Three Is Company

Happy New Year!

I have to start the new year with some old news – once again no chance to take photos until now, although I finished and wore the set below on December 21st already.

photo credit: Markus Sein

I usually make a dress for the annual Christmas celebration with colleagues, but this year I knew I was going to be short of time and I thought I would only make two super easy things – a pencil skirt and a sleeveless little top to go with it.

The top is McCall´s 7601, view A and the skirt is Burdastyle 8/2012, model 111 (I have used this pattern before). I must say that this is the one pattern that does not need any adjustments, I need to remember that when planning another pencil skirt!

I used lightweight cotton sateen for the top and I had it in my stash for some summer pants. But when I discovered how well it goes with the brocade I knew I would have to combine the two somehow. The top doesn´t look like much, but it takes surprisingly lot of fabric so basically no leftovers from the yardage I had for pants as the top ate up 1,6 m of fabric!

The front slit is very deep, I raised it by about 5 cm and could raise more but then the bust area becomes too tight. Thankfully there is the bow so it covers up the occasional view of the bra. The next time I would also raise the armscye because I had to choose the bra very carefully for it not to show from there as well.

I am hoping to wear the top in summer as well, with some casual pants and probably not tucked it. For the pencil skirt, I think the tucked in look is better.

Then the idea of a jacket came along while I was making the former two items and I still tried to keep it simple – the pattern is originally without lining. I even decided I would only serge the seam allowances to save time, but couldn´t help it in the end and just two days before the party, cut and sew the lining as well. It is just so much more comfortable and looks fully finished this way, I am super happy I took the time to do it!

The pattern is Simplicity 1421, view A.

As you can see, I omitted the pockets since I think they are a sporty detail and I wanted a more classy look. I think this pattern is great! It sews up really fast (the fabric worked extremely well, too) and is flattering. I might use this one again soon for maybe a more relaxed look.

Overall, I am very satisfied with the outcome as instead of one dress I now have three separates that can be combined with other items I have.

The brocade fabric is simply wonderful, I ordered 6 meters from Italy and if anyone is interested, I have over 3 m of it left and would happily sell it! The composition is 50%PL, 29%VI, 13%MD, 8%CO. The width of the fabric is 144 cm and weight 320g/m. I paid EUR 34/m for it, but I am willing to sell at EUR 30/m! Let me know if you are interested!

Hopefully you have had a great start of the year 2019!

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Me and Mini Me

Hi!

You knew this was going to happen, right? 😀

Well, I couldn´t resist! These are the dresses I made for Liisa-Mai´s first Christmas, we wore them already for the childrens Christmas party at my workplace, but definitely will wear them for the Christmas dinner with family as well. I actually have cut out a tie for my husband in the same fabric, we´ll see how this turns out. And then this might be the best use of fabric I have ever managed, although I bought the piece without any clear ideas about 2 years ago. But for the readers in Estonia – I noticed it was still on sale in Kangadzungel!

The pattern for my dress is Burdastyle 9/2013, model 108 (size 38) and for Liisa-Mai, 07/2012, model 145, size 74 – she is 7,5 months old already!

I love that I managed to find two patterns that have identical sleeves 🙂 Liisa-Mai´s dress is a bit simplified, because I realized that if I want to make a tie as well, there will not be enough fabric left after this skirt piece with its pleats and gathers. So I omitted the pleats, which I think would have added unnecessary bulk anyway plus the plaid fabric probably would have hidden them, too. So Liisa-Mai´s dress is just gathered, I used as much fabric as I had which was about 10 cm less than it would have been with the pleats.

I added the piping detail for her dress sleeves and if I had had more time, probably would have done the same for the collar. I also contemplated using the blue fabric for the bodice and then add the collar and fabric-covered buttons in plaid. It would have been really cute, but the blue fabric is 100% synthetic and the plaid felt more skin-friendly. The blue pieces are remnants from my Estonia 100 dress.

For her buttons, I used a special set that I purchased some years ago from Singapore. It is a great way to add some personality to a garment and I think it is especially cute for a baby! There are three hidden press studs down the front of her dress as well.

As for my dress, I shortened it about 15 cm and as you can see, added piping to the neckline, sleeve edges and the curved darts. The dress is fully lined with one of the most luxurious-feeling lining fabrics I have sewn with, a stretch and silky lining by Versace. I used the same fabric for her sleeves as well. It was such fun to see the tiny sleeves sewn up exactly as the big ones!

I am quite satisfied with the plaid match and placement and especially about the fact that although I managed to finish my own dress at a relaxed pace, the final decision to try to make hers for the party was made the previous evening…. I literally attached the last press stud like half an hour before leaving for the party!

I have actually dedicated a lot of time on sewing these past months and there is a big project waiting for its reveal, but it needs final touches and then there is the annual Christmas party for which I am also making a few things. So more to come, just a little patience!

