Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Thanks to Shannon Rutherford who tagged me with the "Very inspiring blogger" Award! I don't consider myself very inspirational, so I'm incredibly flattered...

The Award asks for 5 odd facts about me:
  1. I hardly get drunk and never get a hangover. And this is not because I don't consume alcohol. I just can take a lot!
  2. Although I like to sleep late, I'm a morning person. Which means I prefer to have my mornings later in the day (10am is early), but I never have a bad mood in the mornings. And since I also don't get hangover, my friends fear me after extensive parties. I am all smiles and sunshine and my friends all headaches and nausea...
  3. I love sewing with my sewing machine but I hat sewing by hand. If there are workarounds that allow for machine sewing, I'll do it. Even if it takes longer! ^^
  4. I read very fast. Like, all four Twilight novels in three days fast. And since I read a lot in English as well, I can now read English as fast as German. Impressive, how much impact training can have?!
  5. I give up easily. I'm all flames and sunshine when I start with something (projects, sewing, sports, whatever) but this novelty soon wears off and I'm rather hard to motivate after that. Which means I get projects done fast or never at all. Well, sometimes I can motivate myself again, but that is hard work!
Now I'm supposed to list 15 other bloggers who a) don't have the award already and b) who will pass it on. I will just list anyone I think will participate (or at least feel happy about it):

Neisella of http://neisella.blogspot.de/
Nachtkatze of http://schwarzromantik.blogspot.de/
*wollmaus* of http://paisleystern.bloggerweb.de/
Trisha (who is a bit quiet at the moment) of http://www.mistyillusions.org/marysew/
ette of http://www.blogz.ch/ette/

Week in Review 4/2013

Sorry for the radio silence and not finishing my outfit in time. I got surprised by being sick which is also why I didn't make it to the ball. I'm soooo sad! -.-

What did I see?
Not much. Another new Bones episode and some comedy.

What did I listen to?
Nothing. Again. But this time because my ears are stuffed. Everything sounds funny...

What did I ask myself?

What did I read?
I admit it. I caved when *wollmaus* wanted to throw them out and took the twilight books home.

Well, now that I read them all, I have to admit: They were better than expected. I still hated every piece of "Edward perfect", the horrible insecurities both protagonists have, the controlling behaviour that worries me and seems so adorable to Bella... I also didn't like that Stephenie Meyer spent 1/3 of the books on how perfect Edward looks, but only few pages to finish the story arch in the end of each book. But, as I said, they are an okay read. Still, I will put them in Essen's open book shelf as soon as I recovered... ;)

What did I work on?
Sleeping and getting healthy again.

I was happy about...
Finally feeling good enough to read! Do you know how horrible TV is before noon?!

I was annoyed about...
Going through hundreds of handkerchiefs in mere hours!

I bought...
Some jewelry, but that was before I got sick. And some medication (including antibiotics)...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Party hard, party hard! -Taille pattern and trial version

After the skirt was finished, I needed to make the Taille next. I decided to skip the underlying corset for time constraints (sensible move, am I right?) and put some boning in the Taille itself. This is historically correct even if somewhat "risque" - because of the lack of underwear! ^^ Yet another reminder of what I'm going for:

right besides my index finger!
Next, I looked for a pattern I could base my Taille on. I was looking for a historical pattern to match to my own size for preferably free. And I found it on the Marquise website - which is by the way a great resource for historical sewing and available in German and English! The pattern I chose was this one:


I know it doesn't look much like my inspiration, but historical patterns generally are very basic, so you can decide about the decoration more freely (just compare the picture above with the picture when worn!). In this case, the pattern is for the hardly visible Taille underneath all that frills and covered mostly by some kind of scarf! Next, I started calculating and matching it to my proportions:

