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.

42852345_1040317106149365_1053611058880577536_n

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!

Patroonoverzicht-NL

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.

edf

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!

edf

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!

 

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.

DSCN156811

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.

DSCN1566

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:

DSCN1542

DSCN1548

I hope you are enjoying your summer!

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.

dscn0425

 

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:

dscn0444

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!

 

 

 

 

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.

dscn0009

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).

dscn0014

dscn9909

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.

dscn0027

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.

wp_20161110_10_58_51_pro

wp_20161110_10_58_07_pro

dscn0035

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.

dscn9922

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:

dscn0036

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 Zürich!

dscn9946

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!

dscn0156

dscn0355

dscn0295

 

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!

dscn0231

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!

burda-style-schnittmuster-easy-f-s-2016-kleid-volantkleid-mint_400x533-id375416-fa193f489fc7f0316a8997eac6d036c8

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 🙂

dscn0228

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:

dscn0221

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!

 

 

Cold Shoulder Hot Pattern Top

Hi!

The month of September is coming to an end and what a month that has been!

The latest high emotions come from the sunny holiday in Greece, which for me was extra special because it was the first time back there since returning to Estonia four years ago, after having spent five years in Athens.

dscn0058

We started from Athens in order to see the mandatory sights and I also managed to squeeze in time for a couple of friends, whom I hadn´t seen all this time! Then we hired a car and drove to the island of Evia, which is connected to the mainland by a bridge. It is not so well known as several other Greek islands, although it is the second largest after Crete, but we had a marvellous time nevertheless. Since the high tourist season is over, there were only a few people at the organized beaches, but we even avoided that by discovering completely secluded beaches that were only for us to enjoy. This is real luxury!

I managed to make two new pieces for the trip and the top you see here took me exactly a day from cutting the fabric in the morning to finishing it at around 10 PM. Of course I took breaks as well for cooking and eating and packing (since our flight was 3AM!), but it was such an enjoyable day, a true holiday doing only the stuff I love and really nothing else!

The pattern is HP 1196 Metropolitan Urban Gypsy Blouse from hotpatterns.com, my first ever pattern from them and it turned out to be a great experience! I discovered the pattern thanks to probably the most productive and inspiring sewing blogger, Erica Bunker, whose version is here!

hp_1196_metropolitan_gypsy_tops_env_f__75782-1446825885-1280-1280

Since I started contemplating making the top just a few days prior to the actual acceptance of the challenge, I purchased the download and print-at-home version of the pattern.

I cut size 10, but as you can see, it is really generous and what actually matters the most, is the shoulder circumference. The fabric is a piece of chambray that I got from Berlin last year, for like 6 euros!

Similarly to Erica, I had no issues with the pattern, it is actually very easy to sew up, but I suggest following the instructions carefully, as everything will turn out beautifully and there is no need for shortcuts, as eventually they will become obstacles when finishing the top. I almost tried to switch the sequence of hemming the sleeve ties and assembling the sleeves, but I quickly realized that sticking to the instructions is the easiest and shortest way.

dscn0007

The shorts that I am wearing are also made by me, several years ago back in Athens, actually, take a look here.dscn9967

I used bias tape bought during the same trip to Berlin to finish the seam allowances, but I didn´t have enough for the hem. I wish i would have realized it earlier, since I would prefer the hem to be finished with such a cool plaid tape instead of the plain white that I had to go with eventually. I also created tabs for the curved hems meeting point at the side seam in order to give it more strength.

While in Athens, it would have been unimaginable not to go to the numerous fabric shops, not much has changed since I wrote the post on this topic. I got a piece of white cotton batiste and 2 meters of nude tulle craziness – I really hope I can turn this into a dress combining it with sharp black. In addition, I got two pieces of fabric for cushions-to-be for our house.

dscn0410

dscn0411

Now, I realize this is a sewing blog, but I still cannot hold back the other big news and events that made this September so memorable. Firstly, as you might know already, I am a big fan of Ludovico Einaudi, and have been attending his concerts in Copenhagen and in Helsinki. Shortly after we returned from Helsinki, I discovered that he will be performing in Tallinn on my 33rd birthday! There was NO WAY to be absent from this, so in an instant we got new tickets for Tallinn too 🙂

I have no photos of the concert or before or after, although we had a great night with friends, I can only say that I was wearing the Black Swan Dress as I did for my first Ludovico concert.

The reason for no photos is actually so controversial – I was too excited and too emotional that night because my boyfriend had decided that he no longer wants to be my boyfriend and he asked me to marry him just a few short hours before the concert! But no photos of that night, would you believe?

So I will just share a few from Athens, the rest of the trip together with a new dress is coming soon in the next post!

 

dscn9963

dscn0128

dscn0105

 

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!

DSCN3284

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.

DSCN3267

DSCN3274

DSCN3271

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!

DSCN3242