The Top 5 of 2014

I found about this last year, and once again I’m participating. I’m not very good at these things but looking back is always a good idea to be able to look forward.

Top 5 Hits

Luckily this year I can nominate my top 5 hits without having to dig too deep. I think I’m getting better at this and I’m learning to make my own style.

This is technically from the end of 2013 but as I’ve just made another one (not blogged yet), I count this as a success this year too.

This was a project that took forever but it was worth until the last stitch. I modified the armscye and added a quilted lining, and I can say that I’ve worn this to death. I’m taking a break now because the temperatures are too low but I foresee a lot of wear from February onwards.

My weight has changed this year and I’m not sure they fit me well right now, but I have made in total three pairs (two this year). Now that I know more about fitting I should try to make another pair but better. I think I’ll try Gertie’s trousers this year.

  • Lady Skater Dress

Unblogged due to my health issues, but I made my second this summer and I’ve cut a third. I just love this pattern, and after making a a couple of tweaks (narrowing upper part and sleeves, shortening bust, lengthening skirt) it’s become my to-go pattern to make knit dresses. I see many Lady Skater dresses and tshirts in the future.

After a long search for the perfect 40s blouse pattern, finally Gertie’s second book was a blessing. This was made with no mods and I already have fabric to make 6 more. This is going to be part of my signature style.

This is one of the very few knits accomplished this year, but I truly love this sweater and I’m wearing it while typing this.

Top 5 Misses

This bag was not a miss in itself. In fact I’ve used it quite a lot to transport my sewing tools to the shop where I used to have sewing classes, plus also for the very few trips I made this year. The problem here was the interfacing used for the bottom. It was good and sturdy but did not survive the washing machine. When the bag came out of the machine the interfacing had transformed into a little ball. As everything is enclosed, I don’t want to take it out but that means the bottom of the bag is not stiff anymore. Even like that it makes a wonderful travel bag.

I never ever wore this skirt. It’s was also probably because I went out very little this year due to my illness and I hate ironing. I think I’ll install horshair braid on this one and see what happens next spring and summer.

This blouse is just not my style. I made some Sewaholic patterns because they gorgeous and are designed for pear shaped women, which means that there’s in general less fitting to be done, but now I’m finally more selective and trying to sew and knit garments that match my style, even if that means more fitting issues. I have more experience, so that doesn’t scare me like before.

Top 5 Highlights

  • Koen

My boyfriend is my best blessing. He sticks with me and endures all that’s lately happening like a champion. He’s my rock and my partner in everything. I love you, Koen, you know that.

  • New apartment with a dedicated sewing space

We moved in August to another apartment. It’s much bigger than the previous one, and finally I could get a dedicated sewing space, which makes everything faster, neater and simply better. The picture above is just after installing the table. It has more things nowadays, but I’m with my family these days so I can’t take a picture right now.

  • A Serger

Koen surprised me on my birthday with this wonderful present. I’m still learning a lot about it but I succeeded at using it to overlock edges. The next step will be using it to sew knits. As soon as I get back home, I promise.

  • Gerry

Being home bound for so long can be hard on one’s moral but this little guy keeps me company and my spirits up. He’s funny, smart, cheeky and sweet (when he wants). Having a lovebird can be demanding sometimes, but they give you so much in return. My sewing and knitting are slower sometimes because of him, but I wouldn’t want to live without him.

Top 5 Reflections

Something that really took a big toll this year was my health (or the lack of it). I could have sewn more, knitted more and enjoyed life more in general if it was not because of this. I had little issues before, but in April I started to feel that there was something clearly wrong with me. It took me months and numerous doctor visits until I got referred to the mast cells specialists in August. By that time my weight dropped to 44 kg and I was desperately hungry and lost. I can’t still see the end of this but at least I know I’m in good hands. But the other side that nobody sees is that since August I’m eating everyday the same. My diet is reduced to five foods and I only drink water (and my morning tea). I’ve learned to appreciate the good things I have and the good people who stood beside me (Koen, you’re my rock), but I’ve also lost much in the way. I lost time, I lost money, I lost some of my illusions and I lost quite some friends. In a certain way it’s something good, because the ones who stayed are the true ones; but it’s also hard to stop seeing people who where your party fellows and who gave you so many happy moments. Many things are gone, and many people too. I’m still learning about not dwelling on it too much. It mortified me for a while but not anymore. I guess when this happens you learn to weight what you have, and you also learn to prioritize things. What mortifies me right now is being tied to my home and not being able to do things normal people do, like eating outside or enjoying a casual snack. I have to say no often to eating-out plans. This usually happens with people that don’t know about my condition. Usually old friends who pass by Madrid and expect to meet and socialize like it’s done over here. I hate having to tell the same story again, but I think I hate it most because I can’t tell the end or the conclusion. It’s like telling a story which you don’t know very well and ignore the end. At least I have learned to take pleasure on the little things, but recounting my story still makes me cry sometimes. I guess I still have a long way to go.