Oops, this was already in the trash when I remember it might be interesting for you! Sorry!
Yes, this looks confusing, but it is actually not that hard! You need a ruler, a calculator, more paper (preferably larger sheets) and some musselin fabric you don't mind to put into a trial version.
  • You measure the neuralgic points (Chest, Waist, Hipline and the vertical distances between them) in the pattern and on yourself - it might be helpful to have someone taking your measurements as they depend strongly on your posture!
  • By dividing the complete measures on the pattern by your own you get the factor of enlargement for this specific measurement. Example? My chest is 100cm, the pattern has 4 pieces which combine to 50cm. 50cm divided by 100cm is a factor of  x2.
  • Now for each pattern piece you will have to enlarge by your factor. Example? The front middle piece is 6cm at the chest. to enlarge according to my own measurements, I'll take 6cm x2 (my "chest factor") and receive 12cm.
  • Now repeat this for every measuring line you have (around the chest, waist and hip plus the vertical distances) and redraw the pattern in larger and adapted scale. I was lazy and simply drew them directly on my first musselin!
I know this sounds very complicated but unlike just enlarging your overall pattern, you generally get a better fit in the first musselin this way. Otherwise -if you simply copy the pattern pieces larger- you will receive a musselin fit to the original mannequin the designer made this pattern for. Not unlike H&M or other stores, that make up a "perfect" body and design for this.

I was really lucky this time because the front fit perfectly the first time! The back was worse, I still had to figure out a lot about that. See?

front is okay
look how small the hole for my arm is!
I can't even put the back shoulder strap on my shoulder!
Oops! Wrong placement! ^^
Especially the shoulder strap needed some help. And now I "cheated" and used my much beloved corset pattern to make up the back of my Taille. Otherwise I would have tried to adapt the pattern pieces from my musselin to my dress form/me, but this takes a lot of time and you already know that my deadline is close.

So I used my last 3 corset panels and added a shoulder strap to them. Quick and dirty, but it works!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Party hard, party hard! - Skirt sewing

I started with he skirt because it's much easier than the Taille and doesn't require that much fitting. Just a short reminder; this is what I was going for in looks (on the upper right corner):


I already had  a bought crinoline (I got it from Nachtkatze, who unfortunately closed her store) with a circumference of 3.8m.


I also had the bat skirt from last year's WGT, which proved to be a very variable Skirt. Every goth girl should have a floor length circle skirt with a ruffle! It only took me 7 years to realize that! ^^


The over skirt will be in eight panels which will be rushed to make this arched effect. The pattern design was a quick and easy one:
  • measure around your waist and divide by 8
  • guestimate the hemline circumference (I decided to do 4m since that is easily divided by 8 and is larger than the crinoline)
  • decide on how long you want to make your panel - you will need about 1.5 times the length you are really going for, I used the full width of the fabric here (1.5m)
  • add seam allowance - I used 1.5cm each because I wanted to sew tunnels for rushing
  • draw your pattern!

When cutting the panels remember that you will need 8 of them, I accidentally cut 9. Which in the end turned out to be better because I had some strange sticky goo on one panel which refused to be washed out!
The next step was to iron and serge the panels. Serging because satin is Satan's fray brother and pulls threads whenever you look to hard at it. I ironed the panels because I used my fabric without a straight grain and this leads to pulling and puckering of the fabric. I then sewed the panels together to create a dome:

Never mind the trial version of the Taille!
I added a waistband which was made by a tunnel and wide elastic - not historically accurate by any means, but comfy if you intend to wear the skirt with several different corsets. And I hemmed the skirt. The last step was to sew tunnels and pull satin ribbon through them. Now the skirt is fully adaptable for several lengths! I tied nice bows at the end of the tunnels and was done with the skirt!


Monday, January 21, 2013

Party hard, party hard! Historical ball robe

This Saturday, I will visit a historical ball near Cologne. I know I have some outfits lying around that I could wear, but I made up my mind and wanted to sew something new and fancy for this occasion. At first I wanted to go for yet another tornure, but fabric restraints and the request to see me in a crinoline by *wollmaus* made me head for the 1860s with their wide round crinolines and small tailles. At first I did some research:


I quickly found out that I'm not a fan of large sleeves but Janet Arnold seems to me always a little late on fashion (I don't know if I'm more "up to date" by using french fashion plates as inspiration, but it feels like that), so I decided to skip them. Instead I plan to put some ruffles around my neckline.

I'm leaving the matching corset to be optional (depending how much time I have left) because the taille will have boning in it. It can be laced and seemingly some tailles were worn without a corset underneath.

In the end some other pictures from the web grabbed my attention:


The two upper pictures are my inspirations. Since I can't draw for the sake of my life, I'm not doing any more sketches and will head right to the fabric I bought in advance:


It's a wonderful deep green satin (poly something, but with a nice hand and drape) that I got for 3 Euros per meter. I bought the rest of the fabric, but it was only 5m. Therefor a tornure with nice drapings was simply not possible...



