Thursday, April 13, 2017

Me-Made-May 2017 Pledge

May is almost here again.

We are well into spring here in Budapest. The year is flying like usual.

Zoe, the wonderful organiser of Me-Made-May posted the MMM 17 sign up post a few days ago. 

If you don't know what MMM is you can read all about it here in detail but basically it's a challenge where you wear clothes you have made yourself. You can decide whether you want to wear one item per day, or just me-made garments. It is up to you to make it challenging for yourself. I have taken part in most of the MMM challenges over the years since 2010. It's a lot of fun! Every year more and more people join in. It's so nice seeing the amazing creations the others make.

I know it is possible for me to only wear me-made garments because I have done it so many times before. That in itself isn't so hard. Last year I tried to make it harder by only wearing outfits that I actually like, rather than mismatched clothes that make me feel self-conscious. This year I would like to carry that on, and also try to have a bit more variety by using different accessories. So here is my pledge:

 'I, Jodi, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '17. I endeavour to wear only me-made garments in combinations I like each day for the duration of May 2017 and to try to have as many different outfits as possible through the use of accessories'

I'm just thinking back on what I wore last May. I didn't post my outfits on here but I posted a lot of them on Instagram.

One which really sticks out as something I didn't love is my leotard. Or rather, the way I wore it. 80's style, over leggings or tights. Would you believe, it's only in the last few months that I have realised I can wear my leggings over my leotard!!! It makes a huge difference. It looks a million times better. Although sometimes it is fun to do the whole 80's thing with legwarmers... I guess the lesson is, just because the pattern is from a particular era, you do not have to style the garment like that always.

I'm looking forward to going through my clothes, pulling out all my warm weather garments, fixing the things which need fixing. I also have a few half finished garments which I hope to have done in the next few weeks.


Monday, March 20, 2017

Kuala Lumpur

l'm in Kuala Lumpur for a few days, breaking up the long journey from New Zealand back home.

Old and new

Super tall buildings

I spent my morning in the National Textile Museum. It's a wonderful museum! Well worth a visit. It was so interesting. Beautiful embroidery, batik fabrics​, intricate jewellery. There was detailed information about how all the different techniques are done too. It really made me want to start embroidering everything I own!

This stunning embroidery is done with a flat gold thread. They actually stitch over a cardboard template

Everything there was so beautiful! Especially the jewellery (which I forgot to get any photos of). A lot of the jewellery and clothing were owned by royals.

Beaded necklace

Machine embroidery

Batik fabric

My plan was to spend the rest of my day in some fabric shops but I stopped for a little rest in a bar (happy hour!) and it started pouring down so I am stuck here for a little while... I don't really want to ruin my shoes, it's a huge amount of rain! So now I'm on cocktail number 3 :D


(I'm writing this part the next day)

After a few too many drinks I finally left the bar when the rain was slowing. Didn't get too far when I was stopped by flooding...

So I decided to take the train instead of walking but just to get to the station everyone had to take off their shoes. I even saw one woman removing her tights, right there on the street!

That wasn't the only excitement of the day. I finally found the fabric shopping district! I was looking unsuccessfully for this a year ago and was very near but was maybe looking a street or two in the wrong direction. This time though! I somehow learned how to follow a map!

 The main street of it seems to be Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman. There are many, many fabric shops. And a lot of the ones which look like they aren't fabric shops actually are - just the ground floor is ready made clothes and once you go upstairs there are several floors of fabric paradise. 

There is lots of very cheap polyester everywhere. They call it "washable silk" lol. A lot of it is designer replica fabrics. Pucci seems to be the strong favourite for knocking off. 

I really had to be tough and not buy too much (I'm travelling with a backpack so space is quite limited - this is the one downfall to having a backpack).

I bought a few metres of what the man said is silk crepe but I'm not completely convinced. I will do the burn test when I have access to fire. I'm quite in love with these fabrics! They are so nice to touch. One is destined to be a top, the other a dress. It's from Gulati's (150 and 152 Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman).

