Color Block Inspiration

Hi!

I think in the world of sewists on social media we inspire and get inspired often even subconsciously, the beautiful makes of others affecting our fabric and project choices without us realizing. And then there are moments when inspiration hits like a hammer and we know very clearly that we want a pattern or a fabric or a combination of these exactly as someone else just posted.

So this happened to me when I saw Keira´s (https://islandsewcialist.com) color block shirt back in February on her Instagram account. I screenshot the image and started looking for matching fabrics in terms of weight and color to straightforward copy her shirt. But I was unable to find this beautiful lemon shade of yellow and eventually opted for light pink, lilac, mint and blue cotton poplin that I finally found from Abakhan. That was really convenient as well, because they had just offered me a second collab, so the fabrics were bought using the allowance they kindly gave me and this is also the second post of the three that I said that I would write as a result of this collab.

I apologise if it is getting boring for you, but yes, I did choose a pattern from Style Arc once again. You have already heard the reasons for this so many times that I am not going to count them all here again but I particularly loved the back detail of the Roxy Shirt because I realized I could play even more with the color blocking thanks to this.

So after some head scratching on how to place the different colors on the pattern, I made the shirt and I am happy with the result. I didn´t really enjoy the instructions that stated one thing in the text and other on the drawings, but with some help from my Burda book, I managed to sew the sleeve plackets perfectly. The pattern instructions were all Greek to me, but the Burda book that is actually in Greek, was quite clear, haha!

Soon after I finished the shirt, an event was announced on the biggest Estonian sewist community on Facebook and the theme was “Inspiration”- in order to participate you would have to show the inspiration photo and next to it your own creation. I had finished the shirt but did not have suitable pants to match and so my entry is technically the pants only, but I know that the shirt steals the show 😀

Keira so kindly gave her permission to use her image for the purpose:

As you can see, I didn´t make jeans although that would have been even cooler, to try to copy the whole outfit, but I wanted to make a second pair of Liana Stretch Jeans from Itch to Stitch patterns and my jean fabrics were not stretchy enough for the purpose, so I used a dark blue stretch fabric that I bought in October from a warehouse sale paying 2 euros per meter if I recall correctly. It is of excellent quality but does not handle close up photos well, so just two of these which are heavily edited to resemble reality at least a bit.

Today was a perfect spring day that actually felt summery and as the day proceeded, the temperatures rose even higher so in the evening we went out to a children´s playground by the sea and basically wore short sleeves. But it was quite windy and as I took the photos during the day by the seaside, my tripod tripped over several times, my hair was flowing in the air and my shirt ballooned in the most unflattering way… the struggle was real! And the whole “photoshoot” was cut short by the battery dying… !

After all this winter stuck at home (and we haven´t really experienced serious lockdown as in terms of mobility restrictions and curfew) and despite knowing how lucky we have been to still have our jobs that allow us to work from home and not having any close family member catch the virus, after all this, this beautiful day felt so deliberating and I also felt that I looked good after a long long time, because I somewhat dressed up wearing this shirt. I even attended an afternoon online webinar wearing it although I normally opt for a decent jersey top when working from home.

My 3 year-old daughter asked me later in the evening: “Mommy, are we getting closer to the next winter?” and I felt goosebumps just because of the fact that the statement is true. But thankfully we are still in spring, I want to enjoy it to the fullest and wish you the same!

Me enjoying the sun-warmed car. No seatbelt because I am not driving and taking selfies at the same time.

The Feathery Blouse

Hi!

If you follow my IG account, you have probably seen a glimpse of this already:

It´s a simple blouse, the pattern is from Burdastyle 11/2013, model 103.

As you can see, it is pretty straightforward, no careful fitting or special techniques required. The cuffs could be a bit wider because as they are now, I have to unbutton them every time I want to put on or take off the blouse. But of course being so narrow they create a beautiful bell shaped sleeve.

The sleeves actually have a dart on top of the shoulder and it is not obvious from the technical drawing. The construction is also interesting and simple at the same time because initially you only have to sew a part of the sleeve attachment seam and then close it with one continuous seam on top of the shoulder together with the shoulder seam.

Recently I am very much into this wine or bordeaux shade as the feather print of this fabric. It is polyester and I wish it was rather a mix of some natural fibre because of static electricity but still, could not not buy it when I saw it. I have a beautiful plain fabric in the same colour and I will make a pencil skirt to go with this top.

