The Eighth Doctor meets the Eighth Doctor

It’s a long overdue post! And even though it’s pure geekiness, it is sewing-related.

A few weeks ago, I finally had the opportunity to meet Paul McGann, who plays the Eighth Doctor, my inspiration for my first ever cosplay. (I detailed how I made my costume in this post, this post, and this post.) The location was the London Film & Comic Con, my first ever comic con of epic proportions… but that’s beyond the scope of this blog!

I put my costume on in the morning before entering the venue, dreading how warm it could become. And oh boy, did my fears become reality! By noon, I was literally sitting in a puddle of sweat. Literally. I too my frock coat off and sat on the floor to take a small break and eat a sandwich, and when I got up a half hour later, my trousers were wet. At first, I thought I sat on a wet floor but nope. That was me sweating. So you can imagine how wet my shirt was… Thank goodness I had a long & covering frock-coat to hide it all!

Finally, my moment came: my photo shoot with Paul! My fangirl heart was racing, and I think I was sweating some more from being so nervous. It was a very quick encounter, but hearing him say “Look at you, you’re me!” made it all worth it. All of it. The sweat up in my attic. The tears when I thought I’d never finish this costume. The blood from all that hand sewing.

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Ahhhhh… I’ll never forget the shoulder squeeze and the pat on the back!

My next meeting with Paul McGann is now in less than a month, for another convention in the UK. I will probably bring my outfit, but I’d love to have another cosplay for the day when I’m supposed to have the photo shoot and the meet & greet. Unfortunately, there is just not enough time to work on my Fem!Eight cosplay (I have to finish my husband’s Fourth Doctor cosplay!), so it’ll have to be something quick. So I picked Clara and her look from ‘Asylum of the Daleks’. Not related to the Eighth Doctor whatsoever, but I thought it could be fun. To be continued 🙂

New Body = Challenge

I used to know how to dress to flatter my body. Dresses with a belt to enhance my waist and give the illusion of longer legs. Tops with draping to hide bulges. And deep Vs to elongate my neck.

But how do I dress this new body of mine?

Weight loss progress

The picture on the right was taken a couple of weeks ago, while the picture on the left was taken the day before surgery. And I wasn’t even at my highest weight then! There is a huge difference, not only with the weight loss as such, but the overall shape and composition. I’m working out really hard and lifting weights. I have now strong, muscular shoulders and arms. My hips melted and there isn’t much difference between my waist and my hips measurement anymore. Still have a large chest, but I have to confess — I lost 5 cup sizes.

I think I’ll have to do a lot of researching the coming months. And probably go with trial and error. If you have suggestions though, please share!

It’s been so long… where do I start?

I haven’t touched my sewing machine in MONTHS, and only to shorten a couple of trousers and sew up a small present for a friend. All in all, I haven’t touched my sewing machine for any kind of significant sewing project for more than a year!

My fingers are getting itchy.

I’m starting to feel butterflies in my stomach again when I look at new patterns.

I’m building this fantastic imaginary wardrobe in my head.

After this year-long semi-forced hiatus, I have an overflow of creative juices ready to flood my sewing room!

But many things have changed over the past year. The first and obvious change – I’m more than 50kg lighter than last year at the same date, and there’s this totally new body I have to get used to. I’m now a size 40/42-M/L, not really a plus-size anymore! This opens up so many possibilities I never thought would ever be available to me!

My style has changed a bit too. I still love dresses and skirts, but I now prefer a casual style jeans skirt with sneakers and not a tailored skirt with high heels. It might have something to do with my lifestyle change. I train almost every day either at the gym or outdoors (running, biking), and I prefer to wear comfortable, casual clothes, that are easy to change from and into. Mad Men style wiggle dresses, however gorgeous, don’t really work well with a quick change at the gym straight after work, especially if I have to put it back on after a workout to drive back home. (Yeah, I prefer to shower at home than at the gym. Sue me.)

My previous autumn/winter wardrobe is in shambles, as I kept on losing weight and getting leaner and thinner in the course of spring and summer. I’m not sure I’ll be able to salvage many pieces that still fit. Perhaps a couple of tops. Or maybe that one pair of trousers that was still a bit tight back in May. In other words, I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR FOR THE COMING AUTUMN/WINTER SEASON. And believe me, I’m not the only one who shrank – my budget has gotten quite thin too. Sports gear costs a lot of money, ya know 😉

My weight loss is not as spectacular now as it was the first months, and I don’t think I’ll lose more than 10-15 kg until the end of 2013.

Time to start sewing again. I have kilometers of fabric in my stash. I have boxes full of patterns.

But where to start? Here’s my plan:

  1. Dig in my patterns stash and purge it from what is now too big. Put these (mostly unused) patterns in my Etsy shop, and hopefully make a bit of money 🙂
  2.  Go back to basics: build a capsule wardrobe to get me started. I’m thinking: 5 tops, 4 bottoms, 1 dress, 1 jacket.
  3.  Book the month of October for sewing! I basically have to wait until the last minute before I start, otherwise I run the risk my new clothes will be too big before I can even wear them… Until the end of October, I think I can manage with what I now have in my closet.

I haven’t looked at my patterns yet, I don’t know which ones I’ll pick. I want to use my stash as much as possible and avoid making new purchases. Small budget, remember?

But everyone needs a treat from time to time, right? So I bought (gasp!) a pattern. I found it last summer online and fell in love head-over-heels! I think it’s been one of my first pins on Pinterest. I (heart) the Watson jack of Paper Cut Patterns:

The capelet! The Peter Pan collar! It’s just gorgeous!

I ordered it today, can’t wait for it to arrive.

I’ll report back once I purged my pattern stash. Maybe I’ll organize a giveaway too, who knows? 🙂

My blushing bride and her battle with cancer

I’ve been very silent the past months, mostly because absolutely nothing is happening on the sewing front. I’m still far from a stable weight, so I still don’t want to invest time and money into sewing items that won’t fit 3 weeks later 😉 On the other hand, I’m very active on the sporty side, and  you can follow me here if you’re interested.

But today, I had to come out of my silent corner to say a few words about my dear friend Suz, my blushing bride of last Spring. She’s been battling a relapse of breast cancer lately and unfortunately, it seems she will lose her battle against an enemy that is simply too strong.

Please send your thoughts and prayers her way to help her on her last journey.

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Suz, I love you my friend.

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 13,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 3 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

The reason for my silence…

Hello everyone,

I know, I’ve been very silent over the past months. Sewing just wasn’t in my priorities, nor even on my list at all. The summer period has been the busiest ever at the office, and at the same time, I was struggling with personal challenges.

About a month ago, I underwent weight loss surgery in Brugge, Belgium. It wasn’t an easy decision to make, but for the sake of my own health, it had to be made. Before surgery, I had to lose a certain amount of weight and believe you me, it wasn’t easy. So I spent the whole summer under a lot of work stress, coupled with a weight that just wouldn’t go down. Messed up metabolism, you say? You bet!

Anyway, I somehow managed to lose the weight while keeping a minimum level of sanity (I appologize to my colleagues who had to suffer me :(), went under the knife and emerged as a new person. The weight is coming off at a rapid pace now, but I would be lying if I’d be saying it’s easy! It’s hard to break life-long habits. But I absolutely don’t regret my choice.

Losing weight also means my beautiful creations don’t fit me anymore 😥 I want to give them a good home, so watch this space. They’ll be added to my Etsy shop very soon! I’ll be back shortly with a list of the dresses for sale.

Until then, happy sewing everyone!

Summer sewing hiatus

Long time, no write!

Let’s say that late spring/early summer is never my most active sewing period in the year. I’m definitely more of a winter sewist. My sewing room is up in the attic and it usually gets way too warm up there for me to sew. And with vacation, outdoor activities, peaks in freelance work activity and the usual huge peak in workload at the office… you get the picture. Sewing gets relegated down the list of priorities…

I spent a little over 3 weeks back home in Canada in May/June, I was overly due for some down time. I did some sewing over there (many thanks to my mom for cutting the fabric and to my grand-mother for lending me her machines!) but the projects didn’t turn out as good as I would have hoped and are now unfortunate UFOs by lack of enthusiasm and energy to finish them. Meh.

I did score 2 lovely items at the weekly flea market though. First, a vintage capelet pattern dated from 1964, Simplicity 5416. I’m so used to paying big bucks for vintage patterns that when I asked how much the seller wanted for it, her reply took me by surprised: 25 cents! Oh my! The pattern was in a big box full of other 60s and 70s patterns. I soon regretted not buying the whole box, since the week after the seller wasn’t there anymore. Booh.

Even though I couldn’t get my hands on the rest of her patterns on my second visit at the flee market, I did find a lovely evening purse covered in beads and sequins. I don’t know how old it is, nor how much it’s worth. It has a label “Made in Hong Kong” inside, meaning it does have a bit of age. Anyway, the embellishments are pretty much intact, the closing and chain still look perfect and for 5$, I couldn’t say no. Isn’t it pretty?

