Thursday, 27 December 2018

Totally Selfless Sewing

I have never sewn much for others and paradoxically, the year I had the least time for sewing, I sewed most for others - take the serie of tango outfits for my sister, or a pyjama for her BF. At the end of the year, when X-mas preparations were in full swing and I was supposed to be sewing my New Year's wool jersey dress (you know, to have something very cosy and warm for our Norwegian trip), I came with the idea of sewing something really cute for the only baby in the family. Fortunately, it is a 10-month old girl with amazingly blue eyes, so I could not resist sewing a few gifts for her. We usually do not do gifts with them, but you know, cute little girl... :o)

The good thing is that it was a great opportunity to use up scraps. I used very little leftovers from the blue and red jersey dress I sewed for my sister this summer. I only bought the patterns (all my Burda magazines only had patterns starting at 18 months and I wanted to sew 12-months size, however, I am pretty sure I will be able to reuse them some time in the future, they just offer so many possibilities) and a fat quarter for some cute bindings.

It all started with Burda 9347 - a body with a body-dress option. The blue jersey are some scraps from this summer, the skirt fabric was bought for a summer dress for me, but not used yet. It was a great opportunity to learn how to put on press buttons, because I had to put a lot of them. The body is rather practical - it opens on the bottom, as well as on the shoulders, so hopefully it is quite easy to put it on. I was really surprised by the size of the pattern pieces, it all felt like sewing for a doll and I squeezed the body from really little pieces.

After discussing the topic with a friend, I wanted to add an accessory and she suggested a little headband, so there we go, a little web tutorial was found in no time and headband sewn. The little girl's mum said it was probably too small for her, but it can work as a bracelet, too.
And this is what happens when you ask your photograph to take a picture of the dress from the inside ;o)

The second outfit is made of a Burda 9330 for the dress and a body (the same pattern as above). The body was quite quick to make, I just added contrasting binding and again, aaaaaall the press buttons.

The dress is made from a corduroy remnant from my skirt (not yet blogged).

The corduroy is very soft but I had the violet fluffy pieces all over the place. So for the dress, I used the binding on the pockets and on all the seams inside. There was no way I would leave an open seam like that.

Originally, I wanted to do a full lining but I did not have enough of a matching fabric, so I only did a facing and lined the pocket as advised by the pattern. I think it is cute enough :o)

Ok, so this was real fun and I hope the mummy liked it. Now, I need to concentrate and get some real serious adult sewing - I have fabric for a jacket and another coat, I also need some new winter dresses, lol.

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Lion pyjamas

I am not used to sewing for other people. The only person I have ever made something for is my sister, but that’s an easy one, she is my size, just little bit thinner (and with longer arms and legs).
But this year, when I asked her for x-mas gift ideas for her BF, she said, he needs a pyjama, cute, but not too much, like the little hippos I made for her.

Well, challenge accepted! 
Finding a pattern was rather easy – Burda had an exact men’s copy of the Carolyn pyjama I made for my sister. And then we started looking for a “cute, but not too much” fabric. Hippos were out very soon, as they are not at all in vogue at the moment. You can have flamingos, toucans, cats, dogs, but no hippos. His favourite animals include little dogs, lions or bears. And so we ended up finding this lions brushed cotton which has a very nice feel and was available in a few different colours, including this blue-greyish.

We tried to estimate his size by comparing the Burda size chart to his clothes (he should be a standard M), and then I just prayed for the best and cut into the fabric. Very funny story: I am used to sewing with little pieces of fabric and consume little as well, fabric tetris is my game, big time.
Not this time, though. I have ordered 3m of fabric thinking I would sew a shirt, trousers and a pair of shorts, hahahaha. 

I had barely enough to cut out the shirt and the trousers, I had to cheat and use a piece of black fabric in the end. Also, I was manipulating so.much.fabric around. And constantly thinking it would be way too big for him. At some point of time, I put it all on my BF (who is more of an L) and it reassured me since it was slightly small for him. (In the meantime, we already celebrated x-mas with them so I can definitely say that the size is pretty much ok and definitely not too big).

