Tag Archives: dress

exhaling

I was so determined not to get caught up in the holiday rush this year, to bake cookies every sunday, to visit christmas markets and enjoy advent.
Yeah, that didn’t happen. It was a stressful time at work and the days just rushed by in a whirlwind, leaving me feeling completely tuckered out.
Yesterday was the last day at work and I am slowly starting to exhale and relax. I’m looking forward to the next few days, spending time with friends and family, going to the cinema, taking it slow and resting.
baking christmas cookies. tidytipsy
We did manage to bake one batch of cookies during the month and since I’m restricting myself to one item of sweets or chocolate a day (more on that soon), they’ve lasted us quite a while!
baking christmas cookies. tidytipsy
I got some orders in my Etsy shop and managed to send christmas cards to my portrait customers this year, so early mornings were spent packaging and shipping.
etsy orders. fotografiekoehler
christmas cards. fotografiekoehler
We had a christmas party at work, which was great fun.
party. fotografiekoehler
party. fotografiekoehler
The theme was “The night before Christmas – Pajama party” and the costumes were such fun! I serged together a blue jersey dress really quickly (as in, I didn’t even finish the hems) using the Grainline Scout pattern and went as starry sky.
december. tidytipsy
I also started knitting my first ever cardigan! Well, I took about a month to decide on the yarn and then 2 weeks to knit a test swatch (got it right the first time, thank goodness) and finally cast on yesterday.
You’ll have seen these photos on Instagram if you follow me there. Looking forward to digging out my “real” camera again in the quieter days to come.
Have a wonderful, relaxing weekend!

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the drop-drapey dress

Interrupting the Norway series for a big announcement: I sewed a dress. No, really. Sat down, got out my pattern box and paper, drafted, cut and sewed all in one weekend. This hasn’t happened for about…6 months? Way too long a time to be away from the sewing machine!
drop waist drape dress. tidytipsy
(Here’s a tip:don’t bend one knee while being photographed straight on. It’ll make it look as if you had two different length legs…)
I’m still hopelessly into 1920’s drop-waist fashion. The Great Gatsby hasn’t helped in getting me out of it. Also I’ve been admiring the lovely shift dresses from Ruche but then the real inspiration for this dress came from Zara’s red drape dress. So beautiful (if only it weren’t in polyester!).
Then Lauren posted a series of gorgeous Scout Tee’s and that got me going. I pulled out the Scout pattern and got to work making it into a dress and adding some drape detail.
drop waist drape dress. tidytipsy
My cat helped with the cutting (not). Um, yes, I use CD’s as pattern weights. Beatles and Gianna Nannini rock.
drop waist drape dress. tidytipsy
The fabric is a lovely flowy rayon. I had two rayons in my stash and I love how fluid and silky they are. And such a pleasure to sew. While my last sewing attempts in winter had me frustrated, this little dress came together so effortlessly and easily.
drop waist drape dress. tidytipsy
I’ll be the first to admit it doesn’t look like much on a hanger. You can’t really see the shape and the drape detail.
drop waist drape dress. tidytipsy
I love how it looks worn though! It’s just what I envisioned, though the drapey part is a lot less pronounced than in the original.
drop waist drape dress. tidytipsy
I have very few florals but this versatile little dress will be a great addition to my wardrobe. It will be perfect both for cooler summer days as well as spring and fall with tights and a cardi.

