Monday, June 19, 2017

Will Travel for Fabric and Friendship

Hello, again, dear readers and sewing enthusiasts   I am back from a trip of a lifetime and yes, it does include fabric (no surprise) but also a highlight, meeting up with a fellow sewing blogger whom I have admired for a decade.  
When I mentioned on another blog that I was traveling to Amsterdam in 2017, Sigrid, of the informative, inspiring and so very creative blog, Sigrid Sewing projects emailed me with an offer to meet in person.  Not only did she take the time to meet up with me after returning from her own holiday trip (and we know how much there is to do at home after travels) but she even went along enthusiastically with my last minute request to visit the famous Kantje Boord shop Kantje Boord Amsterdam  Sigrid gave me great instructions about taking the tram from central Amsterdam and maybe 20 minutes later, there I was at the gateway to lingerie paradise.  Now, I don't even make my own lingerie but Sigrid's exquisite creations of the years have always jumped right off the screen because of their beauty and sophistication.  
We spotted each other easily.  Let's face it, after years of posting blog pictures of our successes and sometimes failures, we are rather familiar with the external appearance of our online sewing friends.  But what will we be like in person when we meet?  After 30 20 10 seconds of uncertainty we were off and chatting away.  Sigrid's generosity and helpfulness on her own blog were matched in person as she guided me through this amazing store.  I can share pictures but pictures don't do this justice.  The staff are friendly and helpful and even I, a lingerie newby, just had to buy some things to see if I too can create lovely lingerie items.
By now you probably want to see some pictures so here they are:

Lunch in the sunshine after the hard work of fabric selecting and shopping
My haul selections:
The lace on my "shoulders" are wide laces that are sold in "mirrored" pieces so you can make sure the two sides of a bra or nightgown match.  I loved the lace immediately and when I went to purchase it the helpful staff brought out the coordinating embroidered net fabric and thinner lace trim to go over the elastic straps.  Wow, I will have to up my skills to do this collection justice.

I loved this floral print lace because different color fabrics underneath highlighted different flowers in the print.  Again, when I went to buy the lace it turned out there was a coordinated print net fabric.


One of the nice things about purchasing lace at Kantje Boord is that they will help you put together all the other elastics and fixings for bras.  In this picture is another lace that I simply fell in love with while gazing at the hundreds available.  Sigrid was so right when she said that no one has ever said, oh, yes, I have a place like this in my town.  


There are several other rooms similar to this filled with treasures of fabric and notions.  The gentlemen in the store were being patient just like Mr. Lucky is when I am fabric binging.  But even though I don't speak a word of Dutch I could certainly understand the teasing as the women were selecting printed knit fabrics.  Do you think either of these fellows would like to wear undies with kittens wearing tiaras or windmills and clogs?  Humor and teasing are obvious in any language.
I saw this lace and just had to have since those are my colors.  I'm sure it will coordinate with something in my fabric resource center;-)

I didn't mean to enable Sigrid but even she could not resist a few purchases.  The black and pink lace being measured is so sophisticated.

The displays of completed projects is wonderful as well.  Here are only half of the pictures I took.





I already own two books on sewing lingerie and the bra making class from Craftsy.  I appreciate the guidance on fit and construction which always does come first. But I must say, for style inspiration this is the place to go.  I don't know when I am going to focus my attention on lingerie sewing but when I do, Sigrid's blog and Kantje Boord will be my creative muses.

Sigrid also told me that Amsterdam holds a weekly fabric market so patient Mr. Lucky accompanied me Monday morning while I perused and touched the many selections.  I did end up buying a few more items, not as good quality perhaps as at Kantje Boord, but good to use for my first future attempts.
Monday fabric mart finds
I didn't limit myself to lace, however, and couldn't resist the low prices on these two knit fabrics, one a faux leather that might be leggings or a skirt and one a flocked ponte like knit that might be a dress.



And one splurge:

Remember the lace RTW dress that I just altered for a recent wedding? Nordstrom's blue dress with lace overlay I think this fabric would make a great version with a dark tan dress and fabric flange on a lace overlay.

Well, it's time to finish my unpacking, bill paying, grocery shopping, cooking, weeding and other normal life routines.  Next up I will post about the actual boat and bike trip and later about the fabulous Balenciaga exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.  Until then, a big shout out again to Sigrid for her kindness. 

Wishing that we lived closer but happy that we can still keep in touch through this medium.  Here's hoping that you having sewing friends who lift your spirits, keep challenging you and share your passion.
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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Me Made May '17

Yes, I was able to wear something I had made every day in May.  No, I didn't take a picture every day so you'll have to take my word for it.  And yes, I did complete four items for my wardrobe...although "items" might be stretching it a bit.  
When I was working on my packing and sewing plan for our European trip the weather was cold and rainy and nasty.  There still may be rain but the temps have warmed up quite nicely so one of these two garments will not be joining us on vacation today.

This is a silk from Fabric Mart that I just hd to have when I saw the colors.  I love the burgundy and the pinks and the brown and knew it would be a great kimono jacket.  It's the now almost classic Simplicity 1318 still in the catalog.  
I lined it with a burgundy silk georgette just to give it a little more warmth.  I'm wearing it with the second new item, a Margarita tank top in brown poly, definitely making the trip with me.
Does this kimono need a passport?
Then I wanted another rayon knit tunic and turned to another TNT pattern from this past fall, Butterick 5925, a Katherine Tilton pattern.
Or does this tunic need a passport?

The fourth item in May was this striped infinity scarf with the hidden pocket.  Ok, not an entire garment but I will get a lot of use out of it in June.

The winner....yes, the Butterick tunic.  I am a lucky girl to be able to go on this trip and count my blessings each day.  Here's hoping you are having some good luck in your sewing room.  No blogging for several weeks but I will see you on Instagram.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Travel Packing and Travel Sewing.

What do you find most difficult/frustrating/annoying/challenging about traveling?  Airport waits and security check ins?  Baggage fees and fears about lost bags?  Packing decisions for your destination and all its weather possibilities?  Cell phone data plans and sketchy wifi?Last minute sewing and finishing to make the deadline?  My answer, all of the above.  All of a sudden Mr. Lucky and I are on a whirlwind of travel over the next several months...so much so that a friend asked me if there was some illness that he didn't know about?!  No illness, I am happy to report,  just a tight, full schedule of events.  
One of most anticipated trips starts at the very end of this month when we are finally off to our Bruges/Amsterdam/London trip. We'll be joining a one week bike and barge trip from Bruges to Amsterdam.  Let's face it, that's the easiest part of packing.  I need layers of leisure wear, padded bike leggings, my bike helmet and a rain jacket.  They told us to bring rain pants.  No, I'll pass on that and just get my leggings wet if it rains during the day....or sit on the barge with a  good book if the rains are present all day long like they were here in Baltimore recently.
The hard part of the packing and anticipated sewing project is what to plan for the evenings of those weeks and for the seven or eight "city" days that we have on our own. I admit it, I like clothes and I like variety and those "likes" don't always mesh with easy travel packing....especially when half of that packing is already taken up with "activewear."   So I am auditioning outfits and working out combinations.  Here are some of thoughts so far and what I am sewing next week to fill in a few gaps.

Color scheme: black, of course, the traveler's standby, along with brown...actually one of my favorite neutral combinations.  I've been assembling outfits to audition them and here's the grouping so far.  One problem already is that the weather has gone from very chilly temperatures in Belgium and The Netherlands to far more lovelier forecasts....which means I'll be reevaluating these outfits in the next few days.


Fun RTW leggings and a Tilton ITY knit top
Tabula Rasa knit top that served me well in London two years ago...and the scarf has a hidden pocket.

RTW Chicos lightweight anorak look with Margarita tank top
Style Arc Elle pants and RTW sweater
Chicos sweater and another pair of Elle pants
Silk kimono Simplicity1318 with same pants

I think I would like one more tunic and one more tank top sewn before we leave although I certainly have RTW ones that would coordinate if time gets away from me...which it often does.  There's gardening to do as well now that it is warm enough to put in the 60 caladium bulbs and a few other fun things on my calendar.  Yes, truly a lucky girl lives in my house.

Weeks two and three of Me Made May17 have zoomed by. Mr. Lucky and I flew down to the South Carolina Low Country for the most amazing family wedding weekend.  Loved seeing cousins and their children for a happy reason, were awed by my cousin's new home....just completed in time for the festivities and even got to visit with a childhood classmate who moved to the area.  So here are some of those mid-month Me Made May items:
Elle pants go to the Delaware beach
Draped front cardigan from Pamela's Patterns, self-drafted travel purse, Bathrobe from the Tabula Rasa jacket pattern
Berry season means time in the kitchen in a Simplicity Daisy Kingdom apron with Maryland crab appliqué

Low Country South Carolina sunset in a Vogue cardigan
My favorite Jalie Elenore pant and my adorable cousin once removed
The adjusted wedding dress in poor lighting.  The hidden strip of fabric worked perfectly to invisibly lengthen the dress to my knee level.


Burda sheath dress and the wonderful fabric flower from Latvia for Sunday morning brunch.

So back to the packing and deciding and sewing.  I hope you have something in your sewing room that has you smiling with anticipation.


Sunday, May 7, 2017

Flower Power

I'm previewing the weather maps and packing for two upcoming trips this month.  The first is a wedding weekend on the South Carolina coast.  I've shown the alteration I am making to the RTW dress I will be wearing but this is another dress that I just finished that I plan on wearing to cocktails on Friday night.  It's Burda 6247 that I fit last fall and the fabric is a ottoman textured slightly stretchy poly/rayon/spandex blend from Fabric Mart.  I stitched it up at the winter sewing retreat and basted together the side seams.  It was a very good fit (after making the extensive alterations that Sarah Veblen had marked on the original) and I simply tucked it away to finish later.  
Burda 3247
This week was the time to turn it into something to wear.  I put an invisible zipper in the back and then had to decide about facings or lining or bindings.  The weather in SC can be quite humid so I decided to skip the stretch poly lining that I had planned.  I could have drafted an all in one facing but decided to do a simple, lightweight bias facing on the neckline and armholes.  I tested a few black fabrics in my stash fabric hoard resource center and selected a very lightweight black cotton.  I made my own bias tape then stay stitched, trimmed and sewed the bias tape to the edges.  

There's a lovely youtube tutorial that I found one evening if you'd like terrific advice and instructions from Liesl Gibson on Creativebug.  


I hand stitched my facings on the inside since I now have a smart TV in my sewing room and was enjoying "Bomb Girls" on Netflix.  Yes, I am really getting into this 21st century thing;-)
When I wear this sleeveless dress I will also wear a jacket or bolero to cover my upper arms.  When I put the black sweater on it turned a tropical fun print dress into something too somber for a festive occasion. 
Not as festive as I would like
 I decided I needed a fun pin to brighten up the outfit.  Of course my first thought was, "I can make one."  Mr. Lucky and I are heading to NYC for a day trip next week.  I figured I would just pick up some cream leather and follow the Pinterest directions to learn how to make beautiful leather flowers and of course after making some practice flowers my efforts would be special enough for this wedding...and, and, and.  You could tell where I was heading...Pinterest "fail" and last minute panic.  Another way to put pressure on myself in a busy month.  When I had been looking for diy leather flower directions I decided to hit the "shopping" option on Google.  Look, Jane, people are selling already made flowers!!  That lead me to the Etsy site where I had fun shopping and marveling at people's creativity.  Long story to say, wow, look at these gorgeous flowers that came this week.  


I bought two flowers from Leas Studio  in Riga, Latvia. Great communication, fabulous price, speedy service and delivery and absolutely the perfect answer for this outfit.  I could be making leather flowers for years before I could reach this level of artistry.  
I'll take wedding weekend pictures of the outfits in action and let you see the results later this month as part of #MeMadeMay17.

A dear friend who reads my blog asked me to share my Me Made May17 outfits so here's a week's recap. Pardon the repeat if you are already one of my friends on Instagram.
Tabula Rasa jacket as a duster and Margarita top
Simplicity 2603
An early stitch and flip jacket with a M&S Schmalberg flower from NYC
Much embellished TRW sweater
Magic Pencil skirt from Pamela's Patterns
Another hidden pocket infinity scarf for my upcoming European trip and Margarita top
A McCalls sheath dress and fabric flowers from Affray ribbons appearing at a delicious and enjoyable tea given by Donna,  a member of my wearable art group
Hope some fun projects are brightening up your days.