Friday, 5 January 2018

Otter space dress

Hello in 2018! 

It's good to start the year right so I thought I would blog for a change. 2017 was a bad year for sewing - I lost my sewjo, went on longish holiday and when I got back I had to focus heavily on studying for my exams. I still made some clothes but took no photos and no blogging happened. This year I'm hoping on sewing more and hopefully also blogging regularly. Oh, and keeping better sewing notes so I know exactly what I made and when.

Anyway, back in October I needed something to keep me motivated - I was studying for hours and hours after work and my spirits were low. I decided that a new piece of fabric was what I needed! I visited our local craft store Made Marion and found the most amazing cotton print - otters chilling in space on teal background (fabric designed by Tula Pink). 

I had the perfect pattern for this fabric - the Chai dress by Itch to Stitch has been released few months before and I got it the moment I saw it. I have a weakness for shirt dresses and I really like Itch to Stitch patterns - they fit me very well and they come with different cup sizes which means no FBA required! 

The hardest part of making this dress was actually cutting it - I wanted the print to match across the bodice front which meant making sure that all 6 pattern pieces are cut the right way. Surprisingly this took forever! The front is pretty well matched - not perfectly but I can live with it.

I chose size 16 with a D-cup. I only made one change - I shortened the sleeves. Initially I wanted to make a sleeveless dress but after couple of tries with a bias bind finish I just couldn't get it to sit nicely, hence the sleeves. The pattern is designed well and the fit is pretty good - I could have sized down in the waist and I was contemplating making size 14 with a DD-cup but decided against that - mainly because I can always take the dress in but it's much harder to make  it bigger ;) The instructions were very clear and I followed most of them but I used Four Square Walls method for sewing the collar - I find it less fiddly and gives me nicer finish than the method suggested in the instructions.

I'm very pleased with this dress- I love the shape! The dress gets a lot of comments, especially when people realise the print is space otters :) I'm thinking about making another one, maybe in solid, drapey fabric but I need to search my stash first - I'm going to try to reduce the insane amount of fabric in my house!

 Photos were taken by amazing Emma :) Some photos of details to follow!

Monday, 16 October 2017

Denim classic

What do you do when you just had one exam and the second one is coming in a couple of days? Of course that's the best time to write a blog post! The photos have been ready for few months but things got crazy, partially thanks to above mentioned exams. Anyway, I made a classic denim skirt with a little twist.

The pattern is Alberta skirt from Sew House Seven which I made before. I also mentioned that I would make a million of them - two is a good start! I omitted pockets again - this time due to lack of fabric. I didn't pay any attention to instructions as I thought they were counterintuitive. I reshaped the waistband - fancy name for shaving off 0.5 cm from the top of the waistband side seams! It fits much better now.

The fabric came from lovely Kat - some time ago she invited few sewing friends to de-clutter her stash. On a side note, I probably need to the same because I swear my stash is multiplying! 
Anyway, I got this denim with quite coarse texture and it was just enough for this skirt, hence no pockets. When it came to choosing a zipper I realised that an invisible would not work with the fabric. I went back to my zip drawer and found a bronze metal zip which just the right length. Obviously it would have been better if it was double-ended one but I had to work with what I had.

In the end I think this is a pretty successful make - a nice classic skirt that is not boring. The top is also made by me, Kirsten kimono tee by Maria Denmark. It has never made public appearance other than these photos, somehow it's just doesn't work. I guess that happens.

Anyway, I should probably stop procrastinating and go back to study ;)

Wednesday, 28 June 2017


By now we all know that I'm not the best at regular blogging. Still, to my utmost surprise I made it to the list of Top 100 Dressmaking Blogs and Websites for Dressmakers, Tailors and Custom Sewers. There are so many amazing and bloggers listed there so go and have a look if you need some sewing inspiration. The super talented Leimomi, a fellow member part of WSBN (Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network) is listed there as well - well done us!

So to celebrate I decided to write a blog post! How very fitting, right? The subject is not too exciting though - my millionth version of Astoria top with altered neckline and short sleeves.  I also extended it by about 15 cm so I could wear it with jeans. I don't think I will ever stop sewing Astorias, it's one of these patterns that just keep giving!

The best part of this T-shirt is that it's covered in dinosaurs! The fabric can be found at good old Spotlight. Unfortunately the fabric quality leaves much to be desired. It will probably not last long but I am going to enjoy every minute of wearing it!

Also, since I don't post here too often you can follow me on Instagram and see all the sewing, cooking, travelling and other silly-billy things!

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Little blue skirt

In my last post I mentioned that I got the same fabric in two colorways so here it is - my little blue skirt. Exactly the same fabric in beautiful deep royal blue - my absolutely favourite colour.  I think I might be using the left side of the fabric, last time intentionally, this time because I got distracted! I accidentally sewn the darts on the wrong side and I just kept going. It was supposed to be a wearable muslin anyway. 

The pattern is Alberta Pencil Skirt from Sew House Seven sans pockets. I bought it some time ago in a pattern bundle. After hearing Nina praising this pattern I finally decided to give it a go... and there will be about a million more of them in my future! It's the perfect pencil skirt pattern, especially for an office worker like me!

Just so you know I did have a few issues with this pattern. Unless I missed something in the instructions, there is nothing there about printing only selected pages for certain sizes. I printed the whole file and there were about 6 or more pages that I didn't need at all - what a waste! The other thing were the instructions - they felt very counter-intuitive. According to them, the yokes should be attached to skirt parts first, then back of the skirt put together, side seam and then remaining yokes. I messed up the split in my skirt - I got a bit confused! Next time I will just follow what feels right - side seams, yokes, zip and back of the skirt. I also need to work on my invisible zips - this one is not very invisible where the waistband joins the skirt. 

I am super happy with this skirt! It looks good with tops and shirts and it is very comfortable to wear. It is a bit wrinkly but I've been wearing it a lot!

Monday, 3 April 2017

The sea of turquoise

It's not a secret that I love all shades of blue although I don't often wear turquoise. And then I saw this beautiful jacquard fabric and I could not help myself. I actually have this fabric in royal blue as well.

The dress is actually a mash up of Sew Many Dresses off the shoulder bodice and Simplicity 1880. I really wanted to make something using one of the sewing books I own. Somehow I never remember about them when I want to make new clothes! It would be a pity to have these books just sitting on my shelf! I picked up "Sew Many Dresses" mainly because the patterns were attached in a paper form. There are quite a few gorgeous options in there. I like the whole "mix&match" thing. The books also shows the basic dart and pattern manipulations to get the desired look. 

I did have issues and I'm not really happy with the fit of this dress. I chose size 8 in the waist and graded up to size 9 in the bust. The off the shoulder part caused me a lot of headache! Firstly the shoulder seam angle was (and still is) wrong. Secondly it was way too loose across and it was gaping terribly. I've tried taking it in at the seams but it was not helping much. As I finished the edge off with bias binding, I have also tried easing the bodice in with little improvement. Finally I decided to add couple of darts at the neckline. Not happy with the solution but it kind of worked. The instructions are not too very great when it comes to finishing the dress - I opted for bias binding but was not sure on how to finish the armholes. After trial and error I have sewn the bottom of the armhole as I would normally do. The top edge was machine stitched to the dress and then stitched by hand so it's not visible one the outside. 

I should have lined the dress. It would look much nicer and hopefully that would be enough to fix the back wrinkle issues. This dress surprisingly gets tons of compliments and I always feel a bit weird hearing them! I mean it's ok when people like things I made well but to me this one is just not good enough. I probably won't be wearing it often. But I think I learnt a few things so there's that!

The armhole finish (my overlocker had tension issues but I've only noticed it after it was all done!)

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Snow white Astoria

Astoria is one of these patterns that needs no introductions - it seems that everyone has made at least one, I am no exception. In fact I made 5 of them (one already retired) but only one made it to the blog! Don't worry, I will catch up!

Astoria is supposed to be boat-neck cropped top but that doesn't really suit me much. I have modified the pattern to have shallow crew neckline and extended front and back pieces by 5 cm. It's still a bit short but works well with skirts and higher jeans. The sleeves are hemmed with triple zigzag stitch.

The fabric came from one of the fabric sales. It's some sort of poly-cotton knit with a nice texture. Easy to sew and  has nice recovery.  

The photos were taken at Castlepoint on the east coast of the North Island. Such an amazing place! New Zealand will never stop dazzling me with its beauty!

Monday, 2 January 2017

Favourite make

Finally my favourite make of 2016 made it to the blog! I have been meaning to write about this dress for a while but life got in the way, as it does from time to time.  It's one of those dresses that makes me feel sexy and good about myself the moment I put it on. I think everyone needs at least one piece of clothing like that!

The pattern is from Burda 10/2012 #118. I made it few times before (here and here) and I love them all. As usual I skipped the darts in the back in favour of more waist shaping and extended the facing by 5 cm to make it sit below the bust not across it. I played with the length of the sleeves but kept the original hem length. Because I'm quite short the dress is knee length but it grows to midi-length due to my fabric choice.

The fabric is the softest rayon knit ever with nice amount of stretch to it. And it came from the fabric sale so the total cost of my dress is about $7! The only problem was that my sewing machine hated it with a passion. It was made mostly on overlocker but the hems had to be sewn by my machine. The easiest way would be to use twin needle but the walking feet doesn't play nicely with them. So I went for triple zigzag stitch and it's kind of ok. No one really pays attention to hems anyway, right?

I made this dress back in August and it was worn to my firm's 120th anniversary. I apologize for the photo overload but in was one of the rare cases when all the photos turn out great so I'm having trouble to choose only a handful - not a bad problem to have!

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Little Blue Dress

It's almost mid-November already and I was hoping that my merino dresses would be put aside and wait for next winter... Silly me! It's still cold and I've been living in my merino dresses. I guess spring just decided to skip New Zealand this year! I hope that summer will be stunning to make up for the shity spring we are having now!

Anyway, in winter I prefer close-fitting dresses - it means I can wear more layers to keep myself warm. I decided I needed a simple, lengthened T-shirt dress in my wardrobe and then found perfect merino piece bought over a year ago at Levana in Levin. The pattern I used is Tonic Tee by SBCC and it used to be free to download - now you have to subscribe to receive Tonic Tee and Tonic 2. Now that I think of it I might have used Tonic 2 as the base of my pattern! I need to take proper sewing notes as I can't remember what I made few months ago.

Obviously I lengthened it as much as my fabric would allow. It ended up being too long for my liking so I cut off like 20 cm... Unfortunately I didn't measure anything and just kind of eyeballed where to cut. Guess what? It got so short it wouldn't be decent anywhere, especially not in the office! I had to  use the cut-off piece and make it into a band to make the dress longer.  To make the fit of the dress better I had to take it in around the waistline and then taper the bottom a bit more. I made the neckline deeper as well.

It's one of those very basic dresses but I ended up wearing it quite a lot in winter months. Combined with a black jacket/cardi, slip and thick black tights, this dress was pretty good in the office. And what's most importatnt, it kept me really warm!