My father is the perfect man to play Santa. He’s got the big, white beard, a well-cultivated beer belly (he’s a Yuengling man, if you’re buying!), and a jolly Germanic red nose. He looks so much like Santa, in fact, that my friends in high school would call him that even in the heat of summer.
So it was a crime against Christmas that he didn’t actually own a Santa costume, especially since my brother’s kids are now at the perfect age for a “visit from Santa”. So I took it upon myself to correct this, and armed with Mccalls 8992, some red velour from the Utrecht fabric market (which may look familiar to you!), and some white fun fur, I made him a costume fit for a Santa professional.
About 8 months ago, I got an awesome email from FehrTrade reader Hilde asking if I’d like her mom’s stash of KnipMode magazines from 2005-2007 as she wasn’t really using them much any more and they both thought I’d give them a good home.
Would I??? Omg.
So therein started the logistical planning to transport a rather heavy stack of magazines from The Netherlands over to London… Around this time we thought we’d be driving navigation equipment over to northern Holland in preparation for a neighbour’s North Sea crossing, so we’d make a detour to Hilde’s, but logistics didn’t work out and we weren’t needed for the neighbour’s barge anyway. And then, in a fantastic twist, a few weeks ago Hilde told me her sister lives in London and brought the stash over in her suitcase for me! So I only had to make a 10 minute walk from my office to her sister’s flat (seriously, what luck that she lives so close!) to pick up the magazines and thank her profusely for lugging them in her suitcase.
And for the past fortnight or so I’ve been absolutely pouring over them, picking out my Must Sews, investigating tiny design details, and noticing what changes Knip have made in the past 5 years.
There were too many for me to scan in one session, so here’s my picks from the early half of the stash, with Part Two to follow next week!
OMG Lingerie!! I have already got the most perfect fabrics in my stash to make the camisole with the bra cups – the olive green stretch lace I bought in Paris coordinates perfectly with a teeshirt I got free with a magazine but was comically tiny (what percentage of the UK female population has a bust smaller than 27 inches? Seriously.). I think there might be enough to do the cami with a bit of the teeshirt’s sleeves left for a thong gusset. And you know how much I liked the KnipMode lingerie pattern I already had…
The tree and the outdoor lights are all taken down, the chocolates have been scoffed, and the last of the pine needles are being hoovered off the floor… My Christmas sewing was in overdrive this year, but it’s not until now that I really get to see how everyone liked their gifts!
My neighbour Jamaica was telling me months ago how impossible it is to find the cute little jersey balaclavas her 3 year old daughter loves, so she lent me one to copy after I had a good look at it. It’s really just one pattern piece, cut four times (two in each fabric) and sewn together along the back/top seam and also on the lower neck seam. You can see the pattern piece in the side photo on the left below (the right photo is the front view with the hole for the face). Then I connected the two around the face hole, turned them right side out, and serged the bottom edge together and left that raw (like the RTW one, which is just peeking out below on the left).
I realise I’m an entire week late for Veterans Day and Remembrance Day here, but I thought that my dad’s vintage 1960s Navy uniform would still be just as interesting today.
Here’s my dad leaving Boot Camp in 1960:
(Compare that to his Santa-look these days – he blames it on all the beer and bratwurst when he was stationed in Germany!)
My dad was cleaning out his closet and thought I might like his old uniforms, so he dry cleaned them up and sent over the navy wool dress uniform first (the whites are coming later!). Much to my surprise, his old uniform fit me exactly – it was almost eerie, I tell you! Apart from the arms being an inch or so too long in the cuffed-sleeve top, it’s like it was made precisely to my measurements. And apart from one worn hole in the trousers, they absolutely look like new…
Me in 2008:
This is the first year my boyfriend and I will be in our own place for Christmas, so we’re starting from scratch as far as ornaments and decorations go. We bought a string of lights and two packs of shiny baubles from the store, but apart from a few candy canes, the tree was bare.
I started with some festive bunting, by cutting triangles of fabric from an off-white curtain sample (donated by my boyfriend’s mother) and sewing them all together in a long strip of dark green bias binding.
While in Holland last weekend, I managed a very quick run through Utrecht’s amazing fabric market (every Saturday on Breedstraat, with 100+ stalls of every fabric imaginable) and got a bunch of red velour for another (secret!) project. I finished the other project and used to offcuts to make this very warm and snuggly top, just in time for winter.