A sky cat WIP bag as a thank you for dragons.

The day before the court case I got a parcel in some awesome wrapping paper:
space-cat-wrapping-paper
Russian space cats? I am starry eyed!

In it was this amazing cat WIP bag:
cat-wip-bag
!!!

Made by sock designer Skeincharmer, who is a major part of SockMadness each year. She designs one of the socks and she posts a lot and she makes bags as prizes for knitters all around the world. She made this bag especially for me because of my Sockmadness dragon doodles and she send it all the way from Russia.

Wonderful fabric for lining. Some of those rain drops are fishies ūüėÄ
cat-wip-bag2
This bag all about skies and stratosphere kitties ūüėÄ

There are goodies too!
cat-wip-bag-goodies
What a treat!

The bag is so very well made. Skeincharmer is a perfectionist and a perfect sewist.

This bag contains many quality details which took a whole lot of extra time and effort to construct. She must do these to please her own standards of quality because no way the recipients of her bags notice these details.

The only reason I see a few of them today is because I took some photo’s for you and then I noticed more details and had to take more photos and come back to this post to add to it. I think I am on round 4 now?

Also I am emotionally hurting today and want to be at home, curled up into myself, shut out the whole world and focus on small details instead. You know, study the way the individual hairs of the cat align. Or the way a great bag was thought out and created. This bag is certainly a treat in that regard!

For example the way the lining is positioned near the zipper: it will never get caught in the zipper yet it is not sewn flat by topstitching. Instead it has a nice roomy air about it:
cat-wip-bag-detail2
OMG I think this is handstitched!

Here’s a detail at the bottom of the zipper. It’s not a zipper-stop… What is this? “Just” a nice way to extend the bottom a bit, so it becomes more of a tray than a flat plane? I don’t know but look at the attention it has received:
cat-wip-bag-detail3
It complicates things because you have to put in this little piece of fabric between the layers, at the right time. I imagine Skeincharmer juggling outer fabric, fabric interlining, zipper, lining and then this little piece, trying to keep it straight and in perfect position too. She succeeded. She must be part octopus.

cat-wip-bag-detail
A little fold sewn into it to make sure it will not bulge outwards and get caught in the zipper. My mind is boggled. Who thinks of this?

This is a zipper stop and it is a sign of a quality handsewn bag:
cat-wip-bag-detail4
It encases the ends of the zipper and is both functional and pretty and it’s makes the proces of putting a bag together way more complicated than you’d give such a small piece of fabric credit for. I did it once, also with a cat WIP bag, and it keeps me from sewing a zippered bag ever again.

I cannot imagine doing it with a cat WIP bag where the fabric already has to have the eyes and face of the cat sewn onto it PLUS folding those ears AND making sure they go next to the zipper stop WHILE you put it all together and oh, by the way, your bag is not square but ROUND so good luck with folding all the parts and sewing neatly. You’re lucky that octopussycats are some of the smartest animals on the planet.

Me, I’d sew the bag first and than make the face, having to sew it through all the layers and having the loose threads visible on the inside of the lining. And then, when I thought I was finished, I’d find the ears lying somewhere on the table…

Thinking about it, now I’m sure these colours are no coincidence either:
cat-wip-bag-goodie

So this bag, it’s not just a bag. It is a marvel of planning and execution and I love it. I love examining it and be amazed by the details. And I love admiring it from afar, as a whole. Admitting the shape, the face.

I mean, lookatitsface!
cat-wip-bag1
Today I’m very blue from the court case but this certainly puts a smile on my face. I didn’t know precisely why until I wrote you this post and had to make extra pictures again and again.

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not knitting

I’m not knitting. I’m still at the cabin and I brought 4 WIPbags and 5 WIPs but I haven’t touched them. I haven’t been relaxing either. I had to write yet another report for court and the place here is a bit tainted because it is the spill in the court case. I cannot wander around and enjoy nature because I should really document which nature this is specifically and under which protective article from which law it falls.

To distract myself I have been sewing:

A monkey fitted dress shirt. With an arm hole and sleeve that allows maximum freedom! I am very very close to getting the perfect pattern for me.

I brought more fabric with me and right now I have a new shirt underway. It’s grey with circus fun:

Yesterday I had a day out and bought even more fabrics for three more shirts:
stoffen-woven
Love that green one! The fabric one on the right will become a sheath dress ūüėÄ

And these three jersey fabrics for fast shirts:
stofjes-tricot

The other thing I distract myself with is looking at tea pottery and cake platters. I adore the rectangle ones, from vintage ceramics. I’m trying to buy these two:

Tomorrow me and Lillepoes will travel back to the city. I have one afternoon and evening left for relaxation, sewing and nature ūüôā

PS haven’t been drawing either. I did get new ear mufflers, these are 3M Peltors and silence up to 35 dB

weird wool wednesday: bends just a little bit more

then the law will allow
*whistles while taking picture*

just two good old boys,
never meaning no harm

beats all you ever saw:
  

they’ve been in trouble with the law
since the day they was born:

yeeeeehaaaaaw!!

After yesterday’s effort in court I need to take it easy for a few days. So this morning at sewing lessons I learned to sew with tricot/ jersey. Both with the overlocker and my own machine. I used this cheap, funny fabric and I keep singing and whistling this song all the time!

sewed a skirt for my bodyshape

Finally I learned to sew well enough and draft a pattern to fit my goblet shape to make this:
handsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vest

The under carriage of a goblet has “a case of the no’s”: no waist, no buttocks, no hips, no thighs. So a straight shape suits best, with a flare at the bottom to match the “flare” a goblet has at the top (yes, I mean breasts/shoulders):
handsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vest

Also a flare facilitates walking. Good argument.
handsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vest
I like walking.

I’m wearing my Super Groover vest:
handsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vest

pic from Muppet Wiki
And my Wolop Advent Calendar shawl 2016!

Look how the small of my back is now serviced by the shape of both skirt and vest:
handsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vest
“Sway back” is the term? Anyway, it explains why I should always decrease my knitting at the back, to avoid these folds that are still showing.

Yes a nice skirt. Lined too! Now I’ve got a basic pattern that suits my body type and that I can sew and sew it again, in various fabrics and various details.

Details like pockets, got to have pockets. In this one I made one continuous pocket  running from one side to the other:
handsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vest
It’s a thing of wonder.

Things are taking shape.

Resting up from the workshop I’m knitting a lot on Cool Wool Serra Cardigan. It’s mindless knitting in the round round round and a good project for laying back and recuperating.

I had reknit the bodice from the arms down, and this weekend I just finished the sleeves. Now I can knit the bodice down all the way to the bottom. Besides good for resting this is also a good car ride project. On Thursday we leave for Germany for a few days, it’s going to be a 5 to 6 hour trip. So having a mindless knitting project is good planning.

The shaping looks good. I’m at the hip increases now but I’m doing only the ones in the front. I’ve got nothing in the trunk that needs additional cloth.

Before the workshop last Friday I finished sewing that top with the scalloped edge. Learned a lot!

topje patroontekenen schulprand French bustdarttopje patroontekenen schulprand French bustdart

Concerning shaping¬†I now definitely know I’ve got to ¬†stay away from shirts that hang down from the breasts. I look like I have a big belly.

Shirts like this go over the head, without an opening, and therefor they have little additional waist shaping. It now looks like my body fills out the shirt right from the tip of my breast to the bottom of the shirt. You know about the pencil-trick? Well, I could do 250 grams of yarn tricks in tops with this shape.

I learned about sewing scallops though. And about neck facings and about gathered sleeves. Those are easy! Even with my foot treadle. Just loosen up the tension on one side and you get an excellent gathering stitch. I want more gathering in my sewing.

For pattern drafting I narrowed in on good wearing ease and a better arm hole for my basic shirt pattern.

Here, this is where I was coming from:

A failed shirt with not enough wearing ease, a too narrow arm hole and too extreme shaping for two poor princess seams to handle. Not finishing this, no way. Never wearing this.

