A few years ago, there was a fashion-makeove televisionserie in which a candidate was given a completely new wardrobe if she agreed to get rid of her existing clothes. (shoes, bags, accessories). The clothes were destroyed in a shredder. The candidate was almost crying, but she liked the idea of getting a new wardrobe and style. The TV viewers watched in disgus: all her clothes were pulverized....
Zero waste, please
The candidate didn't exactly have a sophisticated style, but maybe someone else would have been happy with the clothes. Or it could have been a small effort to bring the clothes to a thrift store. Or maybe a lot of clothes could have been given a second life through creative upcycling by seamstresses like us and you.
Nowadays, most people bring their clothes to thrift stores or Humanitas containers. But a lot of clothing are still thrown away, which is a real pity and a waste of materials.
At H&M, a different kind of shredder has been born for recycling instead of destruction!
Hip hip hooray for LOOOP!
Since October 2020, H&M has a new recycling device named: LOOOP.
LOOOP is made to clean the clothes, shred them into fibers. The fibers are used to spun threads, which can be used to create new sweaters, jackets, bags, scarves, etc. The system does not use chemicals and water and is therefore very environmentally friendly.
H&M and sustainable fashion
H&M is innovative and shows a lot of respect for the concept of sustainability. They have been collecting clothes for a few years. And now LOOOP has been developed. The aim is to recycle all materials by 2030 and to purchase them sustainably.
We think this is a great news and that is why we give LOOOP extra attention on our website.
For more information about how Looop works: https://www2.hm.com/en_gb/life/culture/inside-h-m/meet-the-machine-turning-old-into-new.html.
Breaking the pattern; 'A modern way to sew' is a book written by the Finnish sisters Saara and Laura Huhta. They founded the Finnish sewing pattern label "Named" and are successful. Named delivers two collections per year and encourages people to sew their own clothes. The sisters are very convincing and have a great taste of (Scandinavian) style.
"The aim of the collections is to bring a new perspective to making one’s own clothes and to support ethical and ecological consuming in contrast to a clothing industry focused on fast fashion."
For the beginner
The book is written for the novice seamstress. The book is divided into an introduction, projects and additional information. The introduction contains twenty pages of basic information you need to know before getting started. Everything is clearly explained and substantiated with excellent drawings and beautiful photos.
Next are the projects: ten sewing patterns explained in detail with instructions and photos. In the extra information you can read how to adjust a sewing pattern, there is a glossary and extra information about suppliers and web shops.
Beautiful sewing patterns
The sewing patterns are printed on loose pattern sheets added in an envelope in the book. The pattern sheets are reasonably clear but will be a puzzle for the absolute beginner. If you follow the instructions step-by-step, you can do it. We think it is a pity the pattern sheets are not numbered and that the sewing patterns in the book are not described with a number referring the pattern sheets. You have to unfold all the pattern sheets to find the right sewing pattern. Fortunately the pattern sheets are chronological. For example, pattern 1 is not on the same sheet as pattern 9.
A true workshop!
The book is a great tool to learn about sewing techniques. The sewing patterns start with a simple bag. You do not need a lot of sewing skills to get the jb done. The book finish with a walkloden coat which really a lot of sewing experience. The sewing techniques are explained per sewing pattern and are building up your skills.
The instructions are worked out in approximately 10-15 pages per pattern and also offer variations for the pattern.
Scandinavian style is stylish
The strength of this book and the sewing patterns lies in the beautiful simplicity that is visually presented very appealing. Most sewing magazines often pop to a lot of sewing patterns, styles and often the clothes don't seem very easy to create. This book radiates tranquility, simplicity and minimalism. The style of Scandinavia. When you see the sewing patterns, you immediately think: Yes I can! You can also adjust the clothing to your own taste by, for example, choosing a printed fabric instead of a plain fabric, or by applying variations in decoration and style.
