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With so many things on my endless sewing queue I had to ask myself- what do I want to make the most? what will I get the most wear/enjoyment out of. Wouldn’t have guessed that would be a crop top, but for some reason making a woven crop top has been on my wishlist for a long time!   Note: I didn’t make the skirt in the above pictures, I only made the top. I know the skirt is fabulous! (I do want to make my own similar version because it is very easy to wear)

I have been seeing lots of these fabulous two piece sets and I’m still not sick of the crop top trend (not that I’m one to follow trends, but when it’s right for me I just go with it).

Anyway I had a muslin/toile lying around from a past project (my Marimekko shift dress), so I thought, (to make things easier) why not adapt this pattern by marking and cutting up this toile that I already have?! Then it was quick and easy to check the length and create a new neckline (by cutting directly into the toile). I marked the muslin/toile with the design changes I wanted, retraced the paper pattern that (that the toile was made from) and then made my design changes to my traced pattern: transforming the shift dress pattern into a cropped top (of my own design).

Was all the pattern making tedium going to be worth it? I wasn’t sure if it was going to work because I don’t really know what I’m doing when it comes to pattern-making (I am NOT a maths person- maths is what I’m worst at, so I’m kind of scared of drafting) but there was no horrid maths and It was all pretty intuitive.

I gotta say I was surprised- the system worked! 😉 It was just the kind of top I saw in my head. YAY!!

The finished product feels a bit more sophisticated than cropped knit top and because I made it reversible the extra layer adds structure to the piece. I also love it because I have and I have a lot of high-waisted skirts so it fits surprisingly well into my wardrobe (I am wearing the top as I type this). If I travel again, I just may take it with me because you get two different tops that take up the space of only one.

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By the way I have used this black and white spot (cotton/poly poplin) fabric before. I made a dress from it in 2012!

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The black fabric on the reverse side is a black cotton voile (light and lovely to work with) I bought in bulk when on sale of course 😉

I almost forgot to mention that I designed the neckline so that it would be low enough for the top to slip over my head (no fastenings or zippers needed)

I thought of drafting a facing for this top. Facings do make for quicker sewing but I figured since the top was so small I would go all out and just line it (more time consuming but a better finish). Did I want to make my life easier and add a center back seam? Heck no! Was kind of a blessing in disguise because I had to put my problem solving hat on when lining it and now I remember the trick I was taught, which is impossible to put into words. If i was to explain I think id need to do a video…not because it’s smart or hard, but simply because its so dam tricky to explain.

I got some good pictures of my (sewing) process so i’ll show instead of tell…

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I was on such a high after making this! Don’t be surprised if I make, like, a billion iterations in different prints and colours. I have already cut out the 3 (linings included) 😉

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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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This was my final week of the sewing challenge I set for myself (making 1 item per week for a month). Technically it was last week, but I did finish the dress last week (I posted the finished dress on sunday on instagram)

So the reason behind me choosing ANOTHER summer shift dress was that I decided that life was too short not to use the best fabrics in my stash!

When I buy a fabric I really love I often fall into the trap of not doing anything with it! Have you experienced this. It can be a bit agonizing trying to decide how best to use a beloved fabric, because you want to make the most of it… but you know what?

I honestly think a dress you are not entirely happy with in a fabric you love is FAR better than a fabric you love gathering dust or tucked away in a stash for an eternity! The fabric was a lovely fabric I bought from Ikea (some years ago now) If anyone knows who designed the print please let me know!

I will say this, when I tried on the finished dress it became a case of “I’m not sure how to feel”…

While I was making it I was very excited about a simple dress that would showcase the print, but at the end of the whole process I put it on and just felt a bit blah. I was OK with it, but…

I hemmed both the dress and the lining before even attaching the lining to the dress. The problem with doing things this way is: now I feel as if it should have been shorter.

All the other dresses I made using the same pattern were too short, so I didn’t want to repeat that mistake with this one. Trouble is by keeping it longer it did seem to up the “frump factor” of the final dress and there are other things I should have changed, but really I can’t stay mad a dress made from such happy fabric!

Looking at the photos I don’t think it’s so bad. Do I look like a crazy lady who is wearing a loose table cloth? Perhaps. But perhaps I’m also a FABULOUS crazy lady as well. 😉

I just noticed (when editing the images) that I am leaning to one side in every single photo. haha- I’m not great at posing! 😛 Anyway. I can assure you the dress is straight when you stand straight!

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Sewing nitty gritty:

Cutting the dress out was a bit more time consuming than usual, as I tried to make an effort with the print placement 🙂

This is my third time using this pattern (heres version 1, version 2) and I think the honeymoon is over! somehow on this version it ended up looser than the previous version, but just like previous dress made from the same pattern, this also has the altered neckline and the low back neckline (which was lowered to eliminate the need for a zipper).

I used the same method of lining the dress as I did with previous versions. As always I used a thin cotton (probably voile) as lining because it’s SO. much. better. than. polyester lining. I’m telling you! 😉 🙂

Constructing this dress has become somewhat routine now and it feels stangely comforting to make it. But now that I am no longer hopeless with facings I don’t know if I have the patience for all this lining business (at least not on my next dress)!

I used a blind hem stitch/foot for all the hems because its quick yet fancy. Also I’m going to show you the insides because they are super pretty (yikes! Sewing is the only context where that sentence doesn’t sound creepy)!

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So that’s it friends the final ‘one project per week’ project! I am still going to be sewing every week, but now I’m free to make things that require more ‘fitting’. As much as I hate making toile/muslins they are essential to me when trying out a new pattern. I can’t promise that I’m finished with shift dresses or summer clothing, but I guess I will be stylish come December when it’s lovely and warm again!

Oh and thank you to the amazing ladies who participated in the 1ppw challenge! Thanks for sewing up a storm and sending me inspiration via instagram.

My boyfriend and I are renting a small apartment in the city. We love it here and I feel like it’s cozy BUT the one thing that has always bothered me: the vertical blinds on the main window. Not my style at all!

They were already installed before we got here.

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Luckily my darling Mum came over and helped me make them so I could remove those blinds (in a way that would not damage anything)!

I prefer curtains and I am not a fan the color of the blinds were. They actually look better in this photograph! In real life they were more of a mix of gray and green I call the colour ‘greyige’ I also disliked how when you opened them. they would open like this…

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I was brought up in a house with big windows and lots of natural light. That is how I like to live,windows open in the daytime to let the light in and see the trees outside!

Here’s how it looks now…

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It was a challenge because I could not take off the rod/track or replace it with a new one.

I attached the new curtains by putting them AROUND the original track/thing that the blinds were on. Boy was it hard to get the little straps of fabric up and around the rod like so…

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I sewed the straps of fabric to the curtains, then I sewed pieces of Velcro to the straps and the other side of the curtain.

Despite the fact that they stay up with just the Velcro, I put safety pins in near the straps for extra assurance!

I was so lucky that my Mum did all the calculations for the window and hemmed them. Best mum in the world! It took my mum and I many hours to cut, press and hem them.

Then I spent many additional hours with loud music on, sewing straps and attaching Velcro.

We get so much natural light in during the day now, even when they are closed. I bought the fabric from ikea. It’s cotton sort of medium weight.

Next post will be back to the regular scheduled program. That is: Dresses I make. The mod dress just needs facing and zipper attached. I also have new short do. Cant wait to show you!

Come to think of it…

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Feel free to have LOL at my initial muslin for the Mod dress. The fit is good now and I drafted a collar, which is sort of bigger than intended. Anyway finished dress will be posted soon!

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