Monday, August 25, 2014

Me-Made-Monday 7: A new silk top

"Cock your hat - angles are attitudes" 
- Frank Sinatra.

I love the new hat top, and it is my newest make as well... Ahem,.. this hat is my new favourite, readers. I bought it on my holiday in Vienna and it is an original Panama hat, made in Ecuador. With temperatures still at soaring 40C (105F), it is a true life saver. The best is, once inside a building you can roll it and store in a small bag!

I'll add a few words about the top. I should, really. It is a Burdastyle pattern #111 07/2014, a  relatively simple inverted trapezoid with 'split sleeve'. I used french seams, bias binding for the neckline, couture version of the bound slit for the neckline opening (I could not resist), and a narrow machine hem for the hem and sleeves. The neckline slit was not really necessary since the neckline is wide enough, but I just went with the pattern. The top can be sewn in less than half a day, and even faster if you omit the slit. I used a better quality silk charmeuse from my stash (!!!!); I bought it four years ago at Michael's Fabrics in Baltimore.

You may recognize the skirt, another relatively recent make.


A close-up of the neckline and sleeve finishing - I will be posting more construction details in a separate post.

Finally, thanks to the following fabulous ladies for sharing their makes last week. Real bombshells, readers - check out their makes!

Jenny of Cashmerette, rocking a Bombshell swimsuit!

Clio of Clio & Phineas, rocking her second (!) Bombshell and a 26-week pregnant belly! Clio, congratulations!

Kristin of Sunny Sewing, with her version of Plantain and Thurlows! 

By the way, I was just thinking that we sewersists developed an amazing new language that no sane person can understand. I was showing to my husband the latest me-made links: "This is Clio - she hacked another bombshell, and Kristin, who cracked Thurlows..."   -     ..?  ....

... and, finally, the amazing Rhonda of Rhonda's Creative Life with A The Perfect Travel Dress.

"Oh frabjous girls! Calloh! Callay!
She chortled in her joy

Ok, here is the next linky party, ladies! 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sewing with CADRUS: Four designer dresses

I am driven by scents, readers. This morning I woke up very early, around 4 am. As I was getting water for my coffee from near the kitchen window, a drift of a heady scent came from outside... it was a fragile jasmine tree that grows next to the kitchen wall... I love those mornings when it is still dark outside, but the air is so pure and light that you can smell the plants talking. This reminded me of John Galsworthy's The Japanese Quince, a short story that describes an early spring morning scent that took by surprise some rather boring English businessmen. Wonderful little story that makes me smile every time I read it.

Forgive me, readers, for this lyrical deviation. That jasmine got me )... Yesterday, I received the most recent issue of my most favourite Atelier (Ателье) magazine , which is a Russian-language edition of Rundschau magazine published by Mueller & Sohn.  The editions are mostly different with regard to the content. The articles in the Russian edition are written by Russian authors mostly, and it seems they got some great agreements with designers in the west. Almost every issue features a case study on drafting a pattern, or draping, of a piece by prominent designers. These case studies are presented by CADRUS, a Russian information technology company related to Mueller & Sohn, which caters for fashion industry and runs a large education centre.  

Last four issues, for example, offered step-by-step pattern drafting for these garments:

Christian Dior, Resort 2014

Prabal Gurung, Fall 2013

Oscar de la Renta, Resort 2014

Roland Mouret, Pre-Fall 2013

Each dress is really unique and it would be fun to try to recreate all of them. If I'll have some time in the near future I will probably consider the Christian Dior or the Prabal Gurung dress, depending on the season. In fact I do need another cocktail dress, and what makes it even easier is that in the most recent issue included a pattern sheet for all four dresses. The patterns are available in two sizes only, so, if I will make them, I will need to measure them very carefully and then off to muslin. I feel lucky

What about you? If you had to choose a dress for a special occasion, which one from these four would it be? and why? 

To-do list: a Eugenia Kim skirt

I just recently came across clothes designed by a promising young fashion designer from Russia Eugenia Kim. Korean by heritage and only 22-year old, she managed to produce a fun and original collection. In this interview (unfortunately, only in Russian) you can see a slideshow of her latest creations - very refreshing.

And while I am not a 17 to 28-year girl (her target customer), I do think I can pull off the skirt below. This cut out image from the August Russian Elle magazine is pasted in my agenda. Pasting inspiration pieces on used pages of my agenda is one of my favourite activities if I wake up too early. I cup of coffee, paper scissors and life is beautiful in an instant.

