Sunday, 17 June 2018

Bye Bye Birdie Shirt Dress

After the success of my wool shirt dress (yet to be blogged), I needed a summer version. Mainly because I finished the wool one just to late to wear it this spring, or the weather changed too quickly from half winter to half-summer.

Since it was already in my plans, I just continued with the summer verison rightaway. This time, I decided to omit the sleeves and use the large skirt of Butterick 6333. I bought this cuty-cute black poplin which was just the right weight.

In the end, I think the skirt was just too large, or my fabric not drapey enough, whatever... The usual technique of adjusting would be taking in the side seams, but I have pockets in them, so I have deconstructed the back skirt and reduced the number of pleats to reduce the volume.
The skirt is still large, but I like the volume better.

My fabric was very easy to sew. I used some interfacing on the strategic places, the collar was quite easy, ok, I might be more careful on the collar stand next time, but this can only be seen when you are very close (and a seamstress). When cutting, I tried to be careful with the direction the birds are flying here.

I had hoped to finish the dress before our spring vacation, but the preparations, work stress and lack of motivation I had this March and April basically meant that the dress got constructed but without a collar. I restarted it when we came back, just forgot to buy the buttons in time, so it remained almost finished for another week. In the meantime I started 2 other dresses and finished one of them. So, on a sunny Sunday I just motivated myself to do the buttonholes and sew on the buttons.

There is a waistband which I did, but am not sure I always like the dress with that. We will see how I will wear it in the end.

I think this is a very cute add to my summer-work wardrobe and I cannot wait to start wearing it.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Beware of Ruffles

Since two years ruffles are everywhere. Like everywhere. It started with the statement sleeves, cold shoulders and ended up with ruffles on everything.
I must admit that I am not always a big fan of ruffles. It adds volume on places where it is mostly not necessary (cleavage) or is totally impractical (sleeves) of reminds me of little girls' dresses (skirt).

Nevertheless, the quantity of patterns with ruffles is such that thanks to buying Burda, I also own a few patterns with ruffles. And to be honest, I kind of liked this Burda 106-02/2017 from the beginning. I even traced it out last summer (as a top) but never got to making it.

This year, during my early spring inspiration crisis, I ordered this green flowery viscose, which I basically put in the basket with another order, just to save up on shipping costs. That's why I only ordered a meter (the shop does not allow ordering half meters). When the fabric arrived, it had actually a border print on it, not mentioned in the e-shop, which limited the sewing options even more. But then, I reminded myself of this pattern which actually existed also as a dress and was presented with a border pattern in Burda.

My inspiration crisis is faaar away now and I am in full motion, sewing through my wishlist, so I thought I could just whip up this little number in just a few days.

And that's what almost happened :o) I did a muslin, because you never know, did my usual alterations on the bodice/shoulders and also adjusted the ruffle. Then, I cut out everything from the viscose and actually, I had just enough fabric (taking into account the border print), not a centimeter more. I pondered for a while if I should add pockets, but anyhow I did not have enough fabric for that and I think it would deform the viscose.

The dress is really ultra-simple to sew once you understand how the ruffle is fixed on the dress. Just before sewing the side seams I checked again on the fit and was rather puzzled by the ruffle.
First, I had not realize that the wrong side of the fabric would be so visible, oh well, and then, there was something wrong about the proportions. After some time of looking at it, as well as the pictures in the magazine, I realized that the ruffle is actually too wide and too long for me. The pattern piece is the same for all sizes, so if you use the smallest one like me and shorten it in addition, it is quite obvious that it will not work. I chopped away 2cm from the ruffle and shortened is as well; sewed again the side seams and finished everything with a biais, instead of facings.

In the end, I like the result: the proportions are much better now, the dress can be worn without any belt and the border print adds some more visual interest. More importantly, I love the colour of this fabric and the little flowers and the viscose is really soft and very comfortable to wear. It is rue I can still see the wrong part of the ruffle but I will just try to ignore it.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

False-Wrap Dress

After a May pause due to the two weeks of vacation and the workload in the office which followed, I am quite happy I did not participate in Me-Made-May this year because I would certainly not have enough energy and time. Also, I could not come up with a challenging pledge because justwearing me-mades is something happening almost every day now.

Buuut, I am back! And on a dress-sewing wave. And also, I am managing to sew recently bought fabrics. Ok, I am not making a significant dent into my stash, but actually, I "had to" buy some fabric to relaunch my sewjo. And it worked, I am back on the sewing track and as said, sewing from the new fabrics. So at least I know that they were not misses and they will get worn soon.

I saw this fabric by chance when I was looking for one for a specific project and I thought it was cute and easily sewn into a work-wardrobe dress. Black-and-white combination is an alltime win, right? The fabric is actually a light poplin, slightly transparent (ok, only slightly), but that meant I needed a lining (nothing new under the sun, I was going to add lining anyhow).

When going through my stash, I found this Butterick 6204 which is not something extremely special, but I bought it because I saw a very cute dress made from it by one of my favourite bloggers (it was 2 years ago so I do not think I could find her post now). And after my multiple wrap dress tentatives, I figured maybe a false wrap would really work for me.

I had somehow forgotten that the skirt was quite large and for work dress, I tend to sew pencil or A-line ones. Also, high-low hem, nooooo, not my style. On the muslin, I tried to make the skirt narrower, but even after taking away like 10cm on each side, it was still almost a half-circle one.

For my dress I then decided to use a pencil skirt (taken away from another dress) and only keep the bodice. I used a rather stiff polyester lining (hopefully I will not die in it, but it was the only black lining I had at that time in my stash) which helps the bodice to keep its form.

The construction was really interesting. Usually, in most dresses, I would construct the dress itself, check on the fit (that's why I often sew the back zip first and side seams afterwards, to have the possibility to adjust the fit on the sides), that sew the lining, then sew both together and/or finish all the hems. For this dress you basically sew parts of the bodice in the fashion fabric AND the lining, attach them together, then add the skirt and the back zipper is sewn in as the last step. However, this means that you would see the zipper borders inside of the dress, not really my style. I tried to follow this way as much as possible while still insterting the zip inside between the fabric and the lining. I attached the lining of that little waistband basically by hand to make sure everything was hidden inside.

In the end, the dress is really pretty inside, and outside as well, of course :o) I find the fit perfect and the final touches perfect. So really proud of this little number.

Ok, not my best face :o) but I am still happy I am wearing this dress.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Africa Jersey

Now that I can sew jerseys, ha ha (and I know I can sew thick ones, but definitely will need some more training on the thin ones), I whipped up another sweat-shirt.

Actually, the red one was considered really a training/test model so I can sew a nice sweatshirt from this very cute fabric.

If you look closely, there are flowers, tigers, hearts and I-do-not-know-what-else - everybody seems to pick up on something else. However, the fabric is busy and cute and that's what counts.

I used another Burda pattern - 6046 because of the hoodie. I quickly checked the paper pattern against similar garments I own and then went for it. I only had a meter of this fabric and it was almost not enough. I did not line the hoodie, for one becase I did not have enough fabric, but also because the double layer would make it too thick and sturdy. The fabric is grey and very soft on the inside and I think it works like that as well.

I added the pockets, though, because I could not imagine a sweat without them, even though it is only to my hands in.

This was a very quick make, even too quick. I think I have cut out everything on one evening and sewed it up on the second one. I do not want to say it was almost a disappointment, but I actually like taking time with sewing and here I had a very nice piece ready in no time.

Oh well, canot have always everything. The weather has finally realized we are in April and the temperatures went up, so I am high on summer-dresses-sewing fever.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Vintage or too Amish?

I must say, I cannot make my mind on what I think of this dress. It is actually a Burda reproduction of its own vintage pattern (Burda 102-05/2010) and I must have bought it almost three years ago.

Actually I saw it on a different blog, liked the 60s style and did not hesitate much. Then it sit in my stash (worst thing, I have even printed it out, so I had a pack of office paper in my stash actually).
Then two years ago, I bough a simple shirting cotton, specially for this project.

This year, in some strange mid-period sewing crisis I decided it was high time I sewed it. Funny thing, I did not make any muslin, just did the standard adjustments I do on Burda patterns and it actually worked pretty well, ufff.

What I actually like on this dress are the few technical points:
- pintucks - how many times a year do you have the opportunity to sew pintucks?
- covered buttons - a LOT of them
- loops - see both points above
- right-angled yokes
And also, it is a really cute vintage dress. So, I just fell into that hole and made the dress.

The result is pretty good on the technical point of view. I am really happy with the regularity of my pintucks, I redid the yoke insertion twice, but in the end, it is perfect. The fabric creases a lot, but I managed to iron it properly. The fit is spot on. The buttons and loops a such a cute detail! The invisible zip on the side is really invisible and looks very neat even on the inside.

The fabric helped a lot, it was easy to iron and did not fray at all. I used French seams almost everywhere, and false French seam on the rest, so it is very clean on the inside.

So what is actually bothering me on this dress: well, my BF called it the "nun's dress" :o) and it is very vintag-y. It will get worn over some week-ends, hopefully, but it will definitely not become my every-day dress.

On the other hand, sewing cannot always be a practical hobby and this dress is a great example of a piece I had real fun sewing even if it is not the biggest wearing success.

Monday, 2 April 2018

2018 Resolutions

I have had this post in my drafts since the beginning of January, but forgot to post. Ii is always fun to read them once the ear is over, so here it is - better late than never.

So my sewing resolutions for 2018 are as follows:
  • Decrease my stash by 15% (16m) while still buying new fabrics - totally doable, as I managed this 2 years in a row already. The final aim is to get to some constant 70m of fabric (at this speed I will get there in 2-3 years) where I will be able to buy fabrics for new projects and not to shop in my stash all the time.
  • Sew more jackets - one is already done (not yet published) and another one planned. I am also dreaming of a Chanel-styled one, either in a blazer version, or the real one. At the end of the year I might also sew a new coat, finally.
  • Update this blog - I started it 4 years ago and took a simple layout. I think it seriously needs a visual update now.
  • Sew bottoms - shorts, trousers - I would need to do some serious fitting effort here, but since GAP just changed the cut of their khaki shorts, it might be worth having a good pattern rather than trying to fin new ones in the shops (and since my next vacation will be all safari and sand, I should start working on this one) PS: I already muslined one pattern, without much success, but I am determined to make it work.
  • Try sewing knits - I do not need to sew my activewear or t-shirts but I would like to try a dress in some heavier and stable knits, I have seen a few patterns lately which I really liked so maybe it is time I tried
And this is where my today's make fit perfectly :o) A few weeks ago I have bought two heavy jerseys determined to learn sewing with them. They are stretch, but quite stable so a good starting version.

My first jersey make is this Burda sweat-shirt - 111-02/2017. I liked the pattern since I bought the magazine so was rather determined to make it work. I appreciate the unusual cut and the pockets are very original.

It also forced me to discover the stretch programs of my sewing machine, especially the "overlock" one and it worked really magic. I interfaced the pocket openings, but apart from that, no further issue. I had done a muslin (fortunately) and shaved off at least 10cm from the width of the sweat.

All the hems were only turned inside and stitched which made the sweat a very quick make.

The sweat is extremely soft on the inside so very comfy to wear, so quite a nice first try on the jerseys.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

The Biggest Sewing Improvisation Ever

The title says it all and I almost lost my sewing mojo on that.

I do not improvise much when sewing: I choose properly my pattern, I do my muslin, tweak the fit and only then cut into the fashion fabric. I learned from my past mistakes and I like the final result to be perfect, or close to perfect, outside, as well as inside. I sometimes hesitate on certain steps because I want to be sure which technique is the best. I prefer taking time and do the things properly.

So now on this dress: my inspiration was this dress from Burda 05/2017 (great issue, used many times already), however, in plus sizes (is it me or plus size models are the best in Burda?) and of course with a shorter skirt.

I am very very far away from any plus size, my closest size is Burda's 18 - equivalent of 36 in petites, so I knew I could not use their pattern. I already tried this once, early on in my sewing career and even after 3 muslins, the result was just bad :o)

But having the Burda issue enabled me to check on the pattern and use one I already have to get to the wished result:
The skirt is easy peasy, basically only a rectangle, and the top can be drawn from some basic block. Contrary to Burda, I only used the darts and not further volume adding. I muslined the top and at that point of time it looked ok.
The reason I was so much drawn to this dress, is that I immediately knew which fabric I would use for it. I had a remnant from a fabric bundle bought in Malaysia which consisted of 2 different fabrics and a 3rd piece from chiffon which was basically a combination of them and even though it is a very fine poly chiffon, I really like the colours so I wanted to make something from it and this model was what fitted just right for my fabric.
And yes, I was extremely carefully with the pattern and basically, this was the only possiblity how to cut the pattern out.

And this is where my issues started. The fabric was totally transparent so I needed some interfacing/lining. For the bodice part, I used a little brown remnant of a fine cotton-silk, my secret weapon. I have used the same technique on my pyjama set and actually it transformed the chiffon to a "normal fabric", much easier to sew. On the other side, it stiffens it, so while it was perfect for the bodice, it would not work on the skirt. Under hesitation, I started working on the bodice, thinking I would figure out the solution later on :o))

At the same time, the outside temperature fell to real winter ones and sewing a summer dress felt just as a very bad idea. All this meant I almost did not touch it for a few days, while I had a lot of time for sewing, so quite a new situation for me. I tried to motivate myself with another project, thinking I would just let it marinate and took it up again when the weather was better, but I completely lost any motivation. Good news: I went fabric shopping in the meantime and it seemed to help, I now have too many new projects in my head.

During the week-end, I just decided, I needed to finish it and then move on. I managed to finish the bodice - in the end, I had to take in almost 3 cm everywhere on the sides (probably an error on the cutting, the fabric was just moving too much when manipulated).
Also, when cutting it up, I forgot to cut the back bodice in two to allow for the zip, so I decided to go for the side zipper, ha ha. Since the bodice was originally too large, I almost though it could work without the zip, but it would have been too large, so I did the necessary adjustments and went for a side closing.

Once the bodice was okay for me, came the problem of my skirt. I attached the fashion fabric skirt and confirmed that when you can see your bellybutton, it cannot work without a lining. At that point of time, I was going through my stash and accidentally found a little piece of khaki silk which would just fit the bill. I only had 50 cm of it, barely enough for a top, but just what I needed for this dress-skirt. I did not want to add too much bulk on the place where the skirt is attached to the bodice and as said, at this point of time, the bodice was already almost ready, so no way I would redo it again. I attached the lining on the machine, and did the final covering touches by hand, so that there are no raw seams visible.

Installing the zip was actually the last step so the zip area could not be finished as nicely as I would have liked, but I can live with that.
In the end, I am quite happy, I pushed through and I finished it. It is a cute little summer dress, and the inside is satisfactory in the end. ALso, I did not create another UFO, so I can continue with other projects without being haunted by my UFO bin.