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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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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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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”

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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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Sewing a handbag – why not try?

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Hello Darlings!

though at the moment I am mostly sewing clothing (by the way, have you checked my Instagram for latest updates on faux fur coat, that I am making at school? Click here to see it!), some time ago I was very passionate about sewing handbags. In fact, I even had a blog dedicated for this matter – this is how much I liked it 🙂

Sewing handbags is fun in several ways: first, the entire process is very different from clothing making (the fabrics, the patterns, the techniques – everything), so it’s nice to switch it up from time to time; secondly, who doesn’t like a custom made handbag, sewn exactly how you want it to look like? I know I cannot say ‘no’ to this! 🙂

Here are several photos of the bags I made in past – hopefully it will give you an inspiration to start working on your dream handbag as well!

My very first bag ever – made from cotton and faux leather. Timeless design piece! I used my own pattern – drawing of it below.

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My favourite bag – inspired by the one that Reese Witherspoon wore, this beauty is one of my favourite creations ever. Made from faux leather and linen – beautiful timeless design piece!

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The bag I made from thrifted jacket – also one of my favourite designs, which was quite popular in my first blog. You can find a detailed tutorial for this bag here: TUTORIAL: Make a Bag from a Jacket

The classy hand-held bag – looking from the useability side, this bag is not very usefull (you can fit a phone and a wallet, not much more), looking from design side – G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S! Beautiful clean lines, very little sewing and tons of gluing (yup, this bag is made using lots of glue).

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Faux leather bag – this one was rather difficult to sew (oh, if only I knew about teflon feet back then…). Believe it or not, but back when I made this bag I thought it was terrible and never wore it; luckily, I showed it to my friend and she loved it, so I gave it to her – this bag was used after all!

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Linen bag for a friend – very spacious bag with beautiful lining (who said the lining has to be plain and boring?!)

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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