Top5 Goals

  • Getting healthy or have a normalish life: I know I have a long way to go but I’m not giving up on having some improvements. The good thing about my doctor is that she answers my emails quite fast (usually the same day), so if things don’t work, we fine tune the treatment to see if things could go better. Mast cells issues are not very well known and many times is just trial and error.
  • Building a capsule wardrobe: Teresa from Canary Knits got me started on this. I’m usually pretty lazy to do this kind of things, but I think it could be interesting for the next point.
  • Sewing and knitting my style.
  • Keep learning about my new serger.
  • Being able to travel: I know this will take time and may not be for 2015 but I won’t give up.

I’m a Sewaholic and a bird lover

I know it’s been a long time since I shared a decent garment (no, socks or slippers don’t count) and to remediate this, today I’m showing you three. They are all from Sewaholic patterns and they have been completed on very different dates. The Alma blouse was done in late Spring, I reckon, and I wore it several times, me feeling guilty all of them for not having blogged about it (what if me wearing it causes horrible wrinkles that will last forever and the photos are not good enough?). The skirt was made in early Summer and it also got some worn before the temperatures went crazily high and my weight crazily low. The Belcarra blouse was finished about a couple of weeks ago but I didn’t add the trimming until last week.

Gerry decided to join me this time during the photo-shoot, so be prepared for a great dose of bird cuteness. This is the first time I take pictures in our new apartment. Even though it’s much more spacious than the previous one, the other seemed to have more natural light, and well, this pictures were taken on a very grey day, so I had to boost them a bit on my computer. Also, please disregard the clutter and cables that appear on the pictures. I found this was the place with the best light, but it’s also where we have all our equipment plugged.

I have used size 4 for the three garments, as usual for Sewaholic patterns. For the Alma blouse I used some fabric that I bought by the kilo in my hometown last Christmas. I think this piece was about €2, so after adding the thread and zipper, the total cost of this blouse is around €5. The fabric is a cotton blend and it’s quite breathable. I wore it during the hot months here and it behaved extraordinarily.It looks good both with and without the belt, and I wore it also with trousers. I think it’s a lovely blouse and very easy to wear. The only adjustments to the pattern was shortening the length by one or two cm but not where it’s usually done. I did it on the chest, since I found the darts a bit too low. I was not very confident about this strange mod at first, but I am pleased with the fit. In hindsight I could have skipped the zipper, since I’m able to put it on without unzipping it. Like for almost all my blouses, I French seamed it, even on the size with the zipper. I love French seams.

I was so happy with my Cambie dress that I wanted to make a skirt using the same pattern pieces. This was before the very hot temperatures, before I got used to showing my bare knees. Seeing now the pictures makes me want to shorten it a bit but I guess I’ll leave it like it is and reserve it for formal occasions like… funerals?

I added a black rayon lining where I used for the first time my brand new pinking shears. Oh, I love this finishing for thin linings, since the faux-overlocker of my sewing machine is a bit overkill for this. I probably should have widened the original waistband but it’s not that bad. I think it’s a classy skirt, and black goes with everything.

For the Belcarra blouse I had in mind using a double gauze that I purchased some time ago at Telaria, but I wanted to make a wearable muslin first because I was not sure that this style would suit me. I used the remnants from my first Thurlow trousers pockets fabric. Yes, I find that the fabric requirements are always too much and I have lots of fabric left. I had just enough for this blouse but not for the cuffs, so I hemmed them using the same method than for the neckline. I just used regular bias tape. It makes it a bit stiff but it’s quite a clean finish.

I just added the flowered trim because I thought this blouse was lacking something. I am not sure of the purple tone of the flowers, but as I said, this is just a wearable muslin. The fabric is not great for this, since it feels stiff and boxy, but at least it has helped me to wrap my head around this design. This is again size 4 with no mods. Seeing the pictures makes me think that I could have gotten away with a size 2. Also, if I make this again, I would make exactly the same mod I did for my Cambie dress, and it’s cutting off one cm from the shoulders. Thinking of it, it’s a bit similar to the mod I did on the Alma blouse. It seems I’m smaller on the shoulders than how the Seaholic designs are meant to be.

