Sunday, 24 September 2017

Ikat Dress

With an increase of my stash, I vowed to sew mainly my recent purchases - I brought many meters from Thailand and Laos, and for once, I have restrained myself to buying fabrics which I would easily wear - read darker colours and any combination with black. From my past experience it is just so easy to buy colourful fabrics on vacation because that is what you see everywhere and all the time. So this time, anytime I was buying a piece of fabric I tried to imagine what I would sew from it and and where I would wear it.

Therefore I bought two pieces of ikat cotton (probably woven manually) - one in black and one in dark green. I have barely 1 meter of each, fortunately they are quite large. So I had the great idea to sew a little dress I could wear just before the weather gets really autumny and cold.

Of course, not thinking that a large ikat would probably mean pattern matching.

I used the same combination of patterns as on this dress. Actually, it is one of my big summer favourites, so creating a similar one for a different season just seemed like a good idea. I managed to cut the skirt with the same pattern and then only had very little for the top pieces. So the skirt is ok-ish, but the front and back of the top are not quite the same. Oh well, I will have to live with that, because it was either that or not sewing the dress at all.

I hesitated little bit what colour to keep around the waist and in the end went with black - that means no need for pattern matching between the skirt and the top and also - better have the slimming black where I need it.


The dress came together rather quickly - I cut it out on Friday evening and finished on Saturday evening and that includes a little correction on the fit in the waist area (once the dress was almost ready, I released the back darts by 1cm each).
The pattern is very simple, no sleeves insertion, only the invisible zip on the back. The dress is of course lined with a fine black silk - once you get used to this luxury it is hard not to continue.

All in all, it is a great basic dress, goes with black, as well as grey. And it got already worn - shall I wish for more?

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Pre-Vacation Madness

Soooo, I had new trousers ready for my vacation (and still 5 days to go). The problem was that when going through my stash I dag out also this fabric which was only "screaming vacation in Asia" (and yes, it comes from the same fabric haul in Indonesia). Is is bright orange-green-gold cotton, again a fabric I will probably not wear to the office.

But I could not leave for Thailand without sewing something from it.

Knowing that I only had a few evenings ahead of me and also all packing to do, I opted for a simple dress which should ressemble Burda 125 from 05/2015: empire top and a large skirt so I could wear it and not be too hot.

I quickly muslined the top, decided that a larger one would definitely be better. For the skirt I just cut a rectangle from the remaining fabric and pinned the pleats on myself.


Two days later I had a cute little dress. Do not get me wrong, I totally love complicated sewing projects but this little piece was marvelous - I was never too hot in it and the skirt is quite long so I was not afraid of showing anything whatsoever if a little wind came around. When checking the pictures I might get back to it and shorten the skirt little bit. Or not.... we will see.


If you count correctly, you must have realized I still had some 3 days before leaving on vacation... :o) and you might figure out what happened next. Yes, I got to sewing again!!!!! I know, totally panicked and stressed out before and I needed to occupy my mind with something.

So here we go: another pair of pants, the same pattern as always, orange as always. Because a girl needs to have some choice. This pair served mainly as my airplane pants. I still hesitate if it looks too much as pyjama pants here, but I did not care, I like them and they were perfect for the travel.

And yes, this is the end of the story. I sewed 3 garments in like a week - the proof that you can, if you really want. And I will have to because I brought several meters (29 to be exact) of silks and wools from Thailand - such great choice and such great prices I just could not resist. So off to work....

PS: after getting back home, I used the remnant of the last pair of pants to whip up a pair of shorts to extend my collection of homewear. Nothing special to write about, I used my more than true-and-tested pattern.


Saturday, 2 September 2017

Summer Trousers with Dragons

No, I did not get mad and yes, I did wear them outside of my bedroom.

It all started the last week-end before my yearly vacation. I had decided not to stress out and not to start any sewing project (big or small) before leaving on vacation because, coming back to it after 3 weeks means that I forget everything and also, it is easy to start a summer project beginning of August which you just have totally no interest in finishing beginning September when the weather gets colder again.

So I just sewed a little Kobo reader pocket. And started reading my tourist guide. That's where I realized that I had no trousers to wear on the flights (a few of them planned during the 3 weeks' vacation) or to the buddhist temples. I panicked and had to sew one.

