Tuesday, 9 January 2018

2017 Hits and Misses

I have realized that I tend to forget what I actually sew during the year. Some pieces of clothing become such big hits that it seems I own them since ever. So it is always nice to go through the year again and remind myself what worked well and what did not as it definitely helps my planning.

Let's start on the positive note - my 2017 hits:

This dress has everything - it is very simple, yet very intricated. It is sewn in dark blue linen which is not a usual colour for me but I like it a lot on myself. It is a shift dress so quite comfy even in the worst heat waves.

Ok, so officially, 2017 was a year of the sleeve and this is the only funny sleeve I did. Another shiftdress, in rather dark colours, it quickly became a wardrobe staple for me. In addition, I used some oooold fabric for that.

I still do not understand why it took me one year to motivate myself to sew this cape. In the end, it was such an easy make and I am very proud of the details, such as the zip, the arm openings etc. It is not a thing to wear every day, but I love it.

Again, not a dress I would wear every day, but an achievement in terms of sewing skills. I was too intimidated by the complexity, but once I did the muslin, everything was pretty clear.
Lesson to take with me to 2018: challenge myself more - I can sew a lined and fitted dress without asking many questions because I do it often. So I need to gain the same confidence on other types of garments, such as jackets.

Burda top
This top, because it got worn even though I do not have many white things to complement it. It is simple, yet comfy and creates a nice silhouette.


2017 misses:

The colour tops
Not all of them got worn, not because they are not nice, but because I tend to wear mainly dresses and miss some bottom separates. Actually, the only time I really wear tops is on summer vacation when I spend my time in shorts. So the take for the next year should be to sew more skirts and shorts to take advantage of my tops.


Red jumpsuit
While the first jumpsuit was a success and got some wear on vacation, I did not manage to take this one out of my wardrobe. Perhaps because it is too revealing or because I only remember the overexposed pictures on my blog which certainly do not do it favour. I think that the revealing back combined with shorts was a bad idea, it looked rather elegant in the original long version, while the short one is just blaah. However, I might try to sew another jumpsuit this year as I consider them quite cool and practical (once I solve the "toilet issue")

The 50' dress
I like the result, but it does not fit into my wardrobe. I do not have many opportunities to wear such kind of dresses, I will always prefer a nice shift to a large skirt. Also, the fact that the skirt is not lined feels like the dress is a cheap one.

This year's UFO
I usually do not produce UFOs, but this one was hanging on my sewing dummy for too long. It is my x-th attempt to sew a wrap dress (and definitely not the last one because I.need.a.wrap.dress). The fabric is some poly and I have to be really careful not to burn it during ironing. I am very happy with the cross-over which sits nicely, but am really bothered by the sleeves. Also, while the fabric looks cute on the black dummy, it is less appropriate on myself. I have considered black piping to break it. I am still convinced that I should try to finish this dress and that it can work. The aim overhere is to have a T&T pattern for a wrap dress.

Green-brown dress
Not yet on the blog as I have to adjust it. There is something about the proportions really bugging me; the bodice sits nicely, but the shoulder area seems strange, maybe if it was a V-shape, it would be nicer.
I like the colour of this suiting (not very clear in these pictures) too much to throw it away, so this went to my re-do pile.

All in all, it was a very positive year. I am not sure if I will be able to do so much sewing next year as well, so I just enjoy the new clothes in my closet :o)

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Review of 2017

Originally, I did not want to write an overview of 2017, but the year finished rather beautifully, and I actually like reading the reviews from other bloggers so I will write mine as well.

First, to remind ourselves with the objectives of 2017 - I wanted to sew and I needed to decrease my stash by 10% while still buying fabric. I found out that being on a buying diet does not work for me - sometimes I just see the amazing fabric while on vacation or need to buy lining to finish a project. But buying while being careful and decreasing the stash at the same time works pretty well.

We went to Thailand on our big summer vacation so buying fabric over there was a must. However, I learned from my past mistakes and bought fabrics I would easily use up for my daily wear, not only those colourful cottons with Asian motives. I brought a few meters of some basic wool-cashmere suiting, as well as silks for linings. In total I bought 56,7m of fabric during the year which was A LOT. I need to be more careful next year, mainly at the beginning of the year, while "saving up" for the vacations.

