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 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!

The Blue Gown

Hi!

Would you believe that with all these years of sewing, I never made a maxi dress? This one is my first!

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I have a few ready-to-wear ones for summer, but generally I prefer to enjoy the warm weather in short and light clothes. There is only one maxi dress that I have worn to pieces and it is made of very breathable and lightweight cotton batiste.

However, as the annual Christmas party at my workplace was approaching fast, I needed something that would tick several boxes – appropriate for the environment since this years party was held at an old art nouveau style mansion (it is worth checking it out: Ammende villa), easy and quick to make since I was running out of time, fit me in the current circumstances and preferrably be wearable in the future. I managed to tick all those, plus as a bonus, I could use up some of the fabric from my overflowing stash! Win-win!

So the lucky winner pattern was Vogue 9104:

I am very happy I took the time to look up some blog posts on this pattern because a few of them mentioned the problem with the armholes being too low-cut. I guess it has to do with the weight of the fabric as well, because you need 4.1 meters of it for size 10 and the armholes can easily be dragged lower by the weight of the dress! The pattern also recommends lightweight jersey, but with this amount of fabric, jersey would definitely stretch even more, causing the armholes reaching too low. So just to avoid the trouble, I raised the armholes of my dress by about 2,5 cm and I am thankful I did! Instead of using the facings provided with the pattern, I used bias tape to finish them, another tip from one of the blogs I read!

It took me a while to decide what to do with the lower contrast part of the dress. I had just enough fabric in my stash for the upper part of the dress and I had it already cut out, so the task was to find something suitable for the contrast. It was really not easy. I considered sequins, but eventually they were not in the right shade; I was also thinking about using silvery lurex, but I was afraid the end result would be something in the lines of Ded Moroz, the slavic equivalent of Santa Claus:

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Photo source: http://www.artlebedev.com/mandership/173/

In the end I bought some glittery stretch lace and backed it up with matching lining fabric for the lower pieces:

This meant I had to cut the lower details out not four, but eight times and additional seams to join them. Not hard to do, but so time consuming, especially because the lining fabric is slippery and the pieces are quite big. It took a lot of pinning, basting, pressing and sewing. The seams are really long as well! And yes, the glitter was all over the place!

As you can see, the photos are taken at my parents place and my shoes don´t really match the dress, I just borrowed them from my mom for the photos. We actually tried taking photos at the villa since we stayed the night there but initially the cameras battery was dead and the next moment we had time to take the pics was at 3 AM, my husband almost asleep and my own face sleepy as well. The light conditions were not ideal either, but we took a few before going to bed:

The belt I am wearing was a must, I would have felt huge otherwise. It is metallic, but very elastic like spring and I love the leaf motif of the front closure:

Honestly, in my opinion this dress is as good as it gets in terms of the choices an expecting mother has for an evening gown! It is very comfortable and shows enough while hiding enough at the same time! For example I got really tired of wearing tights during the evening and due to the length of the dress, I could just remove them and go on without anything digging into my belly. In addition, since the lower contrast parts are not joined at all, the slits in front and back are quite deep, so there is some sex appeal to the dress as well.

Another great tip I got from reading blogs was to cut a size smaller than usual due to the really extreme looseness of the pattern. So instead of my regular 12, I cut it in size 10 and I think it was absolutely worth it. I also omitted the side pockets, because… who would need them really?

While the dress was halfway finished without the lower pieces attached yet, I also discovered that it would make a great summer dress in short version.

And last but not least, we had a professional party photographer, thankfully, so we managed to get a pic together with my husband, too:

We have a collective holiday every year during the Christmas and New Year so I am totally enjoying it now, preparing some patterns and sewing but also meeting friends and spending time with my family.

Just a few days left until Christmas, may you all have beautiful holidays with your loved ones!

The Winter Sun Dress

Hi!

This dress was supposed to be ready in fall, during the golden leaves season, but life happened and eventually I finished it in early December and even then without the flounces that I planned for the sleeves.

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The pattern is model 115 from Burdastyle 10/2017 but as you can see, I have skipped the ruffles for the hem and sleeves. Instead, I wanted to cut the double flounce from pattern 117 in the same magazine issue and attach them to the lace inserts of the sleeves. I have them all cut out and prepared for sewing, but there is never enough time, so I have worn the dress as it is already a couple of times.

