Thursday, 31 March 2016

A coat for my little lady

I have always found it really cute, seeing little girls wearing stylish little coats with pretty hats and scarves and having that elegant grown-up look. That's where my inspiration for that coat came from.

I bought this wool fabric in dark teal colour on one of my trips to Bulgaria. It is thick and feels very soft, ideal for a coat.
As usual I self drafted the pattern. I decided to go for princess seams and welt pockets.

For the lining I used grey viscose fabric. This project taught me that I should use larger facings and construct a bit larger linings for a more professional look.

Here I was experimenting with adding some interesting details to the coat. In the end I left it without any of them.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

The Challenge of Making Traditional Bulgarian Costumes

This post comes a bit late, but it's better to come late than not to come at all. I haven't stopped sewing but I have been terrible at keeping up with blogging about it.
Making traditional Bulgarian clothes for my children was my biggest project last summer.
I can honestly say that this was the most time and effort consuming project that I have done so far. And the most satisfying. Friends and family asked me why I was dedicating so much time to something that wouldn't be used for long time as children grew so quickly. But I felt I had to do it. Raising my children far from Bulgaria, I wanted to give them ''a piece'' of the bulgarian traditions and culture.

I started with sewing the white shirts first.I made one for my five year old and then graded it down to three year old size.They are both the same style with high collar and front opening. That was the easy part. Then I threw myself into hours and hours of embroidering (after searching the internet for ideas a couple of hours).
The waistcoats were relatively easy to make. I love the black trimming on them. The skirt and the waistcoats are made from thick wool fabric, and the shirts are from cotton woven fabric. I bought all of them from Bulgaria.

The main element of the embroidery is called "shevitza". It has to be made in a closed pattern which symbolize the life cycle. The dominant colour is red and it is a symbol of life, wine, blood.

There were seamstresses whose embroidery work was so beautifully accomplished that it was hard to tell which was the right side and which was the wrong side of the garment. But they always left a small unfinished detail somewhere on the clothes. This was done against ill luck as they believed that too much of a good thing wasn't good.
An interesting fact is that in the past every village had it own embroidery motifs and its villagers had to conform with them.

Nowadays traditional Bulgarian clothes (or "nosii" as we call them in bulgarian) are worn mainly by folklore singers and dancers but back in time people used to wear them when they visited markets in other villages, during celebrations and fairs. The clothes spoke about people's social and family status.



Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Ditsy flowers summer dress

The summer is almost over and I still haven't shared my summer creations.
One of them is this summer dress I self-drafted and sewed for my toddler girl two months ago. Since then I've been working on something very time-consuming which hopefully will be ready soon.

I've been dedicating some time for making hair accessories as well (I find that such an enjoyable activity). Sometimes I find it hard to balance the time spent on different sewing and craft activities. I am keen to do so many things, but simply don't have enough time for everything.

Back to the dress. It's a simple dress with a little square neckline decorated with lace trimming. It features a little pleated pocket on the front and button fastening on the back. I aimed for something light and comfortable.

The fabric I used for the dress is one that I bought from Hobby Craft store. I loved the ditsy floral print and although I had many other fabrics waiting to be sewn, I couldn't resist it. It's quilting cotton and has some stiffness. For a garment for an adult I would definetely go for fine and drapey fabric, but for kids garment I can easily use quilting cotton.

I have decided that my next challenge would be sewing with knits. I have very little experience with them and even have bought a book on that. Having a small collection of knits, I think it's time to put them into use.

Friday, 27 March 2015

A "Frozen" inspired dress

It was shortly before last Christmas when the whole family went to the cinema to watch "Frozen". After good reviews from friends I thought that maybe my son was already old enough to understand the film. I expected my two-year-old daughter to get bored really quickly and twist in her seat most of the time. To my suprise it was my little girl who watched the movie with greater interest, mersmerised by the beautiful animation. It's a girl's kind of movie. Honestly, I don't know a little girl who doesn't love it.

Anyway, my daughter definitely didn't understand the story, but she loved the songs. She was dancing around to them using her little blanket as a cape. So I thought I could sew her a princess dress to wear at home whenever she wanted to feel as a princess.
Initially I didn't plan to be "Frozen" kind of dress, it could be any suitable colour.

But then I came across this beautiful snowflake organza fabric in a local fabric shop. I bought 1 metre polyester fabric and 1 metre snowflake organza. Now I think I should have bought a little bit more to make the skirt with more gathers and maybe have added netting fabric under the skirt for more fullness.


Thursday, 5 March 2015

Hair clips

I love spending my time sewing and making patterns but often those spare time gaps during the day are so short that by the time I get my sewing stuff out, lay it on the table and get ready to start, it's almost time to do the school run, or my toddler wakes up from her afternoon nap or something else needs my attention.

For that reason I needed some really quick projects, something that I could make in these precious twenty minutes when it's quiet and there are no other distractions.

These small felt hair clips turned to be the perfect project. They are so quick and easy to make.

Till recently I had never used a hot glue gun, but now I can't imagine not having one. It's so useful in making accessories.

My daughter loves the hairclips, although she plays with them more than she wears them. I am lucky that I managed to photograph them all. You can find them around the house in the most unusual places. Yesterday I found one of them in my son's school bag and another one in his pencil case.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

My very gathered party skirt

It's been a long time since I sewed something for myself. I sewed for my daughter, for my mum, for my friends' kids but nothing for me recently.

It all started from the fabric. I liked the shiny taffeta and the first thing I imagined was a skirt. The stiffness of the fabric would be great for achieving shape. So here is what I made for myself : a very gathered party skirt.

The skirt is knee length, with an invisible zip on the back. For the construction I used three rectangles - one for the front and two for the back skirt. I haven't added flare as I wanted to keep things as simple as possible. I have decided that this would be a quick project (not that quick in the end).

Unfortunately, that skirt is not a garment I would be wearing very often. It would probably gather dust in the wardrobe for a year before the next wear. Next time I sew for myself I will make something for an everyday wear.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

The handmade gifts from granny and grandad

I have always loved handmade gifts. How dear is to receive something in which much thought and love and effort has been put in.
I wished my children realized that and appreciated the lovely handmade toys their granny and grandad hade made for them this year. For now such appreciation is not seen, as I they are too young, but hopefully with time they will learn to.
I remember that a few weeks ago I mentioned to my dad that the kids liked playing with playdough, always "cooking" something with it - a pizza, spaghetti, cakes and much more and I was wondering whether to get them a little play kitchen for Christmas. That's when my dad decided to make one for them. That was going to be his surprise for them when they come to stay for Christmas.
So here it is. Ready for them to play.

No need to say that they love it. They haven't said it but you could see it from their being around it most of the time. It never looks that tidy of course, they are really messy cooks!
I forgot to mention that the kitchen didn't cost a penny as my dad used some wooden boards he had left from something else.
In addition he made a little doll's bed.

My mum made a little mattress, a pillow and two sheets for it. She even found the time to stitch a little applique.
I can't say I was suprised to see the wooden toys they had made. When I was a child they often used to make stuff for us - little wooden chairs and a table, a doll's bed, my mum had sewn clothes for my dolls and even knitted jumpers for them. Most of our pillowcases and duvet covers were decorated with beautiful appliques. That's where my interest in sewing and crafting must have come from.

Merry Christmas!