where have all the flowers gone?

self-made slip dress, Nevada top, Oura ring.

it was the ’90s. i was in my pre-teen and teenage years. i used to draw girls wearing different clothes on sheets upon sheets of A4 paper. i pretended that they were fashion magazine spreads, and always had them titled, according to the theme of the clothes i drew on them. i used to even have a set of ‘imaginary models’ (ie. the girls that i drew) that i’d sometimes use over and over again for different ‘fashion spreads’.

when grunge music started to become a trend, so did the ’90s fashion come to its peak: flannel shirts, Dr. Martens boots, choker necklace… and one trend i never forget was slip dresses + t-shirts.

that last combo made it to one of my imaginary ‘fashion spreads’, and i titled it ‘Flowers and Stripes’. it seemed like such a big hit back then, wearing stripes and flower-print, though now that i think about it, it was basically ‘any prints that clash = wear them together’.

the funny thing is, though, because i was such a shy teenager back then, i never did wear a slip dress + t-shirt. the t-shirts i had back then were all loose and baggy, i only wore a tight one for personal photo shoots (that sounded much more fancier than it actually was. these photo shoots were actually done by my sister’s classmates just so that they could practice their photography skills, so they needed ‘models’… my sister and i were often their ‘victims’). in other times, my fave attire was baggy jeans & baggy t-shirts. i never owned a Dr. Martens either.

but suddenly, now, in 2022, the slip dress was back on trend. and i happened to have this flowery viscose satin fabric lying in my closet. it was only about a meter long, and summer 2022 had just started, so i wanted something quick and easy to make.

i found a gazillion tutorial/DIY sewing instructions for slip dresses online, none of which was easy enough for my taste. πŸ˜‚ i wanted shortcuts everywhere, and yet my fabric wasn’t enough for me to make bias tapes for the straps. i didn’t want to use ready made bias tape either, i wanted the straps to have the flower pattern!

well, needless to say, it was a huge mistake as the straps would never be as neat & tidy when not done on a bias cut. i used my overlocker for the hem, and because the wrong side of the fabric is white, i used white thread. it was a trick i learned from a stranger at my work place, and i think that went okay. the shape of the dress is awkward, because i did not use any pattern in the end, and just cut A shaped pieces for the front and back. it ended up too baggy in all the wrong places, so i had to tuck in the sides a couple of times! but whatever. i have a slip dress now!

and i had fun living it up like the ’90s just for taking these pictures.

and of course i had to use a striped t-shirt underneath it, otherwise it wouldn’t feel authentic.

so apparently the flowers had gone to my new slip dress. but honestly, i had another thing in my mind when i wrote this blog post’s title.

i am noticing that many sewing bloggers i used to follow have stopped updating their blogs. i don’t know if they had the same problem as i did, or other things in their lives that prevented them from sewing as much as before the pandemic started. i found that one or two of them have ‘migrated’ to IG & deserted their blogs. but the rest, i really have no idea what happened to them.

i must say, i miss them. i hope that wherever they are, they’re safe and well, whether or not they’re still sewing.

1 year late, pt. 5 (the final one!)

i honestly can’t think of a better title. may i just dump this post here? πŸ˜›

seeing that this is my own blog, the answer is yes. i may. and i will.

so we’re finally in winter 2021, and i’m finally posting my very last sewing projects of the year. i’m actually very proud of each and every one of the items i made last year, it’s just that i want to get going with this year’s projects already. πŸ˜… now, shall we start?

self-made blouse and shorts.

if you’ve been a reader of my blog for a long while, you’d have known that i always have a soft spot for Moomin fabrics. i may not grow up with Moomin books/cartoons, but seeing the characters and their behaviours, and the fact that i used to saw a lot of their merchandise in Japanese fashion magazines made me feel just as close to them as a true Finn.

this one i had to get because it’s a scene from a story that meant a lot to my husband. the print is called Tivoli and it’s cotton jersey with a bit of elastane. i got about 80 cm of the fabric, and the width is about 150 cm.

i didn’t use any pattern for this one and did the usual square method AKA boxy shirt. just for a bit of a twist, i decided to add black lace between the body and sleeve pieces, aaaand some pompom trimming on the cuffs. because of the lace addition, i managed to get semi-long sleeves for this one, so it’s perfect for autumn/winter.

for the neckline, i used the trusted elastic edge band again (of course)! this one is not made of the same material as the previous ones i’ve used, though, and because of the tiny ribbing lines, it looks a bit more ‘sporty’. not that that’s a problem, it still makes my life a lot easier than to make a separate neckline band or use a bias tape for necklines.

