Jersey 1/3 Dress

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Often when I see clothes that I really like in stores, worn by other people, on TV or the internet I think of making them for myself and how I could change them to make them better.  When I was in the States recently I bought a very cute, pale pink jersey dress. It is super easy to wear and so girly, I love it.  However it is a bit special, the fabric is nice and should be hand washed and the color is not one I can wear all the time. So I figured I could make a new dress better suited for everyday wear.

I used a bodice IMGP4839_PEF_shotwell_modifiedpattern from Ottobre magazine which I also used for my sweatshirt dress. I compared it to the dress I was trying to copy and made changes according to my wishes. Then based on the waist measurement and my desired length I drafted a skirt which is actually one third of a circle, hence the name.  I think it has just the right flair. I used campan stripes jersey from my stash.  The fabric is super soft cotton with 3% elastane and it feels really good and of high quality. I highly recommend it.  I then sewed the whole thingIMGP4845_PEF_shotwell_modified on my serger except the hem and edges where I used the zig-zag stitch on my sewing machine and I also used clear elastic for the armholes and neckline. It feels great to wear.

The day after I finished my dress, the Closet Case Files released their Nettie pattern and I think there is some resemblance. I surely got ideas to improve my pattern, I love the super low back neckline which I will definitely try.  I already have a pattern for sleeves and lengthening the bodice to make a one piece should not be that difficult. You see, I constantly get new ideas! IMGP4843_PEF_shotwell_modified

 

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Cozy Flannel Shirt

I have wanted to make this shirt since I saw it in the Ottobre magazine last autumn.

IMGP4585_modifiedLately there have been lots of shirts popping up on the sewing blogs, many Tylers from Named and also Archers from Grainline Studio and that made me look even more often at the pattern I had at hand.  The other day when I was at my fabric store I saw this checked flannel in soft creamy colors with a beautiful burgundy. I touched it and fell in love.  It was so super soft and dreamy, exactly like I imagined for the perfect autumn/winter shirt.IMGP4595_modified  I didn’t buy the fabric in this trip but kept thinking about it so a few days later I went back to the store.  I didn’t find the bolt at first and got a bit anxious that my dreamy fabric was all gone but in the end I found it and bought the whole thing.  There was only a meter and half left which was just enough for the shirt.  When I came home I washed the fabric (as I always do) and hung it in the bathroom to dry.  When my husband came home and saw it in the bathroom, he asked if I was gonna make some dishcloths for the kitchen…IMGP4593_modifiedAnyhow, I made the shirt and I happy with it.  It is just like I wanted it to be.  I did my best to match up all the plaids and it looks right I think.  The collar and collar stand are definitely not perfect. Somehow the under collar became the upper collar (oops) and the collar stand does not match perfectly in the front.  I shortened the sleeves by 3cm but I think that 5 cm would be better. I also shortened the bodice by 5 cm, which I think is a fine length.IMGP4597_modifiedAlso I made a mistake with the cuffs, they are both the same (i.e  not mirror images of each other) meaning that on one side the buttons and buttonholes should change place. I blame this on me being in to much of a hurry to check twice.  I guess you don’t notice unless you are really looking and thinking about shirt construction.  I noticed this too late to have the patient to fix it.   I could also blame the instructions in the magazine a little, they are very brief, not as brief as Burda but still very brief.  IMGP4599_modifiedI think the shirt looks really good with skinny jeans trousers and I also like it with my freshly made  mini skirt.IMGP4556_modifiedAnd I guess I’ll have to make another one of these shirts soon to remind myself of the mistakes I made and to improve my shirt making skills. They can only get better 🙂

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Cobalt Blue Skirt

I made this skirt recently, just got round to take pictures today.IMGP4563_modifiedIt’s a classic mini skirt with fly front and back yoke.  I got the pattern from Ottobre Magazine 4/12 and yes it is a kids pattern.  I made a size 158 and surprisingly it fit just right. I could maybe have reduced the waist a little, but I think it is Ok.  It was my first ever fly front, and although it is a little crooked I am happy. I had the metal flower button in my stash and think it fits quite well. In the back there is a little kick pleat which I find quite cute.  It also has front and pack pockets, so a lot of detail, which is nice.IMGP4566_modifiedI bought the fabric a while ago. It is cobalt blue cotton twill, great for this project since it has some body and similar features as denim.  I also love the color, although I find it a bit hard to style. I guess I just have to experiment a little.

IMGP4567_modifiedOverall I am happy with it and I hope to wear it a lot.  I guess it has the potential of much wear, since I can wear it with tights in autumn and spring and then by itself in summer.  I guess it is not a heavy winter skirt, but maybe I’ll give it a try.

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FO: The Parka

So, I’ve finally finished the parka I’ve been talking about for the last month.

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I made it from black cotton twill and the lining is red and white polka dot cotton. It features a two way zipper, zipper shield, hood, fish tail hem, welt pockets, paper back pockets with flaps as well as lots and lots of top stitching.  It’s definitely the most difficult and complicated garment I have ever made and I think I did a fairly good job.  At least I am very happy with the result and I know I will wear it a lot.IMGP4515_modified

I made some alterations. I shortened the body by 7 cm in total, 2 above the waist and 5 below and because of this I used a zipper that was 65 cm instead of 70 cm. I shortened the sleeves by 5 cm, which may have been a little bit to much, but it works OK.  I did not make a muslin because this is a loose fitting jacket and I found it unnecessary, but maybe I should have to get the sleeve length right. The pattern was not always very clear and the photographs in the magazine, the technical drawing and the written instructions did not always match which meant I had to improvise a little sometimes.  But I guess that when you sew a pattern that is graded as advanced you should be able to figure out what to do when the instructions are not clear.  And one thing that I found very bad.  IMGP4520_modifiedThe pockets are worked first. They are sewn on the front pieces before they are interlined with the lining, which means that the fabric stretches out. When I cut out the lining and started basting to the shell, the shell was bigger, which gave me some difficulty when lining up the zipper and hemming.  So my advice (and reminder if I make this again) is to stay stitch the front pieces before working the pockets.

IMGP4523_modifiedSure, it has some flaws.  The sleeves are not totally pucker free, the pockets are not perfectly identical on both sides and the top stitching is not completely straight but I love those little imperfections.  They are there because I made this jacket and I am very proud of it.  For years, I have been looking for a black autumn/spring jacket but never found the right one. Now I have one that I love and I will probably wear it until it falls apart. Mission accomplished!IMGP4521_modified

Progress on the Parka

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I haven’t talked about the jacket I am sewing for a while now so I guess this is a good time.  I started making this parka from the latest Ottobre Woman magazine a few weeks ago.  I bought the shell fabric in my local fabric store but ordered the lining and notions online.  They took forever to arrive.  I guess that my order was somehow forgotten because as soon as I managed to contact them (this was not easy) 16 days after I made my order they sent it right away.  I was really unhappy with their service but at least I got my stuff in the end.

 

When I had only the shell fabric I did everything I could, that is I sewed the pockets and prepped some smaller pieces to get it out of the way.  The lining is namely treated as an interlining, meaning that a shell piece and a corresponding lining piece are treated as one when sewing. After sewing each seam you have to serge the edges and then top stitch, so there is a lot of work.Photo0361_modified

The lining is a beautiful red cotton with white polka dots. After I basted the lining pieces to the shell pieces the body of the fabric changed a lot and now it feels much more like outerwear.  I thought that a shell made of twill would be somehow cheap looking  and without body but it is not and  I am really happy with my fabric choices.

After I got my order it took my a few days to get back on track with sewing the parka, but last weekend I finally cut out the pieces for the lining and now I have sewed everything together.  What is still missing is binding the hood/jacket seam, inserting the zipper (which scares me a bit), finishing the front edges of the jacket and hood. This is done with a facing which first has to have it’s edges finished with bias-tape and the final step is hemming.  Wow, when I write it down like that it is not much at all.Photo0364_modified

Maybe I’ll have it ready before the weekend 🙂

I can’t wait!!!

Sweatshirt dress

IMGP4435_modifiedA couple of days ago we had one of those autumn days where it is sunny, bright and oh so beautiful but with crisp air and cold wind.  When I was walking to the library to study trying to keep warm since the sun had tricked me to think it was warmer outside I got the idea for this dress.  I wanted a dress that was warm, comfy and stylish.  I decided to use sweatshirt fabric since it is thick and made of cotton and also it is a stable knit fabric which I thought would make a comfy dress.

I decided to use black so I could wear it with colorful tights which conveniently are available in thick cotton and wool blends.

The pattern is a mixture.  The bodice is from an Ottobre Woman t-shirt pattern but I changed the neckline. I lowered it and added a neckline band.  The sleeves are from another Ottobre Woman pattern, since the ones for the bodice were short.

IMGP4436_modifiedThe skirt however is my own make.  I’m not gonna go as far as calling it my own design since it is only two rectangles sewn together at the sides and then pleated to fit the bodice.  I am really happy with the front of the skirt.  The back of the skirt is another story.  I guess I learned that you should not place a pleat like that in a thick fabric like this at center back. It really stretches out and if you look at it from the side it really stands out, making my behind look huge and simply strange.  Maybe it’s also because I accidentally cut the skirt to short so the weight isn’t pulling it down or something, but I think this is not the most flattering look:

IMGP4445_modifiedIt was relatively quick to make since I used my serger for almost every seam. I hemmed the sleeves and skirt using the zig-zag stitch since I haven’t been happy with the twin needle result.  The seams never turn out stretchy enough and the threads always break.  I also read this post on Sewaholic about seaming in knit clothing.  I really agree with her on what see says about the zig-zag stitch and I’m going to use it more from now on.

IMGP4439_modifiedApart from the skirt issues I am really happy with this dress and I know I will wear it a lot even though it has those flaws.  An those flaws only give me an excuse to make another one of those dresses which is never a bad thing, right?

In Progress: Parka and mittens

Photo0343_modifiedLike I talked about last week, I really wanted to make that Ottobre Parka.  Well I bought the lining fabric and notions online last week but since the shell fabric that I wanted was out of stock I decided to by it in my local fabric shop.

This was Thursday last week.  Since then I washed to shell fabric, ironed it, cut out all the pattern pieces, tailor tacked everything excessively and then sewed everything that I possibly could.

I am still waiting for my package from the online store so I can continue.

But I have sewn the vent pockets on the front pieces and am quite happy with them.  I managed to sew on of them closed when top stitching.

Still, one turned out better than the other…

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Now I just have to be patient…

I am also working on some mittens for my sons, using leftover yarn.  This is a part of a leftover yarn challenge I am taking part in, but I have until the end of October to finish, so there is no hurry…

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