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Industrial sewing machine at home (my review)

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Hello Everyone!

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that a few weeks ago I purchased a new sewing machine and this time I went for the industrial one! I received quite a few questions on why I made such decision and what are the pluses of the industrial sewing machine, so I made a short video explaining all cons and pros – hope you will enjoy this video!

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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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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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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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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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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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HOW TO SEW: self-drafted dress with belt

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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.

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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.

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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!