To try out the sewing patterns we made the bag "Nummi" in two variations and the dress "Utu". The bag has a lovely pattern and is really easy to make. Goodbye big plastic shopping bag from the supermarkets, hello! home-made spacious shopping bag from Scandinavia.
With the bag you can vary as much as you want: add sturdy fabric as a bottom, make inner pockets for mobile and wallet or embellish the bag with passe-partouts like we did with a textile print from Mindfuldrawing.
The dress is a fun pattern for a beginner. We did discover a mistake: the side of the front piece is the number of centimeters shorter that the pleat takes up. Fortunately, this error can be solved by shortening the bottom of the back piece by two centimeters. The dress has a tight fit. Note this if you prefer a comfortable dress instead of a tight-fitting dress.
Also note: the seam allowances are 1 centimeter. This is stated in the introduction to the book. Not the 1.5 centimeters as usual with Burda patterns or seam allowances included as with Vogue, New Look, Simplicity, Butterick and most other brands.
The book is an absolute must-have for a friend who likes to be creative. Bur including all those beautiful sewing patterns, the book is very valuable. The sewing patterns are timeless and very stylish.
This week, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, USA, opens a new exhibition about fashion "Over time: fashion and duration". It shows fashion trends from 1870 until now. It is amazing to notice how fashion has developed and yet the past and present are looking very similar.
The performance presents itself in a timeline of two galleries. A clock indicates 60 minutes and works symbolically. Every minute represents a fashion trend over the past 150 years. The present is placed next to the past and indicates 'Duration' (the duration). The garments are very similar in structure, shapes and concept. The present and the past have been perfectly matched.
The clothing is black so that the emphasis stays on the silhouette and you are not distracted by color and fabric design.
At the end a white dress from Viktor & Rolf, 2020, made of patchwork and upcycled materials appears. This symbolizes the future: sustainability as a concept.
Enjoying the exhibition at home
Due to the corona restrictions it is impossible for most of us, to visit this exhibition in New York. Nevertheless, we think it is worth mentioning and offer an alternative by enjoying the above video for a few minutes.
And do you want to continue to support art? Then you can always order the accompanying book in the museum shop. Not a bargain, but a unique book for the real fashion lover and book collector.
'In the Bubble: Fashion's Cocooning Shapes Stage a Spring 2021 Comeback '. We are a bit shocked by the new trend spotted by Vogue. Vogue has an article about the new spring fashion. The trends of the catwalk are discussed which are often translated in the mass market fashion for the general public a few weeks later. The bubble is becoming a trend.
Living in a bubble
We hear more and more about this term. People are feeling like the live in a bubble. This means: the social contacts are limited by the quarantine or other measures to contain the spread of the corona virus. We all keep our distance and avoid birthdays, parties and events for a while. This feels like you are living in a bubble.
Fortunately, we can all maintain contacts from our study- or living room and have the feeling we are not alone. Many of us are also lucky enough to be able to continue working digitally from home. Nevertheless, what may be a relief for some (a lot of the social pressure has disappeared and traffic jams are a problem of the past), is a complete disaster for others.
Feeling isolated is a bad feeling... But what does this have to do with fashion?
Home clothing is not Haute couture
We stay at home and why would we dress neatly when our colleagues or friends only see you, on your screen behind the pc. up to your waist? Most people have barely made any effort to dress themselves for eight months now. Why should you? In comfortable clothing you feel better and you work without any 'clothing' stress. Sweatpants under your neat blouse? Nobody will even notice.
But according to Vogue, fashion designers have gone a step further. We live in 'a bubble', well then we will also dress like a bubble. Beautiful photos of Haute couture are shown from the fifties. Grotesque shapes and the puff sleeves seems to be a new trend. And the variations on this theme for the spring of 2021.
But would it work? Aren't we taking up a bit too much space on our small screen with Zoom when we start wearing inflated clothes? You will get noticed for sure... >)
Maybe in time the crinoline, the Victorian crinoline, will be back on the streets again. If you do go out while wearing a crinoline, it will be sure people will keeping distance.
