Friday, 24 October 2014

Craftsy Class Review: Classic Tailored Shirt


I don't consider myself a selfish seamstress. Not completely, anyway. While most of my sewing is for me, I sometimes sew for or teach sewing to my friends and family. I use more time when sewing for other people or helping them sew. I take it more slow to get everything just right and as perfect as possible. The standard is simply higher. It's kind of silly, but true.

This is one of those time-consuming selfless projects, a white button-up shirt for my boyfriend. He wears a shirt every day to work, and has hinted to me for a long time that a girlfriend-made shirt was high on his wish-list. Problem: I had never made a men's shirt before, yet alone a proper collar. Enter: The Classic Tailored Shirt Class on Craftsy!

The Classic Tailored Shirt

I figured the price of the class was roughly the same as one of his cheaper RTW shirts, and that I had nothing to loose thanks to Craftsy's money-back guarantee. My previous experience with craftsy had been good, so I took the plunge!

Let me tell you, I loved this class! It covers the making of an entire shirt from choosing and cutting the fabric to sewing on the very last button. It even has a chapter on fabric, pattern and design variations to use on future shirts. The teacher, Pam Howard, is really great. She is very encouraging and breaks all the hard parts down to make them simple and do-able and adds a little humor along the way. An adventurous beginner could very well tackle a tailored shirt with this class, I think.

My only complaint about the class is that she is making a continuous placket instead of a tower placket, as is normal in RTW. They have, however, included a pattern piece for the tower placket in the course material, and a video tutorial for it is up on her website. I used this tutorial for my shirt, but it is basically the same method.



Back to my finished shirt. I used Burda 7767 view B in a size 52 with collar 1 and some fit- and design alterations. This is the second shirt I have made using this pattern, the first one being a wearable muslin (not often worn due to questionable fabric choice). I made a 4 cm FTA (full tummy adjustment) on the front body pieces to account for my boyfriend having more stomach than shoulders, and the fit is spot on. Even the sleeve length is perfect!


I ditched the pattern instructions and followed the Craftsy class and above mentioned placket tutorial for a really nice finish inside and out. All seams are covered or flat-felled and only the inner collar stand and the inner cuffs are stitched by hand. I really love how Pam distinguish between "home made" and "hand made", and explain why it is nice to slow down to hand sew these parts. And she was right: I really enjoyed the hand sewing.


The fabric is a nice quality cotton shirting bought in Videbæk a year ago. It has a gorgeous herringbone texture on the right side of the fabric, making it a little special and less boring to sew. I had 3 meters but only used little more than 1,6 m for this shirt. The contrast is a fat quarter of quilting cotton, also from Videbæk. The buttons are from our trip to Stoffen Spektakel. Both the contrast fabric and the buttons where chosen and bought by my boyfriend.


I made some small design features as per request: angled cuff corners, no top stitching on collar stand, extra buttons on cuff and a different pocket shape. He requested a buttonhole and button on the pocket, but I was so excited about the pocket top-stitching that I forgot it :S.


This shirt has already become a favorite in my boyfriends closet, and he brags about it to everybody he meets. I really love how it all came together without a fuss and in only 3 evenings. It is nice to have a "tried-and-true" pattern for him, a pattern I know will fit, should I ever crave to make him something.

So tell me, are you mostly a selfish or a selfless seamstress?


* Disclaimer: this blog post contains an affiliate link to the reviewed Craftsy course. I get a small compensation if you follow the link and buy anything on their website. This does not affect your shopping experience on Craftsy nor my opinions of the course in any way. I bought this class with my own money, and I really do recommend this course with all my heart. I'm sure you will like it too, if you try it. Should you want a non-affiliate link to the course, it is here  *

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Hollyburn a la Vintage Chic...


... or East Germany anno 1982? I do not know. My boyfriend hates this lenght on me, but I am determined to give it a chance. I can always re-hem it later, should I grow tired of it.



This is off course the Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt in the longest version (view A). It is actually an experiment more than anything else, to be honest. I took the fabric and pattern with me "back home" for a weekend sewcation with my mom, and she convinced me to try view A instead of view C.


The fabric is a lovely brown wool tweed fabric I bought a year ago when we went to Stoffmarkt Holland in Neumünster. I went a little crazy in the remnant-stall when I found several lovely wool fabrics at 3 coupons of 1,5 m for 10 euros. I came home with a whopping 23,5 meters of wool that day and I only regret not buying more! This coupon was on the larger size, about 1,65 m at 150 cm, and I still had some small scraps left over after cutting.


With the length and material making this a definitive winter skirt, I made a full lining so it could easily be worn with tights. I also used the lining fabric for half the pocket to eliminate bulk around the hips.
The lining fabric is from Videbæk and I like it a lot despite it having bleed dark colored circles onto my new, shiny ironing board :(



I made the waistband narrower by using some waistband interfacing as a cutting guide and free-styled some belt loops instead of using the pattern pieces for it.


I kept the length from the pattern and hemmed the lining a bit shorter. Both layers are overlocked, turned and stitched, the lining by machine and the main skirt by hand with catch stitches (fun fact: my grandmother calls it "heksesting" or "witches stitch")


I don't have much more to say about this skirt. I love the shape and drape of it, but still haven't decided if it is a win or a fail due to the length. I like it much better on the dress form than on myself, and I feel like it would look better when worn with heels (not gonna happen).

What do you think? Is this a win or a fail? Are midi skirts back to stay?


Saturday, 18 October 2014

A "Spektakular" Dress - By Hand London Flora

Back in April, my boyfriend and I went to Amsterdam for our Easter holiday. We both really love the Netherlands, and my boyfriend actually speaks dutch (he has family in the Netherlands and studied at Utrecht University for a semester), so it was an easy choice for us.

Holy Wednesday was my birthday, and my boyfriend had very cleverly planned for us to spend the day in s'Hertogenbosch at the Stoffen Spektakel, a big in-door fabric market. He even brought his big, empty hiking backpack and offered to carry around any and all fabric I bought during the day! Yes, please!

Me at the big sign outside Brabanthallen in s'Hertogenbosch.


As all my other gifts from my family were euros to spend on fabric, I went a little crazy! My boyfriend also bought fabric and buttons for himself, so it was quite a heavy hiking backpack on the way home!

I have already sewn up quite a lot of the fabric we bought, but today I want to show you what I made with my favorite fabric from the trip - this beautiful floral cotton poplin:


I made a Flora dress! This was my first ever make from a By Hand London pattern, and I really, really love it! I made it back in July to wear to my grandmothers birthday, but it also works with tights, boots and a cardigan for autumn and winter!



I made a muslin in a straight size 10/14 based of my measurements, and the fit was really good! I did make some small adjustments for an even better fit:

- Lowered the horizontal bust darts 1,5 cm
- Lowered and moved the vertical bust dart 2 cm down and 2 cm in towards center front, angled to original position at waist.
- Took the sides in on the bodice, 4 cm in total.
- Angled the straps a bit outwards to account for sloping shoulders
- Added a tiny wedge (0,5 cm) to the front and back bodice armhole where they meet the straps.

The waistline on the muslin tilted to the back, indicating the need for a full bust adjustment (that's a new one!) or a rather dramatic sway back adjustment, but taking in the side seams fixed it really nicely. There is still a little to much ease around and under the bust, so I might take the bust dart in for next time!



I choose the tank bodice for my first run, and I love the retro feel of it! The skirt is swirl-tastic, and I love the sober but feminine neckline of the bodice!


I used the straight front and dipped back hemlines. I am kinda tall (174 cm or 5' 8½'') and a little conservative with my skirt length, so this was a perfect compromise! The front hits just above my knees while the dipped back hem adds some elegance and fun!


Speaking (writing?) of the hem, I really loved the length on me before hemming it and didn't want it shorter, so I bound the edge instead of making a regular turn-and-stitch hem. I was back "home" when I made it, so I raided looked through my grandmothers stash and found this navy satin bias tape.
It adds a little bit of weight and stability to the hem, accentuating the beautiful folds from the pleats and volume in the skirt.


Nicely finished back bodice and shoulder strap. 

I sewed the dress as described in the instructions, and it gives a really neat finish on the inside. The lining is the same cream-colored viscose blend remnant as I used on my Cambie dress. It really is the ideal lining fabric - silky, opaque and easy to handle. I am practically rationing it by now :P

I turned and stitched the skirt seam finishes because there was black thread on the overlocker to try something new and because they are on show with the dipped hem.


I bought 3 m of this fabric, but only used about 1,8 m for this dress. The fabric was not quite wide enough for the skirt pieces, so I had to sew little side gores to them at the bottom.

This was a really satisfying sew, and the dress has quickly become a favorite in my closet, perfect for all kinds of parties and special occasions. I have already made a second Flora, but it still hangs unhemmed - I prefer to hang any part-circle skirts and dresses while wet a couple of times and then at least a week more dry to let the hem drop completely before hemming.

