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Poodle Blouse in Istanbul

I spent the last week in Istanbul, or as Greeks still call it, Konstantinoupoli!

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The aim of the trip was a work-related scientific conference with a rather full program – from 7.30 AM to 6 PM and this from Monday to Saturday, but nevertheless, I managed to see some highlights of this amazing city.

I was especially lucky because I had a very helpful local guide (and his friend who actually works as a tour guide!!) who showed me and one of my colleagues around after the conference sessions. The local guide was a former PhD student from Turkey whom my father, who is a professor at the university, supervised several years ago in Estonia and I had his contacts after he came over for dinner in my parents house once. We had chatted maybe a few times during the past years over social media, but when the conference was confirmed, I told him I would be in town and he turned out to be extremely hospitable.

I didn´t go to Istanbul empty handed, I wanted to use this opportunity to take some photos of my lates sewing project in a more exotic environment than usually.

Do you remember this fun poodle print silk crepe de chine from my trip to Helsinki?

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Just in time for Istanbul, I turned this and a scrap of plain black crepe de silk into this:

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I have used this pattern (model 16, Patrones No 318) once before, and also wore it at the conference:

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As you can see, this time I omitted the sleeves, the result of a long debate with myself – since after my first fabric shopping in Helsinki and pre-shrinking the fabric, it lost exactly enough length and width to forbid me from cutting the sleeves, I bought somemor on my second trip….. just to decide against the sleeves in the end.

Since the shirt is so easy to make, having no darts whatsoever, it was a good project for my first ever silk sewing. To my surprise, the fabric behaved well during the process and I am especially proud of the buttonholes, that are perfectly in line and equal in size. I don´t know if and when I will ever be relaxed while sewing them!

I used French seams for shoulder and side seams and at the armholes I just folded the fabric over twice and sewed.

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Some close ups back at home:

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Of course I looked around for fabrics in Istanbul as well, but I wasn´t so lucky with this. Some of my colleagues had randomly wandered around and reached a square somewehere between the Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar, which was surrounded by fabric shops and actually a bronze statue of a fabric merchant unfolding some fabric was standing in the middle of it, but I didn´t manage to find this wonderland.

Instead, I found a well-kept outlet at Grand Bazaar, selling Ikat silk and silk/cotton mix. Also some other traditional fabrics, but after a lot of thinking, I ended up with 1,6 m of hand-loomed silk ikat, which is exceptionally wide  - 80 cm. You can see me holding it in the next photo:

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As you can see, the decision wasn´t easy, but I am very satisfied with the result. Believe it or not, but this is the only fabric I bought on this trip!

Walking down on Mahmoud Pasa street, I discovered some shops selling all kinds of crazy lace and glittery lycra, but I did not really stop by there. Then there were also countless shops for buttons, ribbons, bias tape and whatever you can imagine, but I cannot buy these notions without a certain fabric and pattern in my mind, so no shopping here, either. I guess there will be a moment where I will regret it, though :)

ImageImageImageGenerally, the whole experience of the city, as much as we could see it besides the lectures, was wonderful. The traditional tulip festival (tulip is the national flower of Turkey) was in full bloom with unreal color combinations and thanks to the local friends, we managed to drive around even at night, when, I dare say, the historic city center looks even more impressive.

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Fabric Shopping in Helsinki

As promised, I will give an overview of my little fabric shopping in Helsinki over the last weekend of Feburary.

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As I didn’t want to overwhelm my friend Triin, I just visited the tried and tested Eurokangas in the center of the city. It is the same shop I bought the super cool Cavalli fabric from last spring. I have actually started sewing that dress too, but made a mistake with the pattern choice and now I have to work my way around it somehow, hopefully sooner than later, because it is just too beautiful. But i digress.

So, I got really lucky this time in Helsinki too.

Altogether I got four fabrics, the first one being a pale pink poodle print silk crepe. It is very lightweight and a little transparent, but I think it will make a fun blouse. I am planning to use the same Patrones pattern as for the Chain Print Blouse , but make the necktie and cuffs in black silk, which I also already got from Helsinki.

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As the tag said “designer silk” or something like that, I tried to find more information online and to my big surprise stumbled upon a blog post featuring a vintage Escada top in the exact same print and shade, in silk satin. I wonder if there is a connection with my fabric.

Secondly, I bought a wonderful shade of lace print polyester (actually I am not 100% sure, I might make a burn test to reveal its true nature, since I suspect it being silk, too).

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I just love this shade of green, I have several matching shoes and boots and as always, I already have a certain idea how to use this print. Just back at home I realized that I need more of this fabric, since the lace print requires special pattern placement. Luckily, I will be back in Helsinki for work this week and I hope to be able to find more of that fabric, otherwise I have to rethink the project.

The best find in my opinion was this wonderful Just Cavalli polyester print:

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ImageThe print repeat for this beautiful thing is 1,55 m, and I only got one length, hoping to squeeze a blouse out of it, using the big design in front and if necessary, making the back out of a different material. This will be a challenging project and I have vowed to finish the Cavalli dress first to have a clear conscience.

There is also a fun fact about the fabric. As we visited the modern art museum Kiasma, I noticed a calendar for sale in their museum shop. What caught my attention was the wave print on the front cover (picture from calendars.com):

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And this is how I learned for the first time about Katsushika Hokusai (1760 – 1849), “one of the last great artists of the Japanese Ukiyo-e tradition of the Edo period. His world famous image of the wave and other woodblock prints influenced a whole generation of modern painters because of the uniqueness of perspective and form”.

I have to admit I didn’t know anything about this world famous artist and his prints, but I think it was a great way to find out :) In the first photo of this post you can see me unrolling another beautiful Hokousai-inspired Cavalli fabric, but I am not a big fan of pale yellow, so I left this one behind.

The fourth fabric is a simple dark blue ponte that will beome a skirt to match some tops I have recently made, including the Plaid Peplum Bustier and Cross Stitch Rose Top. Unfortunately the photo doesn’t do it justice, the colour  appears much lighter:

ImageNow I am all excited to start working on the fabrics. I still haven’t touched the ones I got from Rome, either, so lots of projects in my head!

In addition to fabric shopping and modern art, we went to a classical music concert and to a tango evening with Argentinian songs, music and unbelievable tango dancers.This week’s trip will be work related, but I will have a moment to hop by the fabric shop as well.

 And I can’t wait to meet Triin again!

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Plaid Peplum Bustier

Hi from Helsinki (and Happy Independence Day to all Estonians!)

It has been quite a while since my last post. One of the reasons is the increased work load due to my promotion and getting used to it, but more importantly I would say it is the northern light conditions in winter, which do not help with taking presentable photos at all.

A good camera helps a bit, which is why I immediately took advantage of my friend Triin while visiting her here in Helsinki for a few days, although as Finland is even further North from Estonia, there is not much light here either these days.

So this is the latest project:

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It is the peplum bustier from Burda 10/2013, model 109 (photos from burdastyle.com).

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I cut my regular Burda size 38 and it fit without problems, apart from having to take in at the back center seam because as I cut my fabric on bias, it stretched out a little and the pieces became wider than necessary. I guess I lost some length due to this as well, but luckily no problem with that. The fabric is the plaid cotton I got from Denmark in late autumn.

Burdastyle has made a very annoying change in their pattern selling policy recently, which caused me some trouble sewing this bustier up. Until recently, all the instructions files were available for free downloading and as I sometimes could not find BurdaStyle magazine in English, I got it in Russian or German instead, just to get the patterns. And when my high school level Russian or German failed while sewing a project, I always knew I could use the English instructions from the website.

Although this bustier has detailed illustrated instructions in my German BurdaStyle October 2013 issue, I still needed further help while sewing it and was really disappointed to realize that the party is over and the instructions are not available anymore. On the other hand, I was already halfway through the project and it was funny to feel how only when the instructions were not available, my brain really started working, trying to find a way to finish the piece. I managed in the end and satisfaction was even greater :)

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As you can see, I have made some alterations to the original pattern. I really planned to make it according to the pattern, gathering the peplum with an elastic band and all, but when I tried it, it looked ridiculous on me, so I quickly changed the game and went with a more flattering pleated peplum instead.

It is amusing that when I was about to cut my fabric, I realized Meg from burdastyle.com had already finished her version, also in plaid fabric! I thought, ok, I will make mine at least with the gathered peplum, so it is still different. And then I got to the part where gathered peplum was not an option for sure :D I wonder if this was the process in Meg´s case as well….

