Uncategorized

DID IT MYSELF: Yellow Dress (+ pattern review)

IMG_20180218_103530

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 :))!

28117438_10208674575981875_1042172575_n

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

IMG_20180218_103724

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!)

IMG_20180218_103648

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

 

 

Uncategorized

Where I shop for fabrics

IMG_20180209_165940.jpg

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:

IMG_20180209_165606

IMG_20180209_165843

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!

IMG_20180209_172924IMG_20180209_172907

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

IMG_20180209_173038

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

Uncategorized

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

IMG_20180210_164430_HDR-01

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!

Untitled

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”

Uncategorized

Sewing a handbag – why not try?

309613_1761556658785_1835154196_1211138_1955941_n

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.

310793_1761556418779_1835154196_1211137_5890824_n

Untitled

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!

Neseniai atnaujinta

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).

smeline rankine

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!

Rar$DR44

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

pilka rankine

Uncategorized

HOW TO SEW: self-drafted dress with belt

IMG_20171210_094802pagrindine

Good Morning Everyone!

Today I would like to share with you a short “how to” for a dress that I made this week – I had an eye for this dress on Pinterest for a very long time, but I didn’t have an appropriate fabric for it (this dress is all about the right fabric, isn’t it?). I found an ideal fabric for it more than half a year ago, but still didn’t make the dress, because… it’s completely not my style and I was worried I would not wear it (trust me, this happened before – I make something nice, but end up not wearing it because I don’t feel like “myself” in it, yikes!). Luckily, I pitched the idea of this dress to my lovely sister-in-law and she agreed that I make this dress for her, so here it is!

I used my own drafted pattern for this project: while I still use commercial patterns from time to time, I usually end up making tons of corrections for fit, so instead I have a basic pattern block made for my measurements and just use it for creating a desired look much faster and efficiently. “Basic pattern block” might sound like something very difficult and high-tech, but actually, it’s is the most simple, yet well fitting pattern for a dress you can find (for example, I used to use this dress from Burda as my basic pattern block for stretch dresses – the outer design is awful, but the under-dress pattern is a great and versatile piece).

For this dress, I have adjusted the basic stretch dress pattern (black lines) to the desired design (red lines). The dress is unfitted, so it will be easy to make even if it will be your first self-drafted pattern; it only has three pieces (1 piece for front, 1 back piece and 1 piece for belt), thus the assembly is beginner-friendly and (I hope) pattern modifications are easy to understand from the drawing.

IMG_20171210_111754

IMG_20171210_110314

Best of luck with your projects and let me know if you have any questions for this dress! I would love to see your creations if you decide to make this dress, so please keep me updated!

Beautiful Sunday, Julie.

Uncategorized

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

IMG_20171126_133940izangine

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!

img_20171118_2300071.jpg

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!

Uncategorized

HOW TO SEW: cosmetics bag tutorial

Koliažai1

Hello Everyone!

As some of you already know, a few years back I was very passionate about bag making and even had a blog about it. Today I would like to share with you one of the tutorials I had published on that blog – while the tutorial is +/- 5 years old, I think that the style is more or less timeless, so I hope you will find it useful and it will give you some inspiration for a Saturday project!

What I love about this cosmetics bag is versatility – depending on the fabrics you choose, it can be flashy, cute, rock-n-roll or classic, just like the version I made. What is more, it could be a great DIY Christmas gift idea – who would not like a nice specially made for them cosmetics bag?!

Let’s move to the tutorial!

cosmetics3

Continue reading “HOW TO SEW: cosmetics bag tutorial”

#SewTalk

#SewTalk: How long it takes to learn to sew?

24167148_10208171159556779_1854370297_o

Hi Everyone!

Good to be back to #SewTalk Mondays – I love sewing, but I love talking about it as well, so these little chats are always very refreshing! If you have any question about sewing – please let me know if the comments below, I will be glad to answer them on my next #SewTalk! Let’s move to today’s interesting topic:

How long it takes to learn to sew?

Very good question, though I do not have a definite answer to it: some people are naturally talented at it and catch up with how things work quite fast; others – like me – may not be that gifted in this field, but compensates through hard work and putting extra hours to it. Because of that, I am able to answer this question only based on my own journey, meaning it may or may not apply to others.

There is a great book by Malcolm Gladwell “Outliers: The Story of Success” which analyses why some people are successful and others are not – one of the main points in it is that you have to put at least 10.000 hours into something you want to excel at. Of course, these are number of hours you need to put in if you want to become a professional at a certain field, but the idea applies everywhere: if you want to become good at something, you need to put time to it.

The first garment that I made and dared to wear in public was a blouse and I worked on it each evening for one week (roughly, it was about 10-12 hours of work); before this blouse I tried (but miserably failed at) making two garments (approx. 8 hours in total) – all this combined, it took me about 20 hours of sewing just to learn to make a somewhat decent looking garment.

