[Sewing] Skirts and Stuff and Things

Okay, like I mentioned before I actually did sew some things in September.

First, there is the Short Lace Top from Be My Goth. It’s a free pattern, super easy to sew and the tutorial is very detailed (and kind of hilarious :) ). I cut a size 38 in width and a 36 in length since I’m only 1.6 meters tall. The top still isn’t that short on me, but I like the length as it is.

Short Lace Top - front view

Short Lace Top - back view

I also made a skirt ouf of a knitted wool fabric with a black and white herringbone pattern. It’s a thick and warm fabric, perfect for fall and winter here in Germany. At least I hope so. Out of pure styling laziness I took the photos with bare legs and feet – but I already know it looks great with black tights and a sweater.

Herringbone Skirt - side view

The pattern is self-made again, but it only consists of two trapezes and one long stripe for the waistband. It hits right at the knees, so I might also wear it at work some time.

Herringbone Skirt - back

Inside of the waistband is a broad elastic, because the fabric itself isn’t stretchy enough for an elastic waistband. Which I only realized after sewing the waistband on ;) But opening one seam and inserting the elastic wasn’t that much work. I did the hem with a herringbone stitch, to keep it elastic. And because of the herringbone pattern of the fabric :)

And I made a birthday present for a friend. She’s a real Star Trek fan, so that’s always my theme for her birthday presents. Last year she got a Klingon dictionary (including grammar rules!), but this year I decided to sew something for her. Her party was kind of a last-minute decision, so I only had one week to decide what to sew and stitch it up. She got a red and black neckerchief with a delta shield embroidered on it.

Star Trek Scarf

So, that was my sewing September. Right now I’m finishing the hem on another skirt (I seem to get obsessed with sewing skirts) but I’ll show it to you later this month ;)

Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair

This post has been in my queue for a very long time now! Sometime in June I entered a giveaway by Becky at Make me do and actually won a lovely baker boy hat! I promised to take some pictures of it and show her, but all (!) the photos I took looked horrible. So I’m very sorry Becky, I haven’t forgotten this, I just had to find the time to get better pictures! And I’m fairly new at self-photography, so this took quite a lot of tries. But at last, here’s one I like:

Me myself with Becky's baker boy hat!

Me myself with Becky’s baker boy hat!

Is it not a fabulous hat? I love it! As she said in her post it’s a very light fabric and I already wore the hat quite often when it was really hot in Germany and the sun was trying to bake my head every day on my way to work. I’m convinced I noticed lots of envious looks from the people around me :D

So thanks a lot Becky, I’ll surely wear it again next summer!

[Books] A. Lee Martinez – The Automatic Detective

Yes, I managed to finish some books this week ;) Not all of them today, but I didn’t come around to writing the reviews ’till now.

Contents:
Mack Megaton is living in Empire, a city of the future where seeing mutants walk around is normal and robots can gain the citizenship. And Mack is one these robots. Originally he was designed to be an ultimate killer and fighting machine, but he got something called the Glitch – the ability to “think” outside of the perimeters of his original programming. So instead of destroying everything he makes his living as a taxi driver. At least until his neighbours disappear and he starts searching for them… and he’s got no idea into what he’s got himself into. But his failure would lead to Empire’s end.

Criticism:
I had kind of a hard time getting into the writing style here. The story is told from Mack’s point of view and since he’s a robot I had to get used to the different terms here. For example, instead of remembering something he’s accessing his memory matrix and so on. Since I studied something technical it wasn’t so bad for me, but I guess this could be a problem for other people. On the other hand, I loved how he just didn’t understand sarcasm and hints. Pure logic can be really entertaining.
At first “The Automatic Detective” seems like a real detective story, with Mack following clues to find out where his neighbours are. But at some point there also comes lots of action in it and I was totally blown away by the plot! I just didn’t expect at all what was really going on there! There was no clue at any point where this would lead! And this unpredictability is what ulitmately makes me love this book. I just love being surprised by good plots.

Conclusion:
While the book had a slow start, it picked up its pace fast. I loved the plot and how I just couldn’t guess it. I also liked the characters a lot – they’re all unique and displayed very detailed. I can only recommend reading it!

