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!

Stripes N´ Roses Top in London

Hi all!

It looks to me that its a current big thing to have embroidered roses or whatever other embroidered patches on clothes and when I finally decided to realize my idea of sewing an off-the-shoulder black and white striped top, I thought it would be a fun detail to add.

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The idea of such a top is so old that the fabric for it has been in my stash since I left Athens in 2012! In the meanwhile I have luckily bought a serger so I guess it was meant to be merely an idea for such a long time, as it is definitely a serger project!

The pattern is Simplicity 1613:

This time I cut size 10 as I definitely did not want this style to be too loose on me. As a result, it is somewhat tight over the waist and perfectly prevents me from eating too much 🙂

The top has a tunnel and elastic around the shoulders to keep things neat, but I made a mistake there by trying to outsmart the pattern designers – the trick is that the elastic has to be cut long enough to go around the shoulders but tight enough to stay up. It looked to me that the elastic was too long so I shortened it, but this makes the top pop up over the shoulder every time I lift my arms too high. So if you are making this top, cut the elastic exactly as long as the pattern says, then it will be perfectly loose enough not to do that and tight enough to stay put.

I have enough fabric for at least one more such top and it is quite likely that I will make another one since I love the style and I could make the second one fit better in that shoulder area.

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The embroidered rose patch is the iron-on type and I got if off Aliexpress for 0,95 $ and free shipping. The choice is immense, but I got lucky since mine is of excellent quality.

Now you may have noticed that these photos don´t look anything like Estonia and you are right – I had the privilege to take part in a work-related conference in London during the past week and one of my sweet colleagues agreed to snap the photos on our last morning there.

As usually, the time-table during such events is very tight, but there were a few free hours on one day and I took the chance to check out Berwick Street in Soho for some fabrics. There are quite a few shops on that street, starting with Misan Brothers, that offers a beautiful choice of high-end fabrics, up to the Cloth House that has an interesting range of fabrics from Japan. Since their price level was more affordable, this is were I made my purchase.

Misan shop:

The Cloth House:

I got a beautiful kimono-style crepe that has an amazing drape:

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I hope you are enjoying your summer!

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!

Sailor Top

Hello!

I have been enjoying my Colour Clash Top so much that I decided to make another version of it. Who would have thought!

As you know, the pattern is model 130 from Burdastyle 9-2012.

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This time, I gathered both sideseams of the top. I am not really sure if it was a good idea since this creates countless folds of fabric right on my waist.

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I don´t know the exact content of the fabric, but it is very thin and not really stretchy, an unplanned buy upon a sudden flash of an idea. I only wish I could sew half as fast as I buy fabrics.

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I used a piece of cotton lace for the back neckline on the inside:

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Anyway, if you are in need of a quick sewing satisfaction, this is a pattern I recommend!

Baby Blue Stripe Dress in Berlin

Hello!

As I mentioned in my previous post, this year is rich in travels and the trip of July took me to the German capital, Berlin.

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I have visited Berlin twice before, the last time being 15 years ago and the first when I was only seven years old. I still remember the wall that had been pulled down two years prior, but remnants of which were visible everywhere. Today 1300 meters of it is still erect and preserved.

The trip was a short getaway with my 18-year old brother, and I think we both had fun. He helped me to take the photos of my latest project as well:

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It is model 107 from BurdaStyle 1/2014:

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I made quite a few changes to the original construction. Firstly, because my main fabric is a see-through crochet lace, bought from Vienna last year, I doubled the bodice with beige stretch lining and that saved me from the facing you can see in the tech drawing.

I also turned the the two pleats on the back of the bodice into darts, because otherwise the fit was too loose.

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Thirdly, my version is about 15 cm shorter than the original pattern. I just felt that the gathered skirt looked so much better shorter. Longer, below the knee length looks best when the skirt is more fitted, in my opinion.

As you may have noticed, there is a back center seam on my version. This is due to the limited amount of fabric I had. I guess I could have managed to squeeze even the sleeves out, but I deliberately used a different fabric there.

The dress is very airy and nice to wear in summer, I also haven´t experienced any excessive gaping of the front wrap detail, which I thought might be a problem.

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Some dressform photos here as well:

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Berlin surprised me with two things: firstly, the weather was so moody, it could turn from perfect sunshine to heavy rain within just a few minutes and then back again. Secondly, although Germans are known for their punctuality and precision, trusting the direction signs in order to find the Kulturforum complex, took us to a detour of a good 45 minutes, while the thing itself was a ten minute walk from the metro station we started at.

We visited the fabulous Mario Testino In Your Face photo exhibition and also a great exhibition about impressionist and expressionist painting, Im Ex. Of course we didn´t miss the famous Pergamon Museum, although unfortunately the biggest exhibit, the Pergamon Altar, was sealed for repair and maintenance works.

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When visiting a place, I always try to imagine living there and the feeling I get when I imagine myself being a local, pretty much defines whether I like the place or not. I liked Berlin. We happened to stay in an area loaded with small shops and cosy eateries, packed with locals and took long late-night walks accompanied by the best ice-cream I have had in a while, so it was easy to like this city!

Of course, I always look up some fabric shops. Remembering the trip to DĂźsseldorf in autumn, when I saw the Karstad shopping mall, I knew that the 4th or 5th floor would also have a selection of fashion fabrics and I was correct. I was lucky, because they had sales going on and I got two fabrics I have been thinking to buy from Estonia, at less than half the price!

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The other shop I visited was a rather small one named Knopfloch in the vicinity of Alexanderplatz, where I got some sewing machine needles. They mainly had jersey and various cotton print fabrics, but nothing that I could no resist.

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A short distance from our hotel, there was also a tiny shop named Frau Tulpe, which opens at 11 on Saturdays so I got there too early and didn´t return later due to lack of time and the fact that it looked more like a craft shop, offering mostly colourful cottons.

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And finally, there is the Turkish market at Maybachufer, which among other goods offers fabrics and trims and notions and as I heard from one local, has the best selection of that on Saturdays.

The prices are really cheap, most of the fabrics I saw were sold at 3 euros per meter, but the selection mostly consisted of cottons, cheap jerseys and some novelty fabrics. I got a nice cotton fabric that looks almost like lightweight denim or linen and some cotton bias tape that sold at 50 cents/m for plain colours and 1 euro/meter for patterned ones.

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As an experience, the Turkish market is really nice, you can also try various foods and I am sure everyone will find something to buy as well.

Out Of The Closet: Heart Shape Button Dress

One day I was scrolling through my blog (which I have been keeping now for a year already!) and discovered a dress I had kind of forgotten about.

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I promised to write a post about it back in September, but never got to it, one reason being that I moved to Estonia shortly afterwards and only the last month here has been giving enough reason to think about summer dresses; and secondly, I am not exactly thrilled with the dress for purely emotional reasons.

I was extremely stressed the time I made it (in late 2011) and I believe this is the reason why I have been wearing it only a few times, it just brings back memories. Purely objectively thinking, I think the dress is beautiful and I really liked the fabric when I bought it, but nevertheless, it is never the first item I pull out of the closet.

The pattern is Cynthia Rowley Simplicity 2215, view A.

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I cut size 12, but the bodice part of the dress was extremely long, which I somehow failed to notice until it was nearly completed. For a moment I even thought of dropping the project, but then realized that I could fix the problem relatively easily by ripping the shoulder seams, cutting off approximately 2 cm from front and back pieces and stitching again. Because the bodice is lined, doing this was not too much fun, but after this trick, the dress fit just fine, so it was worth the trouble.

The fabric is viscose, and also found really cute heart-shaped buttons. It was my first project with buttonholes and it took me a few tries with the first one to get it right.

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The pattern is not too difficult to sew, just a lot of patience is needed with the countless pleats on the skirt.

After a very long time, I wore this dress for a barbecue evening with friends and I must admit, it is very comfortable. So comfortable, that I was riding my bicycle with it!

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My New Friend

When I got home today, someone I had been expecting for a week already, had arrived. She was patiently waiting by the stairs and I was very happy to find her there. My dressmaker´s dummy!

I had wanted it for a long time, but three things had to happen in order to finally go for it – Stefania wanted me to make her a dress for her sister´s wedding, I had my birthday and thirdly, amazon.co.uk finally had one dummy that they were selling themselves, not via third parties.

Let me explain.

Stefania lives quite far from me and doesn´t have the time to get over here for a zillion dress trials, and I myself am too inexperienced in making clothes for others, so I felt I needed a “body” in her measurements to feel more assured during the process. Secondly, it is sort of a tradition for my parents not to give presents, but make a bank transfer on birthdays, so I can decide on my own. Thirdly, I had been looking around for a dummy for some time, but at the local haberdashery stores here, they are quite expensive. The cheapest I have seen was 169 EUR!

As you must have understood by now, I am a devoted Amazon customer, having bought nearly everything from ceiling lamps to underwear from them over the past few years. They also sell a variety of dressforms, but always via third party, who either don´t want to send such a thing to Greece or charge too much. Amazon itself doesn´t charge any shipping fee to Greece when one spends at least 25 pounds so you can imagine how delighted I was to see that they finally sell ONE dummy on their own.

They hadn´t added the measurements of the dummy to the product description so I spent one day waiting for them to go and get the information  and get back to me. I knew that this model comes in two sizes, S and M and was praying that they would have stocked the S. Which they had!

So it took 70 euros (!!!) and a week of waiting for the dummy to get to my door. Perfect! It is even more satisfying that the price has increased and not decreased during this time, so I am really enjoying myself right now 🙂

So seems the dummy (I think I should actually give it/her a name), standing there and wearing one of my dresses already:

And without the dress:

I know that it is not the best out there, but I guess it is still better than not having it at all. The downside is that it is made of hard plastic covered with thin fabric, so that I cannot push any pins into it, just through the fabric layer. Secondly, it could be adjustable at the waist as well. Right now the waist changes according to the chest and hip adjustments. For my body this works fine, but if I would want to make a dress for someone with a very straight body, it would be difficult to adjust the dummy very accurately.

So far so good, we´ll see if and how much help I am going to get from this sewing buddy!

PS If anyone is interested, then the dress the dummy is wearing is Simplicity (Cynthia Rowley) 2215. I haven´t had a moment to write about it yet.

Black and White Optical Dress and Obi-belt

I saw this really good quality cotton batiste with a cool optical print in Athens. The whole roll of fabric was presented behind the door of the shop, in the street, as most of the Greek fabric shops do, but usually they keep the better stuff inside. One lady was looking at it and the moment I saw it, I knew I will buy it! In the end we both did, she wanted to make a skirt and I was sure it will become a simple dress, to show off the print.

I used KwikSew 2627 pattern for my dress. I omitted the sleeves and used view A for the round neckline (the other views have scoop necklines). I also added a full lining in white silk.

The dress was very easy to make, but the pattern is huge. According to my measures, I cut size S, but I should have opted for XS.

Here is my dress:

The fabric has a really cool effect in the middle, as it darkens and then lightens again. I managed to cut the dress so that the darkest part is right at the waist.

As you can see, unfortunately I didn´t manage to line up the print at the side seams, neither on the back. At the side seams it happened because as I cut out the pieces, I made the pieces match, but they didn´t any more after I made the bust darts in front. Should have figured it out earlier. I can live with it, because of the thin fabric and the silk lining, the dress is a heaven to wear on hot summer days.

Probably not easy to see, but the little button has the shape of a heart, a leftover from another dress from a post to come 🙂

The obi-belt I am wearing with the dress, is also made by me and especially for this dress, it needed a belt. The instructions are here. Here is a photo from that website, but it seems to be a courtesy of Vogue/Butterick.

I used imitation black leather, found in Athens, just for 6 EUR/metre. The instructions of the pattern are easy to follow, maybe the most time-consuming was to enlarge the pieces. My sewing machine did fine, but at a point where I had to sew through three layers of synthetic leather, the top and bottom being the right side out, the teeth of the machine started scratching and damaging the material, so this part had to be glued only. And of course, AFTER taking the photos I noticed, that on one side the glue has let go, and the wider part of the strap has unfolded. A minor problem that I will fix asap.

I think the tassels of the belt match very well with the tassels on my shoes, that are very simple black synthetic suede flats from H&M, a gift from my friends Giorgos and Stefania in Athens, right before leaving for summer to Estonia.