Category Archives: inspiration

I made a swimsuit/ Bombshell swimsuit by Closet Case Files

20160715_185523_smlThis July I finally made my first Bombshell swimsuit.

This pattern was published on Closet case files like 3  years ago, and immediately became a hit. Everyone were sewing a swimsuit and   the whole blogoshere  was admiring it. Really. All around woman were not only  sewing  and loving this pattern, but also publishing their photos proudly wearing their hand-made swimsuits in a big happy celebration of positive body image (some of them with amazement because they never thought they’ll publish a photo in a swimsuit on the internet….)

This was just around the point in my life when I started to sew and fell in love with sewing blogs.

WOW. This opened my mind. Just like that. I didn’t realize there were people in this world that were sewing swimsuits for themselves.

Since that moment this became a little thing to aspire to. Something that I thought I might do sometime in the future. Maybe after I’ll have more sewing skills or be more confident and experienced or have more time to sew. So for a long time this pattern was on my sewing wishlist, but it was too “intimidating”.

And then I heard this inspiring podcast on seamwork radio (Thank you Heather) + we were planning a vacation to Costa Rica + I have an unsolved issue with finding a swimsuit I feel comfortable to wear so I didn’t have one. Apparently the time was NOW.

So I made it. And I totally love it, and I traveled with it to our dreamy vacation to Costa Rica.

And here I am wearing it.20160907_230222_resized 20160816_125628_resized 20160907_230803_resized 20160816_130717_resized 20160816_132030_resized 20160801_075219_resized2 20160801_093938_resized2

The pattern is great. The size is good. The instructions are very clear and the sew-along series of posts were helpful. It wasn’t a piece of cake I’ll tell you, but also not at all difficult as I feared. True: it has many steps, need to work slowly with a lot of attention. But I realized that working with Lycra was actually fun for me. And so what if I  screw up a little with sewing the elastic? it is on the inside and no one checks. Right? And so what if the back has a little too many gatherings because I’m  shorter than average and didn’t take it into account? I made it and it worked out. And I like it and feel very comfortable wearing my new swimsuit. WOOOHOO.

If (when) i’ll sew this pattern again, I think I’ll  try the version without gatherings in the back. Otherwise I would not change anything.

I sewed the swimsuit with my simple sewing machine that has functions of straight and zigzag stitch only. So, to all of you that are not sure: it is totally doable!

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The dress that remind me of my grandmother

  A few months ago I found this fabric in the fabric store. I’m not a spontaneous buyer and I usually plan my purchases. But something happened and this fabric, from all hundreds of fabric rolls in the store,this fabric touched my heart. It reminded me of my grandmother, Elizabeth, and the dresses she used to wear.

I don’t know what it was that set the emotion. Something in the brown, orange, yellow print or maybe the feel of the fabric’s texture that reminded me what I felt when I walked hand in hand with her to the grocery store to buy bread and olives, or  helped her when she made the cake for sabbath, or when she hugged me.

My grandma was a seamstress and I was very attached to her. she was the first woman I saw working on a sewing machine and it seemed like a magic to me.

 I knew immediately that I want this fabric and I also knew what I want to do with it. I wanted a dress with some 70s vibe, not exactly like grandma’s. Something to remind her dress but in my own way.

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So the pattern I chose was the Megan dress from Love at first stitch by Tilly Walnes. And I wanted to make it sleeveless.

Here it is:

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When I came to my mom a few weeks ago I was wearing this dress, but I did not tell her about my inspiration.

And when she saw me she was so exited and told me: “I don’t think you remember this but the dress you’re wearing remind me of my mother”. And she opened the closet and showed me the dress. It was the same one I was thinking about.

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1977 Me and my grandmother, wearing clothes sewn by her

And a few words about Love at first stitch. If you visited me here before you probably noticed that I love Tilly’s patterns and attitude. So when she published her first sewing book I had to get myself a copy.  And it is lovely. In the book, designated for people who want to learn to sew clothes, you can find patterns and instructions for making some classic and basic clothes that can become staples in any wardrobe. From a very simple scarf  to pj pants, two skirts, a top and two dresses, the book guide you in a step by step manner with many helpful photos. Each pattern is accompanied by ideas on how to make the garment “your own”. In Tilly’s “Love at first stitch” pinterest board (here) you can see what other people have made from the patterns and draw some more inspiration.

 

Five easy and beautiful sewing patterns for beginners

Today I made a list of 5 sewing patterns that I think are very good to begin with if you are new to sewing.  Choosing the right pattern is very important in order to enjoy the sewing and learning experience and to lessen the frustration. Wish I knew that a few years ago :). So, what am I looking for in a pattern for a beginner?

  1. Not too complicated: just a limited number of pattern pieces to cut and sew and a few basic technics
  2. Easy to understand: the pattern should have clear instructions that are easy to follow.
  3. Good fabric choice: pattern should be suitable for fabrics that are simple to work with (not the kind of trouble-making slippery fabrics)
  4. Despite the simplicity I want my finished garment to be nice, interesting and wearable.

At first I tried some Burda patterns. That might be OK but I had my share of frustrating moments.  Although you can find a big variety of patterns for many tastes and a large amount of patterns for novice sewers I didn’t finish any project I started. So after a lot of searching and experiments (and many hours exploring the web) I finally found what I was looking for.

