Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A vest for my Mister!

"I'll sew something for you", she said.

Yeah, right!

Let's be honest, I was expecting that a vest would be easy breezy. Oh, foolish me... Let's rewind! A few weeks ago, I posted my first haul in which I mentioned that I purchased a 70's Simplicity pattern on Etsy. It is a three piece suit. Being my enthusiastic self, I imagined that I would sew all three, eventually, and that the vest would be a great and easy start.

I really enjoyed the first steps! Like me, my Mister is a different size in different places. Therefore, the first step was to figure out where to add centimeters. I really love doing that. This time, I even made drawings, with colors, and notes, and I glued it on a color sheet. It felt so so so fun!

This Saturday, we went to the fancy fabric shop of our town to find love at first sight for Mister. We got a gorgeous grey suit fabric (enough for two vests), and two different linings. For the first vest, we use the white lining that has thin grey stripes. So far, I have...

- made a muslin
- made a few adjustments to the pattern
- cut the pattern on the fabrics
- interfaced what had to be interfaced
- done the darts on the back pieces
- stitched the back middles
- done two belt pieces for the back
- placed them
- stitched the good back to the front pieces

So far, so good! Now, what happens? HELL happens! In my little world, hell is personified by WELT POCKETS!!! I thought I was ready. I have watched tutorials online. Pictured and filmed. I have read a long piece about it in my great "Complete Guide to Sewing". I have trained on the muslin, etc. I was ready I thought! Let me tell you, I was not ready to spend a whole day on that, procrastinating, and then getting all worked up... But I am finally done. I think that they will look better on the second vest I will make (eventually). Here are two views, one from the outside, and one from the inside. Any critics, suggestions or thoughts are more than welcome...

It looks like something is pulling on the corners of the welt. Do you have any idea of what I can do? Anyway, I still have a long to do list... I am not going to write it because it is going to depress me... Let's just say that if you look at the instruction sheet above, you will see that I still have to do section 4 (the longest and trickiest), and the "finishing".

I know that I am the queen of the complains... But my Mister deserves this vest. He's the best...

Monday, August 30, 2010

The surprisingly amazing Ottobre

Let's talk about a great European magazine: Ottobre!

Ottobre comes from Finland. It used to be a children patterns magazine but a few years ago, they have started women clothing! My story with it is very different then with Burda or Vogue. Ottobre spring/summer 2010 was in the shops for a long while before I felt like giving it a try. I already had a few Burdas on my shelves. One day, I just splurged and went for it! I really liked a few patterns and used one for a dress I wore to a wedding: "The Lovely".  It was a very easy pattern that fitted with very few alterations (compared to all my other Burda projects).

On Saturday, I have purchased the fall/winter issue and I have decided to use a few of their patterns, first, a jacket. Then, I started thinking about their concept... They do patterns for EVERY woman. Big, tiny, young, old, classic, funky, corporate, mother, sportive, relax, etc. And it is not only something they say. It is something THEY DO! The women in their catalogues are true women, with flows that Burda or Vogue wouldn't show. But, they also have an authenticity that the models from other brands don't have. When you see the pictures or the technical drawings, it is way easier to project yourself into them.

Some people, and it has been proven, tend to pass pictures promoted with normal women, slightly older, slightly bigger, or with a non Caucasian looking ethnicity. I must say that it is also partly true for me. I tend to have a biased first impression. However, I am conscious about it, and it helps me getting over it. For example, they have a very pretty top, the Nora, that is showcased on an older woman with wobbly bits. It wasn't love at first sight. But then I saw the technical drawing, and I came back to the picture and my point of view had dramatically changed.

There is also a little thing that made me love them even more. To make it a short story, I live in a Dutch speaking country but I am a native French speaker, and fluent English speaker. Therefore, my Dutch (intermediary) is sometimes good enough for patterns instructions, sometimes not. The jacket that I am planning to make had a very long and complicated explanation in Dutch that I didn't see myself completely understand. So I tried my luck... I e-mailed Ottobre, and they helped me very nicely! That really made my day, and I decided writing this note.

I also felt like making a table that would help you visualize what Ottobre is, and how different or not it is from other magazines or pattern makers. Of course, I have only started sewing this year, so I am no encyclopedia. These are just a few observations...






12 burdastyle/year + 2 easy/year + 2/plus size/year
New patterns 6/year

2/year for women + 4/year for children


around 6 $
around 20 $ (special offers around 5 $)
around 8 $

Karl Lagerfeld in 10/2010
A lot!!!


patterns download, sewing community, articles,...  patterns download, articles,...
previews, blog,

Pattern fit 


Pattern type 

Novice to expert
Intermediate to expert Novice to expert

Pattern readability


not mixed



Technical & clear
Technical & clear & illustrations Technical & clear

One garment as a lesson; Added featurettes (same
every time)
NA Featurettes (change often)

size 34/36, young + size
42/44 for plus size, young

size 34/36, young (sometimes older for
a few)

34 to 52, pluri-age, pluri-ethnicity

Size range
34-44 + petite + plus size feature 44-52

32-44 + petite + little plus size

34-52 for almost every pattern

Plus size 

7/10 ( not every issue is
as good)
5/10 (not cute) 9/10 (cute and fitted)

I really hope this interested you. Don't hesitate to check out their website or their blog!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Haul of a few weeks!

Ok, mainly of today...

Hauls are such easy posts when you honestly don't have much to show for yourself. And I must admit, there has been no sewing today! Indeed, today was Saturday. And on such a day, you usually buy things, like vegetables, fruits, meat, and other things. You go on the market, in the supermarket, etc... But today was a little different. First, I got myself a nice treat: Ottobre magazine, the 2010 women fall/winter issue. It completes oh so well the Burdas I got last week in Belgium (for once, in French, aaaah, it feels better like that, in my native language).

I am really happy with them. I fell in love with a trench coat and a dress in Burdastyle 09/2010, with trousers, a dress, and two tops in the BurdaPlus fall/winter 2010, and with a dress, a coat, a skirt and a sport clothing feature in Ottobre! Let's get busy!

$$$ Katchink goes the till!

A Saturday that starts that well could not stop that early in the day. On the market, a fabric seller was getting rid of his summer left over coupons for ONE EURO each! They were usually one meter, so I dived into the pile and picked up 5 coupons. He also had cheap fabric that I plan on using for Grosgrain's next "Frock by Friday", together with one of the cheap coupons. The colors are weird, but the skirt fabric is a dark brown, and the one for the top is graded from beige to brown...

$$$ Katchink goes the till!

So far so good right? After that, we went to the "fancy" fabric shop. I have promised my Mister that I would try to sew something for him. I received a 1970's three pieces suit pattern for him, and I am starting with a vest (well, two... Twice the same but with a different lining). To make it right, we wnted to use a good quality of fabric. Here we go! We have a basic dark Grey suit fabric in the middle for the front of both vests. On the left, we have black lining, and on the right, we have white lining with light Grey stripes (that you don't see on this photo)

$$$ Katchink goes the till!

That shop gets me drooling every time we go, so, after choosing those men fabrics, I looked around, and they had a sales corner, get 2 buy one, in which all the fabrics were already 50% off! I have found those two beauties, both wool! The first one is woolen rose, and there is 2 meters of it, for a dress I think... The second one is a thick woolen mustard, and there is two meters. It will go perfectly with the polka dots I had for one euro. Mustard for the coat, polkas for its lining! Can you imagine that, for those 4,50 meters of 100% thick wool, I only paid 25 EUROS!!!! I am on the moon!

$$$ Katchink goes the till!

Let's get busy!

Friday, August 27, 2010

My Burberry nights...

I am done! 
And wearing my brand new red hat!
And I've used my boots for the first time after the summer!

As you can/could read for the past two weeks, I have been busy with this Burberry obsession of mine. I have used. I am using a gorgeous woolen checked fabric, with a Burda pattern from the May issue (#137). Since the last episode, I got a lot of things done!

1) Stitch the top and the bottom together
2) Figure out where my hem is going to be
3) Put the length evenly
4) Blind stitch it (for my first time ever as I usually am very lazy and do machine straight lines...), and fuse it
5) Make my own buttons with leftover fabric
6) Sew my buttons on
7) Sew my button holes

Here you go with closer shots! Down here are pictures of my blind hem (first one I have ever made), my collar (checked bottom, cream top), my sleeves, my cream folds.

And then, I had fun and jumped from plot to plot, of course, my Mister took more pictures...

Ok, they are less flattering, but I had so so much fun!

What do you think of the whole project?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

TV Thursday: Blair Waldorf (& Award season)

Spotted: a blogger girl trying to figure out what Queen B would sew for herself...

Ok, I realize that she actually *gets* people to sew for her, but let me dream... For those who don't know who I am talking about, Blair Waldorf is a character in Gossip Girl. She always has the right garment on her and is NOT afraid of using colors or accessories.

So, let's start the game!

What 5 pieces would make her wardrobe?
I have decided on picking winter AND summer items. When it's cold, she is the queen of coats and capes. In the third season, she also works heavenly the pencil skirt and blouse combo. Last weeks, we have seen a LOT of pictures online from the shooting of the fourth season. Blair rocks the dresses!

1) The fourth season starts in Paris, in the summer! And I bet the stylist of Gossip Girl had a lot of fun picking up the dresses for Blair. They are funky, fitted and colorful! Here is a shiny exemple:

I explored the world wide web, and I only looked at designers patterns, because, honestly, Miss Waldorf would not be happy with non-designer pieces... What do you think about this Vogue pattern designed by Cynthia Steffe. She would use different fabrics with different prints for the bottom and top. And also maybe for the belt. She could also use a luxury evening fabric to dress the pattern up.

2) The pencil skirt! In the third season and in the winter, Blair has been dressing like the new adult that she is. What is better than pencil skirts?

So, of course, you find a lot of basic pencil skirt patterns online... I picked up another designer pattern on the Vogue website. It has been created by Donna Karan. I think that Blair would wear this one as it is different. The draping is gorgeous in front and she has the body shape to pull it off. And, honestly, look at the back! Isn't it gorgeous? Of course, she would wear her Louboutin...

3) Here comes what usually works so well with those skirts: The blouse! On the previous picture, you already see a nice beige one. But look at this one with a cute print and scarf!

Now, let's stay in the designers patterns: the magnificent blouse that Rebecca Taylor has made for Vogue. Any light color would rock! And I also think that prints would work, but light and small ones... Of course, this blouse would be tucked in the pencil skirt.

4) During the winter episodes, I drooled as I was watching Blair's coats. They are so cute and full of colors, and Quirky too. Did I mention cute and colorful?

This time, I went for a non-designer one, but still on Vogue. I love the simple lines it has. It is also very structured and would easily carry popping colors. I think that Blair wouldn't mind pimping it with cute vintage large buttons. And maybe a mustard fabric?

5) Last but not least: Capes! Miss Waldorf has been cutely wearing them during the winter episodes. I remember a gorgeous green one that was quite long, and that allowed her arms to get out. You know, it is necessary, to carry bags or to sip Starbucks Coffees... Here, I picked this cute vintage pattern that was also on Vogue.

Now, what would *I* wear from Miss Waldorf's wardrobe?
- If you read some of my previous posts, you will see that I actually have ordered the blouse pattern from R. Taylor. And it has arrived! And I am going to dive into it as soon as I am done with the three projects that I have started.
- I love pencil skirts, but I still have to find a way to make them flattering. However, I am pretty happy with the pleated one I have finished a few days ago...

That is it for this TV Thursday! I look forward to the new series that are arriving in september. They might bring new interesting haracters to blog about. Until then, for next week, I must still deliberate between these:

Lily from "How I met your mother"
Joan from "Mad Men"
Samantha Stephens from "Bewitched"

If you actually vote, you are the one to decide. Last week, Iro Iro liked the idea of Blair... So, tell me, people ;)



Big PS: I received an award!

Me? Yes me! It comes from Iro Iro! When you get it, you should do these things
1. Thank the person who gave you this:
Thank you so much! I didn't expect it at all!
2. Copy the graphic of this award to your blog.
Done! See, it's up here!

3. Pass on this award to 15 other blogs. Or do like Iro Iro, and pick your five favorites and talk about them. 
Oh, completely in favor of the Big Five deal! I am not going to re-send it to you, Iro Iro, because I guess that we would end up running in circles. But as you know, I read you very very often!

- Gertie! Gertie's New Blog For better Sewing.
I forgot how I ended up on that website, but thank you I did! Since I read about her attention to details, I started doing Muslins!

- Grosgrain!
I love her features! Frocks by Friday, Technique Tuesday, etc... Her creations are also SOOOO pretty! And I like it when she tells little stories about her daily life ;) Curious me! Bad, bad!

- The Selfish Seamstress!
Her famous Coffe Date Dress is the pattern that has been the most used on Burdastyle! And one of my first ones too! She is such a great seamstress and thanks to her, I now say no to my boyfriend when he asks me to mend his pockets!

- VeryPurplePerson!
Her creations are so zen! I love her use of Japanese patterns. You should also see the GORGEOUS fabrics she uses! I am so jealous!

- Carolyn! Diary of a sewing fanatic.
I came across her blog a week ago! And I love it! She introduced me to a new term "TNT patterns" (tried and true). She also is great at transforming patterns for her frame! I think she does it really nicely! She also has very interesting opinions on the whole "plus-size" idea.

4. And lastly, tell the beloved bloggers about their award.
Getting busy with it!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Progress on my Burberry inspired dress

Hello, hello! Long time no post! I just came back from a gorgeous surprise birthday week end in Spa, in Belgium, the town where the word "Spa" comes from! It was a PERFECT mini trip and we walked to so many beautiful places! And I even got sunburnt... Typical me!

Anyway, when we dropped our suitcases in the apartment yesterday, I saw my Burb' dress project on the table. I could *see* it was feeling lonely and left aside... Who am I to abandon it for a whole week end! In the evening, I got to work a little bit on it.

At the moment, the top part is almost finished, folds and collar included. I really like the contrast of the cream color and of the fashion fabric.

For this dress, I have paid a LOT of attention to details! My darts are secured properly, and reinforced. My collar in interfaced. My sleeves are reinforced as well. The collar is very very neat (compared to the previous ones that I have made).

Today, I had a job interview, so I didn't have that much time to sew anything yet. However, I got started on the folds on the skirt (that is already assembled). I have also pinned it to the top while my Mister was uploading the photos we just took of the top. There is still a LOT do be done!

1) Stitch the top and the bottom together
2) Figure out where my hem is going to be
3) Put the length evenly
4) Blind stitch it (for my first time ever as I usually am very lazy and do machine straight lines...)
5) Make my own buttons with leftover fabric
6) Sew my buttons on
7) Sew my button holes
8) Probably something else if things don't work as planned...

Let's get busy!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

TV Thursday: Penelope Garcia!

Let's talk about fashion and sewing, but differently!

From now on, hopefully, I will discuss a character I really like from a TV series. Her style and wardrobe. Earlier today, I wanted to start with Joan from Mad Men, but I had a better idea. Everyone blogs about Joan, and, don't you worry, I will too! I wanted to start with someone that I can really relate to: Penelope Garcia from Criminal Minds (Kristen Vangsness in the real world)

Who is she?
She is the IT girl of the team, a nerd, a geek, a quirky thing. She's emotional, strong and smart. She has a LOT of fun with her clothes and shows off her curves instead of hiding them!

She also uses cute accessories and nice shoes...

Oh, and she dates Nicholas Brendon in the series, aaaaaah, geeky love.

What is in her wardrobe? And how to make it?

1) First, dresses! She has lots of dresses! Colorful, fitted, cute, quirky, with cleavage and they usually stop at the knee or a wee bit higher. I think that she would totally dig this pattern from DKNY on Vogue. But I think that she would use a funkier fabric that has vibrant colors.

2) Cardigans! She has a big pile of them! In different shapes, colors and with different details! I think that she would like this pattern from Simplicity. She would use the C or E variation, I guess. They are shorter and I think that she also likes shorter sleeves. I can imagine her using lace details too! Or ribbon...

3) The jacket! I saw a few pictures of her with cute fitted and short jackets. Same thing, she shows off her curves! Yeay! They have bows, ruffles, and wide and deep necks. I think that she would enjoy this pattern from Rebecca Taylor for Vogue. It is nice and girly ;)

4) For skirts, she usually goes for knee length. Sometimes straight, but mostly A-line skirts. She would be careful to use funky tights to go with it, of course! I think she would love this cute piece from Burdastyle. I can see her with different colors in the ruffles, oh yes!

5) And finally the top! Usually, she has a basic cleavagy top. Round or V-neck. Once again, they are funky! But they mostly show off her shapes! She might use this other Burdastyle pattern. She could funk it up or funk it down. The scarf is playful and she could totally wear one of her favorite cardigans on top!

What is specific to Penelope Garcia's style?
Well, her accessories! Hairpieces, belts, necklaces, quirky tights, and hairdo! She changes her hair color quite often, and goes from blond, to brunette, or to ginger! She also has the odd highlights in bright colors...
Mostly, I like her, and the actress in real life... She always shows off her curvy bits and is not afraid to do things that stylist would veto! That is something that is quite rare these "formatted" times.

What would I steal from her wardrobe?
Her tights! dresses and jackets! I might actually already have some of them :s...

Here we go!!! That's it for this TV Thursday! For next week, I already have a long list of ideas!!! I hesitate between three: Joan, from Mad Men; Blair, from Gossip Girl; or Emma Pillsbury from Glee. What do you think?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Work in progress: Burberry inspired shirt dress

I have had this idea for AGES! Last year, I really got to discover Burberry. I always thought it was an old British lady brand. For umbrellas and trench coats... Then I stumbled on Emma Watson's campaigns with them, and then I visited their website, and I was caught off guard! So, I am going to do this:

I am going to use a Burda pattern as a base. It appeared back in the May issue (#137). It is plus size too. I like the a-line skirt and simple collar.

I am using an amazing woolen check fabric for most of the dress, and a cream fabric for the inside folds and the collar. Of course, my new habit is muslins making. It helped so much this time!

On the first picture, I have made the first changes...
1) One size smaller for the top overall
2) Shortening at the shoulders to pull everything up
3) One size bigger from the hips down
4) Darts on the back of the skirt, I managed to put them right under the top ones
5) Shortening of the skirt planned

On the second picture, you can see that the back is not quite right. So, more changes!
6) Shortening the back length between the darts
7) Having a tiny less ease on the back shoulders
8) Shorter and narrower sleeves

Now, I haven't saved the end muslin. I completely forgot to take a picture with the changes and the collar and sleeves on... Oh well, the end result will be a bigger surprise then ;) I have also decided that I will wear a belt with it!

Today, I have cut the fashion fabric, the cream fabric, and my interfacing. I have ironed it on too. My last doing so far was "writing" the patterns onto the fabric pieces. Here you can have a quick look at the way my living room table is at the moment...

The good thing about this project is that I keep thinking about my perfume, which happens to be from Burberry: London... So I spray it on, and it smells good ;)

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