My home country Estonia celebrated its 100th anniversary on February 24th and if anything deserves a new dress, then it is this proud celebration day!
I have been sewing a few things this year already but I must admit my sewing mojo is a bit down as I am quite tired in the evenings and rather prefer to spend my energy on walking and keeping fit rather than making efforts with sewing. I have nearly completed a patchwork quilt blanket (my first after the obligatory one in high school!) in preparation for the arrival of our baby and started a dress, but my sewing machine did not love the fabric so I just had another unfinished object added to the deepest corner of my drawer.
Also, I am not too excited about sewing floaty garments which is the only style I can wear right now and therefore the only thing that really pushed me to make something was this big anniversary and the fact that we were invited by friends to a celebration party for which I REALLY did not have anything to wear 🙂
The pattern is from Patrones 332, model 18.
The sizes in Patrones are different from Burda or the American brands, so when I normally cut size 38 from Burda, I am 42 for Patrones. This time I decided to go up one size and cut 44, although it was already obvious that the pattern is generous enough.
It is quite a straightforward model and a quick make which is exactly what I needed right now. In order to add some spark, I used a sequined fabric for the front yoke. It is the first time I used sequined fabric and because the sequines are small, it didn´t create any problems and I could just sew through them. However, the whole house was full of sparkle as cutting and trimming released hundreds of sequins or pieces of them.
The most important aspect of this dress for me was that I wanted to feel comfortable, yet appropriate for the occasion. I managed both and there is even hope I can wear it in the future once I am in my normal parameters again!
Some close ups as well:
I will work for another three weeks and then stay home to prepare for the upcoming life changing moment. I can´t promise I will make anything during that time because I cannot make anything I really like right now, but at the same time completing a new garment is so satisfying that I may decide to whip up something anyway.
Would you believe that with all these years of sewing, I never made a maxi dress? This one is my first!
I have a few ready-to-wear ones for summer, but generally I prefer to enjoy the warm weather in short and light clothes. There is only one maxi dress that I have worn to pieces and it is made of very breathable and lightweight cotton batiste.
However, as the annual Christmas party at my workplace was approaching fast, I needed something that would tick several boxes – appropriate for the environment since this years party was held at an old art nouveau style mansion (it is worth checking it out: Ammende villa), easy and quick to make since I was running out of time, fit me in the current circumstances and preferrably be wearable in the future. I managed to tick all those, plus as a bonus, I could use up some of the fabric from my overflowing stash! Win-win!
So the lucky winner pattern was Vogue 9104:
I am very happy I took the time to look up some blog posts on this pattern because a few of them mentioned the problem with the armholes being too low-cut. I guess it has to do with the weight of the fabric as well, because you need 4.1 meters of it for size 10 and the armholes can easily be dragged lower by the weight of the dress! The pattern also recommends lightweight jersey, but with this amount of fabric, jersey would definitely stretch even more, causing the armholes reaching too low. So just to avoid the trouble, I raised the armholes of my dress by about 2,5 cm and I am thankful I did! Instead of using the facings provided with the pattern, I used bias tape to finish them, another tip from one of the blogs I read!
It took me a while to decide what to do with the lower contrast part of the dress. I had just enough fabric in my stash for the upper part of the dress and I had it already cut out, so the task was to find something suitable for the contrast. It was really not easy. I considered sequins, but eventually they were not in the right shade; I was also thinking about using silvery lurex, but I was afraid the end result would be something in the lines of Ded Moroz, the slavic equivalent of Santa Claus:
In the end I bought some glittery stretch lace and backed it up with matching lining fabric for the lower pieces:
This meant I had to cut the lower details out not four, but eight times and additional seams to join them. Not hard to do, but so time consuming, especially because the lining fabric is slippery and the pieces are quite big. It took a lot of pinning, basting, pressing and sewing. The seams are really long as well! And yes, the glitter was all over the place!
As you can see, the photos are taken at my parents place and my shoes don´t really match the dress, I just borrowed them from my mom for the photos. We actually tried taking photos at the villa since we stayed the night there but initially the cameras battery was dead and the next moment we had time to take the pics was at 3 AM, my husband almost asleep and my own face sleepy as well. The light conditions were not ideal either, but we took a few before going to bed:
The belt I am wearing was a must, I would have felt huge otherwise. It is metallic, but very elastic like spring and I love the leaf motif of the front closure:
Honestly, in my opinion this dress is as good as it gets in terms of the choices an expecting mother has for an evening gown! It is very comfortable and shows enough while hiding enough at the same time! For example I got really tired of wearing tights during the evening and due to the length of the dress, I could just remove them and go on without anything digging into my belly. In addition, since the lower contrast parts are not joined at all, the slits in front and back are quite deep, so there is some sex appeal to the dress as well.
Another great tip I got from reading blogs was to cut a size smaller than usual due to the really extreme looseness of the pattern. So instead of my regular 12, I cut it in size 10 and I think it was absolutely worth it. I also omitted the side pockets, because… who would need them really?
While the dress was halfway finished without the lower pieces attached yet, I also discovered that it would make a great summer dress in short version.
And last but not least, we had a professional party photographer, thankfully, so we managed to get a pic together with my husband, too:
We have a collective holiday every year during the Christmas and New Year so I am totally enjoying it now, preparing some patterns and sewing but also meeting friends and spending time with my family.
Just a few days left until Christmas, may you all have beautiful holidays with your loved ones!
This dress was supposed to be ready in fall, during the golden leaves season, but life happened and eventually I finished it in early December and even then without the flounces that I planned for the sleeves.
The pattern is model 115 from Burdastyle 10/2017 but as you can see, I have skipped the ruffles for the hem and sleeves. Instead, I wanted to cut the double flounce from pattern 117 in the same magazine issue and attach them to the lace inserts of the sleeves. I have them all cut out and prepared for sewing, but there is never enough time, so I have worn the dress as it is already a couple of times.
The pattern of course is simple to sew, but as I was afraid that the main fabric might be too flimsy and cold for the season, I underlined the whole dress using a matching lining fabric. I then made a stupid mistake by sewing the bottom lace detail through both layers and now I have to take extra care while ironing the dress after wash because the lining fabric tends to shrink a little more in wash and that makes the main fabric slightly drape above the first attachment seam. Steam ironing the lining helps, although not 100%.
I love this shade of yellow in combination with dark blue and initially I wanted to make something, combining the yellow fabric, lace and the fabric I got from London in summer (below), but eventually decided that less is more. I might use the leftovers of the yellow lace with that fabric one day, though.
I think the lace fabric is a wonderful find, both in terms of color but also design. Too much of lace I see around is floral so it is refreshening to see something more abstract. I just picked the part of the fabric I liked the most, calculated the length since I wanted it to extend further from the main fabric and then sew it along the lines onto the main fabric using a zig zag stitch. The colors are a bit off in the next two photos.
The fit of the dress at the shoulders is really precise which is surprising because usually Burdastyle patterns tend to be designed for wider shoulders than mine. I used some of the lace for the back yoke just to add interest.
The size I cut is still 38 as usually with Burdastyle but you may already have noticed that there is a practical reason for picking such a style, with no defined waistline 😉
I have also completed another project, an evening gown for the annual Christmas party with the colleagues, more on that in the next post! Until soon!
I don´t know what I would have called the dress myself, but my husband teased me when taking the photos that I look like a nerdy teacher in it! Given that I wore for a recent birthday party, it wasn´t the best thing to hear, but here it is anyway:
The pattern is the Jane dress from Burdastyle Vintage edition A/W 2015, dedicated to the sixties.
It was actually the main reason for buying the special issue back in 2015, but as you know, it often takes me that long before I sew stuff up.
However, my parents recently spent their holiday in Italy, starting from Rome and I managed to convince them to visit some of the fabric shops I visited myself during my own trip to Rome in 2013.
It was a very difficult task for them, my dad initially voted against the fabric my mom wanted to pick by saying it looked like tablecloth! Unfortunately I was taking a nap while my mom desperately sent me photos of various fabrics in Messenger so they ended up buying something that I don´t feel is 100% me, but when I woke up and saw this one among the photos (my mom´s first choice) I just made them go back to the store and get it for me! It was a perfect print for this pattern! It looks a little busy on bigger photos, but the closer look reveals this:
Isn´t it lovely? It is from Fratelli Bassetti Tessuti and I can´t tell the exact composition, but it is some kind of synthetic fabric with enough body and stretch at the same time, easy to cut and sew and fit.
I struggled a bit while trying to find the matching fabric for the details, at first I was sure they must be black, but the longer I looked at the fabric, the more I felt that the dark burgundy was a better match. Of course it was impossible to find fabric with the same characteristics so I got a lightweight crepe fabric in the right shade and used a thicker fusible interfacing to stabilise it.
The hardest part of the dress is the central piece with its round end. I have seen perfect versions online as well as some rather clumsy ones and I guess I fall somewhere in between with my result. This detail took a lot of time and precision to get it done, but still it is not completely symmetrical!
I actually added the button day after the birthday party where I first wore the dress, because once again I finished sewing less than an hour before leaving the house! I love the smart trick by Couture et Tricot who sew an extra button underneath the large one, to support it so that it doesn´t hang downwards, but looks straight. I will add this detail to my dress, too.
I didn´t get into all the couture techniques Couture et Tricot did due to the limited time available. The seam allowances are serged and the hem is finished with fusible hem tape. I also didn´t topstitch as far as the 7 mm the pattern calls for as I remember, but the distance from edge is about 4 mm. My dress is unlined.
The pattern is well drafted and I had absolutely zero issues with the sleeves for example.
I love the feeling of completing something that has been on my mind for so long and it could easily be the quickest I have used up new fabric!
The photos were taken in the new sewing room/office, which still needs some final details as you can see, but we will move in during the upcoming weekend!
So it´s one week into our marriage and I finally have a little bit of time to update the blog.
I will get to the latest sewing project in a minute but I just have to say that the wedding was a dream come true! My vision from the beginning was that since we decided to have a party with friends and family (instead of just doing it in a really close family circle), it had to be simple but fun and memorable with a good band for dancing all night long.
We got all that plus some because the risk we took was choosing the date in September, where the weather is completely unpredictable in Estonia and the wedding day started with the heaviest downpour I have seen in a while and even hail!
It was raining when my dad picked me up from the hairdresser and make up and it was raining when we got to the meeting point with my fiance… and then within a few minutes the sky cleared up and the sun came out so when we walked towards the wedding venue, we didn´t need the umbrella at all! And the rest of the day was calm, warm and sunny so when we had the photos taken, we were actually looking for a shady spot with the photographer Marit Kuusk (you can see her works here)!
The photo with the pink background is taken in our soon-to-be-finished sewing room/office, because we wanted some of the wedding photos to be taken in our home to remember how it was when we tied the knot!
Anyway, many couples in Estonia live happily together and have kids without officially getting married, but we felt this was the right thing for us and it feels amazing! Also, it felt like the right thing to celebrate it with a party and it was a success as we managed to skip all the traditional games that are played in Estonian weddings (that I am not a fan of) and simply have a good time with our guests and dance!
I made a dress for the chance that I get tired of the long wedding gown (which I did not make myself, it was made for me in Riga, Latvia at Ingrida Bridal), but in the end I didn´t change during the party and wore it for the day after since we had invited our guests to take a tour of the house, to see how far we have come with it since last summer. It will be ready to move in in a few weeks so all this is very exciting.
But the dress:
The pattern is from Burdastyle 8/2014 model 116, again one of my immediate favorites at first glance, but it took me that long to make it.
The dress obviously is not a difficult one to make, but the pattern instructions are insane! I just did my own thing from the casing on, and actually did not understand initially that the casing for the waist rubber band has to be created using the seam allowance of the bodice… so I trimmed it too short and had to attach a separate piece of lining fabric to the inside to make it work. Actually it is impossible to understand it on the inside and it might look even more neat.
I also didn´t bother to turn the edge of the casing for the back opening under, I just serged it and I think it saved me from a lot of work and a lot of excessive fabric around there:
Instead of making the drawstring from the dress fabric, I bought some ribbon in the matching shade and it works even better due to its silkiness, gliding smoothly through the casing. By the way, if it is not clear, the back opening also has rubber band, so the ribbon is there only to secure the opening a little bit from opening too much.
I used iron-on hemming tape for the hem and it saved the dress because I finished it merely two hours before leaving for the hairdresser on the wedding day!
I also used a special pen this time for pattern markings and seam lines. It was supposed to fade off in a few days, but actually it didn´t! The green pen lines showed through the fabric and I desperately tried removing them with a moist towel. Initially the lines seemed to disappear but later when the dress had dried out, the bleeding marks of he green colour were still visible on close inspection. I still wore the dress and I believe no one noticed and thankfully the green was all gone after the first wash, now I just know better the next time!
As it often happens, there was no time to take the photos on the actual day after, so these pictures are taken a week later and at my parents house:
I am super satisfied with the result and I am contemplating making another one in a different fabric. I just love how simple it is, but it has this trick to it with the back opening and flowy skirt.
The shoes are actually my wedding shoes, which I did change quite soon into much more comfortable sneakers even with the wedding dress and below you can see how I wore them during our house tour. The shoes are from Dune and the sneakers from H&M:
Now that this big thing is done, I can relax a bit and hopefully enjoy sewing in the new sewing room soon!
We had the honour of being invited to the wedding of G & O and I was super excited as I have attended quite a few weddings in my life, but never a Russian one. Of course this deserved a dress!
I used pattern no 107 from Burda Style January 2013. I remember seeing this pattern and telling myself that I will definitely make it, but it took me exactly that long to execute the plan, something quite typical as the speed of buying fabrics and patterns will never equal the speed of sewing stuff up…
Again typically I finished the dress late at night the previous evening before the big day and therefore did not manage to make the matching belt. Let´s see if I will get to it at some point or not, since there are so many more ideas next up in line!
I cut the size 38 and I thought the fit was perfect at the bodice, but when I look at the photos, it seems as if there is a little too much ease there. Nevertheless the dress feels super comfortable and I loved wearing it despite the fact that once again I failed to produce a perfect back neckline with the invisible zipper. For some reason it is always a hit or miss for me and more often a miss…
I always leave generous seam allowances for the hip area and this was one of the times when not doing it would have meant that the dress would have been hopelessly too tight without any extra fabric left for correcting the mistakes. Now it just meant adjusting the side seams a bit.
Once again Burda Style surprises me as they have only rated the dress with two stars for difficulty level. I am quite sure that for someone looking for stepping up the game to next level, pulling this off (fully lined, tricky assembly sequences, many pattern pieces) would be too complicated. And it really takes time, I spent several evening just preparing the pieces before I could get to the actual sewing!
Here is a little close-up to show the fabric´s texture a bit better. I bought the fabric from Helsinki probably last year and they had it in baby blue as well as pink and it was hard to choose, but th yellow seemed more special. It was actually quite hard to find a matching lining fabric, but thankfully I finally did.
I got too excited when I was literally hit by the bridal bouquet and completely did not think of taking a photo with the beautiful bride then, but here is one snapshot from the party and the bouquet itself next morning:
We are next up in line and I guess it is needless to say that we are very excited about it!
It looks to me that its a current big thing to have embroidered roses or whatever other embroidered patches on clothes and when I finally decided to realize my idea of sewing an off-the-shoulder black and white striped top, I thought it would be a fun detail to add.
The idea of such a top is so old that the fabric for it has been in my stash since I left Athens in 2012! In the meanwhile I have luckily bought a serger so I guess it was meant to be merely an idea for such a long time, as it is definitely a serger project!
The pattern is Simplicity 1613:
This time I cut size 10 as I definitely did not want this style to be too loose on me. As a result, it is somewhat tight over the waist and perfectly prevents me from eating too much 🙂
The top has a tunnel and elastic around the shoulders to keep things neat, but I made a mistake there by trying to outsmart the pattern designers – the trick is that the elastic has to be cut long enough to go around the shoulders but tight enough to stay up. It looked to me that the elastic was too long so I shortened it, but this makes the top pop up over the shoulder every time I lift my arms too high. So if you are making this top, cut the elastic exactly as long as the pattern says, then it will be perfectly loose enough not to do that and tight enough to stay put.
I have enough fabric for at least one more such top and it is quite likely that I will make another one since I love the style and I could make the second one fit better in that shoulder area.
The embroidered rose patch is the iron-on type and I got if off Aliexpress for 0,95 $ and free shipping. The choice is immense, but I got lucky since mine is of excellent quality.
Now you may have noticed that these photos don´t look anything like Estonia and you are right – I had the privilege to take part in a work-related conference in London during the past week and one of my sweet colleagues agreed to snap the photos on our last morning there.
As usually, the time-table during such events is very tight, but there were a few free hours on one day and I took the chance to check out Berwick Street in Soho for some fabrics. There are quite a few shops on that street, starting with Misan Brothers, that offers a beautiful choice of high-end fabrics, up to the Cloth House that has an interesting range of fabrics from Japan. Since their price level was more affordable, this is were I made my purchase.
The Cloth House:
I got a beautiful kimono-style crepe that has an amazing drape: