Sunday, November 20, 2011

Nearly Finished Vogue 8333 Jacket

I still need to work on this jacket a couple more hours, but it looks like I am coming to the finishing line. The outer shell and the lining are sewn together, except of the sleeve and lower hem areas and I need to buy buttons to be able to create suitable buttonholes, but otherwise, it looks like this might end up like a wearable jacket :-). 

This really isn't an easy pattern - it is not terribly difficult to sew up, but it's pretty time consuming. On the other hand, it gives me more self-confidence and trust in my sewing abilities, seeing that I am able to create something elaborate and more complicated than a simple t-shirt :-). 

The interfaced fabric, especially in the pocket area, where sometimes four or even more layers meet, creates quite a lot of bulk, so I hope I'll be able to tame it and get a nice crisp lower hem. 

The one area  I was most afraid to sew was probably the collar and lapel area. Firstly, I don't have experience with this kind of a collar and secondly, I was anxious that I wouldn't be able to get a symmetrical result and ruin all the hours of work with two badly curved lapel sides. Fortunately, I think I managed to do it quite right and have got a decent looking jacket front. Yay :-)! 

But the battle is not yet won. I will tell you a little secret I have - I have never made a single buttonhole (if I don't take into account that one test buttonhole I made to try out my sewing machine abilities...), so this is going to be the last minefield of this jacket to go through.

See you sewn ;-)!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Mojo Lost, Mojo Found

Once in a while, nearly every blogging sewer writes a post about a missing mojo and no wish to sew whatsoever. Before I started reading blogs about sewing, I didn't even know the word "mojo":-) and from the time I had started to sew, I have never experienced this feeling - no wish to sew, until recently. I had sewing plans, but for some time, I just lost my motivation to sew. I didn't stop reading all the nice blogs about sewing, I kept looking for new sewing patterns and I didn't lose my interest in shopping for fabric, I just couldn't force myself to sew. 

Fortunately, this time is gone and I am back in the saddle :-). The pattern I have chosen to sew up after such a long time without sewing is Vogue 8333 - a jacket with a very nice pocket detail. 

It's not an easy project. Only tracing all the pattern pieces took me about 5 hours, but at this moment, the fabric pieces are beginning to look like a jacket. I am taking my time to do everything very precisely, so that after all the days of work I don't end up with a wadder (although one can never be sure about that...).   

Because I am not a very experienced sewer and the pattern is quite complicated, containing many pattern pieces, I am not doing any major adjustments on the garment (I'll be happy if I finish it without any big mishaps :-D), so I'll have to be satisfied with the fit right out of the envelope. On the other hand, the size 6 looks like a pretty good fit for my figure so far.

There are two sets of instructions in the pattern envelope - one written by Claire Shaeffer and one that I call commercial. I follow the regular instructions, but sometimes help myself with the other set, because sometimes I find the couture instructions easier to understand or simpler to follow. 

Creativity is messy and I am very creative! :-D

This is what the jacket looks so far:

The pocket detail in making:

This was the first time I used a stay tape in a sewing project. Since I had no experience with it, I had no commercial stay tape at home. The book "Professional Sewing Techniques for Designers" from Julie Cole and Sharon Czachor helped me with this a lot and I made my own stay tape. 

... it feels good to sew again :-)...

Thank you to everyone, who took the time to leave a comment on my last (wedding) post and to everyone who is reading or following my blog and haven't lost interest in it during my unplanned inactivity. I really appreciate it.

Have a lovely weekend! :-)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Wedding and Stuff...

First I have to say thank you to everyone, who commented on my last post, the Vogue dress and my then-upcoming wedding :-)! I am quite a stubborn person, so even though I had known a simpler pattern would have been a sure bet, I had to try to sew up the one, that I pretty much could have known was impossible to finish. (This is probably not a grammatically correct sentence, but I hope you know what I mean :-D.)

