Things I made, Episode 2

Dear readers,

 

Welcome back for the second edition of Things I made! In my mind, the dress I’m showing you today is closely associated with finding out I was pregnant. I cut it before I knew, sewed it anyway right after I took the test, put it to hang and left it there without a hem because I wasn’t even sure I would ever be able to wear it (insert sad face). So I was thrilled this November when I realized I would be able to wear it for Christmas!SewingTidbits-Black Slip dress-3SewingTidbits-Black Slip dress-7

Pattern


Slipdress Pattern –  my own (based on this previous version). If you are looking for a bias slip dress pattern with spaghetti strap, I am selling one through Just Patterns
Knit top Pattern – Nettie by Closet Case Patterns.

I made this slip dress before so I don’t have much to add this time. For the top, I used the Nettie. I made it twice as a dress (here and there). This time I used the high front and back neckline, and the long sleeves. When using this pattern as a t-shirt the key is to make sure it’s long enough. My previous attempt ended up a bit short and I removed it my wardrobe. I was annoyed at having to constantly pull it down, and accidental drip of bleach on a navy stripe (deliberate mistake?) did not help its case. I really like this pattern for a skin tight look. Note to self, look for striped knit to make another one!SewingTidbits-Black Slip dress-2SewingTidbits-Black Slip dress-6

Construction


Fabric – the silk for the slip dress is from Moods and was gifted by Eira from The Pattern Line. The knit top is a merino wool jersey also from Moods!
Notions – N/A
Resources – I compiled the best sources of information I know of to for our Just Patterns slip. I has links for cutting silk, spaghetti straps, baby hems, etc. Let me know if you think anything is missing or if you have a favorite tutorial you would like to recommend.

There isn’t much to say about the slip dress, don’t let the bias scare you. With silk and such a simple shape, the longest task is usually cutting rather than the actual sewing. As long as you take your time, nothing is particularly difficult. I’ll just stress that stabilizing the neckline really makes a difference. You can choose to fuse with a stripe of thin interfacing (like I do) or stay stitch, but it’s the one step I would recommend not skipping!

The t-shirt is very simple too. To make things even easier I didn’t finish the sleeves and bottom edges. The knit is very thin, there is no with I could have done a good job without a coverstitch machine, plus I like how it just rolls.SewingTidbits-Black Slip dress-5SewingTidbits-Black Slip dress-1SewingTidbits-Black Slip dress-8

I love these 2 pieces (and the 2 in my previous post). And I particularly like that they all work together as well as with many other items in my wardrobe. Sewing garments without frills, in nice fabric and in a core “color” of your closet can be very rewarding. I can’t wait for the weather to warm up so I can wear the slip with a chunky sweater as in the picture above!

As you may have realized, I’m experimenting with a new format. My sewing blogroll counts around 300 blogs and I can divide them roughly into two categories. The ones that I read for the sewing and  the words (like Sanae Ishida, Sunnygal Studio, Sewing on the edge and many more) and the ones where I admire the pictures and try to skim through to find pattern/fabric information. Surprisingly, it’s often not that easy to find. Even more surprisingly (to me, and probably not to you) I looked at my own blogposts and realized I was completely guilty. I kept burying the most useful pieces of information in the middle of my ramblings (and typos…). So here it is, let me know what you think in the comments.

Tidbits #4

Dear readers,

 

I hope you are enjoying the weekend. I am finally catching up on sewing plans I have been delaying and I’m finally making some progress. For today’s edition of Tidbits I gathered some information about making an arm for your dressform.

chambray-draping-5Sewing Bits

  1. First I thought I would mention this nice blog I follow : Note to self. I just love the short note style and the pretty nordic style pictures!
  2. This post from Cloning Couture, is what reminded me about arm making. Mary is even offering her pattern for free!
  3. I drafted mine (above) from a book one of my professor had when I took classes at FIT Integrating Draping, Drafting and Drawing. I’m fairly certain this is the method referred by Pandemic Apparel, unfortunately the post is old and all the pictures are gone…
  4. The last one, I’m terribly curious about. It’s from researcher Rickard Lindqvist who write all sorts of complicated interesting things about pattern making. His free pattern is a 3D simulation of an arm. It looks so unusual. If anyone you make it I hope you will let me know!!