On the consumption side, this was probably my best sewing year. Work was less crazy than usually, mainly in the second half of the year, so I had time and energy to sew.
  • I sewed my first patchwork - a large one - which used up a lot of my stash. I managed to use a lot of cotton coupons I had brought from the US or Indonesia a few years ago and which I liked a lot but which were not suitable for clothes. Also, I could use some of the large scraps I have left. Clearly a winner. It took me crazy hours but fits nicely into my piano room.
  • I used some little coupons for a few summer tops
  • I started sewing from the fabrics I bought on this year's vacation - a good proof of the right choices
  • I sewed up 78m of fabric, so the decrease is of 21,3m, which is largely above the planned 10% (I did not get under 100m of total stash, ending at 106, but that is okay, I will get to that soon)
  • I sewed a few of x-mas presents which enabled me to sew things I would usually not make for myself, I still have one post to publish on that
  • I got to sewing items from my long-term wishlist, such as some Vogue dresses or a cape
In total, I have sewed 38 pieces:
18 dresses
2 skirts (not blogged)
1 cape
7 tops
1 blazer
2 jumpsuits
2 pairs of trousers
1 short
1 patchwork
3 x-mas gifts

As for the pattern company stats:
I mostly sew from Burda (22 pieces), followed by 4 repeats of one NewLook and 3 different Vogue patterns and I did not have to do the statistics to know that, haha. I bought a few Burda numbers, as well as a few patterns. It still does not justify Burda yearly subscription; in addition, I know feel that I have a good stock of basic patterns in case I need something rather standard.

I am also quite happy with my blogging, as I have published 34 posts and I do not have a major blogging delay.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Xmas Sewing - Part I.

Due to logistical reason, I celebrated x-mas with my family already last week-end, so I can start sharing some of the presents I actually sewed, as they have already been given to my sister.

As last year, I decided to sew some of the presents, since it seems they have quite some success. The real clothes will be shared in the next post, but I will start with an apron (involuntarily in x-mas colours). I saw this Japanese pattern everywhere on Pinterest and thought that it would be great for my hipstery sister. I started searching for the downloadable pattern, but only found the paper version and at that point of time it was already too late to wait.

A short point on this year planning: I was actually in advance on everyhting. I knew I was going to be out 3 of the 4 pre-x-mas weekends, so I figured out I had to prepare everything before. I did almost all my x-mas shopping mid-November, well before Black Friday :o) - at least I did not have to worry about delivery times and delays which happen quite often before x-mas. Oh yes, and I ordered almost everything on the internet.
In the end, I packed most of the gifts on 1st December. And I was right - after my November marathon I got sick and was out of any energy for almost 2 weeks. The only energy remnants were spent on x-mas cookies baking (I did some 800+ of them).

Then I found a schema of the pattern and decided to give it a try and design it in real proportions on my own. And it actually worked rather well.

The apron is double-sided: first, it looks better and second, it is easier to sew the two layers together than doing bias binding. For the face, I used some batik cotton brought 2 years ago from Indonesia.

When I finished, I was thinking about what to do with the rest of the fabric and then found this cute (also Japanese) bag pattern. So not much thinking and I whipped up two double-sided bags to go with the apron.


I do not have a worn picture because we were too tired after unpacking all the gifts - so next time.
I do not think I will post anything else before the end of the year, so I wish you "Veselé vánoce a šťastný nový rok!"

Saturday, 2 December 2017

60's Grey Dress

I do not like scraps. I never know what to do with them. First, I am not a patchwork or household sewing girl, and I do not have any little kids in my surroundings on whom I could use the scraps. On the other hand I rarely buy just enough fabric for one project. Much more often I just buy fabric which I like and then when I choose my project, I search in my stash. I dream of changing this, but I will first need to decrease my stash little bit (even though this year statistics looks pretty good, but more on that later).

So, from time to time, I try to check on the little pieces in my stash and sew something from them. Case in point: this dress. It is an exact copy of the Remnant dress sewn already 2 years ago (Simplicity 3833). But to be honest, it is one of my most beloved dresses and fortunately, the fabric still resists the frequent washing. I wear it regularly autumn through spring.
So creating a new one was just so obvious and this time it was again a win: two remnants busted, what should I wish more for? (moreover, the black fabric is actually thesame as on the first version of my dress, so I can only hope this one will be as resistant)


The dress is again in two colours, even though the grey-black combination is much more subtle. The lining is also a mix of black and dark green silk remnants, but it seems to be working quite fine.

As I have already sewn this dress, there is nothing more to say about it. The silhouette works perfectly with the little stiff suiting fabrics, yet, the dress is extremely comfy. And it is a part of the basics I need for winter.



Friday, 24 November 2017

Perfect Match

So, I ordered a new pair of boots. I hate being cold in winter and I feel that the cold always comes from the ground, so good winter shoes are always a must. And since I only rarely wear trousers, winter shoes eaquals boots. I basically live in boots the whole winter and it always feels strange the first day I stop wearing them some time in March.

This year, I ordered wine colour boots, for a change. And immediately, I thought about this fabric which was in my stash since ever - actually, it was one of the first fabrics I bought four years ago. The thing is, it was a grey-bordeaux paisley viscose and I always had this strange "what-was-I-thinking-then" feeling about this fabric. First, it is the wrong shade of grey which makes me look rather pale and second, it is a viscose, not really my favourite type of fabric.

On the other hand, it has a nice and soft feel and the paisley is quite cute so I never had the heart to throw it away or donate it.