I prefer independent sewing pattern designers. I found that the personal approach and clear and friendly instructions work better for me. The patterns are easier to use, and usually the seam allowance is already a part of the draft. Many times you can find a sewalong on the websites blog and it is very encouraging and helpful. Also, I feel better to spend my money and support a smaller independent business.

All this patterns are available as a digital PDF form ready to print at home or a paper pattern. All the illustrations are from the original websites and if you click on the picture or the patterns name it will link you to the site, where you can see the actual garments.

AKITA from seamwork online magazine by Colette

akitta2This beautiful top is made up of only two pattern pieces with a bust dart and rounded hem, and that’s it. Because the design is so simple it’s perfect for showing off a nice fabric.  You can choose to sew with some nice light woven cotton fabric that is easy to work with, and when you gain confidence and practice you can choose some fabric with more drape.

Do you know Seamwork? It’s an online magazine with articles and sewing patterns published once a month. The akita pattern cost 7$ but subscribers pay 6$/month and can choose 2 patterns every months. Interesting. I’ll be back this mag later.

Another simple top pattern us the sorbetto, a free pattern. I wrote about it here.

WHY THIS PATTERNS? Only 2 pattern pieces, suitable for woven cotton fabric, a basic and wearable garment that can be a staple in any wardrobe.

WHAT DO WE LEARN? Basic seaming, hem punishing, bust darts

 BASEBALL SKIRT by Sew DIY

BASEBALL2A comfortable everyday skirt with elastic waist and pockets, everybody needs one. Suitable for chambray, woven cotton or light weight denim fabrics. This skirt was designed with novice sewers in mind. In general I feel that sewing an easy skirt as a first project might be a good practice. You can also read about my experience sewing my first miete skirt here.

WHY THIS PATTERN? Basic sewing technics, elastic waist that is easier to fit

WHAT MORE DO WE LEARN? To insert an elastic band, pockets

 COCO TOP AND DRESS by Tilly and the buttons

COCO2An everyday dress in a classic 60s style, made with medium weight knit fabric that is not very stretchy (and that is one of this pattern advantages). It has many design options: top or dress version, boat or funnel neck, long or ¾ sleeve, with or without pockets etc.  Just need to decide what is your preferred style. And it’s even more fun because you don’t need to insert any zipper.  I made myself a few of this, mostly tops and dresses with short sleeves that I wear all the time. I prefer them in solid colors or stripes. So comfortable and easy to wear. Tilly and the buttons pinterest page has an entire bord for the COCO (here) where you can see what other sewers (in all body shapes and sizes) did with the pattern. It’s so interesting and inspiring.

WHY THIS PATTERN? A perfect pattern if you want to try sewing with knit fabrics with your regular sewing machine, simple finishing technics, very useful detailed sewalong posts on Tilly’s blog

WHAT MORE DO WE LEARN? To work with knits with a regular machine (zig zag stitch), to insert a sleeve

OSAKA from seamwork online magazine by Colette

OSAKA2 Here is another pattern from seamwork magazine. And a very cool one indeed because it’s actually two skirts in one. This is a form fitting reversible wrap skirt with many design options, just choose: solid color, solid with two different textures, color block? Hop along to the link to see the photos.

WHY THIS PATTERN? The shape and finishing are simple. The sophistication is in the fabric choices

WHAT MORE DO WE LEARN? To play with design

 SELJA KNOT TEE by Named patterns

NAMED2This is a relaxed tee shirt with a knot on the waist made from an elastic fabric. It’s worthwhile to wonder around and check some other patterns on the Named shop. This two sisters from Finland design simple yet modern and beautiful sewing patterns.

WHY THIS PATTERN? Because if you’ve already sewn with woven and non-stretchy knits it’s time to try some more stretchy fabrics.

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So, what do you think?

Do you have any patterns you can call a success/ frustration free/ nice to begin with? please share.

Inspiration – October

Hi

Here are some of the things that are on my mind this month:

Something to read

Reading fringe association’s update about slow fashion October I bumped into this very interesting post by Ysolda teague. It’s called “Getting lost in the wardrobe” and it was written on April 2013, not long after the disaster of the garment factory in Bangladesh. She starts the post with a map of the world showing all the countries she found on clothing labels in her closet.  Then she share her thoughts and questions about what is a more ethical clothing choice. She present a view about some issues that take place in clothing factories and also talks in a very balanced and thought-provoking way about  why it’s important to focus on good quality and fit of the clothes we buy (or make) in order to love them and use them longer.

 In a similar matter: this is Sifted, a new blog that means to be a slow fashion directory. As I mentioned before, finding resources for slow fashion clothing and also sewing and knitting supplies is interesting me but I feel it’s hard to carry out. Think I’ll be following this blog to see what I can learn about this.

Something to learn

When I started to sew with knits I was a bit confused. It turns out that there are so many kinds of knit fabrics, with different qualities. How do you know what to look for when you go to the fabric store to choose a knit fabric? In the past two weeks Colette patterns published a few excellent video tutorials (as a promo for a new pattern release coming soon). This one is a simple dictionary for knit fabric terms and this one is about the 5 things to look for when shopping for knits.

So many possibilities

One of my plans for fall is to sew a fall/winter skirt. Now I start to think about the different options. I tried to narrow my ”fall skirt inspiration” pinterest board to just a minimal amount of photos so I can focus.

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So:

With or without pleats?

Light or dark color?

One color or plaid?

Wool or some lighter fabric?

 What do you think? Please let me know.

Michal