I like big pockets and I can not lie…

4 May

The original lyrics say ‘big butts’… but big pockets are way more achievable for me😉

I wanted to make a top or a dress with big pockets after I found some inspiration online. One was the lovely embroidered tee by Katy of katyandlaney.com.

embroideredtee

Another one was a picture of the Free People Zoe Sweater Dress I found on Pinterest

zoe dress

I accompanied a friend to the fabric market at Maybachufer here in Berlin. I didn’t need something special. I went home with some neon yellow lace (it was only 2€/m and perfect to try the Sierra bra pattern), soft and fluffy fleece with sweet little animals (to make a gift for a little baby boy) and a remnant of a black and red patterned synthetic fabric (obviously the leftover from the fabric Wiebke of Kreuzberger Nähte bought to make her Lady Skater dress)

Katy drafted the pattern for her embroidered tee herself. But since I am a lazy sewer I was looking for a pattern to start with. I had something lose or boxy in mind. In my archive of Burda magazines I found this vintage blouse pattern (No. 109 from 12/2011) I was curious how the sleeves may turn out, since they have a rather unconventional construction. I traced the smallest size (36, a bit bigger than I usually need… but I wanted it a bit lose anyway) and added only a little seam allowance. My fabric was less than 1m long but I managed to put all pattern pieces on it and had a little rest for the pockets.

BigPocketSweater_WIP

Now I had to decide how the pocket should be shaped. I considered pockets with round (like Katys) or angled corners and made paper pieces to try it out.

BigPocketSweater_PocketShape

After I decided for the angled ones, I experimented with the size.

BigPocketSweater_PocketSize

I didn’t use the pattern pieces for the collar and the waistband. I just used a folded stripe of fabric the length of the circumference of the neckline to finish it and hemmed the lower edge of the top. Finally I made and attached the pockets. I sewed them in place at the upper edge and secured them by hand in some spots.

I was very lucky to pack my brandnew top for my work trip to Andalusia. The weather was nice and sunny but there was also a very strong breeze.

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I wore it on day 4 of Me Made May and here is what I wore the other days:

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How is your Me Made May going?

Long way to Castelbajac

2 May

I finished an UFO (unfinished object)! (And to write about it, took me almost as long as the sewing process) It all began with a coat from J.C. de Castelbajac. I pinned it to my Style pinboard at Pinterest because I liked the collar. Buying that coat was not an option. I don’t spend that much money on clothes for myself. But I thought about adding this style of collar to a selfmade garment. And then Burda read my mind.

I always check out the patterns Burda offers with every new issue and I browse the member projects of burdastyle.com, burdastyle.de and burdastyle.ru (sometimes even the Polish website)  – Let’s praise Google Translate at this point:) And there it was. A dress pattern from Castelbajac with the collar and the giant pockets of the beloved coat. But there was a realization too: Burda doesn’t sell it’s designer patterns as a download. So I had to order the printed magazine from december 2014 and trace the pattern pieces from the pattern sheet (did I mention that this is the part of sewing I dislike the most?… followed by ironing…) The pattern was marked as ‘masterpiece’ but I thought with the power of the internet I will manage to sew this dress. The internet told me, that the most complicated part are the pockets. I read everything I could find about it at this point (most of it in french) Burda instructions aren’t very helpful (even in your native language). Everything was cut out and the pockets were assembled.

I made pictures of every step (and thought: There is a fine line between genius and insanity… who thinks of a construction like this?)

pocket_castelbajac01pocket_castelbajac02pocket_castelbajac03

Now it was time to put the pockets and the rest of the dress together. The instructions were confusing and so I tried to do it my way (the ‘try and error’ way…) and ended up with the two pockets sitting at different hights… in 2cm different hights… while ripping it up again, I realised I chose a bad fabric for this one. It called for something like wool. But I wanted to have this dress in a very soft (and very stretching yet not very stable) printed sweat something (stash busting…a resolution that’s not always the best idea)… I had to be very careful because you saw every stitch I made before and the fabric ripped very easily.
And then I moved and forgot about the dress for a while (because I didn’t want to wear a lined sweat dress in summer anyway)
When my sewing stuff found it’s place in the new sewing room I took courage again and wanted to finish this dress. I managed to set the pockets in at the same hight (but still not in the way the instructions told. Because 1. I just understood them, when I found this helpful picture from Marie-Noellep2250155 and 2. that wouldn’t have worked with my fabric anyway)

When I was about to assemble the lining I realized that I made a mistake when cutting out the front and back pieces…the instructions said ‘cut the same pieces as for the main fabric’… and so I cut the same…with the openings for the giant pockets…which the lining is supposed to cover from the inside…

During the process I found out that my main fabric is quite transparent and so I chose another, lighter fabric for the linig (not the green splattered one I already used for the pocket bags) The rest went relatively smooth ( well, there were already enough disasters for one dress)

I like my very own Castelbajac dress and other people seem to like it to (they even tell me so:) )

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In the end the lucky cat was with me:)

Do you have UFOs like that? Isn’t Me-Made-May a good occaison to finish them (or to write about them… I still have some UBOs – unblogged objects)

Black Merry Melon

10 Mar Melon_Pants_exhibition

Black and merry might sound a bit weird together but it’s the truth. These pants are black and I am merry… and the pattern is called ‘Merry Melon’. It’s another make from my beloved CUT magazine (No. 13). Everytime I get a new issue I browse through it and want to make almost every pattern (there are just about 3 patterns per issue… but over time that sums up). I like the mix of simple silhouettes and special details. This time I was sold on the darts that transform into pleats.

Melon_Pants_exhibition

You might ask yourself ‘what is she talking about?’ I confess that black fabrics are not very photo-friendly when it comes to showing details. And the fabric isn’t even plain black. It has a subtle Paisley pattern (Did I mention that I went to university in Paisley (Scotland) one summer… my campus was right across the street of the museum where they show the history of this pattern… but it seems that nobody there cares much about that famous pattern… ) So I tried my best to create some enlighting detail shots.

Melon_Pants_detail_pleat

Melon_Pants_detail_pocket

Yes, that’s a Welt pocket. My first one. Because of the detailed and pictured instructions I dared to give it a try. Not that bad for a first try, isn’t it? (Why can’t Burda take those instructions as an example? Most of the time I just get their wording after I figured  out how to do it by myself.)

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As you can see in this picture from the magazin, these pants are supposed to be ankle length. I don’t know if a dwarf like me could wear this length. (My culottes were a similar case…I just left them long.) But this circumstance saved me from having to shorten the legs, as I have to with every normal length pants.

I wore these pants a lot. They are very very comfy. There is no zipper behind the flap. You can just slip them over because of the elastic in the back.

This is a cutout from pics we shot at my companies christmas party (isn’t it sweet how they hunker down to not let me be the smallest one:) )

Melon_Pants_xmas_Party

And I wore them in South Africa (I even climbed the Table Moutain in it…Yes I know that there is a cable car… but why always take the simple way…) Here are some pictures from the Diaz Beach at Cape of Good Hope:

Melon_Pants_cape03Melon_Pants_cape02Melon_Pants_cape01

Right now I am dreaming of a summer version in a lighter fabric and with the cropped length… but there are some more CUT (and other) patterns on my to sew list…

Do you have favourite pattern brand or magazine? Recommendations welcome:)

Drei Drapey Dresses

4 Feb

I know that it has to be ‘Three Drapey Dresses’. But I liked the alliteration and my native language is German so I dared to mix it:) I’m pretty sure that soon there will be four of them and then no chance for an alliteration anymore (Well… maybe Four Fancy Fummel… Fummel is German again… means rag… but the dresses are way to beautiful to be called rags.) Enough play on words…

