Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Travelling and making plans

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Hello! I briefly mentioned that I was going overseas for March, and I'm finally back and settled into real life again. My trip covered England, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Russia, and mainly involved visiting family and competing in the World Modern Jive Championships (more about that in another post, as I sewed several costumes for the event!). I had an amazing time, and more importantly was able to get some fabric shopping done while traveling, so I thought I'd do a quick summary of the shops I visited and some of my sewing plans.
My first shopping stop was Karjalan Kangas ja Ompelukoneeseen in a little town in Finland called Imatra, where my aunt and cousin live. I believe the shop name translates to "Karelia Fabric and sewing machines", Karelia being the region of Finland that Imatra is in. This navy fabric with a magnolia print caught my eye, so had to come home with me. Since I don't speak Finnish I'm not sure what the fabric actually is, but it feels like a matte but slinky polyester, if that makes any sense. I don't have concrete plans for this one, but probably a blouse or top I can wear to work, maybe with this flouncy sleeved top (#119) from the 07/2017 issue of Burda.
My next shopping stop was Estonia, Tallinn. I had read that Estonia was known for producing quality linens, but all the linen shops I visited in the Old Town (where we were staying) were very touristy and seemed to be mainly heavier weight linens that seemed more suitable to home decor type applications. Instead, I found an Abakhan Fabrics located walking distance from us! I know that Abakhan Fabrics is a popular fabric chain in Europe and the UK, but I'd never been to one and I loved it!! So much variety. I found it hard to choose but ended up picking up a couple remnants from the "price by weight" bins. The first one is this lemon print rayon that I'm thinking might make a cute Helmi tunic dress by Named patterns.

The second was this floral print. The fabric is hard to describe, but is almost like a very light and very soft corduroy. It was also in the rayon section. I plan on making the Kimmy dress from Seamwork with this and I think it'll work for summer and winter, if I layer it with tights.
The last piece I picked up in Estonia was actually the first that caught my eye, despite its humble appearance. It is a (hard to photograph) navy colour with a geometric dot pattern, almost Morse code! Strangely it was in the chiffon section even though it is clearly not a chiffon, so I'm not sure what the content is! It has a great woven texture up close. There is only a tiny piece of this one, but I'm hoping to squeeze out a sleeveless top that I can wear to work, though I don't have a pattern in mind yet.
After Estonia, we made our way to Latvia, where I managed to visit three towns and three fabric shops! First stop was Daugavpils and a shop called AUSTD. It was a fairly small shop and I was the only customer so I may have "panic bought" to avoid the social anxiety (anyone else do that?), and ended up walking away with some of this bright blue feather print rayon. No plans for this one yet!
In Livani my grandmother took me to a fabric shop and I didn't manage to note what it was called! It had a surprisingly good range for a small shop, and I picked up some of this yellow floral fabric. No plans for this, but probably another floaty blouse for work :)
I also got some of this cool geometric print fabric which feels like a thin scuba. No plans for this either at this stage! 
In Latvia we also visited Riga, my birth city! It was almost an afterthought, but I popped into an Abakhan Fabrics there too, on our last day, and picked up some of this floral print jersey, which will hopefully end up as a Named Kielo dress.
Our final destination was Moscow, and the first fabric shop I visited was called Cloth Bureau, or "Бюро тканей" . However, this one also gave me anxiety. It looked very fancy and I was the only customer again so I panicked and walked out! I tried again at the Collection Fabric Store and found the atmosphere more inviting. They had some great discounts and I ended up taking home two fabrics. The first was this navy silk carnation print.
The second was this Liberty print cotton, which will probably be a casual dress of some sort. 
That was the extent of my fabric shopping, but I was also gifted a few extra pieces by my family! My uncle has been going through my paternal grandmother's belongings, as she passed away last year. I found a box marked "material" and was told I could have anything I wanted from it! Most of it was home decor fabric and flannelette for pyjamas, but I found a piece of this interesting rust coloured fabric that feels like a silk/linen blend, possibly? One side is matte and looks like linen and the other is shiny and looks like silk, and it definitely feels like a natural fibre. There is only a small piece, so I'm hoping to fit an Ogden cami out of it.
At my maternal grandmother's house, I had even more luck. Her mother (my great grandmother) had been a seamstress, and she had a big bag of leftover dressmaking fabric. I walked away with four pieces, plus a dress made for my grandmother by my great-grandmother, which really deserves a post of its own :) The first piece is this very light purple cotton with a white feather print. This one is all ready to be made into an In The Folds peplum top, inspired by this one by Siobhan
I also walked away with this bright blue fabric, possibly wool, which is black on the reverse side. Maybe a Seamwork Lilliana?
Next was this white satin printed in a black and red floral design. I'm hoping there's enough for a fancy dress and a top for work. 
And finally I picked up this interesting floral print. It's some sort of very swishy polyester, so will probably also be a fancy dress :) But before I start on any of these, I have a very important project I'm working on! It is my 30th birthday next week and I'm throwing a big party in a couple weeks time, with a black-tie dress code, naturally. I just got my order of purple glitter mesh delivered and I'm hoping to make something fabulous based loosely on the one-shoulder dress from the September 1961 issue of the Australian Home Journal, pictured below. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

The Team Spirit Set

This set was a somewhat spontaneous make after completing my Marlborough and Hipster Briefs set. I had quite a bit of the lace left over, and I had been meaning to give the Ohhh Lulu Romy bra a go, so I decided this was the perfect opportunity.

The details:
Pattern: Ohhh Lulu Romy bra and Ohhh Lulu Lola briefs
Fabric: Lycra from Spotlight and lace from MintFrog on Etsy
Notions: Elastics, strapping and hook and eye from Booby Traps; rings and sliders from sewingcraftnotions on Etsy
Size: S in the Romy and M in the Lola
Special touches and alterations: Made the 'bonus' strappy variation of the Romy altered to have lace on the bottom cup, and made a combination of views B and C for the Lola
To give the lace a different look from the last time I used it, I decided to pair it with a deep coloured lycra, and ended up with this rich navy colour by dying my fabrics and notions with the Dharma dark navy acid dye. I dyed my elastics and straps deep maroon to match the lace, and I love the combination of the two colours.
I decided to go with a hybrid view of the Romy, choosing to make the strappy bonus view, but using lace on the lower cup. For the briefs, I decided to try the Lola briefs again, this time going for a combination of views B and C.
Mixing the two views of the Lola might not have been the best idea, as the lace did not provide a great attachment point for the strappy detail, but I learned my lesson from the first set and used clear elastic along each of the edges of the lace, which I think was particularly necessary for this set. I think this really helps avoid the lace being pulled forward at that attachment point.
As I was making it for some reason it reminded me of a high school sports uniform? It does have a somewhat sporty vibe. But I do really love the finished set and have been wearing it frequently. This was my second set from my January underwear making spree, keep your eye out for the third set in the next few weeks!

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

The Pretty as a Peach Dress

Another Seamwork dress from me this week, which I made in February in an attempt to fill out my summer wardrobe. This time it is the Catarina, which I had originally dismissed when it came out but fell in love with after seeing several beautiful versions on the web.

The details:
Pattern: The Catarina dress by Seamwork
Fabric: Polyester crepe with peach flower print
Size: 4 at bust, graded to 6 at waist and 10 at hips
Special touches and alterations: Added 1.5cm at underarms and 2cm at waist to the bodice length. Made the straps non-adjustable. Added centre back seam to bodice due to fabric contstraints
I picked up this polyester crepe from Spotlight with the intention of making a top, but since I had no concrete plans for it I got 2m of it just in case.  Luckily that turned out to be the perfect amount for this dress, although I did need to cut the back bodice piece on the fold. I managed to pattern match it quite well though so no harm done :)
I decided to make the straps fixed in length rather than adjustable, but second guessed myself after measuring the length and ended up adding more length to them, so they were far too long at first! I took them in a bit but I think I'll shorten them even more to improve the fit.
I can't decide if the skirt is too long or if I love the length... it's lovely and swishy and romantic and the fabric feels great, but the print is a bit more colourful than what I usually wear so I feel a tiny bit self conscious....
I made a belt to help define the waist a little and break up the print.  I just used a piece of white elastic threaded through this belt clasp I found at an op-shop. Easy peasy, and I think it looks great! I need to go on another op-shopping adventure to see if I can find more of these styles of clasps, I really love them.
And this dress has now been immortalised as the dress I wore when I finally bought a house after looking for 18 months! Woooohooooo!! I can't wait to move into my new home :D