light blue dress

i’ve been wanting to make a light blue summer dress since i read vi på saltkråkan two summers ago. the oldest daughter wears a light blue dress at one point and while i’m not really sure why i found that so especially inspiring (a blue dress has to be the next most basic thing after a black dress?) it’s been on my to-make list ever since.

i was in gävle in may when i found the perfect blue-striped seersucker fabric – and for only 29 crowns/metre. but it took me a while to find the perfect pattern.

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after a false start with a burda pattern – i traced it off and started laying it out only to realise the pattern required 56″ fabric and mine’s an unusually narrow 44″ – i started sketching out some ideas. i wanted an a-line skirt, button placket and extended shoulders or flanges instead of sleeves. not asking for much right? yet it took me the whole summer to find what i was looking for!

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simplicity 2018 to the rescue! just what i had in mind, and from 1947 – i love ’40s patterns, the bust sizing always corresponds to my measurements so i don’t have to change much.

this was pretty straightforward to make – or rather, very straightforward. one dart, a couple of pleats at the waist, what more shaping do you need? and isn’t seersucker a dream to work with? so flexible and easy-going.

my favourite detail has to be the hidden button placket.

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the inside is basically indistinguishable from the outside at first glance, which is a good thing but has led to me putting it on inside out more than once.

it’s definitely a summer dress but with a bit of luck i can wear it one or two more times before it gets really cold.

finally, i have a light blue dress!

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ermagerd electronics!

i fixed my camera! okay not really, the main problem is sort of un-fixable (in technical terms, there’s a tiny chip missing from the lens screwy-ony thingy which causes it to fall off all the time). i did find the charger, and more importantly the charger cord, and reunited them in holy electronic matrimony, so now i can use my camera and take cool pictures again! (as long as i’m very very very careful with the lens).

i also fixed my laptop today?! i am just astoundingly productive when i’m avoiding doing real work. perhaps i’ll be more inclined to do some work on the road now that i have my laptop back, it’s much smaller than the one i’ve been using. it’s got a 12″ screen! it’s only 3.5 lbs! such a little baby laptop compared to the functional yet backbreaking giant i’ve been using. although now i have to go through that awkward phase again where half your stuff is on one computer and half on the other.

to keep us on sewing track: here’s an outfit i made for my nephew back when he was just a little-bitty guy, using vintage simplicity 2743. the pictures were on my cam. so cute right!

the puppy patch is a pocket!!

the rest of the pictures on this memory card are from my trip to new york! the camera broke on the way home from that trip and i’ve only used it once or twice since then. i can’t wait to look through them!*

*most of them are probably from the museum of natural history where i went three days in a row! (aka every day of my trip). nerrrrrd.

Quilting time is coming!

Soon my quilt squares will actually start becoming a quilt – i.e. a fabric-filling-fabric sandwich held together with small stitches. I ordered extra-wide unbleached calico from Plush Addict for the backing. Today I pre-washed it and it’s hanging to dry. I keep laughing every time I see how wide it is (235 cm). I don’t know why I find that so amusing, but I do!

I’ll be spending a lot of time with this quilt in the next few months so I decided to work on a quick clothing project in the meanwhile, you know, just to get some variety in my life.

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I ❤ plaid selvages

These plaid bermuda shorts (Simplicity 1695) are, however, turning out to be a little trickier than I planned. There are no in-progress pictures to show yet as I’ve only gotten as far as basting the backing onto the fronts. Having done that I discovered my plaid doesn’t match at the centre-front. Tears! Yes, I really screwed these up when cutting. I didn’t buy as much extra fabric as I should have, managed to cut two identical fronts instead of mirror-image and it all went downhill from there. It’s going to take a little cunning to get this “quick” project to work out!

IMG_8244More details later. Meanwhile, here are some pictures of my bunny getting in the way while I was cutting, perhaps she was trying to stop me before I made a big mistake!

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New Pyjamas

I finished them! According to my little sewing notebook I started these pyjamas on 4 september! Can that be possible? Did it really take me so long? Well maybe it did, I have been pretty busy the last little while. The important thing is, they’re finished and they turned out great!

IMG_8049I bought this pattern quite a while ago but never got to making it, because I didn’t find just the right fabric until recently. Plus I left the pattern in Canada when I moved three years ago. It’s very tricky to sew with a pattern that’s located 5000 km away, take my word for it.

IMG_8082I had a couple of small issues with the pattern – one was that when I took it out of the envelope, big sections were missing from the sides of the pants pieces! Why??? Did the previous owner do this to me? I was cursing her at first, but now I’m more convinced it was maybe a factory error since an identical section is missing from each piece and also why would you do that? Anyway, it didn’t really matter, I straightened it out when I traced it. (I don’t usually trace patterns, except when grading them.)

The second problem was that I couldn’t quiiiiite fit all my pieces on my fabric. Why didn’t I buy just half a metre more? This was fabric I bought in Canada so I couldn’t exactly go out and get extra. Actually now that I think about it I seem to recall spending every last Canadian penny I had with me that day, so I guess that’s why I didn’t buy any more!

I solved this problem by overlapping the front and back leg pieces, so that a little square was missing from the top centre back. Then I sewed a patch there. This probably wasn’t the only or most elegant solution, but it was what I came up with first, and I’m happy with the results.

IMG_8053I used my rolled hem foot to make a tiny little ziz-zag hem on the sides of the patches, toward the right side of the fabric.

IMG_8152Then I straightened the edges of the “holes”, folded them under and sewed the patch down, with two lines of stitching for added sturdiness.

