The days are flying by too fast, as always, but we’re enjoying each to the fullest. Being with friends. Going thrift store shopping. Getting the apartment organized (we’re still finding stuff we should have dealt with a year ago when we moved). A walk or two though it’s grey and rainy. Resuming the long neglected clicker training with the kitties. Just generally getting to all the stuff that got passed by during the year due to time pressures. Sleeping. Reading. Watching movies. Listening to music.
Be back for the yearly new year’s resolutions post.
We are enjoying a few much needed days of quiet moments mingled with visits to friends and family and making plans for the new year.
Can’t wait to show you my christmas dress (which I finished about 5 minutes before it was time to go for christmas dinner) and since I have a luxurius seven days of daylight hours ahead of me I’m confident I’ll even manage to take photos of it soon.
Until then, listening to my favourite christmas song over and over.
Merry christmas, I hope you are all having a wonderful time.
To say I’ve been thinking about making a dress like this for a while would be an understatement. I first saw this elegant black dress in the Downton Abbey Christmas special and immediately fell in love with it. Simple yet classy. I went ahead and did a few sketches and thought about it for a while, then got frustrated with the idea and put it away.
Then I started watching ‘The House of Eliott‘ (for those who don’t know, it’s a TV show from the 1990’s set in 1920’s London). And saw Beatrice wear a dress exactly like my dream dress and though “wow, they must have a pattern for it at the BBC”. Then I realised it’s probably the very same dress, reused for Downton Abbey 20 years later!
Since I couldn’t get it out of my head, I pulled out the old ideas, did some (lots) of research on simple 1920’s shapes and went ahead with a soft navy blue jersey as a test (the ultimate goal being a silk dress). I seem to be going through a navy blue phase recently. I reused parts of the Salme Kimono dress pattern and pretty much added everything else freely:
To be honest, I actually made three versions of this: one muslin, one in sheer blue cotton fabric which turned out way too stiff and this one in jersey.
It’s incredibly comfortable (I should sew with jersey more often!) and lovely to wear and it’s quite close to the original idea though not as perfect as I’d hoped.
– I think the original dress has set in sleeves and less drape and ease in the sleeves. The original also has some pleating detail at the shoulder right where the sleeve inset is.
– I was so scared of the neckline stretching that I stabilized the hell out of it, sewing a cotton strip to it and then finishing it with bias binding. In retrospect I really wish I had drafted a facing for the neckline and I definitely will if I should ever actually make this dress in silk.
– The sleeves are a bit too short but I can live with it.
The fabric belt is sewn to the dress, which is ok, though I’m already thinking of a version with a band attached between top and bottom. As for sewing with jersey, I’ve only tried it once or twice before and it always puts me in a dilemma: I love how soft and drapey jersey is and would like to sew with it more. On the other hand my main sewing machine (and really the only one I feel completely comfortable with, no matter how hard I try to love my other machines) is straight stitch only.
The solution for me is just to ignore the problem and sew jersey with a ballpoint needle straight stitch. Please don’t tell anyone. It kinda works though.
It’s not often that I find myself at home with time on my hands, but today after a hectic week and a productive morning I was ready for some quality time… just me, the couch, a couple of sheepskins and blankets and of course the cats, who are always looking for an opportunity to snuggle and sleep all over my legs in winter.
Time to give this blog a little make-over! So now it has a new header, a couple of nice badges and an updated ‘About Me‘ section. If you’re reading through Google Reader or something similar – do check out the blog on its own today.
The “Daily Reading” links section has also been updated, now including (among others)
– Lindsay’s lovely blog,
– Jodi, who makes me wish I was in sunny Australia and
– this incredibly inspiring lady.
There is also a link to my new Photography Website which launched pretty quietly during the summer. For updated portfolios of my photography work, do take a peek!
Finally, over on my other blog I’ve also made some slight changes. In case you haven’t been following it and because I don’t want my photography to be away from this space completely, I want to take this opportunity to point out some of my favourite photoshoots from 2012:
Sibel and Sefa’s wedding photos which we took in a gorgeous park.
Dana’s adorable new kitten.
Another great wedding, Dani and Moritz’ wedding party took place in an ancient castle!
I loved taking Cerille’s maternity photos, and meeting her adorable newborn baby boy only a few weeks later!
Colin is one of the sweetest babies I have ever met!
Katrin’s Maternity photoshoot in London.
And finally, Becky’s photoshoot with her horse with some of my favourite photos from the whole year!
Making time to put up some simple and natural decorations.
I loved these rosemary wreaths on Pinterest and they were very easy to make. We had everything we needed for them on hand, even using up some thin wire that came with frames we bought from Ikea ages ago.
Love this page with different recipes for room fresheners. We made a pot with oranges, cloves, cinnamon and ginger and it really does make a room smell heavenly.
My mom gave us this huge advent wreath she bought at a charity event. I think these wreaths are unique to Germany. They have four candles, one for each of the four advent sundays before christmas, so we get to light one more candle each week. We don’t usually have this because of the cats but so far they have been very good about not eating it. Mind you, the twinkly lights didn’t last more than a weekend before they took them down.
It snowed all day yesterday so outside our windows it’s winter wonderland right now. I’m torn between loving it and worrying because I don’t like driving in snow and I have a photoshoot tomorrow. The cats are pretty unsure about it as well.
A very full first december weekend. Two concerts, a first visit to the christmas market, making christmas decorations, having the family over for tea and cakes.
Have a lovely First Advent Sunday!
After trying out all these new (to me) patterns I felt confident enough to venture into drafting stuff myself again. I have this black high-waisted pencil skirt which fits me great. It was actually a hand-me-down from my mom, but I always get compliments on it when I wear it. I don’t wear much black and it’s getting a bit snug aynway (I guess my body’s starting to tell me I’m not eighteen anymore), so I wanted to try and copy it. Using this tutorial as a guide I traced the pattern onto paper and added the darts back in. And yes, I completely forgot to take photos of these steps or of the finished pattern.
I used the same blue flannel as for the Salme cropped blazer, which means I can wear them together as an ensemble.
It has two darts at the back and four at the front. Dark blue is really impossible to photograph. I lined it to prevent the flannel sticking to the tights and hand-picked the zipper (tutorial here). Making it up as I went along I got quite creative with the lining and the finishes.
It closes with both hooks and eyes and buttons with thread loops. The buttons were added as an afterthought, because the hooks kept coming undone but now I love the look and will definitely do buttons again for the next skirt. The buttons are just covered in fabric like this and there’s a great tutorial for simple thread loops over here.
I’m not usually a big Burda fan, but as soon as I saw this dress I knew I had to make it.
I had only ever made one pattern from Burda before, a skirt which I didn’t even finish because it was obvious that it was going to be way too big and hideous. So I had my reservations about this dress pattern which turned out to be totally unfounded. It fits great and I only had to take in the waist seam a bit.
The fabric is a lovely, soft flannel which is heavenly to wear.
I have to admit I’m not fond of adding seam allowances at the cutting stage. It’s probably just that I’m not used to it, but I felt it makes the sewing more inaccurate and in retrospect I’d have loved to do french seams which would have been harder with wonky seam allowances as well. So next time I’ll stick with my usual procedure and add the seam allowance to the pattern pieces before cutting. I finished the seams with zig-zag – not too fond of that either, it looks too messy for my liking. Yep, french seams really is the way for me!
I knew I would need to line the dress, because I’d wear it with tights and the flannel would stick to those. I thought about how I was going to go about lining it for a couple of days until I realized – I can just make a half-slip with an elastic waist and be done with it!
So that’s what I did, using some left over lining fabric (left over from a skirt I’ll post soon, yay). I just took my hip measurement, cut two rectangles and made a casing to thread some elastic through – no pattern, done in 30 minutes. I didn’t even take the time to iron it, obviously. Here’s a good tutorial though if you need instructions. And I can wear the slip with any other dress as well!
Worn with my Salme cropped blazer and a vintage orange coral necklace, another thrift store treasure.
I made two more alterations to the pattern: I shortened the hem slightly (though I think I may have overdone it here) and skipped the back zipper. Yep, skipped. I originally intended to insert a side seam zipper but I found that when the dress was done I could still pull it over my head if I took care.
All in all, I’m completely in love with this dress. It’s flattering yet super comfy and easy to dress up or down. And I’ve had lots of compliments at work for how cute it looks :)
I love getting up early in the dark, lighting a candle, making a cup of tea. Watching the light creep though our east facing living room windows, first blue, then rosy red, then bright warm yellow.
I settle down on the couch for a precious hour of blog reading before starting on some photo business tasks. The cats, having had their breakfast, joining me for a few more hours of sleep. Still early after all.
Number one from my fall sewing frenzy. Usually a blazer pattern would totally intimidate me, but the Salme blazer seemed easy enough to tackle.
I went up a size (lesson learned with these patterns) and found the pattern to be very straightforward and easy and the fit is great! The only tricky bit is the hem. There is a step missing in the instructions (when you’ve folded it you need to open it up again and fold it to the other side) but other than that much easier than thought it would be!
The fabric is a navy brushed cotton (like flannel but with a bit more body) that goes with everything and worked great for this. The blazer will see lots of wear, I’ve already worn it to work a couple of times.
I made one small alteration in lengthening the hem at the back a little. It really is very cropped otherwise. I originally tried to make this pattern in a flowy navy jersey which was a disaster. My fault for ignoring the fabric recommendations.
The gold colored top is actually another Wiksten Tank I made last year and never got around to blogging before our apartment move. I changed the hemline to make it a cropped tank. The fabric is Free Spirit Voile “Coneflower”.