Tidbits #6

Dear readers,

It’s Me Made May! I wish I was able to write some clever opening about it but really I can’t… I obviously didn’t make any “commitment” to MMM but I’m trying to make conscious decisions about wearing my handmade garments more often. So I’m loosely participating, and I broke my personal pathetic record by wearing at least one me made items around 10 days of the the months so far. I actually don’t have a clear idea of how often I wear clothes I made rather than RTW. But I’m nerdy and I would like to know more about how much I actually wear my clothes (not only the handmade ones). I bought the Stylebook app but I have yet to catalog my closet… I’ll report back if I ever get around it!

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Although I’m fascinated by people who dress exclusively with clothes they made, I never made it an goal for myself. I wonder why I find the idea more attractive than the execution. Maybe because I have RTW items that I really love. So far I noticed that one of my challenges is that I haven’t been sewing pants for years. I wear a mix a denim and slim ankle cigarette pants. I know that sewing jeans have been all the rage lately. It has sort of been on my mind but I never particularly struggled to find styles or fit that I liked in RTW (I know… lucky me) so I guess my incentive is quite low. I also had a less than satisfactory trial years ago with the pattern considered the holy grail of jeans patterns back then, Jalie 2908. So that leaves me the option of sewing trousers. It’s tough. I don’t like the patterns out there, the crotch fitting is fiddly and I was never completely satisfied. Something to think about…

Let’s move on to this edition of things I enjoyed these days!

1. Sewing sketch on SNL

I always found the “sewing” part of superhero movies hilarious. I’m glad SNL picked up on that!

2. Designer Sewing Patterns

Since my teenage years, I’ve been dreaming of sewing some of the free designer patterns released on Showstudio. And they just published a new one! From the archives, my favorites were always the McQueen kimono and the Galliano pirate jacket. The Watanabe dress is also quite intriguing. I love just looking at the pattern pieces because they are “THE REAL THING”!!.

3. Echo Look

Did you see the Echo Look camera that Amazon is about to release. I can’t say that I care about the style “advice” feature. Seriously why would I ask a robot to tell me if I’m “well dressed”? Beth from SunnyGal Studio summarized my thoughts perfectly in her latest Random Threads. However I can’t help but think that it would make taking outfit pictures a breeze. Also, it could act as an improved mirror for self-fitting. I know that I could just put my camera on the tripod semi-permanently but with a little human about to start crawling that’s probably a bad idea… Do you know of a similar hands-free camera (hopefully a lot cheaper…) ?

4. Is Fast Fashion A Class Issue?

Are ethically produced clothes a privilege for the wealthy? Should people with limited disposable income really be expected to pay more for clothes just to avoid buying cheap stuff that’s bad for the planet?

Tabi Jackson Gee, Refinery 29

Those questions are of course tough to answer but this article is a good follow-up of the previous tidbits and the discussion that followed in the comments. The only solution for me is to buy less. It’s nearly impossible to ensure we are buying “clean” clothes/fabric etc. I feel that I need to go through my closet again to remove some items. I found out that the less clothes I own, the less I feel like shopping. I’m not quite sure why but whatever works! I may use ThredUp to send clothes out. I used it recently to buy some tops and I thought it was more convenient than going to a consignment store.

That’s it for today, I hope you share what you’ve been enjoying lately in the comments and some of your thoughts on MMM and 100% handmade wardrobes!

 

Things I made, Episode 3

Dear readers,

For the third edition of Things I made, I am showing you what ended up being a final sample for Just Patterns (you know, that project I keep promising to write more about and never do…). So far I only saw the version of Leisa at A Challenging Sew popping up on social media but I’m expecting more soon. Her bold floral version looked so great that we instantly had more sales after she published her post!

