The Feel Good Dress

Hi!

While preparing for the trip I felt that I can be satisfied if I manage to finish one item and eventually managed three! In addition, during what could have been my most productive week in all history, I also made a sweatshirt dress and a set of pajamas as a gift for the kids of my friends.

This dress was cut already sometime in summer and then put aside as more urgent projects came on. But honestly I had been preparing for this for a very long time already, at least from the beginning of the year. It started with a RTW dress that I saw on a website and later on some instagrammer and I loved the style and the colour:

Image from aboutyou.ee
Style Arc Vivian pattern

I started looking for a pattern that I could use to try to copy the look and I succeeded with Style Arc again. They have some patterns that are only sold as paper versions and not pdf-s and I always shopped the latter but once more or less accidentally happened to check out the paper pattern section and there it was – the Vivian vest/dress. I ordered it and although there were warnings that due to the lockdown and restrictions all over the world, the package might take very long to arrive, it was with me in about 2 weeks I would say. Anyway, I was surprised at the speed. Since if you order at least one paper pattern you are eligible for the freebie of the month in the same format, I saved myself the effort of printing and also got that month´s freebie pattern on paper.

I then started looking for a suitable fabric, which I again consider a jackpot as I found this velvety tencel (?) heavily discounted at one of the shops that I can visit maybe once or twice a year in another town. I think it was 80% off at about 3 euros per meter (can you believe?) and I got almost 3 meters having exactly this pattern in mind. I was actually really surprised at how much fabric this apparently simple dress uses up but if you consider that there is a wide facing on both of the fronts as well as half of the back then it is like sewing 1,5 or even more dresses at once. I didn`t realize this until I saw the pattern. It is very cleverly designed and the design leaves the inside very neat. For example, the cuffs are sewn on only on the outside, on the inside it s all facing! The assembly is a bit tricky due to this construction, but completely doable. I got a bit shaky when I reached the buttonholes though!

When you compare the inspiration dress to mine then of course the “original” doesn`t have buttons and at first I was quite sure that I will not add them to my version either. I changed my mind when I tried sitting with my dress and I realized that without the buttons (since mine is open in front) I would have to think too much about decency and I also would like to wear it to work in summer. So hence the buttons and buttonholes. Well, 6 buttonholes that have to be perfectly aligned. The ones farther from the edge were tricky to get pretty because of the amount of fabric on the way. But eventually I only had to rip one of them!

Then there were the buttons. I had some at home that I was planning to use if I can`t find a better shade. I thought I had seen the same buttons but slightly greenish at the local store and was planning to go there but got soaked in rain and turned back. The second chance was also the last as it was the day before my flight and eventually I had to ask my husband to go to the store like 10 min before closing time to pick the buttons. It turned out they did not have the greenish shade that I had imagined and he brought two sets of others to choose from. Finally it was my daughter who decided which ones to go with!

Another detail of course is the pockets. While my dress was still without buttonholes, I thought that I would add them in order to mimic the inspiration dress, but after the buttons were in place I decided it would look too busy and left it as is. BUT, I love love love the outcome and I am planning to make another version that would be more wintery and that could be worn more like a vest, over a top or turtleneck and possibly even slim fitting pants underneath? I can reconsider then.

Seriously, I picked the title of this post just because this dress makes me feel so good! Casual enough, classic enough and very comfortable. I wore it to an other fabric hunt, this time in downtown Telde where my friend took me. It is a shop with long history and they have even kept their insignia from 30 years back as the friendly and (typically Spanish) talkative lady told us.

I was already worried about the limitations of my luggage so I only got one fabric. I could have gotten three… Anyway, I picked a light colored checkered fabric that I believe is a blend of viscose and polyester but I cannot be sure. The shop reminded me of the Athenian fabric stores where for every detail you have to ask the shop assistant. How could one possibly remember the exact composition of each fabric and their price, is beyond me. Actually of course it is not possible, so you just have to trust their word or use your own common sense when it comes to the composition and the price.. well you never know, right? I didn`t get this feeling here but I did many times in Athens that the shop owner just decides on the spot, what they will ask you.