After all, the crinoline was also intended to keep social distance in the past, but the motifs were based on other considerations. Not for fear of a virus infection....
A new sustainable future
We are curious what fashion will bring us next spring. We encourage every initiative with regard to sustainability, zero waste materials, recycling and upcycling.
We are already seeing 'Bubble' and 'comfy' clothing in the fall of 2020 and we have 'spotted' in new sewing patterns and magazines. They look great and wearable for everyone.
But we still love our beautiful Chanel-style jacket. Bet you will also stand out on Zoom or if you are skyping with your employer, friends or family. We will not talk about those sweatpants underneath, nobody sees them anyway;>)
The little black dress is written by Simon Henry. The beautiful, large book is about the little black dress and offers sewing patterns and many instructions. It is informative and a nice coffee table book.
The versatile little black dress
No woman in the world should be without a little black dress! And that's an understatement...
The little black dress is always chic, always classy and ideal for styling for different occasions: an evening party, a formal business-meeting or just a nice casual day. Add some accessories, handbags, a coat, shoes or boots or combine it with sneakers. Everything is possible and timeless beautiful.
But where to find a little black dress that really fits?
Here you have the answer: make one yourself! A tailor-made Little Black Dress ('LBD') could be yours.
The back page of the book promises it is possible even though you do not have any experience with sewing. Expert dressmaker Simon Henry will guide you through the process of making the perfect little black dress.
Do you need any sewing experience?
Unfortunately we do not agree with the book about the required sewing-level. It takes some knowledge of sewing and some experience in cutting the pattern, shaping it on a dressform and sewing your own tailor-made little black dress.
But we agree everything about the great guide the book offers. The pictures of the instructions are loud and clear. The drawings are perfect and the back ground information is really very nice.
All the other photographs of the book are stunning and the layout of the whole book is really worth every penny.
We definitely recommend this book. But make sure it will not be your first project, otherwise it probably won't work. Unless you are really very talented.
A little less good:
Good luck! We are sure wyou will create a perfect-fitting LBD and would like to see the results. Feel free to send photos of your creation!
Butterick B6378 is a blouse that fits comfortably, has something extra and is also beautiful to wear under a Chanel-Style jacket or with the jacket draped over your shoulders. The Butterick B6378 is a great blouse, with or without a nice bow and quite easy to make.
The Butterick B6378 is not that different from the Butterick 6710. The only difference is a yoke at the shoulders and the opening at the front. The Butterick B6378 sewing pattern is a pattern for a blouse in four variations. The variation is in the length of the sleeves and in the bow.
The bow in Model B is long and wide.
With Model A, the bow is not around the neck but is located at the tunic opening.
In Model D it is just a string and Model C has quite different collar.
Due to these variations, the blouses look completely different.
Which fabric is this sewing pattern suitable for? The recommended fabrics are: Georgette, Challis, Crepe, Rayon. We made the blouse in dark blue viscose/cotton and light pink silk. The dark blue blouse (see below) we have added 'Chanel trims' to the tunic-like opening of the neck and at the bottom of the sleeves. This gives the blouse a real chic look.
We made the light pink silk blouse according to Model B. However, we left the sleeves loose in the seam instead of elastic sleeve openings. This gives the blouse a different look. The 'Silky satin' was bought at Driessenstoffen.nl
Sewing level: 'easy'
The sewing pattern is suitable for the novice seamstress. Indeed, we think that the blouse pattern is 'easy to sew'. The sewing pattern has no pitfalls or difficulties.
But the bow from Model B. is not thàt easy to sew. Follow the instructions carefully so that you sew it by hand on the inside and not on the right side of the fabric.
Butterick B6378 is just like the Butterick 6710 is an easy pattern to make a classic blouse.
This blouse looks great under a 'Chanel-style' jacket because the bow makes the - often collarless - Chanel-Style jacket even more beautiful and classic.
The blouse can also be worn casually with jeans or pleated trousers, for example.
The instructions are very comprehensive and clear.
You can also vary enough with the pattern. For us, this tunic-like blouse falls under "The classics" because the design is timeless and a real must-have for someone who likes basic ánd classic style.
Vogue V8959 is a sewingpattern of a cape. Last Saturday we read in the Volkskrant magazine (Dutch) that capes are very trendy and there were capes all over on the latest catwalks. Time to start to sew a cape! And of course we created the cape in 'Chanel style'!
Vogue V8959 Sewing pattern
Vogue V8959 is a timeless classic. The sewing pattern is a pattern for a lined, wide cape in three different lengths, with a round collar and side seams and a back seam. The sides have openings as armholes. The cape has a front closure, which is closed with buttons or one button at the top. Recommended fabrics: wool, wool mixes, tweeds, brocade and tafetta.
Bouclé can be added to this list as well. This fabric is very suitable for a cape. The fabric is nice and warm and often very suitable for a cape. The cape then appears less massive (if the cape is made from uni colored fabric) due to the different shades of bouclé yarns.
Sewing level: VERY EASY is recommended. We do not think the cape is a great project for absolute beginners. But with a little help from someone else, a beginner can make this cape. However, don't underestimate it, because cutting the fabric, sewing the collar and sleeve openings and making the finishing touches requires a little sewing experience.
Quilting the lining
We quilted the cape in Chanel style. This means that we have sewn the silk lining on the inside of bouclé fabric. A very time-consuming job, but the cape is now truely Haute couture according to the vision of Claire Shaeffer. She explains this nicely in all her books about Couture techniques and specifically in the book "The couture cardgan jacket".
We made the cape from black / gray / white bouclé fabric and a light gray silk lining fabric. There is a trespa wool trims around the entire cape that gives the cape a beautiful finish.
Vogue V8959 is a great sewing pattern to make a cape in 'Chanel-Style' jacket according to the vision of Coco Chanel and explained by Claire Shaeffer. (in the instructions for this pattern and in all of her books).
Capes are also very trendy this season again and great outerwear for autumn and winter. If you make the cape of a neutral color, it will also match ány outfit.
Vogue V8991 is a Claire Shaeffer designed pattern, published by Vogue. We know Claire Shaeffer from the books: The Couture Cardigan Jacket, Making Designers Trims and The Couture Skirt. In her books she describes how Coco Chanel designed her famous Chanel jacket, the faux-wrap skirt and other classics. The sewing pattern V8991 is an example of a classic Chanel jacket and completely focused on the couture sewing techniques.
The vogue pattern: Semi-fitted, lined jacket has stand-up collar, side-front seams, side panels, no side seams, patch pockets, and two-piece, button sleeves with shaped lower edge. Note: Fabric is quilted to lining to provide added body.
The fabrics for this jacket: Lightweight Tweed, Wool Crepe, Boiled Wool. It is advisable to stick to the fabric recommendation.
Notions: Buttons, chain, triming, interfacing and Silk lining fabrics.
Sewing level: advanced
The pattern has been titled "Vogue ADVANCED". We agree with this. Claire Shaeffer provides great detailed instructions, but you must have sewing experience to understand them. The quilting work is a very difficult job if youdo not have sewing-experience.
Sewing-by-hand or 'Hand-sewing'
As mentioned, a lot is work for this project is sewing by hand. You gotta love this. You can find the stitches you need in most books and on the Internet. Claire Shaeffer also explains it nicely, but first learn more about it. Sewing by hand is more than just basting, the stitches have to be really strong and above all demonstrable.
The sleeves consist of two parts and we think the sleeves are quite narrow at the top. Make the pattern out of muslin first, to make sure it fits properly. Sleeves that are too narrow is really a pity. As a result, you cannot move comfortable in the jacket and there is even a chance that you will tear out, especially if you use delicate fabrics such as tweed and Bouclé.
The round sleeve-edges of the sleeves are very diffiuclt to make. If you do not want it make them: 'normal' sleeve edges are perfectly for this jacket as well.
Claire Shaeffer's extra 'couture instructions' are very nice. This allows you to really learn to sew with couture techniques that you will enjoy later on. The instructions are "the secrets of the master". This way you can make a real couture jacket from an affordable pattern and fabric of your choice.
We made the jacket from light grey cotton bouclé. The Bouclé fabric was light and not too loose. This Bouclé offers the possibility to easily make the fringes and finishings with a contrast color: fuchia.
Note: make the fringes from a double row of fabric. This gives a nicer effect and thus the fringes are easier to see. Use an overlocker to make a nice flat edge that you can easily sew onto the jacket. Or rather: between the different pattern pieces.
The Chanel-style jacket has a classic look and is easy to combine with any kind of outfit.
Vogue V8991 is a special sewing pattern to make the Chanel-Style jacket according to the vision of Coco Chanel and explained by Claire Shaeffer. (in the instructions for this pattern and in all of her books). The instructions are very comprehensive and clear. Yet this jacket remains a challenge for every seamstress.
Keep this in mind if you don't have much experience with 'couture sewing techniques' yet. The sewing pattern is a Chanel-style jacket par excellence. Good luck !
Maybe you recently started sewing face masks, or you used to sew. Cushion covers, baby clothes or maybe a skirt. You think about yourself as an absolute beginner. You would like to make all those beautiful clothes in sewing magazines, but you are hesitating....
Do not hesitate but buy a sewing pattern of a garment piece that you would like to make, and we will help you step-by-step to realize your sewing project.
Superb sewing patterns
An other situation: Sewing patterns always look beautiful. Usually the model on the front of the envelope, looks super slim, she is a great model and the clothes seem easy to make. If the sewing pattern is indicated as 'Easy', or it is exactly what you want, you buy it!
But you have not started yet this sewing project "I will never be able to make it", you think and you regret the impulse purchase. But it will work and we help with step-by-step information.
1. Read the back of the pattern first
Most sewing patterns have all the important information on the back of the envelope, which contains the pattern. The recommended fabric is indicated and the quantity you need. Stick to this advice, because if you choose a different type of fabric, it is more likely that the sewing project will fail.
Tip: always buy half a meter of extra fabric. This allows you to correct mistakes such as incorrectly cut pattern parts or frayed edges that you cut or sewed too narrow. Moreover, it is useful to always keep a piece of extra fabric in any case in case your jacket breaks or a cup of coffee goes over it while wearing it.
Furthermore, the desired sewing level is often indicated on the envelop. Keep this in mind because as a beginner it is really not advisable to make a garment that requires a lot more sewing experience. If you are in a sewing class or you follow a workshop, you have a helping hand. But if this is not the case: stick to your sewing level and do not overestimate your experience.
Notions are also mentioned on the back of the envelope. You may need a zipper, buttons, an eye-hook closure and extra interfacings to reinforce collars and front panels.
2. The instructions of a sewing pattern
The envelope contains the sewing pattern itself and the work description/instructions. The work description usually consists of 2 to 3 large sheets. Take a look at the instructions before you start cutting.
You may feel like cutting out the pattern parts immediately, but it really pays off if you look at the work description first. If the sewing pattern is a multi-pattern, for example a jacket consisting of two models, or a skirt, pants and blouse as a total outfit, then each model has a letter. For example, if you only want to make jacket A, you can see below the drawing which pattern parts you need.
Please check carefully, on the 'body measurements' which size suits you best.
Below this chapter, there is an explanation of the symbols on the sewing pattern and the work description sheets. Read this also carefully. For example, how is the right side (outside) and wrong side (= inside) of the fabric indicated? And how can you see the grainline? This is indicated on the sewing pattern part with an arrow. Always align the arrow with the thread direction of the fabric.
Examples of how to place the cut out sewing pattern parts on the fabric are also important. This is also handy to check if youdid not missed any pattern parts and especially how to do this most conveniently. . Do not forget that 'cutting' is a specialty and at the Haute couture fashion houses the couturiers put their scissors in very expensive fabrics. They don't just do this. The pattern parts are carefully placed on the fabric and cut out.
