Graduation Day Dress

Hi!

Some things apparently so simple to make, may take a lot of energy and work and then there are others that look hard to make, but in the end turn out quite the opposite. This was the case with my last project, a dress for my brother´s graduation day (I cannot believe how grown up he is!).

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It took me a while to get started because of doubts about how to actually go about it. I read several articles and blog entries online in order to choose the best approach for working with this kind of lace.

In the end I decided that it is the best to try to underline it. What confused me was that I could not find any answers to whether adding a lining is a common thing to do once you have already underlined the lace or not. I decided to use lining on the bodice part, especially because the front and back yokes without the underlining could then be neatly sandwitched between the layers, but skipped it for the skirt, so that in the skirt part, the seam allowances are finished with bias tape and are visible on the inside.

However, it could be reasoned that since the typical instructions on underlining say that the pieces should be treated as one layer of fabric later on, adding a lining would also be ok.

The technique was new to me, but it was not hard or too time-consuming in my opinion, although some of the articles I read gave me the impression that it would be so.

The dress is actually a mix of two patterns : Simplicity 1415 for the bodice:

…and Burdastyle 8/2015 model 109 skirt, that I actually have already made as a skirt here.

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The bodice of the Simplicity 1415 really attracted me with its sharp angles between the bodice and the yokes, although they are maybe a bit less evident since the lace  is not straight. The pattern actually is for a bodice and a separate overlay, but I used a part of the overlay pattern to create the yokes.

Initially I was worried about how precise the connection between the two patterns at the waistline would be, because I just worked with them separately. Therefore the surprise was great when the two parts matched exactly! But the experience with the Simplicity pattern was that it seems to be designed for quite busty ladies, I had to take in quite a lot from the back and side seams but not at the waist!

I really like how the underlining is barely visible under the skirt, so it is hard to tell where it stops!

I also changed the placement of the invisible zipper. Originally it was meant to be in the center back seam, but I did not want to interrupt the lace, so I moved it to the side seam and now the back piece looks so much better as one!

 

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The neckline and the “armholes” were finished with lace applique trim that I cut off the rest of the lace and hand-stitched to the edges to achieve a similar look as the skirt, which was just cut with the selvage of the lace on the bottom. I could use the skirt I had already made using the same pattern to predict the desired length, since I could not have made any changes to the hem later!

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I did not specifically try to make the lace motifs match anywhere, but they do match in several seams which helps to create the illusion as if it was molded out of the fabric without cutting too much.

The lace itself is not really elastic, but the lining/underlining is and thanks to the structure of the lace, it also has some give, so although the dress is very fitted, it is surprisingly comfortable to wear!

Here are some dressform pictures as well (note that this is just a window decoration dressfrom from a shop that closed down, it is not in my measurements, thats why the fit is not that good):

The dress took me two weekends and about 30 euros to make, which I think was absolutely worth it.

 

The Ludovico Dress

Hi!

Some of you might recall that I am quite a fan of Ludovico Einaudi and that I have been to his concert in Kopenhagen a few years back.

I was totally impressed so when my friends told me that he will perform on May 6th as close as in Helsinki, I got the tickets within a few minutes already back in December. I also knew that I would make a dress for the occasion, but due to work and school, I was so delayed in my planning that I actually stayed up until 4 AM the previous night to finish it and then just an hour before the concert I still had to hand stitch a few things! However, I finished it!

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The pattern is model 130 from Burdastyle 9/2014.

The pattern is actually very simple, if you have ever sewn a boned bodice then it goes together really fast, especially since the skirt part is just two rectangular pieces gathere at the waist. The sizing of this pattern is also very precise, I only needed to take in slightly at the waistline.

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The lace details were a little more cumbersome as I didn´t use any binding, I just cut the seam allowance really narrow, turned it over and used a double needle to sew the armholes. This did not work for the neckline so the neckline is hand stitched.

The pattern calls for a button on one shoulder, but I didn´t see it necessary, so I omitted it. Also, contrary to my initial plan, I did not line the skirt, just the bodice. The seam allowances of the skirt are bias binded.

The fabric is from a trip to Stockholm and I am really glad that I got the opportunity to finally use it, since it simply had to become a fancy dress! The difficult part was to find matching lace, I was sure that I would have to end up either with a golden or purple one, but to my great surprise, there was a rather good match in khaki at the local shop!

The concert itself was as amazing as expected, however Kulttuuritalo in Helsinki cannot compete with Musikhuset of Copenhagen, the latter just adds so much to the whole experience with its remarkable modern architecture. But my friends who saw Ludovico Einaudi perform live for the first time commented that they would definitely go and see him again, so it still was a great evening!

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The Eros Blouse

The famous Italian singer, Eros Ramazzotti (who wouldn´t have heard Cosas de la vida with Tina Turner?) was supposed to perform in Tallinn last night and I was supposed to be there wearing my new blouse, but what happened instead was that the concert was canceled on the day before and I spent the evening at home, ripping off the cuffs of the blouse that I did not like and replacing them with new ones.

Nevertheless, let´s call this blouse the Eros blouse:)

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It is based on BurdaStyle 4/2011, model 105, but I omitted the front pocket and changed the cuffs because the original ones were too long for my liking, although I liked the idea of the slit. Still, the current ones are simple and look better in my opinion.

The fabric is a forest green poly crepe de chine with black lace print (bought from Helsinki about two years ago) that feels very nice to wear, since it doesn´t get static electricity and doesn´t cling to the body, although at the same time it was not the easiest fabric to sew with, I had to fiddle with it longer than expected before reaching the more or less satisfactory result. I cut the size 38, but I have to remember to pay more attention to the shoulder width next time with Burda, because it is not the first time where the shoulders seem too wide for me. I just forget this mental note each time!

I really like this colour, nearly as much as I like navy! The fabric also needed extra care during cutting because the lace print runs as a repetition of horizontal lines and different pieces neede to be cut out from different places. At first I planned to cut the sleeves out from the plain green part of the fabric, but it wasn´t wide enough so in the end the blouse came out a little busier than initially envisioned.

This is the first time I tried out hidden buttons. I am not sure if I understood the instructions correctly – the notorious brevity of them combined with Greek as this BurdStyle issue is from the time I lived in Athens – but there was not separate placket for the buttons, just the right front piece was supposed to be folded after sewing the buttonholes, so that the buttons are visible only when the shirt is unbuttoned – when buttoned, they are inside the fold.It still looks pretty neat, I think, and was easy to do.

All the seams on the inside are French seams, including the sleeve insertions.The hem is curved, which was not the easiest thing to achieve, given the thin and slippery fabric.

Some close ups:

Hopefully there will be other events where to wear the Eros Blouse, although as a hint I can say that there will be a certain Ludovico garment presented in May😉

 

 

 

 

Burda Style news

Hello all,

my aim has been to sew at least one item every month and showcase it here, but the work has been so demanding lately that I am progressing the few garments I am working on simultaneously at the pace of a snail.

This slow going makes me feel disappointed and turns on a vicious cycle of lack of time and disappointment and in the end it is really hard to get back on track even if I finally find a little spare time.

However, as if to give me a wake up call, upon my return from Helsinki, where I was once again for school, I found a pleasant surprise in my mailbox – my third complimentary issue of BurdaStyle magazine, because I am in there! Yay!

The issue is the German edition of March 2016.

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The project they have chosen is the pair of pants I made back in 2012, while still living in Athens… as a matter of fact the photo was taken on the roof of my home! Weird, how time goes by, it seems hard to believe that it was just 4 years ago.

Anyway, this sweet present and a lovely comment on an old post have given me some energy and I have been patiently working on a few things in the evenings. Hopefully I will be able to show them before the end of March!

Until then, happy sewing everyone!

 

 

Gutes neues!*

*Happy New Year!

I welcomed 2016 in Munich, Germany where I spent the last days of 2015.

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One of my former colleagues now lives and works in a small Bavarian town Bad Tölz, just an hour by train from Munich and sometime in September we decided with my boyfriend to go and pay her a visit.

The trip lasted just a few days, but it feels like it has been a long week since we did and saw so many things – visited one fashion and two art exhibitions, travelled to Salzburg, Austria for a day-trip, got acquainted with the history of Audi cars and wandered around Munich and Bad Tölz, of course.

I think the highlight of the whole trip was the amazing exhibition of Jean Paul Gaultier´s haute couture fashion From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk at Kunsthalle Munich.

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I had never seen any haute couture show close up and I was totally amazed by the abundance of details, the crazyness of the ideas, the unbelieveable use of materials and how it altogether looks really-really beautiful.

The exhibition has been displayed in several locations since 2011, the one in Munich will remain open until February 14th, so if possible, go and see it in the heart of Europe before it is taken to Seoul where it will be from March 26 to June 30, 2016!

I am adding a few photos here, but there are many better quality ones out online, if you search. I am just trying to show the level of detail in some of the creations.

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We also saw the special exhibition of Klee & Kandinsky in Lenbachhaus and the current exhibitions in Pinakothek der Moderne.

There was a slight disappointment in Ingolstadt as we went there to see the Audi Forum and mainly I wanted to see how the cars are made in the plant, but we could only see the museum part, since the assembly work was stopped for holidays. As a teenager I once visited Mercedes Benz plant in Germany (I don´t remember where exactly and it appears there are several) and it was a very exciting experience.

However, totally unexpectedly the small town of Bad Tölz offered its own highlights to our trip. This is a place I really want to go back to for a relaxing and sporty holiday in summertime, since you can do water sports on the river Isar and cycle or walk on its banks in beautiful surroundings. Somehow I took only a few photos (probably because I was all ooh! and aah! for the beauty of it), but the atmosphere there was great, complete with beautiful traditional houses and bright sunlight.

This idyllic place also has a fabric shop that offers, among the dirndl-fabrics, some interesting fashion fabrics as well. However, I did not buy anything, as I had already bought too much on the first day in Munich.

