PROJECTS // QUILTED COCO JACKET

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Every spring, just as the first flowers begin to grow and unfold in our beautiful neighborhood, something strongly lures me to botanical prints. So I took a closer look at Liberty of London’s latest “Flower Show” collection, and of course I fell so very deeply in love with this breathtaking print by British artist Mary Fedden…. because just wearing it immediately transports me to a world of bright and joyful days!

And although the pattern I used clearly is an ode to the fabulous Coco Chanel (oh, how I adore her for the iconic boy-meets-chic style that she initially achieved by altering men’s clothes for herself – so very rebellious!), my version is more or less inspired by another Parisian designer, the wonderful Alix Thomsen. To say that her padded jackets have always been a great inspiration of mine is putting it pretty mildly. I actually find myself dreaming of a spontaneous trip to Paris every now and then, just to peruse through all of her beautiful pieces in person. Oh, wouldn’t that be fabulous?

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PATTERN: Coco by Schnittchen (a German independent pattern company)

FABRICS: Liberty “Abbey Pool” print tana lawn for the shell, black silk charmeuse for the lining, and Freudenberg #248 batting

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MODIFICATIONS: There actually will be another short blog post coming up in a few days, in which I plan to describe all the necessary steps for altering the original pattern to a quilted jacket (including pictures of the inside and translations of the pattern).

THOUGHTS: There are so many little things I love about this jacket; it’s hard to decide where to start. First of all, the jacket is neatly fitted for a very feminine silhouette. And the quilting adds an incomparably soft texture, too. The three-quarter length sleeves cleverly consist of two pattern pieces. All in all, it’s a beautifully drafted pattern! And even though I would prefer to see some diagrams in the (German) instructions, I would most definitely recommend this versatile pattern to anyone in need of a timeless cardigan jacket! Especially if you’re planning on making a quilted version, as there is no need for the instructions anyway.

Oh yes, I firmly believe that a casual jacket is an everyday must-have – not only does it help to get the cold out, but it also helps to add structure to any outfit! And I just can’t wait for it to get softer and softer with every wear…

Happy spring, everyone… it’s a promising time of year!

Love,

Louise

PROJECTS // SILK BACK BRIAR SWEATER

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Hello, dear reader!

I had no intention of abandoning this journal for more than two months (oh tell me, is it mid-March already?), but somehow my mind has been too restless after our very sudden decision to change our not-necessary-unhealthy-but-yet-improvable diet back in January. And as we eagerly tried (oh, and still try!) to navigate towards healthier eating habits – including extended food hunts and exciting kitchen adventures – there was little but no energy left for quiet sewing sessions. But today, I’m finally back to share my latest make with you.

I have a thing for contrasts in textures, even more so in monochromatic color schemes. That said, it was only a matter of time before this obsession would find its way into my handmade wardrobe. I decided to contrast a soft cotton-wool-cashmere knit with a fluid habotai silk, using Megan Nielsen’s admirable Briar sweater pattern. And, oh my… they pair so beautifully indeed! The drape of this little sweater is so luxurious. Lately, I can’t stop wearing navy blue, or even thinking about navy blue. I actually want to dress in navy blue, tone-on-tone, all day… everyday.

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PATTERN: Briar Sweater by Megan Nielsen

FABRICS: Fine navy cotton-wool-cashmere knit and sheer navy habotai silk

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MODIFICATIONS: I added a hidden button fastening to the silk back panel (a bit unnecessary after all), reduced the width of the neckline binding and made a few small changes to the pocket piece (because it’s woven).

THOUGHTS: It amazes me how the loveliness of Megan Nielsen’s patterns simply quadruples with every new launch (so true for all independent pattern designers lately, I simply cannot keep up!). And what I love most about the Briar pattern is that I can simply shrug this one on over denim and I don’t even have to think about it again. While sewing, I decided to treat the back and front panel as separate garments, so all raw edges were hemmed and finished separately. The shoulders might be a tiny little bit to wide, but I’ll just keep that in mind for next time.

I have to admit that I still have that lovely stack of fall fabrics sitting right next to my sewing machine. Yes, I should really get back to sewing very soon… but first I need to recover from a short trip we took to the snowy mountains of Austria, catching up with your beautiful creations!

Hope your week is turning out to be a good one!

Love,

Louise

PROJECTS // FOLK ZIP BACK TOP

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Hello, dear reader!

