Saturday, October 29, 2011

Haut Koenigsbourg

We've been in Alsace for the past week visiting family for the Toussaint holiday. I managed to persuade T. to do some touristy things this time.

First we visited the chateau of Haut-Koenigsbourg, originally built in the 12th century. This castle was pretty much destroyed in 1633 and then rebuilt (in 8 years) under Wilhelm II in the early 20th century when this part of France was not part of France. The restored castle is meant to reflect the 15th century (I think). Here are some photos:


Check out this crazy dining room:

And this even crazier light:

Annnnd - wait for it - this CRAZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZY thing:

Seriously, if a movie hasn't been filmed here, the castle is missing out on its vocation.

To finish up, a less crazy decorative piece:

Next time I plan on showing you our trip to the Ecomusee. I hope everyone is enjoying the Halloween season (if you do that where you live)! :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Black Skirt in the Can

Not in the trash can though! I have finally finished my second skirt made with Simplicity 2655. I used view C again, but this time I put on the pockets. And I'm sooo glad I did - I love the pockets! I thought they would be complicated to do, but they were really quite simple.

I was too excited to iron the skirt before modelling it:

See the pockets?!?

Thanks go out to T. for taking pictures (a bit against his will). ;)

Here's a back view:

I had a little oopsie when cutting out the pattern pieces. I accidentally did not cut the back panel on the fold, as I should have, so I had to sew those pieces together. With all the other panels on the skirt, that one isn't too noticeable, I think.

This time around I also used smaller seam allowances so the skirt now falls at the hips instead of at the waist like my first version.

AND - I'm so proud of myself - I managed to put in an invisible zipper correctly!!

I think I mentioned that my sewing teacher taught me how to do this on Tuesday night. This was my first attempt using her method and it worked so well! Happy, happy, joy, joy!

Also, just for fun, I used my leftover blue Ikea fabric for the inside waistband lining:

I am bummed about one thing, though, my tights! My brand new polka dot tights have a big rip up the back! I've only worn them once and I was sooo gentle! That's the last time I buy tights from Zara.

Moving on. This skirt is my second completed item for the 2011 Fall Essentials Sew-Along as well as my second item for the Colette Fall Palette Challenge. I seem to be stuck in black mode. This may continue for a little bit, as far as sewing for me, because I may start a long-sleeve black and white polka dot shirt next.

Here's a reminder of my FESA/Colette Fall Palette Challenge:

So basically I've completed the 'bottoms' portion of my list and all I have left are tops.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

La Redoute

I'm shocked to say it, but I quite like some of the looks that La Redoute has put out for their winter catalogue. I'm especially digging the 70s (maybe early 80s?) vibe. The russet and pumpkin color...yum.

And I've long been a sucker for cords...that's what I lived in when I was in college.

I love everything about this dress but have nowhere to wear it:

This catalogue reminds me a lot of the October Burda issue. I liked a lot in that as well. I have to be careful with the masculine-style clothes though because I tend to look masculine as it is. I'm rather straight up and down. So if I'm going to dress like that I need to wear heels...and I can't wear heels often 'cuz my knee doesn't like it!

In other style thoughts (I think this may be my first style post), this is what I want to look like, is it really asking too much?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I have no finished sewing objects to show off, but I do have a couple of photos I wanted to share. I just thought this was awesome:

It's a picture I took in town processed through Picnik's 'sketch' feature. I think it's so cool!

Here's the same photo but processed through their Lomo feature:


And I quite like this photo too. I didn't do any special processing on it, I just love the combination of the door, the cat and my reflection:

I like this so much that I made it my Facebook profile picture.

That's all, I just wanted to share :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Black, lots of Black

Sewing and knitting with black is not my favorite thing - it's hard to see what I'm doing. Especially when my feverish head is spinning. I have managed to make some progress on my various projects, but it's slow going.

Here's the self-drafted skirt in progress: we finished some darts last night.