As you can see, I also got some haberdashery, mainly elastics, buttons (from a giant Chinese store) and quality thread (Gütermann annd Coats, from the department store of El Corte Ingles the other day).

Although I had planned to, eventually I did not visit any fabric stores in Las Palmas, We were thinking to go there to another Kilo shop but as the assistant in this small one told us, the Las Palmas store is bigger but they offer lots of craft and costume fabrics, so that at least according to her, the selection of dress fabrics is actually smaller there. And anyway, can I complain? I got 10 meters of fabric altogether during one week and my luggage was full of all kinds of stuff to take home – from kids´ clothes and shoes to wines, cheese, jamon, local sweets and so on.

Now that I am back at home, it is such a nice throwback to this warm and sunny week in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Just today my dear friend sent me a few pics of her sweet daughter E, for whom I made one of the sweatshirt dresses (in September and October I made 4 all in all!) I guess she likes it!

As I mentioned, I actually completed 4 of such dresses, the first three are below, the pattern is from Burdastyle 10/2013, model 146. Three of the dresses, as well as the one E is wearing, are in size 110 and one in 122. You can see that it is a tad big for her but children grow so fast that this will not be an issue for long. I used brushed sweatshirt fabric with metallic thread in 4 different colors altogether and even the cuff fabrics were all lurex. Since I made little E´s dress the last, I had to get some extra fabric and chose this brighter strawberry pink. I think it matches her sunny and sparkling character perfectly!

Until soon!

The Hope Dress

Hi!

One of the items I made just before the trip to Gran Canaria was the dress that seemingly half of Insta-sewists have made already – the Hope Dress from Style Arc. I remember being quite “meh” about it, but at some point when all of their dress patterns were discounted, I still grabbed one. I realized I could use a fabric that had sat in my stash already for a couple of years and although I liked it very much, I struggled with finding a suitable pattern. I think these two, the Hope pattern and the cotton and silk blend go very well together.

As a hindsight I should have considered the stripes more but I believed that they are busy and uneven enough to not pay too much attention, but you can see for yourself that I should have given it a tad more thought. Anyway, at the same time I admit that I can live with the result and after I found the right shoes to go with the dress I am very positively surprised. The fabric is amazing to wear, luxuriously soft and breathable and of course the colors, the main reason why I was drawn to it in the first place! However, there is something about this fabric that I had not encountered before – the sewing machine skipped stitches and the only thing that helped was changing the thread! I suspected the fabric to be too slippery or the needle to be worn, but it was the thread that did not do well with the material. You live and you learn….

As you can see, I shortened the dress by 15 cm and instead of chopping the extra length off, I created an extra wide hem. This gives the otherwise very airy fabric some weight. I also wanted to cut the bodice front and back both so that the stripes would be horizontal, but didn´t have enough fabric (probably just bad planning). I omitted the back slit and button and cut the back facing in one piece taking out the seam allowance in the center because I knew from the numerous reviews on internet that the dress goes over the head easily even without the slit.

I loved the way the pockets were instructed to be sewn – both pocket pieces are sewn to the front of the dress, creating a small dent on the front piece and then the front is sewn to the back at sides. A very easy and clear way that gives this kind of inseam pockets somewhat more structure.

In summary, I would say that the Hope is quite worth the hype. It suits all figures I would say, is easy to wear and quick to make and … and what else would you want from a dress anyway?

I wore my dress for (fabric) shopping in the vicinity of Telde. The fabric shop is actually a huge hangar and is mainly filled with thousands of home textiles and curtain fabrics. The selection of dress fabrics is small, especially in comparison to the amount of others, but I still scored 7.5 meters of fabric!

I got black and off-white textured viscose-poly blend that has a beautiful drape and does not seem to wrinkle. They also had the same fabric in fuchsia, white, red, cobalt blue and powder pink, leaving me with a heartache about the latter. I also got two pieces of steel blue polyester (but nice quality) fabric that I have the devilish idea to turn into either a jumpsuit (devilish because my husband doesn´t like jumpsuits) or then a faux jumpsuit. The color is identical, but the two cuts differ in texture and weight. One of them is a crepe and the other one heavier and smooth, perfect for pants or the lower part of the said jumpsuit.

