Friday, December 27, 2013

Top 5 Hits of 2013

While I'm usually not a massive fan of all the round ups that hit the blogs this time of the year, this time around I found myself so interested in reading those of Jen, Christine and Silvia; and because I'm also in the middle of making some changes in my life, I got inspired to reflect on the year that just went by and to do my own list.

Thanks, Gillian, for creating this series!

Here are my top 5 hits of this year:

 5. Moustache stamped t-shirt
Original post here
To be honest, I haven't worn this t-shirt more than couple times (it's too tight), but it was the first tutorial on my blog (if you don't count some of the posts for the Sureau Sew Along of last year) and it had a huge success (it's the post with most views of the whole blog).

It's in my hits because it allowed me to play with fabric stamping, something I had wanted to do for such a long time and will further explore in the future; and it also showed me how much you guys appreciate tutorials, motivating to do more. I will, I promise!
By the way, the "faux waist stay" tutorial I mentioned here is coming soon, yay!

 4. Dahlia-inspired pinafore
Original post here
A perfectly satisfactory copycat!
Just as I thought, this little pinafore transitioned without problems into colder months. The fabric is a little too thin for winter, but it looks so good with a button-up underneath, that I wear it anyway.

 3. Bombshell swimsuit (pattern by Heather Lou)
Original post here
Just like my t-shirt, I haven't worn this swimsuit a lot of times; but it was such a satisfaction to sew my own swimwear and to gather the confidence to show pictures of me wearing it, that it has to be in the top 5. Oh, and when I did wear it, I felt so great in it!

Fingers crossed Heather has more beautiful patterns in store for us!

 2. Black and white Viviane dress (pattern by République du chiffon)
Original post here
I ended up wearing this dress on Christmas day instead of my plaid Emery and it was the right choice. While I love my Emery, its fitted waist would have killed me, with the quantity of food and alcohol I ingested (I feel sick at the mere thought).
The looser silhuoette of Viviane just saved me; it's such a comfortable dress, but it allowed me to look cute and feminine as I like to. I also got a few compliments for it, which is always a good sign. There are definitely more dresses in this silhouette to come in the future.

This dress was also the result of a collaboration with the lovely Julie, one of the people I got to know better this year, so that's another plus.

 1. Bleuet (pattern by Deer and Doe)

Original post here
Original post here
Original post here

I made this dress 3 times and they are definitely the handmade garments I wore the most this year. The only reason why there hasn't been a fourth one yet is because I have too many new patterns to try out.
This summer, I've literally lived in my floral sleeveless ones; when one was in the wash, I was wearing the other, and viceversa.

This is still the pattern to beat as my personal favorite, in terms of fit, versatility, details (bow, buttons and collar... I mean) and how much it reflects my personal style.

What are your top 5 hits of 2013? Did you make your list?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Thank you! (and Happy Holidays)

Ever since the post about my decision to blog in Italian, I have wanted to THANK YOU all so much for the kindness and support you always send my way! I really am extremely grateful, and I never take it for granted, not even for a minute.
I decided to show you my gratitude in the form of a small video message. Please bear in mind I was very embarrassed in front of the camera and I was speaking softly because my neighbor was around, so be patient, hehe. Captions are available in both English and Italian.

Ho girato un piccolo video per ringraziarvi tutti per il sostegno continuo e l'affetto che date sempre a me e a questo blog e per augurarvi buone feste. Ero un po' imbarazzata davanti alla fotocamera e il mio vicino di casa si aggirava nei paraggi, perciò parlo in modo un po' strano, eheheh. Perdonatemi! :)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Presents for people who sew

If you're like me and you still haven't finished your Christmas shopping, here are some ideas!

For some of these, it might be too late because they involve shipping, but I also tried to include some last minute ideas. Otherwise, you can always re-visit this post when a birthday or a special occasion is coming up.

 Online classes:
This is the most foolproof type of gift there is, in my opinion. Everybody wants to learn and get better, right?
My absolute favorites are Craftsy classes, of course. The offer is immense and the quality is great, so you're sure to find something for every skill level.
"Sewing Studio" and "Sew Ready: Garment Basics" are perfect for absolute beginners, while a more experienced seamstress might appreciate a class to improve the fit of her creations.

My personal choice, as a slightly more advanced seamstress, are two new "Patternmaking Basis" classes ("The Bodice Sloper" and "The Skirt Sloper"), because I really want to learn more about drafting. My birthday is coming up at the beginning of January... JUST SAYING.

Creativebug also offers sewing classes, but whereas with Craftsy you can see a class you purchased as many times as you want, with Creativebug you purchase a limited time subscriptions (3 months, 6 months, 1 year). You can learn more about gifting one here.

BurdaStyle Videos also offers online classes and works similarly to Creativebug. You can find more details on subscriptions here. I am extremely curious to try this new platform. Did you guys take a look at it already?

Fabric also makes a great gift. I mean, can you ever too much beautiful fabric?
I always recommend to purchase fabric locally, because there's nothing like seeing the weight, the drape, the colors and the quality in person.

Then again, if you decide to shop online, you have plenty of choice!You can always browse eBay and Etsy for vintage fabric, which makes a unique gift.

One piece of advice I would give, though, is to shop from a destination close to you or to the person the present is intended for. You really don't want to spend a fortune on shipping nor wait a lifetime for what you purchased, right?

For example, being in Italy, my personal choice (which will probably be my Christmas gift to myself) goes to the new Atelier Brunette fabrics, which I'll purchase via Supercut. These prints have my name written all over it!

I'm a pattern addict and I'm always curious to try what's new on the market, but patterns can make a great gift for anyone.
I would obviously recommend to go with indie designers, and if you're not sure what to get, you can always purchase a gift card. Deer and Doe, Bluegingerdoll, Christine Haynes and more have this option.

 Sewing accessories:
This option requires you to not only know well the person you're giving the gift to, but also to have an idea of their sewing equipment or lack thereof.
The choice nowadays is immense, but here are a few gadgets that I think most seamstresses would appreciate:
- an expanding sewing gauge for buttonholes: this is perfect for all the people who hate buttonholes! I took advantage of the voucher I won with the Mae blouse sew along and purchased this for myself from A Fashionable Stitch. I can't wait for it to arrive!

- marking tools: for someone who uses Burda patterns (or other patterns that don't have an included seam allowance), some tracing paper and a Clover double tracing wheel make a great gift. I couldn't live without mine.

- labels: I love these "Fait avec amour" sew-in labels from Gift for Crafters! It's one of those hidden details that add a special touch to handmade creations. Or you can go another way and personalize them with the name (or the logo) of person you're giving them to.

Now I'm curious: what sewing related gifts are you giving this Christmas? What would you like to receive?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Burdastyle Magazine 01/2014

The first Burda issue of the year is usually a good one, and I'm glad to say that this January issue is really good.
I'm even willing to turn a blind eye on a couple of patterns straight out of the "rectangle magazine" collection, because the rest of the are pretty darn fine.

For once, let's start with the plus size section. I usually leave it for last (simply because it's not as interesting for me, since these patterns don't fit me), so let's change it up.

Beauuuuutiful dress! It's a pity you can't see it very well on the model, but it looks like a stunner. I have mixed feelings about the asymmetrical hem, but it's subtle, so I don't hate it.

Two flattering pieces with interesting details and potential for color-blocking. Great!

The dark side panels of this dress create an optical illusion and give a slimming effect. I'm all for embracing your curves, but really, who doesn't like a little help to look more elongated?
The only thing I don't like here are the kimono sleeves. I don't really know why, I'm just not convinced.

The designer pattern of the month is by Aquilano Rimondi (an Italian design duo from Milan) and it's a stunning, luxurious dress.
I love every little detail of this dress, especially the full skirt and the laced-up back bodice.

 I don't know in how long I haven't said this, but I LOVE this black and white editorial: the clothes, the styling, the makeup... everything!
This jacket is my favorite piece; the quilted shoulders are really gorgeous.

 This dress, on the contrary, is not exactly my cup of tea, but it's still an interesting pattern, and I can imagine a lot of people loving this and making beautiful stuff with it.

This skirt kind of reminded me of the Reese skirt pattern by Named, but it's actually quite a different design. It's really cute, especially if you're not afraid to show a little more thigh.

This t-shirt is on the cover of the magazine and I have to say it's a very smart choice, because it's a beautiful, eye-catching piece. I really want to make it in a similar striped fabric, to accentuate as much as possible the gathers, although I think it would look equally great in a solid or in a more subtle print.

The photo here is terrible (you really can't tell ANYTHING from it), but I really like this loose top. I've been drawn to these more relaxed silhouettes lately, and this one seems adorable. I'd love to make it a very light chiffon.

I don't really like the fabric choice here (the textured rose fabric looks too heavy for that bodice), but the pattern itself is cute.
The man's jacket is also included as a pattern, together with a few other menswear designs, for those of you who might be interested.

I was going to bash this top because it's too simple, but you know what? I kinda like it. It's a beginner-friendly project and an instant gratification for everyone. Not bad, right?
It reminds me of another pattern by Named, the Blair batwing shirt, but I like this one better because of the waistband.

Finally, the January issue also means Carnival costumes, which usually guarantees a good laugh at the very least.
A couple of the costumes in this issue are actually not too bad, like this mermaid one. I would actually consider this for myself, if I wasn't too lazy to make a corset.

... but in the best Burda tradition, some of them are actually pretty creepy. I'm not scared of clowns (thanks, mum, for never allowing me to watch "It" as a child), but I would be terrified if I met this family on the street...

Weird costumes aside, this is a great issue and I'll definitely purchase it. I've actually been stalking my local newsstands for the last few days waiting for it to show up, which is something I hadn't done in ages for Burda!

Let's hope it's just the beginning of a great years of patterns.