Beyond in love with my Moneta and endless fun at the Moneta Party!

Hello everyone!

Last weekend was pretty intense. I am not one to be glued to my phone all day, let alone to social media, but the #monetaparty… well, that was something else. I guess it should have been called a Moneta rave since it lasted for 3 days non-stop! I wasn’t sure how an IG party was going to be but it definitely passed all my expectations. I was just so amazing to see all the different monetas made by sewists around the world! Different fabrics, different body shapes, different alterations, different styles… it was just unbelievable! So many good ideas, so much inspiration… but the most amazing thing was all the kind words that went around from seamstress to seamstress praising the goodness and beauty of their dresses. That was the real party to me, a party where kindness and encouragement was celebrated, where there was a place for everyone, and where even those who sadly got to it a bit too late, still could share their beautiful makes.  I can’t but thank again @sewpositivity, @rach_wain and @sewabigail for organising such a fun, delirious and heart-warming party.

Apart from attending an amazing party (can we do this every Saturday night, please?) this dress doubled up as the mommy make for this month’s @sewingmamasproject, and I’m so glad we joined the party because mamas not get many chances to do that often, do they?

Before I got making my Moneta, I spend a couple of quiet evenings to put some thought on the dress. I don’t really wear anything remotely vintage-y, mainly because I don’t feel it suits me, so I tried to keep the Moneta style with a slightly spotter look to it. After quite a few sketches, I decided on going for a ballet inspired dress, which allowed me to keep the style lines pretty much as they are but giving it a twist that felt much more like me.

My mods were very simple:

  • Raised front neckline by about 2 cm so nothing is on show (because there is nothing to show)
  • Lower back neckline up to the lowest point I could without my bra showing
  • Cut the skirt two sizes bigger than the waist for extra fullness on the skirt
  • Lengthen the skirt to mid-calf

In my opinion, these simple adjustments really transformed the style of the dress whilst keeping true to the original shape.

I recently discovered the pleasures and the skill of mixing sizes within a pattern so actually fits, so this dress it’s the first one in my sewing life ever that I feel it’s the right size all around it. I cut size XS for the bust area to ensure a snug fit around the bust and back and avoid gapping on the back scoop. I think the lined top of version 1 really helps to keep everything in place around the back area, especially with such a low scoop. Then I graded to size S around the wait. And then I cut size L for the skirt.

Fabric wise, I used a grey cotton jersey with tiny glittery blue spots to add a bit of sparkle to this affair. For me grey jersey is a synonym of sportiness, so I think the fabric choice really helped to create the style I was after. For the lining I chose a electric blue powernet to keep it in tune with its sporty/ballet nature.

By this point I was totally nuts and deep into thought and love with my Moneta that I had the “brilliant” idea of wearing my old ballet pumps to style the shoot. When I took them out of the box where they were, I loved seeing their handmade bag that I cross stitched and made for them when I was only twelve. That was a real trip down memory lane and it just made me realised that my passion for sewing had started way before I thought it had. The not so good thing about this wearing-my-pumps idea is that they are flipping painful!! How did I ever managed to dance for hours on those? It will always remain a mystery.

If you’ve read all the way to here, then we must be very good friends because this post turned out much longer than I intended! Thank you so much for reading everyone!

Loads of love!

Pilar

 

Baby Chef Outfit (with a Smurf twist)

Hello everybody!

I can’t believe it’s the end of February already, I thought NYE was just yesterday! The good thing about being the end of the month is… that it’s time to reveal my makes for this month’s Sewing Mamas challenge!

So in this occasion, lovely Kate and me decided on a Let’s Pretend theme for the little ones, which I loved because it is just such a broad concept that left room for pretty much anything we wanted to make for them. In my case, and since the Three Wise Men got Mateo a lovely kitchen for Christmas, (and he spends so much time playing with it) I decided on making him a Chef’s outfit.

I originally planned the outfit as a set of apron, hat and trousers, but unluckily this month my sewing time was veeery limited and I just managed to make the apron. To compensate, he just happened to be wearing a blue tee and white tights when I took these pictures so I guess he could also pretend to be a smurf cook.

I self-drafted a pattern for the apron and I added adjustable ties that I fed through the to layers of fabric that make the apron in a way that it was easy to get in and out and also future-proofing it a little while. I also added a big pocket for extra keeping-things-in-it fun.

