Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Future of the Me-Made-Monday

At this point I am doubting the content value of Me-Made-Mondays. Since I gained weight this year, there are only a few older looser fitting pieces that I can still wear. Having made only about ten new outfits I keep rotating them in different variations.

I have to add that I am pretty much happy with what I have - I wear everything, frequently. Yet I also see that, because of this, this series is about to become a repetitive content filler on my blog and want to avoid it at any cost. With my blogiversary approaching I am now reassessing what I am blogging about, and see that there is a need for changes.

Without completely giving up on this project, I thought I'd rather focus on on new makes and feature them in a regular monthly overview. A summary post with a few images and links to in-detail posts, tutorials and pattern reviews. A month is not only enough to make something, but also to wear it, once or twice... And, who knows, maybe it will make it easier to readers to search for or to catch up on specific project related posts...

Maybe we could even do it together again and feature links to your makes and your reviews. What do you think? 

P.S. Thank you so much for your comments on the silk blouse!  A sample for the step-by-step tutorial you asked for is almost finished!  I will also try to answer your questions as soon as possible) It actually reminded me why I am blogging in the first place. 

And for those who have a link to share, here is the last Me-Made-Monday linky party

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Behind the Seams: Silk Blouse

Everytime with a new make I get many ideas about blog posts I can write: tutorials, behind-the-seam images, reviews... And, yet, daily life claims most of my time. The same here, in half an hour hour children will be picked up from the school, they will need lunch and then some company. Sewing time was also cancelled today due to grocery shopping, unpacking and just getting sucked in into the housewife routine.  I am looking at the modest beginnings of my next project and wonder when am I going to complete it... So before I get on this bigger project, I thought I'd post detail shots of my recently made silk blouse as I promised couple of weeks ago.

As you see, there are only two side seams, which I worked as french seams.

The neckline and the back slit are bound with bias strips.

A narrow hem is used to finish the hem and the sleeves. It is stitched using three stitching lines, the way Susan Khalje teaches. But three stitching lines produce a somewhat stiff hem. I usually stitch the first line with larger stitch length setting (same as for machine basting) and remove the thread after the second stitching line is made.

Bias binding on the neckline and the back placket. The placket is very soft and that makes it curve a little and appear a uneven. However, it is mostly quite straight )

Of course, it is only now that I see a pressing issue on this image. I removed that dragging line at the base later on by sliding a small piece of oak tag paper between the bound ends of the slit and the garment fabric and pressed it through an organza press cloth

The placket is made using instructions from Claire Shaeffer's Couture Sewing Techniques with some modifications. Her tutorial is good, but lacks more detail and better step-by-step illustration. So, if there is some demand, I'll be happy to post a tutorial.

Have you worked with slits and plackets? Do you think they are challenging, or do you know an easy method that produces good results? Do share!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Me-Made-Monday 8: a Me-Made-Long-Ago Dress

Me-Monday-Mondays help me stay focused, even if occasionally I cannot post. They help me stay focused not only on blogging, but also on making effort with dressing, rather than just pull on jeans, with yet another shirt... It's great to wear jeans occasionally, but when it is two or more days in a row I have to stop myself. Why am I sewing? Lazy dressing should be banned for sewists.   

Thanks to Rhonda of Rhonda's Creative Life for picking up the challenge last week and featuring her funnel neck T-shirt, and a tutorial. As for me,  last week I pulled this dress from my wardrobe - it is a perfect dress for a hot day. Made with silk crepe, underlined with lightweight charmeuse; chiffon overskirt and a lace overlay top, it is probably the coolest (literally) dress I have - I can wear on a hottest day and feel quite comfortable. 

The pattern is from Burdastyle, you can read more about the construction in my Burdastyle guest post. The dress was made two years ago, but I started wearing it more regularly here In Cyprus... for some reason.

Where did I wear it? I took kids to an ice-cream place on the first day of school and it was a perfect colour for an afternoon with kids :) Unfortunately, I don't have images of the place we went to, but it is a nice cafe in the old city, just at the buffer zone. While kids are playing on a relatively large playground that belongs to the cafe, parents can chill out in the shade of bougainvilleas sipping on their oh-so-popular in Cyprus frappe.

Well, back to you, readers! Here is the link up tool for this week

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
Source: Style.com

Prabal Gurung, Fall 2013
Source: Style.com

Oscar de la Renta, Resort 2014
Source: Style.com

Roland Mouret, Pre-Fall 2013
Source: Style.com

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? 


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