot. Blue sky and full sun, and then you have to wear long sleeves and pants. No T-shirts or shorts. Because the cotton plants will scratch your arms and legs while you are moving around on the field picking the cotton balls from the plants. 

I got so dizzy from the heat that I had to sit down in the shade for a while to get back to normal. But it was beautiful! We also got to see how they treat the cotton balls after they have been picked and until they end up as threads ready to make fabric of. 

It is a lot of work. 

Photos from a visit to an organic cotton field in Peru.

What do you like the most about your current job:

Since it is my own company and we are only 2 people working fulltime, my days are never the same, and that is proberly what I like the most. My colleague, Julie, handles most of the production and I do sales and marketing. The design we do 100% together. 

Former (sewing/craft/fashion related) jobs:

For a short time I worked for Danish brand Punk Royal, which was great - fun people and fun fashion. 
(They got a HUGE over-night success with a pair of military style pants with a 'Punk Royal' print on the 'behind' that half of Denmark's young population decided they all wanted to wear at once. I bet that was fun (and chaotic) to work there at that time. red.)

What does a normal day look like for you:

The last 2 weeks has been all about visiting customers and collecting orders, but also to get to know the customers better - to learn what they want to see from The Baand and how we can deliver better collections so we all benefit from it. We work with sales agencies in Germany and The Netherlands, so I also have to spend time emailing back and forth with them a lot these past days. As I also do our marketing, I am updating our Facebook and Instagram in between paying bills and doing the bookkeeping!

If you could forget about logistics, family, sleep, money etc: what would your dream job be:

I would love to travel more because it would help our production to visit the producers more often. But the trip to Peru is expensive, so we can not go as much as we want. We are going in April - I hope. But other than that I am in my dream job :)

Stine thank you SO much for telling us your story and for teaching, at least me, lots of new things about cotton and sustainable productions.
Very, very interesting!

I just want to start wearing your clothes every day.

I wish you both the very best success with your business!


Next week Line* will be my guest. 
She has worked several years in the Danish fashion industry as a freelance seamstress/sample machinist - sewing salesmen samples and show pieces but decided to start her own sewing school in Copenhagen a few years back. I can't wait for you to hear her story and show you the AMAZING things she sews. She has a blog too and her blog was the first sewing blog I ever saw. She definitely inspired me to start my own. Oh and then she matches Celina Bailey's number of Pinterest followers....yup, there are two Queen's of Pinterest and I know they will be happy to share the throne, ha.

*(Lii-neh...not --------- haha, get it?!)

So long!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Industry Insiders - Lone, Dressmaker (theatre)

Today I have a treat for you. 
My lovely friend Lone (yeah, another one of those Danish names, ha) has one of the most fascinating jobs I know about. She is a dressmaker (with specialty in costumes) at the Danish Royal Theatre (the link should take you to the English version - otherwise look for the little flag in the right top corner to change it).

 The theatre was built in 1748 so you can probably imagine what an impressive and fascinating historic place this is. 

All the amazing people working there are the very best within their specialty and all with an amazing passion for making sure to turn the different play's costume designers' visions into absolutely stunning and long lasting costumes. But also costumes that can be danced in AND easily altered if a new actor/dancer/singer has to take over. Yeah phew, that's a lot of criteria for one piece of clothing.

I think you have to have an extra amazingly patient personality to do these things. Personally I would cry if I had to spend weeks on the same piece of clothes, I do not have the patience for that, and that is what makes these ladies extra fascinating. I cannot get enough looking at their truly is wearable art.

Lone is the type that everything she decides to do turns out perfect. really is lucky she is such a sweet and hysterically funny person because otherwise I am not sure I could stand it, ha!

Okay, I think it is time to hear what Lone has to say, right!
Take it away!

Name, age, civil status, kids:

My name is Lone, I'm 38 years old and married to Jesper and we have two kids - Laust who is nine and Ella who is 5 1/2 years old.

Education (where, when, what):
I am a formally trained dressmaker.
I began my education at CPH WEST, and chose the dressmaker-line. (Mie and Rikke started at the same time but choose the seamstress/sample machinist line).*

During my education I was lucky to become a trainee at The Royal Danish Theater, and I am still here today 14 years after. 
*(A super quick explanation of the difference in the two lines: Dressmakers sew custom made clothes using traditional tailor techniques and lots of hand sewing. The finished clothes is made to last a lifetime. 
The seamstress/sample machinist learns to sew all types of ready-to-wear clothes using industrial/modern methods. 
Of course back then we spend way too much time discussing which line was the best...and I am sure we have all realized by now that you can't really compare and there is a need for both in the world of fashion and clothing in general. Red.) 

Current job:
In the costume department we are approximately 35 dressmakers, tailors (men's wear), textile color experts and miliners whom as well as hats do jewelry, flowers, masks and everything else wired and wearable that nobody else seems to be able to make.