Hopefully I’ll be finishing the rest of the set this weekend, so I’ll make sure I get him to model the whole outfit!

 

Thank you for reading!!

Pilar

Baby Blanket PJs – a total winner

Hello!

A bit more love than in my previous post, I am thrilled with the blanket PJs I made for my “baby” boy for this month’s Sewing Mamas challenge.

So what is a blanket PJs? Yes, it’s exactly what you are thinking. I made a PJs out of the million baby blankets we got given when he was born. I don’t know about yours, but my little boy moves as if it was going out of fashion when he sleeps, so he’s usually lying on top of the duvet after about a minute of falling asleep. Worried (like mums do) of him being cold, I thought of making a PJ with a blanket so he keeps warm through the night. Genius!

For this project I wanted to use just fabrics and bits that I had so I chose this stripy blanket and I use an old baby grow to do the cuffs and the neckline. I also had the right length zip, so this was a total stash buster! As per the pattern, I chose a PJ pattern from one of my very dear Ottobre Magazines.

I sewed pretty much everything with the overlocker, except cuffs, neckline and zip, and it came together very nicely and very quickly. The only changes I made were the exposed zip instead of  an invisible one, and I added a little bit of fabric at the top so the zip didn’t scratch his little beautiful face. This fabric turned out to be quite tricky to sew mainly because the fluff keeps you from seeing the actual edge of the fabric so I had so re sew a couple of bits that I didn’t catch with the overlocker. Probably next time I’ll sew everything first to make sure there are no little gaps here and there and then overlock the insides.

 

Oh, I’m so glad I made this, it’s been so cold here in Zaragoza and I think I slept a little bit better safe in the knowledge that my little angel was nice a warm. As I write this, I can’t help but think of all the kids that are not nice a warm, because they don’t have a home, or because they had to flee, and I think of their mums and I admire that they are some how pulling it together for their little ones. We should never forget how lucky we are and help those that we can on the way.

Thank you so much for reading!

Pilar

African Fabric Malvarosa Top – heartbroken

Hello everybody!

It’s 31st of January with means… I get to share my makes for the Sewing Mamas makes! If you don’t know what that is all about, make sure you check this post.

So for this month we went a bit nuts and instead of suggesting a garment as we usually do, we set the fabric to use instead. I know, it’s totally bonkers! My lovely Kate had mentioned a while back that she like to make something with African fabric since she had seen the awesome stuff that Vicky from SewVee usually posts about, so we thought what better than gloomy January to embrace colours and patterns to bright up our days? And there we went.

I chose some lightweight cotton fabric from my stash. It was actually quite lucky that I had some from when I lived in England because here in Spain is actually quite difficult to find (or at least I don’t know where to get it). I love the stripy pattern on this fabric and whilst it’s quite bold it’s also not too crazy.

For the pattern, I chose the Malvarosa Dress pattern, but with the intention to make a top instead of a dress. I had been wanting to sew this one up for a while and I thought the busy fabric with the simple lines of the top would marry well.

The pattern itself it’s easy to follow and it’s pretty straight forward, but there is one thing that made me fell out of love with it pretty much straight away: the facings. In my opinion, the facings are way to big and way too ugly. They overlap at places and it just makes the garment to feel so clumsy finished inside. I know it is perfectly wearable, but I probably won’t because of this and I’ll just take this make as a toile. I may even shed the cap sleeves off if I make it again and just try to line the whole thing instead of using those damn facings. I’ll also try to do French seams next time just to make it a bit prettier in the insides.

And this is how it looks from all angles:

So overall, I enjoyed sewing with the African fabric, but I’m just gutted that it’s not going to be something I’m going to wear. I’ll probably give it another go, but with a different pattern.

Hope you enjoyed the post even though it’s a sewing failure one!

Thanks for reading!

Pilar

A SOI Molly Christmas dress

SOI Molly dress

Hello everybody! Happy Christmas!

Today is the day to be merry, have lovely food in great company and… reveal my makes for this month’s sewing mamas project! If you remember, Kate and me proposed Christmas related makes for this month, a dress to wear on Christmas day for the mommy and a toy for the little one.

