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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Mix and match pencil skirt

different fabrics

I will always have a reason to stash small pieces of leftover fabrics and I believe my excuses are truly valid.  I use leftovers for linings, for contrast trims, for covering buttons, for bows or any other detail I can think of.  Possibly not everyone in our family shares this love, but I love going trough my bits and pieces.  My new pencil skirt is about mixing and matching fabrics within the same colour range.  I used this black and white cotton flower print, mixed with some leftover uni cotton for the waistband and lace to make this design.  At the waistband I sewed on two strokes of a vintage lace ribbon which I found at the fleamarket of ‘Porte de Clignancourt’ years ago.  You see, eventually everything will get its purpose!

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Easy pattern DIY: For this skirt I made a slant cutting into a basic skirt pattern .  That’s it!

 

And one for my instagram followers 😉

mix and match skirt fitting

 

 

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A basic top

tank top black

An easy pattern and some 20 minutes of sewing, that’s what it took to make this basic top.  It’s just such a great and simple addition to every girl’s wardrobe that I wanted to post it here.  The embellishment on the other hand took more of my patience.  At least it’s a nice way to spend your evenings watching your favourite late night series without feeling to guilty…

making beaded strings beaded ribbons

I’m using these silver coloured beads and sew them onto a satin ribbon by hand.

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I made enough beaded ribbons to make 2 braids.  I sew the embellishment on both shoulders by hand.

pattern tank top

This is how I drafted my basic top pattern:

I started the pattern with the measurements from my chest, hips and length.  Because I’m using a non stretch fabric and I don’t want to use a zipper or buttons I need to add 6cm at chest and hip width.  Of course I want to avoid any problems putting the top on afterwards and at the same time I want to create a loose fit.

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I draft the neckline and the armhole from front and backside.  I cut the pattern in the middle front and reassemble it at the side seams.  Now I can check if the armhole is looking as one fluid line.

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Adding seam allowance.

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I surge all seams and sew the top.  The armhole and neckline are finished by sewing closely to the seam.

This is my basic top pattern, as you can see it’s probably the simplest pattern ever!

 

 

 

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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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Old one out, new one in!

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There are dresses hanging in my wardrobe for ages waiting to be worn again.  I keep pulling them out and hanging them back, wrong colour, wrong shape, wrong something are keeping me from wearing them again.  I never get rid of them and it seams funny somehow in this throw-away society and fast fashion decade.  It’s against my nature and my love for clothes to remove them but keeping things is also holding on to the past.  Sometimes it’s good to let go though, finally I will repurpose this lime dress.  My daughter will look absolutely stunning in this colour.

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I start by comparing all measurements of my dress with her dress.  I think it’s good to keep as many seams from the original.  It will spare me some time but also avoid damage on the fabric.  I decide to keep the original neckline because of the pleating and the back slit.

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The front and backside of the dress are separated by cutting the side seams and shoulders.  As you can see the lining is still fixed at the neckline.

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I cut of at the shoulders to make a smaller neck opening.  From the new shoulder I measure the total length (+3cm seam) I need for the little dress and cut of the hem.

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To make a smaller armhole I have to reduce the width. I’m cutting of at the side seams.

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The neckline was still too big and I resolved this by adding an extra pleat with a topstitch on both sides.  When repurposing old clothes you need to be inventive and find creative solutions because the dimensions will never be perfect.  That’s what’s actually the most fun.  You can never entirely predict your end result.

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The most tricky part is to assemble everything in a beautiful manner.  I close side seams from the outer shell fabric and the lining separately.  After that I finish the armhole by stitching the fabric and the lining together from the inside.

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The neckline was still too wide, I added more pleats at the middle front and topstitched it.

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And finally I make a tunnel at the waist for the fabric belt.  I start by making a buttonhole at the middle front in the upper fabric layer.  Then I stitch on top of both layers (lining + fabric) creating a tunnel.  I shortened the original belt length and pull it trough the buttonhole.  After that I finish the hem of the fabric and lining separately.

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My little girl has a new dress to enrich her wardrobe and it doesn’t seem like there’s something missing in mine.

xxx

Made By Me

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