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Monday, January 31, 2011

How it's made

[[ UPDATE (27/2/2014): We have released this design as a PDF pattern! What started as the yellow hoodie has now become an actual pattern with a lot more design details than the original. More flattering, better thought through, a sweater and a dress version, and a collar option next to the big hood! 

Go check it out here. ]]

First of all, I was quite overwhelmed by all the lovely comments I got on the yellow hoodie! Thank you so much! Besides that I also got questions about how I made this hoodie. I did not take enough pictures during the making for a complete how-to, but here's some more about the process.

As I said, the horizontal seam was inspired by my niece Marie's coat. I emailed her a bit late though, so when she sent me her drawing with measures I had already started to improvise. Marie's coat has a very big hood, I made mine somewhat smaller.

My design differs from Marie's drawing, but it helped me understand how a horizontal seam works. The height of the bottom hood-part is important because if it's too low, the hood will not hold itself right. It's also crucial to make a muslin of the hood before cutting your fabric, for this will show how your hood will drape on your head. It took me several hours to get this right! It was a long process, in which I adjusted my paper patterns four times in total. Below you can see the difference in the second and the last version. The triangle piece is cut twice, the other parts once.

Below shows the way the parts fit together. There was no need for any fusible interlining, this fabric is quite sturdy. But if yours is not, I'd use it in the rim to give it some shape.

UPDATE: Get the measurements to draw your own pattern HERE!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Yellow hoodie

[[ UPDATE (27/2/2014): We have released this design as a PDF pattern! What started as the yellow hoodie has now become an actual pattern with a lot more design details than the original. More flattering, better thought through, a sweater and a dress version, and a collar option next to the big hood! 

Go check it out here. ]]

I know, it's been over two weeks since my last post. I've been working hard on this project, but I got the flu when I was almost finished. I tried to keep sewing, but try sneezing with pins in your mouth...

The reason I made this is because I only have one sweater, so a second one is more than welcome. It's my second big project since I started, and I also designed this one myself!

Its made out of jogging fabric which is soft on the inside so it's super comfy and warm. I've written before that yellow is not my color, but I just couldn't resist when I saw this mustard yellow. Besides, the other colors of this fabric were weird, so I had not much choice anyway.

I made the hood a-symmetrical, with big shiny buttons. They don't do much though, they're just for the looks. The seam of the hood runs horizontally which makes it bigger than normal vertical hoods. I got this idea from my niece's coat. She was so kind to take measures and make a drawing for me. It took me a few days to get it right though, but I'll show you more about the process later on. I finished the visible inside seams with some black bias tape.

Above you can see the way the hood drapes beautifully over my shoulders and back. This is also due to the horizontal seams. I absolutely LOVE this hoodie, and I think I'll use it as a foundation to build my personal style on. I have already some other ideas for another one. A third sweater would still not be overdoing it, don't you think?

Update: Check this post for more details and this post for some measurements on the hood.

Friday, January 14, 2011


Well there's not really a story behind these items: they're sleeves for my netbook, and my boyfriend's iPad. They were both an exercise in sewing neat and straight lines. Maybe it's the season, but we both went with rough winter fabrics in a brown and blue color scheme.

I love this contrast of rough and smooth, brown and deep turqoise. I lined it with the plastic foam the netbook came in for extra protection. The bottom blue lining sticks out a bit, to protect the netbook from the zipper. I added brown bias in the corners to keep the zipper from getting stuck in the wrinkles of the lining.

The iPad sleeve is made of leftover fabric from a coat I made a few years ago. I don't have that coat anymore, so it's nice to see it's fabric used again.
I think it'll be a while before I start making things on other people's request on a regular basis. It's not easy to fulfill their wishes because I often adjust my plans as I go along. On the other hand, it is satisfying when the result lives up to their expectations, and it pushes me not to take the easy way out.

P.S. Check out the new 'opinion checkboxes' at the bottom of the post! Now you can let me know what you think in just a click!

P.P.S. Noticed the new background color? It's a preview of my current big project!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Knitwear & grandmothers

Several handmade items have been added to my wardrobe these past few weeks. No more than four things in this outfit are handmade!

The blue shrug used to be a sweatervest, knitted last year. But after all those hours of knitting, it did not turn out as expected. And so it ended up as a ball of wool again. This shrug is a design of my own, knitted with a stitch I learned from my grandmother. It makes a nice V-shape on the back of the shrug. It's not a very special design, but it's the first thing I've knitted without a pattern (apart from scarves). Well the second thing actually, the first version of the shrug turned out big and warm but weird-looking. This one is how I wanted it to be. It's warm, cosy AND it fits. The shirt is also made by me, about three years ago. It's still one of my favourites.

The leather bag is not made by me, but by my boyfriends grandmother. She is a very crafty woman, producing bags, pot holders and quilts by the dozen. This bag is not really what you'd call fashionable, or even vintage - it's just oldfashioned. I use it a lot though, I like the size and the feel of it.

The second thing I knitted without a pattern is the hat. I was very glad it worked out in one go, because this was a time-consuming pattern to knit. I combined cables with a rice stitch and worked with both brown and blue. I added earmuffs for extra warmth and a pompon for fun. In comparison with the hat I knitted last year, this hat also shows my evolvement in knitting: it does not make me look like Calimero. Which is always a good thing.

Monday, January 3, 2011


The beginning of a new year is traditionally a moment to look back on last year, and to think of what you want to accomplish the coming year. So here's what I learned last year:
  1. I never thought I would enjoy this as much as I do: not only making my own clothes, but also sharing it with others through this blog.
  2. I never thought this challenge would be so easy. Sewing is not always easy, but not buying things is not hard at all. Which makes me wonder if I should even call it a challenge! It sounds good though :).
  3. I've become a much better knitter and seamstress. I learned new techniques, used new fabrics and overall learned to work a lot more accurate. At first, I thought being a good seamstress meant that I would have to start working according to professional rules. Make and use patterns, threading instead of using needles, and so on. But I found out that it works just as well when I do it my own way. All these rules slow down the process, and they take the fun out of it. While fun is what's most important, isn't it?
Here are my goals for 2011:
  1. Find this blog a new, suitable name
  2. Create or post something at least once a week
  3. Get better at actual designing, push myself to be original, and don't be easily satisfied.
  4. By the end of this challenge, I want my wardrobe to consist of at least 75% selfmade clothes. A 100% would be better, but I don't want to throw away clothes I still wear.
  5. I should be able to use each item in at least two different outfits. Being able to make many combinations with one item reduces the volume of your wardrobe considerably.
I could add 'keep learning new techniques, become still better at sewing', but that sort of happens automatically through these other goals. I can highly recommend this to anyone who wants to let out their creative side in a useful way. Besides, being or getting good at something is a great feeling! For me, this is also part of becoming more self-sustainable. If you think about it, there's so much you can do yourself instead of depending on others. It's
weird really, how much you depend on people all over the world to make your goods for you.

At last, thank you all for your interest and support! I wish you all a happy new year, and good luck on accomplishing your goals!