The pattern of course is simple to sew, but as I was afraid that the main fabric might be too flimsy and cold for the season, I underlined the whole dress using a matching lining fabric. I then made a stupid mistake by sewing the bottom lace detail through both layers and now I have to take extra care while ironing the dress after wash because the lining fabric tends to shrink a little more in wash and that makes the main fabric slightly drape above the first attachment seam. Steam ironing the lining helps, although not 100%.

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I love this shade of yellow in combination with dark blue and initially I wanted to make something, combining the yellow fabric, lace and the fabric I got from London in summer (below), but eventually decided that less is more. I might use the leftovers of the yellow lace with that fabric one day, though.

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I think the lace fabric is a wonderful find, both in terms of color but also design. Too much of lace I see around is floral so it is refreshening to see something more abstract. I just picked the part of the fabric I liked the most, calculated the length since I wanted it to extend further from the main fabric and then sew it along the lines onto the main fabric using a zig zag stitch. The colors are a bit off in the next two photos.

The fit of the dress at the shoulders is really precise which is surprising because usually Burdastyle patterns tend to be designed for wider shoulders than mine. I used some of the lace for the back yoke just to add interest.

The size I cut is still 38 as usually with Burdastyle but you may already have noticed that there is a practical reason for picking such a style, with no defined waistline 😉

I have also completed another project, an evening gown for the annual Christmas party with the colleagues, more on that in the next post! Until soon!

 

The Teacher Dress

Hi!

I don´t know what I would have called the dress myself, but my husband teased me when taking the photos that I look like a nerdy teacher in it! Given that I wore for a recent birthday party, it wasn´t the best thing to hear, but here it is anyway:

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The pattern is the Jane dress from Burdastyle Vintage edition A/W 2015, dedicated to the sixties.

It was actually the main reason for buying the special issue back in 2015, but as you know, it often takes me that long before I sew stuff up.

However, my parents recently spent their holiday in Italy, starting from Rome and I managed to convince them to visit some of the fabric shops I visited myself during my own trip to Rome in 2013.

It was a very difficult task for them, my dad initially voted against the fabric my mom wanted to pick by saying it looked like tablecloth! Unfortunately I was taking a nap while my mom desperately sent me photos of various fabrics in Messenger so they ended up buying something that I don´t feel is 100% me, but when I woke up and saw this one among the photos (my mom´s first choice) I just made them go back to the store and get it for me! It was a perfect print for this pattern! It looks a little busy on bigger photos, but the closer look reveals this:

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Isn´t it lovely? It is from Fratelli Bassetti Tessuti and I can´t tell the exact composition, but it is some kind of synthetic fabric with enough body and stretch at the same time, easy to cut and sew and fit.

I struggled a bit while trying to find the matching fabric for the details, at first I was sure they must be black, but the longer I looked at the fabric, the more I felt that the dark burgundy was a better match. Of course it was impossible to find fabric with the same characteristics so I got a lightweight crepe fabric in the right shade and used a thicker fusible interfacing to stabilise it.

The hardest part of the dress is the central piece with its round end. I have seen perfect versions online as well as some rather clumsy ones and I guess I fall somewhere in between with my result. This detail took a lot of time and precision to get it done, but still it is not completely symmetrical!

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I actually added the button day after the birthday party where I first wore the dress, because once again I finished sewing less than an hour before leaving the house! I love  the smart trick by Couture et Tricot who sew an extra button underneath the large one, to support it so that it doesn´t hang downwards, but looks straight. I will add this detail to my dress, too.

I didn´t get into all the couture techniques Couture et Tricot did due to the limited time available. The seam allowances are serged and the hem is finished with fusible hem tape. I also didn´t topstitch as far as the 7 mm the pattern calls for as I remember, but the distance from edge is about 4 mm. My dress is unlined.

The pattern is well drafted and I had absolutely zero issues with the sleeves for example.

I love the feeling of completing something that has been on my mind for so long and it could easily be the quickest I have used up new fabric!

The photos were taken in the new sewing room/office, which still needs some final details as you can see, but we will move in during the upcoming weekend!

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