Friday, 6 December 2013

Kelly Skirt Finished

Pattern: Kelly skirt by Megan Nielsen
Main fabric: Wool (purchased locally)
Pocket lining: "Stamp Stripe Pool" by Birch Fabrics

Okay, first of all, I'm very sorry for the poor ironing job I did before taking the photos. I might take them again later, but I still have no ironing board or tailor's ham, which doesn't make the job easier. But I just read that a rolled up towel will do the trick so I'll try that next time.

The Kelly skirt was really fun to sew as I mentioned before. Very easy and perfect for beginners! I didn't make any alliteration, XS worked fine. I think about taking the waist in a bit if I sew it again, it is a little bit loose (my top hides it fortunately).
The fabric was wool (German:Schurwolle), I unfortunately don't know what exactly, the local fabric shop hasn't really done a good job labeling the different fabrics.

I was a bit afraid of sewing the buttonholes, but then realised my sewing machine can do that all by itself! Lucky me! I'm not sure about the buttons though, I was a bit overwhelmed by all the differnt sizes and kind of buttons and at the time I wanted something colorful. They probably look a bit cheap.

Oh, and the hem...I'm not sure I did everything right,it looks like I twisted it a bit, even though I was pinning and measuring very carefully.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Pattern 03: The Kelly skirt (Megan Nielsen)

I don't have much free time these days so here is just a quick sketch of the Kelly Skirt that I've finished sewing this week. I will hopefully manage to take some photos the coming days. .

Sunday, 24 November 2013


My Wiksten Tank is currently on my newly started UFO-pile as I had some troubles with the neckline again and had no time to do some more research to figure out what could be the mistake.

So I started my Kelly Skirt. I followed the instructions closely while sewing my muslin and I definitely should have considered this as my first pattern, because it was really easy to sew. But then again, I learned a ton of interesting techniques while working on the Claudia skirt, so no harm done.

One of those techniques is Understitching. It was not called for in the instructions of the Kelly Skirt, which is the reason, why I didn't do it on the pocket on the right. See how the lining is peeking out from the "inside"? This could have been prevented by understitching the seam-allowance, so I've done it on the pocket on the left. Much better!

It's really easy, so I wanted to show it quickly to other beginners like me, who might not know this yet.

This is what you start with:

You've sewn both front and lining together. The next thing of course is to press the seam open and after that towards the lining.

Then you sew the lining and the seamallowance together, very closely to the fold/previous stitching. I used my sewing machine foot as a guide but it's probably 1/8" away from the seam.

This is what it looks from the right and the wrong side. My dog spontaneously decided he wanted to sit on my lap while I'm sewing which he shows by putting his head in my lap. This surprised my a bit of course and that's why my sewing line became a bit wobbly for some parts. Good thing that it's only visible from the inside.

Then you press the pocket lining to the inside where it belongs and you're done. No visible lining pieces!
(The pattern calls for topstitching in the next step, which was not done yet in this photos.)

I hope that helped!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

The fabrics arrived!

After two weeks my fabrics from a little Studio called Atelier Brunette from France arrived. With a little tote bag from them. That's the nice thing about indie designers. You get beautifully packed packages.I'm not yet sure what I will use the yellow one for, but I thought it was cute and so I ordered it as well.I bought both fabrics without knowing exactly what cotton cambric was, but it's really soft and so far I like it a lot.

The greenish one is not from them, but it arrived today as well. It will be for the pocket lining of my Kelly Skirt.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Fabricshopping for the weekend

That didn't go so well.

Okay I don't mean the fabrics and wool skeins above. No, I mean the needles that I bought to knit beautiful mittens in purple and yellow on the weekend.

I bought the wrong needle size.

Sometimes I'm really annoyed by myself, especially when something like this happens.