Don't you love those bound buttonholes? Fun, fun, fun piece that screams Iris Apfel, who is Eugenia Kim's inspiration by the way. As for my learning adventure, that's a good opportunity to try and compare new bound buttonhole techniques!

Who/what has inspired you lately?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Me-Made-Monday 6: A beach dress and another linky party

I have really managed to sew a knit garment. It was an epic fail, but I managed to wear it once last week. A beach dress based on a Burdastyle pattern something as trivial as a rectangle. Made in viscose jersey (which I bought as a test material for sewing with knits), it looked good when I just put it on... 

- I am glad we made pictures before we went out, so I can prove that the fit was ok. Sorry for the messy background - the garden suffered a little while we were on holiday.

...the back was a bit loose, but bearably loose, just good for a beach dress. And I thought, if it bothers me I could chop off some fabric from one edge...

... I am soo lucky I had this belt on, because the moment I came back home and took it off, the back dropped like a jaw and I was dragging an ever increasing train of viscose jersey behind me. 

A question to you, readers? What did I do wrong??? I have no idea! I finished all the edges with coverlock stitch. Was I supposed to stabilize the top edge? I really didn't expect this to stretch thaaat much!  

And for those more confident sewers, here is the most recent linky party. Post your last week's me-made wear!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Visit to Komolka in Vienna and no Me-Made-Monday this week

I missed the Me-Made-Monday post yesterday due to a minor holiday injury. So here I go with a Terribly-Sorry-Tuesday post. My daughter had a nail injury and we spent the entire afternoon in a hospital in Vienna, where we are spending the second half of our holidays. Luckily it's all over now, except that she won't be able to enjoy the next three weeks at the beach or pool back home in Cyprus.

Well, the worst is over and we will be flying back in a couple of days, and the following days she will be occupied with final arrangements for her 5th birthday. She was born end of July, but I cannot deprive her of a birthday party with her friends, who are usually away during the hot summer months. A piñata will be constructed (a party theme has been changed several times already :) and kid snacks and party activities will be prepared. In one word, we will try to give her a fun memory to hold on to.

Back to the blog, I haven't sewn for two weeks and miss it immensely! On the other hand, last week I finally went to Komolka,  the only my favourite fabric store in Vienna. I bought knits and stretch cottons (no unplanned purchases, readers!), which are hard to come by in Cyprus. The three-floor store is great, although it has no real competition in the city. The ground floor has all the sales and new season fabrics, which are neatly laid and organised on special tables by colour theme, so finding a suitable hue is very easy. This year, I spotted so many flower prints in piques, jacquards, complemented by boucles, of which they got amazing variety, ooh. Here are the prints I bought

Crazy, really, and I have no idea what I am going to make with them, but I just could not pass. I am glad  I am not living in Vienna, as my stash would grow again, mostly with fabrics that I have not a slightest idea what to do with.

The Van Gogh flowers is I believe viscose jersey, stretchy but resistant. If you got ideas, please do share. It is only 1.2m long, and 1,4m wide (60"), and on the top it has a large section with a simple blue background.

The other fabric (on the right) is a stretch cotton (1,8m). It's probably best suited for a figure hugging dress or shirt, but, again, I am speechless. What was I thinking? Oona to the rescue!!!

These first-floor fabrics, on the other hand, are my cup of tea. Unfortunately, the iPhone image doesn't reflect the beauty of these pieces... They got a large room with a bridal section and mostly white and cream laces, and also a large section of coloured laces, all organised on separate tables. I remember struggling with finding coloured quality lace in New York, but here it is all available.

I didn't buy a single cut of lace this time - still got enough at home, and, besides, found a wonderful Armenian vendor in Cyprus who sells end cuts of finest Solstiss lace.

Finally, I visited a pattern section in the store, where I could had to enjoy a cup of vending-machine coffee while browsing through new pattern books of the Big 4 and Burda. I liked quite a few patterns I didn't buy at the end because the price in Europe is very restrictive, since they don't offer discounts and sales on patterns like in the US. A Vogue pattern costs somewhere between 20 and 30 euro. Will rather invest this money in fabric and look for patterns on eBay.

I got to finish here and will be back to blogging on Friday, in a familiar environment and with more convenient tools. Meanwhile, if you got any tips for those stretchy prints, please do share! Did I tell you, by the way, that I got only little no experience sewing knits. The only time I worked with knits is when hemming my daughter PE pants. I got a plan I have no idea where to start, but more about it on in my next post... Thanks!


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