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Inspiration

MyImage magazine FW15-16 (and giveaway!)

22 July 2015, 13:16

It’s been a while since we had a look inside the bi-annual, quadrilingual pattern magazine, MyImage – over a year in fact! But they’ve got a new issue out, full of Fall and Winter styles and they’ve got a few new tricks up their sleeve, too, like a wider size range for more patterns, and some pdf pattern options, too.

MyImage magazine is printed on nice, thick paper that’s actually larger than my scanner bed, so apologies that some of the images are a bit cropped here – you get a nicer look at the images than if I’d just taken a photo of it! Or you can always have a better look in the digital magazine flipthrough, too.

I knew it was a great sign when I saw these seamed jeans about two pages in – SWOON! It’s like they made a pattern just for me! I love, love, love the seaming on these – they’d look great from all angles and really take the average pair of jeans up a notch. Or for that matter, they wouldn’t even have to be in denim – I’ve some great stretch navy twill in my stash…

I also wanted to show you some of the improvements they’ve made to the instructions (which are, as always, offered in English, Dutch, German, and French) – many of the patterns now also have photos or illustrations showing how to do some of the details of the pattern construction, and these jeans actually have an extra tech drawing which labels where all the pattern pieces go! What a great idea!

The raglan teeshirt dress on the left could be a great style basic, but I also really like the jogging bottoms and cropped jacket on the right, too. The trousers reminded me of the True Bias Hudson Pant that so many people have made, and looks super comfortable for lounging!

This sweater would be a really quick make, with its kimono sleeves and slouchy fit – I also noticed here that it (and many other patterns, like the accompanying panelled skirt) now go up to size 50, too!

This last jersey tunic/dress pattern to catch my eye isn’t actually included in the magazine at all, but showcases the new range of pdf patterns, some of which look familiar from earlier issues (great if you missed it the first time around!). If you’ve got the magazine, you get a 50% discount on the pdf patterns, bringing them down to a (quite frankly, ridiculously cheap!) price of €2 each.


Apologies for the weird ghost on the right-hand lady – it’s show-through from the back cover!

As per usual with My Image, you can browse through the full magazine here and see a full overview of the tech drawings here. I love that they offer this, as I usually have to spend loads of time compiling my own At-a-glance images for my own records, and this just makes it so much easier!

Giveaway!


Thanks to the magazine producers, I’ve got a copy of this issue to give away to my readers! Due to international post skyrocketing in the last few years, however, I’m afraid I’m only able to ship to UK/EU addresses (mostly because there’s a cheap “printed materials” rate within the EU). If you live elsewhere and would still like to enter, please only do so if you’re willing to pay for the postage.

To enter the draw, please leave a comment below stating, in your opinion, the optimum date to start sewing Fall fashions. ha!

I’ll pick the winners by random draw next Thursday, 3 August. Good luck!

These issues were kindly provided by MyImage, but I’ve bought (and sewn!) plenty on my own in the past, and my opinions here are all my own.

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Comment [23]

Pedal power

20 July 2015, 14:12

My main sewing machine is a JoAnn Sonata, and it has a bit of a history. It’s technically a vintage machine, I think, having been made in the early 1980s and then promptly forgotten by the entire world. Every now and then I get an email from someone who bought one at a yard sale, thanking me profusely for scanning and uploading the user manual, but for years the only Google hits for it were ones I’d written myself.


My machine, photographed in 2006

To complicate matters even further, my machine began life as my sister-in-law’s grandmother’s machine, which was gifted to me well over a decade ago when my mom brought it over as checked luggage on a flight from the States. So on top of being some random, vintage brand no one’s ever heard of, it’s also the wrong voltage (I run it through a voltage converter).

Considering the sheer volume of use it sees, the machine does so well, and I have no intention of ever replacing it so long as I can keep repairing it. I mean, I clean it fairly regularly, but I hardly ever oil it, and it only went in for its first ever service (during my tenure, anyway) last winter when the foot pedal stopped responding. My man at Maury Sewing was able to repair the foot pedal then, but advised that if it failed again, I should buy a replacement pedal from the States and just swap out the plug end (he looked into replacing the motor with a 220v one but couldn’t find one to fit the body on short notice).

The repairs lasted a good six months, but again recently, I found myself having to pump the pedal to get it to respond, and even then, it’d only go at maximum speed which isn’t exactly ideal. So I hunted on US eBay and found a really similar-looking vintage, metal food pedal in 110v wiring, with the thought of recruiting James to rewire the old plug end onto the new-to-me pedal.


The eBay replacement (top) and my original (bottom)

But our friend Alex happened to be visiting after it arrived, and said he’d be happy to have a look. He grabbed a screwdriver and opened them up and to our amazement, the pedals were actually identical inside!

He started to take them apart and check the voltage and everything, but then realised it was going to be a bigger task than he’d thought, so agreed instead to take it in to his work (he’s the one who works at “the death ray” we toured last Fall) where they had better equipment, and he’d post them back to me.

A few days later the text messages started arriving – apparently the in-house electronics technician came over to have a look, started taking it apart, and got really interested in the vintage electronics! Instead of just swapping the plug end so the eBay one would fit into my machine, they opted instead to repair my original pedal using the eBay one as spare parts, which was much more fun!

Apart from not having an Earth because it’s US wiring (in the UK, the outside chassis would be connected to Earth to ground it, but US plugs don’t do that), they’ve said it’s perfectly up to safety specs (the voltage converter I use has it’s own fuses), and the slight charring we saw on the wires’ insulation was most likely caused by the earlier repair soldering and not any electrical fault! Phew!

Apparently the coolest thing about the pedals is that they have about 100 or so little carbon discs inside (see photo above) – as the pedal is pressed, the stack of discs is squashed down, which changes their resistance! The technician had never seen anything like this before, and was very pleased to have worked on it. A few of the discs in my pedal were singed and a few were shattered, so the main repair work just consisted of replacing the discs with ones from the eBay pedal, and in one case, a brass washer so that the right space is still maintained. How cool is that?

And to answer your question – it sews like a dream now! It’s purring like a kitten in a way I’ve not seen in ten years. And more importantly, it’s allowed me to keep sewing on my machine which I love, otherwise works great, and has a wonderful history. A new, plastic replacement machine couldn’t have come close!

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Comment [9]

Manequim magazine June 2015

7 July 2015, 14:11

We experienced a bit of Brazilian heat here in London last week, but I’m happy to report that it didn’t stop me from moving into my new sewing room. Hefting furniture and hauling boxes wasn’t fun when dripping with sweat, but I’m about 80% moved in and I’ll of course give you all a tour once I’m done. Even without my machines hooked up and with some temporary lighting, the space just makes me happy just being inside.

But for now, let’s try and cool off with some thoughts of a Brazilian winter…

First up is this leather pencil skirt, which really reminds me of my grey one I made a few years back, though it’s sadly now too big. And this one’s sized far too small!

These may not seem like much, but a nice, basic trouser pattern in the full standard size range is an absolute goldmine! I get asked over and over (and over!) again what I do when a pattern I love isn’t in my size, and basic patterns like this are great for transferring interesting details from ones that are too-big or too-small. Just take the pleat, or panel, or pocket, or seamline you love and transfer it onto a basic version in your size…

From the same “black and white” feature, we get a pattern for this asymmetric, faux-wrap skirt, which is really striking with the colourblocking, but I think would also be great in an all-over tweed with a leather buckle detail.

Like the multisize trousers, this basic woven shift dress could be really useful for adapting other, fancier patterns that aren’t in your size (it also looks similar to the orange dress hack in the 3rd GBSB book)

Ooh men’s patterns! I can’t actually recall another time in the past 3-4 years I’ve been subscribing that they’d offered patterns for men! It’s only this pea coat and a pair of basic trousers, but still! Also, this ladies long faux fur coat looks like it’d be useful, though potentially too hot for Brazil…

This piped, short jacket is utterly lovely, and I’m intrigued by the cross back shown only in the tech drawing, too.

I’ve seen this silhouette everywhere for the past few years, but this is a nice take on the casual, silk trouser.

At first glance, this looks like any old wrap dress, but look closer and you can see some great, asymmetric seaming going on here.

There are only the usual three Plus patterns this month, but the short culottes are very on trend, and the playsuit is really cute, too.

Only one more issue of Manequim to go before I’m (eep!) in Brazil myself, though only barely over the border and just for one day. But still!! (Iguazu Falls side trip after competing in the World Transplant Games in Mar del Plata, Argentina)

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Comment [2]

Burda magazine July 2015

24 June 2015, 13:38

I’m not normally a fan of “summer” sewing since the styles printed by the likes of Manequim, Patrones, and Burda for the summer months tend to all be focused on super hot, beach weather that’s just completely impractical for English summers. Case in point: today in London it’s sunny and warm, high of 23C (73F) and for the most part, that’s a pretty average summer day. In other words, it feels like Spring or Fall do in most places, and I love it. You all can keep your disgustingly hot and humid summers, and I’m happy to take a few useless sewing magazine issues each year as a trade-off!

But surprisingly, this July issue of Burda actually isn’t half bad! There are, of course, a few wholly impractical, wispy beach styles, but there are also designs I could wear…

Speaking of designs which work for English summers, this one’s got ours written all over it! The details of this boxy, yoked shirt are just fabulous – I can’t recall ever seeing rounded placket before, for starters…

Ugh, the fabric choice here just makes this look like a cheap and awful nurse’s costume! And those insipid sleeve flounces, gag.

In my eyes, the best pattern of this entire issue comes from designer Antonio Marras – it’s a great silhouette, and the neckline and hem length are bang on trend. But even better are those angled seams, which are only really revealed in the tech drawing!

I’m not usually drawn to maxi-dress styles, but this halter dress (for Tall sizes) with its fantastic, sweeping full skirt really catches my attention in a way that a shorter hemline version just wouldn’t. In fact, it reminds me most of ballroom dance gowns!

Burda have been dipping their toes into the backless trend for a few months now, but IMHO they’ve finally nailed it with this one. It’s still not particularly bra friendly, but the design of both the top and the dress version are so on trend and really quite flattering, too.

This sarong-style dress just screams summer holidays! It’s got a structured, strapless dress underneath with a sarong-style overlay to change up the look.

And finally, this Plus-sized gown is just stunning – it looks to be really well designed with curving, sweeping seamlines to really show off a curvy figure.

What do you think? Is there anything worth your summer sewing time here, or are you just camping in front of a fan and dreaming of sewing Fall styles instead?

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Comment [9]

New digs!

22 June 2015, 21:43

Sorry for the silence last week, but I’ve been working really hard on two big things:

1. My new sewing room is done and ready to move into!!

Yes, after 8 years in my “temporary” sewing room which is smaller than the average American closet, plus over a year of hard graft of sanding, painting, filling, more sanding, more painting, buying smoked oak parquet flooring, cutting a million tiny pieces to fit, then gluing, more sanding, three coats of oil rubbed in by hand (in amoungst working two jobs and marathon training, I might add), I finally nailed the last bit of trim down tonight!! So I can start moving into my permanent sewing cave, which is only a little bigger than my temporary room but concealed behind a hidden bookcase door (no, really). I’ll try to put together a little video for you all…

2. My next sewing pattern is coming along very nicely and should be ready for testing in a few weeks! It’s passed my own testing with flying colours and even got a “ooh that’s very Stella McCartney!” comment from a friend at track, too!

I don’t like to announce my patterns until they’re nearly ready, but I’ll share the clue I’ve already leaked to my Twitter followers: it has two distinct views, and (big sigh of relief) none of the new Jalie patterns overlap with anything I’ve had planned for this year, either!

