Freitag, 5. September 2014

one dress to rule them all...the story of an addiction

I just realized, that I'm in my tenth year of sewing addiction!! On that occassion I bring you some pictures of my first handmade pieces. Have fun :D


Ten years ago I decided, that I need a Lord of the rings costume. First I needed it only for carnival, but when this was over I still wanted to have one of those dresses. The first picture below shows my first costume, it was a skirt from my mom and some other clothes I put together. Nothing self-made at this point.

Trying to buy one wasn't successful, because they were quite expensive back then. I just finished my A-levels back then and while I was learning for my biology test, I had the idea to teach myself how to sew. My mom had an 25-year-old Veritas, so I thought I could give it a try, what can be so difficult about it ;)
I ordered some cheap fabric and a sewing pattern and started. I don't have pictures of this very first disastrous thing, but somehow it got me hooked. This "dress" was made from two fabrics, that just didn't work together and of course I did not know anything about grainlines or things like that. In addition to that it had the dimensions of a tent. I used a Mccalls pattern back then and didn't know about the American sizes. Anyways, it was enough to keep me going, so I made the white and golden dress below after that first try.

The fantasy costumes brought me to medieval dresses and so I gained interest for authentic clothing through the centuries. The Victorian era was my favorite and so I started making bustle dresses with corsets and steel-boned underskirts. I sewed miles of ruffles and when I made the corsets, my room looked like tool shop, not like a sewing room (which was my bedroom, btw). But it was fun and I still love the dresses of that era, although I don't make them anymore (no space for that, I just don't live in a castle).

I still make costumes, but as you may have noticed, I found my soft-spot of sewing in the 1940s and 1950s. But anyways, I just love all kind of crafts, especially sewing. So thank you Lord of the Rings, you got me hooked on a needle.

If you are new to the wonderful world of sewing, all I can say is:

Each crooked seam brings you closer to perfect straight ones and your seam ripper is your best friend :)

Mittwoch, 27. August 2014

male sewing: a classic shirt Pt. 1

For me one of the pleasures of sewing is to learn classic techniques. Those things that make a garment a tailored piece. 

I'm in my 10th year of sewing now (whaaaat??) and when I started, my goal was to produce something that could be identified as a dress or a skirt or whatever. I did not think so much about finishing or alterations back then.

During the years, my standards reached a higher level. I can be a terrible perfectionist. I want to make my garments on tailoring standards (high goal).
I started reading books about couture sewing techniques for example. I do a lot of sewing by hand and I like to use old school finishing techniques. Because I'm so in love with past eras, this almost comes natural. 

One of those items is the classic mens shirt. You can find some traditional details, that are a must for a classic shirt, like the stand-up collar, the sleeve plackets, the doubled yoke. 

I just finished the first mens shirt I've ever done and I'm really happy with the result. As I told you, I am a perfectionist, so of course there is room for improvements though.

I used a burdastyle pattern and after making a muslin, I took out some width at the side seams. Beside this the pattern fits very well.

This shirt was a kind of wearable muslin. The fabric was from the sale section and if all had gone wrong, it would have been sad but not to sad. I used plaid fabric, which wasn't the best decision for making the first shirt ;)
Plaid is nice but the cutting and sewing process is a bit exhausting. I tried to match the checks as good as possible, but it wasn't easy. The fabric is very nice and actually easy to handle, but it tends to stretch a bit and that is why I couldn't match all the squares perfectly. 

Of course I had my team around me. They helped a lot during the cutting process.

I bought the German version of the pattern, but you can also get it at There is only one page of instructions, which I really liked ;) If you need more help you can take a look at this nice forum (it is in German). There is also a class at craftsy that is on my wish list as well. I also had one of my vintage sewing books near the sewing table.

I like to see the pile of pieces become smaller and smaller while I sew. Even if I'm not finished with the whole garment at the end of a sewing session, I feel good if I see that I have assembled all pieces in a way. For the shirt, I started to prepare the collar first.

It is a two-piece collar with a collar-stand. I think this was my first one ever, I only made one-piece collars before. It wasn't so difficult, good marking and basting helps a lot here. 

After putting the collar and the stand together, I arranged it on my tailors ham and gave it a good press.

I also did a fell seam for the first time. I really like it for it is sturdy and nice on the in and outside. There will be a tutorial on how to do a fell seam soon.

When I switched off my Bernina this night, the shirt looked like that.

The next time we meet I will show you the second part of making the shirt including the finished result. If you are just to curious to wait you may find a sneak peak on one of my social media channels....



Donnerstag, 21. August 2014

In love with: vintage jeans

I'm a sucker for denim and when it comes to vintage fashion, I like it even more. Honestly, I would wear anything made from denim. I have dresses, bags, skirts and of course pants. 

Sometimes vintage style dresses can be a little too dressy in the everyday life. Sometimes I just want to wear a pair of jeans and a shirt. But I still want the whole outfit to have a vintage touch. That's where a nice pair of jeans comes in. Let's swoon over some vintage jeans goodness:

Saddle shoes are on top of my wish list (the other list, beside the never-ending sewing wish list...).

Dienstag, 19. August 2014

places to go & sew: Nähkontor

Today I'm gonna start a new category on this blog and I call it "places to go and sew". Its gonna be a kind of "outdoor" category, where I will introduce fabric shops and other sewing related places. And because I live in Berlin, the first location is a nice fabric shop I recently discovered. 

It is called "Nähkontor" and it's located in Prenzlauer Berg. When I first came in there, I was pleased by the nice 1950s interior. They did a great job with that, its like you go shopping through a time machine. You can get everything the sewing heart desires (fabric, notions etc.), but they also offer sewing classes and services like self-fabric covered buttons and belts. I didn't know that this services is offered by here in Berlin. 

If you like sewing (I guess so) and if you're in Berlin and maybe you have a faible for vintage interior and notions (I obviously have.), that's your place.


Bötzowstraße 13
10407 Berlin

Mittwoch, 6. August 2014

summer sale in my Shop!

Dear Readers,

until 31th of August I'm running a summer sale in my Dawanda Shop. You get 15 % off :)

Fashion Fantastica on Dawanda

See you soon,


Freitag, 18. Juli 2014

just a little jersey dress

A few days ago I told you about my planned projects. I'd like to make more simple jersey dresses, because I really like to wear them to work. They are so easy to combine and feel very comfortable. I also like them for traveling. I think that they look nice and classy, but are as comfortable as a shirt.

This dress was made by using a shirt pattern from burdastyle magazine 2/2011, but you can also find it here on I made two shirts using this pattern and this time I used it as a bodice for my dress. I lenghtened the bodice and added a ruffled skirt piece (a simple rectangle). The fabric is striped jersey, which looks like grey in these pictures. 

Do you like jersey dresses? Do you have pattern suggestions?


Dienstag, 15. Juli 2014

New place, new projects

Dear readers,

I didn't have much time during the past weeks because I moved to a new home. On the last weekend I was able to unpack my machines. Although my new sewing corner is still in development, it is nice to see some time for new projects coming soon. Until then I'd like to share some of the upcoming projects with you:

  • a classic mens shirt: I'd like to broaden my horizon and try to make some mens wear. Yesterday I assembled this pattern by Fabric is ordered.
  • jersey dresses: I need some simple jersey dresses. Although I like my fancy 50s dresses, sometimes I just want to wear something simple. I really like to wear them for work. I have the beautiful Moneta pattern by Colette Patterns and the cute Coco pattern by Tilly printed and ready for assembling. Need to shop the fabrics for them.
  • Not an actual project, but a new book: Fit for Real people was on my wishlist for a very long time now. Because I want to get better with adjustments made directly to the pattern I decided that it is time to order it now. When I start a new project with a new pattern, I always make a muslin. And that's okay, but I'd like to learn faster techniques for fitting. The book is highly recommended by a lot of people, I'm really looking forward to its arrival.
What have you planned for the second half of 2014?

Yours, Melanie

Donnerstag, 5. Juni 2014

A little contest

Dear readers,

I'm taking part in a little competition over on facebook. It is a profile picture contest and would appreciate each like that you may give me :)

Pin-Up Germany profile picture contest

Thanks a lot !


Samstag, 24. Mai 2014

Hey, Sailor!

Today it's all about maritime flair! As I told you in my last post, I shoot some more outfits last month.
The first one is the Wearing History Playsuit, I already posted it here and here. Time went by and I never took some nice pictures of the whole outfit, so I took the chance!

I made another sailor pin up outfit back in 2008. The pattern was drafted by myself. Here it is, 2014 and my 2008 me: