Saturday, April 12, 2014

Kasia Skirt

Kick-started with the last project, my sewing life is revived. A couple of small adjustment, not really worth blogging separately about, yet, those make me very happy as finally, some of old ideas are coming to life, like adding a lining to my 2011 Up In The Air Coat. And more inspiration to tackle the mountain of fabrics waiting to be used. I could have been doing just that, but it looks I am not the only one with some creative energies flowing- my darling husband decided to re-paint the house today, so with the front door and the windows ( one in my workshop) wide open on a cool spring day, maybe sewing is not the best idea- easy to catch a cold, constantly changing and trying things on.


So I tuned to my good old friend- Internet- instead. Last week I was looking through my burdastyle account and saw a few free patterns that I saved, particularly funny was to realise their Kasia skirt was saved the whole 4 times! "If this is not a sign...." I thought and hit the print button.

But before making it, as causal, I love seeing the ready made versions, and gladly over 150 projects were available for scrutiny for me on the same site. So this is exactly what I am up to while my hubby is painting away (totally new colour, by the way, I am soooo excited, only took him 10 years :)

Here is my big problem with Kasia project on Burdastyle: the model they used looks like a streak of misery (sorry, chicken, you are gorgeous, but few of us have that lanky shape) So looking at this picture, realistically, you can be sure it will suit you if you have no curves and very very skinny.

Unfortunately, while looking at the finished projects, this is far from the reality. Burdastyle girls are mostly real shaped, quite often pear-shaped and apple-shaped and in general curvy enough, to be considered while modeling the patterns.

I am a true pear- much narrower shoulders width in comparison to the hips and larger than I would have hoped to have thighs. And don't judge by the pictures- my bones are tiny, but it does not mean that I could pull off wearing a tayto sack- the shape makes some styles look horrendous.

Ladies, do not ever listen to encouraging comment from your so called friends. If you feel something is wrong- probably it is. Seek highly trained stylist advice (Which can be available to you free in a good boutique. Those stylists know intuitively what works for your shape, especially with experience. I am currently marketing a Mother of the Bride Boutique where I see the girl working in the shop giving fantastic advice to women. Remember, in general these customers are older ladies, way past their perfect shapes. And no purchase necessary. Just make an excuse that you want to think about it, take all on board and run back to your sewing corner to make something fabulous!)

So Back to Burdastyle. Most of Kasia versions I found unflattering. This pattern, I think requires a quite narrow high waist, and  a couple of certain tricks to make it a top class stylish number!

Here are my suggestions:
  1. Reduce the gathering on the side panels, in fact maybe eliminate the gathering from the back parts altogether. 
  2. Use contrasting fabric, but not drastic, more tone-on-tone solution, with side panes in a darker shade. 
  3. Definitely extend the different colour all the way to the top! 
  4. Bright piping can work very very well, again bring it to the very top- it will make you look slimmer.
  5. I think it looks best as a mini , or add a bit of flare and bring it to just below the knee ( a great wool version on the top right shot of the collage. To wear with knee-high skinny boots or socks and pumps like this brave seamstress 

Well, after all this, I better made a stunning skirt. Well, I hope so. The fabric will play a crucial part- I think it must be quite soft. So I need to dig into my storage and see if there is anything suitable. Will keep you posted! Chiao!

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Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Scarlet Pants

This is the story of success and failure. After 1.5 years comes the first full project - The Perfect Pant #2, I will call them the Scarlet Pants.

For those who care: read about how this came to life in this morning post here.


Pattern: Self drafted "Perfect Pants" pattern

Size: approximately 36-38

Alterations:  I took on about 3cm in the original back seam to allow for the sway back, this realy messed up the whole thing and almost at the end I had to lower the front waistband by 2cm towards the centre front to achieve an even line and the fit I was happy with. The finished waistline is a bit low, but overall I am very happy with the style.

Fabric: Red Bi-stretch gabardine. Surprisingly well suited for tight pants. Did not expect.

Time to complete: About 8 hours in total including all re-makes and alterations.

Sewing Process and Challenges: It was a relatively easy project. The main challenge was fitting the pattern once again to my ever-changing body. I am a very lazy sewer and I don't have patience for muslins, so as a rule every projects hits the wall at some point ( usually when I stop to think how well it is going this time) and I discover a horrendous error, that could have been easily corrected have I made the muslin first and altered the pattern.) This time is was finishing the pants and trying not to see the gap at the back and weird pulling on the front- all corrected by ripping the front waistband off the pants and lowering it by 2 cm towards the center front. Stupid, unforgivable impatience...

Another disaster- the buttonholes. So bad- I am NOT even going to photograph them- I swore by snap fasteners before, why was I so arrogant. ( When I was a kid in Estonia, we had a lot of Atelier's, so all you have to do is mark the places, bring the garment to the workshop- and voila! you had super professional buttonholes, snaps, covered belts, etc. - whatever you wanted for a very reasonable fee. Sometimes, I really wish for a Time Machine!)


And one more small thing- I blogged in the last post about Sandra Betsina's Flat Fly Zipper tutorial. One correction- a great tutorial, but I think I still would like to cover the zip from the inside- it does not feel very nice, especially that mine is a metal zipper.

Overall, I would mark myself a B for these pants. Very wearable, but there is definitely room for perfection. But after a year and a half of NO sewing.... not bad!

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Getting back into it

Back in action and it feels great!

My last project, a peplum top, is dated August 2012. Wow... Actually, I am shocked!  I thought it was about a year, but this is more than a year and a half for a completed project... and it is embarrassing.
I didn't completely abandon my workshop- a few things were fixed and re-vamped, but nothing worth writing home about. There has been a lot of changes on the job scene, my new business took a lot of energy, plus acute internet addiction does not leave much space for the real creation - this is a new danger a lot of us facing, but to actually realize how badly you might be affected is scary. (Read more here, if you think you might be too digitally distracted) The addiction is as strong as nicotine or drugs and a lot of changes has been made to claim my life back. Including getting back to my workshop.

It started with a little repair job. Remember The Perfect Pants? They were really perfect fit, until I had a terrible incident with my back and ended up loosing too much weight, so they were falling off me. But I loved them too much to let go ( or so I thought), so I reduced them a bit in the waist and hips and they were back in action.... until I recovered to my normal size.  Here is the moral of the story- never judge your size straight after illness. Buy something in a smaller size you are for the recovery period- you will regret altering your perfect garment, and there is no way back.

Three times the Perfect Pants were in the "charity" pile and three times I pulled them back out, I just couldn't do it. Yesterday, I looked at them again and tried them on, and eurica! I thought of the way, which was so much easier than any other solution, and so obvious, but it just didn't occur to me. The waistband is sewn on so low, that when I took it off, the pants' legs fit quite well, so ALL I had to do is to construct a new waistband, the back part to be exact. The problem was that after 2 previous alteration the top of the back leg pieces were much lower than than in the front, so the waistband piece looks more like a yoke, and not  a fancy one. But you know what? I can wear them again and this is what matters.

Then it made me think. I am on the ball already, why not use the energy and the inspiration to make another pair of Perfect Pants? Plus a little obsessive dream of owning a pair of red trousers, and out went the fabric ( a bi-stretch gabardine I used on back to the Seventies coat) and the Perfect Pants pattern was in action once again.

Alterations- I had to take in 1.5 cm at the centre back seam to allow for my sway back and completely reconstruct the waist band to allow for the change, but apart from that, so far so good.

Tutorials: Obviously after 1.5 years a lot of techniques are forgotten, and I am go delighted to shortlist the tutorials that are helping me on the way:

#1 An Easy Flat Fly Front Zipper from Sandra Betzina

I think my fly has never looked better. The fabric I am using is not very think and any thickness will make it bulge, so I didn't go by my own tutorial and  this method turned out perfect! And took me probably 3-4 minutes, with the best looking fly curve to date!


#2 A waistband tutorial


So I am off to finish the work and hopefully the finished project will be coming up shortly! 

Exciting!!!!

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Burda Easy Fashion SS 2014


I haven't sewn ANYTHING for ages, having only fixed a couple of things, my workshop became a storage space/laundry room, and it makes me feel very sad to see my sewing machine abandoned in the corner... Yet this new Burda Easy Fashion issue is one of those that bring inspiration back to one's life. Or so I hope. It would have been so easy 20 years ago, when internet access was so much more limited and so slow, it would not take over most of my life. Do you know that in China they now treat internet addiction as a disease, you can even go to rehab to try and break the nasty habit? Well. I see exactly, first hand, how this addiction stops me from doing a lot of things I want to do. This and the bloody weather, that makes the house feel so cold, it just freezes me (back to the screen). It is a catch 22, I think I need that kind of rehab! And so does the rest of my family...

Well here is what inspired me today:











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Sunday, December 29, 2013

New Year's CLEARANCE- some great bargains



What? First post since April and it is a sale???? Well. folks, yes! Been very busy working and literally no free time to spend with the family, let alone myself and my sewing workshop. Until now, and again clearance must pave the way to inspiration.

7 issues of Patrones Sewing Magazine


 7 issues, I personally bought during my travels to Spain, including one for children. Never used, each includes up to 30 multisized sewing patterns (That's the total of whooping over 200 fashion sewing patterns.)  Excellent magazine and stunning fashions. Cannot be bought in Ireland. Don't get me wrong- I love Patrones and have many more issues as downloadable pdf's, but some how these never got a chance, even though thee are very tempting patterns inside, that will be hard to let go, but as they haven't been used by now, I think it is time for them to make someone else happy.

€70 for 7 issues €7.50 extra to post to Ireland, €10.75 to UK/Europe and €17 everywhere else. 

№ 317 Especial Vacaciones
№ 297 Fiesta
№ 308 Prendas Elegantes
№ 293 Especial Vacaciones
№ 303 Avance Verano
№ 295 Avance Otoño
№ 288 Niños

AutoCad For Apparel Industry by P.B. Miller 




Phyllis Bell Miller is an assistant professor at Mississippi State University. She has twenty-eight years of experience in teaching courses including computer-aided design,visual design in dress, store layout and display, product quality analysis and apparel design and pattern making. Miller developed ApparelCAD, a totally integrated apparel design package for AutoCAD software, including custom menus, built-in patterns and new commands, and Display Shop, a 3D store layout and design applications package for AutoCAD.

A must have bible for Cad-assisted pattern drafting. All from software tools to pattern drafting techniques. Used- good condition, but looks a bit old from lying on the shelf for a while.

The asking price is €15 and as it is quite heavy, will cost €7.50 extra to post to Ireland, €10.75 to UK/Europe and €17 everywhere else.




If any of this is of interest, why not email me and we could arrange the sale?


  I am also selling some fabrics, check out the listings on Adverts.ie (However, if you wish to get any of those email me using the link in this blog to see if it is available and what is the postage fee)

I really hope this clearance will get me started, I have a couple of things in mind and, hopefully, will be back on track one day. Still just wanted to say hello to everyone, and also thank those who migrated to following me on bloglovin also. It is nice to look at your blog after a few month absence and see 5 people in the live report reading through the past posts. And by the way, did you see the Burda 1/14 cover????? Best  Burda style trend to date in my opinion in a good few years. Just when they stopped stocking it in my local bookstore! Isn't it ironic????

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Wardrobe Staples: Chanel Style Jacket


‘The eternal can only last if it stays up to date at the same time. For this reason the jacket is eternal.’ Karl Lagerfeld on Chanel’s classic jacket.


Coco Chanel's original little black jacket, was inspired by the jacket worn by a male stuff at an Australian hotel in the 50's. Short, collarless, silk-lined and pocketed, it was designed to be a versatile, functional wardrobe staple, and has since been reinterpreted over and over by Karl Lagerfeld. Designed for ‘women who move’ as expressed by Chanel, it's a perfect mix of beauty and comfort, and its classic look makes it elegant and incredibly versatile. Regardless of the fabric, size, or design, Chanel style jackets are re-discovered each season, especially due to their ability to serve as the perfect accessory for all events.

There's almost no woman, whatever her age or size, that this boxy jacket won't suit. When shopping for the perfect Chanel style jacket, opt for the classic cropped style, as it is known to flatter all shapes. A longer cut can make you look frumpy and generally doesn't work with anything. For a fuller busted lady a slightly flared shape should do the trick.

When choosing the colour other than black or cream consider your complexion and age. Strong blues, mocha shades, or pastels will work well for most people. This jacket could be called the sartorial equivalent of the Mona Lisa; age cannot wither it!

Team it with a pair of your favourite trousers (whether they are straight cut, pencil or wide leg, Marlene Dietrich style - they will all work). Combine it with a chic white or black shirt and accessorise with a statement necklace. A Chanel style jacket will add a twist to most dresses, it doesn't have to be part of a complete suit. However, A-line or a simple sheath dress will almost always the best choice. Keep it simple, as the simplicity is the true genius behind this style.



