Well, hello there! It’s been a long time…

Hey guys!

Happy new year! It’s been a long time since I last wrote a post, but these few months have been really, really busy. First of all I moved to another house and town and until last week my computer was still in the old house. Some people who blog believe that since a blog is our personal little corner we don’t have to apologize for long periods of absence, but I think that all of you who read my blog are friends and so I owe an apology as I would say sorry to friend that I did’t have the time to call for a long time. Ok, we’ve set this clear. “Now” you may ask, “apart from organizing the new house, what have you been doing”? And so I begin:

  1. I have finished and worn the formal dress I’ve been telling you here. The day I wore it was a day of joy, so I totally forgot to take any decent pictures of it. You can see it below but I promise to try and take some better ones and write a post about the details.                                                                                                                                                                                    dress

  2. I have been designing  Little Miss Sewshine 2015 calendar which will be free for all of you to print. Unfortunately I never got the time to print and take pictures to upload, once again, I promise to do so during the next week.
  3. I have been trying to find a copy shop to print Lisa’s Paprika Patterns Jasper sweater/dress which will be my next project for which I cannot wait!!! And finally,

I took place and finally made it to the shortlist of By hand London’s last fabric competition! You can’t imagine how happy and proud this has made me.

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This is my design

A few words about it. I also took place in last year’s competition but my design was not chosen for the next phase. Since then, I have been waiting for the next competition, thinking that the elements of my banner would make an amazing fabric. I only got to know about this year’s competition just 24 hours before the submissions ended and made a design I would like to see on a fabric even if it is not totally relevant to the theme of the competition. You can see all the designs and vote for your favorite here.

You will hear from me soon!

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Tapestry and denim millitary coat

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Let me tell you the story of my favorite make so far. I really love a lot of the clothes I have sewn, but this is by far my most favorite. It was my third or fourth coat and I made it 4 years ago. This amazing tapestry fabric was bought during a trip to Istanbul and from the first moment I knew it was meant to be a signature coat. Seriously, 4 years and every time I wear it, i still receive complements!

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As with every one of my most successful creations, I took my time when it comes to finding the best style and pattern. I finally got inspired by a Balmain collection with many military coats with chunky shoulders but unfortunately I did’t manage to find which exactly it was. As for the pattern, Burdastyle’s #115 from the 8/2008 issue seemed to be really promising to be used for the top part! I was impressed by the collar and fell in love with the darts on the elbows which meant a fitted sleeve. Another reason to be proud for this coat is that it was my first effort to alter a pattern, in that case redesign the bottom part and turn a jacket into a coat. All I remember from this process for which I also took my time, is that I measured and divided and multiplied… My waist measurements , my hips measurements, the measurement of the jacket pattern’s waist and so on. And to be honest, looking at the result, I did pretty well!

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Back then, I lived in a huge apartment by myself and I used my big living room as a sewing room so, feeling no rush, it took me 6 whole months to finish it! It was a general practice for me that year to start projects and not precede to the next step until I had planned it thoroughly. I used to do a lot of research on the internet and seriously I think this year was a turning point for me and sewing. I learned to try and sew as perfect as possible. The only problem was that I still had an expensive, yet not very high quality machine. I can say that now, that I have a vintage industrial Pfaff from the 60’s. It was given to me by a friend and it may only do straight lines and zig-zag, but it does them perfect, no matter what.

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Another problem was the lack of fabric. I had only purchased 2 meters of this baby and had to come up with a solution to that. Yes, I confess, I didn’t completely follow the grain and still there wasn’t enough fabric. And this is where the denim came and game my coat the best details ever. I consider this to be one of my biggest “by accident” success stories! I made that bands on the cuffs, the elastic belt and the under collar as well as all the other parts you can see on the photos. I will be sharing a tutorial for the bands because they are really nice! I also hemmed my coat with velvet ribbon one again because of the lack of fabric.

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The coat has a lot of buttons, none of which is functional as it gets fastened with 4 metallic snaps. The reason was that I didn’t trust my machine to make buttonholes and I really don’t think it would be a good choice. The snaps were a very good idea!

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Back then, I was sorry not to have the knowledge to make the shoulders chunkier, but now I am so happy I didn’t because I think it is more classic this way!

