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!

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.