Tuesday, 2 June 2015

0 Comments OOTD Downton Abbey Style

It seems like I've been sewing non-stop the last couple of months. Barely finishing one project I already have another one coming up in my head... Here I'm going to share with you my most recent project to date as an outfit of the day.

Freshwater pearls: H.Samuel
Glass bangles: gift from India 
This beautiful dress features a dropped waistline with gathered midi length skirt, my all time favourite 3/4 sleeves and a gentle boat neckline. Material is 100% Italian viscose, extremely lightweight which makes the dress very dynamic and flowing at the slightest breath of air. Well, see for yourself :)

Suede flats: Mascotte

Clearly liking my new dress!
The pattern comes from a relatively dated magazine (Burda 02/2013), although I only got to make it now. And guess what? It all happened after re-watching the Downton Abbey series :) 

All their gowns are just so elegant yet relaxed, feminine yet perfect in their simplicity – needless to say I've been in love with their outfits throughout the series, as [I am certain] are most of the girls who ever watched at least one episode. 

Here, I hope you guys like it as much as I do! Took it out to an Indian summer bazaar hosted by the Indian embassy here in Moscow a few days ago, and it looked and felt fabulous! ^_^


P.S. Currently engaged in a lengthy knitting project, so I should reveal it in a week or two, I know there hasn't been much knitting here recently and I'm hoping that would change :P 

Thursday, 28 May 2015

0 Comments Cut Me Some Slack! | OOTD

This is just enough word play I can squeeze into this post without sounding too cheesy. Sometimes I find it quite tormenting to come up with a nice title for a post, so it is always good to have an idea bouncing and ready when I sit down to type. So cut me some slack if it's not the most entertaining post title ever :D

Well, to the point now. During the little guessing game I originated to collect your guesses as to what I made as my then latest sewing project, +AdmiralLadyPaula Rizzuto suggested a "lovely drapery pair of slacks" [see what I did there?]. Although not from that fabric, I did make a pair that just fits her description from black lightweight Italian viscose.

I am not entirely sure how to describe the style properly since it is somewhat of a mix between formal-ish harem pants and relaxed peg leg, so I really hope the pictures will suffice. The model features crop length with curved edges, wide waist band and gentle folds placed right on top of pocket openings, making them look puffier as well as adding to their drapery-ness (a total nightmare to iron but so worth it!).

Knitwear top: Massimo Dutti
Suede flats: Mascotte
Cateye shades: ASOS
Necklace: somewhere in Brazil (gift from a friend)

I have another pair I made using the same pattern about 5-6 years ago from lovely linen mix (still alive and well) in size UK 8/EU 36. Now that I've reduced to size UK 6/EU 34 I'm loving how they rest all relaxed about an inch above my hipbones, which is why I decided not to adjust the black pair to my actual size.

I have to say, I am happy with my choice of the material. It took me quite a while to find simple black viscose that is opaque enough not to show off anything underneath – for some reason neutral colours like that are not in favour on the Russian market. This was literally the only fabric matching all of my requirements, and better yet – after decating the cut it got this subtle shine like that of scoured silk, much to my enjoyment.

Mac: Zara Basic

I needed a pair of black slacks like that for the summer actually, since the only ones I have are either linen or shorts. This pair can be both casual and formal, and even night out/occasion worthy if worn with a sparkly top, some nice jewellery and high heels.

As usual, awaiting your comments down below, and hope you guys liked it :)


P.S. Forgive my awkward posing, I am not very good at this! *insert monkey covering eyes with hands emoji*

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

0 Comments Relieving my Artistic Urges | Introducing New Section

About a week ago I decided to revive my artistic skills – geared up with some pencils, brushes and paper, found a nice photograph of peony flowers to use as a 'model', and immediately began sketching completely losing track of time. 

Naturally, starting from a relaxed sketch

What I find quite annoying with my personal pre-watercolour sketching style is that I tend to 'overdo' it, especially with shading. Generally drawing is my favourite, and I just can't avoid shading as I go (you can see it in the picture above) instead of simply contouring the image. 

Now that I think of it, I might just suck at contouring... But hey, as long as it gives result, am I right? :D Anyway, all I had to do was to clean it up a bit with eraser to make the lines finer and shading less visible. 

Recovered my watercolour set from when I studied in art school, almost 10 years back!

Funnily enough, what I find is that I only achieve better results, drawing or painting, each time I do it, even after very long periods of time. Like, literally, the last time I painted in watercolour was what, four years ago? Much better now, and with zero practice. I definitely have to test this superpower of mine on soft pastels, my used-to-be favourite.