[Books] Glen Cook – She Is the Darkness

This is the seventh book of the Chronicles of the Black Company – and I feel like it took me ages to read it… the first half of it was really exhausting.

Contents:
Croaker finally moves against Longshadow, the last shadowmaster. Und is therefore getting closer to the mystical Khatovar, birthplace of the Free Companies. With the help of the comatose wizard Smoke Murgen is able to spy on almost everyone of their enemies… but still nobody is prepared for what lies beyond Overlook. And meanwhile Lady’s mad twin sister Soulcatcher is pursuing her very own schemes.

Criticism:
The books has a very slow start. The first half mainly consists of Murgen’s ghostwalks with Smoke but tells little of what he, Croaker and Lady actually do. While the unfolding plots are interesting I missed the personal touch of it. I didn’t get the feel of being a part of the action but more like being a watcher of the events. Also the main characters planned a lot during this time but acted very little.
Fortunately that changed at some point and the plot really starts. The ghostwalks with Smoke are also reduced, but I felt like Murgen never was so close to center of action as Croaker when he was still annalist. I still couldn’t put the book away at the end and the ending totally stunned me. But I am hoping for the next part to be better than this one. And I have to admit, I’d like to have another annalist…

Conclusion:
This was the first time I really had to struggle with a book of the Chronicles of the Black Company. I started it about a month ago but had to put it aside for two or three weeks during that time. However the ending was so unexpected I’m already looking forward to reading the next part. I still got my thumbs up for Glen Cook!

[Books] Carsten Steenbergen – Teufelsacker

Inhalt:
Anno 1256 werden auf einem Kornfeld bei Gleidebach zwei Fuhrleute grausam getötet. Der einzige Überlebende berichtet im Fieberwahn von einem Dämon, einem Korngeist, der sie angegriffen hat. In der nahegelegenen Abtei wird die Geschichte als Wahnvorstellung abgetan und ignoriert, denn hier steht vor allem der Umbau der Basilika im Vordergrund.

Doch Heinrich, der Sohn des Landvogts, beschließt zu helfen. Denn das Kornfeld gehört zum Hof von Bruno, dem Vater seiner heimlichen Liebe Katharina. Und so stößt er auf ein dunkles Geheimnis der Abtei, das bereits seit 300 Jahren gehütet wird.

Kritik:
Das Buch hat mich von ersten Seiten an in seinen Bann gezogen. Und dafür gesorgt, dass ich Kornfelder für die nächsten Monate eher meiden werde. Die Geschichte fand ich gut durchdacht und es gab einen ganzen Haufen zwielichtiger Gestalten, über deren Rollen im Geschehen man rätseln konnte.

Die beiden Hauptpersonen und -erzähler sind Heinrich und Katharina, wobei mir Heinrich sehr sympatisch war. Katharina hingegen fand ich ehrlich gesagt eher fad und langweilig. Ich fand sie war hauptsächlich dazu da, zu erzählen was auf dem Hof ihres Vaters passiert ist, aber ich kann mich nicht daran erinnern, dass sie selbst aktiv eine große Rolle hatte. Bei Heinrich hatte ich am Anfang das gleiche Gefühl. Er hat zwar ständig bei verschiedenen Leuten um Hilfe gebeten, aber selbst aktiv geworden ist er erst viel später im Buch. Manchmal wollte ich ihm schon ein wenig in den Hintern treten, dass er mal selbst die Sache in die Hand nimmt.

Fazit:
“Teufelsacker” ist eine wunderbare Schauergeschichte, bei der es wirklich an fast nichts fehlt. Unheimliche Gestalten, grausame Morde, ein gefährlicher Teufel, Geheimnisse, Verschwörungen – alles vorhanden. Dafür hat es mir bei den Hauptpersonen etwas an Initiative gefehlt. Trotzdem auf jeden Fall lesenswert, es war teilweise schon schwer, beim S-Bahn-Fahren an der richtigen Haltestelle auszusteigen ;)

[Books] Micaela Jary – Das Bild der Erinnerung

First things first… this is going to be in German. And I’m also still sewing, I’m just photo-lazy and had a couple of other things on my mind the past weeks. But I’ll try to post some sewing updates in the next two weeks, so please don’t give me up! ;)

Das Buch habe ich ehrlicherweise übrigens nicht gekauft, sondern bei einer Verlosung gewonnen. Vielen Dank an dieser Stelle an lovelybooks.de und Micaela Jary, denn die ist nicht nur aktiv an der Leserunde dabei, sondern hat auch noch jedes der Bücher signiert :)

Inhalt:
Die Kunsthistorikerin Anna soll die Echtheit eines lange verschollenen Bildes überprüfen, damit es versteigert werden kann. Ihre Nachforschungen führen sie zu einer Galerie in London und dessen Besitzer Oliver Richardson. Dieser rät ihr mit seinem Großvater Henry zu sprechen und die beiden fahren nach Cornwall zu ihm. Von Henry bekommt Anna eine ergreifende Geschichte aus Berlin im Jahr 1946 zu hören. Und erfährt auch noch ein lange gehütetes Geheimnis ihrer Familie…

Kritik:
Das Buch hat mich von den ersten Seiten an gefesselt, so dass es mir schwer gefallen ist zwischendurch aufzuhören. Der Erzählstil ist flüssig und ich konnte mich wunderbar in die Personen reinversetzen, habe mit ihnen mitgefiebert, geliebt und gelitten.

Statt die Geschichte nacheinander zu erzählen, wechselt das Buch immer wieder zwischen der Gegenwart und der Vergangenheit hin und her, so dass die Geschichte des Bildes und der Personen nach und nach enthüllt wird. So gibt es oft bei den Wechseln Cliffhanger, die das Weglegen wirklich schwer gemacht haben.

Der Erzählstrang aus der Nachkriegszeit ist gut recherchiert und ich habe dadurch sicher auch einige Sachen erfahren, die ich vorher nicht wusste. Die Personen dort sind vielseitig, jeder mit seinen eigenen Stärken und Schwächen und wirkten für mich sehr lebendig.

Bei der Geschichte in der Gegenwart hat mir dagegen ein wenig die Spannung gefehlt, ich hatte mir hier etwas mehr Handlung gewünscht.

*****SPOILER*****
Auchd die Liebesgeschichte zwischen Anna und Oliver fand ich etwas zu schnell abgehandelt. Ich denke, das lag daran, dass sie sich erst so spät im Buch tatsächlich getoffen haben, aber da hätte ich mir einfach ein bisschen mehr gewünscht.
*****SPOILER ENDE*****

Fazit:
“Das Bild der Erinnerung” besticht durch die lebendigen, vielseitigen Personen und den flüssigen Erzählstil. Der Aufbau lässt einen ständig mitfiebern und man kann wunderbar Vermutungen anstellen, wie es weitergeht. Ich kann das Buch nur weiterempfehlen!

[Books] Jim Butcher – Blood Rites (Harry Dresden Files 6)

I have to admit I nearly stopped reading the Harry Dresden Files because I started to get bored by the books. Lots of action scenes, wild chases and nearly impossible tasks but I missed the detective work from “Storm Front” and good story lines. But there were also these little hints that something bigger is going on and so I decided to give “Blood Rites” a try. And I’m really glad I did!

Contents:
Thomas Raith of the White Court vampires asks Harry to help a friend of him who thinks someone is trying to murder him or the women around him by curses. Harry agrees and assumes an undercover job in his buisness. Which is the production of pornographic movies :D While giving us lots of cause to laugh at this job he also meets two of Thomas’ half sisters and gains a lot of information about House Raith, the leaders of the White Court.
But since trouble never comes alone Harry discovers that Mavra of the Black Court is in town to get her revenge on him. And that she got herself some thralls to help her. Instead of waiting what she does Harry decides to make an offensive move against her with the help of some of his friends.

Conclusion:
As mentioned above I’m glad I didn’t stop reading the Dresden Files and made myself start with “Blood Rites”. The beginning acutally is a lot like the last books, but once you made it to the middle, there are lots of unexpected twists and turns. And  – at last! – more information about Harry’s mysterious mother and the rest of his family. Some other loose ends from the last books are picked up and I got the feeling that the Dresden Files are becoming a real series now.

