The Homewear Set

Hi! I hope this new year has started well at least in personal matters for you all! I don´t know what is wrong with me, but I don´t seem to be able to fully enjoy staying at home even on paid maternity leave, so I have started working part time from home again. I do realize that this means reduced time for sewing, but I really enjoy having different things to think about, not just sewing projects or baby stuff…

For as long as I can remember, my mother has always worn a skirt at home, but I never find it comfortable, even in summer. At home I usually wear a pair of old jeans or track pants and my husband still talks about an especially hideous pair of extra slouchy pants I used to wear at home a few years ago. If it was up to him, I would be wearing dresses, but …

I realized I could make myself a comfy homewear set after I completed my morning robe. I don´t know why, but it never occurred to me earlier than now, when I made an agreement with myself to try to make all of my clothes (excluding underwear, sportswear etc), that I could also make this kind of casual stuff.

I was drawn to Ottobre woman 5/2017 model 10 due to its interesting angled princess seams on the front. This model is also currently the topic of a sew-along on the Estonian biggest online sewing community so I am not the only one who liked this pattern. For the pants, I used Style Arc Joni Knit Track Pant pattern that was the freebie of December 2020. To me, the side seam of the pants that curves to the front, echoes the angled seams of the hoody and I thought these two would work great together.

And they do, actually! There are some minor things to remember for the potential next time: the jacket is a tad too long for my liking, I would prefer it to be about 5 cm shorter (not sure however, if I would like to go through the pain of shortening it, due to the angled seams) and I think if there will be a second time, I would add facings to the fronts because I don´t like the way it looks on the inside right now. There could be a mistake from my side regarding the neckline finishing, but still. But I must admit I was surprised that the general fit of the jacket is spot on, I had heard many times that Ottobre patterns have too much ease, but I measured this one and cut the size 38 and it is exactly as fitted as I wanted it to be.

As for the pants, I went with my regular size 10 for Style Arc patterns and they are true to size, slouchy around the hips and tight around the calves, that is the style. The dropped crotch was a bit scary at first, but eventually they do fit nicely. The only thing I would definitely change another time is the back pockets. The placement is too high for me and I guess I would even leave them off the next time.

I couldn´t find ribbing in the exact shade as the french terry I used, but I think eventually this is good, otherwise the whole thing would look too plain. The cotton jersey I used for the top and for the hood and pocket matches perfectly and to my great surprise I was also able to find perfect zippers, cord and cord end caps locally. Finding the correct size and colour of eyelets was more complicated, but a sewing buddy living in Tallinn helped me out with these too.

I waited until taking photos of these items before wearing them because I knew once I put them on, they will stay as they are really comfortable and now I feel that I look put together at home, too. Little Liisa-Mai (2 years and 8 months old) also exclaimed: “Mommy, this is a very nice set! I like it!” And it must be nice because this girl has an eye for this stuff – she is choosing her own outfits almost every day and also has a say in what her baby brother should wear. I once put on a pair of socks that really didn´t match the rest of his clothes and when we got downstairs, Liisa-Mai immediately demanded that I should change them 😀

Some close ups too:

I have been wearing this set the whole day today and I have also realized that I need another one for sure. I just have to decide whether to use the same patterns or pick something new and what colour should the second set be – I am between really dark purple (too dark?), navy/blue (too boring?) and dark green (too weird?). Anyway, there is thought food for a few days for sure 🙂

I guess I have fooled you a bit, because although these are the first things I am showing you in 2021, they are not the first things I have made. Just hoping to get more photos taken soon.

Happy sewing!

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!

Easy Like A Sunday Morning… Right?

Hi!

So all the while I have been whipping up dresses and what else, I didn´t notice that the one garment that I start and end my day with is literally falling apart – my morning robe! Even my 2-year old started pointing out that it looks “broken” and commented that “daddy will have to buy you a new one!” I loved the last idea, but then I realized I could also make it myself and love it even more because of that. And “daddy” can always spend his money on something else I like but can´t make, right?! But good thinking baby girl 😀

So it seemed like a piece of cake – just find a pattern out of a gazillion patterns out there, but the first obstacle emerged as I realized if I wanted a shawl collar like the old one had, there are not so many patterns at all. There were some that were not in my size range and others that looked good but just without the shawl. Ok, so I finally found Simplicity 8804 that seemed to be perfect until I received the pattern and looked at the back of the envelope. Finished chest circumference 128 cm. 128 cm? 128 cm! So that was about 20 cm too much and the shoulders were also way wider that the original robe had. One thing is that I don´t want to be lost inside my morning robe but the other also that I had bought 2,3 m of cotton velvet for the purpose already and the huge robe would have needed 3,3 m.

So I ended up doing what I had never done before – since the original robe was so worn, I just cut it into pieces and used the pieces as a pattern. It would have been a good idea to create a proper pattern and make everything symmetrical and match up on paper but I just went with it. Even my husband asked: “Didn´t you make a paper pattern first?” Nope.

Actually, being a simple thing as a morning robe is, there was not that much trouble sewing it up per se, but it took me a week because… well… children 😀 Baby Lennart turned 4 months old and I guess he was going through what they say is the 4 month sleep regression because while he has been sleeping tight every night since birth, he pretty much kept me awake all through the past week. Not crying, thankfully, but just sniffing around in his crib, nursing more often than usual and waking up earlier than usual. However the past two nights have been normal again, so let´s hope we are done with this! But the robe… The most complicated part were the pockets where I accidentally didn´t consider the nap of the fabric and one of the pockets would have looked darker than the rest of the garment. But I realized it relatively early… relatively is emphasized here…. so at least I didn´t sew it on yet but I had to create a new pocket and it took some time since the lace, the piping and the bias tape had to be sewn again on top of the pocket.

So what I made differently in comparison to the original robe is that the original did not have the piping feature but the front edge was overcast with bias tape. I figured I could never make the silky tape look pretty and since it runs all over the edge, it would have to be perfecr for sure. So instead, I put a silky piping between the two layers and I love the result. I am telling you, if you contemplate whether or not to use piping, usually “yes” is the correct answer 😀

In the end, although it took me that long, I am happy with the result. The original robe was made of bamboo velvet, the new one is cotton velvet, but they feel very similar, cosy and not too warm. And the shawl collar is a must, it keeps the neck toasty. Initially I tried finding a matching shade of lace an other trimmings, but no luck. Now looking at the photos, I think the cream details are actually even better! And did you notice that the robe has no side seams? So nice against the skin!

I guess you can tell how much I like it 😀 Just loads of photos! By the way, the fact that it matches my bedroom is purely accidental. I ordered the fabric and only realized it later! I was actually looking for a peach shade as the original, but couldn´t find any and now it seems like it had to be this way!

Happy sewing and until soon!

The Fitting Fiasco Jacket

Hi!

I notice that it is exactly a month ago I kind of promised to post something I made for myself 😀 Well I haven´t been lazy especially considering my condition, but taking the photos is the problem, somehow it is never the right moment! I found a second for this today and here you go:

But let´s talk about my recent love affair with Style Arc patterns! Despite of being bad at blogging about my projects, I have sewn up a few of them already (you can see one project in the background of the left photo as well) and there are others in the works. I don´t know really what it is about their patterns, but I guess it must be the simple lines and wearable designs that attract me, plus there have been zero issues with printing and taping the patterns together (at least from the company´s side, that is, haha). And as their motto goes, these are sewing patterns that fit! ……. Which makes it extra ridiculous that I managed to make what is probably the worst mistake during my sewing years!

I chose this easy jacket pattern to keep up with my promise to myself that I should up my game in jackets and to create something easy to wear for this summer, the first part of which I will be very much out of my normal shape with my hip circumference being exceeded by my waist! I liked the lines of the Dorothy jacket and while no jacket would close around my belly, this one with its angled fronts seemed to do better than the more traditional options while worn open.

I used a slightly stretchy fabric I ordered about 2 years ago from Italy on the bolt, I think I got 6 meters of it since I was contemplating starting my own webshop for fabrics. I have since dropped the idea, but honestly, the few fabrics I got then, have been such a pleasure to sew, albeit together with the shipping, far from economical.

The fabric has two good sides, both nicely textured, and it took me a while to decide which side to use. Since I have lots of it left, I will definitely use the darker side as well and who knows, maybe even for the same pattern because as I have mentioned already, I managed to make an unbelievable mistake with this one. I am aware that most of the people will not notice anything too strange about this jacket, but it hit me when I uploaded the first photo to my Instagram account. I had set in the sleeves the wrong way!

I struggled with them while sewing the jacket up and was surprised as I am used to Style Arc patterns coming together easily and also the notches didn´t seem to match… which should have rang a bell, but with my pregnant brain, I just continued and struggled to make it fit (as much it is possible considering the belly) and then completed it just to realize the fact! 😀 Honestly, I could rip it up and make amends, but since the fabric helps to hide the problem I will leave it as it is. In addition, can we actually talk about “fit” at all, given my current shape? However, I love the pattern and this will not be the last Dorothy jacket you see.

We will see when I will finally follow instructions and make an unlined jacket when it is said so, because so far even if I have tried to refrain from the lining, eventually I have still added one. I like how it makes the whole garment look much more professional and I love using either a matching or even better, a contrasting piping between the main fabric and the lining. This one is no exception:

You may wonder why the lining of the sleeves is black while the rest of it is navy – the answer is that I made it during the strictest quarantine and I was not able to get more of the navy stretch lining so I just had to accept the fact that if I wanted to finish it, I needed to use what I had.

I am interested to see how this will fit once I regain my normal shape. Probably we will see that sometime in July 🙂

Happy sewing!

Wedding in Mauve

Hi!

It´s been a while again! This post is going to be about a wedding guest outfit that I made in October for my dear T & R´s wedding. Writing this, I realize that I still need to show you the dress I made for her hen party night!

Anyway, a while ago I found a remnant piece of mauve fabric suitable for a light jacket, discounted by 60%. It was the colour and the texture that drew me to it and I was very happy to soon have a good reason for sewing it up! No better reason than your dear friend´s wedding!

Since upon our return from Spain I only had about three weeks until the wedding and I decided to make the hen party dress as well, I really pushed it with the jacket and the matching dress and honestly, once finished, I felt like I am out of sewing mojo for a while.

The pressure of time was also one of the reasons why I chose the once tested Simplicity 1421 pattern. Once again I added a lining because the mauve fabric is suprisingly lightweight and definitely needed interfacing which I didn´t think would have looked or felt nice right against the skin. Plus I for some weird reason I really like to sew the piping between the lining and the jacket and I love how it looks when finished!

For the dress I used Papercut Patterns Moana pattern. I went with the size smaller than suggested in the sizing chart and it was a good decision. I am not really thrilled with the dress, though. I should have lengthened the bodice since the ruffle runs too close to the natural waist and I envisioned it lower. I also feel that there is too much fullness in the skirt part and quite frankly I wouldn´t be surprised if someone thought I was pregnant while wearing the dress. It looks better with the jacket on, but of course I couldn´t keep the jacket on for the whole night of dancing. The funny thing is, though, that when I compare my version to the ones on Papercut Patterns website, I actually got what I was promised – it looks the same to my eye, but I seem to like it more on the model for some reason.

But I do love the colour of the dress and I actually went and bought another 2 m of the fabric to make a new dress one day to go with the jacket that I think worked out great.

Now fast forward to December. As you probably know, I have made a dress or an outfit for the Christmas party with colleagues every year since 2012 when I returned to Estonia and started with my current employer. That means 7 dresses/outfits and this year would be the 8th! Of course I didn´t want to break the tradition, but for some reason I was absolutely out of inspiration this year.

I actually started making two different dresses but for various reasons didn´t complete them and one of them now will be turned to a pencil skirt and the other one will be completed, but not any time soon. So it was already the final countdown for the annual party when I bought a piece of the most glittery fabric I have ever used and quickly made a cami using the Misty pattern by Sew Altered Style. Take note – this is the same pattern I used for the yet-to-be-blogged-about hen night dress.

Since I had tried the pattern and it was really just a cami, I finished it on time and combined the mauve jacket and a pair of plain black Vanessa pants by Jalie Patterns. I have now made 3 pairs and I guess you can say that I love the pattern 🙂 I haven´t properly blogged about these pants, either.

The perfectly matching shoes are actually at least 9 years old and probably this was also the last time I wore them, but I remembered them while getting dressed for the party and once I put them on there was no way of going back 🙂 the outside is purple but the inner half of the shoe is glittery with fading effect starting from light pink to dark purple on the heel.

