Nettie T-shirt by SewingTidbits

French or Italian? A Nettie t-shirt in stripes

Dear readers,

I am currently flying back from Guatemala and Honduras where I visited the amazing mayan ruins of Copán which partly explains the lack of activity around here! If you followed me on Instagram during #sewphotohop, you will have seen some sewing happening. I made that tee on a whim while keeping up my resolution to sew more from my ideal closet items pinned on Pinterest. Below are the two shirts that triggered my crush for widely open back tees.

For a reason I cannot explain, there is something intrinsically italian in my mind about those shirts. I picture myself in the countryside (maybe where Sasha lives?), leaning on the door frame of my imaginary bungalow, drinking delicious coffee and gazing at my olive trees in the horizon… When the tropical backgrounds of Haiti are not exactly Italian landscape, I can at least have my shirt and drink coffee!!

Nettie T-shirt by SewingTidbits

One Saturday, I went to hide in the heat of my sewing for an hour or two and pulled out my Nettie pattern. To turn it into a hip length tee, I stopped the patterns where it indicates to add for dress length and decided on the high front, mid-low back and short sleeves. Since I made this pattern twice already (here and here), there is not much more to report.

Nettie T-shirt by SewingTidbitsThe fabric came from my stash, I bought it in Port-au-Prince and it’s a left over of a Shadi skirt I made last year. The entire shirt was sewn on my serger and I am still not perfectly good at matching stripes with that machine… I changed the order of construction slightly so that I can attach the neck band and the sleeves flat. I was so determined to own this tee that when I realized that I actually didn’t have enough fabric for the front, I decided to piece it. Not very professional since you can see it in my shoulder area, but I don’t really mind.

Nettie T-shirt by SewingTidbits

As soon as I finished it, I threw it on and ran to The Old Man to get his opinion on my Italian tee. His comment sounded appreciative but was along those lines: “OOOooh a French tee!!”. I guess the stripes betrayed me… No matter how much leaning on the door frame I did with a coffee mug in my hands, he would NOT see the Italian side of it…

Nettie T-shirt by SewingTidbits

In other news, I just moved houses so this will be the last time you get to the garden in the background I’ve been using for the last two years. Our new apartment is smaller but I still have a sewing room (most important thing about housing!!). Also, it’s higher in the mountains which means fresher air and amazing view!!

I still have some posts coming up but since there will also be more traveling it’s hard to commit to regular updating… In the mean time, let me know what you think, French or Italian tee??

Vogue 8379 – a wrap dress that was not sewed-along

Dear readers,

Coming back from Guatemala in March to a clean and organized sewing room had the most surprising effect. I lost all my inspiration. After a week of indecisiveness, I bit the bullet and decided to use a pattern from my stash you probably all know, since Mccalls was running a sew along on their blog. My inability to participate in social events around the sewing community is well documented un-documented. As soon as I decide to take part in a sew-along, contest or anything, my excitement for the project drops entirely. In addition, not getting many opportunities to sew during the week, when I do, I clock several hours at once. The step by step approach of sewalongs – attach the collar and next week we’ll tackle the sleeves – does not work for me. I’m more a #sewuntilyoureyeshurt and #oopsthatsleeveisinsideout kind of person. But I’ll admit it, I am weak. I did not know what to sew, I had the pattern in my stash, I love thinkingI’m copying designers. So I went for it…

vogue-8379-Sewing Tidbits
I think I wrote several time about how rarely I work with Big4 patterns and why. I will NOT use 5/8″ seam allowances on a knit. Reading the instructions, I realized there was ease in the cap sleeve. Ease in a t-shirt sleeve!! I also checked the many many PR reviews and saw that the skirt is considered very full. I draped size 8 on my form with the paper pattern. Vogue 8379 - Draping the pattern - SewingTidbits

The picture is blurry but you can see how different it looks from the illustration. I decided to redraw the side seam and remove a lot of length. The final skirt length is 20″ and the hem circumference is 74″. I was surprised to find the waistline hitting at the right spot. I assume that it should be lengthen for none petite bodies. Other than that, the bust measurement is quite high, do they believe bust level is where the circled cross is???
Vogue 8379 - Draping the pattern - SewingTidbitsI removed 1/4 where the point of the wrap at the bodice meets the waistline to prevent gaping and changed all the SA’s to 3/8″. I removed 1/4″ on each side seam of the bodice, thus a 1″ overall.

I found around 1″ of ease in the sleeve cap. To remove it, I lowered the cap by 3/8″flatten the back portion and remove about 1/2″ on each side of the underarm seam (1/4″ being due to my intake in the bodice side seam). Vogue 8379 - Draping the pattern - SewingTidbitsThe dress was sewn entirely on the serger and what took the most time was probably finding the motivation of catch stitching the facing and the hem. The good parts in my procrastination is that with 2 weeks on the form, the skirt had all the times it needed to stretch out so I could safely mark and hem without risking further stretching.

Vogue 8379 by SewingTidbitsI only did a passable job at making my catch stitching invisible and it bothers me a little. But definitely not enough to redo it! The fabric is the last piece of a black jersey which at this stage I’m not entirely sure I bought it in Paris or in NYC. I get very worried about my memory. When I hear other seamstresses with stashes 20 times the size of mine (yes, it’s small), saying that they can remember buying each piece, I’m embarrassed. My entire stash holds in one drawer and although I think I know everything I own and could mention it from the top of my head, I get surprises every time! Am I the only one? Is my memory particularly bad?
Vogue 8379 by SewingTidbits

Vogue 8379 by SewingTidbitsI didn’t like spending all this time on the pattern of what I consider a relatively basic knit dress. If you add my low sew-jo and The Old Man’s not-so-subtle-comments about spending time on dresses when I mostly wear jeans & shirts, I was about the quit several times. Even when I finished it, I was disappointed. I was planning a pathetic blog post about how I AGAIN sewed something I don’t need and how The Old Man was right. But last week I had a work cocktail and it ended up being very useful. I got a lot of compliments, including from The Old Man.

vogue-8379-10 Vogue 8379 - Sewingtidtbits

I am now convinced that this dress induced a major blogging break. Yes, I blame it on a dress 😉 . I started this review a month ago and could not manage to finish it. Final verdict: I will probably wear that dress but I can’t say that I love it. I decided to take it as a lesson. Recently I was discussing with the very smart Seamripped if we sew what we want to wear or wear what we want to sew. In that case I believe I have been wanting to make a wrap dress for a long time (blame it on the DVF patterns) but I never pictured myself wearing one. So in the future I want to take let what I want to wear (my fashion board on Pinterest VS my sewing board). If you follow me in Instagram you saw that I put it into practice twice already…

What about you? How do you decide what to sew?

Named pattern : the Shadi skirt

Dear readers,

It appears that I have been making a lot of announcements on this blog lately and my follow-up capacity is limited. But, for once, I have good news: you may remember my purchase of the Shadi Knit Skirt pattern from the F/W 14-15 collection of Named Patterns. Well, I did sew 2 versions of the skirt in August, photographed them in Guatemala in September and now they are on the blog in late October, YAY!

Named shadi skirt

Named shadi skirt lace

It’s a simple pattern that I could probably have drafted myself but I really wanted to give this company a try. I don’t regret it. The construction was pleasant. I like the narrowing at the knee and the very wide elastic waistband. The first version is made from leftovers of my faux lace Nettie Dress.

named stripe shadi front named stripe shadi back

I found this super sof striped jersey in one of Port-au-Prince fabric stores. Obviously, the lace one is only one appropriate for work, the stripes are reserved for date nights… But both are perfect for traveling, they take 0 space, they don’t wrinkle and they can be dressed up/down easily.

Named stripes shadi skirt

I used size 32EUR (0 US). I love that they take the smallest spectrum of the sizes into consideration. However, Named patterns are designed for tall people and at only 5’3, I knew I wanted the skirts considerably shorter. But I forgot to shorten the pattern before cutting the fabric. It felt like a waste, I don’t know what was distracting me, sigh…

I guess this is how much I can talk about two basic knit skirts! I hope I will find some of Named future designs more wearable as I enjoyed working with this pattern. I will definitely use it next time I stumble on a cute knit (very rare around here…). It’s a very quick make and it forces me to practice my (limited) serger skills.

I still feel sort of guilty for not making the pattern.. Do you sometimes buy the pattern of something you could have drafted? Is that ok?