Choosing a pattern for this make was especially difficult and I toyed with different project ideas before I committed to this one. Since this dress has been made to be worn on Christmas day it had some very specific requirements to meet: first and most important, it had to be warm! Since we are over in England for the holiday period, my main concern was keep warm no matter what, so long sleeves were compulsory. Secondly, it had to be forgiving in order to fit (and disguise) all the Xmas foodie excesses so it could not be a fitted dress. And thirdly, it had to be a dress that I could wear after Xmas and that adapted to my full time mommy life, so it couldn’t be something too dressy or seasonal.

After much umming and arring, I came across the Molly dress pattern from the SOI City Break e-book and I knew I was onto a winner with this one. It had the long sleeves (and oh man I love those sleeves, so flattering!), it called for jersey fabric and I could definitely wear it after the merry period. Since the pattern itself is quite simple and comes together in a breezy, I decided to face all my fitting fears and decided it was about time that I (at least) attemped to fit the pattern to my actual measurements. As I said, since it is quite a simple shape, I thought it would be a great starting point to step into the unknown world of fitting.

I started with the sleeves because every single sleeve of every single pattern is massive on me. I never considered my arms especially thin but it turns out they must be to judge by the sizes they come in most patterns. I think the baby lifting has definitely help 😉 So I chose size 10 for bust and shoulders and I graded the sleeves down to size 8 (keeping the length for size 10).

Also, I wanted more of an A-line dress so I graded the dress out from 10 to 12 at the waist and to 16 at the bottom hem. I do realise that these adjustments are super basic and far from complex, but to me they felt like if I was doing magic and the result was a lovely fitting dress that didn’t make me look like a ghost in an oversize bed sheet (that’s how I used to feel in my makes before I started fitting them).

Fabric wise, I choose I green bottle super soft and warm ponte from my local fabric shop. I tend to be notoriously bad when choosing fabric for a project, but this time it seems like I got it spot on.

Result, I LOVE my dress!! I find it both super flattering and super comfy, so I can foresee many more Mollies populating my wardrobe in the coming months 🙂 Maybe a summer version?

So how was your Xmas? What did you wear?

Thanks for reading!

Pilar

 

 

Nani Iro Linden Sweater love

img_1146Hello everybody!

Today is a very important day because… it’s the last day for our Sewing Mamas November challenge! And this means that I can finally share with you my makes for this month. If you remember from my previous post, the projects to sew this month were a jumper for mama and a dungarees for the little one, and well, here there is one of them: my lovely Linden Sweater by Grainline Studio.
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The Linden had been on my sewing list for far too long and it was about time I gave it a go, and I love it! I can foresee many more Lindens popping up in my wardrobe over the next few months and years. It’s definitely become one of my go to patterns.

To be totally honest, I had been brewing this jumper for a long time. I had bought some quilted knit jersey from Miss Matatabi. Then I realised how beautiful it’d look mixed the the Nani Iro quilted cotton fabric. And then I just left everything in a draw being too afraid of cutting into my lovely fabric. I believe this happens to many of us so I don’t feel to guilty, but when Kate suggested we made a jumper as our first project for the challenge, I knew straight away it was time that I cut into those beauties.

Another thing that concerned me is the fact that the Nani Iro quilted cotton is a woven (a pretty stiff one too), not a knit, so when I started to cut and sew my Linden I had already come to terms with the fact that it may just be a disaster. I did modify the lower end of the jumper and avoided the elasticated band at the bottom. Instead, I lengthen both front and back of the main pattern pieces and finished them with a straight hem. Also, I just overlocked the Nani Iro fabric because otherwise it would have been the bulkiest of seams. You can see the detail in this pic:

Nani Iro Linden Sweater

The back is all made in knit jersey:

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Another adjustment that I had to do was reducing the bulk in the front seams. Since the Nani Iro fabric doesn’t adapt very well to the body, I decided to readjust the front seams so they fitted a bit better. I found a great tutorial on Madalynne and it is a simple adjustment to make:

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Nani Iro Linden Sweater

What else can I say? Well, that I am totally in love with my new jumper. It is soft, it is cozy, it fits me, it’s flattering, it’s made of beautiful fabric, it’s unique and… it’s mega warm!! I’m never cold when I wear it, and that’s to say a lot from someone that is pretty much always cold.

That’s it for now! And don’t forget to check the second make for this month’s challenge, some very British baby dungarees! Here you can see both 🙂

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Thanks for reading and hope you join us in our Sewing Mamas monthly challenges!

Pilar

 

A woollen check dungarees. Mateo’s most British version yet

woollen baby dungarees

Hola my friends!