Uggh, this picture is a bit granny-like. I will never wear this blouse like this with this black skirt.

Now that I have made this blouse I am not sure that I will use my double gaze for it. I wanted to think that I’m not in love with this because of the fabric I’ve used for the muslin, but the truth is that I’m really not into loose tops. I understand that loose tops with cigarette pants are very trendy nowadays but I just don’t look good in them. I think we should try new things, go beyond our comfort zone, but we should also realize when this was not a good idea.

Nevertheless I’m happy that I decided to make this blouse since it was in my queue for a long time, and tucked in a skirt is not that bad, am I right? And yes, those are the slippers I recently made.

We have to thank Gerry for joining us on this post. It’s definitely fun to do things with him around, even if he tried several times to chew on my remote, my tripod and my camera. At least he loves me enough to fly to my shoulder to show his infinite cuteness.

Me Made May: some thoughts

I apologize for the delay in writing and publishing this post. I thought the most boring part would be adding the pictures, but it wasn’t like that. In fact, I added them ten days ago, but my allergies and health issues are distracting me too often from the things that make me happy. I shouldn’t let that happen again, and I’m glad to inform that, even though my allergies haven’t got any better, the situation is more under control.

Here the pictures from Me May Made 2014:

As you can see there are a lot of repeats. I haven’t been sewing for so long and last year I regretted so much not being able to participate, so this year I decided to join even with my small handmade wardrobe. I’m very happy that I decided to do so, because it helped me to recognize gaps, successes and fails.

Let’s take a look at some numbers:

The total winners this month were the Miette Cardigan, Thurlow Trousers and the Lady Skater Dress. That cardigan is so versatile, comfortable and ideal for these temperatures that I should knit at least two more. The fact of being white helps a lot to combine with almost any dress or skirt in my wardrobe. When knitting it I disliked the portion of cotton in the fibers, but now that I wear it, I realize that it’s ideal for this weather, for summer when airco conditions and part of autumn. I should knit another one in another basic color and another one in a vivid color that goes with my wardrobe. I should also give a try to another of Andi‘s cardigans knitted with similar yarn.

The Thurlow trousers combined got 13 days of wear, same as the Miette Cardigan. That’s a lot of wear. I confess that during colder months I wore them even more, easily almost everyday I had a Thurlow on my legs. Now getting warmer and me thinner, it’s happening less and less. This week I rescued my old jeans that were too tight two years ago. I like them but that enormous waist annoys me. I would like to make more Thurlows and a pair of jeans but I don’t know how my weight is going to evolve. I’ve lost 6 kg in 2 months due to my allergies (you know the feeling of crying due to starving?) but as I’ve said, the situation is now under control. I’ve discovered yuca starch and I’m making some experiments and I have already my energy back. Now I need the weight too.

And what to say about the Lady Skater? It’s comfy, flattering and the perfect summer dress. I’m already cutting a second one (where I raised the waist 3 cm) and planning a third one. I should make one in a plain fabric one day. Also the fact of being elastic, makes it wearable despite the fact that my weight is still changing. I expected to make Anna, Bleuet and Bombshell dresses this month, but that’s not going to happen. At least until I stabilize my weight and my life (eating and sport-wise).

The Freija and Owls sweaters got a lot less wear than previous months due to the weather getting warmer, but trust me, winter was spent inside those two sweaters. I’m knitting a second Owls Sweater and I should knit something like that Freija again. Not the same pattern but something similar. I’m at the moment knitting Armande in purple. It’s going to be awesome.

The Cambie Dress was worn only 4 times, but in my defense I should say that it was finished at the beginning of May. Gosh, I love that dress. It’s very comfortable and elegant, and if I didn’t wear it more often was because I think it’s too chick just to go to the bakery (I work from home most of the time). I liked it so much that I decided to make a skirt from the same pattern. The skirt got worn just 2 times, but that’s because I finished it almost at the end of the month. Also, the dress was made during my most heavy weight loss, so it’s a bit loose now, but still wearable.

The Ziggi biker jacket was just worn at the end of the month when we had a cold spell, but I swear that I wore it almost everyday the previous month. That jacket and how I planned was a total success. I’m so happy that I decided to install a quilted lining.

The same goes for the Fleece Renfrew. I wore it a lot in April, but May was a bit warmer so no change to wear it too much.