My watercolour technique is... hmm... quite random if I am perfectly honest. Meaning I rarely actually know what I am doing at each given moment (how I suppose a proper artist would), but rather arbitrarily pick colours and make brush strokes acting on intuition. I find it more relaxing that way, like letting your mind do things without commanding it directly. Well, that's just in case you're interested :)

Did a few minor touches with coloured pencils to add volume to the colour

I hope you guys like the result! You might have seen the finished drawing in my Instagram feed already, but I figured it deserved a bit of context. I personally think it turned out quite pretty in the end, despite minor imperfections of which only I will ever know ^_^

I don't draw or paint too often nowadays, but once I get one of those 'inspirations' I tend to create pretty decent things. Let me know if you want to see more of my art, and I will make sure to post my older pieces here, as well as [hopefully] get motivated to make it a more or less regular thing ;)


P.S.  I kind of feel like it calls for some romantic verse about petals and light and what-not to go with this painting... Unfortunately, I abandoned poetry quite a while ago, so if any of you can offer some nice verses you like, I encourage you to leave them in the comment section ;) <3

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

0 Comments The Pink One | Spring Dress

Heyyy... So... I finally got some time to take pictures of the piece I made from that candy pink viscose mix I showed you here some time back. I don't think anyone has guessed what it was from the first try, although few of you came pretty close. I decided the colour and texture would make just a perfect dress for spring, which is exactly what I made of it in the end.

Once again, the pattern came from one of this year's Burda magazines, and I fell in love with it right there and then when I saw the preview:

Ah, so tender! Wish my hair was this long... *dreamy face*
I bought the fabric (quite spontaneously) before I got my hands on the copy, and lived the following week or so in sweet anticipation. I especially liked the simple and modest silhouette with dropped waistline, the length of the skirt (which differs from my favourite midi/below the knee) and the fact that this model has full length sleeves, which is something I haven't seen on a dress in a while.

I think I cut into the fabric the very same day I got the magazine – so anxious I was to finally make it!

My enthusiasm got turned down a notch when I realised the material I had just wouldn't flow and look as lightweight as it does on the picture. The reason – magazine model is made of silk, and my viscose crepe turned out to have stretchy fibres and due to added polyester it was heavier and thicker than needed.

Apologies for the dress being all creased, I took pictures only after I wore it once ^_^
Anyways, no turning back after you cut it, eh? In every other aspect the fabric was a treat to work with, and I didn't have any problems whatsoever when it came down to sewing. Psssst, overlock is such a life-saver!

Sewing wise this model had a couple of challenging operations I have never done before – cuffs and a concealed button panel – which, although required some extra time, were not as challenging as I originally expected. Altogether it took approximately three evenings to make, and then another couple of days for me to stop being lazy and hem it by hand :D

I quite enjoyed making this dress and I am pretty happy with how it looks on me. The only thing which I find slightly weird is the fact that it has full sleeves (which came out a bit longer on me than they are on the model) – not something I dislike, but I'd have to play around with shoes and accessories a bit to be confident enough to just grab it from the wardrobe and go.

From what I can say now, it will look amazing with simple nude pumps and a classic mac for a casual day out or an office look, whereas matching hairpiece, bold lip colour and high heels will give it a more sophisticated evening touch. So, potentially versatile, but will have to experiment :)  

Bonus: a full look featuring the new dress :)
I really hope you like how it turned out! I know I've been keeping you waiting with it, so thank you so much for staying with me! As usual, the comment section is open for your lovely opinions and suggestions. 

Lots of love <3 


Tuesday, 21 April 2015

4 Comments Awakening from the Spring Slumber. Hopefully

SO... Massive apology to anyone who's been waiting patiently for my next post (since I do have a couple of pending projects up my sleeve – I remember them all, and I promise I'll get better at keeping you up to date!). And just a regular apology to those who simply ended up here in this blog and would like to read a bit more about me or what I do.

I'd be lying if I said I was busy that whole time, although I kinda wish I had a bit more going on in my life than I already do. Truth is, I just couldn't get myself to blog either having nothing to write about at hand or simply finding myself too busy with other random stuff I do. 

On the bright side, I've been making clothes ceaselessly since my last post, and now I actually have quite a few pieces to share with you. What I plan to do is to shoot a couple of OOTDs with the items I made within the next couple of weeks or so and maybe do a little mix-n'-matching to show their versatility. 

There is one tiny problem though... The spring just wouldn't come here! Namely, it's been snowing (!) here in Moscow for the last two days, the weather steadily keeping at the level of a miserable mush. Although it's not the typical weather for this season per se, it is still pretty discouraging from going outside, hence I did very little picture-taking. The only hope now is the weekend which promises to bring some sun and warmth around.

Meanwhile I'll be finishing off some of the pieces, planning and hopefully shooting some looks already, and the posts should start flowing some time at the end of this- beginning of next week :)

Until then, let's play a little guessing game, shall we? Here's a picture of a lovely viscose blend crepe cut in a candy shade of pink. It is now a finished piece of clothes, and I'd like you, my lovely readers, to guess what I have turned it into. 

Perfect colour and texture for spring... IF IT WOULD JUST COME ALREADY!

Now, let me know what you think I made of it in the comments ;)


Wednesday, 25 March 2015

2 Comments Can't Quite Contain My Excitement, or Floral Vintage

I am excited, as it follows from the title of this post, and I would much like to share with you why. After about three weeks of hectic [at times] reading books on modelling clothes, trying to model some basic forms and then designing a dress I only ever saw as an illustration on Pinterest (this one) from scratch and without any substantial guidance, I finished The dress!

