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!

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Or Another One?

I am on a real t&t wave (or really lazy to sew muslins) since this summer. I just like to match the pattern with my fabric and go for it, sew something in a week, wear it the other day. Next, please!

In this craziness I sewed a second autumn shift dress with the same pattern as the last one). This time I used this beautiful brown-orange fine wool, which I liked so much that I was "saving it for something special" for almost two years. Now, I just decided to use it up, as I have a stash full of fabrics I would like to save up for something special.

As for my grey shift dress, I interfaced the dress body with the - now famous - cotton-silk voile, as I still had a little remnant in brown. I also added a very fine black silk lining - it is better than nothing.

As for the sleeves I wanted something more sobber, and most importantly, something which goes under a cardigan. I added the little plackets , and a decorative button. In this picture you can at least see the fabric in detail.

For once, I like the fact tht the dress is extremely simple - I realized that the more complicated the dress, the less accessories I tend to wear, so the aim of this one is really to have a basic one and change the look with jewelery and scarves.

Now I am done with the simple things, my yearly stash development got again into negative numbers which is a great thing and I can finally dig into my never-ending wishlist and sew the cape, the black long-sleeve dress, the Rebecca Taylor dress etc.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

There Is Nothing Wrong With Another Shiftdress

This autumn I am really concentrating on sewing practical clothes, aka office wear. The summer is now officially over, I moved all my summer dresses in the back of my wardrobe and brought the mid-season ones. And only then I found out that many of my main wardrobe hangers remained free. I am still resisting on bringing the wool winter clothes, which might explain that, but in the meantime, the immediate reaction was clear: "must sew a new dress".

So I obeyed and here it is. The fabric is one of the first coupons I bought at the very beginning of my sewing career, almost four years ago, it is a dark grey cotton sateen with tiny white and red squares. Back then I sewed a skirt from it, but the fabric creases a lot which means that I did not wear it as much as I would have liked.
This time, I interfaced the dress body with the cotton-silk voile which always works magic. It adds little bit of body and avoids some creasing. (I tried silk organza first but it was too crisp which is not what I wished for). I had a remnant of blue cotton-silk and since the dress is anyhow lined, I used that one. I already wore this dress to the office and it looked rather good at the end of the day.
The interfacing helped a lot. Also, I could do a lot of catchstitching to the voile (side seams, pockets, even the darts).
The pattern is Newlook 6145, already sewn twice - here and here. This time, I promised myself to add pockets and lining; I was too lazy the last time and I seriously regretted it. Since the pockets are catchstitched to the skirt, they become very invisible.

This time, I wanted to change the pattern little bit and added the sleeve ruffles. The original idea was to add two of them, but when trying it on, I think the one is sufficient - the sateen has some stiffness, just enough for the effect.

The dress is lined on the dress body, not on the sleeves, because again, my last version was nice, but unlined it moves up or sticks to my legs when walking. Hopefully, this new dress will be worn between now and the start of winter, mainly with tights.

The dress was sewn rather quickly - I did some preparation and sewing during the week and focused my Saturday to finish it. I know that it is a T&T pattern and the cotton is not a huge challenge, but I am very pleased with the little details like nicely set-in sleeves, perfectly sewn lining, the ruffles etc.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Ikat Dress

With an increase of my stash, I vowed to sew mainly my recent purchases - I brought many meters from Thailand and Laos, and for once, I have restrained myself to buying fabrics which I would easily wear - read darker colours and any combination with black. From my past experience it is just so easy to buy colourful fabrics on vacation because that is what you see everywhere and all the time. So this time, anytime I was buying a piece of fabric I tried to imagine what I would sew from it and and where I would wear it.

Therefore I bought two pieces of ikat cotton (probably woven manually) - one in black and one in dark green. I have barely 1 meter of each, fortunately they are quite large. So I had the great idea to sew a little dress I could wear just before the weather gets really autumny and cold.

Of course, not thinking that a large ikat would probably mean pattern matching.

I used the same combination of patterns as on this dress. Actually, it is one of my big summer favourites, so creating a similar one for a different season just seemed like a good idea. I managed to cut the skirt with the same pattern and then only had very little for the top pieces. So the skirt is ok-ish, but the front and back of the top are not quite the same. Oh well, I will have to live with that, because it was either that or not sewing the dress at all.

I hesitated little bit what colour to keep around the waist and in the end went with black - that means no need for pattern matching between the skirt and the top and also - better have the slimming black where I need it.

The dress came together rather quickly - I cut it out on Friday evening and finished on Saturday evening and that includes a little correction on the fit in the waist area (once the dress was almost ready, I released the back darts by 1cm each).
The pattern is very simple, no sleeves insertion, only the invisible zip on the back. The dress is of course lined with a fine black silk - once you get used to this luxury it is hard not to continue.

All in all, it is a great basic dress, goes with black, as well as grey. And it got already worn - shall I wish for more?

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Pre-Vacation Madness

Soooo, I had new trousers ready for my vacation (and still 5 days to go). The problem was that when going through my stash I dag out also this fabric which was only "screaming vacation in Asia" (and yes, it comes from the same fabric haul in Indonesia). Is is bright orange-green-gold cotton, again a fabric I will probably not wear to the office.

But I could not leave for Thailand without sewing something from it.

Knowing that I only had a few evenings ahead of me and also all packing to do, I opted for a simple dress which should ressemble Burda 125 from 05/2015: empire top and a large skirt so I could wear it and not be too hot.

I quickly muslined the top, decided that a larger one would definitely be better. For the skirt I just cut a rectangle from the remaining fabric and pinned the pleats on myself.

Two days later I had a cute little dress. Do not get me wrong, I totally love complicated sewing projects but this little piece was marvelous - I was never too hot in it and the skirt is quite long so I was not afraid of showing anything whatsoever if a little wind came around. When checking the pictures I might get back to it and shorten the skirt little bit. Or not.... we will see.

If you count correctly, you must have realized I still had some 3 days before leaving on vacation... :o) and you might figure out what happened next. Yes, I got to sewing again!!!!! I know, totally panicked and stressed out before and I needed to occupy my mind with something.

So here we go: another pair of pants, the same pattern as always, orange as always. Because a girl needs to have some choice. This pair served mainly as my airplane pants. I still hesitate if it looks too much as pyjama pants here, but I did not care, I like them and they were perfect for the travel.

And yes, this is the end of the story. I sewed 3 garments in like a week - the proof that you can, if you really want. And I will have to because I brought several meters (29 to be exact) of silks and wools from Thailand - such great choice and such great prices I just could not resist. So off to work....

PS: after getting back home, I used the remnant of the last pair of pants to whip up a pair of shorts to extend my collection of homewear. Nothing special to write about, I used my more than true-and-tested pattern.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Summer Trousers with Dragons

No, I did not get mad and yes, I did wear them outside of my bedroom.

It all started the last week-end before my yearly vacation. I had decided not to stress out and not to start any sewing project (big or small) before leaving on vacation because, coming back to it after 3 weeks means that I forget everything and also, it is easy to start a summer project beginning of August which you just have totally no interest in finishing beginning September when the weather gets colder again.

So I just sewed a little Kobo reader pocket. And started reading my tourist guide. That's where I realized that I had no trousers to wear on the flights (a few of them planned during the 3 weeks' vacation) or to the buddhist temples. I panicked and had to sew one.

Fortunately, I found this fabric in my stash. It comes from my trip to Indonesia two years ago where I bought many batiks or batik-similar stuff in full colours, the type of fabric I can only use for home-wear of pyjamas, as there is absolutely no place else I could wear this on a regular basis in my ordinary life. Except for - a vacation in Asia, there you go!!!!

The fabric was sold as cotton, but after sewing it, I am pretty sure there is some viscose content as well. Never mind, that is fine for what I intended to sew with it.

I used the only real trousers pattern I took time to adjust to my butt - already sewn here as pyjama trousers and it worked perfectly. Just what I needed - lightly large trousers with pockets. This time, I put large elastic in the back, secured it on the sides and in the back center seam and kept the lacing only for the front. There is a little bit of volume in the trousers and I find that on the previous model they fell off easily and the fabric does not distribute evenly between the sides and between the back and the front. The fixed elastic solved quite some of these problems.

For a little moment I was considering pattern matching but I definitely did not have enough fabric to use so not such a thing could happen :o) Also, the fabric had a very specific orange border which I almost managed to avoid (and used for pockets inside), there is only a little piece of it visible on the inseam - the the density of the orange dragons is bigger than elsewhere. Again, I think I can totally live with that.

I must say that I was really happy with these trousers and wore them on our Mekong cruise as I was slightly afraid of mosquitos and sunburn. And they will work well as home trousers as well.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Big Quilting Project

I am not gone for vacation, but I started an enormous project beginning of July which only got finished this week-end.
A few month ago I decided to make a large bed patchwork cover, I spent my spring finding the right supplies and bought some missing black fabric during my last fabric shopping. I have sewed enough summer clothes to have something to wear to the office. All stars have been aligned so I could start the patchwork.

I decided to do a simple post-stamp patchwork and for the other side, as I had different pieces of black fabric, I added some colour pieces as well. The size is 216*170cm.
Cutting out this part was quick and easy.

Then I spent a week cutting some 1770 little squares (there is a whole shoebox of them)

Then I spent another week assembling all of the little pieces together.

And yet another week quilting the whole thing.
Honestly, I did not imagine it would take so much time: according to my count, I spent 38 hours on this project; that is an equivalent of 3 line dresses.

The great thing of this project is the fact that it used up a lot of fabric. Like really A LOT. Over 8m, according to my excel. I not only used the whole of black cotton, but some batiks bought in Indonesia two years ago which I loved but could not possibly imagine a piece of clothing made from them.
Also, you know when you have like 30-40 cm of fabric left from a project which obviously cannot be turned into even the smallest top but you just do not have the heart to throw it away.
All this went into the patchwork, yay !!!! The downside is that as of now, I will never ever throw away a piece of cotton which could possibly go into any future patchwork :o)
And yes, it is official, my living room is not big enough!

But back to the bed cover: once everything was assembled, I only quilted in vertical stripes to attach all three layers and then sewed the hem. I was quite overhelmed by the size of the thing because let's be honest, I only sew for myself, and all my clothes are rather small so manipulating 2m of fabric around my sewing machine was a challenge for me.

At first I only wanted to fill half of the stripes, but when I saw the result, I decided all of them need to be quilted which was a good one but meant I had to spend almost one more week-end finishing the quilting.

Being a total beginner, I tried to vary the patterns as much as possible, some being rather easy, or close to the border so much easier to manipulate the fabric and do the pattern, some were just long and complicated. Again: I am not used to such amounts of fabric around me and I only have a standard sewing machine, no walking foot or any other quilting perks.

Final verdict: I am extremely happy I finished it and very satisfied with the result. The cover fills perfectly its role (now I only need to sew a cushion cover to go with it :o), I really like the colour combination and I learned a lot about quilting and patchworks.

Here you can see how my guest/piano room looks like right now.

And one last - as with every thingI sew, my BF asked me to put it on so he can take photos of it :o)