And then, out of a sudden, I had this idea of a little autumny casual dress with short sleeves which would be worn with tights, boots and a cardigan, so the grey is a minority colour in my outfit. A nice one for our casual Fridays, also (I am not a great fan of casual Friday at the office, as for me jeans equals not-comfy and I do not like wearking sport shoes either, so I alwasy try to wear some of my more casual dresses so as not to be too dressed) I was quite enchanted by the fact that I found a project for this fabric, so I started sewing it almost immediately.

The dress is based on this model, already sewn twice. It is a simple and very quick make, actually. Both of my previous versions were entirely lined (because the main fabric was half transparent), but for this one, I wanted to keep the soft viscose close to my skin. In the end, I decided to line only the skirt portion, because tights, you know.
I felt somehow strange to put a lining on the viscose, it was like lining a t-shirt, but whatever, it works and did not add any bulk so I am happy with it. It also enabled me to create a tunnel for the waist elastic and have a clean finish on that area.

All in all, it was finished within one day and I think it will be a nice mid-season dress. Of course, I will not wear it in the middle of winter because I would just die of cold in the fine viscose. For that, I will just dig into my wool stock :o)

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Rebecca Taylor Dress

I will be repeating myself but I need to have a constant reminder. I really like Vogue designer patterns (not all of them of course, but from time to time there are real jewels) but I often feel intimidated by them for no special reason. Case in point: this Kay Unger dress and also today's make.

I have seen this R.Taylor dress (Vogue 1316) many times on the internet, especially my favourite sewing blogger Carolyne is a great fan and I think I love all of her versions. Also, it seems like a great use of remnants, so why not to try it. So.. I bought this pattern like 3 years ago and never took the time to really go for it.

I had a little sewcation planned at the end of October (I have more vacation days than my BF which means that I get to take days off while he is working :o) and decided it might be a good opportunity to tackle a more complicated project. Well, the word "complicated" is not well placed because honestly, there was nothing really complicated on this. I must have felt intimidated by the number of pattern pieces and the 4 different colours but honestly, already when sewing my muslin, all was very clear.


I wanted to recreate the look of the pattern envelope because I like the different shades of grey and also, because I had different shades of grey wool fabrics already in my stash. Actually, out of the 4 colours: the light grey was a little remnant from a skirt sewn 4 years ago, the black is a remnant from this dress, the dark grey n°1 is a little piece I bought during sales and only the dark grey n°2 comes from a large piece of fabric which will be used for something else.

As usual, I had to adjust the shoulder area (I think I have taken out about 5-6cm) and took away a few centimeters on the hip area. Also, I cut out the size 10, while I am more between 10 and 12 (on the waist probably a clear 12), but I know that Vogue patterns are always very large on me. And when seeing the pictures, I could have shaved even more to make the dress mote fitted.

The construction went pretty well, I got little bit mad about catchstitching, hopefully it will not deform the dress in some areas.

The dress is properly lined with black silk (need to buy some more of this in the future) and that is about it.

I like the result a lot. It is sewn with wool suitings, so it is more of a autumn/winter dress, however, a cardigan will be worn over it, as I do not think I can pull out the look of the envelope - black tights and no sleeves just does not make much sense for me. And again, I need to stop obsessing about the difficulty of some patterns and just sew them. The dress took cca 20 hours to make, because of all the hand catchstitching, but in general, there was nothing extremely complicated.


Sunday, 12 November 2017

Bits and Pieces

Today, I will present a few little projects I did in between the big ones. Because, sometimes a girl needs some basics and it also feels good to use up little remnants in the stash.

Number 1: this little black top made from a remnant of light wool crepe. I like the feel of the fabric so I bought the half-meter remnant anyhow. And I just managed to cut out this number. The sleeves could have been longer but I did not have enough fabric and did not want a wool top with short sleeves.


Nothing much to say about it, it is all sewed with French seams and I used some shiny silk for the biais binding, of which I am particularly proud - it just has the right size and sits perfectly.

Number 2: The black skirt I am wearing with it: I must have sewn this at least a year ago, maybe two, but it did not get much worn. It is from a black cotton with some serious stretch, so the pencil skirt is extremely comfy and I added a green fun lining (and I just do not have any picture of it). I just found it again in my wardrobe, so I hope it will get more outings this year.

Number 3: shall I say a cashmere sweater? The fabric is a cashmere something, I have totally no idea how to call this fabric, it is probably supposed to be used for unlined large coats/coatigans, but I only had a 80cm remnant which I just had to buy (it was 50% off and a perfect colour for me). The funny thing is it does fray at all, even if you force it. After trying to fit at least two different patterns on this little piece, I gave up and decided to copy an RTW raglan sweater.


It fitted perfectly, I think I had almost nothing left. Since the fabric does not fray, I did not bother with any special technique on finishing the seams, I just catchstisched them on places where it made sense.

I put in a facing, even though I ma not a fan of facings, it was quite appropriate for this model.
The sweater is very soft and warm, and the fabric already survived one machine cycle.

Well, that's it for now, as of next week, some more fun and complicated projects are coming up.