Baby Sewing

Hi!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 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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Love Celebration Dress

Hey everyone!

We had the honour of being invited to the wedding of G & O and I was super excited as I have attended quite a few weddings in my life, but never a Russian one. Of course this deserved a dress!

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I used pattern no 107 from Burda Style January 2013. I remember seeing this pattern and telling myself that I will definitely make it, but it took me exactly that long to execute the plan, something quite typical as the speed of buying fabrics and patterns will never equal the speed of sewing stuff up…

Again typically I finished the dress late at night the previous evening before the big day and therefore did not manage to make the matching belt. Let´s see if I will get to it at some point or not, since there are so many more ideas next up in line!

I cut the size 38 and I thought the fit was perfect at the bodice, but when I look at the photos, it seems as if there is a little too much ease there. Nevertheless the dress feels super comfortable and I loved wearing it despite the fact that once again I failed to produce a perfect back neckline with the invisible zipper. For some reason it is always a hit or miss for me and more often a miss…

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I always leave generous seam allowances for the hip area and this was one of the times when not doing it would have meant that the dress would have been hopelessly too tight without any extra fabric left for correcting the mistakes. Now it just meant adjusting the side seams a bit.

Once again Burda Style surprises me as they have only rated the dress with two stars for difficulty level. I am quite sure that for someone looking for stepping up the game to next level, pulling this off (fully lined, tricky assembly sequences, many pattern pieces) would be too complicated. And it really takes time, I spent several evening just preparing the pieces before I could get to the actual sewing!

Here is a little close-up to show the fabric´s texture a bit better. I bought the fabric from Helsinki probably last year and they had it in baby blue as well as pink and it was hard to choose, but th yellow seemed more special. It was actually quite hard to find a matching lining fabric, but thankfully I finally did.

I got too excited when I was literally hit by the bridal bouquet and completely did not think of taking a photo with the beautiful bride then,  but here is one snapshot from the party and the bouquet itself next morning:

We are next up in line and I guess it is needless to say that we are very excited about it!

Spring Wedding Guest Dress

Hi!

I am so thankful to Marjorie Trundle, who responded to my plea for help and sent me snapshots of the instructions for Burdastyle 3/2016 model 108 B dress in English, but also to all the others who responded and were willing to help, Marjorie was just the quickest!

Thanks to the English instructions I was able to complete the dress just in time, actually mere two hours before the wedding ceremony of one of my dear colleagues!

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For some reason making that dress meant a lot of mental pushing and self-motivation for me and I am not sure why. It could be that because I usually use lower quality fabrics (not necessarily meaning cheaper) than this Armani stretch silk that I bought a few years ago from Rome and that I was too intimidated by the fabric and scared of failing, or it could be that as I had to sew in our country home where we currently live as our own house is being renovated, I feel kind of lost, out of my usual rhythm as my stuff is all over the place making everything a little uncomfortable.

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I was also worried about the weather-appropriateness of the dress as the spring this year in Estonia has been a disappointment – the weather has been cold and windy and as you can see, we are just getting to see the first green leaves on the trees!

And exactly when I had decided to go with the longer version of the sleeves, the weather forecast announced that the weekend will be summery and warm, which it did, but it made me again worried, weather the dress might turn out to be too hot to wear in that case! Anyway, since it is silk, it felt heavenly light and airy on and I just loved it!

The front is actually double layer, but as I didn´t have enough of the silk to do that, I used a piece of stretch lining in the matching shade that I still had left over from my fabric shopping in Poland in 2013.

The funny thing is that as my silk fabric has two right sides, I accidentally created the tie on the right side of the dress as opposed to the left side that was intended by the pattern!

As usually, I cut the sice 38 and the fit is remarkably good, I guess the stretch fabric helps, since I didn´t had to fiddle with the fit even on the back side of the dress!

The trickiest part of the dress was not the side tie as I initially thought, but the neckline finishing with the facing. I am really not good at sewing sharp angles and it takes a lot of time and patience to sew these. The front neckline is self-faced and just softly folds over, while the rest of the neckline has a sewn on facing. Eventually it turned out ok, I think. I used my serger to finish the seam allowances and the iron-on hemming tape for the hems.

If anyone has a good tip on how to store silk fabric, I would like to know it because as I bought the fabric 3.5 years ago and had it stored folded, I noticed that the silk had fold line marks on it, somewhat lighter than the rest of the fabric and they could not be removed. I just can´t imagine how I shoud have stored the fabric to avoid this and because I did not have too much yardage, I had to accept that one of those lines ended up right on the front skirt panel. Since the front part is cut as one long piece, I could not avoid it, unfortunately. Of course it is not visible in the photos and probably not even by anyone else in real life, but I do notice it myself.

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And finally, a pic from yesterday´s wedding, together with the best colleagues:

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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!

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!