Monthly Archives: November 2014

Look who’s come to stay! The Babylock – Juki Standoff

IMG_0227I’ve got new company in the sewing room! And I’m all enspired by it! After much to’ing and fro’ing I only went and bought myself the Babylock Enspire overlocker.

IMG_0228Look – it overlocks!

That’s all very good, I hear you say, but what about the air-threading??!!

Can I just say: IT IS AWESOME! I have had the machine for about a month now and you can still find me of an evening changing the threads just for fun and just because I can. I even change out the threads for a single seam now!! And that from the girl who used to sew whole projects on the normal machine because she couldn’t face wrangling with overlocker thread tension again.

Another feature that I like is the LED light:

IMG_0231It’s really bright white light which makes seeing what I do a lot easier than with my 1980s Bernina (though I wouldn’t want to diss my Bernina, she is the best!):

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When I was in the decision making process it was between two machines, the Babylock Enspire and the Juki M1000. Both have the air-threading system that I really wanted and they are the only such  machines within my budget of € 1000. On paper both seem to be really similar and from reading up on the two machines I thought I might go for the Juki. But when I had a look at the machines in the flesh it was pretty clear that I preferred the Babylock.

Here’s what I found:

  • the Babylock is a lot smaller than the Juki which I thought was nice as I have three machines on my sewing table and I like to be able to swing a cat in between.
  • the Babylock is a lot faster. The Juki is more quiet, but my motto is said&done, not said&bereallyquiet, so I prefer the Babylock.
  • I liked the look of the Babylock seams better, although that might have been due to the sales assistants who showed me the machines. There isn’t a shop locally that has both models so I had to go to two different shops. Maybe the same sales assistant might have got the same seam quality out of both machines.
  • Especially the quality of the rolled seam looked a lot more consistent on the Babylock.
  • The Babylock will do a narrow piping without a special piping foot. The Juki assistant said this wasn’t possible and I would have to buy the separate foot.
  • I got the Babylock for around 100 Euros cheaper than the Juki and the shop will pick up my machine locally if it needs servicing or repair.
  • Babylock offer 4 years warranty after registration.

So far I have made a few knit garments on the new machine and that was a good experience. It is hard to really get excited about overlocking as such as it seems such an unrefined process, but the machine does as it should and that’s the main thing.

And then there is the air-threading – which is just amazing!

Ode to Autumn

The weather has been so glorious around my parts that I almost feel the urge to wax lyrical. Well, almost, I think I’m going to save myself – and you – for another year and express my ode to autumn in the form of a three-for-the-price-of-one garment post.

IMG_0239So here we go: a Moss not-mini skirt, a hand-knit sweater and a stash-depletion-project coat, Burda Easy Autumn/Winter 2014 #1c.

IMG_0244This is Moss skirt no 4 in my wardrobe, no 1 is blogged here, the others only exist in real life. Nothing more needs to be said about this pattern – I love it! I have two long variations and two mini ones and all of them get worn regularly. It just dresses up or down so easily and the pattern works perfectly every time.

The sweater is probably my oldest UFO to date. I made it up in spring 2012 and lost all will to live before setting in the sleeves. IMG_0243But the other day I decided that enough is enough with my slovenly ways and I managed to complete the sweater. I’m sure I’ll wear it at least – hmmm – once before it gets too cold for it… Well, it’s all in the timing, ey?

IMG_0237The coat is a happy stash accident. I had this rather scratchy felted knit in my stash that I never knew what to do with (sales online purchase, the story of my life…). Then I decided that I might as well make it into a light autumn coat and then suddenly everything came together.

IMG_0246I found some leather and unneeded metal zips in my stash that now make up the pockets. And some leftover wax print for the seam bindings helped to avoid bulk around the seams.

The only thing I had to buy for this coat were the oversized snaps. I had worried about handsewing them on, but it turned out to be a piece of cake and from now on in I think I’m going to snap absolutely everything.

Because the fabric is really quite scratchy, I decided to cut the back facing in leather, because there’s nothing worse than a scratchy neck, don’t you think?

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IMG_0245So there’s an artistic picture of the coat

and there a less artistic picture of me inside the coat:

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IMG_0241I love this edition of Burda Easy by the way. It only has 4 patterns, but they come with lots of variations and I think to date I have made 7 garments from those patterns. That works out at a pattern cost of less than 1€ per garment – what’s not to like?