Fortunately, I found this fabric in my stash. It comes from my trip to Indonesia two years ago where I bought many batiks or batik-similar stuff in full colours, the type of fabric I can only use for home-wear of pyjamas, as there is absolutely no place else I could wear this on a regular basis in my ordinary life. Except for - a vacation in Asia, there you go!!!!

The fabric was sold as cotton, but after sewing it, I am pretty sure there is some viscose content as well. Never mind, that is fine for what I intended to sew with it.

I used the only real trousers pattern I took time to adjust to my butt - already sewn here as pyjama trousers and it worked perfectly. Just what I needed - lightly large trousers with pockets. This time, I put large elastic in the back, secured it on the sides and in the back center seam and kept the lacing only for the front. There is a little bit of volume in the trousers and I find that on the previous model they fell off easily and the fabric does not distribute evenly between the sides and between the back and the front. The fixed elastic solved quite some of these problems.

For a little moment I was considering pattern matching but I definitely did not have enough fabric to use so not such a thing could happen :o) Also, the fabric had a very specific orange border which I almost managed to avoid (and used for pockets inside), there is only a little piece of it visible on the inseam - the the density of the orange dragons is bigger than elsewhere. Again, I think I can totally live with that.

I must say that I was really happy with these trousers and wore them on our Mekong cruise as I was slightly afraid of mosquitos and sunburn. And they will work well as home trousers as well.



Sunday, 23 July 2017

Big Quilting Project

I am not gone for vacation, but I started an enormous project beginning of July which only got finished this week-end.
A few month ago I decided to make a large bed patchwork cover, I spent my spring finding the right supplies and bought some missing black fabric during my last fabric shopping. I have sewed enough summer clothes to have something to wear to the office. All stars have been aligned so I could start the patchwork.

I decided to do a simple post-stamp patchwork and for the other side, as I had different pieces of black fabric, I added some colour pieces as well. The size is 216*170cm.
Cutting out this part was quick and easy.

Then I spent a week cutting some 1770 little squares (there is a whole shoebox of them)

Then I spent another week assembling all of the little pieces together.

And yet another week quilting the whole thing.
Honestly, I did not imagine it would take so much time: according to my count, I spent 38 hours on this project; that is an equivalent of 3 line dresses.

The great thing of this project is the fact that it used up a lot of fabric. Like really A LOT. Over 8m, according to my excel. I not only used the whole of black cotton, but some batiks bought in Indonesia two years ago which I loved but could not possibly imagine a piece of clothing made from them.
Also, you know when you have like 30-40 cm of fabric left from a project which obviously cannot be turned into even the smallest top but you just do not have the heart to throw it away.
All this went into the patchwork, yay !!!! The downside is that as of now, I will never ever throw away a piece of cotton which could possibly go into any future patchwork :o)
And yes, it is official, my living room is not big enough!

But back to the bed cover: once everything was assembled, I only quilted in vertical stripes to attach all three layers and then sewed the hem. I was quite overhelmed by the size of the thing because let's be honest, I only sew for myself, and all my clothes are rather small so manipulating 2m of fabric around my sewing machine was a challenge for me.

At first I only wanted to fill half of the stripes, but when I saw the result, I decided all of them need to be quilted which was a good one but meant I had to spend almost one more week-end finishing the quilting.


Being a total beginner, I tried to vary the patterns as much as possible, some being rather easy, or close to the border so much easier to manipulate the fabric and do the pattern, some were just long and complicated. Again: I am not used to such amounts of fabric around me and I only have a standard sewing machine, no walking foot or any other quilting perks.

Final verdict: I am extremely happy I finished it and very satisfied with the result. The cover fills perfectly its role (now I only need to sew a cushion cover to go with it :o), I really like the colour combination and I learned a lot about quilting and patchworks.

Here you can see how my guest/piano room looks like right now.

And one last - as with every thingI sew, my BF asked me to put it on so he can take photos of it :o)

Monday, 3 July 2017

Back to Basics Again

It was really fun sewing the jumpsuits, but let's be honest, they will only be worn on vacation and very hot week-ends, while I have an office job and desperately need some basics.
Last year, I had a flowery period and sewed a bunch of coloured dresses which are nice but again, not what I would be wearing every day to work. Our office is quite open-minded and you can see pretty much everything from suits to sneakers, but I like to keep things simple. To be honest, what I do wear most are dresses from black fabric with some motive or simple uni ones.