Lone told me this photo is a rare opportunity to see the tutus hanging the right way around. Normally they are being stored upside down so that they keep looking like this above when the ballet dancers need to wear them - year after year. 

What do you like the most about your current job? And the least?:

What does a normal work day look like for you:
I loooove my job... I earn my money by doing what I love the most. If I had more hours a day I would probably be sewing. I feel so lucky. I make all kinds of fantastic, delicate and 
amazing costumes and my days at work are rarely alike. 

One day I make leotards and those kind of basic costumes for the ballet dancers, the next I make delicate ballet costumes in ultra lightweight silks. Other days I work with stiff flat tutus, heavy opera costumes and delicate historical costumes for plays.....aaaand then of cause there are the days where we maintain up to 30 years old costumes, which has been worn hundreds of times, and still look amazing on stage. 

From Sleeping Beauty.

But the variation is great and the best thing about it all is that we, because our costumes has to look great on stage for many many years, needs always to be sewed in really good quality materials.

A thing that makes sewing of theater costumes special is, that it has to be able to be changed to fit another artist in a hurry (for example if a ballet dancer get enjured and another dancer has to take the part). We have certain techniques and ways in which we sew. And here one has to remember that even the lightest and most delicate ballet costume is work-clothes in which the dancers will sweat and really wear out. At the same time we strive at making our costumes really nicely and that the details are really well made.

We sew a great deal by hand as well. It is for example easier and less time consuming to replace one hook sewed in by hand than if we used those premade ribbons with rows of hooks already pre-attached.
If there are beads on a costume it is very important to hand tie every single bead separately. We have to ensure that if one bead goes loose during the play/dance, twenty beads will not fall of as well and cause an accident on stage, etc.

TOP:  English lady's from La Bayadere MIDDLE: The Lady of the Camellias. BOTTOM: The Nutcracker

When all the good things about the crafts are said, I have to say that the work environment is not bad either.  I have the greatest colleagues (she is right, I have met a lot of them - funniest ever. Red.).
And who would not love to pass the studios every morning and see the dancers do their morning ballet classes and rehearse the different shows to the sound of live piano music.

If you could forget about logistics, family, sleep, money etc: what would your dream job be:

I actually think it would be hard to find a more attractive place for me to work in Denmark. I actually have my dream job here. The only other thing I could dream of here was to try to work in a place where they make real haute couture. Without all the theater techniques and in a more light and fashionable style. For example the Danish designer Ole Yde, who makes the most delicate and beautiful things.

Should I dream of something even bigger of, it would of course to go to Paris to work for one of the great fashion houses. Or the Comedie Francaise (in Paris as well) where they sew in correct historical ways to Moliere-plays or Cosprop in London where they also do everyting 100% correct historically - (for example no overlock - everything is sewed  by hand - only straight seams on machine) They deliver costumes to big film productions all over the world for example the Jane Austin-movies like Sense and Sensibility and Hollywood-productions like Pirates of the Caribbean.

With my work we have visited both Comedie Francaise and Cosprop and....Oh boy....we were in sewing heaven.  

TOP: Femke Mølbach Slot in a dress that Lone has made for the Frank Sinatra play Come Fly Away. MIDDLE, LEFT: Front of a wedding dress. MIDDLE, RIGHT: Detail shots. BOTTOM LEFT: Lady Marion in Robin Hood. BOTTOM RIGHT: Back of the stunning wedding dress.

Oh and one last thing. Should you one day visit Denmark there are guided tours that passes through the workshops (womens, mens and hats & jewelry-departments) at The Royal Danish Theatre, if anybody should come by some day - come and say Hi...I will probably be there for the next thirty years or so - if they don't kick me out before;-)

TOP: The original Danish Royal Theatre (now mostly used for ballet and where the costume department is). MIDDLE: The Opera House. BOTTOM: The Acting House. 
The Opera and Acting house are both fairly new buildings - as I am sure you have already figured out from the architecture.

Lone THANK YOU for sharing your job and passion with us!
You and your colleagues are nothing less than AMAZING!

After this posted I got a question about how they keep the costumes clean? Good question since they make them to last for years!
I asked Lone and this is what she told me:

"All the costumes gets dress shields sewed in and they are being replaced as soon as they start to smell.

Sometimes the inside of a costume is being taken out and sent to dry cleaning.

They also have something called an ozone cabinet (I really hope I am translation this correctly). It sort of sterilizes and send a lot of air thought the clothes. Only problem with that cabinet is that is ruins all elastics, so that would need replacing afterwards (if the costume has elastic).

Some costumes they also sew with a little removable/washable shirt inside.

They are also asking the actors to wear thin t-shirts under their costume."

WOW, thanks again Lone (Red.)

Next week we are meeting Stine who has started her own women's clothing line The Baand together with a friend, making high quality fashion basics with eco-friendly materials in a sustainable production in Nepal and Peru.

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