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Monthly Archives: September 2014

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This is a project I finished some time ago. One thing you must know about me is The Marimekko Unikko print is my favorite print of all time! When my mum gave me this textile I was overjoyed- however my plan to go ahead and use my favorite fabric (rather than leaving it hiding in the stash forever) almost backfired with this project- more on that later!

A bit of history regarding the print: the Unikko/poppy print: it was designed in 1964 by Maija isola, as part of a collection of floral prints, after Armi Ratia (the company’s founder) had announced that Marimekko would never print a floral pattern. Thank god for Maija’s little act of creative rebellion!
The colour-way I have here is pretty rare (orange, pink and lime green -wow. I just LOVE it!). Though it’s impossible for me to put into words why/how much I love this print- I think it captures a lot of what I like so much about the 60s. It’s bold youthful and optimistic and there is this delightful naivety to how the poppies are rendered *sigh* so beautiful.

Why the sewing pattern? I didn’t have a lot of fabric to work with and you probably know how much I love shift dresses! The sewing pattern was the same pattern I used for my ‘School days’ pinafore shift dress (an old burda style magazine 9/2008 style 106 size 10/36). The dress is a loose boxy style that has the big advantage of a skirt portion that is only slightly flared- meaning I had just enough fabric for the dress. I don’t know how flattering this style is on me and I think that is where I ran into trouble…

After I had sewn the shoulder seams together and added the facings I felt very very excited about the dress BUT…

I felt that the last time I used this pattern it was a smidgen too tight and I wanted a relaxed fit (so I sewed with 1cm rather than 1.5cm seam allowance)- Anyway because the dress was so boxy I felt as though I had to shorten the dress A LOT to make it work.

I must have been in a crazy state of mind because I cut WAY to much off the hem, putting it into tunic territory. Lets just say I was pretty distraught! I had just cut a dress made in my most favorite fabric too short!

If you have ever been in a car crash you may know that feeling you get when something bad/shocking happens- it’s almost as if you detach emotionally and watch it all unfold in shock and disbelief, as if its happening to someone else. Sorry to be melodramatic but that’s sort of how I felt when I cut the dress too short!

Luckily the part I cut off was still intact and connected at the side seams. I took time deciding what to do. Got some great suggestions from my friends on instagram and ultimately I decided I would re-attach the part I cut off and add some piping in between, in order to make the seam look intentional. Lincraft had a surprisingly good selection of piping. I bought 2 meters in a couple of different colours and ultimately went with this pink velvet piping.

Clearly there is a lot of fun to be had with Piping! It was my first time using it and it certainly wont be the last. OK I KNOW the middle flower doesn’t match up at the petal on one side, but I’m still going to file this project under ‘crisis averted’!

You will notice I used a different fabric for the facings. This is the way to go when you only just have enough fabric for what you want to make. Plus this fabric is very precious. I am turning any remaining off-cuts into pouches and/or pencil cases!
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I quite like my bright yellow invisible zip. I’m not the kind that thinks invisible zippers always need to match your project exactly. Perhaps I am a bit of a rebel too 😉 Happy 50th Unikko!
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I finally made something cold weather-friendly! I started a new job recently ( 🙂 Yay! So excited! It’s wonderful!) so I really wanted something handmade to wear that is for winter (because winter never seems to end) and works well with layers.

I was really excited about the idea of this dress but I’m not sure I have really pulled it off. I wanted the shift dress to be super simple so that I could wear turtle necks and long sleeve tops under it.

Not sure I like the pocket placement or the length (I intentionally made it slightly longer so as to be more suitable for work). I took a lot of care when cutting out the front and back pieces of the dress but not much when cutting out the pockets. Big mistake!

The fabric was wonderful to work with. Not certain of the fiber content but it presses really well.

The tartan certainly takes me back to my high school days (in Australia a lot of school uniforms are made of similar fabrics to this)…

Thinking back those final 2 years of high school were some of my happiest. Maths stopped being compulsory and I started doing really well academically because I was enthusiastic and interested in work/school subjects.

If only I kept this up after my design course! I really started to lose confidence in myself after completing my design course…
I remember the fun I had with friends back in high school. I was an outsider back then but at that point I really embraced who I was- being different and not hiding it. As you can imagine I was never one of the ‘cool’ people. In my small group of friends we were all very different from one another but we had fun and laughed a lot. I didn’t keep in contact with any of them and I really regret this!

I started dating my (still current boyfriend) back then and we are still so happy together! I remember going to so many concerts (ska bands and what not ha ha ha) with him back then, in my doc martens and customized clothing.

Things may have changed a lot but luckily the bad memories seem to have faded into the background. I do think things are much better now! I just have to make an effort to be positive (especially about myself) I want to keep creating good memories! I don’t want to look back on this time in life and think I wasted it beating myself up about things and worrying!

Sorry that was pretty heavy! I just remembered this is a sewing blog so lets talk about the dress…

Sewing nitty gritty:

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I discovered some nifty things whilst making this dress. My favorite discovery was using my blind hem foot when attaching patch pockets. You just need to experiment with the positioning of the needle and then it’s magic! The plate on the foot acts as a great guide when stitching around the pocket. Yay!

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Another thing I did with this dress was to lengthen my stitch and do basting intermittently on parts where the tartan had to match at the zip BEFORE stitching the other side of the invisible zip on completely (a tough one to explain) I felt this really helped because sometimes lots of pins are just not enough!

Reasonably good stripe matching at the invisible zipper (below)…

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I also basted the pockets on before stitching them properly and unpicked the basting later (changing my stitch length to the longest avaible stitch length for ease of unpicking). I prefer this to pinning the patch pockets on because pins can get in the way!

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Want to see how i created my patch pockets? Secret lining!

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The pattern I used for this dress was from an old burda style magazine (9/2008 style 106 size 10/36). I did make a muslin of this pattern before hand. I got excited because I thought perhaps I had found the ultimate shift dress pattern. I realize now that finding the ultimate shift dress is much like finding the ultimate pair of jeans…a quest without an end! haha

I have another dress lined up using this sewing pattern- should be fun to see how this pattern will work for a shorter dress in marimekko fabric :). When I work with this pattern again I am going to let out the side seams.

Obviously this style is not intended to be fitted at the waist, but I do feel like there is not enough ease at my hips (kind of rare for me).! If you have never worked with burda patterns before, but want to try please bear in mind they have a LOT less wearing ease! It may just be due to my change in size recently but I really think burda patterns are more fitted and true to size than the big 4.

The patch pocket was taken from another pattern (McCalls 6322). I’m working on a dress using this pattern too, but why not mix and match pockets if you have found one that works of you?!

Other things worth mentioning…

Using lots of pins when working with stripes 😉

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All-in-one neckline facing (before I graded and turned it)…

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My (almost) matching ‘unmatched’ pockets :S :p argh!

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So close! -at least the stitching around the pockets is good.

The last images are an ode to how much I love my blind hem foot. Stitches on the skirt hem are totally hidden! 🙂

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