Sunday, 28 August 2016

Winter star

When I bought this merino and nylon blend remnant at Levana last year I thought of making a spring/autumn top, maybe a dress? It is quite thin, almost see through so I never suspected it to be too warm. Boy, I was so wrong! I wore this dress on the coldest days we had this winter and it kept me nice and warm!

Initially I wanted to make Kielo Dress with this fabric but when I started going through my patterns I found Burda 10/2012 #118 already traced. I actually made it once before, just few months in my sewing adventure and my fabric choice wasn't that great and the dress ended up being way too tight. Anyway, this time the outcome is pretty good :)

Since I made the dress in knit with a nice amount of stretch I skipped the zip and the darts. Instead I just took the dress in a bit around the waist. Almost everything was sewn with my overlocker so it was a breeze to make! I hemmed my dress using triple zigzag - twin needle and my walking foot don't work well together. I also shortened it by 10 cm or so. The main problem with this dress - because there is always a problem! - is that I forgot the pattern needs seam allowances! I usually trace Burda patterns with allowances added but that wasn't the case when I just started sewing. In a result the dress is a bit clingy - it has to be worn with a slip but I only got one after taking the photos.

The dress has been in high rotation over past two months. I absolutely love it and I will miss it over the summer! But I don't worry as I seem to be a bit obsessed with this pattern and it will show up on the blog again in the near future ;)

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Winter coat

I can feel spring in the air so it's probably time I blogged about my winter coat! I made a WINTER COAT! Can you tell I'm very excited about it? It's probably my most advanced and complicated make yet. Not perfect but it keeps me warm and I absolutely love it!

I wanted to make a longer coat with high collar and slightly military style. Burda 12/2012 #104 was just perfect! I got a PDF pattern and it was surprisingly nice to work with - no need for tracing the pattern is always good ;) I cut size 44 and decided to make a muslin. The overall fit was spot on but I had some issues with the sleeves. Once the sleeves were in, I wasn't able to move my arms much in any direction...not ideal. It took me a while to figure out what to do but when I found this post on Ikat Bag blog everything became clear. I lowered the head of the sleeve by 5 cm and kept the same seam length. It worked like a charm!

As usual with Burda, I had an issue with the instructions provided. They were only marginally better than "sew the pieces of the coat together." After reading them I decided I'm better off relying on my own experience. It actually went well! Turns out that sewing a coat is not much different than sewing a dress - it just has a few more pieces. In this case around 40 of them! As my fabric is almost the same on both sides I used masking tape to label the pieces and seam numbers.

The fabric is some sort of the woolen mix I got on sale. The lining was originally going to be bright yellow but my fabric was way too delicate. After going trough my stash I found a piece of silk taffeta from The Fabric Store that worked well. It's slippery, feels really good and I absolutely love the colours. The amazing metal buttons come from Made Marion - the best craft shop in Wellington :)

I'm quote proud of myself. The coat is super wearable, keeps me warm and doesn't look bad. I made my first bound buttonholes and I was amazed how easy they are to make. And then I realized the problem is to make them all look the same! Mine are a bit wonky, I'm not going to lie here ;) I'm a bit angry with myself that I listened to Burda and only interface the facings... After a couple of months of wearing my coat the front got a bit out of shape. I think a good steaming session will fix it but it could have been prevented with interfacing the whole front. Lesson learnt! Other than that I think my first coat is pretty awesome!

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Green leopard

I made another Kimono Tee.  What a surprise, right?  It's my third, unless you count the dress version and I don't think it's going to be my last.  It is such a lovely T-shirt pattern! 

I used some mysterious knit I got in Masterton last year. I love the colour and I do have a thing for animal prints but it's quite hard to find good ones! There is really not much more I can write about this pattern. It's size M with 10 cm FBA and hand-stitched neckband. The only regret in making this top is not paying enough attention to pattern placement. I was sure I had it centered... I am a bit gutted but I think I've learnt my lesson! Anyway, the top is now on the bottom of my dresser under all sorts of merino/wool clothes... Winter just got serious in here!

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Space Invaders dress

Can you tell I'm super excited about this dress? It has Space Invaders! How cool is that?  I found this fabric at Levana in Levin last year. I only got a meter and initially it was going to be a hoodie or a casual top. The fabric is a bit weird - it was oddly stiff (luckily it got softer after a wash) when bought and the pattern is actually printed on white fabric! It doesn't look good when stretched. When at Levana I also got this green cotton jersey - it provided the best match for the space invaders fabric.

One evening, just after finishing my first Philippa dress I decided I needed more dresses like that in my wardrobe. After going through my stash I found several fabric combinations that would work well. You might see this pattern made up few more times ;) Since both of my fabrics are stretchy I omitted the zip and cut the back on fold. I finished the neckline and armholes with bands made of green jersey. And because I used the overlocker to put it together my new dress was ready to wear in about an hour! I love when that happens!

I wish I used clear elastic to reinforce the seams. They tend to sag a little bit. For that reason the pockets are not super usable. But it's not really going to make me stop wearing this dress - I love it! It also receives a lot of comments once people realize it Space Invaders ;)
Big thanks to Kat and Kirsten - we met to have brunch, took some photos, visited The Fabric Store and Wellington Chocolate Factory. Because one thing we love as much as sewing is chocolate!

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Day in the office

Let me tell you a secret - every girl need a silk blouse! You put in on and feel like you can do anything! So when I know I'm going to have a tough day in the office this blouse is my secret weapon!

The blouse was made using the vintage inspired pussy bow pattern from the Great British Sewing Bee book. It is my second make using a pattern from that book - both are quite successful! The instructions are amazing, I didn't have any problems putting the blouse together. There are only two things I'd change if I ever make this top again - the instructions don't tell you to interface the edges where the buttons and buttonholes go. It looks a bit messy! The other thing I completely missed is the fact the blouse is designed to have drop shoulders. They never look good on me, so I had to adjust the armhole shape. It did affect my sleeve length and they ended up on a short side. I made size 16 with no alteration other than the shoulders. Size 14 with an FBA would probably be better - I was just too lazy to adjust the pattern.

I wasn't sure if the blouse like that would suit me so I chose to make it out of some dotted charcoal silk I got during one of the fabric sales. It was my first time working with silk but it was surprisingly nice to work it. Luckily it's not of of those super-shifty ones! Microtex needles helped a lot and kept the stitching nice and even.

I do like this blouse more than I expected I would! I usually wear the ties loose, I think it works better for me that way. I also learnt a bit about handling more slippery and delicate fabric that I'm not used to. So I guess it is a win-win for me - I got a nice silk blouse that cost me under $10 and learnt a lot during the process!

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Sweet dreams!

First thing first - I'm not a pyjamas person to be honest. I'm more of a T-shirt kind of girl when it comes to sleeping. I can't ever remember last time I had a set of matching pyjamas! Although I think this might change soon!

During last fabric sale I spotted some cotton covered in pineapples and right away I knew it was going to become pyjamas. I wanted something classic -  buttoned top and cuffed bottom. I immediately thought about Carolyn Pajamas by Closet Case Files. Within a day the pattern was printed and taped and the fabric was cut. It's unusual for me, usually both patterns and fabrics have to mature a little bit in my stash before I use them ;)

I made size 14 but followed the lines for size 16 on the outside thigh seams. The fit is pretty good - my pyjamas are loose enough to comfortably move around in bed but not overly baggy. I wanted to have cuffed sleeves and bottoms but the length turn out to be just right without them and I just couldn't be bothered. Sometimes I am so lazy!

I am really happy I went ahead with piping. It was my first time using it and it turn out pretty well. I expected piping to be more fiddly to be honest! The biggest problem was caused by interfacing I used. It was super heat sensitive and there was a very fine line between the interfacing not sticking to my fabric at all and distorting and melting! So the facing and the collar are not as nice and smooth as they should. The other problem is with the facing not staying fixed in place. Next time I'll stitch it down.

I really like the finished pyjamas! Comfortable and they have pockets, and everyone knows that pockets are awesome! Pineapples are awesome too so double points for me ;)

Monday, 16 May 2016

T-shirt dress

The easiest dress there is! Take your favourite t-shirt pattern and just extend it by 30-40 cm -in this case I added 32 cm and it worked pretty well. This is another (third) version of Kimono Tee by Maria Denmark. I wasn't sure if the dress was going to be wide/stretchy enough to walk comfortably so I added splits at side seams.

The fabric is a relatively stable knit bought at the Fabric Warehouse during their 40% off sale at the beginning of the year. I was very sensible and came home with three pieces of various black fabrics and those stripes. It never happens - I'm always drawn to patterns and bright colours!

The fabric is quite nice but it's not really stretchy enough for this pattern. The armholes feel a bit tight and there are drag lines that annoy me! Also, I'm still debating adding darts - the idea was to have a loose dress but there is little bit too much fabric in the back.  As usual I finish the neckline by hand and used twin needle to finish the armholes and hem the dress.

Overall, the dress is highly wearable and paired with a jacket or a blazer is one of the most comfortable office outfits I have.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

New favourite!

Philippa dress by Muse Patterns is definitely my new favourite dress to wear. If it was acceptable I'd wear it every single day! It's not a secret that I am a huge fan of Muse patterns. Kat is a brilliant designer and there is always something interesting and different about her patterns. I was a tester for Philippa and it definitely boosted my sewjo - having the deadline really made me push myself. 

Muse patterns

Muse patterns always come with multiple options. My Philippa is collared with cut-away shoulders and pockets - because pockets are awesome. I also cut mini length. If you look closely enough you will see that my dress has a shoulder "design feature". Do you want a sewing tip? When using oddly-shaped leftover fabric from a different project make sure that you lay your pattern pieces over two layers of fabric! I only realized that one of my shoulders is missing after assembling side panels and stitching side seams. I needed a creative fix so I used black fabric to create mini-yokes to cover my mistake. But no one will know by by just looking :D

Since the sizing has changed for Muse patterns I spent a moment figuring out my size. My measurements put me between size 36 and 38. Since the dress is supposed to be fitted I decided to make size 38 with a D-cup option. I did end up taking the dress in around my waist - I deepened the front seams by 4-5 cm. That was pretty much the only adjustment I made*. Next time I will lower the bust point by 1-1,5 cm. And yes, there will be next time, probably many next times! 

* I lied, sorry! I completely forgot that the first change I did was shortening the bodice by 3,5 cm just above the waistline! I'm only 160 cm and Muse patterns are drafted for taller ladies :)

I used an abstract print cotton sateen bought at the fabric sale last year for my main fabric. I paired it up with some black polyester that has very similar qualities - slightly stretchy and with nice sheen to it. The design is perfect for contrasting fabrics! What I absolutely love is the collar. They usually make me look very top-heavy but not this one! I guess it is because the neckline is a bit lower that normally in the collared tops or dresses.

Anyway, if you can't already tell - I absolutely love this dress! And every single time I wore it I got compliments, including a completely random person on the street telling me that my dress was awesome! Not a bad outcome, right?