Annika of Näh-Connection was probably my first sewing blogger friend ever. We started commenting each others' blogs some years ago. Annika loved Italy, I loved Germany. Needless to say, our cyber-friendship soon became a real-life-friendship.
Annika has a great blog (that I've seen growing and growing through the years!) and a pattern shop, and this week she'll start selling some German patterns translated into English. I was lucky enough to be asked to choose one pattern to try among them and my choice was the Twist It blouse by Schneidernmeistern (a real tongue-twister word for a native Italian!).
This blouse has a very interesting construction. The bodice and the sleeves are made of a single pattern piece cut on fold. This means that you need some very high fabric to be able to cut the pattern from a single fabric piece, especially if you use a patterned fabric like the striped one I've used on the pictures. But the final result is amazing. The stripes start running horizontally on the front to literally twist on the sleeves and connect on the bias on the back.
That's why I'd recommend using a fabric with a directional pattern for this blouse, to display the blouse construction and emphatize the changing grain direction.
I've chosen the option of cutting the back and front necklines the same, this way the blouse can be worn either way.
I've used some very old (vintage?) linen that my mother gave me some months ago. I'm very happy with my fabric choice. Linen is soft but sturdy enough to keep the blouse in shape even on the bias.
This is only one of the patterns available on the shop. Until Sunday 10th you can get all patterns in the english shop with a special discount using the following coupon codes:
- buy1save10naehconnection (buy 1 pattern save 10%)
- buy2save20naehconnection (buy 2 patterns save 20%)
- buy3save30naehconnection (buy 3 patterns save 30%)
This shirred dress is probably the simplest dress I've ever made and the one that got the most compliments at the same time. "Did you sew this??" "Beautiful dress!", etc. Kinda bothered me, because after years and years of sewing complicated dresses full of amazing, but time consuming details, I couldn't believe that a square of fabric with some shirring could be the pick of the litter. Life is cruel sometimes.
But! Honestly, I love this dress too. This is an eternal dress, something that never goes out of fashion, something that I could have worn when I was a little girl and something that my own granddaughter could wear in the future. That's the force of simplicity.
I've found the pattern and instructions in a lovely Japanese book, "Sewing for your little girls" by Yoshiko Tsukiori and published by Tuttle. I received this book as part of this year's London Sew Social sponsorship pack (thank you Tuttle).
This is Pattern #5. The top part of the bodice is simply gathered using a shirring elastic. I've always been drawn by shirring but it scared me a bit. My sewing machine is quite old and sometimes it doesn't collaborate when I want to do something different than using standard thread and needle (for example, it just doesn't work with twin needles) but this time it worked like a dream. I just wound the bobbin with shirring elastic and the machine started to sew perfect rows of gathers. I've finished the skirt and top with a rolled hem, then I sewed the straps by hand. Finished!
This project works perfectly with checked fabric. It creates a beautiful effect on the shirred part.
This book includes 8 beautiful projects, and each one is provided by clear step-by-step instructions. The sizes go from 100 to 140 cm. Each project has two versions of it (a "basic" version and an "applied" one), so you can try to sew different variations of the same garment. I'd recommend this book for both beginners and experienced seamstresses. I really loved this book and I'll probably try many more projects!
Today I'm on Imagine Gnats with a staple skirt everyone should own. More here!
My daughter is growing up so fast. She's almost five now. And her taste about garments and fabrics is evolving too. Sometimes she asks me to leaf through my sewing books to choose "a new dress", and she rummages in my cabinet in search of the perfect fabric for it. She never asks me to go shopping: she always wants me to sew for her. Or help her crafting. I love it. She is learning that she can make her own things, and shape her own little world.
She wanted a dress. She wanted a dress with flowers and birds and something pink and blue on it. I had purchased this lovely cotton at Frou Frou months ago together with a fat quarter of matching red cotton, thinking that my daughter would have loved it (I'm trying to be less selfish and choose fabrics that she might like, not only me). And I was right. Well, that was easy. This fabric is every little girls' dream.
This pattern is the Garden Party Dress by Oliver+S. As usual, Liesl's patterns are flawless. The result is a perfectly finished dress that looks 100% professional. I've sewn a size 5 and it fits perfectly to my thin little girl. In addition to being an amazing designer, Liesl is an unbelievable human being. She recently donated her kidney to a person in need. Go read her story on her blog.
I've found the perfectly matching thread among the spools I've received from Aurifil during our last London Sew Social meeting. I was really impressed by the quality of that thread. I know Aurifil is well known among quilters, but their thread is perfect for garment sewing as well.
I'm sure this dress is exactly the one she'd like to wear in the little dreamy world created by herself!
Creating your own personal style is an art. For me, it’s mostly a struggle. I feel drawn by a variety of colors, prints and textures. Sometimes it’s hard for me to visualize the finished garment with a specific fabric and pattern. I purchased fabrics for a while not thinking about what to do with them beforehand. Most of those fabrics are still in my stash waiting for the right project. Maybe they will never find one! Now I know more what’s suitable for me, I buy fabrics for specific projects, and I’ve learnt to buy better, even if I still love to be surprised by new prints and textures.
This is the case! This is a Julia Cardigan by Mouse House Creations (downloaded on UpCraft Club) in a surprisingly super soft and warm hacci sweater from Girl Charlee Uk.
Both fabric and pattern were part of our London SewSocial sponsors’ package.
The Julia cardigan is definitely my new pattern crush. I could sew it completely with my serger in an hour (choosing the no-hem version!), and it’s so versatile. I love to wear it with jeans and a tee. I’m planning already to sew another one in plain knit with ¾ sleeves.
I didn’t know what hacci sweater felt like. I choose it blindly, hoping to get something warm and soft to use in autumn. Let me say it loud: it is! Hacci sweater is a sort of knit with an open, loopy texture. It’s lightweight but slightly wooly and very warm (I probably deserve a prize for wearing it in my garden at 30°C to take the pictures). You can forget to iron it: just pull it out of your washing machine and wear it (well, wait for it to dry out). The print caught my eyes immediately, even if it’s something that goes out of my comfort zone. It reminds me of African prints and Missoni. I love it. It’s still available on Girl Charlee UK and I totally recommend it!
If you’re feeling lucky, you can try to win two meters of it (or any Girl Charlee UK fabric) together with a bunch of amazing goodies from our Sew Social sponsors.
There are 4 prize packages up for grabs:
3 spools of thread from Aurifil
By Hand London Holly Jumpsuit paper pattern
Stylish Dress Book from Tuttle
Sewbox goodies includes: Hot Patterns babydoll nightgown, robe and panties. A small piece of Liberty lawn and a few haberdashery items.
4 spools of thread from Aurifil
She Wears the Pants from Tuttle
Sewbox goodies includes: Hot Patterns Deco Vibe Shadow Woven T-shirt & Tunic, Hot Patterns Mini Me essential dress & top for kids, 2 small pieces of Liberty lawn and some haberdashery items.
3 spools of thread from Aurfil
By Hand London Victoria Blazer paper pattern
She Wears the Pants from Tuttle
Sewbox goodies includes: Hot Patterns 1152 - Fast & Fabulous Origami Knit Top, a small piece of Liberty lawn and a few haberdashery items.
£50 voucher to spend at The Village Haberdashery
Alfa goodies including: 2x Do it Yourself pattern kits and 1x Do it Yourself Patchwork Sewing Accessories box
To win, just enter the rafflecopter below:
A very big THANK YOU to all our sponsors.
Winners will be notified by the end of July.
Read the story behind this dress on Imagine Gnats today!