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 😀

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 Tie Blouse

Hi!

With little Liisa-Mai around, my wardrobe choices have become somewhat limited as there are too many boxes to be ticked – the garment has to fit reasonably in the bust, fit reasonably in the belly area; be breastfeeding friendly and finally, be suitable for the occasion!

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I realized how few of my clothes are actually button-up or wrap style in order to allow comfortable breastfeeding! The other issue is the belly – I have lost most of the baby weight by 8 weeks postpartum, but the belly is resisting, especially as I used to have a pretty flat one prior to pregnancy (of course I would never have agreed to that statement back then, there was always little something too much in my opinion!) and the clothes were sewn to fit that body, not the one I have at the moment.

The pattern I used for the top above is Simplicity 8601 and it is not breastfeeding-friendly, however it does conveniently have a center front seam! So all i did was adding an invisible zipper to the front seam and omit the back closure. I cut size 14 and used view C for my blouse.

I also did not use the facings, but went with white cotton bias tape instead.

 

I am so satisfied with the result that I think I will repeat it. However, I think three ties on one blouse is a little too much, I would rather prefer either one in the front (and then go sleeveless) or only keep the sleeve ties. My husband also came up with a good idea – to make the front and back piece identical and without the tie – then the blouse would be more like a shirt and could be worn with a belt for example. I need to consider all these options before cutting into the next fabric.

 

I actually prefer to style the blouse with pants instead of a skirt, but we have had an amazing spring and summer this year so far – much warmer and sunnier than usually and of course this makes the long walks with Liisa-Mai very enjoyable.

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The fabric I used is a good quality cotton gingham that a dear friend of mine brought from his business trip to Germany a few years ago. When he gave it to me, I was a little “meh” to be honest, but for this project it is perfect, breathable and I love the light blue color too! I am happy I could find a good use for this old-timer in my fabric stash!

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It is hard to get the shade of this baby blue correct in photos, it is definitely brighter than in the photos taken indoors, however slightly duller than on those taken outside 😀

Some close ups too:

 

Next post is coming soon as I managed to finish a long time unfinished project recently!

Happy sewing!

Plaid Peplum Bustier

Hi from Helsinki (and Happy Independence Day to all Estonians!)

It has been quite a while since my last post. One of the reasons is the increased work load due to my promotion and getting used to it, but more importantly I would say it is the northern light conditions in winter, which do not help with taking presentable photos at all.

A good camera helps a bit, which is why I immediately took advantage of my friend Triin while visiting her here in Helsinki for a few days, although as Finland is even further North from Estonia, there is not much light here either these days.

So this is the latest project:

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It is the peplum bustier from Burda 10/2013, model 109 (photos from burdastyle.com).

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I cut my regular Burda size 38 and it fit without problems, apart from having to take in at the back center seam because as I cut my fabric on bias, it stretched out a little and the pieces became wider than necessary. I guess I lost some length due to this as well, but luckily no problem with that. The fabric is the plaid cotton I got from Denmark in late autumn.

Burdastyle has made a very annoying change in their pattern selling policy recently, which caused me some trouble sewing this bustier up. Until recently, all the instructions files were available for free downloading and as I sometimes could not find BurdaStyle magazine in English, I got it in Russian or German instead, just to get the patterns. And when my high school level Russian or German failed while sewing a project, I always knew I could use the English instructions from the website.

Although this bustier has detailed illustrated instructions in my German BurdaStyle October 2013 issue, I still needed further help while sewing it and was really disappointed to realize that the party is over and the instructions are not available anymore. On the other hand, I was already halfway through the project and it was funny to feel how only when the instructions were not available, my brain really started working, trying to find a way to finish the piece. I managed in the end and satisfaction was even greater 🙂

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As you can see, I have made some alterations to the original pattern. I really planned to make it according to the pattern, gathering the peplum with an elastic band and all, but when I tried it, it looked ridiculous on me, so I quickly changed the game and went with a more flattering pleated peplum instead.

It is amusing that when I was about to cut my fabric, I realized Meg from burdastyle.com had already finished her version, also in plaid fabric! I thought, ok, I will make mine at least with the gathered peplum, so it is still different. And then I got to the part where gathered peplum was not an option for sure 😀 I wonder if this was the process in Meg´s case as well….

I lined the bustier with the wonderful navy stretch lining I got from Poland in summer. It is not attached at the bottom of the peplum, so the peplum is basically double layered. I did quite a lot of hand sewing to attach the hook and eye tape and the lining around it.

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Since I tried to do my best matching the plaids up, cutting the fabric was also unusually time and energy consuming. I wanted to make sure things would line up in the end and in my own opinion, the front part looks ok, but there is some mismatching happening on the back side. However, nothing tragic.

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 I still have one more day here in Helsinki and of course I have done some fabric shopping already, but there will be an extra post about this.