Apart from that nothing special, I tried to be as close as possible to the Carolyn pyjama of my sister, so I added black piping and black buttons, little breast pocket with some serious pattern matching and that was it.
Hopefully, he was not much offended by this gift, as it was his real x-mas in our family and he and my sis now have cute almost matching pyjamas :o)

Sunday, 18 November 2018

The Lacy Dress

I would have never believed I would sew this kind of dress. On the other hand, I bought the white eyelet in stock, so I must have had an idea for it, back then.

It is true that I got out of my comfort zone here and that I am not particularly sure I will have a lot of opportunities to wear this dress, but let's see.

The idea came out of a sudden, I was just browsing Burda's website in search of another dress when I saw 117-06/2017 and actually liked the idea. It is rather different from my usual go-to dress pattern and I have to admit the styling was quite cute.

I am not sure I completely understood all steps in the construction of this dress, but at some point of time I was no longer reading the instructions and was just doing what I wanted. There was a lot of shirring to do, and fortunately the eyelet was quite forgiving on the hem finishing - I just did a little zigzag, turned inside and topstitched. In this fabric, the topstitching is rather invisible so yay for a quick finish.

Of course, eyelet fabric means lining. I used a small piece of white silk on the dress body, leaving the sleeves as is. It adds a piece of luxury to this dress because is sooo soft on the inside.

And I do not think I have much to add to this, the dress was really simple and quick to make and just perfect for this year's extremely long indian summer(long gone now :o)

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Ponte - My New Love

Ok, this might seem obvious for many sewers, but I only discovered the beauty of sewing with ponte this year and honestly, I am in love!

I sewed most of the tango outfits for my sister with ponte, then made 2 Nettie dresses for myself and just thinking about what I could make again. I bought another meter of so of antracite ponte, thinking I would definitely find a nice structured pattern to make and, worst case scenario, I can still sew another Nettie :o) And you know, grey is such a great neutral I will always wear.

It is funny I am saying that: for years I did not own a single grey item because I learned I was an "autumn type" and thought grey was not for myself. Later on, I saw some great pics of red-headed models in grey clothing and just loved the contrast and I figured out it is all about the right shade of grey, so today I am a big fan; I can even make it the whole week wearing grey to work.

After some research, I re-discovered the NewLook 6000 which I sewed a few years back in a non-stretch wool suiting (never made to the blog because I did not line the dress and the fabric was too fine and showed basically all the bumps, so well, I never really wore that dress).
But in ponte, that was another story: I adjusted the pattern to make up for the stretch of the ponte (basically did a cross between the NewLook and the Nettie) and then whipped up the dress in no time.

The dress is less hip-hugging than my netties, so more work-friendly, it is extremely comfy, kind of a secret pyjama and still looks great with jackets. It is a wardrobe basic with a little twist (or pleats) so a big winner because i know I will wear such a dress a lot.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

My First Coat

Ok I must admit that 2018 has been a year of new sewing skills' learning. A lot! Shirt dress: check, jersey: check, more jersey: check, new jackets: check. And nooooow: A COAT!

Yes, it is true, I have sewed a coat for myself and it did not even hurt. I started thinking about coat sewing last year when I made my cape which made me realize that coat wools are actually a great pleasure to sew and that a coat might probably not be such a hurdle. I bought some black thick wool which I am still squirrelling for a new winter coat, but I also found this aubergine wool blend last year during the 50% off days at Marché St. Pierre. The main reason this coupon was there is that there was only 1.5m of fabric, so probably not enough for most people. Not me though: I figured that could work if I go for some simple pattern and I was totally right.

In addition, I have this old blue coat bought years ago at Mango, mostly polyester, the wrong colour and way too large for me which I was keeping for one simple reason, I did not have anything to replace it. Now, I am soo happy that now I can donate it because I have just created a great the replacement.

My main inspiration were these two coats worn by Kate Middleton.

In particular, the bordeaux one ;o) Of course, it does not make much sense for me to have a coat as adjusted as Kate, contrary to her, I may wear thick sweaters or jackets under it and also, I do not have her slim figure either. But I loved the simplicity and the collar, oh yes, the collar!

I could not find any pattern which would be an exact copy, but quite liked Burda 109-09/2016, so I fugerd out I could just extend the collar, sew a muslin and just go for it. And it worked perfectly.

The sewing itself took some time for several reasons:
- I took time to interface all the pieces, including the sleeves; I also made sleeve heads and inserted the shoulder pads and I certainly do not regret this effort
- I was totally stressed by the one-side welt pockets, as I did not have any fabric left once everything was cut out, so no space for errors. Once again, teh sewing community came to the rescue, I read like 4 different tutos, sewed one practice welt pocket to make sure I understood everything, then just took a deep breath and sewed both pockets at once. Nailed it!

- originally I wanted to use some black silk as lining, but once I saw how good the coat looked, I wanted to make the effort and have something different. So the coat waited for a week till I had time to go fabric shopping and bought this lining.

- since the welt pockets were a success, I decided I wanted all the details which were not planned initially: piping between the shell and the lining and an etiquette embroidered with my name in Japanese; something most people will never see but I just love them

Anyhow, this is becoming a rather long story, so for a short summary, the coat cost me around 45 euros and 18 hours of work.
I love the result and the fun I had sewing it. Had I not have an order for a special x-mas present, I would probably be sewing a second one already.

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Ginkgo Dress

You know the moment when you find an amazing fabric and you just need to have something made from it! I am not a big fan of fabric internet shopping, but this year I made two rather big orders at Bennytex and I was very positively surprised by the quality of the fabric and its resemblance to the pictures. Not talking about the speed of delivery, because each of the times, the delivery took maybe only 2-3 days. They also have a lot of information about the fabrics, including weight and the pictures are really good.

Sooo, the ginkgo fabric is honestly my new love. It falls perfectly to the category of "black with something", yet, no flowers, the ginkgo leaves are rather subtle and pleasant for the eye. It is a viscose peach-skin, so extremely soft and it behaved rather correctly when sewing.

The only default of Bennytex is that you cannot order by half meter, so I had to take 2m of this beauty. In addition, they are rather generous on cutting, so you end up with more than that :o)

I was convinced I absolutely wanted an autumn dress which I pictured in my head but could not find anything like that on Pinterest. But Burda saved me again this year. I found the dress 110-08/2018 this summer and thought that it was exactly what I wanted to make from the fabric. There are two similar models of flowy shirt-dresses in the September issue as well, so I suppose it is the current trend and for once I do follow ;o)

I sewed up and modified a muslin, because I did not want to ruin my precious fabric and I was afraid of the wrap style being too low. Then everything went rather smoothly.

I was in an intense sewing period after my vacation and I think I sewed this up in just a few days (while still going to work, training for a marathon etc). I made to sure to stabilize the collar part, used burrito method on the shirt yoke and I must say I love this dress.

It fits right, changes from my standard silhouette, the wrap is there but not opening at any point and it is just a secret pyjama. Of course, it looks better with heels, otherwise I would just feel like actually wearing PJs.

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Revenge on the Wrap Dress Story

Wrap dress - an unattainable graal? After many attempt, I managed to sew one, rather OK. But I am still not convinced it is the best make I have ever done.
So I thought, maybe a wrap dress is really only doable in stretch jersey and maybe I just should do like everybody else, brace up and sew with jersey :o)

When ordering fabric for the tango sewing madness, I put in the cart a few knits for me as well. Especially this black cotton jersey, which was in the end one of the most stretchy ones. Also, black can always be used, right?

Then one day, it occurred to me: I should go back to the Burda 107-09/ 2015 model which I attempted 2 years ago from a non-stretch material.
Of course, it was a complete disaster back then, the dress is designed with negative ease, so I could not even put it on. But now - things have changed, let's try it again.

And so I tried it again and it worked pretty well. Well, I must admit that I almost completely redrafted the shoulder area to match it to the Nettie dress and shortened the sleeves and I was right to do it. The fit is much better like this. I struggled little bit with the facing because it was rolling up and outside constantly, so I had to attach it on several places.
It looks strange on the dress form, but fits much better on me. IMHO, there are too many seams for such a stretchy fabric, as they tend to pop up little bit.

Apart from that, I finally have a cute false wrap dress to wear which looks almost the same as the model in Burda :o)