It's been a loooong time since I last blogged, but I just wasn't able to manage all things at once - the wedding preparations were very time-consuming and I couldn't "waste" time I didn't even have with other activities, like sewing for example. Having said that, I also think that all the work and time I invested in sewing decorative tablecloths, napkin rings, ring-bearer pillow, garters and preparing other decorative stuff paid off, because the wedding reception was even better than I hoped.

The weather was great, sunny and hot (looks like the hottest day of this rather cold summer so far), which was an important part of it all, since it took place in a garden under wedding tents. Everything was very pretty, which I have to admit very immodestly, taking into account also the esthetic part I was responsible for :-). I had an idea of what I liked and wanted, but I couldn't imagine it coming all together, which finally did better than I had hoped.

On the other hand, I'm glad I don't have to go through it all again any time soon :-)... We were gifted with an extra portion of adrenaline two days before the ceremony, as we found out, that the church we were supposed to be married in was completely covered with scaffolding from the inside, so we had to find a new one in two days, which wasn't really a part of the original plan...

Here are a couple of pictures for those, who might be interested. I've only got a couple of the professionally taken pictures so far (some of them are here) and I'm still waiting for the rest.

My mum decorated the muffins. The ribbons, napkin rings etc, which look rather reddish here, are in fact magenta colored. The tents above the tables had casted shadows which made the magenta-colored objects look red...

While I was sewing the tablecloth number 678.987 (there were "only" about 27 in reality, but it felt like a million to me when sewing them up), I began to feel like a robot... A professional sewing one.

The cake looked exactly like I described my idea to the bakery (loved it) and it tasted deliciously. Vanilla, chocolate and raspberry. Yummy! This picture was made by a friend, not the professional photographer and it doesn't show its real colors - especially the beautiful magenta/fuchsia-colored roses, so I hope to have a better picture from the photographer later.

Now I'm back from vacation and I'm quite motivated and full of hope, that I'll be able to do all the things I like (or at least some of them), which had to be put on hiatus before the wedding. Like sewing. There are a couple of UFOs lying around the apartment, which have to be completed. I'm very bad at coming back to unfinished projects, so I'll probably start (and finish :-)) something new and then come back to what has to be done. Aahhh.

I'm sorry for the not-to-sewing-related post, although it explains why there's no finished garment to report about. Next time I'll do better :-).

Have a great creative week :-)!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Still Alive And Even Sewing

It's been a looong time since I published my last post. And it's been a looong time since I was last sitting in front of my sewing machine. 

The coat is not finished yet. Why? I consulted the nearly-done trench with my teacher during the so-far-last sewing lesson before the summer break and we came to the conclusion that a couple of changes had to be made. The problem is, that I never came around to actually bring them to reality. Why? Already at that point, I had so very little time for everything else, that I just had to put the sewing aside for a while once the course was over. 

The reason is that in less than 6 weeks I'm having a wedding and we organize the wedding ourselves, no wedding planner at hand :-), so this takes me a lot of free time. For the case that this wasn't enough, my two friends are marrying on the next two Saturdays and so I am helping them with some stuff. In fact, one of them is my best friend who lives abroad and that's why I don't have a real opportunity to help her with the organization, so I am happy at least for the little things I can do, like making her a garter or a ring bearer pillow.

So, the last things I've been sewing are some decorative tablecloths, garters, wedding band pillows and stuff like that. It's fun, I enjoy it a lot, but I have no time to sew anything else. And that explains the lack of my posts lately. 

In the middle of all these organizational things around our own wedding, like finding the right place, manage the bureaucracy, design and possibly create some decorations etc (you've got the idea), I was having this "delightful" idea, that I'd love to make a dress for at least one of the friends' weddings. Since the time-pressure's on, I was thinking I might manage to make one for at least the second wedding in a row. I had the suitable fabric in my fabric stash, I had the perfect pattern in the pattern stash as well and I had this feeling, that I might be able to sew up a dress in a weekend time, although this dress is more complicated than anything else I've ever sewn before. 

