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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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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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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