when life is ‘so sew’

before we start: I FOUND THE CLASSIC EDITOR BUTTON!!!! i’m so happy! hooray!

alright, now we move on to the next exciting topic, which is no longer a surprise if you’ve read my post early this year… that is: i’ve been sewing again. 🥲

the real chronology of things is that i was happily sewing earlier this year. when i had my winter holiday, i sewed 4 things (2 of which will be featured here in this post) and thought for sure i was gonna be sewing once a month at least from that point onwards.

but that wasn’t what happened.

as mentioned on my previous post, i had mental health problems which made me lose my appetite, not only toward food, but also toward sewing. it wasn’t nice. but it wasn’t the first time i had it either, as old readers of this blog might have noticed. so i gave myself time to heal and time to rest.

it wasn’t until about 2-3 weeks ago that i finally got the will and strength to pick up my sewing hobby again. in a matter of a week, i sewed 6 items of clothing. 😱 i haven’t taken pics of all of the newer ones–i need another form of will and strength for that–but with that kind of achievement, i now finally feel ready to post about my previous sewing projects (the ones i made in winter). just 2 of them per post, so this post won’t be too long.

the very first project i made this year was nothing ‘extra special’, but it was out of necessity.

it’s a fanny pack. it’s a necessity for me at work, as i need to have all kinds of tools with me all the time! and it was my very first time trying to sew a real, functional fanny pack, so of course it wasn’t all trouble-free. (btw, in case you’re wondering, the background of the picture needed to be edited because otherwise you won’t be able to see where the fanny pack is. 😅 so sorry for the weird pic!)

anyway, i didn’t use any pattern for this, but a lot of calculations. i used a sort of awning fabric because i thought it’d be durable, but holy moly… it frays a lot! even after i serged all the edges, they still fray! 🤦🏻‍♀️

also, i’m not quite sure how it happened, but even when all my calculations were correct, i still managed to have extra length on one side of the fanny pack when i was sewing the back side, so as you can see on the above picture, there’s quite a big of a ‘folding’ on the seam between the back side and the left side part. i was too tired to fix it, and i doubt anyone will see it, so it stays that way till now.

other than those mishaps, i also sewed the elastic band inside out (you probably won’t be able to see it from the pics, which is a good thing). of course i also realized it too late and was again too lazy to fix it. i had meant to attach plastic clasp on the elastic band, but in the end… just couldn’t be bothered. 😅

when it was done, i felt quite proud of having made something like this… but couldn’t help feeling like it was too plain. so i added the ‘handmade’ label which i bought from a small haberdashery store in Krakow in 2019.

i’ve been using this pack every day now at work, but sadly it’s been fraying too much that the zippers have gotten stuck in some places. i’ll just have to sew another one with better fabric next time. well, it was good while it lasted.

my next sewing project was not made without mistakes either (after all, what am i, if not a lazy and full-of-mistakes seamstress?) but let me start off with the good things first.

self-made dress, flight socks, Zara boots.

when i saw this viscose crepe fabric, i just had to get my hands on them. i mean lions! zebras! leopards! what’s not to love? me and crazy prints belong together forever. ❤ even if the base colour is beige (me and beige do NOT usually belong together, ever).

i made this dress using the same pattern i used for this one. i even used the same lace on the back shoulder part!

i had had that previous dress for ages and only now (well, earlier this year, before i sewed this) i began to wonder why i hadn’t made any new dresses using the same pattern. it was fairly easy to make, very easy to wear, and this style seems to be trendy at the moment.

since i got about 2 meters of this fabric, it was just perfect for this project.

on the left circle up there, you can see that the topmost button is a different colour than the rest of the buttons. this was partly due to the fact that i didn’t have enough of the other buttons and partly because i saw my husband’s button-up shirt from Zara with similar design and thought it looks so cool. so i decided to copy that style. 😉

this time i wanted the hem to be longer so i won’t have to fuss around with it when i wear it to work.

having this in viscose also means that it won’t get static in the dry winter here.

looking at these pictures you might think there are absolutely no mistakes made here. well….

as you can see from the right picture above, that’s how crazy my sewing went under the collar! 😂 the first stitch did not attach the lace to the collar at all, so i had to do another stitch, which was the ugly one. and of course i decided not to take off the first stitch, because two stitches will hold better than one, right?!? and it’s under the collar all the time, so no one else but me (and you) will ever know about it. ha!

this dress went straight to my list of fave dresses to wear to work this year, so i’m very proud of it. my life right now may be just so-so, but with this newly refreshed appetite for sewing, i’m hoping to turn it into a ‘so sew’ instead. 😊

as always, thank you for reading wherever you are, and i’ll try to be back soon with some more sewing & baking stuff. have a wonderful August, everyone!

not-so-classic Provence

as you might well know, velvet was all the rage last year. from interior textiles to clothes, everything had to be in velvet. they even sold velvet swimsuits (though i can’t imagine what they would look like after you swim in them…). i wanted to jump into the velvet bandwagon, but didn’t get the chance to until now, when the velvet fever has died down.

self-made dress, Norlyn tights, Zara boots.

this Provence-style pattern captured my eyes, and though this same fabric was available in black, for some reason this beige one seemed like a better idea to me. i got the fabric, thinking i might make some leggings or pants with it, cause i wasn’t sure the beige colour works for my face. after asking my friends’ opinions (they all said this colour works fine for me) i finally had the courage to make a dress instead. and thank God i did.

first of all, let me tell you that the myth that says sewing velvet is a pain in the a** is 100% true. it IS. the ‘fur’ of the velvet is just a nightmare to work with, no matter how you try to align the fabrics from the wrong side (right sides facing each other) they will just get stuck together and you will end up with non-aligned pieces. and since this particular velvet is a knit AND polyester one, well… it stretches and becomes static all in one as well. seriously, after doing this project, i can’t see myself sewing any velvet fabric anymore, let alone imagine myself making pants/leggings out of this fabric.

but let’s move on to the good parts now, shall we?

so i used another pattern from the magic book Breaking the Pattern, called Ruska. the varieties of this pattern in the book consist of a midi-length dress, body-hugging short dress with knotted top layer, t-shirt, loose tunic/dress, and also 2 different collar band heights. i used the body-hugging short dress variety for this project but without the knotted top layer, and chose the lower collar band.

remembering the fact that when i made this dress the size 3 pattern turned out to be so big for me, i decided to read the book carefully from the beginning. guess what? it turned out that the patterns in this book already included seam allowances. 🤦🏻‍♀️ d’oh. so when i added seam allowances to that dress, it’s no wonder the end result was so big.

for this dress, though, since i wanted it to be quite body-hugging, i thought i would try the size 2… i checked the table of the finished garment measurements and also the elasticity of the fabric itself, and only then i decided it would be okay. so i did it correctly now, without adding anymore seam allowances.

the reason why i wanted the dress to be body-hugging is because i wanted to make slits on the sleeves. learning from my previous project, i found out that if the sleeves & bodice are slightly loose, the slits won’t really look neat. this time i think i finally nailed it. ❤

and after i was done making this, look what i found on Google when i typed ‘printed velvet dress’?

picture borrowed from somewhere on the internet

a somewhat-similar Maison Margiela dress! i showed this picture to my husband while wearing my self-made dress, and he said mine looks a lot better. 😏

well, i love Maison Margiela’s designs, but i have to agree with him for this one! 😎 the velvet material and the shape of my dress remind me so much of the lovely ’90s. in real life, i would probably even wear this dress with my Cat boots (since i don’t have any Doc Marts), just to add the 90’s grungy princess feel. though i have never been a beige person, i’m glad this time the colour works for me.

i am super happy and satisfied with the result, and i know i’ve made a similar vow before to never sew viscose fabric ever again (and look how well i’ve kept that vow… i’ve only broken it 1000 times), but remembering the hard work and cleaning the fluffs afterwards, i can pretty much guarantee that i won’t ever sew stretch velvet fabric anymore. good thing the velvet trend is passing away already! 😁

instant pancakes

the sewing fever has begun for me from the early days of January this year, except that i had also successfully failed them.

first i tried making a wallet from real leather (first time attempting to make a wallet AND sew real leather), but for one reason or another (wrong needle, wrong thread tightness) the result looked like a sad looking lump of skin. i even got worried that i broke my new sewing machine because of this project.

so i quickly tried sewing something else to test my machine, and chose this fun fabric i got last month.

looks super yummy right? i thought so too, which was why i decided to get the fabric. the odd thing is that the print makes it look like it suits little kids rather than a +35 year old woman, and yet the material is viscose jersey which is super flowy and usually works better for drapey dresses etc. for grown ups. but whatever, i thought, i’d still make it work somehow.

and on i sewed, without a pattern, using the same way & model as for this top, until i finished the ruffles on the hem made out of lightweight cotton denim. that was when i realized my mistake.

since the denim is a lot stiffer than the viscose jersey, the ruffles added even more strain to the bottom which made the whole ruffle part spread out like unintended tulle skirt. (it looked much worse on me than on the clothe’s hanger.)

the failure

after i gathered more energy, i took the whole ruffle part out, un-ruffled them, and had to think of a new way to still add some sort of element to the bottom of the top using the same denim fabric (because i just couldn’t let this be a pyjama top!).

i only came up with this.

self-made top, Zara Kids skirt, necklace given by A of Indonesia in My Pocket blog, earrings from Jakarta – Indonesia

even when i have taken off all the ruffles, as you can see, it still looks like the denim part spreads out of the top’s bottom instead of falling straight down. so you can imagine what the ruffled version looked like on me.

other than that bottom part, the top itself was easy to make. this time, i decided to use the decorative stitch for the sleeves as well.

i’m sort of happy with the result, even though my husband still thinks it looks like a pyjama top. well, at least it is as comfortable as a pyjama top!

and i was even happier to find out that my sewing machine was not broken after the leather wallet project, phew! so that was reason enough for my big smile.

just like instant pancakes, the result can make you fulfilled even if the taste is just so-so. this top was certainly quick to make and makes me quite contented, even if the look is just so-so.

if you disagree with me about instant pancakes and know a good brand that i should try, do drop a hint in the comments! 😀

my 2018 in sewing (late post)

first off, happy new year to everyone!

well, 2018 ended in quite a hectic way for me so i couldn’t write this post earlier. but anyways, as i had done for the past few years, here’s a recap of my 2018 in sewing.

honestly, i wasn’t expecting to sew as much as i did. with the depression, moving, and back pains etc., i had little hope that i would have enough will and energy to sew. but 14 sewing projects in a year, that was quite an achievement! 😉 (the coordinated set was put twice up there because there are 2 items, the pants and the top.)

out of these 14 items, 8 were done without pattern. the french bulldog top was done by putting an old top over the fabric and cutting the fabric straight out. the knot dress’s idea was taken from Named’s Kielo dress. the twist knot tops’ idea was taken from a Zara top.

last year i have fallen out of love and fallen back in love with sewing and clothes. who knows what will happen next in my journey of sewing, but at least having invested in a better sewing machine helped, too, in getting myself re-inspired.

with my new sewing machine, i’ve also been more inclined to learn new techniques. since my new sewing machine makes it a lot easier for me to sew things like button holes and decorative stitches, i can concentrate more on making my garment more neat and polished instead.

other than these 14 items, i actually also made 2 small pouches that i never posted. one is made for my mum by her request, and was the very first time i made a pouch with zipper. i still used my old sewing machine for that, just before i wrapped it up and sold it.

the other one was my very first project with my new sewing machine, a test run, so to speak. it wasn’t that neat, but i needed to test the zipper presser foot and overcasting presser foot (something i never had before!). the pouch works perfectly well, so i’ve been using it to keep my keys.

these 2 pouches were unfortunately the only ones i made using old fabrics that i had… all 14 sewing projects were otherwise done using *gasp* new fabrics! the knot skirt and polka dot twist knot top fabrics were given to me for free, though, so… at least i don’t feel too guilty for getting so much new fabrics, haha. 😅

i don’t have any new sewing resolution for this year, it stays the same as last year and the year before: to sew only the things i need or will definitely wear until it breaks. those 14 up there i have been wearing daily, except for the last dress, LBD, which i have yet to wear due to lack of formal party invitation, LOL.

and with that, 2018 is officially closed and i warmly welcome the new year! what will you have in store for me, dear 2019? 💕

breakfast at Tiffany’s ala Silverain

self-made dress, stockings from Daiso, COS shoes, necklace from Pasaraya, Jakarta-Indonesia

how do i look? 😉

nothing like Holly Golightly, i know, but i can’t help thinking of that movie when i wear this newly made dress.

it may also remind me a bit of a dress for funerals, because of the black colour, but let’s keep this happy, shall we?

anyway, about a year ago my husband and i got an invitation for a family lunch with a dress code ’tumma puku’ aka dark suit. i panicked because i have none, not a single dark coloured dress… at least nothing suitable for a party. luckily for me, it turned out that that dark colour applied only for the men’s suits, and the ladies can wear any coloured dress as we liked, phew!

but it got me thinking of the one thing missing from my wardrobe: a little black dress (LBD). something so common in ladies’ closets is such a strange concept for me. 😅

so when i found a lovely tencel twill fabric in black, i thought that would be the perfect material to make myself an LBD. tencel is the closest i could find here to cupro, so it will do just great. i got about 2,2m of it, which shrank to about 2,05m after wash.

while i was pondering about what dress model i should use (this was some time in July), i read news that my fave Finnish pattern company, Named, was about to launch their first book… filled with patterns!

when the book, Breaking the Pattern, was finally out for sale in early November, i ordered mine right away. but of course it took 3 weeks to arrive even though it was well before Christmas rush!

well, it was worth the wait. right away, i found the perfect pattern from the book. but by that time my back was hurting so much that i couldn’t copy the pattern pieces (that’s why my previous sewing projects had been without patterns or using old patterns that didn’t need to be copied anymore), so i again had to wait for the right moment.

and now, finally, FINALLY, is the moment!

so the dress pattern is called Solina, and originally has sleeves, collar, and long hemline with slit on the mid front. since my mission was to create an LBD, i decided to make mine sleeveless, collarless, and short, so it would really be timeless.

the actual pattern also calls for bows made out of the same fabric as the dress. i used grosgrain ribbon instead, because years ago, i have seen dresses in & Other Stories so similar as this dress and they used grosgrain ribbons. and yes, it’s a great shortcut! i got 1m of the ribbon, so half a meter goes to each side.

i must say that i hadn’t sewn invisible zippers for years now. like, 5 years or even longer. at first i was going to go for a metalic zipper for this project too, but… you know, timeless dresses and metalic zippers don’t really match. so i braved myself to sew an invisible zipper for this one. i don’t think i did that bad.

everything was pretty much smooth sailing… until i tried on the dress for the first time. i honestly believed that i have long grown into a size 38-40, so i used the equivalent of European size 38 for this dress (size 3 in the book). turned out that the dress was wayyyyy too big for me. so i had to take in many centimeters from under the armholes up to the waistline.

this was the first time i learned how to attach an all-in-one facing, for which thankfully the book gave step-by-step instructions.

in case you want to do your dress like mine, here’s the chronology of things to sew (also as a reminder for myself in case i want to make another one, cause i had to switch back and forth from the Solina dress to the Solina jumpsuit instructions):

  1. finish edges + facing edges
  2. sew backside darts
  3. sew bow ties to front pieces + frontside pleats
  4. sew center front
  5. sew shoulder seams + facing shoulder seams
  6. all-in-one facing (follow jumpsuit instructions)
  7. sew zipper (follow dress instructions)
  8. sew side seams
  9. sew hemline

this was also the first time i sew blind stitches with my new sewing machine. i guess it’s pretty simple, i just wish i had remembered to cut the seam allowances narrower as the hem goes downwards, so i didn’t have to fold too much excess allowances on the seams. ah well, what is a sewing project without a few mistakes here and there?

and there you have it, LBD ala Named! 💕

i don’t regret my fabric choice, though i must say that taking pictures of this dress was a pain because of the colour and the fact that i have such dry skin in the winter. if you see the close up pics up there and wonder why there are so many white dots, they’re just my shedded skin.

still, i am super pleased with the result! now who wants to invite me to a tumma puku party? 😁