 

And on top of being ‘busy’ with relaxing, vacationing and working this summer, I’ve been struck by a new activity: fangirling 😉 It’s all their fault:

Marvel totally sucked me into their cinematic universe. And comics universe. And do you know what that means? Yeah, cosplay ideas popping left and right in my mind… *sigh* I guess I’m going to add a ‘Cosplay’ category and tag sooner or later 😉

Oh and if you’re wondering about the Spring Flowers project photo shoot, I have really really nice pictures to share. Just need to find some time to post them. I’ll do that this week, for sure!

Sunday at the fabric market

It’s that time of the year again, when the fabric market makes a stop in my town. Dozens and dozens of stands, filled with fabric bolts of all types and colors. So tempting!

But contrary to last year, I didn’t make a huge loot. Not that there wasn’t choice, they just didn’t have what I was looking for. So here’s what I came back with:

3m of coral stretch cotton, with a bit of a texture to it. I bought it with Simplicity 1914 in mind. Must be because of the similarity in color!

Then we have 2,5m of bright pink double knit (love the color!) and 4,5m dark purple wooltouch fabric. I bought wooltouch fabric before in other colors and it’s a great quality fabric, perfect for winter office wear. Yes, winter. It was so darn cold today that I think everyone had trouble imagining summer dresses and tops! And since the wooltouch was on sale at half the price, I couldn’t let it pass!

And finally, two pieces (approx 1,5 m2 each) of gorgeous dark brown-red leather. It matches my leather jacket perfectly 😆 I’m thinking of making a bag. At 10 euros each, they were a steal!

And that’s it. I’m slightly disappointed with the offering this year – or it’s just me who wants colors/patterns that are not in their inventory! Meh.

On my way back home, I was intrigued by a shop window with a tulip shaped bag. It even had mini tulip shaped wallets! I thought they were really cute. Must find a way to make my own. Shouldn’t be too difficult, right?

In other news, yesterday was the first fitting of the wedding dress. Lo and behold, the fit was almost perfect! Just a few seams to adjust here and there, and the bride will look stunning in her dress. But you’ll have to wait until after the wedding to see it all. Because we can’t let everyone see the bride’s dress ahead of time, right? 😉

 

The Spring Flowers Gowns project

Thanks everyone for the lovely comments on my Mad Men dress!

A while ago, I posted a couple of pictures for inspiration. Evening gowns, large ball gowns, ruffles, flowers, lace, draping. At the time, I wasn’t quite ready to talk about my project, but now is the time, finally!

Months ago, a friend who is studying Photography, approached me for one of her assignments. She needed large ball gowns or elegant evening dresses for a photo shoot. I was free to choose the theme and the designs. As this shoot was going to be a great way to advertise my services and show off my skills, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse, even though I knew it was going to be quite a challenge! One evening dress, sure, but three? Possibly four? Oh my!

It took me months to pick a theme (I went from medieval princesses to futuristic brides) but I eventually settled for Spring Flowers. Because if there’s something that I LOVE about the Netherlands, it’s the flowers popping up in the fields come spring time, like patches of bright colors on a green canvas. I have three gowns, each with a flower name: hyacinth, tulip and daffodil. I might throw in a daisy or a lily of the valley in the mix if I need a 4th gown, but as I’m not sure yet, I prefer to concentrate on these three for now.

Yesterday, I made a start on the hyacinth dress. Here is the sketch I made as inspiration:

To make the dress, I used Simplicity 2213. The bodice is different from my sketch, but that’s not something that bothered me: I actually like the pattern bodice, with a nice deep v-neck and a mermaid skirt. I didn’t use the ruffle, I prefered my make my own flowers and attach them to the bodice. To make the flowers, I’m using the templates available on the great Organza Flower tutorial available on Sew4Home.

The dress is not finished yet, I need to set the zipper and unfortunately for me, I thought I had a matching zipper in my stash, but I don’t. So I’ll have to go to the shops next weekend to buy one and finish my dress. So here are some really sneak peek pictures, the flowers and train are just pinned on the dress form:

   

I shall keep you hanging until the dress is complete and obviously, I will share the pictures of the photo shoot when they are ready!

Next up: the tulip! I need to draft the skirt pattern in such a way that it mimics the shape of tulip petals. I am using Simplicity 1910 as a starting point. I will report back on my progress next weekend. Stay tuned 😉

Company newsletter feature

I am now out of the (fabric) closet: thanks to a feature article in the company’s newsletter, everybody knows I make clothes and take belly dancing lessons 😉

When I was interviewed for the article, I was surprised about all the amazement: “You make your own clothes? How brilliant!” or “Wow, you belly dance too? That’s fantastic!” To me, my hobbies are quite ordinary… nothing special. I mean, sewing is trendy nowadays, but women (and men!) have been sewing for millenia. Same goes for belly dancing. But I guess they still fascinate 🙂

Click on the image below to read the full article: