still here

as the title says, i am still here! slightly surprised to see how long it has been since my last post (almost a year ago?? yikes!), but on the other hand, not really.

last year, after feeling like i had learned pretty much all i could (on my own) on sewing, i tried something completely new and it became an ongoing project for me. if you have been following my blog for years, you could probably guess what it is. other than that, i traveled, spent most of my time with my dearest family and friends, and yes, i still sewed. so you see, nothing special, and nothing new.

but rather than concentrating on my absence from this part of the virtual world, let’s make the most of this post as a proof that i am actually still here, shall we? 😁 because this will be a long one, and all about my last year’s sewing projects. take a deep breath… and, go!

not long after the pancake top, i sewed this kimono.

self-made kimono and necklace, New Yorker t-shirt, Esmara pants.

at least it was supposed to be a kimono, but because of my miscalculation of how much fabric i needed, it looks more like a cardigan. but it’s okay, i still like it. it’s made of cotton lace and i didn’t use any pattern, only cut squares the same way as i did this. this kimono was even more easy to sew, since i used the selvedges as the hems. there is also no seam at the sides, because i. was. lazy. (when have i not been?)

 

i took a little break from sewing after that, and instead i made these earrings for a co-worker’s birthday present, using paper leather (the silver parts), real leather (the hot pink parts), and embroidery thread (the tassel parts).

but after seeing the cute little button-up shirts everywhere in shops in Krakow, it made me want to sew one. so when i found this cute fabric that reminded me of the zoo, i knew i had to make one.

self-made shirt and earrings, Gerry Weber culottes.

for the shirt parts, i didn’t use any pattern and only made a T shape for the back side, and same for the front parts but with added allowance for the button plackets. for the collar, i took the shape and measurement from Burda pattern no. 7936 and edited the front parts’ neck parts accordingly. i confidently thought 70 cm of this viscose fabric was enough, but ‘miscalculation’ is my middle name, so i again didn’t have enough fabric to make the collar stand. what was a silly girl to do but to make it from another fabric? i chose this flamingo one because the material is the same as the zoo one and because it has flamingos!

i loved the outcome so much, i made a pair of earrings to go with the shirt (made out of paper leather and embroidery thread)….

… and then made another button-up shirt the same way. except this time, i had a bit more of the fabric (actually, i got this fabric for free from my co-worker J), which is viscose satin, so i played around with the stripes and made it slightly bigger than the zoo shirt.

self-made shirt, Pull & Bear jeans.

yeah, i think i was watching season 3 of Stranger Things series during that time. πŸ˜† it was such a pain in the a*s to sew this fabric though, i was just super glad and proud of myself for finishing it!

so when i saw this eclair fabric, at first i was also thinking of making it into the same kind of shirt. but in the end i decided to do something else… and learned for the first time how to sew with elastic thread. it wasn’t as scary as i thought, but again with my infamous miscalculation, i ended up with super wide sleeves/ruffles at first when i could’ve done them with half the width and twice the height. so to avoid looking ridiculous, i cut each of the sleeves to two and attached 2 on each side of the blouse, to create a somewhat tierred effect.

self-made top and culottes.

i did not use any pattern for this either, only copied the neckline of a ready-made t-shirt so that i don’t need any button/zipper. i used 80 cm of viscose fabric.

another free-fabric sewing project i made last year was this starry dress. i wondered why i hadn’t made anything else out of this pattern, and at that time it seemed like a good idea to make it using this denim-like jersey fabric. i added some sleeves, just like the last time, but from a different pattern this time (i honestly can’t remember what pattern i used for the sleeves).

self-made dress.

only after the dress was done did i remember why i hadn’t made anything else out of that pattern. the arm holes in the original pattern are so big and the neckline so low, i should’ve edited them better. i did remember to make the neckline higher, but the sleeves pattern i used had been one that was supposed to be attached on a wider shoulder instead of a 5 cm wide shoulder part. so when i tried on the dress, it looked like it had raglan sleeves. sigh.

i wore it anyway to my workplace (and have been wearing it now many times), and had always only heard praises from my co-workers, so either it actually looked okay or my co-workers were all lying to me. i prefer the first option. πŸ˜‹

last year i also sew a few things for people other than myself.

the first one was this broderie anglaise top (fully lined) for my husband’s aunt. she provided the fabrics, but the cotton eyelet fabric was only 60 long and about 120 cm wide, i had to be creative on what to make for her as she was a lot taller than me. i finally convinced her that this pattern would work for her, and thankfully she loved the outcome.

the second and third sewing project for others were these twist-tops. they were done the same way as i did this top, just a different variation of the sleeves. while the smaller one succeeded impeccably, the second one is still (even now) on the mend because it turned out to be slightly too long and bulky at the front. let’s hope i’ll be able to finish it this year! πŸ˜…

i also made this name tag/card holder thing for a small Christmas party gift for one of my co-workers. the backside works as a reflector, as well!

there were other things i sewed, like a footstool cover and a set of monitor/printer/keyboard covers which i did not document, but this last one i am about to tell you, as you could probably guess, is the grand finale, the pinnacle of it all! because… i almost died making this last one. 😭 (only metaphorically, thank heavens.)

self-made dress, Mango earrings, Apple watch, COS shoes.

so i started sewing this dress on 29th of December last year, thinking that i would finish it in 2 days, max. the fabric is viscose satin, but very lightweight, almost like silk. this was a special project, you see, because i was going to wear it to a friend’s wedding this year. it was my second time trying to make a long dress that is not jersey, and more like a formal dress. so to be safe, i chose a tried and true pattern from Breaking the Pattern book, the Solina pattern.

i did everything the same way as i did for this one, except now that i knew that the seam allowances were included in the pattern, i didn’t add any. also, of course, i added the length and made the slit at the front just like the original pattern instructed. instead of ribbons, i used a glittery elastic band for the gathering at the front.

day one, i sewed up to the point where i inserted the zipper… and that was the first time i noticed that everything was not okay. the zipper at the back was all wonky, i had to redo it. ripping out the seams of the zipper alone took me about half an hour, because of this delicate fabric. it seemed okay after i took in a LOT of the backside, but something was still not sitting right with the neckline.

day two, i continued with the hem of the dress, and even this i had to do twice. the first time i did it, i sewed too close to the edge that the seam allowance of the hem kept rolling outwards, showing its existence to the whole world, ugh. so i again had to rip out the seam, the whole of the hem this time. nice. so far i had collected probably about 5 meters of the ripped thread just for redoing the seams. after the hem was redone, and thankfully it looked so much nicer, it was time for me to revisit the horrible neckline. i finally came to the conclusion that there was only one thing i could do: cut off the facing under the neckline and armholes.

because of the super slippery nature of the fabric, the facing had to be sewn very precisely. and sadly, this was something i failed to do. since the fabric also stretched when i ironed the interfacing, the facing became slightly bigger than the neckline/armholes, and when they were sewn together, the whole upper part of the dress just looked ill-fitting. i was not going to fight with it anymore, or ripped the seams again, so that was why i cut the whole facing… which meant i had to redo the zipper part, again, for the third time. (and for this one, there was no other way but to rip the seams. oh. my. goodness.)

day three went solely to fixing the neckline and everything else caused by it. i made a new facing which would only be for the neckline, and decided to finish the armholes using satin bias tape. after that, and ONLY after that, i redid the zipper. then, finally, after they were all in place, i tried the dress on again to see if the facing was still bothering the top part. it seemed okay, and i sewed the facing edges on the shoulder seams and at the front by hand so that they would stay in place. the neckline was a lot wider than the original one, and i thought it still looked so unprofessional, but i was so exhausted.

i gave up sewing this dress right before 6 pm on new year’s eve, and i didn’t want to see the dress anymore. i only put it inside my closet and let myself cool down from all the stress.

i spent a few days trying to find some other dress to wear to the wedding, but i couldn’t find anything that made me want to wear it. there was always something wrong with what i saw: wrong shape, wrong material. the problem was, i guess, i really loved that fabric that i bought. i had imagined myself wearing it, tackling the sewing problem. i was so disappointed at myself.

so after seeing what the ready-to-wear clothing stores had to offer, i finally braved myself to see the dress i made once again. just like magic, it suddenly didn’t look as bad as i first thought anymore. i put on my high heels, and earrings, and… i fell in love with the dress.

some movements still make the neckline fall in a weird way, and the zipper still sometimes becomes wonky (and i learned afterwards that it might be because i didn’t reinforce the fabric with interface where the zipper was sewn in. silly mistake), but at least it looked like me. πŸ’• and the best thing of it all was, i made it myself.

i had so many problems sewing this dress, and i overcame them all. it may not be perfect, but it’s beautiful. and i’ve decided now that i will wear this dress to go to that wedding party.

and so ended my 2019 sewing adventures. when i am no longer awfully busy, i will probably compile my usual ‘my year xxxx in sewing’ to post here. maybe one day.

but rest assured, i am still here. i still sew, i still bake, and i still write. πŸ–€ i hope you are all having a wonderful 2020 so far!

9 thoughts on “still here

  1. I’m always amazed at your creativity, your persistence, your resourcefulness in tackling problems. Really awesome! My thumbs up to that!! ❀ (and I always can't help but chuckle and smile every time I read about your sewing "adventures" ….)
    I love each and every one of your projects. The "grand finale" is really wonderful, I also like the stripey top, the kimono; and the starry dress is very inspiring πŸ™‚ The twist tops are fascinating.
    Keep it up, dear! ❀ ❀

    • thanks! yes, sometimes i amaze myself, too. πŸ˜‚ looking back at some of my past sewing projects, i can’t believe how i kept going and didn’t just give up. hopefully i never will. because the will to wear it (whatever it is i’m making) is usually much stronger than the temptation of giving up. ❀

  2. Wow, they are pretty and the last dress that full of struggle also looks gorgeous on you. Indeed, sometimes we need time to change the perspective. Looking forward to your next writing

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