So on this year's wishlist a few models of interesting cuts which are best seen on one-coloured fabrics. And here is the last one, so far.

I cannot believe that I bought this fabric this year and it got sewn in like - two months. It is an incredibly soft cotton-silk which is probably suitable to much finer or drapier garments. Nevertheless, I liked the colour and could not resist the softness so I decided to sew a simple dress from it.

This is a pattern from an old Burda - 126 from May 2013, which is a number I have already sewn a few things from. Sometimes the magic just works with Burda! Actually, I have already sewn this particular dress as well - in some white broderie anglaise.

In order to get some body for my dress I interfaced it with silk organza and lined with some dark green silk - a woman needs some luxury in life. I think it worked rather well, or more precisely, without the organza, the dress would end up a fiasco.


It was a rather quick make, even though the armscyes are sewn by hand, there is an invisible zip and for most little finishing touches I always prefer to do it by hand.
I am quite hesitating whether or not try to shop for some black lace to decorate the waist or whether keep it as it and accessorize, if needed.

Yes, I know, it is a simple dress, but it will work very well for work, meaning, it will get worn and this is what counts.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Kay Unger Never Disappoints

I must admit, I just love Kay Unger's offer on Vogue patterns. I do not know this designer outside of Vogue world, but anytime I am looking for a nice somehow interesting fitted dress, I always end up choosing one of her models. In the past I bought a few of them but they are still waiting for the "right occasion".... hmmm... It is also true that sometimes I am little bit intimidated by them - which was typically the case by this pattern - V1432 - I totally loved the look, I wanted to sew it as a summer dress in linen, but I thought it would take too much time, concentration etc so that many other projects got ahead of it.

However, in my summer-dress-sewing-phase this year, I dag the pattern again (knowing I already had the fabric and everything) and I went for it. My sewing tactics of preparing the muslin and cutting out everything during the week evenings and really sewing during the week-end worked magic again. I started sewing early on Saturday and by Sunday evening the dress was finished - in the end it felt even too quick.
Of course, I did sew a muslin - the pattern is just too complicated in the bust area where I usually make most of my adjustments, and I was right. I think that I had to take 5-6 cm from the shoulders, however, almost no modification on the bottom of the dress.


I used this beautiful dark-blue linen which was really great, it pressed amazingly well and obeyed perfectly. Of course, the upper part of the dress is completely interfaced (very light interfacing, but totally necessary, knowing that linen stretched too easily and all the pieces were cut either on bias or on curves).
Also, I took time to stay-stitch all the seams, which took ages but I thing it was definitely worth it.

And once the upper part was ready, the rest of the dress was a piece of cake and went together pretty quickly.

The morality of the story: do not get intimidated by what seems like long projects, the result is totally worth it and I loooove this dress. It is just the perfect summer work dress: simple, unicolour, but somehow very interesting.


Sunday, 18 June 2017

Orange is the New Black

I am very proud of myself as for once I am sewing the things from my wishlist. I think this dress was on that list for like two years, maybe even more, as I own the Burda with this model since I started sewing 3 years ago.

It is a simple shift dress with interesting inserts (therefore a simple one-colour fabric) and little decoration just for the fun. I really love how these cute details completely change the dress, while keeping it simple still. The model is n° 117 from June 2013. People might not like Burda, but honestly, there are real jewels in this magazine.

All the fitting is done thanks to the inserts, so the fitting changes can be a challenge. Fortunately, my Burda adaptations are always more focused on the shoulder area, and on the general lengths of the dress, which was totally doable.

I used some dark orange linen bought last year during sales period. I only had about a meter but that was all what was needed. I was hesitating about the lining. Black would be the obvious option, but then I discovered this flowery silk lining in my stash which fits perfectly with the orange and that was it. There was no way I would add black lining once I saw the colour combination. And it is my little secret in this dress.

Sewing with linen, I was very careful when ironing and stabilized properly all curves, I have now learned my lessons :o) Also many seams were catch-stitched, just in case.

As for the decorative top-stitching, I had originally bought dark brown embroidery floss, but in the end, I went back to pick up something clearer. And I do not regret.

To be honest, the end result is much better than what I have expected, the fit is OK, the colour nice and the little top-stitching is just what had to be added.