loving

this spring and sunshine. So, so much!
spring. tidytipsy
spring. tidytipsy
spring. tidytipsy
Maybe it was the long winter and cold this year, but I’m still soaking up every ray of sunshine I can get and watching my balcony and the world around me come to life feels invigorating.
spring. tidytipsy
Hello, italian mint!
spring. tidytipsy
The ponies are happy too, finally it’s time for freedom and green grass again after spending winter in their stalls.
spring. tidytipsy
Love these little flowers! My mom gave me a few from her garden last year but they never bloomed. I kept them all the same and this year they’re blooming in lovely colours from pale rosey to bright orange to lush dark red!
dress to copy. tidytipsy
And finally, I’m feeling creative again after a late winter lurch and look forward to getting back to my sewing machine soon. The dress above is from Zara, it was so gorgeous I had to have it even though it’s polyester. Oh, all the Downton Abbey inspired prettiness of Zara’s spring collection! I love how TV inspires fashion. I spent all weekend trying to wrap my head around how it is made so I can make my own copy in a cotton silk or even (imagine!) some luxurious washed silk.

christmas dress | burda cowl dress in velvet

I really wanted to sew a nice dress for christmas this year and I had been eyeing that pretty navy cotton velvet for a while online (did I mention my navy blue phase? I promise the next thing I make will be a different color!). So when the Burdastyle Cowl Dress was on sale one day, I snatched it up and went to work…the Sunday before christmas!
velvet cowl dress. tidytipsy
I didn’t even make a muslin but I really like how it turned out. It’s definitely the most elegant thing I have ever made and own!
velvet cowl dress. tidytipsy
I was in such a hurry to finish it that the hem is a bit twisted (it’s a handstitched blind hem), so I’ll need to redo that before I wear it the next time. Although I like it a lot I’ll probably not wear it very often, I just don’t often attend events where I would not feel completely overdressed wearing this!
I didn’t change anything except the back zipper…I really don’t like back zippers so I put one in the side seam instead. Handpicked again, definitely my preferred method of inserting zippers! The side seam zipper makes the dress pretty hard to put on though.
velvet cowl dress. tidytipsy
All in all, a pretty simple dress and I have plans to make a sleeveless summer version from the pattern some time. The velvet was nice to work with, but even though I finished the seams with zigzagging it still loses a lot of fluff. This got me to make myself the christmas present I’ve been thinking about for some time….I got myself a serger!!!
serger. tidytipsy
I still can’t believe I bought it, after eyeing this model for about a year. I’m finally accepting that this sewing clothing thing is not just a phase for me. I’m really, really excited about learning to use it. It came threaded but of course when I wanted to try it one thread broke…the one that is most difficult to thread in again. So the boyfriend and I spend some time pouring over the manual yesterday (I really couldn’t have done it without his help) and I cried a little and thought about sending it back, but we finally managed to re-thread it and it works, yay 🙂 I’m very excited to try this out on future garments and especially with jersey.

1920’s dress

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:
1920s dress. tidytipsy
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.
1920s dress. tidytipsy
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.
In detail:
– 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.
1920s dress. tidytipsy
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.
1920s dress. tidytipsy
1920s dress. tidytipsy

burda sheath dress

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 🙂

fall tova dress

I did it again…made a dress from one of Jenny‘s patterns that is.
This time it’s another Tova Dress.

The fabric is a linen that I picked up locally because it was on sale (and because I immediately thought it would be perfect for this pattern).

(the colors are more true in the first picture, the fabric is a dark navy blue). The linen makes this a great between the seasons dress.

I’ve been sewing a lot this year but I’m amazed how much of a difference practice makes. With every item I make my sewing is getting faster and neater at the same time. Practice really does make perfect (although I’m still a long long way from perfect!).

It’s not really that wrinkly as it appears in the photo. Or maybe it is and I’m in denial.
I see endless combination possibilities for this dress and look forward to wearing it a lot this fall. Oh, one alteration I made was lengthen it by about 2 or 3 inches, to make it wearable at work. I always have a hard time buying dresses, because the fashionable length is just that little bit shorter than I feel comfortable wearing (I’m officially a prude).
So good that there’s great fabric and patterns out there so I can make the things I like. Which reminds me, both the Tova dress and the Tank pattern are available for preorder at Wiksten right now! Go get sewing in my stead, as I’ll be busy moving in the next weeks and won’t come near my sewing machine too often I’m afraid 🙂

dressmaking – my first dress

Dressmaking is FUN! Even though it took me many many many hours to draft a pattern (see this post here) and a lot of patience and seamripping and improvising to get this finished I am thrilled by the end result and can’t wait to make another item of clothing! I have never really sewn clothing before so on this project I not only learned to make patterns but also to make necklines, armholes, sleeves, buttonholes, darts and what not!