I only visited two shopping malls (Karstad and Oberpollinger) and their fabric departments, because of lack of time, but since everything was on sale, I got more than I should have at a great price.

My favourite is Karstad where I got the first two from:

They are both jerseys, the first more like a scuba knit and heavier, while the second one is more lightweight. The price? 6.99 and 4.50 euros per meter respectively!

The prints are quite loud but hey, this is why I sew – to have the luxury of occasionally extravagant and maybe not so seriously practical clothes since I can make whatever I like! I also got a perfectly matching piece of lining for a dress I am planning to make and some special needles for microfibre fabrics.

Some photos from Karstad:

From Oberpollinger I only got the last piece of a dark green stretch fabric, exactly enough for a pencil skirt. Their selection is also very interesting though, I had to restrict myself very hard.

On the last day of the year we visited the Festung Hohensalzburg in Salzburg, Austria, just before heading back to Munich to celebrate the Sylvester (New Years Eve) with our friends.

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Happy New Year! For all the sewing fans out there, I wish creative ideas and lots of finished objects!

Blue Cross Dress

Hello all!

I once again did not manage to post anything in November, but it has been really tough to balance work, school and everything else that I want to and have to do lately.

Nevertheless, I was determined to continue the tradition of an annual party dress! The photos, however, were taken just today, as I didn´t manage to do it at the Christmas party in more festive surroundings.

 

The pattern is originally from Knipmode (I am not sure which issue), but I got my pattern from its German version called Fashion Style, from August 2015. I cut the size 38 for the bodice and gradually widened to size 40 for the skirt.

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The dress is fully lined and due to the interesting back, was a bit of a challenge to complete and fit. I think the dress still is a bit wide for me when I look at the back cross detail, but I actually did not notice it before so now that I have been wearing it in public I think I am completely done with it and there is no way I would rip it open once again. Anyway, I guess anyone who has tried to take photos of their garments, knows that details otherwise not visible have the habit to appear in the photos.

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Despite of that, the dress feels very comfortable to wear and although the fabric is just a cheap polyester, it is somewhat heavy-ish and falls nicely. I suspect that the back detail would also fit better if the fabric had more stability, like the cotton stretch that has been used in the magazine samples. In order to offer some stability for the back detail, I used fusible interfacing for the outer details of the back.

The seam allowances are finished with bias tape and I used French seams on the lining.

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I really like the pattern, since it canbe combined with a jacket and then look totally suitable for office/work environment, if necessary.

The shoes are Dune Claudia, super comfy party shoes, I also have them in black patent/suede combination. I know that quite a lot of people find animal prints tacky, but I really loved this fun combination with blue suede and they are a nice accent for the one-color dress.

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I am afraid new year will start as busy as the ending one, so I don´t know when I will be able to post something again, but I am still spending the scarce free time I have with my sewing machine.

I hope you have wonderful holidays and a Happy New Year!

 

The Autumn Flower Dress

Hi!

I know it has been a while since my last post, but at least I have a good excuse – I started my Master´s studies and since I am also working full time, it is really difficult to manage time between all the things I want and should do – work, studying, sewing, sports and quality time with my boyrfriend. Not all is lost though:)

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 A dear friend of mine arranges (or maybe it is more precise to say that his wife does) a great birthday party every year where everyone gets together for an extreme fun night where usually there is also live music and dancing.

So this event plus a nice scuba fabric I got from Helsinki in September (I go there once a month now for the university) were motivating enough to push myself and sew up another dress.

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This is actually a mix of several patterns. The main part is based on McCall´s 6243, but once again combined into one front and two back pieces. I realized that I have used this pattern either in the original form or combined for FOUR times by now, making this the most used pattern in my stash! You can see the three earlier versions here, here and here.

Since I really liked the sleeves of the Baby Blue Stripe Dress (Burdastyle 1/2014, model 107)and I wanted to add some interest to the otherwise once again, plain pattern, I re-drew the armscyes of the bodice in order to add the sleeves. I was worried about this, thinking that I may spoil the whole thing by doing so, but to my big surprise I got it right with the first try.

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After the sleeves were in, the neckline still seemed to lack something, so I picked a random dress collar (it was another Burda pattern) and followed the pattern at first, but ended up changing it quite a bit. Again, considering the randomness of this, the collar looks quite good to me, maybe it could extend just a little bit further to the center of the back.

DSCN2684DSCN2666The hemline is unfinished, which is the first time I tried this. At first I planned hemming it properly, but the dress would have been a tad too short after that and I have seen this kind of shortcut/design element on RTW items, so I decided to let it be.

The photos were taken on the day after the party, because as always I was in such a hurry that I finished the dress an hour before leaving the house and there was simply no time. However, I got several compliments on the dress and it felt really good!

Another piece of news is the glasses that you see on one of the photos – these are my first ever and I should wear them while driving or working long hours on the computer in order to avoid getting my eyes tired, but I like them a lot and sometimes decidedly wear them elsewhere as well.

Sewing-wise the next project should be the annual Christmas party dress. I have the idea and the fabric, now I just have to perfect my time-management skills in order to finish it on time!