Winter striped Bettine skirt

While January and February were really productive sewing wise, March was not.

  • The baby is awake more often and asking for attention (happy to oblige),
  • I had planned on making my hubby some clothes for this birthday but didn´t feel like it and because I felt guilty about it, I didn´t get in the mood to sew for myself (birthday is today, no clothes, whatever).
  • Researching my size and shape has spiraled out of control 😀 But things are clearer now, I just need to find a way to incorporate it into my sewing.

This skirt is just the start of it.

Disclamer: These pictures are super blurry, I can´t seem to get my camera to focus. At this point, my iPhone takes better pictures!

IMGP2416

I wanted to make another knit pencil skirt, so I grabbed my copy of the Bettine again (because OMG I luv those pockets) and went straight to cutting. I lengthened it by 2¨ and decided to add an enclosed waistband this time. I sewed it up without the waistband, put it on, pinned out the excess around my hips, adapted it and added the waistband. Easy peasy one hour sew! For the waistband I just measured the elastic around my waist and cut a piece of fabric the same length. I made sure that after pinning the hips, the top of my skirt was just as wide as the waistband so there is no extra gathering.

If you came here to read about the skirt, you can stop here 🙂 If you want to read about the lastest discoveries into my shape and size… Carry on 🙂

It´s the gathering I want to talk about today. While I am an hourglass shape (as you can see in the picture below), clothes that are considered flattering for an hourglass shape make me look like a fat toddler. Until recently, I didn´t understand why, but as usual a little Google got me a long way.

IMGP2420

This pictures shows off my figure beautifully. And the way my shirt falls tells everything about my shape so I didn´t bother straightening it out and retaking the picture. This is as real as it gets 🙂

You can clearly see two horizontal wrinkles at the narrowest part of my upper body. For one this indicates that this RTW could use a swayback adjustment but it tells you everything you need to know. The top wrinkle is where my bra hits, this is the comfortable – nothing pulled up too high- spot for me, it sits nice and flat across my back.

The second wrinkle is where my natural waist (and my waistband) is. As you can see there isn´t a lot of distance between those two, so I´m obviously short waisted. I always thought that this was why I couldn´t pull off any high waisted gathered/pleated or circle skirts. It´s only part of it.

I never realised but apparently hour glass figures are devided into 2 categories: There´s the X shape (or the true hourglass) and the 8 (or Spoon) shape. When I started reading about the 8/Spoon shape, everything just clicked.

An 8 is defined by:

  • a waist significantly smaller (+/- 9¨) than bust or hips.
  • hips are max 2¨ larger than bust
  • short waist
  • HIGH HIP/shelf hip (¨widest¨ part of the hip is at the top – no gradual slope)
  • BULK AROUND THE TUMMY AREA

I put those last two in all caps because that´s what´s been the problem all along. It´s because of my high hip/tummy combo that I can´t pull off anything that adds a little bulk to these areas. So no pleats, no gathers, no ruching… Because of the high hip/tummy combo everything that has a little volume around the waist area bulges out at my waist, making me look a lot heavier than I really am. That´s why women a lot ´curvier´ than I can pull off gathers and pleats like it was nothing. Their hips are at a regular height and/or their stomach is flatter than mine. I actually have a dent between my hip and the bottom of my bum. (You can see it in the picture above)

IMGP2422

Do I think my shape is a problem: HELLZ NO! Why feel sad about something I can´t change anyway! I can sew, so I can wear whatever the hell I want. And now that I know what´s flattering, I can sew that too!

That´s why I really like my new skirt, because it has no extra bulk at the waist, it doesn´t make me look bigger than I am. Sure, I could stand to loose the little mommy pouch but I´ve had ¨extra¨ tummy for as long as I can remember. My mom has it, my grandmother had it, even my aunt who´s 5ft 4¨ (1,67m) and weighs 120 lbs (55 kg) has it! I can change my size but not my shape. But I can learn to work with it.

