Vogue 8829 revisited

Hi!

You may remember my recent black embroidered cotton dress and how happy I was with the pattern. In fact, I immediately decided that I will repeat the pattern so soon that I didn´t even put it away from my sewing table. I didn´t have a certain fabric in mind but it came to me by itself if I can say so.

We were on a day trip to Pärnu and since I had been looking for a specific color and size of buttons for a while, I jumped into the local fabric shop to try my luck. And lucky I got! In addition to the buttons I had been looking for, I just took a glimpse at some of the fabrics sold by weight and you know the feeling when your heart skips a beat…. I have always had a soft spot for stripes, but if they come combined with floral, I am pretty much sold! Also, thankfully there was enough fabric because although lengthwise the piece was 3 meters long, the width was only 1,1 m. The shop assistant told me that the fabric is for crafts, but being 100% cotton, it is ideal for a summer dress as well.

If I wasn´t so excited about the result, I probably even would not write a second post on the same pattern (Vogue 8829), but for the second time, it really is a great pattern to work with! This time it went together even faster because I didn´t need to add lining to the skirt piece, the cotton fabric is dense enough.

For the black details, I used the leftovers of the black “sister” dress and thus used up all of the black poplin I was gifted by Black Carrot Fabrics. Since I usually tend to have big scraps, it really feels nice when I can use up all of my material.

I had to wait a few days for the suitable belt to arrive and I ordered two slightly different ones just to make sure one would fit and thankfully one of them really is quite similar in width to the front placket. It really is one of the best feelings about sewing when your vision becomes reality!

On the inside I used a piece of white cotton batiste for the yoke because I was afraid that the contrasting stripes would show through on the outside. Also, as with the first version of the dress, I stitched in the ditch on the front placket as opposed to slipstitching on the inside by hand.

I think I also got lucky that the front placket is about the same width as the stripes on the fabric, looks so much better like this.

Whoever has taken photos in a more or less public place with a tripod and a remote, probably knows that it is not always a very comfortable feeling when people stare at you. Or maybe it is just me? But on the other hand taking all of the photos at home would also be very boring, so as long as there is good daylight, I prefer to take my pics outside, even if it means stepping out of my comfort zone. This time, as well as the last time (for the maxi dress post), I had a little helper and it is unbelievable how much courage a child who doesn ´t question your actions can provide! It has been great taking photos with my daughter (despite the occasional photobombing) and I have enjoyed the playground time after the shoot so much!

Until soon!

Black Carrot Black Dress

Hi!

I didn´t even realize that I didn´t post anything in June! Wow! I blame the extraordinarily warm summer and I have always enjoyed sewing itself more than writing about it so I guess I made my choices last month. If you follow me on Instagram, however, you know that there are a bunch of things I have made that have not ended up here, yet.

But today I have a few good reasons to post and number one is that another Estonia-based fabric shop approached me with an offer to cooperate and I gladly accepted. The shop is Black Carrot and they offer a decent choice of dressmaking and home decor fabrics. In fact I regularly shop there anyway so it wasn´t difficult to choose a fabric for the sponsored project. And if you like my dress, they still have both of the fabrics available so why not make a similar one!

I picked their wonderful embroidered cotton and plain poplin, both in a deep black shade to make a work-appropriate summer dress, using an old-timer of a pattern in my stash – Vogue 8829.

I combined views D and C, the armhole bands of the latter were actually the key reason for liking the pattern as well as the opportunity to use a contrast color/fabric for this and other details. And before I say anything else, this pattern will be repeated soon. It is just so good. And this is the second good reason for posting today – I have made myself a wardrobe staple that I just hope will not fade in sun and wash too soon.

It has been a while since using a Big4 pattern because of my love affair with Style Arc and I had to keep reminding myself that the seam allowances are 1,5 cm and not 1, but other than that, a really enjoyable pattern.