When the fabrics which I mentioned in my earlier post didn't arrive on Saturday I decided to go to the local fabric store to buy some wool to knit mittens and look for a neutral fabric for the Kelly Skirt I was planning as my next pattern. The pattern for the mittens called for a size 1 (US) and I checked before what that meant in European needle sizes. What I thought to remember was: 2-3. So I looked for wool and found those lovely colors above (the colors in the photo are slightly off) and the suggested needlesize was 3-3,5. Great, I thought, I guess I can take needles size 3 with these wool skeins.

The gauge that I knitted is way to big. Because the needle size US 1 is a 2,25 in Germany and the difference between those two seems to be a big deal in the knitting world. So no knitting on the weekend.
I also won't be able to start with my kelly skirt as I didn't find a good lining fabric for the pockets and that's, of course, exactly what the pattern starts with. So no sewing tomorrow either. I'm already experiencing sewing/knitting deprivation (and I just started this hobby!), let's hope it doesn't get worse.;)

Monday, 4 November 2013

Pattern 02: Wiksten Tank - 2 1/2 Muslins

(My boxer-puppy wanted to help me model my muslins apparently.)

The first problem with this pattern was a gaping neckline. And I didn't mean a little bit... it gaped a lot.Unfortunately I didn't take a photo, because I was so annoyed by it, that I immediately tried to fix it and didn't think about documenting it. But I used the solution that Rae told us about on her blog "Made by Rae" and it worked! The rest seemed to be okay so I just went on sewing the whole garment together. Which resulted in Muslin N°1:

The first try wasn't so bad actually. The armseye was a bit to tight for my taste, the neckline was sticking out from the body and there was a bit to much fabric in the back. As I'm not sure how to fix the last point yet, I hope that it will be not such a big problem if the fabric drapes better than this stiff ikea cotton. Fixing the armseye wasn't such a hard thing to do, but I couldn't think of anything how to sew a better neckline. Off I went to google some neckline binding tutorials and I found the one by Jen from Grainline very helpful. She mentioned that she topstitches, clips and grades the neckline seamallowance to get a better result. So I tried that with my next muslin:

Unfortunately that didn't seem to be the reason for my problem. I was still doing something wrong as it was still sticking out a lot, if not even more than before. The armholes and neckline were looking awful so again I was searching the internet for solutions to my problem and I nearly gave up until I found this comment under a tutorial on craftsy: (Source:Craftsy)

I was stretching the bias tape the whole time when I was pinning it to the neckline.
I really hoped that would be the reason so I cut a mini muslin just for the neckline to practise and test out this theory. I was very careful and it seemed to work:

I'm still waiting for my fabric to arrive, which means I might be able to show you the finished tank later this week or next week.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Pattern 02: Wiksten Tank

As mentioned I didn't have much time the last week, because I'm working on another illustration project right now. This month was probably not the best idea to start a sewing blog, I suppose.

The next pattern I want to try is the Wiksten Tank!

I chose it because it's a top and I have far too less pretty ones and it seems like a fairly easy pattern as it is very loose-fitting.
Things I will learn in the process:
1)french seams
2)finish the neckline and armholes
3)and I might have to adjust the back neckline (this seems to be a common problem with this pattern)

I went to ikea last week to get some inexpensive fabrics for muslins, so you might see some ugly fabrics, when I show you the muslins that I've done. The actual fabric that I have in mind for this tank looks like the one in the illustration, but I have to order it first. The fabric shop in my town doesn't have any pretty printed ones, which means I have to visit Berlin or the internet for that.

Anyway I'm very excited to sew this tank!

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Pattern 01: Claudia Skirt - changed

I went to the countryside this weekend, but during that time I was thinking about my failed skirt and how I might be able to actually change it. There you go, fixed it:

(Yes, I know, this is not the best-fitting blouse.)

My biggest problem was the amount of fabric that was gathered around my hip, it just didn't look right, even though I already had chosen the smallest pattern size.(I'm a tiny person:161cm/ 5'3ft tall.) I kind of knew how to change it but I would need to take apart the whole skirt for that. I had to cut 8cm away from the original rectangular pattern piece for the front and the back of the skirt, gather it and sew it all together again. I was a bit hesitant to do it at first, but I couldn't wear that first skirt anyway, so why not take it apart and try again.The waistband was also a tiny bit to big, so it was resized as well.

