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Industrial sewing machine at home (my review)

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Hello Everyone!

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that a few weeks ago I purchased a new sewing machine and this time I went for the industrial one! I received quite a few questions on why I made such decision and what are the pluses of the industrial sewing machine, so I made a short video explaining all cons and pros – hope you will enjoy this video!

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“Hello, Spring!” Puffy Jacket

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Hello Darlings!

I have to admit that this year I am surprising myself with changes in my outwear wardrobe: first was this faux fur coat, now this bright red puffy jacket with diamond and chain print. Quite a change, considering that until this year I only wore black, navy blue or dark brown jackets in classic designs. I am not sure where this need for wardrobe change is coming from, but I am liking it so far!

As for this jacket, the idea to make it was very spontaneous: I saw this fabric in store (was actually difficult not to see it, ha!) and instantly knew I have to have it. Plus, I recently got an industrial straight stitch sewing machine (more on that later on) and needed a challenging project to test it – is there a better way to do it than picking a puffy jacket without lining and with lots of bias tape for seam finish? It was perfect choice for first machine ride and I couldn’t be happier with speed and precision I got!

Because the fabric print is really “loud”, I had to choose a simple design to tone it down a little bit. Thus, instead of picking a new patterb, I decided to replicate the design of a minimalistic jacket I made last year and loved.

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Because the fabric print is very expressive, I had to be very carefull in cutting and matching the print on each side nicely. My advices for working with print fabrics are following:

* Place all details on the good side of the fabric, so that you can see the print well;

* First arrange the biggest details, which will be most visible (in my case, it was front details);

* Make sure the print on same details (for example, as in front part detail) is mirrored correctly;

* Only start cutting when all details are marked, otherwise you might run short on fabric and will not be able to rearrange the layout;

* Buy more fabric than recommended in the pattern if the print is very expressive, so that you have more space to match it.

Here is the result I got matching print and following these advices – not bad, I would say 😉

 

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Because the “wrong” side of this fabric is very nice as well, I decided not to put additional linning. Instead, I choose bias seam tame finish, which is perfection for jackets without lining. Sure, it’s extra work, but sooo worth it!

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Luckily, we had so much sun this weekend (after a long long winter), so I had the opportunity to wear my new jacket outside! So far I am loving it – bright color and lightweight design is perfect for warm spring days!

 

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My DIY look inspired by Donna from Suits

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Hello Darlings!

As a new work week has started, I thought I would use it as an opportunity to speak about DIY office wear.

When I was starting my career and got job in a huge office builing, I quickly understood I would need a new work-oriented wardrobe, as jeans with t-shirts were no longer an acceptable option for day to day basis. I already knew how to sew, so little by little I started building my DIY office wardrobe.

Right about that time, TV series “Suits” started and it instantly became one of my favourite shows to watch: for one thing, as a young adult that recently joined work force, I was captured by career-oriented plot; and secondly, I was mesmerised by an increadible work wardrobe of the main characters, especially Donna Paulsen and Jessica Pearson. Quickly, these two ladies became one of my favourite inspiration sources when it came to office looks and they were great examples on how you can look your best at the office and well put together.

As for this dress, I have been eyeing this pattern from Burda for quite sometime already and finally decided to go for it after seeing a very similar dress on “Suits”. I loved this dress – the pattern was so great and so flattering, definitely a great edition to any office wardrobe!

Pattern used: Burda Style magazine, issue 10/2012, model #118 (you can find this dress online here).

Pattern adjustments: made short sleeves and removed the zipper, but other than that I made the dress as it came in the pattern.

Techniques used: everything was sewn together using only a mock-overlock elastic seam and straight stitch. This dress is very easy to assemble!

Would I recommend this pattern? Yes! I love the cowl neckline, the draping on the side, the flattering fit – this dress is such a great edition to any wardrobe!

Now, let’s see more of this dress 🙂

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Hope you liked this review and wish you all nice week!

Best wishes, Julie

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“The One that got away” dress (+Burda pattern review)

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Hello Darlings!

Throughout a decade of sewing, I said “Goddbye” to a fair share of me-made clothing: a few of them were not suiting, a few were poorly made and a few went straight to “what was I thinking” pile. However, there were a few items that I loooved, but they either shrunk/worn-out/washed-out/etc. – this dress was excatly that.

I loved everything about it: the color, the fit, the design, how it suited my figure. This dress was the best thing that happened to my young office wardrobe. I found any excuse to wear for more than a year and it was one of my “go-to” dresses if I wanted to feel good and confident that day.

But unfortunately, it shrunk after an ordinary trip to washing machine. Not much, just a few centimeters – but just enough for me to say “goodbye” with a broken heart to it. Either way, it’s a great pattern and I think I will be repeating it soon enough – in the meantime, I would like to share a review with you!

Pattern used: Burda Style magazine, issue 03/2015, model #118 (you can find this dress online here).

Pattern adjustments: this is a petite size dress, so I had to do lenght adjustments. Also, pattern offers piping, but I skipped that (quite frankly, I don’t think styling photos in the magazine gave this dress justice – this dress has some serious potencial!).

Techniques used: not much – I didn’t have an overlocker at the time, so I sewn it all using an elastic stitch with my sewing machine. What can I say – seams never ripped apart!

Would I recommend this pattern? Yes, yes and one more time YES! Such a nice and interesting design – I loved it and am considering repeating it!

Now lets see more of the project (plus, my dark hair I sported a few years back – yay or nay?).

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Hope you liked this review and wish you all productive week!

Best wishes, Julie

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The “I am waiting for spring” blouse (+ Burda pattern review)

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Hello Darlings!

Though it’s officially spring in the calendar, it does not look like one outside. In fact, I wore my faux fur coat and warm gloves today, all why doing my currently favourite cardio excersize – cleaning snow from car, ha!

All this “winter onion style” (a.k.a. when you are wearing layers and layers of clothing, with hope to keep warm) makes me miss my spring and summer wardrobe – light, fun and colorful!

This blouse was one of my favourite makes from last year season: I don’t wear oversize clothing (this is the only oversize thing I own, I swear), but I couldn’t resist the cuteness of this pattern! Plus, I had just the perfect fabric for it, so why not go for it?

Pattern used: Burda Style magazine, issue 02/2014, model #111 (you can find this pattern online here).

Pattern adjustments: none, I cut out the pattern as it was. Didn’t even do any fitting, can you believe that! I was a little bit afraid if the cleavage is not too revealing, but it was just right.

Techniques used: honestly? None… I just overlocked all holding seams and edges, and used simple straight stitch for hemming. It was so easy to make, that it feels it sewn itself, ha!

Would I recommend this pattern? Yes, it’s a great piece for spring or summer wardrobe. Very versatile and easy to put together – can it get any better?

Now lets see more of the project!

The back design is nearly identical to front: 

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The blouse is short and oversized – yes, it took me a while to get used to wind getting everywhere :)))
Loved the ruffle detail:
No fancy techniques in this project – just overlocker and straight stitch for hemming:

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And this is how it looks on me – can’t wait to wear it this season as well! 

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Thank you for reading and wish you a wonderfully productive sewing day!

Julie

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HOW TO SEW: invisible zipper (video tutorial)

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Hello Darlings!

Before I started sewing school, one of the things I feared most was zippers, especially invisible ones: no matter how hard I tried, they were visible to me. I tried many techniques and tips that I found online, but none of them worked (okay, let’s be honest – I might not have been making them work, ha!). That changed when I started sewing school and my teacher showed this technique – while it takes time to master this method (I’ve seen classmates get grip of this method in 15-30 minutes), once you learn it, it will become your go-to method, trust me!

No fancy tools are required for this technique, but you will need an invisible zipper foot (they usually come with a machine or you can buy it for a few euros at any supply store) and a little piece of fusible interfacing. And that’s it!

Before starting the video tutorial, I would like to give you some highlights of what you will find in it:

  • How to reduce bulk in back seam where waistband is attached to the main skirt body;
  • How to reinforce the zipper placement, so that it’s easier to install it and would last longer in the finished garment;
  • How to mark a zipper placement with a temporary seam and ironing;
  • How to sew the zipper in using an invisible zipper foot.

I really like this technique and it ensures perfect results in each of my project, so I hope you will like it as well! Let me know your thoughts about it and if any part is unclear – please let me know in the comments below and I will sure answer it!

So, here is a tutorial on how to sew the invisible zipper:

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DID IT MYSELF: Yellow Dress (+ pattern review)

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Hello Darlings!

The calendar is showing that the spring is coming closer and closer, and I started to notice that I am adding more and more bright colors to my wardrobe – I think it’s the ultimate sign that I am done with winter and need more sunshine, ha!

Just so happens that I remembered this yellow dress, made using a Burda pattern from 06/2013 issue – definitely a ray of sunshine, isn’t it? I made this dress sometime ago and it was laying in my closet waiting for a right moment to come – well, I guess the wait is over and I should definitely give it a try this week 🙂

The most interesting thing about this dress is the pattern – though it may not look like it from the first glance, but this dress a challenging, trust me! Those inserts look easy on paper, but in reality it took me quite a few tries until I got those corners right. Also, because of those inserts, the fitting of the dress was rather problematic, as everything had to be matched at the side, meaning I had to be very careful with alterations. But all in all this pattern was very fun to make – the more challenging, the better!

If you have been reading my blog since beginning, you might remember this dress (or parts of it, for that matter) being in two of my tutorials:

HOW TO SEW: Armhole In a Sleeveless Dress (video tutorial)

and HOW TO SEW: A Totally Invisible Stitch (Step By Step Tutorial)

Let’s take a deeper look at those inserts I was talking about – can you see how sharp the corners look like?

The secret to achieving such sharpness is that you have to stitch all away till the corner, let the needle down, turn the fabric to other direction and then continue to stitch. After the seam is done, you have to cut the corner open, so that it stays nice and does not wrinkle. Here’s how it looks from the wrong side:

Those inserts look spectacular from the side and I regret a little bit that I did not do a color blocking on this dress to show off them more. I am really proud of how they turned out – perfectly sharp corners and nicely matched seams (all with lots of trial and error, of course :))!

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For the lining, I went with white option, as the main fabric is a little bit see-through and I needed to cover it.

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I also like how the neckline turned out – again, I used my trusted method that I mentioned in my earlier post DID IT MYSELF: Instantly Favourite Dress (+ Sewing Tips!)

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All in all I really liked this dress and I would like to repeat this pattern sometime in the future as well.

Wish you all a nice productive week!

Best wishes, Julie

 

 

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Where I shop for fabrics

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Hi Everyone!

A week ago I was contacted by Alex from Sewrendipity, who is running a very interesting project to build a directory of fabric shops around the world, as written by sewing bloggers and sewing lovers. She has invited me to contribute with a guide about Vilnius’s (Lithuania) best fabric finds and I gladly agreed to do so, as I have a wonderful spot I love to shop at and would like to share with you as well!

Though Vilnius is approximately a hour away from city where I live, I visit it every two-three months, solely to buy fabric for upcoming projects. As some of you might already know from my Instagram,  I don’t like clutter, thus I try not to stock on fabric or threads (or anything without purpose, for that matter) and every fabric in my stack has a garment planned already – that’s why don’t mind visit fabric shops rarely, as it keeps me away from temptations, ha!

Year and a half ago I very accidently stummbled upon fabric store Danesa (located in Vilnius, Lithuania) and it instantly became not only my favourite store, but only store I buy my fabrics at!

The thing I love most about Danesa is that they have everything any dressmaker needs: thousands of different fabrics in different colors and prints (cotton, wool, knits, faux furs, sportswear fabrics, etc.); any imaginable color of thread, ribbon, button, zipper; mannequins; hardware for sewing machines; beats for decorating; appliques; scissors; and the list goes on and on – they seriously have everything! Their wide selection allows me to quickly pick everything I need for the project, while big assortment of fabrics allows me to get lost there dreaming of what to make next.

I also like the staff there: not only are they friendly and helpful, but they are also very fast – though the store is always filled with people, I never had to wait longer than a minute to get my fabrics cut! Admitedly, it’s a very big plus (anyone likes to stand in lines? No? Thought so, same here).

As for the prices, I can put it like this: you can find some cheap fabrics, you can find some expensive fabrics and it all depends on what you want. My purchase basket ussually falls somewhere in between and I pay something like 11-15 Euros for a meter on average. I always leave happy with my purchase, so I would say it’s a fair price to pay for quality, good selection and helpful staff!

I know a picture says a thousand words, so I took a few photos of Danesa during my last trip there – let’s take a look around!

Couples of aisles in Danesa, heavily filled with fabrics – it’s just a part of what they have, as there are probably 12-15 aisles like these:

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They carry a spectacular assortment of faux fur (took a photo of my favourite ones, too):
You should see the assortment for threads – it’s stunning! Two big walls of big cones, each around 2.5 meters high; five or six walls of regular threads – if you cannot find a matching thread there, I don’t where to look else!

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And of course the zippers (just one aisle out of two made it to the photo, though):

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Hopefully you liked this short review and I am glad I had a chance to share my favourite spot with you! Thank you Alex from Sewrendipity  for the idea!

Best wishes, Julie

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HOW TO SEW FAUX FUR: tips I learned at sewing school

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Hello Darlings!

I don’t know what happened, but in the beginning of the year I started craving for a faux fur coat – never in my life have I thought of it before, and now I could not let this thought go away. On one hand, big fluffy fur coats are so not me, but on the other hand – it’s just a clothing piece, so why not have fun with it?

After my trip to fabric store, I picked some gorgeous long hair faux fur – I was amazed by the variety and quality of faux fur they have nowadays! From realistic looking ones, to crazy colored cut-out ones – it was hard to pick just one and I will probably be getting for some more next season!

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One big big minus of sewing fur: hair gets everywhere, EVERYWHERE! Luckily, I sewn my at school (so no mess at home, yay!), yet I found some hair at car (how?).  Other than that, the whole thing was not very difficult to make and the coat came together pretty fast.

As you can see from the photos below – I looove the final result! Not only does this coat look luxurious (not bad for a 40 Euro price I paid for fabric, huh?), but is also extremely warm, which is a necessity in the winter like this! And while I am not sure if I will be wearing to work often (a bit to posh for everyday look, in my opinion), I will definitely keep it in the closet for days I want to dress-up!

 

 

 

Admittedly, this coat turned out to be one of the most fun sewing projects ever: fur is very different than any other fabric, so I was learning something new in every step of the process. Plus, I had my amazing teacher by my side the whole time, so I collected quite a few valuable tips on working with furs and I would like to share them here with you!

Continue reading “HOW TO SEW FAUX FUR: tips I learned at sewing school”