Sorbettos – I needed a job interview blouse

I am currently applying for what feels like almost every job that’s remotely connected to my field of education (I’m a bioengeneer with a master’s degree in microbiology), and I desperately needed to up my game for some heavy-weight interviews this week.
Enter a shopping spree where my lovely hubby bought me a suit and a weekend of two sorbettos, and this lovely lady emerged from my otherwise somewhat casual everyday looks:

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I first tuned in to Colettes lovely freebie, the Sorbetto when reading about a botched Sorbetto at Creative Satursays.  Being years late to the Sorbetto party, inspirarion was everywhere, and some googling led me to Sew Weekly’s Seven days of Sorbettos , and realised I had to try this pattern myself. 

My first Sorbetto was made from synthetic chiffon and store bought bias tape. This was just a test run to see how it fit me and giving French seams another go. The second one is made from a beautiful coral sueded silk which is similar to silk charmeuse. Me and a friend from school went shopping the other day, and I simply couldn’t resist its allure what with me being in the shop and all.

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I think it turned out beautifully, and I love how the centre pleat looks a bit like a tie, especially with the suit jacket on top. I think I’ll need to make this in several colours, don’t you?

The changes I made, apart grading between size 14 and 16, was to lower the shoulder seam a smidge to get the darts where they needed to be and have some more ease at the arm openings.

Now I just have to walk around in the world hoping someone will hire me :)

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Vogue 1329

A lifetime ago I signed up for Katrina Walker’s Decorative Seams class on Craftsy. I watched through it this spring, and let me tell you, this class is a true gem. I love Katrina Walker’s teaching style and all her inspiring ways to finish the seams on various garments.

The class features Vogue’s dress pattern V1329 free of charge, and I really wanted to have a go at this one after watching the class. My dress turned out as a homage to projects from the sewing course, made from leftover fabrics from the gaucho pants and my scarab dress. I used black raw silk (a wonderful fabric to work with!) for the main parts of the dress and red linen for the yoke and contrasting panel. I made some changes to the yoke lining so that this extended all the way around the sleeve openings and made this from black cotton sateen. Then I used the peach coloured silk lining both to line the dress and to make a bias strip with I folded in half, pleated and sewed into the front dress seam for that wow-factor on the dress. Really love how this one turned out :) I plan to get some wear out of it at some special occasions coming up at the end of this month/beginning of next month.

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This was a great pattern to work with, and I’d love to have it in soft wool come winter. But I’ll have to change the yoke a bit, as it doesn’t quite fit me along the neckline, where it tends to gape a bit. As I ran out of fabric and didn’t fancy putting in a dart or a seam, I left it the way it was on this dress, making notes to change the pattern in the future. If I make it without the screaming peach strip of silk going down the front, this will be more of an everyday dress, I think.

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Fall jacket

I’m in terrible need of some new clothes to go in my wardrobe after giving most of the things I had away due to them being to small/worn/old – all reasons that I didn’t wear them any more. The logical thing to do mid-summer was therefore to make a fall jacket, what with the weather not being warm and summery (Norway sported warmer water temperatures than the air temperatures in Spain this summer …). 

Perhaps the sleeves are a bit long, but that’s way better than too short IMO.

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I didn’t get to wear the jacket except for the morning we woke up in a freezing hotel room with a hyperactive A/C (we got a new room which was a lot nicer to stay in for the rest of our stay). So at least I needed it on my summer vacation :)

I fell in love with this pattern (my teacher The Great Saviour of Jackets designed it) when most of my class mates (the ones who didn’t opt to make the tailored suit jacket) made this in time for Easter. It’s such a versatile pattern and so comfortable to wear. I’m already planning a winter version from the same pattern. I added inner pockets to the lining and the upper breast pockets concealed in the seam under the flap.

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The shell fabric is cotton bough in the home dec department and the lining is viscose satin. I love the bright colours and have my fingers crossed for some fall days without rain where I get to wear this beauty. 

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Long overdue post on finished projects

I finished these items in time for our evening on the runway back when my sewing course ended in June. The runway show can be seen here for those who want to catch a glimpse of all the wonderful garments my classmates made during the past year.

