Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Fabric bread basket

I hope you're all having a great Kid's Clothes Week? I'm enjoying a vacation in sunny Malta at the moment, so no sewing for me this week. And to say that I am a sponsor of this edition of Kid's Clothes Week!

What's worse: the only committed post I have this week is about a non-garment. Timing is not my biggest strength, it turns out. Nevertheless, I hope you will enjoy reading about the bread basket I made for this month's Miss Matatabi Makers, here!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Bohemian Babydoll Tour (+ fabric GIVE-AWAY)

Today, I'm part of the Bohemian Babydoll Tour. When Heidi from Elegance and Elephants asked me to participate, I didn't hesitate. I know that Heidi makes great patterns - the E&E Ruffle Top I made for Norah over a year ago is still one of my all-time favorite creations. In addition, the Bohemian Babydoll dress has a great vintage touch to it.

I've noticed that I've been using the word 'addiction' a lot here lately. Addicted to Arizona, addicted to the mint/pink combination, addicted to Cotton Couture Solids... For Norah's Bohemian Babydoll dress, I decided to indulge once more into the last two addictions. The fabric I used for the bodice is an old one from Michael Miller, called Mini Harlequin in Mint. I bought it in this Etsy store. It was a tip from Esther, who used the same fabric in her gorgeous Lua sleep sack a few months ago. Thanks again, Esther! 

For the skirt I used Cotton Couture Solid Creamsicle, and for the flutter sleeves I used CCS Gold and CCS Peach (all bought here). 

Now let's discuss the pattern. I had such fun sewing this up! The dress has no zipper or buttons in the back - Heidi made the armholes and neck opening extra deep and the bodice extra wide so the dress can be put on comfortably without any closures. What I also love about it is the high-low hem. The front bodice is slightly higher than the back bodice, which gives the dress a bit of a vintage look.

Norah is 4.5 now, so age-wise I should make her a size 5. However, she has the chest measurements of an 18 month old, so I generally I make her a size 3, and lengthen the bodice and skirt a bit. Unfortunately, I was in such a hurry to make this dress, that I forgot to lengthen it, so it is a bit short. Oops. I think I will either replace the skirt, or just keep it for next Summer, when she can wear it as a top. 

Making the dress was a piece of cake. The instructions are clear and easy to follow as usual. I'm sure that beginning sewists will love this pattern. And while I don't qualify as a beginner anymore, I'll be making a few more of these in the coming years!

The Give-Away
Now back to the fabric. As the bodice of the dress didn't use up much fabric, I have a lot left of the Michael Miller Harlequin fabric. Judging by my ever expanding stash, there is very little chance that I will be using it again, so I'd like to give away a yard of it to one of you! I'll also be including a few other surprises. All you need to do to win, is use the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

Click here to enter the give-away

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A simple quilt (and a question)

Time to blog another project which I finished weeks ago, but didn't have the time to blog about yet.

When I saw Cherie's super soft Lua sleep sack a few weeks ago, I fell in love with the triple gauze fabric she used. I bought a meter of it to make a soft blanket for Ava, and then the question came: what fabric to use for the back? I looked in my stash, and stumbled upon a gorgeous piece of pink nani IRO fabric which I bought a while back at Monday's Milk - as far as I knew the only place where it was (and still is) available. Mint and pink - what better combination is there?

I originally ordered a small piece nani IRO Waltz Minuet with the intention to make a dress for Norah. Luckily, Rozalinde of Monday's Milk cut me an extra generous piece - as if she knew that I might change my mind about what to use it for, and that I would need more (thank you, Rozalinde!)

I feel a bit sorry for the mint triple gauze fabric: by using the beautiful nani IRO print on the other side, it feels like the main act became the support act. Still, this side of the blanket is really pretty, as you might have seen in this picture (in which Ava modeled her new leggings):

Because of the large print on the nani IRO fabric, I kept things really simple: just seven parallel lines of stitches. I batted the quilt with Quilters' Dream Wool bought here. Five layers of gauze and one layer of wool - this is by far the cuddliest blanket I ever made. And my absolute favorite one.

Meanwhile, I have been cutting Arizona fabrics for a next quilt - a bit bigger, but nothing too complicated. I feel that I'm getting increasingly intrigued by (modern) quilting, a practice which is not very popular with (young) sewists here in Belgium (Europe?). I assume that most of my readers are into making garments rather than into quilting, and I'm wondering how you feel about quilting... Do you consider quilting? Why, or why not?

Monday, July 7, 2014

And the winners are...