The first well-fitting garment that I made was a white linen unlined jacket and it was a first garment that I wore more than once. However, to gather enough skills to make it, I had to first make about 3-4 not-so-well-fitting clothing pieces, worth about 30 additional hours of sewing. To sum up, it took about 50 hours of sewing to make my first nicely fitting clothing piece, which was the beginning of my me-made wardrobe.

The math of hours gets lost later on, as I got distracted from sewing as the years went by and I was making around 4-6 garments a year (yup, I had such stages in life where sewing machine was the last thing on my mind). Those were not the times my sewing skills grew much, but at least I was learning a little bit of something new with every clothing piece that I made, no matter how rare it happened.

Fast forward to last year, when I felt I was not happy where my skills are and decided to enroll to sewing school, which means clocking at least 2.5 hours of sewing every day after work. I made a commitment to learn as much as I can throughout these 2 years of school and I try to squeeze in as much sewing to my schedule as I can, meaning I try to find at least 10 hours for it on weekend as well. These hours combine to approx. 22 hours a week, or 1215 hours of sewing a year. Now this input gave significant boost: my sewing skills got better; I sew much quicker (it took me about 5 hours to complete a well-fitted lined jacket you recently saw on my Instagram – unimaginable speed to earlier days, where I would have spent more than a week on a clothing like that) and I even feel comfortable and skilled enough to sew for others, which was a big no-no for me before.

Of course, I only feel comfortable in putting so many hours to sewing because I truly love it; to others such hours might sound out of touch (and it’s okay – to many it’s a fun hobby that does not need to be taken to the extremes), but I hope my point is clear: everyone can learn to sew and it depends how much time and work you put in it. Even dressmakers at Dior haute couture atelier where once novices, think about that!

 

Wish you all a productive work week.

Yours truly, Julie

Uncategorized

#SewTalk: How to react if people ask you to fix things?

23635573_10208097345631477_1148898826_n

Hi Everyone!

Please excuse for late #SewTalk Monday coming on Tuesday – sometimes the world around you starts spinning even faster than usual, adding more things labelled “urgent and important” and forcing on some extra re-prioritisation. But enough about that and let’s talk about our favourite topic – sewing!  Boy oh boy, this week’s #SewTalk pickle is a good one:

When people learn that I sew, they constantly start asking to fix their clothing – replace the zipper, take-in a dress, hem pants and etc., but I don’t like doing that. How can I politely say “no” in this situation? Or should I just take it as a compliment and do what asked?

Oh, how I totally understand you – fixing things for others is something that instantly kills my sewing mojo (talked a bit more about that in last week’s #SewTalk). No, seriously: if you want me to lose love for sewing, just give me a pair of pants to hem – I will avoid the sewing machine for as long as I can! As this activity gives me zero joy and is not very interesting financially (because, well, let’s face it: people who ask you to fix something for them, usually want you to do it free of charge), therefore I politely decline such requests most of the time – you can call me selfish, but with the limited time that we all have, I am just not okay with the idea of doing something I don’t like, something that does not develop my skills any further nor gives reasonable financial benefits, and fixing clothing for other falls exactly in this category.

Throughout the time I found two politely, yet effective ways to decline such proposals, depending on how they are asking and my inner reasoning:

  • “Sorry, but my skills are not yet at the level where I could do this fix in the quality that is needed and just cannot take a risk of ruining this clothing for you”. For the longest time I did not feel secure about my sewing skills and I would not take up on doing any project for others, let alone “trying” to fix something – the good thing is, people usually accept such honest reasoning (or, more likely, don’t want you to “test” your skills on their 100 Eur pants, ha!).
  • “Thank you for asking this, but I don’t do fixing, however there is a local atelier just around the corner that does a good job with great quality-price ratio!”. Sometimes, the cold-hard truth is the best way to go – you don’t like fixing clothing and that’s it. But do add a suggestion where they could find help – people will not feel uncomfortable with the decline, if you will offer a suggestion to them!
  • “I feel flattered that you trust my skills to perform this task, but at the moment I have a lot going on and all my projects are planned few months ahead. You should check this local atelier – they will be able to do it for you almost instantly and you won’t have to wait!”. We live at times where people value time over anything and so they will surely understand this reasoning, as long as you add a notion where they can find a quicker help!

In conclusion, I  would like to add that asking people to do favours is a two way street: if you don’t like to be asked to fix clothing for others, think twice before asking people to do something they don’t have to for you (I always feel a little bad for programmers, as they are used to hearing “Oh, you work with computers? I have a problem with mine, can you take a look?”).

That’s it for today’s #SewTalk – if you have a question you would like to ask, let me know in the comments below or send an email at julie@sewingjulie.com and I will answer them next week!

Wish you all a great and productive week!

Yours truly, Julie