Stripes N´ Roses Top in London

Hi all!

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.

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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.

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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.

Misan shop:

The Cloth House:

I got a beautiful kimono-style crepe that has an amazing drape:

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I hope you are enjoying your summer!

Cut Out Shoulder Top

Hi!

I remember when I first saw the model 116 top in Burdastyle 3/2017, I thought: “Gee, I love it, but I would never bother to cut and sew all those bands!”. But the design stuck in my head and a little later I realized I had the perfect fabric for it ready in stash.

116B-032017-M_300x400-ID407020-746784c5c2250b1bbbaf6eb786f90145116A-032017--B_largeI bought the (quite flimsy) cotton batiste with embroidery on one edge last year from a small fabric shop in Tartu and initially planned to turn it into a girlie skirt one day.

However, after all the cutting and fiddling with the bands (didn´t I say in my last post that I am not good at sewing sharp angles? Well, it appears I am not good at sewing round edges either!), I turned it into this top instead:

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I considered using the embroidery pattern provided in the magazine to copy the original design, but the last time I embroidered was in elementary school crafts class, so eventually I decided not to take the risk. I also considered embroidering with beads, but that would compromise ironing the garment and cotton batiste just has to be ironed every time after wash. So the result is somewhat plain, but I hope the wide lace will make up for it!

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I didnt have enough lace fabric for the back, so I just used a piece of plain batiste there.

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Some close ups:

I think eventually it is a better use of the fabric than the skirt would have been, now let´s just hope that the weather will give me enough chances to wear it!

Jalie Jeans and Leftover Top

Hi!

The first projects of 2017 have been chosen solely because I wanted to try out my new serger, Brother M1034D.

You might recall my Just Cavalli dress that took ages to complete. I don´t know how about you, but I find it really difficult to throw away large pieces of leftover fabrics although I never use them for another project again, so they just pile up and I am really happy when I can use up the whole yardage of fabric for a project. The only fabrics that I use again are linings.

So I had quite a lot of Cavalli fabric left from the aforementioned dress and after making these crazy blue pants I also whipped up the top, thus using every scrap of the fabric I had!

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So the pants are my first ever try of the famous Jalie patterns I have heard read so many good words about. Mainly about their jeans pattern which I had in mind at first, but then I noticed that they also have a pull on jeans pattern and since my fabric is very stretchy I thought I could also take the easy road. So I bought, downloaded, cut, taped and cut again their Eleonore /Jalie3461/ pattern.

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I mostly used my serger to make the pants and just sewed the zippers, topstitching and hems with the regular machine. I enjoyed working with the pattern and I only had to take in about 2 cm at the waist before attaching the waistband.

The zippers are my own addition to the pants. I actually have the idea to wear them with a jacket I am planning to make and once it is ready (no promises), it should match even better due to the silver zipper detail of the pockets.

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Because of the zippers, the pockets are actually bigger than the pattern originally requires. The zippers are purely decorative and since they are sewn onto the fabric I didn´t see a way to shorten them so that they would match the pockets. So the solution was to cut bigger pockets in order to make it happen. The pockets are about the width of the seam allowance bigger than original on each side.

For the top I used an old Burda pattern (from 7/2007, model 105) that I always thought was really cute:

It is the record project in terms of speed – I started cutting the fabric at around 10 PM and by 1.30 AM the top was complete. Of course I wasn´t too excited about it a few hours later when I had to get up for work and then drive all the way to Riga in the afternoon 🙂

The only thing I changed was adding the back center seam, because of my fabric print. I also just serged the back opening edges. The small ties are sewed on separately and they are both double layer of fabric, so they are not so easy to tie neatly and every time I end up with a different result – sometimes the tie ends show north-south, sometimes east-west!

Now I said “crazy” blue pants and I wasn´t lying – the photos above were taken in Riga at the hotel we stayed during the first trip to hunt for the wedding dress and the lighting conditions were obviously not the best. Here is how the blue is in reality, pretty electric, huh?

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I actually think that the top also looks better with black pants, but the truth is that I have to make some additional garments to wear with the pants, it is not easy to match colors with such bright blue!

It seems that April will go by without any new posts, since I am really pushing myself with the thesis, but it is going at a very slow rate. Still, I have so many sewing projects on my mind that we´ll see, maybe I will make something simple just to tame the craving!

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!

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 ZĂĽrich!

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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!