interiors · sewing

{ DECOR } Sunshine roman blinds…

One would think being in the interior industry, self-made decor would come naturally to me.

Yip, ONE. WOULD. THINK!

The opposite is true for me in fact. I previously loathed doing my own home decor sewing. Curtains, blinds, cushions, the lot…. { LOATHE IT }. It most probably has much to do with the fact that Ive always had professional curtain workshops make my clients curtains, bedspreads, blinds etc & it may have become a luxury to have the same workshops whip up things for me in the past too. Decor sewing always reminded me too much of work & I prefer sewing garments anyway.

Since moving to Austria, I have found it incredibly difficult to find such workshops in & ’round my ‘hood. They probably exist in the big cities but since I live in the sticks, it really has forced me to make things myself.

I really needed to get some window dressings for the baby room so I decided to do simple roman blinds complicated with the need to line these with a good block out lining because the morning sun streams in through the one window & the other window is flooded with an annoying 10,000,000 watt halogen flood light from a neighbour that Im pretty convinced is signaling aliens “Land Here”! Cant have either!!

As you know, we are not aware of whether we’re expecting a boy or girl so we needed to go with something kinda neutral. Yellow is neutral. Non?

I had purchased this happy Ikea fabric a year or two ago just coz I loved it & had cushions planned in but never got to it. Unfortunately 2m was only sufficient for one window so off I darted to Ikea to pick up a further 2m. Thank goodness Ikea still had & might I add, still at the same price! I love the ‘watercolour-type’ effect of the yellow especially. stockholm-meterware-gelb__0175068_PE328506_S4

Since I had never made roman blinds before, I went into this project…well…blind. I hit YouTube for a tut & came across this Debbie Shore video. She explains things so well, I actually felt like I had the confidence to give it a go.  Here are the results : roman_blinds_1

roman_blinds_2

We have aluminium venetian blinds integrated to the windows already which when closed give good results but the blinds just add something extra to the room & the blockout does its job extremely well. No more halogen flood lights, thanks neighbours! Instead of installing cleats to the wall to wind the cords, I use the integrated venetian blind fixings because I hardly ever lift the venetians so there was no point in adding extra cleats for the romans. By the way, WTF is up with blinds being named after the Italians???

My experience with decor in general is vast even though I haven’t actually made things myself. Working with professionals in the industry though, I have learned a thing or 10 about the do’s and don’ts so I’ll share some essential tips.

Always use the best quality supplies you can afford. Don’t be tempted to use cheap alternatives because especially with blinds & curtains, the sun does damage & cheap supplies will just fall apart in no time.  Good quality lining is paramount.

Check your measurements again…..& again before cutting anything!!

Work systematically – it really does help to keep things clear especially when you’re dealing with various sized windows. Lengths & widths can vary ever so slightly so deal with one window before moving onto another.

Make worksheets. Simple diagrams with measurements will help. { PROMISE }.

Take your time.

Ive also included a list with links to the various places I purchased my supplies if your’e interested. Im supplying these links because Im thoughtful, not because Im affiliated in any way. Clear!

Supplies :

{ Fabric } : Ikea Stockholm

{ Lining } : Black out “Natur”

{ Blind fittings } : Toggles, tapes, cords etc

{ Batons } : Husband supplied

{ Rods } : Bauhaus

We’re almost finished with setting up the baby room so I’ll be sure to update pics as soon as its all done.

Hope you’re all well

x Ange

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pattern review · review · sewing

{ VOGUE 8550 } Red Pea Coat, this girl is on fire…

For those of you that have been following my blogging journey for a bit, you’ve probably seen me talk about the red Vogue 8550 pea coat that has been haunting me since I started way back when in late 2010. Im not proud to say I started so long ago, the truth hurts. I had terrible trouble with the sizing (of which Vogue referred to as ‘ease’) &  lost interest which so happened to (thankfully) co-incide with our relocation out of Holland so the sad pieces were boxed up. This box did not make the “cut” to our move to the UKso it stayed at home & waited patiently while we completed our work on the island. I should have known the pattern would give me nothing but trouble, the moment it arrived I noticed page 3 of the instructions  missing. It took a few weeks for it to be sent on. Was it a sign of things to come ??….

