Baby Blue Stripe Dress in Berlin

Hello!

As I mentioned in my previous post, this year is rich in travels and the trip of July took me to the German capital, Berlin.

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I have visited Berlin twice before, the last time being 15 years ago and the first when I was only seven years old. I still remember the wall that had been pulled down two years prior, but remnants of which were visible everywhere. Today 1300 meters of it is still erect and preserved.

The trip was a short getaway with my 18-year old brother, and I think we both had fun. He helped me to take the photos of my latest project as well:

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It is model 107 from BurdaStyle 1/2014:

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I made quite a few changes to the original construction. Firstly, because my main fabric is a see-through crochet lace, bought from Vienna last year, I doubled the bodice with beige stretch lining and that saved me from the facing you can see in the tech drawing.

I also turned the the two pleats on the back of the bodice into darts, because otherwise the fit was too loose.

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Thirdly, my version is about 15 cm shorter than the original pattern. I just felt that the gathered skirt looked so much better shorter. Longer, below the knee length looks best when the skirt is more fitted, in my opinion.

As you may have noticed, there is a back center seam on my version. This is due to the limited amount of fabric I had. I guess I could have managed to squeeze even the sleeves out, but I deliberately used a different fabric there.

The dress is very airy and nice to wear in summer, I also haven´t experienced any excessive gaping of the front wrap detail, which I thought might be a problem.

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Some dressform photos here as well:

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Berlin surprised me with two things: firstly, the weather was so moody, it could turn from perfect sunshine to heavy rain within just a few minutes and then back again. Secondly, although Germans are known for their punctuality and precision, trusting the direction signs in order to find the Kulturforum complex, took us to a detour of a good 45 minutes, while the thing itself was a ten minute walk from the metro station we started at.

We visited the fabulous Mario Testino In Your Face photo exhibition and also a great exhibition about impressionist and expressionist painting, Im Ex. Of course we didn´t miss the famous Pergamon Museum, although unfortunately the biggest exhibit, the Pergamon Altar, was sealed for repair and maintenance works.

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When visiting a place, I always try to imagine living there and the feeling I get when I imagine myself being a local, pretty much defines whether I like the place or not. I liked Berlin. We happened to stay in an area loaded with small shops and cosy eateries, packed with locals and took long late-night walks accompanied by the best ice-cream I have had in a while, so it was easy to like this city!

Of course, I always look up some fabric shops. Remembering the trip to Düsseldorf in autumn, when I saw the Karstad shopping mall, I knew that the 4th or 5th floor would also have a selection of fashion fabrics and I was correct. I was lucky, because they had sales going on and I got two fabrics I have been thinking to buy from Estonia, at less than half the price!

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The other shop I visited was a rather small one named Knopfloch in the vicinity of Alexanderplatz, where I got some sewing machine needles. They mainly had jersey and various cotton print fabrics, but nothing that I could no resist.

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A short distance from our hotel, there was also a tiny shop named Frau Tulpe, which opens at 11 on Saturdays so I got there too early and didn´t return later due to lack of time and the fact that it looked more like a craft shop, offering mostly colourful cottons.

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And finally, there is the Turkish market at Maybachufer, which among other goods offers fabrics and trims and notions and as I heard from one local, has the best selection of that on Saturdays.

The prices are really cheap, most of the fabrics I saw were sold at 3 euros per meter, but the selection mostly consisted of cottons, cheap jerseys and some novelty fabrics. I got a nice cotton fabric that looks almost like lightweight denim or linen and some cotton bias tape that sold at 50 cents/m for plain colours and 1 euro/meter for patterned ones.

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As an experience, the Turkish market is really nice, you can also try various foods and I am sure everyone will find something to buy as well.

Golden Linen Dress in Valencia

This year as it happens, I am travelling abroad every month from March to August, sometimes for work and sometimes for holidays, meaning interesting fabric shopping opportunities but less time for the actual sewing!

I spent a few days in Valencia, Spain last week for another conference and as a lucky coincidence, one of my best friends also currently lives there so I got to see her and her sweet family as well! The only downside was that between the busy conference days and social meetings, I basically did not have time to see the city itself. However, I managed to squeeze in a super fast photo shoot on one of the days just before the first conference session of the day and one fabric shop in the last afternoon.

