The Feel Good Dress

Hi!

While preparing for the trip I felt that I can be satisfied if I manage to finish one item and eventually managed three! In addition, during what could have been my most productive week in all history, I also made a sweatshirt dress and a set of pajamas as a gift for the kids of my friends.

This dress was cut already sometime in summer and then put aside as more urgent projects came on. But honestly I had been preparing for this for a very long time already, at least from the beginning of the year. It started with a RTW dress that I saw on a website and later on some instagrammer and I loved the style and the colour:

Image from aboutyou.ee
Style Arc Vivian pattern

I started looking for a pattern that I could use to try to copy the look and I succeeded with Style Arc again. They have some patterns that are only sold as paper versions and not pdf-s and I always shopped the latter but once more or less accidentally happened to check out the paper pattern section and there it was – the Vivian vest/dress. I ordered it and although there were warnings that due to the lockdown and restrictions all over the world, the package might take very long to arrive, it was with me in about 2 weeks I would say. Anyway, I was surprised at the speed. Since if you order at least one paper pattern you are eligible for the freebie of the month in the same format, I saved myself the effort of printing and also got that month´s freebie pattern on paper.

I then started looking for a suitable fabric, which I again consider a jackpot as I found this velvety tencel (?) heavily discounted at one of the shops that I can visit maybe once or twice a year in another town. I think it was 80% off at about 3 euros per meter (can you believe?) and I got almost 3 meters having exactly this pattern in mind. I was actually really surprised at how much fabric this apparently simple dress uses up but if you consider that there is a wide facing on both of the fronts as well as half of the back then it is like sewing 1,5 or even more dresses at once. I didn`t realize this until I saw the pattern. It is very cleverly designed and the design leaves the inside very neat. For example, the cuffs are sewn on only on the outside, on the inside it s all facing! The assembly is a bit tricky due to this construction, but completely doable. I got a bit shaky when I reached the buttonholes though!

When you compare the inspiration dress to mine then of course the “original” doesn`t have buttons and at first I was quite sure that I will not add them to my version either. I changed my mind when I tried sitting with my dress and I realized that without the buttons (since mine is open in front) I would have to think too much about decency and I also would like to wear it to work in summer. So hence the buttons and buttonholes. Well, 6 buttonholes that have to be perfectly aligned. The ones farther from the edge were tricky to get pretty because of the amount of fabric on the way. But eventually I only had to rip one of them!

Then there were the buttons. I had some at home that I was planning to use if I can`t find a better shade. I thought I had seen the same buttons but slightly greenish at the local store and was planning to go there but got soaked in rain and turned back. The second chance was also the last as it was the day before my flight and eventually I had to ask my husband to go to the store like 10 min before closing time to pick the buttons. It turned out they did not have the greenish shade that I had imagined and he brought two sets of others to choose from. Finally it was my daughter who decided which ones to go with!

Another detail of course is the pockets. While my dress was still without buttonholes, I thought that I would add them in order to mimic the inspiration dress, but after the buttons were in place I decided it would look too busy and left it as is. BUT, I love love love the outcome and I am planning to make another version that would be more wintery and that could be worn more like a vest, over a top or turtleneck and possibly even slim fitting pants underneath? I can reconsider then.

Seriously, I picked the title of this post just because this dress makes me feel so good! Casual enough, classic enough and very comfortable. I wore it to an other fabric hunt, this time in downtown Telde where my friend took me. It is a shop with long history and they have even kept their insignia from 30 years back as the friendly and (typically Spanish) talkative lady told us.

I was already worried about the limitations of my luggage so I only got one fabric. I could have gotten three… Anyway, I picked a light colored checkered fabric that I believe is a blend of viscose and polyester but I cannot be sure. The shop reminded me of the Athenian fabric stores where for every detail you have to ask the shop assistant. How could one possibly remember the exact composition of each fabric and their price, is beyond me. Actually of course it is not possible, so you just have to trust their word or use your own common sense when it comes to the composition and the price.. well you never know, right? I didn`t get this feeling here but I did many times in Athens that the shop owner just decides on the spot, what they will ask you.

As you can see, I also got some haberdashery, mainly elastics, buttons (from a giant Chinese store) and quality thread (Gütermann annd Coats, from the department store of El Corte Ingles the other day).

Although I had planned to, eventually I did not visit any fabric stores in Las Palmas, We were thinking to go there to another Kilo shop but as the assistant in this small one told us, the Las Palmas store is bigger but they offer lots of craft and costume fabrics, so that at least according to her, the selection of dress fabrics is actually smaller there. And anyway, can I complain? I got 10 meters of fabric altogether during one week and my luggage was full of all kinds of stuff to take home – from kids´ clothes and shoes to wines, cheese, jamon, local sweets and so on.

Now that I am back at home, it is such a nice throwback to this warm and sunny week in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Just today my dear friend sent me a few pics of her sweet daughter E, for whom I made one of the sweatshirt dresses (in September and October I made 4 all in all!) I guess she likes it!

As I mentioned, I actually completed 4 of such dresses, the first three are below, the pattern is from Burdastyle 10/2013, model 146. Three of the dresses, as well as the one E is wearing, are in size 110 and one in 122. You can see that it is a tad big for her but children grow so fast that this will not be an issue for long. I used brushed sweatshirt fabric with metallic thread in 4 different colors altogether and even the cuff fabrics were all lurex. Since I made little E´s dress the last, I had to get some extra fabric and chose this brighter strawberry pink. I think it matches her sunny and sparkling character perfectly!

Until soon!

The (First) Jumpsuit

Hi!

The very last item I finished before my holidays was something that I had never made before – a jumpsuit!

I am not even sure why it took me so long to make one since I like how they look on other people (most of the times). Probably one of the thoughts holding me back was that I once had a RTW jumpsuit that I ended up wearing maybe 2 or 3 times because my husband was not a fan. And I can see his point because there is a danger of looking like a giant toddler when wearing this type of garment.

But this time I had finished everything I had planned for the trip and just when I had two days left to my flight, I saw Mie´s Instagram post:

I think it is a very clever idea to make separates that can be work as a faux jumpsuit, but this is actually not what got me, it was more the fabric! So two keywords or thoughts clicked in my head – “jumpsuit” and “wait, I have a somewhat similar fabric in my stash” followed by another two: “I also have a suitable pattern”, “I probably even have enough time to pull it off”.

So real quick I had cut the Butterick 6691 pattern out (view D) and managed to finish it so quickly that this time I was actually done with sewing without needing to stay up until the morning on the previous day of my flight! I really surprised myself here!

The process would have been even faster if I had bought the correct size. I usually sew size 12 from the Big 4, but this time I had accidentally bought the pattern in size bracket 14 and above. However, the pants fit perfectly, I just had to take in the sides of the bodice which is still loose but it is also the style. Since I took the sides in, I didn`t gather the front piece on the sides as the instructions tell you to. I actually also don`t get the point of it because the elastic in the waist gathers it anyway?

I am so positively surprised at this outcome and it is SO comfortable to wear, just throw it on and done. I originally bought the fabric with Style Arc Nova Midi Dress in mind, but now I am convinced that the bright colors and flowy nature of the fabric go so much better with this fun style. The fabric is a viscose an poly blend if I remember correctly and I got it from someone on a Facebook fabric market group.

What about my husband? you may ask. Well, his response was as expected – still not a fan. He told me that only the red clown`s nose is missing. Just as he had finished his sentence, our 3,5 year old daughter rushed in, stopped and burst out: “Oh, mommy, now THIS is really pretty!” Opinions…

But I wasn`t too worried, after all I was the one going on the trip and my husband was saved from accompanying a clown. I am not even sure what exactly bothers him about this garment (I mean not the exact piece, but jumpsuits in general). What if I had made a separate top and pants from the same material and then worn them together? Would that change anything? Or otherwise, if I had used a different fabric for the top or the pants, would that be more acceptable? Knowing myself, I will probably try to find out by testing these ideas…

As you can see, the pattern does not include a sash, but I made one anyway. I like to tie it on the side of the wrap so that it looks like the top itself is tied on the side. I also tested a black leather belt, which also looks good, but the sash is definitely more holiday-y.

The holiday itself is probably the most relaxing one I have ever been on. It is not just the big comparison with my daily life of juggling the work and home balance but also that in the pre-babies times I used to get so excited on trips that I could walk all day from morning to evening and explore and experience endlessly so that I would drop to bed every night and be almost exhausted after the trip. This time, because I know the island a bit from the past and partially also because I have quite a bit of time for myself as my friend is working part time, I am taking it extra slow. Long walks by the beach (I am staying in an AirBnB rental just a few steps away from my friends home) and preparing some blog posts, reading, enjoying a glass of wine late in the evening etc, it is just so good. I do think about my sweet family and we do daily video calls, but otherwise it has been a great week and I have enjoyed it thoroughly!

Until soon!

Down The Memory Lane

Hi!

I really believed that I had posted something in September, but wow… It has been two months exactly since my last word here!

The truth is that I would post so much more often if I could somehow automatically type my thoughts because usually there is a whole story in my head with each item I make but in reality as you can see, I am having a hard time to keep up even with this self set goal of a post per month.

But it is quite indicative that the last post is from my last holiday and this current one is again written while on holiday. It just illustrates so well the lack of time for blogging in my life right now. Thankfully not for sewing, but I definitely make my choices when it comes to sewing time vs blogging time.

Again, not to give any false impressions, the amount of holidays that I get from my work is not much more than the minimum what is required by the law, but thanks to the same law I have accumulated a number of days from the time pre-baby #2 and this means that I do have exceptionally lot of time off work in 2021.

So yes, I am on holidays again and this time traveled a rather long distance to visit a place I spent 3 months in during my studies – Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. I was there 16 years ago the last time together with a long time close friend of mine, doing our clinical placement before graduation. Needless to say, when you are 20 and have been sent to an exotic island with a decent scholarship in the middle of January while all is under snow in Estonia and you find an apartment on the main street of the city just off the famous Las Canteras beach, you make memories. I actually think this experience was truly life changing for both of us. My friend met her now-husband and I got inspired to travel more which resulted in my own endeavours in Cyprus and Greece for altogether 7 years. Since my friend also lived in several places in the meanwhile, I never got back until now that she has been living in Gran Canaria for about a year again.

I made three pieces in preparation for the trip and I am hoping to be able to take some photos while here for future posts. But why not first make a note here about a dress that I made in summer but never posted about. Especially since the fabric is somewhat coming home as I got it in a really sweet and funny way.


I have mentioned that I have a couple of fellow sewists with whom we chat almost daily, mainly about fabrics, patterns and sewing but also share some life stories. One of the ladies vacationed in Marbella in spring and when she visited the local fabric stores she gave the others a real-time overview of the shop and fabrics. I remember having to attend an online meeting in any minute and actually confirming the details of the purchase while already in the meeting. So I was sitting in Estonia and she bought the fabric for me in Marbella! I made it into a Butterick 6723 dress pretty quickly and wore it during the summer and of course it was one of the first items that I packed for this holiday as well. I really like this fun animal print and I feel a bit like laughing at myself when I wear it. You can`t be too serious when you have all kinds of jungle animals all over your dress!

So today as I wore my Jungle Dress as I call it, it occurred to me that this fabric is back to its roots in a way, down the memory lane as myself when I stood in front of that old green block of flats where I last was so many years ago. And as if this was not enough, my leather jacket is also from Spain, our trip to Bilbao and Basque Country in 2019!

I guess you can imagine that I am having a great time and what makes this vacation extra special is that I am here without my children or husband, who so so kindly agreed to stay back and do the daily drill while I truly relax. Believe me, just being able to sit and eat uninterrupted is a blessing!

Since the fabric is viscose it does wrinkle easily but at the same time feels really nice on the skin. The dress itself was really quick and fun to sew and I like that the channel for the elastic is sewn to the bodice as opposed to just leaving it hang on the inside. I used up all of the fabric and there was none left for the sash, but I got lucky and found a suitable belt instead. However, initially I also planned to make the sleeves of version B, but did not have enough material. Now I think that it looks better this way because the sleeves are quite full already, if they would also be longer and involve a tie they might steal the show a bit too much.

For quite some time I also contemplated whether I should use brown or green buttons, but went with the first, thinking that it might end up childish. Now I have been wearing the dress at work during the summertime.

In the following days I will be able to check out at least two local fabric shops and of course I am really excited about this and hoping to find something nice that I can share with you the next time!

Until soon!

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!

Adventures in Hungary

Hi!

This years holiday took me to Hungary for a week full of unexpected events – a thunderstorm that robbed a big part of central Budapest of electricity for more than 12 hours and for a slightly shorter period, of water as well. In addition to that, our brand new rental car (less than 3000 km on the odometer) broke down on the first day. It may sound like an awful week, but my boyfriend has an extremely patient and calm mind, which he maintains even in situations where I would get totally upset, so in the end I only have positive emotions when I look back at the past week. Plus, I got a new dress to show you!

DSCN2492

The dress is a simple and quick make, the pattern is model 109 B from BurdaStyle 04/2013, which is exactly what popped up in my head when I saw this pastel-toned Missoni-ish net at a local fabric store. I immediately found a matching cotton/poly mix fabric for lining and then combined all that with a cute metal zipper for the back.

109B_0413_B_large 109B_technical_large

The pattern is very shoulder-revealing and the armholes generous, so not every bra fits under that dress – my advice to anyone trying this at home would be lifting the armscye by up to 2 cm.

As you can see, I also made some minor changes to the pattern by omitting the side zipper and back neck slit, using an exposed zipper on the back instead.

DSCN2473DSCN2462 DSCN2477

Some more detailed photos here:

DSCN2481DSCN2479DSCN2470

The photos were taken at Takler Kuria wine estate in Szekszard where we spent nearly two days just enjoying the surroundings, the wines and food.

Prior to that we spent a few days in Budapest, where I did some fabric shopping as always. It seems that sewing is popular in Hungary as the ease of finding fabric shops reminded me of that in Portugal, where in addition to the shops that I found online, there where several that I just stumbled upon in city centers.

I visited two shops in Budapest, but also found one in Keszthely, Szombathely and even in a small place like Bonyhad where we just happened to stop for a moment.

The shops in Budapest were both special – the Mathe Textil shop is probably the most beautiful I have ever visited and Kis Brammer, which was a minute to walk from our apartment, managed to seduce me into spending 60 euros for a piece of fabric that hopefully will be enough for a skirt!

Mathe textil shop interiors with solid wood panels, mirrors and soft red carpets:

DSCN2352 DSCN2354 DSCN2372

Here is a photo from Kris Brammer tiny boutique as well and another one including the fabric I got:DSCN2331DSCN2333

The fabric selection in Kis Brammer is very luxurious – lots of silks, wool and lace and the prices are accordingly high. They also have a great choice of wedding dress materials for brides-to-be. The only downside is that the shop is so tiny that it is difficult to see everything and due to the shop assistants´ poor English, it was also hard to communicate.

The final three days of the trip we were based by Lake Balaton, but did lots of sightseeing, both by car and cycling in the western part of Hungary, up to the lovely town Köszeg close to the Austrian border.

The most interesting experience was the thermal lake in Heviz, but also the thermal baths of Szechenyi in Budapest. The water in Heviz was 32*C and the warmest pool in Szechenyi is 38*C, all natural. I preferred Heviz, though, because it was less crowded during our visit (also meaning the changing rooms were nicely clean) and it felt more natural, a total relaxation.

A few photos of the trip here:

 DSCN2432DSCN2447DSCN2573DSCN2292

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!

P1060755

P1060771

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.

P1060762

P1060766

P1060765

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:

P1060776

 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.

610233-p-MULTIVIEW

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!

2014-07-07 23.26.08

2014-07-08 09.04.45

2014-07-08 08.20.47

Out Of The Closet: The Paisley Dress

The distance is just over 2000 km between Greece and Estonia, but I feel like I have landed on another planet, so big is the difference in the weather right now. It is not the temperature  that bothers me, but the lack of light. Seven years of sunlight can really spoil you, I thought, staring out of the window a few days ago and wondering when would it lighten up that day. It didn´t!

The change has been more difficult than I expected, although technically everything is going according to the plan. I have more or less settled in physically, but my mind hasn´t caught up yet and I left my heart in Athens, so the past week was emotionally very difficult.

My sewing machine seems to have survived the trip but the truth is I haven´t tested it yet. At least nothing is visibly wrong and I hope to commence sewing pretty soon.

In the meanwhile, here is a dress I made before starting this blog:

The pattern I used is Burda 7739, view B:

It is a relatively easy pattern, maybe only the collar could cause some trouble to a beginner. When I made the dress, it was the first time for me to make side seam pockets (or any pockets for that matter!) and the lesson I learned was that they are kind of pointless. After that, I have skipped such pockets on anything I make. (Although right now I am gathering my composure to make a COAT and the pattern I have chosen calls for such pockets. I have a feeling that on a coat they are not as pointless, but still haven´t made up my mind.)

I cut size 38, my regular Burda size, but I guess I should have tapered to 36 at the waist, since it is a bit wide at this point. I usually add a belt to fix that.

Usually when I get to the point where I have to insert sleeves, I get a bit nervous, because they can cause a lot of trouble. Thanks to the gathering on these sleeves, they were really easy to insert and the fit was fine from the first try.

I really like the fabric – it is viscose, if I remember correctly, not cotton. It wrinkles quite easily, but the colours in the paisley print make it super easy to match with nearly anything. Today I wore it with my blue suede over-the-knee boots, although in the photos I am wearing the dark green suede ankle boots. Both are a great match. The belt I usually wear with this dress is dark purple, also a match.

When packing my stuff in Athens, I discovered that for some reason I still have enough left of this fabric to make a dress or a top. I guess back then I thought that when I liked it once, I would want to use it for another project as well, but I know now that I find using the same fabric more than once extremely boring.

The really nice part of being in Estonia is the luxury of calling my old friends on a whim and arranging to go for a drink, which is precisely what I did now! Have a fun Saturday night, everyone!