First out is the skirt I designed back in 2013. I love how this one turned out, and I learned so much from this project. However we had some troubles with the fit, and that’s part of the long time it took to finish this one. The other parts were all the projects and assignments that simply had to be finished before I had time for finishing the skirt. I look forward to wearing when the weather cools down – the shell is pure wool (and so soft and drapey you wouldn’t believe it) and the lining is viscose with some polyester in the mix for stability. This skirt is warm!

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Recognise the blouse? This Sorbetto has yet to have its tale told – all in good time.

 

The second piece is my pride – a real tailored jacket made from scratch, pattern and all. This baby conceals a ton of errors – so much went askew with the pattern and the handwork wasn’t my best at times. But I finished it and it fits so well – I love that I now have a pigeon-blue fancy jacket to keep me worm. And my teacher will henceforth be known as The Great Saviour of Jackets. She is a gem and somewhat a magician for making this garment turn out so well despite all my wrong turns. Needless to say, I really learned a lot from the making of this one. I’m so happy I waited and didn’t try to make a tailored jacket on my own (I’ve been collecting patterns…) – it would have been awful to make all these mistakes without some guidance along the way. And now I’m confident that I’ll make things work in the future whether I make mistakes or not – which is a super nifty quality to have acquired :D

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Sewing course completed

It really happened. I completed my sewing course a little more than a week ago. We did our fashion show. I walked the runway twice. I had so much fun doing it – what an adrenaline rush! This year has been possibly my best year yet, and I am so happy and grateful for doing it. And now it’s over. My main teacher is quitting her job to move to another part of the country, and I think myself and my class were super-lucky to be a part of her last year at Folkeuniversitetet! (I’m already planning to haunt next year’s fashion show just to see what my other teacher and her new colleague are doing).

I didn’t make a big collection of clothes this year, but every single piece I made taught me so many things about sewing and clothing construction that I never knew. I think I’ve got a great set-out point for developing my sewing skills further now, and I look forward to see where it will take me :) Plus, I got to dabble in design, which was fun, though exhausting.

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By booth at the exhibit after the show

Meanwhile, I really miss my classmates, school life, having something to leave the house to do every day. Plus, I have to eat and pay my rent. I’m officially unemployed again, and hopefully it will be better this time around. Now I have so much energy that I didn’t have two years ago (yay!!), and I know more about my own limits and how to keep on building that energy and using it in a positive way – I look forward to find a job, meet new people, going places. I’m still not completely sure of what I want to do with my life, but that’s just a tiny, insignificant detail, isn’t it?

Onwards!

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Final exams

I’ve gone quiet again lately, and the reason is simply that I’ve got my plate full of high school exams in arts, crafts and sewing.

Last week we did a two days test on costume and stage designs and today I did a presentation of a hotel lounge that I spent the last couple of days crafting. I thought I’d show my scale model (1:10) of a hotel lobby that was supposed to encompass Scandinavian Design.

Overview

Overview

Front

Front

Seating

Seating

Recliners

Recliners

Media

Media

Newspapers

Newspapers

Looking through the window

Looking through the window

I made the chairs and couches from Lithuanian linen that I bought in Riga two years ago and quilt batting. I then made the legs and armrests from lollipop sticks. I made the newspaper rack from the same sticks and the rest is cardboard and print-outs of various pieces from the design period. You have Poul Henningsen’s artichoke lamp, Tapio Wirkkala’s X-frame table and Arne Jacobsen’s AJ lamp to name a few.

It was both terrifyingly exhausting and fun to work on this piece, and I’m really happy that I passed my exam and can enjoy my weekend. The overall impression was that my model encompassed more of the 70’s as opposed to the 50’s and 60’s when Scandinavian design was at its height. Oh well, I tried, and I still really like my little room :) Only five more examinations to go :)

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Pfaff PB3530 ironing system

Update July 2014: I ended up selling this ironing system as we never really bonded (see my review below). Hopefully the new owner will be happier than I was.

My lovely hubby gave me money to buy a proper pressing station for my birthday, and after much deliberation I chose the Pfaff  PB3035.