Full midi skirts is a look I’ve tried before, but I am falling in love with it all over again. I’ve been experimenting with this skirt quite a bit these days and I’m surprised that I keep coming up with different combinations with other items in my closet and many of my shoes. A few years ago, it would have been unthinkable for me to pair it with flat shoes or with a loose sweater but this time it was a success. This is how much I love this skirt! I’m even thinking of a very casual look with white Adidas sneakers [insert gasp emoji]…

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Pattern


Pattern – Just Patterns #1101 – Pleated Skirt
Size – 34

This is the final sample for the pattern, so it’s sewn as-is. I didn’t make any modifications. I just want to point out that this is not a pleated rectangle but rather a flared skirt with inverted box pleats. The flare is better distributed and the overall movement of the garment is nicer.

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Making


Fabric – “brocade” from Mood in NYC, unidentified fiber
Notions – Invisible zip, hook and eye closure.
Helpful resources – Just Patterns come with limited information on construction but we compile useful links from around the web on a dedicated resource page for each pattern. #1101 – Pleated Skirt resource page.

Because black is difficult to photograph, the fabric doesn’t show very well but it’s  medium to heavy weight with an interesting texture. It’s most likely some kind of polyester blend but it also looks like it was entirely block fused. The final result has both body and drape and this is something to keep in mind when you just can’t find fabric with the right weight. I found it in the brocade corner of Mood (main floor on the left when you enter, after the lace). This section has many other intriguing options, not necessarily what you imagine when thinking “brocade”. I recommend checking it out if you wander by New York’s garment district!

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I don’t have a lot to say about the construction, when you drafted the pattern yourself, sewing is very straight forward. My main time waster was trying to use horsehair braid. Since reading Gertie’s blog years ago, I’ve had it in my stash. So yes, for 6 years I’ve been carrying horsehair braid around the world and I never found a use for it. I thought this would be the perfect occasion but I was completely wrong.  I couldn’t get to my seam ripper fast enough! Which means that I didn’t take a picture of the mess first and you will have to take my word for it. I’m not sure if it’s because of the flared hem but it made it wave in a super weird and unflattering way… So I removed it, and hand sewed the hem while watching Netflix. Horsehair Braid is back in the stash for the next 6 years unless one of you come up with a recommendation of what to do with it.

The plaid scarf is also an obsession from last winter. You can blame it on nesting instinct but I was smitten with the idea of wearing a plaid blanket around my neck. So that’st what I did. I went to mood, found some plaid wool, cut it so that it would be a square and frayed the edges. It also doubled as a couch blanket when the weather was chilly…

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I love the final skirt. It’s extremely versatile and I keep thinking that I need at least a white and a navy version. I’m obsessed with navy. We are finally approaching summer in New York City, millennial pink and other sorbet colors are trending. And all I can think about is navy. Something is wrong with me…

Over to you readers, let me know what you think about the full midi skirts, horsehair braid or about your latest color obsession!!

Tidbits #5

Dear readers,

Welcome back for a new edition of Tidbits, where I gather links of what I enjoyed reading, watching and listening lately. This week is all about inner conflict and my naturally french contradictory spirit. You can blame it on my on-going binge of In Treatment. That show is seriously addictive! I decided to add excerpts of the articles I am referring to in case you don’t have time to read through. Let me know if you think it’s the right or wrong approach!

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Sewing Bits

  1. Pillowcase Pattern Co

    The patterns will be available soon from Etsy for just $24, and include detailed instructions with full color photographs, beautiful packaging, and all the information you need to get started. There will also be a big blog tour so get ready!

    Made by Meg

    This April fool’s joke was hilarious. I do see the irony of me saying that, since I just started selling sewing patterns on Etsy. I decided to jump on the bandwagon, when I realized that there were 2 ways of not selling 24$-beginner-friendly-hipster-sewing-patterns. One is not to sell sewing patterns at all, which is what I had been doing until then. The other other is to sell cheaper patterns that would build on sewer’s experience and encourage self-confidence rather than hand-holding. So far, we had a little over 30 sales with our marketing efforts are very minimal and inconsistent so I feel it goes in the direction that there is appetite for a different offer…

