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!

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 😀

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!

Baby News and Blanket

Hi!

For a little over 3 weeks we have been living in a completely new rhythm – the rhythm of our baby girl Liisa-Mai, who was born on May 1st!

I guess I will overcome this reservation at some point, but right now I have mixed feelings about showing too much of her on social media and also here. She is so tiny and  vulnerable and I feel like she can very well be hidden from the big wide world for a little longer, or at least until I make her some more clothes that I would like to show on her! In the photo above she is wearing the pair of footed pants I made, they fit very well!

I actually made her something else during the last weeks of the pregnancy – another blanket!

cof

I had no intention of making two blankets for her, but I made a mistake in the measurements while shopping for batting for the first one and the piece I got could not be used for that. I also changed my mind about the material – initially the minky fleece was supposed to become the other side of the patchwork quilt blanket.

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So I was left with some batting and fleece and my fabric stash is already huge enough, so I decided to use the material up and ordered some cute floral cotton again from Aliexpress. The little roses match the coral of the minky fleece. The pompons that you see are not white, although they easily look like that, they are actually a very light shade of mint and I had it in my stash, but originally ordered them from Aliexpres for some project that never came to life.

Other things also changed during the process – as this was a blanket mainly intended for using up the material, I wanted to make it quick and easy, but got carried away. So instead of just stitching through the cotton and batting in some symmetrical pattern I came up with the idea of using shapes of leaves and flowers to join the two layers.

I searched online for some free printable shapes that I liked and printed them out in two sizes:

Once I had transfered them to the fabric and sewn through the layers, I got another idea that I last tried in high school handicraft class – filling the shapes with some batting from the wrong side to create interesting 3D effect. I actually managed to use up every scrap of the batting material this way! I hand stitched the opening and sealed it with a piece of interfacing.

This is how it looks on the surface of the blanket:

It took me a lot more energy and time but was also more enjoyable to work with. I am aware that there will be a time when we cannot use this blanket because she will start showing too much interest in the pompons and try to pull them off and eat them, so I can use it now up to that point and then sometime later again 🙂

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Liisa-Mai seems to have approved the blanket as we do some exercises on that daily:

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She has been a very calm baby and a great sleeper so far, so I have to admit I have cut out a dress for myself and even sewn some seams already. I am taking it in a very relaxed manner – I only work when I can and want to and without any pressure. So it may take some time before I can show you the result!

Baby Sewing

Hi!

I wasn´t sure when writing my last post, whether I will make anything at all during this time, but as a surprise even to myself, I have made something I never thought I would make – a patchwork quilt blanket for our baby…..girl, if the doctors know what they are saying!

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The reason why I say that I surprised myself is that although I love sewing garments, I am not really an artsy-craftsy person at all. You know, some people love making knitted teapot warmers and stuff like that, I never did. I have made one patchwork quilt blanket before and that was in high school crafts class, because I had to.

This time I felt that it would be nice to make something for our baby and when I was looking for blanket ideas, I came across the Triangle Quilt Pattern by See Kate Sew. I loved the fresh looking colors (no florals!) and the triangle shape.

I discovered that it can be really hard to find at least 6 different cotton fabrics that would still match in a way to give a nice overall look to the blanket. Too many star motives and of course, too many florals! But I wanted my blanket to look modern!

So I ended up ordering all of the fabrics (and even the bias tape, because I could not find wide enough cotton tape in a suitable colour locally) from the huge Chinese webshop Aliexpress. I wasn´t really sure about the idea, but the fabrics arrived and were exactly what I had wanted – plain yellow, pink and black, zig-zag prints in yellow and pink and then pears in yellow and pink with black leaves.

I also bought a cutting mat (size A1) and rotary cutter and some batting for the project.

I used See Kate Sew´s tutorial for the triangle placement, although I had to make some adjustments, since I was using 7 different fabrics and she used 6. In order to understand better how the finished blanket would look like, I even used markers to color the scheme, using at first only 6 fabrics/colors/patterns and then carefully picking the triangles I would actually make in black. It was really handy during the sewing process and helped to achieve the “randomeness” effect.

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The finished measurements of the blanket are 115×125 cm and I am so pleased with the outcome, although of course there are errors, too – not all the triangles match precisely and also the quilting was a tough process – tugging the whole blanket through the sewing machine opening while trying to keep the stitches straight.

The idea is to use the blanket on the floor for playing, so I used somewhat thicker batting than I would have otherwise. The other side of the blanket is plain pink cotton and you may see that I did not quilt the blanket as triangles, but as rhombuses.

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When rolled up, it looks and feels so cosy that I would like to roll myself into it 🙂

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Besides the blanket, I have also made 2 pairs of footed baby pants using another free pattern, this time from Sew Much Ado.

The original pattern requires creating a casing for the elastic to be inserted, but I wanted to use ribbing… and of course forgot to lower the waistline and therefore I guess these pants will look quite ridiculously high-waisted on the baby.
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I was smarter the second time and really hope these will fit her. The bodysuit is ready-made, but because of the bright colors it has been hard to find matching pants. So I just made them myself!

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So this is it so far. Making baby clothes is not as much fun as making stuff for myself, but soon in will be just a matter of the size of the dress, so we´ll see. I am quite excited to think that I might be able to use some leftover fabrics to make her dresses that match mine!

Until soon!