A whole lot of firsts…

… and not everything is sewing related (but most of it is), so if you’re only here to see what me and Aline made together, just watch the first photos and then move on to the next post in your blogroll, if you want to know what’s next, just read on… I promise there is some fun stuff at the end…

Last time I was here, I left you all with a very intriguing question about my plans for the future and a picture of Taylor Lautner. Does that boy have a nice set of abs and some shiny white teeth, not to mention a nice belly-button. Who cares about winning an Oscar for your acting if you have all that going on…
Carolyn was spot on with guessing that I might be making a shirt. I feel like she deserves a prize for that… Maybe I will. I’ll definitely brainstorm about it… Maybe I’ll definitely do it.
She made shirts too, she made 2 shirts, one for each of her sons, you should check it out!

Due to a lack of a 20-year old son, I made a shirt for my husband.
Two weeks from now, we are going to a wedding and he’s best man to the groom for the ceremony at city hall, another friend is best man for the ceremony in the church. Every male participant in the bridal party is required to wear the same -rented- suit. I hope Ward’s suit fits, because we’re flying in the day before the wedding and so his suit is ordered and “made to measure” based on the measurements of his own wedding suit. If that’s not a recipe for suit-disaster, I don’t know what is… But he really looks good in a suit. Don’t believe me? See for yourself!

Yes, this is on our wedding day

He is supposed to provide his own white shirt. A white shirt looks great under a grey tuxedo but is there anything more boring and plain than a white shirt? I think not.

So, to make Ward feel a little bit more stylish and to add a bit of personality to his atire of the day, I made him a dress shirt. We went to Bilbao -again- to our favorite fabric store and bought a really lovely 100% cotton satin. It was great to work with, has a nice weight and a really pretty, but not to obvious, shine.

I chose Vogue 8889, a pattern with 3 variations on the package, but if you want to, you can make that four, just add pleats to view A…

I went for this pattern because of the pleated detail on the front, side front and back seams, hidden buttons and because the sleeves have a placket. All ingredients you need to whip up a nice shirt.

Before cutting I measured my husband again. I do that everytime I make something for him, to get him to take his shirt off just to be sure. It’s probably my favorite step in the entire process of making something for him.
Just kidding… NOT!
Turns out that guy comes right out of the pattern-envelope. A perfect size 36! I would like to say a perfect everything, but I’m afraid you might run away from all the cheesiness…

So now on to the firsts related to this shirt.

Pleats were not a first for me, I already made a dress with pleats so I knew I had nothing to fear.
Pleats are great! They look classy but are really easy, just like me. Just kidding, for real this time!


What was a first for me were the flat felled seams. I thought this was quite a risk because of the importance of this shirt. But, I didn’t mess a single one up… Yeay, job well done!

Caution – this photo of a white shirt taken with flash may permanently damage your eyes

I did make a mistake whilst flat felling the sleeve and side seams. I sewed the first row of stitches with the wrong sides together and it wasn’t until after I was done with both sides that I googled the correct way to do this. Turns out if you want to flat fell sleeve seams you have to put them right sides together, but then you have to fuss about with the sleeve to make it pass under the machine without stitching through the other side of the sleeve. So I decided not to unpick the side seams and flat felled those suckers by hand…

That took me about 2 hours, but I think that unpicking and redoing the whole thing would take just as much time, if not more, and then the fabric would look really manhandled because pins leave markings on this fabric, so imagine what unpicking two entire seams would look like… From hand-made to home-made instantly. NOT what I’m going for here…

Another really exciting first was that I discovered how to attach buttons with my machine… It takes just as long as doing it by hand (to be honest, it takes longer) but it’s a matter of principle. If Aline can do it, than I’m sure as hell not going to!

In the middle of making this shirt, my iron suddenly started to steam rust stains. Panic mode was activated and a new iron was bought. For those who are interested, it is a Rowenta, made in Germany (manufactured in the EU is a very important consideration in our purchases), gets really hot really fast and has nice steam. And it’s really pretty because there are Gingko leaves printed on the outside… Gingko trees are my favorite trees, so it was meant to be…
So here is the final result. He wasn’t really happy with the Taylor Lautner-pose I made him do, but hey, if you want me to make you a shirt, that’s the price you have to pay…

And just to give you an idea of how it looks all buttoned up:

Now on to other firsts…

* My first Deer and Doe patterns arrived. The Bleuet dress and the Airelle blouse. All that is in my way of starting on them, is the pair of shorts that I already cut out last week… Can’t wait! They include English instructions now, so no more google translating! And in the meantime, I saw a really pretty Datura-blouse made by Rachel.

* My first PaperCut Patterns arrived. The Rite of Spring shorts and the Watson cape. I thought about making the shorts first, but since someone said there isn’t going to be any summer in Spain this year, I might get started on the cape first (I think they might be right, because up until 3 days ago I was still wearing my winter coat).
Let me tell you, these patterns look really great. A lot of thought went into the packaging as well, and I love the fact that everything is made of recycled paper. Yeay!