Close up of the front tie detail
The overall silhouette and the front tie detail I took from the image, as you can see, but the required measurements and proportions between different parts of the pattern I had to estimate, and I did improvise with the back of the dress, since you can't quite see it from the picture. The fabrics was a birthday gift from a friend, and it is a Japanese cotton with grey background and vintage flowers.

The dress features a boat neckline in the front and a moderate V-neck in the back, which turned out looking very elegant. The top of the dress is made as a crude probability distribution curve (I do hold a BSc and an MBA, after all!), with darts being transferred into soft pleats around it. The back has two regular darts that match those of the skirt. The front ties are sewn into the side seams, and serve more as a decoration rather than have any practical purpose.

Mirror selfie in the new dress is a must!
The back of the skirt is a regular pencil shape with a tall kick split, while the front has darts gathered at the waist, making it puffy in the hip area. To be perfectly honest, I expected the skirt to be a little bit slimmer, although it does look good and vintage'y as it is. The dress fastens at the back with a 50cm/20inch concealed zip.

The overall look for the night

What I am most proud of in this dress though are sleeve gussets – an essential element of vintage dress-making, particularly in the 50s. A one-piece gusset like the one here is a diamond-shaped piece of fabric that goes into the opening under the arm and allows extra arm movement in more fitted kimono sleeves. Ah, so pretty!

Here I'm showing you how the dress looks as part of a whole, with recently made coat and evening hair and make-up. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised that the dress was so comfortable to wear – and gussets do indeed allow proper arm movement while maintaining close fit. Although I would probably let some time pass before I attempt to model another dress for myself, it was too exhausting and time consuming!

Well, I do hope you guys like it, too. It took some time and dedication to make it, but all the hassle was well worth the result :)

See you soon!


Monday, 16 March 2015

0 Comments Spring in Lilac | OOTD

This winter here in Moscow was dull. It wasn't the regular cold, but rather mildly negative temperatures mixed with March +3ÂșC throughout the whole three months of winter, more or less. This means there was snow, which then got stained with fumes and dust, which then melted halfway and turned into dirty mush, only to freeze again a couple of days later. Repeat.

All that left the winter city [and its urban outskirts] looking grey and impossibly miserable. So, when the air first began to smell like spring again and streets began to dry a couple of weeks ago, I knew it was time to bring some colour in! So I figured a cuddly oversize coat in a lovely shade would be perfect to get into the spring mood.

Another reason I needed, or rather wanted a coat is that ever since late October I wouldn't take down my favourite +Uniqlo dawn jackets. They are fabulously comfy and light and versatile, but they sure lack some style and glamour for those occasional fancy moods of mine.

I don't really know anymore which came first, the idea to make the coat or this pattern from Burda Style Classic edition 2013. But as soon as I laid eyes on the picture I knew it was EXACTLY what I wanted to have! And making it would be another pleasant challenge for my sewing skills. Not long after I was already in a store looking at a piece of coat wool in a beautiful shade of lilac, which again was love at the first sight.

Love how the colour matches my dark denims
It took me a few evenings to finish the coat, as I wanted it to turn out as neat as possible. Making it was easy, although handling so much fabric at once was a tiny bit tricky. And, me being me, I still managed to find something to be upset about when the coat was done. Not critical, but buttonhole positions offered by the original pattern turned out to be too far from the edge, which resulted in a fold between the top button and the next one down. Ah, well...

Colourful silk scarf my dad got me from Japan when I was 6 – it's like it was made for this coat 17 years ago!
The coat is of oversize silhouette and features a funnel neck, dropped shoulder and patch-on pockets. It is just the right amount of 'bulky' for my complexion, so it doesn't look like I picked up the wrong size or wandered into a plus-size department by accident. The lining is 100% viscose in tie jacquard ornament, which I got for a ridiculous price of under a £/metre (bin sale in the warehouse of an online store FTW!).

Now, to the Outfit Of The Day part :) Here I am wearing the coat with +Levi's® straight leg Bold Curve denims cuffed into peg leg (which is my favourite shape apart from slims and skinnies), and Poste Mistress heeled boots I bought from Office, London. I accessorised the coat with a square scarf made from hand-painted Japanese silk, and topped it all off with +ASOS cateye shades and massive green amber earrings. Although it can't be seen, inside I'm wearing a thin Primark sweater in beige.

Such a combination is perfect for casual outings like a journey to the textiles store and a simple city promenade. For a more sophisticated look I'd wear a pair of black trousers with a nice blouse, or something more feminine – a skirt or a dress. Possibilities are pretty much endless :)

'Busted' buying new fabrics :p

Anyway, here goes my first OOTD post, which I hope you enjoyed. I am planning to make more of those in the future, and spring/summer season should be the perfect opportunity to explore shooting locations and try different looks more freely.

For now, take care and enjoy the spring!