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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Burda 4/2013 picks


Have you heard the expression "true love never dies"? Of course you have, and it is as true as the fact that a true addiction never dies either. No, I am not back sewing, and yes, this is another Burda picks post. In fact not the most interesting one, as Burda once again fails to impress this April. Plain lines are good as long as they are not too plain, I hardly found inspiration flicking through the preview photos. 

Actually, I only looked at it as there over 50 people started following my blog on Bloglovin' in the last week without any explanation, as i was off the radar for so long. 

One and only dress that I loved - once again not due to a fancy pattern, but a gorgeous neckline embellishment will hardly make me reach for my wallet. No wonder they used it as a cover shot- what else is there to showcase? 




Here is my question, Burda editors, why encourage beginner level sewing so much? I grew up on the 90s and 00s issues full of interesting and often challenging cuts, that would require sharpening your sewing knowledge, and is developing your skill not the whole point of sewing these days (versus much easier shopping, huh?) 

I am bored to my teeth looking at these patterns, please please please stop producing this low value issues, Burda team. Maybe you should hire back all those retired designers from the old days to guide you and possibly teach you about interesting and exciting pattern designs? 

What is going on? I need inspiration to go back and dig into the pile of fabric cuts that have been  untouched for so many months. I have nothing to wear and mot much that fits- perfect scenario to lock myself  in my sewing room.... yet, no.  Your issue makes me want to go shopping  cheep and cheerful dresses from China on ebay.com 




And as much as I love Cinema Paradiso, I doubt I will be sewing any of those outfits anytime soon (or hopefully ever)

I am not really picking on you, Burda, but my loyalty is going through some serious turbulence right now. There is nothing to pick. Again.

And Joanna Lumley has nothing to do with it - I just found think she looked HOTTER in that naff 80's shot than anything from Burda April's issue! 




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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Burda Style February 2013 picks

Happy New Year everyone! Long time no hear... I personally hate blog posts starting like this. "Yeah yeah yeah", I always think, "just get down to business, nobody cares that you had no time to blog- in fact, you better get your act together..." etc., etc.... Well last year I was the one neglecting my blog, and there is nothing I could do about it. There were dry spells when nothing inspired me for months, followed by the busiest period in years resulting in me starting my own marketing agency, called EZ Marketing and consequently a marketing blog. (All this fashion and before that music involvement made me quite an expert in social media marketing - so it is time to get paid for it!)

On the low note I had a nerve pinched in my back early in December, which affected my sciatica condition and I spend weeks in agony and couldn't go back to work (still struggling, to be honest) - a horrible time, I hope to forget some day. Christmas was very tight as a result and I was very happy to see the year ending, staring the new one with hopes of success and better health. I couldn't eat when I was sick as a side effect of all the meds and my weight dropped to jaw-dropping 45kg. I am a very small framed person and my weight at the age of 19 was 47kg, so this is not that bad, I suppose. But all my clothes ( especially the bottoms) are huge and I seriously need to get back sewing.

So this is what happened in 2012. I am still extremely busy with the new business- social media is very time consuming. And the amount of research you need to do, plus keeping up with ever changing Facebook rules and algorithms. It is not as simple as it seems.

But for now, as a taster, I have a few picks from upcoming February Burda style magazine - and as much as I didn't really like anything in particular, I was stunned by the exclusive design pick:


and that is why I will be buying this issue.

And then, who knows, maybe I will find other patterns useful too, at the end of the day- there is a crisis in my wardrobe :)












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Friday, November 2, 2012

December 2012 Burda Style picks

The last issue of the year from Burda Style magazine, in my opinion, is finally worth buying.

Lovely models, young and funky looking, yet with a classic timeless twist. Just what I always look for in clothes. And as for plus section- I think it is a real treat this time.

Lots of wintery models made for lodens and flannels- that pale blue jumper is absolutely fabulous and looks so cosy!

As for the evening wear, strict plain lines and luxury fabrics - perfect combination!


So here we are- the silent post- this time silence with admiration!

















what do you think of that?


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Friday, October 5, 2012

November Burda Style Picks








I am so sorry, Burda team,I am really trying. I do look up the upcoming issues all the time, but these are just same uninspiring, way too plain and repetitive ideas. 

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