I feel like I need to begin by telling you that the pattern I used for my latest project appeared in a monthly German DIY magazine and therefore might not be available in your part of the world. I believe the magazine usually offers three patterns, one of which is created in collaboration with a small, independent company. And while flipping through the January issue of 2013, I happily discovered that they featured the British label Folk. My boyfriend immediately recalled a few of their shirts he discovered at Liberty on a short trip to London. But what tempted me was the corresponding interview… in a short statement the creators of Folk proclaim that they aspire to create comfortable and effortless clothing that enhance a strong sense of self-confidence without having to be sexy and evocative. Oh yes, defnitely my kind of people! Anyway, while the slightly boyish cut of the top might not be something for everyone, it surely made my  heart skip a little faster…

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PATTERN: Zip Back Top by Folk in Cut Magazine 01/13

FABRICS: Liberty “Ornithology” print tana lawn

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MODIFICATIONS: I lengthened the top by 5cm (but I will shorten it as soon as possible… I actually do prefer the shorter look)

THOUGHTS: This little top is so exceptionally well designed! I’m in love with the side panel detailing, the tiny breast darts, the short saddle shoulders, the contrasting back zip – all those hidden little details that are hardly noticeable at first (especially in a busy print like mine), but they do make the overall design! And then there is the very clean finish on the inside. It did take a longer to sew (oh my, flat felled seams on shoulders!), but I very much enjoyed the whole process!

Well, to be honest … there is only one step in sewing that I find a bit frustrating, and that is gathering all the needed materials. I just can’t ever find what I’m looking for! So I’m always forced to compromise (but never without a little disappointment!). And this project is no exception: I just couldn’t find a metal zipper in the right length or color. And I was hoping to find a good minimal print for this pattern, but I do love the Liberty print I eventually chose (picked up on sale!). Of course it is well known for it’s lovely interpretation by Nadinoo – and while I could never make anything to rival her deliciousness, I’m definitely happy to keep trying.

Someday, I’d love to make another one…. someday.

Love,

Louise

PERSONAL // WARDROBE PLANNING NOTES

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Hello, dear reader!

I hope you all had a wonderful month of December with your loved ones – filled with rest, peace, and joy! Oh my, it has proven to be quite a hectic month for us. Bits of much needed redecorating have happened here and there, keeping the festive spirit a little lower than usual. But in the end, it all got done just in time for Christmas Eve! And we had several days of much needed rest ever since. Well, although I may have swapped fabrics for paint – I’ve surely been dreaming about my upcoming sewing projects! So I just wanted to share some of my first planning notes with you, although I’m a little scared to put them “out there” (especially as an illustration novice).

Anyway, here they are:

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1. JACKET: relaxed fit, lightly quilted, slightly cropped length
(pattern idea: Coco / Schnittchen)

2. BLAZER: straight fit, shawl lapel, fully lined
(pattern idea: Blazer / Cut Magazine)

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3. TOP: side panel detailing, saddle shoulders, exposed back zip
(pattern idea: Folk Top / Cut Magazine)

4. SKIRT: semi-fitted, a-line silhouette, above knee length
(pattern idea: Moss Mini/ Grainline)

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5. SHIRT 1: loose fit, collar with front button bands, patch pockets at breast
(pattern idea: Rachel Comey V1323/ Vogue Patterns)

6. SHIRT 2: semi-fitted, pointed collar, low curved back hem
(pattern idea: Pussy Bow Blouse / Pattern Runway)

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7. T-SHIRT: boxy fit, hip length, two-tone denim star appliqués
(pattern idea: Scout Tee/ Grainline)

8. SWEATER: relaxed fit, low curved back hem, long sleeves
(pattern idea: Briar / Megan Nielsen)

I know that eight projects might be a little too much… and they surely look very basic. We’ll see how many of my ideas will eventually make their way into my closet. But I’ve been working so hard over the last few months at reassessing my wardrobe – figuring what fits my lifestyle/body perfectly. And I think they all do!

Oh, and just last week, the lovely Shivani surprised me with a little blog award! And I just wanted to take it as an opportunity to thank you all from the very bottom of my heart! Thank you so, so much for visiting my little space – I am ever so grateful for each and every one of you! The kindness and encouragement you all have sent through comments is unbelievable (I’m still trying to catch up getting back to you after the long unexpected break – I’m so sorry!). One of my main blog-related goals for the next year is to overcome my shyness a little more – just so I can tell you how much you all inspire me. I’m definitely looking forward to more conversation.

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Wishing you all a peaceful New Year!

Love,

Louise

PROJECTS // COMPTOIR DES COTONNIERS INSPIRED SCOUT TEE

Hello, dear reader!