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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Out Of The Closet: Little House On The Prairie Tunic

I haven´t mentioned it here, but although I currently live in my homeland Estonia, I don´t live in my hometown. My home at the moment is in a tiny seaside town with a population of 11 000 people. Coming from the overcrowded city of Athens, the change is really huge. It has its downsides as the variety of restaurants, bars or entertainment is really small. On the other hand, I walk to work and in 10-minute walking distance from my house there is a nice swimming pool. No squeezing in the midst of the crowds in the metro, no heavy clouds of exhaust to inhale! In spring and summer I will probably enjoy living here more, because I can then use my bicycle for getting around and for getting a workout. I really LOVE cycling!

Another downside, though, is that I don´t have any old friends or family in this town and everyone I know right now is from work. Immediately it brings about the problem of taking photos for the blog!  I have arranged with a colleague to take some photos if I am really in trouble, but I don´t want to make it a burden on anyone, so I´d rather wait until I visit my hometown and have someone take the photos then.

I spent this weekend in the capital, Tallinn, for a change, since the past 2 weekends I didn´t go anywhere. I had a good time, ate out, went to the movies and had some photos taken!  And because the Stardust coat is not proceeding much (I am afraid I still have to ask a friend to send me more fabric from Athens), once again I am showing you something I made before starting this blog.

It is the tunic from Burda Easy Fashion autumn-winter 2009.

The photoshoot was not an easy task, as the weather has been gloomy for the past days (weeks actually!) and a good light is really an issue. The following photos were taken during approximately 10 minutes, which was the lucky 10 minutes of sunshine we got on Saturday, believe it or not!

I need a special mood to wear it, because as you can see for yourself, it is a bit of a hippie-style or little-house-on-the-prairie-style, if such a thing exists! And honestly, I don´t feel like this very often, but when I do, I enjoy wearing the tunic a lot! And as my friend Taavi, who took the photos, pointed out, it is an investment piece for the future, if I decide to get pregnant 😀

Once again I am surprised at myself, since this is one of the first things I made when I started sewing again, and it is not exactly an easy project with the buttoned front, lots of gathering and plaid fabric.

I cut size 38 as nearly always with Burda patterns and didn´t make any alterations. The wooden toggles are from a dress I bought, but didn´t like them there, so I removed them and used them for the tunic. The fabric is some kind of a cotton mix, I believe, it is nicely lightweight, but wrinkles quite easily.

The boots are a cheap pair of a Greek brand called Hunter, but I loved them for the colour.

And last, but not least, remember this? :

The basic pattern is the same for these two items! The bodice part is the same, but the front yoke has pintucks and bow tie, the sleeves are different and there is remarkably less gathering on the blouse, but the bodice part is exactly the same!

The technical drawings once again:

Generally I would say that Burda Easy Fashion used to have more complicated patterns than they do now. I still buy the magazine, but they haven´t been able to  beat the 2009 issues, both spring/summer and autumn/winter.

The Sundress

As you may know already, this dress has been finished for about a month, but there was a problem with runaway buttons.

The buttons finally arrived right on time, because the weather here has turned back to summer, giving me a chance to finally wear the dress. The temperature has been around 33 degrees the past few days, so when Stefania and Giorgos asked me to spend a weekend over at their house, we also spent one day at the beach, swimming and feeling as if it was the end of July instead of the last days of September.

Here is the dress:

I cannot say I am entirely happy with the dress and the main reason is that i couldn´t handle the fabric very well. Firstly, matching the plaids and secondly, the fabric is kind of three-dimensionally wavy. It was quite hard to make the pattern pieces keep their shape when sewing. Thirdly, it makes me look pregnant at certain angles and this is not exactly the look I was going for. The fabric is so lightweight that it just doesn´t fall at all and therefore the front gathering puffs the dress up right under the chest.

I guess if I had matched the shoulder straps as well, the general impression of the dress would be much better, but the time I was sewing the dress, I actually thought that since it is generally a bit mismatched, it would be ok.

Anyway, I have undrestood that the flaws and mismatches hurt the eye in the photos more than in real life. I notice things that I didn´t think were there before and it can be really frustrating. Maybe It would be a good idea to take some photos before the completion of the item, in order to spot the mistakes on time?

The pattern I used is New Look 6046:

In my opinion, the colourful plaid fabric was asking for a childish design and I decided to go all the way, by adding a full mock button panel (the buttons are just for decoration). In order to do this, I split the front gathering to two, leaving just enough space for the button panel.

The pattern is easy to work with, it was the fraying, plaid, wavy fabric that caused me the trouble. I cut my regular size 12 and had to take in a little on the bodice side seams.

The bodice is lined (as per pattern instructions) and I also bias-taped the seam allowances.

Button close-up:

The shoes I am wearing are Moschino Jeans all-leather flats that I got for a ridiculous price (seriously, depending where you live, I spent the equivalent of 2-3 cups of coffee on these shoes) at a local shopping mall last sizes sale a few years ago. I haven´t been able to find a photo online, so I took one myself:

 

I think the starfish and seahorse details match wonderfully with the dress because of the playful colours. The colours are actually exactly as on the dress, but right now I am having a very complicated relationship with my old laptop, as it refuses to run some of the programs properly and the modern laptop is on a trip over the Atlantic 🙂