Cut Out Shoulder Top

Hi!

I remember when I first saw the model 116 top in Burdastyle 3/2017, I thought: “Gee, I love it, but I would never bother to cut and sew all those bands!”. But the design stuck in my head and a little later I realized I had the perfect fabric for it ready in stash.

116B-032017-M_300x400-ID407020-746784c5c2250b1bbbaf6eb786f90145116A-032017--B_largeI bought the (quite flimsy) cotton batiste with embroidery on one edge last year from a small fabric shop in Tartu and initially planned to turn it into a girlie skirt one day.

However, after all the cutting and fiddling with the bands (didn´t I say in my last post that I am not good at sewing sharp angles? Well, it appears I am not good at sewing round edges either!), I turned it into this top instead:

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I considered using the embroidery pattern provided in the magazine to copy the original design, but the last time I embroidered was in elementary school crafts class, so eventually I decided not to take the risk. I also considered embroidering with beads, but that would compromise ironing the garment and cotton batiste just has to be ironed every time after wash. So the result is somewhat plain, but I hope the wide lace will make up for it!

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I didnt have enough lace fabric for the back, so I just used a piece of plain batiste there.

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Some close ups:

I think eventually it is a better use of the fabric than the skirt would have been, now let´s just hope that the weather will give me enough chances to wear it!

Orange Lace Dress

Happy New Year, everyone!

The first post of 2017 is actually a project that I wore already in the beginning of December, but I wanted to add an official photo from the wedding I made the dress for, together with the beautiful couple, H and M!

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As you can tell, the colour theme was blue and orange (referring to the groom´s native Netherlands), which gave me the perfect opportunity to use some fabrics from my stash: two pieces of orange poly crepe de chine and a surprisingly matching 1 meter of lace, probably my only successful online order on fabric.

The fabrics were not bought for any certain project and rather happened to match once the lace arrived. I found the lace on aliexpress.com and kind of test-ordered a meter about a year ago. I just recently saw the red version on sale in one local fabric shop but at a much higher price of course.

The pattern I used is Burdastyle 5/2012 model 133, which was a rather brave move since I had very little time to make the dress and I have once failed with the same pattern already.

I liked the style immediately in 2012 but never finished it because something went completely wrong with the bodice – I guess the bias cut somehow played tricks on me and I could not get the sides to match anymore. Luck was on my side this time and it could be due to the fact that as I was short of fabric but it seemed to have enough drape, I cut it straight.

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As it often happens, there is not enough time before or during such exciting events to take photos, so these are taken the morning after the wedding and the party.

The dress is fully lined according to the pattern and the skirt part is underlined in addition. I would say it was not as much as difficult, but time-consuming to make. However, in my opinion it deserves more difficulty points than the mere two as stated by Burdastyle magazine, because the shoulder seams are quite tricky to get right.

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Some close ups:

I must say I really like the back drape. It is also totally bra-friendly, no need for any special underpinnings or tape.

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As of the fit, the bust darts are quite off, as if the drape factor has not been considered.

I am really happy about the coincidence of having just the right fabric ready in stash for such a demanding colour scheme as orange is not something I wear often.

May you all have a very happy new year and to those who sew – I wish you lots of patience and luck with your projects!

Graduation Day Dress

Hi!

Some things apparently so simple to make, may take a lot of energy and work and then there are others that look hard to make, but in the end turn out quite the opposite. This was the case with my last project, a dress for my brother´s graduation day (I cannot believe how grown up he is!).

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It took me a while to get started because of doubts about how to actually go about it. I read several articles and blog entries online in order to choose the best approach for working with this kind of lace.

In the end I decided that it is the best to try to underline it. What confused me was that I could not find any answers to whether adding a lining is a common thing to do once you have already underlined the lace or not. I decided to use lining on the bodice part, especially because the front and back yokes without the underlining could then be neatly sandwitched between the layers, but skipped it for the skirt, so that in the skirt part, the seam allowances are finished with bias tape and are visible on the inside.

However, it could be reasoned that since the typical instructions on underlining say that the pieces should be treated as one layer of fabric later on, adding a lining would also be ok.

The technique was new to me, but it was not hard or too time-consuming in my opinion, although some of the articles I read gave me the impression that it would be so.

The dress is actually a mix of two patterns : Simplicity 1415 for the bodice:

…and Burdastyle 8/2015 model 109 skirt, that I actually have already made as a skirt here.

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The bodice of the Simplicity 1415 really attracted me with its sharp angles between the bodice and the yokes, although they are maybe a bit less evident since the lace  is not straight. The pattern actually is for a bodice and a separate overlay, but I used a part of the overlay pattern to create the yokes.

Initially I was worried about how precise the connection between the two patterns at the waistline would be, because I just worked with them separately. Therefore the surprise was great when the two parts matched exactly! But the experience with the Simplicity pattern was that it seems to be designed for quite busty ladies, I had to take in quite a lot from the back and side seams but not at the waist!

I really like how the underlining is barely visible under the skirt, so it is hard to tell where it stops!

I also changed the placement of the invisible zipper. Originally it was meant to be in the center back seam, but I did not want to interrupt the lace, so I moved it to the side seam and now the back piece looks so much better as one!

 

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The neckline and the “armholes” were finished with lace applique trim that I cut off the rest of the lace and hand-stitched to the edges to achieve a similar look as the skirt, which was just cut with the selvage of the lace on the bottom. I could use the skirt I had already made using the same pattern to predict the desired length, since I could not have made any changes to the hem later!

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I did not specifically try to make the lace motifs match anywhere, but they do match in several seams which helps to create the illusion as if it was molded out of the fabric without cutting too much.

The lace itself is not really elastic, but the lining/underlining is and thanks to the structure of the lace, it also has some give, so although the dress is very fitted, it is surprisingly comfortable to wear!

Here are some dressform pictures as well (note that this is just a window decoration dressfrom from a shop that closed down, it is not in my measurements, thats why the fit is not that good):

The dress took me two weekends and about 30 euros to make, which I think was absolutely worth it.

 

The Ludovico Dress

Hi!

Some of you might recall that I am quite a fan of Ludovico Einaudi and that I have been to his concert in Kopenhagen a few years back.

I was totally impressed so when my friends told me that he will perform on May 6th as close as in Helsinki, I got the tickets within a few minutes already back in December. I also knew that I would make a dress for the occasion, but due to work and school, I was so delayed in my planning that I actually stayed up until 4 AM the previous night to finish it and then just an hour before the concert I still had to hand stitch a few things! However, I finished it!

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The pattern is model 130 from Burdastyle 9/2014.

The pattern is actually very simple, if you have ever sewn a boned bodice then it goes together really fast, especially since the skirt part is just two rectangular pieces gathere at the waist. The sizing of this pattern is also very precise, I only needed to take in slightly at the waistline.

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The lace details were a little more cumbersome as I didn´t use any binding, I just cut the seam allowance really narrow, turned it over and used a double needle to sew the armholes. This did not work for the neckline so the neckline is hand stitched.

The pattern calls for a button on one shoulder, but I didn´t see it necessary, so I omitted it. Also, contrary to my initial plan, I did not line the skirt, just the bodice. The seam allowances of the skirt are bias binded.

The fabric is from a trip to Stockholm and I am really glad that I got the opportunity to finally use it, since it simply had to become a fancy dress! The difficult part was to find matching lace, I was sure that I would have to end up either with a golden or purple one, but to my great surprise, there was a rather good match in khaki at the local shop!

The concert itself was as amazing as expected, however Kulttuuritalo in Helsinki cannot compete with Musikhuset of Copenhagen, the latter just adds so much to the whole experience with its remarkable modern architecture. But my friends who saw Ludovico Einaudi perform live for the first time commented that they would definitely go and see him again, so it still was a great evening!

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The Black Swan Dress

Here is the second dress I made in October, for one certain occasion – to celebrate my 30th birthday with a special present I made myself – Ludovico Einaudi concert in Copenhagen.

As some of you know, I didn´t really celebrate the round number with a party and decided I would enjoy an event like this much more. The decision was made in the first days of September already and I am so happy I made that choice! The following photo is taken at the Koncerthuset Copenhagen on November 2nd, I guess it shows that I am completely excited.

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I used McCall´s 6460, view D vith a few modifications. I cut size 10 at first and realized to my horror that it was too tight around the hips. I was lucky to have enough fabric to cut another dress, still size 10 at the bust but slightly wider at the hips.

As I was about to throw the smaller version away, a colleague of mine said that she would like a similar dress and that it would probably fit her, so my next project will be sewing basically the same thing for her as well!

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M6460a I decided to sew the invisible zipper only on the fabric part of the dress since I thought the zipper would not look very nice on the transparent lace. At first I believed one small button would do the job on the lace, but I ended up with four, since the lace was gaping awfully. I wish the back would look more professional (there are gaps between the buttons), but on the other hand the small buttons can also be considered a special detail, right?

By the way, the following photos were taken the day after the concert and after having cycled (yes, it is Copenhagen after all!) from one bar to another at night. The dress tolerated it all and I didn´t even iron it for the photoshoot!I know it shows that I am still sleepy, that it is quite cold and windy, but just try to concentrate on the dress, ok? 🙂

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Another big alteration was using a lining. The main fabric is fraying like crazy and I knew I would not like the inside of the dress like this, even though I bias taped all the seam allowances. So I used some of the super comfy black stretch lining I got from Poland in August. This makes the dress look nice from the inside as well and I think the fit is much better, no clinging to the body and it has a nice move when I move.

I used French seams for the lace everywhere and lace trim to finish the neckline and sleeves.

I had to make the sleeves a lot narrower than the pattern suggested because I think lace sleeves should fit tight.

The main fabric and the lace is from Athens and as I recall the fabric was like 6 EUR/m and the beautiful lace only 3 EUR/m. This makes me want to visit Athens ASAP! (By the way, it is these days a year ago that I returned to Estonia after seven years abroad!)

It took me a long time to finally make a decision what to make out of this fabric. I love its texture and I wanted some simple pattern to show it off and at the same time not to be too boring, so I think the lace is a good companion to it.

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I spent four days in Copenhagen and had a wonderful time, visiting Ordrupgaard art museum where the current exhibition was of James Ensor and Arken museum of modern art where I was lucky to see an exhibition of Frida Kahlo. I also did some bar hopping, dancing, celebrated the Christmas beer, shopped for fabrics, saw and listened to Ludovico Einaudi and on the last day visited the viking ship museum in Roskilde. Sounds like I was running around but it was a smooth sequence of absolutely enjoyable events.

 In my experience, Copenhagen is not the number one destination for fabric shopping.  I shopped at the Stof 2000 like last summer (you can see the post on my last visit here) and to my great surprise discovered another shop at the train station in Ishøj, on our way to Arken museum.

The owner was selling everything at 30 DKK/m, which is approximately 4 EUR/m, extremely cheap. As I was in a hurry, I was not able to concentrate very well and so I only got 1.5 m of some cotton plaid fabric. Now that I have figured out what I want to make of it, I need more!

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This is Stof 2000 from the outside, (right in the center of the city, very close to Nørreport train and metro station) and the thick jersey with houndstooth and diamonds print that I bought:

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And a few more photos of the trip:

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AN UPDATE:

As one of the readers asked for more details on the dress, I am adding a few more photos and a short description of the lace trimming on the neckline and sleeves.

The lace trimming itself looks like this:

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For the finishings of the dress I folded it lengthwise:

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I used the same technique for the back  as well and made the loops for the buttons the same way:

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There is no trick for the curves that appear, it is just due to the lace being under tension, if there were no buttons, the would be one big opening on the back.

And lastly, a glimpse of the inside of the dress. Here I just used the same pattern for the lining as for the dress itself and sew the lace part in between the lining and the main fabric, then understitched the lining to the seam allowance to keep it put.

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