A Dress of Two Summers

Hi!

As I type this, it is a rather gloomy, windy and cold day outside with occasional rain. We had an abnormally hot June and July and then August has been somewhat of a disappointment. Therefore I look at these photos with a bittersweet feeling as it seems that another summer has come to its end. They also bring back memories of our fun little family vacation to Narva-Jõesuu and Narva in July.

This dress has somewhat of a funny history. First of all, I call it the Dress of Two Summers because it was as good as finished already last summer. But as you know, I was pregnant until the middle of July and then had the post-partum/breast-feeding body that I wasn´t even sure would ever allow me to wear the dress and I didn´t want to hem it until I knew if and how many alterations it needed. This summer, I finally hemmed it and only decided to add a snap to the front of the dress for extra security although I am actually happy how it fits even without the snap. Another great pattern from Style Arc, of course! It is the Annabelle dress sans the ruffles:

Secondly, the fabric of the dress. I just adore it. I am not sure I have used this word on this blog before. I love the print, the color combo, the slightly crinkled look of it, the feel of it, just everything. And it is also the fabric for the cover sample of McCalls 8104:

I first saw the fabric on this pattern cover when it was released and then shortly afterwards saw it at Abakhan store in Tallinn. Initially I was sure I would make the McCalls dress, but I didn´t buy enough and therefore had to change my plans. It would have been fun though to copy the look, wouldn´t it? And just recently I saw it on sale and grabbed myself another 2 m, again not enough for the McCalls, but I am thinking a flowy wrap skirt one day..?

Anyway, I was a bit meh at first (that means before hemming it) but once finished it has turned to one of the most popular dresses for this ending summer. Just makes me feel nice!

I also think that this must be my first real wrap dress and since it seems to have become quite a habit, I am once again planning to make more with this pattern. Some of the details below:

I think this dress is equally appropriate for holiday as well as workplace, at least for my job. Basically from the office to the beach dress 😀

Talking about beaches, I really recommend Narva-Jõesuu. It used to be the summer resort for many Russian aristocrats before WWII and even now there must be many Russians spending their summers there deciding by the look, style and size of the summer homes. But at the same time there is another layer of history, the Soviet era that lurks around some abandoned resort buildings from that time, mixed with new or restorated old ones that are quite fancy. All in all, an interesting combo of old and new, wealthy and poor, but nevertheless the whole place has a wonderful relaxed atmosphere and the beach is actually breathtaking. A really long (it must be a few kilometers) stretch of sand, the sun dropping to the sea in the evening, cooling water and most importantly not crowded and not too “developed” meaning there is only one beach bar on the actual sand.

I am not such a fan of Narva, though. It is the border town with Russia and it is definitely worth visiting and it has developed a lot over the recent years, but unfortunately as it was basically bombed to the ground during the WWII there is not much left of the historical city center and it feels kind of center-less if there is such a thing.

I have a couple of more projects from summer that I have been wanting to post about, I am hoping to get there before it is already weird! And I have also participated in some workshops that I really want to share about more, but that is also a story for another time!

Until soon!

Baby Sewing

Hi!

I wasn´t sure when writing my last post, whether I will make anything at all during this time, but as a surprise even to myself, I have made something I never thought I would make – a patchwork quilt blanket for our baby…..girl, if the doctors know what they are saying!

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The reason why I say that I surprised myself is that although I love sewing garments, I am not really an artsy-craftsy person at all. You know, some people love making knitted teapot warmers and stuff like that, I never did. I have made one patchwork quilt blanket before and that was in high school crafts class, because I had to.

This time I felt that it would be nice to make something for our baby and when I was looking for blanket ideas, I came across the Triangle Quilt Pattern by See Kate Sew. I loved the fresh looking colors (no florals!) and the triangle shape.

I discovered that it can be really hard to find at least 6 different cotton fabrics that would still match in a way to give a nice overall look to the blanket. Too many star motives and of course, too many florals! But I wanted my blanket to look modern!

So I ended up ordering all of the fabrics (and even the bias tape, because I could not find wide enough cotton tape in a suitable colour locally) from the huge Chinese webshop Aliexpress. I wasn´t really sure about the idea, but the fabrics arrived and were exactly what I had wanted – plain yellow, pink and black, zig-zag prints in yellow and pink and then pears in yellow and pink with black leaves.

I also bought a cutting mat (size A1) and rotary cutter and some batting for the project.

I used See Kate Sew´s tutorial for the triangle placement, although I had to make some adjustments, since I was using 7 different fabrics and she used 6. In order to understand better how the finished blanket would look like, I even used markers to color the scheme, using at first only 6 fabrics/colors/patterns and then carefully picking the triangles I would actually make in black. It was really handy during the sewing process and helped to achieve the “randomeness” effect.

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The finished measurements of the blanket are 115×125 cm and I am so pleased with the outcome, although of course there are errors, too – not all the triangles match precisely and also the quilting was a tough process – tugging the whole blanket through the sewing machine opening while trying to keep the stitches straight.

The idea is to use the blanket on the floor for playing, so I used somewhat thicker batting than I would have otherwise. The other side of the blanket is plain pink cotton and you may see that I did not quilt the blanket as triangles, but as rhombuses.

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When rolled up, it looks and feels so cosy that I would like to roll myself into it 🙂

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Besides the blanket, I have also made 2 pairs of footed baby pants using another free pattern, this time from Sew Much Ado.

The original pattern requires creating a casing for the elastic to be inserted, but I wanted to use ribbing… and of course forgot to lower the waistline and therefore I guess these pants will look quite ridiculously high-waisted on the baby.
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I was smarter the second time and really hope these will fit her. The bodysuit is ready-made, but because of the bright colors it has been hard to find matching pants. So I just made them myself!

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So this is it so far. Making baby clothes is not as much fun as making stuff for myself, but soon in will be just a matter of the size of the dress, so we´ll see. I am quite excited to think that I might be able to use some leftover fabrics to make her dresses that match mine!

Until soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Winter Sun Dress

Hi!

This dress was supposed to be ready in fall, during the golden leaves season, but life happened and eventually I finished it in early December and even then without the flounces that I planned for the sleeves.

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The pattern is model 115 from Burdastyle 10/2017 but as you can see, I have skipped the ruffles for the hem and sleeves. Instead, I wanted to cut the double flounce from pattern 117 in the same magazine issue and attach them to the lace inserts of the sleeves. I have them all cut out and prepared for sewing, but there is never enough time, so I have worn the dress as it is already a couple of times.

The pattern of course is simple to sew, but as I was afraid that the main fabric might be too flimsy and cold for the season, I underlined the whole dress using a matching lining fabric. I then made a stupid mistake by sewing the bottom lace detail through both layers and now I have to take extra care while ironing the dress after wash because the lining fabric tends to shrink a little more in wash and that makes the main fabric slightly drape above the first attachment seam. Steam ironing the lining helps, although not 100%.

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I love this shade of yellow in combination with dark blue and initially I wanted to make something, combining the yellow fabric, lace and the fabric I got from London in summer (below), but eventually decided that less is more. I might use the leftovers of the yellow lace with that fabric one day, though.

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I think the lace fabric is a wonderful find, both in terms of color but also design. Too much of lace I see around is floral so it is refreshening to see something more abstract. I just picked the part of the fabric I liked the most, calculated the length since I wanted it to extend further from the main fabric and then sew it along the lines onto the main fabric using a zig zag stitch. The colors are a bit off in the next two photos.

The fit of the dress at the shoulders is really precise which is surprising because usually Burdastyle patterns tend to be designed for wider shoulders than mine. I used some of the lace for the back yoke just to add interest.

The size I cut is still 38 as usually with Burdastyle but you may already have noticed that there is a practical reason for picking such a style, with no defined waistline 😉

I have also completed another project, an evening gown for the annual Christmas party with the colleagues, more on that in the next post! Until soon!

 

Love Celebration Dress

Hey everyone!

We had the honour of being invited to the wedding of G & O and I was super excited as I have attended quite a few weddings in my life, but never a Russian one. Of course this deserved a dress!

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I used pattern no 107 from Burda Style January 2013. I remember seeing this pattern and telling myself that I will definitely make it, but it took me exactly that long to execute the plan, something quite typical as the speed of buying fabrics and patterns will never equal the speed of sewing stuff up…

Again typically I finished the dress late at night the previous evening before the big day and therefore did not manage to make the matching belt. Let´s see if I will get to it at some point or not, since there are so many more ideas next up in line!

I cut the size 38 and I thought the fit was perfect at the bodice, but when I look at the photos, it seems as if there is a little too much ease there. Nevertheless the dress feels super comfortable and I loved wearing it despite the fact that once again I failed to produce a perfect back neckline with the invisible zipper. For some reason it is always a hit or miss for me and more often a miss…

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I always leave generous seam allowances for the hip area and this was one of the times when not doing it would have meant that the dress would have been hopelessly too tight without any extra fabric left for correcting the mistakes. Now it just meant adjusting the side seams a bit.

Once again Burda Style surprises me as they have only rated the dress with two stars for difficulty level. I am quite sure that for someone looking for stepping up the game to next level, pulling this off (fully lined, tricky assembly sequences, many pattern pieces) would be too complicated. And it really takes time, I spent several evening just preparing the pieces before I could get to the actual sewing!

Here is a little close-up to show the fabric´s texture a bit better. I bought the fabric from Helsinki probably last year and they had it in baby blue as well as pink and it was hard to choose, but th yellow seemed more special. It was actually quite hard to find a matching lining fabric, but thankfully I finally did.

I got too excited when I was literally hit by the bridal bouquet and completely did not think of taking a photo with the beautiful bride then,  but here is one snapshot from the party and the bouquet itself next morning:

We are next up in line and I guess it is needless to say that we are very excited about it!

Spring in Paris – The Yellow Skirt

Hello!

I spent the last week in Paris with my mother, a trip she had long wanted to make. As my employer decided generously to add one extra week of holidays to everyone in 2015, I thought it would be a good chance to use the extra week for the purpose of accompanying her and also discovering Paris for the first time.

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I must say if you ever plan to go to Paris in spring, do it in April-May. Currently it was nastily cold! There is something about the cold in warmer climates – during the years I lived in Cyprus and Greece, I was also always cold in winter, especially indoors and fell ill once every year. This rarely happens to me here up North!

It was also slightly early because the trees were still leafless, which surely had an impact on my visual impression of Paris. It just means another trip has to be planned!

Thankfully, I had just finished a mustardy-yellow skirt to brighten things up.

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The pattern is from BurdaStyle October 2011 issue, model 119A and B mixed together.

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I cut size 38 at the waist and smoothed to size 40 at the hips. The fabric I used is from my trip to Portugal. I don´t know the composition if the fabric, but it is a weird one, dense and heavy and quite elastic lengthwise. I had just enough fabric for the skirt, as the pockets are self-lined and pretty big, requiring a lot of fabric.

Sewing this weird material was a pleasure, although it got tiresome at the waist, where I needed all my strength to press the basting needle through the layers.

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The skirt is unlined and i did not finish the seam allowances, since the fabric doesn´t fray at all and it would only have added extra bulk. The waistband is also hand stitched from the inside.

I really love the shape and extravagant size of the pockets. The buttonholes are only stitched, not cut through and the buttons are sewn onto those.

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Traditionally, I had done some homework on fabric shops in Paris and luckily there is a whole district of fabric shops of all sorts right on the base of the hilltop where the spectacular Sacre Coeur church sits.

Some of these shops are specialized on Halloween and other carnaval fabrics, others are selling everything in coupons of 3 meters, others have a bit of everything. I didn´t see anything too special or too expensive, the prices are rather low.

The most interesting one was perhaps Tissus Reine, a huge store with a large variety of fabrics from Liberty cottons to curtain and furniture fabrics, also a wide range of notions. The ground floor is dedicated to dressmaking fabrics and they have used smaller than human size dummies for decoration, who are dressed up in clothes made of the fabrics that are for sale.

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The other one, Les Coupons de Saint Pierre, is bigger online than in reality. They are selling everything in coupons of 3 meters, including silks. I spotted some beautiful pieces of bright yellow and green silks, but most of this was good fabric waisted for weird prints – like tiny Chinese working on ricefields or strolling with sunshades, However, I managed to find a piece of beautiful silk and paid just 20 euros for the whole 3 meters!

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Here is what I got:

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The first is a microfibre fabric that looks a bit like suede, I am not yet sure whether it will become a jacket or a minimalistic dress one day. The second one is a 3 meter coupon of cotton for a summer dress and the last is the silk fabric coupon.

The notions include shoulder pads, cover buttons and 3 shades (grey, dark blue and black) of jersey bias tape, something I have not seen before.

What I loved about Paris was the remarkable Musee d´Orsay, which will be one of the main reasons for my return and also the cheese and wine 🙂

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