In Memoriam

Nero In Memoriam

Today we had to put Nero to sleep. Unfortunately he caught an infection, for which we treated him, but it was too late. He never really got better, and we couldn’t see him suffer any more. We’re gonna miss him very much, our little pooter.

May you rest in peace, Nero. ° August 2006 – † 5th Nov 2010

First Pattern: A-Line Skirt

On my quest to learn to draft patterns for myself (and maybe eventually other people), I’m working my way, albeit slowly, through the book Design it Yourself: Clothes. Patternmaking simplified by Cal Patch. It teaches you in 5 easy projects (with two modifications each) how to to draft basic patterns for skirts, t-shirts, dresses, blouses and trousers.

The first pattern in the book is a simple A-line skirt with front and back darts, made to measure, of course. The only modifications I made to her instructions were adapting the seam allowances to metric (1.5 cm is easier for me to measure than 1/2″), and add a bit more ease around the hips. For this skirt she uses 1″ / 2.5 cm ease for both waist and hips, which I found too little considering my hips “grow” 7.5 cm when I sit down. I took a compromise and used 5 cm ease for the hips, maintaining the 2.5 cm for the waist, since it doesn’t expand as much when sitting down.

A-Line skirt, Pattern Pieces
Pattern pieces before cutting them

To make this skirt I had decided to use one of the fabrics I scored in the Ikea Sales’ Corner, the Cecilia in white / green / black. It is however too thin and see through, so it requires some sort of lining, for which I used another Ikea fabric: Ditte in off-white. I cut one front and one back out of each fabric, then sewed the darts, folded them towards the center on the outside fabric, and towards the seam on the lining, then pinned them wrong sides together and sewed them together on all sides. From here on I treated this pieces as if they were made out of just one fabric. Inserted a 20 cm YKK coil zipper on the left seam, then sewed both side seams. To finish the seams I pinked since they were already straight stitched.

I’ve finished the waist and the hem with green cotton bias tape. Then fold the waist down and stitch in place, and fold up the hem and stitch. I didn’t do the double fold hem because it felt the double fabric was too stiff. The bias tape does add some structure to the hem without making it too heavy looking.

Skirt, frontskirt, back skirt, front insideskirt, inside back

Fabric Stash Enhancement

Today I went (virtually) for a fabric stash enhancement. I discovered the German store Stoffhaus Tippel on Sena Sews’ blog, Sew Be Do. On a note not related to fabric, I am amazed at how much German I understand now that I know Dutch. Anyway, with the pattern drafting project comes of course the sewing of said patterns. And to sew the patterns I will need fabric.

Taking advantage that Stoffhaus Tippel has a few fabrics on sale, and others are quite affordable while not on sale, I went on a spree and bought fabric enough to sew three skirts (one with underskirt) and a jacket (or two and a dress) for my mother and a t-shirt, some trousers, a dress and a skirt & jacket combo or another dress or trousers for myself. And so I don’t forget what fabric is what, and what is it destined to be, I’m listing here what I bought.

For my mother:

  • Ramie Linnen in a dark natural solid color. 100% linnen, 140cm wide, 340 grams per meter. 1,6 meters at 6,95€/m. It will become a skirt.
  • Broderie Anglaise in chocolate brown. 65% polyester 35% cotton, 145 cm wide, 110 grams per meter. 1,6 meters at 4,80€/m. It will become a skirt with underskirt.
  • Batiste in light cream. 65% polyester 35% cotton, 150 cm wide, 160 grams per meter. 1,6 meters at 3,00€/m. It will be the underskirt mentioned above.
  • Stretch Poly-Wool mix, in beige. 42% wool 55% polyester 3% elastan, 150 cm wide. 4 meters at 2,00€/m (down from 7,50€). It will become a skirt and a jacket, or a dress.