Anyway, fast forward 2 & some years  –  January I mentioned the red coat had been retrieved from its box & lovingly pressed, ready to tackle once & for all. I trimmed, re-measured & marked but then all the other sewing got in the way & I quickly realised this coat was going to have to be nursed, slowly & calmly…inch by inch…

Im proud to say, its { DONE } & Im so proud of myself for buckling up & getting it finished. (Ok ok, its missing its buttons…but more on that later).Vogue8550_front

Buckle up – a kinda long review but here are the details & more info on the process :

{ DESCRIPTION } Vogue Divine Details – fitted, lined coat with front & back tucks, standing collar, princess seams, full length sleeves and shoulder pads. Above mid-knee length, button closure and belt.

Vogue8550_back

{ FABRIC USED } A medium weight red wool found at Schröder Stoffen in Rotterdam, Holland. It was quite expensive but I loved this particular shade of red. I had been looking for a red wool to make another coat (using the V8438 pattern I had sewn before) but after seeing the V8550 in red, I was sold.

At first I was quite tempted to use a “WOW” lining, something wild & unexpected, but once I finished constructing the outer, I realised the red is { WOW } enough & my SIL had gifted me with this black fabric & I thought would be perfect for the lining so I went ahead & used it. I did however use the red thread to stitch the lining up which adds a very subtle accent to the black & ties the two together.Vogue8550_lining_front

{ SIZING } This was my biggest headache & I have left my original Pattern Review WIP as it was so it can still be read. I very rarely do muslins because I find they sap me of the excitement of making the real thing. Ive been sewing for long enough to know which measurements are important for me & I thought I had gotten quite comfortable with the Big 4 sizing that cutting my usual size would be ok. I was kinda wrong. This was grossly { HUGE }. I immediately thought I had farked up with my cutting so I double checked all the pieces had been cut the right size before contacting some other sewers/bloggers who I thought may have sewn this coat to enquire if they had similar problems. Unfortunately, no-one had sewn this so I had no sewcialist assistance . I then contacted Vogue directly. They came back saying the pattern had a “fair amount of ease on a FITTED coat but that they did not think there was anything wrong with the sizing”. So I got on with chopping, trimming & wasting expensive fabric to fit. Its not the ease that annoys me, its the fact that the pattern does not mention the ease at all. Anyway, moving swiftly on…

{ INSTRUCTIONS } Overall the instructions are not bad however some steps were not as clear as I thought they could be. Nearing the end, I battled to make sense of how the lining fits to the wool at the front seams. I gave up & constructed the way that I thought made sense.

{ CHANGES } The only little change I made was to the pockets. Instead of having them lined & sitting on the inside of the coat, I sewed them into the wool layer but did not bring them through the lining….in other words, they sit between the lining & the outer. I did this because I dont like pockets flapping on the inside of my coats. The pattern called for the lining to be made with the same pieces as the outer however instead of tucked like the outer, rather just pleated in. At first I thought all this extra fabric on the inside would be quite bulky however once pressed & stitched down, it gave a good weight to the inner & supports the wool well.

The coat has no loops/guides for the belt/waist tie! WTF am I meant to do with the tie when I take the coat off? I eeeked out every last bit of red wool to make the tie so I really hope I dont lose it in an absent minded outing…I might still go back & make chain loop guides…

{ LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY } ***Although it took me so long, it was not because of the level of difficulty per se. The tucks have a fair degree of complexity, even with the markings, however apart from the tucks, this is a standard princess cut coat. It was not an easy sew, but I dont think it was an advanced sew either.

{ TIME } HAHAHAHAHAHAA really!?  I normally keep a time card for kicks …I kicked this time card into the bin!!

{ LESSONS LEARNT } Take your time. I was eventually having nightmares about the coat but I knew if I rushed it would end up being a rubbish looking garment.

{ SUM IT UP } This is a lovely coat, the tuck detail is gorgeous & Im so pleased I finished it….all 2,5kgs of it!! Initially I had my doubts about whether it would keep me warm enough in the winter but once I joined the lining & felt the weight, I knew this would be a great winter coat… & I do love the RED. I had purchased big red buttons in Holland before I started but once it came time to use them, they just looked too big & the coat felt kinda clown-ish. Im hesitating with sewing them on until Ive managed to make a trip to Komolka to see if they have something slightly smaller & more suitable. Once the holes are cut, they cut so I need to be 100% sure.

I have hemmed the coat but I have not attached the lining to the wool as yet – the reason you ask? Well, Im not 100% happy with the darn shoulder pads. I feel like they are limp & lacking in the stiff department. I think Im going to change the shoulder pads. Im sure on my next trip to Komolka, I will have luck with finding alternative buttons & shoulder pads.

I might also go ahead & move the pockets from the side seams to the princess seams. I know this sounds crazy but the side seams seem too far back for me to get to the pockets. I may also just remove them completely!!

In hindsight, the problems with the sizing was almost two-fold. I still think the pattern has way too much ease however I also think my choice of wool did not help, especially with the extended periods where the WIP sat on Poppy pleading for attention. Even though this was post-tuck production, I think the wool may have stretched slightly adding to the list of problems.

I would recommend V8550 especially if you love the tuck details however, I would urge you to make a muslin first just to make sure of the sizing. I know I know, me advising making a muslin – I must be drunk! I think this coat would look amazing done in cream, but I dont think Im gonna be the one to make it!

This image clearly explains what got me through some painful & frustrating moments { Nespresso Vanilla Infused coffee }coffee_break

& elation at finally finishing! I had made a deal with myself that I would finish this before starting on something new….Im so excited to start fresh 🙂Vogue8550_elation

{ related posts }

pattern review · sewing

{ VOGUE 8601 } Riding Jacket

{FINISHED} I can hardly believe it! Imagine running a marathon, getting to the end only to realise you missed your target time…elation that you still alive but disappointment with your final result…thats how this jacket feels. Ive been working on it on & off for months (if not a year) and now its finally finished (sans button/s) and I just feel a little ‘flat’ about it. There’s puckering to be fixed on the collar and one armscye. I was so frustrated by it all that making the small adjustments was just not in me…I needed time to breathe – hence throwing myself into the frilly burdastyle blouse & the DKNY Vogue 1027.

I must admit, Poppy does not do justice to the fit. It does look much nicer when I have it on but for the sake of photographing it…well, you know. My intentions were to buy the remote for my camera so I can self-shoot but would you believe Nikon dont make a compatible remote for my model. { IRRITATED FACE }. Im looking into an alternative but until then…you got Poppy 🙂V8601_riding_jacket_front1

{ DESCRIPTION }  Vogue 8061 is a close-fitting, lined to edge with princess seams in upper section. Darts to lower section, back tails with slit and an option on buttons and collar. I sewed View D/E with one button closure & no contrast collar.

{ FABRIC USED } black gabardine which I purchased in the UK about 2 years back & I used a fushia pink somethin’-somethin’ for the body lining, with the arms lined in a black poly.  The poly was more slippery than the pink & I prefer my arms to slide easily through jacket arms!V8601_riding_jacket_lining

{ SIZING } I cut my usual size and it fits well, bar the issues I will speak about below.

{ INSTRUCTIONS } I followed the instructions as they are & did not add any extra tailoring foundations as you might have seen some other sewers had done on PR.V8601_riding_jacket_silhouette

{ CONSTRUCTION / ALTERATIONS }  I didnt want my jacket to be a tailored coat but something a little more grungy & casual…hence not going into too much tailoring. In hindsight, I would have constructed the lining differently as Vogue requests you sew the sleeves by hand AFTER. It would have saved me alot of time & trouble by sewing the arms onto the rest of the lining before feeding them through the arms and just hand stitching the wrists in AKA the V8438 coat I made here. Far easier solution with much less fuss. I added some black top-stitching to my fuschia lining for a little interest on the inside. I did not do all the seams, just the princess seams running right around.

This pattern requires a fair amount of hand stitching (if you construct the way they tell you too), otherwise its not a difficult pattern but neither is it beginner level.  I had to take in the sleeves quite substantially too so bear this in mind. I would also have preferred the sleeves to have been made of 2 pieces making fitting a little easier IMO. I would also prefer to have the option of adding a sleeve with buttons so I would definitely do this next time..if there is ever a next time!! I also disliked the way they ask for the shoulder pads to be fitted AFTER the lining is in…why??? The jacket would look so much better with the shoulder pads under the lining & hidden!!!!!!!

I was waiting a little to post this review because I had not found the right button for the front. On Saturday I was at the store in Vienna & I purchased a button I thought would work but once I was home & looked at it, it just doesnt work & my stash of buttons has come up with nothing suitable….the quest to find the right button therefore continues. In the meantime, I might just sew a plain black button until I find the right match.V8601_riding_jacket_tails

{ LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY } ***

{ SUM IT UP } Im not sure I would make this coat again since it is quite unique with the “tails” however I enjoyed the process & would recommend provided you are looking for something quite unique.  V8601_riding_jackt_front2

Thanks for stopping by x