Sunday, 27 September 2015

It's moving time

It may have become evident that I fell out of love with this blog a while ago.

Fell out of love might be a bit strong. I still have warm feelings towards it. But the excitement is gone. Creating new posts has lost its appeal.

Mostly it's about associations. This blog is for me strongly associated with the vintage-y, girly look I was into when I first started it. That feeling is in the very name of it. That has changed rather a lot since.

With my aesthetic changing it is only natural for my blog to do too. But rather than changing this space, I've decided to move. Find me at

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Me Made May 2015 pledge

Ok, I'm a bit late to take the Me Made May pledge on here. I've done it over at Zoe's blog, but for the sake of completeness, here goes:

I, Danka of, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '15. I endeavour to wear one handmade item of clothing each day for the duration of May 2015.

(For non-sewers, it's a challenge/opportunity to wear handmade items throughout May. The frequency can vary, but as you see above, I'm hoping to be able to do it every day.)

Practicalities: I'm planning to post daily photos on Instagram and perhaps do weekly round-ups on here. I'm really struggling to find time to blog regularly, so until then, find me on Instagram which I update annoyingly often.

Back to the fun: It's my first MMM, and to be honest, I am slightly nervous. Do I have enough me mades? Are they smart enough for work? Should I panic-order ALL THE FABRIC?

Deep breaths.

This has already been useful for self-insights. It's confirming that I'm very much the kind of person who gets anxious by not knowing. In this case not knowing what me mades are already in my arsenal and what is missing. So I've made a spreadsheet (yes, I am that nerdy, another self-insight) of items I have made this year, items in progress, items made in previous years that might work, items I should make. It's quite a beauty actually!

Now, if only I spent more time sewing and less time perfecting the spreadsheet.

I know the idea isn't to panic make things, but I'm treating it as an opportunity to identify gaps in my handmade wardrobe and fill them as I go along. Making cake, not icing for a month.

In summary, I'm planning to get through a month of wearing handmade clothes with a lot of basic separates. A lot of little blouses that can be either casual (weekend) or smart (Mon-Fri) depending on how they are styled. What I'm missing is a good cardigan or jacket that can be thrown over a RTW outfit when I get those days where I hate everything I've made. So the release of the Morris blazer pattern and the bank holiday weekend could not have been better timed.

On that note, I should probably get out of my dressing gown and get sewing. Let's do this! xxx

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Sewing: Sewaholic Oakridge blouse for Victoria

Over the last year I have made a very special friend. An office-BFF, a partner in crime on nights out, a fellow food junkie and just a generally awesome person!

Her birthday was coming up in March and I knew I wanted to gift her something special. For really special gifts to really special people in my life there is only one option - to make something.

(Now, if you are reading this and haven't received anything handmade by me, it doesn't mean you are not special to me, it just means that I'm a master procrastinator.)

So I kind of observed her style. Cuts, colours, materials. Button ups feature consistently in her wardrobe, and aside from a ton of burgundy stuff, she dresses a lot in the classic colours white, black, grey, navy.

I showed her a picture of the Oakridge blouse, said I was thinking of making myself a sleeveless version (I lied) and asked her what she thinks. She liked it. Good.

Next step. Fabric. We were in London together a few weeks before her birthday, so that was a perfect opportunity. First I took her to Liberty, but I pretty quickly got the feeling that was not her cup of tea. Then we went to MacCullough & Wallis. I was genuinely looking for a wide range of fabrics, only one of which would be her birthday fabric. She liked this grey/white cotton lawn, so I got it.

Finally, obtaining her measurements. I told her I was making a spreadsheet of my own and my friends' measurements to keep for any current and future projects and asked to take hers. (I do actually intend to do this, see above point about procrastination.) I asked her this a few days before her birthday, so how she didn't figure out what I was up to, I don't know.

Squeezed this out of 1 m of 150 cm width fabric. I had to compromise slightly and cut the bow band not exactly on the bias, but to be honest, I made another version after and cut it on the bias and I can't really see that it makes a difference.

Gifted her with it on the next working day after her birthday and turned out it fit and she liked it. Excellent!

However, by then I liked it so much I kind of wanted to keep it. So I had no option but to start an Oakridge for myself immediately after. Stay tuned for a post on it.

But first, let's chat a bit about the pattern itself and my alterations.
  • Firstly, there was a serious sizing issue, but I will discuss that in detail in my next Oakridge post.
  • Interfacing. I interfaced the whole button band, as instructed in the pattern. But after I sewed the first button band in place it was clear that even with light interfacing it was way too stiff for my otherwise soft lawn. So for the other button band I did like the Grainline instructions for the Archer shirt instructed, i.e. interfacing only one half of the button band. Result: so much better!
  • I didn't quite get how to attach the neck tie. I read some reviews of this patterns, and noticed that I wasn't alone in that. I fished a RTW pussy bow blouse out of my wardrobe and studied how that was done, then I did the same. So I only followed the instructions up until the bow band met the button band. Then I turned it right way up, pressed, folded in the seam allowance of the inside of the bow band with about 2 mm hanging over the seam of where the outside side of the bow band had been joined with the front and back pieces, pressed, and "stitched in the ditch" from the outside. Or attempted to. Because the fabric was so fine the "ditch" didn't conceal the stitches, so I moved up 1 mm or so onto the bow band and just did really neat top stitching. No regrets, it looks fine.
  • One alteration: I decided to make this sleeveless, so I shaved off a few cm at the shoulders and finished the armholes with bias binding. Easy peasy.
Right, expect my other (selfish) Oakridge on the blog next week. Until then, have a great week!

Me and Victoria in a wine bar in London. Photo stolen from Victoria's Instagram.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Sewing: Pattern Runway kimono dress in royal blue polyester crepe

It's the last day of March (hurray!) and therefore the last day of winter (double hurray!) as far as I'm concerned. I've started my spring sewing and have two finished items to show, so I figured I better finish my winter projects blogging today.

My last item sewn this winter is this Pattern Runway kimono dress. I'm afraid that the below is the only photo I have of it as I don't really want to take any more photos. I want to start photographing spring clothes and I just feel such a reluctance to take any photos of this.

Another reason is that I'm not sure I like it. I really do like the pattern. But my fabric is funny. It looks lovely in dim light, making it perfect for evening events, but in daylight it just looks strange, out of place, uncomfortable.

It's a polyester crepe. I got it to make a muslin initially, and was planning to make the dress in crepe the chine, but I ended up leaving myself too little time to make the real dress that I ended up wearing the muslin to a ballet performance I was seeing in London in February.

I got it from Croft Mill and while it is a good visual imitation of crepe de chine and feels quite nice against the skin, it is a rather stiff and coarse fabric. It was tough to cut, even for sharp scissors. Near on impossible to press. The interfaced facings feel really uncomfortable on such an already stiff fabric. It's great for a muslin, but I honestly don't see this dress getting a lot of wear.

I am very keen to make the crepe de chine version though!

Although it might not be until next winter as I already have a long queue of spring/summer sewing to do.

Speaking of, I'll start blogging my DIY spring wardrobe next week. Until then, I leave you with a photo of the beautiful Royal Opera House stage/curtains/part of the ceiling.