Discovering all this has been eye opening and I´m really excited to start this new journey to creating a wardrobe that I not only 100% love but look good in even when lounging around on the couch 🙂

IMGP2424

Final verdict:

I love that side seam stripe matching! And POCKETS!

Summary:

Size:

  • Size 6

Alterations:

  • Added waistband
  • Took off 1″at waist level, 2″at hiplevel grading out to nothing at the hem.
  • Added 2″in length

Fabric:

  • Winter tricot (remnant from stash). Same fabric as this amazing dress! (Destined to become a dress for me as well, but got made into awesome – unblogged – maternity Virginia leggings and this skirt)

 

 

Advertisements

#JungleJanuary Not Bettine Anymore

In my last post I told you how I made (what I thought) was the ideal Bettine. Since I´m writing another post about it, you´ve figured out that it wasn´t ideal.

What happened: It looked aweful when I wore it. It was probably due to the fact that my waist hasn´t returned to it´s pre-pregnancy size (duh!) and the heaviness of the fabric, but it just didn´t look right.

Continue reading “#JungleJanuary Not Bettine Anymore”

Mini Post Partum Capsule Wardrobe

With my pregnancy nearing the end (maybe by the time you read this, I will have had the baby), I decided to make a small post partum capsule wardrobe. Because I don´t fit into them yet, I´ve used my mannequin as a stand in.

The clothes I was going to make had to be:

  • warm
  • comfortable
  • adapted to weight fluctuations
  • nursing friendly

Solution: STRETCH!

Continue reading “Mini Post Partum Capsule Wardrobe”

The Epiphany of the Perfect Knit (Pencil) Skirt

2014-10-27 10.41.31
For months I’ve been pinning pictures of fitted knit pencil skirts and oversized sweaters. I really wanted that as my go to outfit for fall and winter, even to go to work. (One of the perks of being a teacher – wear a scarf and tights and you can pretty much get away with anything)
2014-10-27 10.41.25
But finding the perfect skirt deemed to be harder than expected. I couldn’t find the perfect skirt or perfect pattern. I tried on a few skirts in stores to see what I liked, but they were either too long, too short or too flimsy (or pricey). Buying a pattern seemed silly as well since this is basically the easiest piece of clothing on the planet to make and I wasn’t looking forward to spending money and then taping the PDF and then altering the entire thing (since I always have to)
2014-10-27 10.41.44

Why was it so hard?
My demands, that’s why it was hard!

  • I wanted my skirt to come all the way up the slimmest part of my waist, not any higher since I have a very short waist and I didn’t want a waistband getting stuck underneath my boobs.
  • I wanted it to be mid thigh length so it was covering the larger part of my legs, but not restrict any walking.
  • I wanted it to be very very stretchy with great stretch recovery.
  • I didn’t want it to show underneath my clothes.
  • Most skirts where either barely covering my behind or the right length but with a waistband that would creep up while wearing ending in a skirt that was too short.

This morning I was planning my sewing for the next three days (we’ve got a week off of school and the first three days baby is still going to daycare) and it hit me!

I’ve got tubular ribbing in my stash! (You see where I’m going with this…)

2014-10-27 11.12.12
Take a piece of tubular ribbing twice the length you need/want.
2014-10-27 11.13.30
Fold it in two length-wise. The fold will be the hem.
2014-10-27 11.14.02
I used the wrong side out because I prefer the texture.

I decided not to finish it with a waistband or elastic or even serge the layers at the top since
1. Knit doesn’t fray
2. Waistband or elastic would show under my clothes
3. The serging might affect the stretch.

UPDATE: On day 2 I decided to finish the skirt with a waistband after all. Not because it would be more comfy but because I kept thinking ‘What if I get into an accident and people see that I’m just wearing an unfinished piece of fabric.’ I tried, wearing unfinished pieces… not for me. I simply serged a 1″ elastic sandwiched between the two layers, I then folded the top so that the serged edge was under the elastic. I then stitched down the serged edge 1″ from the top, creating a ‘waistband’. It doesn’t show underneath my regular clothes so it looks the same and no stretch was affected 😉

For those of you that think this is totally stupid, you are entitled to your opinion. For those who think this is genius but are worried about finding tubular ribbing in your size, good news, it comes in different widths and it’s all very stretchy since I used the narrowest size in my stash (14″x2) and my 42 inch hips fit into it perfectly!