the next project was supposed to be my last sewing project of 2021.

self-made dress, COS shoes.

ever since i worked with punto jersey (can’t even remember when that first time was!), i had always loved how easy it is to sew it. it’s just as easy as working with scuba jersey, but the material itself is usually much more comfortable and less ‘plastic’ky than scuba, which is nice.

so when i saw this solid coloured one in green (gotta love green!), i knew i had to get it. in the beginning i was thinking of making pants, but i unsuccessfully tried a new pants pattern last summer (i mean, summer 2021) and so that plan went out the window. thankfully, that time i used another fabric, so this one was still completely unscathed.

i had about 1,5 m of this fabric, and the width was around 140 cm. i was feeling too lazy to copy new dress patterns, so in the end i decided to use the same pattern as the one for this dress.

i didn’t remember what was so hard about making this dress, especially since i could omit the zipper because i was using a stretchy fabric.

but as soon as i started sewing the v-neckline, it all came back to me. needless to say, it’s not exactly neat and crisp, but i did my best.

what i’m most proud of is, of course, the origami pleat at the front part of the waistline. it came out beautifully (for my standard), so i’m super satisfied with that. to make it look more polished, i used ochre-coloured topstitch thread for the yoke’s topstitches… and of course, a few metal studs on the yokes wouldn’t hurt.

after finishing this dress and feeling super proud of it, i couldn’t help grabbing another fabric. i mean, hey, i was feeling super lucky!

self-made fanny pack.

it was that time of the year! you know, the time when my previous self-made fanny pack broke down (the fabric just frayed too much, the zipper got stuck way too often) that i just had to make a new one!

this time, i copied a co-worker’s fanny pack which had just one wide elastic strip covering the width of the bag to put the tools in. the fabric i used is some sort of neoprene, so this time it shouldn’t fray at all, ha!

i’ve been using it since the beginning of this year, and it’s been great so far, except for the elastic band that holds the whole bag that’s been stretching and stretching non-stop because of all the weight inside the bag. πŸ˜‚ i just have to keep shortening it, but whatever. at least the bag itself is still usable! it does make me wonder how much stuff i carry around at work. and i don’t even carry my mobile phone there!

but what do you know? i’ve finally caught up with myself in the year 2022, whoppee! now let’s just hope the next post will be some time this year! πŸ˜†

1 pattern, 3 dresses, and 3 worlds (1 year late, pt. 3)

we’re in summer 2021 (play along with me, people, i told you i’m a year late!). ’tis the time when the weather gets really hot and all i want to do is stay home… and sew!

now that i got my sewing mojo back after sewing the Kaksoset shirt, it was time to sew some new fabrics… as well as an old one.

a co-worker of mine brought into my attention this super easy summer dress style that everyone–and i mean everyone–can sew without any pattern. so i suppose i lied on the title of this post, because: there is no pattern needed!

self-made dress.

the idea of this dress is just the same as a million other easy sewing projects i had had before: box shape. this is how i made mine:

the first version i made was the Donald Duck dress. the fabric is viscose, and i think i got a bit more than 150 cm, probably 170 cm, so i got both sleeves and pocket pieces from the length of the fabric. the top part, as usual, is just made of box shape parts. the bottom AKA skirt parts are rectangular, and i gathered the top edge of those pieces.

this was the very first time i made this kind of pocket, where–instead of 2 inner pieces–it uses only 1 inner pocket piece. you sew that piece to the inner side of the skirt’s front piece, and then sew both layers and back piece together on the side seam. since this was my first time, you could see all the mistakes there as i made the pocket hole way too big and had to sew parts of it close after i tried on the finished garment!

the sleeves were always a joy for me to make, as i got to decide what kind of gathering or pleats i wanted to make. this time, i decided to fold it so that the inner side also have the right side, and just pleated away as symmetrically as i could.

with this dress, since we were all still very much locked down, i imagined that i visited Hawaii (remember Donald Duck in Hawaii, together with Mickey Mouse and Goofy? yeah, that’s the one i meant!).

self-made dress.

the next dress made me dream of going to Bali. not because this batik a Balinese batik (it’s not), but because i bought this fabric in Bali in 2015. Indonesian batik like these are usually sold per piece with borders on both edges, and the size is usually about 110-120 cm wide & 200 cm long. this one in particular is stamp printed onto a cotton fabric, and was just enough for me to make into a boxy summer dress…

… with the same kind of pockets as the previous one!

i even managed to use the border in all the right places too! one for the center back and then on both pockets’ mouths.

immediately after i finished sewing this one, i was sooooo sorry that i didn’t get more of these batik fabrics while i was in Indonesia that time. sigh. it’s such a beautiful fabric and super easy to sew.

in order to ease the pain of not being able to travel, also because i turned 40 last year, i got myself a present.

it turned out to be just perfect for the next dress. 😊

self-made dress, Marimekko purse.

this was the third and last summer dress i made in 2021, and it has since become my most fave summer dress of all time!

for this last model, i broke the skirt part into 2 tiers instead, and the first tier was made of 2 pieces of 100 wide rectangles, while the bottom tier was made of 2 pieces of 150 wide rectangles. i have also managed to finally perfect the pockets (well, knowing me, nothing is ever THAT perfect though), and look at the hand-pleated sleeves!!! ❀ i’m so proud of myself.

this lovely fabric is from Nerida Hansen, part of a collection made by Holli Zollinger called ‘Bazaar’. this specific print is called Gator Cosmic. as always, please Google it up to see the full print and fall in love with it!

one of the biggest reasons why i fell so hard for this fabric, other than the fact that pink alligators are just so cool, is because last year i came across this lovely book called Cayman Island, written by Jennifer Brasington-Crowley. i love everything about the book, the characters, and most of all, the book cover, which the author drew herself!

so when i saw this fabric, i knew it was meant to be mine! i call this dress my Cayman Island dress. πŸ₯°

with this last dress, my mind of course went straight to Australia (where the fabric brand comes from) and my heart went all the way to Cayman Island, the book.

and that, people, was how i got to 3 worlds with 3 dresses and 1 non-pattern pattern.

well, what do you know? we’ve gotten to the first half of 2021 already! there’s not much sewing projects left in 2021, hopefully i’d be able to post something more up-to-date after that. thank you for bearing with me! πŸ˜‹

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. πŸ₯²

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. πŸ˜… 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! πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

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. πŸ˜…

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. πŸ˜‰

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! πŸ˜‚ 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. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈ 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’?

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! 😁

drizzle, ripple, wave

your words, your acts, however small, affect others. first they may feel like a drizzle to the skin: light, barely there. as time goes by, they slowly create ripples, reverberating in the minds, until finally they become big waves of reactions, whether they be directed to you or not. have you ever thought of that?

i’m not trying to preach, though. that’s just how i feel in general, and that was what i saw embodied in this dress i just made. drizzle, ripple, wave.

self-made dress, Casio watch, Moody Monday earrings, ASOS cage shoes.

the drizzle is on the print. this was one of those fabrics i couldn’t say no to, because the print reminds me so much of Marimekko. it is 100% viscose and i got a bit over 2 meters of it, thinking i would make a maxi dress out of it.

but then i remembered this dress i once saw in Indonesia in 2011 from the brand (X)S.M.L. the part that i really liked was the flap on the top & hidden underneath it some small pleats. and i realized how in all these years i had adored it, i never had gotten the chance to really think of how to do it myself (carbon copy is my middle name). i mean, it seemed pretty easy. until i realized that it’s not that easy. πŸ˜€

 

rather than spending too much time–longer than 2011-2017, that is–pondering about how to make the pattern for the dress, i decided to just drape the fabric straight onto my dummy. i mean, that’s what dummies are for, right? duh.

within an hour or so, i finally got it. so i put pins here and there, and started sewing. just like that!

the ripples are the small pleats under the ‘flap’. this was the first thing i sewed before anything else on this dress. after putting the pins to know exactly where the pleats should end, i moved the fabric from my dummy to the sewing machine.

the waves are the flap on the top of the dress and the drapes atΒ the bottom part, creating the asymmetrical hem. the drapes at the bottom actually came accidentally, meaning i didn’t even think of doing them, but made them up as i went along.

the back side is just an A-shaped piece with just enough width so that i could still walk freely while wearing the dress.

just for the record, i am extremely pleased at myself for making this dress! i can’t remember the last time i did something like this, working straight on top of the dummy without any pattern and actually succeeding to make what i had in mind! i even joked to my husband that i guess this means i’m ready to join the next Finnish Project Runway, if ever there is going to be one! πŸ˜€

that original dress i saw in Indonesia was my drizzle. the picture of the original dress & the fabric were my ripples. and this dress? this is my wave. ❀