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The reason I hate fusible interfacing

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Featured member on Kollabora

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You know how much I love Kollabora. In my opinion it is by far the best online DIY community where you can upload your creations, make friends and find inspiration. They also have the best photo processing tools as all images appear extremely professional. It was a great honor for me to be interviewed by them. You can see the full interview here.

How to alter a pattern for a cocoon dress

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The word cocoon describes garments which usually are boxy and get narrower to the hem. Extremely forgiving for any body and easy to wear everyday, styled with all types of shoes, they are in my opinion a “must have” for any winter wardrobe. As promised, here is the tutorial that will help you alter any dress or even sweater pattern to a cocoon dress pattern. This is exactly what I did with my watermelon pick cocoon dress. I used the same technique both on the body and the sleeves, here I show you just the body. Ok, lets start!

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What you will need is just a pattern  of a dress (or a sweater and add some length), a measuring tape and a ruler.

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  1. Above you see the front piece of the body.coccon2
  2. Measure about 27cm (10-11 inches) from the bottom, mark and cut. Do the same on the back piece.cocoon3
  3. Measure and split the piece you cut into 6 or 7 even pieces. cocoon4
  4. Tape the pieces with the tops joined and the bottoms overlapping for 1cm (1/2 inch). Use this both for the front and the back.

Thinks to keep in mind:

  • Make sure the finished pattern is not too narrow on the bottom, so that you can walk with comfort.
  • If you are full-figured, choose a less boxy pattern.

Good luck, if you have any questions, go ahead and comment below!

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The last dress of October

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I’ve told you about this dress before and how I felt like sewing dresses during the last month. So, for now, this is the last one.
It is striped and gray-blue once again.

DSCN1380l At this point let me tell you a secret. Two years ago one I discovered a fabric warehouse 15 km away from my hometown. It is the warehouse of a factory of knits but also stocks other types of fabric. It is a three floor enormous place where you can only buy wholesale, but they know me know, plus three big sacs’ purchase a time can be considered wholesale. This means that I have access to pretty much any type or color of knit you can imagine, I know, sewing heaven!
This is the place where I got all the knits you recently saw on the blog (1,2,3 and more to come) with those used for this project to be no exception. I used two types of fabric. The first I is gray blue and white striped sweatshirt fabric and the other one is white blue cotton rib. This combination makes it very warm but on the same time comfortable and easy to wear.

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I self-drafted the pattern which has raglan sleeves and a denim-like skirt. The upper part has front, back and side panels and I also added a triangle on the neckline and cuff bands  as I usually do when I want to add a sporty look on my garment. What in my opinion makes the difference is the decorative organza bow which gives the dress a  level up.PicMonkey Collage2

I really like how the skirt turned out as well maybe because it is like a denim skirt and the blue stripes of my fabric look like denim as well. I always make my pants and skirts with a yoke because they really flatter my body.

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I would describe this dress as girly, sporty,playful and unbearably cute not to mention how comfortable it also is. Pretty much how I generally make and wear my dresses.

 

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Winter gown inspiration

I am sure that most of you agree that winter formal events are the toughest to find what to wear! Sewing makes this a little easier as it is enough to find the style, then you can sew it but still you also have to pair it with a coat. This is the point where  I am standing at the moment. I have an engagement reception (such thing is very common in Greece, to throw a reception when you get engaged) to attend and it is a nice opportunity/good excuse to make a formal winter gown. Yes you will see some gown sewing on the blog!!! My grandma had bought some years ago a really nice and expensive gold embroidered tulle and I thing I can really make something nice, matching it with an ivory charmeuse I bought last week. The fabric combination looks like the picture below which pictures a Notte By Marchesa Gown.

notte-by-marchesa-gold-embroidered-tulle-gown-product-1-20893571-4-020195584-normalSo far so good. Now lets share the bad news. I only have 1,3 m (1.2 yards) of the tulle, so a traditional design for a long dress like this one is out of question due to lack of fabric. I have found though some very nice styles from Zuhair Murad with the white one being my favorite, without the see-through detail of course, maybe something like the orange dress. I will try to find a back view of the blue dress as I really like it too. A combination of these three dresses would be ideal for me, I’ll see how it works.

