Sunday, 28 December 2014

Black Flower Silk Dress

Or my most expensive dress so far.
I was eyeing this pattern since this spring, which I saw for the first time at Marie in the cave. I really liked the strict image of the dress and the large skirt. However, I ventured to do a few modifications.
Apart from the usual fitting issues, shortening the bust and straightening the shoulder area, I also shortened the sleeves and changed completely the skirt (as Marie did). The original pattern wanted a straight skirt, which is not particularly my favourite. I changed it to my usual semi-circle one.

I was hesitating to sew this dress for a long time since I wanted to have it with the perfect fabric. Finally I found the right fabric – black crepe de chine with little flowers, but for a full price. I have bought 3 meters of fabric and fortunately I did so. The fabric seems quite fine and semi-transparent. In the end, I doubled the skirt with the fashion fabric and lined the body with black cotton-silk.
It was kind of interesting and changed from my usual sewing habits to sew the standing collar, as well as the button strip.  I am getting used to sewing with silk so the slippery fabric is no longer a surprise for me, I would even say that I am having a certain pleasure with this challenge. A nice final (or more first) touch was sewing the pintucks, even though they are not very visible on the dress.

I have made a big mistake when attaching the front body parts and made the man opening instead of the female one. Oh well…. It happened.

Inspiration: Marie in the cave
Pattern: Burda 109-01/2010
Pattern changes: waist adjustment, shortening body part, semi-circle skirt
Technique: pintucks, stand collar
Fabric: black flower silk + black cotton-silk as lining
Time to Complete: 2 weeks
Total Cost: 80 EUR

First Worn: November 2014

Sunday, 14 December 2014

When I am not sewing…

The last few weeks were pretty busy. First, I have changed jobs and getting in my new team and my new responsibilities means that I do not always have time or energy to continue the sewing rhythm.

Moreover, my week-ends were spent on the X-mas cookies baking. It was always a tradition in my family to bake all the cookies by ourselves, first because the bought ones are never good enough and second because living abroad limits my possibilities of buying them.
Last year the efforts of baking the cookies were split or shared between my sister and myself. This year I ended up being the only one to bake them. 

So let’s have a look at them:
Vanilla croissants:

Cookies glued with red-currant jam:

Hazelnut flowers: this is where I realised that the quality controller was consuming too many samples

Anis triangles (before being cut into triangles :o):

Small cakes (nut-rhum filling and chocolate glazing):

And a flop of the year: these cookies should have been dark, but the colour did not disperse in the cookies and they took too much volume so I cannot glue them together...

Now I only need to find some time to sew my X-mas dress and I am ready for the vacation.

Apple-seed dress

I have bought this gorgeous fabric during our vacation in the US. Having spent a few days in NY, I have seen Mood Fabric but was kind of overwhelmed by the choice of fabric and the size of the shop. In the end, I have decided to go to a shop outside of NYC on our way back to New York. The problem was that we left Washington, DC in the morning and we got blocked in the traffic jam close to Philadelphia and we arrived to the New Jersey fabric shop just twenty minutes before the closing time.

So I had to be very quick… moreover, the shop did not indicate the fabric type and I wanted to avoid any poly, so I oriented myself mostly to cottons. In the speed, I got little bit puzzled and did not pay much attention to the width of fabrics (most in 110 cm..) and I ended up buying little too less of some fabrics. Anyhow, I was sooo happy to find this apple-seed quilting cotton in just the perfect colours: black with yellow-brown apple seeds, black but not so black.

I have chosen a NewLook 6145, the basic model, I have just added the Claudine collar which in the end is not so visible, but at least my collar is somehow finished. The idea was to try NewLook patterns to check the fit. So far, I would say, Butterick is by far in the lead.
The dress is (as usual) completely lined, with a little lace to finish the bottom hem.

I think I would wish the dress to be more adjusted in the waist but in the end, I am quite happy with it as such.

Its premiere was on my BF’s birthday, end of September, which means that the dress remain finished and unblogged for the whole three months!

Inspiration: fabric
Pattern: NewLook 6145
Pattern changes: waist adjustment, shortening body part
Fabric: apple seed black cotton + black rayon as lining
Time to Complete: 1 week
Total Cost: 46 EUR
First Worn: September 2014

Friday, 25 July 2014

Some Practical Sewing: Black Wool Skirt

As mentioned on my Me-Made-May article, I am missing some basics, so I wanted to remedy this gap.
 A two-evening black skirt.