This dress looks pretty close to the vision I was trying to recreate and I love it! It has two darts at the back (not visible in the picture) and the skirt part is just a big rectangle which I ruffled to fit the length of the bodice (I prefer wearing it with that belt to emphasize the waist more).
It is made out of a silky soft blue poplin (which at 8€ a metre was pretty reasonable for german prices). It doesn’t wrinkle and you hardly have to iron it at all. It was lovely to sew with also.
I sewed it on my vintage Phoenix treadle machine which worked like a dream. I think treadling is it for me…at this point I find it hard to imagine ever sewing on an electric machine again!
I had to use my mom’s Pfaff to make the buttonholes and finish the inside seams with zig-zag stitch and found it so hard to adjust back to electric.
By the way Cal Patch suggests french seams in her book ‘Design-it-yourself clothes. Patternmaking simplified’ which I used to make the pattern. I just haven’t done french seams before and was already overwhelmed by all the new techniques I was learning making the dress…I’m saving the french seams for my next dress 😉

To the end I never managed to make the sleeves fit the armholes… no matter how often I altered the pattern they were always too big. I ended up making three pleats on each sleeve but in retrospect I should have ruffled the ca. 5 cm on top…would have looked neater I think.
The part that I really screwed up on is the neckline…I tried making my own bias tape and finishing in neatly but it just didn’t work at all! I came out all wrinkly 😦 Also it kind of creases between the neckline and the armholes rather annoyingly. I don’t mind too much though…all in all this dress is a raging success for me and I am so happy with it!

spring is coming

but is is slow to arrive. Another beautiful, sunny day today and I have even found the first spring flowers of the year in my mother’s garden.

At the barn on the other hand (which lies a critical few 100 metres higher) everything is again covered in snow.
I have again spent the whole weekend sewing, making a spring dress for myself. I made it on my beloved vintage treadle (that baby rocks!!) except for the button holes and the inside seam finish with zig-zag stitch (I drove out to my mom’s house to use her Pfaff for that). It’s nearly completed, I’ll just have to sew on the buttons by hand tonight and then I’ll do a big dressmaking post 🙂

The cats have spent the day sleeping in the sunny spots on the floor and while I have no photos of that, here’s a recent one of Murphy in all his sweet, anxious little self.

patterndrafting adventures

Wow, has the weekend flown by! Can’t believe it’s already over again. I had planned to finally tackle Cal Patch’s wonderful book “Design-it-yourself-clothes” and make a top pattern for a dress. For one I am totally in love with the gorgeous dress Anna did based on that book and also I need a paririe dress for a charity event which is planned at the barn in June (1880’s country fair). I haven’t got any fabric for it yet but figured I could already draft the pattern and make a muslin on Saturday morning.

Two days and three handbasted muslins later (thank goodness for all of those old Ikea pillow cases, or I wouldn’t have had enough cheap fabric!) I was getting pretty frustrated because it just wouldn’t fit and the armhole was making me cry. My boyfriend said ‘Well, you didn’t think it was going to be easy, did you? Why did you think nobody does it anymore these days?’ to which I stammered ‘I thought people were just being lazy’.
Fast forward to a fourth draft and muslin and things are looking a whole lot better. Still not super duper perfect but good enough to be a satisfying finish to the weekend.

Totally unrelated but we’ve also been having a terrible storm today and all the way to the barn the streets were littered with branches and leaves. I took the highway on the way back but even there it was pretty scary with the sudden strong gusts of wind…I was glad to be home again and watch the rest of the storm from my cozy living room!