Happy upcoming holidays!

Trips and Tops

Hi!

Travelling with a baby sounds quite horrific to many people and I admit I was one of those who secretly crossed fingers when seeing someone with an infant boarding the plane. However, when I think back to this, I can´t really recall a flight that has been unbearable because of a baby crying, so perhaps it is more an idea in our heads that babies don´t tolerate travelling well.

You may have already guessed where this is going and yes, you are right – we just got back from a trip to Chisinau, Moldova, together with Liisa-Mai. It was work-related for me but I couldn´t have done it without taking my family with me and as my  husband supported the idea from the beginning, we just did it.

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It was the craziest trip in my life so far but not because of Liisa-Mai, who just giggled or slept during the total of four flights, but because we managed TO LEAVE OUR LUGGAGE HOME! Seriously… I would not believe it unless it didn´t happen to me. The airport where our flight was leaving from is about 3,5 hours drive from our home and we even made a stop to feed the baby and change diapers, but did not realize we had only packed her pram and one backpack with her travelling essentials into the car, the other two carefully packed suitcases stayed home 😀

Just try to imagine the feeling upon realization! But there was no time for panic so when we understood that we at least had the passports and boarding passes with us, we decided to fly.

I am still trying to digest the whole experience of our short stay. The most impressive thing was the hospitality of the people we met. The country is by no means wealthy but as one of our group members said – you feel like you are wrapped in warm hospitality as a guest.

The reason for the trip was a long-term cooperation project between the two countries but apart from work, the free time was also organised by the hosts who took us to their national pride – Cricova winery but also to one of the hosts´summer cottage where he makes wine himself. They took the time to show us around as much as possible within the very short time we had available. I was even taken to fabric shopping! And then one of the hosts gave us his own big suitcase to take our several bottles of wine and many boxes of delicious Bucuria sweets home. So as we started our trip with no luggage, we ended up having an overweight suitcase on return!

The fabric shopping was a quick run to one of the shopping centres in Chisinau. It was a very interesting experience, because the whole floor was separated to small nooks, each operated by a different merchant and having their own display and selection of goods. I was lucky to get the chance to go there at all, but of course I wish I had more time to concentrate amidst all this. I got two fabrics which were an easy pick because of the eye catching print and embroidery. Probably it would have been wiser to buy something more wintery, but these were easy to notice in the rush and I really like them. The embroidered piece is the one you can see on the lower right photo.

 

The plan was also to take photos of some of the items I have made in August and September, but since there was no luggage, that didn´t happen.

However, I recently made two tops using La Maison Victor Rumer Top pattern. I am wondering how can it be that I have time for sewing but not for photos. One of these tops was ready long before the handkerchief hem dress that I last posted!

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I made the following version of the top using leftovers from past projects. It feels really good to use up all the fabric! I also made the yellow skirt a few years back and the idea was to wear this outfit for my presentation in Chisinau.

I didn´t have enough fabric for the flounces but I think that´s OK. I felt the shirt would look too plain without any embellishment, so I used a strip of yellow lace on front. My husband teases me by saying that the shirt reminds him of some national costume but he is not sure which country 😀

It is my first woven tee and I am surprised by how comfortable it is! The only downside is the need to iron it.

I also made another version with the flounces, again peasant-style according to my husband! I guess it has to do with the trim that I have hadded but once again I would find it too plain without it.

We tried to take photos of this during our wedding anniversary trip to the island of Saaremaa for a weekend spa holiday but then the weather was so windy and cold that my husband refused to take any photos where I am not wearing a jacket! As a result I only have a few shots.

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The trim itself is as narrow as you can see on the sleeve edge, for the front I just used two strips that are sewn to place back to back.

For both tops I used ready made bias tape for the neck finishing. I cut size 38 and of course it is a very easy project to sew but I am not entirely happy with how the sleeves are set.

The material of the first top is cotton chambray and the flounced version is in lightweight polyester that has a slight seersucker effect. I would say the latter is more forgiving in terms of fit but the top with the yellow trim is definitely my favorite of the two!

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In addtion to these tops I also made something for my husband (also no photos yet) but this is the topic of the next post already!

 

The Abstract Tropicana Dress

Hi!

It is rare that the reason for not having posted something in a while is actually the lack of time to take photos, not the lack of time for sewing. However, weirdly enough, this happened in August. I have actually two finished items to show, but just managed to take the photos of the first one today!

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The pattern I used is McCall´s M7351, view C.

There is a chance that I will make the belt too, but until now I have been wearing the dress as it is.

 

As I already mentioned in previous posts, the summer in Estonia has been exceptionally warm, so the dress has been a life saver as the fabric is cotton poplin, very lightweight but at the same time it has some crispness to it, so as not to look like a huge (used) handkerchief 😀 I bought the fabric from my trip to Paris with my mother a few years ago and it was sold as a 3m coupon. I remember thinking that this is unnecessarily lot but it was exactly what I needed for this dress!

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I love the fabric with its retro vibe, I love the pattern and I am considering using it again but perhaps with a more traditional hemline. And lastly but definitely not less importantly – due to its button up style, this is another breastfeeding friendly garment! Win-win!

There is a funny story to this dress as well. I don´t know how you ladies motivated yourself during childbirth, perhaps imagining yourself holding your little one already or visualising some calming natural environments to soothe the labor pain or maybe nothing at all but believe it or not, I imagined wearing this dress and walking with my baby in the pram by the seaside 😀 I had not even yet bought the pattern for the dress!

As said, I rushed taking the photos so unfortunately I don´t yet have a photo of this exact situation to show you, but I have been walking by the sea while wearing this dress and pushing the pram many times already. Our pram is in the same purple shade as the darkest flowers on the dress so it matches very well!

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The only changes made were omitting the side seam pockets and using a ready made bias tape for the armhole finishing.

I am enjoying these last days of summer which already have a hint of autumn in the air, although the weather is still perfectly suitable for this dress. And our little Liisa-Mai, who played her role in the creation of this dress, will turn 4 months old tomorrow!

Until soon!

The Mixed Media -Florals and Stripes Dress

Hi!

As I mentioned in a recent post, I realized how few of my clothes are breastfeeding friendly, so now I am on a mission of making a few items that would fill the gap. Yes, of course, it is possible to manage with regular clothes as well, but I definitely feel more relaxed when I know that I can feed my baby discreetly basically anywhere should there be a need when our daily plans change, for example.

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Ironically enough, the past week has been extremely hot for Estonia and I cannot take little Liisa-Mai out during the day anyway. This is also the reason why these photos are taken in the setting sun with its less than ideal light conditions – this has been the only time to enjoy the outside without having to fear for a heatstroke.

So I made this dress with a few modifications once again as the pattern is one I have used before, Burda 10/2017 model 115.

The most visible modification is the length of the zipper of course. I also debated for a long time whether I should do an exposed zipper or not. This beautiful lace zipper (bought from Helsinki a few years back) was the only suitable one in my stash at that moment and I eventually decided I will not hide it. Neither did I have the patience to go next day and buy a regular one 😀

I also lengthened the dress by approximately 10 cm which seemed to be a good idea as it seemed really short. However the ruffle is much longer than I expected and I realized it only after I had sewn everything together. Well, I wasn´t exactly excited about ripping it off and taking the extra length out and also shortening of the ruffle didn´t seem to help much. So while I was staring angrily at my reflection in the mirror, my husband quietly suggested a belt and… it solved the issue although the end result is not exactly what I had in mind.

And once again I omitted the sleeve ruffles even though I had prepared them already! It just seemed that there would be too much going on with the floral, stripes, lace zipper, belt and bottom ruffle!

The fabric is one of the cheapest I have ever used at EUR 7,5/m and the tag stated it is cotton. I am not so sure anymore, it could be some kind of cotton mix since the fabric hardly wrinkles, it came out of the washing machine nearly dry and it seems ironing can be skipped. It still feels very comfortable  to wear, though, even in this heat we are experiencing.

And last, but not least, I cant not mention that I had a fantastic experience on July 16th as I attended my first (!) really big open-air concert – the Guns n´Roses Not In This Lifetime tour! As I got home with the official T-shirt, I realized that I now have one more top to go with my red skirt, should I be in the mood OR should it ever happen that I get a chance to see them again! Who would have thought 😀

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The Tie Blouse

Hi!

With little Liisa-Mai around, my wardrobe choices have become somewhat limited as there are too many boxes to be ticked – the garment has to fit reasonably in the bust, fit reasonably in the belly area; be breastfeeding friendly and finally, be suitable for the occasion!

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I realized how few of my clothes are actually button-up or wrap style in order to allow comfortable breastfeeding! The other issue is the belly – I have lost most of the baby weight by 8 weeks postpartum, but the belly is resisting, especially as I used to have a pretty flat one prior to pregnancy (of course I would never have agreed to that statement back then, there was always little something too much in my opinion!) and the clothes were sewn to fit that body, not the one I have at the moment.

The pattern I used for the top above is Simplicity 8601 and it is not breastfeeding-friendly, however it does conveniently have a center front seam! So all i did was adding an invisible zipper to the front seam and omit the back closure. I cut size 14 and used view C for my blouse.

I also did not use the facings, but went with white cotton bias tape instead.

 

I am so satisfied with the result that I think I will repeat it. However, I think three ties on one blouse is a little too much, I would rather prefer either one in the front (and then go sleeveless) or only keep the sleeve ties. My husband also came up with a good idea – to make the front and back piece identical and without the tie – then the blouse would be more like a shirt and could be worn with a belt for example. I need to consider all these options before cutting into the next fabric.

 

I actually prefer to style the blouse with pants instead of a skirt, but we have had an amazing spring and summer this year so far – much warmer and sunnier than usually and of course this makes the long walks with Liisa-Mai very enjoyable.

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The fabric I used is a good quality cotton gingham that a dear friend of mine brought from his business trip to Germany a few years ago. When he gave it to me, I was a little “meh” to be honest, but for this project it is perfect, breathable and I love the light blue color too! I am happy I could find a good use for this old-timer in my fabric stash!

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It is hard to get the shade of this baby blue correct in photos, it is definitely brighter than in the photos taken indoors, however slightly duller than on those taken outside 😀

Some close ups too:

 

Next post is coming soon as I managed to finish a long time unfinished project recently!

Happy sewing!

The Blue Gown

Hi!

Would you believe that with all these years of sewing, I never made a maxi dress? This one is my first!

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I have a few ready-to-wear ones for summer, but generally I prefer to enjoy the warm weather in short and light clothes. There is only one maxi dress that I have worn to pieces and it is made of very breathable and lightweight cotton batiste.

However, as the annual Christmas party at my workplace was approaching fast, I needed something that would tick several boxes – appropriate for the environment since this years party was held at an old art nouveau style mansion (it is worth checking it out: Ammende villa), easy and quick to make since I was running out of time, fit me in the current circumstances and preferrably be wearable in the future. I managed to tick all those, plus as a bonus, I could use up some of the fabric from my overflowing stash! Win-win!

So the lucky winner pattern was Vogue 9104:

I am very happy I took the time to look up some blog posts on this pattern because a few of them mentioned the problem with the armholes being too low-cut. I guess it has to do with the weight of the fabric as well, because you need 4.1 meters of it for size 10 and the armholes can easily be dragged lower by the weight of the dress! The pattern also recommends lightweight jersey, but with this amount of fabric, jersey would definitely stretch even more, causing the armholes reaching too low. So just to avoid the trouble, I raised the armholes of my dress by about 2,5 cm and I am thankful I did! Instead of using the facings provided with the pattern, I used bias tape to finish them, another tip from one of the blogs I read!

It took me a while to decide what to do with the lower contrast part of the dress. I had just enough fabric in my stash for the upper part of the dress and I had it already cut out, so the task was to find something suitable for the contrast. It was really not easy. I considered sequins, but eventually they were not in the right shade; I was also thinking about using silvery lurex, but I was afraid the end result would be something in the lines of Ded Moroz, the slavic equivalent of Santa Claus:

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Photo source: http://www.artlebedev.com/mandership/173/

In the end I bought some glittery stretch lace and backed it up with matching lining fabric for the lower pieces:

This meant I had to cut the lower details out not four, but eight times and additional seams to join them. Not hard to do, but so time consuming, especially because the lining fabric is slippery and the pieces are quite big. It took a lot of pinning, basting, pressing and sewing. The seams are really long as well! And yes, the glitter was all over the place!

As you can see, the photos are taken at my parents place and my shoes don´t really match the dress, I just borrowed them from my mom for the photos. We actually tried taking photos at the villa since we stayed the night there but initially the cameras battery was dead and the next moment we had time to take the pics was at 3 AM, my husband almost asleep and my own face sleepy as well. The light conditions were not ideal either, but we took a few before going to bed:

The belt I am wearing was a must, I would have felt huge otherwise. It is metallic, but very elastic like spring and I love the leaf motif of the front closure:

Honestly, in my opinion this dress is as good as it gets in terms of the choices an expecting mother has for an evening gown! It is very comfortable and shows enough while hiding enough at the same time! For example I got really tired of wearing tights during the evening and due to the length of the dress, I could just remove them and go on without anything digging into my belly. In addition, since the lower contrast parts are not joined at all, the slits in front and back are quite deep, so there is some sex appeal to the dress as well.

Another great tip I got from reading blogs was to cut a size smaller than usual due to the really extreme looseness of the pattern. So instead of my regular 12, I cut it in size 10 and I think it was absolutely worth it. I also omitted the side pockets, because… who would need them really?

While the dress was halfway finished without the lower pieces attached yet, I also discovered that it would make a great summer dress in short version.

And last but not least, we had a professional party photographer, thankfully, so we managed to get a pic together with my husband, too:

We have a collective holiday every year during the Christmas and New Year so I am totally enjoying it now, preparing some patterns and sewing but also meeting friends and spending time with my family.

Just a few days left until Christmas, may you all have beautiful holidays with your loved ones!