And it was called yellow – last dress of winter

* I moved to WordPress, I used to blog over at . I changed because I prefer the comments handling and layout options better here *

*** BTW Sorry for the uninspired post, but I am currently nursing a hangover… Like Heather from the Great British Sewing Bee would say, I drowned in a bucket of gin(-tonic) last night…  ***

yellow peony 6

A lot of sewing has been going on around here, taking pictures just isn’t really happening right now. A combination of drab weather and workload of my husband-photographer are the main reasons.

So far I have made 2 Anna’s, one shirt for my man, an Albion, two man-trousers which were an absolute fail, a muslin for my Bossy-challenge and this Peony. The rest will eventually get up here, I just can’t say when… I have ordered a few patterns online and bought burda’s and patrones magazines and made a lot of future sewing plans and am working on my first Cambie dress. I’m really excited to see how that turns out…

This is my third Peony so far, you can see the others here and here. So that makes this my most used pattern, and I love every single version! This is the last thing I sew for winter, it’s about time the temperature goes up and the sun shouldn’t play hide and seek behind the clouds anymore…

For this one I used a yellow coloured wool I found on a remnants table somewhere. I love to sew with wool, it’s very well-behaving under the machine and presses really easily, and it is a dream to wear.

I wanted to do something different for the third Peony, a little pattern hack if you will, so I changed the back zipper for a button closure. To do this, I just extended the pattern piece with 1 cm at the center back seam and then lined the entire bodice. The new center back sits at 0.5 cm from the edge so that is where I put the buttonholes. If you want, you can just do the same for the skirt part as well.

I have wanted to use trim for a long time now, and I found this green sparkly trim in a haberdashery around the corner from my house. The lady behing the counter is super friendly, so first I made her pull out all kinds of trim in green and purple. After I finally decided on the bling, I wanted coördinated buttons, so she just kept pulling out box after box of green buttons. She told me to take my time, while she was busy with other customers. I think I was in there for over an hour before I finally decided on the buttons…

The waistband on my dress is 80cm and one leaf of the trim is 5 cm, so there was no tricky business involved in matching the pattern on the sideseam. I realized last week that I am now more demanding when it comes to my sewing. I was thinking of wearing a skirt I made a few years ago, but in the end left it in the closet because the total lack of pattern matching was driving me out of my mind. I think that skirt will make a trip to the second hand store real soon.

I didn’t gather the skirt because of the weight of the wool, but I made pleats instead. Luckily when doing the math for the pleats, I wasn’t hung over…

The plan was to put a zipper in the side seam but because of the bulk of the trim (the shinies are sewn to a felt base and is pretty thick) I couldn’t get it to sit right and close at the same time, so I left out the zipper. This makes it impossible for me to put on the dress on my own. It is also impossible to put on the dress while wearing underwear. I don’t have a picture of the process, but there is a lot of grabbing and tugging on body parts involved. Thank God I decided to make useable buttonholes and not just sew a fake buttonplacket…

A lot of love has been invested in the making of this dress. And yes, you can replace the word ‘love’ with ‘hand-sewing’ in that sentence. The trim is sewn on by hand, the buttons of course, the hem is blind-hemmed by hand -I couldn’t be bothered to get my machine out, change the tread and figure out again how the machine blind hem is done- , the zipper was sewn in by hand before I ripped it out again and the lining from the bodice is sewn to the waistseam by hand… I actually love the whole hand-sewing thing. At first it bothers the crap out of me, but after a while, I find it relaxing and I get a great feeling of accomplishment when I finish something by hand.

These pictures were taken at one of our favourite spots in the city, the lighthouse at Cabo Mayor. There is a great walk from the beach up to the lighthouse and the view from up there is spectacular. The best moment is when the sun is setting behind the lighthouse, absolutely breathtaking!


a Winter Peony

When I went shopping for my Poncho-skirt, I found a gorgeous piece of green wintery bouclé on the remnants table for 10€. SCORE! I knew I had to make a dress out of this! And here it is.


