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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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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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DID IT MYSELF: my first coat!

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Hello Darlings!

Hope you are having a great and productive Monday!

I have just returned from my short 4 day trip to Milan, Italy – one of my this years goals is to travel more and I am glad to be adding first trip to the list until January ends. Milan was beautiful, full of great food and sunny weather (+10 degrees Celsius compared to -12 degrees we are having locally – I felt like in tropics!) and, of course, one of the best places to shop (great deals on every corner – it’s officially sales season!). A short break was very needed and I am feeling refreshed and energized – ready to tackle new adventures, goals and sewing projects!

Talking about sewing, I would like to show my very first coat, parts of which you might have already seen on my Instagram. Though I attempted making coats in the past, none of them were wearable for various reasons, mostly because of my lack of skills; this time, however, it was successful as I had my amazing teacher showing every unclear detail along the way. So here it goes – my very first wearable coat!

One of the main reasons I failed with making coats in the past was critical fitting issues, especially in the back – fitting either makes or breaks any coat or jacket, so if the fit is not right, the entire look is not right. The pattern is drafted by myself and it was one of the key ingredients in achieving such great fit in this coat (trust me, learning the basics of pattern drafting is a really useful skill even for begginers – it helps a ton in achieving great fit and understanding construction better).

The thing I like most about this coat is invisible button closure – I saw this technique on one of the designs at school and I just knew I had to try it out myself. P.S. Here is a quick how to make such hidden closure!

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As for the pockets, I went for welt ones – nothing says “timeless classics” as these ones!

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I also added some beautiful lining to spice up the inside – probably the most golden lining I could find, but it definitely brightens up the entire look.

Though I consider this coat fully finished, I am tempting to add a removable faux fur collar to it – what do you think about this idea? Yay or nay?

Hope you liked this coat and check in later this week for the quick tutorial how to make such hidden button closure!

Best wishes,

Julie

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I finally made a dress with exposed zipper (+ Burda pattern review)

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Good evening Darlings!

I think I am the last person to jump the exposed zipper bandwagon – the trend started five or even more years ago, but I just now came around making something with it (better late than never, right?). To bring even more details to the design, I decided to skip regular dress shape and go for a “looks like I am wearing an additional blouse on top” look (a.k.a., crop top) for a simple, yet elegant office wear.

For the top part of the dress I used the Burda Style magazine 12/2013 pattern 130 (unfortunately, I only managed to find the pattern here online, as it seems international Burda Style website does not have this design available). I also added sleeves (it’s freezingly cold here during winter season, sleeves are more of a must than a style at this point) and changed the bottom part to simple straight skirt, instead of the gathered versioned offered in Burda (have a feeling they would not have looked nicely on my hips – as I pear-shaped figure owner, I have to pick those bottoms carefully!).

The assemble of the dress is quite easy (made it in an evening or so), but I had a little trouble making sure that the zipper is installed straight and in the middle. The fabric is knit, so most of the seams were finished with a 4-thread overlock.

Overall the dress was a success and I received several compliments on it at the office. However, this fabric and design requires extra attention when washing and ironing, so I am not sure if it will be my frequent clothing choice.

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A few photos from the making of the dress (p.s. I love watching something while sewing, for example Wendy Williams show, as during making of this dress 🙂 

Best of wishes and have a great upcoming week!

Julie

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My Sewing Adventures in 2017

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Hi Everyone!

It is hard to believe, but we are already counting the very last hours of 2017 – the year truly flew by fast, didn’t it? While I do not make any resolutions for this occasion (my thinking: if you want to change or learn something, start now, without waiting for January 1) nor do I have many other traditions for New Years celebration, but on this very last day of December I do enjoy taking a few moments to reflect on the year we are leaving behind and seeing what victories, lessons and experiences it brought.

Sewing wise the year 2017 was very fruitful for me and I would like to briefly share the highlights of it with you.

Total 29 garments made!

Wow, that is a lot – I do not recall any other year so productive for me! There were so many garments made, that I think a nice pie chart is needed (well, honestly, I am a huuuge fan of statistics, data and tables, so any occasion for pie chart is a good occasion, ha!).

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I am usually sewing something that I can wear at the office, so it’s no surprise that I mostly made dresses this year (11 pieces total). I am particularly proud that I made a few jackets and a coat that gave a significant boost to improving my sewing skill set and thus overcoming my fear of coat making.

Most worn garment – self-drafted grey dress

This dress not only looks good, but feels good, too – it’s so comfortable, that I wear it every week to the office (full blog post about this dress here).

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Favourite garment made – Rosy Burda Style jacket

Some garments are fun to wear, some garments are even more fun to make – this one is exactly that! I have been dreaming about this jacket for almost a decade, so I am very glad that I finally made it (full blog post about it here).