I lined the bustier with the wonderful navy stretch lining I got from Poland in summer. It is not attached at the bottom of the peplum, so the peplum is basically double layered. I did quite a lot of hand sewing to attach the hook and eye tape and the lining around it.

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Since I tried to do my best matching the plaids up, cutting the fabric was also unusually time and energy consuming. I wanted to make sure things would line up in the end and in my own opinion, the front part looks ok, but there is some mismatching happening on the back side. However, nothing tragic.

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 I still have one more day here in Helsinki and of course I have done some fabric shopping already, but there will be an extra post about this.

Happy 2014!

It is about the last minute to wish a very happy 2014 to all of you!

I have seen some nice overviews of sewing projects of 2013 by other bloggers and since I enjoy reading them, I thought why not to sum up my own sewing year as well.

I am only including items that were completed in 2013, so no Out Of The Closet items here, although in the posts of 2013 you saw a few of those.

So, as I was going through the projects, I realized I am more into rose prints than I would have thought! Just look at this – a corset top and a matching skirt, another top and finally a dress:

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And the rest of the dresses I made:

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Just two tops (the rose print one you saw above) and one blouse made in 2013:

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Two skirts (the rose print  is seen above) plus a pair of pants:

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If I had to pick the most worn item I made, it would be the Wavy Top, but I also wore the Tribal Print Skirt and Princess Jasmine Pants quite a lot over the summer.

I still have some nearly finished items, that I spent a lot of time working on and for some reasons didn´t finish in 2013. Once they are done, I will post them as well.

This year I also made two dresses for friends and I still owe one to a third person, too!

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And finally, there is one more dress that should be added to the 2013 count, because I finished it on New Year´s Eve! Unfortunately the light conditions are so poor in Estonia in winter, that although I tried my best, I couldn´t get good quality photos of the garment. This is why I am showing only a teaser of the dress here and once I get a chance to take better photos, will write a proper post as well.

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Colour Blast Dress

I hope every one of you have had wonderful holidays so far! With only a few days left until the end of 2013, I am posting somewhat of a conclusion of the year together with the last finished project.

The year 2013 has been life-changing for me. My engagement ended in a separation in spring, and just before the end of the year I got promoted at work. I also traveled to six different countries this year, the first trip being in May, which actually makes six countries in six months! In addition I met a bunch of new people plus some totally unexpected old acquaintances have reappeared in my life.

Sewing-wise, the highlight of the year was definitely being published in Burda German October edition.

I hope the new year will be as colourful as this one was, hopefully with better luck in personal matters, though :)

Here is the dress I made for our traditional Christmas party with the colleagues:

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The pattern is Burda 06/2013, model 110, the photos are from burdastyle.com:

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As you can see, my version has short sleeves, mainly because I didn’t have enough fabric but also because the dress is loud enough already.

The fabric is from the work trip to Zurich in September and when buying it, I didn’t have a clear vision of what to make of it. It is very elastic and there was also only one piece left so I was very limited in my options. But in my opinion, the crazy colour explosion and elasticity of the fabric demanded ruching and this is the reason why I picked this particular pattern.

I cut my regular size 38, and didn’t need to make any alterations. The pattern is quick and easy, the only difficult thing was that I was sewing it step by step for a few hours after work within a few days and got pretty tired.

I cannot say it is my favourite dress, but I am pleased that I managed to sew it up on time for the event and found a way to use the rather complicated fabric.

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The Christmas party itself was a lot of fun. It took place at an old manor and nearly everyone from our hospital was there, 100 people out of 120. We had a live band, tasty food and also danced a bit.

For me the event was also special, because in addition to my own dress, there were another two dresses made by me! Because we had a professional photographer taking the photos, I will have a photo of all the three dresses together to show in January.

I have already shown the one made for my dear colleague Kadi and here is the other one for Mari:

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The pattern I used is the same as for my Paisley Dress, Burda 7739, view B. Because the main fabric is a rather thin cotton that I thought would start clinging to the body, I fully lined the dress.

I hope all of you had a year that brings a smile to your face when you think back to it and that the new one would be even better! Happy holidays!

