Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Yellow Means Summer

One of the retro sewing groups on Facebook has gone crazy this summer over this romantic polka dot dress of Marilyn Monroe. So many people were posting their wonderful versions of it I just had to try myself. The online sewing world seems to definitely influence me more than "real life" fashion. I used my favourite dress pattern ever (Burda 7829) as a base for the bodice but I modified it so much to make it more the shape of Marilyn's dress that I think it's not really recognisable.

I am not a yellow wearing person. I don't think it is a flattering colour on me but I have seen so much yellow around this season and I kept thinking I so want a yellow dress! I actually found the most absolutely gorgeous pale yellow floral satin but I just could not let myself buy it (it's been stuck in my mind for months though, so maybe I should make pajamas or something from it....). I didn't want to put hours into a dress I wouldn't end up wearing though so I compromised with this: yellow piping!

When I was looking at the pics of Marilyn's dress I was wondering why would they gather the fabric both at the top and the bottom of the tier. Why not just the one at the top?? So I only gathered the top of mine. And I quickly realised the reason. If it's not gathered then circumference of the piping is too big and then it will be wavy and stick out awkwardly.

Trying to tell myself that it's fine. No. It's really not fine.

So I cut out the piping between the first and second tiers of the skirt and then gathered both parts (no way was I unpicking that with all the piping stitched in plus being overlocked...). Even then it took four very long hours to redo....  so I couldn't bring myself to fix the last tier plus I didn't want to lose even more length by cutting it out, so I'm just accepting it as it is. This dress took three metres of fabric. The first tier of the skirt is about 2 metres long, the second is about 4.5 metres, and the third is almost six. Thank god for gathering on the overlocker. Seriously, I could not have done this otherwise.

How to gather on the overlocker: Put the differential feed to the highest it will go and make the stitch length the longest possible. It will gather your fabric automatically. If you need more fullness pull the two needle threads - if you use different colour threads in the needles than in the loopers then it's super easy.

I finished the hem with bias binding. This is my favourite trick for when the skirt is too short and you really want to keep it as long as possible. I bought this binding eight years ago in Istanbul, it seems like I managed to carry an entire lifetime's supply of bias binding back home in my backpack! I'm re-reading my old blog posts from that time in Istanbul... how much more crazy and free and fun those days were. Having the doggy has kinda sucked the spontaneity out of my life this year. (But I don't know if I could convince any friends to hitch hike with me these days anyway ;)

Bay my foster doggy is still looking for a forever home! If you know anyone who would like to adopt the most beautiful, happy, energetic, far too intelligent dog in the world let me know!!! I adore him but it is very hard looking after a dog alone, especially a Malinois. The organisation I got him from has so many dogs in their care that need foster homes - a lot of them are reserved for adoption already but they just need a few weeks in foster homes so they can get medical treatment/castration/see how they are in the city etc before they can travel to their new homes so then it really isn't a big commitment. So many of them get adopted to different countries, often Germany. They have all kinds of dogs so you can get one suitable for your lifestyle... And they can provide all the stuff you need to look after the animal, even the food if necessary. They have lots of cats too. Think about it :)

Bay got a bow tie. From now on I'm going to try to make him a matching accessory for every new dress of mine.


Every good dress needs pockets! I didn't have enough fabric left to cut the pockets from the main fabric so I did my usual trick - I appliqued scraps on at the pocket opening. This way the pocket doesn't show. I also do this when I want luxurious pockets, say from satin, but don't want them to be visible.

Monday, July 8, 2019

I Love My Minoru Jacket!

I really needed a casual outdoorsy kind of jacket for cool summer evenings so I made a Minoru jacket and I love it so much! It's just what I wanted and came together really easily once I sourced all the supplies.

When not in use the hood can actually be rolled up and put in a pocket in the collar but I forgot to get a pic of that.

I'm super happy with the length of it

 I was looking at all the usual pretty prints and bright colours which attract me when I was searching for fabric and instead I bought a solid colour!! Normally I cannot resist a wild print but I was so very restrained this time! The few occasions when I do buy a solid it's usually textured. Or sparkly. Or shiny. I love satin... But this is a plain cotton twill. And it's even brown! What's more nature like than brown? Ok, maybe green, but I got a subtly striped green and brown viscose lining fabric to go with it. I'm feeling pretty proud of myself! One of the big problems with my wardrobe is that almost everything is in some kind of print so it's hard to mix and match things. Actually when I was sewing this I was big time regretting the brown but now I am so happy. Small victories!

I made a few changes to the pattern. I lengthened the body at the hem 10cm, and the sleeves 7cm. I read many reviews of this pattern and a lot of people complained about the sleeves on this pattern being too long already but I have super long arms. I narrowed the sleeves from size 8 to size 4 at the cuff and then narrowed the cuffs to match because I didn't want the gathering which is in the pattern. I got 2.7 metres of fabric to account for the lengthening and it worked out just perfect.

