In the last few days, as I sat down to work on making a bag, I realised that it’s been around 10 years since I lived in a small-ish house. This realisation was brought to me by a very bodily feeling, namely that I get a lot colder than I used to. Don’t get me wrong, I grew up in a small house, it used to be perfectly normal for me to wrap up and wear slippers. However, the last place I lived, you could walk around all winter in a T-shirt with the heating barely on. Ah, the luxury…
So I interjected my current work by making myself some slippers. Not that I hadn’t thought about it before, but, seeing that our flat was so warm, I found it quite hard to get motivated to make something I didn’t need.
Of course, my idea to “quickly” make myself some boot slippers turned into an endeavor that took a day and a half. Most of that was probably due to the fact that making a pattern for shoes, especially if you have never made shoes before, can be quite daunting.
I started by tracing my feet on cardboard with a pen, which was the quickest and easiest part of the whole pattern-making exercise.
This turned into the base pattern for the sole. With added seam allowances, I used it for all the necessary sole pieces, of which there were 4 for each foot: 1 outside sole made of vinyl leather, 2x wadding, and 1 lining. Apart from the sole for the lining, I sewed all the others together, layered with the cardboard pieces in between the two sheets of wadding.
The shoe pattern
I wanted slippers that look a bit like “ugg” boots, so I spent a few hours figuring out how to make that happen. I practised on a really small scale, which turned out to be a good idea for not wasting too much material. I’m not 100% happy with how it scaled up once I added seam allowances and will be sure to alter the pattern, in case I need boot slippers again. I cut the pattern pieces for the wadding and lining longer than for the outside fabric, as I wanted a fur trim at the top.
Sewing the slippers together
I thought it would probably be a good idea to attach the wadding to the outside fabric, so I sewed it on around the edges, inside the seam allowances. Then I sewed the pattern pieces for the shell together, stitching them to the sole in the end.
The lining definitely needed overlocking around the edges. Faux fur tends to make a huge mess when you cut it and this was no exception. Nevertheless, once I had sewn all the lining pieces together, it made me think that I want some furry boot slippers as well. 😉
Now it was just a question of turning the lining around and slipping it into the boots. I then simply overlocked it onto the waddin. After turning the fur over twice, I now had the boot slippers I desired.
I’ve been a busy girl this week. First, I updated my blog with a coat I made a while ago, then I made this dress, and then I also made a cute bag, which I shall tell you about next week. There will be some instructions as well as a tutorial on how to make bag straps in a pretty easy way.
How did I find the time for all this? Well, for one, I am unemployed at the moment. 😉 However, if you have an overlocker, you already know how quickly you can assemble a garment, and it will come as no surprise to you that it took me less than 3 hours in total to make this dress (this time includes some pattern-drafting on an existing basic pattern). If you don’t have an overlocker andlike to work with jerseys, get one. Seriously. Just do it. It doesn’t have to be expensive. I bought mine second-hand from ebay for around 90 Euros.
What fabric did I use?
I bought this scuba from this website a few months ago (UK equivalent here). I only saw today that they finally have a scuba-section. They did a survey last year in which I stated that I wanted more scubas, which made me wonder if I had something to do with that. 😛 Seriously though, I love that I can now find scubas on there without going through all of the jersey-section.
What’s even better is that I have the exact same scuba in a different colour, which I ordered from calico laine and which, due to the catastrophe that is dhl, took about 3 months to arrive in Germany. I’ll post pictures of the dress I made with that in the future. I actually wore it to Uproar in the Dam, so that blog post is well overdue…
I do have a bit of a thing for scuba fabric, by the way…
Onto the pattern…
This dress is mostly self-drafted, but based on an old T-shirt dress of mine (see here). This version includes princess seams, which line up with the front seams of the 4 skirt panels. I added some additional seams between bust and shoulder and forewent the princess seams at the back. I also used some black scuba strips to insert into the neckline and arms and around the waist.
Some close-ups of the front and back details
And another update on the Merrylock 3040
I want to show you the hem of this dress, because I’ve been sewing my hems with the Merrylock 3040 for a while now, but the other day I was reading my blog post from when I first got it and I have to say, not only have I got used to it, it also makes a pretty decent hem now without destroying the fabric. Please see below how well it is now doing with crossing seams.
Including: trying out lots of new techniques for the fist time.
I like pushing the envelope. I don’t know why, but I just cannot get enough of challenges. Not overly ambitious challenges, but still. I like to experiment with things I have not done before and enjoy adding to my knowledge of sewing-related things.