There were things that got worn just once and finally I know why. The cowl neck dress was a lovely idea, but my knowledge was poor then. The fabric is too thin and the skirt just gets in between my legs when walking. Probably a slip would help here. Also the hem and armscyes look a bit sloppy, again because the fabric is so thin. It was a good idea, but the fabric and execution were wrong. The orange skirt just feels too large now. It’s designed to be worn lower than the natural waist and that doesn’t help now that I’ve lost weight. Also the waist line looks a bit weird. Well, there was undoubtedly some evolution in my sewing. The A-line skirt with patch pockets had a lot of wear last year but not now. Why? Not sure. I think the fact that tends to turn when walking and rubbing against my handbag annoys me a bit. I hate to have to pay too much attention to those things when I’m walking. That also happens to the light blue A-line skirt. I think it’s in part because they sit lower than the original waist and I’ve lost weight. Anyway, that’s why I prefer dresses now (even though the Cambie skirt is a complete success). Another reason is that right now I prefer just under the knee length.

The portrait blouse got worn 4 times, but previous months I wore it more just because I wore less dresses. I like that blouse, but there’s something wrong with it. It wrinkles a bit on the underarms and my execution was not the best. Anyway, I think I need more blouses for the times that I wear trousers and for that Cambie skirt. I’ve recently finished an Alma blouse (still unblogged) and I’m planning a Belcarra blouse, a Black Canvas Tee, a Maria Denmark Edith-Tiki Blouse, and an Archer Tiki Blouse; and I think that’s the right direction.

I really wanted to wear my Lonsdale Dress, but May was not as warm as expected. The problem with the Lonsdale is the bow or knot on the back, and that’s a bit annoying to wear a cardigan over it. I’ll probably modify that if I ever make it again.

I’ve also discovered that I feel more happy when wearing things that I spent quite some time making, and not rushing through the process. I didn’t wear my Hawthorn and i think it’s because I got carried away by the sewalong but I didn’t feel it was my style. The Thurlows, the Lady Skater, the blouse, the Cambie; those were made just when I felt the need of making them. Not rushing to make a deadline. Also, my last Alma blouse is a complete beauty and it took me some days. This is just to say that it’s great to be part of the community and joining sewalongs, but sometimes we need to avoid distractions and make what our heart feels and at our own pace. I’m more of a perfectionist right now. For me, especially in these difficult moments, it’s what makes sense and makes me happy.

 

And finally a Cambie Dress

I bought the pattern and the fabric last year. I really loved this dress since I saw it but life and other projects got in the way and I did not make it until now. I used the Dolly Clackett sewalong as an excuse get me going but unfortunately I couldn’t get it all done by the date I should have. It doesn’t matter, I didn’t rush through its construction and it doesn’t have the typical flows due to rushing a handsewn.

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I loved the fabric from the moment I saw it but I have to say that I liked it a lot more on the bolt than on me. It’s probably the beige, I’ve never thought it very flattering. I also doubted when I first tried the dress once done. I was not sure if it was my style, and because it took me almost three weeks to get it done and also because of my HIT, it feels a lot loser than it was meant to be. I’ve lost 5 kg in the last month and you can clearly see it in my clothes. Sadly I shouldn’t make any fitted garment right now because I hope I’m going to recover the weight I lost but you never know when and if it will happen. It’s a pity, because I wanted to make Gertie’s Bombshell Dress next month but I don’t know if I’ll be on a stable weight again by then.

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Anyway, I was going to wear something else today, since I just left the house to buy some food and I thought this Cambie Dress was a little too much, but then I said, go to hell, and if I’m not 100% healthy, at least I should look fancy. So I wore the Cambie and my Miette cardigan and went to the supermarket and the bakery.

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I bought these sandals two weeks ago. I was looking for comfortable and beautiful sandals for a while. I have horribly delicate feet and almost the only sandals I can wear for long periods of time to walk are my crocs. But then I found these online. I had two pairs of sandals of this brand when I was in my twenties. I remember the first day I wore one of those pairs. I had a fight at home (I don’t remember the reason) and left. I started walking and I couldn’t stop until I reached the beach. Let me tell you that the beach is 8 good km from my mother’s place. And I walked all that distance with my brand new sandals. Those were winners.

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This ones are also ultra comfortable, although they will need a bit more of breaking in than those old sandals. And let me tell you their story. I ordered these in size 36 but the shop messed up. When I got them, the left sandal was a 35 and the right a 36. The 35 fitted me better. I’ve called the shop to explain their mistake and to say that I’d prefer the 35. A messenger came the next day to pick up the 36 and deliver the other shoe in 35. Wasn’t it nice?