This place is defnitely worth a visit if you have a rental car at hand or have such a great local friend like mine!

Until soon!

Style Arc x Abakhan x 2

Hi!

This will be a post of “two”-s: two Style Arc patterns, two fabrics from Abakhan and two identical little dresses for the dessert (for which two of the fabrics are from Sunnyday Kangad)!

I guess you have already noticed my little love story with Style Arc patterns! I really like their line art/technical drawings that for some reason are so appetizing to me, but more importantly that their styles are contemporary, casual yet quite elegant nonetheless. I also like the 1 cm included seam allowance and their monthly freebie campaign AND the fit of their patterns! So that is quite a lot to counterbalance their instructions that can be less than helpful sometimes.

As a result I own A LOT of Style Arc patterns, almost always grabbing the freebie and always taking advantage of sales. Lately I have used the copyshop option for printing them and then the process is as follows: don´t like the rolls of uncut patterns around -> cut all of the patterns out within a few days -> don´t want to fold them because they are nice to use when flat -> keep them piled up in my sewing room -> don´t like the mess it creates -> sew them up, one by one to get rid of the mess -> whoop, another sale coming up -> back to the beginning….

So I somewhat mechanically sewed up the Portsea Luxe Sweat (more so because of the cosy brushed sweatshirt fabric with metallic thread that I got from Abakhan without any clear idea at first, but that I realized was perfect for that pattern) and honestly laughed out loud when I put it on – just too short and too wide and generally really weird. I felt disappointed that I had used up my fabric and knowing how hard it is to give up my me-made clothes, I imagined it just taking space in my wardrobe, never worn. You can see how wide and boxy it really is:

I quickly took on another project, the Christia Pant that had been waiting for quite some time on my bookshelf and paired it with a classic blue pinstripe fabric bought some time ago also from Abakhan. And then… these two pieces met in my wardrobe and I realized they were made for each other!

I believe this kind of a pant – really high waisted, cropped length and with rolled up hems is exactly the pant this sweatshirt requires, being as cropped as it is, and having a rolled up sleeve detail on its own. I have been wearing the top without any extra shirt underneath but it has quite a tight fitting neckline so a t-shirt can also be worn on colder days. As the Portsea pattern was a freebie, I remember contemplating whether to take it or not because I didn´t think I would sew it and I also don´t think there will be a second one, but I am really glad I tried something so different from my regular choices. Unfortunately the “luxe” factor of the fabric – the lurex thread, is not visible in the photos, you just have to believe me that it shimmers beautifully in real life 🙂

The pants, however, are perfection. I am completely blown that they fit without any alterations and quite proud of my pattern matching as well. They could be a bit longer and now that I have tried and tested the pattern, I will definitely repeat it in another fabric and add 5 cm to the length.

Both items are in size 10, as always with Style Arc patterns. Although the top is really wide and boxy, I feel that it would not fit if I had made a size smaller. If the pants would sit lower, I would have to worry about flashing my belly, but when worn together they balance each other very nicely in my opinion. Both of them are also really easy and quick projects, which is always a plus, isn´t it?

It seems that we are finally done with winter now and the weather is so bright and sunny the last days, pure pleasure! Soon the lilacs will bloom, which is my absolute favorite time of the year! And in less than two weeks my little Liisa-Mai will turn 3 already, but for some reason I haven´t had a flash of insipiration yet, as what to make for her birthday in the “me and mini me” theme.

But her best friend had her third birthday just last week and I made them matching dresses. The insipiration came from Liisa-Mai, who stated that the dresses have to be brown! Wow, can I be proud that I have a three year old who is not only thinking pink and “Frozen”? I think I can, while it lasts 😀

The brown fabric is what I had left over from my Homewear Set and the middle stripe is the same lurex thread brushed sweatshirt fabric that I used for the Portsea Sweat. The pattern is from Ottobre 1/2021, model 8. Candy Shades.