So, as promised, here is the coat I made while I was in Germany. I have actually worn it several times since then.
This time, my fourth time making a coat (I think? I might have lost count…), I wanted something a bit different. I shopped around a bit, but am sad to say that I didn’t think there was anything better suited than Burda 6921 with some alterations.
I basically cut out view C of the pattern, but left out the collar as I had my own ideas of a big one-piece collar.
I then added some skirt panels and ended up making the back longer than the front. The Panels have some darts, which are lined up with the front seams of the bodice.
I used a heavy “fulled loden”, which is made from 100% wool. It actually has a bit of stretch to it and is a little lighter than I imagined.
I really fell for this steel blue, even though my usual colour palette is more in the realm of either petrol or purple.
What new techniques did I use?
I looked at this steel-blue coat and couldn’t help but think that it looked like something from a war-era. The colour just screamed “There is nothing to be happy about.” at me. I knew I needed some colourful touches, so I got some magenta piping to decorate the edge with. I had never done piping before, but didn’t find it too difficult.
2- Felled seams
Now this was something I’d been wanting to do for ages. A lot of corsets employ a felled seam as casing for the boning and since making a “proper” corset is still on my mind somewhere, that is definitely something I keep an eye on. Also, I often see coats with felled seams and quite like the look of them.
There was also a practical reason though. As stated above, the fabric was a bit lighter and stretchier than I imagined, so any added strength in the seams would make for a more solidly constructed garment. I also topstitched both sides of all seams that weren’t felled, so the waistline, side seam and shoulder seam are all topstitched.
As you can clearly tell, I found it a little bit difficult to get accurate seams. My machine did not love this loden fabric and I struggled with tension issues quite a lot, depending on how many layers of the stuff I was trying to sew through.
3- Welt pockets
I also finally had a chance to do welt pockets! I have to say, they are not quite as hard to achieve as I had thought at first, but give such a cool look to a pocket. This Burda pattern has the pockets in the seams, which is probably the easiest way of doing them, but since I didn’t use the pattern for the skirt part, I wanted to try my hand at something new. Nevertheless, there is definitely something I find very hard about them and that is making them look accurate.
You can see that they are a bit wonky, or rather, you can see that one is a bit wonky, as I am ashamed to show you the other one up close. This is definitely something I need to practice a bit (read a lot) more.
Oh, and here is my favourite part of this coat, the lining…
I used the most colourful lining in a very bright fuchsia, which is certainly a contrast to the drab steel blue.
Ah, a new country! New people to meet, new languages to learn, new rules to get used to.
Well, in my case I am not learning a new language per se, but rather getting used to the nice-sounding tongue that is Swiss German. Being German, it is so fundamentally different that it certainly takes some time to get used to. On the other hand, maybe it’s just hard to understand because the Swiss have a much nicer way of saying things? I’m not even joking. My husband and I lived in Berlin for 5 and 6 years respectively, so the politeness of people here astounds and endears us on a regular basis, even though we have only been here for a week.
However, this is the very first time I am living outside the EU, so there are some bureaucratic hoops to jump through that I am not used to. Being from a neighbouring country, this seems odd. Even the UK, as much as it sees itself outside of Europe, by simple existence of its EU-membership makes things a lot easier for us EU-citizens. Here, it’s a completely different story. A permit and “Ausländerausweis” (foreigner ID) are needed to live here long-term, which suddenly makes you feel like you moved somewhere much further away.
So, onto the important things: I am currently setting up my sewing room. This, in itself, is a huge thing for me. Not only did I not even have a proper sewing corner, let along my own room, in our old flat in Berlin (I was sewing on the dining table, which subsequently couldn’t really be used for dining again.), I also never knew where to put all my fabrics and paraphernalia.
We had solved this problem once already by installing a set of shelves for sewing things, but you know how it is, you buy fabrics, you keep scraps, you make patterns… all that needs to go somewhere and one set of shelves is certainly not enough to contain it all. After a year, the shelves were hopelessly overloaded and on top of that, a good amount of fabric and patterns were living in various boxes. Having moved, I realised just how much room my sewing things actually took up.
Having my own sewing room, as well as giving up my job, were the two huge factors for me when we moved. It meant that I could spend my time sewing (while possibly getting a part-time job) and possibly even make money from making things. But apart from any plans to turn sewing into a profitable business at some point, I now finally have time to use this webspace more.
There will be many more blogposts in the coming months. I have some clothes I made in Germany, which I never had the time to post about, as well as lots of new projects that I am looking forward to telling you about.