Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Lemon Tree 🍋

Tilda 'Lemon Tree' came in February with an unbelievable dance of colours. The splash of yellow and green is like a smiling sun in spring, but seems like looking at it through filtered sunglasses. The yellow is not this burning young white, but a tired mature one, mixed with mustard. The green is almost an exposure of a colour to a setting sun light - not bright and vivid. And then there is the teal blue in between them, that makes the whole colour pallet a little chilly in all this warmness. 

I wasn't sure at first how to like this mixture of colours, after all the vintage faded Tilda collections that have won my heart through the years. And then I designed these little things that made my home happier.  

'Lemon Tree' screams for lemons, and my attention was captured by this old whimsical lemon tree with all the magic and hope that it grew through the years! I have to admit, this is my favourite print of all - in this yellow-orange shadow, that makes me calm in the fresh old-tree hug. I took the time to explore all the creatures in the print. That is why, the first cut was for the back of the pillow - I couldn't chop the tree - I had to preserve it:

When it is dark at night, there is a chandelier, hanging on, that helps the darkness disappear :)

Lemon tree without lemons is just wood without soul, ready to be cut and burn into last sparkle, warming up cold winter days. I have picked the DMC thread in matching colours and the right 'Permin' linen and got busy stitching the lemons. 

All my house is full of freshness. The true Tuscany lemons are quite fresh and sour in colour as their flavour. The Meyer lemons make a perfect match with the yellow of the 'Lemon tree' collection.

My first make is this square basket in randomly cut patches. I can walk everywhere with it, storing my bathroom necessities or fabric leftovers, or even having it as a fruit basket. I wonder what fruit could I put in ?! :)))

After the fresh lemon SPA treatment, I am moving my comfort to the living room.

At one point, I need to stop by the kitchen, where lemon curd and aromatic raspberries will dance in a delicious cupcake round. Visit my kitchen for more about the cupcakes.

The idea of making a pillow cover came after the basket. When I saw how well the prints came together, I decided that I need this joy in my living room. Lemons are a given - they are the focus of my design in total, but how to bring up the pink? That is why I adapted the cross-stitch design to focus on the pink flowers of 'Lemon Tree' collection.

These flowers create an interesting presence of warm colours, slightly brought up to Earth with the cool, almost plain green-blue stripes, that I cut on a bias. 

One thing that was important as well is the back of my pillow, that has the so loved lemon tree in its gorgeousness. I focused on the vase and the main branches with stitching around the main lines, plus few modest accents on the front as well.

I believe that we are in charge of creating the mood of our days. Sometimes, cheerful things come from unexpected actions at unknown places. I couldn't believe I will love these colours, but when I was done with my living room setting, I found how much I enjoy the colours and the deliciousness together. And I am on my way to create more joy with Tilda 'Lemon Tree', because there are two more main colours in the collection to be explored, and they are as cheerful as the yellow and green (and even more).

Have a bite, my friends, savour your early spring day as if it was a delicious fresh cupcake and enjoy the colours that surround you!

Wishing you fresh days,


Thursday, 1 March 2018

Peony Dress

This dress has been dreamt for almost a year - since I first glanced at the Tilda "Cottage" collection. I started thinking about designing it since I watched "Frozen". Do you remember princess Anna's coronation dress??? The beautiful green dress with all the pleats that hide a surprisingly contrasting darker colour? As soon as I saw the movie for the first time, I knew this is a dress I have to try making. And with Anna dancing and running in the saloon of the castle... all the magic of her movements kept me dreaming of a fabric, that would make a perfect dress for my little Ana (it is a coincidence how both names sound the same :)), just the spelling is a bit different). 

All the details in the movie are magnificent: do you remember the snowflakes on the door, where Anna was begging her sister for building a snowman, or the embroidered gloves that Elsa wore during the coronation day, or the beautiful castle decoration... The people who made the movie thought of everything in order to recreate the true spirit of Norway. Yes..., it is another coincidence that the designer of my most favourite fabric, I chose for this dress, is Norwegian. I guess, the perfect things exist for a reason and we are destine to find them in weird corners of our mind, without even trying. 

Tone Finnanger is a designer I have been admiring since she started her creative journey and made it popular in Europe. At that time it was just a dream for me to work with her fabric, but I have always been making her creations, using other fabrics. Lately, with some kindness and devotion, I found a kindred "love Tilda" spirit in Andrea from Willow Cottage Quilt. She is my source of fabric and she climbs mountains to help people find what they need from Tilda. If you visit her site, you will sink into  absolute beauty of Tilda images. 

It is the last final push of the winter before the spring starts giving signs for awakening the cold Earth. And although the peonies bloom in Canada a little before father's day in June, I am ready for their delicate buds to pop out of the ground and to collect the morning dew drops. What a restful image to my eyes and brain this flower is! And what a struggle to my soul in its poor attempts to conserve this beauty forever... But there is always a way to preserve it. My way this year is to create this dress. 

Back to the dress...
I couldn't follow the full Disney design. The open shoulders are not for eleven-year-old and when Ana plays her violin, it would have been too uncomfortable.  So I designed the top to be very tailored and flattering the waist (whatever shows as a waist at this age :)) and started scratching my brain how to construct the skirt... 

Here is my process: 

1. Deside on the width of the skirt: I chose it to be a bell shape, instead of full or half circle. It is more elegant for this delicate print.
2. Get rid of the idea of regular straight pleats and push yourself into calculating a trapezoid pleats, that will make the bell shape standing out. Even with closed pleats, the dress keeps the shape.

3. Deside on the number of pleats. I made eight pleats. I did not want to have pleats on the sides, but because of the "princess" waist on the front of the bodice, I had to have a pleat in the centre, and with eight of them, the sides needed to earn a pleat. 

4. Measure the waist (my model has a waist of 60 cm), divide by eight, calculate the width of one top fabric piece (out of eight in peony print) and draw your waist line, making a curve 4 mm high at the sides.

5. Measure the length of the skirt (mine is 50 cm). For a bell shape, I made the bottom curve three times longer than the measurement at the top. Create the bottom curve, cutting 10 mm at the sides.

These are only the top pieces (the peony print). The beauty in the dress comes from the contrast that the inside pieces create. At first, I wasn't particularly ecstatic about the "berry leaf" print. It seamed to me that there would be too much print and not enough solid colour. But now, when I look at the dress, I am happy I chose it for the pleats inside. The leaves are so gentle and kind of create more texture with there lighter colour. 

6. Use the same template for the pleats. When making the pleat, the template for the inside fabric will be folded to create a centre line and then both sides will be folded towards the centre line. 

7. Create four templates, using a soft paper and four more from a contrasting paper. Sew the templates to produce half of the skirt and measure on your model to see if the calculations were correct and if you liked the shape. If you have extra paper and enough patience, or in case you are using your absolute favourite fabric and you are terrified of cutting into it, create the full skirt out of paper, in order to be sure :)

8. Prepare your iron to the maximum possible temperature for the chosen fabric and have a bucket of water close by, because this skirt will require and extraordinary amount of ironing. 

9. Create the skirt from the fabric you love and enjoy your wonderful achievement!

Here are some tips in images on the details:

1. Create a perfectly hidden seam along the sleeve.

2. Line the dress and hand-stitch the zipper on the lining.

3. Make the lining 2 cm shorter than the skirt.

4. Attach a 10 cm strip of lightly gathered light wight tulle in between the two layers.

5. While working on the dress, keep the pleats well pressed and in place with very fine pins.

I hope you try this pattern and share your experience. If you have any questions, you could reach out to me and I will try my best to answer.

Have a wonderful time creating! Life is so beautiful when trying new things!

Thank you so much for being my guests! Hope you had a wonderful time!