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.