All in all this coat was completely unexpected and really I did not think I was going to make a coat until I actually sat down to make it. But as sometimes happens I have worn this loads in the last few weeks. It fills exactly the gap where a full on coat is still too warm but where I want a little more than just a jacket. AND getting this out of my stash has given me permission to do lots of new fabric shopping. Online, of course, because I just don’t learn 😉 .

So, how is your autumn going?

Burdastyle 3/2014 #115: The Oops, I did it Again-Skinny Jeans

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Well, what can I say. I do love my first pair of skinny jeans and I love the colour red and on my last visit to the fabric market what made me deviate from my carefully compiled list of “The Only Fabrics To Buy This Time” was this stonewashed red stretch denim. So all my plans for more stuctured and season appropriate sewing went out of the window and I made myself these jeans.

Well, it was more of an idea rather than a plan anyway.

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May I instead draw your attention to these rather fun turn-ups with the contrast colour band. There was a bigger plan to this, which I’ll tell you about in a future post. But  I just had a fake-fur-related accident yesterday which means that my entire sewing room is covered in fake flur fluff (well, there’s an alliteration for you!) and my sewing has stalled until I have hoovered it all away…

IMG_0262I used Burdastlye 3/2014 #115 again, which, together with the alterations described here, has now been promoted to TNT status.

IMG_0263I have to confess to my faithful reader Mia that not much progress has been made on the thong sewing front, however I hope you’ll be pleased to find that nevertheless I take greater care selecting my underwear. Feast your eyes on the comparison pictures in this post…

IMG_0266Look, no muffin top! And I’m ridiculously pleased that these will stay up without a belt and without cutting in. Some may find the rise too high and mumsy, and in a way I would agree. But I’m quite high hipped and I’ve never had a lot of luck with lower rise jeans, they just don’t feel good on.

One of the biggest lessons regarding jeans sewing I’ve learnt is that the right amount of stretch is really important. I kinda have a feel for this now, when in the past I caused a lot of problems for myself by selecting fabrics that have either too much or too little stretch. Fitting also is so much easier if the stretch is right. Which is of course what Heater Lou has been saying all along, just a lot better than me.

Now for some gratuitous inside shots, just because I’m SO proud of how my sewing has progressed within the year I’ve been working on jeans. Feel free to scroll down if you feel that pride comes before a fall!

 

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Isn’t that so tidy?

IMG_0273Securing the waistband on the inside has always been a struggle for me, but I think I’m getting the hang of this!

IMG_0274For the first time I didn’t make an obvious mistake with the top-stitching. I don’t use a twin needle or any specialised top-stitching foot, I simply sew each seam twice, using the foot as a distance guide. I made the lines further apart this time which I rather like. And for the first time EVER I didn’t break a needle when attatching the belt loops!

IMG_0276Look, some fun fabric for the pockets. I took great care the cut the pockets a little smaller than the front so the pocket fabric would roll to the inside ever so slightly and not be visible form the outside.

So, in case you’re still reading this: Thanks for bearing with me in this self-congratulatory post. I suppose many of you will be sitting down making Ginger jeans right now? I’m so looking forward to seeing how these turn out, it looks to be a cracking pattern! May the force with with you!

Burda Vintage – Review

Look what’s happened! Burda have published a Burda Vintage edition, a magazine with 12 of their vintage 1950s patterns in an updated form.

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Now, I don’t profess any kind of vintage sewing knowledge, never having sewn a vintage pattern, so I can make no comment as to how vintage those patterns really are or whether they use vintage techniques or such. To me it seems as if they have not only modernised the sizing, doing away with a requirement for either heavy dieting or corsetry, but also as if the instructions are like modern Burda instructions. In fact, the one I tried so far, the Coco dress, I found even more confusing than usual…

The magazine always has the vintage inspiration

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Some sort of “This is how they wore it” blurb

IMG_0149And then the updated pattern with some (rather silly, imho) “This is how you style it” blurb

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Look, put on some shoes an earrings and -bammm- you have styled your dress. And throw on some Aviator shades and you are really original, because nobody in the world of fashion has ever thought about this before…

Typically, you can’t see a thing in the fashion photograph as far as design lines go, but you have the trusted technical drawing:

IMG_0151For the first time (at least to my knowledge) Burda are calling their dresses names. I haven’t quite been able to decide whether this is rather fun or just pandering the the success of indie pattern designers. Anyway, names they have, may I introduce Coco to you.

