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!

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 😀

Cargo Pants for Hubby

Hi!

I am sorry for the long silence, but at least I can show you quite a different garment this time – I made a pair of pants for my husband!

Actually this is old news already since the pants were finished in September, just on time for our first anniversary (although they were not planned as a present for that occasion). There has just not been a moment to take proper photos and I was about to write this post using the first spontaneous pics I took when he tried them on the night I finished them.

But then it happened that we both had time over the weekend and there was even a bit of sunshine, although we still used a set of powerful light on a stand, a leftover from the renovation works, in order to achieve some kind of barely suitable illumination. The lack of natural light really is an issue up here in the North during the winter months. He also had a cold, so going outside to catch the feeble sunlight of the day was no option.

The pattern is from Burdastyle 4/2010, model 129. I didn´t have this issue at home and the local library only orders the German edition (it is cheaper!) so I must say big thanks to Marjorie Trundle, who has helped me out with similar situations several times and also in this occasion.

As you can see, I shortened the pants to 3/4 length and omitted the side pockets. He wanted the pants to be similar to the RTW ones that he had owned for over 10 years and which finally broke (is it typical to all men, the wish to wear stuff forever and when shopping for new, trying to find something EXACTLY as the old one? Because my dad is the same!). 

The fabric is 100% linen and is black, but I don´t think the color holds up very well, he has worn them a bit and you can see the color fading already. Based on the measurement chart, I cut the size 52, but in the future, if I should make him anything again, I should go with 50. I had to narrow the waist and I generally think the pants came out a little too baggy, but he is satisfied so all is good. 

But sewing these was fun, because there were so many “firsts” for me in it. The first thing I ever made for a man (he jokes that its because he actually is my first man, meaning husband!), the first ever try on snap fasteners for the pocket flaps, the first time trying Burda front fly – because I usually use another technique for my pants. 

I enjoy sewing this kind of patch pockets and I also enjoy topstitching quite a lot. I used a special thread for jeans for topstitching, it is thicker but the result is so much better.

I am really happy about these pants, maybe because most of the sewing for myself is just for fun but this project also came out of need as he had not been able to find suitable replacement for his worn out pants in the shops, plus I definitely got some wife-points for this 😀

Until soon!

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.

DSCN4005

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 🙂

DSCN4006

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

DSCN40001

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!

DSCN3862

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.

DSCN3765

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.

DSCN3863

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

DSCN3865

DSCN3864

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.
DSCN3867

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!

DSCN3866

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colour Blast Dress

I hope every one of you have had wonderful holidays so far! With only a few days left until the end of 2013, I am posting somewhat of a conclusion of the year together with the last finished project.

The year 2013 has been life-changing for me. My engagement ended in a separation in spring, and just before the end of the year I got promoted at work. I also traveled to six different countries this year, the first trip being in May, which actually makes six countries in six months! In addition I met a bunch of new people plus some totally unexpected old acquaintances have reappeared in my life.

Sewing-wise, the highlight of the year was definitely being published in Burda German October edition.

I hope the new year will be as colourful as this one was, hopefully with better luck in personal matters, though 🙂

Here is the dress I made for our traditional Christmas party with the colleagues:

Image

DSC_0597

The pattern is Burda 06/2013, model 110, the photos are from burdastyle.com:

Image

110_technical_large

As you can see, my version has short sleeves, mainly because I didn’t have enough fabric but also because the dress is loud enough already.

The fabric is from the work trip to Zurich in September and when buying it, I didn’t have a clear vision of what to make of it. It is very elastic and there was also only one piece left so I was very limited in my options. But in my opinion, the crazy colour explosion and elasticity of the fabric demanded ruching and this is the reason why I picked this particular pattern.

I cut my regular size 38, and didn’t need to make any alterations. The pattern is quick and easy, the only difficult thing was that I was sewing it step by step for a few hours after work within a few days and got pretty tired.

I cannot say it is my favourite dress, but I am pleased that I managed to sew it up on time for the event and found a way to use the rather complicated fabric.

DSC_0587

The Christmas party itself was a lot of fun. It took place at an old manor and nearly everyone from our hospital was there, 100 people out of 120. We had a live band, tasty food and also danced a bit.

For me the event was also special, because in addition to my own dress, there were another two dresses made by me! Because we had a professional photographer taking the photos, I will have a photo of all the three dresses together to show in January.

I have already shown the one made for my dear colleague Kadi and here is the other one for Mari:

DSC_0582

DSC_0581 (1)

DSC_0577

DSC_0583

The pattern I used is the same as for my Paisley Dress, Burda 7739, view B. Because the main fabric is a rather thin cotton that I thought would start clinging to the body, I fully lined the dress.

I hope all of you had a year that brings a smile to your face when you think back to it and that the new one would be even better! Happy holidays!

Burgundy Wedding Guest Dress

One would think that if the whole month passes without a post, there is not much going on about sewing in my life, but it is quite the opposite! Actually the reason for not posting is that I was frantically working on two dresses simultaneously and just as I got them finished with, went off for a great long weekend in Copenhagen.

So the first dress that nearly made me give it up, is for my friend and colleague Kadi. She had a wedding to attend close to Stuttgart, Germany the same weekend as I had a wonderful concert to attend in Copenhagen. More about that in the next post, related to my own dress.

Two events, two girls, of course two dresses needed!

I started off with hers as I surely did not want to mess it up and not be able to deliver on time. And oh boy, that was a good decision as the dress caused me lots of trouble.

P1080949

P1080955

I have to apologize for the quality of the photos, but as winter approaches Estonia as well as Germany, it is extremely difficult to get good light conditions for photographing, so the photos in this post are not so clear.

The pattern we chose for her together is Simplicity 2442, view B:

Image

Image

Although Kadi´s measurements seemed to fit size 40, I decided to cut 38. I am afraid some of the problems I faced with the dress occurred because of this too, but then again I feel that with the bigger size I would have had just different issues. For example, the shoulder yokes seem to fit her fine, but would definitely have been too large in size 40. But where things got tough was the gathered waistband. I ended up making two, one in size 38 (too small!) and the other one in 40 (also nearly too small!!). Thankfully we could eventually use the smaller one to make her a small purse to match the dress.

P1080922

The fabric is polyester taffeta, also chosen together. I am not a big fan of red, but this shade fits Kadi very well and has somewhat of a grace that fit the occasion perfectly.

Here she is with her charming boyfriend and the beautiful bride:

P1080943

P1080965

The whole process gave us the opportunity of quite a few tea drinking and sewing evenings together. Everything went faster when Kadi was around, as I could try the dress on anytime I needed and also felt more pressure to stay focused rather than get lazy.

The bodice is lined and I used bias tape (if I remember correctly,nearly 10 meters!) for the seam allowances of the skirt. The hemline is hand stitched.

Here are a few photos with the dress on the hanger:

P1050831

P1050833

P1050830

The most peculiar thing was that although I had taken the measurements with her wearing the bra she wanted to wear with the dress,  the neckline just did not fit her at all! So one day, in despair, I took the bodice to work to try it on again after some alterations and she told me she was wearing a different bra that day. We tried the dress anyway and whoa! it fit her perfectly! So the trick was to change the bra 😀 Oh well, I am not anything close to a professional seamstress, I guess a professional would have worked her way around any bra.

But eventually I finished the task just four days short of Kadi´s trip and she is happy with the result, so all is good!