Sunday, September 29, 2019

Purple Gingham

Two more items I made recently, out of purple gingham fabric I was gifted. Both of these were made for Gaby, but she is not very enthused about the color and the fabric, so they might turn to be only muslins for more wearable clothes next summer.

The first is a free peasant blouse pattern - Gypsy Top by
I made the smallest size - 8-10, the instructions are very clear  and easy to follow, so it was an easy project. However, the resulting blouse was very, very wide and formless. To make it at least somewhat wearable I added the elasticated waist and now it is quite pleasing in front, but still too balloony at the back. All in all, I do not recommend the pattern.

I turned the rest of the fabric into another button down dress. The pattern is again from the Russian site Shkatulka, WD240418. They offer size 40 (xs) for free, plus a video tutorial. I changed the pattern, turning it into a button down dress at the front, eliminating the zipper at the back. I also reduced a bit the length and the width of the skirt, as I didn't have enough fabric for the whole dress as designed. But I had big enough cuts to add pockets to the dress and I am so satisfied with them :)

The dress is supposed to be size XS and height 168 cm, but it fits me - size S and height 156 cm, so bear that in mind. It is just a tiny bit tight at the bust area (I was making it for Gaby), but I intend to make another dress for myself, following the pattern and I'll be adding just a couple of cm to the width.

Next time I'll make the dress as is designed, with a hidden zipper at the back and without the button placket at the front.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Button Up Dress

Finally, today I found the time to take pictures of a linen dress I made about a month ago. This is probably the most creative I've gotten with sewing so far, unfortunately the pictures do not give justice to the way I feel in this dress, as imperfect as it is.

The dress is a hybrid between a free pattern by Peppermint Magazine, designed by In the Folds and Burda # 118 03 / 2013 to get something similar to a ready-to-wear dress I saw while googling button-up dresses. Initially I had decided to make the In The Folds dress, I even printed, glued and cut the pattern and then I reconsidered. I did not like the rather roomy and shapeless form of their dress and I was not sure it was at all my style.

So I googled button-up dresses and decided to take a fitted shift dress from Burda and make it into a button-up dress. I followed the way the In The Folds dress was constructed in front and made my own lining based on the lining for their dress. I also followed the very detailed and helpful instructions, provided by the Peppermint Magazine while sewing my hybrid dress. There were some tricks, concerning the attachment of the lining, which were very interesting and I would have never come up with them on my own.

The fabric of the dress is also very special to me, as this is the first fabric I've dyed before making a garment. The original fabric was linen in bright orange yellow, which was gifted to me. I loved the fabric, but the color wasn't me. So I prepared a solution of hot water and salt and bordeaux cotton dye and I worked the fabric in it for at least half an hour. I do mean "worked" - I knew from experience, that if I simply left the fabric in the pot, it would dye unevenly, so I moved and squeezed it constantly, until most of the dye was absorbed. Then I let the fabric dry and fixed the dye by ironing the fabric at the highest temp on my iron. I still haven't washed the dress, but some tests I did on the cuttings showed some loss of color during washing, so I'm still not declaring the experiment a success.

I love linen, but I'm not convinced I'll be making another dress out of linen soon, not if it creases as this linen. On these photos I had just ironed the dress and travelled in the car for less than 15 min and it's all creased - so impractical :( Next time, probably next summer, I'm thinking of a repetition of the pattern, but in chambray.

Something about the belt. Initially I hadn't thought of a belt at all, but after I finished the dress it looked to me kind of missing something, so I gathered the bigger remnants of the fabric (I had only 1.30 m and barely squeezed a full sized dress) and made a belt. But I'm not happy with it either. When I fasten it, it creates a puff on the back and tends to cover the central button. So next time one more mod of the pattern would be a belt, which is part of the dress.

I can't decide whether to keep the belt ends in front

or at the back. I can wear it with a thin leather belt too, but a waist band would be better.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Blouse from Shkatulka

My latest and even more favourite viscose blouse! I finished my blue starry blouse on Monday, took the pictures on Tuesday and on Wednesday, proudly donned in my new blouse, went downtown, enrolled in a Spanish language course at the Cervantes Spanish Cultural Center (more about this some other time) and then went to my favourite fabric shop in search of more viscose fabric. I bought two remnants at a ridiculous price and immediately began searching for a pattern. I wanted it to be similar to the Burda pattern, but still different. And I found it - a blouse with gathered front from Shkatulka.

Shkatulka is a Russian site with a bunch of sewing patterns in PDF format. Some of the sizes are free for downloading and the other sizes are for sale for about a dollar. I haven't tried the purchase option yet, but it seems similar to all other sites and requires a PayPal account.

However, they had the blouse I liked in Russian size 40 (EU 34 / XS) for free, so I downloaded it. As I mentioned in my previous post, I was up for trying some grading from 34 to 36, so I kept the neckline, the shoulders and the sleeves of the original size and expanded the body by 1 cm (a total of 4 cm) to get to Russian size 42 (EU 36 / S). The site provides a table of measurements, so one can get around the various sizes.

And one more feature - there is a free youtube tutorial on the construction of this blouse! What can I say - I was sold on it from the word go :)

The pattern is a bit more involved than the previous one - this has sleeves with an interesting pleated detail and an opening at the back with a button fastening. The silhouette is more fitted and a bit tailored at the waist.

Again, the main seams - the side seams and the shoulder seams are narrow French seams. The central back seam and the sleeves are standard seams with zigzaged edges. The sleeves and the lower edge are hemmed with double 1.5 cm hem. The neckline is lined with interfacing.

The inside of the blouse. The fabric is gorgeous natural viscose - very fluid and heavy with lots of body. It creases less than the thinner navy viscose with the stars, so one more point in favour of my newest blouse :)

The opening at the back - it turned out more decorative than functional, as I can squeeze my head through the neck opening without unbuttoning the blouse. If I make this pattern again for myself or Gaby, I might omit this detail.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Burda #106 4/2013 Blouse

My latest most favourite blouse - the pleated blouse #106 from Burda 4 / 2013 issue. I came upon this pattern quite by chance. First - the fabric. While buying linen-cotton mix for a shirt for my husband, which he requested and which will not be sewn this summer, it seems :( (bad me), I saw a small piece - only about 70 cm, of gorgeous dark blue viscose-cotton fabric and I grabbed it for a blouse for myself. Then I went to Peppermint Magazine site and browsed through their free blouse patterns. They have a cute pleated top, which I downloaded and was prepared to print and cut, but unfortunately it came with no instructions. So I searched the web for images of this blouse sewn by other people and came upon a similar pattern by Burda, which I liked even better. So, against all hope, I went to our Burda shop in search of a particular 2013 issue and there they had it - just for the meager € 1.50! I literally cried YIPPIE when I found it :)))

The pattern is very simple - just a front with pleats and a back and two small pieces of the neck lining. I made my usual modifications to size 36 - took 1 cm above the arm opening, 2 cm above the waist and I rounded the hem a bit. If I make this a second time, I will make the shoulders more narrow - I finally figured out one of my problems with Burda patterns - I am more narrow at the shoulders than their standard model, so I have to learn to grade my patterns from 34 at the shoulders to 36 downwards.

I like the length of the blouse - I used to enjoy fitted and very short T-shirts and blouses, but lately I'm very much into oversized, boxy and long upper garments. May be it's just a phase :)

The inside of the blouse - this picture is much closer to its true dark navy color. The shoulder and side seams are narrow french seams, the curved edge and the arm openings are hemmed with 3 cm double folded hem and the neckline is formed with the lining pieces, which are interfaced with fusible and are understitched.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Picnic At Pchelina Lake

We had been thinking of going back to Pchelina Lake this year for a picnic and yesterday was the day. The place definitely looks different at the end of the summer - no more luscious green meadows and bright colorful flowers; the meadows have been mowed, the flowers have withered under the harsh hot August sun. Still, it was beautiful and most of all - surreal quiet and peaceful. Having just watched Carrie Bradshaw fret and dither about spending a weekend in a lodge outside New York (I'm rewatching Sex and the City), I find it difficult to relate to and to believe that there are people who don't enjoy the outdoors :)