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Again to the dress. After wearing it today to run errands I totally changed my mind about it. It’s wonderfully comfortable, it’s classy and I think I would be very happy having more of this. The only changes I made to the size 4 was shortening the shoulders by 1 cm. The waist sits at the right place and I didn’t need to shorten the skirt. As I’ve said before just under the knee length is the perfect for me.
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The print is quite large so I didn’t attempt to match it. I didn’t mess up sewing the zipper, so the waistband is well aligned. Good, since I’m not sure if I could have the strength to do this again. HIT makes me lazy, guys. The neckline gaped a bit but I fixed it by sewing a piece of twill tape on the inside. I just followed this tutorial. With my weight loss it still gapes a bit but I can live with it.

And did I mention how freaking awesome and comfortable this dress is?

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Slowing down

I’ve always been a very active person, trying to use my time to make things, to make it matter, and not spoiling any minute by doing nothing. I guess that’s one of our problems of us, makers, as Teresa Gregorio said in one of the episodes of her podcast. I started sewing a bit more than a year ago and I can tell you that it’s so easy to get in the wagon of trying to finish things fast, start new ones and participate in all the sewalongs of the world that you can get lost in the madness. I rushed myself in several occasions due to this and felt like thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread. And now I have to slow down, like Rachel from House of Pinheiro beautifully put it today.

I really wanted to participate in the last sewalongs happening around. I had my pattern and fabric for the Sew Dolly Clackett since almost a year ago, and Sew for Victory was in my plans since I’ve seen the pictures from the last edition. I really wanted to participate but sadly I can’t.

First I need to focus on getting better and healthy. Not that I’m sick but I have to learn to live with my new condition until it passes, if it does. I’m eating a bit more healthy than before but I still have troubles to get all the calories that I need to function normally. I can’t practice capoeira and it breaks my heart, I can make it to the end of a Pilates class but it’s very very hard, since I’m out of strength halfway of it. But it’s better than at the beginning. When this got worse, the first two days I really starved. I had no energies, I had headache just because I needed to eat. I felt I was going to faint and even I had plenty of time (we had the Easter break) I didn’t feel like sewing. I felt like doing nothing at all.

So I need to slow down. I’m working on my long awaited Cambie dress without rushing, doing things correctly and I will probably be very happy with the final result. I try to add new foods to the diet at least every two days although in most cases they give me a reaction afterwards. I need to do things slowly, but I need to do them. I’ve also decided to take a break from frantic series. We’re finishing Breaking Bad and I’ve just finished Mad Dogs. Too many emotions in my already too exciting life. I’ve started to watch again Northern Exposure just to find a little peace and calm. I’ll get where I want to go but I’ll take my time in doing it. I will not be distracted by all the icing on the net, very attractive sewalongs or anything that could stress me too much. Stress raises histamine, didn’t you know? And right now I can’t afford it. I’m going to see a doctor next Tuesday, but I’ve read enough to know that the only thing I can do is following a strict diet for as long as it’s needed. Sometimes forever.

Gerry inspecting my Cambie muslin

Completed: Skulls Fleece Renfrew

I confess that I bought this fabric on a whim. I was choosing fabrics at Plush Addict for my niece’s hoodie, when I came across this gorgeous fleece. Honestly, I couldn’t let it pass. I have just checked their website and this fleece is gone. Completely understandable.

I usually buy fabrics with a pattern in mind unless it’s a bargain or I suddenly fall in love with the fabric. I try to avoid this, since I would be indulging too often and our apartment is very small. I know, fleece takes lots of space, but well,  this time I couldn’t let it pass.

I had the fabric in my stash since the beginning of December, but I  was so afraid of cutting into it that I kept thinking for months about the perfect pattern for it. Ringing some bells? I spent some time convinced that this could be ideal for a dress, but now that the worst part of the winter is gone I couldn’t think of wearing something like this. And probably it would rub against my stockings and climb upwards and I would then fall out of love with it. And that couldn’t happen. So I opted for something to cover just my torso. I had the Renfrew pattern since last year and I hadn’t it used yet (so many patterns, so little time) and after browsing a bit over the internet and seeing some nice versions I decided that this was the best. I fantasized for a very short while with modifying the pattern to include an asymmetric zipper but I discarded the idea knowing that too much thinking leads to very little sewing, especially with a new pattern. And even the idea was a nice one that I will try one day, let’s be honest, this print is large enough to be disturbed by zippers, even if I tried to match it perfectly. I decided to be lazy and on the safe side this time.

I used view C, and even I saw some people using a thin knit for one of the layers of the cowl I stuck with the fleece. After I finished the sweater I almost regretted it, because the cowl can stand on its own if not folded, and it looks quite bad if folded just once (you should have seen Koen’s face).

But a miracle happens when folded twice. That horrible 80’s vibe disappears and it becomes something nice. I wore it yesterday to my sewing class and the teacher said she liked it a lot but didn’t know it has handmade!

As I’ve said, I’ve used view C for the collar and view A for the sleeves. Instead of going 1 or 2 sizes down like with the Thurlow Trowsers, I used the size the matched my measurements (size 6) and shortened bodice and sleeves by 2 cm, and due to the thickness of the fabric it came out perfect. A bit snug on my chest but you know, I’m a bit swollen these days. You know how that works 😉

I used my walking foot and I just had some little issues when I had to sew several layers of this thick fleece. If it was not because of that I would have finished this project much sooner.

I have a couple of knit fabrics to make t-shirts from this same pattern, but I’m wondering if I should stick to size 6 or go one size down. Any thoughts?

You can see my last pair of Thurlow Trowsers on these pictures. Pity that the weather is getting too warm sometimes to wear them (almost 20ºC today, yay!). And BTW, I trimmed my bangs again last week, giving them this time a slight Betty Page curve. I like them 🙂

Completed: Blue Herrinbone Thurlow Trowsers

I’m participating in this sewalong almost by accident, but being blue my favorite color, it was impossible for me not to join.

Since I made my first pair of Thurlows I hardly wore other pants. I loved the fit and comfort so much that I wanted a pair in every color an fabric to wear those and only those. My RTW jeans are not loved anymore, they feel tight on the thighs, the waist loose, with all those wrinkles created by the belt. No, once one knows better, average is not good anymore.

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I coveted a fabric for months. I remember visiting the shop and going to this bolt just to touch this fabric and check the prize tag once again. But the €28 per meter was just too much. Luckily I found exactly the same fabric in blue in my last visit to Vigo. It was in that fabric-by-the-kilo shop, and I bought 2 meters for €8. Incredible! After this precious purchase I was so worried to cut into this fabric and ruin it but I have to say that it went fine. It pressed quite well and it was easy to sew.

The construction went very smooth. This is my third pair and the previous one was made very recently, so the details were fresh in my mind. No issues at all, and I even recognized a problem that showed in my last pair and found a way to fix it. I have done so and I’ll show you very soon.

I was not sure about what fabric to use for pockets and lining, but as soon as I’ve seen this parrots cotton quit I knew it was the one. And Gerry of course approved!

Sorry for the lovebird overload, just a mother proud of her son. And you can clearly see that he’s through a molt and he’s getting a beautiful orange brow.

I feel a bit bold for using such a contrasting fabric, but now that it’s done I don’t get tired of looking at it.

Now that I see this picture I remember the only thing that didn’t go well: the damn buttonhole. My machine makes 1-step buttonholes and when I use thick fabrics or several layers it tends to screw up. I had to finish this one by hand while swearing that I’ll conquest perfect buttonholes one day.

This time I hand sewed the hem, since I thought it was more appropriate for this kind of fabric. It took forever but I like the result.

I used again size 2 but 4 for the seat (big bum, I know) and I didn’t taper the legs down this time. I like the drape of this fabric, even though I should have ironed those creases a lot better.

The length is perfect and saved in my mind for the future. I just need to chop 2 inches off and use the 1″ 3/4 for the hem. Being quite short I have to be careful adjusting the length on broad pants so that they don’t dwarf me even more.

I really really love how these pants fit and I’m proud to say that I adjusted the waist a lot better in these than in previous versions.

I finished the pants last Wednesday and I’ve been wearing them a lot. I was afraid at first, since I don’t own a lot of clothes that need to be dry-cleaned (not going to hand wash these) and I didn’t want to spill food or drinks on them, but hell, I decided to wear them to go out on Saturday night and I loved them. They are warm, comfortable, chic and blue. What else would I ask for?

Completed: Corduroy Thurlow Trowsers

I like corduroy pants for winter because they feel warm, cozy and comfortable. I had two pairs many years ago and those pants got a lot of use. When I was living in Brussels I wanted more of those corduroy pants because winters were freaking cold over there, too cold for this warm blooded Spanish girl. One of the things that I hated from Brussels (and Belgium in general) was that shops closed around 6 or 6:30 pm so it was impossible to buy anything during the week. That made Saturdays hectic for me. I remember Rue Neuve so crowded, everybody in that same buying frenzy. I used to end up buying too many things without thinking too much just by impulse because Saturdays were the only chance I had to get them. I remember the time I was hunting for those cherished corduroy pants that I spent four consecutive Saturdays looking for them with no result. Corduroy could be trendy years ago but it’s becoming less and less since some time ago already. The only ones I found were skinny pants and that’s a no go for me. I have a mild case of knock knees and thick thighs and I know that that shape of pants doesn’t flatter me at all, so imagine my horror knowing that skinny pants are trendy since some years ago. And I like boot-cut pants! I am so glad that I’m sewing now my own clothes!

If you remember I made a pair of Thurlow Trousers last year and I love them. It’s not only that I could customize them the way I wanted, I can say that they are the most comfortable pair of pants that I own. My thighs have grown thicker in the last year and a half because of Capoeira, and I have a small waist compared to my hips, so you can imagine that I run into a lot of fitting issues with regular pants (tight on the thighs, enormous waistline). That pair of pants is not perfect, but it’s one of the best things I’ve made and they are my favorite. So I had to make them in corduroy!

As I’ve said, corduroy is not trendy anymore, so not only buying RTW corduroy pants is difficult; getting the fabric is also hard, and the shops receive so little of it that it sells out quite fast. When I went to buy this corduroy for my Thurlow I finished the bolt and got more than half a meter for free (they didn’t want to leave it there).

This brown thin whale corduroy is slightly stretchy, and this makes this pants as comfortable as sweat pants. I know that they are not the most fancy pants in the world, but they are what I wanted them to be: cute, warm and comfortable.

I bought a really beautiful fabric for the inside that caught my eye the second I saw it and I knew it was meant for this pants.

The corduroy is not a very elegant fabric, but I just love those lines, the symmetry. I like symmetrical things.

There’s a little bulge on the front of my pants and I may need to fine tune this pattern for the future (but not for my next pair since it’s already cut, hehe) but it was not present on my first pair. It could also be because this fabric is a bit elastic, but it also means that I can sit comfortably in them and eat as much as I can.

Those welt pockets gave me a bit of a headache. The ones in my first pair went fine but I don’t know how I managed to mount these ones the wrong way around. I think I was just too tired, and after my realization I went straight to bed. The day after I fixed them and you wouldn’t be able to tell they were like that before.

I remember that sewing the zipper for my first pair was almost a nightmare. I got it almost right in the end after struggling with it. This one worked like a charm. Being this my third fly-front zipper helped to master the technique.

Like with my first Thurlow I was afraid again of sewing the belt loops, but my machine behaved correctly and they were sewn without any issue. And they look almost professional!

I finished this pair of pants last Thursday and I have worn them everyday since then. The weather has cooled down a bit in the last days and this pair of pants is just what I needed.

Completed: Lonsdale Dress

I finished this dress two weeks ago, just after coming back from Belgium. For a while I thought this dress was doomed, since due to several causes, I had to take a couple of loooong breaks due to my stupidity (not really, but I’m sure my mind was somewhere else) and our holidays. Sometimes it’s so nice just to go back to routine and keep stitching. It’s also that when I start a project I like to work on it from the beginning to the end. If I get stuck somewhere I need to plow forward, otherwise I’ll never finish it and I would be unable to start a new project. Off course, this doesn’t happen with knitting, since I could have up to three things on the needles. Don’t ask me why I make this involuntary distinction. Probably because sewing tends to be a lot more messy and two projects at once means double the mess eating me in this 50 square meters  😛

But let’s go back to the Lonsdale dress:

As I’ve said before, after trying the unfinished dress I decided to shorten the bodice 3.75 cm. In fact the dress waist originally sat on on my natural waist, but I liked the effect of it sitting just above it. My measurements corresponded to a size 6, but after making two muslins, I decided size 4 suited me best. The dress is very comfortable, and this fabric has a bit of give, but I wonder if next time I should go for the next size since the dress waist is higher than my natural waist. BTW, the fabric is this one from from Westminster Fabrics. It’s a cotton quilt, but with more drape than regular ones, and I also wanted some structure.

I love the fact that it has pockets to put inside a couple of bobby pins waiting for your hair to get dry, or some coins to buy bread, or your keys, or the card from that special shop you’ve just discovered.

