Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Fabric Hunting in Lovely Lisboa

We recently traveled to Lisboa and spent one wonderful there.
We stayed in Alfama, and toured the city everyday enjoying its light, its wonderful food, specially fish, seafood and seafood rice, its beer, its peoples... it was a wonderful wonderful holiday. I hope we can go back sometime soon.
One of the things we enjoyed most was the authenticity of the place. The characteristic and typical food, drinks, traditions, products were Portuguese all around and they were proud of it. In this globalized world that is difficult to find. Some places are so alike- with the same chain clothing, gadgetting, food stores- that travel has no point anymore. Not with Lisboa. If you want to drink Ginjinha you must go to Lisboa!
During our stay there I discovered two fabric stores, both in the same street nearing Rossio, Rua Áurea.

The first one is in the very Rosio square. It has loads of remnants and cheap fabric, but I missed good, quality fabric, only some silks, denims and viscoses. I could not buy anything. They had SALDOS, discounted sales, and prices were very good, though. I spotted a very nice black cotton sateen, but it was gone when I went back there to buy it.

The last day I discovered another shop, and that was a different matter. Ouro texteis was a cave of wonders. Only the summer patterned cotton collection was amazing, but they had everything one can wish, plus a very well supplied haberdashary downstairs. They told me 70-80% was made in Portugal and prices were excellent. I bought four pieces of fabric, and wished I had more space in my suitcase, but from Lisboa we were traveling to Czeckia for a festival and we only carried hand luggage, so I managed to put those four fabrics inside but that was it. You will see them in my future projects!

We loved our holiday in Lisboa, specially because it still resists globalization and retains its characteristi authenticity. In Rua da Conceição, for example, there still are a bunch of retrosarias (haberdashery shops) with that falvour from the past. They are gorgeous. In that very street I encountered another fabric shop, but I was not in the mood that morning!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Liberty Sundress in Lovely Lisboa

Just before leaving for our lovely week in Lisboa, I realized I TOTALLY needed a sundress made of liberty fabric. You know the benefits of the pricy cotton lawn: it dries fast, it's lightweight, cool to wear in hot weather, does not wrinkle (relatively speaking) and it is not sheer. 

Plus, the flowery patterns are just lovely. I kept day dreaming about sewing this jewel since I bought it in my last trip to London.

So I decided to replicate a very simple sundress I have in my wardrobe (twice already). I took it from a pattern magazine years ago, and I still wear it. It has passed the test of time. Of my two previous versions, one is cut in the bias and the other has some elastic thread. 

This cotton is not elastic at all, so I decided to cut it on bias, thinking it is stable enough to stand to it, and I have been proved right. I only bought 1.5m, but again thanks to the generosity of the sales lady (18cm extra), it was enough for the bias version. I found my pattern in my collection and cut it folding the fabric through one corner and then the oposite one, upside down.

I marked the pattern pieces with tailor tucks.I was in a hurry (as I always am, to my own dismal!), so I took the pinned pieces to the machine without previously basting them (OMG!). Of course the pattern allows it. Bust darts, skirt darts, side seams and imperium seam, under the bust, are all quite simple and straight seams to sew. 

I applied some fusible interfacing along the invisible zip at the back. 

 I self encaged the skirt side seams for a neat finish, and instead of facings for neck and arms openings, I used a whole second bodice as facing. I left the shoulder seams open, and I sewed the neck and armscyes, turned it over, machine-stitched the shoulders closed of both bodice and facing and then finished that border by tinny handstitches. I enclosed the seam allowances under bust inside the facing, securing it by hand sewing there. Have a look at the inside:

This fabric fame and price is worth it, if we carefully choose the project. I still question my last one, but this one is a 10. It does not take space in my tinny hand suitcasse, it does not wrinkle (I amb wearing it here after unpacking), and it is supercool for hot weather. Plus, it is a bliss to work with. A win-win-win!

I love Lisboa! More about my fabric hunt in Lisboa in my next post.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Black Silk Jersey Sleveless Coco Dress

 WOW! What a luxury dress!
The inspiration was brought by Kate Middleton, the English princess, who in terms of clothing is candy to any sewist eyes when she wears those magnificent custom-fitted dresses and tailored coats.
 I saw in a magazine she was wearing a blue jersey dress with the most exquisite drape and shade I had ever seen, and I read there was something called silk jersey. I was in love.

 So when I travelled to London last easter, this was in my treasure hunt. I bought only one metre in Broadwick Silks (Soho), since the price is very expensive.
Because I only had 1 m x 1.05m, it had to be a short sleeveless dress, so I decided to go with my Coco pattern, which it has proved infallible over the last months, winter and summer alike. I had to cut the back upside down, to align the skirt wide bottom next to the narrower bodice part.
I raised the underarm part of the sleeves a couple of cm and deeped the front neck cutting.
I zig-zagged all the raw ends with my machine and handsewed them with an invisible stitch to the dress by rolling them once. Easy does it.
It is a jewel of a dress! I hope it will not be my last silk jersey piece.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Purple Liberty Jumpsuit

I have mixed ideas and doubts about this project since the beginning. I got inspired by a pattern in Burda magazine. It was a jumpsuit made in a woven patterned fabric, and I immediately saw it as an excuse for Liberty. 
I bought it the in the shop during my last visit to London (I hope the commercial relations with Britain go on  with no extra taxes after the Brexit, shipping costs are expensive enough!). I needed 2.5 m according to the magazine, and I was lucky the sales girl was so generous with the fabric as to cut 15 extra cm, which became totally necessary.
I decided to make a toile first, to check the fit of the thing, but specially to decide if it was a sensible idea, a cotton short-sleeved, troussered jumpsuit. In the toile I saw fitting was perfect (Burda is amazing that way, and it does NOT include seam allowances, it is great) and it was a becoming outfit to my figure, although somewhat weird... I did not know if it was good-weird or bad-weird. I still do not know, sincerely.
Well, I ripped the muslin pieces off, and I used them as pattern pieces without a single modification on them.
I constructed the trousers first: pleats, zipper, pockets, inner seams (self encaged), outer seams (self encaged).
Then I constructed the bodice, also self-encaging all the seam allowances, the objective being a neat finish of the garment outside and inside. One curious thing about this blouse is that breast dart is transferred to the waist by way of gatherings. It has a band stand collar.
Finally I united the top and bottom pieces sandwiching them between the waist piece. I had a really nasty surprise then, and since I was in a tight schedule (one of my mad sewist crazy deadlines, I had to wear it for the final course celebration) I could only repair it with a sloppy remedy. I could not anticipate it because, although I tried I could not visualize the frontal closing where zipper and button strip would meet. I tried, but my visual-spacial intelligence failed to see ahead, as usual. So I only realized it when it was too late: we put right over left in tops, and the other way round in trouser zippers!! The solution was to completely undo the zipper and do it right over left to match the button and buttonhole strips, but it was late at night the previous day to my big day. No time. Sloppy solution. Happily, I did a very nice inconspicuous work and nobody notices it when I am wearing it: I cut the bottom of the buttonhole strip to pass it over the button strip and secure it with a very small zigzag and a tiny metal clip.
I was very comfortable wearing it, but after wearing it a whole very hot tiring morning with kids in my lap, bus ride in pure heat included, the thing was pretty wrinkled, I must say. Also, I have serious doubts about the waist (me not having any of that), so I decided to add a belt to it. But then the fact that it is one whole piece is not appreciated any more. So, does it have any sense at all?

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Striped Coco With Gathered Sleeves Modification

I am loosing count of Coco illegal copies in my wardrobe, hehehe... Since I knocked off the first one with my own pattern, this is a non stop race to the infinite number of replicas and modifications a pattern can have. Truth is, I love my jersey short dresses in summer and this is the best pattern one can have for those. 

My inverted waist is discretly hidden, my old age rejuvenated and I can show more or less leg depending on the ocasion. Variations on necks are numberless (we saw one in my last entry), as they are in sleeves or sleevelessness!

This is one of the many possible variations on sleeves.

  I took my short sleeve pattern and modified it following Aldrich's instructions.

For the round neck, I drafted it ovr the dressform with a basting thread, staystitched it in my machine, and applied a tightened folded strip, cut with curvature, right side on right side. Then I turned it towards the inside, and topstitched with the double needle. The result is PRO! This is the best way to finish a jersey t-shirt neck by far.


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Cotton Bag for My Knits

This is a simple project, but practical and cool. It is a bag to take my knitting projects -you can take a look at it inside the bag- anywhere and make it portably beautiful. I did not like to move my knitting around in a vulgar plastic bag!
I have been doing mends this week, and also a bunch of similar bags in white cotton to store food in the freezer, but I won't show them, they are too boring, and simply a copy of this one in several sizes, to accommodate the different meats, vegetables, fish, etc, I have to freeze.
To make this we only need two rectangles, zigzagged all around. Make a channel in the upward part doubling the fabric twice and stitching it. Then we sew it all around except for the superior channel. Finally, we pass a ribbon through the whole round twice. 
We can use both ends of the ribbon to pull the bag closed.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Turquoise Striped Jersey Coco

Another Coco dress! And there is another one coming, I can tell you that!
I  got this wonderful jersey from Stone Fabrics. Bess was so kind to find a matching fabric for sleeves, I thought stripes all over would have been a little too much.
Again I used my knockoff Coco dress pattern, and this time I decided to play a little with the neck band over my dressform.
 I am really happy with the result. It is a comfortable, lively and stylish little dress.
 I love this pattern for jersey dresses, and next time I am thinking about yet another variation.

Here I am wearing it with my favourite shoes at the moment. Pretty Ballerinas Rosario in silver and gold. I cannot stop myself form looking at their dynamic reflections when I walk!