Monday, 28 February 2011

My New Fitting Assistant

At last I've got a dress form. I have been thinking of buying it since I started sewing because I believe it will help a lot and improve the quality of my sewing and let me make items that fit better. It is a dress/trouser form, so it allows to fit not only dresses, jackets and skirts but also trousers.

I wish I had it when sewing this jacket and struggling with the sleeves.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Bella Italia (Burda Magazine 2/2011, Jacket #108)

This weekend I finished the Cropped Jacket from La Dolce Vita section of February issue of Burda magazine and watched a new movie Certified Copy (Copie Conforme) where action takes place in beautiful  Tuscany.

The movie is about a couple's relationship. I expected to see a French romantic film but in reality I would rate it almost as art-house cinema. It is difficult both because half of the movie we see a couple trying to sort out difficult relationships and also because the film director Abbas Kiarostami doesn't disclose the real past of the characters and finish the film unexpectadly abrupt. It is very thought provoking movie, gives a lot of things to think about but it is not an easy show. I would say that it is even discouraging. Juliette Binoche won the 2010 Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Award for her performance.

Another Italian thing makes me feel more positive. As I mentioned (in this post) one of the things I was going to make was the cropped jacket. The same day I bought the magazine I came across this fabric and it immediately clicked together with the jacket pattern.

So here is the result.

For me as a beginner the pattern was challenging and though it has more detailed instructions than usual I had to refer to my sewing books several times.But I learnt a lot from this pattern.

I was planning to make a matching pencil skirt with godet from the same issue but I changed my plans because this fabric has no stretch in it. I still keep  in plans matching skirt but will use another pattern.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Melange Beret

The pattern is #61 Kitty from Verena magazine Winter 2010.

It took me three attempts to get the look I am satisfied with. First I followed the pattern description precisely and the result was good but good for the teenager. Actually the pattern is from the teenager's section of the magazine, so no wonder. It looked 'almost' like this one, falling on my back and shoulders.

I unraveled it and made it again this time using needles #3. It was too small. Finally I used only needles #3,5 and knitted exactly 28 rows of square pattern for the main part. Now I feel more comfortable with it.
For the scarf I used the same pattern and remainders of three different yarns in different shades of blue. I would recommend this pattern for the scarf because it looks equally good both on right and wrong sides.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Musing on Natural Gas Commercial

I came across this natural gas commercial and I like it so much. I am not going to discuss pros and cons of burning natural gas. I see in this commercial how with our knitting and other needlework we warm our homes and families, make our loved ones feel comfortable and cozy because we put warmth of our hearts and our love in what we do. I think the crew made amazing creative work.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Winter Song about Spring (Burda Moden Magazine 2/2011)

This is a beautiful waltz "Dialog by the Christmas Tree" from the old Russian movie Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears. The movie won the 1981 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. At the bottom of the page is the full text of the song in Russian.

After buying the Burda Moden magazine 2/2011 issue several days ago and with current February temperatures going down to -24C (and the forecast for the weekend is -28 C *gosh!*), I can't get rid of this song. I highlighted the words that I've been humming for several days already.

- Чем же всё это окончится? -How all this will end?
- Будет апрель. - It will be April.
- Будет апрель, вы уверены? - Will it be April, are you sure?
- Да, я уверен. -Yes, I am sure.
- Что же из этого следует?
- What does that mean?
- Следует жить, - That we should live,
  Шить сарафаны и легкие платья из ситца.  Sew sundresses and light chintz dresses.
- Вы полагаете, всё это будет носиться? - Do you think all these will be worn?
- Я полагаю, что всё это следует шить! - I believe that all these should be sewn!

After many disappointing issues of Burda Moden magazine last year I finally got the issue that I really enjoy and want to sew 4 (!!) patterns from. All of them come from "Italian" pages. So here are my sewing spring-ish and summer-ish dreams...

First one is a fitted jaket.

#2 - matching pencil skirt.

#3 - Dress with gathered A-line skirt

#4 - Summer Coat (still need to think it over, not sure that 3/4 sleeves are practical in our climate).

Well, all these scares me a little bit, the plans look too ambitious but I can't keep dreaming ...

Here is the text of the song:

- Что происходит на свете?
- А просто зима.
- Просто зима, полагаете вы?
- Полагаю.
Я ведь и сам, как умею, следы пролагаю,
Я ведь и сам, как умею, следы пролагаю,
В ваши уснувшие ранней порою дома.

- Что же со всем этим будет?
- А будет январь.
- Будет январь, вы считаете?
- Да я считаю.
Я ведь давно эту белую книгу читаю,
Я ведь давно эту белую книгу читаю,
Этот с картинками вьюги старинный букварь.
- Чем же всё это окончится?
- Будет апрель.
- Будет апрель, вы уверены?
- Да, я уверен.
Я уже слышал, и слух этот вами проверен,
Я уже слышал, и слух этот вами проверен,
Будто бы в роще сегодня звенела свирель.
- Что же из этого следует?
- Следует жить,
Шить сарафаны и легкие платья из ситца.
- Вы полагаете, всё это будет носиться?
- Вы полагаете, всё это будет носиться?
- Я полагаю, что всё это следует шить!
Следует шить, ибо сколько зиме не кружить,
Не долговечна её кабала и опала,
Так разрешите же в честь новогоднего бала,
Так разрешите же в честь новогоднего бала,
Руку на танец, сударыня, вам предложить.
Месяц - серебряный шар со свечою внутри,
И карнавальные маски по кругу, по кругу,
Вальс начинается, дайте ж сударыня руку,
Вальс начинается, дайте ж сударыня руку,
И раз-два-три, раз-два-три, раз-два-три, раз-два-три.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Ikea Pillow #2

Here comes the second pillow-case made from the Ikea fabric. It is not that loud as the first one , more neutral, to keep balance.