It's Vogue 1154:

I love the design, I bought all the notions I hadn't had at home, like steel boning (Erica B. inspired me to this) and I began to sew. I followed the instructions and at first, everything went well - the process was very time consuming, but I had no problem understanding the instructions or actually following them. I made the foundation, lined it, I made the outer shell (the upper part of the dress), made some pictures in the middle of the process (below) and after nearly two whole days of sewing, I'm stuck. 

First, the time I had reserved for this dress is gone, so if I don't manage to steal enough time during the workdays after work to complete it I won't be able to finish it in time And second, I don't know where the instructions are going. I am trying to understand, how this dress will finally come to what it looks like in the pictures, I have no idea why the dress lining is probably between the dress and the foundation and not between the foundation and me... I know, I am not an advanced sewer and I picked an advanced pattern, so no right to complain, I've been warned :-).

I'll see what will happen next. I will try very hard to complete this (time-wise and instructions-wise), but I can't guarantee a success. If I won't make it in time, I'll have to force another friend to marry to have an opportunity to wear this what-the-hell-was-I-thinking dress once it's (hopefully) done :-).

Have a great week and happy sewing! :-) 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Inspired Sewing and Spring Coat Progress Report

I really like the trend of brocade clothes - dresses, skirts, jackets..., you name it. Since seeing Abbie Cornish in this gold Yves Saint Laurent skirt in one of the recent Marie Claire (US) issues, I was thinking about making one like that. I am not sure if the skirt she's wearing is a brocade one and I see there are fringes which I don't envision in my version, but it was inspirational enough to look for a similar fabric.

Other inspirations:

 Simply Vera Vera Wang

 Alexander McQueen

So I am happy I've got this piece of brocade fabric into my possession and I will turn it into a skirt inspired by the pictures above. I especially love it styled with a simple white shirt. The fabric was a remnant, but one big enough (1,6 m) to make something else out of it to match the skirt as well.

But before I even start with something else, I need to finish the trench that I started to sew ages ago. I lost some precious sewing time with unpicking all the seams that kept the sleeves attached to the trench's body (they were already serged and all :-/), because the shoulder seems ended up to be just too long and the sleeves were set in too wide. Of course, I should have seen that before sewing and serging them in, but, oh well, it was just too late to cry over the spilled milk. 

The outer shell as well as the lining are finished now, the collar (with a stand) is attached to where it belongs and the lining is attached to the outer shell in some places. I'll see how much time I'm going to have this week, but I'd like to have it (at least nearly) done by Wednesday. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Have a great upcoming week :-)! 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mid-week Ramblings

There was some sewing going on during the past weekend in our apartment and the Spring coat begins to look more like a trench than a fabric puzzle, but there is still a lot to be accomplished. 

The reason why I didn't have more time to sew was our trip to Vienna (Austria) and that's where I've discovered a great fabric/sewing notions shop (in fact, there are three shops of this one owner, but I've only been to this one so far).

The thing is, that although I live in the capital city of our state, it is not a big city and there are only very few shops with fabric and sewing notions (and this rule can be applied to many other areas of life). Soo, since Vienna is only about 55 km from where I live (my city lies on a state border), we quite often happen to look for things we need/want there, if it's not possible to find here. That's how I stumbled upon this shop ( 

It's got two floors and these are full of beautiful fabric, satin ribbons, buttons, sewing patterns, threads, needles, etc. I didn't mean to buy any fabric, but you might already guess how it all ended up. I was quite overwhelmed by the supply (the next time I go there I am having a plan :-D) so I bought only four pieces of fabric (everything remnants). Three of them are not really outstanding in comparison to all the other fabrics there, but I really like them. The next time - when I know what I am looking for, I'll get something I'll need for particular projects. 

The shop has a great supply of special occasion fabrics (including bridal fabrics) and since I've been overly fascinated by evening gowns and dresses lately, I bought a piece of an evening gown fabric as well. There were no labels with the content of these fabrics.

The one special occasion fabric is a beautiful royal blue fabric (the remnant has 2 meters) - satin circles sewn on a sheer base (the picks don't do it justice)...

