Candy Pocket Dress

Hi everyone, I guess its about time for the post of February!

I am in that state of mind where I am avoiding something important I have to do by finding replacement activities and “duties”, I guess its called procrastinating? Anyway, what I should REALLY be doing is to sit down and write my final thesis which is the only thing still on my way to my Master´s degree, but I have been busying myself with sewing instead.

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Actually I have made three items already, but I am trying to force myself to slow down on sewing and finish that dreaded thesis once and for all, so I will keep some stuff to be posted in March.

I used the pattern 104B from the October 2016 issue of Burdastyle in my  usual size 38.

Considering the choice of fabric (poly ponte ) I guess I could have also gone down by one size. But the fabric made it really easy to work with the pockets that at first took me a moment to understand how exactly they are meant to be created. However, I really like the pattern with its fun pockets and 7/8 sleeves!

This dress is the first thing I made in 2017 and it was sewn almost entirely with my new overlocker Brother M1034D! I bought it on Amazon at a price that was about 50% cheaper than here in Estonia as a Christmas present to myself. I actually own another serger too, but that one is a cheap no-name brand and I have struggled with it, so I actually have not used it for any projects. Maybe one day I will have it fixed and then sell it cheap as I don´t need two machines anyway.

I have been wearing this dress twice already (to a birthday party and even to a ballet show!) and always have been too busy to take photos for the blog. And to be honest, I wore it both times without having finished the hem! I just serged it and left it as is because folding and hand-sewing it didn´t seem to be a good idea as neither was using a double needle.

However, I found hemming tape on my recent trip to Riga and then hemmed the dress in less than five minutes using a hot iron. I have been wanting to try this for a long time, but haven´t noticed it anywhere in the local sewing shops. So it can be said that the dress is my first venture into shortcuts and quick makes, because until now I have been bias taping all my seam allowances and done miles of handsewing for my projects. I am sure I will continue with these techniques too, but it was definitely very interesting to try out these new to me things!

Here is a closer look, I really like how clean it looks:

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As I mentioned the recent trip to Riga, Latvia, I can also share the reason for the trip – I went hunting for a wedding dress hoping to find better prices there in comparison to Estonia. We were there on Thursday and Friday and first of all I really liked the city but secondly, I also found the dress! Since the boutique only has samples to show an try on, they are going to sew the dress for me according to my measurements, which means we have to return next weekend for the first fitting. Honestly, I could nearly have picked any dress from their collection, they were all very beautiful, but you can go and see for yourself (and try to guess which one I chose!) on their website.

I think everyone who hears about our upcoming wedding in September, pops the question whether I will be sewing my own dress. I would really like to, but there is this superstition that it will not bring good luck, so I am not taking any chances here! 🙂

I could not resist hopping into a small fabric shop in Riga, I actually saw several of them downtown, but since I had to concentrate on the dress, I only squeezed in one:

Until soon!

 

 

 

 

Orange Lace Dress

Happy New Year, everyone!

The first post of 2017 is actually a project that I wore already in the beginning of December, but I wanted to add an official photo from the wedding I made the dress for, together with the beautiful couple, H and M!

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As you can tell, the colour theme was blue and orange (referring to the groom´s native Netherlands), which gave me the perfect opportunity to use some fabrics from my stash: two pieces of orange poly crepe de chine and a surprisingly matching 1 meter of lace, probably my only successful online order on fabric.

The fabrics were not bought for any certain project and rather happened to match once the lace arrived. I found the lace on aliexpress.com and kind of test-ordered a meter about a year ago. I just recently saw the red version on sale in one local fabric shop but at a much higher price of course.

The pattern I used is Burdastyle 5/2012 model 133, which was a rather brave move since I had very little time to make the dress and I have once failed with the same pattern already.

I liked the style immediately in 2012 but never finished it because something went completely wrong with the bodice – I guess the bias cut somehow played tricks on me and I could not get the sides to match anymore. Luck was on my side this time and it could be due to the fact that as I was short of fabric but it seemed to have enough drape, I cut it straight.

