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!

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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 Gütermann 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!

Daddy´s Girl Dress and Sewing Room Update

Hi!

You know what they say – there is someone for everyone. There is definitely also a pattern for every fabric that makes it instead of breaks it. This dress is an example of this!

My parents brought this fabric from their trip to Italy in 2017, right after our wedding. Actually they brought two, this was the first one they bought as my father thought the latter was like a tablecloth. Once they sent me the photos, they had to go back and buy the “tablecloth” and I made this dress as soon as they got back from Italy.

This black and white rose print however did not really inspire me. I just put it into my stash and felt a bit sorry that my dad had picked it and that I felt so meh about it. When I got pregnant with Liisa-Mai, I had plans to make it into a pregnancy-friendly tunic, but I really-really struggled with concentration (there were times I tried to sew something, but ended up staring the wall) and towards the end I was also unable to sit on a normal chair any longer than a few minutes (or sofa or whatever furniture you normally sit on, the only tolerable thing was a huge Swiss ball). So the tunic never happened.

And then a few weeks ago, I discovered Athina Kakou patterns and the skirt of her Suzy dress was so cute with its faux overlap, that I wanted to make it ASAP. The pattern is designed for knits, like medium weight cotton jersey. However, I am not a huge fan of this type of fabric (I love it on other people, the Suzy versions out there are amazing) and I was going through my stash to find something suitable until I saw that piece from Italy. I wasn´t sure about how this was going to work, you know… a new pattern company, a fabric that is not what´s originally recommended… a million chances to go very wrong.

After measuring carefully and saying a few prayers, I sewed it up within a few hours and thankfully almost everything worked out fine. I am happy with the result, although it is still not 100% “me”, but I used the fabric my dad had picked and my parents like the dress very much!

When I say “almost everything” I mean that I discovered that the bodice is quite short on me, I would feel more comfortable with a few more cm in length. Also, the bodice is maybe a little bit tight. I cut size 10 for the bodice and size 12 for the skirt, maybe I should´ve gone with the 12 all the way.

Only because I didn´t have enough fabric for the very elegant original length, I had to shorten the dress by 10 cm. Normally this is no big deal, but due to the front faux overlap detail, I had to redraw and grade a bit, but nothing too complicated. I also added a band to the sleeve hem, the same width as the neckband. I did so because I accidentally cut the seam allowance straight (on the pattern already) instead of widening it a bit for it to fit perfectly when turned inside. However, eventually I think it actually looks even better like that.

My version does not have pockets, firstly because of the lack of fabric and secondly because they would have added some completely unnecessary bulk. I was actually so tight on fabric that I had to sew the tie belt together from three pieces. In the photo above, the belt has been removed, so you can see how the waistline is actually gathered with an elastic on the inside, which is sewn onto the seam allowance.

Now to the second topic of the post. The sewing room. Well, first I have to say that I started writing this post over a month ago, it was supposed to be published in April and here we are… I am about to complete my Master´s thesis (I talked about it a couple of years ago, but didn´t make it then) and also started working part-time, so to say that my time is limited, is an understatement. So the sewing room news is actually no news any more. But still.

I have shared in the past that most of my sewing has happened on a kitchen table or any other place more or less suitable. And that the dream when moving to our house was to have a small studio space, preferrably shared with my husband so that we can both do our stuff but still spend time together. We have done this for a while already, but the conditions for me were still the same – one small desk and that´s it.

Everything changed when we visited friends in Finland in the end of March and made a long-waited trip to Ikea, to get some missing pieces for my space. We have managed to avoid Ikea so far in an attempt to create a home that doesn´t look exactly as the neighbour´s, but for this purpose I think it was ideal.

Initially I was planning to build a cutting table, combined of two Kallax shelves on high wheels and tabletop, but at Ikea, we found a perfectly suitable adjustable table that is still quite big enough for most of my needs. I don´t mind the crank version (as opposed to the electric one), I mostly have it up high anyway. AND I use it to work on my thesis as well, saves my back! We still got one Kallax for the pattern storage. More space in my wardrobe now!

This is were I spend most of my time actually, either sewing or writing the thesis and sometimes even playing with Liisa-Mai. She loves the big mirror door on the wardrobe 🙂 And she loves going through my envelope patterns, but then I have to be extra attentive.

Notice the funny cushion I have on my chair. My maiden name means nightingale and when I saw this bird by the sewing machine with a green table lamp…. Hilarious! Ok, the bird looks more like a pigeon than a nightingale, but still!

Despite of the lack of time, I have made a few things in the meanwhile. And Liisa-Mai turned one! We were wearing matching outfits, more on that in another post. I also had an honour to speak at a conference last Friday and as I realized I had nothing suitable to wear in my wardrobe… I made a dress. I hope I will be able to post everything sooner than later!

And did you believe my sewing space looks that tidy normally! Of course not! Here I am, cutting out my Suzy dress:

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Paper-Bag Waist Pants & The Cuff Top

Hi!

I have no statistics for proof but my gut tells me that these pants were the most made in 2018:

Well, late as always, I made them in the beginning of 2019 and just managed to take the photos 🙂

The pants are paper-bag waist pants McCall´s7726, view B:

They may not look like that, but they are quite baggy, definitely baggier than any other pants I have and although I think they are an interesting change, I feel a bit funny in them. It is a similar issue with loose fitting blouses – I am so used to wearing tight fitting clothes that something so loose makes me feel awkward.

Also, because I think the most flattering length for this type of pants is the slightly cropped one, I struggled with wearing them during the colder season. I mean, what kind of boots would really fit here? I chose ankle boots with a block heel but I think they look the best with shoes.

While I was sewing the pants there was a stage were the pants are almost finished except for the waist pleats. I showed them to my husband and he actually went blank, saying “Hmm, are you sure you cut the right size?” Because prior to the pleats its like size.. I don´t know… 60 maybe 😀 But I cut my regular 12 and took in about 1 cm from the centre back seam for a better fit and after creating the pleats they are just fine even without the belt.

There was a lot of fun going around during this stage as we made bets whether these were Vanilla Ice or MC Hammer pants. With the help of YouTube, we determined these definitely are Vanilla Ice pants. I don´t think I will ever make MC Hammer pants…

The material I use is quite stretchy cotton twill. Otherwise very nice, but it catches every bit and piece of dust and I might start carrying a lint roller with me!

Now for the top, it is probably one of the easiest things I have made but nevertheless I really like it and although it is also loose fitting, I feel very comfortable in it. The pattern is Cuff Top by Swedish brand Assembly Line.

Easy to make and easy to wear, I think I will make more of these for summer. For this one I used a beautiful sky blue cotton chambray I got from Liverpool some time ago. I had more than necessary for the top, but unfortunaly the fabric had defects so I had to be careful with the pattern placement in order to avoid them and this resulted in lots of wasted fabric.

The pattern is, honestly, very expensive, I think I paid about 30 euros together with the shipping, but the delivery was fast and you know how it is sometimes – you just have to have something. If I make several tops out of it or even lengthen it to a dress with an elastic waistband such as on the sleeves, the price per item will go down.

The nice detail is that they add their label to the package, if you wish.

In the meanwhile I have been busy sewing several garments, some are already finished and waiting for a photoshoot, others need a few finishing touches and as always some are just piles of pieces yet. But the best news is that my sewing space got upgraded to its best ever and you will see it pretty soon, I already took some pics!