Harley helps.

Harley helps.
Harley, my hard-working sewing assistant.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

put on a bird on it, v2: Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono tee

In my never-ending quest for the perfect t-shirt, I decided to give the Kirsten Kimono a shot. It gets a lot of love on PR -- and it's free!

(Just realized the pattern's been updated since I first printed it years ago. Whoops.)

I made a size medium using the bird-print fabric purchased from Julija's in Antwerp.

Here it is on me:

"Stand like an 18th-century fencer!" says my husband every time he takes these photos.
"They always stood that way at parties!"

Harley helped.

Thanks, buddy.

So, pros:

  • I really like the nice loose fit. It's really comfortable.
  • It's simple, just two pieces, ideal for stripes and patterns you don't want to break up.
  • Love the higher neckline.
  • The sleeves felt too short to me, so I lengthened mine by about 3 inches. I also lengthened the hem by about 4 inches, knowing that it would take me a few tries to get the hem even.
  • I didn't get the neckband instructions -- they say to measure the neckline, subtract 15%, then add the seam allowance to get the right length. I tried that out a couple of times (including on my muslin) and it was always too short. I wound up fudging it a bit, adding an inch or so on afterward, and then pressing the crap out of it. That seemed to work.
  • So much hemming. This is where the Renfrew has an advantage, I guess.
The neckline up close:

I really need a serger one of these days. Hate those exposed edges!

Here's the unfinished muslin on me -- this is where the sleeves and hem normally hit before hemming:

A comparison, muslin to final:

I think that's it. Would make again for sure. I've actually already made a muslin for my friend C., and I'm going to start on her "real" version soon, and then one made out of a tie-dyed knit for me.

In conclusion, Harley thinks we should take these things very, very seriously.

Thanks, buddy.

That's all!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

here we go

Finished the last panel of my Alabama Chanin fitted dress tonight. (The stitching, at least.)

Harley helped by guarding the window.


I'm a little scared to cut into it, but the two back panels are already done, so LEEEEEEROY JEEEEENKINNNNNS.


Monday, July 11, 2016

V1510 update

I emailed Vogue to ask about the fabric choice, and they say:

Thank you for your email concerning Vogue Patterns.  Whenever possible we try to provide our home sewers with the information they desire. That is the designers original garment, we will not have credit information on the fabric.

-- Bummer.


Thursday, July 7, 2016

Vogue Patterns, fall 2016

New Vogue patterns today!

I'm super super excited about V1510, the Sandra Betzina tunic and dress:

I need this, like, now. I love the fabric they used, too.

(With this and last year's jacket pattern, Sandra Betzina really seems to be going the Mad Max route. I like it.)

Second pattern on the shortlist: V1517, the Anne Klein collarless jacket.

It's very Quinn in UnREAL or Cat Grant in Supergirl. Dig.

On the maybe-shortlist: V1516, the Tom and Linda Platt batwing top, layered-overlay top, pencil skirt and pants. Interesting combination.

I'm intrigued by the layered-overlay top. Could go well, could go horribly wrong. Only one way to find out. And I like the batwing top too (minus the cutouts, which maybe I can find a way to eliminate?), and the pencil skirt is a nice basic.

Just one question: The only recommended fabric is satin-backed crepe? For everything? Really?

<runs to look up satin-backed crepe>

Overall, I'm really pleased at the nice variety of modern and minimal shapes. Not a fan of the ruffles, but at least peplums seem to be on their way out. Plus, yay shapes that work on short people.

Friday, July 1, 2016


I wrote an Antwerp city guide for Seamwork, and thought I'd post a few extra pics here.

I have to say, I was ridiculously excited when Colette okayed the city guide — Antwerp is one of my all-time favorite cities, and as far as I can tell, it doesn't get a lot of tourists. It was so fun to go back and geek out on sewing and textile and fashion stuff!

So here's the fabric I picked up:

On the left: a knit by a Belgian designer from Julija's that's destined (I think) for a Kirsten Kimono tee. On the right: a French terrycloth from Kokette Katinka, which I'd like to use to make a knit pencil skirt. Not pictured: A pale pink knit with swallows, also purchased from KK as a present for Lisa, who catsit for us. (Thanks, Lisa!)

Julija's and Kokette Katinka had the best knit fabrics. I really wanted the robots at KK.

beep boop beepity beep

(Did I mention they also had one with cats wearing monocles? They did.)

More knits at Julija's.

in love with the arrows on the left

The blue knit fabric with bunnies (?) was designed by a Belgian cartoonist just for them. (!)
Fun oilcloth at Petit Pan Anvers:

 And here's the RTW haul. From Labels Inc., a Dries van Noten silk skirt:

This actually fills a massive void in my wardrobe — I don't have anything like it! Planning to wear it to fancy dinners or museum things, or even job interviews. It goes with a navy-blue Renfrew I made last year, but I might also try to get a navy sweater set to go with it.

(Also, file this under stuff I could never, ever, ever make in my lifetime. Those pleats. I can't even.)

Next up, a Dries van Noten top, also from Labels Inc:

I really, really, really (really) love the embroidered shoulders. Part of the fun of clothes shopping in Antwerp is that you keep finding stuff that makes you slap your forehead and go, "Oh YEAH! Never thought of that!"

Whap. Note to self: Put embroidered shoulders on something one of these days.

Finally (and the real thing is not actually pictured because it's in the wash): an Ann Demeulemeester tank top. Another forehead-slappy thing: Two layers of binding, used to create visual interest around the neckline and additional straps in the back.

I love the way the back is pieced, and the uneven straps.

I felt a little weird shopping in Ann Demeulemeester. I dress pretty casually most of the time, and I felt like such a schlub while they were waiting on me and bringing me bottled water on little silver trays and like that — although they were completely nice and friendly.

That said, it's a beautiful space and I loved spending time in it. There's even a small green courtyard (or courtyard-like space) in one of the dressing rooms. I'd post pictures, but I don't have permission, unfortunately.

Finally, things I didn't buy but drooled over. A couple of dresses in Anna Heylen's shop:

Her work is just amazing. One of these days I'd like to go back and get something made to order. (Also, Anna was there when I stopped by; she was really nice and didn't mind that I took tons of pictures.)

When I got back, I started looking around for all the Anna Heylen images I could find and came across this:

Thank you, sleeve, I now feel totally inadequate.

OK! One more outfit, in the window at the A.F. Vandevorst flagship:

Even my husband stopped and gawked, and said, "That is so cool."

So, in conclusion, Antwerp is gorgeous and weird and interesting and brain-busting (especially when it comes to clothes and textiles) and you should go. And if you don't believe me about the gorgeous part, here's Grote Markt at night:

That's all!