* I knitted a scarf. I wanted a faux-fur scarf to wear to before-mentioned wedding because the weather in Belgium can be a little unpredictable. I stumbled into a yarn-shop and saw the most amazing thing… Fur yarn. Just really hairy yarn and if you knit it, it looks like fur. It’s great! So that’s what I did. Pictures will be posted when the wedding is over.

* I made jewelry. I don’t consider myself very handy when it comes to things like that, but I was looking for accessories for -again- that wedding. I could seem to find anything I really liked RTW, so I went to a shop where they sell beads and threads and earpins and God knows what else, and bought everything I need to make my own necklace and earrings. It’s work in progress but it’s almost done. All I need to finish is a bit of superglue.

I’m not really crazy about the whole skull trend, but it was the only bead that was black and glittery, and I really wanted a bead to match my shoes. Is that irational and exagerated? I think not…
*** Update *** Husband-dear didn’t like the necklace I made and sent me out to buy one we saw in Zara… But I’m still going to wear the earrings.

* I made curtains. It’s not the first time I did this, in our old house I made curtains for the kitchen and the hallway, but they’re the first curtains I made for our new house and a lot more are to follow, so it counts as a first. I still have to hem them, but the shirt was deemed more important… 

* For the first time since we’ve moved to Spain almost two years ago, my husband and I went away alone without our son. I instantly named it our Romantic Lovefest. That’s because Ward’s parents are visiting for a whole month and they didn’t mind playing babysitter while I tagged along on a work-trip to A Coruña. I will tell you more about this later, but let me just leave you a picture of my Flamingo-dress in action, and Holy Mother of Jesus, did those Flamingos get some action!

Yes, I am doing what you think I’m doing…
While we’re at it, let me show you another one of my creations in action:

Give Buddha some sweet lovin’ baby!
Yes, we are crazy like that.



Colette Eclair

My Colette Eclair is done! Yay! 
Another pattern chosen by my man for my birthday!
I will show you a few close-up pictures because I won’t show the dress on me before the wedding it is made for. My first idea was to make this a maxi-dress but maxi-dresses aren’t really my thing. I love them, and I always try one on, but they’re just not meant for me. Just like jumpsuits – oh, how I want a jump suit…
The dress came together like a dream! I made a muslin first out of a sheet that had been left here, made a few alterations that were easily transfered to the real dress.
The fabric is the most gorgeous silk-poly blend I have ever laid eyes upon. It’s the Violet’s fabric big sister, with (almost) the same background color and big bright pink birds flying around. Cutting this fabric wasn’t really easy because it really shifted around all over the place. And this fabric had a lot less issues with threads running and leaving little white stripes all over the place!
The lining is a simple purple polyester fabric, to which I added black knit fusible interfacing and I used the sew-in boning for the first time, and I am sold! Way easier than making tunnels to pass the boning through. Won’t be doing that again!
I did use a piece of sturdy cotton on each end of the boning to prevent the boning tearing through the fabric, or my skin – that happened to me once with my favourite dress ever, my wedding dress… By the end of the night I had scratch marks all over my belly…
To make the inside pretty again after sewing in the boning, I added a strap of ribbon I had lying around – I think I used it to put a bow on gifts – over the stitches of the boning. No-one will see it, but I will know it’s there. I love that about self-made things, the details are not all on the outside, you can have a little secret on the inside too if you want.
Then there was the zipper – how I do not like putting in zippers. 
I once bought 100 zippers for 30€ from e-bay and they came in quite the rainbow of colors and an enormous variety of lengths. I chose an invisible pink zipper and put it in with my regular zipper-foot. I have one of those plastic feet for invisible zippers but I don’t like using it and I have noticed that putting in an invisible zipper with my regular zipper-foot works just as well.
I had a bit of trouble lining everything up, so right where my armpit is, there is a very small irregularity, but no-one will notice as it is up my armpit and I don’t expect someone taking an interest in that…
I think it would be best if the instructions for the Colette were the other way around when it comes to inserting the zipper. Next time (and there will be a next time, summer is around the corner after all) I will first close the side seam of the skirt, then put in the zipper and then sew the lining and the shell together. I think that will make closing the side seam easier… 
All that is left now is to sew the waistlines of lining and shell together – I will do that last minute so if I have to make changes to the dress I won’t need to separate the pieces first – and the hems. I’m thinking about inserting fishing line in the hem(s) so that I get this nice curly effect.
Image from this page – I don’t particularly like this dress but you get the idea…
When I first showed it to my husband he wasn’t quite convinced that it was festive enough. Maybe because I was wearing leggings and sneakers. So I put my glitter-shoes on and that gave me his stamp of approval too. Yeay!
Only worn twice before, so still considered new shoes.
The wedding is July 5th, we are flying to Belgium on July 4th and are heading back home on the 7th. Very short trip, but it will be massive fun! Pictures of the dress in action will be posted fairly soon after that!