I also have some matching feathers for a head, some white satin gloves (which are necessary to be historically correct) and started to make matching jewelry. Wish me luck that I can make it until Saturday and don't have to go to the ball naked or in old clothes! *gasp*

Friday, January 18, 2013

Making nail polish jewelry

In preparation of my ball outfit, I realised I needed matching jewelry as well. And although I always say that I can't do prickly stuff and that I hate working with such small pieces, I ordered some clear cabochons and matching metal frames. Why clear cabochons? Because someone in my sewing forum mentioned that they could be painted with nail polish in any colour you like /own!

See how amazing they look? I don't know why (probably physics ^^), but painting only the back makes the hole cabochon look as if it was made from the colour!

I found a nice tutorial on the Internet and thought I should just try it out. So I gathered my nail polishes, the metal frames, some cabochons (I started with the big red one in the middle because i have way more of them than I need), fast setting glue and got to work!


As you can see below, I made red, green and black earrings. The green ones are for the ball outfit!




Week in Review 3/2013

What did I see?
Another season of "Bones" started this week! I love the series, my boyfriend and I always watch it together... But now they switched from Thursday to Tuesday and we will have to move some other dates around...

What did I listen to?
Nothing. Actually, I didn't even listen to the radio this week. Strange?!

What did I ask myself?
Nice that you like my contents, but why do you keep on adding to my workload?
What did I read?
I finished Trudi Canavan's "The traitor spy - rogue" and liked it, so now I will have to buy the third novel from the series. I like the small political stories although I'm usually annoyed by such story twists! And I received my birthday/Christmas present from my dad this week: A Kindle Paperwhite! So I started downloading Amazon... Expect me to read a lot of the free classic books during this year!

What did I work on?
A ball robe. And there is still a lot to do!

I was happy about...
Handing in that application. And the great food I ate! 

I was annoyed about...
All the projects my boss wants me to start while I need to graduate.

I bought...
Food for our gerbil Spike and some sewing supplies

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Quilted pillow cases

When I planned the quilt I was a bit over enthusiastic. I had no idea how many zig zag rows I would need so I cut up most of my fabrics. Only to find out later that adding more length but not width would look stupid... Well, after I spend some time wondering whether I should just throw them in the trash, I thought I could try my hand at quilted pillows as well. The fabric squares were just enough for two pillow cases!

First one with black pumpkins on orange background:



and the second one in green with witches, vampires and Frankenstein:



I made alternating backs and fronts, so I have two pretty sides but not always the same look. How do you like them?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Halloween Quilt - final stitches

I'm really sorry I didn't take more pictures during the last steps, but I actually finished the quilt in 1 1/2 days over New Year's. I try to remember everything I did, but I was in a flow so I didn't interrupt my sewing for banalities like eating, drinking or taking pictures...

What I did was:
  1. I added an orange boarder around the zig zag piece in the middle, as the piece alone was too small for my likes. For this I used some orange waterproof fabric I was handed down from *wollmaus*. I just sewed strips of the desired size (6cm) plus seam allowance around the inner rectangle.
  2. Since the quilt was still a bit small-ish, I added another border in black. I think think this is as wide as the zig zags. I made life easier by not sewing pretty corners (mitred corners) but sewing the short sides first and adding the long strips then.
  3. I bought two fleece blankets from KIK, sewed them together and sewed the top of the quilt right side on right side to the fleece. Of course I left a turning hole!
  4. Then I added my label. Very important part!
  5. Photobucket
  6. And last but not least I quilted. Well, actually I sewed once around the orange square and straight lines between the zig zags. Nothing fancy...
  7. Photobucket
And here is the quilt in all it's glory:

A close up to show you some fabrics in detail:


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Burda Style 2/2013

While the last issue of Burda was actually not that bad, the second issue of the year 2013 again is very... boring? I had troubles picking best and worst patterns. I also thought that there were not many patterns in this issue, or is it only me? Edit: When visiting Wollmaus and going through her issue, I found that Burda does not offer all patterns in the Preview! How can I adequately judge if I should buy this issue when they don't include all patterns? I'm very unhappy about his... And another point that annoys me a bit: We are only in the third week of the year and the magazine comes out monthly. How can this be issue 2/2013? And if I speak about the January issue, does his mean 1/2013 (first issue) or 2/2013 (which comes out in January)?