IMG_0152Instructions are in word form, as always. One thing that annoys the hell out of me is that they left off the technical drawing from the instructions page, so whenever you want to check how something is meant to look, you need to go back to the fashion page. It’s a little thing, but it’s the little things that count, isn’t it?!
I started making the Coco for my daughter, but abandoned the project at the bodice stage. She feels it is too low-cut (the model picture looks more modest, but it comes out rather than the vintage inspiration) and the whole style looks a bit too old-fashioned for a 15-year old. Well, it IS a vintage pattern and I believe before something becomes vintage it is old-fashioned for a while. Just as well I used a black stretch satin and large seam allowances – I might be able to recycle it for myself one day.

IMG_0155Obviously, you need to do all the tracing, but because they only have 12 patterns on the usual size sheets the tracing really is a breeze.

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IMG_0154These are all the garments in the issue. I’m unlikely to need any of the big gowns, but I really like this beach combo:

IMG_0156I could well see myself in this come next summer, though I would probably make it into a dress with under-shorts – I’ve never been able to mentally get over the toilet-situation in a one-piece-with-legs-garment…

Oh and then look at this:

IMG_0157IMG_0158Don’t you think this blazer is completely amazing? Again, I don’t quite envisage how this fits into my life, but who knows, maybe one day? A girl can but dream!

Has this issued appeared on the book shelves anywhere out of Germany? Have they translated it into other languages? I could imagine Burda doing really well out of this idea – after all there are more vintage decades to go!

Burdastyle 3/2014 #115: Skinny Jeans

First of all I would like to thank all of you who responded so kindly to my latest post, especially to the issue of “interesting” photography. It appears there seems to be a market out there for my particular style of posing. Who would have thought! You girls rock!
Of course, your wish is my command and I have a section of extra special photgraphs for your viewing pleasure today:

IMG_0168See, I didn’t promise too much, did I? This is me, modelling the latest addition to my closet, Burdastyle 3/2014 #115, the skinny jeans that everybody who makes skinny jeans seems to have made already. I’ve been kinda on the fence about skinny jeans for the longest time, both on me but also as a general concept, but now they have been around so long that even I have got used to the look. I didn’t make mine quite properly skinny, more like a slim-fit jeans. I may not know how to pose, but I do know that the sausage-trouser look is not for me!

IMG_0159For the first time EVER I made real, bona fide muslin (I had a rather unwisely purchased fabric – online purchase rather late at night, you might know the deal) to check the fit of the pattern. It kinda worked straight off, but I changed the crotch shape a little and took a little lenght out of the front crotch, so for the first time EVER I have no fabric pooling around where the zipper meets the front crotch line.

IMG_0233This is the muslin, you can see the original stitching line with a 1/2 inch seam allowance and then the updated, slightly larger crotch line. I also took a wedge out our the CB.

I cut a size 42 and the jeans came out just a little bit large, but that might have been because of the very, very stretchy fabric I was using. Starting with the size 42, Burda make these jeans higher rise, the smaller sizes are about 3cm lower.

IMG_0165You can see this is quite high, but I like it this way. Nobody is going to be much the wiser anyway because I’m unlikely to wear anyting tucked into these jeans. However, if you wanted the lower rise, it would be extremely easy, even in the larger sizes, as you simple need to trace the lower rise line.

IMG_0161But as I said, I don’t mind the higher rise, I quite like that booty contained.

IMG_0162I seamed these at ankle length, the original pattern is around 2cm longer than this. FYI I’m 173cm tall, so these do finish quite long even though the pattern is for a standard size. I have found that with the newer Burda patterns I rarely have to add extra length to the standard pattern. I wonder where my extra length is distributed on my body if it’s neither the legs nor the upper body (I recently cut a petite size bodice and had to add about 2cm to the arm hole, but that was it!! How does that work???)

All in all I’m really pleased with these jeans. They are not exciting or anything, more a workhorse type garment, but I did promise myself I would sew more of those anyway. And when I asked my husband to take these pictures, he didn’t even realise these jeans were hand-made! I call that a win! Two more versions are somewhere in my production line!

How about you: Are you flattered when somebody mistakes your handmades for RTW? Or are you insulted because someone doesn’t recognise the amount of work you put in?

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