Colour Blast Dress

I hope every one of you have had wonderful holidays so far! With only a few days left until the end of 2013, I am posting somewhat of a conclusion of the year together with the last finished project.

The year 2013 has been life-changing for me. My engagement ended in a separation in spring, and just before the end of the year I got promoted at work. I also traveled to six different countries this year, the first trip being in May, which actually makes six countries in six months! In addition I met a bunch of new people plus some totally unexpected old acquaintances have reappeared in my life.

Sewing-wise, the highlight of the year was definitely being published in Burda German October edition.

I hope the new year will be as colourful as this one was, hopefully with better luck in personal matters, though 🙂

Here is the dress I made for our traditional Christmas party with the colleagues:

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The pattern is Burda 06/2013, model 110, the photos are from burdastyle.com:

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As you can see, my version has short sleeves, mainly because I didn’t have enough fabric but also because the dress is loud enough already.

The fabric is from the work trip to Zurich in September and when buying it, I didn’t have a clear vision of what to make of it. It is very elastic and there was also only one piece left so I was very limited in my options. But in my opinion, the crazy colour explosion and elasticity of the fabric demanded ruching and this is the reason why I picked this particular pattern.

I cut my regular size 38, and didn’t need to make any alterations. The pattern is quick and easy, the only difficult thing was that I was sewing it step by step for a few hours after work within a few days and got pretty tired.

I cannot say it is my favourite dress, but I am pleased that I managed to sew it up on time for the event and found a way to use the rather complicated fabric.

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The Christmas party itself was a lot of fun. It took place at an old manor and nearly everyone from our hospital was there, 100 people out of 120. We had a live band, tasty food and also danced a bit.

For me the event was also special, because in addition to my own dress, there were another two dresses made by me! Because we had a professional photographer taking the photos, I will have a photo of all the three dresses together to show in January.

I have already shown the one made for my dear colleague Kadi and here is the other one for Mari:

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The pattern I used is the same as for my Paisley Dress, Burda 7739, view B. Because the main fabric is a rather thin cotton that I thought would start clinging to the body, I fully lined the dress.

I hope all of you had a year that brings a smile to your face when you think back to it and that the new one would be even better! Happy holidays!

Burgundy Wedding Guest Dress

One would think that if the whole month passes without a post, there is not much going on about sewing in my life, but it is quite the opposite! Actually the reason for not posting is that I was frantically working on two dresses simultaneously and just as I got them finished with, went off for a great long weekend in Copenhagen.

So the first dress that nearly made me give it up, is for my friend and colleague Kadi. She had a wedding to attend close to Stuttgart, Germany the same weekend as I had a wonderful concert to attend in Copenhagen. More about that in the next post, related to my own dress.

Two events, two girls, of course two dresses needed!

I started off with hers as I surely did not want to mess it up and not be able to deliver on time. And oh boy, that was a good decision as the dress caused me lots of trouble.

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I have to apologize for the quality of the photos, but as winter approaches Estonia as well as Germany, it is extremely difficult to get good light conditions for photographing, so the photos in this post are not so clear.

The pattern we chose for her together is Simplicity 2442, view B:

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Although Kadi´s measurements seemed to fit size 40, I decided to cut 38. I am afraid some of the problems I faced with the dress occurred because of this too, but then again I feel that with the bigger size I would have had just different issues. For example, the shoulder yokes seem to fit her fine, but would definitely have been too large in size 40. But where things got tough was the gathered waistband. I ended up making two, one in size 38 (too small!) and the other one in 40 (also nearly too small!!). Thankfully we could eventually use the smaller one to make her a small purse to match the dress.

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The fabric is polyester taffeta, also chosen together. I am not a big fan of red, but this shade fits Kadi very well and has somewhat of a grace that fit the occasion perfectly.

Here she is with her charming boyfriend and the beautiful bride:

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The whole process gave us the opportunity of quite a few tea drinking and sewing evenings together. Everything went faster when Kadi was around, as I could try the dress on anytime I needed and also felt more pressure to stay focused rather than get lazy.

The bodice is lined and I used bias tape (if I remember correctly,nearly 10 meters!) for the seam allowances of the skirt. The hemline is hand stitched.

Here are a few photos with the dress on the hanger:

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The most peculiar thing was that although I had taken the measurements with her wearing the bra she wanted to wear with the dress,  the neckline just did not fit her at all! So one day, in despair, I took the bodice to work to try it on again after some alterations and she told me she was wearing a different bra that day. We tried the dress anyway and whoa! it fit her perfectly! So the trick was to change the bra 😀 Oh well, I am not anything close to a professional seamstress, I guess a professional would have worked her way around any bra.

But eventually I finished the task just four days short of Kadi´s trip and she is happy with the result, so all is good!

The Blue Rose Skirt and Top

This is sort of Out Of The Closet series of post, because the corset top was finished last summer in Athens! The skirt was also cut out while still living in Greece and laid all winter in my drawer until I finally got to it again a few weeks ago.

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It all started with using Simplicity 4070 for Stefania´s dress. It was the first time I made a strapless top and the first time I used Rigilene boning. As the project turned out well, I got excited and decided I needed a corset top in a similar style.

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I found this beautiful cotton stretch in Athens and bought it heavily discounted as it was the last 1.7 m on the roll. Sometimes I really miss the fabric shops in Athens, where the salesmen generously cut more fabric than asked and drop the price if you know when and how to ask!

If you are interested, I found the same fabric online here.

Anyway, the top was pretty straightforward to sew after the experience with the dress. I also could use the leftovers of the lining for her dress, although it would have been better if it was slightly stretchy as well.

Nevertheless, the most difficult task was finding a zipper in suitable shade and length. This is also the reason why the top is a tad longer than I wished – I was not able to find an open-ended zipper of perfect length.

You can see some “gathering” on the upper edge on both sides  of the zipper. I added a strip of elastic between the lining and the fabric as I was afraid for gaping. I don´t know if it made a difference or not, but the top feels comfortable and I don´t feel like I am losing my clothes as it sometimes happens with strapless tops and dresses.

The only downside are the horizontal folds when worn. I think it has to to with the fabric being elastic and the lining non-stretch. I am trying not to pay attention to this, though!

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For the skirt I used Burda 05-2012 model 118/119 pattern. I have a similar ready-to-wear skirt from Zara and love the style, I really enjoyed sewing one up myself, especially as the fabric is great to work with.

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The technical drawing is for model 118, with the welt pockets on the back, but I omitted them as my fabric would have disguised them with the big print.

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As always I did not follow Burda directions for the front fly, but relied on the tried and tested tutorial video instead. You cannot go wrong with this technique!

The sequined details on the front side of the skirt are not simply the result of trying to personalize the garment, but a try to cover up for bad pattern placement. Although the fabric looks heavy with flowers at first glance, I wasted a lot of it, because I tried to “catch” as many dark blue roses as possible. And still, when I looked at the skirt, it looked a bit empty, plus one rose was cut in the middle for the front center seam and I could not leave it like this.

So I got the idea of creating a fun effect by cutting out several roses and flowers from the fabric, use sequins to add interest and sew them randomly on the skirt. Of course, there is nothing random about the placement, but I tried to make it look as if I threw them there accidentally, while they are actually strategically placed to cover up and emphasize the flower print. I love the result, the contrast between the fringed edges of the details and the sparkle of the sequins.

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I had exactly enough of lining left from Stefania´s dress, to use it for the pockets of the skirt as well! So the two garments make up a nice set that can be worn as separates and also dress up or down according to the occasion.

Yesterday I chose to wear wooden platform heels for dinner downtown.

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The Roberto Venuti shoes were also bought from Greece back in 2010, but are basically unworn, although I love the style. I could find a photo of dark brown version of them on internet. I must say I prefer mine!

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As I started the post with reference to Stefania´s dress, there is an old debt I have to pay – I never posted photos of her actually wearing the dress as she didn´t like the idea of being up here without make-up and her hair done as she was when she came for the dress. After a long time she finally gave the permission, so here they are (sorry for the quality, they were taken in a rush, using a phone):

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And last but not least, I need your help! Any fabric shop recommendations for Poland, namely Warsaw and Krakow? Thank you in advance!

Birthday Girl

Today is my birthday!

Yesterday I met my friend Stefania in order to go fabric shopping. She wants me to make her a dress for her sisters wedding!  This is so important that I get anxious when I think about it and I have given her many warnings and no guarantees, because I am not a professional seamstress after all, everything I know has been self-taught and the pattern she chose is also not the easiest one can imagine. But I am keeping my fingers crossed and take it as a challenge.

Choosing the pattern and the fabric was fun. We did the first already in winter, because the wedding was supposed to take place last winter, but due to a sad loss in the groom´s family, it was postponed. Stefania described me her idea of the dress, I showed her my pattern stash and some patterns online, so in the end we ordered the pattern for her. It is Simplicity 4070:

She opted for the blue version, view C. The dress should not be too difficult, some pleating, some gathering of the hem and some seams for the bodice, but what makes me nervous, is the boning. I have never done it before and I don´t know how it will end up. I am thinking maybe to add a waist stay, which is another new technique to me, so I am excited to see how I will manage. Thankfully, the wedding will be around Christmas, so even if I mess up, there should be enough time to make a new dress or find a RTW.