Black wool, Burda 120-02/2014 and two evenings and my black skirt was done. (I could have finished on the first evening but was quite tired from the preceding week-end). As I already knew the pattern, sewing it was quick and smooth. No adjusting needed. 

I even insterted lace border, for the pleasure of having it.

Inspiration: none
Pattern: Burda 120-02/2014
Pattern changes: none
Fabric: black wool + black rayon as lining
Notions: none
Time to Complete: 2 days
Total Cost: 13 EUR
First Worn: July 2014

Vacation Sewing Progress: Black Top

I had a rest of cotton-silk black muslin crying at me from my stash. I had used it as a dress lining but with mitigated results, it is very smooth against the skin, but does not have a great drape. However, I thought I would use the muslin for a summer top. In order to get rid of the transparency, I double-layered the fabric and must admit that the silk gives it a very nice glance.

I used a Simplicity 51-02/2014 which was quite simple and quick to sew. No big adjustments, the neckline is gathered together with an elastic band and covered by the fabric. I used French seams everywhere, as even on the double layer, it does not bulk.

Strangely, I considered this fabric slippery when sewing the simple layer as a lining, doubled it was obeying like a simple cotton.

The top was ready in one afternoon, so I could wear it the other day. And it feels so nice on. In the meantime, I managed to buy some more of this fabric, in dark blue and dark brown.

Inspiration: use the remaining fabric
Pattern: Simplicity 51-02/2014
Pattern changes: sleeves are not gathered, top narrowed by 3 cm
Fabric: black cotton-silk
Notions: gathering
Time to Complete: 1 afternoon
Total Cost: 11 EUR

First Worn: June 2014

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Grey Linen Shorts

The objectives were clearly set, so I whipped up a linen shorts in about 2 days. I cut it out during the week-end when my BF was having his afternoon nap, sewed up really quickly during Sunday evening, ordered the buttons on Monday, received them on Tuesday and finished the buttonholes the same day. 
This was the first time working with linen and I must say I will buy some more soon as it was a real pleasure to work with. Ironing went smoothly, sewing went smoothly, it was just fraying a lot. I was also afraid that the seams would not be pleasant on the skin so I decided to treat them with bias. You can also see my new etiquettes: 

I reused the Ruby shorts from Burda which I had already tried and adjusted, so no further fitting issues, yeah! :o) This time, I omitted the front welted pocket but made 2 pouch pockets with buttons on the back. Also, I put the buttons only on the right side, because even on my Vichy short I never open the right side. 

I really enjoyed topstitching the waistband and the hem and feel very satisfied with the result. Perhaps it is not such a bad idea to see the stitches on the outside from time to time. 

My aim was to create a pair of very neutral shorts to be able to wear it with all the colored tops.

I really like the idea of making the muslin, adjusting the pattern to my body (which in the end distinguishes my creations from the RTW), but when a project takes time, either because I do not always have a lot of time for sewing or because Iose motivation to finish it, it might become frustrating.
A quick project with a known pattern helps me to remotivate for a more complicated things to come.

Inspiration: previous success with the Ruby Burda pattern
Pattern: Ruby
Pattern changes: changes in the pockets, added 2 buttons
Fabric: grey linen
Notions: buttonholes/buttons
Time to Complete: 2 days
Total Cost: 21 EUR
First Worn: not yet

Red-Flower Silk Dress

I came across this fabric by chance when I was looking for a colourful silk to wear with my new hat. I took it just because I liked the colour and the pattern thinking I would just make a nice silk top. Later on, at home, the decision changed and I coupled it with the retro Butterick 6018.
I bought 3m of the fabric, but with the width of only 115cm and 2 white lines across the fabric, cutting suddenly required a university degree.
Originally, I thought I would self line the dress and maybe… had a little sorbetto as well. In the end, I was happy I cut out the dress, dot. Fortunately, I have made a muslin and shortened the dress by at least 15cm which saved me precious centimeters of the fabric. I knew I would not be able to match the flowers, but wanted to make sure I matched the yellow parts of the fabric and that these parts flow in the same direction on the dress.

As usual, a few adjustments were needed: I shortened the bodice, deepened the armcycles, matched the bodice to the skirt (the dress sketch shows no seam in the front skirt, but the pattern has it and I wanted to stick to the sketch. In the end, I took in a few cm on the waist and a few inches on the skirt length.

The bodice lining is in black silk-cotton completely fixed to the fashion fabric by hand. 

When sewing the bodice, I mismatched the right and left side and therefore left the right part open for the zip, bizarrely, I made the same mistake on the lining. That’s why the zip is on the right side instead of the left one.

The neckline was far from being easy: first of all its form is quite unusual, so keeping to it was necessary, I did not put any interfacing and the black lining was somehow coming out. I ended up topstitching the whole neckline to make sure the fabric stays in place.

The cover buttons are just a nice final touch and were soo easy to make. 

What I really love about this dress is the perfect fit. The dress is adjusted but easy to move in, despite the sleeves and everything. It is a true retro, with its rounded neckline, the buttons and the large skirt. I am really surprised how well this fits me, and just want to put on a small hat and gloves :o)
And then the fabric has a great drape, is so fine, and has this shiny part.


Inspiration: I wanted a retro dress
Pattern: Butterick 6018
Pattern changes: 3cm on the bodice length, 15cm on the skirt, no front skirt seam, deeper armcycles
Fabric: red flower silk
Notions: cover buttons
Time to Complete: 1 week
Total Cost: 39 EUR
First Worn: photo shoots

Monday, 7 July 2014

Summer plans

I am leaving on vacation in exactly one month and am realizing I still have too many summer sewing plans to do. Please note I will not spend my vacation at home and will be far away from any sewing machine.

On my four-weeks agenda I have:
1. Finish my Butterick 6018

2. Another pair of shorts from grey linen

3. Sew a few tops

4. Black-orange dress I am planning since.. April, probably (I have the fabric and the pattern reserved for this in my stock)

5. English embroidery white dress… it would just be a dream if I found the time to do it.. I fished out the fabric during the sales in my fabric market in a battle. Not only the initial price was quiet low, but it was 50% off. Then I went to the shops and found out English embroidery is actually in this year.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Wedding-guest dress - not a success

After muslining this dress for some time, I finally took the courage to cut it in the fashion fabric. I had bought dark-blue silk crepe (or crepe de Chine) which has a great drape, is not too slippery and, above all, is not too shiny. Even like that, the pattern copying and cutting was not the easiest task I have done so far. I had to draw everything on the fabric immediately and ended up having the chalk everywhere. The cat was not allowed to assist as she fell in love with the fabric and I was too afraid she would damage it, not talking about creasing. I used a 1.5m coupon which was just right, for the first time I do not have too much rests (which I would not mind for the silk :o)
Here is me cutting the fabric, as I do not have a proper sewing space, I am just working on the floor in the living room.
 Originally, I bought a dark blue silk-cotton voile for the lining, but after having tried it on another dress I was worried it would add the weight to this one. So on the last minute, I have chosen the Bemberg lining from my stash. I used French seams on the fabric and normal overlocked seams on the lining.

The invisible zipper was surprisingly easy to sew in, or I might be getting used to it. The difficulty was the décolleté: once I have sewn together the fabric (including the rest of the organza strip) and the lining, it was almost impossible to iron it flat. The fine fabrics were just resisting the stiff organza. I had cut another organza strip and sewn in between both of them which helped a little bit. Strangely I did not have this problem with the dress on, but seeing it in the hanger was enough to get crazy about it.
I did all the finishes in hand:
Sleeve hem
Small attachments between the fabric and the lining (on each armpit, as well as on the waist and the hem)
Bottom hem where I attached the fabric to the lining directly
Protection of the zipper end
Attachments for the bra straps 

 I admit that it was the first time working with silk and I did the big mistake of choosing a pattern far away from my size. Even the adjusting was rather tricky.

All in all, I ended up not liking the dress, for the following reasons:
-       It seems to be still little large on the cleavage
-       The organza strips are not even, not the same length and not matching on the back (I cheated and adjusted them little bit, but still…)

-       The ending of the V is puckering out

-       The lining is not attached properly, which is causing further problems

That is where I realized I would not be wearing this dress for the marriage and decided to sew another blue-guest-dress.