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As it often happens, there is not enough time before or during such exciting events to take photos, so these are taken the morning after the wedding and the party.

The dress is fully lined according to the pattern and the skirt part is underlined in addition. I would say it was not as much as difficult, but time-consuming to make. However, in my opinion it deserves more difficulty points than the mere two as stated by Burdastyle magazine, because the shoulder seams are quite tricky to get right.

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Some close ups:

I must say I really like the back drape. It is also totally bra-friendly, no need for any special underpinnings or tape.

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As of the fit, the bust darts are quite off, as if the drape factor has not been considered.

I am really happy about the coincidence of having just the right fabric ready in stash for such a demanding colour scheme as orange is not something I wear often.

May you all have a very happy new year and to those who sew – I wish you lots of patience and luck with your projects!

The Swing Set

The month of December has literally rushed by and although I managed to finish a set of a skirt and top plus a dress, there hasn´t been enough time and daylight to take any decent photos of the projects.

I will show the first items first and it may easily happen that the dress will be revealed in January as I made it for a wedding and I would love to be able to post “official” photos, too.

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There are actually three items here – the skirt is given extra fluffiness with a petticoat underneath. Initially I wanted to make a one-piece dress, but I figured that the skirt part would weigh down the bodice and make the dress hang on me, so I went with two separate pieces.

The patterns I used were  Burda 4/2007 model 104 for the skirt, instructions from Burda Easy Fashion S/S 2009 for the petticoat and part of Very Easy Vogue V8992 for the top:

The fabric for the skirt is from the holiday trip to Greece and Athens in September and although I was worried about how it would behave while sewing, it was actually very easy. The skirt is not hemmed which was one of my concerns in the beginning as I was not sure how to finish it, but since surprisingly the fabric frays acceptably little so I didn´t need to finish it at all.

Since the tulle is too sheer despite the application, I needed to add a layer of lining underneath. In addition, there is the petticoat, so all the layers of the skirt make up a nice contrast of textures:

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The skirt swings  and twirls perfectly while dancing, but it gets quite warm due to the layering.

I wanted to achieve a sharp contrast between the soft powder shade of the feminine tulle skirt and the black somewhat masculine double breasted top with  lapels. I think the fabric I used from my stash was not the best choice for the top as it is quite heavy and drapey, so instead of a suit-like stiff look, it is softly draping on me and the weight of the fabric draws the whole top downwards. Possibly if I had cut a size zmaller instead of 38, there wouldn´t be an issue, because both the main fabric and the lining have stretch, therefore probably the top would have a better fit and less chance for draping.dscn0053

It is a pity, because the Vogue pattern, albeit looking simple, required quite some work (it is fully lined) and I like the result in terms of how good it looks on the inside as well as outside. I even considered getting some stiffer suiting fabric and remaking the top but knowing myself as I find it very boring to repeat the same pattern, it will probably not happen.

I changed to original dress pattern by chopping off the skirt part and simply hand-stitched the overlapping fronts both on inside and outside while joining all the layers together at the bottom with bias tape. In order to get the garment on and off, I added an invisible zipper to the left side seam.

Here are some close-ups as well:

Here you can see the waistband of the skirt, made of the same fabric as the top, and the petticoat:

I made the fabric part of the petticoat longer than suggested in the instructions, because the heavier tulle is quite scratchy and also because I did not want the puffiness to start too high up. In order to minimize the scratchiness, I used bias tape to finish the allowance at the joining seam.

I wore this set for the university ball in the beginning of the month and also for the annual Christmas party at work.

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Just to clarify, the above photos with the matching rose furniture are not taken at our new house, which is currently getting worse and worse as we tear down wallpaper, break through walls and crush old floors.