A simple black Nettie dress

Dear readers,

Do you realize that as seamstresses, we tend to overanalyze our wardrobe? I mean who else spends these hours reading about the Wardrobe Architect, or every current and vintage wardrobe/style advice ever printed? I, for example, am having a massive style crush on Un-fancy. Even though her style is much much more casual than mine, and I have 0 plans to get dressed with 37 items, I am addicted to her daily remixes and the clean feeling of her pictures. And even after all our careful analyze and planning we get distracted by the latest pattern release or a nice print at the fabric store…

Finally let’s also be honest about one point: having a blog does change what you sew, because for instance neon color will pop on the screen and social media, as well as pretty prints. For some of us it’s ok, because it is actually our uniform, but for others it is not. As I am now just 1 year before 30, and I’m starting to admit that I don’t wear that many eye-popping color and prints. I will keep enjoying them on other blogs and once in a while fall for distraction bu, sewing my “birthday dress” meant sewing something that will come out of my closet every time I need to “fancy” up myself!

What can be better than a black Nettie dress from Closet Case files then ?? Nothing.wpid830-Black-nettie-dress-35.jpg wpid828-Black-nettie-dress-29.jpg wpid819-Black-nettie-dress-15.jpg

I made this dress before, so I did not change anything, except that I did not add bra cups inside. The fabric is a viscose jersey bought in Paris while I was there in June (at Sacré Coupons), and although it is very soft, it is slightly less stretchy than the printed lace I used for my previous version. Therefore, I am trying to feel what the reviewers stated about the arms being on the tight side. However, please note that I use the smallest side of the initial pattern release, before Heather corrected it.

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I have several garments to show here, including some that are not even photographed yet. Last weekend I did try the Named Shadi skirt and made 2 (knit skirts, so fast…). BUT it is this time, you know the one that comes every 8 weeks. I will be traveling to Guatemala (for rest) and Panama (for work). I have hopes to take pictures before and write blog posts during my holidays. We will see how this goes.

Now, I would really like to hear about your strategies to make clothes that suit your lifestyle and not be distracted by pretty prints and patterns releases !

 

 

New Named patterns!!!

I have no idea why my blogroll is not full of them already but FYI the new Named patterns are out!!

I never tried them before, mostly because I believe that they are designed with tall (Finnish) people in mind. And obviously 5’3 dark hair me does not qualify (not because of the hair). But I love that we have more edgy pattern designers around. Honestly, I am not a retro girl, so even if I find a lot of indie designs cute, I will never wear them. Unfortunately for me, a lot of the designs don’t fit my lifestyle. I don’t know winter, or even fall (Yes you can hate me now), and I have very little activities that require wearing overalls or fringed sweaters… So I had to go with a basic design.
Even though I could have found it in a burda magazine/hacked my nettie/drafted it, I decided to give the company a try with the Shadi Knit Skirt pattern.
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It was just bought and printed, I will report back asap!

You can see the whole collection on the Named website.
What do you think? Do you plan on making some of the designs?

Faux Lace Nettie Dress

Close Front - Nettie Dress Side View - Nettie Dress Back View - Nettie Dress
It’s very rare that I use independent pattern companies. It’s even more rare that I decide to use them right after they are released. Unless you have been living under a rock buried under your stash the last few weeks, you have seen many many iterations of Nettie, the bodysuit pattern released by Closet Case Files. Frankly, I am not sure a bodysuit would add anything in my life (but I understand that it can be useful to others) so I had a look but did not pay all that much attention. But then, I saw this dress made by the lovely Lindsay. I did not have a choice anymore, I NEEDED IT NOW. Unfortunately, knit is NOT an easy thing to find in Port-au-Prince AND the old man tends to make those comments about new fabric purchases that cool me down a bit. So I know I had to be sneaky. And sneaky I was! When I was told that the daughter of our friends dreamt about having a mermaid tail she could swim in (more later), I happily volunteered myself, knowing that it would mean a trip to the fabric store without The Old Man. And there it was, waiting for me, lace printed knit that looks A LOT like the one Carolyn used recently or the illustration of the Nettie pattern. The worst part is that I did not even realize it was the same as the illustration until Heather pointed it out on Instagram.

Close Bottom - Nettie Dress Close back - Nettie Dress

In the same weekend, I completed my mermaid making commitments, I ignored the less-than-convinced comments from the old man about the fabric and tackled the Nettie on Sunday afternoon. By Sunday evening, after taking a nap and a break for dinner, the dress was done. The old man was so impressed that i/ he admitted he was wrong about the fabric and ii/ he wondered why my other projects are all so long. Men… But I mean COME ON, he admitted he was wrong about something, that NEVER happens.

Regarding the pattern I used the high front neckline and the lowest back. I was a bit concerned about the sizing since I had the initial version of the pattern, before Heather amended it. But I decided that my knit had enough stretch so I cut a size 4 (so if I understood correctly this size would now be a 2 and is not included in the pattern anymore) and graded out to a 6 at the hips just to be sure. I also shorthened the sleeves because I have creepy baby length arms and the cropped sleeves would have ended at my wrists…

Dressform front nettie dress Dressform Side - Nettie Dress Dressform Back - Nettie Dress

I did not really use the instructions, first because I did not use my regular machine but my serger (and I don’t baste, I hate basting) and second I prefer to construct knit flat as much as possible (except hems). That means that I joined 1 shoulder, added the neck binding, closed the second shoulder, sewed the sleeves in the armholes and closed the side seams from the bottom of the hem to the end of the sleeve. The hems were serged, turned and topstitched twice to mimic the effect of a coverstitch.

Neckbinding - Nettie DressInside Front - Nettie Dress Inside back - Nettie Dress Inside close - Nettie Dress Cup - Nettie Dress

 

I used the instructions to add the shelf bra. I am still undecided about the cups. I destroyed an old bra to steal the cups but I don’t know if they add to the silhouette or detract from it. The dress has not been taken out on a date yet so I guess that a few hours of test wearing will tell me if I like the cups or not. By the way, yes, I know this dress needs a date. I told the old man and I wore it around the house to signal my impatience so it should be coming soon. Unless we get knocked down by the epidemic of Chikungunya. And I really hope it is not the case because we are leaving to France in 10 days. I do not want to be sick, I want to be able to sneak around to by fabric and hide it in my suitcase!!

Finally, I believe that the Nettie dress requires a Vixen pose, so here it is :

Front - Nettie Dress

 

To finish on an unrelated note I changed the design of my blog. I hope you like it and that it makes reading easier! Let me know if you have comments.

What do you think about bodysuits ? Do you wear them? And more importantly, do you have to hide to buy fabric???

Perfect T-shirt: FREE PATTERN ALERT !!

I try to force myself to work with knits to improve my serger skills. It’s hard because the results are not yet to my standard but it’s a humbling experience after 14 years of sewing… Now for the pattern, don’t go, RUN to get Skinny Bitch Curvy Chick Tonic T-shirt pattern!! Why ? It’s FREEEEEEEE and it’s PERFECT!

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Now, the only thing you have to be careful about is measurements: it’s very close fitting so make sure your knit has the proper amount of recovery (printed on the instructions so yay!!) and adjust the length if needed. I’m 5’3″ and because I wear my bottoms either high waisted or pretty low on the hips, next time (oh yes there wil be many next times!!) I’ll add 2″ to make sure that I don’t expose my tummy in the office… Also, I have one less positive comment about the pattern, it’s a tiled PDF and there are no marks for where to join the pages. Since it’s just a t-shirt and you can just make sure lines are straight, it’s ok but I hope that for their more complex pattern SBCC is including this marks!

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I love everything about this pattern, the instructions are great (closer result to RTW), the scoop neck is nice and wide, the drafting is perfect, the fit is great and did I say that it’s free ?? This blue knit is from my last hangout with Lakaribane in Pétionville (did I say that she’s evil?? She shows you around Port-au-Prince, take you to eat delicious lobster and gets you to buy fabric to justify her own addiction… I’m telling you, she’s dangerous 😉 )

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For the construction, I serged all seams as per instruction, starting with one shoulder, finishing the neckline (hum hum, a lot of room for improvement here), serging the second shoulder, adding the sleeves, serging side seams and underarms seams at once and then serging and double stitching the hems.

The usual dressform shots: IMG_0830IMG_0831IMG_0832

And to my shame the close-ups where you can see my less than perfect work on the neckline. Do you have a tip to cut a constitent 1/8″ with the knif of the serger or do I have to get use to it?

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As you can see, the final result is quite close fitting. I used size XXS but I want to try to go up 2 sizes to make a loose version out of this amazingly soft and beautiful vintage silk jersey I just got in Paris. WHAT? Did I say vintage french silk jersey ? Yes… A fabric p*rn post from my trip back home is on the way…

Any tips for my serger learning curve?