Monday, 23 May 2011

Thrifted green dress

I went thriftshopping at a charityshop with a friend, and came home with this late 50s/early 60s dress!

I love the pleat detail in the front, such a simple thing that makes the garment so much more interesting.

Sorry sbout the quality of the photo, my windows are all east and it was late afternoon when this was taken. But I wanted to give you a good view of the frontpleats.

Feeling Mad Men-inspired here =)

In all fairness, I didn't find the dress, Kattis did. Here's a confession: I'm actually quite poor at hunting in charity stores. There's always so much uninteresting stuff that unless the good stuff is fully visible, I miss it. There, I've said it. I'm a bad second hand-shopper. But I did find a blouse for Kattis! So practical for two friends not to have the same size when hitting second-hand stores! =)

Hope you've had a great weekend!
Love, Erika

Friday, 20 May 2011

Blouses, silk, pressing - the internet is for inspiration!

Blouses has been - and still are - a huge gap in my closet, so in preparation for Me Made June I've been mulling patterns, fabrics and sewing blouses.

How about something like these patterns?

Holksleeves. Some sort of open pleats around the waistline (to reduce the bulk at the tuck-in). Either a simple roundneck with buttons down the back, or a button-front with a soft collar. Comfortable in hot weather, fits under a cardigan during night (and during the rest of the year), and flattering - at least in theory, I guess it depends on how a succesfull pattern I make =)

So what about fabrics? I can't believe how long it took me to think of silk! Drape-y, thin, cool. But apparently a nightmare to work with, according to some. Others swears by it, and recommends it for everything. A round up of some posts I've happened upon while trying to figure out how best to sew in this fabric:

A fashionable stitch - Tips and tricks on working with silk
Gertie - A couple tips for Sewing Slippery Fabric
Tasia - Tips on sewing with silk
Colette Patterns Blog - About silk
Casey's elegant musings - 30s sweetheart, some tips and lots of inspiration

I'd love to read more tips and tricks concerning silk, so please leave a link in the comments if you have some reading-tips for me. Or leave your own tips and tricks, I'd love to hear them!

From Sunni at A fashionable stitch, I followed a link to Gorgeous Fabrics. It's about pressing, and let me tell you, I had missed a great deal of her tips. I've always pressed the seams open while sewing (not leaving for a final pressing), but the rest was news to me. And it really makes a huge difference! Can't wait to try it out! I wonder though if makes the same big difference for linen or thicker cottons that it does for the silk in her example... I see a load of trial and error in the future for me =)

After all my reading, and my understanding that silk is slippery, delicate to press and wash, tricky to pin without leaving marks etc, the thing that still scares me the most about sewing with silk? Adjusting the thread tension. One of the reasons my machine sews like an absolute dream: I've never changed the tension. It's perfectly balanced and has worked on everything from tents to thin cottons (ok, not great on thin cottons, but ok and a lot better than most other machines I've used). I feel a bit like I'm taking a blind leap into a dark void here... But there's a silk out there with my name on it, so into the void I go!

Have a great weekend! I'm off to start some patternmaking =)
Love, Erika

Sunday, 15 May 2011

The Swing Dress and Me Made June

Blogger went a little crazy this week... One post disappeared on me, it's back but the comments are not restored yet. And something happened to my categories. So if something's looking a bit strange here, don't worry, it will soon be fixed!

This past Friday a friend of mine defended his paper and passed. Congratulations Henrik! For the evening's celebratory party, I wore my newly finished Swing Dress. Ta-da!

This is me and Sofie, both wearing our own creations. She made her dress out of a traditional russian shawl, so beautiful!

Sewing the Swing Dress was a lot of fun, esp once I got the pattern finished. Me and a friend did buy the pattern for the sewalong, but I used it more as a guide for in what general direction I should change my blockpattern. I'm quite pleased with the result, but before next time (and I will def use this pattern again!) I need to fine-tune the pattern some, plus I realised too late that even after all my fitting there's still some issues where the front meets the midriff-section. Probably this is due to the neckline being on the bias, and it stretched during pressing and handling. I did compensate some, but not eunough. Anyway, it might not be perfect, but I like it for a thin summer day-dress!
Here's some detail close-ups:

Front is gathered to shoulder yoke and midriff-piece, as the "original" pattern. Sleeves are however much shorter, just set-in cap-sleeves.

The skirt I made totally different, I chosed to make a half circle skirt pattern. This gives the dress a 50s feel (esp when combined with the cap-sleeves) than the original pattern, which is more of a 40s dress. I love the 40s, but has realised that the 50s look better on me. *Sigh* The grass is always greener on the other side, right? The greenest grass for me is the second half of the 30s, which I can't wear without some hard-core underwear. So of course I absoloutly adore it! =)
Sorry for the rambling, back to the dress...

The back is almost reversed from the Swing dress pattern, as it gathers to the yoke and is fitted to the waist. I figured it would balance the front better then, thus preventing the side seam to wander around.

I ran out of time and seam-allowance so instead of a lapped zipper I inserted an invisible. It's such a thin fabric, I doubt the weaker zipper will be a problem, and it does look good, I think.
So there you go! I can't believe I finished a dress in under two weeks. Tailoing the coat this winter really has turned around my time-perspective on sewing! Now I feel less bad about not finishing the coat before spring; it really was just that much more work than a dress.

This dress will be great for June, but I need to sew some more... as I've decided to sign up to Me Made June! I'm so excited, I've wanted to join one of Zoe's wear-what-you've-made challenges for well over a year, but haven't felt that I have enough things ready. I've set the bar very low for this first time, just one handmade piece per day. Now, I already wear that quite often, so the challenge will be to pull out the things I usually skip over, and to compose outfits worth documenting each day. I'm horrible at "this skirt works with that top and that cardigan. Ok, I'm done.", thus repeating my outfits all the time (made even easier by not working at the same place all the time). I want to make at least one more dress and two blouses for the challenge, so better get sewing, right? =)

Anyone else who's joining Me Made June?

Love, Erika

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

New toys and an old dress

I've danced again! After a 4 month long break from all dancing I'm finally swingin' it on the lindy-floor again! I'm carefull not to dance a full night (3-4 hours) but to warm up, stretch, dance one hour, stretch and then rest. The resting is the hard part, but it helps that the program actually seems to be working. Yay! Herräng, here I come... Only 2 months away now.

This is a dress some of you have seen before, and some of you will even wonder if I ever wear any other dresses while dancing. And I do! I just haven't remembered to take photos, and it's been ages since my last outfit-post. So here it is, an oldie but a goodie!

My hair in flat victory rolls. The hairdo is one I haven't done for at least a year. I couldn't remember why until I tried to make it look smooth... Ah, well. It was for dancing, it got messy anyway. This is the after-dance picture, I'll just blame it on that =)

I of course had to test how it worked with my hat collection! I liked this combination for a summer outfit. Maybe with the dress I'm making? Good or too much when matched with a pink flower-print? (The fabric in question is in the last post before this one).

On a whole different topic: remember I talked a while ago about my passion for sewing toys tools? I had to order some things (honestly!) and the shipping was the same no matter weight or size so I ordered some extra stuff...

Belting material, zippers, shoulderpads, chalk wheel, bias-tape maker, belt-turner, magnetic pin cushions and... a rotary cutter with a cutting mat. The last ones are apparently great for knits and silk, which means: fabric shopping! Wheee!

It's finally spring for real, I've had a great weekend and now I'm happily playing with my new tools =) This week I hope to finish the dress I cut out last week, only have hemming and inserting sleeves left to do. It's amazing how fast sewing is when one isn't tailoring a coat =)

Love, Erika