The dresses are made from the Great British Sewing Bee’s Drapey Dress pattern. This Pattern is part of the book ‘The Great Britsih Sewing Bee 3 – Fashion with Fabric’. I thought about buying the book just because of this one pattern. But I already have several sewing books. There is much content that is covered in almost every book. And I didn’t even read the general stuff in any of the books because I learned it the hard way before I had the books. And sometimes, if you wish for it very much… a free download comes your way. I knew which fabric I wanted to use for the first dress. But I was afraid it wouldn’t be enough, since everyone who made it before stated it is so roomy. I digged through my fabric stash but couldn’t find a satifying fabric to combine with my favourite printed jersey. Because of my fear of getting lost in the finished dress I used my special grading trick. I printed the pattern at 90% and used size XS. Voila, perfect fit – no alterations!

Drapey Dress one
Drapey Dress 01
As you see, I managed to make the whole dress out of the printed fabric. I just had to do the back in two pieces instead of on the fold.

Drapey Dress01
The cat liked the dress too:) And if you wonder why I wore a longsleeved dress in summer… this was the end of November! (okay… it was South Africa… ) It just matched the coulour of the pool so well and my pale skin doesn’t like the sun anyway.

Not only the south african cat liked the dress. My mother was so excited that she wanted one too. And again I squeezed one out of the remnant fabric from another dress. As you see, it’s an awasome autumn dress!

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Usually you don’t want somebody to wear the same dress like you at a party. But we both liked it so much we wore it to my aunt’s birthday.

DrapeyDressMotherDaughter
But the excitement wasn’t over. My mother wanted to have another version she could wear in winter (you see… soon we have one for every season). Together we chose a velvety knit fabric in dark blue.

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My mother and I don’t seem to be the only ones really loving this style of dress. Way before I saw the dress from The Great British Sewing Bee, I saw a similar one at COS. The only difference are the sleeves.

Image from COS

Another clue for this beeing quite popular at the moment is a new pattern from StyleArc. Again just the sleeves (and the back) are slightly different.

Image from StyleArc

And talking about beeing popular… I feel a bit famous, too. I’m in the Burda Style magazine again:)

caro burda again

How often do you sew a favourite pattern? Is four times enough?😉

New Year – New Motivation

21 Jan

I wish everyone a happy New Year! (Is it to late for that? At least it is still January:) )
Many people start the new year with resolutions. One of the most popular resolution might be to exercise more. In order to motivate myself I made some excercise wear last year. (My most popular resolution is to post my makes right after finishing them and not half a year later…) Because Yoga is my favourite kind of sport I made a pair of leggings and a tank top (There is still a longsleeved top on my to-sew list to keep me warm through shavasana…my favourite part of doing Yoga)

The leggings are made using the same pattern I used for my last pair (it’s ‘Roxy’ from La Maison Victor.) It was a quick make since I already adjusted the pattern to my measurements (made the waist a bit higher, legs a bit tighter and shorter).

LeggingsYoga
The tank top was made using the pattern from my hi-low dress The fabric of the leggings was used for the back panel the hem and the binding of neckline and armholes. The main fabric was a remnant. I didn’t remember that it was that stretchy. To bring the neckline back to a sport appropriate form, I added a little gathering in the front. It looks pretty intended, don’t you think so?

TankTopYoga
These pictures, once again, were made at work. We shot trampoline fitness videos and I was the double for some split screen shots. It happend that I wore the dress the tank top is based on the second day of shooting. It is not really suitable for sportive activities, but I was pretending anyway.

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Do you have any resolutions (or even re-sew-lutions:) ) for 2016? How long do you pursue them? (In my case, usually till February😉 )

Thanks for reading and see you soon!

Mix and match wedding guest outfits

27 Oct

Finally I found some time to put something up here again. But at least now I can put all of this years wedding guest outfits in one post. Last year I attended two weddings. I wore a sequined skirt paired with two differnt tops matching the different weather conditions. This year there were five weddings… And I didn’t want to wear the exact same outfit I wore to another wedding again.