Still, even this failed shirt is teaching me valuable things.

And! There’s a concealed zipper at the centre front, that’s good. It’s lapped and neat and now I don’t have to make button holes nor sew on buttons. It made it into my basic pattern for a Tailored Ladies’ Dress Shirt.

Now I have to “unvent” something about that waist shaping and those princess seams though. Probably need more panels.

For knitted garments I’ve got the shaping pretty down, by now. Cardigans. Vests. I can do those.

Next cardigan will be Pumpkin Ale. The yarn I dyed for that is caked and all ready to go and will come with to Germany. But it’s not mindless knitting, this is a gotta-keep-looking-at-my-hands-kinda-project. Especially the start since the back is a cabled panel. Looking forward to it though.

The mushroom yarn is ready to go too! It will become a stranded vest with good shaping. I looked at Art Nouveau visuals. I chose the lighter colours I dyed. Now I’ve looked the free vest patterns I have in my library such as¬†Ivy League Vest by Eunny Jang and¬†Twelve Months of Christmas vest by Helen Burros andGreat Horn-Rimmed by Mary Scott Huff:

 pic by the three designers named.

I’m going to steek, y’all! Exiting as I won’t be able to try on the vests and check the shaping once I reach the arm holes. I’ve never steeked before.

I hope to develop a basic stranded vest pattern in this yarn weight for my body shape and then crank out stranded vest after stranded vest. Just picking colours from my stash and making charts with Stitch Fiddle.

One more puzzle to solve before I can begin is to incorporate the waist shaping and the bust dart into the stranded patterns… A nice puzzle. With rewarding outcome.

Looking at the thee vestpatterns above I’ve learned I should probably cast on about 207 stitches for the bottom ribbing. That’s fine,¬†I can start that in the white¬†and it will be a few hours of mindless knitting, no stranding required yet. I won’t be doing corrugated ribbing even though all these patterns have that. I want a calmer look for my vest. Calm, light, pastel. A Februari look.

This is my desk top this month:

februari-mood-board

I can start my stranded “shroom” vest as soon as I skeined up the two balls of commercial Shetland yarn that I bought at De Schapekop to go with my dyed yarn. The white and the blue one. They need to be skeined up because I need to wash out the spinning oil! I’ve got gloves to handle the skeining. Not getting that spinning oil on my hands and in my eyes again, I want to sleep at night.

After skeining I need to wash them HOT. Then they need to dry and be reskeined. All before Thursday so skeining and washing is on the calendar for today. I want to bring the white one with me to Germany. As my back up mindless-knitting-car-ride-project. In case I finish the Cool Wool Serra Cardigan.

I should probably bring a sock too. Even though I’m going to Germany, The Land Of The Sock Yarn and we’ll even visit the L√ľneburg yarn shop called Stricxs¬†which looks marvelous! They even sell Wollmeise. And I’m going there with the intention of buying souvenir yarn.

note to self: pack needles in various sizes. For when the unexpected knitting strikes.

So that’s the plans! I feel confident.

Outfit for Autumn

This is what I’m wearing today:

handmade outfit handspun vest mittens sewn shirt blouse skirt

A¬†dress shirt I finished yesterday. It’s wearable, yay!

It’s totally the wrong colour, being warmish beige. But it goes well with my handspun Passe-Partout vest and the mosaic mittens from last winter KAL. With my most sturdy canvas skirt. With two pockets and a piece of curtain strip in the waist band. This baby will never stretch.

Very cute fabric:
Untitled

This morning I’ll note the changes I want to make to the dress shirt pattern and soon I’ll cut new fabric, in a colour that is on my Winter Colour Palette.

The shape at the underarm needs to be taken a little in at the sideseam. The side seam needs to go up a little higher, into the arm pit:
handmade outfit handspun vest mittens sewn shirt blouse skirt
The sleeve then needs to be equally elongated to meet the new arm hole/side seam junction.

It sounds uncomfortable, bringing the arm hole higher up in the arm pit. The funny thing is: the closer the armhole is to the body, the more movement is allowed for the arm.

You’d think it’d be the other way around: big hole, big sleeve = wave wildly! With bat-sleeves being the ultimate freedom sleeve. But bat sleeves are a mistake, easily made.
It’s the other way around though, the better fitted the armhole is, the less you drag the whole shirt up when you move your arm.

But the thing¬†is that with small, fitted armholes come small fitted sleeves. And that’s a bit of a problem. Because I have upperarms.¬†They like a bit of room, to fit in all the flesh. Biceps! Let’s say biceps.

Finding that sweet spot between sleeve width and arm hole circumference is a puzzle I’ve been stabbing at for years now. I’ll give it another poke today because I think I’m finally getting somewhere.
handmade outfit handspun vest mittens sewn shirt blouse skirt

Foolishly trying to command fibre crafts.

This morning I played some more with a design for the crocheted squares:

I gave up on the random piecing together. It was just too hard. Instead I tried some rectangular designs:

Ohoo, the next one works, strips! Alternating strips of various blocks, reading from left to right, solves the problem I keep having with the second axis:

Happy with my solution I put away the squares and drove to the cabin.

I drove my own car and I thought about the blanket all the way. When I arrived in the little patch of forest I had come to the conclusion that although strips are nice and neat, I rrrrrrrrreaaaaaallly like the “randomness” of the Crazy Patchwork Blanket and the Babette blanket:
 pic and blanket by Olivia Rainsford, designer of the Crazy Patchwork Blanket

Right. My blanket needs to be “random”. Not strips. I’m ready for solutions.
Out comes the graph paper!

I’ve got 75 Large squares, 18 Medium, 25 Small and 38 of the adorable Extra Small.
This is how they fit together:
1 L = 2 XS
2 L = 3 S
4 L = 5 M

The¬†difference between my squares and those of the two “random” blanket designs is that all their squares relate to each other and can be used to make squares, consisting of 5 or maximum 8 squares of various sizes. My M’s don’t play well in that regard…

Now thinking of upscaling them into SuperXXMs, like the one my pencil is pointing to. Both official designs use several really large squares.

They can be upscaled to an L easily, all I need to do is crochet one other round to them. But a XL might work better, seeing it plays well with both Ls and XSs. Besides, my Ls have a certain colourscheme.

Anyway. I’m at the cabin now and my weekend starts with pencil and graph paper. I brought the balls of acrylic and a bunch of little flowers with me. But I left all the squares in the city so I can’t play with composition nor enlarge M-squares!

I left them because I didn’t want “to make a mess in the cabin”.
How foolish of me:
Inside the cabin
Nope. Better not make a mess here. It’s so tidy, it looks like an IKEA catalog. Clearly neatly organized people live here! People who declutter daily. Is that a cat on the sewing chair? Again?!

Talk about foolish: the trousers I was sewing stumbled into unwearable right at the finish line.
bad at sewing trousers... bad at sewing trousers...
Something went wrong, I think it was the linen stretching during sewing or something? The front is too wide and the pockets are ruffling. I laid them aside to show my teacher at a later stage.

So naturally I delved right into sewing a dress shirt.

I’m picked up trying to perfect my basic pattern again. Once it’s done I’ll be¬†cranking out shirts that fit me perfect and in the right colours and that go so well under handknitted vests!

I had tried the ultimate self drafted pattern right before Summer, the result of a pattern drafting class I took about a year ago. Many months of frustration while I had to wait wait wait before we would address a dress shirt.

Finally we did and I bought some cheap 100% cotton in the right colour and made a real dress shirt, right before Summer. But it went very wrong because apparently I had bought the wrong fabric: a very slippery cotton which made the measuring, cutting and sewing not very precise. I took my shirt to the last class of pattern drafting and got a lot of critique. Lots of helpful critique but the shirt itself was a failure.

Based on the critique I made some adjustments to the pattern and am now resewing it in a quality cotton.

But you know. Sewing. You need a brain and some luck for sewing.

I got salad brain and pinguins instead:
Sewing collar stand shirtmakingSewing collar stand shirtmaking
Sewing collar stand shirtmaking
Gargl.

Besides repeatedly getting fabric caught while sewing, the neckline is too high and too tight. That’s a pattern issue! My Slippery Cotton Shirt was too low so I made it a bit higher. Even put in a zip (instead of buttons) which goes right to the top.

Now it’s too high. Because the slippery cotton shirt lied to me and my teacher.
Can’t lower it though because of the zipper. Well, I’ll manage to lower it a bit, right down to the top teeth of the zipper. This only gives me a mere centimeter extra. But perhaps it’s enough. It does mean I can finish this shirt and perhaps end up with something a little bit wearable. Or at least tell me things about the pattern. And then the next shirt will be perfect. If I manage to sew with concentration.

Lowering the neckline meant that this nicely executed collar is now too long for its collar stand:
Sewing collar shirtmaking
Hmpf.
So when I get back to the city after this weekend I need to do some collar surgery. Either try and take in the short sides of this one or sew a whole new collar. I do have some fabric left…

But I need it to cut a third sleeve. Because I sewed one sleeve placket on the wrong side. Sigh.
Let’s just say I’ve now got two left sleeves, from the elbows down. Not sure if I can get away with calling the draft vent on my right upper wrist “a design feature”.

We’ll see. I wasn’t kidding about the brain salad.
But at least I have penguins! And birds with hats and seals with mittens and handknit sweaters:
setting a lap zip in a dress shirt button band
What do you think about that zipper? I’m working on a foot treadle sewing machine, a Singer, that only has the straight stitch, no button hole stitch. I thought this was a nice solution, a separating zipper behind a lap as wide as the button band. It also has a zip guard at the back, so the zipper won’t touch my skin.

Other solutions for people without button hole facilities are snaps and loops and buttons. Those last ones can be stylish too:

from the Collette blog

(I’m soooo procrastinating writing this to you. I should use¬†my graph paper, think up smart wooly things for my blanket!)

Sewing for knitting:

Over the Summer I’ve been sewing my new wardrobe. I had major plans: skirts, blouses, vests, pinafores. All in that colour palette and all flattering my body shape.

This is what I managed from May 1st until now:
Sewing skirts, learning to.Sewing skirts, learning to.

Skirts. Well, one skirt, actually. This is the progress towards developing one pattern that fits me well and has all the features I want (pockets!) and that I know how to make (sturdy seams, pockets, waist band, lining, hem, zipper, zipper seam allowance catching the lining).

I’ve got it down now. I can sew a skirt in a week, I feel.

So last week I finished a skirt in a fabric to compliment the Wollmeise Fliederbusch of my Colors of Kauai cardigan:

sewed a skirt, wet felted a bag

The idea was to make a bellowing skirt to flatter my Colors of Kauai cardigan, just like these, both from the very inspirational Jettshin:

But I didn’t have enough fabric. And a bellowing skirt doesn’t fit my body shape very well (lack of a waist). But now I do have this pattern that flatters me. So I cut the fabric on the bias and followed my own pattern:

sewed a skirt, wet felted a bag

Oops, cut it a bit too narrow! Never mind, I’ll just put in a strip of fabric, even if it has to be cut on the grain. Might as well since I’m not sure how well flimsy fabric on the bias can support a pocket so I’ll go ahead and put a little patch pocket onto that strip. There, all done.

Time to fit!
Ah. Uhm.

It seems that without a distinctive flare¬†it doesn’t really work, this sewing with this knitting:

Nice lady, no doubt. But not quite the flair or femininity that Jettshin project photos show.

I don’t know why I thought this skirt would work. I talked myself away from the very goal I was aiming for!

“Yes, I’ll sew a bellowing skirt because that fits Colors of Kauai so well! But I’ll make it without the flare because arguments. Hey, I’ll even cut it on the bias for even more drape and droop!”

Yeah…

Well, the skirt works great on its own. It’s light and lined with pure silk and it flutters around my legs. It’s a nice Summer skirt for the city.

Wearing it without wooden clogs also helps to class it up.

Now I’ve got an incentive to sew another skirt to got with this cardigan. Which means fabric hunting.

But first I’ll try and sew a fitting blouse/dress shirt. I need those to go with the many vests I’m knitting. With any luck I’ll be wearing the combinations before x-mas.

(bag felting went well this weekend! I only want to switch the flaps between the two bags and then visit the shoe maker to get belts attached. So still very much in progress.)

sewed a skirt, wet felted a bag

Altered: the ecoprinted linen top.

From this:

To this:

I put in vertical darts at the front, under the bust. The existing darts at the back were elongated and I put in two new horizontal darts at the back to take away some of the extra fabric that folds up there because I have a bit of a curved inwards back.

I like to think of my back curve as a feature.
If I accentuate that curved back attention is drawn away from my belly and I can freely rock the rolls there.

Which is also why shaping at the underbust is important. To hint that my belly doesn’t start at the apex of my bust. Never wear a potato sack.

This is the part I added to the arm hole. I put in some pleats and stitching to match the front panel.

At the back it’s nothing fancy. Just press, cut, fold the edge under, press again and stitch the seam allowance to itself.

It’s a lovely top now. The ecoprinting is so fascinating to look at. Linen is a great fabric to work with.

Fabrics to show off my handknits

So what’s with me knitting all the cuffs? Why do I want them to be greys and purples? And why did I spend time to make a whole colourcollage of them??

Well…. I’m planning a new wardrobe.

Now that I’m living more in the city again and feel more active I want to dress up. Show off the quality yarns I’m using. With quality clothing.

This is my inspiration board:
Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 21.03.59
Clean lines, no ruffles. Functional garments. Natural fibres.
Nice details and well executed sewing.

Light coloured blouses and light coloured trousers/skirt (but not too light because I’m not planning on living a spotless life any time soon).
Wear a darker dress over it, a dress with pockets. A pinafore.
With a light shawl or collar on top, framing my face.

And!

I’m going to make all these nice clothes myself.
Boom. Yes.
Because that’s what knitting told me.
Knitting knocked on my door and said: “A good fit at the shoulders is everything. Mass produced clothes don’t fit anyone, you included. Better make things yourself. Using quality materials. You’ll love it.”

So, I’m studying sewing. Not planned in any reasonable way. I just stumbled upon a few things that interest me and now that they seem to fit so nicely together I can present it to you as if it were a well thought out plan.

It’s a two pronged approach. One prong is the fitting part: bodyshape, wearing ease, drafting patterns, altering patterns, draping fabrics, swiveling darts. The colour analysis helped in this. The knitting experiences help tremendously! I’ve been sewing some dresses the past few years and¬†learned a lot from that.

The second prong is a subject I stumbled upon only recently: precision sewing. With that I mean tailoring techniques, haute couture techniques, pressing, hand stitching.
At this moment I’m buried into bespoke dress shirt making. This is the book I’m reading right now: Shirtmaking: Developing Skills For Fine Sewing by David Page Coffin:
51wyjnjldbl-_sx401_bo1204203200_

Besides all this self studying I’ve also been taking a pattern drafting course since September. It’s a great source of frustration, being out in the real world trying to make thoughts work. You know me: brilliant in theory but not quite as adept in conjuring¬†reality…
As you can imagine, the course has been a good mix of thrilling theory and bonking into the reality of measurements, teaching traditions and spending time with people who need more time than me to grasp concepts and hold onto them. I, on the other hand, slow everyone down with stupid ignorant questions about sewing basics. I feel quite the clutz.

This month we finally got to draft our body block into a pattern for a shirt, a pattern with wearing ease and all that. I’m still putting it onto paper (how wide should the cuff be? What kind of collar? How to close a shirt when you don’t have button hole help on your sewing machine??)
Once I have my shirt pattern finished I can turn any fabric into a shirt that fits me nicely!
I plan to crank out one shirt after the other this Summer, all based on the same pattern with just design changes in the details.