As I said, I was not wowed with this issue. As last time I had to pick a pattern from the Plus size which I like to avoid. Not only are the sizes to large for me so I have a bad feeling about judging them for fit, but to be fair I should also include kids- and men's wear if I don't stick to my own sizes, don't you think? Well, nevertheless: The third best pattern in my eyes is the top on the left from the Plus size bridal collection. I think this is rather flattering for fuller arms and I like lace at the moment.
Second best pattern is again a rather plain top, this time with long sleeves and black binding. I like the bow and think everyone should have a pattern for a plain shirt/top at home. On the other hand, most seamstresses probably already do, so this pattern is somewhat superfluous.
The pattern I liked best is  also not really exciting me. I know that the pattern of the fabric hides the ruffle a bit. I don't remember who, but someone from the sewing forum once mentioned that these kind of ruffles usually looks "puked onto the dress" because it doesn't really connect with the overall design. I agree, but with a busy fabric like this, the whole design looks more connected. And you can leave the ruffle anyway, in case you don't like it!


As I already said in the best patterns section, I was feeling very meh about this issue. The patterns in the worst section are actually here because I think that they fit few body types or the designers used a spectacularly ugly fabric...
Third worst pattern goes to a handkerchief dress that came directly from the seventies. The pattern only looks good without a bra and small hips, so beware if you have a slightly fuller figure. A small belly might make you appear pregnant in this kind of dress!
Second worst is yet another take of Burda on Chinos. And not their best, if I might mention. The pattern closes at the side (which I find strange) and the fabric looks horrible.
The dress in the middle is a 60s reincarnation. As it was trendy at that time, these dresses look great if you are really skinny and have great legs. Otherwise you look like a stuffed sausage with big hips if you dare to put something in your pockets. Plus the fabric they used is a b**ch to work with!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Couple's (G)love

While it just recently became cold here in Germany, I wanted to be prepared. While I usually have warm hands and feet, my boyfriend gets cold rather easily. In winter this means that we can hold hands with gloves (which feels strange) or inside his pockets which forces me to bend my arm in strange ways. M pockets are to small, so this is not an option. And yes, we like to hold hands in public, even if we are older than 15 and have been together quite some time!

During the last two years I stumbled upon couple gloves in the Internet. I always thought I liked the idea, but I was not willing to spend so much money on them. How comes that I never came up with the idea of making them myself is beyond me! But some weeks ago a member of my sewing forum posted her selfmade couple's glove in her blog and gave a baseline tutorial how to make them (in German).  But actually it's not that hard:
  • draw a tear shape which covers your hand (or the hand of your partner if he has huge hands like mine)
  • ad a straight rectangle on the widest part of the tear
  • cut the shape twice from doubled fabric so you get a heart with chimneys (see below)
  • cut four more chimney shapes
  • sew together the two hearts and two time two of the chimneys
  • Sew the chimney tubes onto the heart chimneys
  • fold the chimneys in and stitch ones around the top
  • ... and you are done!


See? It's very easy and a cute gift idea as well. You can add some decoration as shown in the tutorial, but i was too lazy for that...

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Shirt week - last boring shirt

This time I don't have much to say about the shirt. I took the pattern of a shirt, I used jersey I had around and it was a quick sewing job. There you go:


Since *wollmaus* asked on Wednesday in the comments how I sew the necklines of my shirts, I thought I might add a  link to a pictured tutorial in German. Soda (one of the famous owners of my favourite sewing forum) made this excellent one: LINK

I hope you had at least some fun during shirt week, but I have to admit I'm happy to write about something non-shirty next. It has some good things to sew everyday fashion since the historical/gothy clothes don't see much daylight, but they are much more fun to plan and produce.
I still have to show you the quilt I finished last year (Yes, I finally made it!), some historical sewing and I plan to go on a historical ball last weekend in January! As you all know me, I have nothing finished, but will wear something new for this occasion...

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Shirt week - Rockabilly keyhole shirt

For this shirt I wanted to try something new. Once upon a time I fell in love with Smarmy clothes' creations. She recycles clothes - mainly shirts and dresses - and turns them into wonderful new creations. She uses a lot of gothy or scary prints and I feel a little to old and serious now to wear them. But nevertheless I still love her style and was more than happy when I found her tutorials on her blog. I stumpled upon a keyhole tutorial for stretchy shirts and grabbed some rockabilly jersey I had lying around.



There is nothing hard about sewing the keyhole, but having a jersey friendly sewing machine or a serger makes things even easier! The tutorial I used was this one! Now go and make your own keyhole shirt...