My second Peony. After the crazy flamingo’s, this one is a little more subdued, I would even dare to say it looks classy (untill I put it on, all class vanishes in an instant, because I am not frail and fragile, but firm).
But it still is a nice dress. 
I should have made an alteration to the front darts and taken out some excess fabric at the neck, but I didn’t. For one obvious reason: Laziness, my favourite pastime.

I did make a few changes to the construction. 
1. I repositioned the zipper to the left side seam. I don’t know why patterns call for zippers center back. I for one hate them.
When I lean back in a chair, the zipper starts to hurt and maybe I am not nimble enough, but I can’t manage to open or close a zipper on the back on my own. It always ends with me in tears curled up the wrong way around on the bathroom floor in a very abnormal bodyspasm, trying to reach the tiny, tiny zipper pull on the back.
2. Because of the side zipper, I only have one pocket. One pocket is better than no pocket. I know I said last time that the pocket didn’t do anything special for me, that I was impartial toward it, but since then, I have totally changed my mind – what can I say, I’m a girl! Pockets in all dresses PLEASE!
3. I made a full lining for this dress, because wool bouclé is itchy. Big time. The lining doesn’t eliminate all the itchyness, but most of it.
I bought the lining in a little fabric store here in Santander. It cost me 15€ (yes, more than the bouclé) and it is some sort of cheap polyester that I really, really hate. But it gets the job done…

The dress was put to the test in Barcelona and it held up perfectly! Luscious breakfast, walking through the rain – a lot of rain, museum visit and flight home. I love this dress. I feel very ME in it. And that is always an important consideration.

And now because I think there are more interesting things than my dresses I give you Sun, Sea, Surfers and Palm Trees. The weather has been so great the last few weeks, I wanted to share… And because the above pictures are the only ones I have that are decent. Time for my photographer/husband to get back home from his trip.

Colette Peony – aka Stashbusting Flamingoes

I have had this pattern lying around for 3 months now, along with the fabric I bought especially for this.

A gorgeous yellow-pistachio silk jacquard.
I love yellow fabrics, there is just something about the bright vibrance that cheers me up instantly (not that I need a lot of cheering up, I am a pretty cheery person by nature).
But somehow, the foresight of letting my scissors have a go at this fabric left me with a feeling of gloom.
After reading a lot of reviews of this pattern (here, here and here amongst others) and the fitting issues, I felt even worse about starting this project.

When I finally did decide to go for it, I left ALL precaution behind and cut in the original pattern right away…
Yes I do!
While I was cutting away my pattern, I had an epiphany.

I still had this in my stash. A soft yellow, Michael Miller quilt cotton sporting crazy flamingoes.  Doesn’t this just SCREAM summer?
Once I made the decision to change my fabric, I felt a huge weight being lifted of my shoulders and I was feeling enthusiastic about this project again.
I really wanted sleeves and pockets in this dress, I don’t know exactly why, just an irrational desire I guess, so I omitted the belt part because I only had 2 yards of this fabric (don’t know how much that is in metric, just that you can just, just, just fit a size 8 Peony without belt out of it). I can always add a belt later if I really want to, but I don’t think that’s likely as I’m not a belt-person. (Do those even exist?)

 I am really self-conscious when my picture is taken, I guess I have to get used to these photoshoots… This time we went to one of the twelve beaches of Santander to snap some photos, it was the first time in over a month that the sun was out, it was still pretty cold, 17º, and my legs are still awfully white, I haven’t been to the beach yet this year to get a tan…

While perusing through my pattern-instructions (I always do that before starting, I think it’s half the fun) I saw the suggestion of adding piping to the waist- and neckline. Lucky for me I had some white piping sitting in my stash so I could add that. I also added piping to the sleeves. I thought about adding piping to the hem as well, but I didn’t have enough piping left (I’m on a very tight budget so buying piping wasn’t going to happen) so I just did an invisible hem with bias-tape and using the special foot that came with my machine.
I love the effect of the piping, it gives such a retro-girly feeling to the dress.

