Tie (Up Loose Ends)

It is a bit as if 2018 is still going on here 😀 Still things to finish up from last year. If you remember this…

… then maybe you also remember I had cut out a tie for my husband to wear on Christmas Day.

And I did finish it minutes before we sat down for dinner, actually the rest of the family even had to wait a bit. Honestly, I thought it is going to be a quickie, but either I misunderstood something or the pattern really is as poor as I think it is.

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The pattern is Burdastyle 12/2013, model 148. I downloaded mine from burdastyle.com. It seems to me that the part on how to attach and work on the insert to shape the tie are problematic, as it was nearly impossible to hide the insert behind the lining piece on the wider end. Also, if I would ever make it again, I would cut the insert much narrower, not just without the seam allowance in order to be able to make it look acceptable.

Since I didn´t have a wool insert (what is it anyway?) I used a piece of windstopper material that I had left over from a coat (hint!), which worked fine.

For the lining I used the same fabric as for the dresses. You can see how much I hurried from the sloppy hand stitches on the narrow end…

Conclusion? Probably the only tie I will ever make, unless there would be some event so special that I´d be willing to spend another full day on making a matching one with my dress again.

But my husband loved it and the family photos are really fun, unfortunately none with a very good view of the tie, but you get the idea I believe 😀

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!

Me and Mini Me

Hi!

You knew this was going to happen, right? 😀

Well, I couldn´t resist! These are the dresses I made for Liisa-Mai´s first Christmas, we wore them already for the childrens Christmas party at my workplace, but definitely will wear them for the Christmas dinner with family as well. I actually have cut out a tie for my husband in the same fabric, we´ll see how this turns out. And then this might be the best use of fabric I have ever managed, although I bought the piece without any clear ideas about 2 years ago. But for the readers in Estonia – I noticed it was still on sale in Kangadzungel!

The pattern for my dress is Burdastyle 9/2013, model 108 (size 38) and for Liisa-Mai, 07/2012, model 145, size 74 – she is 7,5 months old already!

I love that I managed to find two patterns that have identical sleeves 🙂 Liisa-Mai´s dress is a bit simplified, because I realized that if I want to make a tie as well, there will not be enough fabric left after this skirt piece with its pleats and gathers. So I omitted the pleats, which I think would have added unnecessary bulk anyway plus the plaid fabric probably would have hidden them, too. So Liisa-Mai´s dress is just gathered, I used as much fabric as I had which was about 10 cm less than it would have been with the pleats.

I added the piping detail for her dress sleeves and if I had had more time, probably would have done the same for the collar. I also contemplated using the blue fabric for the bodice and then add the collar and fabric-covered buttons in plaid. It would have been really cute, but the blue fabric is 100% synthetic and the plaid felt more skin-friendly. The blue pieces are remnants from my Estonia 100 dress.

For her buttons, I used a special set that I purchased some years ago from Singapore. It is a great way to add some personality to a garment and I think it is especially cute for a baby! There are three hidden press studs down the front of her dress as well.

As for my dress, I shortened it about 15 cm and as you can see, added piping to the neckline, sleeve edges and the curved darts. The dress is fully lined with one of the most luxurious-feeling lining fabrics I have sewn with, a stretch and silky lining by Versace. I used the same fabric for her sleeves as well. It was such fun to see the tiny sleeves sewn up exactly as the big ones!

I am quite satisfied with the plaid match and placement and especially about the fact that although I managed to finish my own dress at a relaxed pace, the final decision to try to make hers for the party was made the previous evening…. I literally attached the last press stud like half an hour before leaving for the party!

I have actually dedicated a lot of time on sewing these past months and there is a big project waiting for its reveal, but it needs final touches and then there is the annual Christmas party for which I am also making a few things. So more to come, just a little patience!

Happy upcoming holidays!

The Blue Gown

Hi!

Would you believe that with all these years of sewing, I never made a maxi dress? This one is my first!

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I have a few ready-to-wear ones for summer, but generally I prefer to enjoy the warm weather in short and light clothes. There is only one maxi dress that I have worn to pieces and it is made of very breathable and lightweight cotton batiste.

However, as the annual Christmas party at my workplace was approaching fast, I needed something that would tick several boxes – appropriate for the environment since this years party was held at an old art nouveau style mansion (it is worth checking it out: Ammende villa), easy and quick to make since I was running out of time, fit me in the current circumstances and preferrably be wearable in the future. I managed to tick all those, plus as a bonus, I could use up some of the fabric from my overflowing stash! Win-win!

So the lucky winner pattern was Vogue 9104:

I am very happy I took the time to look up some blog posts on this pattern because a few of them mentioned the problem with the armholes being too low-cut. I guess it has to do with the weight of the fabric as well, because you need 4.1 meters of it for size 10 and the armholes can easily be dragged lower by the weight of the dress! The pattern also recommends lightweight jersey, but with this amount of fabric, jersey would definitely stretch even more, causing the armholes reaching too low. So just to avoid the trouble, I raised the armholes of my dress by about 2,5 cm and I am thankful I did! Instead of using the facings provided with the pattern, I used bias tape to finish them, another tip from one of the blogs I read!

It took me a while to decide what to do with the lower contrast part of the dress. I had just enough fabric in my stash for the upper part of the dress and I had it already cut out, so the task was to find something suitable for the contrast. It was really not easy. I considered sequins, but eventually they were not in the right shade; I was also thinking about using silvery lurex, but I was afraid the end result would be something in the lines of Ded Moroz, the slavic equivalent of Santa Claus:

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Photo source: http://www.artlebedev.com/mandership/173/

In the end I bought some glittery stretch lace and backed it up with matching lining fabric for the lower pieces:

This meant I had to cut the lower details out not four, but eight times and additional seams to join them. Not hard to do, but so time consuming, especially because the lining fabric is slippery and the pieces are quite big. It took a lot of pinning, basting, pressing and sewing. The seams are really long as well! And yes, the glitter was all over the place!

As you can see, the photos are taken at my parents place and my shoes don´t really match the dress, I just borrowed them from my mom for the photos. We actually tried taking photos at the villa since we stayed the night there but initially the cameras battery was dead and the next moment we had time to take the pics was at 3 AM, my husband almost asleep and my own face sleepy as well. The light conditions were not ideal either, but we took a few before going to bed:

The belt I am wearing was a must, I would have felt huge otherwise. It is metallic, but very elastic like spring and I love the leaf motif of the front closure:

Honestly, in my opinion this dress is as good as it gets in terms of the choices an expecting mother has for an evening gown! It is very comfortable and shows enough while hiding enough at the same time! For example I got really tired of wearing tights during the evening and due to the length of the dress, I could just remove them and go on without anything digging into my belly. In addition, since the lower contrast parts are not joined at all, the slits in front and back are quite deep, so there is some sex appeal to the dress as well.

Another great tip I got from reading blogs was to cut a size smaller than usual due to the really extreme looseness of the pattern. So instead of my regular 12, I cut it in size 10 and I think it was absolutely worth it. I also omitted the side pockets, because… who would need them really?

While the dress was halfway finished without the lower pieces attached yet, I also discovered that it would make a great summer dress in short version.

And last but not least, we had a professional party photographer, thankfully, so we managed to get a pic together with my husband, too:

We have a collective holiday every year during the Christmas and New Year so I am totally enjoying it now, preparing some patterns and sewing but also meeting friends and spending time with my family.

Just a few days left until Christmas, may you all have beautiful holidays with your loved ones!

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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Blue Cross Dress

Hello all!

I once again did not manage to post anything in November, but it has been really tough to balance work, school and everything else that I want to and have to do lately.

Nevertheless, I was determined to continue the tradition of an annual party dress! The photos, however, were taken just today, as I didn´t manage to do it at the Christmas party in more festive surroundings.

 

The pattern is originally from Knipmode (I am not sure which issue), but I got my pattern from its German version called Fashion Style, from August 2015. I cut the size 38 for the bodice and gradually widened to size 40 for the skirt.

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The dress is fully lined and due to the interesting back, was a bit of a challenge to complete and fit. I think the dress still is a bit wide for me when I look at the back cross detail, but I actually did not notice it before so now that I have been wearing it in public I think I am completely done with it and there is no way I would rip it open once again. Anyway, I guess anyone who has tried to take photos of their garments, knows that details otherwise not visible have the habit to appear in the photos.

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Despite of that, the dress feels very comfortable to wear and although the fabric is just a cheap polyester, it is somewhat heavy-ish and falls nicely. I suspect that the back detail would also fit better if the fabric had more stability, like the cotton stretch that has been used in the magazine samples. In order to offer some stability for the back detail, I used fusible interfacing for the outer details of the back.

The seam allowances are finished with bias tape and I used French seams on the lining.

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I really like the pattern, since it canbe combined with a jacket and then look totally suitable for office/work environment, if necessary.

The shoes are Dune Claudia, super comfy party shoes, I also have them in black patent/suede combination. I know that quite a lot of people find animal prints tacky, but I really loved this fun combination with blue suede and they are a nice accent for the one-color dress.

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I am afraid new year will start as busy as the ending one, so I don´t know when I will be able to post something again, but I am still spending the scarce free time I have with my sewing machine.

I hope you have wonderful holidays and a Happy New Year!

 

Ikat Party Dress

I wish you all a very happy 2015, may your hopes and wishes come true!

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I wasn´t able to find a quiet moment in the hectic but nevertheless enjoyable holiday period to blog about some of the recent finished objects, but found the time today, on the first day of the new year.

It has become somewhat of a tradition to make myself a new dress for each holiday season and 2014 was no exception.

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This time I was looking for a suitable pattern for the ikat fabric I got from Istanbul in spring. The problem was that due to the busy pattern of the fabric and the fact that I only had 1,6 m of only 80 cm wide fabric, it had to be really simple. In the end, I decided to try a totally new pattern, from the book Famous Frocks: The Little Black Dress: Patterns for 20 Garments Inspired by Fashion Icons.

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The pattern I used is a variation of Kate Moss inspired dress:

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According to the size chart, I cut size S, but if I decide to use any of the patterns from the book in the future, I will cut a size smaller for sure, it was too wide everywhere. Thankfully the pattern is simple, so it wasn´t a big problem to take in on both sides.

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Although the pattern instructions don´t call for a lining, I added one, because the ikat silk is very thin and delicate. Actually this was the hardest thing about making that dress – trying to tame the extremely fraying material. I used up the last remnant of my favourite lining fabric – the black stretch I got from Poland some time ago. Since it was a remnant, I didn´t get enough length for my lining and I used a piece of beautiful lingerie border lace to finish the lining hem.

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Attaching the black sequins one by one was actually quite enjoyable, although it took me a few evenings during the busiest pre-holiday days at work. As you can see, the last row is double on one side and single on the other, I don´t even know if this happened because of the sequin-placement or if the collar piece is slightly wider on one side. However, it doesn´t bother me since it is nearly impossible to notice unless one is specifically examining the dress. The sequins are only attached to the front part of the collar.

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By the time I write this, I have been wearing the dress on several occasions, since the end of the year has been full of parties and concerts and I have loved wearing it every single time. The only fear I have is that it may not last very long as the fabric is so delicate.

I am also super satisfied with the first pair of comfortable party shoes, they are model Claudia by Dune London:

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This years holidays have been very special and I have enjoyed every moment. I even managed to squeeze in a short city trip to Amsterdam as well, more about this soon!

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!

The Jewel Dress

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

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

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

Burda 11 2008 dress 135 black

Burda 11-2008-135 dress

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

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Burda 11-2008-135

Burda 11-2008-135

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

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

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

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

Burda 11-2008-135 dress

Burda 11-2008-135

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

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

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The photos were taken by my sweet colleague Merle:

Burda 11-2008-135 dress

Burda 11-2008-135 dress

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

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

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

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