This pattern is really wonderful and easy make (especially following the sew-along) but it blows me away that external pockets were not included. It's a jacket!! I'm pretty sure almost everyone who makes this adds pockets of some sort to the outside so it would have been nice to have some options included. I made zippered ones with flaps.

I know Krisztian is in all my photos lately but I swear we are not a couple 😂🤣 We are both very single!

Instead of doing the elastic waist I added a drawstring. The main fabric and the lining sewn together form the casing. And I put in eyelets using this super handy eyelet tool I got from my Nana. Thanks Nana!

I lined the hood and added a drawstring there too. If I make this again (who am I kidding? WHEN I make this again) I will put the eyelets a cm or two lower.

It's a little tight at the shoulders (many people have mentioned this in their reviews but I stupidly ignored it). Next time I'll add a little extra width there.

I also added a zipper shield to protect my clothes. This zip is a pretty rough zip. Metal teeth. I went to four shops hunting for the perfect zip. I would have preferred a double ended one but I couldn't find in the right colour and length. I actually bought a gorgeous green one but then changed my mind so I might try to use that in my next jacket. The zip shield was a bit flimsy so I added some embroidery stitching. I have something like 250 stitches on my machine and I've used the embroidery ones approximately twice ever... so it was really nice to have an excuse for using at least one of them. Trying to keep with the outdoorsy idea I went for a leafy vine stitch.

I actually waxed the whole jacket because I wanted to make it waterproof or at least water resistant. This took F.O.R.E.V.E.R. But then the very first time I wore it I stood next to a bonfire for hours and then washed it to get the smoke smell out... And with that most of the wax washed out too. But a little has remained and I love the visual effect it has on the fabric, how it makes it look more worn. Maybe I should just make a jacket out of actual waterproof fabric because this one is not getting rewaxed.

Worth losing the wax
(Edit July 9 after reading Lauren's comment): I can't believe I missed the chance to do something funny with the zip shield! I knew then this project wouldn't be complete without some words on it. I tried embroidering onto the jacket five times but with the weight of it pulling it wasn't stitching nicely so I made this patch. It's going to be perfect when it's a little more frayed.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Me-Made-May 2019 Pledge

So it's almost May (in just a few minutes!) which means Me-Made-May again. In case you don't know what that is, read all the details on Zoe's blog.

Here's my pledge:

'I, Jodi Wade, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May 2019. I endeavour to wear only me-made garments in combinations I like each day for the duration of May 2019 and to try to have as many different outfits as possible through the use of accessories'.

It's the same pledge as last year but I like it. It's still a bit of a challenge because although it's easy for me to just wear clothes I've made,  putting them together into nice outfits is harder.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Transformational Reconstruction in Romania

A week ago I was in Romania at a pattern cutting workshop. I have been following the Japanese designer Shingo Sato online for many years. He makes some amazing creations and also travels the world passing on his skills. Normally his workshops are quite far from Budapest (often in Western Europe and on other continents). But then I saw one advertised for Bucharest so I signed up so fast. Bucharest is less than an hour and a half flight from here. And I'd never been there and had always been curious about it.

With the Master!!

Well I absolutely LOVED Bucharest. I could definitely live there I think. I was staying in a cool Airbnb which is also a gallery. It was in a beautiful district with old villa buildings, close to hipster cafes and bars. My host was amazing and showed me around and made everything just wonderful.

The 'House of the People' aka, the Romanian parliament building. It is just monstrous!

I stayed for five nights which was not enough. It was also five days of sewing which meant not so much sightseeing. Although I did have a few very fun evenings out. I especially loved the cocktail bar Fix where they use lots of delicious natural ingredients.

The workshop was super intense. First two evenings with Irina Akkaya to get to know the basics. She's a fashion designer from Romania who organised the workshop (which she did an impressive job at). She was super nice and her family is wonderful and she basically seemed like super woman with the patience of a saint dealing with all of us.

Exhausted from the full days of sewing (and nights of partying).
This is the pattern of the above box integration bodice.
Then we had three full days with Shingo. We learnt so many cool techniques. It was so inspirational and I've come home full of ideas. We learnt interesting ways of getting rid of certain seams and I can't wait to try out these things in garments.

I had never used one of these wrist pin cushions before but wow! It really made my sewing so much faster. I need to get one of my own.

We even got on Romanian TV!

It was so good to learn new things! I wish all my future trips could be combined with learning!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Green Peplum Top

A few days ago I was going through my box of unfinished projects and stumbled upon this top. All it was waiting for was buttons, buttonholes and some seam finishing. I couldn't believe it! I guess at the time when I sewed it I couldn't find the right buttons... which was maybe 5 years ago because I remember sewing it when I lived in Akacfa utca. I quite miss that time - I did so much more sewing than I do now.

So I looked through my now much bigger button collection and found some shiny green ones that I got from my Nana.

I can't remember if I used a pattern or just a block for the bodice. The sleeves and peplum are just kind of circular pieces.

This top was originally a skirt so I had limited fabric to work with. That's why the back is pieced. It's a "Design feature" lol. I actually found the skirt on the street. Every year each district in Budapest has a day to throw out all of their unwanted things from their homes onto the street. Then people can take what they want before the rest is collected. It's a pretty great way of recycling. And it's fun seeing what treasures you can find!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Me-Made-May Days 1-12


I'm really enjoying this crazy, busy May. I've been trying to only wear outfits I actually like for Me-Made-May, and also to use more accessories because I feel I don't really do that enough.

Day 1

What I wore: Self drafted red lace dress, white necklace (gift from a friend)

How I felt about this outfit: I loooove the way this dress looks but now I can only wear it on my most skinny of days (so like once or twice a year). And I can't really eat while wearing it... I would like to make it again slightly bigger (my list of what I want to make is never ending though so we'll see!).

Day 2

What I wore: My polka dot dress (bodice is a very modified Burdastyle Danielle, the skirt part is self drafted) and my self drafted petticoat.

How I felt about this outfit: I haven't really worn this dress the past few years, I'm not sure why. It used to be one of my absolute faves. I think I will put it back into rotation.

Day 3

What I wore: 70's dress, belt and purse bought second hand in New Zealand.

How I felt about this outfit: This is a comfy dress. I love this style - loose and belted. Can eat as much as you like! I sometimes feel a little dowdy in this outfit though. Maybe I should shorten it a few inches.

Day 4

What I wore: Black and white dress (modified E971), 30's necklace (there are some wonderful antique shops here).

How I felt about this outfit: This dress makes me feel especially womanly. It's nice and swishy. I made it back in 2010 and I am a little surprised I still have so many dresses from then. Actually most of the dresses I've worn so far this month seem to be from 2010/2011. What a wonderful, crazy time that was, I guess a little of the energy/memories still remain in the garments.

Day 5

What I wore: Self drafted birds and flowers dress. Headband made by my dear friend Ella.

How I felt about this outfit: This dress has huge pockets so it is very practical. Pockets are so important! The headband makes me feel like a hippy, it fits this free feeling which comes with the sunshine. Oh, I'm so glad it's Spring!

Day 6

What I wore: Plaid dress, modified Burda 7831

How I felt about this outfit: Another ultra girly dress. I keep thinking I am too old for this dress but somehow I can't get rid of it, I'm too proud of my awesome plaid matching! It doesn't have pockets though!! Why doesn't it have pockets?! I have started using a backpack to save my shoulders and oh my god I never knew how often I reach into my bag. I am constantly having to take my backpack off. But actually I know why this particular dress doesn't have pockets - the skirt doesn't have any seams, it's a full circle.

Day 7

What I wore: Self drafted LBD, leather shoes I made!!

How I felt about this outfit: I wear this dress allll the time. Seriously. Like twice a week year round since I made it maybe 6 years ago. It has huge pockets (large enough for a couple of bottles of beer...). The only 'flaw' is that it has a metal zip up the back which makes it not a comfortable dress for travelling in but for every other purpose this is my go to dress.
The shoes I made a few weeks ago! I've been going to shoe making classes. I think I will write about these more in another post though.

Day 8

What I wore: White blouse (Burda 7831), self drafted skirt

How I felt about this outfit: I felt like a school girl! And the attention from men was crazy. Soooo many men said hi to me on the street. At first I thought they were guys I had met before and forgotten but no. Even guys I hadn't made eye contact with. It was so strange, guys so rarely say hi.
(BTW, that is New Zealand wine in the pic!! I found a place here which has it! So delicious! A little taste of home).

Day 9

What I wore: Flamingos in Love dress (Burda 7829), self drafted aubergine cardigan

How I felt about this outfit: This dress is made from one of my all time favourite patterns but I don't feel totally comfortable in this version of it. This cotton is so very light, it feels like I'm naked and the low cut neckline coupled with the short skirt makes me feel so self conscious. This was the absolute longest I could make it though, I used up every single scrap of fabric (I even had to cut the pockets from a different fabric).

Day 10

What I wore: The bodice of this dress is modified from Burda 7829, the skirt is made of 8 panels. With big pockets! Self drafted black jumper. Vintage bag.

How I felt about this outfit: This is one of my favourite dresses. And I like it dressed down with sneakers.

Day 11

What I wore: Polka Dots and Pleats dress

How I felt about this outfit: This is one of my favourite summer outfits. Easy to throw on, can eat what I like, the stiffness of the cotton stops it from being form fitting.

Day 12

I haven't actually gotten dressed today. It's been so nice to stay at home! I've been doing a little too much partying lately, I really needed this kind of recharge. Watching lots of Netflix, getting some paperwork done, a little spring cleaning, checking things off my long to do list.

I've realised one of the reasons why I blog so infrequently these days - it takes so much time!
Whomadewho is helping though. Such great music! This is my soundtrack of the evening.