The Winter Sun Dress

Hi!

This dress was supposed to be ready in fall, during the golden leaves season, but life happened and eventually I finished it in early December and even then without the flounces that I planned for the sleeves.

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The pattern is model 115 from Burdastyle 10/2017 but as you can see, I have skipped the ruffles for the hem and sleeves. Instead, I wanted to cut the double flounce from pattern 117 in the same magazine issue and attach them to the lace inserts of the sleeves. I have them all cut out and prepared for sewing, but there is never enough time, so I have worn the dress as it is already a couple of times.

The pattern of course is simple to sew, but as I was afraid that the main fabric might be too flimsy and cold for the season, I underlined the whole dress using a matching lining fabric. I then made a stupid mistake by sewing the bottom lace detail through both layers and now I have to take extra care while ironing the dress after wash because the lining fabric tends to shrink a little more in wash and that makes the main fabric slightly drape above the first attachment seam. Steam ironing the lining helps, although not 100%.

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I love this shade of yellow in combination with dark blue and initially I wanted to make something, combining the yellow fabric, lace and the fabric I got from London in summer (below), but eventually decided that less is more. I might use the leftovers of the yellow lace with that fabric one day, though.

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I think the lace fabric is a wonderful find, both in terms of color but also design. Too much of lace I see around is floral so it is refreshening to see something more abstract. I just picked the part of the fabric I liked the most, calculated the length since I wanted it to extend further from the main fabric and then sew it along the lines onto the main fabric using a zig zag stitch. The colors are a bit off in the next two photos.

The fit of the dress at the shoulders is really precise which is surprising because usually Burdastyle patterns tend to be designed for wider shoulders than mine. I used some of the lace for the back yoke just to add interest.

The size I cut is still 38 as usually with Burdastyle but you may already have noticed that there is a practical reason for picking such a style, with no defined waistline 😉

I have also completed another project, an evening gown for the annual Christmas party with the colleagues, more on that in the next post! Until soon!

 

The Teacher Dress

Hi!

I don´t know what I would have called the dress myself, but my husband teased me when taking the photos that I look like a nerdy teacher in it! Given that I wore for a recent birthday party, it wasn´t the best thing to hear, but here it is anyway:

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The pattern is the Jane dress from Burdastyle Vintage edition A/W 2015, dedicated to the sixties.

It was actually the main reason for buying the special issue back in 2015, but as you know, it often takes me that long before I sew stuff up.

However, my parents recently spent their holiday in Italy, starting from Rome and I managed to convince them to visit some of the fabric shops I visited myself during my own trip to Rome in 2013.

It was a very difficult task for them, my dad initially voted against the fabric my mom wanted to pick by saying it looked like tablecloth! Unfortunately I was taking a nap while my mom desperately sent me photos of various fabrics in Messenger so they ended up buying something that I don´t feel is 100% me, but when I woke up and saw this one among the photos (my mom´s first choice) I just made them go back to the store and get it for me! It was a perfect print for this pattern! It looks a little busy on bigger photos, but the closer look reveals this:

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Isn´t it lovely? It is from Fratelli Bassetti Tessuti and I can´t tell the exact composition, but it is some kind of synthetic fabric with enough body and stretch at the same time, easy to cut and sew and fit.

I struggled a bit while trying to find the matching fabric for the details, at first I was sure they must be black, but the longer I looked at the fabric, the more I felt that the dark burgundy was a better match. Of course it was impossible to find fabric with the same characteristics so I got a lightweight crepe fabric in the right shade and used a thicker fusible interfacing to stabilise it.

The hardest part of the dress is the central piece with its round end. I have seen perfect versions online as well as some rather clumsy ones and I guess I fall somewhere in between with my result. This detail took a lot of time and precision to get it done, but still it is not completely symmetrical!

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I actually added the button day after the birthday party where I first wore the dress, because once again I finished sewing less than an hour before leaving the house! I love  the smart trick by Couture et Tricot who sew an extra button underneath the large one, to support it so that it doesn´t hang downwards, but looks straight. I will add this detail to my dress, too.

I didn´t get into all the couture techniques Couture et Tricot did due to the limited time available. The seam allowances are serged and the hem is finished with fusible hem tape. I also didn´t topstitch as far as the 7 mm the pattern calls for as I remember, but the distance from edge is about 4 mm. My dress is unlined.

The pattern is well drafted and I had absolutely zero issues with the sleeves for example.

I love the feeling of completing something that has been on my mind for so long and it could easily be the quickest I have used up new fabric!

The photos were taken in the new sewing room/office, which still needs some final details as you can see, but we will move in during the upcoming weekend!

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The Day After Dress

Hi!

So it´s one week into our marriage and I finally have a little bit of time to update the blog.

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I will get to the latest sewing project in a minute but I just have to say that the wedding was a dream come true! My vision from the beginning was that since we decided to have a party with friends and family (instead of just doing it in a really close family circle), it had to be simple but fun and memorable with a good band for dancing all night long.

We got all that plus some because the risk we took was choosing the date in September, where the weather is completely unpredictable in Estonia and the wedding day started with the heaviest downpour I have seen in a while and even hail!

It was raining when my dad picked me up from the hairdresser and make up and it was raining when we got to the meeting point with my fiance… and then within a few minutes the sky cleared up and the sun came out so when we walked towards the wedding venue, we didn´t need the umbrella at all! And the rest of the day was calm, warm and sunny so when we had the photos taken, we were actually looking for a shady spot with the photographer Marit Kuusk (you can see her works here)!

The photo with the pink background is taken in our soon-to-be-finished sewing room/office, because we wanted some of the wedding photos to be taken in our home to remember how it was when we tied the knot!

Anyway, many couples in Estonia live happily together and have kids without officially getting married, but we felt this was the right thing for us and it feels amazing! Also, it felt like the right thing to celebrate it with a party and it was a success as we managed to skip all the traditional games that are played in Estonian weddings (that I am not a fan of) and simply have a good time with our guests and dance!

I made a dress for the chance that I get tired of the long wedding gown (which I did not make myself, it was made for me in Riga, Latvia at Ingrida Bridal), but in the end I didn´t change during the party and wore it for the day after since we had invited our guests to take a tour of the house, to see how far we have come with it since last summer. It will be ready to move in in a few weeks so all this is very exciting.

But the dress:

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The pattern is from Burdastyle 8/2014 model 116, again one of my immediate favorites at first glance, but it took me that long to make it.

 

The dress obviously is not a difficult one to make, but the pattern instructions are insane! I just did my own thing from the casing on, and actually did not understand initially that the casing for the waist rubber band has to be created using the seam allowance of the bodice… so I trimmed it too short and had to attach a separate piece of lining fabric to the inside to make it work. Actually it is impossible to understand it on the inside and it might look even more neat.

I also didn´t bother to turn the edge of the casing for the back opening under, I just serged it and I think it saved me from a lot of work and a lot of excessive fabric around there:

 

Instead of making the drawstring from the dress fabric, I bought some ribbon in the matching shade and it works even better due to its silkiness, gliding smoothly through the casing. By the way, if it is not clear, the back opening also has rubber band, so the ribbon is there only to secure the opening a little bit from opening too much.

I used iron-on hemming tape for the hem and it saved the dress because I finished it merely two hours before leaving for the hairdresser on the wedding day!

I also used a special pen this time for pattern markings and seam lines. It was supposed to fade off in a few days, but actually it didn´t! The green pen lines showed through the fabric and I desperately tried removing them with a moist towel. Initially the lines seemed to disappear but later when the dress had dried out, the bleeding marks of he green colour were still visible on close inspection. I still wore the dress and I believe no one noticed and thankfully the green was all gone after the first wash, now I just know better the next time!

As it often happens, there was no time to take the photos on the actual day after, so these pictures are taken a week later and at my parents house:

I am super satisfied with the result and I am contemplating making another one in a different fabric. I just love how simple it is, but it has this trick to it with the back opening and flowy skirt.

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The shoes are actually my wedding shoes, which I did change quite soon into much more comfortable sneakers even with the wedding dress and below you can see how I wore them during our house tour. The shoes are from Dune and the sneakers from H&M:

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Now that this big thing is done, I can relax a bit and hopefully enjoy sewing in the new sewing room soon!

Happy Fall, everyone!

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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Candy Pocket Dress

Hi everyone, I guess its about time for the post of February!

I am in that state of mind where I am avoiding something important I have to do by finding replacement activities and “duties”, I guess its called procrastinating? Anyway, what I should REALLY be doing is to sit down and write my final thesis which is the only thing still on my way to my Master´s degree, but I have been busying myself with sewing instead.

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Actually I have made three items already, but I am trying to force myself to slow down on sewing and finish that dreaded thesis once and for all, so I will keep some stuff to be posted in March.

I used the pattern 104B from the October 2016 issue of Burdastyle in my  usual size 38.

Considering the choice of fabric (poly ponte ) I guess I could have also gone down by one size. But the fabric made it really easy to work with the pockets that at first took me a moment to understand how exactly they are meant to be created. However, I really like the pattern with its fun pockets and 7/8 sleeves!

This dress is the first thing I made in 2017 and it was sewn almost entirely with my new overlocker Brother M1034D! I bought it on Amazon at a price that was about 50% cheaper than here in Estonia as a Christmas present to myself. I actually own another serger too, but that one is a cheap no-name brand and I have struggled with it, so I actually have not used it for any projects. Maybe one day I will have it fixed and then sell it cheap as I don´t need two machines anyway.

I have been wearing this dress twice already (to a birthday party and even to a ballet show!) and always have been too busy to take photos for the blog. And to be honest, I wore it both times without having finished the hem! I just serged it and left it as is because folding and hand-sewing it didn´t seem to be a good idea as neither was using a double needle.

However, I found hemming tape on my recent trip to Riga and then hemmed the dress in less than five minutes using a hot iron. I have been wanting to try this for a long time, but haven´t noticed it anywhere in the local sewing shops. So it can be said that the dress is my first venture into shortcuts and quick makes, because until now I have been bias taping all my seam allowances and done miles of handsewing for my projects. I am sure I will continue with these techniques too, but it was definitely very interesting to try out these new to me things!

Here is a closer look, I really like how clean it looks:

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As I mentioned the recent trip to Riga, Latvia, I can also share the reason for the trip – I went hunting for a wedding dress hoping to find better prices there in comparison to Estonia. We were there on Thursday and Friday and first of all I really liked the city but secondly, I also found the dress! Since the boutique only has samples to show an try on, they are going to sew the dress for me according to my measurements, which means we have to return next weekend for the first fitting. Honestly, I could nearly have picked any dress from their collection, they were all very beautiful, but you can go and see for yourself (and try to guess which one I chose!) on their website.

I think everyone who hears about our upcoming wedding in September, pops the question whether I will be sewing my own dress. I would really like to, but there is this superstition that it will not bring good luck, so I am not taking any chances here! 🙂

I could not resist hopping into a small fabric shop in Riga, I actually saw several of them downtown, but since I had to concentrate on the dress, I only squeezed in one:

Until soon!

 

 

 

 

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!

Wrapping It Up (Dress)

Hi!

I am once again trying to compete with time and get this posted a few hours before the end of the month! And again, what a month!

To put it short, I have been travelling to three different countries, made three new outfits, got promoted at work and still hoping to keep up with the school tasks, just to top it off with a Featured Member interview on burdastyle.com! You can check that one out here!

So, first one of the new items I made. I don´t know how many of you have tried or even know about such a pattern magazine as La Maison Victor, but although I have a few of their magazines and one single pattern, this is my first try to actually make something. I got my magazine issues from sewingpatterns.eu.

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I used their Wanda dress pattern from September/October issue of La Maison Victor, since I needed a semi-casual dress for a conference event in Liverpool and I had just the right fabric (a blue polyester ponte with some fun silver and black zigzag print on it).

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I sewed it up within three or four evenings, including the time for tracing and cutting the pattern. I made the size 38, but could have easily done with a size smaller as well. It requires quite a lot of fabric, about 2.5 metres and you really need it, not like with some patterns where with a clever placement you can cut down on the yardage.

I really liked the suggestion of interfacing the hems, I have read about this technique in some blogs, but always forget the useful tips when they are not mentioned in the instructions. I only used the double needle for the hems and went with one for the rest of the seams.

The two ties are quite interestingly placed in the middle of the waistline and they are really long, but you need it to wrap it properly up and I quite like the effect. You can see the length of the ties here and they are both actually already wrapped once around my waist! I did not finish the ties as the fabric doesn´t fray and I simply think it looks better in this case, as well.

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So, as already mentioned, the dress was made for a conference event in Liverpool. Although I have travelled quite a bit, it was actually my first time in England! And I must say I have the best of colleagues because during these days we only had a few short hours for walking around the city and they agreed to spend a whole half an hour in a fabric shop with me after chasing it down on Google Maps!

We visited Abakhan Fabrics, which actually has several shops in Estonia as well, but I was curious to see whether there is a big difference. The kind shop assistant even mentioned that there should be at least one in Estonia and was a bit surprised I got fabrics, assuming that they must be cheaper with the weaker British pound. Actually the prices were very similar to Estonia, but since I spotted some nice fabrics, I got a few pieces.

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Just a week back from England, I had another work trip to Zßrich. Since I was there alone, I didn´t have to worry about anyone else getting bored at the fabric store and spent a little time in a downtown fabric shop called Stofftrucke.

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The price level is as expected in Switzerland – nothing comes cheap! However, as I always get something on my trips, I made no exception here and got two matching fabrics with a potential for a casual top or tunic.I really liked how the fabrics were laid out in matching colorways and they had great knit fabrics, too!

My picks are here – red is a color you don´t see me wearing very often, but this one is kind of broken, a little bit orangey and I liked how the two different fabrics matched in color:

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So this is it for November. The other two projects I mentioned are going to be for two special occasions – one for the annual university ball, which will be held tomorrow and another one for a wedding just next week. Since both projects still need a few stitches I will leave you with one final photo from ZĂźrich!

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The Holiday Dress

Hey!

As promised, this is the sequence to the previous post on the trip to Greece.