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The dress is a mix of two patterns, Burda 2/2009 models 105 and 106. I made the dress based mostly on model 105 (below left), but used the chest pockets from model 106 (below right), as they seemed more fun. I omitted the front skirt pockets, as the were drafted into the front panel seams, a rather uncomfortable spot for actually making use of the pockets. I also skipped the tabs for the belt, since I prefer to wear the dress without one.

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I cut size 38 for the bodice and 40-something for the hips. As it happened, I totally forgot to do it the first time around and the skirt turned out to be too tight, so I was really lucky to have some extra fabric for new pieces.

Otherwise the dress went well together, especially the sleeves, I got them at the first attempt! However, now looking at the photos, I am not entirely happy with the fit. I would say the bodice could be slightly narrower at the back, but somehow I notice these errors only after completely finishing the garment.

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The material is linen mixed with golden metallic thread, bought from Amsterdam, however due to the lighting conditions, it is not so obvious in the photos and the fabric looks a bit dull. The dress is very comfy, though, and I actually made it having the two conferences in hot climate (Singapore and Valencia) in mind, so that I would have something conference-appropriate, but breathable to wear. So far the dress has been perfect in that matter, although it wrinkles horribly as linen fabric usually does – the photos above were taken before the first session of the day and I think I only sat down for putting on my shoes!

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As you can see, I lined the skirt part of the dress for higher wearing comfort and also because it seemed that the linen might be too see-through against light. I did not want to line the whole thing because the lining is synthetic and I was afraid adding a lining might reduce the breathability of the main fabric.

I did my homework on fabric shops in Valencia prior to the trip and managed to visit one that turned out to be a great experience. The shop is called Julian Lopez and it is three floors full of beautiful fabrics, cut and sold by gentlemen in sharp suits. However, the last floor is dedicated to fabrics used for local traditional clothes and the second floor to decoration fabrics and quilting cottons, so only the ground floor remains for fashion fabrics, but the selection is good and I think there is something beautiful for any budget.

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I bought a polyester crepe in a rather crazy and humorous print – the fabric is very busy, but once you look closer, there is a rooster right in the middle! I like this funny detail and my current plan is to make an extravagant jumpsuit out of this.

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Just Cavalli in Singapore

My current job occasionally gives me fantastic opportunities to travel, too. As you might remember, I have had a chance to visit Zurich and Istanbul before, but this time the destination was Singapore! Although I travel quite often and have been to a few places, this is the farthest I have ever been until now.

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I try to take the most of my trips and this time was no different. I used the time free from the conference I was attending, for some sight-seeing with my colleagues and fabric shopping.

According to my web-research prior to the trip, there are basically 3 main spots for fabrics in Singapore – the Arab Street, Spotlight store at Plaza Singapura and fabric market in Chinatown. I checked out the first two.

Here are some shots from the Arab Street stores:

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The Arab Street was actually a ten minute walk from our hotel, a street lined with nothing but fabric shops. The selection ranges from exotic cottons to cheap polyester prints to fine silk and beaded lace. Of course I felt pressured by the desire to buy some fancy silk, but eventually I decided that I had enough party dresses already and I´d rather get something more casual to be able to get more wear of it.

So I got two different embroidered cottons and a mixed fiber silky dress fabric:

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The embroidered cottons are similar, yet very different in my opinion. I imagine the first one as a pure white, crisp summer dress, probably fitted; the second one is off-white and more girly, with a fluffier skirt.

The silky dress fabric has border print on both sides, my first idea is to use the central monochrome piece for the bodice and the border print for the skirt piece of a dress.

The Spotlight store is a huge shop full of anything you might need for party decorations, but also stuff like bedsheets and home decor products. There is a big selection of notions and fabrics, which seemed to be of the cheaper end in the majority. I didn´t buy anything!

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There was also one strange store named Daiso, where nearly everything comes from Japan and costs 2 Singapore dollars.You can find stuff from tools to dishes and cosmetics there. They also have some sewing related things, so I got a set of cover buttons and eyelet punch tool for 4 dollars!

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I also used the opportunity to photograph one of my latest finished projects, a party dress made of the original Just Cavalli fabric I got from Helsinki two years ago. You might remember this:

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I was very eager to start working on the dress right after I had bought the fabric and used a simple pattern from Patrones, trying to create a copy of the original. But there is something really peculiar about the fabric and how it appears in the photo above – it looks like the model should be no more than 1.5 m tall, because I am 1.7 and I simply cannot use the print in the exact way as shown, the dress would be embarrassingly short. Also, the pattern I had chosen was like a loose rag on me.

After facing these issues, I dumped the dress into the bottom of a drawer and was hurt every time I was looking for something else in there and the dress reminded me of my failure.

That was until I had enough of it and decided that I´d rather give it another try and see if I can make something wearable out of it after all. This is the result:

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I really liked the bright green piping of the side seams on the original dress, but after adding this detail to my version, I couldn´t resist pushing it a bit by adding the same piping to neck and armholes as well.

I did something rather unorthodox in order to achieve a nice fit – knowing that McCall´s 6243 really fits me well (tested two times already, look here and here), but not wanting to disrupt the beautiful print, I just arranged the pattern onto the pieces of the totally dismantled first version of the dress front and back, creating a one-piece front with just two darts. I took into account the fact that the pattern has seam allowances already included and overlapped the front diagonal pieces by approximately 1.5 cm. It worked!

As you can see, I compensated the insufficient length by adding a black ponte panel to the bottom of the dress and joining the fabrics into one by continuing the piping all the way down.

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I think the result is very rewarding. It is such a pleasure to turn a failed project into a beautiful garment that hardly goes unnoticed. I should have done it a long time ago and saved myself a lot of heartache every time I opened that drawer!

Singapore itself is a highly organized and extremely clean metropolis with extravagant architectural pearls. To my surprise, eating out was rather cheap and neither did I have to pay a fortune for the fabrics or public transport. Due to the conference we spent there quite a few days, but I generally think that if the only aim is to do sightseeing, three or maximum four days would be sufficient to explore the highlights of the city.

Here are some photos:

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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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Still Life Top in Amsterdam

I spent the last few days of 2014 in Amsterdam, which was a totally impulsive decision but I love to take advantage of great flight deals whenever possible.

This short trip was all about wandering around the canal side streets and fabric shops, admiring van Gogh and struggling through the crowds at Rijksmuseum, so all in all, pretty perfect!

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Right before leaving for Amsterdam, I had managed to finish a simple top, which is another version of the Wavy Top I made back in the beginning of 2013, using the pattern from Burda Style September 2012, model 123A.

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Since it is allowed to take photos in Rijksmuseum, I thought the flower pattern of the front side of the top would be cool to get photographed with a still life with flowers in the background, but probably due to the end of the year and increased number of tourists in Amsterdam, the museum was so crowded that we just saw the highlights and taking photos was out of the question.

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The flower fabric is from my holiday trip to Portugal in September and the faux leather pieces on the shoulders are about the last leftovers from a 2-meter piece of wonderful feel and quality faux leather I got from Athens just shortly before leaving Greece in 2012. The rest of the material has been used on a dress, but since I made a mistake while sewing, it seems too much of trouble to start fixing it, so every time I´d rather pick a new project and the dress is currently in a dormant phase.

I actually used the facings on that top, as the pattern calls for. Just skipped the back slit once again, but sewing the neck hole facing with a tight zig-zag stitch gives a lot of extra stretch and more comfort while wearing the top compared to the bias tape method I used on the previous version.

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While in Amsterdam, one of the main attractions for me were the fabric shops, of course. I try to bring some fabric with me from every trip and of course I wanted a piece from Amsterdam as well. Thankfully it seems that most of the fabric shops in this lovable city are gathered at the biggest street market of Holland (as it is advertised), named after the Dutch painter Albert Cuyp – Albert Cuyp Markt.

You can find pretty much everything on that market and the fabric shops have set out only samples of their goods, just to lure you into the shops where the rest can be seen and bought.

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I think I must have been to six or seven fabric shops on that market, some selling also expensive silks and wools and some nothing really noteworthy.

In the end I only shopped at one of the stores, since they offered stretch lining at a very good price, plus I found a gorgeous beige/golden linen with a Giorgio Armani tag on it, for which I think I paid a bargain price.

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The most impressive thing about Amsterdam were the canal-side houses. I´d love to live in any of them, they look so cosy, especially at night. And definitely Amsterdam and Holland in general deserve a longer stay to explore more and deciding by the few days I spent there, I most probably will return. Besides, I didn´t make it to the famous Kantje Boord, which Cidell from Miss Celie´s Pants has written passionately about!

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Hello, Africa!

Hey, everyone!

It has been a while, but I haven´t been idle, as soon as I get some photos taken, I will be able to show you this year’s holiday party dress and there are some other projects on the verge of completion, too!

But what I actually wanted to do today, was to share one interesting blog post with you. It is written by my dear colleague, Kadi (seen here with her Burgundy Wedding Guest Dress made by me) who currently is doing some great volunteer work in Uganda, Africa. Her task is to help the local school for children with special needs to develop some kind of production unit for young people with special needs who are not attending the school anymore but continue living there, so that by selling their goods they would be able to cover the expenses and have an income.

The idea is to produce several hand-made goods for sale and also take orders for sewing services. Of course now you know where I am getting at – fabrics!

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Over our long Skype chat Kadi sent me several photos of some of the most fantastic kitenge prints and I got very enthusiastic about the possibility of her actually bringing something along for me when she returns in January.

Below you can read a copy of her blog post that describes the local fabric shopping/sewing life, that I found very interesting. With her permission, I have only copied the English version of her original Estonian/English text that is available here.

For more details about the whole production unit, the little shop the volunteers have helped to start and of course, more supercool fabrics!, please look here.

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Tailoring business.

Moving around together with the tailors has brought along many interesting activities and discoveries regarding the textile and tailoring industry in Uganda. Firstly, I have learned about many new places for finding good fabrics and the important shops have been written down and memorized. Interestingly the shops are mostly organized so that similar businesses are all located in one place, e g there is the Energy Center for all kinds of eletrical materials, Majestic Plaza is the place for buying beads and pearls and other handicraft things (+ men who do your nails located on the ground floor) and many textile centers are packed tightly around two streets in downtown. From the outside it looks as if there were only a few shops but after entering the building one discoveries that every house is a labyrinth where all salespersons try to convince you to buy their products (hello sister, come and have a look, welcome, do you want some kitenge etc). After shopping there a few times you locate some shops that have good variety, reasonable prices, and friendly salespersons. One of the best experiences was to go fabric shopping together with teacher Winnie from the women’s project. She walked in front on crutches and me and Liina followed her along the lines of shops helping to choose materials and carry the shopping bags. While accompanying her we felt a lot less shouting and unnecessary attention around us. While moving around on your own, it still happens that the usual price of 25 000 – 35 000 for 6 yards of fabric turns suddenly into 60 000 and in that case I have often just left the shop because the bargaining and explaining would take too long. In some ways this kind of asking for a double price is also a bit disrespectful. Especially when I am bargaining in Luganda and state clearly that I know the real price anyway. The fabric shops have also specialized further – there are separate places for buying kitenge, materials for gomezis, for suits and so on. The surroundings of fabric shops are always filled with humming of the sewing machines and tailors with sewing machines have been squeezed into tiniest corners possible.
Besides textiles I also had to learn a lot about the sales and prices of sewing machines. Apparently the sewing machines sold in downtown Kampala are all brought in second hand from Asia. The prices vary between 350 000 and 500 000. The main factors affecting the price being the different stitches (they call it ‘designs’ here) the machine can make and whether it has a table and/or motor included. Only new machines I saw were manual Singer machines that are most probably also manufactured in China. While still searching for sewing machines for the tailors, we came across an easier and cheaper solution – getting four sewing machines from Bluesky. Due to having only solar energy, Bluesky was not using these machines anyway and we could repair four instead of buying one.
Ruth (left) and Night with some of their handicraft.
Handmade tie-dye fabric.
Shopping for fabrics.
Second hand sewing machines from Asia.
Olivia and the great artwork done by me : p
A welcoming light in our shop.
My home-office

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Star Trekking in Germany

As you know, I recently spent a long weekend in Germany, namely Düsseldorf and Essen.

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The primary reason for such a destination was that after listening to flamenco/copla/soul/jazz singer Buika on YouTube over and over again, I realized at some point that I needed to go and listen to her live.

There were more exotic venues on the list, but as I could only get a couple of days off work and the concert in Essen was conveniently in the weekend, I chose to go and see her in Germany. It was SO worth it, her voice and the rhythm of the music just gave me chills!

As I had bought the tickets and booked the hotels, I started searching for other stuff to see and do in Düsseldorf and Essen over those few days. And I got so lucky that I just couldn´t believe it!

As it turned out there is an impressive exhibition in Essen from September to mid-January, the topic being Japanese influence on European artists in the 2nd half of the 19th and beginning of 20th century.
It is hosted by Museum Folkwang and more on this great event can be read here. If any of you has the chance, go and see it, you will be impressed and you will learn a great deal! But for me the story has an extra twist.

Maybe some of you remember the Roberto Cavalli fabric I bought in Helsinki back in February.

Remember how the beautiful wave print (which I am scared to cut into, so I haven´t made anything of this fabric yet!) is inspired or basically copied from the famous Japanese artist Hokusai?

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I wish I had made something out of that fabric to wear for the exhibition, would have been fun!

But I wore a new dress, instead.

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The dress is based on the pattern 4 I from the recent Burda Easy Fashion Fall/Winter 2014 issue.

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As you can see, my dress looks quite different.

First of all, it is sleeveless. It was not meant to be, but it is, because may you all be warned – there is something really wrong with this pattern! Which of course is a pity because there are some really nice variations of that in the magazine. And for me it was also a real headache, as I discovered in the process of sewing what was supposed to be an easy project, that for some reason the pattern is at least 2 sizes too big! Seriously, there is no mistake in cutting the pattern, size-wise it is supposed to be correct, but it was huge instead!

I must have taken in at least 3 cm on both sides, but the result was that as the central piece was still too big, the sleeves would have been really off shoulder. As I wanted to finish the dress before the trip, I just omitted the sleeves, but still the bodice is too wide so if I forget myself and let my shoulders hang, there is some gaping in front of the dress.

The fabric choice was quite random, I just loved the blue and thought it would look better if I tuned down the sweetness with a contrasting panel.

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As a result it reminds me the Star Trek movie uniforms (photo from allposters.com):

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I wanted a simple jersey dress that would also allow movement since I needed something to wear for the ballroom dancing practice classes I attend nearly every Sunday. As usually I cut Burda size 38, but as I said, it looked more like size 42 on me. Apart from that, it was of course easy to sew. I omitted the side zipper and instead of the full skirt, I used a simple A-line skirt from Burda 04/2007, model 104, because it seemed to me that the full skirt would make the dress too heavy and drag on the bodice.

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Some more photos of the dress:

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This time my fabric shopping was modest. At first, as I was searching online for fabric stores in Düsseldorf and Essen, it looked very promising, but out of the 5 stores I tried to find in Düsseldorf some had apparently shut down and one was selling special fabrics for very exotic wardrobes – beaded organza etc, that was of no interest to me. I didn´t visit any fabric shops in Essen.

To my big surprise, one hint that I found on internet, was correct. In a big department store in Düsseldorf, called Karstadt, they have a decent fabric shop as well! At first I was sure they would only stock household fabrics, but it turned out to have a huge selection of all kind of fashion fabrics!

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You can see the fabric I got in the last picture. It is a colourful snake print stretch cotton sateen. I think I saw it in Vienna in May in Komolka, as well and liked it, but at that time there were so many more appetizing bits that this one got left behind.

And last but not least, I also bought an interesting special edition of Burda magazine – Burda Vintage. You can see the models featured in the magazine here. I don´t think I will use any of the patterns, but as I can read quite a bit of German and the magazine has more text and information that just the patterns, I still got it.

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As I got back from the trip, my complimentary issue of the November 2014 German BurdaStyle magazine was waiting for me in the mailbox!

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Portugal Fun

Hey everyone!

I am back from my wonderful 10-day holiday to Portugal for nearly two weeks now and it feels like it all happened ages ago. Probably  the autumn really kicking in here in Estonia makes it hard to believe that just some days ago I was sweating on a bicycle ride along the coast of the Atlantic ocean.

Portugal is amazing, it was my first time there and I was lucky in several ways – first of all, having enough time to explore the country, secondly having maybe the best travel companion with me and thirdly, the itinerary we had set up enabled us to see a great deal of Portugal.

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Out of the ten days we spent four in Lisbon, then headed to South to Albufeira and from there up North to Porto via Coimbra. From Porto to the oceanside Figueira da Foz and then on the last day dropped by Obidos as well.

A few photos (most of them in this post have been taken by my friend Triin) here before getting to the fabric stores 🙂

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Yeah, to the fabric store then…

The first thing that I noticed and it kind of struck me was that being as busy as I was before departure, I didn´t find a moment to do any research on the fabric shops in Lisbon or anywhere else, but as it turned out, there was no need, as it is impossible to miss them in any city center. I guess it has something to do with the history of trading that Portugal is known for.

The first one of the many in Lisbon was Feira dos Tecidos, very close to the Rossi train station. It is a peculiar shop, lots of space but really not so much variety to choose from. Some fabrics are sold as 1,5 m coupons, some are on the rolls. However, they had some interesting faux leather and some doubleknits in beautiful autumn shades.

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The whole touristic city center of Lisbon is full of smaller fabric shops, that are not always very welcoming for photographing so I cannot show you many photos, but once you find the Feira dos Tecidos and then wander around the network of streets around the area, you will run into most of them anyway.

Some of them are pretty modest on the outside, but hide great, expensive fabric treasures, especially lace. There are also streets lined with small shops selling haberdashery, but I cannot buy buttons without a certain fabric and pattern in my mind, so I passed them with a heavy heart.

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As we were on our way to Porto, we made a stop for a lunch and stroll in Coimbra.

An once again, a fabric store suddenly just stood in front of me! As I discovered later, Avenida 7 is a whole chain of high-end fabric retailers. They mostly stock designer fabrics, expensive silks and amazing lace.

The following photos are taken in their Coimbra shop, but there is also one in Porto. Neither of them can be missed if you happen to walk around in the city center!

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As you can see, in addition to the goodies I got from Lisbon, I couldn´t resist the ones in Coimbra, either.

Altogether I got three fabrics:

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The mustard fabric is from Avenida 7, I am not sure about the composition, however, it has lengthwise stretch and it is quite heavy. I loved the texture and color and I imagine a nice fall skirt made of this.

The quilt-effect sweater jersey got me with its color combo. I only got a small piece and I should sew up a sweater asap, combining it with some plain black jersey.

The striped one is probably viscose. Again the colors where what sold me, I think I can recall a RTW maxi dress made of a very similar fabric. As it was sold in coupons, I got 3 of them, each 1.5 m wide and long. Hopefully enough for a dress at some point.

Unfortunately I haven´t had much time for sewing recently and it makes me stressed. I wanted to finish one interesting summer dress right on time for the trip so that I could have taken beautiful photos, but work and fun (and also the heatwave of early August) got in my way so I have a few unfinished projects waiting for their turn. I cannot afford all this fabric gathering up in my little flat, should turn it into garments at a faster rate!

However, I wouldn´t exchange my trip to Portugal to no matter how much time for sewing because it was a real time-out and I am also very grateful to my dear friend Triin, who put up with my fabric stores tour, did the driving and also took these beautiful photos!

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The Green Sweetheart Dress

Hey there! Just a few days ago I had a great opportunity to visit Padise, one of Estonia´s many manors and enjoy a concert in the ruins of a monastery nearby.

For that event I finally managed to finish a dress that I had started exactly a year ago! I don´t know how it happened or why did I stop, but really, it took me year to get my act together and finish the zipper side seam (the zipper was actually already set in!) and the hemline…. oh well. But I am very satisfied with the result, the only regret is not having finished it earlier!

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The dress is  model 116 from BurdaStyle 4/2013, aka the Sweetheart Dress on burdastyle.com.

116_0413_B_large (1)116_technical_large (1)As you can see, I have omitted the small bow and the waistband. However, I am in search for a fuchsia pink belt to match with the shoes. I have always liked the contrasting combination of green and pink 🙂

I cut Burda size 38, but I might have left wider seam allowances for the hip area to ensure that I can make it fit. I cannot be really sure, because I started sewing the garment already a year ago….

I think what eventually made me stop halfway was the bodice and the shoulder seams, although it is ridiculous because the most difficult part was done by this time last year. Maybe I just ran out of energy for this project, but yes,  cannot say that the bodice is so easy to make, especially if you want the corners of the front and back shoulder straps to look sharp. In my case, it was also the rather thick, pique fabric (cotton mixed with some elastane for slight stretch) that I chose, a souvenir from my last years trip to Austria. It was rather tricky to get it fit right with all the facings and sharp corners.

With hindsight I think maybe the dress would be better if I had bothered with a lining instead of the facings that I had to bias tape one by one, adding quite some bulk like that.

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I also planned to make it a bit longer at first, but while trying to determine the perfect length, suddenly the shorter look seemed more fun. I guess it supports the playful colour of the fabric.

Some details of the bodice and the texture of the fabric can be seen here:

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 If anyone is wondering about the shoes, these bright pink silk shantung Ralph Lauren espadrilles are another souvenir from Austria last year. There are lots of shades still available on amazon.com. Very nice, but for narrower feet, just like mine.

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As you can see in the photos, we finally have some real summer here in Estonia this year and I am so glad for it, I can finally wear my dresses and not only the raincoat! I hope all of you in the northern hemisphere are enjoying your summer as well!

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