Saturday, 23 December 2017

Xmas Sewing - Part I.

Due to logistical reason, I celebrated x-mas with my family already last week-end, so I can start sharing some of the presents I actually sewed, as they have already been given to my sister.

As last year, I decided to sew some of the presents, since it seems they have quite some success. The real clothes will be shared in the next post, but I will start with an apron (involuntarily in x-mas colours). I saw this Japanese pattern everywhere on Pinterest and thought that it would be great for my hipstery sister. I started searching for the downloadable pattern, but only found the paper version and at that point of time it was already too late to wait.

A short point on this year planning: I was actually in advance on everyhting. I knew I was going to be out 3 of the 4 pre-x-mas weekends, so I figured out I had to prepare everything before. I did almost all my x-mas shopping mid-November, well before Black Friday :o) - at least I did not have to worry about delivery times and delays which happen quite often before x-mas. Oh yes, and I ordered almost everything on the internet.
In the end, I packed most of the gifts on 1st December. And I was right - after my November marathon I got sick and was out of any energy for almost 2 weeks. The only energy remnants were spent on x-mas cookies baking (I did some 800+ of them).

Then I found a schema of the pattern and decided to give it a try and design it in real proportions on my own. And it actually worked rather well.

The apron is double-sided: first, it looks better and second, it is easier to sew the two layers together than doing bias binding. For the face, I used some batik cotton brought 2 years ago from Indonesia.

When I finished, I was thinking about what to do with the rest of the fabric and then found this cute (also Japanese) bag pattern. So not much thinking and I whipped up two double-sided bags to go with the apron.

I do not have a worn picture because we were too tired after unpacking all the gifts - so next time.
I do not think I will post anything else before the end of the year, so I wish you "Veselé vánoce a šťastný nový rok!"

Saturday, 2 December 2017

60's Grey Dress

I do not like scraps. I never know what to do with them. First, I am not a patchwork or household sewing girl, and I do not have any little kids in my surroundings on whom I could use the scraps. On the other hand I rarely buy just enough fabric for one project. Much more often I just buy fabric which I like and then when I choose my project, I search in my stash. I dream of changing this, but I will first need to decrease my stash little bit (even though this year statistics looks pretty good, but more on that later).

So, from time to time, I try to check on the little pieces in my stash and sew something from them. Case in point: this dress. It is an exact copy of the Remnant dress sewn already 2 years ago (Simplicity 3833). But to be honest, it is one of my most beloved dresses and fortunately, the fabric still resists the frequent washing. I wear it regularly autumn through spring.
So creating a new one was just so obvious and this time it was again a win: two remnants busted, what should I wish more for? (moreover, the black fabric is actually thesame as on the first version of my dress, so I can only hope this one will be as resistant)

The dress is again in two colours, even though the grey-black combination is much more subtle. The lining is also a mix of black and dark green silk remnants, but it seems to be working quite fine.

As I have already sewn this dress, there is nothing more to say about it. The silhouette works perfectly with the little stiff suiting fabrics, yet, the dress is extremely comfy. And it is a part of the basics I need for winter.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Perfect Match

So, I ordered a new pair of boots. I hate being cold in winter and I feel that the cold always comes from the ground, so good winter shoes are always a must. And since I only rarely wear trousers, winter shoes eaquals boots. I basically live in boots the whole winter and it always feels strange the first day I stop wearing them some time in March.

This year, I ordered wine colour boots, for a change. And immediately, I thought about this fabric which was in my stash since ever - actually, it was one of the first fabrics I bought four years ago. The thing is, it was a grey-bordeaux paisley viscose and I always had this strange "what-was-I-thinking-then" feeling about this fabric. First, it is the wrong shade of grey which makes me look rather pale and second, it is a viscose, not really my favourite type of fabric.

On the other hand, it has a nice and soft feel and the paisley is quite cute so I never had the heart to throw it away or donate it.

And then, out of a sudden, I had this idea of a little autumny casual dress with short sleeves which would be worn with tights, boots and a cardigan, so the grey is a minority colour in my outfit. A nice one for our casual Fridays, also (I am not a great fan of casual Friday at the office, as for me jeans equals not-comfy and I do not like wearking sport shoes either, so I alwasy try to wear some of my more casual dresses so as not to be too dressed) I was quite enchanted by the fact that I found a project for this fabric, so I started sewing it almost immediately.

The dress is based on this model, already sewn twice. It is a simple and very quick make, actually. Both of my previous versions were entirely lined (because the main fabric was half transparent), but for this one, I wanted to keep the soft viscose close to my skin. In the end, I decided to line only the skirt portion, because tights, you know.
I felt somehow strange to put a lining on the viscose, it was like lining a t-shirt, but whatever, it works and did not add any bulk so I am happy with it. It also enabled me to create a tunnel for the waist elastic and have a clean finish on that area.