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Most “Oops!” sewing moment – shrunken polo dress

This dress is gorgeous: the color, the design, the fit – I love everything about it, it’s a perfect summer dress. Excuse me, it was perfect – until very first trip to the washing machine… I do not know how it happened, but it shrunk (though I pre-washed the fabrics before cutting and steamed it). It shrunk so bad, that I can not longer wear it as a dress, so I am puzzled what to do with it: throw away and forget about it? Add some ruffle to the bottom to lengthen it? Hm, will have to think about it, but it the meantime I am calling it biggest sewing “oops!” of the year!

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Best sewing purchase – an adjustable dress form

I did not buy much of sewing gadgets this year, but I did get an adjustable dress form, that I was dreaming for yeeeaaars 🙂 Was it worth it? Yes, definitely! I am getting so much use from it, that I can barely remember how I got around without it, ha!

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Last but not least, I would like to mention that this blog SewingJulie was also created this year – very glad I finally made it, as I truly love online sewing community and being part of it is a great joy!

Hope you enjoy reading it and best of luck it your sewing adventures in upcoming 2018! 🙂

Yours truly, Julie

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DID IT MYSELF: Rosy Jacket (+Burda pattern review)

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Hello Everyone!

This jacket is very special for me, as I have been eyeing this pattern from Burda Style magazine since I started sewing, but never felt I had enough skills to make it or a right fabric never came along. Luckily, on my trip to fabric store two weeks ago I spotted this beautiful rose-color fabric and immediately knew – the time has come to tackle that jacket!

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The pattern is from 06/2007 Burda Style magazine (you can find the pattern here) and at the time it was only the second sewing magazine I purchased – I was still at school and not with the budget for such things, but the designs in this particular issue looked worth the splurge.

While I loved the style of the jacket, I made two big changes in the design: eliminated the double collar (the fabric I chose was too thick, but also I am not a big fan of this design feature) and fitted the back, as the pattern suggested unfitted one (and on me, as a pear-shape figure owner, it’s never a good choice).

The jacket is fully lined (even the pockets!) and it gives extra-nice feeling when wearing it.

I also would like to give you a sewing tip that I find very useful: always hand-stitch the garment and try it on to check the fit, before you bring it to the sewing machine. This allows you to make needed fitting alterations much more efficiently and saves from many seam ripping later on.

All in all, this jacket is truly a winner and it adds to the work-wardrobe very nicely!

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DID IT MYSELF: Classy Vest (+pattern review!)

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Hello Everyone!

Throughout my sewing “career” I have made quite a lot of items: mostly dresses, several skirts, jacket, even a pair of awful pants (I am yet to come across a nicely fitting pair of pants – no matter if RTW or handmade, the just-don’t-look-good on me). But out of all the things I ever made, I never made a vest – in fact, I don’t think I ever even owned a vest. Just not my style, and that’s that.

Having that in mind, I surprised myself BIG time, when I woke up one Saturday morning, looked at a little scrap of fabric that was left from previous project and decided to go for the vest, for the first time ever. To even bigger surprise – I loved it! (though I must admit it took me a week, until I finally gathered myself into wearing it to work – yup, even little style changes takes time for me to accept, am I the only one like this?). And that red lining? Oh, just something to give it some “Louboutin” feeling (or – more believable – it was the only lining I had on random early Saturday morning, ha!).

The pattern is from Burda Style magazine, issue 11/2012 (you can see the drawing, as well as styling photos from the magazine here).

Changes I made in the pattern: shortened the vest by 5cm; the armpit was way way too low, so I added about 4cm to it; and added two pockets, as well as did my usual fitting for pear-shape figure (the pattern was very nice to fit, because of all the cut in the front and back).

Do I recommend the pattern: I would recommend it to others, as it is a great vest! I especially liked the unusual sleeves and the fitting.

A few posing photos, to show-off the fit (really happy how the back fit turned out – it’s usually the most difficult part for me!):

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And a little “behind the scenes” from the making of the vest (I just looove how lined items look a complete mess before you turn them out :))

Productive new week to you all!

Your truly, Julie

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DID IT MYSELF: Blue Party Dress

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Hi Everyone!

Though I like making dresses, party dresses are not my thing – I’d rather spend time making something that I’ll get use of wearing every week to work, thank spending same time on a dress I’ll wear once or twice for a celebration. That being said, I have a rule to own at least one party dress at all times, so that when I get the invitation I can easily pick it from the closet without spending extra time thinking “what to wear”. Through all special occasions last year I wore this red number, but when the celebrations started to repeat itself (like annual companies party) I needed a new one and this is how this blue beauty came to be.

The dress is made from stretchy fabrics, so I had to include extra constructional steps (such as interfacing, lining and stabiliser) to give it a more defined shape and make it look like a special occasion dress, rather than an everyday dress. Sewing tip here is simple: when adding interfacing and lining to stretchy fabrics, make sure they all are stretchy, otherwise it will be recipe for disaster.  

This pattern is drafted by me, but if you would like to make one yourself,  Burda has a very similar one here and I also posted a tutorial on adding a high-low hemline half circle skirt to any dress here.

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And here are a few photos of me wearing the dress in the event:

Have a nice Sunday evening!

Best regards,

Julie