Apologies for always starting my posts in the same way but… this post is very special!!! Not only is the first baby make as part of the Sewing Mamas monthly challenge, but it is also a self drafted pattern AND I’ve managed to finish it before Mateo has outgrown it, so a big hurray!

Before you continue reading, if you don’t know what the Sewing Mamas monthly challenge is yet, please head over here and read all about it, I’m sure you’ll love it 🙂

I bought this fabric last winter when Mateo was just a tiny little peanut, and guess what? Despite my attempts to being a super organised new mama, I fail miserably at finding any sewing time for the first six months on Mateo’s arrival. So like most of my other fabrics, this one just went straight into the drawer to never see the light again… until this winter!

When I started browsing for a baby dungarees pattern, I didn’t quite find what I was after so I decided to have a go myself. As you will see I went a little bit too far with unnecessary detail for a baby dungarees, but in the end I’m glad I did because they’ve turned our quite special.

The fabric is a woollen mix that can go in the washing machine, so it’s perfect for little ones. It’s a bit itchy to the touch, so I decided to line the whole thing so Mateo was nice a comfy wearing it.

Now the fun bit, pictures!

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A functioning welt pocket, why not? Apart from the fact that looks supercute, it was a great way to practice a new skill with less risk. I think the interfacing I used for the pocket was a bit too think and that’s why there is that slight bump on top of the pocket. Lesson learnt!

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Full back view:

woollen baby dungarees

The straps are totally removable and are made in fake suede so the can be machine washed too.

woollen baby dungarees

woollen baby dungarees

And they are sooo stretchy! All ready for little crawlers 🙂

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It is also fully lined:

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I love the little turn-up effect, it makes them a bit less formal:

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They’ve got an elasticated back but I kept the front flat to recreate that tailored effect. I added some folds on the front for the same purpose (you can see that better in the pics above).

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I have to say, I don’t usually make this kind of formal-ish clothes for my baby, but I have to say he looks super cute in it so I’m glad I did! It is totally the most British look Mateo has rocked all these months, and of course he will be wearing this when we go over to England for Christmas!

Hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing it! Don’t for get to check the Nani Iro Linden sweater that I made for the November challenge. Aaaand… hope you can join the fun next month, the makes will be announced on the 1st of December!

Thanks for reading!

Pilar

Sewing mamas and new friendships

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Hello everybody!

Today is 1st of November, which means the #sewingmamas monthly challenge starts! What?? You don’t know what this is about? Well, then keep on reading!

I had written a very long, thoughtful post about new friendships but I then I realised it was turning out quite brainy and boring so I started again!

A few weeks ago I met Kate. No, I didn’t meet her in a cafe, in a shop or in nursery, I met her on Instagram. Excuse-moi? Yes, it turns out that if you engage with someone, listen to them, give them advice when they ask for it and generally care about what they do or feel, you are most likely to meet other people too, regardless of where they or you are. Kate hooked me with her year-apart-pictures post: one from her hen night; the other in her kitchen and with a baby wrapped around her. I knew straight away we were on the same page. A few comments here and there and we soon realised that we had similar views on motherhood and also faced similar challenges in our every day lives, one of them being finding time to sew.

Yeah ok, sewing time may not seem like a great deal to most people, but it means a lot to us. Like A LOT. When you dedicate your days and nights to your little one, it’s very easy to loose sight of your own self, and that can be very frustrating in the long term. For me sewing is that little bit of sacred time where I can focus on something that is not baby related, do something for my self and on my own time, reminding me that my old self is still there. You just can’t imagine how much life this gives me.

In an attempt to encourage each other and make sure we get a little bit of time every month to do things we enjoy, we’ve prepared the #sewingmamas monthly challenge and of course everyone can join!

It is very simple:

  • The main premise is to sew two things a month, one for the mama and one for the little one
  • To keep it focused, we will suggest a general idea on what to make, for example it could be a top for the mama and trousers for the little one. You can use whatever pattern and fabric that you like. Personally, I am going to do as much stash busting as I possibly can.
  • We will announce the garments to make on the 1st day of each month, and you need to post your finished garments using #sewingmamas by the last day of the month. Easy to remember, right?  You can also tag us too @katerelton and @pilar_bear

Of course, it’s not a problem if you only manage to make one thing or there is a month when you just couldn’t find the time, we understand! This is to have fun and finding a little bit of time for ourselves, so no pressure!

