Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Sewcation - a dream come true

What do you do when you are ready for X-mas, you still have a few days off to take and the world is turning crazy again: you have a sewcation. All bragging aside, I have 4 full days in front of me and only real thing to do is to sew :o)

This is also a reason why I am not publishing my 2016 hits and misses yet, there still will be a few items sewn this year. I also realized I have quite a bunch of them sewn and not photographed or blogged yet, so I will try to re-mediate that as well.

But back to the real stuff: what is on my cutting table:

Another pair of orange shorts to go with my home ensemble.

A simple shift dress from wool flannel. I am still looking for ideas how to make it less simple, but still a quick make, as I would like to bring it to my post-Christmas vacation.

And most importantly a cape from this wool-cashmere blend beauty:

Monday, 28 November 2016

One Thousand and One Nights

I am on a sewing roll and quite excited about it. Since two months I am sewing mostly separates, aka quick garments, and am loving it. I still have a dress in my mind which I would like to manage before the x-mas craziness starts (or did it already start?) and I still have my X-mas dress to imagine and sew, so dresses will come quite soon again.

However, this time I got to sewing home-wear. Yes, you hear me right, simple, but fancy home-wear. The thing is I do not like wearing jeans or outerwear at home - it is fine in the evening when I just come back home from work, but definitely not for week-ends. I tend to wear old sweaters with some kind of polyester satin shorts/trousers - classy, right? Not talking about the fact that the trousers (while using only elastic in the waist) do not fit me properly.

So I decided to sew me a proper home-wear collection from some quality fabric, because it does not make any sense any more to be wearing wool and silk outside and polyester at home.

My chosen fabric comes from this bunch of souvenir fabrics which I bought last year in Kuala Lumpur (and seeing the packet again, quite a lot of them got sewn during the last year, so yay me!). It was a part of a silk bundle which contained cca 5m of 3 different types of fabric: I assume one for trousers, one for a tunic and one chiffon for a scarf or whatever accessory you need. The trousers and tunic fabrics were coordinates and the chiffon repeated both of the colours and designs. Clever, right! I bought three bundles like that and already digged into all of them.

The most difficult one, though, was this one which contained some kind of a silk brocade with golden decorations which I just could not imagine wearing outside. But it was just perfect for my home-wear.
I used the brocade for trousers and shorts - both Burda 117-05/2013.

The trousers are exactly according to the pattern (with a crotch shortened by easily 5cm!!!);

as for the shorts, I made them slightly larger for comfort (added 3cm on each side). I kept the pockets, as it is a nice touch and always practical at home, made French seams everywhere, even inside the pockets, because, you know, comfort and am very happy about both of them.

The fit of the trousers is just what it needs to be, the shorts are slightly larger, but it seems to be ok to wear in the end.

The only thing bothering me slightly is that the fabric had a fault: a piece of it was missing some gold, which can be seen on the back right side of the trousers which I found out only when everything was finished.

Of course, the fabric being very special, I do not think having many things which will coordinate with them :o) So I made a pair of matching tops.

For the first one I used the scarf chiffon underlined with an orange silk-cotton.

I had tried double layering the chiffon but it was still too transparent, in addition, the silk-cotton adds little bit of weight and made it easier to sew. The pattern is based on the top of the Anna by Hand London dress, so very simple, very comfy and quick to sew.

The second one is the same top made of 2 layers of the above-mentioned silk-cotton which somehow goes with the trousers as well.

All in all, I am very happy that this fabric souvenir got transformed into something very wearable and cute. I still have a remnant of both, the silk chiffon and the silk-cotton mousseline so might be sewing one or two more tops of the same style.

And will finish with this perfectly colour matching photo :o)

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Autumn Dress

It is when you just thought that 2016 year will be without any wedding and your sewing skills can concentrate on daily wear, or even pyjamas, when you are announced that your are supposed to attend a wedding in 4 months.
And mid-November, in addition to that: when it can be quite nice and sunny, but also freezing, it is just a matter of one week and the temperatures fall down by 10 degrees and you never see the sun again. Add to this the fact that I do not have any universal (aka black) coat, that you are not supposed to wear black at a wedding and that you need to buy a new hat for your outfit.

The original plan to buy a hat and sew the dress to go with it was quickly forgotten, as in September all shops still offered summer hats and I was getting pretty short of time. On the other hand I had quite an idea on the dress I wanted to wear: a silk one with larger skirt and long sleeves. Then I found a perfect fabric in my stash: this autumny silk I bought last year in Malaysia and which seemed just perfect for my plan.

Burda 2016 seems to be a really good year, as I bought a few numbers and have sewn already a few garments from them, being it even more than one piece from certain magazines which is great as I am really getting my money worth.
This one is model 121 from April 2016: I liked the little detail on the dress even though the scarce Burda instructions gave me a little headache. When I finally understood the construction process I was really happy, because I consider it quite clever.

Obviously, I cut the skirt straight, as I am no fan of this low-high hems, I think it goes well with tall gals, but not myself. Also I put some elastic at the end of the sleeves.

The bodice is fully self-lined, as for the skirt lining, I did not have enough fabric. After sitting in a car, the skirt tent to stick to my tights, but the rest of the time it was OK so I will just keep it like that.

I was surprised by the fact that the front bodice does not have any darts and was hoping that the keyhole opening would adjust the form, but not so much and according to the instructions you are supposed to crimp the bodice to fit to the skirt. Strange... as it does not look like that on the model in the magazine, nor on the technical drawing. So I cheated little bit, narrowed the bodice and did more of a few pleats than real crimping. I think the finish is cleaner like that, even though on my fabric you would probably not see much difference.
Oh yeah, and no pattern matching, the fabric was crazy enough and as I said, I did not have much of it. In the end, nothing shocking :o) - this is a view of the back bodice/waistband/skirt:

So one last picture from the big occasion and with the hat!

Saturday, 5 November 2016

October Sewcation

I have dreamed of a small sewcation since some time now and last week I finally had the chance to have one. It was only a long four-day week-end and we spent one day out, but the rest of the time was happily dedicated to sewing.
I had prepared my sewcation in advance: did all muslining and cutting work in advance. On Friday evening I had 3 projects prepared, on Tuesday evening two of them were done. The third one did not take much time afterwards.

So here is one of them: miniskirt finished on Tuesday evening only to be worn immediately on Wednesday. And again on Thursday. I had to reopen my wardrobe on Friday morning cause I was really tempted to put it on again.

It is based on the leather skirt pattern from Burda 11/2016. I must admit that this Burda issue is a great success, I have 2 more patterns chosen to be sewn from it.

For my version I used very small rests, almost scraps :o) : remnant of black wooland a piece of a sewn-in interfacing, I have always troubles really using.

And a remnant of this black/orange silk for lining, for some more fun inside.

I had to be really careful with the interfacing so as not to create any disbalances, but I can say this was a real success, with a LOT of pinning and systematic ironing.
Also, I moved the invisible zip on the left side and omitted the back seam.

This time I did not keep the lining free, as I was afraid it might move and I was not sure how to fix it on the front split, so I ended up fixing it on the skirt directly which for the miniskirt is probably the best idea in the end.

After two days of wearing it I must say it is very comfy, I was afraid it would be too short or revealing too much, but the fit is just OK and the skirt is not moving, going up or else.

So thumbs up for using scraps, as well as for having a great wardrobe staple.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Still in the Mid-Season Mood

We are still having a very pleasant Indian summer which will unfortunately end quite soon. It lasted till end of October which I consider really great. Great because when I did sew this dress in September, it was supposed to be worn just during this season. It did not because I somehow forgot I made it... please do not ask....

But the dress is made from wool suiting and fully lined with silk, so there is a high chance I will be able to wear it in winter as well.

The dress is highly inspired by this Burda Plus model

I find the Burda Plus pattern much closer to my usual style, I think they concentrate much more on working-girl style with a lot of interesting details and feminine silhouettes than the normal Burda collection.
However, I am faaaaar from their Plus sizing. When I started sewing 3 years ago, I tried to buy a Plus pattern and adjust it to my 34-36 petite size. After 3 muslins and a very unfortunate end result, I threw everything away and vowed not to save on patterns anymore (and buy a similar Vogue instead of a Plus Burda). But I still look at their patterns, as they might be a nice source of inspiration.

For this dress I used a TNT pattern based on and RTW dress which I already sewed twice: here and here. This time, I shortened the sleeves and added an opening on the front. I also closed up the back little bit which caused a few fitting issues with the sleeves. Hopefully, the final result is OK.

Originally, I intended to decorate the waist band with some black lace, but since this is more of a daily-wear dress, I decided to keep it like that.

I am quite happy with my seam matching, as well as the invisible zip, but these are becoming a standard and no more a big challenge. Even though I had to redo it during the process.

Knowing my pattern by heart now, it was a quick make to get my sewjo up and running after the vacation break and it worked pretty well.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

GBSB Drapey Dress

So much hesitation, so much ruminating and voilà, I have a new - for me - very unusual dress. I do not remember where I saw this pattern for the first time, but it was interesting, free and completely out of my comfort zone.

I was rather worried for different reasons:
- the dress is supposed to be made from jersey, a fabric I never work with
- the dress is drapey, meaning a lot of biais lines, meaning a lot of stretch potential, meaning worries about deformation
- the dress has two big pockets in the biais lines - in a drapey fabric, it means a clear route to disaster  for me

So I went with a compromise and used black wool crepe which seemed to be rather transparent. To maintain it and decrease the see-through effect, I underlined it with a black cotton-silk - this fabric is just magic, it works in double layer for summer tops, as well as a simple layer underlining. It is quite stable and extremely soft against your skin and does not add any bulk. I had bought it in different colours, but it is the black one I used the most.

Fortunately I did sew a muslin, since I had to take in at least 5cm on each side, as well as 10cm on the dress length. I am currently using old sheets for my muslin (found a huge bag during our recent moving which will last for some time) and my muslin looked more like a hospital robe than as my wished drapey dress.

I had made a huge mistake of not marking the right and left sides properly, so I ended up with the sides inverted compared to the center piece. But I realized it quite soon in the process and was still able to correct it.
I lot of sewists complained about the scarce instructions. That was definitely not my problem, I am used to Burda in 4 different languages, so instructions with pictures always work the best. Also, the pattern is not overly complicated, when compared to my usual dresses.

What to say about the result: it is neat inside, quite drapey but still stable. It looks better with a blazer than completely "naked" as on these pictures. The pockets are big, even too big, I ended up closing them little bit.

I a still quite sceptical on this type of dress for me. I know that it will get worn, as it is very comfortable ;o), but the silhouette is very special, I feel like being pregnant and trying to cover it, which is not the case.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

The Quickest Make... EVER

I still cannot believe it, I did sew a top in about 2 hours, cutting included. It was Friday evening, staying home, I just fished a small piece of black silk from my stash (of which I have a certain amount, because you know, I wear a lot of black and you never have enough black tops), cut out this extremely simple Burda 125-08/2016 bow top and got it ready before I went to bed.

I admit I tend to sew rather complicated pieces, I focus on lined dresses a lot, and tend to neglect separates. So anytime I sew one, it is a surprise for me that a sewing project can be easily finished within a week-end.

Also, I made things simple here: there are like 4 seams on this top, all of them frenched, and a lot of borders which I baby-hemmed. No closing, yeah! Easy peasy, all done on a machine, not a single handstitch. As for the fitting, I just compared the pattern quickly against another already sewn top and that was it. The pattern should be sewn from jersey, whereas I used a simple non-stretchy woven, so I also omitted the bottom hem as I did not see any utility for it.

The best thing is that I really like the result: yes, it is a large top, yes, I do not have to overfit everything and yes, it might move over to one shoulder some time, but that is perfectly fine. I have another black top for next summer.

Inspiration: August Burda
Pattern: Burda 128-08/2016
Pattern changes: omitted bottom hem
Technique: baby hem
Fabric: black silk
Time to Complete: 2 hours
Total Cost: 6 EUR

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Khaki Linen Dress and a Little Revival :o)

Before I knew it, we are at the end of September and I have not blogged for almost 2 months. Between 3 weeks of vacation, the come back to work and a busy life, I almost forgot that I did sew a summer dress just before the vacation and never blogged it, so here it is.

This time I vowed to avoid any mast minute sewing and managed to stick to that, the dress got finished easily one week before our departure. Unfortunately, it did not get a lot of wear as I spent my vacation in the nature where t-shirt and shorts were the only appropriate clothes.

Anyway, I am quite happy I finally got to sew something from this dark green/khaki linen mix. It has an amazing colour but is quite sheer, see-through and wrinkles as hell. So a lot of hesitation on what to make from it. In the end, I decided to underline it with a fine silk-cotton blend which I bought in many colours already and it serves as great stabilizer for some sheer fabrics.

Of course, it does not solve everything but at least the wrinkle factor is better.

I went with Simplicity 3833, a retro reproduction which I have already sewn here, this time without the sleeves. I knew the fit was just perfect, I only enlarged the armscyes and that was it.
No lining and I am quite surprised how the linen finally sticks to the dress form.

The dress was really a no-brainer, just a perfect summer project, ready in a few days and extremely comfortable in the hot summer weather.

The real-life pictures were only taken in September, but never mind, we are still enjoying some nice weather here.