Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Stitch in Time vol.2

One of my goals for 2012 is to knit a garment. I learnt to knit a long time ago, but just the basics. I think I made a couple scarves (just knit, purl, repeat) a few years ago and that's it. But now I really want to learn more.
Back in December, I saw this post on zilredoh and I fell in love with the book "A Stitch in Time". Those gorgeous vintage knitted garments were exactly the motivation I needed to better my skills, so I got the book as a birthday present for myself and now I just need to decide where to start (but after completing a circle scarf I started waiting for the book, in order to spruce up my knitting).

I really hope I'm not being too ambitious, but trying won't kill me, right? I also have a very old book of knitting techniques and the internet is full of resources for beginners, so I know where to look for support. Hopefully, you'll see at least one of the beauties below on this blog during the course of the year. Wish me luck!
Now, enjoy some photos from the book and try to resist the urge to go buy it for yourself! :)

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Violin Recital dress

This week's theme at the Sew Weekly is "Made this Look", that is recreating a RTW dress finding suitable pattern and fabric, just like Mena does in her brilliant "Make this Look" posts.
My inspiration was the Violin Recital dress from Modcloth and to recreate it I used pattern #128 from Burdastyle Magazine 05/2011.

I'm still on the fence about this dress. While I love the peter pan collar and the lace, it might be a bit too much for me and (especially) for where I live. It's very frou frou and the white is so in your face that I'm thinking of tea staining it.

If you want for more details, you can read my post here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Interview: Angela Osborn

In the spirit of supporting independent pattern designers, today I have the pleasure to have Angela Osborn on my blog, who I have found on Etsy (oh, what an endless source of wonderful things...) not long ago. Her story is very inspiring, as it always is with creative people. Enjoy!

Introduce yourself: tell us something about where you live, your origins, hobbies, etc. 
Hello! I’m Angela and I am the designer, seamstress and general crafty person behind my blog and online shop. Spending my childhood on a farm in rural South Australia has been a big influence on me. Creativity and resourcefulness are qualities my parents really encouraged in my brothers and I, while my mother taught me to sew from a young age. I work from my home studio in Adelaide, designing and making all sorts of things including clothes, home accessories, bags and softies.

Esther blouse
How did you start your shop, angelaosborn ? 
Working in an office job was driving me crazy and life’s too short to not chase your dreams, so with the support of my husband I decided to open an etsy store. While I do still have a shop on etsy, I decided to start a blog where I could sell my patterns and things directly from my own website. The blog has enabled me to connect with readers in a greater way and do more that just sell my products. Making things by hand for myself and for family and friends is a really important and rewarding part of my life. Through the projects and tutorials on my blog I want to encourage others to have a go at making things by hand and experience the joy that it brings. I have recently started to expand my range of patterns to include softies and bags as well as clothing. I think that making a piece of clothing from scratch can be quite intimidating to someone who’s never sewn before. I want my projects and patterns to be accessible to absolute beginners as well as those with more experience.

Do you have formal training (art, design, sewing, etc.)?
Yes, I have an Advanced Diploma of Applied Fashion Design and Technology.  I learned so much from this course but I must also give credit to my incredibly skilled Mum who has taught me so much over the years. I’m the type of person who likes to be constantly learning so I’m always trying new things and experimenting with new techniques.

Marion skirt

What are your main sources of inspiration? Your favorite designers or style icons?
Most of my inspiration comes from vintage fashion. I collect vintage clothes, patterns and sewing books. I find that the designs and techniques used are a lot more interesting and unique than much of the fashion on offer now. I also draw inspiration from other bloggers who are doing their own thing and expressing their own unique style rather than just blindly following trends. Movies (particularly old movies), art, books and music are all valuable sources of inspiration to me as well.