So the Christmas party outfit was a combination of one new and two formerly finished items. I wore my coat on top as the party reception was held outside. Unfortunately, not photo of that, but I guess anyone who is into sewing can imagine the satisfaction when you can dress yourself completely in self-made clothes and can be sure that there is no one dressed like you around!

A little memory from the beautiful wedding of T &R

I hope you are having a great time with your loved ones these holidays and also find time for your hobbies – like sewing!

Until soon!

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!

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!

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!

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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The Coat

Ok, this really is one huge achievement for me! I made a coat. A coat. THE coat 😀

I don´t know how it is for others but for me this has been a huge goal and a dream for many years. A dream that took so long to come true because I never had an opportunity to go and actually learn how to make a coat.

I have two failed attempts of coats still in my wardrobe – both unfinished because I got stuck on the way but I find it extremely difficult, actually impossible, to just dump a project. However, these two might be headed to the dumpster because I know now that saving them would be a huge load of work and maybe even not possible.

So before I continue, I have to say big thanks to my teacher Margit whose class I attended once a week from October to November, seven meetings altogether. She basically held my hand when it came to pockets and this curved hem. I am also thankful to the small group of ladies who also participated and whose company I enjoyed very much.

Each class was 3 hours long, but since I live 100 km away from the capital of Estonia, Tallinn, for me and my family it was a whole journey each time. My husband left work two hours earlier each Wednesday and we packed little Liisa-Mai with all of her equipment into the car and drove to Tallinn. Each Wednesday they spent the 3 hours together either strolling in the shops or visiting friends so that I could make that coat. The participation in this course was actually a birthday present from my husband, but as you can see, it was much more than just paying for the course!

Anyway, even with the seven meetings the coat was not yet finished. I had to attach the lining of the left sleeve and as it very often happens – these little things in the end take most of the time and effort. So I actually finished sewing the coat in January and then had to take it to a tailor´s shop to have the buttonholes made. At least this is what the teacher suggested – trying to sew them with a regular home sewing machine would not give a satisfactory result.

The ladies at the first tailor´s shop immediately told me that they did not offer such service anymore and that bound buttonholes would actually show real craftmanship. Yes, agreed, but I just made my first coat! I can keep something for the next one, I believe?? 🙂 Anyway, I finally found a place that accepted the work and… the coat was finished!

The pattern is from a Patrones magazine a few years ago. I actually got the magazine exactly because of this pattern, I was drawn by the unique curved hem and the general tailcoat style. The wool fabric is also from a few years back and also bought exatly for this pattern. I remember a lady buying it and I told her that I thought it was really beautiful and asked her what she would make out of it. She was snappy when she responded so I waited for some time until she left the shop and then asked for the same fabric 😀

But what was it about those two earlier attempts that I wasn´t able to finish them, or more precisely, lost interest in finishing them because I could see that the result would not be satsifactory? For me, it is the lack of instructions in the sewing magazines. I have not seen one coat or even jacket pattern that would advise using as much fusible interfacing as you ACTUALLY need for making a proper jacket or a coat. Or what about sleeve heads? Extra layer of windstopper material? I really tried following the patterns word by word and always ended up with a mess. It makes me sad, because I believe I am not the only one and some people could really get discouraged by this.

So my coat has windstopper inside the back piece (I could really feel the difference today while taking the photos, since I did not add any to the sleeves, for example), self-drafted sleeve heads (so simple, who would have thought!) and lots of fusible interfacing (I had figured that out with a help from a local seamstress already earlier). I used the Spanish size 42 without any adjustments even after measuring the pattern and myself (this is a new thing I learned at the course!) apart from setting the sleeves a little deeper.

It also has this curved hem that actually made things quite difficult – adding the lining and making it fall smoothly was a lot of work and I know that it is not perfect, but I am happy with it anyway, since it is my very first!

As you can see, I skipped most of the buttons on the front. The truth is only one of them was meant to have a buttonhole anyway so after I sewed on the first one it seemed quite enough for me. However, there is a smaller button on the inside to secure the fronts nicely as they overlap.

The fabric is a beautiful striped greyish-pink with a very soft pile. Some of the photos show the fabric more grey than it is. I used pink piping on the lining attatchment seam.

In conclusion, I am beyond happy – happy about the coat and happy about the skills and encouragement I got from the course!