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!

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!

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):