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With this system I got a semi-professional pressing iron and an ironing board with blow and suction capabilities run by a foot pedal. The foot pedal was what sold me on this system in the end,  as none of the other boards I read about seemed to have this feature. The board also heats up and can blow steam, as do the pressing iron. There’s an info-mercial on this system here.

There aren’t many reviews out there for this particular ironing system, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on it here.

At school we have several professional ironing tables with powerful suction and blow functions that work with several pressing accessories. I guess I’m easily spoiled: My former pressing tools consisted of an ageing iron and a bad ironing board, and I became quite obsessed with the thought of having a semi-professional pressing system at home.

The Pfaff PB3550 arrived by mail, and when I first got it, I’ll admit I wasn’t too thrilled – it wasn’t nearly as strong as the professional equipment at school. (I admit my conscience wasn’t too clear as this was a gift from the person most dear to me after all.) I couldn’t get the iron to do exactly what I wanted it to do, and I was not prepared for the fumes emanating from the table. I also didn’t know that the table heated up, and I tell you it’s hot! On the bright side, the package told me it’s made in Italy, which I think is great as so many other appliances are currently Asian made (this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I prefer the shorter travel from Italy).

I tested my ironing system out ironing a couple of skirts and trying the vertical steaming of a shirt. The skirts were fine, but this iron does not make a good vertical steamer IMO. As I got to use it as a pressing tool when making my red dress, I got better results, luckily. Still, I have an allergic reaction to the fumes, which sadly haven’t lessened in the time I’ve used the system, I do think the heated board makes it too hot to work at for any length of time, and the iron itself could have been better. However this system beats the crap out of my previous ironing arrangements.

The foot pedal is great, as I don’t have to push a button every time I want the board to do something, but the suction is just not as strong as I’d expected after watching the aforementioned info-mercial. Also, the hot board makes it difficult to cool the fabric down after steam pressing it, which in turn may lead to distortions and creases…

The pressing iron itself isn’t the strongest one on the market. It’s much better than a non-steam iron, but I still think you can buy better steam-irons in almost shop that stocks any electrical appliances. I think the “semi-professional” label on the iron refers to the stainless steel finish on this one – it’s certainly built as a professional iron – but the piece lacks the power of a true professional tool.

The good:

  • A big and sturdy, yet collapsible ironing board that doesn’t leave impressions in your pressed garments
  • A proper steam iron
  • Suction and blow functions
  • So far no leakage isn’t detected on the system
  • A teflon shoe for the iron is included in the package
  • Easy to use
  • Not too loud (though it definitely makes some sound)
  • The foot pedal that operates the blow/suction function
  • It’s good as far as “all-in-one” deals go – you get what you need to do decent pressing during sewing – a steam iron and a good board with additional suction/blow function.

The bad:

  • The smell/fumes emanating from the table when it’s used – this is not a toy for anyone suffering from allergies
  • The steam iron could certainly have been better – I’ve used steam irons for home use only that are better than this
  • Especially the suction function is not nearly as strong as it ought to be
  • The table gets really hot – too hot IMO
  • For the same price I could get a great steam iron and a decent ironing board

So far, I’m giving this system a try and hope that it grows on me. It’s not a bad product, and I’m certain many people would be just thrilled by the features of the system. Perhaps it’s like a new sewing machine – I’ve heard people refusing to use a machine which they haven’t bonded with – hopefully me and the Pfaff PB3035 will be peas and carrots sometime in the near future :)

If I’d had the chance to test this (or any other ironing system) in a store before buying, I’m not sure if I’d gotten this piece in the end, as I think I would have been better off just buying a better steam iron and a new ironing board. The main problem with this all in one system is that neither iron nor board are very good. Not bad, certainly, but I find both lacking something in the execution of their functions.

That’s my experience with the Pfaff PB3035 ironing system so far. I’ll  update this post if I have anything to add in the future. If you’re looking for an upgrade on your pressing tools, I’d recommend buying a good steam iron and then find a not too crappy board to go with it, rather than buying an all in one system.

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