Trips and Tops

Hi!

Travelling with a baby sounds quite horrific to many people and I admit I was one of those who secretly crossed fingers when seeing someone with an infant boarding the plane. However, when I think back to this, I can´t really recall a flight that has been unbearable because of a baby crying, so perhaps it is more an idea in our heads that babies don´t tolerate travelling well.

You may have already guessed where this is going and yes, you are right – we just got back from a trip to Chisinau, Moldova, together with Liisa-Mai. It was work-related for me but I couldn´t have done it without taking my family with me and as my  husband supported the idea from the beginning, we just did it.

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It was the craziest trip in my life so far but not because of Liisa-Mai, who just giggled or slept during the total of four flights, but because we managed TO LEAVE OUR LUGGAGE HOME! Seriously… I would not believe it unless it didn´t happen to me. The airport where our flight was leaving from is about 3,5 hours drive from our home and we even made a stop to feed the baby and change diapers, but did not realize we had only packed her pram and one backpack with her travelling essentials into the car, the other two carefully packed suitcases stayed home 😀

Just try to imagine the feeling upon realization! But there was no time for panic so when we understood that we at least had the passports and boarding passes with us, we decided to fly.

I am still trying to digest the whole experience of our short stay. The most impressive thing was the hospitality of the people we met. The country is by no means wealthy but as one of our group members said – you feel like you are wrapped in warm hospitality as a guest.

The reason for the trip was a long-term cooperation project between the two countries but apart from work, the free time was also organised by the hosts who took us to their national pride – Cricova winery but also to one of the hosts´summer cottage where he makes wine himself. They took the time to show us around as much as possible within the very short time we had available. I was even taken to fabric shopping! And then one of the hosts gave us his own big suitcase to take our several bottles of wine and many boxes of delicious Bucuria sweets home. So as we started our trip with no luggage, we ended up having an overweight suitcase on return!

The fabric shopping was a quick run to one of the shopping centres in Chisinau. It was a very interesting experience, because the whole floor was separated to small nooks, each operated by a different merchant and having their own display and selection of goods. I was lucky to get the chance to go there at all, but of course I wish I had more time to concentrate amidst all this. I got two fabrics which were an easy pick because of the eye catching print and embroidery. Probably it would have been wiser to buy something more wintery, but these were easy to notice in the rush and I really like them. The embroidered piece is the one you can see on the lower right photo.

 

The plan was also to take photos of some of the items I have made in August and September, but since there was no luggage, that didn´t happen.

However, I recently made two tops using La Maison Victor Rumer Top pattern. I am wondering how can it be that I have time for sewing but not for photos. One of these tops was ready long before the handkerchief hem dress that I last posted!

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I made the following version of the top using leftovers from past projects. It feels really good to use up all the fabric! I also made the yellow skirt a few years back and the idea was to wear this outfit for my presentation in Chisinau.

I didn´t have enough fabric for the flounces but I think that´s OK. I felt the shirt would look too plain without any embellishment, so I used a strip of yellow lace on front. My husband teases me by saying that the shirt reminds him of some national costume but he is not sure which country 😀

It is my first woven tee and I am surprised by how comfortable it is! The only downside is the need to iron it.

I also made another version with the flounces, again peasant-style according to my husband! I guess it has to do with the trim that I have hadded but once again I would find it too plain without it.

We tried to take photos of this during our wedding anniversary trip to the island of Saaremaa for a weekend spa holiday but then the weather was so windy and cold that my husband refused to take any photos where I am not wearing a jacket! As a result I only have a few shots.

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The trim itself is as narrow as you can see on the sleeve edge, for the front I just used two strips that are sewn to place back to back.

For both tops I used ready made bias tape for the neck finishing. I cut size 38 and of course it is a very easy project to sew but I am not entirely happy with how the sleeves are set.

The material of the first top is cotton chambray and the flounced version is in lightweight polyester that has a slight seersucker effect. I would say the latter is more forgiving in terms of fit but the top with the yellow trim is definitely my favorite of the two!

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In addtion to these tops I also made something for my husband (also no photos yet) but this is the topic of the next post already!

 

The Abstract Tropicana Dress

Hi!

It is rare that the reason for not having posted something in a while is actually the lack of time to take photos, not the lack of time for sewing. However, weirdly enough, this happened in August. I have actually two finished items to show, but just managed to take the photos of the first one today!

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The pattern I used is McCall´s M7351, view C.

There is a chance that I will make the belt too, but until now I have been wearing the dress as it is.