I also got four metres of a satin from Kamdar (179 Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman). It's so, so soft! I want to make pyjamas out of it. When the saleswoman heard what I want to use it for she said "it's too expensive to make pyjamas out of!" and directed me to the cheaper "washable silks". But I could not resist this gorgeous print. 

I also got a few cottons from a nice store called Harisons (229-235 Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman) which has good quality fabrics. I'll post them when they are made into garments though :) 

I have another full day here, then I fly to Istanbul and have a day there. I had planned it so that I could go to a market that is only open on Wednesdays but now I think I might be all shopped out. I don't even know if all this will fit in my bag! 

It's been a very long trip, I can't wait to be home.

Monday, February 6, 2017

70's Love


I'm a big fan of second hand shops and one of the things I like most about them is finding cool vintage patterns. When I go for trips to New Zealand I always look for them. This one is Style 2631 from 1979 and I got it for the bargain price of 20 cents!

The bust size is perfect for me but I am very much a pear so I added 9cm at the hips (3cm at the centre back and 1.5cm on the side seams). I followed the pattern instructions for the most part although I added interfacing to the sleeve bands and neck facing. I think now though that maybe it would have been nicer to have had a soft collar.

This belt is also from an NZ op shop

"Dress is gathered to yoke cut all-in-one with sleeves, and has shawl collar, front fastening and side seam pockets". I LOVE that it has pockets. And the yoke is so very nice. I really enjoyed making this dress (except for the RAYON).

The boyf chose this fabric. I wasn't really into it but he was so enthusiastic about it I let him buy it for me. But now I love it. I think it was the perfect fabric for this pattern. It was purchased about a year and a half ago so when I was cutting it he forgot it was mine and thought that it was fabric for a shirt for him. Lol. He has more floral garments than me! I am not even kidding, I counted.

So, this fabric is rayon. Apparently I have somehow never used rayon before. It is the devil's fabric! It moved around so much while cutting. It stretched out at the pockets. It was ridiculously hard to get a straight hem. It drapes so nicely but is it worth all the trouble? I followed some of Sarah Beth's tips which helped a little. Normally the sewing instructions (at least on older patterns) always say "baste and then sew" and I always just ignore the basting part and just sew. Not this time though. I basted almost every single seam! It was completely necessary otherwise I probably would have been in tears while sewing.

The buttons are some from my Nana's button collection. She gave me a tin of some nice ones last year so I had a rummage through that and found the perfect ones. These are even the right size according to the pattern (1.5cm).

I'm very anti-smoking but I love this tin

I bought a new sewing machine last year, a Juki HZL-600. Her name is Hazel and she is the true love of my life (for many years I thought that my Babylock overlocker was the one but now I see that I was wrong. Although I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Baby). One of the reasons I wanted this machine in particular was that I had heard it does beautiful buttonholes and it really does. No more dreading doing buttonholes. They are so fast and easy and come out so perfect.

Just look at that buttonhole!!

I really like this style of dress and the fact that it gets belted (so can actually eat when wearing it, unlike a lot of my other dresses). I think I will make it up in a solid fabric next time to really showcase the details. It has topstitching on the yoke but it is barely visible with the print. 

I can't wait for the weather to warm up so I can start wearing this!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Jeans! I made JEANS!

I made jeans! Jeans which stay up without a belt!!! This is something which has been missing from my wardrobe since I was a teenager. I'm a pear shape and have been stuck on low rise jeans for years which always (always always) need to be worn with a belt. These ones come up to a cm or two below my belly button. If I saw these in a store I would have skipped right past them but the higher rise was what I needed all this time... It is funny to look at them when I'm not wearing them -  the waist looks so tiny and I think there is no way I can fit into them but they are actually really comfortable. There is a such a huge difference in the waist measurement depending on the rise. I find it very interesting how you can get so used to one certain style that it is near impossible to change, even though it may be a big improvement.

The other day I was browsing through some websites, seeing what cool clothes people have been making and came upon some amazing looking Jamie Jeans which are from Named, an independent pattern company owned by two Finnish sisters. 

Jamie Jeans from Named. I love the front seams and the slanted front pockets.

I don't usually buy patterns online. Maybe this was the first PDF pattern that I've actually paid for? The thing which usually puts me off of PDF patterns is how many hours and hours it takes sticking all the pieces of paper together. But I loved the look of these jeans so much that I bought it straight away. I thought in Hungary that the printing would be very expensive for the copy shop version but it turns out I was looking at the wrong options. I was checking out poster printing which is astronomically expensive if you just want a pattern you will cut up. But then I realised there is a thing called tervrajz nyomtatás which is "blueprint printing". An A0 page costs only 330 forints at CopyGuru! That's just over one euro. This opens a whole new world of patterns for me!! 

I ran to the fabric shop that same day and was very disciplined and only bought the necessary fabric for this project. Very proud of my self control in the face of all the gorgeous sweater fabrics they have  out now. I have a rule for myself this year - I have to sew three garments before buying one piece of fabric because my stash is out of control. I got a black stretch denim with a white weft. It's 97% cotton, 3% elastane but only has around 12% stretch. I prewashed it and while doing that started on my muslin. I realised that is the huge benefit of muslins - it stops you from dying of impatience while getting your good fabric prepped. 

But the muslin was also good for it's real purpose - getting the fit right. I had to make a lot of changes. There were huge wrinkles under my butt and on my legs. I ended up looking at so many photos of butts in jeans. My butt, other people's butts. Lots of pinning and adjusting seams and just when you think you are making your butt look great (in the mirror) the photo tells a completely different story. AAAARGHHHH. 

This was about halfway through the muslining process. 

At I first thought I should do a "flat butt adjustment" but that didn't fix the problem. Then I tried the equally sexy sounding "low butt adjustment" and that helped a lot! But I realised also that in skinny jeans you will still have some wrinkles under your butt if you want to be able to move. 

This is after two days of wearing. They have stretched out a little but I don't want to make them super tight. I'm at peace with these wrinkles.

Indiesew has a sewalong which shows you how to make the jeans. I used both that and the instructions and it was actually pretty simple, sewing wise. 

I started with the size 40 (my hips are 100 cm) but probably should have gone down a size. 

These are the changes I made:

  • Added 2cm length to leg (1.5cm above and 5 mm below knee) 
  • .5 cm off outer back leg side seam from thigh down until knee then .3 until hem
  • 1 cm from lower front side seam until thigh, then .5 cm until knee then .3 until hem
  • Front inner seam reduced 1.5 cm at crotch tapering down to .5 at thigh to .3 at hem. Crotch length lowered 5mm.
  • Back crotch lowered 1.5 cm at point, 2cm at lowest point
  • Inner back seam reduced  .5 to .3 
  • Back crotch centre seam tapered in 1cm (shortening the width)
  • Recut back yoke with 1cm wedge removed
  • 1cm length added at hip
  • 1.5 cm wedge added to back crotch, slash and spread (lengthening, making back rise higher than front)
  • I made the waist band have more of a curve but still it could be a bit more curved because it gapes just a little at the back.
  • When I was sewing I somehow made the waistband too short so I took it off but didn't have enough fabric left over to cut a new one in one piece so this final waistband has side seams. I interfaced the whole outer band and the inner one under the buttonhole.And then I still ended up pinning and removing lots of fabric from the side seams after all this...
  • Pockets shortened. I just ironed them shorter, I see from the photos that I really should have trimmed the seam allowances... I also made them one piece instead of two.
  • Left off the belt loops. I made them and they looked super nice but the jeans stay up without them and I wanted to reduce bulk.

I topstitched most of the seams but it's black on black so it is hardly visible. I really wanted an elegant (as far as jeans can be elegant) pair of plain black jeans. I looked in the shops so many times for some and couldn't find any. They all are distressed with those horrible fake looking holes cut in them. I wanted this pair to be simple and clean. That's also why I didn't do the contrast front pocket (which is what really drew me to the design in the first place....). Next time!