While I already got the next six Dresden books on my Kindle I stopped myself from starting with “Dead Beat” right away. I don’t like reading books from one series one after another since I realized I miss the variety and therefore become annoyed regardless to the quality. And there are just so many other unread books…

[Books] Cornelia Funke – Inkdeath

Now, wait… does this mean I actually read a book by a German author in English? Well, yes it does. To be frank, it was just cheaper in English. Kind of sad, isn’t it? I mean where the hell goes all the money? Is the English version making profit at all? Anyway, there are fixed book prices in Germany, so maybe that’s got something to do with it. I feel like I’m rambling here but this bothers me a bit. Never mind. I just wanted to make it clear why I mostly read in English. I’m a student, I’m allowed to choose based on the price ;)

Okay, now let’s talk a little bit about “Inkdeath”. It’s the last book of a trilogy, the other ones are “Inkheart” and “Inkspell”. There’s also a movie based on “Inkheart” (which I actually saw!) so if you know the movie and are interested in how the story went on, you should stop reading here. Spoilers will come. But I can tell you upfront that the trilogy is definitely worth reading!

Contents:
It seems like everything has been getting worse since the ending of “Inkspell”. Ombra is controlled by the Adderheads wasteful brother-in-law called the Milksop, Orpheus reads treasures for himself and creatures to hunt for the Milksop to the Inkworld and the Adderhead is still alive and rules with an iron hand. But the White Book is indeed rotting and with it the Adderhead’s flesh rots on his skin making his live an unending agony. And so his hunt for the Bluejay becomes more intense every day.

Conclusion:
Remembering to get off the train while reading this was a real challenge! Cornelia Funke managed to write an enthralling book once again which still has this fantastic aura of nearly forgotten castles, giants, fairies and magic. But don’t think it’s a soft story, there’s also blackmail, hunts, death and terror going on. Overall the book was a true page-turner for me and maintained a healthy balance between tight situations and the more emotional scenes. There were also quite a few unforeseen twists in the story, making it thrilling and keeping me wondering to last chapters what would happen. The only litte annoying thing was the dominance of one character in the second half who always seemed to step in and save the day for some time. But I can live with that.

As you may have noticed I’m trying to get back to blogging a complete review for every book instead of the collective posts. Getting over my occasional blogging-laziness, ha!

[Books] David Anthony Durham – The Other Lands

“The Other Lands” is the second part of the Acacia trilogy and curiously I think it’s better than the first. I very often find the middle part of trilogies boring, there’s not this exciting new feeling of a first part or the big question of how the story ends – the books often just drag along and I’m glad when I finished it to get to the last part. Durham managed to get around these problems by making the first book a more or less self-contained story with just a few loose ends that nevertheless set the stage for events happening in part two and three. And if my to-read list wouldn’t be that long, I’d start reading the third book right away ;)

Contents:
The story is set a few years after the events of the first book and the main characters definitely have evolved since then. Not in unexpected directions but I feel like the grew into the positions they had at the end of the first book. Corinn is a strong queen with a firm hand and always trying to secure the throne for her son, Aaden. Mena is fighting against the foulthings which are strange and mostly hostile creatures turning up all over the known world. Dariel traveled around the world for some time, helping the people rebuild and working with them. Corinn sends him on a diplomatic mission across the sea with the League, to the land of the Lothan Aklun and the Auldek. But as he arrives there, nothing is as expected. And treason is never far away in this world.

Conclusion:
It took me some time to start reading this book after the first part. I thought “The War with the Mein” was okay but not terrific. A nice book to kill some time. I still wanted to know what became of the characters. (I don’t remember clearly, but it could also be a translation problem since I read “The War with the Mein” in German. So maybe it was just a bad translation that slightly ruined an otherwise good book.) Anyway, I was surprised that I found “The Other Lands” so much more gripping! It is one of my the last paper books I had to read – I’m reading on my kindle while commuting (Did I use the right word here? I mean the time to get to work and home again) – so “The Other Lands” was my book to read in bed before sleeping when I had the time. Not such a good decision, it kept me awake too long far too often ;) I actually had to make a rule of not reading more than two chapters per day, lol. And now I’m keeping myself from buying “The Sacred Band”. I first have to reduce my book stash… or maybe I should just read faster to justify buying it. You know, like “I only have 20 unread books instead of 30, I need new ones!” :D

Did you ever read a series that got better with every book? And how do you keep yourself from buying far more books than you can possibly read?

