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!

The other white shirt

Dear readers,

It looks like the new blog format is working for me so far, I hope it is for you too. However it’s too soon to tell if I will be able to keep it up. It wouldn’t be the first time that I manage to maintain decent activity levels on the blog, only to let it completely go a month later… One thing I forgot to mention though is that I don’t currently plan on posting on other platforms than here and Instagram. No more PR, Kollabora (which never seemed to foster interactions or traffic anyway), Burdastyle or Thread and Needle. Traffic was never high on this blog and will certainly drop now but I kind of like the idea of a narrower little corner of the Internet, mostly with regular readers.

Squareshirt SewingTidbits-2
But let’s talk about today’s topic, another big square white shirt. Whenever I sew a white top, I kick myself for not making more. It’s so easy to be seduced by colors and prints in pretty fabric, but there are not many garments as versatile as white tops and blouses.

When I made the Ralph Pink pattern I mentioned last week, I already had in mind a crisp poplin version. Probably because of this Burda pattern (coincidentally Mokosha just posted about it, and it’s reminding me that it would probably fit my current needs) and this Everlane number :

I decided to start with my silk-blend version so that the drape would help with the extra-volume. I really like my previous version, but decided to take in the sides even more (total of 5″ on each side seam, as opposed to 3″ last time) and shorten the sleeves (3″) to account for the stiffer fabric. Unfortunately this required redrafting almost completely the front since I was reaching the sleeve cuffs in a straight line. While I was redrafting, I took the opportunity to modify the curved seam line you can see in the front. On the original pattern the front seam is purely decorative, with no shaping. But since I was going with a shape closer to the body, I included a sort of bust dart.

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I’m not sure you can see very well above but the dotted paper is my modified front pattern and the white one the original pattern. I also modified the top collar pattern to create a smaller/more current collar.

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The fabric is the most beautiful Japanese 100% cotton shirting. I found it at Mood’s and I have just no word to describe how smooth and perfect it is. It sewed well but I had a little bit of puckering that I could not completely iron out, for which I have no explanation. There is also the always tricky curved underarm seam, which was made extra difficult by the use of French seams. For this shirt, I finally  remembered to make my buttonholes and sew the buttons BEFORE hemming. No one will believe but I swear that the CF matched exactly in length before, but I am no Beth of SunnyGal Studio and I cannot explain how the lower picture happened!

Some of you may have a serious eye twitch already and believe me I do too! Let me explain how ironic the situation is. Being French (I know it’s a lame lame excuse), I’m a very critical blog reader. Lately, I kept noticing garments with the traditional closure for womenswear (right over left, ALWAYS right over left) had been avoided/omitted. It’s quite disturbing to the eye in my opinion. Well guess what happened next… I marked my buttonholes actively thinking:”Ha! You are not going to catch me making THAT dumb mistake!!” [Smirk face]. I sewed all the buttonholes , all the buttons, hemmed the shirt only to realize that I had just done it! I inverted the closure!!! Oh well…. *Shameful Face*

I really love the final garment. It fits my current needs perfectly and has been through several wash and wear cycles. I hope not to outgrow it too fast because it’s a very office friendly option in my shrinking wardrobe. I don’t have a definite word on Ralph Pink’s Sahara Shirt Pattern, like most patterns it did require a certain level modifications to match the idea that I had in mind. I did appreciate that the pattern pieces were relatively simple and went together easily.

As you can see in the inspiration pictures, a crucial aspect to modeling a square shirt is to pretend you’re about to casually perform a set of crunches.  I will comply as long as I’m not required to do the actual crunches!

Squareshirt SewingTidbits-4

That’s it for today! Hopefully I will be back soon with more pictures of recent makes. This post is proof that I CAN take pictures inside my apartment, even if they are on the boring side… Oooh tropical background of Haiti, how I miss you!! Any tips for indoor pictures you would like to share?

Tidbits #1

Dear readers,

The other day, I wrote about short-form content and I never thought that with the blog name I chose (many moons ago, on a whim and without particularly liking it), maybe that’s what I meant to do all along!! So, welcome to Tidbits first edition, where I share stuff I saw, read, heard.

Dartless Top SewingTidbits-3Sewing Tidbits…

2 beautiful Instagram accounts : Notes of a Pattern Maker and Contour Affair.

Now that’s what I call a great post from Jen at Grainline Studios. I’ve been completely underwhelmed by the brand’s latest pattern releases but her voice hasn’t changed and is still ON POINT. There are no secrets to good sewing, only practice practice practice!!

I don’t think I really need a Cape Blazer in my closet (or do I??) but this is what I like to see from the Indie pattern designer!

A nice article about sewing in the Atlantic. I enjoyed the history part on the sewing kit but the text doesn’t really go anywhere at the end and I “stayed hungry” (that’s a litteral translation of the French expression “rester sur sa faim).

And other Bits!

I’m fairly recent listener to podcasts, and have been following the one produced by Leandra Medine of Man Repeller since the beginning. However, it’s been a few episodes that she is losing me. The last one is all about getting out of your comfort zone and I’m just getting tired of the constant run for improvement. Can’t you just be happy about where you are and what you have? Do you really have to “challenge yourself” all the time to become a “Better You”? Listen and tell me what you think!

A few weeks ago, I saw this great Cuban movie Viva and I highly recommend it! I’ve never been to Cuba but I could really feel the Carribbean vibe I have encountered in Haiti, the Dominican Republic or Panamá. The story is beautiful, the music is awesome and the photography is mind-blowing!

What are the words or images you enjoyed recently, please share!

What is going on with all the big shirts?

Dear readers,

From the reactions to my last post, I gather that you are still around and ready to engage and that’s pretty good news! So first I would like to thank all the commenters, I think there was a great conversations going on!

One of the reasons for my lack of posting is the fact that I sewed several items I ended up disliking. In my opinion, that’s the most discouraging thing that can happen to a seamstress. You have an idea, get excited, find the fabric, the pattern, spend hours making it, try it on and….. Meh. How anti climatic is that? It doesn’t help that once I reach  construction stage, I don’t like to interrupt myself.I finish all the seams and stop to try on items only just before hemming/adding closures. I usually can get away with it because I know what shapes work on me and I spend time adjusting patterns before cutting fabric. Except these days, I have no idea of how to fit myself because….

Squareshirt SewingTidbits-1
I’m growing a little human!! That’s another reason the blog hiatus, I really really didn’t feel like being in front of a camera and all my clothes feel weird.

I used to wear fairly fitted clothes, most of the time in the smallest size available, with a defined waist. Obviously all that is gone already and I’m not sure of what’s left… I don’t really feel like wearing a lot of those tight jersey dresses that seem to be screaming “LOOK AT MY BELLY” but I’m also not use to see myself hidden in voluminous shapes. Tricky time! So I thought about big shirts:

After seeing the version made by Paprika Patterns, I decided to try Ralph Pink’s Sahara Shirt pattern. I’ve been tempted several times by his patterns, on the basis that they look “different” from most other Indies, but the sizing seemed too big for me and I struggled finding a pattern I really liked. It probably doesn’t help that not a lot of other bloggers have made his garments (with notable exception by Inna and Oona) so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

I printed the pattern, found suitable cotton-silk in the stash (same as a Vogue 1247 skirt sewn in 2014), cut the smallest size (US 0), sewed and sewed and sewed. It’s a relatively quick make, without many seams (although I used french seams everywhere), and they matched well enough. I would recommend checking the length of the front button plackets (I think they were too long) and the side seams but there was nothing truly catastrophic… Until I tried on the shirt. I could not picture myself going around the city is what looked like A GIGANTIC TENT!!


I put it away my sewing friend from the Pattern Line came over and convinced me that all it needed was taking in the sides a little. By a little, I mean 3″ on each side seams… The total reduction is 12″ (!!) tapered to nothing at the underarm. I also removed some of the extra length at the back to soften the curved hem effect. But you know what? Now, I actually really like it!

 As you can see, I didn’t lie when I previously said that blog posts would have less pretty pictures… Next time I will tell you about my iteration in white poplin (in the first picture).

In the mean time, I would love to hear your thoughts on those pattern companies that seem less popular among sewing bloggers, does it stop you from trying them out?