I made a few modifications too. The most noticeable is that I added a lining to the skirt because the embroidery is see through enough to make me (and possibly others around me) uncomfortable if left unlined. I used a nice drapey and cool against the skin (viscose mix?) fabric that I purchased a long time ago with plans for a dress, but I have only used bits of it for pocket linings and now for the dress lining as well. It is quite precisely the colour of my skin so very subtle under the embroidered cotton and I think it gives the skirt some movement as opposed to having used a poplin lining, which was my first idea. But thankfully I checked with my sewing buddies and within a minute we made a common decision that the lining has to be silky, beige (not black) and I should use different pleats than the main fabric. So the lining has knife pleats where the skirt has inverted pleats. As for the color, I have a feeling that if I would have found a similar dress in a store, it would have been lined with black, but that would of course not show the beauty of the main fabric.

For the other modifications, I used the famous burrito-method for the yoke treatment which for some reason has not made its way into the Big4 pattern instructions as far as I know. I also skipped slipstitching the front bands and stitched in the ditch instead. It is not my favorite thing to do at all, but this time it went well enough.

I was not sure about the buttons at first and considered using black ones, but I think eventually the six golden ones that I had bought some time ago just because they were so “me” and not for some specific project (AND they were the last 6 at that shop!), fit perfectly. Otherwise I think there would be a danger of looking too serious. I did have some hesitation about a black summer dress, but adding the belt and the golden buttons and light colored shoes change the overall impression, isn´t it?

I love the outcome because I feel really comfortable, not too casual but not overdressed either and I also like thet the armhole bands offer cover for the shoulders without being sleeves!

I have another idea for this pattern – to use a more contrasting main fabric with black details again for a more striking look. Let´s see when I will get there because as you know, our hands unfortunately do not move as fast as our inspiration and thoughts!

Anyway, I am super thankful to Black Carrot to give me the opportunity to sew with these beautiful fabrics!

Until soon!

The Mixed Media -Florals and Stripes Dress

Hi!

As I mentioned in a recent post, I realized how few of my clothes are breastfeeding friendly, so now I am on a mission of making a few items that would fill the gap. Yes, of course, it is possible to manage with regular clothes as well, but I definitely feel more relaxed when I know that I can feed my baby discreetly basically anywhere should there be a need when our daily plans change, for example.

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Ironically enough, the past week has been extremely hot for Estonia and I cannot take little Liisa-Mai out during the day anyway. This is also the reason why these photos are taken in the setting sun with its less than ideal light conditions – this has been the only time to enjoy the outside without having to fear for a heatstroke.

So I made this dress with a few modifications once again as the pattern is one I have used before, Burda 10/2017 model 115.

The most visible modification is the length of the zipper of course. I also debated for a long time whether I should do an exposed zipper or not. This beautiful lace zipper (bought from Helsinki a few years back) was the only suitable one in my stash at that moment and I eventually decided I will not hide it. Neither did I have the patience to go next day and buy a regular one 😀

I also lengthened the dress by approximately 10 cm which seemed to be a good idea as it seemed really short. However the ruffle is much longer than I expected and I realized it only after I had sewn everything together. Well, I wasn´t exactly excited about ripping it off and taking the extra length out and also shortening of the ruffle didn´t seem to help much. So while I was staring angrily at my reflection in the mirror, my husband quietly suggested a belt and… it solved the issue although the end result is not exactly what I had in mind.

And once again I omitted the sleeve ruffles even though I had prepared them already! It just seemed that there would be too much going on with the floral, stripes, lace zipper, belt and bottom ruffle!

The fabric is one of the cheapest I have ever used at EUR 7,5/m and the tag stated it is cotton. I am not so sure anymore, it could be some kind of cotton mix since the fabric hardly wrinkles, it came out of the washing machine nearly dry and it seems ironing can be skipped. It still feels very comfortable  to wear, though, even in this heat we are experiencing.

And last, but not least, I cant not mention that I had a fantastic experience on July 16th as I attended my first (!) really big open-air concert – the Guns n´Roses Not In This Lifetime tour! As I got home with the official T-shirt, I realized that I now have one more top to go with my red skirt, should I be in the mood OR should it ever happen that I get a chance to see them again! Who would have thought 😀

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The Holiday Dress

Hey!

As promised, this is the sequence to the previous post on the trip to Greece.

So we hired a tiny car and drove to the island of Evia and all the way through it to the seaside town Karystos. The following days were spent driving around the island, stopping at secluded beaches for a swim and hiking in the beautiful Dimosari Gorge, while the evenings were dedicated to eating (or should I say stuffing ourselves with?) all kinds of Greek food that I have missed. Since we stayed at a fully equipped villa, I even cooked okra with chicken, potatoes and tomato sauce one night, because okra is not available in Estonia and yet it is one of my favorite dishes!

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The second item that I made for the trip is a simple off the shoulder dress. Now I am saying simple because this is what it is supposed to be, but I actually struggled with it! The reason is that once again, something seems to be very off with the latest Burda Easy patterns. If you recall the dress I made some years ago, the problem was that the pattern seemed to be too big. I ran into the same issue this time as well and it could easily mean that I am done with Burda Easy!

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Of course one might ask why use a pattern at all, when there are such great tutorials out there, like this one by Erica Bunker; but I thought it might be even easier to use the bodice pattern pieces from Burda Easy spring/summer 2016…NOT!

See how the model is holding her arms tight close to her body? This is because most probably she has to hide the fact that the armholes of the pattern are so deep that her bra not peeks but completely shows on the sides! What is visible however, is the excess fabric of the bodice because it is so wide that I took off 6 cm on both sides!

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For my dress, I followed the tips from Erica´s tutorial for the calculation of the ruffle and just cut two long rectangles. The pattern of the fabric made cutting really easy for such a dress, I just followed the print lines! The fabric is from one of my trips to Helsinki for my studies, it was about 4 m long so actually I still have plenty of it left. And because it was sold by weight, I paid 12 euros for the whole piece, what a bargain! Even the sales assistant commented that it is really beautiful, too 🙂

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I lined the dress, apart fom the ruffle, with the leftover lining from my Ludovico dress, which only needed a little bit of fabric. The colours don´t match, but the lining is so silky, smooth and cool against the skin, that I preferred this over another lining material that matched perfectly colour-wise.

The lining also adds some weight to the otherwise lightweight viscose, but I still have some quite funny moments captured, where the wind plays with the dress, creating hilarious balloon-effects. This here shows a quieter moment:

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Now the holiday is done and whatever sewing I will be doing, it will definitely be much more wintery. The calendar is merciless, given the work and school tasks plus the house revamp, I might better start thinking about this year´s Christmas party dress!

 

 

The Autumn Flower Dress

Hi!

I know it has been a while since my last post, but at least I have a good excuse – I started my Master´s studies and since I am also working full time, it is really difficult to manage time between all the things I want and should do – work, studying, sewing, sports and quality time with my boyrfriend. Not all is lost though 🙂

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 A dear friend of mine arranges (or maybe it is more precise to say that his wife does) a great birthday party every year where everyone gets together for an extreme fun night where usually there is also live music and dancing.

So this event plus a nice scuba fabric I got from Helsinki in September (I go there once a month now for the university) were motivating enough to push myself and sew up another dress.

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This is actually a mix of several patterns. The main part is based on McCall´s 6243, but once again combined into one front and two back pieces. I realized that I have used this pattern either in the original form or combined for FOUR times by now, making this the most used pattern in my stash! You can see the three earlier versions here, here and here.

Since I really liked the sleeves of the Baby Blue Stripe Dress (Burdastyle 1/2014, model 107)and I wanted to add some interest to the otherwise once again, plain pattern, I re-drew the armscyes of the bodice in order to add the sleeves. I was worried about this, thinking that I may spoil the whole thing by doing so, but to my big surprise I got it right with the first try.

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After the sleeves were in, the neckline still seemed to lack something, so I picked a random dress collar (it was another Burda pattern) and followed the pattern at first, but ended up changing it quite a bit. Again, considering the randomness of this, the collar looks quite good to me, maybe it could extend just a little bit further to the center of the back.

DSCN2684DSCN2666The hemline is unfinished, which is the first time I tried this. At first I planned hemming it properly, but the dress would have been a tad too short after that and I have seen this kind of shortcut/design element on RTW items, so I decided to let it be.

The photos were taken on the day after the party, because as always I was in such a hurry that I finished the dress an hour before leaving the house and there was simply no time. However, I got several compliments on the dress and it felt really good!

Another piece of news is the glasses that you see on one of the photos – these are my first ever and I should wear them while driving or working long hours on the computer in order to avoid getting my eyes tired, but I like them a lot and sometimes decidedly wear them elsewhere as well.

Sewing-wise the next project should be the annual Christmas party dress. I have the idea and the fabric, now I just have to perfect my time-management skills in order to finish it on time!

The Copycat Skirt

Hello!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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Cross Stitch Rose Top

Hello!

For the past one month I don´t think there has been a day where I didn´t do anything sewing-related.

I have several half-finished projects and some finished ones too, it is just the matter of taking the photos, which, given the limited daylight in winter in Estonia, is the most complicated task about the whole thing.

This is also why the following photos may give you chills – I had to take them outside in order to have better light conditions. But surprisingly, for those few minutes outside in snow, it actually did not feel cold at all!

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I used the Burda Retro Blouse pattern, available on burdastyle.com. As far as I know, it is only available there and has not been recently published in any BurdaStyle magazine.

The photos are from burdastyle.com:

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I cut my regular size 38 and the changes I made were: omitting the side seam zipper, adding a lining and hemming the sleeves. I used French seams that have quickly become my favourite technique for lightweight fabrics.

I didn’t need a zipper because both of the fabrics I used are slightly elastic. I got them on my trip to Poland in summer, as well as the Gütermann thread I used, so it is kind of a nice souvenir from Poland for me!

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There is really nothing much more to tell about the top, it was easy to sew and fits well.

Some details and my freshly committed sin – new shoes,  here:

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Other news include that my dear friend Liise from Spain is here for a few days and brought me two issues of Patrones magazine! I am super happy for it, although one of them is full of great coats and jackets and since my Stardust coat is totally on hold, I will not even think of starting a new coat project before this one is finished.

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The Blue Rose Skirt and Top

This is sort of Out Of The Closet series of post, because the corset top was finished last summer in Athens! The skirt was also cut out while still living in Greece and laid all winter in my drawer until I finally got to it again a few weeks ago.

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It all started with using Simplicity 4070 for Stefania´s dress. It was the first time I made a strapless top and the first time I used Rigilene boning. As the project turned out well, I got excited and decided I needed a corset top in a similar style.

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I found this beautiful cotton stretch in Athens and bought it heavily discounted as it was the last 1.7 m on the roll. Sometimes I really miss the fabric shops in Athens, where the salesmen generously cut more fabric than asked and drop the price if you know when and how to ask!

If you are interested, I found the same fabric online here.

Anyway, the top was pretty straightforward to sew after the experience with the dress. I also could use the leftovers of the lining for her dress, although it would have been better if it was slightly stretchy as well.

Nevertheless, the most difficult task was finding a zipper in suitable shade and length. This is also the reason why the top is a tad longer than I wished – I was not able to find an open-ended zipper of perfect length.

You can see some “gathering” on the upper edge on both sides  of the zipper. I added a strip of elastic between the lining and the fabric as I was afraid for gaping. I don´t know if it made a difference or not, but the top feels comfortable and I don´t feel like I am losing my clothes as it sometimes happens with strapless tops and dresses.

The only downside are the horizontal folds when worn. I think it has to to with the fabric being elastic and the lining non-stretch. I am trying not to pay attention to this, though!

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For the skirt I used Burda 05-2012 model 118/119 pattern. I have a similar ready-to-wear skirt from Zara and love the style, I really enjoyed sewing one up myself, especially as the fabric is great to work with.

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The technical drawing is for model 118, with the welt pockets on the back, but I omitted them as my fabric would have disguised them with the big print.

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As always I did not follow Burda directions for the front fly, but relied on the tried and tested tutorial video instead. You cannot go wrong with this technique!

The sequined details on the front side of the skirt are not simply the result of trying to personalize the garment, but a try to cover up for bad pattern placement. Although the fabric looks heavy with flowers at first glance, I wasted a lot of it, because I tried to “catch” as many dark blue roses as possible. And still, when I looked at the skirt, it looked a bit empty, plus one rose was cut in the middle for the front center seam and I could not leave it like this.

So I got the idea of creating a fun effect by cutting out several roses and flowers from the fabric, use sequins to add interest and sew them randomly on the skirt. Of course, there is nothing random about the placement, but I tried to make it look as if I threw them there accidentally, while they are actually strategically placed to cover up and emphasize the flower print. I love the result, the contrast between the fringed edges of the details and the sparkle of the sequins.

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I had exactly enough of lining left from Stefania´s dress, to use it for the pockets of the skirt as well! So the two garments make up a nice set that can be worn as separates and also dress up or down according to the occasion.

Yesterday I chose to wear wooden platform heels for dinner downtown.

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The Roberto Venuti shoes were also bought from Greece back in 2010, but are basically unworn, although I love the style. I could find a photo of dark brown version of them on internet. I must say I prefer mine!

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As I started the post with reference to Stefania´s dress, there is an old debt I have to pay – I never posted photos of her actually wearing the dress as she didn´t like the idea of being up here without make-up and her hair done as she was when she came for the dress. After a long time she finally gave the permission, so here they are (sorry for the quality, they were taken in a rush, using a phone):

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And last but not least, I need your help! Any fabric shop recommendations for Poland, namely Warsaw and Krakow? Thank you in advance!

The Rosy Dress

This dress was actually finished the night before my trip to Austria, but I didn’t have the chance to take the photos earlier than today, either due to the lack of time or weather conditions – it started raining heavily the moment I thought of taking the photos and it happened a few days in a row!

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The dress is Vogue 8849, view B.

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As usual, it was the fabric that caught my attention. It is stretch cotton and I got it at the local fabric shop. If anyone is interested, it is also available online here. Anyone who would like to go the easy way and just buy a dress made of the same fabric, can do it here.

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As the instructions demand, the bodice is boned at the front and side seams. I used Rigilene boning and sewed it to the seam allowances of the lining. The dress is fully lined.

The pattern itself is relatively easy to sew, but as almost always with the Big 4 patterns, I had to take in quite a lot in the bodice part, although I cut my regular size 12 according to the measurement chart.

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The lace trimming is my own addition, just felt like the dress needed it!

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I did face a big problem with the dress, though. My lining fabric has no elasticity while the main fabric is stretch. I ignored this obvious problem until I reached the point where I realized it will not get me far – the lining was so tight that it simply didn’t come over my hips while the dress itself fit well.

After some brainstorming I decided to add a triangular piece of black lace to the back center seam of the lining and although it is still really tight, I can wear the dress now. It is not the most orthodox solution, but I refused to rip the whole dress apart at that point and if I didn’t mention it here, no one would know anyway!

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I am planning to wear the dress with my red heels, but since a lot of my shoes (especially summer shoes) are still in Athens, I had no choice but to take the photos with the blue ones.

When it comes to Athens, the news is that me and my fiancé finally broke up. The relationship did not endure the stress due to the current situation in Greece and the distance after I moved to Estonia.

It is not exactly good news, but I have given it a lot of thought and for a number of reasons I think maybe it was the best solution in the end.

I still have a bunch of good friends in Greece and hopefully I will visit Athens sooner or later again.

All the best to you all!