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I want my final gown to be long and long-sleeved because I want it for winter, with a simple silhouette but with amazing details. I really want to use as much of the tulle as I can because otherwise it is going to be wasted. I really don’t know if I will cut the satin on grain or on bias, I will do some research. I am also a little concerned about how to stitch this tulle…

If you have any idea about a pattern that would be appropriate, any good links about how to sew with satin or anything, please let me know!

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Watermelon pink cocoon dress

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I already told you how I have been sewing a lot over the past two weeks, and it is time to show you the finished garments. I must admit that Frocktober was a great inspiration for me as this is the second dress I made this month, (first was my cotton jersey dress for which you can get a free pattern) and there is one more dress to follow. All of the dresses I made were knits as I really enjoy wearing them.

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This is a cocoon dress for 2 reasons. First, because of its shape (you can find the tutorial here)) and second because it really is a dress to cocoon in (pretty obvious). You know these T-shirts that have written on them “I’d rather be wearing my pajamas” ? Well this dress implies it, in a very polite way. It is for all of us that it wouldn’t be appropriate to show up at work wearing our tracksuits. It is the next best thing, that comfortable! Maybe it is because it is made of sweatshirt fleece fabric.

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I was inspired by the grey sweatshirt dress above from Lacoste, but I wanted long sleeves and a more vivid color to balance the boxy silhouette and fit my style. I also wanted to add these cute round pockets (there will be a tutorial for them too).

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The pockets

I used an old self drafted pattern for loose T-shirts and then I made a lot of alterations. Seriously, I really doubt I have ever used a single pattern the way it is, I always have to get my hands dirty!

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The sleeves are also cocoon-shaped

I thing that this piece is a must-have for every wardrobe of every girl, no matter the body shape, the age or the profession! On a cold day, slip into it, style it with flats, heels or boots and instantly have a worm, comfy super-stylish outfit. I wore it with my cloudy sky coat (once again) and the color combination was made in heaven! Tutorials for the pattern and pockets to follow.
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Grease is the world- Night blue lycra leggings

DSCN1315 And here it is, what I made for Sewcialists Grease tribute! In my opinion nothing screams Grease louder than leggings as they remind me of the Olivia Newton John’s iconic final all black outfit! Yes girls, I was inspired by bad Sandy! Thanks for the inspiration! I have seen a lot of these lately, looks like it is a trend which I must say I like! Lycra is a very nice material to use for leggings as it is thick enough to offer some support and make your legs, thighs and butt look as firm as possible while offering lots of comfort and warmth! Love it or hate it, Lycra is also a little shiny, specially on the right side, which makes it ideal even for a night out! I was between pink, mint and blue but as the first two colors are mostly for spring, I chose this amazing night blue shade. The pattern is self drafted and features a little hack! After removing a small piece, I added a small elliptical piece of fabric on the crouch as this is the place where the seams need the most of support. Here are some simple instructions to do that.

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Here is an image of your pattern. You need 2 of these to make a pair of leggings.
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Cut on the red marks, 2 cm or an inch will be just fine. Now cut a round piece of fabric to fit the hole and sew it.
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Here it is how it looks

I added some elastic on the waist, serging it on the fabric and then folding and zig-zaging it, like we usually do for elastic garment waistlines. waist                DSCN1341 What can I say, I simply adore it! I can’t wait to wear it in every possible way as I think it really complements my legs! Today I wore this outfit, matched with my cloudy sky unlined coat and it looked really nice.DSCN1322   The previous couple of weeks I have been sewing a lot and since today was the first day of the week to not rain I took all the pictures. Therefore, the next three days you will see three more finished project posts, two dresses and the pink sweater above. Have a nice weekend!

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Cotton jersey stripped dress with leather details+free PDF pattern S size

DSCN1277_Fotor I have a confession to make. Despite having some amazing friends, unfortunately absolutely none of them sews! My only real life sewing friend is my grandma and that’s why I am really happy with all these creative people I get to meet on the net. A couple of weeks ago I was looking for October’s sewing events which is to me like searching for an invitation to a party I am welcome to. The first two I noticed were  Frocktober 2014 by the Monthly stitch and Grease from my beloved Sewcialists. Frocktober is about sewing transitional dresses and considering the warm climate of Greece, they are perfect for all autumn long. I love the word “transitional” when it comes to clothes. It brings me to mind strolling around with knit garments on a sunny, warm and a little windy day. DSCN1288_Fotor It is a quite simple pattern for knits and since it is self drafted on my computer, I thought I should share it with you! The finished dimensions are bust 88cm(34 inches), waist 77cm (30 inches), hips 92cm(36 inches) I did however have to take some cm off the waist. At the moment it is just this size, but I do plan to add more in future patterns. If you want to add the neck and cuff bands like I did, make sure to remove the length of them on these places. The placement area of the inserts as well as sewing instructions are not included in the PDF either. I told you, it is pretty simple but some of you may find it useful even for making blouses.

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I used some leather inserts on the neck as well as on the shoulders. If you want to sew the perfect elbow patches on knits you can see the tutorial I put together on this previous post. Apart from that, I added a neck and cuff bands and finished the serged hemline with a double needle. I really like this dress and I’ve been wearing it a lot last week. I also wore it with my fringed jacket and it was just perfect!DSCN1289_Fotor

Feel free to comment below or contact me for any details about the pattern. I’d love to hear you!free dress patternIf you enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed writing it, you can follow me here

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Sew the perfect leather elbow patches on knit fabric

As much as I adore elbow patches, I have, from time to time found it extremely difficult to attach them with accuracy and create a knit blouse or dress with such a detail which actually satisfies me and I have told you what happens to garments which don’t meet my standards. Anyway… I finally figured out how to perfect this technique and I first tested it with leather patches on my nice, stripped, cotton jersey fabric and it perfectly works! Here are the steps.

  1. Cut the patches from the fabric of your choice. This technique is mostly for woven patches on knit but if you try it with knit on knit, please let me know about the results.
  2. Mark the patch placement on your fabric, preferably with chalk or wash-off marker.  1
  3. Place the patches on the fabric and pin them just on the center2
  4. Using an embroidery hoop stretch your fabric. It is normal for the placement marks to get distorted and larger.
  5. Handsew the patches with large, baste stitches.                                      3a
  6. While slightly pulling the knit fabric, sandwich the edges of the patch with the knit fabric and machine sew all the way round at 3mm (1/8 inches). When finished, it should look like this on the back side. 4_Fotor
  7. Turn on the right side, iron and topstitch. You are ready!1st

Of course you can use this tutorial in all kind of patches and inserts. I used it to make a lovely striped dress which will be bloged in the next couple of days. If you enjoyed that post, you can follow me for more…

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Update: 12 Nov. 2014

On the image below, you can see the perfect placement of the patches

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5 harsh rules to sewing an exquisite wardrobe, 2 reasons to break them and a tricky question.

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Photo credits: Mrs Bobbins

Us, seamstresses and sewers, often get the same reaction every time someone learns about this skill of ours: “Omg you are so lucky! You can make anything you see and like!” and the imagine my sewing machine as a factory that imports high fashion designs and exports exact copies of them. However, usually the truth lies far from this illusion. Bad fabric choice, fitting issues and patterns that prove to be more dull than what we thought they would, often leave us with handmade garments that don’t quite meet our aesthetic criteria. At this point, let me express my humble opinion about sewing as a hobby and a efficient and affordable way to built a wardrobe, at least what I am trying to do. Please don’t hate me about what you are going to read, with some of some of them you may not completely agree. Sewing is a hobby, offering us a pleasant activity to relax and use our creative minds. For some of us, it is even the best therapy! Clothes on the other hand, are those items that form a part of our appearance and style, the packing of our presence. Being myself both a passionate seamstress and a fashion lover, managing to combine creativity with stylish results is, in my opinion, a sewer’s heaven. We all have different styles, figures and preferences, but spending our free time (specially if we struggle to find it) alongside building an exquisite wardrobe has some rules ladies and gentlemen and here I present them to you:

  1. You really don’t have to wear EVERYTHING you sew even if it is a success. Unfortunately when sewing your own garments you don’t get to try them on first. Sometimes the pattern or the fabric don’t really complement your figure. Sewing experience can prevent such misfortunes but guess how it is gained; by making mistakes.
  2. You really don’t have to sew EVERYTHING you wear. Before sewing something new, stop for a moment and ask yourself: is it worth making? A perfect example for that is knit tank tops. In most cases making them costs more than buying and unless you have a professional serger, you can’t be sure about the results.
  3. If your make is not a success, think again before wearing it. I know you have put a lot of effort on it, I have been there, but if it doesn’t meet your standards and you are not happy with the result, simply repurpose it . I do however understand, especially for new sewers, the urge to wear and show of your your creation but if you know you can do better, don’t compromise for poorly made.
  4. If you find something you like and you can afford, go ahead and just buy it. I know, if you can make it, why buy it, right? Noooope! Don’t be sure that you can find the right fabric and pattern for it and chances are that the final result won’t be exactly what you tried in the store.
  5. When first trying your new make, look in the mirror and ask yourself:”Do I look good in that? Would I buy that if I found it in a store”? if you don’t get me, check again 1 on the list.

Things in life are not however just black and white, so here are two reasons I can think to break all the rules above:

  • You have sewn something that may not be perfect, but in means a lot to you
  • You just want to sew it and wear it no matter what. Period.

Ps1. I still have some doubts about #3,  and I was delighted to see Maddie’s last post about failure as a learning essential. It would be a great honor for me to hear your opinion Maddie to this tricky question: what to do with a garment you made doing your best and doesn’t fully meet your standards? Thank you in advance!
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“cloudy sky” unlined coat

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Hi, here is my latest make, the “cloudy sky” unlined coat which got its name from the color of the fabric.This is my second unlined coat of the season and I really love it as much as the first one. as they are both perfect for the first chills. Once again I used a Burdastyle pattern (it is model 122 form 9/2009 but unfortunately it is not available in their pattern store) and once again I am glad to share the pattern I drafted for the pockets which you can use in any project.

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I used a very interesting wool fabric both because of the very vivid blue-gray color and amazing texture. One side is striped and the other one looks a lot like this. Since both sides would be visible as the collar, hems and pocket boarders are details created by the fabric folding on the wrong side, I chose to keep the striped side for these details and use the wrong side of the fabric for the main body. I didn’t make the belt as usually belted jackets (let alone unlined) remind me of bathrobes and I went for a more loose silhouette.

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The fabric pieces are stitched and surged. For the edges I used a 1 cm rolled hem on the right side of the coat. I also took threads from my fabric and crocheted the metal snaps I used.

DSCN1248_FotorThe original pattern had 3/4 sleeves but I lengthened them and folded them on the bottom for some extra striped details.

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Another thing that I wanted and was not on the original pattern is pockets so I drafted them and you can also download the pattern.

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We all <3 CHANEL

Chanel-backpack There are some particular garments… We fall in love with them at first sight. I am sure most of you have experienced the feeling and I bet Chanel creations have something to do with it. The first time I saw the backpack above, I was speechless! Oh genius, genius Karl! I usually try to watch most of the shows during fashion weeks and Chanel shows the day they are released in Vogue.com, so and Chanell S/S 2014 really impressed me as a whole but the backpacks… They left me open-mouthed! They are called artist’s backpacks and they are supposed to belong to an art student who -of course- painted his own backpack. I immediately decided to make such beautiful bag for myself, but not just paint it, but sew it from scratch. This is how during the whole process of gathering pictures which showed more and more details, I came across Bagaholicboy’s competition. Bagaholicboy is “Singapore’s dedicated bag, fashion and luxury blogger” who very kindly accepted my entry even if I wasn’t from Singapore or elsewhere close. The whole idea was that because many people complained about the price claiming that they could make such a bag, BB dared them to try! Needless to say that accepted the challenge since I had already started constructing the bag. This man (from what I have concluded) is one of the most important fashion VIPs in the whole Asia area and so even participating in a competition hosted by him was major for me. By the way, stay tuned to his blog because it is a huge inspiration,every fashion week there is a live stream of selected brands and following him is a glance in the real world of fashion and gives you the feeling of an insider. So I participated and won! You can see in the pictures the details of my bag. 1382423_10150396705669949_795473474_n DSCN0888 There is also quilted back. DSCN0865 The only problem is that since a term of the competition was that I would’t get my bag back (which is still an honor), I have to make a new backpack which I unfortunately decided now that the summer is gone. Never mind, this time I will share some of the steps of the production. I don’t know when it will finish, I prefer to go slow and make sure everything is perfect and learn from the mistakes on the previous effort. Looking at the photos now, I realize that my version looks more polished than the original. Let’s see how to handle with this, this time.
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