It also looks supper nice from the back, hugging your upper body and flowing around your hips, creating a very flattering figure. Despite my short height (I’m scarcely 5’2″) I didn’t have to shorten the skirt. I shortened the bodice and I like my skirts just below the knee, so after several tests in front of the mirror I decided to let it be as it was.

And you would wonder… Why has it taken me so long not only to take this pictures but just to wear this dress? For one thing, this time Koen took the pictures, but normally I do it by myself at home with a tripod and my camera timer (yes, running, kicking my tripod and starting all over again). The bow at the back is a cute and sweet detail, but just try to tie it by yourself and you’ll realize that yeah, it’s possible, but straightening it up and nice is not so easy. After two weeks subconsciously ignoring this dress I realized that I needed to ask Koen for help to make the knot a bit better than my first try.

This  pictures were taken just outside our place yesterday afternoon, after walking all morning around El Rastro looking for something for Koen. If you’re wondering why I’m looking down all the time is because there are no decent pictures of me looking somewhere else. The dazzling light almost blinded me, but you cannot see it because I’m standing in the shade. Note: if you have to take pictures at 4 pm on a very sunny day, just do it in the shade; they will look better than those burned ones with the sun directly on your eyes and strange shadows.

I’ve followed Tasia’s instructions to avoid having a scratchy zipper end after being cut, since it was too long for the dress. The result is neat neat neat.

All in all, I love the dress. It’s airy, comfortable and flattering.  Despite all my troubles to finish it (like forgetting to cut pieces of it) it’s a very easy pattern, and I found no complication about its construction whatsoever. As usual, Sewaholic patterns and instructions are great, and you have all the necessary notches so that putting this together is easy peasy. As I’ve said, for next time it’s possible that I make a size 6, at least for the waist, since the dress waist is higher than it was meant to be. We’ll see. Maybe next time my muscles will be even more developed due to capoeira and I need a dress 3 sizes larger (I hope this DOESN’T happen).

And one last picture. I don’t like this one so much, but it was the only one where I was not looking at the floor and I have my eyes a little bit open.

Burning Fabric

“It was hot, the night we burned Chrome.”

William Gibson, Burning Chrome

After reading about Rochelle and Tasha‘s proposal, I thought it could fit in my plans. I was planning on making two blouses, one from a vintage pattern and another from a pattern with a vintage inspiration.

If you remember, when I was in Vigo I bought some fabric by the kilo, and the yardages were just enough for blouses.They were in the bin where they have cottons and cotton blends, but off course I was not completely sure about what kind of fabric I was buying.

The first fabric looked a bit cottony (or rayon maybe?) but I was almost sure it was not 100% cotton:

I was planning to make Gertie’s portrait blouse:

And then I had this fabric:

which totally suits me to make this:

The question was, were these fabrics 100% cotton? ¨So I decided to go for a burning test in my kitchen sink. I apologize for the lack of light, but if you see where my sink is, you will fully understand. The layout of this apartment is quite weird. Each story was one apartment in the old days and was then subdivided in three ten years ago, when the building was renovated. As I was saying, the layout is different to any other apartment layout I’ve seen in my life. The incoming hall is… the kitchen. And the first thing the mailman sees when I open the door is… the sink. My tiny kitchen is like a small corridor which takes you to the living room. The following picture was taken from the leaving room. You can see the dishwasher, some drawers, the oven and the washing machine. Next comes the sink and just after it, the door to leave the apartment. All this to say that please excuse my lack of light or a better angle, but we have to do with what we have.

Burning test of blue puppies (the fabric, not actual puppies, please save the puppies of the world):

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncaBrRTuqwc]

I’ve also burned some cotton fabric to be able to compare, and although both burned in a similar way, this one ashes don’t disintegrate like 100% cotton. It doesn’t form hard beads like poly either, so I guess it’s a blend or even rayon. I’m not sure 🙁

The burning of the other fabric was something quite special:

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZH9B9c5Npc]

You cannot appreciate it very well in this video, but the flame is green GREEN and the smell is kind of chemical, but the burned fabric is totally similar to burned cotton. I’m thinking that the green flame and the smell could have come from the inks used on the fabric (those blue rhombuses are a bit glittery).

After seeing that colored flame I did a bit of research and found this. A green flame indicates presence of PVC. Could it be that PVC was used for the ink? No idea.

The only think I know is that none of this fabrics is valid for the sew-along, but anyway I want to make these two blouses with them because they’ve been already for too long in my head. If I like how they fit I could always try to make them again in 100% cotton.