Summer in the city

summer dress for girls

Yes, we have a beach in Antwerp!  It’s a narrow stroke of sand on the left bank of the river Schelde.  It’s forbidden to swim there and the view isn’t that nice.  By all means, it’s not perfect but I enjoy the silence and the ships passing.   I don’t like the crowded seaside anyway, thus for me it’s a good hide.  The sun was in town last sunday and it was a perfect day to make pictures of my little girl’s new dress.  A bright printed dress with a summery back detail in a lovely viscose.  This fabric makes her skirt flutter in the breeze, just perfect for taking pictures…

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I use a classic bodice for this dress.  The red lines is how I altered the original bodice.  As you can see I added height on the front shoulder seam (2cm) For the back I only copy the lower part of the bodice.  The bodice for this dress is fully lined and small fabric straps insure everything stays in place. (see sketch).  For the skirt I cut 2 rectangles (fabric width x skirt length 36cm) and gather them at the waist before attaching it to the bodice. The hem is finished with a roll seam.

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The zigzag dress

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The weather is finally improving and so is my mood for sewing.  Although this means I’m spending more time behind my sewing machine rather than enjoying a gin tonic on my terrace…  But that’s okay, I’m just enjoying it so much.  Nice weather calls for sweet summer dresses!  I’m reworking the LBD I made a few weeks ago in a summer version of colourful Zigzag stripes, adding some contrast ribbon and using my daughter as my muse.  Fortunately she’s enjoying it as much as I do…

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The pattern is the same as the black button dress, but now I’m using a red cotton ribbon to finish the seams at the waist.

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I stitch the ribbon onto the bodice and onto the skirt to create a contrasting detail at the waist .  After that I stitch the vertical dart, the ribbon ends are now nicely finished between this seam.

zigzag dress with fake collar  my girl wearing the zigzag dress

I had a last minute inspiration and created a fake collar with the leftover from the cotton ribbon, I thought it would look great with the zigzag print.

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So proud of my work, I’m having this gin tonic after all!

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The chic and easy joggers tutorial

My sporty chic pants

This tutorial is about how to make a loose and easy trouser that looks elegant at the same time.  It’s a little like jogging pants but with a more fitted leg.  Making well fitted pants is rather complicated but this pattern is very executable.  I used a fine wool crepe with a satin waistband to create a simple, yet effortlessly chic look.  I hope you can easily follow my instructions and make yourself a cool pair of joggers.

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I measure my hip width and add 8cm.  I divide this by 4 and mark this on my pattern, this is the red line as you can see here.  The vertical lines mark the middle front and the side seam of the trouser.

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I take an existing pants with a more loose fit (not too oversized). I copy the crotch of the front by laying it at the middle front seam just below the waistband and going down following the curve of the original pants.

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I draw a second horizontal line starting from the crotch.  When dividing this line in 2 you mark the middle of the leg.

I use this line to draw the knee and the hem of my pants.  The width for the hem is my ankle width + 8cm divided by two.  The inside seam of the trouser leg is 64cm.  Now I can connect all these points by drafting a flowing line.

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I draw a slight curve from the hip towards the waist going up by 1cm.

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For the backside of the pants I copy the front and cut into the pattern at the hip line.  I use the existing trousers again and copy the middle back seam just below the waist to the crotch.

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I make flowing lines at the side seam and from the back crotch to the knee.  It’s important to keep the same length on the side seam and the inner leg seam to keep the leg balanced.  Now your pattern is finished, you just need to add seam allowance everywhere.  I use 1 cm of seam allowance on all seams and 6cm at the leg hem for the elasticated cuff.

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I’m using this beautiful fluid wool crepe and sew everything accordingly. The width of the waistline on my pattern is the same width to create a straight waistband in black satin.  When stitching it onto the pants I leave the waistband open for 12cm at the middle back for the elastic band.

waistband pants handmade buttons

There are no darts in this pattern.  To make it fitted at the waist without using an elastic band all way round I made some buttonholes on the front. The buttons will create a pleat on both sides.  On the middle back of the waistband I only use 15cm of elastic band.

The buttons are handmade with the black wool I used for the pants.  Because these button kits never seem to work (it’s probably just me…) I sew the fabric buttons by hand.

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My new joggers!  They fit perfectly and look so classy in this light wool crepe. I do think by using a colourful printed cotton with a fully elasticated waistband it will look amazing as well.  A leopard print or a bright flower print, oooh yes…

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The little little black dress

tutorial LBD little girl  black buttons

Here it is, (finally, after caught up with work) : ‘the LLBD’.  It started with some leftover black buttons, some yards of black popeline and the urge to combine this somehow.  I know, using black for a little girl is somewhat unusual but this dress looks so adorable on her.  It’s amazing how this easy pattern resulted in such a well fitted dress, and in my mind it’s the LBD ‘Audrey’ would have liked as well.