What is your favorite party dress?


Friday, 26 September 2014

Hello Kitty Tofino Pants of Awesomeness

I love pyjamas pants. I wear them at night, after dinner, to launch around the appartment, doing some sewing or reading. I wear them on the weekends, often until lunch-time, or until someone forces me outside a door. They are comfy, warm and comforting. I just really love pyjamas pants. Please don't judge me.


I have been eyeing this pattern, the Sewaholic Tofino, for quite a while, and it has been hanging out in my pattern stash since my birthday, when I bought this and the Cambie for myself as an extra present. It just recently moved up in the sewing queue, when I found this gorgeous Hello Kitty knit fabric at the fabric store in Videbæk.
The fabric has teeny, tiny little printing errors in it, so I was able to get it at a nice discount. The normal price was about 150 kr (about 20 USD) per meter, but I paid way less. You can't really see the errors, as it's white spots on the light pink background.



This is seriously some quality fabric, printing errors aside. It's a thick and fairly stable knit, and the printing is soft and nice to touch. The edges curled a bit, but the fabric was otherwise a dream to work with.


It was 165 cm (65 inches) wide, and I managed to use only 1,30 m for this pair of pants, as all long pieces could fit next to each other. It could have been 1,15, but someone (probably someone at the store) had circled the first printing error with a pen, and I had to cut around it.
I still have 1,20 m left of the fabric, but have no real plan for it. Perhaps a matching pyjama top?


The pattern calls for contrasting piping, but I sleep on my stomach, and the idea of sleeping on the piping made me look for alternatives. Enter, insert strips. I had just read this post by Carolyn, and used her tutorial to sew bias binding on to the side leg pieces. However, this meant I had to press the seam allowances away from the side legs, contrary to the instructions. It is not all bad, but next time, I would probably sew the strips to the front and back pieces. The finished strip is 6-7 mm (1/4 inch) wide and made from red cotton bias tape from stof&stil.


I ditched the bow in lack of a suited material and a determination to make this project from stash materials only. Also, I do not think it combines well with stomach-sleeping.

I made no fit-alterations other than hemming the pants 1,5 cm (5/8 inch) shorter than the pattern called for. I did all seams on my regular sewing machine with hot pink tread and all seam finishing in white tread on my beloved overlocker.


These pictures do annoy me a bit. It was a very cloudy day and I only had 20 minutes to take pictures in before I had to get changed and ready to go to school. I guess you can't win every time. Oh well.

This make is my official entry for the Cat Lady Sewing Challenge, hosted by Erin of Miss Crayola Creepy. Thank you to Erin for coming up with this fun challenge, I can't wait to see what everybody else is making!

I do not have a cat yet, but we are allowed to keep up to 2 cats in our apartment. Now I just have to convince the boyfriend that it's a good idea to get a cat :P Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Houndstooth Hollyburn


This lovely houndstooth fabric was one of the first fabrics to be cut on my new sewing table. It is pure wool and I bought it as a remnant at the lovely fabric store in Videbæk for 30 kr. (6 USD). I had exactly 1,45 meters  of 150 cm wide fabric, and it was a perfect amount for this skirt.

The pattern is the Hollyburn skirt by Sewaholic. It was my first time using the pattern, but I'm sure it won't be my last!



The skirt is sewn almost as designed out of the envelope. I made a size 8 and only chanced the waistband width (down to 2,5 cm when finishes) and the zipper (invisible instead of centered slot zipper). I kept the length as intended for version B, and it hits just above my knees. The fit is spot-on! The waist has the perfect amount of ease - just enough to allow a thin sweater to be tucked in but it still sits right at the waist when worn alone.

The skirt is pretty basic, and it fills a massive gap in my wardrobe. It is very practical but still cute and cozy. I wear mostly dresses or jeans/t-shirts,  but really want to sew more cute skirts and blouses/tops. Any suggestions for cute tops to wear with skirts?


The insides are finished with my overlocker and all seams pressed open. The fabric frayed a lot, but was otherwise lovely to work with. The waistband and hem is finished invisibly by hand.



All-in-all, this was an easy and highly satisfying sew. I really love Sewaholics patterns, so far they just seem to work for my body type. No major alterations or fit issues at all, Love it!

I do not have any specific plans for my next couple of makes, but I think I want to take part in the Cat Lady Sewing Challenge hosted by the lovely Miss Crayola Creepy. I'm considering making up the Sewaholic Tofino pants in this lovely hello kitty knit fabric from my stash: