Hot air balloon dress (and some sea)

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I’ve been crazy busy for the past month, working and working and working in the hopes I’ll be able to completely enjoy my seaside vacation. But I didn’t finish everything I meant to (had to work during the holiday a bit, but at least I had an office with the perfect view once in my life). The main reason for not finishing the work project is … I also wanted to finish at least on last summer sewing project before I left London for Croatia. I knew it will basically be autumn once I got back and I also wanted to have a photo-shoot with one of my makes in a very picturesque setting. Id say the sacrifice was worth it… Here is my hot air balloon dress on me on the gorgeous island Vis.

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The dress is the Burda style Island Placket Dress (04/2014 #121).

I also planed on making an actual maxi version with a colourful fabric, but decided I prefer swimming to working in lovely dresses on holidays.

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The fabric is some kind of chiffon and it’s the first fabric I bought after moving to London. As probably everyone in the world ever, I’m terrified of sewing chiffon, but in the end it wasn’t as horrible as I expected it to be. I have to redo the hem, I rushed it too much and I need a rolled hem foot (for some reason, I thought I have one, but I don’t.) I have a mild obsession with hot air balloons. But just with the way they look, I’d probably die of fear if I ever had to fly in one.

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*why do I look like I only have one leg and am generally not very coordianted? Because I’m not. And I’m sooooo awkward at posing:)

I really love the pattern and I’m so sorry I didn’t buy the issue of Burda, because I’d love to make all of the other variations, but don’t have the instructions. I really like the front of the dress, but didn’t realise how bra unfriendly it’s going to be from the side. I might try something out next time I’m making it, becouse there’s difinitely going to be a next time, but not before next spring. It’s time for autumnal sewing now, but I don’t really have anything lined up?

Any projects for autumn you can’t wait to sew?

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Sunday Market Swallow Dress

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This dress was materializing in my mind for years. I love 50ish dresses, I love pastels and I love tattoos. Ever since I’ve realised the potential of my embroidery machine, I knew I wanted to make a top or something in the line, that would have two swallows positioned on each side of the top of my chest, kind of where a lot of girls have tattoos of birds. I really like how they look, but I don’t like the commitment that comes with getting a tattoo in such an obvious place.

I bought the swallow design from Urban threads in one of their sales, just because it’s so pretty. At the time I didn’t connect the design with my dream dress, after all it wasn’t obvious that I could separate the birds and put each one on one side of something. Than one day I decided I’ll sew the Elizabeth dress from the Burda Style Sewing Vintage Modern book as a kind of muslin, from cheap fabric, to see how well the size I think I am fits me, before I try any of the other patterns in the book that are based on the Elizabeth dress. (The concept of the book, If you don’t know it, is that you have a few basic patterns and then it shows you how to make a wide variety of other clothes based on those patterns). Than I found this pretty pink fabric and knew I wanted to actually wear the dress that would grow out of it, but I also knew I had to embellish it somehow. So I searched through my library and there it was… Eureka! 🙂

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I just separated the two swallows into two different designs with PE design (the software came with the machine, that I bought second hand. I’ve had it for 4 years now and still don’t know how to use it properly) and changed the size a bit (one of the birds is a bit small now, but I don’t mind that). The positioning is not exact either, but I’m OK with that, too (as you can see, I’m far from a perfectionist;)).

The one thing I wanted to try out to make the pattern a bit more interesting, was to “spice up” the back a little. I really like cut-outs and I think trying a simple one on the back is a good start. My trusted Elsa (my tailor’s dummy) was a HUGE help, I couldn’t have done it without her. It’s was so easy with it though, I just pined the pattern to the back and could mark the desired position and shape of the cut-out exactly. I think the cut out is the most successful part of my experiment.

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I also sewed my first lapped zipper into this dress – mainly because I’m too impatient and lazy. The local fabric store where I bought the fabric didn’t have either invisible or matching zippers, so I bought a contrast one. I had to hide it a bit and a lapped zipper seemed like a good idea. I think it was. 🙂 It turned out better than I expected it to, but again, far from perfect. 🙂 (I learned the basics of how to do it with help of the free class on zipper insertion techniques on Craftsy)

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The sewing of the dress was a good exercise in positioning embroidery, cut-outs and trying out new zipper techniques. It also helped me to see that the fit needs a bit of improvement, but I’ll work on that on the next one.

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I’m definitely going to wear it, I think it would be a shame not to. It seems like a dress one would wear to go strawberry hunting to the Sunday markets, doesn’t it? Hence, the name… 🙂

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Ps: I do realise my one sided braid was not really the perfect hairdo to showcase this dress. But as you can see, I don’t particularly enjoy modeling, so I decided these pictures are good enough;)