The Teacher Dress

Hi!

I don´t know what I would have called the dress myself, but my husband teased me when taking the photos that I look like a nerdy teacher in it! Given that I wore for a recent birthday party, it wasn´t the best thing to hear, but here it is anyway:

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The pattern is the Jane dress from Burdastyle Vintage edition A/W 2015, dedicated to the sixties.

It was actually the main reason for buying the special issue back in 2015, but as you know, it often takes me that long before I sew stuff up.

However, my parents recently spent their holiday in Italy, starting from Rome and I managed to convince them to visit some of the fabric shops I visited myself during my own trip to Rome in 2013.

It was a very difficult task for them, my dad initially voted against the fabric my mom wanted to pick by saying it looked like tablecloth! Unfortunately I was taking a nap while my mom desperately sent me photos of various fabrics in Messenger so they ended up buying something that I don´t feel is 100% me, but when I woke up and saw this one among the photos (my mom´s first choice) I just made them go back to the store and get it for me! It was a perfect print for this pattern! It looks a little busy on bigger photos, but the closer look reveals this:

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Isn´t it lovely? It is from Fratelli Bassetti Tessuti and I can´t tell the exact composition, but it is some kind of synthetic fabric with enough body and stretch at the same time, easy to cut and sew and fit.

I struggled a bit while trying to find the matching fabric for the details, at first I was sure they must be black, but the longer I looked at the fabric, the more I felt that the dark burgundy was a better match. Of course it was impossible to find fabric with the same characteristics so I got a lightweight crepe fabric in the right shade and used a thicker fusible interfacing to stabilise it.

The hardest part of the dress is the central piece with its round end. I have seen perfect versions online as well as some rather clumsy ones and I guess I fall somewhere in between with my result. This detail took a lot of time and precision to get it done, but still it is not completely symmetrical!

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I actually added the button day after the birthday party where I first wore the dress, because once again I finished sewing less than an hour before leaving the house! I love  the smart trick by Couture et Tricot who sew an extra button underneath the large one, to support it so that it doesn´t hang downwards, but looks straight. I will add this detail to my dress, too.

I didn´t get into all the couture techniques Couture et Tricot did due to the limited time available. The seam allowances are serged and the hem is finished with fusible hem tape. I also didn´t topstitch as far as the 7 mm the pattern calls for as I remember, but the distance from edge is about 4 mm. My dress is unlined.

The pattern is well drafted and I had absolutely zero issues with the sleeves for example.

I love the feeling of completing something that has been on my mind for so long and it could easily be the quickest I have used up new fabric!

The photos were taken in the new sewing room/office, which still needs some final details as you can see, but we will move in during the upcoming weekend!

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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!

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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Colour Clash Top

This spring has been so busy that I failed to post anything in April! But I am happy that one of the reasons why I have been busy, is the sewing hobby itself, not just work!

I actually have several items to show by now, but lets start with a simple top I made in record time of about 24 hours from tracing the patterns to the finished object, including packing and preparing for a 10-day trip in the meanwhile!

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I am not so fond of cowl necklines or gathered details, so I really went through all my pattern stash to make sure that model 130 from Burdastyle September 2012 is the one to go with.

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Surprisingly, I am happy with the result! I think it has mostly to do with the fabric, there is something so happy and summery about those colours!

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I didn´t make any alterations to the pattern, although I was sure I would have to, when I cut the pieces out at first – due to the gathers on the sleeves on one side seam, the pieces are extremely long! Eventually I think it worked out just fine.

I used a 5mm wide elastic tape for the gathers, sewing them under tension onto the seam allowances. Because my fabric is quite elastic, I used a twin needle throughout the project, making sure that every seam that had to be elastic, would be so. For more stable knits, I usually use twin needle only for the hems, but the side seams etc work fine with the regular needle, too.

I don´t know the exact composition of my fabric, but it seems to be prone to pilling. However the random print of the Statue of Liberty and Eiffel Tower in patches of bright colours was appealing and the top was easy to sew, which makes it ok, even if I don´t get that much wear out of it.

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Overall, I think the top is a nice thing to wear during summer evenings, but I already made use of it in the cold conference rooms in Singapore, which is the destination I was packing for while making the top! More about that in the next post!

Colour Blast Dress

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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