This was my first time using a jeans button. It's quite satisfying to finish a project bashing it with a hammer!

The pockets are lined with navy polka dot cotton from Istanbul, leftover from this dress and this dress.

I'm pretty happy with how the fly zip turned out but next time I would move it over a little so it is not so close to the topstitched part.

I also made my jumper. It's a self drafted pattern. I wanted something semi fitted. The fabric is 60% nylon, 30% polyester and 10% METAL. So I think of this as my "metal jumper". It is cosy and comfortable and fluffy.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Peach Pyjama Set

For a while I have wanted a nice set of pyjamas for wearing when I travel, when I sleep at someone else's place or say if we decide to have a pyjama party. OK, I'll be honest. I really, really just want to have a pyjama party!

I've had this lovely peach coloured cotton sitting in my stash for a few years. It seemed like a great choice for these items. It wasn't until I was nearly finished with all the sewing that I really realised how very sheer it is... These pjs will not be worn in public after all... But it's ok, they will be good for lounging around at home in the summer.

I ordered lots of elastic lace from eBay ages ago. Metres and metres of it in all kinds of colours. It's not the best quality but it's fun to use. Note to self: do NOT iron synthetic lace!

All the patterns are ones I have made several times. The top is Burda 3379 which I first used back in 2010 when it was already an old-ish pattern. I added some pleated lace before sewing down the facing.

The bloomers are made using the free Colette Madeleine Mini Bloomers pattern. I added some length to the legs and also raised the waistline a few cm too. I skipped the ribbon tie thingy at the legs and put in a simple row of elastic instead. They got lace at the hem. And a tiny bow so I know which is the front to make them prettier.

The panties were made with a modified version of a panties pattern from The Secrets of Sewing Lingerie book. I always cut the gusset separately from the front piece to save fabric and also anyway I prefer a completely enclosed gusset.

I always melt the ends of my ribbons using a candle. Very easy way to stop them fraying.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

An Old Favourite Top

I decided to have a whole sewing afternoon. I'm working on a new pyjama set and they are nearly complete. I finished the top. Then I remembered I hadn't bought the elastic I need for the shorts. And for the panties I need my measuring tape and I have misplaced that. OK, so I lose either my seam ripper, measuring tape, snips or scissors basically every day. But usually they are just hidden under a piece of fabric. However this time it's been hours and still no sign of my measuring tape... Very frustrating so I decided to work on something new. But something simple because again, the missing measuring tape.

I had a quick look through a few of my (far too many) bags of fabric and found some sheer black polka dot fabric. I had loads of the fabric left so originally I must have bought a ridiculous amount of it, especially considering I have made at least two tops out of it already. I used this fabric way back in 2010 to make a polo necked top.  Turns out that was the first Burda magazine pattern I ever used.  It's really funny and eye opening reading back through my blog from that year. How different my life was. How differently I saw the world. That year I wrote 78 (!) blog posts. A few more than last year's two posts...

Anyway, I loved that top soooo much. It got worn completely to death. The fabric was pretty delicate and susceptible to snags and then in 2013 it became an amputee and not long after that finally died. I'm actually surprised it lasted that long.

Since it was such a favourite I thought why not just remake that exact top.

So sheer
I did the entire sewing on my overlocker. Even the hems :D I think it took me an hour total for cutting, sewing and snapping a few pics. I made the neck a little higher and wider than originally because I remember the tightness bothering me on the old one. It's pattern 121 from Burda magazine Sep 2010.

This machine was not used for the making of this top.

Actually I've never sewn anything on that machine because I can't figure out how to thread it or where the leather belt thing is meant to go.

This is not me. My annoying front camera automatically goes first to this crazy "beauty" mode. Bigger, whiter eyes, narrower face, clearer skin. I think it whitens skin too, negating all my fake tan! Asian phone, Asian beauty standards :)