Sunday, 17 February 2019

New Year's Dress

We like to leave for New Year's for warmer countries to enjoy some sun and get a dose of vitamin D o survive the rest of winter. This year, though, the New Year's destination was Bergen, Norway. Funnily enough, this city being on the Atlantic coast, it is much warmer than Oslo (which is pretty much on the same parallel) and the day we were leaving, it was even warmer than Paris.
Anytime we said to somebody that we were going to Norway, the reaction was "oooh, cool, you will have a lot of snow!". So yes, we saw a few snow flakes the last day, but in general, it was rather nice, with temperatures around 5 degrees.

But I kept to my tradition of sewing a X-mas/New Year's dress which this year had to be warm. I used a wool thick knit and Knipmode 09-23/2018 pattern which has a covered neck and real long sleeves.

I have a blog prepared about my experience with Knipmode, which I tried twice this year and honestly, I am still not decided whether I really like them. They have some cute patterns and they have all of them in size 34 (even if they say they do not), but the pattern sheets are really a mess compared to Burda and they design for big Dutch women:o)

Anyhow, this dress was a success: the crossover is cute, the neckline warm and covering. I am just hesitating whether to add a lining because it tends to stick to my tights.

Sure, it is a dark grey without much frou-frous, so rather basic but it is very cozy, so a win for me.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Vichy Dress

Buying Burda magazines is actually quite dangerous for me. I am not a subscriber (even though my boyfriend tries to tease me with the yearly subscription every x-mas), but I play along the rule that of I like at least 3 patterns in the magazine, I buy it.
PS: I think that if I saw a super top exciting pattern, I would buy anyhow, but this rule works pretty good, as I end up buying 3-4 issues every year, plus some of their older pdf patterns (you know, when you need to sew a men’s pyjama, then the 2012 pdf comes quite handy).

However, I am currently sewing around 3 pieces each month (I changed jobs and have now a more exciting, but also more demanding one, with longer commute which means that my weekday sewing time decreased significantly). It is an average of course, as it goes from one great coat of the year to 5 jersey easy peasy pieces.

So this Burda pattern was one of those “main reasons why I bought Burda 09/2017 issue”, waiting patiently the time it would climb up the priority list. Not helping was the fact that I did not have a special fabric in stock (or in mind), so no urgency.
Last year, when I discovered sewing with ponte, I figured out that the dress does not need to be sewn with wool suiting but a nice thick ponte would be great as well. And I found the right one at Pretty Mercerie. It is a grey/bordeaux/black vichy with an almost scuba feel. It has some more poly than I am used to, but the viscose content keeps it soft and, in the end, the fabric is also rather warm (some chemical magic, probably).

And anyhow, I already had the fabric piece at home, so I just decided to sew the dress, whatever might happen then. As usual, my perfectionist dark side came up to the surface and I decided that I would not let the pattern matching to the sewing fairy and I would work hard to make it happen. And you know what – I did and am so enormously proud of that.

Since the ponte is stretchy enough, I did not put in the zipper (also, zip in stretchy fabric = recipe for a disaster) and I do not have any difficulties putting it on. I stabilized the crossover with thin interfacing and was pinning and basting everything. And it totally paid off.

I had a few questions on the neckline finish, as all the ponte dresses I have sewn so far were finished with a t-shirt neckline, but this fabric was rather different, so I sewed in a facing and it worked miraculously. It is slightly basted on a few key points, but in the vichy, nothing can be seen.
I was little bit worried about my machine as it started skipping stitches on the double needle stitch, so I played with the tension for some time and hopefully, fixed the issue. We will see on the next make, otherwise, I will have to have it serviced soon.

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Out of the Comfort Zone

Well, not 100%, it is still a grey dress, hehehe.

I put this dress on my to-sew list some time ago, actually, the moment this Burda came out (August 2016, model 109). I must say, Burda guys did a great job styling it, it just looks really amazing in that large vichy. However, I knew from the beginning, that this is not completely my style and at some point of time even wanted to sew it for my sister, not for me. Also, I never took time to decide on the fabric.

Then, winter came, I was constantly freezing and going through my winter stash (my stash is stored in three drawers - silks, cottons and wool) and found this quite old stash piece of pinstriped wool flannel. So maybe I could be playing with the stripes instead of the vichy and it could work as well.

Burda oversize models tend to be really oversize, so I traced size 34 and sewed a muslin. I took the dress in, shortened the bodice as usual and shortened the skirt as well. I also wanted pockets because when I am sewing a large skirt and a comfy dress, I need pockets. I even managed to attach them to the waist seam so that stay really flat.

The result is quite cute, even though still large. I am not totally convinced of the kimono-like sleeves, I just think there is too much fabric in there (and yes, the fabric is stiff, but so if the Burda version).

On the other hand, it makes for a nice winter vacation dress, comfy and all. I lined the bodice and the skirt with black silk, because ... well, because it is always nicer to have silk against your skin. And I am quite happy about the strip-matching.