Saturday, 13 October 2018

My First Shirt Dress

This is one of the great exemples of why I am sewing and wear what I sew: in my whole life I have found one, maybe two RTW shirts which were actually my size, i.e. fitting in the shoulder area, with breast space around my breast and waist line on my waist. My biggest fitting issue are always too large shoulders (and believe me, I do NOT have extremely narrow shoulders, I am just small in general) and a short torso, mainly between shoulders and breasts.

So having a shirt dress was just a wish, I could not even dream of becoming reality :o)

Throw in Butterick 6333, some fabric and some of my time and here we go, I have a perfectly fitting shirt dress which I love! I have bought this pattern some time ago already, but somehow did not get to sewing it, what a pity...

 Of all the shirt dress patterns, I chose this one because of the princess seams (aka easy fitting) and the fact that it is supposed to come in petite sizes as well.

Well, that one was a disappointment. There are actually no special petite adjustments on the pattern, apart from the skirt length. It is even missing the usual "shorten/lengthen here" lines. Therefore I did my usual adjustments on the length and everything worked ok.

I used a remnant of some stripy wool blend and I had just enough of the fabric to cut this dress, while being careful on stripe "matching". I even cut out the cuffs, but did not use them in the end, I prefer the look of the simple sleeves.

The wool is not so soft on the inside and I was afraid it was not stiff enough, so I interfaced it with a black coton-silk voile which worked magic, as usual; thisis really my secret weapon. It has added just the right amount of body for the skirt. The insides are probably not so perfect as I am used to, actually, I did not want to put in a lining (not sure if it is something to do with a shirtdress) and I was not quite sure on the seam finishing, knowing that there were 2 layers of fabric.

The dress has pockets which is always a nice feature and has this serious/cute vibe.

Seriously, I cannot understand why I have not sewn it earlier, I was probably scared by the shirt/collar thing, maybe the number of buttonholes. Whatever. When checking the pics, I am just thinking I need another one!

Friday, 5 October 2018

Yet Another Nettie

Ok, so not only I am late to this party but also I am totally in love with this pattern. And I totally do not care that I have just created a complete copy of my black Nettie dress. Honestly, this is just such a great pattern in its simplicity and rapidity of sewing. I am just amazed how such a basic dress fits so perfectly to my wardrobe. It works with everything and you can just accessorize it, as necessary. And yes, my favourite season (autumn) has just started with all the scarves, hats, coats etc.

So I wanted to create my 2nd Nettie in this lila ponte. I originally bought it for my sister and sewed this skirt from it and when ordering I added one meter for myself. Once I have tested the black Nettie dress, I was pretty sure that I would make another one.

For this version I undid the modifications on the first one, meaning I came back to the original pattern and actually it fits just right no, so a big win! The ponte is stretchy but quite stable, so I can feel the fit issues of the black one when I put it on.

Well, I do not think I have much to add now: the colour is amazing, the fit is great and I just love the result!!!

Just wondering how many Netties I can have in my wardrobe before anyone remarks I am constantly wearing the same dress ?

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Outfit Thinking

I am not always best at thinking in terms of outfits. My decisions on what to sew come basically from "oooh, what a nice fabric, I need a dress from it" or "what a cool pattern, and I have a fabric which would work with it". Only rarely do I say "oh, I would need a brown skirt to go with this sweater".

And I know that it has become really popular over the blogosphere to create and think in terms of capsule wardrobes. Not my style.... the reason I am sewing is to wear things I like, even though they do not much others in my wardrobe. And yes, it is not always easy to pack a suitcase for a few days vacation. But I also sew a lot of basics which helps in the end to bridge the gaps.

But, from time to time, I just pick an outfit and I try to reproduce it entirely, even if it means sewing all of the pieces. And this was exactly this case - sometime in summer last year, I have seen a cute combination of shorts and jacket sewn in seersucker which I loved. However, seersucker is always sold in some light colours, not quite something for a complete outfit for me. But I realized that I could just recreate it with my linen-coton jacket sewn last year as well. I still had some remnants from this fabric (such a lovely colour) and shorts seem like a great idea.

I used Burda 05-06/2018 so as to justify this year's purchases. I did a few adjustments - made it narrower and shortened it as I do not like high-waisted shorts. The sewing was rather smooth, I hong-kong-bound all the visible seams because the fabric frays quite a lot. The pocket is created as a sort of facing which helps the stability as well.


All in all a cute pair of shorts.

I tried it on with the jacket and realized that the jacket is just waaaaay to large for a summer frock. I almost knew that already when I was sewing it (I made it in a sewing class) but the instructor kept telling me the size was ok. I have probably lost a few pounds this year, so it became really big.
At that point of time I did not have a better idea than deconstruct the sleeveheads, take away a few centimeters and reconstruct the jacket again. I also narrowed the sleeves.

If I am honest with myself, I would take away something also on the hip area, but I will just say it is fine and live with it.

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Nettie Dress

Sooo... my sister is a big Argentinian tango fan. She takes lessons, goes to milongas, she even lives with a tango professor. So when I asked her what I could sew for her, her answer was not some normal dresses, jeans or whatever, but her tango outfits. “And you can use any scraps for that, do not worry,” she added.

Hmmm, that was not an easy one. The thing is that after a little pinteresting and discussing on what a real tango outfit is, I realized that I do not have many stretch or jersey fabrics at home and that basically I have never sewed with really stretchy jersey. But little internet research and I figured out that it was workable with my sewing machine if I have the right fabrics and a few jersey-special tools.

We ordered a bunch of jerseys during the July sales period which arrived quite in advance, so I thought I would just test sewing with it beforehand. I have actually ordered little more fabric, saying that I could definitely use it for something for me. I then pulled out some black jersey ponte di Roma (viscose/poly/lycra) for testing.

In the end, I had actually the same issue with patterns, till I found the Nettie dress pattern. Not sure if I am ready for the bodysuit, but the Nettie dress is actually a great bsic block for jersey dresses. Once the fit is done on the dress, you can reuse it for a top, or a skirt, or another, more interesting dress. Also, if I fit it to myself, there is a high probability the fitting to my sister will not take much time.

And again, I was so surprised by the speed of sewing a jersey garment. I was really happy, I did not use a Burda pattern, and the instructions were really, really helpful! I was worried I would stretch the neckline or something else, but in the end, it all worked perfectly.

The only thing I need to change for the next Nettie is a shoulder adjustment (shortening) which I should not do. The dress is slightly shorter in the armscye area and tends to stretch under the arms. I will lengthen it to the original size again.

The final dress is quite different from what I am used to but I like it a lot. Simple and secret pyjama, so will definitely get worn. And I am even planning on sewing another one. Or another jersey dress….

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Tango outfits - vol 3

And the last article, at least for this batch of tango outfits. Basically, I made the tops to use little scraps and my sister wanted tops to have more colour combinations, so there we go. All the tops are very simple, I used a tube pattern (based on Nettie dress) for all of them and then did a few variants.

All tops are from jersey, the only support is an elastic on the upper border to keep things in places.

Soooo, we have a simple tube:

A tube with little ruching in the middle:

A top with additional ruched piece over the breasts, to add volume ;o) :

I also did one with one with more fabric around, but we forgot to take picture of that one, as it was the last one, made really at a last minute.

At some point of time, I was rather fed up with all the tube tops and I wanted to try something else, so I chose Burda 105-07/2015 top of the dress, adjusted it little bit to the stretchy cotton I had bought mainly for myself and whipped up this little cutie.



I must admit, that I was happy when the top sewing was over, there is this instant gratification of quick sewing and using up scraps, but I definitely prefer taking more time making my garments.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Tango outfits - vol 2

When I was sewing the tango outfits for my dear sister H, I knew I would not have much time and I wanted to use the 2-3 days we had together to a maximum. So the strategy was pretty simple - fit a dress pattern (Nettie dress) and use it as a basic for all other variations. In order to speed up the fitting process, I sewed a Nettie dress from black ponte (the same material as all the colorful ones) and fitted to myself (and kept it, hehehehe, but more on that later). I would then very quickly see all the adjustments needed for my sister (almost none, as it is a very forgiving jersey pattern and we are very close in size) and sew a dress for her.

Once this is OK, then I can do everything from dresses, to tops and skirts. H was not very keen on starting with a dress, as she prefers separates, however, I was the one sewing, so I started sewing a dress anyhow - the first one was this blue flowery one.

Funnily enough, when we got to skirts, she suddenly did not want only a simple jersey tube skirt, but something "special". I found Burda 110-05/2013 quite a funny pattern, I was just worried about the weight of the ponte.

My sister could not imagine it at all. I must admit that the pattern was presented in a Burda "tropical collection" and we all know how Burda can be inventive, so that was just too much for her. In the end, we tried anyhow, since we had an almost the same yellow fabric for this. Although I did not double the pieces, as advised by Burda for some sheer fabric they were using and then took A LOT of time to try to understand how the skirt was constructed. Fortunately, this was one of the rare Burda patterns explained with images and schemas and not only words. It was kind of a puzzle, but I liked the challenge. And definitely a kind of pattern I do not usually sew for myself.

The only thing I would somehow change is the back which is a simple elastic, so if I wanted it to be perfect, it would need some darts, which I am not used to in jersey clothes.

And the result is just... amazing. We just love it! The only regret I have is that it does not make much sense to make another one in a different colour because it is such a special pattern.

As for the second skirt, this is a mix up of the Nettie dress and Burda 120-05/2013, the same I did for this dress. Again, the waist is a simple large elastic, but since my sister is quite slim, it works quite well as well.

Last, but not least, the tube tops. These are based on the Nettie dress as well, and they were a great way to use up all the scraps.

Do you have a piece of jersey, let's do a tube top. I stabilized the top of the top with an elastic, and there is not much to do with it anymore.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Tango Dresses

So after five years my sister came to visit me. And she had a sewing wish - get some new tango dancing clothes. I thought, hmmm, what an interesting challenge, let's try that.

We started with sharing some ideas and researching on Pinterest at least to agree on some basic principles. It has soon become clear that my sister wanted comfy, body-hugging clothes, therefore knits. As I do not have a stock f knits at home, we did some research and fortunately found a few nice stable knits at bennytex.fr. I placed the order and two days later a huge bag of fabric arrived. Of course, I took the opportunity to get some knits for myself as well, which will hopefully get sewn later this year (hopefully, because my stash is just increasing this year, so I should make some more effort on that).

I bought some ponte di roma, which had little strecth but is very soft and had the most incredible colours, then some more cotton stretch.

In addition, my sister chose some kind of blue flowery polyester, which was really different from all the others but suits her very well and it will be very comfy for dancing as well.

As for patterns, I used Nettie dress from Closet case patterns as a basis and it worked really magic and then some Burda ones. So that you know, the few next blogposts will be about the new tango wardrobe.

Let's start with this blue flower dress. As already said, the fabric is not my favourite, but the end result is very cute and looks great on my sister, so a big win. I used the Nettie dress with the very deep backline and a deep neckline. Apart from that, I kept it simple and I just love this dress.


The second dress is a mix of the Nettie dress pattern and Burda 120/05-2013 for the shirring in the back. This time I omitted the sleeves and used some blue ponte di roma.


The dress is also very cute. My sister was originally worried about the shirring, but I convinced her to try it and see and when she saw the final dress, she liked it as well.