And I managed some progress at home on my black skirt. I quite like the pockets. I'd make them again, but without the ties:

Finally, I didn't work today so I was able to get some tiny work done. I sewed elbow patches on T's black turtleneck sweater. The weather is turning colder so he'll need it soon. Only one more sweater left to repair!!

The stitching is not great in certain areas - fever, remember? ;)

Oh yeah, I've also been plucking away at my vest/waist coat. I stopped though because the pattern has reached a complicated part with splitting off of things and multiple things to keep track of at the same time...and my brain can't handle it right now.

At least it's not black!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Slow Fashioned Pledge

I officially pledged to strive to make buying decisions based on quality, rather than quantity. And to try to choose locally-made products that are manufactured in an environmentally-friendly way. Or to buy second-hand.

I have been trying to do this anyhow, especially for clothing, so I think seeing this badge every day will help me stick to my guns. One thing that is perhaps missing from the Slow Fashioned Pledge is the labor aspect. Meaning, that the reason that companies outsource to China, Vietnam, etc. is because the workers are paid less and they often don't have such things as worker's comp and health care, much less retirement plans.

Anyhow, here's a visual reminder on my blog. I love shopping for fabrics, yarn, notions, etc. and I need to be better at choosing products that reflect my values.

I hope everyone's having a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Drafting a Straight Skirt

I had my sewing class last night and the first thing we did was take my measurements. I should say the first thing my teacher did was take my measurements. And there were a lot of measurement to take: 25 in all!

And then, based on my measurements, she showed me how to draft a straight skirt. I have to say, so far this drafting thing is pretty cool. It's all based on your measurements that you then plug in to formulas: math, wow! We'll see how it turns out at the end, if the skirt fits me better than a skirt I made using a commercial pattern. I can't imagine why it wouldn't, unless I stuff something up BIG TIME during the sewing process.

As an aside, apparently a commercial pattern in French should properly be called a patronage and a sloper should be called a patron. At least this is what my teacher explained. But most people call commercial patterns patrons. Maybe only professionals use the word patronage??? End of the aside. :)

Here's what I have so far:

We had a little mishap with the waist band seam allowance...I didn't notice that a chunk was missing out of the bottom layer of the fabric until after I had already cut out the fabric (starting with the hem of course). So now the waist seam allowance is like 5 mm!! I suggested that we could just move the pattern down on the fabric and have a 3.5 cm seam allowance for the hem, for example, but my prof. nixed that idea. Somehow a 5 mm waist seam allowance is preferable to a 3.5 cm hem seam allowance. I must confess, I don't get that. I even said I'd be willing to have a slightly shorter skirt so that the hem could still have its 4 centimeters, but she's convinced we can work with the 5 mm at the waist. Brave soul.

And here's the fabric I'm using:

I originally had this Ikea fabric earmarked to go on the wall as decoration. But I've had it for over a year and still haven't built the frame, and it's the right weight for the skirt (I believe), so I changed its destiny, like that, with a snap of my fingers! ;) Plus I was too lazy pressed for time to go into town yesterday and buy more fabric for class.

You may have noticed that the edges of the side seams are serged. Yes, I used a serger for the first time last night. And now the serger is broken. But I swear it wasn't me! The teacher thinks there's something wrong with the motor. I didn't even use the machine for 5 minutes, I couldn't have possibly broken the motor, right...right? When she opened it up it was all full of fluff and stuff so I think it hasn't been serviced in a while.

Speaking of serging, I'm not convinced. I'm convinced that drafting is the way to go, but serging, not so much. Why buy (another) expensive machine that is (apparently) rather capricious and difficult to thread when there are plenty of other ways to finish a seam? Including ways that don't necessarily require special tools? I quite like French seams and Hong Kong seams and seams that are just treated with a little zig-zag stitch. And if you have pinking shears, why not just pink them?

Personally I love pinking my seams. Pink, pink, pink! Do people not like it 'cuz they think it makes the garment look less classy, more homemade? I guess I don't especially desire for my garments to look professional. I want them to look good, but I don't need to follow an industry standard because I'm not an industrial seamstress!

What are your thoughts on this?