As I only learn to sew the first learning book that I bought was Learn to Sew by Chris Jefferys ( "Азбука шитья" ). It really contains very basic technics that a total beginner like myself could learn and try to apply making very simple designs. The book has very detailed instructions and big clear photographs of essential sewing operations. I always wanted to make two pillow-cases suggested in this book.


So I combined both designs in the next Ikea pillow-case.

Front side

Back side

And this is not the end of my romance with Ikea textiles!

Monday, 14 February 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

This was my first cross-stitch project. The design was from a very old issue of Burda Moden magazine. Later I found out that originally it was Wiehler Gobelin design . I still like it very much, it is so sentimental old-fashioned Victorian style symbol. I could imagine Jane Austen's characters making something like this.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Potiche and Bow Tie Blouse

First about the inspiration source. Recently I watched a wonderful new comedy from François Ozon called Potiche. It is fun, ironic, sometimes absurd and totally wonderful as Ozon's films usually are. The main characters are played by a brilliant duet of Catherine Deneuve and Gérard Dépardieu. I am not going to tell the plot here because I personally hate reading reviews that disclose all the details of the story. Would only mention that Catherine Deneuve heroine's family business produces umbrellas which of course recalls  Jacques Demy's The Umbrellas of Cherbourg from 1964. 

After watching the movie and leaving the cinema both my friend and I couldn't keep smiling and walked all the way back with happy smiles on our faces. The action of the movie takes place in late 70s, so the movie shows a lot of fashion and clothing in retro style. And as you can see from the pictures below bow tie blouses were quite popular at that time.


I am not the only one being charmed by bow tie blouses, many celebrities have been noticed wearing this irresistable classic.

I had already planned on the New Look 6831 pattern and I decided that it is time to go for it.

To be exact I aimed at view A, with  front button closing, set-in long sleeves and a bow tie collar. I am an unexperienced sewer so it was my first time of sewing something with long sleeves and buttonholes.
I was a litttle suspicious about the sleeves length when looking at the pattern but decided to rely on New Look pattern. I used them before and it was all right. To keep the long story short the final result was disappointing, sleeves were short. Really short, like 3/4 or 5/6, they were lacking almost 10 cm. Luckily I had a lot of fabric left and after heavy thinking wheather to make a cuff or a ruffle, I decided for a ruffle. The fabric is very forgiving both because of its softness and  multi-colour geometric print. Actually the final result pleased me but I stay in doubts, do I have abnormally long arms? How to avoid such disappointment in the future?

The butttons - clear glass of light beige shade.

The blouse was made to be worn with brown trousers that I had already in my wardrobe. Additionally I have one knitting WIP that I am planning to wear with it as well.
I made one more garment before, this is a Little Black Skirt (LBS). Black is tricky to photograph and LBS has no particular details to demonstrate, just a little simple pencil skirt, a very basic wardrobe bilder.
I used the pattern from Burda magazine 6/2010/133, only increased the length.

So I decided to post it too, just for the record. My fluffy friend couldn't miss posing too :).

 Ooh, I think this is my longest blog post so far!

A Date with Dickens

I decided to track in my blog not only the needlework but also my reading. In December 2010 before the long holiday break I accidentally visited Oprah Winfrey's web site and found out that she picked two Dickens novels Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations for winter holidays reading. I didn't read any of these books so I was happy to join. I immediately ran to the book store and bought both books. I found A Tale of Two Cities in Russian and Great Expectations in English.

Oprah couldn't make the better choice of books for Christmas holidays. Sitting on the sofa near the Christmas tree wrapped in soft plaid with a cup of cocoa and reading Dickens, that fits my picture of holidays perfectly.

I finished the first book A Tale of Two Cities in January and I really liked it. It's a beautiful story of love, frienship, devotion and self-sacrifice. Dickens not only gives us the personal life stories of characters but also describes the revolution and revolutionaries. Being myself from the country that lived through the revolution less than a century ago and having heard the stories about that time at first hand from people whose life was influenced by revolution, including my grandmother  it was extremely interesting for me to get Dickens view on the subject. Finally it only proved my opinion that revolution is always ugly.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Knitted Basque hat with leaf pattern by DROPS 123-35

I made this basque hat for myself. It is made from the mix of two yarns. The first one is a blend of alpaca, wool and acrylic. The second is a very thin thread (25g=250m) of 85% Super Kid Mohair, 15% Polyamide.

My head size is 58 but when I finished the hat I found out that the top part of it is very small and lacking volume. So I had to unravel it, leaving only the edge size 58 and then follow instructions for size 60. Even now I find that the top part could be bigger compared to the original DROPS model. I think using needles #4,5 could do it.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Man's hats and scarf

I knitted these two hats and a scarf for my son. All three pieces have been made from the same yarn, a blend of alpaca, wool and acrilic.

First one is made using two threads of this yarn. This is the easiest pattern ever, suitable for beginners. This hat could be done in a couple of hours. Free pattern is available at BrooklynTweed website.

Second is a set of a hat and a scarf. This is also a free pattern from Junghans-Wolle web site.
I made some changes in the original design. First, I made the hat a little bit deeper. Second, I had to completely redo the scarf because after wearing it a couple of times in the original size my son said that it is too narrow and he needs a wider one. So in the new version width had been increased 1,5 times.