IMG_8153The raw edges of the “holes” are encased between the two lines of stitching.

IMG_8154 IMG_8155Looks pretty nice, huh!

IMG_8200I guess to do it really properly I could have matched the pattern, but I saw these pyjamas as an exercise in not being such a perfectionist. Don’t get me wrong, perfectionism is a very useful trait for sewing, but I wanted to practice taking it easy, and that not every project needs couture details, multiple fittings and hand-finishing – although I did hand finish the hems, more on that later.  Anyway, it’s at the back so I’ll never see it and the top hangs over the waist, hiding it even more.

Other than that these came together smoothly. Although it’s a beginner pattern it didn’t feel too simplified or “dumbed down” and has nice details that held my interest. I really like the fine way the facing folds down at the shoulder seams. (although I forgot to take a picture of it!)

I always make French seams on pyjamas since they’re so sturdy and hard-wearing. In this case though, the seam was too thick because of the double layer of lace in the seam, so I just made a regular seam. I did French seams on the bottoms though, and flat-felled the centre front/back seam. I sewed a plain seam over the lace at the hem and then zig-zagged the seam allowance over the lace edges like a little pouch to keep them from fraying.

IMG_8206I dyed the lace myself, I’ll tell about that in a separate post, this one is already long enough!

The waist has a plain waistband at the front and elastic in the back, which I love! Definitely a feature I’ll use in my next pair of pyjamas. The placket is closed with snaps. Doesn’t it look so cute and old-fashioned? The instructions call for a hook and eye to close the placket at the waist but I didn’t care for the thought of fiddling with one of those all the time, so I just used a bigger snap at the top instead.

IMG_8204Other than that I was very faithful to the instructions, even down to hand-stitching the hems. Sometimes I get a kick out of following directions, especially when they’re so nice as these!

IMG_8048I love my new jammies! They’re certainly summer pyjamas, but I think I can get away with them for at least another couple of weeks before it gets really cold here. The lace turned out just the shade I hoped for, the waist is comfy and I just adore this fabric! Another successful sewing project!

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Sorry for my knee. I had to stand on the bed to get a good shot.

Things I Want to Sew: Camel coat

While we’re on the topic of things I want to sew but am not due to not having any time/money/etc (and see yesterday’s post about the Farmer’s Wife quilt) let me introduce you to a little file on my computer called Things I Want to Sew.

I won’t actually make you look at the whole thing. It’s very long and borrows heavily from my 17 (17!) pages of Etsy favourites, which consist almost exclusively of patterns.

In the interest of your sanity and mine, today I’ll limit myself to telling you about my unhealthy obsession with sewing a camel coat, also known as a polo coat.

box coat
like this one!
or this one!!
or this one!!

I’ve been wanting desperately needing to sew one since early this summer, and I genuinely believed I would have it sewn up by now. Or at least be working on it. Or at the very least have ordered the pattern and fabric.

Well.

The only place I’ve been able to source camel hair fabric is Mood (and let me once again take the opportunity to complain about how terrible fabric shopping is in Sweden) and the cost of shipping a few yards of woolen goods from New York to Scandinavia is prohibitive at best.

Having discovered that the shipping cost is more than twice the price of the fabric has not deterred me, however. I’ll keep saving and meanwhile, since I’ve *ahem* never actually sewn a coat before, I’ll do some research and reading to get prepared and keep the dream alive. The dream of a beautiful camel hair coat. I will have one! Although realistically, not before it gets too cold to wear it this year. Darn.

UPDATE! UPDATE! The fabric I want just went on sale for 20% off!!! Wise and self-controlled Joakim pointed out to me that 20% is one of those numbers that tricks you by seeming like a better deal than it is but oooh! I want it!  My coooooat!

Fabric stashin’

People always want to know what I miss most about Canada (besides friends and family). There are quite a few things to miss about Canada like roadside stands with fresh produce in the summer, Ontario peaches and corn and of course Tim Hortons coffee. But number one on my list is always fabric shopping!

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There’s a chain of fabric stores called Fabricland, which have quite a great selection and terrific prices, and then there’s the street in my hometown that has only fabric stores for a good two blocks! It’s heaven.

I’ve managed to get better at finding fabric in my Swedish town since I moved here, but it’s still nothing like the Canadian stores which are better organized, have nicer displays (why do Swedish stores always want to display their fabric as a pile of rolls you have to root through, so that it’s rather impossible to see everything?) and much more selection. So you know I had to take a day out for fabric shopping when I spent a week in Ontario this summer!

Hilariously I thought I would spend about an hour shopping… ha! Make that three. You have to go into each store one by one, remember the things you like, and then go back once you’ve compared and decided what to buy where, of course!

So what did I get?

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The hedgehog flannel is just a 1/4 of a metre, I think I’ll use it as edging on a set of pillowcases.

Under that are two flowered cottons, one is probably destined for a blouse and the other is a pair of pyjamas (more on those soon).

The pastel plaid looks much nicer in real life than in this kind of queasy photo, and will probably become shorts. Peeking out below that is some plain white batiste for a blouse and a little plainweave linen – which I can actually find here but you know, I got a bit nostalgic over “my favourite store, the one where I always buy the linen!”

And right at the bottom, where you can barely see it, is some plaid flannel for a pair of autumn shorts. I took another picture of the plaid but it looks weird, so let’s wait until I start sewing the shorts and take a more flattering pic!

Hooray! Happy sewing!