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The few measurements I took were her tummy, neckline and the length.  I started from a rectangle based on the dress length and the skirt width.  Half way the rectangle I marked the waist and from that point I drew the bodice shaping a smaller rectangle.  Then adding darts, a neckline and armholes.  Easy, no?

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For the back I copied the front pattern, adding 1cm of seam allowance at the centre back.   I made a facing for the neckline and armholes.

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When cutting the pattern I cut into the front part until the dart.

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The  waist is gathered to fit the bodice and sewn together.  Afterwards I sew the darts.

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This looks nice already, doesn’t it?

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I sew the shoulders and facing.  It would have been easier to use a binding to finish the dress but this way I create a more sophisticated look.

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I sew the side seams and hem.  I prefer a hem with enough seam allowance,  5cm for this dress.

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I added loops at the shoulders to narrow the shoulder width. To make this dress more glamorous I sewed on large black buttons around the neck opening.  These buttons never seemed to have found there way back to the original clothes but hey, this is much more fun!

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Love You Audrey, xxx

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My 30 minute dress!

30min dress

This must be the easiest dress I’ve ever made!  I created a tube dress in a navy cotton single jersey and finished it off with a sparkling trim.(bargain of last weekend flea market visit).  This fabric doesn’t need a lot of finishing and allows me to cut the hem without seaming it.  I’m just waiting for the right opportunity to flaunt my new dress!

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Dit moet echt het eenvoudiste jurkje zijn dat ik ooit maakte!  Ik creëerde een buisvorm in een donkerblauwe katoenjersey en bovenaan werkte ik het af met een blingbling boordje (rommelmarkt koopje van vorig weekend).  Deze stof heeft weinig afwerking nodig dus onderaan heb ik de stof afgesneden zonder om te zoomen.  Nu nog wachten op de juiste gelegenheid om met mijn jurkje te paraderen!

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I use a firm stretch knitted fabric with a total height of 1,30m.  The width is 22cm smaller than my actual hip width to create a narrow tube.

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I create a tube by sewing both sides together. (I surge the seam but a zigzag stitch is fine too)

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On the top I fold the tube downwards about 20cm to make it more firm.  I fix the fabric with a small stitch onto the seam.

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I’m gathering the tube lightly at the side seam.  This will make the tube dress a bit shorter and easier to keep pleats in position.

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When I turn the dress inside out with the right fabric side up it looks like this.  This becomes my back seam.

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Finally I add some sparkles.  This is a beaded ribbon I have sewn on by hand, I’m using it only at the front side of the dress because it’s a non stretch.

flea market finds

Last week’s flea market bargain: a pleated tulle ribbon, a pearl beaded collar, leather embossed flowers, an organza collar and the blingbling ribbon for today’s dress.

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Upcycled leather skirt

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I love to stroll around on markets, always in search of vintage belts, purses and gloves.  Last week I found this lovely leather skirt in superb condition.  The seller, a very proud lady, said she used to wear this and maintained it with leather grease as she saw me looking at it and touching the leather.  I just couldn’t resist to buy it and because she was so persistent about the good quality I couldn’t haggle either.  She’s probably very good at selling her things… Anyway, a leather mini was still missing in my wardrobe!

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Vlooienmarkten afstruinen is echt mijn ding, altijd op zoek naar ceintuurtjes, handtassen en handschoenen.  Vorige week vond ik dit fantastische koopje, een leder rok in super conditie. De verkoopster, een fier madammeke, vertelde me dat ze deze rok vroeger droeg en onderhield met ledervet toen ze me zag kijken en het leder betasten.  Ik moest die rok kopen en omdat ze zo overtuigend was over de goede kwaliteit durfde ik niet meer afdingen.  Ze is waarschijnlijk zeer winstgevend in de verkoop van haar spullen.   In ieder geval, een mini leder rok ontbrak nog aan mijn garderobe…

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Determine the desired length and add 3cm seam allowance.  Use chalk to mark where to cut.

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Fix the hem with Pattex.  Maybe leather glue would have been better but this worked really well.  Don’t overdo it though.  Fold over the seam allowance and press well to get a nice clean seam.

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I could have stopped here and that would have been great too but I decided to add something extra.

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Why not use the hem leftovers?

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I want to use the back finish of the slit in the front.   I cut the hem in 2 equal pieces.  They are pleated and sewn on just below the waistband. Not that easy to stitch but with some patience and good needles…

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picture leather peplum

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