Saturday, April 28, 2012

Japanese Garden Pyjama bottoms

I didn't mention anything about making pyjama bottom's for Karen's Pyjama Party because, in my typical fashion, it was a last minute thing. I thought it could be a great occasion for some stash bustin' and in fact I pulled out this flowery cotton I've had for ages and never got around to use.

This wasn't exactly your 2-hours-super simple project.
First of all: the pattern. Much to my surprise, there are no pyjama patterns in any issue of Burda from the last three years. I found a pair of bermuda from the 06/2010 issue that could be lengthned, but then I flipped through an old La Mia Boutique and found a pair of pants with elastic waistband that looked perfect for the job.
Of course I realised AFTER cutting the fabric that the pattern was meant for knit fabrics, so there was no way I could pull them up past my knees. Since I didn't want to just throw the fabric away, I added two triangular panels at the sides. The print is busy ebough not to make them too evident.
I also realised that they were too low, expecially at the back (thank you, big butt), so I added a waistband in a contrasting fabric. I also ended up removing a bit of witdh from the leg, because they were extremely wide.
Whew! That was much more work than I expected, but at least they're finished, wearable and quite cute.

Karen also asked us to share our current readings. For me, it's "A Dance With Dragons", the fifth book from the fantasy series "A Song of Ice and Fire" by George RR Martin. I started reading the books last year after falling in love with the TV show by HBO and now I'm a huge nerd. I have about 200 pages left to read and then I'll start to desperately wait for the next book to come out, which won't happen for at least another year. I really don't know how I'll do without reading daily about these characters! At least, in the last year I spent reading the series, my reading list became quite long, so it'll keep myself busy for a while. First up will be "Starship Troopers" by Robert A. Heinlin.

Monday, April 23, 2012

La Mia Boutique 05/2012

Want to start the week with some eye candy? The latest "La Mia Boutique" issue is full of beautiful dress patterns. Take a look:

This jacket and dress combo is on the cover. It's quite formal and very elegant in black and white, but I think both patterns could be translated in something much younger and fun using bright colors or prints.

A very simple yet super feminine dress. I love the full skirt, the deep neckline both in the front and in the back, I'm not too sold on the drawstring thing, but this is a dress I could easily wear everyday this summer.

This is probably my favorite from this issue. The keyhole in the front and the opening in the back are beautiful. The contrasting bands at the hem are also a very nice detail.

I think I've already seen a dress more or less like this one in Burda at some point, but the shirred panel in the back makes it kind of unique. It makes fitting the dress so much easier! I love how the pleats at the bust are echoed in the pleats of the skirt.

This dress kind of reminds me of Victory Patterns' Chloe, but with zippered pockets and a V neckline. This silhoutte works very well for my body shape, so this dress will definitely go in my (neverending) wishlist.

Want to see all the technical drawings of this issue? As usual, you can find them in my Flickr.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Burdastyle magazine 05/2012

Oops! I completely forgot about Burda and the issue is in the newsstands already! I still can't pass the chance to give my un solicited opinion, so here's what I like:

It's no surprise I like skirts and dresses, but these two seem to be very interesting patterns. The first one has a almost corseted waist and deep front pockets, while the second one has a front fly, front pleats, front pockets and welt back pockets. The only thing I don't get is the horizontal seam of the second skirt... What's the point?

This buttoned blouse is also pretty cute. These darts must be pretty flattering (I hope there are darts in the back as well) and the collar has a nice shape. Although it must be noted that the Burda team tried to make it as awful as possible by using one of the ugliest fabric ever. Thank God for technical drawings.

Sadly for me, the patterns I like the most this month are for plus sizes. This dress with a detachable peplum is an example, but the whole black & white plus size section is really beautiful.

And since I haven't complained yet, I'm going to end the post with something that kinda pissed me off. There is a vintage inspired pattern and I thought YAY! when I read it. Than I saw the photos and realised that Burda decided to take a super cute vintage '60s pattern and turn it into this draped, velvet, unwearable mess. Couldn't they just reprint the vintage pattern as it was?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Padded camera pouch and sale at Keyka Lou

For the last week or so, I've been in a bit of a sewing funk. I guess the problem is the weather is cold and rainy while I have Spring and lightweight clothes in my head.

Anyway, I've noticed in the past that sewing accessories helps me getting out of a rut. Last week I took the time to make a camera pouch for my parents' camera. They have a bulky, old Canon camera that they use very rarely, but since they didn't have a pouch for it and I didn't have anything to do, now it has a nice new home.

I used the Padded camera pouch pattern by Keyka Lou and it turned out great. It's super padded and it looks very "professional". I've already written it before, but I swear by these patterns. If you want to try one, now it's the moment! They're all on sale until the end of April.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Princess Street Skirt

My love for the city of Edinburgh is so deep that it earned me a spotloght at the Sew Weekly! If you didn't know already, the inspiration for this week is cities and if you want to know more about my choice you can read it here.