Speaking of pencil skirts, my husband made a comment when I was halfway done with the blouse and wasn´t sure if this wider cut and bell sleeves are really me. He said that “not everything has to be almost skin tight” 😀 He is right but for some reason I do feel kind of clumsy in wide clothes, especially wide sleeves and maybe this is also the reason why I am not really a fan of floor length dresses either. But pencil skirts… I have thought many times that one day, one day!… I will get an office job just to be able to really dress the way I like. Because I really do like pencil skirts 😀

Anyway, some close ups here as well:

I wear glasses for reading, driving and of course, sewing but normally not through the whole day. But for these photos I wore them for two reasons – they are new and they are the same bordeaux colour! I admit – my phone cover is in this shade as well! And did you notice the shoes? 😀

I used to wear high heels quite often when I lived in Athens because the lifestyle of a Southern European city was very different from my lifestyle now. Plus, in Estonia we normally don´t wear shoes indoors, so to be honest I don´t think I will ever wear the top as you see it with the red heels here. Once I make the skirt, yes, to a concert or a date night but with pants I guess it is going to look more like that in real life:

But those red shoes have leather soles and I just remembered a funny story related to them. We once went to a winetasting date with my then boyfriend (I actually think it was Beaujolais Nouveau Day in November) and totally forgot to think how are we going to get back home after all this tasting and drinking since we drove there but the celebration was in the middle of the week and yes, in this small town in the middle of a winter week you actually can´t get a taxi! And I was wearing my 10 cm heels with leather soles and it was half raining/half snowing outside….. So what did he do? He carried me on his shoulders all the way home, taking several breaks on the way. We had crazy fun and I guess even just this would have been enough to marry him, right?

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 Tie Blouse

Hi!

With little Liisa-Mai around, my wardrobe choices have become somewhat limited as there are too many boxes to be ticked – the garment has to fit reasonably in the bust, fit reasonably in the belly area; be breastfeeding friendly and finally, be suitable for the occasion!

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I realized how few of my clothes are actually button-up or wrap style in order to allow comfortable breastfeeding! The other issue is the belly – I have lost most of the baby weight by 8 weeks postpartum, but the belly is resisting, especially as I used to have a pretty flat one prior to pregnancy (of course I would never have agreed to that statement back then, there was always little something too much in my opinion!) and the clothes were sewn to fit that body, not the one I have at the moment.

The pattern I used for the top above is Simplicity 8601 and it is not breastfeeding-friendly, however it does conveniently have a center front seam! So all i did was adding an invisible zipper to the front seam and omit the back closure. I cut size 14 and used view C for my blouse.

I also did not use the facings, but went with white cotton bias tape instead.

 

I am so satisfied with the result that I think I will repeat it. However, I think three ties on one blouse is a little too much, I would rather prefer either one in the front (and then go sleeveless) or only keep the sleeve ties. My husband also came up with a good idea – to make the front and back piece identical and without the tie – then the blouse would be more like a shirt and could be worn with a belt for example. I need to consider all these options before cutting into the next fabric.

 

I actually prefer to style the blouse with pants instead of a skirt, but we have had an amazing spring and summer this year so far – much warmer and sunnier than usually and of course this makes the long walks with Liisa-Mai very enjoyable.

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The fabric I used is a good quality cotton gingham that a dear friend of mine brought from his business trip to Germany a few years ago. When he gave it to me, I was a little “meh” to be honest, but for this project it is perfect, breathable and I love the light blue color too! I am happy I could find a good use for this old-timer in my fabric stash!

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It is hard to get the shade of this baby blue correct in photos, it is definitely brighter than in the photos taken indoors, however slightly duller than on those taken outside 😀

Some close ups too:

 

Next post is coming soon as I managed to finish a long time unfinished project recently!

Happy sewing!

Stripes N´ Roses Top in London

Hi all!

It looks to me that its a current big thing to have embroidered roses or whatever other embroidered patches on clothes and when I finally decided to realize my idea of sewing an off-the-shoulder black and white striped top, I thought it would be a fun detail to add.

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The idea of such a top is so old that the fabric for it has been in my stash since I left Athens in 2012! In the meanwhile I have luckily bought a serger so I guess it was meant to be merely an idea for such a long time, as it is definitely a serger project!

The pattern is Simplicity 1613:

This time I cut size 10 as I definitely did not want this style to be too loose on me. As a result, it is somewhat tight over the waist and perfectly prevents me from eating too much 🙂

The top has a tunnel and elastic around the shoulders to keep things neat, but I made a mistake there by trying to outsmart the pattern designers – the trick is that the elastic has to be cut long enough to go around the shoulders but tight enough to stay up. It looked to me that the elastic was too long so I shortened it, but this makes the top pop up over the shoulder every time I lift my arms too high. So if you are making this top, cut the elastic exactly as long as the pattern says, then it will be perfectly loose enough not to do that and tight enough to stay put.

I have enough fabric for at least one more such top and it is quite likely that I will make another one since I love the style and I could make the second one fit better in that shoulder area.

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The embroidered rose patch is the iron-on type and I got if off Aliexpress for 0,95 $ and free shipping. The choice is immense, but I got lucky since mine is of excellent quality.

Now you may have noticed that these photos don´t look anything like Estonia and you are right – I had the privilege to take part in a work-related conference in London during the past week and one of my sweet colleagues agreed to snap the photos on our last morning there.

As usually, the time-table during such events is very tight, but there were a few free hours on one day and I took the chance to check out Berwick Street in Soho for some fabrics. There are quite a few shops on that street, starting with Misan Brothers, that offers a beautiful choice of high-end fabrics, up to the Cloth House that has an interesting range of fabrics from Japan. Since their price level was more affordable, this is were I made my purchase.

Misan shop:

The Cloth House:

I got a beautiful kimono-style crepe that has an amazing drape:

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I hope you are enjoying your summer!

Cut Out Shoulder Top

Hi!

I remember when I first saw the model 116 top in Burdastyle 3/2017, I thought: “Gee, I love it, but I would never bother to cut and sew all those bands!”. But the design stuck in my head and a little later I realized I had the perfect fabric for it ready in stash.

116B-032017-M_300x400-ID407020-746784c5c2250b1bbbaf6eb786f90145116A-032017--B_largeI bought the (quite flimsy) cotton batiste with embroidery on one edge last year from a small fabric shop in Tartu and initially planned to turn it into a girlie skirt one day.

However, after all the cutting and fiddling with the bands (didn´t I say in my last post that I am not good at sewing sharp angles? Well, it appears I am not good at sewing round edges either!), I turned it into this top instead:

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I considered using the embroidery pattern provided in the magazine to copy the original design, but the last time I embroidered was in elementary school crafts class, so eventually I decided not to take the risk. I also considered embroidering with beads, but that would compromise ironing the garment and cotton batiste just has to be ironed every time after wash. So the result is somewhat plain, but I hope the wide lace will make up for it!

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I didnt have enough lace fabric for the back, so I just used a piece of plain batiste there.

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Some close ups:

I think eventually it is a better use of the fabric than the skirt would have been, now let´s just hope that the weather will give me enough chances to wear it!

Jalie Jeans and Leftover Top

Hi!

The first projects of 2017 have been chosen solely because I wanted to try out my new serger, Brother M1034D.

You might recall my Just Cavalli dress that took ages to complete. I don´t know how about you, but I find it really difficult to throw away large pieces of leftover fabrics although I never use them for another project again, so they just pile up and I am really happy when I can use up the whole yardage of fabric for a project. The only fabrics that I use again are linings.

So I had quite a lot of Cavalli fabric left from the aforementioned dress and after making these crazy blue pants I also whipped up the top, thus using every scrap of the fabric I had!

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So the pants are my first ever try of the famous Jalie patterns I have heard read so many good words about. Mainly about their jeans pattern which I had in mind at first, but then I noticed that they also have a pull on jeans pattern and since my fabric is very stretchy I thought I could also take the easy road. So I bought, downloaded, cut, taped and cut again their Eleonore /Jalie3461/ pattern.

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I mostly used my serger to make the pants and just sewed the zippers, topstitching and hems with the regular machine. I enjoyed working with the pattern and I only had to take in about 2 cm at the waist before attaching the waistband.

The zippers are my own addition to the pants. I actually have the idea to wear them with a jacket I am planning to make and once it is ready (no promises), it should match even better due to the silver zipper detail of the pockets.

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Because of the zippers, the pockets are actually bigger than the pattern originally requires. The zippers are purely decorative and since they are sewn onto the fabric I didn´t see a way to shorten them so that they would match the pockets. So the solution was to cut bigger pockets in order to make it happen. The pockets are about the width of the seam allowance bigger than original on each side.

For the top I used an old Burda pattern (from 7/2007, model 105) that I always thought was really cute:

It is the record project in terms of speed – I started cutting the fabric at around 10 PM and by 1.30 AM the top was complete. Of course I wasn´t too excited about it a few hours later when I had to get up for work and then drive all the way to Riga in the afternoon 🙂

The only thing I changed was adding the back center seam, because of my fabric print. I also just serged the back opening edges. The small ties are sewed on separately and they are both double layer of fabric, so they are not so easy to tie neatly and every time I end up with a different result – sometimes the tie ends show north-south, sometimes east-west!

Now I said “crazy” blue pants and I wasn´t lying – the photos above were taken in Riga at the hotel we stayed during the first trip to hunt for the wedding dress and the lighting conditions were obviously not the best. Here is how the blue is in reality, pretty electric, huh?

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I actually think that the top also looks better with black pants, but the truth is that I have to make some additional garments to wear with the pants, it is not easy to match colors with such bright blue!

It seems that April will go by without any new posts, since I am really pushing myself with the thesis, but it is going at a very slow rate. Still, I have so many sewing projects on my mind that we´ll see, maybe I will make something simple just to tame the craving!

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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Cold Shoulder Hot Pattern Top

Hi!

The month of September is coming to an end and what a month that has been!

The latest high emotions come from the sunny holiday in Greece, which for me was extra special because it was the first time back there since returning to Estonia four years ago, after having spent five years in Athens.

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We started from Athens in order to see the mandatory sights and I also managed to squeeze in time for a couple of friends, whom I hadn´t seen all this time! Then we hired a car and drove to the island of Evia, which is connected to the mainland by a bridge. It is not so well known as several other Greek islands, although it is the second largest after Crete, but we had a marvellous time nevertheless. Since the high tourist season is over, there were only a few people at the organized beaches, but we even avoided that by discovering completely secluded beaches that were only for us to enjoy. This is real luxury!

I managed to make two new pieces for the trip and the top you see here took me exactly a day from cutting the fabric in the morning to finishing it at around 10 PM. Of course I took breaks as well for cooking and eating and packing (since our flight was 3AM!), but it was such an enjoyable day, a true holiday doing only the stuff I love and really nothing else!

The pattern is HP 1196 Metropolitan Urban Gypsy Blouse from hotpatterns.com, my first ever pattern from them and it turned out to be a great experience! I discovered the pattern thanks to probably the most productive and inspiring sewing blogger, Erica Bunker, whose version is here!

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Since I started contemplating making the top just a few days prior to the actual acceptance of the challenge, I purchased the download and print-at-home version of the pattern.

I cut size 10, but as you can see, it is really generous and what actually matters the most, is the shoulder circumference. The fabric is a piece of chambray that I got from Berlin last year, for like 6 euros!

Similarly to Erica, I had no issues with the pattern, it is actually very easy to sew up, but I suggest following the instructions carefully, as everything will turn out beautifully and there is no need for shortcuts, as eventually they will become obstacles when finishing the top. I almost tried to switch the sequence of hemming the sleeve ties and assembling the sleeves, but I quickly realized that sticking to the instructions is the easiest and shortest way.

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The shorts that I am wearing are also made by me, several years ago back in Athens, actually, take a look here.dscn9967

I used bias tape bought during the same trip to Berlin to finish the seam allowances, but I didn´t have enough for the hem. I wish i would have realized it earlier, since I would prefer the hem to be finished with such a cool plaid tape instead of the plain white that I had to go with eventually. I also created tabs for the curved hems meeting point at the side seam in order to give it more strength.

While in Athens, it would have been unimaginable not to go to the numerous fabric shops, not much has changed since I wrote the post on this topic. I got a piece of white cotton batiste and 2 meters of nude tulle craziness – I really hope I can turn this into a dress combining it with sharp black. In addition, I got two pieces of fabric for cushions-to-be for our house.

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Now, I realize this is a sewing blog, but I still cannot hold back the other big news and events that made this September so memorable. Firstly, as you might know already, I am a big fan of Ludovico Einaudi, and have been attending his concerts in Copenhagen and in Helsinki. Shortly after we returned from Helsinki, I discovered that he will be performing in Tallinn on my 33rd birthday! There was NO WAY to be absent from this, so in an instant we got new tickets for Tallinn too 🙂

I have no photos of the concert or before or after, although we had a great night with friends, I can only say that I was wearing the Black Swan Dress as I did for my first Ludovico concert.

The reason for no photos is actually so controversial – I was too excited and too emotional that night because my boyfriend had decided that he no longer wants to be my boyfriend and he asked me to marry him just a few short hours before the concert! But no photos of that night, would you believe?

So I will just share a few from Athens, the rest of the trip together with a new dress is coming soon in the next post!

 

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Sailor Top

Hello!

I have been enjoying my Colour Clash Top so much that I decided to make another version of it. Who would have thought!

As you know, the pattern is model 130 from Burdastyle 9-2012.

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This time, I gathered both sideseams of the top. I am not really sure if it was a good idea since this creates countless folds of fabric right on my waist.

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I don´t know the exact content of the fabric, but it is very thin and not really stretchy, an unplanned buy upon a sudden flash of an idea. I only wish I could sew half as fast as I buy fabrics.

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I used a piece of cotton lace for the back neckline on the inside:

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Anyway, if you are in need of a quick sewing satisfaction, this is a pattern I recommend!