Do you want to know the garments for this month? Head over to IG and find out!

Hope to see you in the challenge, you sewing mama!

Pilar

 

XXth Century Social Fashion in Zaragoza

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Hello everybody!

My little angel and me went to the museum a couple of days ago, and today I’m bringing you a bit of that exhibition to wherever you are in the world. My hometown is rather small, but it’s always had bouts of modernity here and there, and for what it seems last century was a good example of that. Enough talking for now, enjoy the show!

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Gorgeous hat boxes and mannequin from La Parisien, Est. 1911

Old bills - aren't they incredible? Much better than thermal paper receipts!

Old bills – aren’t they incredible? Much better than thermal paper receipts!

This was probably my favourite bit of the show. Since fast fashion didn’t really exist until the end of the century, people got around with just a couple of outfits per season (can you even imagine?), so their ability to style them and make them look different was quite astounding. These add-on collars are an example of that. They are embroidered in the finest of fabrics and with exquisite detail. Also note the roller and stamps to the side of them, to print new patterns on an old garment.

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These shirts are miles away in quality, design and beauty, and only about 60 year away in time. You just can’t compare them, our basic white shirts are a joke next to those from the beginning of the century:

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That wrinkled collar in the background makes me cringe

And this is one of the adverts on display. It was for Reblet shirtmaker. They definitely look quite special!

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These ladies must be… Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha travelling back in time.

img_0547Attention visual merchandisers! Did you ever think about planning your window styling with paper, ink and colours? Well, that’s how it used to be done and look what beautiful examples were on show.

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Leaflet for a window display competition

And here some actually window displays:

I totally remember that window display... and now you will too!

I totally remember that window display… and now you will too!

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What a charming soap advert, and very appropriate for our very windy city

There is no fashion without accessories…

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This is the most beautifully handcrafted handbag I’ve ever seen

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Fan-tastic!

Fan-tastic!

There were also some things that should have just never happened…

Shoulder pads, why did you ever exist?

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The final room held a pretty striking display of actual garments from the different decades (spot the 80’s dresses):

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Lovely bit of early century invisible hemming

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I have nothing else to add to those bodysuits

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A potentially indecent picture of a multi-layered dress

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Sorry fashion bloggers, turn-ups are definitely not a new thing

And with the turn-ups, we are all done here! Hope you enjoyed the exhibition as much as we did! As you can see, it inspired profound thoughts on Mateo and we discussed it on the way home.

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I just want to say thank you to the organisers and hope Zaragoza sees many more shows like this one!

Bye for now!

Pilar & Mateo

The Pilar Bear Pattern Share

PHello everybody!

My birthday is coming soon and to celebrate I want to give a present to the sewing community just because you guys are truly awesome!
So… I will be posting (by snail mail!) 7 patterns from my stash  to a fellow sewer. The idea is that this person will take one pattern from the bundle and will add one pattern from her/his stash and then post it to the next person.
In my dreams, this will become a never ending chain of surprise pattern sharing across the world!
Sounds like your cup of tea?

How it works:

  1. If you want to get involved in the Pilar Bear Pattern Share, follow me @pilar_bear and leave a comment on any of the posts about the Pattern Share that I’ll be posting in the coming weeks. Then, I will pick a person from the comments and I will be posting the bundle to him/her (obviously after asking for their address). This is the start of the party!
  2. When you receive the bundle, pick the pattern you want and add another from your stash (but keep this one secret!). Please don’t add more than one, otherwise the shipping costs will go up!
  3. Let us know what pattern you got by tagging me and #pilarbearpatternshare on Instagram! I’m sure your pic will get plenty of comments, so pick another sewer and post the bundle over to them!

As you can see, it is very easy to take part on this pattern frenzy, but there are some important points that you need to know before you decide to take part.

  1. You need to be willing to pay shipping costs in order to forward the bundle to the next person.
  2. You need to be willing to share your postal address.
  3. You need to forward the bundle promptly and don’t delay the chain.
  4. Make sure the pattern you add to the bundle is uncut and has sewing instructions.

Hope all this makes sense! I do believe the sewing community is amazing, so I have great hopes that this becomes a world wide surprise pattern exchange.

From now on I will be posting one and each of the patterns I will be mailing out on October 19th. Some of them are new, some of them are vintage, but they are all uncut and contain instructions.

Hope to see you all there!

Pilar