All in all, it was finished within one day and I think it will be a nice mid-season dress. Of course, I will not wear it in the middle of winter because I would just die of cold in the fine viscose. For that, I will just dig into my wool stock :o)

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Rebecca Taylor Dress

I will be repeating myself but I need to have a constant reminder. I really like Vogue designer patterns (not all of them of course, but from time to time there are real jewels) but I often feel intimidated by them for no special reason. Case in point: this Kay Unger dress and also today's make.

I have seen this R.Taylor dress (Vogue 1316) many times on the internet, especially my favourite sewing blogger Carolyne is a great fan and I think I love all of her versions. Also, it seems like a great use of remnants, so why not to try it. So.. I bought this pattern like 3 years ago and never took the time to really go for it.

I had a little sewcation planned at the end of October (I have more vacation days than my BF which means that I get to take days off while he is working :o) and decided it might be a good opportunity to tackle a more complicated project. Well, the word "complicated" is not well placed because honestly, there was nothing really complicated on this. I must have felt intimidated by the number of pattern pieces and the 4 different colours but honestly, already when sewing my muslin, all was very clear.

I wanted to recreate the look of the pattern envelope because I like the different shades of grey and also, because I had different shades of grey wool fabrics already in my stash. Actually, out of the 4 colours: the light grey was a little remnant from a skirt sewn 4 years ago, the black is a remnant from this dress, the dark grey n°1 is a little piece I bought during sales and only the dark grey n°2 comes from a large piece of fabric which will be used for something else.

As usual, I had to adjust the shoulder area (I think I have taken out about 5-6cm) and took away a few centimeters on the hip area. Also, I cut out the size 10, while I am more between 10 and 12 (on the waist probably a clear 12), but I know that Vogue patterns are always very large on me. And when seeing the pictures, I could have shaved even more to make the dress mote fitted.

The construction went pretty well, I got little bit mad about catchstitching, hopefully it will not deform the dress in some areas.

The dress is properly lined with black silk (need to buy some more of this in the future) and that is about it.

I like the result a lot. It is sewn with wool suitings, so it is more of a autumn/winter dress, however, a cardigan will be worn over it, as I do not think I can pull out the look of the envelope - black tights and no sleeves just does not make much sense for me. And again, I need to stop obsessing about the difficulty of some patterns and just sew them. The dress took cca 20 hours to make, because of all the hand catchstitching, but in general, there was nothing extremely complicated.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Bits and Pieces

Today, I will present a few little projects I did in between the big ones. Because, sometimes a girl needs some basics and it also feels good to use up little remnants in the stash.

Number 1: this little black top made from a remnant of light wool crepe. I like the feel of the fabric so I bought the half-meter remnant anyhow. And I just managed to cut out this number. The sleeves could have been longer but I did not have enough fabric and did not want a wool top with short sleeves.

Nothing much to say about it, it is all sewed with French seams and I used some shiny silk for the biais binding, of which I am particularly proud - it just has the right size and sits perfectly.

Number 2: The black skirt I am wearing with it: I must have sewn this at least a year ago, maybe two, but it did not get much worn. It is from a black cotton with some serious stretch, so the pencil skirt is extremely comfy and I added a green fun lining (and I just do not have any picture of it). I just found it again in my wardrobe, so I hope it will get more outings this year.

Number 3: shall I say a cashmere sweater? The fabric is a cashmere something, I have totally no idea how to call this fabric, it is probably supposed to be used for unlined large coats/coatigans, but I only had a 80cm remnant which I just had to buy (it was 50% off and a perfect colour for me). The funny thing is it does fray at all, even if you force it. After trying to fit at least two different patterns on this little piece, I gave up and decided to copy an RTW raglan sweater.

It fitted perfectly, I think I had almost nothing left. Since the fabric does not fray, I did not bother with any special technique on finishing the seams, I just catchstisched them on places where it made sense.

I put in a facing, even though I ma not a fan of facings, it was quite appropriate for this model.
The sweater is very soft and warm, and the fabric already survived one machine cycle.

Well, that's it for now, as of next week, some more fun and complicated projects are coming up.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

The - Cape

I finally did it! And it did not hurt me. At all! I sewed a cape.

Let's be honest, my confort zone are dresses, I basically live in dresses, office, week-ends, I have a lot of them and I always need some more. And that's what I sew the most, I know where the challenges are, I know how to put in the lining, most of it is known territory.

This time last year, I found this very cute pattern for a cape: Burda 101 - 10/2011.

I know, capes are no longer in vogue, but I always wanted one and therefore, sewing it was the best solution. In addition, I had this piece of such a soft wool-cashmere which I snapped during sales probably 2 years ago at 50% off. The only hickup: I had barely 1,5m of it, so far from enough to sew a coat. But I figured out the cape could be done.

Last year, just before x-mas I sewed a muslin and largely adjusted my pattern. But then sewing my x-mas dress, family gatherings and our vacation came in and in January I put the muslin away. And it stayed there till September this year.

This time I figured out I had enough dresses to wear during the mid-season and could concentrate on a more difficult project - at least that's what I thought. For me (a coat/jacket novice), sewing a cape was a long and complicated project. And what an error!!!!! I decided to line the cape, contrary to the original pattern, and even with this additional difficulty, it took me some 15 hours, so definitely not more than a lined dress. Also, there was no particularly difficult point. A good lesson learned - do not get intimidated by projects which only seem difficult.

Soooo little bit of sewing stuff: lining was an obvious, the cape might be open more often than a coat, so there was no way I would like to show the ugly inside. The cape itself was super easy to construct, as the wool behaved so well. I lined it with some black silk - the lining is attached on the borders, including the arm openings and on a few strategic little points. If only I had a little more of the wool, I would have used it for the hood lining, now, I had to be super careful and super precise so that it looks nice with the black lining.

Another nice surprise was the zipper - I think I have never inserted a standard zipper and it was just 100% easier than any invisible one.

I think the only difficulty was the last step: attaching the placket which covers the zipper. I must say that the cape looked good even without this placket, but I like the polished look with the placket more. I followed the instructions which let you sew everything and only attach the placket on top of the cape. Somehow, I would do it differently, so that it blends more easily into the pattern, but that would have required some pattern changes and I was not so sure of what I had in mind.

All in all, if you did not get it yet, I am pretty excited by how this cape turned out.

I was treated Petit Chaperon Rouge, as well as Zorro (my muslin was sewn in some black cotton) when I was trying it on during sewing, but the result is pretty cool.

I know it is not the most practical piece of clothing but it is definitely quite unique and will get worn on special occasions.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Tartan Autumn Dress

So I have this wishlist of things I would like to sew before the end of the year and I am going through it slowly, but surely. However, from time to time I get distracted by a project which usually comes out of nowhere. Like this dress.

The next item on my sewing is Rebecca Taylor Vogue pattern, which I have seen in so many cute versions that I just have to have it as well. But before I could get the pattern out of my stash, and start at least tracing it, I went to buy a zip needed for my project in progress (finished in between, I tend not to produce UFOs) and that's where I walked around the centre of Saint-Germain and saw this dress.

This fabric-and-pattern combination must be some kind of a trend because Burda features the girl's version in the November issue and I am pretty sure I could trace it back to some past defilé. I kind of liked the look, but for 70eur (after sales) for such a simple dress and in a shop which only starts at size 36, I knew I would not buy it.
For a few moments I flirted with the idea to try to find this fabric and sew the dress, but then: I am on a fabric diet, sewing the maximum from stash and not buying any new fabrics till the end of the year. Also, the fabric strongly reminds me of skirts for our folklore dance representations from when I was a kid. So I abandonded the idea very quickly and got back to the Rebecca Taylor.

The day after I went for my long run (I am currently training for a marathon, so my Sunday mornings are marked by the meditation state I get in after one hour of running) and started thinking about the dress again. That's when I realized that I could actually use this orange tartan cotton from my stash and copy the dress anyhow. The decision was taken rather quickly, I only spent a day searching for the right pattern ("prairie dress" is what you want) only to realize that with a little modification on the bodice and a straight skirt I would just use the Burda 109-01/2010 which I have already sewn in the past.

The rest was rather quick, I sewed a muslin of the bodice, just in case, rotated the waist dart to a breast dart and cut it out. Of course, I was extremely careful with pattern-matching, as the tartan is just dangerous for this. I started really sewing only on Wednesday and wanted to wear the dress on Saturday, as we planned to go to the seaside, so I was stressing about it quite a lot.

Of course, the dress was finished on Saturday morning, 15 minutes before we left. And I had to cheat with the buttons - I did not sew the buttonholes, only attached the buttons. I might get back to it and actually redo that, I do not like this kind of shortcuts, in general. I was hoping to find some matching buttons, but did not have time to go to a real "mercerie" shop, so I ended up using the coverable ones and I think it looks the best.
Can you spot that they are of a slightly different shade?

As for the sewing details, the dress is not lined which means for me French seams everywhere. I used a fine biais for the sleeves as I wanted to control the sleeve insert little bit more. The fabric is quite fine so the skirt is in the end baby-hemmed.

The dress is large and extremely comfortable. It is little bit out of my comfort zone, larger-than-usual in the waist area, but that's fine, that's how the original dress also was.

To finish, here are a few pictures of myself in Dieppe, Normandy. We had a great start of the day with sun and everything, fortunately, we took the pictures in the morning, as in the afternoon an incredible fog covered the beach and the port. It must have been the only place in France with a no-summer weather that day. Anyhow, it was warm and nice and we enjoyed the day together!