However, I can show a glimpse of my current sewing space which is historical in the sense that I finally have a sewing table, which is not used for anything else! Right now it is just a corner in the current bedroom, but the plan is to add a higher cutting table and shelves once we move on with the works.

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I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with your family and loved ones!

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Wrapping It Up (Dress)

Hi!

I am once again trying to compete with time and get this posted a few hours before the end of the month! And again, what a month!

To put it short, I have been travelling to three different countries, made three new outfits, got promoted at work and still hoping to keep up with the school tasks, just to top it off with a Featured Member interview on burdastyle.com! You can check that one out here!

So, first one of the new items I made. I don´t know how many of you have tried or even know about such a pattern magazine as La Maison Victor, but although I have a few of their magazines and one single pattern, this is my first try to actually make something. I got my magazine issues from sewingpatterns.eu.

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I used their Wanda dress pattern from September/October issue of La Maison Victor, since I needed a semi-casual dress for a conference event in Liverpool and I had just the right fabric (a blue polyester ponte with some fun silver and black zigzag print on it).

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I sewed it up within three or four evenings, including the time for tracing and cutting the pattern. I made the size 38, but could have easily done with a size smaller as well. It requires quite a lot of fabric, about 2.5 metres and you really need it, not like with some patterns where with a clever placement you can cut down on the yardage.

I really liked the suggestion of interfacing the hems, I have read about this technique in some blogs, but always forget the useful tips when they are not mentioned in the instructions. I only used the double needle for the hems and went with one for the rest of the seams.

The two ties are quite interestingly placed in the middle of the waistline and they are really long, but you need it to wrap it properly up and I quite like the effect. You can see the length of the ties here and they are both actually already wrapped once around my waist! I did not finish the ties as the fabric doesn´t fray and I simply think it looks better in this case, as well.

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So, as already mentioned, the dress was made for a conference event in Liverpool. Although I have travelled quite a bit, it was actually my first time in England! And I must say I have the best of colleagues because during these days we only had a few short hours for walking around the city and they agreed to spend a whole half an hour in a fabric shop with me after chasing it down on Google Maps!

We visited Abakhan Fabrics, which actually has several shops in Estonia as well, but I was curious to see whether there is a big difference. The kind shop assistant even mentioned that there should be at least one in Estonia and was a bit surprised I got fabrics, assuming that they must be cheaper with the weaker British pound. Actually the prices were very similar to Estonia, but since I spotted some nice fabrics, I got a few pieces.

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Just a week back from England, I had another work trip to Zürich. Since I was there alone, I didn´t have to worry about anyone else getting bored at the fabric store and spent a little time in a downtown fabric shop called Stofftrucke.

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The price level is as expected in Switzerland – nothing comes cheap! However, as I always get something on my trips, I made no exception here and got two matching fabrics with a potential for a casual top or tunic.I really liked how the fabrics were laid out in matching colorways and they had great knit fabrics, too!

My picks are here – red is a color you don´t see me wearing very often, but this one is kind of broken, a little bit orangey and I liked how the two different fabrics matched in color:

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So this is it for November. The other two projects I mentioned are going to be for two special occasions – one for the annual university ball, which will be held tomorrow and another one for a wedding just next week. Since both projects still need a few stitches I will leave you with one final photo from Zürich!

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The Holiday Dress

Hey!

As promised, this is the sequence to the previous post on the trip to Greece.

So we hired a tiny car and drove to the island of Evia and all the way through it to the seaside town Karystos. The following days were spent driving around the island, stopping at secluded beaches for a swim and hiking in the beautiful Dimosari Gorge, while the evenings were dedicated to eating (or should I say stuffing ourselves with?) all kinds of Greek food that I have missed. Since we stayed at a fully equipped villa, I even cooked okra with chicken, potatoes and tomato sauce one night, because okra is not available in Estonia and yet it is one of my favorite dishes!