Other Bits

  1. I’m not a quilt person, but I thought those modern designs by Louise Gray were very pretty and would fit very nicely in my apartment…
  2. I have a total crush on the Fall 2017 RTW collection by Christian Dior. I just want to dress in subtle shades of navy all day, every day!
  3. Talking about Dior, here is an nice Instagram accountnice Instagram account of a “petite main” who works as an extra during runway season. Enjoy!

That’s it for today, I hope you still find Tidbits interesting! Please let me know what you have been reading/watching/listening to!

Things I made, episode 1

Dear readers,

Exactly a year ago, I was sleeping all the time and outgrowing every single piece of clothing I owned. Morning sickness, elasticated pants, it was a bad baaad time… In addition, I just had sewn garments I really liked and couldn’t wear even once. The good news in this story, is that 1/ the most wonderful little human now lives with me and 2/ I can wear those clothes now! I’m going to play catch up and show you my early 2016 sewing.

lined pencil skirt Sewing TidbitsSo first on the list is very classic pencil skirt made in black wool twill from Moods in New York City. I always mean to invest more time (and nice fabric) in wardrobe workhorses and this time I did it! I didn’t get distracted by a cute print or a pattern release! I used my own pattern, available for free here if you sign up for the mailing list. Don’t worry, there is no risk of receiving too many emails from me. I’m even worse at newsletters than I am at blogging…

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I drafted a lining for this version, which I keep hoping to also make available but time has been flying. Basically everything is ready but I should really proof it (ie. sew another skirt from it) before I spend time laying it out in Illustrator. If you are a risk taker, know how to bag a lining and want to help, email me!

I’m very happy with this garment and I’ve been wearing it several time already since I went back to work. I’m afraid there is not that much to say about this skirt, except that trying to show the vent leads to pretty awkward poses… So let’s move on to the next item!

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This one is a bias silk tank top. It’s unlined and I finished the edges with a narrow bias binding (about 1/8″ finished width). It was my first time using a bias tape maker and I did a bad job. Hopefully no one will come close enough to notice… The fabric is a lovely silk that Eira from The Pattern Line bought for me at Moods when she came to Haiti for a sew-cation. Sewing friends are the best friends!!

The pattern for this one is also my own, based it on my white slip dress. But if you are looking for a pattern to make something similar, we just released a bias tank top pattern through Just-Patterns. It features the same techniques (french seams, spaghetti straps and a baby hem). I know, I know, it’s one more shameless plug and I still haven’t taken the time to explain why this project is so important for me.I’m working on it, I promise!

That’s it for today, next time I will be back with another slip dress which you may have already seen on Instagram. I’m still debating if I should post about the maternity sewing, I haven’t been very successful apart from the 2 shirts I posted last year, we will see. It looks like I’m back to blogging more regularly. Oops, did I just jinx it by writing that? But I’m actually enjoying it again. Let me know what you think in the comments!!

Tidbits #3

Dear Readers,

 

It’s been a while since I wrote the last Tidbits, but here we are. I had drafts sitting in my blog editor forever and I had to delete a lot of the links which I thought were not relevant anymore. But I kept some, that I thought were interesting anyway. I want to mention first that if you are like me and enjoy those round-up posts, my two favorite sources articles you won’t find mentioned on all the other blogs are Oliver + S weekend links and the newsletter of Center for Pattern Design.

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On my sewing table…

Sewing bits

  1. I have an obsession about automated drafting to measurements so of course, Sew Fitography caught my eye. It seems to me that this is something that should already be widely available… At least, if I was a big pattern company, I would be investing on this quite a lot. Two years ago, I had an interesting discussion with the founder of Fitle (we graduated from the same business school) and it was fascinating. They are already working with established brands for RTW but also with custom shirt makers. The founder never thought about the home-sewing pattern market… Can you imagine trying on a pattern on your virtual double to decide what size to start with? All the fabric and time one would save?? That’s the dream for me!
    I just love when sewing intersects with new technology. I have so many questions about Kite, the pattern projector that Upcraft club is developing, but I’m excited to see what comes out!!
  2. This is a shameless plug, but my friend and I just started a pattern project. We had some sales already and we are super excited. I think you can tell that marketing is not our strong suit…. We’d rather be sewing all day!! I really want to do a full post here to explain the why and the what but I’m still thinking and pondering!
  3. I never heard of In-Seam studio before but I find their tutorials so pretty. I kind of wish I had the eye to make things look like that…

Other bits

  1. I believe I could spend hours just looking at behind the scenes video of Couture…. I’ll assume that all of you saw Signé Chanel, but maybe you haven’t seen that short video on the making of the mirror dress from S/S 2017.
  2. A great article by Tim Gunn.

 

That’s all for today! Did you read/see/heard something super interesting recently?

FREE PATTERNS: The French Round-up!

Dear Readers,
Since I couldn’t sew for a while, and trying to avoid spending money as a way to cope (link), my only option is to talk, talk and talk about sewing. Unfortunately, neither my four-months old human or my 3-year old dog were very interested in the topic… You, readers, are my victims.

Today, I will try to do round up of free patterns available in French, some are also translated into English. The big disclaimer is that I haven’t tried any, mostly because I don’t have the time but also because the French offer often does not match my aesthetic. However it doesn’t mean that there might not be something you like and it gives me something to do during nap time, so let’s jump in!

Deer & Doe

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Plantain T-shirt by Deer&Doe
First, there is the ubiquitous Plantain Tee by Deer & Doe. Frankly, I’ve been tempted to try it out (and probably printed it out more than once). I don’t know why I haven’t…

Pauline & Alice

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Second and also very famous Pauline & Alice. I’m not even sure if this brand should be categorized as French… Free to download is the Bailen top & dress.

Essais & Erreurs / Festive Road

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His & Hers shirt by Essais&Erreurs
Pochette Devant petit rondnoir atténué chemise mixte
Qu’est ce que tu vends pour les vacances by Essais&Erreurs
Pochette Devant I Want Candy
I want candy by Essais&Erreurs
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Moussaillon by Essais&Erreurs
Fit but you know it by Essais&Erreurs
Fit but you know it by Essais&Erreurs
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Tamagotshi Breton by Essais&Erreurs
Brass in Pocket by Essais&Erreurs
Brass in Pocket by Essais&Erreurs
Less known are the patterns released by the Vicomte de Boisjoly on her blog Essais&Erreurs. She has a great writing style, which shone during the whole Aime Comme Marie debacle and she makes available patterns of styles she drafts for herself.

Wear Lemonade

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Robe Luisa by Wear Lemonade
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Blouse Bianca by Wear Lemonade
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Robe Frida by Wear Lemonade
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Veste Rita by Wear Lemonade
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Jupe Ava by Wear Lemonade
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Perfecto Mona by Wear Lemonade
For the risk takers, here are the free patterns offered by Wear Lemonade. I talk about risks because most of the appeal seems to reside in its gorgeous and stylish owner but after quick look at the drafting, I saw some odd things. Proceed with caution!

République du Chiffon

Dress Ludivine
Top, Pencil Skirt and Minijupe Livie
Patterns at Republique du Chiffon are probably a safer option, however reviewing pictures and my own experiment with Veste Francoise (which was 95% done when I left NY early December but you may not see until many months #lazyblogger), I’m not a fan of their sleeve/armscye draft. Make a muslin!

I Am Patterns

Robe Cassiopee by I Am Patterns
Next up is this dress by I Am Patterns (sidenote: by now you must have noticed the tendency of using an English name for those companies, but I really can’t wrap my head around this one), available at Marie Claire Idées.