So I hope you’ll forgive me that my blogging output is a little quiet at the moment, but it’s all time investments into my sewing future at the moment! If you’re in need of some reading material, you should head over to The Monthly Stitch, where you can read an interview with me about Fehr Trade patterns! Their “New To Me” Challenge is happening right now, and you can win a heap of prizes (including my VNA Top pattern!) just for sewing something from a new pattern company. Which sounds like a good thing to do anyway, if you ask me…

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Funkifabrics tech lycra is HERE! (And 20% discount)

9 June 2015, 12:58

Remember back in April when I helped Funkifabrics road-test some new technical lycra fabric bases? I had two bases to choose from (onto which they printed my choice of designs), so I went off on some intense runs in warm weather, and ultimately decided on one, which I then went and ran London marathon in!


Post London marathon in my experimental Funkifabric Steeplechase Leggings shorts!

Well, the same tech fabric I ran the marathon in is now available, and in a collection of twelve limited edition prints!

You can read more about their selection process (which involved feedback from their customers) as well as links to buy each pattern in their blog post here (and no, they’re not planning on offering the tech base in solids yet so ignore the sports bras).

They’ve also got a rare 20% off everything sale running until tomorrow night (midnight BST, 10 June) which includes these new bases! I’ve been buying Funki’s regular Flexcite lycra for nearly two years now and this is only the second time I’ve ever seen them do a sale, so if you’ve been waiting, I’d buy now!

And you don’t have to run a marathon to appreciate them, either!

If you’re looking for great patterns to use with your new tech lycra, here are a few of my own road-tested, runner-approved patterns which work great with fabrics like these:


buy!


buy!


buy!


buy!


buy!


buy!

Disclaimer: Nope, nothing to admit to here. I got the experimental bases for free back in April, but that’s it. I wasn’t even asked to blog about this – I’m just a stupidly happy customer.

PS: Those of you in the Pacific Northwest might want to read through Gwen’s guide for swimwear & activewear fabric suppliers

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Comment [5]

Burda magazine June 2015

29 May 2015, 11:10

Yawwwwwwwwwn. Another lacklustre issue – what is up with the design team at Burda HQ recently? I know they’re capable of amazing, fashion-forward and flattering designs, because they break out of these ruts every now and then and just wow us with a consistent 6 months or so of designs.

I mean, this time last year I was praising them for a consistently amazing few months of issues, the pinnacle of which was the amazing Japanese-design feature. Maybe I should just go back to my spring 2014 issues instead until the tide rolls back into a more favourable patch…

I really want to like this blouse with its asymmetric collar, but it just feels like they’ve tried to add too many incongruous details into one garment. Skewed collar! Neck ties! Boxy shape! Asymmetric taped sleeve! Any one or two of these together would be fine, but all of them and it just feels unfocused and busy.

I’m officially on Team Jumpsuit and I like the look of this one on the model, but this is a Tall size pattern, with extra elongated body lengths, so I think this on top of jumpsuits being elongated anyway means that it’d be a tricky one for me to fit. And I’m not convinced I need more than one summery jumpsuit in my wardrobe right now!

This sheath dress is just fantastic – it’s simple, but it’s shown several times in the magazine, both partially colourblocked (as it is here), but also all in one fabric, and again with three separate coloured fabrics. The seams all flow together nicely at the sides, and there’s an option for shoulder ties, too. This could be a great basic pattern for adding further design elements (cough Pattern Magic cough), too.

I feel like a broken record here, but not all open backed dresses are practical or flattering. I like the curved seaming on the skirt, but the upper back is just too open, and the top is only held together with a single hook and eye. Again, the La Maison Victor open backed dress from last Winter is far superior (and you can wear a bra with that one).

And the ugly combo award for this issue goes to… The ugly muu muu dress & equally ugly popped collar bomber jacket (bomber pattern number 754353 from Burda, ugghgh). Come and collect your awards!

CLOWN PANTS!!


Honestly, why?? Who would ever-?? Good god, who signed off on these?

err, clown blouse? This might have been ok in a soft fabric (might), but in a poplin?? It just makes those horrible 1970s bell sleeves look like the big tent.

There was nothing notable in the Plus section, but I did enjoy the extended feature on natural dyes. It seems to compliment the natural dyeing article Seamwork had in their latest issue… I like the idea of dyeing (especially for lingerie), but I’ve been wary to buy all sorts of chemicals for it!