And do you remember that invisible zipper with the rounded corners, that I messed up somehow? This part of a sewalong by Sewaholic helped me understand it better. I had not folded the zipper around to the inside, so there was no neat square corner. But now there is one:

I'm actually quite happy with it now. It's not perfect of course, but wearable and I'm proud that I was able to save it. Next week I'll be working on a freelance job with a tight deadline, so I'm not sure if I'll have time to start sewing something new. The next thing will probably be a wallet anyway (my old one is falling apart)and I'm not sure that this is something worth posting about.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Pattern 01: Claudia Skirt - nearly finished

First of all, I have to admit, that it was a bad idea not to make a muslin for this skirt. "Why should I, it's just a simple skirt!" I told myself. I probably could have already seen the fit-problems that I'm having now. Lesson learned.

It was fun to learn all those new things. It was a bit tricky sometimes e.g. inserting the invisible zipper and the corner which is round and not squarish unfortunately as you can see in the photo. But all in all very interesting and enjoyable.

(This waistband is so messed up!)

I didn't expect this skirt to be anywhere near good, because it's the first item I've sewn for myself, but I didn't think that the gathering would be bad decision for my silhouette.(I haven't figured out yet what shape I am...). At least with this rather stiff fabric. Or maybe it's because I failed at spreading the gathers evenly. The waistband could be a bit slimmer, but otherwise it's okay. I'm thinking about taking the skirt apart and getting rid of some of the fabric, that makes it feel like I have a huge bottom. Not sure yet, but it's interesting to think about how I could make it better.

So it would consider this a failed project in case of wearability but a win in learning experience.

What I have to remember for my next project:
1.Not so much gathering at the waistband, it looks not good on me. -> less fabric is better
2.Pleats are nice but the fabric becomes a bit stiffer in that area
3.Practise invisible zippers, so they look nice and neat!
4.Buy enough thread.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Pattern 01: Claudia Skirt - Process

This happened yesterday. I reached the end of the thread.

Silly me thought, 100m thread would be enough for such a small skirt. I guess I thought wrong, and so I had to stop in the middle of sewing. Annoying, but I could pin my pattern pieces at least, so I would be able to start immediately when I came back from the haberdashery.

This is how far I've come:

The pleats and the gathering are done, even though I have to make sure that the gathers are evenly spread which is harder than it sounds.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Pattern 01: Claudia Skirt - Fabric

I went fabric shopping today, because I bought my first pattern and was super excited to finally start on it. Right now the two fabrics are in the washing machine and I hope that I've done everything right with them. I'm so clueless when it comes to fabrics, there are so many different ones and I don't know yet how they will behave and if I picked the right one for the project.

The first pattern I'm going to try my hands on is the Claudia Skirt by Angela Osborn.

I couldn't find a yellow/orange fabric as pictured in the illustration (which would've been great), so I went with a safe dark blue one, and a striped one for the lining.

As I'm an absolute beginner, there are a lot of new things I have to learn to make the skirt:
1.pleats! (So pretty!)
2.gathering fabric
3. invisible zipper
4. adding the waistband (which looks super confusing) and the lining of course

All of these are probably totally easy for most of you but I never done it, so I don't know how it will go. I could skip the lining, but I want to try it too and it think it looks really neat and finished with one. Oh my...I will totally mess it up, I'm so sure of it!


Wednesday, 2 October 2013


I'm Maike, a freelance illustrator during the day and wannabe sewist at night. After realising that I watch to much tv in the evenings and waste time on the internet I thought I should do something more productive. So I've decided to learn to sew my own clothes. I have absolutely no sewing experience (besides some handsewn bags) which makes this quite interesting. Will I fail and give up? We'll see.

I'm also planning to draw the skirts, dresses or shirts, because... well... I like to draw.