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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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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: 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