  2. Sewing Polar Bear

Day 12 of #miymarch17 – Teacher. I suspect there are many patient mothers out there getting credit today ☺Mine is no exception, but my interest in sewing first appeared a few years ago. Since I have studied and worked far from home I have mostly used the Internet. There are some question though that Google has a hard time answering (like "how to get your collar band not to look like a turtle made it" and "how to sew that armhole of your coat without having a mental breakdown"). I have used Skype with my mum in those cases (let's just say she is very, very patient 😂). Side note: I'm currently trying to improve my shirt making skills and have discovered Angela Kane and her YouTube channel. She almost makes me want to quit my job, drink all the tea and handstitch collars all day long! 😆

A post shared by Miriam (@sewingpolarbear) on

I admire makers that are able to create visually pleasing Instagram accounts. I certainly don’t have the discipline to do it myself (hum hum… all the baby pictures) but I wish I did! See what I mean with this lovely lady, Sewing Polar Bear. At the same time, I look at my feed and I like that it reflects my real life, or at least a filtered version of it…

Other Bits

  1. The White Wall Controversy: How the All-White Aesthetic Has Affected Design

    So what does that mean for white rooms and the all-white trend? I think this look is one of the many styles in this particular zeitgeist that will be beloved and revered by some for years to come, but changed and moved past relatively soon for many.

    Grace Bonney,  Design Sponge

    My walls are all whites and my style revolves around classic and simple silhouettes. Still, at times, I am embarrassed about how much it fits current trends. Is it what I really enjoy, or am I a product of too much Pinterest? How do we keep challenging myself visually? Obviously home and fashion trends follow similar cycles. Are we on the verge of going back to a more maximalist approach to design?

  2. Minimalism is Boring

    Can I have both — the noise and the quiet; the jeans and the neons? Here are three outfits born out of the totems of a minimalist wardrobe.

    Leandra Medine, Man Repeller

    Gretchen Jones touched upon a similar issue in Episode 7 of Seamwork Radio when she said that she wasn’t really interested in the current fashion scene. I like Leandra’s differentiation of a maximalist style vs consumption. Hopefully, you can achieve an over the top look without over sized closet size.

  3. Minimalism: another boring product wealthy people can buy

    We cannot pretend that performative reduction in consumption, or choosing to only consume in certain ways, is not one of the most gratuitous displays of privilege out there, and to frame it as in any way a moral choice is more than a little offensive.

    Chelsea Fagan, The Guardian

    I’m a Konmari convert, but I couldn’t help agreeing with a lot of what was said in the article. This type of writing is essential for me. Although I can never be free from trends or my preconceptions, recognizing that they exist is the first step in minimizing their impact on my behaviors.

  4. The Myth of the Ethical Shopper

    We are not going to shop ourselves into a better world. Advocating for boring stuff like complaint mechanisms and formalized labor contracts is nowhere near as satisfying as buying a pair of Fair Trade sandals or whatever. But that’s how the hard work of development actually gets done: Not by imploring people to buy better, but by giving them no other option.

    Michael Hobbes, Huffington Post

    I cannot agree more with what is said here. Buying fair trade is not bad per se, but it shouldn’t stop us from looking at the (very) big picture. Changes have to happen at all levels!

  5. We’ve Forgotten How to Dress Like Adults

    Each decade of age seemed to offer its own licenses.
    “By the age of thirty, most women were married, held jobs, or both,” writes Przybyszewski. “And they were presumed able to handle the eroticism embodied in the draped designs that made for the most sophisticated styles.” Draping gathers excess fabric into unique waves that draw attention to the wearer’s womanly curves and the tug of gravity.

    Rebecca Huval, Racked

    “Adult” dressing used to be valued and enviable. Back in December, I visited a great aunt in her 80’s with a great sense of style. She was telling about meeting her late husband when she was in her early 20’s and he was in his 40’s. She said “You have to understand, it sounds like a big difference but back then at 23 we were women. We wore gloves, suits and a hat. Not jeans or t-shirt”. I was of course in my rattier jeans with the little human on my lap…

That’s it for today. I would love to hear your thoughts and what you have you read lately that challenged you!

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?