Fleur dress
What are your favorite materials to use?
I love working with natural fibres such as silk, cotton, linen and wool. I also love working with vintage materials (or refashioning vintage clothes) and vintage trims especially old lace.
Do you have any advice for who sells or wants to sell online?
I’m not sure I feel qualified to give advice, but I would say be open to change and don’t expect everything to come together perfectly straight away. You might find some things won’t work the way you expected and that’s okay - don’t give up, just try a different approach. Building an online business take time, patience and determination - I’m certainly a way off achieving everything that I want to, but I absolutely refuse to give up. Always look for ways you can improve yourself, your product and your business. Make sure your product is of excellent quality and is expressing your own unique creative point of view. Be organised, be kind (to others and yourself) and don’t give up!

Monday, January 23, 2012

La mia boutique 01/2012

This magazine is getting so good that I'm thinking of subscribing!
I'm very sorry for all those of you who do not have access to this magazine, I still hope you will enjoy some cute patterns and maybe get some inspirations from them. Please let me know if you like these posts nonetheless. I know I like to read post with McCall's or Butterick patterns although they're not easily available for me.

Probably the main reason why I bought the issue. It reminds me so much of a dress from Dahlia! I really like the gathering on the  shoulders. (Sorry for the blurry scan!)

A "Chanel suit" inspired outfit. Very simple but so chic!

I really don't need another coat in my wardrobe, but these patterns are adorable, each one in its way. The first one is my favorite, but I love the rounded panels of the third pattern.

And lastly, a treat for knitters. This sweater is adorable and after all, one of my propositions for 2012 is to knit a garment (more on that note soon...).

More photos of the technical drawings on my Flickr set.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sewing and pressing: update

Thank you so much to all those who gave me feedback on my post about ironing and pressing. You gave me such great ideas that I thought to collect them all in one post for future reference.

  • Many of you suggested to use an iron with an automatic shut-off feature. I'm a bit ashamed to admit that I didn't know such feature even existed (I guess I've always used "mediocre" irons). This is definitely a good way to save electricity and something I'll be looking for when buying a new iron.

  • Nat and Suzy redirected me to a post on Karen's blog where she explains that leaving the iron on for an hour or switching on and off 5 or 6 times in the same time does not make a big difference on your bill. So, if you're going to use it a lot, it's probably more efficient to leave it on (Sallie confirmed it).

  • Alice, Nat and Chie suggested to make more seams as possible before passing to the pressing process, and it's somethink I already do and saves a lot of time and energy.

  • Indigorchild sent me a link to a post on Grainline's blog where she uses a very small iron. It's from Clover and could be great for pressing seams and smaller tasks.

Finally, I have one more little solution I forgot to include in my previous post. For fabrics that are easy to press and smal tasks, I have a little travel iron that heats up in about a minute and requires less energy than a full-sized iron. I got it from ebay and find it very practical.

One more thing: coincidentally, Gertie wrote a post on pressing seams open yesterday, so maybe you'll see more on this subject there.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Madeleine skirt

I finally tackled my first pattern from Victory Patterns and I'm so happy with it!
I made the Madeleine skirt, but shortened it a lot, since tea lenght doesn't look too good on a short girl like me.

This skirt was my entry for this week at the Sew Weekly and I'm so happy it was featured on the front page! The theme of the week is "buttons"and, if you didn't already, go check the contributors' creations out, because there some truly inspiring garments, as always.
If you want to know more about my skirt, you can read it here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Burdastyle Magazine 02/2012

Guess who received a Burda subscription as a Christmas gift? ^_^
So, starting with the February issue, I won't have to decide whether buying the magazine or not. And I don't know if I would have bought this issue, because there is very very little that impressed me.

First of all, this dress. Although I really dislike the matt/shiny contrast of the fabric, it seems a very nice silhouette. There is also a black version of it which looks very elegant. The pockets are a nice touch.

I think this might be interesting. I really hate the multitude of colours they used here; there is a black version of this dress as well, but the design lines disappear. The neckline is gorgeous on the model, though, and the chunky zipper in the back looks very nice.

There are some very cute pants in this issue. These are high-waisted and have a nice detail in the back. Since one of my goals for this year is to sew a pair of trousers, I might consider this pattern.
A little off topic: don't you hate it too how sometimes (often, actually) Burda chooses fabrics and photos that don't showcase AT ALL the garments? I mean, black trousers under a long top? How are we supposed to see them? The same thing applies for the black versions of the two dresses above.

And lastly, just like when I liked the pattern for a Wilma Flinstones costume, I found myself eyeing these children patterns and wanting them for my size (sorry for the terribly cropped image). Aren't they cute?

More images will be soon available in the Burda Archive Project page.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A very hot question


Dear reader, I need to ask your opinion.
When I started sewing, I underestimated enourmously the importance of pressing as you sew, that is, pressing your seams after you sewed them and before continuing the construction of your garments.

Now I've understood what a difference this technique makes, but it poses a problem: I'm very careful about energy consumption at home, I try to be as moderate as possible for both economical and ecological reasons. I feel a bit guilty when I turn on and off my iron at least 5 or more times an afternoon, because I know that it uses up a lot of electricity to get hot. My father also pointed out to me that such an afternoon is going to have its weight on the electricity bill at the end of the month.

So what can I do? Or better, what do you do? Is there any eco-warrior among you that has some tips to share?
I'd be eternally grateful!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Scallop fever #4: Detachable beaded scallop collar

My first project for 2012!
This little number was actually finished (and worn several times) in 2011, but it's only now I get to show it to you!
It was A LOT of work: more than 1000 pearls sewn by hand! It took many many hours, but I found the process of beading very relaxing!
What took me longer than making the collar was to actually find the pearls! I went to a few stores where I live and I could only find glass pearls, which were extremely expensive, considering I needed a lot of them. Whenever I would ask for plastic pearls, people would be horrified and tell me they are too cheap! Well, guess what? I didn't want to spend 30 or more euros in beads, so in the end I went to dear old eBay, ordered the beads from a Chinese seller for a steal and waited patiently a month for them to arrive.
This was one of those (frequent) times in which I wanted so bad to have a Jo-Ann store near home.

The end result is not perfect (there are some bumps here and there, the texture of the pearls is not completely smooth), but I love it. It looks good with basically anything and makes any outfit look so elegant and classy!
If you like this collar, go say hi to Megan Nielsen and thank her for her fabulous tutorial! It's just thanks to her that it exists!

To see the previous installments of my "Scallop fever" series, click here.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sewing goals and sew-along update

I decided to join Suzie in her "12 in 2012" sewing propositions! Having some precise goals will definitely help me to be more productive, although deadlines stress me very easily, so I hope I won't break down under pressure :)
Here are my propositions:

12 Pieces of Handmade Clothing:
1. Shirt dress
2. Blazer
3. Trousers
4. Gertie's Bombshell dress
5. Coat/ Jacket
6. Something for my "Scallop Fever" series
7. Ruby slip
8. Colette's Oolong
9. Victory Patterns' Hazel
11. Wildcard!

12 New Sewing Techniques and Skills:
1. Boning
2. Hong-Kong finished seams
3. Bound buttonholes
4. Bound neckline placket   
5. Waist Stay
6. Zipper guard
7. Sew from a vintage pattern
8. Draft a skirt sloper/block
9. Draft a bodice sloper/block
10. Knit a garment
11. Refashion an unused garment
12. Draft the pattern for an accessory


♥ Host a sew-along on the blog
♥ Release a free pattern

I'd say I'll have my hands full for 2012!
And as announced in the title of this post, I have news about the sew-along. Unfortunately, it's bad news. I know I had given it for certain, but January and February are going to be VERY busy months for me and I need to prioritise. This means I'll have to focus on university stuff and I really don't want to take a commitment I might not be able to fulfill.
Again, I'm very sorry. But, as written above, there's going to be a sew-along sooner or later this year, (we'll decide whether to use the same pattern). I hope this is enough to be forgiven :)

And what about you? What are your sewing goals for this year?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Interview: Victory Patterns

Do you remember when I told you I was VERY excited about my next guest on the blog?
Well, I'm really really happy to have Kristiann from Victory Patterns to talk to us about her new awesome pattern line. I have discovered these beautiful patterns thanks to Lizz, Marie and a few other bloggers (they really are the latest love of the blogosphere!) and I've fallen in love immediately.
If you haven't heard of them already, I assure you they're worth checking out (I myself could not resist and I've almost finished sewing the first garment from one of these patterns).
In the meantime, enjoy discovering more about the mind behind these gorgeous designs!

Introduce yourself: tell us something about where you live, your origins, hobbies, etc.
I’m originally from Trinidad. When I was three my family moved to Scotland and eventually to Alberta and then to Toronto, where I live now. LOTS of moving!
I have too many hobbies for my own good and too many other things I want to learn how to do. I love textile design, working with leather, baking and cooking. I want to learn how to make jewelry and build furniture, take lovely photos and I really want to find more time to paint, draw and read, but time isn’t my friend.

How did you start your pattern line, Victory Patterns?
While teaching I noticed that there was a real lack of selection of patterns. Sewing and DIY is really growing and it was encouraging to see that as it convinced me that creating a pattern line might be a viable business idea. I have a background in fashion design, and I wanted to create stylish patterns that felt a bit like a clothing line.

How did you choose the name of your shop?
That was haaard! I thought about it for so long. I always have a hard time naming things. My cat's name is Kitty! I thought about the expressions and the feeling that my students have when they have learnt something new or completed something that they’re proud of. I did some brainstorming on words associated with that feeling and came up with “Victory”. I like that is sounded a bit classic as well, so I went with it.

Do you have formal training (art, design, sewing, etc.)?
I studied fashion design at Ryerson University here in Toronto and have worked in a number of areas in the industry. I also teach sewing and drafting which helps when writing the instructions because I can imagine the questions my students would ask as I go through writing each step.

As for the techy stuff, I have a genius brother, who managed to help me wrap my not so tech savvy brain around a few design programs that I needed to use to create the patterns. It was a really fun learning curve and a welcome challenge.

Do your creations support you economically?
I just launched the pattern line a month ago, so I’m sure it will take a while for me to say with confidence that it could support me. However, things have really picked up in the past few weeks. If the momentum continues, I might be able to work full time on it sooner that later. For the time being I teach in a few studios as well as privately, and I take on freelance projects. 

What are your main sources of inspiration? 
Each time I design I try to focus on a theme as much as possible which takes me down a new road of inspiring sources. But overall I love really interesting pattern drafting or fabric manipulation techniques. I’m very inspired by garment details, complex cuts and draping techniques, and by techniques and designs of vintage clothing.

What are the main satisfactions you get from your shop?
Every time I open my email it’s exciting. It’s so great seeing the positive comments that people write, or that sales are steadily coming in. It’s such a satisfying feeling that people are responding positively to something that I created. It’s still really new so I’m excited to see the creations that people make with these patterns.
How and where do you advertise your business?
I currently don’t advertise. So far people seems to find out about the patterns through blogs, Pinterest, Etsy, or word of mouth.
Do you have any advice for who wants to sell or already sells online?
I’m way too new at this to give seasoned advice, but I think the important thing is to create a beautiful, quality product that you believe in. If you’re going to have anyone working with you, it helps if their heart is in the project too. I’m starting to read about writing for online, and I think if you’re going to have an online business, it’s worth understanding how to optimize your site. (I got the Yahoo! Style Guide for Christmas and it’s great!!)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Inspiration: Peppermint Patty

Hello! I hope the new year started great for everyone.
I thought to dedicate the first post of the year to these inspiring creations by German handmade shop Peppermint-Patty.
I hope you'll appreciate!