Thank you so much to all of you who votes in our Secret Squirrel contests! Suz and I are happy to finally be able to show the winners.

The host contest was won by Victoria of As It Seams, with her dress with beautiful colorblock details. Congratulations, Victoria!

Victoria also participated in the Sew Along, and here again, a dress of hers received the most votes. However, as Victoria already won the host contest, she generously gives her prize to the runner-up, Tasha of Glitter + Wit. Check out the great color combination in this gorgeous dress:

At the botton of this post, you can see the top-5 for both contests (the other submissions are sorted randomly). 

A big thank you again to our generous sponsors:
SewFineFabricsLimaSews, SewFreshFabrics, Scientific Seamstress, and Elegance & Elephants!

Top-5 of the host voting:

Top-5 of the sew along voting:

Thank you so much to everyone who took part! In a few months, Suz and I will be co-hosting another fun series :-)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Cotton + Steel + Hanami + Pleating

When Kim Kight announced nine months ago that she would shut down her fabulous fabric blog TrueUp, I was really shocked and sad. It was such a great source of information on fabric, sneak peeks of upcoming collections, and tips about sales and promotions...

I was really excited, though, when two months later she announced that she stopped the blog because she was starting a new fabric brand together with, among others, two of my favorite designers: Rashida Coleman-Hale and Melody Miller.

Many many people, including myself, were eagerly awaiting the upcoming launch of Cotton + Steel, not in the least because of the promising video teaser they posted online. Finally, in May, they showed off their designs at Quilt Market (where they were the sensation, judging by all the excitement on Instagram).

One fabric which immediately caught me eye was Rashida Coleman-Hale's fabric Gnome Pants (how awesome a name for a fabric is that!?) It reminded me a lot of one of my all time favorite fabrics: her It's a Plus fabric for Cloud 9. And it was lawn. Lawn!

You can imagine my excitement when I found an envelope with this fabric in my mailbox a few days ago, from the formidable Frances. It's such great quality: fine, soft, and the colors are incredibly bright and sharp.

I made another Hanami with some pleating in the front. My sincere apologies for being predictable and uncreative, but low waist dresses simply look so good on Norah.

I did use a different pleating technique this time, though. I followed all the steps of the Origami Path tutorial, except for steps 3 and 4. Instead of improvisational pleats, I made little pintucks at every 1 cm (3/8"), yet skipping some according to a 3-2-1-2-3-2-1 etcetera pattern. Super simple!

No need to say that Norah loves this dress. The colors are just perfect for her. 

If you like Gnome Pants, make sure to check out the entire Cotton + Steel collection. Miss Matatabi is not only the only shop on the planet to offer the brand at this moment (as far as I know of) - she also carries every single fabric from the brand. These are some of my other favorites:

By the way, there is also a fantastic Cotton + Steel video on how these fabrics are made, from the cotton fibers right up to the printed fabrics. I was really surprised about how many steps it takes to produce fabrics!

Made in Japan: The C+S Manufacturing Process from Gregory Miller Pictures on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Secret Squirrel: Voting time!

A year ago, Suz from sewpony and I sent Secret Squirrel for a trip around the world. We have been so impressed with all the creations made by our hosts and also in the sew along flickr group over the past year. Each host really embraced the series and came up with something imaginative and creative.  So now to reward all that hard work we are excited to get the voting started.  There are two groups of outfits on which you can vote.  The first collection is from our Secret Squirrel hosts. The second collection is for those who sewed along and added their creations to our flickr group. For each collection, you have one vote per IP address. Voting begins now and ends at 12 noon Central European Time on Monday 7th July.  Winners will be announced that day.

To remind you of the prizes that are up for grabs, here are our packages:

Thank you so much again to our generous sponsors:
SewFineFabricsLimaSews, SewFreshFabrics, Scientific Seamstress, and Elegance & Elephants!

Now, it's time to vote! Simply click (or tap) on the heart icon which appears on the picture of your favorite creation. The entrant with the most votes in each poll will be the winner.

Host voting:

Sew along voting:

Thank you so much to everyone who took part! Especially our hosts: Venus, Tasha, Amy, Victoria, Jenya, Asmita, Annika, Saskia, Emily and 'Scary'. You made the series so much fun!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Secret Squirrel comes home

After traveling the world for a year, Secret Squirrel returned to Antwerp with the assignment to create a children's garment based on the 5 acorns given by the Shaffer Sisters.

