Cross Stitch Rose Top

Hello!

For the past one month I don´t think there has been a day where I didn´t do anything sewing-related.

I have several half-finished projects and some finished ones too, it is just the matter of taking the photos, which, given the limited daylight in winter in Estonia, is the most complicated task about the whole thing.

This is also why the following photos may give you chills – I had to take them outside in order to have better light conditions. But surprisingly, for those few minutes outside in snow, it actually did not feel cold at all!

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I used the Burda Retro Blouse pattern, available on burdastyle.com. As far as I know, it is only available there and has not been recently published in any BurdaStyle magazine.

The photos are from burdastyle.com:

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I cut my regular size 38 and the changes I made were: omitting the side seam zipper, adding a lining and hemming the sleeves. I used French seams that have quickly become my favourite technique for lightweight fabrics.

I didn’t need a zipper because both of the fabrics I used are slightly elastic. I got them on my trip to Poland in summer, as well as the Gütermann thread I used, so it is kind of a nice souvenir from Poland for me!

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There is really nothing much more to tell about the top, it was easy to sew and fits well.

Some details and my freshly committed sin – new shoes,  here:

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Other news include that my dear friend Liise from Spain is here for a few days and brought me two issues of Patrones magazine! I am super happy for it, although one of them is full of great coats and jackets and since my Stardust coat is totally on hold, I will not even think of starting a new coat project before this one is finished.

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Zig Zag Znake Dress

Hey!

I usually don´t care too much about season´s trends, I just sew and wear whatever I fancy at the moment. But occasionally I also seem to hit the current trends. The last surprise was an email alert from an online shoe store announcing that this autumn, animal prints and snake skin effect are back in fashion. This happened while I was basting snake skin piping to my new dress!

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 The pattern is McCall´s 6243, view C:

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This is the first time I gave up on insisting to cut size 12 (because this is what the size chart tells me on the Big Four patterns) and gave size 10 a try. I am happy that I did, because I didn´t have to take in nearly at all at the side seams and basically the dress fits me without any alterations. The only thing I changed, was adding the snake skin piping to the topstitched seams and omitting the exposed zipper, I used an invisible one instead.

The fabric for the dress is the same as I used for the Burda peplum top approximately a year ago, just in a different colour. I bought them together back then, indecisive what to do with the beige one. But after I saw the snake skin piping in Athens right before leaving in October 2012, I knew it was a perfect match.

As I have mentioned earlier, I will be off to Zurich for work in a few days and I decided I needed a dress that I could wear for the conference. I think it is appropriate, not too flashy but could also be worn for a drink in the evening.

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ImageAt first I was a bit scared to sew the piping, thinking that my sewing machine would find it difficult to handle, but I had absolutely no problems. However, I have no idea, how it will behave in wash.

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The brown leather shoes are a recent addition from Poland, where I found leather goods to be a lot cheaper in comparison to Estonia.

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The weather here in Estonia has been getting colder, but I am having hopes for a beautiful golden fall! I still have a few summer projects unfinished, lacking just a seam or two, I hope I will manage to show them before it would be too out of season!

The Blue Rose Skirt and Top

This is sort of Out Of The Closet series of post, because the corset top was finished last summer in Athens! The skirt was also cut out while still living in Greece and laid all winter in my drawer until I finally got to it again a few weeks ago.

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It all started with using Simplicity 4070 for Stefania´s dress. It was the first time I made a strapless top and the first time I used Rigilene boning. As the project turned out well, I got excited and decided I needed a corset top in a similar style.

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I found this beautiful cotton stretch in Athens and bought it heavily discounted as it was the last 1.7 m on the roll. Sometimes I really miss the fabric shops in Athens, where the salesmen generously cut more fabric than asked and drop the price if you know when and how to ask!

If you are interested, I found the same fabric online here.

Anyway, the top was pretty straightforward to sew after the experience with the dress. I also could use the leftovers of the lining for her dress, although it would have been better if it was slightly stretchy as well.

Nevertheless, the most difficult task was finding a zipper in suitable shade and length. This is also the reason why the top is a tad longer than I wished – I was not able to find an open-ended zipper of perfect length.

You can see some “gathering” on the upper edge on both sides  of the zipper. I added a strip of elastic between the lining and the fabric as I was afraid for gaping. I don´t know if it made a difference or not, but the top feels comfortable and I don´t feel like I am losing my clothes as it sometimes happens with strapless tops and dresses.

The only downside are the horizontal folds when worn. I think it has to to with the fabric being elastic and the lining non-stretch. I am trying not to pay attention to this, though!

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For the skirt I used Burda 05-2012 model 118/119 pattern. I have a similar ready-to-wear skirt from Zara and love the style, I really enjoyed sewing one up myself, especially as the fabric is great to work with.

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The technical drawing is for model 118, with the welt pockets on the back, but I omitted them as my fabric would have disguised them with the big print.

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As always I did not follow Burda directions for the front fly, but relied on the tried and tested tutorial video instead. You cannot go wrong with this technique!

The sequined details on the front side of the skirt are not simply the result of trying to personalize the garment, but a try to cover up for bad pattern placement. Although the fabric looks heavy with flowers at first glance, I wasted a lot of it, because I tried to “catch” as many dark blue roses as possible. And still, when I looked at the skirt, it looked a bit empty, plus one rose was cut in the middle for the front center seam and I could not leave it like this.

So I got the idea of creating a fun effect by cutting out several roses and flowers from the fabric, use sequins to add interest and sew them randomly on the skirt. Of course, there is nothing random about the placement, but I tried to make it look as if I threw them there accidentally, while they are actually strategically placed to cover up and emphasize the flower print. I love the result, the contrast between the fringed edges of the details and the sparkle of the sequins.

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I had exactly enough of lining left from Stefania´s dress, to use it for the pockets of the skirt as well! So the two garments make up a nice set that can be worn as separates and also dress up or down according to the occasion.

Yesterday I chose to wear wooden platform heels for dinner downtown.

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The Roberto Venuti shoes were also bought from Greece back in 2010, but are basically unworn, although I love the style. I could find a photo of dark brown version of them on internet. I must say I prefer mine!

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As I started the post with reference to Stefania´s dress, there is an old debt I have to pay – I never posted photos of her actually wearing the dress as she didn´t like the idea of being up here without make-up and her hair done as she was when she came for the dress. After a long time she finally gave the permission, so here they are (sorry for the quality, they were taken in a rush, using a phone):

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And last but not least, I need your help! Any fabric shop recommendations for Poland, namely Warsaw and Krakow? Thank you in advance!

The Tribal Print Skirt

Hey everyone!

It has been quite a long time since my last post, but I am telling you, summer in this tiny town I live in, Haapsalu, is full of life and it is really hard to find time for sewing lately!

Nevertheless, there are a few projects on the finishing line and the tribal print skirt has been finished for at least two weeks already, just never found time to take the photos.

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The fabric is stretch polyester sateen, one of the fabrics I got from my trip to Austria in May.  Of course when I saw the fabric, I wanted to make a dress again, but firstly because it was quite expensive and secondly because I have too many dresses already, I allowed myself to get only 70 cm of it. It was exactly enough to use it for Burda April 2013 model 117b skirt.

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I cut Burda size 38 which fits just fine. I omitted the vent in the back, because my skirt is wide enough to allow comfortable walking. Another thing I changed was the width of the waistband, the one according to the pattern was way too narrow to my taste (2 cm), so I made a new one, which is 3.5 cm wide. I also added a hook and eye to the waistband as the zipper was inserted only up to the waistband.

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The skirt is obviously very easy to sew and it has a nice fit. The seam allowances are finished with bias tape. (Yes, I am wearing a matching nail polish! :))

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The shoes are also bought from Austria, must be somewhat of a private label by Humanic.

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Last weekend I had a wonderful time, as my good friends came to visit me and also helped me take the photos. Here is to summer and friendship!

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Chain Print Blouse

A while ago I showed you my favourites from Patrones 318, among them the following blouse, model 16:

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I liked it, but at the same time thought that it would be slightly boring to make. That was until I found a fabric that immediately brought this pattern to my mind.

At first I wanted to be ready with the project by my colleague’s birthday party, but traditionally was short of time and finished the last buttonholes and sewing the buttons the day after the party. This is the result:

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As there are no darts and no princess seams, this blouse was really easy to make. Once again a pattern from Patrones fits me perfectly, I cut my usual Patrones size 42. Due to the simplicity of the project and the type of the fabric, I decided to give French seams a try. It does require some extra work, but I really like the result. The garment looks very tidy from outside as well as inside. Here is a good tutorial that gave me assurance for finishing the armholes with the same technique.

The hardest part was the buttonholes. Not because I wouldn’t know how to use my sewing machine, but I was hoping to finish right before the party, started to rush and as a result messed up a few times.

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The skirt I am wearing is from summer, more details here.

I also tried to style the blouse for a more casual look. I am not really sure about the 70’s style jeans, but decide for yourself.

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As you can see from the photos, the sun is really intense. We have had some really nice days here in Estonia, I can feel spring approaching and the days are longer and longer. It is nice to wake up and see the sun rising. The darkness of  November and December seems like a bad dream now.

Another piece of good news is that thanks to a tip from a cousin of mine, I got myself another sewing dummy! It is actually a decoration mannequin from a shop that is moving to new premises and they are selling their mannequins for 10 and 20 euros (20 for a tall stand). As normally they only sell clothes and accessories, I didn’t take the tip very seriously. Especially because although it is a chain of shops, the mannequins were allegedly for sale only in Narva, the easternmost town of Estonia, where the majority of inhabitants are Russians.

But a colleague of mine has an adventurous mind plus we have two curious Austrian students practicing in our hospital right now and they also got excited of the plan. So we basically drove more than 300 km to Narva and back to get the dummy. Of course we did a lot of sightseeing as well, but the whole idea started off the tip from my cousin.

A few photos of the trip here:

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The dummy is a female shape in proportions of a Barbie doll. The waist circumference is 50 cm while the bust is nearly 90! But in order to photograph my projects it is just fine.

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And finally, the shoes you see here are both Nine West, first the Pugnose, and secondly the Oh Dear wedges:

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The Wavy Top

I have completed the first item of 2013!

It should be a few hours’ work normally, but it took me a few days because I worked very slowly, bit by bit after work and when my friend Sirli came over for the weekend, I excused myself for a moment to finish off the sleeve hems so that she could take the photos.

Burda 9-2012-123A

It is the popular Burda September 2012, model 123A top.

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Burda september 2012 model 123a

I remember seeing the design and the first idea was to make it with faux leather shoulder details. I was a bit surprised seeing this sewn up in many ways, but no one made it with faux leather, until one very nice version showed up on Burdastyle.com, it should be visible here.

The fabric I used is a lighter type of ponte knit, I grabbed it just a few days before leaving Athens. It was available in three colourways, blue, grey-black and red. The blue seemed to be the most popular by far, it was selling out fast and I managed to get the last 1.7 meters off the roll. I regret not getting the red version as well.

I also regret not thinking ahead and making it into a dress, using the same pattern. I cut the top a bit longer to see, if I would go with the view B of the pattern, that has gathered side seams and only then did I see the potential for a great dress, but the fabric was not enough anymore. In general, due to the stripe match-up, I spent more fabric on the top than I would normally have. Now I am debating whether to try and make a skirt that would combine the faux leather and the remnants of the fabric, so that I could wear the two separately or as a set. I am not sure, because I don’t have much of the leather left and I might want to use it for some other projects as well, so if the skirt will not be a success, I will end up with two wasted materials. We’ll see.

So, I used ponte knit and after reading some reviews, decided not to make an opening on the back. I used bias tape instead, which made the neckhole a tad less elastic than the ponte knit would have allowed, but it is exactly large enough for my head to pass through and at the same time will probably not stretch out. In order to use this technique, I had to sew through the faux leather details as well, which only gave me one shot to get it right, because if I had to rip the stitches afterwards, the details would have been spoiled.

Another issue was that if the faux leather is facing towards the metallic plate of the sewing machine, the teeth of the machine ruin the material completely, as it gets stuck there. In order to avoid that, I placed some scraps of pattern paper under the leather parts and everything went smoothly!

The sleeves and lower hem was finished with a double needle stitch for stretch and more professional finish. I remember reading a review saying that the sleeves are too long and this was also the case with me. I had to shorten them approximately 4 cm, so basically I didn’t have to add any seam allowance. My regular Burda size 38 was fine this time as well, no other adjustments were necessary.

Burda September 2012 model 123A

Burda top

Burda September 2012 model 123A

Burda September  2012 model 123A

I am very satisfied with the result, I think it a versatile item that can be combined with many other things in my wardrobe and it is also very comfortable. Also, I have spoiled some striped projects in the past, but this one is lined up, even the sleeves are exactly the same!

Some close ups and a casual look:

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Burda Wavy Top

Burda Wavy Top

For those interested in the footwear, the boots are super-comfortable Gabor Rinkata, the latest addition to my beloved collection. It seems I have a thing with suede leather…

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The blue suede shoes are Nine West Tariko, another grab from Athens just before coming to Estonia.

Nine West TarikoIn addition to the satisfaction of a new garment, I had a very nice weekend, chatting non-stop over a bottle of wine on Saturday evening and having a relaxing time at the local pool today, finishing it off with the best cakes on Earth from a tiny coffee-shop in Haapsalu. I thought to take a photo, but when the freshly made cakes were served, everything else was forgotten!

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The Jewel Dress

I am so glad that I can FINALLY show you something that isn´t from Out Of The Closet series again! It is the first finished object since I started working in Estonia and the available time and energy for my hobby diminished remarkably.

As I have mentioned before, I wanted to finish the dress for the Christmas party with the colleagues and I managed right on time. The photos were taken during the party and after some prolonged sitting at the table, so forgive me the slightly wrinkled look of the dress.

Burda 11-2008-135

The pattern is rather old – Burda 11/2008 issue, model 135, but I think it is kind of an evergreen style. There is a really nice version of the dress here. This is what actually made me fall in love with the pattern in the first place, the black Burda version is not really inspiring.

Burda 11 2008 dress 135 black

Burda 11-2008-135 dress

During my long holiday in Estonia in summer, I borrowed a bunch of Burdas from the local library and traced quite a lot of patterns (because I never thought that just a couple of months later I would make such a huge step of moving here for a longer period). This is one of them.

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Burda 11-2008-135

Burda 11-2008-135

The pattern is easy to sew and the only more complicated part is the front pleating and maybe the shoulder seams, since the upper part of the dress is lined.

The material, slightly stretchy cotton sateen, is probably my favorite fabric to sew with. I got the fabric among some others just before leaving Athens and it was bought having this pattern in mind already.

I didnt make any major alterations to the dress, apart from having to take in at the shoulder seams, in order to bring the whole thing up a bit. It is a bit of a nuisance as anyone who has sewn similar shoulder seams knows, but I chewed myself through and thankfully this fixed the problem.

I also had to take in slightly at the side seams, which was somewhat of a surprise. I didn´t use double needle for hemming although this is what the pattern calls for. Instead, I folded the hem over and hand stitched it so that the stitches are not visible on the outside. I thought it would look nicer but actually the fold still shows so I don´t think I gained much from all the hand sewing. If I made the dress again, I would probably go for the double needle.

Burda 11-2008-135 dress

Burda 11-2008-135

Due to the lighting conditions when taking the close-ups, my skin resembles remarkably to a very famous lady 😀 :

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The seam allowances were finished off with bias tape. I actually like that the tape is not in an identical shade with the fabric. The lining (or should I call it facing?) is attached at the side seams and front by a few hand stitches.

Burda 11-2008-135 dress

The photos were taken by my sweet colleague Merle:

Burda 11-2008-135 dress

Burda 11-2008-135 dress

The shoes I am wearing are Bourne Christy. Probably my favourite party shoes, they are not too high and they always catch a lot of positive attention.

Bourne Christy peacock shade

The Christmas party was fun as well, I danced quite a lot which is good, since I can´t remember the last time I did so!

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To my great surprise, I noticed that I made this last dress of the year in The Color Of The Year 2013, according to Pantone  (“known worldwide as the standard language for color communication from designer to manufacturer to retailer to customer” as they say on their website) – emerald.

Pantone Emerald 2013

Anyone who is more interested in the topic, can also check out their fashion color report for spring 2013, that includes more shades in addition to the emerald.