I envision it transformed in something like this:

pictures from

The other three fabric remnants (if 2 meters of fabric can be called a remnant...) are of an unknown content as well - the first two being sheer, the last one a stretch material / knit. I see them turned into a tunic and summer dresses.

As I was saying - these days I am in LOVE with evening gowns. I am fascinated by the fact, that someone is able to make something so spectacular as a beautiful evening gown / wedding dress from a flat piece of fabric. I'd love to learn that - at least to that point to which it is possible to learn "at home". I am not saying I have the time to do that right now, but I definitely do want to master it one day :-). So while surfing on the net and admiring all the great dresses I came along these patterns that caught my eye and that have finally found a way to my pattern stash:

Some elements of Vogue 1701 remind me of these beautiful dresses...

pictures from

... Vogue 1853 reminds me of this fantastic number by Elie Saab:

picture from

... and Vogue 2904 makes me think of this wedding dress:

picture from

OK, I don't think I'll be able to create these fantastic dresses any time soon :-), but I girl can have a dream, so let's pretend that the patterns, their instructions and a certain amount of determination can be a point to start from :-)...

Have a great week :-)! 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Progress Report

I am still working on the McCall's 2252 trench. I wouldn't call it a continuous process, since I didn't sew a single stitch the last week - I was abroad for four days and had no time to sew. Then yesterday, I traded a couple of hours of the pre-midnight sleep for sewing and what I've got so far is this:

The sleeves are not attached yet, nor the collar, but I've finished the lining so now it needs to be sewn to the outer shell. I am also thinking about shortening the coat a bit. I think it runs a bit too long, looks longer than in the picture (McCall's 2252, view E) to me. 

I hope the next sewing "session" or two will be enough to finish the trench. As it is getting its shape slowly, I am starting to be curious what the finished garment will look like :-).

Have a nice week and happy sewing :-).

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I am working on something...

..., but the progress with this garment is sloooow. Due to the lack of time I am experiencing recently (looks like "recently" is "all the time") I only sew about three hours a week and that's just not enough to complete a Spring trench coat in a "normal" amount of time.

Right, I am working on a trench coat. The pattern I've chosen is McCall's 5525, the fabric is cotton purchased about two years ago with an intention to turn it into a coat one day. I had a vision of a floral white-black-pink coat appropriate for warmer weather conditions and this is the fabric that came closest to my idea. 

This is what I've got so far. I am not trying to match the print (obviously). I don't have enough fabric for that. I know this is a big boo-hoo for some sewers out there :-), but I just don't have enough of the fabric to do that :-). I had ordered 4 yards of the cotton the two years ago and it's turned out to be just on the edge of what I need. 

The idea behind this trench-to-be is a little bit extravagant piece of clothing with contrasting lining and piping (in fuchsia color). This is the second time I am working with piping (the first time being a piped fabric belt, which means pretty straight lines in comparison with the curves of this coat). What's missing from the pics is a piped collar, which has been completed so far as well. 
The piping is a piece of work (especially for a novice), but I am doing my best and it is not as bad as I was first worried.

This is also the first time that I made a muslin before actually cutting into the fashion fabric. I have to say, an idea of making a muslin doesn't really fit my impatient personality - it seems like investing a lot of time into something that won't be needed afterwards (in a case of a non-wearable muslin). But I am learning to be more patient and I am learning to make me feel good about all the time and patience invested into everything, that perfects the end result of my sewing. 

So I made a muslin, made some fitting changes (with  help of my sewing course teacher), ripped the muslin apart, made it into a new and improved (for my body) pattern and cut the fashion fabric with help of the muslin pattern. Pheeew.

I have no idea, how it will turn out, but to be honest, even if it doesn't fit me afterwards, I'll be happy if the coat turns out to be wearable for anybody :-). But I hope it won't be completely ill-fitted :-).  

Hopefully I'll be able to complete the other half of the trench's front tonight. It means I have to sacrifice a couple of hours of pre-midnight sleep, but if I want to have this done before the next  Spring's arrival :-), some serious measures have to be undertaken ;-). 

Wish me luck
and have a nice day :-)!!