Rome, The Magnificent

Hello!

I am just back from a trip to Rome, a wonderful city full of history, elegance, amazing fabrics and the best coffee and ice cream I have ever had!

I spent five days exploring the city and I can say it was not even close to enough. It made me want to return and explore even more, without the weight of the “must-see” list of a first-timer.

Apart from the obvious attractions, I had my personal agenda of fabric shopping, too. But even if this was not on the list, I would have stumbled upon some of the most spectacular fabric stores anyway, since they are right in the heart of the city.

As always, I ran a small search on internet before the trip and this time I didn’t have to dig deep as I found this article from NY Times, and also the Selfish Seamstress very informative blog entry.

As most has been said in these two writings, I am not going into too much of a detail with the whole experience, but really, Bassetti Tessutti is overwhelming. I wonder if they actually know what they have as the place is a real labyrinth of fabric rolls from floor to ceiling and the ceilings must be around four meters high.

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Nevertheless, I managed to ask for something they did not have – stretch lining, something like I got from Poland in summer. This thing is amazing and great for somewhat heavier, yet elastic fabrics like cotton sateen etc.

A very helpful shop assistant who introduced himself as Massimo, dragged me through the whole place through seemingly secret passages between fabric bolts, showing the best they had and letting me slide my hand over all imaginable kinds of silks, but they were all out of my reach in the means of budget. Besides, I will not line a rather ordinary dress with the best Italian silk, right?

So in the end I bought 1.7 meters of brocade, which, if it is enough for the pattern I have in mind (I didn’t think of the large print while buying), will be my next winter party dress.

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Following the tips from Selfish Seamstress, I also paid a visit to Fatucci Tessuti at Via dei Falegnami. The variety here is tens if not hundreds of times smaller, but thus less intimidating too. This is what I got:

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The first is medium weight stretch silk, exactly as bright as you see it and claims to be Armani, the second one is a beautiful shade of blue viscose-cotton blend, tagged D&G. I haven’t been able to find anything on internet by D&G in this fabric, but the sticker on the bolt seemed trustworthy. Nevertheless, I loved it and it is also available in striped version.

There is a third fabric store in the same area, named Azienda Tessile Romana. They have an impressive wool selection, starting from thin crepes and cozy pontes to coatings.

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If I hadn’t already spent a three figure amount on the other fabrics, I would have got a dressful of wool ponte, around 60 euros per meter.

To sum the fabric tour up, I would say that a sewist definitely doesn’t need to throw a coin into Trevi fountain to make sure that she would return to Rome!

In addition to fabric shopping, I also did lots of sightseeing and was lucky enough to have some interesting exhibitions in town during my visit, namely Modigliani and SoutineCezanne and the Italian artists he affected and finally a photo exhibition dedicated to the 125th anniversary of National Geographic.

A few photos of the trip here:

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Cross Stitch Rose Top

Hello!

For the past one month I don´t think there has been a day where I didn´t do anything sewing-related.

I have several half-finished projects and some finished ones too, it is just the matter of taking the photos, which, given the limited daylight in winter in Estonia, is the most complicated task about the whole thing.

This is also why the following photos may give you chills – I had to take them outside in order to have better light conditions. But surprisingly, for those few minutes outside in snow, it actually did not feel cold at all!

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I used the Burda Retro Blouse pattern, available on burdastyle.com. As far as I know, it is only available there and has not been recently published in any BurdaStyle magazine.

The photos are from burdastyle.com:

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I cut my regular size 38 and the changes I made were: omitting the side seam zipper, adding a lining and hemming the sleeves. I used French seams that have quickly become my favourite technique for lightweight fabrics.

I didn’t need a zipper because both of the fabrics I used are slightly elastic. I got them on my trip to Poland in summer, as well as the Gütermann thread I used, so it is kind of a nice souvenir from Poland for me!

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There is really nothing much more to tell about the top, it was easy to sew and fits well.

Some details and my freshly committed sin – new shoes,  here:

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Other news include that my dear friend Liise from Spain is here for a few days and brought me two issues of Patrones magazine! I am super happy for it, although one of them is full of great coats and jackets and since my Stardust coat is totally on hold, I will not even think of starting a new coat project before this one is finished.

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