So we hired a tiny car and drove to the island of Evia and all the way through it to the seaside town Karystos. The following days were spent driving around the island, stopping at secluded beaches for a swim and hiking in the beautiful Dimosari Gorge, while the evenings were dedicated to eating (or should I say stuffing ourselves with?) all kinds of Greek food that I have missed. Since we stayed at a fully equipped villa, I even cooked okra with chicken, potatoes and tomato sauce one night, because okra is not available in Estonia and yet it is one of my favorite dishes!

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The second item that I made for the trip is a simple off the shoulder dress. Now I am saying simple because this is what it is supposed to be, but I actually struggled with it! The reason is that once again, something seems to be very off with the latest Burda Easy patterns. If you recall the dress I made some years ago, the problem was that the pattern seemed to be too big. I ran into the same issue this time as well and it could easily mean that I am done with Burda Easy!

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Of course one might ask why use a pattern at all, when there are such great tutorials out there, like this one by Erica Bunker; but I thought it might be even easier to use the bodice pattern pieces from Burda Easy spring/summer 2016…NOT!

See how the model is holding her arms tight close to her body? This is because most probably she has to hide the fact that the armholes of the pattern are so deep that her bra not peeks but completely shows on the sides! What is visible however, is the excess fabric of the bodice because it is so wide that I took off 6 cm on both sides!

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For my dress, I followed the tips from Erica´s tutorial for the calculation of the ruffle and just cut two long rectangles. The pattern of the fabric made cutting really easy for such a dress, I just followed the print lines! The fabric is from one of my trips to Helsinki for my studies, it was about 4 m long so actually I still have plenty of it left. And because it was sold by weight, I paid 12 euros for the whole piece, what a bargain! Even the sales assistant commented that it is really beautiful, too 🙂

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I lined the dress, apart fom the ruffle, with the leftover lining from my Ludovico dress, which only needed a little bit of fabric. The colours don´t match, but the lining is so silky, smooth and cool against the skin, that I preferred this over another lining material that matched perfectly colour-wise.

The lining also adds some weight to the otherwise lightweight viscose, but I still have some quite funny moments captured, where the wind plays with the dress, creating hilarious balloon-effects. This here shows a quieter moment:

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Now the holiday is done and whatever sewing I will be doing, it will definitely be much more wintery. The calendar is merciless, given the work and school tasks plus the house revamp, I might better start thinking about this year´s Christmas party dress!

 

 

End of Summer Dress

Hi!

I am posting this with great effort to avoid leaving two months between posts. Well, date-wise it is two months, but I have a few good excuses for this.

We are all busy and sometimes beyond busy but when it comes to buying a house and moving in while keeping up with the university (yes, even in summer…) and work duties at the same time, I think it is understandable why I haven´t been able to sew much! However, there is a project I managed to finish today, which had been a long time UFO (unfinished object).

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It is a summer dress that I started already last summer. Of course it shouldn´t be such a long project, but it is definitely not a quick make either, this is for sure.

The pattern is from Burda Easy Spring/Summer edition 2014. I don´t really think that this pattern should be called easy (at least for me it was the first try to sew this kind of elastic shirring), but I guess they refer to the fact that the pattern pieces do not need to be traced, since they are already on a pattern paper, ready to be cut out in the suitable size. My size was as always, 38.

I used a lightweight denim fabric for my version, and at first the thing that attracted me to this was that my boyfriend has a denim shirt in exactly the same fabric. By now the fabrics do not look the same anymore, because he has been wearing his shirt often while my dress just sat there unfinished!

I suspect there is a reason why the dress is not shown from behind in the magazine photos, as the back detail doesn´t fit very well. I made several attempts to make mine fit better, but in the end I just gave up and left it as is:

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As you can see, the back details are winging a bit. Now looking at this, one easy solution could be to overlap the details a little and simply change the position of the back button.I might actually try it..

Another detail that complicated my version of the dress is that I decided to line the whole thing, not just the back details. So in a sense it was like sewing two dresses. It makes the dress hang a little more stiff, because I used cotton fabric for the lining, and maybe also a tad warmer that an average summer dress should be, but the deep cut neckline should compensate for this. In fact, I seem to have only one bra that fits well under such a low-cut dress.

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But yes, the photos are taken at my first real home after my parents house as it is not a rental apartment anymore! This also means that among all the other works we need to do here, I will also get my own permanent sewing space for the first time!

I have been sewing on several kitchen tables, on a dining table and at the desk for all these years and my own sewing space that doesn´t need to be cleared up after when I am done for the day has been one of the main things I dreamed about when imagining my own home. I will have to share it with my boyfriends office space, but the table will be mine only!

It will take some time until I can share any details about the sewing space as there are a bunch of more urgent things we need to get started with before, but I am willing to wait!

Until soon!