I thought about inserting an exposed metalic zipper, but I really wanted this dress finished as soon as possible so I could pick up my husband from the airport in it (He went to the Canary Islands for work. How unfair is that?) so I used one from my huge zipper stash (last year I bought a surprise bag of 100 zippers on E-Bay). I found a really long, beige, invisible one, perfect for this dress.
I have one of those plastic feet for invisible zippers, but I don’t like using it, so I use my regular-zipperfoot for inserting invisible zippers. I think they end up looking better (or looking more invisible, in this case) than with the plastic foot.
I forgot to add the piping to the neckline, and thought about leaving it so, but ‘lucky’ for me I sewed the pieces for the facing together the wrong way so I ended up with an odd-looking standing-straight-up neckline. This meant unpicking the staystitches, the seam and the bias tape I used to finish the raw edge of the facing. Lucky me, indeed…
So, I redid the entire facing, WITH the piping this time (silver lining people!), but the neckline still does something weird, especially in the back. This could be due to an excess of fabric that many of you already commented about.

I hope it will be allright when the dress gets some wear or maybe when it has been in the washing machine. We’ll see, I won’t lie awake worrying about it.

And then there are the pockets so many of you love so much.
I am somewhat impartial as to the pockets (in dresses in general). I’ll probably use them, but wouldn’t be heartbroken if there were no pockets in this dress either. I really don’t care about them. At all.
So my dread about the Peony and all it’s fitting issues, proved to be unnecessary after all. This is an out-of-the-envelope-size-8 (I was feeling lazy) and I am really really really satisfied with the fit and outcome.
This goes right to my top-3-favourite-makes of all-times, along with my purple knit dress and my blue polkadot dress, and my husband loves it too, he even noticed the piping…
HOORAY for Colette Peony… and flamingoes…  and using the stuff you have in your stash!

This is me, imitating the crazy flamingo that is on the fabric.

Birthday Bounty

I LOVE my birthday… And this year was a big one. I turned 30 two weeks ago!
Weeks in advance I harassed Mr. Ogre about the plans he may or may not have made, give him not so subtle hints on what I want to do, and more importantly, what I want to get… This year I really outdid myself and sent him an email with a list of things I would like to get with the words: “This is just a guideline, if you had another idea, that’s great too.” That and a constant nagging that I wanted a fun day. This really freaked him out a bit, got him a bit nervous. He thought I expected fireworks and a flash mob, but all I really wanted was a nice day. just the two of us, no work, no phonecalls, no nothing.
And he delivered. It was one of the best birthdays, if not the best EVER!
In the end we had a great day in Bilbao. We had nice weather and Mr Ogre catered to all my desires: good food, thrift shops and fabric shopping. And I got 3 Colette Patterns as a present. LOVE him and his presents!

So now to the good part: my presents

First of all, my brand new gorgeous patterns. Colette Patterns Peony, Violet and Eclair. I especially can´t wait to finish my Eclair, although I am pretty nervous about these, because I have never ever before owned such beautiful patterns.

I am actually nervous about starting on these. I decided that Violet is going to be the first pattern to be made. I already traced every pattern piece (I really don´t want to cut into the original pattern) and tomorrow I´m heading to the market to buy some a whole lot of cheap fabric to make a trial version, because here is the fabric that I am going to use for the “real” version.

 A gorgeous lightweight poly/silk blend with little birds (they´re about 2.5 cm high each) bought on my birthday-outing in a fabulous fabric store in Bilbao, Rafael Matías (a store I discovered by perusing through this blog). The best fabric store in a 200 km radius (maybe even a bigger radius, I haven´t really investigated yet).

Other fabric I bought there:

 In real life colours, this uses the same palet as the fabric above, and this will be used for the Eclair.

This one is heavier than the other two, this will be used for the Peony, making the contrasting waste band with the “wrong” side of the fabric

Plaid shirting, soon to become a shirt for Mr Ogre, using this pattern McCalls 6044

All I have to find is some pearl snaps to use as buttons and I am good to go.

What projects are you working on right now, or what do you want to make next?

Check back soon, ´cause I will be posting some of my previous sewing adventures soon…