Since I wanted to make myself a pair of culottes for some time now, I found the first wedding to be a nice occasion. My dear friends gave my vouchers for different fabric shops here in Berlin for birthday. I found this dark red (it could almost be the Pantone colour of the year 2015 – Marsala) Acetat-Poly blend in the shop just across the street from my home. It isn’t actually plain dark red it is mottled with black. I liked it at first sight and my voucher was enough for 1.5m and matching thread.

I used the Burda Style Midi Culottes pattern from 03/2015. Especially the pleats in the front attracted me. I made size 36. I knew that I would have to take out some length if they should become Midi Culottes. But I decided to keep the extra length because I wanted to wear them with high heels (borrowed from my colleague…way to high for me…but experience makes you lern…)
Just the evening before I whipped up the blouse. It is based on my selfdrafted hi-low top. I just added the collar. Everything is sewn together using my serger…quick and dirty:) But it worked.

To build a connection to the culottes I added a bow made of the same fabric to the blouse. It’s just basted by hand (one hour before the wedding:) ) Except the shoes it was a very comfy outfit.
culottes burda style 03 2015
I actually climbed a tower in this outfit. (But I put off the shoes for the way down:) )
culottes burda style 03 2015
The pockets saved me from making/buying a matching purse. The outfit was finished last minute and I don’t know how I could have squeezed in making a bag anyway.

For the second weddding I did not only sew my outfit but the dress of the bride too. (I will go a bit more into detail about it in another post. The bride gave me a dress with broken zipper she did not need anymore. It wasn’t my size and not completely my style. I made a simple pencil skirt from it. Simple only in terms of shape. The fabric itself had two layers. One solid coloured poly-something with a bit of stretch. The upper layer was a mesh with fabric sequins in different sizes. Each held by a tiny bead. Although it was a strapless dress there was still some fabric left after I did the skirt. So I puzzled a heart from it (lots of hand sewing involved) and added it to a simple hi-low shirt (a quick selfdrafted one with just a front and a back piece). I bought some simple not too high black shoes to go with it. The breezy top was just the right choice for that hot summer day!
i <3 weddings :)
The inspiration for the top came from Megan Nielsen. I admire her Valentines Day Version of the Briar top.
sequined skirt and shirt
Some weeks later we went to the third wedding. This wedding had a colour scheme. The bride wanted her girls to wear coral. The second colour was green. In May we went to Barcelona together with the bride (a hen party/bachelorette party as a three day trip) I made clutches for all the girls. Of course I used coral and green. I finished them during our winter vacation. Suddenly I was well known around the whole village to be “the girl with the sewing machine” after the maid saw it while cleaning the room and told all her friends about it. (I didn’t think it would be so special to bring a sewing machine to a hotel room…)
clutches for hen party
The clutches had different linings (as shown on the tags) and each had a selfmade letter-button with the first letter of it’s owner.
I already had some shoes in coral and green and looked for fabric to match them. I found a lightweight coral denim with a cheetah pattern online.
coral fabric and shoes
I designed the dress. A sleeveless drop waist dress with a ruffle at the hem and a triangular cut out in the front and in the back. I added stripes of fabric to cover the areas the bra would show. But the weather became colder the closer the wedding day was. I had some very green tights and I decided to be brave enough to wear them to the wedding. First because they matched the coulour scheme and second because I didn’t want to feel cold. Then I bought a tanktop the same green to wear underneath. And finally I added sleeves to the dress… Looking back I think a less stiff fabric would have worked better for the silhouette of the dress. But it gave a nice body the the skirt part. The location was lovely. The Spreewald is a wonderful part of Germany.
coral green
coral green coral green coral green
If you think these were nice outfits but you don’t see the mix and match anywhere, you are right:) But here we go.

