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!

The Tommy Coat

Hey!

I am quite sure this is the longest break from blogging that I have taken during all these years – it is about to be three months without a word here!

I have a very good reason for this, though 🙂 I now know from experience that expecting a baby drains all my sewing mojo despite of not having any nausea at all, but I just feel tired and apathy takes over in the early stages. In later stages, I find it very hard to sit for prolonged time so then there is this reason. So if there hadn´t been a very conveniently organised sewing course right in my hometown, I wouldn´t have anything much to show you even after this three month hiatus! But now there is this….

I started the coat sometime in autumn, but as I said, lost all my mojo until I had the chance to participate in a sewing course. The course was not designed for coatmaking, but the participants could make basically anything they wanted, so I wasn´t the only one making a coat. There were also people who started with their first ever garments from scratch. As I am self-taught, I always find interesting to learn from this kind of courses and I also enjoy the company of people with similar hobbies.

And really, without that course, there would not be another coat in my wardrobe. There were weeks where I only progressed during the three-hour weekly class and when initially the ten meetings seemed to be more than enough, in the end I managed to finish the coat but nothing else.

The pattern is Burdastyle model 113 from November 2017 issue. With the help of my teacher I added a semi-self drafted collar as I felt that making a fully (except for the sleeves) windproofed coat without a collar wouldn´t make sense.

The fabrics I used are both 100% wool and initially bought for a jacket and a coat, so I have plenty of the camel tone material left over. The lining is Tommy Hilfiger, hence the name of my coat 🙂

I guess my favorite thing about coats and jackets is the piping between the lining ant the facing. This time I hesitated between a plain blue one and the one that you see I finally used. I love how it echoes the golden snaps that my husband attached to the pockets and front of the coat.

Right now I can still wear the coat buttoned up, but not for long. However, the slightly oversized look is exactly what I wanted so in autumn there will be a chance to wear it as intended. Together with the instructor we decided to take out 4 cm from both of the side seams, tapering to nothing towards the hem. I think without that change it would be too baggy on me even in my current condition.

Of course, narrowing the coat that much from the under arms meant that getting the sleeves right was also a bigger deal than usually. I am so happy that I had professional help!

My teacher wasn´t so happy about the length of the sleeves after we managed to set them in since they turned out a bit shorter than they should have been. However, I only noticed this after she mentioned that, so for me this is no big deal. But I do need some kind of a hat or a suitable headband to wear with the coat as the weather is still quite chilly here.

So this is what I have been up to, basically! I have also made a few things for Liisa-Mai and for her sibling who should arrive in summer. I really hope by that time the world is functioning more or less normally again.

I am currently working from home and so grateful that I can do that, but next week will be off as I had plans for a short getaway to Cyprus…. of course no way to do that even if I still wanted to!

So, stay safe and maybe this situation offers opportunities for sewing that we otherwise do not have due to the busy schedules!

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!

Flash(back) Dress

Hi!

I guess I really need to invest into a tripod so that I could take my own photos for the blog. And then a private secretary or a mind reader in order to write the posts on the go. Because I only seem to find time for sewing lately, but not much for writing and proper photos. I also realized that there is a ton of projects from summer that I have not even mentioned, so there is a lot of catch up to do and I will try to get going with the first one.

It is AK Patterns (Athina Kakou Patterns) Suzy dress that I have made once before.

I call it the Flash(back) Dress because the idea struck me at noon on a Friday at work sometime in August and on Monday morning I entered the office wearing it 😀 I love when ideas, patterns, fabric and most importantly, available time all line up to make things like this possible!

But flashback because the result reminds me of the 80´ s and in a good way (if this is even possible). I can recall my mother wearing something similar in terms of the pattern. It took me a little bit of thinking to decide whether to use the block of mint or not. But both, my husband and my brother who was staying at our house for the summer, advised on going with the mint and I am so happy I did.

Compared to the first version, I lengthened the bodice by 5 cm and the fit is so much more comfortable. However, the fabric, while apparently very similar to the one I used for the first version, has actually less stretch, so despite of looking relaxed I shouldn´t gain any weight if I want to keep wearing this.

And another note to myself – DO NOT take any blog photos early in the morning! One of the reasons this post was delayed and only includes those few pics is that I didn´t like my puffy eyes but here you are! Just didn´t want to delay it any more and I´ll take that as a lesson – no photos allowed in the mornings 😀

On the more positive side, I really like how this khaki goes with the summer tan and my pewter shoes! I bought both, the mint and the khaki polyester fabric (with slight stretch) on one of our trips to Germany. I love when I can find the same fabric in different colors, it offers a great opportunity for color blocking as well as does the design of the dress itself.

I am really hoping to continue with the catch up before we all realize it´s Christmas again! Happy sewing!

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!

The Dot Dress

Hey there!

Time is going crazy fast! It has been a beautiful summer in Estonia, actually I would even say better than the last because last year´s heat was eventually quite overwhelming, especially with a newborn.

As I started part-time work in spring already, you may think that I am too busy to sew, but this is not true. As it is on most workdays, I get home at noon and this is the time Liisa-Mai has her nap of the day and usually it is at least 2 hours, quite often 3. I quickly have my lunch and then up the stairs in my sewing space I am! I have made several things recently and I am afraid I will not have the time to blog in detail about all of them, but I will do my best.

Since my work tasks changed and currently I don´t have any patient load at work, I don´t need to wear a uniform, so this has boosted my sewing a lot. I need work-appropriate and season-appropriate clothes very day!

Also, I made a secret promise to myself in the beginning of 2019 that I would not buy anything ready-to-wear for the whole year. I didn´t want to shout it from the rooftops just to fail, but I have kept up with the promise so far with the exception of some underwear, but refraining from buying underwear, socks and stuff like that was not part of the deal anyway.

I thought it would help me to reduce my fabric stash and sew up some old-timers, but while I have been doing that, I have constantly added to the stash at the same time…. I don´t know how to get this under control, honestly. New ideas are jumping up too quick and I am not able to sew them up at the same speed.

Anyway, during my holidays in July, I was speed sewing almost every day and one of the items I made was this McCall´s 7534 dress.

I used a lightweight viscose fabric I got from Finland earlier this year. I can´t say I enjoyed the sewing process too much since it is fiddly, but it feels great against the skin and the dress is perfect for a warm day at work even with the longer sleeves.

Now the sleeves are my only complaint about this pattern. I guess I should have paid more attention to the line drawing, but I didn´t and it came as a surprise just as how much does the shoulder drop on that dress. I think I will repeat the pattern at some point, since the faux wrap fits beautifully, but I will make the sleeveless version.

I also felt that the belt helps to define the waist, although there is an elastic casing as well and I have worn the dress without the belt too.

We took the photos in our bedroom as the dress seems to belong there, doesn´t it, with its muted teal shade? And if you could zoom in then you would witness that there is a pile of pattern books and magazines on my bedside table. I love to go through them before bed but there have been times when the sewing ideas disturb my sleep!

A few more pics:

I guess that´s it about this easy to sew and easy to wear dress. All my other projects currently are on the easy/very easy side as well, but I am gathering my strength for a jacket.

Until soon!