And for myself:

  • Stretch Jeans in black. 97% cotton 3% elastan, 125 cm wide. 3 meters at 2,50€. Will become a pair of trousers for myself (either jeans style or dressier).
  • Stretch Poly-Wool in grey. 42% wool 55% polyester 3% elastan, 150 cm wide. 4 meters at 2,00€/m (down from 7,50€).Will become a pair of trousers and a jacket, or a dress and short jacket.
  • Pure wool in a blue / grey / lilac flecked colorway. 100% wool, 150 cm wide. 3 meters at 2,50€ (down from 9,50€). Will become a short sleeved winter dress. It’s sold out, bummer.
  • Wool-Poly Jersey in black. 50% wool, 50% polyamid, 160 cm wide. Approx 1.9 meter at 4,00€/m (down from 7,50€/m). Will become a LBD (although not so Little since I’m not what you’d call little). This substitutes the flecked pure wool from above, that is sold out (insert pouting face here).
  • Stretch cotton jersey in red. 95% cotton 5% elastan, 145 cm wide. 2 meters at 4,90€/m. It will become a t-shirt style top, hip length.

The total came to be 64,40€ (still the same since I ordered fabric for the same value to substitute what was sold out), plus 12€ shipping. That is 76,40€, and an average of 3,67€/m 3,88€/m including shipping. I can’t complain. If I add up how much it would have been with original prices, it would have come to 129,40€ 115,05€ before shipping (in which case the shipping would have been 6€, and 6,51€/m 5,84€/m on average). I saved 59€ 45€. I can do a little happy dance and start drafting patters now!

Quirks of this shopping:

  • the store is only in German, so if you don’t speak German, be ready to use a dictionary or translation website,
  • sometimes the classification of the fabrics makes no sense (at least to me), so take your time to browse all the categories,
  • they only specify shipping for Germany and rest of Europe. If you’re planning on shopping from abroad, you’ll have to email them to check the shipping rates,
  • they only take bank transfers for payment. Forget about credit / debit cards and paypal.

Other than that, it was quite a painless shopping. I’ll let you know when my fabric arrives and I’ll make sure to take pictures for the stash.

Tools Of The Trade

I have set myself to learn a new hobby, a useful one. Pattern drafting! Yes, you’ve read right, I’m going to learn to draft my own patterns, perfectly fitted to my body (ok, and maybe someone’s else).

I got all my tools: pencils, measuring tape, big sheets op paper (or actually, a roll of white paper), a French curve, and book teaching me how to draft.

tools of the trade

Now, to start with the A-line skirt and move on to more difficult patterns. Because I have a dress idea perfect for autumn/winter.

A Matter of Ash.

So, I’m supposed to go to Madrid to visit family & friends, and pick up some papers that I need for university here. The travel is in the air with Mr. Eyjafjallajökull smoking so many cigars lately. Since there is nothing else to do about it, please take the following survey to pass the time:

I should be flying to Madrid the 26th of April and back to Brussels the 29th of April. Will I be able to?

So, when do you think the volcano will stop spitting ash into the atmosphere and the airspace in Europe re-open?

Silly polls over serious matters, do you like?

Thank you for your cooperation, and have a nice day!

Happy 1005 Times Two

(That’s 2010 for those not inclined to do math or those who have had a wee bit too much to drink)

We celebrated with a feast for two, watching the Spanish tv with the 12 bell tolls from Madrid, fireworks from the balcony and bubbly in our glasses.

A quick recap of our menu with pictures. Just because I’m such a meany ;)

Cavi-Art on toast Faux Gras on toast Cottage cheese mint samosas and mango chutney
Mushroom Sundried Tomato Risotto Rosemary focaccia Chocolate pear cake with cinnamon whipped cream
Click on the pictures for a bigger view

Those are, in order from left to right, first row then second: Cavi-art on toast, Faux Gras (de Gaia) on toast, Cottage cheese mint samosas served with home made mango chutney, Mushroom & Sundried tomato risotto served with Rosemary focaccia (home made, of course), and Chocolate pear cake with cinnamon whipped cream. All accompanied by a lovely Spanish Rueda Verdejo and some bubbly.

Wishing you a lovely 2010, and hoping your wishes come true. I’ll be working on mine to come true, because well, fate always benefits from a bit of pushing in the right direction.