Last Friday I was pro-active and bought a whole lot of fabrics for my new wardrobe:
buit van Stoffenspektakel. vooral linnens

These will become shirts:
buit van Stoffenspektakel. vooral linnens

On top is a grey lilac cotton that will become my first real shirt, the one I’ll be showing in the next drafting class, on May 23rd.
The light grey and the soft lilac at the bottom are linens.
The white one is silk. The silk is for the end of Summer, when I’ve got this shirt thing down and might feel like venturing into shaping and draping a garment.

Here’s four meters of mid weight linen:
buit van Stoffenspektakel. vooral linnens

It was supposed to be the colour Mauseschwanzen from my cuffs but it’s a warmer tone than that, as shown in the top picture where the cuff is resting on it.
Not sure what to do with it now. Will think about it a bit. I bought it with the plan to make¬†a shirt and a skirt or trousers. That’s why it already has a zipper. A zipper that’s too long for trousers with a zipper at the front, which was what I was planning… Clutz alert in aisle 2 of the haberdashery!

Either way this linnen will be flowing around my legs in some form or other this Summer. Trousers with a side zipper (or at the back) or a long skirt (with a side zipper, or at the back). And its colour will go well with the socks I’ll have made from all the sock yarn that magically appeared at my doorstep this week:

DROPS yarn is having a sale!

These are some darker and stiffer fabrics:
buit van Stoffenspektakel. vooral linnens

All intended for things to wear over a shirt and a skirt.
On the bottom is a denim and it’s for a pinafore dress, with pockets, which will be useful on a daily basis.
The dark grey linen in the middle will also become such a functional garment. It’s quite heavy! I think I bought curtain fabric… in fact I’m sure I did. Not a clutz move though, curtains are excellent for skirts. They wear well. I also like to use upholstery fabric for skirts. So sturdy! Yet with fun woven in designs.
(as a side note, I just read on the web that quality bedding sheets are excellent for dress shirts. High count Egyptian cotton? Why not. Just because it’s labeled “bed linen” doesn’t mean it isn’t a piece of quality fabric.)

Sourcing fabric with the qualities the garment needs to have.
Wearing garments that are functional to your life, not just decorative.
Patterns that flatter the body shape and provide ease of movement.
Thinking about colours and contrasts that suit my own complexion.
Not paying much attention to the current fashion craze.
Paying much attention to skilled professionals who know how to create with their hands.

It’s been done for ages.

Designer and bespoke tailor Ivey Abitz looks at historic dress and translates them into her collections of wearable, functional fashion.
She designed one of my main inspiration pictures:


pic by Ivey Abitz

Isn’t it great?! You can imagine this wears like a dream, not restricting you at all. With natural white long sleeves under it… yes please!

Although I don’t want my skirts to be so frilly, I’m not into the layer upon layer look. But I love the light-darker-light sequence of the design! That is exactly what I’m doing for me too. I bloggeded about the contrast my face has and how clothing/shawls help to flatter it. I mangled some pictures halfway this post to try and show you what I mean.

The smaller piece of olive green grey linen is intended to become an exact copy of this vest:
a design by Marcy Tilton, to show off her quality fabrics.

So many precision sewing details! How the back seam is bound with stripey band. How the inner collar differs in colour. Its shape! The round bib-shaped stitching. How the stitching in the side seam matches the bib-stitching. The button holes. How the vertical seams for shaping in the lower part are hardly noticable.

This is a garment very suiting for my body type.
If the “bib” shape is made stiff with underlining and topstitching it won’t present the breasts so readily to any pedestrian. Instead it will guide away the eye from them, upwards.
Below the bib there’s lots of inconspicuous shaping happening, right at the underbust, where I need it, without the pedestrian noticing.

The bib covers the bust and sets the stage for the neckline which in turn makes a perfect frame for whatever I’ve got going on there: a blouse with an interesting collar detail; a sparkling necklace orrrrr….a handknitted shawl!

There we are.
All this sewing plans with a particular goal of show off flattering (and functional!) handknits that I’ll wear around my neck and my wrists. In quality yarns. In the right colours.
Because I love it.