Pleather and Jacquard Affair

Hi!

This is the first of what will (most probably) be three posts regarding my latest collab with Abakhan fabric stores. This time I got several fabrics that will not make up one cohesive set, but separate items that I will match with others, made from fabrics in my stash. So these posts will take some more time as I am making more than one item for each.

The first up is this simple looking, but not so simple to make, set of Itch to Stitch Hepburn turtleneck (my second time using this brilliant basic pattern) and Itch to Stitch Danube skirt.

You can probably tell after seeing this photo, why the set was not so simple to make 🙂 I had a piece of beige pleather in my stash for about two years already, for a skirt one day. And the day came when I found this pretty jacquard knit on clearance on Abakhan online shop.

Pleather can be tricky to sew with and honestly, it took me way longer that it should have just because some days I treaded sewing the next step as there was absolutely no way to unpick the seams without leaving ugly marks on the material. Also, when sewing multiple layers of pleather, the material sticks to the foot of the machine and I got through some parts only by holding my breath! On the other hand, the material surprised me positively too, because I could actually press it carefully on the inside of the garment and while I was not sure whether this will be wearable at all when I started off, eventually the skirt looks exactly as I planned and is surprisingly comfortable, too.

I made a few changes to the pattern, mainly due to the limitations of the material – I left off the coin pocket, did not topstitch the waistband and did not use bar tacks to fix the fly shield in place. In addition, I didn´t use a button, but attached two press fasteners as I thought it would be near impossible to get a nice looking buttonhole and there would not be a second chance after the first try.

Also, the front fly instructions are a bit different than for the Liana jeans that I recently made. After comparing the Danube and Liana instructions, I used the latter for this skirt. I was afraid that with Danube instructions, the zipper would be too close to the fly edge as has happened with some other patterns in the past. I don´t know if it really would be the case, but I wanted to be sure, so went with the Liana instructions in this part.

For the Hepburn turtleneck I only had just enough of fabric to squeeze out the length of these sleeves. It is shorter than the full length, of course, but longer that the 3/4 option of the pattern. The latter seemed too short even for me, although I tend to prefer shorter sleeves. The cotton jaqcuard knit is quite thick and less stretchy than the ribbed cotton jersey I used for my first version, so it fits tighter and is also tighter around the neck. But I really like the pattern of the fabric, it is so versatile while still kind of neutral due to the colors.

In conclusion, it really is as my dad says – the things that offer the most satisfaction, don´t come easy. It was not easy making this skirt and someone should really hold me back if I happen to say that I am going to make something in pleather any time soon 🙂 but still, satisfied with the result!

Thanks, Abakhan, for providing the material for the top and therefore giving me inspiration to use another material in my stash!

Until soon!

PS. SPRING IS FINALLY HERE, even if only in the calendar! Happy spring!

Finally done! (The Fireworks Project)

I know many of you will expect this title to have to do with the worst year in so many people´s lives. I don´t rush to call 2020 that bad PERSONALLY because how could I, having had our precious baby boy arrive in mid July? But I have to admit that the overall Covid situation even though no one in our family has fallen ill or been affected too badly by its collateral damage in terms of job loss etc, has grown heavy on me as well.

The title actually has to do with the last project of 2020 and it is this dress accompanied by a jacket that looks plain on the outside but is quite fierce on the inside 🙂

And it is no usual project either, being my first collab with a company, Abakhan Fabrics, that has several shops all over Estonia, the other Baltic States and Great Britain. I have personally visited one in Riga and one in Liverpool. They have a large variety of fabrics and honestly I was quite thrilled when they approached me because when they opened their beautiful store in downtown Tartu (my childhood hometown), I was a teenager, already interested in sewing and I remember vividly how I loved to indulge myself in the fabrics on offer.

After taking a look at their website which unfortunately does not represent even half of what you can find in stores, I decided to go for a simple dress in a remarkable fabric. However, it turned out that there was not enough yardage left for my project so I quickly rearranged my plans and decided to go for a skirt in said fabric, a top and a jacket. BUT…. when the package arrived, it appeared that since the piece had been the very last one on the roll, there was actually enough for my dress! So once again, plans changed and here we have a jacket and a dress.

Now the reason for such a title is that the pattern for the dress, Burdastyle 12/2020 model 112, is really off. I was careful enough to measure the pattern first and to my great surprise I had to cut a size larger than normal and still add extra room for the hip area. When comparing the pattern to the measurement chart, it looks like the pattern has been designed with zero wearing ease! And no, not for knits, but wovens!

The muslin did help out in terms of avoiding complete failure, but there was still too much tweaking to do around the bodice and even after all this work, I can´t say that I am 100% happy with the fit since the back neckline is gaping slightly.

The pattern is originally designed unlined, but due to the fabric I chose (slightly sheer and scratchy on the wrong side), I had to add a lining to the dress. At some point, when I could try the dress on already, I realized I want to skip the sleeves. This is again weird, but the armholes are not big at all although this is what usually happens when the pattern is designed with sleeves and you just leave them off. I wonder if I would have pushed through with the sleeves, would that have been another nightmare in the process?

So a dress that looks really simple, turned out to be a lot of work – fit issues, adding a lining, main fabric that only accepted tailor´s tacks for markings… you name it! I guess the two things that kept me going were the fact that the fabric is really beautiful and that I was working on a sponsored project that I was documenting on Instagram stories.

The jacket is a pattern that I have used three times already, Simplicity 1421. I think it is a wonderful pattern that fits well and works great with a wide range of fabrics and is a simple design that looks good for special occasions. It is not designed as lined, but I have always added a lining because it just upgrades the whole thing. Plus my favorite, the piping, of course!

In this case the pattern was tried and tested, but both fabrics frayed like crazy, making the process more difficult than it could have been. The fabric that I chose for the lining is not a lining per se, but just a very fluid, silky polyester that can be used for a top or even a slip dress. I am not sure whether this and my dress fabric are from the same producer, but it looks like exactly the same pattern, doesn´t it? And I know that while wearing the complete set, no one will see the lining, but this is what makes sewing so fascinating – the ability to create things that at first exist only in your head and then adding those “secret” personal touches. If ten sewists would be given these fabrics, we would have ten different end results! And this is mine!

To those of you who will wonder, where and when will I have the chance to wear these clothes, the answer is that the dress will be worn for New Year´s Eve at home because we will have friends over and I always like to dress up even at home on Christmas and New Year´s Eve. The jacket will have to wait its turn, but given that it is a classic black piece, it will definitely have many occasions in the future.

In terms of sewing, 2020 has actually been a good one – I upgraded techically as I bought my Juki HZL-F600 (it is technically the same as the F700 but white instead of fuchsia on top) and as my husband fulfilled my birthday wish by gifting me a remote and a tripod for taking photos. Considering how cumbersome it was to find time for both of us at the same moment especially with two kids, the tripod and the remote have been a relief for him as well. I also completed some garments that I am proud of, for example the Tommy coat and the Burgundy jacket. Considering that I was pregnant for the first half of the year and later having two kids at home, I have also been rather productive. And to top this, I was offered this exciting collab from Abakhan!

I hope for the new year to bring further adventures in sewing but most importantly I hope that the vaccines will help the world to turn to normalcy sooner than later!