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’?

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! 😁

faking it

ladies and gents, i am at that point in life where not only do i copy ready-made garments, but also ‘fake’ clothing patterns.

self-made dress.

i’m talking about the most famous dress pattern for the past few years, Named Clothing’s Kielo Wrap Dress. and here’s my confession: i did not buy their pattern nor did i borrow anyone’s. πŸ™ˆ

you should know by now that i am such a lazy seamstress that i couldn’t even be bothered by the thought of having to copy the pattern, and then trace it to the fabric, and so on…. instead, i just did a bit of a mathematical calculation and drew it out, took an old top pattern just for the neckline and armholes, and started cutting away! if you can’t stand copycats, piracy, and the sorts, then i suggest you skip this post. but if you’re curious, here’s my so-called technical drawing 😝:

the measurements were my own, of course, so feel free to adjust. first thing to know is at what height your waist is when you measure yourself from your shoulder, because that’s where you want the widest part of the dress to be. then you need to measure your whole waist circumference, and divide it by 2. for my measurement, i thought adding 20 cm to each side should be enough because i wanted the ‘wrap’ parts to not overlap with each other. after you got all these measurements, you’d know how much fabric you need.

in my case, i used my fabric the wrong way, using the selvedge as the hem of the dress (lazy). i used about 180 cm of my viscose fabric in total, cause i needed to make the ties on the sides. judging by the pictures of the dress in Named’s website, i estimated the ties to be about 120 cm long on each side. it worked for me, but of course as we come in different sizes, yours might be different so i suggest making longer ones first since it’s easier to cut them shorter than make them longer afterwards! my fabric’s width was about 140 cm, so this would be my dress’s length which is just perfect for me.

after you got your measurements, it’s time to find the perfect pattern for the neckline and armholes. my choice was pattern no. 127/128 from BurdaStyle magazine 02/2015. whatever your pattern choice is, remember to cut the back side of your dress 2 times (one left, one right) instead of one time on fold, because you need a slit for the back side of this dress otherwise you can’t walk. measure your own measurement from the shoulder to the waist, put a mark there and draw the diamond shape. one thing to make sure when you draw the line from the widest part of the dress to the bottom of the hem is that about 20 cm under the waistline is your hip, so you want to make sure that the dress’s width on that area fits the measurement of your own hip (i did this by measuring my hip and divide it by 4).

i made my dress’s hem to be quite narrow, 30 cm for the front side, and 15 cm for each back side. and as for the height of the back slit, you can decide it yourself, but since i like to be able to walk freely, i made mine open at 50 cm above the hemline.

then you can start cutting and sewing! i added pompoms to the armholes, just to add a little something. had to sew it by hand though cause my poor old machine just couldn’t handle it. and oh, in case you decided to use the same pattern as i did for the neckline, don’t be absent-minded like me and forget that the neckline is quite narrow. you might want to either make another slit at the back and close it with a button or…. if you’re lazy like me, just cut off an extra 3-5 cm around the neckline (which i did AFTER i sewed a bias tape onto the original neckline, and tried it on, and realized my head couldn’t even get in, duh).

and now, on to the exciting part: the result!!! 😍 oh, it was just everything i dreamed of, and even better because i cheated, LOL! πŸ˜‚Β and i understood right away why so many people love this pattern. the dress is just so very versatile, as it can be worn many ways, depending on where you do the wrap, how tight the wrap is, and where you wrap the ties. (warning: loads of pictures coming up!)

here’s the first way (including the 1st pic way up there), wrapped tightly to the front.

the second way, wrapped loosely to the front:

the third way, wrapped tightly to the back:

you see? how can one not fall in love with it? and i think i chose a pretty good fabric for it, both material and print.

this will definitely be a summer fave dress for me! ❀

whether you choose to buy the pattern or fake it like me, i really think Named Clothing did a very cool job to come up with this pattern. so thanks for inventing the pattern, ladies! 😁

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.

old pic borrowed from (X)S.M.L’s website.

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. ❀

be like bambo (shoot)

Bamboo is flexible, bending with the wind but never breaking, capable of adapting to any circumstance. It suggests resilience, meaning that we have the ability to bounce back even from the most difficult times. . . . Your ability to thrive depends, in the end, on your attitude to your life circumstances. Take everything in stride with grace, putting forth energy when it is needed, yet always staying calm inwardly.” — Ping Fu

have you tried being a bamboo? i’d like to think i have, at least tried to. and to further plant it into my brain (pun intended), i even made a bamboo shoot dress!

vintage karakul fur coat (c. 1960-1970) gift from Grandmother-in-law, self-made dress and necklace, Topshop tights, COS shoes.

so this was my most ambitious sewing project so far in 2017. the story began years ago when i made this dim sum dress and much to my dismay i found out a few years ago that i had grown out of the size of that dress…. i can’t wear it anymore unless i lose like 10 kg. such is the life!

i decided that i had to make a new one. that first one was made of silk, butΒ i haven’t found as nice-looking & affordable silk as that one, plus i wasn’t even sure if i still had it in me to make something as complicated as that dress; so i got a linen fabric instead.

i’m sure you know by now how i feel about green? come on, it’s the colour of 2017! i personally don’t like linen, because it wrinkles too quickly & too much for my taste, but since this linen had the best green colour, it would just have to do. the good thing about linen is that it’s a lot more down-to-earth so that i don’t need a special occasion to wear this dress. perfect for my new year resolution!

for this project, i used Burda patterns 8347 for the top part and 7660 for the skirt part. by using the Pattern Magic book vol. 1, i modified the top part to have the bamboo shoots pattern. that’s the name for the pleat pattern, Bamboo Shoot. and that’s why i call this dress my bamboo dress.

back then i sewed the bamboo shoots part by machine and it made them look too flat. i decided to try sewing them by hand this time.

i still have to figure out how best to iron that part with bamboo shoots, but at least i believe i made the right decision to do it by hand.

believe it or not, i just ironed the whole dress before taking these pictures. and look how wrinkled it was again already! *rolls eyes*

anyway, just a quick intermission: my accordion necklace has also now evolved into something better than the previous version, yay! this one needed about 8 meters of 2 cm wide ribbon, and don’t be fooled by the colour in the pictures. in reality, it’s neon green!

okay, back to the dress now. as with my other projects this year, i put extra attention & carefulness to sew it. for the armholes, i used black satin bias tape for a neater finishing. the neckline also has lining & i did edgestitch to make the lining stay put. for the zipper, i again sewed it to be exposed, just to add another small detail. i am still learning to love solid coloured clothes, so to compensate that i needed something to jazz it up. the hemline was done by machine, the hidden seam.

there’s just something about the colour & the shape of the dress that made me think of vintage. which was why i just had to wear my fur coat for the first picture!

before you criticize the fur coat, let me tell you that i am against real fur myself. except for the fact that this was already done back in the 60s or 70s, and i think it would even be more sinful to waste it when it was once already done. so when my husband’s aunt said no one in the family could wear it (because the women are all much taller than me) and i was the only one whose size is like my husband’s grandmum, i agreed to take it & put it to use. it turned out to fit me so well, i think! πŸ˜€

as for the dress itself, i am so happy with the result! i know there are many more successful bamboo shooters out there (i mean seamstresses/tailors who have done this pattern much better than me), but i love mine for being small, barely there, but it is there. i think this small version suits me better. πŸ™‚

being flexible,Β bending with the wind but never breaking, taking everything in stride with grace…. yes, i am trying to do it all with this bamboo dress. i am trying to be like bamboo. ❀