sábado, 31 de agosto de 2013

My dear Watson

A while ago I decided to join The Monthly Stitch. A new challenge is posted every month, and you can join in the challenge or not. The challenge for August was 'CAPES' and since I had this pattern in my stash since June, I decided to hop on the bandwagon and join. 
I finished just in time, August 31th, still got 22 hours left!

The Watson coat... When you lay eyes on the pattern, you will want one too!
The only thing that was a bit daunting, was the fact that there are 15 pattern pieces, and since I didn't want to cut in my original pattern I traced them all... :-(
I cut a size M, but in hindsight, it was a bit to big. I eliminated about 2.5 cm from the bust-area, took in the sides 1 cm and eliminated 1 cm from the shoulder, but now it fits really well. 
I was really surprised at how fast this coat came together, it was finished in about 3 days (not counting laying out the fabric and matching up those plaids), it helped that the directions were very clear with lots of pictures!

The fabric came from Le Chien Vert in Brussels. I thought the plaid was perfect for a Sherlock-inspired garment. I saw another Watson-jacket with 2 different fabrics, and although I liked it, for mine I wanted just 1 type of fabric. The lining came from the same store. 
I did have a bit of trouble with the cape. The lining kept peeping out from under the cape. To solve this I topstitched the bottom of the whole cape piece and after that I had to 'stitch in the ditch' in the side seams of the cape through both layers of fabric. Now the lining does what it should do; be invisible from the outside...

I got the buttons covered in one of the many Mercerias around town, because I always mess up with those DIY-kits. The coat closes with snaps because my buttonhole-foot isn't big enough for these buttons, and I didn't feel like making bound buttonholes, because that was just to much trouble.

If I make this again, I will probably leave out the cape (2 cape jackets might be a bit too much) but will insert in-seam-pockets. But I probably won't make another coat for the next 5 years or so, I bought a new one just last winter and my last coat lasted me at least 5 years, so I'm pretty much set.

Taking pictures in this coat while Summer is still going strong was a bit weird...

This is my favourite picture, inside the port of Bilbao, in front of one of the huge cranes. My husband had a job there and I went along to assist. Yes, in my polkadot dress (made by me 3 years ago) and sandals, because that is appropriate attire for a cargo port.

The next challenge is VINTAGE patterns. Since I have quite a few of those, I'm ready to go for it again!

So what's the weirdest place you ever took pictures?

miércoles, 14 de agosto de 2013

A sewist travellers' guide to the fabric stores around the world + The Great Belgian Fabric Haul

Can I talk shop, and with shop I mean fabric shops?

The best part about taking a vacation is visiting fabric stores. There, I have said it. 
If we go on a trip, the first thing I google is what fabric stores are in the neighbourhood. (Unless we were to go to some really great place like London, New York, Stockholm, Berlin... Then I would read my travel guide first and after that google the fabric stores).

Now wouldn't it be great if we would join forces and make a map with all our favourite fabric stores? It could be like this map, but not for finding people that sew near us, but for feeding our fabric addiction while vacationing? If you combine both maps, you could actually have a real nice shopping trip with a kindred spirit instead of dragging your other (better?) half or children to all the fabric stores at your destination.

Well guess what. I made that map! Thanks to Vicki for the original inspiration and the original map. True genius!

View and edit Sewist travel guide - fabric shops in a larger map

The rules for adding are simple:
  1.  Be as accurate as possible. Use the search bar on top of the screen to find the exact address of the fabric store and place your pin on top of it. Set the Zoom to Maximum to increase accuracy.
  2. Make sure you mention the name and full address. Additional/Optional info: opening hours, telephone numbers, URL's and a (short) description of what they sell and what price range they are in...
  3. Check before you add a pin. If a store is already listed, don't add a duplicate. If you see a pin that is placed incorrectly, send me a message and I'll edit this. You can just leave a comment on this post.
  4. NO home-decorating and Upholstery fabric stores. If they have a mixed assortment, feel free to add a pin, but this map is meant for garment-sewers. Stores that carry only quilting cotton can be added, as those can be used for clothes as well.
  5. NO online stores, only brick-and-mortar ones. I know there are great online stores out there, but this map is meant for the travelling sewer, who wants to buy fabric as a souvenir.
  6. Sharing is caring. The more people now about this, the more stores will be added, the more shopping fun for everyone. Just reblog or link to this post!

Now here is the story behind the first few pins on the map.

For my birthday we went to Bilbao, where I now frequently visit 1 fabric store, Rafael Matias, it is my go-to store as they have the best range of fabrics in my immediate vicinity. Mind you, Bilbao is a one-hour drive, we only have 1 car that my husband uses almost every day to go to work, including Saturdays, so I can't say, 'Oh, today I'm going fabric shopping'. This means I have to think in advance about what I want to make and when I get a chance, I go fabric shopping with a list of things I need.
At this store, I bought the fabric for my Violet blouse, my Eclair and my husband's cowboy and chique shirts.
When we went to La Coruña at the beginning of summer, I looked up the fabric stores there. Galicia is the home of ZARA, so I thought it must reflect on the number of fabric stores. I found a few options, but went to only three of them. And only 2 of them got some money out of my pocket. I only remembered the name of 1 of the stores...

In La Coruña I bought the fabric for my Bleuet, the fabric for my Airelle and another flowery fabric with an eyelet/embroidered edge that I was first going to use for another Airelle but I changed my mind. I just won a pattern giveaway hosted by Rosângela, more to come on that, and of course the pyramid must travel on and so I will be hosting my own giveaway soon.

But now, I have finally hit the JACKPOT.
Last week, we went to the homeland and there I found the mother of all fabric stores: Les tissus du Chien Vert, in Brussels, capital of Belgium, Flanders, Brussels and Europe. I think that would make it a 'It's complicated'-status...
The store is actually 2 stores, 50m apart.

Now see my pictures and drool:
I also added these pictures in a set to my Flickr account, where you can see them all in better quality and larger size

Have you ever seen a store, ANY store, like that? It was amazing! The interior is just breathtaking. Everywhere you look there are ships, boats, decks, ropes... Not to mention it was HUGE! Beyond your wildest dreams! And this was only the home deco and upholstery store.

This is the garment fabric store:

Yes, they cut fabric on pool tables here!

I managed to contain myself ever so slightly and went home with a few essentials:

Wool plaid and lining, for a coat, coming soon.
Funky print knit for a dress, pattern 95% decided.

 Gorgeous thick off-white ribbed knit for a dress, still looking for a pattern, anybody have any ideas?

Going home with these meant I passed on all the other goodies there, like a whole collection of swimwear-fabric. I may or may not have cried a little when I left, my next visit to Belgium won't be until January and I don't know if I will have time to go to Brussels.

Then on to Ghent, the nearest city to my home-town worth mentioning.

There my favorite fabric store is Artevelde Stoffen, in the hearth of the city. The store itself could use a bit of a make-over but overall the fabric on offer is really nice.

Here I got out with:

Gorgeous red cotton, also used by this lady for her dress, (the text is in Dutch, but she has a few beautiful pics) mine will be transformed into a skirt. I want a pencil skirt, anybody any good ideas?

Lady bug cotton, destined to become a Sassy Librarian Blouse, to go with my skirt.

Pink wool. Skirt or pants? I don't know yet.

This store has a great collection of wool. The only thing is, it is stored on high shelves behind the counter, so you have to overcome a sort of emotional barrier to go check them out. But they are well worth the effort!

Oh and I bought pants. The label made me laugh out loud. I want those sewing conditions too!

martes, 13 de agosto de 2013

Deer and Doe Airelle and an Award, my first EVER!

*** Warning *** Crappy mobile phone pictures coming up ***

*** Next project are more exciting, I promise! ***

I wanted to post this 2 weeks ago before we went to Belgium to visit family and friends, but never got round to taking pictures (and now I only got round to snapping a few bad pics with my mobile phone), so here it is now...

My Deer and Doe Airelle.

Please don't mind my hair. I have a long standing love-hate relationship with my hair. I had long hair (I didn't go to the hairdresser's for over 2 years), then decided I didn't want that anymore. I went to a hairdresser and asked for short asymmetrical hair and she said she wasn't going to do that, but that she would cut it to shoulder-length. I hated it from the minute I stepped outside. (Push-over much, me?) My hair doesn't have a nice drape (yes, this is a fabric analogy) when it is shoulder length, it does what it does in the above picture. Mad Max Tina Turner... And I hate my bangs right now too, they're not short enough to lay flat but not long enough to lay neatly aside. So now it is growing again and it will take me at least another 2 years before I go to a hairdresser again! But until then I will just have to make do.

First comment my husband gave: Very pretty, well done again! Too bad I don't really agree. This shirt does nothing for me... I don't dislike it, but I'm not in love with it either. I don't know what it is.
It could be because I really hate what the neck facing is doing, and I don't know if it is my fault for messing up, or if the pattern is just not wide enough, or maybe it has something to do with my fabric... More on that later...  Another possibility is the fact that it is a shirt and thus I am forced to wearing pants (or a skirt if I had one that goes with it) and I don't like waistbands. At least not in summer, in cold weather I don't mind because I have to wear stockings anyway. So I'll just put this shirt away until my body doesn't reject waistbands anymore.

Unlike with my Bleuet, I set my pride aside and cut size 42. Cutting a size 42 makes me sad. In my mind my ideal size would be a 38. When I have to cut a 40 that's OK to me because that means I'm really close to a size 38  but cutting out a 42 means I'm a long way from my (self-imposed) ideal... Maybe pattern companies could change their sizing to animal-names (although I don't recommend a size Elephant) or colors or ... Just anything but numbers or letters...

Now about the fabric...
Someone please stop me when I'm in a fabric store and keep looking and coveting the slippery stuff and redirect my attention to the cottons? It is some kind of polyester because this fabric DOES NOT breathe. It sticks to my body and I feel sweaty after about 30 seconds.
But just look at this fabric... They are poodles. POODLES, I tell you. How can you pass on poodles? You are absolutely right, you can't! And so now I am paying the price...

Due to my attraction to the poodles, I'm in a lot of trouble with the neck facing. I not only understitched the facing, I even stitched it in place under the collar, but it still pops up... Anybody have any idea how to remedy this? Preferably a method that does not involve invisible handstitching...

The pattern calls for a double-folded hem, which I replaced for a very fine rolled hem, because taking off 2 cm of the length would make the shirt too short. Now it ends where I kind of want it to end, sitting on top of my butt, not above and not under it.

And although I don't really like it, I still get complimented over the doggy shirt. Nobody seems to notice the facing sticking out, or maybe they are just too polite to say anything about it...

On a completely different note, from here on I am my own positive self again, I got my first ever Blog Award. I was so happy when I got the news. Like everybody I like to be liked... Preferably publicly... 

I was awarded the Super Sweet Blogger Award by the lovely Kim from Reves Mecanique.  A very pretty (as you can see in her pictures) and smart (she is a veterinarian) lady that makes super clothes and bags, like a Megan Nielsen Cascade, a very cute Deer and Doe Datura Blouse, a gorgeous Gertie's Wiggle Dress, and she went to Burning Man last year... Thanks Kim, I feel really honored!

1. Thank the Super Sweet Blogger that nominated you.
2. Answer 5 Super Sweet questions.
3. Include the Super Sweet Blogging Award in your blog post.
4. Nominate a baker’s dozen (13) of other deserving bloggers.
5. Notify your Super Sweet nominees on their blog.

THE 5 SUPER SWEET QUESTIONS - these are really hard for me to answer because I don't eat processed foods, especially if it involves anything made from soy and it's derivates and refined sugar, but I am a sinner sometimes, so here goes:

1 – Cookies or Cake?  
Homemade Chocolate-Chip Cookies, definitely my favorite. But my mom makes a wicked apple-cake too...
 2 – Chocolate or Vanilla? 
Chocolate, the darker the better, no doubt about it. Belgian genes, do I need to say more? (But my favorite chocolate is Spanish, a brand named Amatller Chocolate. They have some über-cute tin can packages).
3 – Favourite Sweet Treat?  
Marshmallows, I can just keep eating those.
4 – When Do You Crave Sweet Things The Most? 
 When I am tired, the sugar-rush wakes me up for a little while.
5 – Sweet Nick Name? 
I am not deserving of a sweet nickname, but my mom sometimes calls me "Zoetje" which translates as "Sweetie".

I nominate the following bloggers - I don't know if any of these people already received this award, but here goes: