Summer Day Dress

Hi!

I must admit, there is something really enjoyable going through the summer projects in November! I can almost feel the warm sun and the slight breeze when I look back at the few photos we took when I first wore my McCalls 7920 dress:

Just for the record, I am posing here with my mom´s bicycle, mine is much sportier and with this one I actually feel very insecure since it has this awkward break system where you have to pedal backwards and it seems I normally rest my legs in exactly this position that causes the breaks to activate on it, so I never feel relaxed when riding it.

Anyway, so the dress is McCalls 7920, view D and I actually also made a belt, but for some reason maybe used it only once, go figure 😀

I have a thing with shirtdresses and I just recently read somewhere that they are (or just were or will be, don´t remember) on trend again. Well, I don´t really care about that, but it is nice knowing that one can become trendy every once in a while by sticking to your thing 😀

I made this in probably the most comfortable summer fabric, linen+cotton blend. The day we took these few pictures was very warm and it was really the best thing to wear. The stripes required some careful patern placement and cutting in order to match up nicely in front, not only vertically (left and right side) but also horizontally as the pattern has a waist seam and darts.

Other than that, the pattern itself is very straightforward and I love the result. I was trying to use the “industrial” line sewing method again, by working simultaneously on two preojects with the same pattern but it only went well to the point that I could use the same thread. Once I got to the seams that are visible on the outside, I only continued with one and unfortunately I never finished the other version. I am hoping I will by next summer because I used some amazing fabric for it!

Until soon!

Flash(back) Dress

Hi!

I guess I really need to invest into a tripod so that I could take my own photos for the blog. And then a private secretary or a mind reader in order to write the posts on the go. Because I only seem to find time for sewing lately, but not much for writing and proper photos. I also realized that there is a ton of projects from summer that I have not even mentioned, so there is a lot of catch up to do and I will try to get going with the first one.

It is AK Patterns (Athina Kakou Patterns) Suzy dress that I have made once before.

I call it the Flash(back) Dress because the idea struck me at noon on a Friday at work sometime in August and on Monday morning I entered the office wearing it 😀 I love when ideas, patterns, fabric and most importantly, available time all line up to make things like this possible!

But flashback because the result reminds me of the 80´ s and in a good way (if this is even possible). I can recall my mother wearing something similar in terms of the pattern. It took me a little bit of thinking to decide whether to use the block of mint or not. But both, my husband and my brother who was staying at our house for the summer, advised on going with the mint and I am so happy I did.

Compared to the first version, I lengthened the bodice by 5 cm and the fit is so much more comfortable. However, the fabric, while apparently very similar to the one I used for the first version, has actually less stretch, so despite of looking relaxed I shouldn´t gain any weight if I want to keep wearing this.

And another note to myself – DO NOT take any blog photos early in the morning! One of the reasons this post was delayed and only includes those few pics is that I didn´t like my puffy eyes but here you are! Just didn´t want to delay it any more and I´ll take that as a lesson – no photos allowed in the mornings 😀

On the more positive side, I really like how this khaki goes with the summer tan and my pewter shoes! I bought both, the mint and the khaki polyester fabric (with slight stretch) on one of our trips to Germany. I love when I can find the same fabric in different colors, it offers a great opportunity for color blocking as well as does the design of the dress itself.

I am really hoping to continue with the catch up before we all realize it´s Christmas again! Happy sewing!

Yellow Flounce Dress and Trip to Spain

Hi!

Once again a whole month has passed and I have been sewing a lot of stuff, just not blogged about them, yet. If you are also following me on Instagram, you probably have had at least a glimpse of everything I´ve made, so that is at least something.

I will leave the summer sewing for another post, but share a bit of our trip to Spain a week ago and one of the things I made specifically for that purpose – a yellow dress in viscose twill, using Butterick 6677.

The fabric is in a way perfect for warm climate (although the temperature was mostly moderate, at around 20-25 degrees Celsius) since viscose is nicely breathable and even has a slight cooling effect; but on the other hand it wrinkles horribly and after sitting in the car for a while it didn´t look half as nice.

As for the pattern, it is a very easy make, but can be time consuming as you have to do a very narrow hem on the flounce and also on the side that attaches to the bodice. I was temptated to just serge it, but the result is definitely better if you follow the instructions, I am glad that I did.

The waist is elasticated and there is a loop and button closure on the back. If I ever use this pattern again, I will skip this because the neckline is wide enough to pass over the head without needing any closure at all.

I couldn´t find a matching bias tape so for the first time ever, I made my own. I used cotton poplin in the same colour as my main fabric and it worked great. I think that the regular bias tape is usually heavier cotton that would not have been so good for the soft and drapey viscose.

We spent a whole week in Northern Spain and Basque Country, starting and ending our trip in Bilbao. We rented a car and visited the beautiful Picos de Europa national park and its mountains and also randomly picked some sights on the way for stopping by. It was really enjoyable, with no tight schedule or plans, just knowing that we have to get to the next accommodation by night.

One of the best accommodations we staid at was a beautiful, fully equipped traditional house “at the end of the world” as we said it, because the mountain village where it was located in, consisted of maybe 50 houses or so and the road to it was just a narrow serpentine wriggling up the mountain. This is also where we took the photos of the dress and the biggest photo below is the view from our bedroom window.

I visited three fabric shops in Bilbao and shopped at two of them. At Rafael Matias there were many fabrics discounted to 7 euros/m and I bought two after a long hesitation as there were so many beautiful options. The shop itself is also very nice and in addition to the fabrics I bought a pattern magazine that is new to me – Patrones Mujer. I am not going to go into detail over this as you can get a good overview of it on their website and it looks like you can order it, too. The interesting part is that the magazine does not contain written instructions, just the patterns and cutting information both in English and in Spanish. For the instructions, you are supposed to watch YouTube videos that are only in Spanish and at least the one that I checked was not very detailed. However, the patterns are easy in majority and I guess if one has previous experience then sewing most of them will not be very complicated.

The other store that I shopped at was Esquibel. It doesn´t seem to have a website despite of the very fancy looking sign and the way the fabric was packed – it was carefully wrapped in paper and then put into an expensive looking paper bag. The shop owner, Mr Manuel, who must have been at least 80, wrote the details about the fabric on a special card and signed it personally. He also cut the fabric, but the packing was done by his assistant. The shop itself was full of rolls and rolls of great fabrics, also silks and good quality wool fabrics.

I wouldn´t have found the shop unless I needed something black for a dress for my friends bachelorette party. It can be really hard to find something as simple as black fabric because it needs to have some kind of texture to be interesting. Mr Manuel and his assistant suggested one with little heart print all over and initially I thought it would be a little childish. I have made a dress of it by now and I think it worked great, but more on that in another post.

We had a great time in Spain and little Liisa-Mai is a perfect companion for travelling – no whining, no sleep issues, curious and as patient as you can expect a 1.5 year old to be.

In addition to the yellow dress, I made other things for the trip as well, I will write more about these in the next posts.

Until soon!

The Dot Dress

Hey there!

Time is going crazy fast! It has been a beautiful summer in Estonia, actually I would even say better than the last because last year´s heat was eventually quite overwhelming, especially with a newborn.

As I started part-time work in spring already, you may think that I am too busy to sew, but this is not true. As it is on most workdays, I get home at noon and this is the time Liisa-Mai has her nap of the day and usually it is at least 2 hours, quite often 3. I quickly have my lunch and then up the stairs in my sewing space I am! I have made several things recently and I am afraid I will not have the time to blog in detail about all of them, but I will do my best.

Since my work tasks changed and currently I don´t have any patient load at work, I don´t need to wear a uniform, so this has boosted my sewing a lot. I need work-appropriate and season-appropriate clothes very day!

Also, I made a secret promise to myself in the beginning of 2019 that I would not buy anything ready-to-wear for the whole year. I didn´t want to shout it from the rooftops just to fail, but I have kept up with the promise so far with the exception of some underwear, but refraining from buying underwear, socks and stuff like that was not part of the deal anyway.

I thought it would help me to reduce my fabric stash and sew up some old-timers, but while I have been doing that, I have constantly added to the stash at the same time…. I don´t know how to get this under control, honestly. New ideas are jumping up too quick and I am not able to sew them up at the same speed.

Anyway, during my holidays in July, I was speed sewing almost every day and one of the items I made was this McCall´s 7534 dress.

I used a lightweight viscose fabric I got from Finland earlier this year. I can´t say I enjoyed the sewing process too much since it is fiddly, but it feels great against the skin and the dress is perfect for a warm day at work even with the longer sleeves.

Now the sleeves are my only complaint about this pattern. I guess I should have paid more attention to the line drawing, but I didn´t and it came as a surprise just as how much does the shoulder drop on that dress. I think I will repeat the pattern at some point, since the faux wrap fits beautifully, but I will make the sleeveless version.

I also felt that the belt helps to define the waist, although there is an elastic casing as well and I have worn the dress without the belt too.

We took the photos in our bedroom as the dress seems to belong there, doesn´t it, with its muted teal shade? And if you could zoom in then you would witness that there is a pile of pattern books and magazines on my bedside table. I love to go through them before bed but there have been times when the sewing ideas disturb my sleep!

A few more pics:

I guess that´s it about this easy to sew and easy to wear dress. All my other projects currently are on the easy/very easy side as well, but I am gathering my strength for a jacket.

Until soon!

Barbie Camouflage Dress

Hey!

If in the world of Barbie there was an army, I guess among all that pink, lilac etc, this would be the camouflage for blending in!

The truth is I had been looking for a certain fabric such a long time that when I saw this (a pretty similar) one on alfatex.de, I knew in an instant that even the crazy shipping fee would not stop me.

The fabric (a lightweight stretch cotton) was very neatly packed and I loved that they had gifted me a spool of GĂźtermann thread in a matching color! At first I was quite suprised that lilac was chosen as a match but when I thought about it… what else could it be, of course lilac! So I used it for sewing the dress and also picked the buttons in this shade. I wonder what would my own choice have been without this small gift.

The dress itself is so simple that it was boring to make. I patternhacked the Assembly Line Cuff Top into a button up dress by extending the center fronts to create overlap for the buttons and extending the hemline, obviously. I really liked how quick the original pattern was to make and I have worn the top a zillion times. I also liked the simple but interesting elastic cuffs and I was pretty sure I would try to make a dress out of it at some point.

Although boring to make, I love how this dress feels to wear. You can wear it to your grandma´s birthday party and eat all you like, it will hide everything. And while one of the easiest things I have made, it attracts compliments! I am kind of relieved about that because if it was monochrome in lilac, let´s say, then probably people would think I am wearing scrubs and initially I wasn´t very confident about it even in this fabric.

There is not much else to say about this dress, so before some close-ups, I will tell you a story of a real surprise of fabric shopping!

So, in a Facebook group of Estonian sewists, someone posted about closing down her studio and selling all the fabrics off at ridiculous prices. She provided only a general photo of the studio so it was impossible to pick anything of interest from there and physically going to the studio was not an option for me in near future.

So I asked about a certain type of fabric in a comment as many other group members did. The seller sent me a few photos and I picked one to buy but she could only cut it a few days later when going to the studio.

Those few days later I had actually forgotten all about it, when suddenly another member of the FB group sent me a text in messenger, saying that she is present at the studio and she is willing to send me photos of the selection, so that I could shop off the distance!

It came out that she has been reading this very blog for some time and remembered my enquiry in the comments and decided to help out! Needless to say, it is like offering a drink to an alcoholic to celebrate his/her first sober day, but I was so moved and I still find it hard to believe that someone would do that. So basically the fabric just came to me on its own this time!

I picked two fabrics, one striped stretch denim and the other also stretch cotton, but in a beautiful blue shade with white print all over.

Funnily enough, the seller sold my original choice without contacting me about it again, so, thank you, T. for helping me get a great deal on these two as I paid 4 euros/m for them!

And now finally a few close-ups of the dress I was talking about 😀

I also had a holiday in the meanwhile and who has been following on IG, knows that I have made a few things, but more about these in the next post!

Happy sewing and cheers to lovely social media friends!

Bluebell Dress & Catching Up

Hi!

I have so much catching up to do, I don´t know where to start!

Since my last post was about a little Estonian girl needing an incomprehensible amount of money for treatment of SMA, I better share the good news. The money (over 2 million US dollars for the medication plus treatment expenses on top) was collected within about 3 weeks and a week ago she was treated at the Nationwide Children´s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, US. The procedure was successful and she will stay in the States for a few months for follow up monitoring, now let´s hope that the results will be great in long term as well. Thank you so much, who helped either with finances or prayers!

About my own life, lots of things have been going on as well, and if we speak about catching up, then it is the fact that Liisa-Mai turned one on May 1st, so she is already 14 months old by now and just started walking. We celebrated her birthday at home with a barbecue party with friends and family and I pushed myself to finish a matching shir tfor myself and a dress for her. Honestly, I had plans for a fun gingham bowtie for my husband as well, but I ran out of time.

My shirt is Vogue 8772 and while the fuschia gingham was inspired many years ago in Athens by Erica Bunker, the online sewing community´s uncrowned queen (at least in my opinion), the choice of pattern and the fact that I simultaneously made a white version as well, were totally inspired by another sewing community celebrity Emily Hallman.

If you don´t know it yet, she has inspired many to sew in batches and I decided to try it out. I enjoy the outcome, feels like two shirts for the price of one, but the drawback is that the fabrics must be of similar color or you should own two sewing machines, otherwise the constant changing of thread kills the pleasure. In my case, I managed with white thread for both pieces so that was ok.

If it wasn´t for the batch method, I don´t think I would have made two shirts in a row. The continuous lap of the sleeve was something I had never tried, so it was nice to learn something new and get to practice it not two or four times as you would guess, but FIVE because as luck would have it, Liisa-Mai´s dress had the same detail for back slit!

Her dress is from Burdastyle 2/2019, model 131 A in size 80. It is funny, how even a litle girl can understand that she is wearing something different than usually (I don´t dress her in dresses too much, especially until she was not walking yet, the dress would just be an obstacle for crawling) and I think she enjoyed the dress as much as the party. The white details of her dress are made from the fabric remnants of my white shirt!

As already mentioned, my shirts are Vogue 8772 and I guess I will use this pattern in the future again. I cut size 12 and used view D.

I also started working with a very low load already since April and increased it to part time from June. In Estonia the maternity leave is very generous, mothers are paid 100% of their salary for the first 1,5 years but they can postpone returning to work for up to 3 years to stay home with the baby. Additionally, it is possible to make an income up to a certain amount at the same time without reduction in the payment.

So while my maternity payments will continue until November, I chose to work with a small load at the same time. In a way it wasn´t a big change because I had been writing my Master´s thesis since November already and the daily load was similar. And yes…. I finally graduated! The graduation ceremony will take place in autumn and I am not sure yet, whether I will attend, since it means a day trip to Helsinki, Finland, and they have already sent me the diploma anyway. So maybe I can skip making a dress for that occasion 🙂

But I did make a dress for a certain occasion in May. I did not only return to work, but my work tasks also changed and I must admit I am very very happy about it. The new position is definitely less stressful, not necessarily meaning less responsibility, but it involves more planning and thinking long term while the former post was mostly about constantly planning the next week and finding solutions to various issues, often under the pressure of time.

So while generally less stressful, the new position immediately gave me an opportunity to speak at a conference organized annually by one of the leading hospitals in Estonia and that was definitely a stressful challenge for me, especially since I had just started working again. And of course I realized in the midst of preparing for the presentation and also keeping track with the thesis, that I did not have a proper outfit for such an event. You know the rest 🙂 I made a dress!

I never got to take the photos on the day of the conference, but last Saturday my mother in law celebrated her 60th birthday and I got to wear it again and take a few photos this time as well. Unfortunately the blue is not the right shade in the outside photos, the true color is beautiful baby blue.

Since I was competing with time while making the dress, I wanted to use an easy, traced out/cut out/tried out pattern to be sure. The baby blue polyester fabric had been in my stash for about two years (this is nothing compared to the 7 years the pink gingham waited for its turn :D) and it felt good to finally use it.

So I chose McCalls 7539 again (it is the same pattern as the Military Valentine dress), but while in a hurry I forgot to add some length to the skirt. The dress was definitely going to be too short and out of my comfort zone for the presentation. So I just came up with the idea to add a faux second layer to the skirt, so basically the lower part is just attached to the hem of the skirt. I think this solved the issue and it looks intentional.

While sewing, I had some matching blue ribbon lying around my sewing table and I thought it would add a nice touch to the otherwise plain dress, so I attached it to the waist seam.

It is one of the garments that needed relatively little work but offer great satisfaction when wearing. As I mentioned already the color of the dress in the photos, the photos below are more realistic.

Finally, here is a comparative look of the two dresses made with the same pattern:

So while still leaving a lot unsaid, this is a short recap of the background of long silence here. I have bought so many fabrics and my mind is whipping up new ideas for sewing very fast, I only have to arrange my time so that I can realize at least some of them.

Enjoy your summer and happy sewing!

A Call For Help

Hi!

The following has nothing to do with sewing and not really much with me either. But another family´s horrible problem has touched me so much that I have decided to spread the plead for help on this site as well.

I am sorry if anyone finds it inapproriate somehow. I am ok with this and if you don´t feel like helping out, it is ok, this is up to everyone themselves!

Since the story is not mine, I will simply lay out a few facts:

  • there is a 3 month old Estonian girl diagnosed with quite a rare genetic disorder Spinal Muscular Atrophy
  • until recently there was no cure and the affected children lived up to 2 years until their breathing stopped, because the disease disturbs muscle development
  • the medication Zolgensma that really cures the disease (gene therapy) is the most expensive in the world, with a price tag over 2 million USD (yes that´s right)
  • over a million has already been donated in Estonia

If you want to read more, go visit: https://helpannabel.eu/en/, and please consider helping!

The following is copied from the Facebook post of Tartu University Hospital Children’s Foundation that has already given 400 000 euros from their reserves and has opened phone lines and accounts for the same specific purpose (there is also information towards the end of the text for those kind and generous people who would like to donate from abroad!):

ONE MILLION! Thank you so much good people!

A little 3 month old Annabel, whose life depends on the extremely expensive medicine, is gone into the hearts of many people. Today, by midday, the amount of money donated by kind people for Annabels’ treatment was reached to 1, 014 254 million euros.

The Lastefonds’ donation account has received up to 221 167,74 euros, together with 400 000 euros, which came from reserves. Donation account HelpAnnabel, created by Annabels’ parents, has received 392 575 euros total to cover the treatment. The biggest donation, Lastefonds’ account received, was a whole of 22 thousand euros. Phone donation amounts, we hope to get by tomorrow.

Many great businesses have offered their help, by donating money for treatment and also, by offering their time and abilities. For example, thanks to Linna Ekraanid, the information for helping Annabel is able to be forwarded to people everywhere. Thank you so much for your help!

Donating to companies through Lastefond, is tax-free. According to law, the donated amount with income tax credit is up to 10% of yearly income, or till 3% with social tax of taxed amount, in the choice of etrepreneuer. Tartu Ülikooli Kliinikumi Lastefond is sending the data to Maksu- ja Tolliamet by the 1 of February, in the following year.

In response to, what happens with the donations, when little Annabel will not get together the needed amount, Lastefond assures, that the remaining money will go to cover other sick children treatments. This is how our charity organization is functioned for almost 20 years, which is also why, thanks to our regular donaters, the amount of 400 000 from reserves can be added to the cure for treatment.

Today, the essential medical documents of Annabels treatment will be sent to United States to wait for the final confirmation. Thank you, good people, for helping to save the little girls life!

To maintain the donations of the treatment that will save Annabel’s life, You can donate through the bank accounts of the SA Tartu University Hospital Children Foundation (SA Tartu Ülikooli Kliinikumi Lastefond) indicating in the explanation „Annabel“:

Swedbank IBAN EE682200221015828742
SEB IBAN EE261010220014910011
Luminor IBAN EE791700017000285384
LHV IBAN EE527700771000610813
COOP IBAN824204278603586607

Requisites for non-Estonian bank transfer:
Bank: Swedbank, address: Liivalaia 8, Tallinn
IBAN: EE682200221015828742
SWIFT: HABAEE2X

PayPal payment should be directed to info@lastefond.ee with description ‘’Annabel’’.

Let´s hope for the best! Thanks for reading!