2014-10-27 11.20.32
The green is the same width as the blue one I’m wearing.

Waist to mid-thigh, fitted, stretchy, great recovery and the double layer makes it completely opaque and the lack of waistband makes it sit smoothly under my clothes. I’m happy! Let’s order some more ribbing!

2014-10-27 10.42.42

Cuddly cat bomb!
Cuddly cat bomb!

Have you ever wanted to smack yourself for coming up with something so easy you don’t understand how you didn’t think of it sooner?

Outfit: Sweater – Megan Nielsen Briar sweater with owl applique (unblogged) // Skirt – No sew knit (pencil) skirt

My perfect moss-coloured Moss Skirt

IMGP1395

In March of 2013 I attempted to make a Grainline Moss skirt for the first time. It was a total fail.

It took me until this summer to finally pick up the courage to give it a second try. I cut it out with the idea of sewing it before I went on vacation. It didn’t happen.

So when I finally picked it up the last week of September it was just because I was in a sewing rut and I needed a fast project to get me started. By fast I usually mean ‘something that doesn’t involve tracing or cutting’. Since this one had been lying on my closet for weeks all cut out with notions assembled, it felt right.

IMGP1394

I hadn’t been sewing long when I first attempted to make it and it was actually the first ever PDF pattern I bought. I wasn’t familiar with Jen’s way of drafting so everything seemed strange compared to other skirts I had made. Now I know that her drafting skills are superb. Seriously, everything lined up perfectly! And if I hadn’t had to insert the zipper twice (!) it would have been a fast project.

IMGP1402

So what happened…

I had everything finished apart from the waistband. I went upstairs to try it on and while I was admiring the fit (seriously, fit was perfect) the zipper pull came off. I had stitched across the zipper and everything, still it came off. And if I hadn’t been horrified enough, at that exact time I got a call from my baby’s daycare saying she was running a temperature and if I could please come get her. It was her first time having a fever, so you can imagine how fast I wanted to go get her. But the zipper pull had just come off my skirt… SO I HAD TO SEAMRIP MYSELF OUT OF THE SKIRT! My perfectly aligned side seam. I still well up when I think of it.

When I finally had time to sit down and fix it (because I wasn’t looking forward to unpicking my complete front fly and zipper) I actually broke my zipper even more.

Luckily I got some encouragement on Instagram
Luckily I got some encouragement on Instagram

So completely unpicking it was.

But I’m happy I did, everything came together in the end and I even opted for the shorter version even though I was meaning to make the longer version all along. I finished the hem with bias tape because I wanted to keep all the length there was. I really like the pretty insides. Except I don’t like the inside of my waistband. I should have matched my thread to the colour of the waistband lining. It’s not really visible here but my thread was the same green as the outside.

 

binnenkant

This was supposed to be a complete stash-based skirt but due to zipper failure it wasn’t. The moss colored denim (totally intended) has been in my stash since the beginning. I bought it in every colourway I could find thinking that 1m was enough to make me ANYTHING I wanted. That’s why the pocket and waistband lining are in another colour 😉 I had already pre washed it and I guess I must have folded or stored it wrong because there is a permanent (colour) crease next to the centre front and right above the hemline. If I had had more fabric I would have cut around it… Now I’ll just have to hope that steaming and pressing will get it out eventually. If not I won’t wear it any less 🙂 Next time I’ll pay more attention to the waistband ends, they curve up a little but for a first try it’s fine.