After seeing all those gorgeous creations made by the Secret Squirrel hosts and sew alongers over the past year, I was pretty nervous about my own assignment. Picking the three acorns to incorporate in my garment was rather easy, however. I'm not a fan of damask fabric, and I wouldn't know what to do with gunny sack, so those two fell off.

That left me with the rocket popsicle, the flower and "a stitch in time saves nine". Here is how I translated them into the dress:
- from the popsicle I took the idea of colorblocking
- the flower I put in Norah's hair
- the bodice of the sundress is composed of nine pieces of fabric

The dress consists of a simple bodice with spaghetti straps. It is made out of my favorite line of solid fabrics, Michael Miller's Cotton Couture Solids. They are soft, stay pretty after washing them over and over again, don't wrinkle too easily, and are affordable on top of it. If only Belgian fabric stores would carry them...

The colors I used are called Spring, Teal, Creamsicle, and my all time favorite, Gold. I bought them here.

The buttons in the back are tiny wooden ones from this Belgian brick and mortar store.

I took pictures of each step, and I hope to be able to publish the tutorial soon.

So this was the final creation for the Secret Squirrel series. Which means we can finally start voting! Tomorrow, both Suz and I will publish two link parties to which each Secret Squirrel creation has been uploaded (participants do not have to do this themselves). If you were a Secret Squirrel host, you can start sending over your friends, family, and followers to vote for you starting Thursday (July 3rd) at noon Central European Time. Exciting!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Nani Iro leggings

Have you been enjoying Miss Matatabi's nani IRO month? I know I have! So many gorgeous creations in Naomi Ito's beautiful designs... Every month should be nani IRO month :-)

Today I'm showing my second contribution to nani IRO month, with what is by far the fastest garment I ever made. I traced these baby leggings off a store-bought pair. One pattern piece, cut twice, and an elastic in the waist - that's all.

Excuse the bad photography... Last minute photoshoot with baby on the move.

The fabric is called Corsage Kosa-Jyu A, and comes in three more colorways. It is awesome to work with. But I already knew that, of course, from the baby bandana which I made in it.

The fabric is super soft and very stretchy without feeling synthetic in any way.

There's not much else to say about this creation. It's a super simple pattern, but the amazing fabric makes the leggings really special I think. 

So let's discuss the little model! Ava has developed incredibly since her last Miss Matatabi photoshoot. Do you notice those two front teeth there? And she crawls. And pulls herself up. And walks when we hold her two hands. And says mamamamamama (Dutch for mommymommymommy). And teases ("Here's a toy, mommy, take it. Ha, ha, I'm not letting go of it, ha ha, I'm so funny"). 

Thank you so much, Frances, for organizing this wonderful series! Here's an overview again of the all the participants to Nani Iro month - check them out...

Straightgrain   ∆   you & mie   ∆   Lizzy House
A Little Goodness   ∆   Make It Perfect   ∆   skirt as top
Sanae Ishida   ∆   verykerryberry   ∆   Craftstorming

Thursday, June 26, 2014


Currently, my favorite color is mint green, preferably in combination with soft pink and mustard yellow. No need to explain that I had been drooling over April Rhodes' Arizona line weeks before it was released. 

These are some of the most anticipated fabrics of the year (and, arguably, in human history). I bought a bunch of them at Finch Sewing Studio to make a play quilt for Ava. They were so pretty, however, that I couldn't resist making a dress in them too. And then another one. And the third is in the making (does anyone know of a treatment for Arizonaddiction?) Let me just show you the first one today

This is a simple spaghetti strap sundress, with a little pleating detail in the front. The pattern will be available soon. The fabrics are Triangle Tokens (bodice) and Crystal Arrowheads (skirt).

The dress is a bit too long - it should be above the knee - so I'll probably shorten the hem a bit.

I'm soooo happy to finally be able to blog something, by the way. The past weeks have been so busy; at uni (thesis time!) and sewing wise too (book contributions; new patterns; my own Secret Squirrel creation; upcoming series). I finished this dress two weeks ago already, and just didn't get round to write about it. I missed blogging so much!

So, what are your favorite new/upcoming fabric collections for this Summer?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

It's Nani Iro month!

As many of you might have already read somewhere, June is Nani Iro Month over at Miss Matatabi. This means not only that all four Miss Matatabi Makers are sewing with Nani Iro; it also means that a number of amazing bloggers are joining us this month!

Above is a sneak peek of my own Nani Iro creation; click here if you would like to see more. You can also check out the blogs which are participating by clicking the links in the list below. And you can join in! You can label your own creations in Nani Iro this month with the hashtag #ilovenaniiro if you're on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter.