The Lemon Jacket

Hi!

I owe this post since September, actually, but I was hoping to get better photos. I didn`t manage this since of course the days got shorter and shorter and there is the same old problem with daylight in winter. Being really fed up with this, I just ordered a photo booth set and it should be here by Christmas! We will see if this will be of any help, but since it includes softboxes and bulbs and a set up for the background, I am thinking it must make at least some difference.

Anyway, I finished the jacket a few days before its first outing which was for a special occasion at work. More than ten ambassadors from different countries residing in Estonia accompanied by the people from the State Protocol came to my workplace for a visit and I was one of the hosts. So I wanted something comfortable, yet bright and eye catching to wear. This was my outfit for the day:

The pattern of the jacket is Style Arc Janet and the fabric is cotton bucle from Chanel that I bought from a small local store that brings fabrics straight from Italy. The prices are sometimes really painful, but I have never been disappointed in the fabrics. They also have an online shop but I don´t know whether they would ship internationally: Kangalavka

Funny fact – I got this perfectly matching stretch lining from the same shop about a year earlier, having another project in mind, but how lucky that I never got to that project:

And once again my favorite detail – the piping!

Since the boucle is actually very lightweight and does not hold shape, I interfaced all the pieces apart from the sleeves (maybe I should have done that too because the sleeves crease at the elbows) and I also added even sturdier interfacing for the hem and sleeve hems. The interfacing helps to achieve the crisp look of the front. Also, for the first time I used shoulder pads for a jacket. I bought several options online and thankfully one of the pairs was a good fit – not too bulky and hard and they leave a natural looking shoulder. As for pattern modifications, there were none necessary (do you see why Style Arc is an absolute winner for me?), but I omitted the front closures because I knew that I would never wear it closed anyway.

And since I am a person who likes to match colours, I just had to get the exact shade of shoes to finish off the outfit. Again, funny fact, made in Italy!

My pants are Jalie Vanessa, one of the three four pairs I have made. While writing this, I remembered the fourth pair that I also made in September but that have not made it to the blog either… One day hopefully I will be able to show these too!

Until then, happy sewing!

The Hope Dress

Hi!

One of the items I made just before the trip to Gran Canaria was the dress that seemingly half of Insta-sewists have made already – the Hope Dress from Style Arc. I remember being quite “meh” about it, but at some point when all of their dress patterns were discounted, I still grabbed one. I realized I could use a fabric that had sat in my stash already for a couple of years and although I liked it very much, I struggled with finding a suitable pattern. I think these two, the Hope pattern and the cotton and silk blend go very well together.

As a hindsight I should have considered the stripes more but I believed that they are busy and uneven enough to not pay too much attention, but you can see for yourself that I should have given it a tad more thought. Anyway, at the same time I admit that I can live with the result and after I found the right shoes to go with the dress I am very positively surprised. The fabric is amazing to wear, luxuriously soft and breathable and of course the colors, the main reason why I was drawn to it in the first place! However, there is something about this fabric that I had not encountered before – the sewing machine skipped stitches and the only thing that helped was changing the thread! I suspected the fabric to be too slippery or the needle to be worn, but it was the thread that did not do well with the material. You live and you learn….

As you can see, I shortened the dress by 15 cm and instead of chopping the extra length off, I created an extra wide hem. This gives the otherwise very airy fabric some weight. I also wanted to cut the bodice front and back both so that the stripes would be horizontal, but didn´t have enough fabric (probably just bad planning). I omitted the back slit and button and cut the back facing in one piece taking out the seam allowance in the center because I knew from the numerous reviews on internet that the dress goes over the head easily even without the slit.

I loved the way the pockets were instructed to be sewn – both pocket pieces are sewn to the front of the dress, creating a small dent on the front piece and then the front is sewn to the back at sides. A very easy and clear way that gives this kind of inseam pockets somewhat more structure.

In summary, I would say that the Hope is quite worth the hype. It suits all figures I would say, is easy to wear and quick to make and … and what else would you want from a dress anyway?

I wore my dress for (fabric) shopping in the vicinity of Telde. The fabric shop is actually a huge hangar and is mainly filled with thousands of home textiles and curtain fabrics. The selection of dress fabrics is small, especially in comparison to the amount of others, but I still scored 7.5 meters of fabric!

I got black and off-white textured viscose-poly blend that has a beautiful drape and does not seem to wrinkle. They also had the same fabric in fuchsia, white, red, cobalt blue and powder pink, leaving me with a heartache about the latter. I also got two pieces of steel blue polyester (but nice quality) fabric that I have the devilish idea to turn into either a jumpsuit (devilish because my husband doesn´t like jumpsuits) or then a faux jumpsuit. The color is identical, but the two cuts differ in texture and weight. One of them is a crepe and the other one heavier and smooth, perfect for pants or the lower part of the said jumpsuit.

This place is defnitely worth a visit if you have a rental car at hand or have such a great local friend like mine!

Until soon!

The (First) Jumpsuit

Hi!

The very last item I finished before my holidays was something that I had never made before – a jumpsuit!

I am not even sure why it took me so long to make one since I like how they look on other people (most of the times). Probably one of the thoughts holding me back was that I once had a RTW jumpsuit that I ended up wearing maybe 2 or 3 times because my husband was not a fan. And I can see his point because there is a danger of looking like a giant toddler when wearing this type of garment.

But this time I had finished everything I had planned for the trip and just when I had two days left to my flight, I saw Mie´s Instagram post:

I think it is a very clever idea to make separates that can be work as a faux jumpsuit, but this is actually not what got me, it was more the fabric! So two keywords or thoughts clicked in my head – “jumpsuit” and “wait, I have a somewhat similar fabric in my stash” followed by another two: “I also have a suitable pattern”, “I probably even have enough time to pull it off”.

So real quick I had cut the Butterick 6691 pattern out (view D) and managed to finish it so quickly that this time I was actually done with sewing without needing to stay up until the morning on the previous day of my flight! I really surprised myself here!

The process would have been even faster if I had bought the correct size. I usually sew size 12 from the Big 4, but this time I had accidentally bought the pattern in size bracket 14 and above. However, the pants fit perfectly, I just had to take in the sides of the bodice which is still loose but it is also the style. Since I took the sides in, I didn`t gather the front piece on the sides as the instructions tell you to. I actually also don`t get the point of it because the elastic in the waist gathers it anyway?

I am so positively surprised at this outcome and it is SO comfortable to wear, just throw it on and done. I originally bought the fabric with Style Arc Nova Midi Dress in mind, but now I am convinced that the bright colors and flowy nature of the fabric go so much better with this fun style. The fabric is a viscose an poly blend if I remember correctly and I got it from someone on a Facebook fabric market group.

What about my husband? you may ask. Well, his response was as expected – still not a fan. He told me that only the red clown`s nose is missing. Just as he had finished his sentence, our 3,5 year old daughter rushed in, stopped and burst out: “Oh, mommy, now THIS is really pretty!” Opinions…

But I wasn`t too worried, after all I was the one going on the trip and my husband was saved from accompanying a clown. I am not even sure what exactly bothers him about this garment (I mean not the exact piece, but jumpsuits in general). What if I had made a separate top and pants from the same material and then worn them together? Would that change anything? Or otherwise, if I had used a different fabric for the top or the pants, would that be more acceptable? Knowing myself, I will probably try to find out by testing these ideas…

As you can see, the pattern does not include a sash, but I made one anyway. I like to tie it on the side of the wrap so that it looks like the top itself is tied on the side. I also tested a black leather belt, which also looks good, but the sash is definitely more holiday-y.

The holiday itself is probably the most relaxing one I have ever been on. It is not just the big comparison with my daily life of juggling the work and home balance but also that in the pre-babies times I used to get so excited on trips that I could walk all day from morning to evening and explore and experience endlessly so that I would drop to bed every night and be almost exhausted after the trip. This time, because I know the island a bit from the past and partially also because I have quite a bit of time for myself as my friend is working part time, I am taking it extra slow. Long walks by the beach (I am staying in an AirBnB rental just a few steps away from my friends home) and preparing some blog posts, reading, enjoying a glass of wine late in the evening etc, it is just so good. I do think about my sweet family and we do daily video calls, but otherwise it has been a great week and I have enjoyed it thoroughly!

Until soon!

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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