voorkant

I am kicking myself right now for not making it sooner, because it’s exactly the type of skirt I wore 10 years ago when I actually felt good about my clothes. It is very short and I’ll probably only wear it with tights. (seriously, the ghostly colour of my leg makes this skirt seem ridiculous otherwise) But I don’t mind because tights makes me feel comfortable. I even wore it to work today (have to remember not to bend over, kids might get distracted) I’ve already planned a few more, fabric picked out and everything. But I might be seduced to make the Named Nasha skirt especially since seeing this perfect version by Maike. I can honestly say I’m never attracted to Named patterns based on their styling, it’s just not my thing. But once they start popping up around the blogosphere my credit card needs to be given to the hubby for safe keeping 😉

IMGP1392

As you all know by now, I feel very self conscious when I have to take pictures of myself. But I really really liked my outfit today and so I decided to take pictures immediately after I got home. It wasn’t a pretty day, had been raining all morning but somehow it turned out perfect for the pictures. No weird shadows I had to get rid off. I’m starting to like my back door 😉

IMGP1403

Have you ever waited so long to remake a failed project?

 

PS Sorry not sorry about all the wrinkles… I had been wearing it all day 🙂 And listening to my music made me feel more relaxed while taking pictures.

The One with All the Maternity sewing

So, I’m back and I need to get some posts out of the way. I’ve decided to stop waiting for good pictures before I blog about all my past makes. Winter is coming and we still have no central heating so changing clothes once a day is painful enough, let alone go through it several times to pose for pictures. I do have a remote and a tripod by now, but I feel guilty using them for new pictures before I’ve blogged about everything else.

Overthinking it much?

Before I start showing you all the pictures I feel pretty confident in saying that I’m totally over maternity sewing. It SUCKS! It’s great when you need a new dress for a party, but basically you end up sewing a whole lot of stuff that won’t even fit you after a few weeks. And I know that I told myself that I would be wearing them after I gave birth but that’s one option I got over quickly.

Second of all, when I sew something I want people to be able to see. And it’s so freaking cold that I have to layer it with not one but multiple items so I end up wearing my home made garment but with nothing to show for.

So I decided that I would just try to get through the rest of my pregnancy with the clothes I already had. This includes my giant stash of sweater dresses which made me look chubby before, but now make me look pregnant. And that’s a win in my book.

Last of all is that I just looked at some pre-pregnancy shots and I can honestly say that my body wasn’t all that bad before, I just hope to get it back. I can’t really complain as the extra weight is only on my belly. Which doesn’t make me look pregnant from the back, but does make me look (and feel) like a whale when I look at myself from the side or the front.

So here goes…

1
All made using Megan Nielsen’s Ruched Maternity Shirt pattern
All Washi dresses (hacks) - I made the yellow one this summer and finally decided to shorten it to a tunic.
All Washi dresses (hacks) – I made the yellow one this summer and finally decided to shorten it to a tunic.
The skirts I made with a wide knit band and an outfit I was able to wear before it got cold.
The skirts I made with a wide knit band and an outfit I was able to wear before it got cold.

Before you say “you don’t look like a whale”… These pics were all taken a few weeks ago.. You should see me now.

I’m not saying I won’t make anymore maternity clothes but I’ve given in to buying a coat and buying some long camis and some pants. With everything going on I just didn’t have the time to make all of them and I really needed them because it’s that cold.

I’m already planning my new post-maternity wardrobe, I’ve got lots of patterns and fabric at the ready. I might have to stick to knit dresses and nursing friendly tops for a while. But at least, it’ll be (almost) normal sized me again 🙂

That being said, I love my little baby so much!

(Unless it kicks my stomach or ribs, which makes me nauseous)

The One with All the Slopers

About a month ago (After the fail with the Moss skirt) I decided it might be a good idea to draw my own skirt sloper and just design my own skirts. I wouldn’t have to go through the hassle of fitting skirts anymore or experiencing fails like the Moss skirt one.

My initial idea was to get a tutorial, draft a sloper and would have a wardrobe filled with skirts by now.

It didn’t go as smoothly as planned.

I ended up making 3 versions of a sloper and because blogs are basically about learning from eachother and eachother’s mistakes. I’ll share all of them with you.

Version 1:

I found the tutorial online here.

  • great step-by-step tutorial
  • you could even print each step as to keep it for further reference.

That’s as far as the good things go. Here is the bad stuff:

  • It tells you to add 5cm of ease to the skirt. Think about it, take a moment to ponder those 5 cm… of ease… for a sloper…
  • It tells you to draw 4 darts in the front and 2 in the back… It looked like my ass was on my front!

version 1

This was the result of the first try

  • The waistband hits about 5cm below my waist… I wonder how come 🙂
  • The curves at the sides did not match my curves at all.
  • (Yes, I stitched my front panel on backwards)
  • Look at those darts, it looks like I have the skirt on backwards.

Conclusion:

  • This tutorial is a FAIL!

Version 2:

For my second version, I used a book I had bought a while ago which deals with pattern drafting and sewing techniques. I knew there was an explanation to draw a skirt sloper in there but it seemed to have so much math that I was hesitant to try it. (Languages are my strong side, so logically math is not!)

I used this book.

version 2

The book is originally in Spanish and it was translated into Dutch.

The good things about this book:

  • A clear measurements chart to put down your own measurements for further reference.
  • The book had clear math and was applicable to all sizes due to the formulas. Because there was a lot of math, I decided to do the math beforehand and calculate everything before I started drafting.
  • good explanation with clear pictures

But the bad thing:

  • The translation was obviously done by someone who had no clue about sewing or math, because the formulas were way off. They didn’t make sense at all (and not due to my lack of math skills). Somehow (after some help of the internet to figure it out) all ‘-‘ symbols seemed to have been replaced by ‘%’ symbols. An example: “1/8 A % 1,5 cm” (A being the length between your shoulders). That was the formula for the armhole opening. It should have been 1/8 A – 1.5 cm (There’s the ‘aaaaahaaa’ moment)
  • The translation messed up the explanation of the darts as well so they ended up all being to near the side seam.

version 2a

 

The result was better than version 1 but:

  • The waistline was higher but still not up to my waist
  • The curves at the sides did not match my curves yet
  • The darts were all strangely close to each other.

Version 3:

For version 3 I used this book. I talked about it before, not liking the styling and thinking every model looked hideous in her skirt. I still think that but the last chapter was about drafting your own pattern. And because this one wasn’t a translation (it was written in Dutch) I knew that wouldn’t cause any problems.

So the good things:

  • written in Dutch
  • no ease at the waist so it wasn’t going to fall down
  • clear diagrams

The bad things:

  • a lot of text – no quick math
  • a lot of reading through instructions

But I was willing to do the reading, did the math beforehand again and what do you know: It’s a perfect fit!

version 3

  • The waistline hit at the waist!
  • I decided not to draw curves between the waistline and the hipline, but just draw a straight line and that worked. Apparently, I have no curves there 🙂
  • The darts are perfect and even if they don’t look like it in this sloper, they do look like that in the real deal!

The real deal!

red

 

I’m very very happy with the result. I drew a waistband to add to the skirt. I love the colour and the fabric (a red gabardine I wanted to use for a Juniper that failed).

I also love the detailing:

red 2

 

I found this zipper on a craft fair I went to a few weeks ago and I found it to pretty to hide on the inside. I also used 2 sliders to close the waistband and a strawberry cotton for the waistband facing.

(And yes, that’s the nail polish I bought in Amsterdam)

Do I love my sloper? YESSUR! It fits perfectly and it’s strangely comfortable (the skirt falls were it is supposed to and it doesn’t creep up or down)

I have already drafted 3 new patterns based on this sloper and I have a whole lot more planned! I’ll keep you posted!

Some last tips

  • If you want to make a sloper: Take your time, it took me three weeks but I never wanted to chuck the lot out.
  • Do the math before you draw the thing. It’s easier to draw afterwards and you spot small mistakes you made.
  • And last of all… Just try it, it’s easy and you’ll love it!

I was wondering whether to put the method I used for this sloper online. It’s a little work to put it on here, but if you’re interested I’ll gladly do it! Let me know!