The Sew Weekly Reunion 2013 – Victory Faltenrock, Tap Pants and a Bolero

Here it is... my submission for The Sew Weekly Reunion 2013!

A “Victory Faltenrock” and a bolero for the Sew Weekly Reunion 2013 (and a pair of tap pants – but they are under the skirt!)

The Facts

Fabric: 1.5 meters of striped blue fabric, 60 centimeters of dark blue Crepe de Chine, 55 centimeters of grey melange jersey
Notions: Piping, zipper, skirt fastener, lingerie elastic, woven tape, sequin, bead
Pantone Challengen Colours: Mykonos Blue, Turbulence
Pattern: Selfmade
Time to complete: About 15 hours for the skirt, 1 hour for the tap pants and 1 hour for the bolero… plus drafting the patterns
First worn: August 24th, 2013
Wear again? Yes!
Total cost:  ~€30

Now, where do I start? I loved making this stuff! Most of the things were on my sewing list anyway, so I just had to find some fabrics in the right colours. I also decided to include more than one garment in the challenge, since the skirt needed an underskirt anyway and when I saw the colours, the Turbulence immediately made me think about that melange jersey I saw at the fabric store.

Just another picture of the whole outfit

Haven’t worn a skirt that hits above the knees for at least 10 years… doesn’t look that bad, does it?

Anyway, here are some details! The fabric for the skirt was actually in my stash for about a month and I have no idea what it is made of. It was labeled “Designer Fabric”. But it is a woven fabric. I love the dark blue with the brighter stripes in Mykonos Blue. The idea for skirt pattern came from a german sewing page with looots of tutorials, it’s called the “Victory Faltenrock” (Victory Pleated Skirt). I just made a normal skirt instead of a mini skirt, added a waistband, divided the front panels, changed the position of the zipper to the right side and hid it like it’s normally done with jeans. I think it might be my biggest sewing project up until now! (I didn’t realise all this piping would take that much time, I never sewed a zipper in this way and don’t even get me started on the pleats) And I just LOVE it! It took me ages to figure out how to alter the pattern so the stripes on the pleats would  be more or less parallel. And how I wanted to place the stripes on the the rest of the skirt. I went for the “different everywhere” solution, but I did match the stripes at the center front and center back. Another detail I just love, are the pockets under the pleats. And now, some pictures!

I love how the hidden zipper turned out!

The zipper, skirt fastening and the waistband – the inner side of the waistband is made of a soft cotton twill from my stash.

Here you can see the pleats... and piping!

A closeup of the top of the pleats – with some piping!

The piping is made of the same fabric as the rest of the skirt. I didn’t cut it on the bias, but wanted the brighter blue stripes to be visible on it.

The side view of the skirt

And here’s the side view of the skirt!

I also wanted to have a matching underskirt. Only, I didn’t make an underskirt but a pair of tap pants (also called culottes – such a cute word). There’s a tutorial for drafting the pattern and sewing them here. I did alter the pattern a little here and there, used lingerie elastic at the waist and simply hemmed the legs. As the front and back are looking quite similar, I rummaged around a little and came up with a sequil and a matching little bead from my mother, which I sewed on to mark the front. And gone is the fear of short skirts and gusts of wind!

Tap Pants

Tap Pants - Front

The sequil and bead are a dark green

The bolero is a very simple one, I found it more than once on the internet already. I used this tutorial, but I must confess it’s a little too big for me. And I did scale it down already! Apparently just not enough. I found this woven tape with a black, white and grey tartan pattern, but next time I’ll sew a bolero I’ll get bias tape – the woven tape was so slippery I needed to hand baste it all around before sewing it on ;)

Bolero

Oh, and it looks totally boring on photos.

A closeup of the woven fabric

A closeup of the woven fabric

And just because I want to mention it: I listened to Ayreon while sewing this stuff. In fact, to everything from Ayreon (even the bonus CDs)! Totally awesome project by Arjen Lucassen!

So that was the TSW Reuninon 2013 for me, I had lots of fun with it! And it was a real challenge for me to work with colours… I’m one of those persons who mostly wears black ;)