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 Coat

Ok, this really is one huge achievement for me! I made a coat. A coat. THE coat 😀

I don´t know how it is for others but for me this has been a huge goal and a dream for many years. A dream that took so long to come true because I never had an opportunity to go and actually learn how to make a coat.

I have two failed attempts of coats still in my wardrobe – both unfinished because I got stuck on the way but I find it extremely difficult, actually impossible, to just dump a project. However, these two might be headed to the dumpster because I know now that saving them would be a huge load of work and maybe even not possible.

So before I continue, I have to say big thanks to my teacher Margit whose class I attended once a week from October to November, seven meetings altogether. She basically held my hand when it came to pockets and this curved hem. I am also thankful to the small group of ladies who also participated and whose company I enjoyed very much.

Each class was 3 hours long, but since I live 100 km away from the capital of Estonia, Tallinn, for me and my family it was a whole journey each time. My husband left work two hours earlier each Wednesday and we packed little Liisa-Mai with all of her equipment into the car and drove to Tallinn. Each Wednesday they spent the 3 hours together either strolling in the shops or visiting friends so that I could make that coat. The participation in this course was actually a birthday present from my husband, but as you can see, it was much more than just paying for the course!

Anyway, even with the seven meetings the coat was not yet finished. I had to attach the lining of the left sleeve and as it very often happens – these little things in the end take most of the time and effort. So I actually finished sewing the coat in January and then had to take it to a tailor´s shop to have the buttonholes made. At least this is what the teacher suggested – trying to sew them with a regular home sewing machine would not give a satisfactory result.

The ladies at the first tailor´s shop immediately told me that they did not offer such service anymore and that bound buttonholes would actually show real craftmanship. Yes, agreed, but I just made my first coat! I can keep something for the next one, I believe?? 🙂 Anyway, I finally found a place that accepted the work and… the coat was finished!

The pattern is from a Patrones magazine a few years ago. I actually got the magazine exactly because of this pattern, I was drawn by the unique curved hem and the general tailcoat style. The wool fabric is also from a few years back and also bought exatly for this pattern. I remember a lady buying it and I told her that I thought it was really beautiful and asked her what she would make out of it. She was snappy when she responded so I waited for some time until she left the shop and then asked for the same fabric 😀

But what was it about those two earlier attempts that I wasn´t able to finish them, or more precisely, lost interest in finishing them because I could see that the result would not be satsifactory? For me, it is the lack of instructions in the sewing magazines. I have not seen one coat or even jacket pattern that would advise using as much fusible interfacing as you ACTUALLY need for making a proper jacket or a coat. Or what about sleeve heads? Extra layer of windstopper material? I really tried following the patterns word by word and always ended up with a mess. It makes me sad, because I believe I am not the only one and some people could really get discouraged by this.

So my coat has windstopper inside the back piece (I could really feel the difference today while taking the photos, since I did not add any to the sleeves, for example), self-drafted sleeve heads (so simple, who would have thought!) and lots of fusible interfacing (I had figured that out with a help from a local seamstress already earlier). I used the Spanish size 42 without any adjustments even after measuring the pattern and myself (this is a new thing I learned at the course!) apart from setting the sleeves a little deeper.

It also has this curved hem that actually made things quite difficult – adding the lining and making it fall smoothly was a lot of work and I know that it is not perfect, but I am happy with it anyway, since it is my very first!

As you can see, I skipped most of the buttons on the front. The truth is only one of them was meant to have a buttonhole anyway so after I sewed on the first one it seemed quite enough for me. However, there is a smaller button on the inside to secure the fronts nicely as they overlap.

The fabric is a beautiful striped greyish-pink with a very soft pile. Some of the photos show the fabric more grey than it is. I used pink piping on the lining attatchment seam.

In conclusion, I am beyond happy – happy about the coat and happy about the skills and encouragement I got from the course!

Out Of The Closet: Plaid Whirl Skirt

The weather here in Estonia has been from one extreme to the other in a very short time – the photos in the previous post were taken two weeks ago… and check out the ones I took today!

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I actually prefer the snowy extreme to rain anytime, the past two weeks have been magical, snowing nearly every day and turning the world into a fairy tale scene. It is also much lighter like this, even the little daylight we get  is reflected back by the snow.

The first month has been very busy at work and I get quite tired by the end of the day, so I haven´t been sewing as much as I would like to. There is a party dress coming together (I am hoping to make a post about it soon) and the poor coat is still on halt. I asked a friend in Athens to go and see if she can get an extra meter of the fabric, because I feel that the beautiful material and effort I am putting into this project is worth it. I can´t accept spoiling it, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that she can still find the fabric and since I will have a holiday in the end of the month, I would maybe even be able to finish it by the end of the year.

Today I am showing you a skirt I made a year ago, so still pre-blog. There is no pattern for this, just instructions to make one. It is from Burda Easy Fashion autumn-winter 2010 issue.

Burda Easy Fashion AW 2010

Burda Easy Fashion AW 2010 skirt

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The first time I wore it was for the Christmas gathering of the Estonian Embassy in Athens last year. I will miss the one this year, but hopefully the Christmas party with work colleagues will make it up! We will have live music, food and drinks and I think it sounds promising. Also, it will be much fancier, I wouldn´t wear this skirt there. Actually I am hoping to wear the new party dress I mentioned.

So, the skirt. It is pretty straightforward, it is a full circle skirt made up of two identical pieces and has a side zipper. The waistband called for a buttonhole, but I decided to make a loop instead. I also made it longer than the Burda version.

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I am not really sure I cut the fabric correctly, because when the skirt falls freely, the plaids run differently from one side to the other. Then again, when I lift it up, it looks precise… I have no idea, maybe it is impossible to cut plaid fabric in full circle and get it symmetrical?

I really like the colour combination though, and I think it was very appropriate for the event at the embassy, because blue-black-white are the colours of the Estonian national flag!

Because of the full circle, hemming the skirt felt endless. I used double needle for a more professional look. But at  the same time, the full circle whirls so nicely!

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The boots are Greek brand Hunter again. I still regret I didn´t get them in silvery grey as well, because they are comfortable and I often get compliments when I wear them.

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