Sorry for pulling a Don Draper on the sewing-blogosphere and just disappearing… A lot has happened in the past few months and I’ll do a little bit of explaining, and then hopefully I’ll be back to sewing soon!

I got a couple of very sweet comments over the last few months asking if everything is ok or if something happened. Nothing terrible happened, I’m fine now, just a bit of a “quarterly-life-crisis” and a “seamstresses-block” of sorts.

I quit studying biology, because after only a short time I realized that a job in that field is not going to make me happy, and I need to be in an environment where I feel inspired and I can create things. This wasn’t an easy step, as I always just kind of assumed I would go into science since that’s what I was good at in school, and it felt like I was letting myself down by quitting. I know I could’ve gone through with it, I know how to study and get good grades and all, but just studying for 5 years for the sake of studying would not make me happy.

Then at the same time as I was dealing with the whole “what do I want to do with my life” I also had some other personal issues (in short: someone I thought I could count on to be there for me and understand and support me just dropped me, among other things), and it took alot of time for me to learn to like spending time with myself again. Sewing felt impossible during this time and I also didn’t want to push it, I decided to wait until I felt like it again.

So after a month of just being at home, spending time with family (in Switzerland and the States), I did hair and make-up for the musical group I was in last year and the year before, did (and am still doing) the costumes for a theater piece my friend is directing (opening night is next saturday, yikes! not too much sewing involved though, mostly looking for the right clothes and buying, it’s cheaper too…), visited London for a long weekend with a friend (started collecting hats…), got a job at a jewelry store, visited my friend studying in Paris and a few other things I probably forgot (like spending a ton of money on etsy). I’ve decided to take 1.5 years “off”, to just work (feels good to be making some money!) and figure out what I want to do. I’m thinking of going into fashion design or costume design, or maybe even acting, but I’m trying to keep an open mind. And who know’s what’ll happen in the next 1.5 years? Maybe I’ll decide I don’t want to study at all?

And I’m feeling better. I still have mood swings where I suddenly feel no motivation to do anything at all, but I also have phases where I feel like being creative and doing something (like rearranging my room!), and in general I feel more stable and emotionally independent.

For now (starting after the opening night of the theater piece…) I’m going to spend my weeks like so: Monday – Wednesday I’ll have time for my own projects (and occasionally jewelry store work) like blogging, DIYing, learning to drive, taking dance classes, baking, cooking (something I really want to learn to do well!), sewing and building an online shop (something I’ve been wanting to do for ages! So much planning to do first though), Thursday and Friday I work at the jewelry store, and my weekends will be spent doing whatever needs to be done (from finishing dresses to lounging around eating chocolate).

The only thing left to tackle right now is sewing! I do feel like sewing again, but the thought is also a little scary, I haven’t done anything for almost five months! Winter is almost over, meaning there’s no point in sewing the Winterdresses I planned. I think this is a good thing, because I need a bit of a fresh start now. So I’ll keep those dresses in mind for next winter, giving me space for new summer dress ideas!

This got a lot longer than I wanted but I guess it’s ok, after all, it’s been four months, almost to the day! I’ll finish this post with sketches I got via email about a month ago, thank you Moshe Asher!

Imgaes (c) Moshe Asher, 2012

So hopefully I’ll be back to posting dress inspiration and plans, and actual home made dresses again!

Thanks for sticking with me through the past “four dead months”.


Donna Karan Dress

Woah, long time no post! I have to admit I haven’t been sewing a lot since before thanksgiving, but I did draft the collar for the Houndstooth Sheath Dress.

There are still 2 dresses (and a collar :)) on my “to sew” list, but of course I’m already going through my endless list of “dresses to sew”. This dress has been on my mind since I saw it in a magazine on the flight over to New York in August:

Donna Karan, RTW Fall 2011

There are a few reasons why I really like this design: it’s elegant, but the fabric makes it casual. It looks comfortable without looking boring. The folds around the bust are interesting, but not overpowering. I feel like the focus would be on the woman wearing the dress, not just on the dress itself (I say “would” because, obviously, this picture was taken during a fashion show, where the dress must be the center of attention, not the model).

I bought some thick knit fabric, black on one side, grey on the reverse, and I plan to recreate this! It’ll be a while before I have time for this, but it’s definitely on the list. It’ll be the project to practice draping… challenge! (maybe I should start practicing those folds with my towel when I get out of the shower?)

Blue Sheath Dress

Pattern: Butterick 2952
Year: early 60s
Fabric: ca. 1.6m blue cotton broadcloth
Notions: zipper, petersham ribbon and hook and bar for waist-stay
Time: ca 4-5h
New Techniques: Lapped zipper
Cost: about 15$

I know I know.. NOT AGAINN! But this was a quick dress I made in mid-october.

I made it sleeveless like the red one, but with a scoop neck like the pink one. There’s not much to say about this one. It’s the first time I tried a lapped zipper (so it wouldn’t break like the one on the pink sheath), and it was easy to do with this fabric. The only problem is that the tap stands up at the top. I would attach a hook and eye, but the whole point in lowering the back was that I could zip it up on my own, and hook and eyes are kinda hard to close on yourself (or well maybe that’s just me :)).

Also, the skirts angle at the hem isn’t quite right, it stands out too straight. And I’m not so sure about the color, it’s a lighter shade of blue than I expected. I guess it’s just a very “cool” blue, and I think warm blues are better for my skincolor :) (plus I don’t like the red-blue combo too much in this outfit, I just couldn’t find other accessories that would work.. which isn’t a good sign haha)

I’m happy with it, but I don’t think it’s going to be my favorite or get that much wear. Then again, it’s winter, and this is more of a spring/summer dress.

The Lucille Bluth Dress – Finished!

Pattern: Butterick 2907
Year: early 60s
Fabric: ca. 1.5 – 2 m purple double wool crepe
Notions: zipper
Time: pre-treating: 3-4 hours, sewing: 4-5 hours
New Techniques: working with wool crepe, raglan sleeves, bias strip making (for the tie-belt)
Cost: about 35$ (the wool crepe was expensive but so worth it!)

(I realized looking at these pictures, I really need a haircut!)

Finally took pictures! They almost show the color accurately, it’s still a bit more purple in real life.

I love this dress so much more than I thought I would. It’s veery comfortable, it has a nice color, it’s not too fancy for everyday wear but still elegant somehow (at least I think! It has that “Old Lady” vibe, and I mean that in the best way possible!). A “comfort dress” that doesn’t involve sweatshirt materials! I really like the raglan sleeves, and the crepe moves so nicely! And it’s was easy to sew. the only hiccup I had was putting in the zipper. I tried making a lapped zipper using Gerties tutorial from her online course and it didn’t work very well, just cause the crepe got a little warped (I find that wool, after it’s been pre-treated, has a tiny bit of “stretch” to it, I noticed this with the Houndstooth Sheath Dress too!). I then followed the Butterick instructions (where you baste the zipper opening first) and it worked really well! It gives you a smaller overlap than Gerties version, which might make it a little more obvious (especially with this fabric, you can see the zipper very well), but I don’t mind with this dress.

One thing I was a little confused about was the collar. I used to think, looking at the pattern envelope illustration, that it’s supposed to be a sort of turtleneck/cowlneck thing, but it’s really just a collar that lies flat. But I guess if you wanted it to stand up more, you could attach two hooks and eyes to the collar at the center back.

The only drawback I guess is that the fabric IS expensive, and I can’t really just sit down anywhere with this on (I know I know, sitting on the floor isn’t ladylike and all, but as GOB would say: COME ON!! It’s definitely a plus when a dress is easy to wash :))

The Houndstooth Poodle Sheath

Pattern: Butterick 2952
Year: early 60s
Fabric: about 1.5 yards houndstooth wool
Notions: zipper
Time: ca. 11 hours
Cost: about $20

(the shoes and tights arrived in the mail today! I got them from topshop.com and I’m in love with them :) the belt I made from some petersham ribbon and a “hook”-buckle I found at the thrift store)

Done! The zipper went in ok, at the bottom there’s a tiny weird fold, but I’ve decided I don’t mind :) I feel like I’ve already written so much about this dress, there’s nothing left to say! Except that I think it’s a great wardrobe builder, it’s simple with an interesting texture and can be styled in many different ways (with different colours and accessories!).

And with this dress, I’ve already crossed off two dresses from my list in October!


Haha, shortening the “Houndstooth Poodle Sheath” to HTPS makes it sound like some new and hip disorder!

I worked on the dress on the train to Zürich today, taking out the sleeve I had already put in (didn’t baste and ease the entire section, read the markings wrong :)), hand basting and easing the sleeve, and then basting the sleeves to the bodice. I like the control hand basting gives! Now all I have left to do is go over it with my machine and serging the seam allowances.
I’m so glad I took it on the train to work on it by hand, after messing up the sleeve slightly on monday evening I got a little demotivated, hand-sewing was just what I needed!

Ah, and now the zipper. I’ve been doing lapped zippers lately (well, two so far), one according to Gerties instructions in her “Bombshell Dress” e-course, and for the other one I followed the Butterick instructions (this was for the Lucille Dress, Butterick 2907). When I followed the Butterick instructions, I wasn’t even sure what kind of zipper I would end up with! It involves basting the back of the dress closed (where the zipper will be), then attaching the zipper, and then taking out the basting.
Is this the “normal” way to insert a lapped zipper? Since I don’t own any sewing books I’ve had to learn from the internet, so I don’t know, am I the only one who didn’t know this technique? Or are there others like me out there? :) I found the instructions a little weird to follow, should I maybe try a tutorial? I’ve never made a tutorial (mostly because I don’t feel I have anything to teach, haha!), but I could make one for this. What do you think? Does everyone but me already know this technique? What I like about it, is that you can make sure the two sides will match up perfectly, since you baste it closed first.

Btw, thank you for the suggestions for attaching/interfacing the collar and cuffs! I’m going to test how visible/uncomfortable the snaps are, and I’m going to use fusible-interfaced muslin as an underlining for collar and cuffs. We’ll see how it goes!

Houndstooth Poodle Sheath – WIP

Worked on it this weekend! I might be able to finish it tonight. I shortened the bodice by 2 cm and added a 3 cm waistband. I also made the scoop neckline slightly lower, and lowered the back neckline. All that’s left to do is put in the sleeves, the zipper and hem the skirt! And after that, the collar and cuffs of course.
I decided I’m not going to line it after all, the fabric isn’t itchy, and it comes on and off pretty easily. I did interface the waistband and neckline facing though.

I still haven’t taken proper pictures of the two dresses I made in October because it’s been so dark outside lately, but I’ll force myself to do it this week anyway (because by then I’ll hopefully have 3 dresses to show!).