Monday 24 August 2015

HTTP NP 404 - or "the shortcut is never the shortest way" - a pattern review

This is a short review of the pattern NP 404.

I had fallen in love with this Dress from the Danish National Museum in Copenhagen a loooong time ago... and dreamt about making my own version of it.

picture from here:

Because I had a sort of lazy phase I thought I'd spare myself the tiresome enlarging and printing and cutting and thinking and I just get the pattern NeheleniaPatterns NP404 which claims to be based on the exact robe. Too good to be true. That lovely gown without the work. Yep. And so it is.

The pattern is inspired by the above dress, but not the actual pattern of that dress.
The bodice and collar construction are quite different, in fact. (and as it is a chemise dress, that's all there is, really... so... )
Also the marks for folding the back/front piece are wrong and after figuring out that I had to look at the museum's pattern to know how to pleat it I've had enough, chucked that pattern into the next corner (which is what I would recommend to you, if you own it...) and used the free pdf from the museum (which I recommend to do).

Don't get me wrong, the pattern is usable, if you don't want exactly THAT Danish Dress but something that looks like it, and if you don't mind that some things are simply wrong (like the pleating guide for that pleated collar-thingy). But as I put quite a bit of effort into fitting my stuff (even if it doesn't show, but that's a completely different story) I find it annoying if a pattern 1. isn't what it claims to be and 2. causes more work than neccessary.
I even tried to get in touch with the pattern people, but after weeks without reply I presume there is no interest in an honest opinion. Which is quite a shame. But like friend said "HTTP404 - that should have made you think about it twice". Listen to your friends! ;)

And as we all know : the longest way between 2 points is the shortcut.

If you you want to know how the Original Danish Chemise Dress turn out... I am going to post about it soon here ---->

Lots of love, beware of shortcuts, Hertzwerk

Friday 14 August 2015

The Postillon Cloche

The past few days (well, over a week really, with several interruptions...) I've spent experimenting with free form felting. And I can only say: I love it. I found it a very sensual experience to work with the felt cones with all the steaming and manual shaping. It made me think about millinery and milliners in a completely different way. 
This friendly person is trying to present you her first felt hat creation. What you don't see is the totally enthusiastic 3 year old clinging to her left leg.

Anyway, some time (...ages...) ago I had bought a set of hat cones in light colours and I started by choosing the one with the colour I thought I'd wear least... in case it goes wrong you don't want to waste the really nice super colour. It was a bright yellow wool felt cone. Yellow happens to be the colour of the German Post. In the end I attached a wood button covered in very dark dark blue woolen fabric, and then I thought "this would go really well with the German Post work gear" and for a very short moment considered an alternative career. 
Despite the vigorous colour (that doesn't really suit me...) I really like the outcome for the first time felting. I learned a great deal of things about the directions of felting, about how the material behaves, ... and about needles. It is really annoying if your needles rust away while the hat is drying. As I had put it in the loft to dry, I didn't see what was happening right away so I unfortunately have a few rust stains that mark the ex-needle-holes. In a way I don't mind too much,  probably because the hat is ... yellow... although I guess it's great in winter on the bike - people will definitely see me... :) 
Talking about the weather - I can't answer the question why I made a wool felt cloche while the outside temperature was nearly 40 degrees Celsius. I also made a batch of dark chocolate macaron. 

40 degrees Celsius outside (nearly) - it WAS a little hot under that wooly cloche, I have to admit.

If you want to try free form felting, these are the things I learned this time
1. It is really good to thoroughly spray the hat with water the night before and keep it in an airtight plastic bag over night so it is nice and evenly moist. 
2. Hot water steam is still really hot.
3. Use needles that don't rust and that aren't too thick. 
4. Cover your hat block with cling film, it really helps cleaning up. 
5. When you brush your hat for the last finish, don't get carried away. I tried to remove a few of the rust stains by brushing the hell out of the felt with a suede brush, and while a few strokes really liven up the colour and texture, everything beyond "a few strokes" creates a fluffly sheep like surface. Unless you go for fluffy and sheeplike. It sure didn't help against the rust stains. :) 

 I wish you a lovely day. Enjoy! X