What did you think of this issue? Am I off base? Care to nominate your favourite issue from the last few years for me to revisit for inspiration instead??

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Comment [18]

More of your makes!

21 May 2015, 13:03

It’s that time again! I can barely keep up with all your amazing, inspiring, and beautiful versions of my patterns these days, and before I know it, I’ve got an overflowing heap to share with you! I know how helpful many of you find these – it’s all well and good that I make nice versions of my patterns, but so much more helpful when you see how good they look on other bodies, too!

Be sure to click through to read the details and see more photos on each of these entries, too. With a long weekend coming up both here in the UK and in the US, there’s no excuse not to whip up something sporty!

Winnie’s Steeplechase Leggings with exterior rolled seams & zebra Surf to Summit



Read more…

Karen’s 5(!) Steeplechase Capris for herself and her daughters



Read more…

Maria’s three pairs of Steeplechase Capris, with great reflective accents



Read more…

Sally’s wintry Surf to Summit for the ski slopes!



Read more…

Maria’s “Hunger Games” inspired Duathlon leggings



Read more…

mixtilli’s red Lacey Thong lingerie set



Read more…

Allison’s two new VNA & Duathlon workout sets



Read more…

Katherine’s Steeplechase leggings with yoga waistband



Read more…

Sandesh’s XYT Workout Top in a Laurie King print



Read more…

Winnie’s badger-print Surf to Summit Top!



Read more…

Sophie-Lee’s cheetah-print Steeplechase capris & coordinating XYT Workout Top



Read more… (plus bonus New Zealand fabric suppliers!)

Winnie’s London marathon badger armband pocket



Read more…

Louise’s London marathon Duathlon Shorts, with plenty of pocket room for both inhaler and gels!



Read more…

Karen went and made THREE more VNA Tops, for herself and her daughters!



Read more…

Claire ran a race in Central Park in her gorgeous, swirled Steeplechase capris



Read more…

Wingamajig made her Duathlon Capris both subtle AND psychadelic!



Read more…

Karen’s running armband pocket



Read more… (with step-by-step photos)

And, as always, you can buy any of my digital sewing patterns from shop.fehrtrade.com (except my Lacey Thong pattern which pre-dates the Shop), where you’ll get both fully road-tested multisize patterns in both “print at home” and “print at a copy shop” pdfs, fully illustrated instructions, plus the knowledge that the highest percentage of your money is going directly to the designer! (And yes, I take Paypal, too)


buy!


buy!


buy!


buy!


buy!


buy!

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Comment [3]

Manequim April 2015

5 May 2015, 14:21

Wooo!!! It’s the best Manequim of the year – the one with all the Oscars gowns! Let’s breeze through the rest of the issue and get straight to those Hollywood designer evening gown patterns, shall we?

First off, the Plus selection this month is just the usual three patterns, but they’re keeping to the glamourous end of the scale, using singer Adele as the muse.

I LOVE this classic leather biker jacket – it might be slightly too small for me, though (I’m in between 42 and 44, I’ve discovered), but it’d be easy enough to adjust using another pattern as a guide…

I think I’ve discovered the secret to me and blazers – I hardly ever wear them myself, but I’m occasionally drawn to the odd one or two in magazines, like this orange one (Can I just say that I love everything about this image? Wonderful model & composition and art direction!!). I think the main thing is that I dislike the traditional, folded over, notched lapel – so designs like this which are a bit different in that area really appeal to me!

Again, I’m not really even into this kimono pattern, I’m just digging the art direction (helicopter landing pad?! Must be Sao Paolo!).

This is the only actual jeans pattern in this jeans feature (and I’m so not feeling the bell-bottoms!) but I was really intrigued by the simple tee paired with it. It was almost entirely covered up in the photo, though (thanks, Manequim!), but it was shown later in the roundup images so I could see it’s just a really simple two-piece teeshirt.

And now, for our main event… it’s the Hollywood gown special!!! (not just the Oscars this year, no, no!)

First up, we’ve got a pattern for this gorgeous strapless lace Givenchy gown that Rosamund Pike wore to the Oscars. Pure fantasy!

Next, we’ve got patterns for Emma Stone’s Lanvin jumpsuit from the Oscars and Anna Kendrick wearing a Gorgeous Peekaboo gown (living up to its “peekaboo” name??) at the Oscars.

Then, it’s a pattern for Reese Witherspoon’s off-the-shoulder, monochrome Armani Privé Oscars gown and Helen Mirren looking fabulous as always in Docle & Gabbana at the Golden Globes.

And finally, the fabric on Lupita Nyong’o‘s Ellie Saab gown is a large part of the “wow” factor on her Screen Actors Guild Awards gown, but I’m looking at that pattern and definitely seeing scope to shorten it for a more cocktail look (and far less fabric to buy!).

I know we can often fall into the trap of only making glamorous dresses and then only wearing them once or twice (I can’t resist making a new dress for pretty much every wedding I attend!), but I’ve actually got an event I need to sew for coming up! I’ll need a posh gown for the gala dinner at the end of the World Transplant Games in Argentina in August, and when I saw this amaaaazing 1930s McCalls gown I knew it was just what I needed!

What about you – is anyone else planning a glamorous make any time soon?

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Comment [7]

Burda magazine May 2015

30 April 2015, 14:09

Thanks so much for your congratulations on my London marathon race this weekend! My legs are amazingly feeling pretty much back to normal already, though I still need quite a bit of recovery time “under the hood”. In all the excitement (and a fair bit of “post-marathon brain”), I completely forgot to congratulate some other fierce and fantastic women who ran it, too!

With a fair amount of resting time ahead of me in the next two weeks (before I run a half marathon, then cycle our first sportive, then run a 10km on successive weekends. No joke!), I’m hoping to get some quality sewing time in. But I’m not seeing much to inspire me in the latest Burda edition…

I’m really getting tired of Burda’s recent ruffle fixation, but I actually don’t hate this ruffled coat, which is surprising. Maybe it’s that it reminds me of the Lolita Patterns Spearmint coat, or maybe it just seems a bit more well thought out than just randomly slapping ruffles onto an unsuspecting garment…

On first glance, this seems like a dress pattern we’ve seen a thousand times before, but the overall body shape is closer to a cocoon-shape than I’ve seen in a dress before. And the pleated neckline creates a bit of interest (and could conceal a big meal, hahah).

I can’t really see myself wearing this shirt, but I love that they’ve placed a very vintage detail like the jabot and created a look that is unambiguously fresh and modern. I have a feeling this might be a pattern that grows on me and I eventually come back to sew 6 months from now.

Look past the horrible, sheer fabric and this is probably the pattern I’m most likely to make from this issue. It’s essentially a woven tee with colourblocking opportunities on that yoke, and you can adjust the front keyhole (or switch to the back) instead, too.

Oh. My. God. You know how we sewists complain when companies sew up their samples in prints so busy that you can’t see any of the pattern details? Well Burda have well and truly outdone themselves on this one – they chose a print so busy they couldn’t even tell when they pasted a smaller top on top of the bigger one (and it was ugly to begin with anyway!)

There’s a designer pattern in this issue, from the Odeeh brand (nope, never heard of them) – a boxy tunic and pleated trousers that look nice enough, though not particularly anything to set off fireworks.

The Plus patterns are surprisingly pretty nice this time around – the shirtdress on the left could be made even better with the addition of a belt, and the tee on the right is offered in a few different lengths (and has the trendier sleeve cut closer to the CF).

More great dresses for Plus sizes! The dress on the left with gathered shoulders is such a nice, classic design, and the knit dress on the right (in several hem lengths) would be flattering and comfortable for so many different shapes.

And finally, I hardly ever care about the kids patterns, but I’m of the age where friends are having babies and I occasionally like to whip up a present and get rid of some jersey scraps at the same time. So these knit baby clothes for both sexes may very well come in handy…

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