Life goes on…

A lot has happened in the last few weeks and I’ve made a conscious decision in not saying anything on this venue before today.

In September hubby had a stroke – “mild”, fortunately – and our lives were just scrumbled over. I was suddenly solely responsible for daughter, work, going to hospital and later revalidation center. It was a lot. So I simply closed off and went with the flow, living by the day.

Best decision ever. You actually cannot do differently. It’s such an intense moment you can only survive it day by day.

Fortunately he recovered – and is still recovering! – pretty quickly and within a few weeks was back home. He still has some balance challenges and get tired very quickly, but is improving at hyper speed, so no complaints here.

Then, at the end of October my father in law passed away. The best thing for him – he was quite tired, sick, had lost a lot of weight and just wanted to go to his wife. He’d been a widower for 14 years and for him it was time to go. It was a sad happening for the rest of us, as it usually is.

Hubby made a beautiful presentation with old and new pictures and had a wonderful say during the eulogy, his brother had a short and also powerful say and daughter read a heartfelt poetry about her “opa”. All that with beautiful music that spoke to us and of him.

Cerimonies like that are still a bit alien to me. Used to the way things happen in Brazil, a lot quicker because of the warmer weather, I actually identify better with the Dutch way of working out this moment. As a not very religious person finding a way of showing the sadnesses of loss, but also the glory of knowing someone, in a different way is actually quite freeing. It helps with the whole process of letting go and rethinkg your priorities.

And then we come to exactly that: priorities. Life has a way of showing us what’s important and how we can deal with it. Let’s enjoy it to the fullest.


The Cashmerette’s Upton Dress

This is actually one of my favourite patterns ever. It was also the first one I’ve bought from Cashmerette – because I fell in love with the pattern, but mostly because I fell in love with the navy blue fabric they were selling some kits with. I just couldn’t make my mind quickly enough and when I finally decided to order the kit, the navy blue was already gone. Then from there to deciding for the other kit it took me a little bit more time, but not as much. Fortunately that one kit was not sold out and I’ve managed to grab the whole set. A bit more expensive than what I was hoping for- we have to pay extra taxes in the Netherlands from goods coming from the US -, but I loved it so much it was worth the price.

I bought the kit – including fabric and pattern – July last year and made the dress for father’s 90th birthday in September. I first made a muslin and after deciding I had to simply shorten the shoulders 3 cm straight both on front and back, this wonderful version was born and it simply fit perfectly!

For this version I decided not making it with pockets, but since then I’ve kind of regretted the decision. I miss pockets! So now whenever I make something new for me, it’s always with pockets.

I really enjoyed making this Cashmerette pattern and it made me want to try more of their patterns. Which I did, and it’s wonderful, really!

Besides the fit being perfect for me, the instructions are well-written and quite clear, and when in doubt you can always follow their sew along, which are pretty good and detailed.

Since I’ve bought this pattern I’ve actually bought another kit – that I haven’t used yet, shame on me! – and ended up buying all of their patterns in pdf. Printed them at home and after putting them together, copied the size I wanted and am now actually preparing a couple of different Springfield tops for the coming weeks. I’ve made a couple of versions of the Concord tee already and will show them here one of these days.

So if you are curvy like me and are interested in some well-drafted patterns for curves, I do advise you to try one of Cahsmerette’s patterns. It’s worth it!


Writing again? And sewing? I try my best!

It has taken me sometime to start writing again, and even though I really want to be blogging at least once a week, life gets in the way and I don’t seem to be mustering the energy to do that as often as I’d like. But I do whenever I manage the time.

Today I’m printing the pdf version of The Afternoon Blouse & Shift Dress from Jennifer Lauren Handmade (@jenniferlaurenhandmade), which I will be testing. Yeay! I’m quite happy with this opportunity, and what it entangles. Not only that I’ve managed to produce a nice product and a fair review within the time limit she’s given us for the previous pattern, but that it forces me to keep making things and putting energy in something I really enjoy.

I discovered sewing a few years ago as a second thought, something I would like to do because I’ve seen people making things and they looked pretty. And then I simply fell in love with the whole process and can’t stop trying new techniques, new things, new fabrics, new gadgets… So now I use any opportunity I have to make something. Quite often for others – child, friend, husband… – and sometimes for myself. I need to make more for me these days, because I can’t seem to find anything interesting at stores nowadays – on my size or with my taste! The size needs to drop a bit – for health reasons, I’ve accepted my shape a long time ago – but the taste…

I guess I’m going in the direction of wearing only Me Made stuff. Cool!

Besides all that, I found out sewing is my Happy Place. I get totally zen when sewing and preparing fabric and notions to sew something. It centers me, calms me. It helps me to put things in perspective. And making things for others and myself make me even happier.

At the end of September I will be posting a review on the Afternoon Blouse. I haven’t decided if I’m going to make a Shift Dress as well or not, but I will definitely make a blouse. And will wear it around. Depending on the end result I might even make the dress too. We’ll see.

The Laneway Dress

Last month Jennifer Lauren from Jennifer Lauren Handmade invited some people to become testers for her patterns, since she’s trying to make them more known around and having them being tested for different sizes. I was fortunately one of those people chosen for the first pattern, the Laneway Dress, and was more than happy in trying this wonderful pattern I was dreaming about since it had been released. So here my review for the world to see, read and judge.

I’ve used an USA fabric I’ve bought in Brazil last February, 100% cotton, probably what most people refer to as cotton lawn. Really pretty.

I’ve cut the body as it was given on the pattern, size 24, cup D. It turned out too long for my short torso, since I’m quite short (1,58 cm) and most patterns are made for generally taller folk.

I usually don’t follow the instructions to the letter – yeah, I’m that kind of person! – but I’ve decided to do that this turn around since it was for a real pattern test and not just something I’d whip on a whim. I’ve shortened it 3,5 cm and it then turned fine!

The junction points came out almost perfect, but what really was the greatest kick was having pockets! Good size pockets, no less! And the neckline is just beautiful!

The one thing I’ve changed was the sleeve: how to set it in and the look of it. I don’t like gathered sleeves much, so I’ve made my own version of it: a small pleat. Since it wasn’t exactly planned that way, it didn’t end up perfect. But I love it anyway!

2017-08-23 10.05.03

So, to answer some of Jennifer Lauren’s questions about fit, instructions and the pattern in general, and what I would change:

  1. Easy to use. Finding the right size was actually easy.
  2. Instructions: if you follow them, you’re in the right way. Taking into consideration English is not my first language and that I’ve started learning to sew in Dutch, I think it was pretty well explained: clearly stated and to the point.
  3. Fit: I think it’s actually quite good. I might should have done a C cup instead of a D cup because I realise that in the end there’s more fabric loose around the boobs than it was supposed to be, but nothing that actually bothers me.
  4. Sleeves: I’ve changed it, just because I don’t like gathered sleeves. I wouldn’t change anything else.
  5. Will I make another one? Yes, definitely! With some crêpe de chine or silk. Or maybe wool. I still have some beautiful fabrics I’ve bought in New Zealand. 😉