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? 😁

preparing for Christmas

self-made top and culottes, unbranded necklaces from Jakarta – Indonesia and from mum-in-law

finished making this top just in time for Christmas.

it’s the same model as this and made the same way too, in part just to see if i still remember how to do it. so the short answer is, i do. 😁

the fabric i used is merino wool knit jersey that is made in Finland. i probably had about 1,7 m of it and it’s about 120 cm wide. this time i didn’t make any mistakes on the front part, and that means i had enough fabric to make long sleeves.

this fabric was relatively easy to work with. the only problem i had was the fact that it shed quite a bit of dust/fur as i sew (even though i already washed it before sewing), so the cleaning up took a while longer than usual.

after i was done with the sleeves, i just realized that i didn’t make the cuffs as neat as i should have (and as i had done many times before). i was too lazy to open them up again, so what-evah.

i’ve never really been a ’red’ person, so i think this green colour is going to be my Christmas colour theme this year. surprisingly, the colour of this top matches perfectly with the colour of the culottes i made in the summer! all i needed to complete the look was some red accessories.

and i think i did a pretty good job! i’m all warm and comfy in this top, and i really love how it turned out, too. i’m still deliberating whether or not i should add some gold studs to the neckline, but for now i will let it be like this. ❤

Christmas, now i’m ready for you!

co-ordinate

my back is still hurting at times, and i’ve been going back to work and back to sick leave again, but i try to slowly co-ordinate my life back to the way it was.

and speaking of co-ord….

self-made co-ord set, New Yorker t-shirt, COS shoes, H&M earrings

… i have also been well enough to sew! phew!

this was a super cute fabric i saw and just had to get. i mean, look at them bunnies! and i love the art nouveau style of the print. the fabric tag says Maria Natali Collection, however my googling didn’t find any result of who that is.

but who cares! the print is too cute to miss!

at first i only wanted to make pants out of this fabric, but then it turned out that i bought enough for a whole suit! i have always wanted to do a co-ord set like this, so now was my chance!

first, i made the pants. the fabric is a stretch polyester that’s also quite beefy, so it reminds me a bit of scuba. i used the same pattern as these pants, and i can tell you that with this fabric i succeeded much better than the previous attempt!

i am super proud of how i managed to align the print on all pieces. this has never happened before, haha!

i also learned to make the end result look a little bit more neat than usual by putting bias tape on the edges of the waistband lining.

the only part i kind of struggled with were the hems, mainly because i stupidly forgot to make the seam allowances wider as they go down, since the pants themselves get narrower as they go down. so i opted to sew the hems by hand and they look alright.

for the zipper, i used my fave technique: exposed zipper.

then, with the rest of the fabric, i made a blouse that can also be worn as a jacket.

i didn’t use any pattern for the blouse, just a boxy top with added amount on the center front (for the buttons) and big enough squares for each sleeves so i could pleat them.

again the fact that the print was placed perfectly amazed me! look at how the bunnies placements on the blouse even matched the placements on the pants on both front parts!

this was the first time i tried making button holes with my new super smart sewing machine, and my jaw dropped when i found out how easy it was. i literally didn’t have to do anything else but press the foot pedal! 😱 the buttonhole presser foot measures the button i wanted to use automatically and made the perfect-sized buttonhole for it.

i tried making the inner side as neat as the pants, but by this time i was unfortunately growing impatient so you can see that the collar was done terribly. but i don’t care, ha!

the buttons used are given to me by a workmate who bought it from Marimekko outlet store. i used contrasting pink thread to sew them just for added fun.

this project (or the results, to be exact) cheered me up a lot and helped me to stay positive about my health problems. at least i could do some things right! 😊

i’m hoping your November had been much better than mine, and soon it’s Christmas already, yay! happy start of December, everyone!

let’s do the twist

we’ve been having such a wonderful summer this year in Finland that i’ve just been taking walks whenever i can (read: whenever i am not working) just to enjoy the weather and views. this is of course not a reason for me to not write or sew, but it happened.

another fake (but true) reason is that whenever i feel like an inspiration is coming for me to sew, the fabrics i want to sew are the ones still in the fabric store and i really should first use my own fabrics before buying new ones! the dilemmas of a fabric addict, right? 😝

but one day i just had to sew something, and thankfully i found the right fabric from my own closet.

self-made top, New Yorker shorts, woven bag from Bali – Indonesia.

this spring i bought a super cheap top from Zara that i wore for my photo shoot here (shown on first picture). my secret motive was so that i could copy it and make many more similar tops! (insert devilish laugh here.)

after months of pondering about it in my head, i finally felt ready. the fabric i used was one i got for free from my co-worker J last winter. it’s a synthetic knit fabric which was about 1,5 m wide and long.

remember how i said i felt ready? well, i was wrong, LOL. i cut the fabric first for the front part… and struggled to make the twist just right. in short, i failed. so i cut another piece for the front part, for the second time. this time i just put it on top of my dummy and worked from there. this seemed to do the trick, so now i know that whenever i can’t figure out some cut/pattern, all i have to do is trust my dummy! 😁

but since i already cut the fabric the first time for the front part, i was left with too small scraps to get a full back part. so to save my sewing project, i had to improvise… as per usual. in the end, i think i managed to save it. 😊

if you ask me how to do that twist, i can answer truthfully that i don’t know, hahaha…. i put some detail pics above just to remind my future self of how it looks like from the inside, but i know i also won’t understand it just from the pictures. my brain just can’t think in 3D, so my best advice is to invest on a dummy.

originally, i wanted to make this top have long sleeves, so i could wear it for winter. but again, since there wasn’t enough fabric left, i had to change that plan too. so ‘short super wide and pleated sleeves’ it is!

as you can imagine, i am super proud to have accomplished this top! 💕

so come on everybody, let’s do the twist!