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The second item that I made for the trip is a simple off the shoulder dress. Now I am saying simple because this is what it is supposed to be, but I actually struggled with it! The reason is that once again, something seems to be very off with the latest Burda Easy patterns. If you recall the dress I made some years ago, the problem was that the pattern seemed to be too big. I ran into the same issue this time as well and it could easily mean that I am done with Burda Easy!

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Of course one might ask why use a pattern at all, when there are such great tutorials out there, like this one by Erica Bunker; but I thought it might be even easier to use the bodice pattern pieces from Burda Easy spring/summer 2016…NOT!

See how the model is holding her arms tight close to her body? This is because most probably she has to hide the fact that the armholes of the pattern are so deep that her bra not peeks but completely shows on the sides! What is visible however, is the excess fabric of the bodice because it is so wide that I took off 6 cm on both sides!

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For my dress, I followed the tips from Erica´s tutorial for the calculation of the ruffle and just cut two long rectangles. The pattern of the fabric made cutting really easy for such a dress, I just followed the print lines! The fabric is from one of my trips to Helsinki for my studies, it was about 4 m long so actually I still have plenty of it left. And because it was sold by weight, I paid 12 euros for the whole piece, what a bargain! Even the sales assistant commented that it is really beautiful, too 🙂

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I lined the dress, apart fom the ruffle, with the leftover lining from my Ludovico dress, which only needed a little bit of fabric. The colours don´t match, but the lining is so silky, smooth and cool against the skin, that I preferred this over another lining material that matched perfectly colour-wise.

The lining also adds some weight to the otherwise lightweight viscose, but I still have some quite funny moments captured, where the wind plays with the dress, creating hilarious balloon-effects. This here shows a quieter moment:

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Now the holiday is done and whatever sewing I will be doing, it will definitely be much more wintery. The calendar is merciless, given the work and school tasks plus the house revamp, I might better start thinking about this year´s Christmas party dress!

 

 

Cold Shoulder Hot Pattern Top

Hi!

The month of September is coming to an end and what a month that has been!

The latest high emotions come from the sunny holiday in Greece, which for me was extra special because it was the first time back there since returning to Estonia four years ago, after having spent five years in Athens.

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We started from Athens in order to see the mandatory sights and I also managed to squeeze in time for a couple of friends, whom I hadn´t seen all this time! Then we hired a car and drove to the island of Evia, which is connected to the mainland by a bridge. It is not so well known as several other Greek islands, although it is the second largest after Crete, but we had a marvellous time nevertheless. Since the high tourist season is over, there were only a few people at the organized beaches, but we even avoided that by discovering completely secluded beaches that were only for us to enjoy. This is real luxury!

I managed to make two new pieces for the trip and the top you see here took me exactly a day from cutting the fabric in the morning to finishing it at around 10 PM. Of course I took breaks as well for cooking and eating and packing (since our flight was 3AM!), but it was such an enjoyable day, a true holiday doing only the stuff I love and really nothing else!

The pattern is HP 1196 Metropolitan Urban Gypsy Blouse from hotpatterns.com, my first ever pattern from them and it turned out to be a great experience! I discovered the pattern thanks to probably the most productive and inspiring sewing blogger, Erica Bunker, whose version is here!

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Since I started contemplating making the top just a few days prior to the actual acceptance of the challenge, I purchased the download and print-at-home version of the pattern.

I cut size 10, but as you can see, it is really generous and what actually matters the most, is the shoulder circumference. The fabric is a piece of chambray that I got from Berlin last year, for like 6 euros!

Similarly to Erica, I had no issues with the pattern, it is actually very easy to sew up, but I suggest following the instructions carefully, as everything will turn out beautifully and there is no need for shortcuts, as eventually they will become obstacles when finishing the top. I almost tried to switch the sequence of hemming the sleeve ties and assembling the sleeves, but I quickly realized that sticking to the instructions is the easiest and shortest way.