The fourth wedding was celebrated in an old ball room.  So I went for something a bit more classy. There were still some of the fabric sequins left from the dress I made into a skirt. I used felt as a base and made two hearts to wear in my hair and at the collar. These little pieces completed the whole look with the blouse from the first wedding and the skirt from the second one.
pencil skirt and blouse

For the fifth wedding I wanted to wear the cullottes again. But I didn’t manage to finish a new top in time. But the blouse from wedding one and four turned out to be a good base for a nice outfit. I liked it together with a pencil skirt so I took another one from my closet (The comfy pencil skirt I made years ago). To complete the outfit I digged into my stash of fabric scraps (I knew they would be useful at some point) and found remnants of the skirt. I cut out two pieces shaped like a long heart, sewed them together, turned the right side out and ruffle it while adding pearls of different sizes. The pearls had the colour of the blouse and this little brooch created the connection between all elements of the outfit.
pencil skirt and blouse again

For this year the wedding season is over now. And I already sewed some more casual stuff for myself and for my mother. I try do show it to you before all the newly weds enter the next level and I have to/ want to sew baby related things:)

See you soon😉

Back with ruffles

9 Jul

Hello again. This whole ‘hey it’s MeMadeMay let’s get back to blogging regularly’ thing didn’t work for long. I’m so sorry! Although I wore some unblogged makes during May I did not find the time to write about it. One reason may be the 4 weddings I attended in the meantime. But that will be another post (that will hopefully not take another two months) There’s a summary of the second part of my MMM outfits at the end of this post.
MeMadeMay is always a good way to get to know your personal style and likings. This May I noticed that I sewed a lot of ruffles in the last time. They are playful and feminin.
It started with a dress I made last October. I showed a friend how to sew a shirt and fell for the fabric she chose. I could keep the remnants and made another version of the dress from Burda easy autmn/winter2012. But this time I omitted the skirt part and replaced it with a ruffle. Our trip to Istanbul was a good opportunity to shoot some pics.
black ruffle dress
black ruffle dress back
We bought the fabric from a turkish dealer at the fabric market at Maybachufer in Berlin. I have no idea what it is. Something synthetic I guess. What I like most about it is, that it has two different sides. I played with both on the dress. It is very soft and keeps you warm without beeing very thick. Since the first wash I leave a trace of black fuzz everywhere I go. But I still love the dress I will not stop wearing it because of that. My friends shirt didn’t misbehave after the wash. Mystery fabric.
black ruffle dress detail

Of course I went to the fabric district when I was in Istanbul. But most of what I found there were notions and festive, glittery fabrics. So my only souvenir was a picture of me with the statue of a fabric merchant.
istanbul fabric

In December I made another version of this dress. The starting point was this dress I saw on Pinterest:

Image from seamsforadesire.com

I had two pairs of grey mens jogging pants that were a leftover from a shooting. The sweat fabric would make a nice warm winter dress. The pants had a slightly different shade of grey. So I had to pay attention to that when placing the pattern pieces.

My dress is not as wide as my inspiration. Mostly because I couldn’t get more width out of the pants. And since my sweat fabric ist not that drapey I was fine with the ‘more fitted’ style. For finish I just added some ribbing from the cuffs of the pants to the neckline and a white jersey ruffle to the hem.

During our trip to Venice in April it was the perfect sightseeing dress. Warm enough to not have to carry a jacket.

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Besides sewing, one of my hobbies is digging through my fabric stash:) I always end up sitting in a pile of fabrics dreaming of what they might become in the future. For the remnant of this dress the future was near. I just grabbed the pattern of my selfdrafted hi-low shirt, made the curving a bit less extreme and added black cuffs and of course a ruffle at the hem. And in about one hour I had my new favourite shirt.

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Enough ruffles for today:) Let’s have a look when I wore these one in MeMadeMay (There were some ruffle free days too😉 )
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Hope to be back soon:) Thanks for reading!

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