Sunday, 4 December 2016

Coat sewing, part one


It was love at first sight. Coat fabric with felted roses in vibrant colours! My projects usually start with a pattern, followed by a long search for the right fabric. This time it was the other way around. I immediately envisioned a simple coat with black accents. Piping, bound buttonholes? During the drive home from the fabric market I thought about some of my favourite coat patterns that either needed more drape or had details that would get lost in the busy print. Then I remembered a very simple Knipmode pattern that only needed some minor adjustments to fit the bill.

Knipmode October 2016 #104


I liked the panels and the two part sleeves but found the zipper too casual for the fabric. I added an overlap and underlap tat centre front and made a muslin, using badly faded 20+ years old wool from my stash. I'll draft a new collar, taking inspiration from the asymmetric collar on my husband's Hugo Boss coat. 




The fit was fine. Maybe a bit roomy, but I always find that hard to judge on a coat muslin. Lining, underlining and inner works take up space, but how much exactly? To be on the safe side I marked all stitching lines and added generous seam allowances. Fitting on the go will still be an option.

I underlined with a soft olive green flannel for extra warmth. Cutting all pattern pieces in wool, flannel and lining resulted in piles of fabric on every surface of the sewing room. Basting outer fabric and underlining together already reduced the mess considerately.
To accentuate the side panels I added black satin flat piping. Sewing inset corners with two layers of wool, two layers of flannel and piping was challenging. I started with the back panels, the easy part.




At the front I needed to incorporate the pockets in the insets. That's when adding piping became a puzzle that kept me awake at night. Catch stitching the seam allowances of the vertical seam to the underlining really helped getting a clean finish and a sharp corner.




I've done a few test runs for the bound buttonholes as soon as my buttons arrived. My favourite sewing technique. I'm enjoying this project so much!


Best colour representation

To be continued!


Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Fabric shopping in Barcelona, tourist edition


When I was planning our trip to Barcelona I did some research on the whereabouts of the local fabric shops. Don't you agree fabric makes the best holiday souvenir? Much to my surprise it was harder than I expected to locate the shops. Some broken links on Artisan's Square and bloggers mentioning a severe lack of fabric shops in Barcelona didn't bring me any closer. Eventually I found a small lead on the blog of Barcelona based designer Paco Peralta and took it from there. Some google sessions later I had four fabric shops marked on my tourist map. Best news: three of them were on the same street!

This triple fabric shop bingo can be found on Carrer Roger de Lluria, a small street in L'Eixample district, only a few blocks away from Placa de Catalunya. Not hard to find, but also easy to miss if you don't know where to look. We took a detour through the little street when we were walking from Sagrada Familia towards our hotel in the city center. It's rather close to Gaudi's Casa Mila, in case you need to deposit a travel companion at a nearby tourist attraction first ;)


La Casa del Retall - Teixits, 
Carrer Roger de Lluria 9


A small shop, selling lots of knits. A quick scan of the collection showed a lot of fabrics I can easily buy at home. I even discovered the same floral print I was wearing, albeit in a muted olive green colourway. Reasonably priced fabrics for every day wear.


Ribes & Casals
Carrer Roger de Lluria 7



Next door: Ribes & Casals. A very large fabric shop, selling all kinds of fabrics from quilting cotton to silk, lace and suiting. The top picture of this post was also taken here.
While I looked around Mr Foxgloves, who is not a frequent visitor of Dutch fabric shops (to put it mildly) was photographing like crazy. Apparently he's attracted to texture: lace, feathers, faux fur and tweed.










I was tempted by the silk section but most fabrics were either too warm or had too much contrast for my colouring. Ribes & Casals has a large bargain basement which also houses the home decoration and haberdashery department.


Donna Teixits
Carrer Roger de Lluria 6

Across the street is another fabric shop with a deceptively small store front. I found this shop the most interesting one of the three. A section of bridal and evening wear fabrics with beautiful guipure lace, silk dupioni and sequins. The back of the very deep store houses a section of special fabrics for fancy costumes and FC Barcelona home decor fabrics for soccer fans. Only one picture taken at Donna Teixits, as the attention span of my photographer started to fade...


Speaking of fading. As much as I liked the print, you can see why it was a big no as it made me look tired and washed out even during a very relaxed and sunny holiday!

In the end all I bought were some notions, and of course the latest issue of pattern magazine Patrones which can be found in most newsstands, together with the Spanish edition of Burda Style. It's a coat special with coats in the style of Ralph Lauren, Karen Millen, Pepe Jeans and Prada.