 

As I already mentioned in previous posts, the summer in Estonia has been exceptionally warm, so the dress has been a life saver as the fabric is cotton poplin, very lightweight but at the same time it has some crispness to it, so as not to look like a huge (used) handkerchief 😀 I bought the fabric from my trip to Paris with my mother a few years ago and it was sold as a 3m coupon. I remember thinking that this is unnecessarily lot but it was exactly what I needed for this dress!

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I love the fabric with its retro vibe, I love the pattern and I am considering using it again but perhaps with a more traditional hemline. And lastly but definitely not less importantly – due to its button up style, this is another breastfeeding friendly garment! Win-win!

There is a funny story to this dress as well. I don´t know how you ladies motivated yourself during childbirth, perhaps imagining yourself holding your little one already or visualising some calming natural environments to soothe the labor pain or maybe nothing at all but believe it or not, I imagined wearing this dress and walking with my baby in the pram by the seaside 😀 I had not even yet bought the pattern for the dress!

As said, I rushed taking the photos so unfortunately I don´t yet have a photo of this exact situation to show you, but I have been walking by the sea while wearing this dress and pushing the pram many times already. Our pram is in the same purple shade as the darkest flowers on the dress so it matches very well!

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The only changes made were omitting the side seam pockets and using a ready made bias tape for the armhole finishing.

I am enjoying these last days of summer which already have a hint of autumn in the air, although the weather is still perfectly suitable for this dress. And our little Liisa-Mai, who played her role in the creation of this dress, will turn 4 months old tomorrow!

Until soon!

The Mixed Media -Florals and Stripes Dress

Hi!

As I mentioned in a recent post, I realized how few of my clothes are breastfeeding friendly, so now I am on a mission of making a few items that would fill the gap. Yes, of course, it is possible to manage with regular clothes as well, but I definitely feel more relaxed when I know that I can feed my baby discreetly basically anywhere should there be a need when our daily plans change, for example.

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Ironically enough, the past week has been extremely hot for Estonia and I cannot take little Liisa-Mai out during the day anyway. This is also the reason why these photos are taken in the setting sun with its less than ideal light conditions – this has been the only time to enjoy the outside without having to fear for a heatstroke.

So I made this dress with a few modifications once again as the pattern is one I have used before, Burda 10/2017 model 115.

The most visible modification is the length of the zipper of course. I also debated for a long time whether I should do an exposed zipper or not. This beautiful lace zipper (bought from Helsinki a few years back) was the only suitable one in my stash at that moment and I eventually decided I will not hide it. Neither did I have the patience to go next day and buy a regular one 😀

I also lengthened the dress by approximately 10 cm which seemed to be a good idea as it seemed really short. However the ruffle is much longer than I expected and I realized it only after I had sewn everything together. Well, I wasn´t exactly excited about ripping it off and taking the extra length out and also shortening of the ruffle didn´t seem to help much. So while I was staring angrily at my reflection in the mirror, my husband quietly suggested a belt and… it solved the issue although the end result is not exactly what I had in mind.

And once again I omitted the sleeve ruffles even though I had prepared them already! It just seemed that there would be too much going on with the floral, stripes, lace zipper, belt and bottom ruffle!

The fabric is one of the cheapest I have ever used at EUR 7,5/m and the tag stated it is cotton. I am not so sure anymore, it could be some kind of cotton mix since the fabric hardly wrinkles, it came out of the washing machine nearly dry and it seems ironing can be skipped. It still feels very comfortable  to wear, though, even in this heat we are experiencing.

And last, but not least, I cant not mention that I had a fantastic experience on July 16th as I attended my first (!) really big open-air concert – the Guns n´Roses Not In This Lifetime tour! As I got home with the official T-shirt, I realized that I now have one more top to go with my red skirt, should I be in the mood OR should it ever happen that I get a chance to see them again! Who would have thought 😀

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The Raspberry Skirt

Hi!

Knipmode patterns are published in a Russian sewing magazine Susanna Moden which is also available in Estonia and this is how I found the pattern for the following skirt.

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It was printed in June 2017 issue of Susanna Moden but in fact it first came out in Knipmode a year earlier. I am not sure whether there is such a delay with every issue or not.

I cannot recall what drew me to this pattern, perhaps it was the wish to use up some stash fabric since the raspberry red stretch cotton twill was bought from Athens already many years ago, could be in 2011. Or maybe it was the seam lines that create some interest to otherwise a very simple straight skirt?

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Anyway, I nearly completed the skirt last summer while living in the cottage while our home was under renovation. But then our wedding was quickly approaching and I got pregnant with Liisa-Mai and then suddenly it was autumn and I didn´t really need the skirt so urgently anymore, not to mention the fitting issues with a growing belly!

Nearly completed actually means that since the skirt is drafted without lining, it was basically finished, but I decided to add a lining too. So a few weeks ago when I dug it out of my unfinished objects box, I only had to finish the lining and it was done.

It wasn´t so easy though, because instead of drafting a simple lining on my own, I had decided to copy the skirt construction for the lining but had not marked the pieces very well. So it took me some time to get my head around those initially pretty identical looking triangles. I finally got it right and I am surprised how much I like the result because I really didn´t change anything in terms of fit and I don´t have a very good relationship with red color in general. But this little skirt has got a lot of wear out of it already since it is suprisingly suitable in combination with so many other garments in my wardrobe. I never thought I would have so many tops to pair with red!

The size is 38 and as I recall I made some adjustments of the waistline to help with the fit. However, the skirt currently sits a little bit higher than intended due to my post-pregnancy figure and slightly protruding abdomen. Still, I enjoy wearing it and hope that next summer it will fit me better than now.

I omitted the belt loops since I would never wear a belt for this skirt and I didn´t see that they would add anything as such. And I used a plastic zipper instead of a metallic one just because I couldn´t find a suitable one but in hindsight I think it is even better like this.

While taking photos for this project, I realized how hard it is to photograph red color. The seam lines are nearly invisible and it kind of eats all the other colors. We tried several locations and light conditions until I just decided to settle with these photos.

This is also the reason why out of the many tops that go well with this skirt, I think I can only show you the following two, the cut out shoulder top I made a year ago  and the most recent blouse with ties:

 

So this was the long term unfinished project I mentioned in my previous post and it could have been posted already a few weeks ago, but I didn´t have the photos yet.

Happy sewing and I hope you enjoy your summer!

 

The Tie Blouse

Hi!

With little Liisa-Mai around, my wardrobe choices have become somewhat limited as there are too many boxes to be ticked – the garment has to fit reasonably in the bust, fit reasonably in the belly area; be breastfeeding friendly and finally, be suitable for the occasion!

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I realized how few of my clothes are actually button-up or wrap style in order to allow comfortable breastfeeding! The other issue is the belly – I have lost most of the baby weight by 8 weeks postpartum, but the belly is resisting, especially as I used to have a pretty flat one prior to pregnancy (of course I would never have agreed to that statement back then, there was always little something too much in my opinion!) and the clothes were sewn to fit that body, not the one I have at the moment.

The pattern I used for the top above is Simplicity 8601 and it is not breastfeeding-friendly, however it does conveniently have a center front seam! So all i did was adding an invisible zipper to the front seam and omit the back closure. I cut size 14 and used view C for my blouse.

I also did not use the facings, but went with white cotton bias tape instead.

 

I am so satisfied with the result that I think I will repeat it. However, I think three ties on one blouse is a little too much, I would rather prefer either one in the front (and then go sleeveless) or only keep the sleeve ties. My husband also came up with a good idea – to make the front and back piece identical and without the tie – then the blouse would be more like a shirt and could be worn with a belt for example. I need to consider all these options before cutting into the next fabric.

 

I actually prefer to style the blouse with pants instead of a skirt, but we have had an amazing spring and summer this year so far – much warmer and sunnier than usually and of course this makes the long walks with Liisa-Mai very enjoyable.

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The fabric I used is a good quality cotton gingham that a dear friend of mine brought from his business trip to Germany a few years ago. When he gave it to me, I was a little “meh” to be honest, but for this project it is perfect, breathable and I love the light blue color too! I am happy I could find a good use for this old-timer in my fabric stash!

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It is hard to get the shade of this baby blue correct in photos, it is definitely brighter than in the photos taken indoors, however slightly duller than on those taken outside 😀

Some close ups too:

 

Next post is coming soon as I managed to finish a long time unfinished project recently!

Happy sewing!

Baby News and Blanket

Hi!

For a little over 3 weeks we have been living in a completely new rhythm – the rhythm of our baby girl Liisa-Mai, who was born on May 1st!

I guess I will overcome this reservation at some point, but right now I have mixed feelings about showing too much of her on social media and also here. She is so tiny and  vulnerable and I feel like she can very well be hidden from the big wide world for a little longer, or at least until I make her some more clothes that I would like to show on her! In the photo above she is wearing the pair of footed pants I made, they fit very well!

I actually made her something else during the last weeks of the pregnancy – another blanket!

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I had no intention of making two blankets for her, but I made a mistake in the measurements while shopping for batting for the first one and the piece I got could not be used for that. I also changed my mind about the material – initially the minky fleece was supposed to become the other side of the patchwork quilt blanket.

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So I was left with some batting and fleece and my fabric stash is already huge enough, so I decided to use the material up and ordered some cute floral cotton again from Aliexpress. The little roses match the coral of the minky fleece. The pompons that you see are not white, although they easily look like that, they are actually a very light shade of mint and I had it in my stash, but originally ordered them from Aliexpres for some project that never came to life.

Other things also changed during the process – as this was a blanket mainly intended for using up the material, I wanted to make it quick and easy, but got carried away. So instead of just stitching through the cotton and batting in some symmetrical pattern I came up with the idea of using shapes of leaves and flowers to join the two layers.

I searched online for some free printable shapes that I liked and printed them out in two sizes:

Once I had transfered them to the fabric and sewn through the layers, I got another idea that I last tried in high school handicraft class – filling the shapes with some batting from the wrong side to create interesting 3D effect. I actually managed to use up every scrap of the batting material this way! I hand stitched the opening and sealed it with a piece of interfacing.

This is how it looks on the surface of the blanket:

It took me a lot more energy and time but was also more enjoyable to work with. I am aware that there will be a time when we cannot use this blanket because she will start showing too much interest in the pompons and try to pull them off and eat them, so I can use it now up to that point and then sometime later again 🙂

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Liisa-Mai seems to have approved the blanket as we do some exercises on that daily:

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She has been a very calm baby and a great sleeper so far, so I have to admit I have cut out a dress for myself and even sewn some seams already. I am taking it in a very relaxed manner – I only work when I can and want to and without any pressure. So it may take some time before I can show you the result!

Baby Sewing

Hi!

I wasn´t sure when writing my last post, whether I will make anything at all during this time, but as a surprise even to myself, I have made something I never thought I would make – a patchwork quilt blanket for our baby…..girl, if the doctors know what they are saying!

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The reason why I say that I surprised myself is that although I love sewing garments, I am not really an artsy-craftsy person at all. You know, some people love making knitted teapot warmers and stuff like that, I never did. I have made one patchwork quilt blanket before and that was in high school crafts class, because I had to.

This time I felt that it would be nice to make something for our baby and when I was looking for blanket ideas, I came across the Triangle Quilt Pattern by See Kate Sew. I loved the fresh looking colors (no florals!) and the triangle shape.

I discovered that it can be really hard to find at least 6 different cotton fabrics that would still match in a way to give a nice overall look to the blanket. Too many star motives and of course, too many florals! But I wanted my blanket to look modern!

So I ended up ordering all of the fabrics (and even the bias tape, because I could not find wide enough cotton tape in a suitable colour locally) from the huge Chinese webshop Aliexpress. I wasn´t really sure about the idea, but the fabrics arrived and were exactly what I had wanted – plain yellow, pink and black, zig-zag prints in yellow and pink and then pears in yellow and pink with black leaves.

I also bought a cutting mat (size A1) and rotary cutter and some batting for the project.

I used See Kate Sew´s tutorial for the triangle placement, although I had to make some adjustments, since I was using 7 different fabrics and she used 6. In order to understand better how the finished blanket would look like, I even used markers to color the scheme, using at first only 6 fabrics/colors/patterns and then carefully picking the triangles I would actually make in black. It was really handy during the sewing process and helped to achieve the “randomeness” effect.

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The finished measurements of the blanket are 115×125 cm and I am so pleased with the outcome, although of course there are errors, too – not all the triangles match precisely and also the quilting was a tough process – tugging the whole blanket through the sewing machine opening while trying to keep the stitches straight.

The idea is to use the blanket on the floor for playing, so I used somewhat thicker batting than I would have otherwise. The other side of the blanket is plain pink cotton and you may see that I did not quilt the blanket as triangles, but as rhombuses.

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When rolled up, it looks and feels so cosy that I would like to roll myself into it 🙂

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Besides the blanket, I have also made 2 pairs of footed baby pants using another free pattern, this time from Sew Much Ado.

The original pattern requires creating a casing for the elastic to be inserted, but I wanted to use ribbing… and of course forgot to lower the waistline and therefore I guess these pants will look quite ridiculously high-waisted on the baby.
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I was smarter the second time and really hope these will fit her. The bodysuit is ready-made, but because of the bright colors it has been hard to find matching pants. So I just made them myself!

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So this is it so far. Making baby clothes is not as much fun as making stuff for myself, but soon in will be just a matter of the size of the dress, so we´ll see. I am quite excited to think that I might be able to use some leftover fabrics to make her dresses that match mine!

Until soon!