I went with a super simple tulip skirt, made in a vintage wool tartan I had in my stash. This fabric was just waiting for the right project to be used. I guess I was a bit intimidated by the bright colours, but I really like how it looks, and I think I'll wear it a lot next fall (or even now, since it snowed yesterday!).

In other news:

"I, Anna of paunnet, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '12. I endeavour to wear a self-made accessory or item of clothing for at least three days a week for the duration of May 2012."

I learnt through OWOP that I don't like to take photos of myself every day. There are also days when I just don't feel like wearing something handmade, or it's not the best solution (for example, when I spend the whole day at home or when I work as a waitress) and I don't want to cheat.
I figured three days a week is a good compromise for my first time taking part in this type of challenge. I'll make one weekly post with the three (or more) outfits, because I want to avoid the post overload that always occurs during these challenges.
I'm so excited! I've always wanted to participate to a Me-Made or Self-Stitched month, but never had enough garments for it. It's so nice to be an active part of the sewing blogosphere! :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Interview: Katie Jean Design

Want to know a bit more of a wonderful clothing designer? Today my guest is Katie Walker, who will tell us something about her line, Katie Jean Design. Enjoy!
Introduce yourself: tell us something about where you live, your origins, hobbies, etc.
I live in Phoenix with my husband Jonce and my two boys, Cade who is 5 and Clive who is 3. We have two dogs, four chickens and a fish, so we keep pretty busy, even when we have nothing on the calendar! I love playing with my kids and working out with my friends at the park.
How did you start your shop, ktjean ?
I actually started off making kids clothing with my neighbor Monique. Then we both slowly moved into adult pieces and we both have our own lines now (she owns Ouma Clothing)!
I started with wedding dresses on accident! I received a box of vintage stuff from my great aunt that included a couple slips, tablecloths and lace curtains. I cut them all up and created a slipdress with the layered skirt. That was in early 2008 and I posted it in my tiny Etsy shop using photos I took myself and a girl bought it to wear as her wedding dress. Now it is a big item in my shop!
Do you have formal training (art, design, sewing, etc.)?
I don't have any formal training. My mom can make anything with a sewing machine within a few hours. She taught me to sew, but I never imagined it would become a career for me. A lot of things I am learning as I go. I share a lot of business strategies and ideas with Monique and she helps me when I am not sure how to handle certain situations.
What are your main sources of inspiration? Your favorite designers or style icons?
So much of my inspiration is from history; I love collecting things that are awesomely vintage, imagining where they have been. I have also slowly acquired vintage patterns from the 1960s and they have been key inspirations for my new designs. I aim for simple silhouettes and details that highlight the ’60s influence in my new pieces.
I don't have any specific favorite designers, but I absolutely love Bill Cunningham, the fashion photographer for the New York Times. He has such a great story and sees fashion as it really is on the street.

What are your favorite materials to use?
I love recycling slips and vintage fabrics. It makes the dress or piece mean that much more. It adds history and depth to the piece
Do you still sew for yourself?
I rarely have time to make anything for myself. And when I do have time, I don't want to be sewing.
I do enjoy sewing for others though. I always see things at stores and think, "I could totally make that," but then I just buy it instead. ;)

Do you have any advice for who sells or wants to sell online?
Having good pictures that capture the essence of your item is vital and VERY important. If the pictures of your items are not well let or detailed or good enough quality, potential customers are less likely to look at them. Also good communication is what keeps up your good reputation and clients. Those two things are probably some of the most important things to remember while becoming an online seller or shop owner.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Burda easy S/S 2012

Hello, there! I took a little break from blogging this week after OWOP, but here I am! Let's see what Burda has in store for us.
Although there are some great patterns for an absolute beginner, my impression is the quality (and interest) of this magazine dropped significantly from a couple of years ago. Maybe it's just me and the fact that my skills evolved, so I prefer more complex patterns, but some of the clothes in this issue are so simple that i wonder if someone would go through the trouble of tracing a pattern for these:

A tube top with a keyhole (slutty much?) and a dress that consist of two rectangles sewn together... I don't know.

Although there are some very cute options for beginners:

The only thing I really don't get is why there are all those seams (especially in the dress). Maybe they want to give the option to use different fabrics for each panel to get a colorblocking effect, but then why they made their samples using respectively one print and one solid fabric?
Am I also the only one to think that the dress looks different on the model than the technical drawing? The neckline looks higher and it seems like it has cap sleeves... Again, I don't know.

Finally, a few cute patterns that justify buying this issue for me:

Granted, I do have patterns for shorts, t-shirts and a-line dress in my collection, but I know I always regret it when I don't buy an issue of Burda. Burda easy is also great to lend to those friends who want to learn to sew, so they a choice of simple patterns with good instructions (well, at least they're better than the ones in regular Burda).
What about you? Will you buy it or will you pass?