Happy sewing and until soon!

A House in a House

Hi!

While sewing for kids is not exactly my forte, I got really excited when I realized I could make them something else instead of clothes, something that will take them much longer to outgrow and something really unprecedented for myself as well.

So I made a house! Yes, it is technically a teepee tent, but boy, this is huge! 😀 I know it doesn´t look like that in the photos, but the diameter of the base pad is 120 cm and the height of the poles is 180 cm but since they are angled, the total height is about 160 cm.

If you want to try this at home, a few remarks: be smarter than me and pick a fabric that does not run in one direction. Because of the monkeys running one way, I used nearly 6 m of this and have lots of leftovers. Maybe even picking a different fabric for each side would be a fun idea? My main fabrics are from Abakhan and the heavy upholstery fabric for the poles and all the smaller details like ties, tie ends and trim is from Kangadzungel. My husband bought the poles and cut them to the correct length. I believe they are slightly narrower than suggested by the pattern and also not bamboo, just regular wooden sticks.

For the added trim and ties I used leftovers of some curtains in our house, so these small details plus a piece of boning for the window flap were the only parts that I can say I behaved economically. Otherwise, considering the amount of fabric, this teepee is definitely more expensive that what you can find as ready-made.

Secondly, the pattern requires faux leather for the pole covers, but I would suggest fabric instead. You need to turn out the upper parts of the pole covers and I suspect it would be even harder with faux leather. It was really hard in my case as I used a heavy upholstery fabric, but the leather would stick to itself I imagine.

I know there are people out there who can sew this up without any pattern whatsoever, but I am not that person. I prefer using a pattern and I chose Burda 6559 for the purpose. It is quite straightforward, but you need to pay attention when measuring for the pole covers. It took me a long time and some brainstorming to understand what is meant by lengthening the pattern to 148 cm as it says. It is really confusing what exactly is considered the beginning point of this measurement, so if you want to get away with it faster, I can tell you that you need to measure from the point of turning the pole covers inside out, mark 2. I would like to hear of anyone who figures this out solely from the instructions 😀

Anyway, nothing much to say about it other than this really is the BIGGEST thing I have every made and this position will remain unchallenged for… maybe forever. Unfortunately our family policies on social media will not allow me to share the happy eyes of my daughter when she first entered the tent and peeped out of the side window for the first time. But that melted my heart 🙂

Until soon!

Baby News Vol 2 and Some Old Debts

Hey!

This is my first post as a mother of two! Our little baby boy Lennart was born on July 12th and everyone in the family is trying to find their place in this new situation. There are moments where everyone has a different “want” and “need” and it is hard to decide who gets what first 😀 However, we are so privileged to have the best grandmother and mother in law one can wish for (and Lennart was born exactly on her birthday!!), so there have been moments that I have actually been doing some sewing and now writing this post as well. Both kiddos are asleep, what a bliss 🙂

The old debts that I mention are the three pairs of Jalie Vanessa pants that I have made over the last year and mentioned several times but not really talked about them. One reason was that there were no proper photos, the other that soon after making the last two pairs I started to show some baby belly and I was at that point not ready to give any hints to anyone. Now that almost two weeks have passed since I gave birth, I don´t mind showing them even with my postpartum belly. I wore the first pair I made, which was about the same time last year, together with my new Style Arc Como Knit Top. The latter was sewn “blind” during the last weeks of my pregnancy, since I had no idea how it will fit, but I decided to trust Style Arc.

The fabric for these pants is a rather cheap polyester that is very surprisingly really comfortable and perfect for this pattern: it is light and airy and it barely wrinkles, making them perfect for travel, for example. After making them last summer, I wore them to work almost every day because these pants look work-appropriate despite being so comfy and they were also a wardrobe staple during our trip to Spain (oh, those pre-corona perks of life!). No wonder I made another two pairs and I have fabric in stash for a brown version as well. I cut size V but I would suggest widening the calf part of the pants just a little bit, I have managed to make them fit by leaving a very small seam allowance, but anyone with stronger calves would need a little more space there.

A few pics from Spain here, wearing the pants with an oversized flounce top I made for the trip as well. By the way, this top turned out to be great during the last weeks of pregnancy as one of the very few (non-stretch) things I could fit my belly into. I used a very nice breezy viscose fabric for the top and together with the pants they were great, apart from the wrinkling of the viscose. The pattern for this top has somehow gone missing from my sewing room, otherwise I would have made more by now, but I am too bored for tracing…. It is originally a Simplicity/New Look/something from these companies pattern, but I cannot find the original pattern number online. I traced mine from Meine Nähmode 2/2019, but they don´t print the original pattern numbers.

But now back to the Vanessa pants themselves… I guess the following photos show the versatility of this pant pattern the best, and I am sorry that I don´t have any better pics of the checkered version although these were my go-to work pants in autumn.

Below you can see the tech drawings for the Jalie Vanessa pants and for the Como Knit Top by Style Arc. Maybe not here on the blog, but definitely on my Instagram account, I have mentioned that I have fallen in love with Style Arc recently. To be honest, I blind-sewed several things using their patterns during the last weeks and days of my pregnancy (this time it was the only thing to provide pleasure and kind of escape from my body that was just HUGE) and some of them are unfinished, waiting for a try-on and fitting adjustments. Hopefully blogging about them will not take a whole year as has happened with these pants here!

For the Como Knit Top, I made one major change that came about partially accidentally – I cut the top out and then realized the pattern called for a double front! No spare fabric left, but also thinking that it would be too warm for summer anyway, I just drafted a facing and I guess it was the right call, preserving the intended look but keeping it thin enough for the summer. I actually don´t see a reason why I would waste fabric for the double front anyway.

And finally a couple of pics of the three versions of the pants together. As you can see I haven´t added a drawstring to any of the pairs and for the black version, I even omitted the buttonholes.

Happy sewing everyone!

Double Trouble Set

Hi!

During these weird times I am one of the lucky ones who can work from home quite effortlessly and therefore I am not one of those who now find extra amount of time for their hobby.

But I have been quie busy in my sewing room/office during the last month, just not quick enough to finish everything yet, not to mention blogging about it.

However, one project that turned out to be bigger than I imagined, is an outdoor softshell set for Liisa-Mai and possibly for her little brother who will be born in early July, Hence the selection of a rather neutral fabric in terms of girl/boy suitable colors, all this work has to pay back, right!?

It is my first time sewing softshell and first time sewing anything so technical and it really took more time than I assumed, mainly because I was thinking ahead every step and also because I had to buy new materials and tools and then wait for their delivery.

The three pieces are all from different pattern magazines/companies but funny enough, all Finnish 😀 I guess it must be the climate that has inspired our Northern neighbours to create patterns for outdoor fun for children. You can´t get by with little dresses and maybe a hoodie in this part of the world.

Anyway, so the jacket is Ottobre 4/2015, model Warm Inside; the pants are from jujuna.fi, model Autumn Wind and the hat is a free downloadable pattern from kangaskapina.fi.

As you can see, my version of the jacket and the pants do not have pockets and I didn´t bother makng the velcro straps for the sleeves of the jacket either. I just felt that in this size or at this age, the pockets and the straps are not really functional anyway, so why spend more energy on them.

It took me long time to decide and then find material for hood facing and knee and bum pieces. The Ottobre pattern for the jacket suggested poplin (!) but this simply felt wrong for an outdoor jacket and I also didn´t have a clue what to use for the knees and bum. But then I got really lucky by just stumbling across a seller in an Estonian FB fabric marketplace group and ordered GoreTex fabric in a perfectly matching shade of blue. Problem solved!

Other things that I did differently regarding the jacket pattern was using piping instead of bias tape for finishing the hood facing on the inside. Also, the pattern suggests leaving the seam allowances untreated because softshell doesn´t fray, which is true, but I don´t like the way it looks. So instead, I serged the seam allowances together and pressed and topstitched down to one side. I think this way the whole thing looks much more professional. And lastly, one thing that really made me rise my eyebrows was the fact that Ottobre doesn´t seem to know that once you have understitched a seam, it is basically impossible to achieve a sharp corner if the instructions have you sew a perpendicular seam after that and then turn the piece inside out.

Liisa-Mai is 89 cm tall right now and I made the set in size 92 and Ottobre is definitely rather loose-cut in general, so the whole thing is a tad big for her at the moment, but then again I think it is going to be just a blink of an eye and she will have outgrown this, so I believe she can get more out of it this way.

And while the whole process was at some point really dragging due to the search for materials and tools (I got a pair of Prym snap pliers and snaps for the removable hood as well), it really paid off when she tried the jacket on for the first time and then was dancing around in front of the mirror 🙂 Also today, wearing the set for the first time as a whole, she looked really satisfied and what else can make a mommy´s heart sing, right?

The pattern for the pants suggests using buttons and elastic bands with buttonholes for keeping the pants down and this might be one thing I will add, although they do not really slide up at the moment, probably because they are a bit long on her.

And finally the little hat, this is a great pattern in terms of ear coverage, but the black thin merino knit lining that I used wants to peep out all the time and understitching seemed to stretch the edge of the hat too much, so it is not the most successful project, but again, she loves it and it matches the rest of the outfit, so I will take it easy.

Hopefully the next post will be something for me if I do a good job and finish some stuff during this weekend 🙂

Enjoy the spring!

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!

Bluebell Dress & Catching Up

Hi!

I have so much catching up to do, I don´t know where to start!

Since my last post was about a little Estonian girl needing an incomprehensible amount of money for treatment of SMA, I better share the good news. The money (over 2 million US dollars for the medication plus treatment expenses on top) was collected within about 3 weeks and a week ago she was treated at the Nationwide Children´s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, US. The procedure was successful and she will stay in the States for a few months for follow up monitoring, now let´s hope that the results will be great in long term as well. Thank you so much, who helped either with finances or prayers!

About my own life, lots of things have been going on as well, and if we speak about catching up, then it is the fact that Liisa-Mai turned one on May 1st, so she is already 14 months old by now and just started walking. We celebrated her birthday at home with a barbecue party with friends and family and I pushed myself to finish a matching shir tfor myself and a dress for her. Honestly, I had plans for a fun gingham bowtie for my husband as well, but I ran out of time.

My shirt is Vogue 8772 and while the fuschia gingham was inspired many years ago in Athens by Erica Bunker, the online sewing community´s uncrowned queen (at least in my opinion), the choice of pattern and the fact that I simultaneously made a white version as well, were totally inspired by another sewing community celebrity Emily Hallman.

If you don´t know it yet, she has inspired many to sew in batches and I decided to try it out. I enjoy the outcome, feels like two shirts for the price of one, but the drawback is that the fabrics must be of similar color or you should own two sewing machines, otherwise the constant changing of thread kills the pleasure. In my case, I managed with white thread for both pieces so that was ok.

If it wasn´t for the batch method, I don´t think I would have made two shirts in a row. The continuous lap of the sleeve was something I had never tried, so it was nice to learn something new and get to practice it not two or four times as you would guess, but FIVE because as luck would have it, Liisa-Mai´s dress had the same detail for back slit!

Her dress is from Burdastyle 2/2019, model 131 A in size 80. It is funny, how even a litle girl can understand that she is wearing something different than usually (I don´t dress her in dresses too much, especially until she was not walking yet, the dress would just be an obstacle for crawling) and I think she enjoyed the dress as much as the party. The white details of her dress are made from the fabric remnants of my white shirt!

As already mentioned, my shirts are Vogue 8772 and I guess I will use this pattern in the future again. I cut size 12 and used view D.

I also started working with a very low load already since April and increased it to part time from June. In Estonia the maternity leave is very generous, mothers are paid 100% of their salary for the first 1,5 years but they can postpone returning to work for up to 3 years to stay home with the baby. Additionally, it is possible to make an income up to a certain amount at the same time without reduction in the payment.

So while my maternity payments will continue until November, I chose to work with a small load at the same time. In a way it wasn´t a big change because I had been writing my Master´s thesis since November already and the daily load was similar. And yes…. I finally graduated! The graduation ceremony will take place in autumn and I am not sure yet, whether I will attend, since it means a day trip to Helsinki, Finland, and they have already sent me the diploma anyway. So maybe I can skip making a dress for that occasion 🙂

But I did make a dress for a certain occasion in May. I did not only return to work, but my work tasks also changed and I must admit I am very very happy about it. The new position is definitely less stressful, not necessarily meaning less responsibility, but it involves more planning and thinking long term while the former post was mostly about constantly planning the next week and finding solutions to various issues, often under the pressure of time.

So while generally less stressful, the new position immediately gave me an opportunity to speak at a conference organized annually by one of the leading hospitals in Estonia and that was definitely a stressful challenge for me, especially since I had just started working again. And of course I realized in the midst of preparing for the presentation and also keeping track with the thesis, that I did not have a proper outfit for such an event. You know the rest 🙂 I made a dress!

I never got to take the photos on the day of the conference, but last Saturday my mother in law celebrated her 60th birthday and I got to wear it again and take a few photos this time as well. Unfortunately the blue is not the right shade in the outside photos, the true color is beautiful baby blue.

Since I was competing with time while making the dress, I wanted to use an easy, traced out/cut out/tried out pattern to be sure. The baby blue polyester fabric had been in my stash for about two years (this is nothing compared to the 7 years the pink gingham waited for its turn :D) and it felt good to finally use it.

So I chose McCalls 7539 again (it is the same pattern as the Military Valentine dress), but while in a hurry I forgot to add some length to the skirt. The dress was definitely going to be too short and out of my comfort zone for the presentation. So I just came up with the idea to add a faux second layer to the skirt, so basically the lower part is just attached to the hem of the skirt. I think this solved the issue and it looks intentional.

While sewing, I had some matching blue ribbon lying around my sewing table and I thought it would add a nice touch to the otherwise plain dress, so I attached it to the waist seam.

It is one of the garments that needed relatively little work but offer great satisfaction when wearing. As I mentioned already the color of the dress in the photos, the photos below are more realistic.

Finally, here is a comparative look of the two dresses made with the same pattern:

So while still leaving a lot unsaid, this is a short recap of the background of long silence here. I have bought so many fabrics and my mind is whipping up new ideas for sewing very fast, I only have to arrange my time so that I can realize at least some of them.

Enjoy your summer and happy sewing!

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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Tie (Up Loose Ends)

It is a bit as if 2018 is still going on here 😀 Still things to finish up from last year. If you remember this…

… then maybe you also remember I had cut out a tie for my husband to wear on Christmas Day.

And I did finish it minutes before we sat down for dinner, actually the rest of the family even had to wait a bit. Honestly, I thought it is going to be a quickie, but either I misunderstood something or the pattern really is as poor as I think it is.

burdastyle.com

The pattern is Burdastyle 12/2013, model 148. I downloaded mine from burdastyle.com. It seems to me that the part on how to attach and work on the insert to shape the tie are problematic, as it was nearly impossible to hide the insert behind the lining piece on the wider end. Also, if I would ever make it again, I would cut the insert much narrower, not just without the seam allowance in order to be able to make it look acceptable.

Since I didn´t have a wool insert (what is it anyway?) I used a piece of windstopper material that I had left over from a coat (hint!), which worked fine.

For the lining I used the same fabric as for the dresses. You can see how much I hurried from the sloppy hand stitches on the narrow end…

Conclusion? Probably the only tie I will ever make, unless there would be some event so special that I´d be willing to spend another full day on making a matching one with my dress again.

But my husband loved it and the family photos are really fun, unfortunately none with a very good view of the tie, but you get the idea I believe 😀