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The shorts that I am wearing are also made by me, several years ago back in Athens, actually, take a look here.dscn9967

I used bias tape bought during the same trip to Berlin to finish the seam allowances, but I didn´t have enough for the hem. I wish i would have realized it earlier, since I would prefer the hem to be finished with such a cool plaid tape instead of the plain white that I had to go with eventually. I also created tabs for the curved hems meeting point at the side seam in order to give it more strength.

While in Athens, it would have been unimaginable not to go to the numerous fabric shops, not much has changed since I wrote the post on this topic. I got a piece of white cotton batiste and 2 meters of nude tulle craziness – I really hope I can turn this into a dress combining it with sharp black. In addition, I got two pieces of fabric for cushions-to-be for our house.

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Now, I realize this is a sewing blog, but I still cannot hold back the other big news and events that made this September so memorable. Firstly, as you might know already, I am a big fan of Ludovico Einaudi, and have been attending his concerts in Copenhagen and in Helsinki. Shortly after we returned from Helsinki, I discovered that he will be performing in Tallinn on my 33rd birthday! There was NO WAY to be absent from this, so in an instant we got new tickets for Tallinn too 🙂

I have no photos of the concert or before or after, although we had a great night with friends, I can only say that I was wearing the Black Swan Dress as I did for my first Ludovico concert.

The reason for no photos is actually so controversial – I was too excited and too emotional that night because my boyfriend had decided that he no longer wants to be my boyfriend and he asked me to marry him just a few short hours before the concert! But no photos of that night, would you believe?

So I will just share a few from Athens, the rest of the trip together with a new dress is coming soon in the next post!

 

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End of Summer Dress

Hi!

I am posting this with great effort to avoid leaving two months between posts. Well, date-wise it is two months, but I have a few good excuses for this.

We are all busy and sometimes beyond busy but when it comes to buying a house and moving in while keeping up with the university (yes, even in summer…) and work duties at the same time, I think it is understandable why I haven´t been able to sew much! However, there is a project I managed to finish today, which had been a long time UFO (unfinished object).

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It is a summer dress that I started already last summer. Of course it shouldn´t be such a long project, but it is definitely not a quick make either, this is for sure.

The pattern is from Burda Easy Spring/Summer edition 2014. I don´t really think that this pattern should be called easy (at least for me it was the first try to sew this kind of elastic shirring), but I guess they refer to the fact that the pattern pieces do not need to be traced, since they are already on a pattern paper, ready to be cut out in the suitable size. My size was as always, 38.

I used a lightweight denim fabric for my version, and at first the thing that attracted me to this was that my boyfriend has a denim shirt in exactly the same fabric. By now the fabrics do not look the same anymore, because he has been wearing his shirt often while my dress just sat there unfinished!

I suspect there is a reason why the dress is not shown from behind in the magazine photos, as the back detail doesn´t fit very well. I made several attempts to make mine fit better, but in the end I just gave up and left it as is:

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As you can see, the back details are winging a bit. Now looking at this, one easy solution could be to overlap the details a little and simply change the position of the back button.I might actually try it..

Another detail that complicated my version of the dress is that I decided to line the whole thing, not just the back details. So in a sense it was like sewing two dresses. It makes the dress hang a little more stiff, because I used cotton fabric for the lining, and maybe also a tad warmer that an average summer dress should be, but the deep cut neckline should compensate for this. In fact, I seem to have only one bra that fits well under such a low-cut dress.

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But yes, the photos are taken at my first real home after my parents house as it is not a rental apartment anymore! This also means that among all the other works we need to do here, I will also get my own permanent sewing space for the first time!

I have been sewing on several kitchen tables, on a dining table and at the desk for all these years and my own sewing space that doesn´t need to be cleared up after when I am done for the day has been one of the main things I dreamed about when imagining my own home. I will have to share it with my boyfriends office space, but the table will be mine only!

It will take some time until I can share any details about the sewing space as there are a bunch of more urgent things we need to get started with before, but I am willing to wait!

Until soon!