The fourth shop on my list was closed when we passed by during a late night walk but if you're interested in Japanese fabrics or organic cotton Nunoya on Carrer de Trafalgar 14 is the place to be!



While this list is by no means a complete overview I hope it can be helpful for future fabric loving Barcelona visitors!


Friday, 11 November 2016

Concord tee goes Barcelona, part 2



You can take a girl out of her garden, but you can't take the gardener out of the girl.
Touch all the plants, sew all floral fabrics!

By now you'll all recognise this pattern, it's Concord tee #6. Thanks to mr Foxgloves I finally have a decent picture of the back.



The fabric is a dark blue cotton/rayon jersey,  a bit less stretchy than the fabric I used for my previous shirt. As a result the neckline ended up slightly higher. I opted for 7/8 length sleeves to balance the busy print.
You can spot some pooling at my back. I don't think this indicates the need for a sway back adjustment, my other Concords are perfectly fine. It's more likely caused by a less forgiving fabric or being (temporarily?) too tight at the high hip. Guess that's where all the tapas, sangria and palmera cookies went.

There's nothing to tell about fitting and construction that I didn't already mention hereherehere or here so I'll leave you with some Barcelona action pictures of my new shirt.

Outside Gaudi's Sagrada Familia:





Inside the breathtaking masterpiece:




In my natural habitat:




And drinking sangria at the beautiful Placa Reial:







When we returned to our hotel I found my Concord tee nightie stylishly draped on the bed. That night I dreamt about imaginary tiny waistlines ;)


Next: Barcelona fabric shopping adventures!

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Concord tee goes Barcelona, part 1


¡Hola, I made another Cashmerette Concord tee! It's my fifth version of the pattern so I can't blame you if you're getting bored, but hey, there's sangria, music and pretty pictures of Barcelona too!




I used a viscose knit fabric, changed the sleeves to full length and hand stitched all hems. I don't like the look of twin needle or coverstitch finishes and although it takes a little longer I like the invisible hems on this shirt. I redid the neckband, as I initially thought it would be nice to have the white stripe on top. It just didn't look right, the rhythm of the stripes looked a bit off. Next time I'll check the look before stitching, ughh!

Using 4-way stretch fabric definitely influenced the fit at the shoulders. Or maybe it was the bag full of tourist essentials I was dragging along, but the left shoulder looks slightly dropped in the top picture.



Window shopping at the Passeig de Gracia. I guess you are all zooming in now to see that jacket behind me. I know I would!


Isn't it gorgeous? Sleeve perfection. Sigh.
But I digress, as we were heading towards the famous Casa Batllo.




Later that day, in the stunning surroundings of Museu Picasso, my stripes felt like an appropriate neutral amidst all vibrant colours. It was such an impressive visit!



Clingy fabric and horizontal stripes are not my best look, so I always envisioned this shirt as a layering piece. (I'm wearing it right now, with a black jacket and bright red shoes and accessories)
Luckily the temperatures in Barcelona were much higher than we expected so jackets and cardigans didn't get much wear. Oh well, who cares about clingy tees. Not me after some sangria!




White sangria with lemon and oranges, divine!
And of course 4-way stretch means plenty of room for tapas.




If you're ever in Barcelona and have the chance to go to a concert in Palau de la Musica Catalana, don't hesitate! It's a beautifully decorated concert hall, designed in Catalan modernism style and built between 1905 and 1908. 




The most beautiful venue for a concert of the Maestros de la Guitarra:




To be continued....

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Review Knipmode November 2016



Knipmode delivery day is always a happy day Chez Foxgloves. The magazine usually arrives around 10 am on a Saturday. Perfect time to curl up in a chair with a cup of coffee and do some daydreaming about new additions to the sewing queue. Not this Saturday though. When the mailman passed our home without stopping by I felt like a three year old whose balloon just popped.

Late in the afternoon a neighbour made my day by handing me the Knipmode that was wrongly delivered at her house. Maybe it was all for the best, cause ending up by the first wood fire of the season with a glass of wine put me in the perfect mindset for a magazine filled with loungewear, jackets and warm coats!

Over summer I didn't review all issues, but by popular request I will resume this series. So grab a drink and let's see!

Pattern overview Knipmode November 2016

The magazine opens with a collection in lace styled for everyday wear as well as party wear. Lace bomberjacket #8 is clearly a versatile piece as it  looks good with  jeans as well as over dress #25.
I'm not completely sold on the white top with the bell-ish sleeves. Just not bold enough. Elsewhere this top is pictured made in tweed with teeny tiny 1 cm fringe along the hem and sleeves. You can see the potential, but again, not enough design detail to make an impact. Exaggerate the sleeves and go wild on the fringe and you'll have a pretty party top.




The loungewear collection contains hooded cardigans, jogging pants, sweatshirts an asymmetric skirt and a onesie.



By the way, did you all read this great article by Mary Danielson Perry at the Curvy Sewing Collective blog? Mary classifies Knipmode patterns as Love them, Like them, Meh and WTF. For me a onesie falls definitely in the latter category, although in the past I had to adjust my initial reaction to a pattern more than once. Well, at least when I suddenly feel the urge to sew a onesie I will know where to find a pattern. Or not, as it will be a clear sign I've lost my marbles.
But, to each her own!

I write these reviews from my personal point of view and I'm well aware of the fact that Knipmode's designers have to come up with monthly collections that appeal to 42000 readers of different ages and sizes. A big no for me can be the dream pattern for one of my daughters, or my mom!


Here's another version of the lace bomberjacket in a double faced knit with faux leather sleeves.

What more have we got?

 A trendy collection with interesting use of geometric fabrics.



Lovely degrade print fabric for a shirt dress (#12), based on the same pattern as button down shirt #13


Love the use of colour, but those princess seams with release pleats at the bust look a bit odd. Not a flattering fit for the model either.

In the new monthly feature Readers Request a fun fur coat in the style of designer Dries van Noten is designed for a 20 year old student of the Amsterdam Fashion Institute.



The same coat is translated to a more classic look and made in a beautiful boucle with a plaid pattern in faux fur.


Looking at the line drawing it's not hard to imagine how a more conservative dresser could make this coat in camel or navy and wear it with a classic scarf.

New patterns added as pdf to the webshop:



Finally, I just mentioned the new Reader Request feature. In fact, it's the return of a popular feature from the past. In 1998 my twelve year old daughter wrote a letter to Knipmode, asking for extra tall teen patterns. Knipmode designed a jacket and a pair of pants for her. She had a wonderful time at the photoshoot and wore her jacket day and night until she outgrew it. Cute, right?





Speaking of teens. If there's a teen in your life interested in sewing, take a look at the new platform www.knipgirls.nl where girls aged 8-15 show DIY tutorials. Also on Instagram: @knipgirls

Well, other than last year this November issue did not contain many party dresses for the holiday season. The December sneak peek promises iconic little black dresses, so I'm already looking forward to the next issue. I 'll keep a close eye on the mailman's moves!

Disclaimer: this review contains no affiliate links. I paid for my copy and all opinions are my own. Photocredits: Knipmode


Sunday, 9 October 2016

A Concord tee nightgown


Do you know the feeling? A to-sew list as long as your arm and not knowing where to start?

After finishing my butterfly dress we got an unexpectedly warm and sunny September and I enjoyed every minute of it. Fall sewing seemed so far away! Planning wasn't helped by the fact that my favourite fabric sellers were struggling with our weird summer as well. During the cold and rainy months of June, July and most of August fabric sales dropped dramatically and sellers got stuck with way too much stock. So instead of bringing their autumn fabric collection after the holidays they prolonged the summer sale. Long story short, I ended up buying summer fabrics in October.

One of those fabrics was a very soft viscose jersey. Just perfect for sleepwear! I had just tossed a very cozy nightgown and wanted to make something similar. When you're not inspired to sew anything seasonal sewing loungewear is always an option!

 I started with the pattern pieces of the Cashmerette Concord t-shirt as I knew the fit was just right at the shoulders and bust.


I used the traced pattern pieces of  this v-neck shirt. I cut the front and back bodice at 11 cm below the armscye and drafted an A-line skirt of 65 cm long and approximately 75 cm width at the hem. The sleeves were lengthened by 12 cm. 

The bodice of the nightie is self lined and instead of a neckband I used pink lingerie elastic to get a pretty finish. 

Hand basted to check the fit before adding the lining


The simple design element added to this nightgown consists of two ties at center front, one on the inside and one the outside, sandwiched in while sewing the empire waist seam.


When tied they immediately take the v-neck into va-va-voom territory!



Just as well this last picture is a bit blurry. No need to embarrass the internet ;)




Good night!