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!

15841808_10154869241767801_2060631197_n

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.

dscn0086

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.

dscn0088

dscn0079

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.

dscn0084

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!

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.

P1080949

P1080955

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:

Image

Image

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.

P1080922

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:

P1080943

P1080965

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:

P1050831

P1050833

P1050830

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!

Stefania´s Dress

Yesterday was a big day! Stefania came over to get her dress, that has actually been finished for some time now, we just didn´t have the chance to meet.

As during the whole process she tried it on only twice, you can imagine how my hands were shaking when she slipped into it and I pulled the zipper to close it. I was even afraid to look over her shoulder to the mirror and was ready for her to say “Eemmm, I want it tighter here” or “Why is it like this here?”, but…. it was perfect. As I mentioned before starting the dress, I wanted to use a waist stay to make it absolutely secure and comfortable for her, but apparently I miraculously managed to make it exactly tight enough for no need for a waist stay. I actually had added it and just wanted to add the hooks as the last step, but in the end I ripped the waist stay out, there was simply no need for it.

I must admit I got goosebumps when I saw her twirling in her dress, fitting her just right. Honestly, I am proud! It was the first time for me to make a strapless bodice, the first time to use boning and the first time making someone else a garment that requires such a precise fit. Another stress factor was that the dress will be worn for Stefania’s sister’s wedding in December, making it even more important to look nice on her.

I must disappoint you though, because my friend refused to have any of the photos we took yesterday uploaded here, as she was on her way to work, wearing very little make up and having her hair casually loose. I was too happy for the fit of her dress, so I agreed to wait until she sends me some photos of her in the dress that she wouldn’t mind sharing with you. In the meanwhile, I cannot even show it on the dressmaking dummy, because as it appears, Stefania is still a tad smaller than the smallest setting of my dummy, and the dress just wouldn’t go over the shoulders of the dummy. I am trying to tell myself that patience is a virtue, but I am not very good at it.

This is an earlier photo of the dress, while it didn’t have the zipper attached yet and thus no problem to show it on the dummy:

Notice that it doesn’t have the belt detail yet.

So, as already said, the pattern I used is Simplicity 4070, view C:

The pattern was relatively easy to work with, but as I understand, it requires sewing the bodice and skirt together, treating the lining and fabric layers as one, which would not look very nice on the inside. So what I did differently, was that I sewed the fabric skirt to fabric bodice and the lining skirt to the lining bodice, so basically it looks like a dress you could wear inside out as well. I then sewed the zipper only to the fabric layer and folded the lining layer away very close to the zipper and hand stitched it into place.

For the boning I used rigilene boning and I sewed it onto the seam allowances of the lining with a wide zig-zag stitch. The pattern requires for plastic or metal wire boning to be sewn into cases, but I think the rigilene worked just fine with less fuss. According to some instructions I found online, I melted the sharp ends of each strip with a lighter, so they became smooth and would not cause any discomfort by poking through the fabric against the skin. On the bust, I cut the strips short enough to end right under the bust, not run over it. Since the seams are curved over the bust, I didn’t see a way to sew the boning on such seams.

I cut size 8 according to the size chart and Stefania’s measurements, but there must be too much ease in the pattern, because I had to take in quite a lot on the bodice, maybe a size smaller would have worked better (I am still waiting for a sewing disaster to happen to force me to consider making a muslin).

A few photos here of the finished dress lying flat on my sofa:

The inside of the dress

I didn’t realize the quality of the last two photos was so bad until I opened them in my computer but then it was too late. I am keeping my fingers crossed to get some decent pics from Stefania soon!

The belt detail of the dress is sewn into the zipper seam and then just attached with a few hand stitches at every seam of the bodice. When worn, it fits snugly around the waist, not loose as it looks when not worn.

I got a lot of self assurance with this project and celebrated the success with…. fabric shopping and a glass of cool rosé wine with a friend from the Estonian Embassy in Athens 🙂

The “Wedding Dress”

I cannot find a better name for this dress, because it was made for a wedding where I had the honour to be among the guests and because both, the bride and the groom, Tiina and Paap are my good friends and I was as excited as the bride, I guess.

As always, everything starts with the fabric in my case, and this time it was this beautiful cotton sateen in Athens. I find it difficult to describe the colour and after some google search, I would say it is caribbean green. Oh well, you will see it in the pictures anyway.

It was one of the most enjoyable projects I have made, probably a combination of a good pattern, easy-to-work-with fabric, its beautiful shade and the purpose.

I chose Simplicity 2053, view C, minus the flower:

It was easy to make, maybe I mostly struggled with the pleats in front – a lot of basting after a lot of line drawing on the fabric. Because of the sewing instructions, I couldn´t really try the dress on before it was nearly finished. I was SURE that it will be too tight around my hips. But it was perfect!

The dress is a pleasure to wear and the wedding was simply amazing. I don´t think I will ever have the chance to attend something comparable. The venue, the weather, the atmosphere, the couple, the officiant, the party host, the food, the table decorations, the band, the cake… just not enough words.

As I said, I was probably as anxious as the bride, so I forgot to take any photos of the dress that day! But the photographer was one of the best (if not the best) in Estonia and I hope I will have a really nice one to show you, posing with the couple. The photographer was Annika Metsla and her blog entry on that fantastic wedding is here. It is worth checking out!

Today I had an opportunity to wear the dress again, this time for the christening of little Giorgos. And this time I remembered to have some photos taken!

The shoes are Bourne Frida in crimson, that I got from amazon.co.uk last autumn.

The christening took place at Panagia Faneromeni church in Vouliagmeni, one of the posh areas of Athens and the reception at Astir Palace hotel nearby. The church is very new and they have managed to combine tradition and modern architecture beautifully, it is full of light and gives a feeling of serenity. Even little Giorgos didn´t protest too much when the priest soaked him in oil and water!

Because of the event and lots f people we had to greet, I didn´t want to run around with the camera, so if anyone is interested, a few photos of the church from the outside can be seen here and here.

This is the view from the reception area of the hotel:

It was a windy day, so please excuse my hair in the last photo! The little white ribbon on my chest is a small pin that was given to every guest at the church.

I liked that my dress coincidentally matched the colour theme of the party :), here is the boubouniera (a small gift of sugar-coated almonds or chocolate beans given to every guest at Greek weddings and christenings):