The fabric we chose is the same quality as my “Wedding Dress”, but in royal blue and we also found a matching lining (on the left):

As Stefania wanted to get me something for my birthday as well, I told her that I would be very happy with a piece of fabric, and we got this thin knit in dark teal:

I am planning to make a dress from my “Drape Drape” book, joining two of my birthday presents into one project that way.

And I am not done with the presents yet – my dear Liise from Spain sent me five different shades of nail polish plus a nail file for my birthday! The best part is that there is a matching shade for the dress I am planning! See for yourself:

I told my fiance that the only thing missing from a perfect set now, is a pair of shoes 😉  He was not too thrilled as we really are running out of space in our house and my shoeboxes have a lot to do with it. However, I have these cute Tamaris booties (actually a gift (!!) from my mother from last winter) and I guess they would do:

Living in Estonia, I never thought I´d say that, but now, living in Greece, I am looking forward for some cooler temperatures to kick in so that I could wear all those knits and jerseys and booties!

And although it is my birthday, I am off to make the last stitches on my Burda colourblock dress now!

The Simple Things

My friend Mariliis really likes this song by Joe Cocker and it is true – the simple things are the best and we cannot do without them. So is with this dress of hers that we sewed together in the beginning of the summer.

She had found a beautiful fabric and wanted a simple dress out of it. Because it has been some time since she made anything, we worked on this project together just to get the feeling back. And I could feel some of the rare selflessness of a hobby sewist 🙂

As she described the dress she wanted to make, I remembered having seen the same style on Erica B.´s blog, from where I found the link to the tutorial by Mimi G. The dress is simple enough, but it doesn´t hurt having some help with the measurements for example.

It took us a few hours and the result is here:

The dress has two elastic bands to gather the fabric at the bust and waist and Mariliis created an interesting look by gathering more fabric one one side and adding a beautiful brooch to emphasize the effect. Simple!

Laura´s Dress

I don´t know what it is with the hobby sewists, but most of them seem to be selfish folks. Me included. Which means that we only like to sew for ourselves and doing it for others is not even half the pleasure, as Elaine, probably my favourite sewing-blogger so beautifully explains throughout her whole blog, The Selfish Seamstress. Seriously, her writing is so funny and her creations so to-die-for, that I would recommend reading her blog even if you are not that much into sewing.

Every rule has exceptions and so making the following dress for my former classmate Laura, was actually pure pleasure. I guess the fact that she kept me company, brought a nice cake plus a bottle of wine and is generally a nice person, helped.

And anyway, it was a great day – while I was stitching-drinking coffee-eating cake-chatting with Laura and Mariliis (another good friend of mine from school) we also watched the Olympics, namely the men´s parallel bars final, where we were not cheering so much for the athletes, but for my fiance Manolis, who was occasionally visible as well, as he was accompanying the Greek gymnast Vasileios Tsolakidis (who unfortunately was not as successful as he could have been). And the fun day was finished off with a bronze medal for Estonian discus thrower Gerd Kanter, adding to the pleasure of the silver the Estonian heavyweight Heiki Nabi got a day earlier in Greco-Roman wrestling!

Ok,  back to the dress now. It took me some effort to find the pattern online, since it is from Burda 2006-5 issue and clearly this is already so long ago that burdastyle.ru, not to mention burdastyle.de and burdastyle.com, have forgottten all about it. On burdastyle.ru I could only see a few random issues from 2006 and that´s it!

So I dug deeper and finally got what I wanted on osinka.ru, which must be known to most sewists, because one really doesn´t need to know Russian to navigate on the site (I am a living proof!) and get to the archive of Burda and a few other sewing and crafts magazines, starting from 2001!

Here is the pattern, Burda 2006-5 models 121/122:

I traced the pattern in the beginning of the summer, thinking it would also work great for colourblocking. But then Mariliis, who occasionally also makes a dress or two, used this pattern for a simple dress, similar to McCalls 6559:

It worked great for her and then Laura got all inspired and then all I got to do was steal the idea and make a dress for Laura. I can see myself end up making one for me as well, since it is super easy and flattering.

Mariliis´s version can be seen here (isn´t the fabric amazing?), maybe one day she will agree to model it properly for my blog as well 🙂 This photo is taken during our recent trip to Hiiumaa, the second largest island of Estonia, at a beach that was all ours that day:

I just used the pieces from the back side of the Burda dress, pinned them on the fabric more or less as one, cut and sewed. I had to take in quite a lot on the side seams, approximately 5 cm altogether, but I guess it was because of the elastic fabric and the unorthodox way of using the pattern. The armholes and neckline are bias-taped. Here you can see Laura in her new dress:

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The fabric is some kind of mixed lycra, very elastic. At the same time it feels really nice on skin (yes, I tried the dress on as well) and looks especially nice on tanned skin. I hope Laura will get a good wear out of it and that she will enjoy her new dress!