Military Valentine

Hi!

I finished this dress on Valentine´s Day and wore it to dinner with my husband the same night. Surely could have worn something more feminine and romantic, but there is nothing like wearing a brand new dress!

I am amazed by people who manage to take selfies of nearly everything they do because in my case, getting a photo that I would be satisfied enough with to publish it, takes so many tries that I usually simply do not have that much of spare time. So, as usually, no photos of that night, but the weather was super sunny over the weekend so we thought we could take the photos of the dress outside…. It really was a bright day but too cold and windy to spend more than a few minutes without the coat. So we just snapped a few and they will have to do.

I think it shows in every photo, how cold I was! But I love the combination of the pink of my coat and the burgundy of my dress.

The pattern I used is out of print McCall´s 7539 view B, and I chose it precisely for the collar an chest pockets, because this is what I envisioned when I bought the fabric (for Estonian readers, it is from Kangastuudio!).

The only changes I made were to add metallic snap buttons to the pocket flaps and topstitch the center front seam. I also sewed the sleeve hems just like the dress hem, a visible line of stitches. In addition, the sleeves were a bit too long for my taste, i find it annoying when they reach the base of my thumbs, so I shortened them by a few cm.

The pattern is simple, but due to the stretch of the fabric, the pockets really gave me a hard time and they are not exactly identical, but I gave my best. After the completion of the pockets, everything else went really smoothly and the pattern is a good one in terms of fit as well.

The photos don´t show it well, but the fabric has a nice knit surface while the wrong side is smooth. I think the texture and the color are perfect for such a winter dress.

Until soon!

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 Raspberry Skirt

Hi!

Knipmode patterns are published in a Russian sewing magazine Susanna Moden which is also available in Estonia and this is how I found the pattern for the following skirt.

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It was printed in June 2017 issue of Susanna Moden but in fact it first came out in Knipmode a year earlier. I am not sure whether there is such a delay with every issue or not.

I cannot recall what drew me to this pattern, perhaps it was the wish to use up some stash fabric since the raspberry red stretch cotton twill was bought from Athens already many years ago, could be in 2011. Or maybe it was the seam lines that create some interest to otherwise a very simple straight skirt?

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Anyway, I nearly completed the skirt last summer while living in the cottage while our home was under renovation. But then our wedding was quickly approaching and I got pregnant with Liisa-Mai and then suddenly it was autumn and I didn´t really need the skirt so urgently anymore, not to mention the fitting issues with a growing belly!

Nearly completed actually means that since the skirt is drafted without lining, it was basically finished, but I decided to add a lining too. So a few weeks ago when I dug it out of my unfinished objects box, I only had to finish the lining and it was done.

It wasn´t so easy though, because instead of drafting a simple lining on my own, I had decided to copy the skirt construction for the lining but had not marked the pieces very well. So it took me some time to get my head around those initially pretty identical looking triangles. I finally got it right and I am surprised how much I like the result because I really didn´t change anything in terms of fit and I don´t have a very good relationship with red color in general. But this little skirt has got a lot of wear out of it already since it is suprisingly suitable in combination with so many other garments in my wardrobe. I never thought I would have so many tops to pair with red!

The size is 38 and as I recall I made some adjustments of the waistline to help with the fit. However, the skirt currently sits a little bit higher than intended due to my post-pregnancy figure and slightly protruding abdomen. Still, I enjoy wearing it and hope that next summer it will fit me better than now.

I omitted the belt loops since I would never wear a belt for this skirt and I didn´t see that they would add anything as such. And I used a plastic zipper instead of a metallic one just because I couldn´t find a suitable one but in hindsight I think it is even better like this.

While taking photos for this project, I realized how hard it is to photograph red color. The seam lines are nearly invisible and it kind of eats all the other colors. We tried several locations and light conditions until I just decided to settle with these photos.

This is also the reason why out of the many tops that go well with this skirt, I think I can only show you the following two, the cut out shoulder top I made a year ago  and the most recent blouse with ties:

 

So this was the long term unfinished project I mentioned in my previous post and it could have been posted already a few weeks ago, but I didn´t have the photos yet.

Happy sewing and I hope you enjoy your summer!

 

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.

Burgundy Wedding Guest Dress

One would think that if the whole month passes without a post, there is not much going on about sewing in my life, but it is quite the opposite! Actually the reason for not posting is that I was frantically working on two dresses simultaneously and just as I got them finished with, went off for a great long weekend in Copenhagen.

So the first dress that nearly made me give it up, is for my friend and colleague Kadi. She had a wedding to attend close to Stuttgart, Germany the same weekend as I had a wonderful concert to attend in Copenhagen. More about that in the next post, related to my own dress.

Two events, two girls, of course two dresses needed!

I started off with hers as I surely did not want to mess it up and not be able to deliver on time. And oh boy, that was a good decision as the dress caused me lots of trouble.

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I have to apologize for the quality of the photos, but as winter approaches Estonia as well as Germany, it is extremely difficult to get good light conditions for photographing, so the photos in this post are not so clear.

The pattern we chose for her together is Simplicity 2442, view B:

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Although Kadi´s measurements seemed to fit size 40, I decided to cut 38. I am afraid some of the problems I faced with the dress occurred because of this too, but then again I feel that with the bigger size I would have had just different issues. For example, the shoulder yokes seem to fit her fine, but would definitely have been too large in size 40. But where things got tough was the gathered waistband. I ended up making two, one in size 38 (too small!) and the other one in 40 (also nearly too small!!). Thankfully we could eventually use the smaller one to make her a small purse to match the dress.

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The fabric is polyester taffeta, also chosen together. I am not a big fan of red, but this shade fits Kadi very well and has somewhat of a grace that fit the occasion perfectly.

Here she is with her charming boyfriend and the beautiful bride:

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The whole process gave us the opportunity of quite a few tea drinking and sewing evenings together. Everything went faster when Kadi was around, as I could try the dress on anytime I needed and also felt more pressure to stay focused rather than get lazy.

The bodice is lined and I used bias tape (if I remember correctly,nearly 10 meters!) for the seam allowances of the skirt. The hemline is hand stitched.

Here are a few photos with the dress on the hanger:

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The most peculiar thing was that although I had taken the measurements with her wearing the bra she wanted to wear with the dress,  the neckline just did not fit her at all! So one day, in despair, I took the bodice to work to try it on again after some alterations and she told me she was wearing a different bra that day. We tried the dress anyway and whoa! it fit her perfectly! So the trick was to change the bra 😀 Oh well, I am not anything close to a professional seamstress, I guess a professional would have worked her way around any bra.

But eventually I finished the task just four days short of Kadi´s trip and she is happy with the result, so all is good!

The Tribal Print Skirt

Hey everyone!

It has been quite a long time since my last post, but I am telling you, summer in this tiny town I live in, Haapsalu, is full of life and it is really hard to find time for sewing lately!

Nevertheless, there are a few projects on the finishing line and the tribal print skirt has been finished for at least two weeks already, just never found time to take the photos.

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The fabric is stretch polyester sateen, one of the fabrics I got from my trip to Austria in May.  Of course when I saw the fabric, I wanted to make a dress again, but firstly because it was quite expensive and secondly because I have too many dresses already, I allowed myself to get only 70 cm of it. It was exactly enough to use it for Burda April 2013 model 117b skirt.

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I cut Burda size 38 which fits just fine. I omitted the vent in the back, because my skirt is wide enough to allow comfortable walking. Another thing I changed was the width of the waistband, the one according to the pattern was way too narrow to my taste (2 cm), so I made a new one, which is 3.5 cm wide. I also added a hook and eye to the waistband as the zipper was inserted only up to the waistband.

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The skirt is obviously very easy to sew and it has a nice fit. The seam allowances are finished with bias tape. (Yes, I am wearing a matching nail polish! :))

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The shoes are also bought from Austria, must be somewhat of a private label by Humanic.

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Last weekend I had a wonderful time, as my good friends came to visit me and also helped me take the photos. Here is to summer and friendship!

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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!