I have a weakness for earthy autumnal tones, especially the color palette of leaves – ranging from yellow to brown, passing through red and plum.  It’s probably the reason why I’m so deeply in love with the Liberty print I used for my latest project! Yes, another Scout Tee… but they’re just so unbelievably comfortable! I mostly buy my sewing notions in a department store – that means I always have to pass through the women’s fashion department (among which is the French Comptoir des Cotonniers) first. I’m usually in deep thought, daydreaming about upcoming sewing projects, as I walk through uncountable racks of clothes. A few weeks ago, I spotted this lovely silk blouse with triangle cut-outs on the neckline… of course it immediately inspired me to try something very similar!

PATTERN: Scout Woven Tee by Grainline

FABRICS: Liberty “A Stitch in Time” print tana lawn

MODIFICATIONS: I lengthened the shirt and sleeves and added triangle cut-outs to the neckline and sleeves

THOUGHTS: Personally, I just love the loose and modern fit of the Scout Tee! It pairs so well with the cottony drape and unique softness of Liberty tana lawn. And I’m actually pleased with the look of the triangle cut-outs! They certainly add some visual interest to my otherwise rather monotonous fall outfits. I just need to choose carefully what I wear underneath.

Have a calm weekend!

Love,

Louise

PROJECTS // SILK TOVA BLOUSE

Hello, dear reader!

Oh my, I could go on and on about the joys of simple silk blouses! They’re light, they’re soft and they’re smooth… and they’re so hard to take off! I’m still in desperate need of some simple everyday garments to fill the main gaps of my recently reorganized closet. I believe my new silk Tova blouse fits in just perfectly, because I love the ease of throwing on clothes that can be forgotten about once you’re in them (there is so much else to worry about, isn’t there?). This was my first attempt to sew silk, but it was relatively easy. Of course there is so much more to learn and improve… it’s far from perfect, but certainly a beginning. Because now I’m hopelessly in love with silk…

PATTERN: Tova by Wiksten

FABRICS: Cream crepe de chine silk

MODIFICATIONS: I went up a size and added a few details to make it more silk-appropriate (a hidden button placket, a curved hem, single button cuffs, and round edges on the collar)

THOUGHTS: Considering this is my first attempt to sew silk, I must say I’m pleased with the result! I just love the easy breezy look of the blouse. The only thing I would probably change next time is the collar (I’m thinking of small ties?), because it does look a little floppy… or maybe I should add another button?

Working with silk truly excites me! I’m in love with the different textures and the fine details. It’s definitely the kind of luxury I’d be willing to part with my pennies for…

Okay, it’s time for a warm glögg!

Love,

Louise

PROJECTS // DENIM MOSS MINI SKIRT

Hello, dear reader!

The first finished project I’d like to share with you on here is my new Moss Mini skirt. Truly, I’ve been shopping around for the perfect denim skirt for what seems like ever – something very simple in a moderate length and with a comfortable fit. But I’ve never found the right one (at least within my price range). So I was so delighted when I spotted Grainline’s latest pattern release. It’s just what I’ve been looking for – a great wardrobe staple! And it certainly pairs so well with so many things in my wardrobe.

PATTERN: Moss Mini Skirt by Grainline

FABRICS: Reversible denim (dark blue on one side and burgundy red on the other), Liberty “Darcie” print tana lawn as pocket lining

MODIFICATIONS: I lengthened the skirt by 6cm and added belt loops (for slim leather belts)

THOUGHTS: First of all, the fit of the skirt is amazing! We all know that Grainline’s patterns are incredibly well designed. It sits just perfectly below the waist, neither too low nor too high. Oh, and I can’t keep my hands out of the pockets! This was the first time I inserted a fly, but the step-by-step instructions were very easy to follow. The only thing I had slight troubles with was attaching the waistband to the skirt, but I believe I made a minor mistake while cutting the fabric. All in all, it’s a great pattern!

I already have beautiful burgundy red corduroy set aside for another one. And I’d love to make yet another one in velvet, wool, or even suede… doesn’t that sound dreamy?

Okay, off to the sewing machine!

Love,

Louise

PERSONAL // NEW JOURNEY

Hello, dear reader!

Welcome to my sewing journal! Oh, I can’t even remember how often I found myself quietly contemplating the possibility of creating a sewing journal over the last few years. It was a very tempting possibility, yes. But it was a very frightening possibility, too. Yet alone the thought of posting my projects on an open place made me feel unbelievably self-conscious. And I just wasn’t sure if I had something interesting and significant enough to share with others.

But then again, I met so many sweet and charming people already just by sharing a few pictures. And they all had so many nice things to say. And it made me realize that a blog would allow me to take it even further…

So here I am.

And I’m beyond excited. The beginning of a new season (fall – it’s my favorite!) marks the beginning of a new journey (blogging – i’m ready to start sewing already!).

Thanks for taking a peek, I’m so glad you’re here!

Love,

Louise