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. 🥰

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! 😋

1 year late, pt. 2

still doing last year’s late posts, this here was my next sewing project.

self-made blouse, Mango jeans, Marimekko bag.

everything in the previous post was done in January 2021, and the next time i picked up my sewing machine again wasn’t until… July 2021. 😛 many things happened in between, including that mental health problem i mentioned here.

seeing this fabric was the first time–after a long while–i actually smiled and could picture myself wearing it again. (even though the base colour is beige. again. albeit a bit greenish this time. i guess i’m starting to like beige!!)

the fabric is from Marimekko, and the print name is Kaksoset (which means ‘twins’ in Finnish, designed by Maija Isola. to see the full print, please search in Google or go to Marimekko website. it’s so cute, i promise you won’t regret it! 😻

as soon as i saw the fabric and did a calculation in my head of how much fabric i’d need, i immediately knew that instead of breaking up the leopards, i wanted both leopards to be on the front piece part… which also means i’d rather not have any seams on the sides of the garment.

well, i managed to do just that, mwahahaha!

but before i go there, let’s rewind a bit to the beginning. because the print is so big, and it depends on where it was previously cut (the fabric’s not sold per print repeat, so you may get the beginning of the fabric at the middle part of the print), i counted that 80 cm of the fabric (around 147 cm wide) should be enough for a boxy shirt.

boxy shirt means exactly that: i didn’t use any pattern, just made 2 rectangles (because i didn’t want the sides to have seams, remember?) and joined them at the back. then i cut the arm holes by copying one of my t-shirts. for the collar, as usual, i used Burda pattern 7936–only the collar stand this time instead of the whole collar, and added about 2-3 cm of the height to make it look more ‘oriental’. i had wanted to do sleeves in the beginning, using different fabric, but in the end i figured this model is much better.

i also imagined that i might want to use it as a vest sometimes with the buttons unbuttoned, so i made sure the inside looks neat too. i added polka dot bias tape to the inner side of the button list, also because i wanted to keep the leopards’ faces & bodies intact and not fold too much to the inner side. for the arm holes, i used off-white bias tape.

and the buttons? they were from Marimekko Outlet, so i imagined it’s like a small reunion between them and the fabric! 😁 i still love the idea of using different coloured thread to sew buttons in place, but since i didn’t have orange/brown thread, i used red instead. it seems to be working just fine.

so this is the ‘new format’ of pics i was talking about. these pics were at least much easier to take (and edit) and a lot more fun too! from now on (until who knows when) i’m gonna stick to this format.

how’s everyone’s 2022 been going so far? better than the previous year, hopefully!

1 year late

hoooo boy, where should i start? (should i even start?)

well, the story goes like this. i sewed a few things last year. took some pictures, too. and then… it’s suddenly 2022 and i never got around to post them! actually, some of the items i didn’t even get the chance to take pictures of until after the year changed, so… 😅 whoops.

but i’m here now, and–probably for the whole 2022–i’m gonna reminisce what the year 2021 was like for me, in sewing. mwahahaha. yep, this is just part one of the ‘1 year late’ posts that will come after this. much, much later after this.

i’ll try to make things quick and short so that maybe, some time this year, i can catch up with myself and actually LIVE in 2022. 😂 we’ll see.

self-made blouse, Muji pants.

i like blouses and button-up shirts with a bit of a twist. so when i found this Saraste blouse pattern from Breaking the Pattern book by Named Clothing, i knew i just had to make it!

the fabric i used this time is a lightweight cotton denim with airplane print. ✈❤ i used the wrong side for a few details, as you can see from the pics.

i actually had a blast sewing this (no sarcasm)! maybe after sewing jerseys and viscose over & over again, it was just such a relief for me to sew good ol’ cotton. the only annoying thing is that of course i had to finish all the edges with overlocker, but it was still relatively easy.

i played around again with the buttons, using different ones for the center front and the cuffs. life is serious enough as it is, so why be serious in sewing, right?

i like the blouse pattern so much, i already have another fabric that i’m gonna make into this same blouse (cotton again, of course). hoping to be able to sew it this year! (yes, by this year, i mean the actual year of 2022.)

self-made t-shirt, New Yorker skirt.

next project was a super simple boxy t-shirt. the fabric is from Verson Puoti (Finnish design brand!), and i got it a few years ago at the Ommel festival. it was expensive (for me) so i only got a small piece of 80 cm (around 140 cm wide). i just fell in love with the print, and the colour is also perfect for my taste!

ever since i learned how to use the elastic edge band, i had wanted to sew it EVERYWHERE. thank goodness i didn’t. because, well, how would my clothes look if they’re everywhere?? instead, i used it for this project’s neckline. the tulle fabric i used for the back side is the same one i used for the leopard t-shirt i made the year before.

in fact, the whole model is exactly the same as that leopard t-shirt, except that this fabric is cotton jersey. so… the sleeves didn’t come out as frilly as i wanted them to be!

but since when has that bothered me? right–never. so i still proudly use this shirt wherever i go. the sleeves are asymmetrical? well, they’re meant to look that way, ha!

all right, that’s all for now! on my next sewing-related blogpost, i’m trying out a new format for the pictures. because, frankly, i can’t be bothered to take pictures these days, or make any extra effort to look nice in front of the camera–you know, when all i want to do is just sleep, eat, and sew somewhere in between.

hope it’ll still come out okay, and fear not: i have not forgotten this blog!

happy new year, everyone!

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! 😁