Histoire de Coudre

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Beryl Top by Histoire de Coudre
Technically not free but available for 1 cent, it’s the Beryl Top from Histoire de coudre. I think this is one of the patterns I may want to give a try. I see it in a medium silk weight, tucked in a high waist skirt…

Je fais mes dessous

For lingerie makers, you have a thong tutorial available at Je fais mes dessous (I make my undies).

More lingerie (bralettes and even men underwear) at Monsieur est une trainée (which I won’t translate because I’d rather not get the traffic that it would attract…)

1083

Lastly, the jeans from 1083 that I have mentioned before. If you want to make them, please note that there seam to be a mistake in the pattern, pointed out by YOU, dear readers. Have a look at the comments!

So, what do you think? Did I miss any free French pattern? Did you make any successfully (or not)? Please share!

Happy New Year and #2017MakeNine

Dear readers,

Let me start with all the seasonal greetings! I’m wishing you the best for 2017 and I’m totally late doing it, but I have an excellent excuse, about 25″ inches long,  which I plan on abusing all year long. If you follow me on Instagram you know that 1/ The Little Human came at the time she was supposed to, 2/ she’s a healthy and happy one and 3/ she’s the easiest baby since I have been putting her through a lot of traveling in the last 2 months and she didn’t even complain. Or maybe she did and I mistook that for hunger, who knows ;-))

Our life out of a suitcase in soon coming to an end after going to Haiti, France, back to Haiti and now emjoying Bogotá, Colombia. I can’t say that I haven’t missed home and I’m glad to be back in New York next week. Because as we all know, home is where sewing machines are!! When one itches to sew but cannot, there are usually two options available: shop ALL THE FABRIC or spend too much time thinking about what you could/will be sewing.

I’m choosing the latter out of necessity, because i will not have any space to bring back fabric (crying face). Of course, announcing sewing plans for me is the equivalent of shooting myself in the foot and ensuring that none of those plans will ever come true. So bear with me, while I outline some imaginary sewing plans for 2017.

2016 has been very happy year for me, except in the wardrobe department. I did not particularly enjoy dressing my pregnant self and I’m glad to be able to think again in terms of what I want to wear rather than what I can. This year, I want to strengthen my work wardrobe so I have this idea that I could sew a mini capsule of 9 garments, one garment a month, starting from February. I think it sounds reasonable, but only time will tell! Let me introduce you to my #2017MakeNine!


Blazers

I’m cheating in this category, because both my white blazer (here is The Kooples, I actually own this exact jacket in black and I love it) and my “Balmain-inspired” (lol) one were started in November last year and are well advanced. For the white one, I used the Veste Francoise from Republique du Chiffon as a starting point and for the Balmain, a personal pattern of The Pattern Line I hope to tell you later about 😉

Skirts

I’ve been meaning to sew a Stella Jean inspired skirt out of some African wax I have (bought back when I lived in Zambia). I would be such a quick project, I think this year will be the year!! That’s pretty much how wild I’m ready to go for work, the other two I have in mind are a white pencil skirt (shown above is Roland Mouret) and one with some kind of wrap front (MM. LaFleur) for which I would probably have to wait to recover my dressform, currently waiting in Haiti for someone traveling to New York City (anyone??).

Dresses

I like the neckline of the Gimlet dress released by Capital Chic but it may not be realistic while I’m still breastfeeding, so I’ll see by next fall if I still like it. The other dress is also a personal pattern of The Pattern Line. I can’t show it to you entirely because we have grand plans for this dress, but in case you want an idea of what is coming, you can go there. I’ll write more in details about this project soon!

Tops

This is where I’m not totally set, it will probably shirts/blouses but what kind and with what patterns remains to be defined. A black poplin shirt (shown here is Theory) would be useful, as well as a lighter silk blouse (here is a recent Burda cowl pattern). We will see, the shirtmaking bug seems to be itching again! Any recommendations are welcome!

That’s it for today, let me know what you think and get ready for one of my blogging streaks where I blog 3 weeks in a row and then disappear for a while (hopefully not…)!!

 

 

Tidbits #2

Dear readers,

Welcome to the second edition Tidbits where I randomly link and talk about sewing and non-sewing things that have been on my mind lately! I really enjoyed the discussion and the links you shared on Tidbits #1 so I thought it would be worth to keep going…

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found on Sigrid Sewing Projects

Sewing Bits

Interesting thoughts from Debbie at Lily Sage & Co on why you may end up with more iterations of a trend when you sew then when you buy RTW. Refining a design does require more than one garment for most of us, but unlike Debbie I don’t do much transformation/refashion of my previous makes and no matter how slow I sew my wardrobe grows and grows and grows…

You may have read recent blog posts and reactions (here at Sew Liberated and at Noble&Daughter) about the pressure of blogging, which I thought was quite interesting. I would link it to the sewing blog transition almost exclusively towards showcasing finished items. I was enjoying recently the latest posts of Sigrid who has been in my reader for a very long time.Like Sigrid’s, a few years successful blogs were all about elaborate evening dresses, little french jackets or tailored coats sewalongs, highlighting the process of making things. I went back to Gertie‘s older posts too, when she was actually sewing her way through the Vogue Book (exciting sewing blog times!!), and her posts were definitely more about the making. Today, the frequency of finished garments posts  influences heavily the popularity of a blog. While, blogs showcasing the process of making complex garments still exist but they are just not the norm anymore.

It could explain the relative simplification of patterns offered by some Indie Designers, as they try to match our expectation to have a quick make to show. But of course, there is only so much content you can create around making a woven tank, so you only post about your finished garment. The vicious circle of consumption is activated and you are looking for the next tank pattern, to sew in 2 hours and blog in 1!

In addition, it puts pressure on the Indie designers to try to churn out patterns as quickly as possible. I guess that if you are StyleArc or Burda, you have professional patternmakers, samplemakers and graders on your payroll as well as a huge library of existing patterns to derive new designs from. It’s completely possible for you to do monthly releases, especially since instructions are rather sparse… But if you’re not one of those established companies and you have the pressure of delivering new patterns regularly, it can lead to disappointing or underwhelming patterns. In my opinion, the latest pattern from Tilly and the Buttons, the Marigold Jumpsuit is the perfect example of that.

As a disclaimer, I’ll say that I am not in T&TB’s target customer so this pattern is not intending to fit my expectations. I have also no idea if this pattern is actually selling or not. So it’s definitely a stretch for me to call it a bad pattern release. It may be selling like hot cakes (“comme des petits pains” for those of you who like French-isms). But in my eyes, it’s just so sad. I don’t see it flattering, well-designed, filling some kind of gap or even cute. I know we could enter the endless debate of what is a flattering fit, personal taste, good design, etc. and that’s not exactly where I want to go. I’m not even sure that it does match well the rest of this designer’s offering. In addition, there are several cheaper and better looking jumpsuit patterns available in Burda, Big4 and other Indies… I will direct you to this fun free pattern released on the French blog Essais & Erreurs, if you are looking for something different!

On the other hand, having some kind of trust issue with the more complex patterns of Indie designers, I rarely buy them and even more rarely make them. I want to remedy that and I bought the Françoise Jacket by République du Chiffon. Between the pattern price and the shipping to the US, I ended paying way more than I normally would allow myself for patterns so I hope it proves a success. I am in love with the proportions and the narrow collar but of course I want to make changes so I will have to make a muslin and take it from there. I would like to make 2-pieces sleeves with functional button vents, add a back vent (or 2) and see if I can forego the double closure. Lots of work ahead, so I’m not sure I will gather the energy to do it all.

francoise-jacket

and other bits

Because we cannot only talk and read about sewing, here is an interesting article in the NY Times about having more time to unwind, except if you are a woman

Today, I have grand plans of managing to go see the Manux X Machina exhibition at the Met, getting my nails done and taking pictures of finished makes all before 4pm (can I insert a nap somewhere??) so I’d better stop my ramblings, and get started!! Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts  and own tidbits in the comments, you know how much I love reading them!