Three Is Company

Happy New Year!

I have to start the new year with some old news – once again no chance to take photos until now, although I finished and wore the set below on December 21st already.

photo credit: Markus Sein

I usually make a dress for the annual Christmas celebration with colleagues, but this year I knew I was going to be short of time and I thought I would only make two super easy things – a pencil skirt and a sleeveless little top to go with it.

The top is McCall´s 7601, view A and the skirt is Burdastyle 8/2012, model 111 (I have used this pattern before). I must say that this is the one pattern that does not need any adjustments, I need to remember that when planning another pencil skirt!

I used lightweight cotton sateen for the top and I had it in my stash for some summer pants. But when I discovered how well it goes with the brocade I knew I would have to combine the two somehow. The top doesn´t look like much, but it takes surprisingly lot of fabric so basically no leftovers from the yardage I had for pants as the top ate up 1,6 m of fabric!

The front slit is very deep, I raised it by about 5 cm and could raise more but then the bust area becomes too tight. Thankfully there is the bow so it covers up the occasional view of the bra. The next time I would also raise the armscye because I had to choose the bra very carefully for it not to show from there as well.

I am hoping to wear the top in summer as well, with some casual pants and probably not tucked it. For the pencil skirt, I think the tucked in look is better.

Then the idea of a jacket came along while I was making the former two items and I still tried to keep it simple – the pattern is originally without lining. I even decided I would only serge the seam allowances to save time, but couldn´t help it in the end and just two days before the party, cut and sew the lining as well. It is just so much more comfortable and looks fully finished this way, I am super happy I took the time to do it!

The pattern is Simplicity 1421, view A.

As you can see, I omitted the pockets since I think they are a sporty detail and I wanted a more classy look. I think this pattern is great! It sews up really fast (the fabric worked extremely well, too) and is flattering. I might use this one again soon for maybe a more relaxed look.

Overall, I am very satisfied with the outcome as instead of one dress I now have three separates that can be combined with other items I have.

The brocade fabric is simply wonderful, I ordered 6 meters from Italy and if anyone is interested, I have over 3 m of it left and would happily sell it! The composition is 50%PL, 29%VI, 13%MD, 8%CO. The width of the fabric is 144 cm and weight 320g/m. I paid EUR 34/m for it, but I am willing to sell at EUR 30/m! Let me know if you are interested!

Hopefully you have had a great start of the year 2019!

The Raspberry Skirt

Hi!

Knipmode patterns are published in a Russian sewing magazine Susanna Moden which is also available in Estonia and this is how I found the pattern for the following skirt.

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It was printed in June 2017 issue of Susanna Moden but in fact it first came out in Knipmode a year earlier. I am not sure whether there is such a delay with every issue or not.

I cannot recall what drew me to this pattern, perhaps it was the wish to use up some stash fabric since the raspberry red stretch cotton twill was bought from Athens already many years ago, could be in 2011. Or maybe it was the seam lines that create some interest to otherwise a very simple straight skirt?

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Anyway, I nearly completed the skirt last summer while living in the cottage while our home was under renovation. But then our wedding was quickly approaching and I got pregnant with Liisa-Mai and then suddenly it was autumn and I didn´t really need the skirt so urgently anymore, not to mention the fitting issues with a growing belly!

Nearly completed actually means that since the skirt is drafted without lining, it was basically finished, but I decided to add a lining too. So a few weeks ago when I dug it out of my unfinished objects box, I only had to finish the lining and it was done.

It wasn´t so easy though, because instead of drafting a simple lining on my own, I had decided to copy the skirt construction for the lining but had not marked the pieces very well. So it took me some time to get my head around those initially pretty identical looking triangles. I finally got it right and I am surprised how much I like the result because I really didn´t change anything in terms of fit and I don´t have a very good relationship with red color in general. But this little skirt has got a lot of wear out of it already since it is suprisingly suitable in combination with so many other garments in my wardrobe. I never thought I would have so many tops to pair with red!

The size is 38 and as I recall I made some adjustments of the waistline to help with the fit. However, the skirt currently sits a little bit higher than intended due to my post-pregnancy figure and slightly protruding abdomen. Still, I enjoy wearing it and hope that next summer it will fit me better than now.

I omitted the belt loops since I would never wear a belt for this skirt and I didn´t see that they would add anything as such. And I used a plastic zipper instead of a metallic one just because I couldn´t find a suitable one but in hindsight I think it is even better like this.

While taking photos for this project, I realized how hard it is to photograph red color. The seam lines are nearly invisible and it kind of eats all the other colors. We tried several locations and light conditions until I just decided to settle with these photos.

This is also the reason why out of the many tops that go well with this skirt, I think I can only show you the following two, the cut out shoulder top I made a year ago  and the most recent blouse with ties:

 

So this was the long term unfinished project I mentioned in my previous post and it could have been posted already a few weeks ago, but I didn´t have the photos yet.

Happy sewing and I hope you enjoy your summer!

 

The Swing Set

The month of December has literally rushed by and although I managed to finish a set of a skirt and top plus a dress, there hasn´t been enough time and daylight to take any decent photos of the projects.

I will show the first items first and it may easily happen that the dress will be revealed in January as I made it for a wedding and I would love to be able to post “official” photos, too.

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There are actually three items here – the skirt is given extra fluffiness with a petticoat underneath. Initially I wanted to make a one-piece dress, but I figured that the skirt part would weigh down the bodice and make the dress hang on me, so I went with two separate pieces.

The patterns I used were  Burda 4/2007 model 104 for the skirt, instructions from Burda Easy Fashion S/S 2009 for the petticoat and part of Very Easy Vogue V8992 for the top:

The fabric for the skirt is from the holiday trip to Greece and Athens in September and although I was worried about how it would behave while sewing, it was actually very easy. The skirt is not hemmed which was one of my concerns in the beginning as I was not sure how to finish it, but since surprisingly the fabric frays acceptably little so I didn´t need to finish it at all.

Since the tulle is too sheer despite the application, I needed to add a layer of lining underneath. In addition, there is the petticoat, so all the layers of the skirt make up a nice contrast of textures:

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The skirt swings  and twirls perfectly while dancing, but it gets quite warm due to the layering.

I wanted to achieve a sharp contrast between the soft powder shade of the feminine tulle skirt and the black somewhat masculine double breasted top with  lapels. I think the fabric I used from my stash was not the best choice for the top as it is quite heavy and drapey, so instead of a suit-like stiff look, it is softly draping on me and the weight of the fabric draws the whole top downwards. Possibly if I had cut a size zmaller instead of 38, there wouldn´t be an issue, because both the main fabric and the lining have stretch, therefore probably the top would have a better fit and less chance for draping.dscn0053

It is a pity, because the Vogue pattern, albeit looking simple, required quite some work (it is fully lined) and I like the result in terms of how good it looks on the inside as well as outside. I even considered getting some stiffer suiting fabric and remaking the top but knowing myself as I find it very boring to repeat the same pattern, it will probably not happen.

I changed to original dress pattern by chopping off the skirt part and simply hand-stitched the overlapping fronts both on inside and outside while joining all the layers together at the bottom with bias tape. In order to get the garment on and off, I added an invisible zipper to the left side seam.

Here are some close-ups as well:

Here you can see the waistband of the skirt, made of the same fabric as the top, and the petticoat:

I made the fabric part of the petticoat longer than suggested in the instructions, because the heavier tulle is quite scratchy and also because I did not want the puffiness to start too high up. In order to minimize the scratchiness, I used bias tape to finish the allowance at the joining seam.

I wore this set for the university ball in the beginning of the month and also for the annual Christmas party at work.

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Just to clarify, the above photos with the matching rose furniture are not taken at our new house, which is currently getting worse and worse as we tear down wallpaper, break through walls and crush old floors.

However, I can show a glimpse of my current sewing space which is historical in the sense that I finally have a sewing table, which is not used for anything else! Right now it is just a corner in the current bedroom, but the plan is to add a higher cutting table and shelves once we move on with the works.

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I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with your family and loved ones!

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The Copycat Skirt

Hello!

Summer holidays are done for this year and so seems to be the summer – the moment August turned to September, it started pouring rain and it actually looks as if we have skipped a month and landed in October all of a sudden.

The second week of my holidays I was being just totally lazy at my parents house, staying up late, getting up late, meeting a few friends and also doing some easy sewing. Thankfully I had my brother take the photos of my new pencil skirt straight away, as it would be impossible to do it now when the weather has turned so bad.

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I must admit that I got inspired for this look by one of my favourite, if not THE favourite sewist and blogger, Erica B, more specifically by her post, which I now realize is a few years past already!

My fabric is a quite elastic cotton+polyester+elastan mix and not brocade as hers, but I really liked the look of some fancier fabric combined with a simple denim shirt, so I just… copied the look! Hence the Copycat Skirt!

A certain cat was involved as well (pun intended) – my parents´ Käbi (Pinecone):

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I used the pencil skirt pattern from BurdaStyle 8/2015, model 118:

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The length of the pattern suggests that the skirt should be worn with heels and I would totally love the longer look, but my reality is that most of my day at work I actually wear a polo shirt and sweatpants, just being properly dressed during the first few hours of the workday. So if I really wanted to wear it daily, I needed to shorten it to make it look nice with flats, as heels would be way too much for those few hours. This is why in my case the slit in the back would actually not have been necessary at all, but I still kept it, although together with the skirt, it got a lot shorter.

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I cut the size 38 at the waist and widened it to 40 at the hips. The skirt is very well-fitting and comfortable to wear. I especially like the high waist, which I think gives a more feminine shilouette than the lower fitting versions.

The fabric was bought on my trip to Berlin in July. I like that it goes well with the denim, but also with dark blue, white and even cognac-coloured tops, giving lots of possibilities for mix and match.

Spring in Paris – The Yellow Skirt

Hello!

I spent the last week in Paris with my mother, a trip she had long wanted to make. As my employer decided generously to add one extra week of holidays to everyone in 2015, I thought it would be a good chance to use the extra week for the purpose of accompanying her and also discovering Paris for the first time.

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I must say if you ever plan to go to Paris in spring, do it in April-May. Currently it was nastily cold! There is something about the cold in warmer climates – during the years I lived in Cyprus and Greece, I was also always cold in winter, especially indoors and fell ill once every year. This rarely happens to me here up North!

It was also slightly early because the trees were still leafless, which surely had an impact on my visual impression of Paris. It just means another trip has to be planned!

Thankfully, I had just finished a mustardy-yellow skirt to brighten things up.

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The pattern is from BurdaStyle October 2011 issue, model 119A and B mixed together.

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I cut size 38 at the waist and smoothed to size 40 at the hips. The fabric I used is from my trip to Portugal. I don´t know the composition if the fabric, but it is a weird one, dense and heavy and quite elastic lengthwise. I had just enough fabric for the skirt, as the pockets are self-lined and pretty big, requiring a lot of fabric.

Sewing this weird material was a pleasure, although it got tiresome at the waist, where I needed all my strength to press the basting needle through the layers.

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The skirt is unlined and i did not finish the seam allowances, since the fabric doesn´t fray at all and it would only have added extra bulk. The waistband is also hand stitched from the inside.

I really love the shape and extravagant size of the pockets. The buttonholes are only stitched, not cut through and the buttons are sewn onto those.

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Traditionally, I had done some homework on fabric shops in Paris and luckily there is a whole district of fabric shops of all sorts right on the base of the hilltop where the spectacular Sacre Coeur church sits.

Some of these shops are specialized on Halloween and other carnaval fabrics, others are selling everything in coupons of 3 meters, others have a bit of everything. I didn´t see anything too special or too expensive, the prices are rather low.

The most interesting one was perhaps Tissus Reine, a huge store with a large variety of fabrics from Liberty cottons to curtain and furniture fabrics, also a wide range of notions. The ground floor is dedicated to dressmaking fabrics and they have used smaller than human size dummies for decoration, who are dressed up in clothes made of the fabrics that are for sale.

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The other one, Les Coupons de Saint Pierre, is bigger online than in reality. They are selling everything in coupons of 3 meters, including silks. I spotted some beautiful pieces of bright yellow and green silks, but most of this was good fabric waisted for weird prints – like tiny Chinese working on ricefields or strolling with sunshades, However, I managed to find a piece of beautiful silk and paid just 20 euros for the whole 3 meters!

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Here is what I got:

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The first is a microfibre fabric that looks a bit like suede, I am not yet sure whether it will become a jacket or a minimalistic dress one day. The second one is a 3 meter coupon of cotton for a summer dress and the last is the silk fabric coupon.

The notions include shoulder pads, cover buttons and 3 shades (grey, dark blue and black) of jersey bias tape, something I have not seen before.

What I loved about Paris was the remarkable Musee d´Orsay, which will be one of the main reasons for my return and also the cheese and wine 🙂

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Happy 2014!

It is about the last minute to wish a very happy 2014 to all of you!

I have seen some nice overviews of sewing projects of 2013 by other bloggers and since I enjoy reading them, I thought why not to sum up my own sewing year as well.

I am only including items that were completed in 2013, so no Out Of The Closet items here, although in the posts of 2013 you saw a few of those.

So, as I was going through the projects, I realized I am more into rose prints than I would have thought! Just look at this – a corset top and a matching skirt, another top and finally a dress:

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And the rest of the dresses I made:

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Just two tops (the rose print one you saw above) and one blouse made in 2013:

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Two skirts (the rose print  is seen above) plus a pair of pants:

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If I had to pick the most worn item I made, it would be the Wavy Top, but I also wore the Tribal Print Skirt and Princess Jasmine Pants quite a lot over the summer.

I still have some nearly finished items, that I spent a lot of time working on and for some reasons didn´t finish in 2013. Once they are done, I will post them as well.

This year I also made two dresses for friends and I still owe one to a third person, too!

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And finally, there is one more dress that should be added to the 2013 count, because I finished it on New Year´s Eve! Unfortunately the light conditions are so poor in Estonia in winter, that although I tried my best, I couldn´t get good quality photos of the garment. This is why I am showing only a teaser of the dress here and once I get a chance to take better photos, will write a proper post as well.

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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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Out Of The Closet: Plaid Whirl Skirt

The weather here in Estonia has been from one extreme to the other in a very short time – the photos in the previous post were taken two weeks ago… and check out the ones I took today!

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I actually prefer the snowy extreme to rain anytime, the past two weeks have been magical, snowing nearly every day and turning the world into a fairy tale scene. It is also much lighter like this, even the little daylight we get  is reflected back by the snow.

The first month has been very busy at work and I get quite tired by the end of the day, so I haven´t been sewing as much as I would like to. There is a party dress coming together (I am hoping to make a post about it soon) and the poor coat is still on halt. I asked a friend in Athens to go and see if she can get an extra meter of the fabric, because I feel that the beautiful material and effort I am putting into this project is worth it. I can´t accept spoiling it, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that she can still find the fabric and since I will have a holiday in the end of the month, I would maybe even be able to finish it by the end of the year.

Today I am showing you a skirt I made a year ago, so still pre-blog. There is no pattern for this, just instructions to make one. It is from Burda Easy Fashion autumn-winter 2010 issue.

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The first time I wore it was for the Christmas gathering of the Estonian Embassy in Athens last year. I will miss the one this year, but hopefully the Christmas party with work colleagues will make it up! We will have live music, food and drinks and I think it sounds promising. Also, it will be much fancier, I wouldn´t wear this skirt there. Actually I am hoping to wear the new party dress I mentioned.

So, the skirt. It is pretty straightforward, it is a full circle skirt made up of two identical pieces and has a side zipper. The waistband called for a buttonhole, but I decided to make a loop instead. I also made it longer than the Burda version.

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I am not really sure I cut the fabric correctly, because when the skirt falls freely, the plaids run differently from one side to the other. Then again, when I lift it up, it looks precise… I have no idea, maybe it is impossible to cut plaid fabric in full circle and get it symmetrical?

I really like the colour combination though, and I think it was very appropriate for the event at the embassy, because blue-black-white are the colours of the Estonian national flag!

Because of the full circle, hemming the skirt felt endless. I used double needle for a more professional look. But at  the same time, the full circle whirls so nicely!

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The boots are Greek brand Hunter again. I still regret I didn´t get them in silvery grey as well, because they are comfortable and I often get compliments when I wear them.

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The Hourglass Set

The peplum top and skirt set in Burda August 2012 issue caught a lot of attention (in Estonia they sell both, the English and Russian version of Burda and I never understood, why they chose another model for the Russian cover, because the yellow set is really eye-catching) and has been made by a lot of sewists already. This is the pattern, models 113 and 111 C:

As I said, many have sewn it already, some really nice outcomes can be seen here and here. So far my absolute favorite is by SachiDespic, her version can be seen here. On her kind permission, this is her creation:

I was slightly disappointed, when I finally saw the technical drawing of the pattern, because it is more detailed than the Vogue version (Vogue 8815) that I instantly WANTED, when I saw it, especially when Erica B made it in synthetic leather and simply rocks in it. Here are the Vogue 8815 pattern drawings:

At first sight the patterns look nearly identical, but the difference is that in Burda´s version, the seam line of the peplum is curved up int the front (convex) and down in the back (concave). It is no big deal really, but I think the Vogue  looks more casual and Burda more dressy. I have too many dressy clothes already but not too many chances to wear them, so I was considering ordering the Vogue pattern. But of course my impatience (it takes ages for the pattern to arrive from the States) made me trace the Burda top and give it a go.

Well, it gave me a lot of trouble, truth be told. I don´t know what went wrong and if other people have had problems with this pattern, but mine was huge, which is very uncommon with Burda. In fact, it has never happened to me with any of the Burda patterns.

I cut my normal Burda size 38, but I had to take in at least 3cm at both side seams! And I promise I haven´t lost weight 🙂 It doesn´t sound like too much trouble, but because of those curved seams, after cutting my 3 cm off, the curves didn´t match at the side seams anymore! It looked horrible, so I had to pick the seams again and sharpened the curve on the back, so it would match up with the front.

I omitted the sleeves and the facings, because my fabric was quite a thick knit. I bias taped the armholes, the neckline and the peplum hem. I really like the outcome, but I guess I still have to order the Vogue pattern, because as you can see below, my result is far from casual.

Of course, it is my own fault in every way, because I made the skirt as well. When I went shopping for the fabric, I was planning to make the whole set in the same colour, but when I saw the pink knit, I decided that I should avoid ending up looking like a huge pink piglet. As I was looking around the shop, I came across a PERFECT match for the pink – a black knit with slightly glossy alligator print on it. I thought it would cool down the Miss Piggy theme and make a nice contrast.

The skirt was really easy to make, a quick and enjoyable project. Once again I let go of the facings and just used bias tape.

I played around a bit and used pink bias tape to finish off the hem seam allowance

The hem of the peplum

The last photo shows the set styled with my self-made obi-belt. I think the whole thing looks good with a black belt, but maybe a simple narrow one would work better?

Now about the shoes. These are not the shoes I intend to wear the set with, because I have a perfect match back in Athens, which I will post pretty soon, as my long holiday in Estonia is coming to an end, next week I will be back in Athens.

The reason why I rushed and posted the top and skirt project now is that I am not sure if I will be able to make myself get into these knits in Athens in August. Even if it is for showing off my beloved shoes. So most probably I will just make an update on the shoes and hope for an early autumn in Greece. In the meanwhile I will keep an eye on the Vogue pattern, because as soon as it will go on sale again, I am so going to grab it!