The cutting schemes on sewing patterns for the consumer market are usually devised by a computer with a calculation program. Sometimes it may seem very unfavorable, but the thread direction is ALWAYS dominating and it is always correct.
Apart from the descriptions of terms and extra sewing instructions, the sewing instructions now follow each pattern part. When in doubt, take a look back at the definitions and always keep the paper at hand.
You have already cut out the pattern parts from the paper and onto the fabric. You have already copied all the important points, stars and arrows on the fabric by means of pins or chalk. But it could still be that you missed a symbol ...
Tip: Wait a while before neatly folding the pattern up again and putting it back in the envelope, but keep it handy.
Your review: The garment is ready and your sewing project is complete. If you have taken it all step-by-step, you have probably succeeded in making a beautiful, fitting piece of clothing!
Tip: Process your notes and any comments and remarks on an A4 piece and put them in the sewing pattern. You can also make notes with pencil on the sewing pattern.
Either way, should you ever use the sewing pattern again, you will have notes that you might have forgotten otherwise. For example: the sleeves are a bit too tinarrow. Or: the fabric turned out to be too 'loose' and the jacket therefore looked a bit sloppy.
Now you know that next time you will have to adjust the sleeves slightly and go for a slightly stiffer fabric.
A Chanel-style jacket made from fabric leftovers? Yes, that's possible. Even though the remnants are really very small. With a little more than a meter of fabric (in total!) you can create the small jacket. Read our instructions and tips in this blog.
Fabric leftovers and sustainability
We do not like waste fabrics. We have often come up with ideas to do something with fabric leftovers. We have also already talked about patchwork. Sewing pieces of fabric together to finally make something beautiful out of the 'patchwork blanket' is a great trend! Above all, it shows that you are carefull with raw materials (and the environment), you do not like to waste fabrics and are very creative! And now you atre creating a really chic 'Chanel-Style' jacket from fabric leftovers. Like this jacket!
Sewing pattern with princess lines
We have opted for a sewing pattern with princess lines. We had found a sewing pattern ourselves in the old 'Thuismode' workshops. This jacket is short, has princess lines and requires none lining. Ideal for our project.
Make sure the sewing pattern contains these elements:
This allows you to work with small pieces of fabric to create the chic little jacket.
Our Chanel-style 'remnants' jacket
We used Bouclé fabric leftovers which all match in terms of color and consistency. The fabric should not be too firm, neither too loose.
We made the back pieces of gray bouclé fabric and the fabric we liked the most: the large pattern parts of the sleeves and the middle back part.
We made the front panels from the fabric that we liked the most and we had two remnants left for the smaller parts of the sleeves.
The fringes are made of the front panel fabric and we have made long thin fringes.
Because the jacket is not lined, we finished the bottom, sleeves and front panel with a bias band (on the inside) and the fringes on the outside.
If you have less fabric, you can also choose to leave the front panels open. This always goes well with a Chanel-style jackets and makes the fringes look even better.
We did not use facings or interfacings. Because we did not use a lining, the jacket is extra warm but also vulnerable. Pay close attention to this when wearing the jacket and especially what you wear underneath. A t-shirt prevents damage; a blouse can sometimes pull threads of the bouclé fabric through the buttons and cuffs.
You can do a lot with fabric leftovers. Mix the fabrics and feel free to make something unique. It's nice when the colors match well, in our case: blue, gray, red and pink, but feel free to go bold(er).
Keep this rule in mind: make sure that the fabrics match together in terms of structure and composition. (A pied-de-poule fabric or a checkered fabric would be too much of a good thing ...)
If you 'style' the jacket with plain pants, skirt and a simple white shirt underneath; then a 'color shock' is very chique and modern.
Do you still have some fabric leftovers? Create a clutch (see our green clutch) or make some extra fringes. The thicker and longer the fringes, the more beautiful and the more 'Chanel style'!