I am not a particularly meticulous sewist. I do take my time but there is usually a moment when I start rushing. The context is almost always the same: I am in the "sewing zone", everything is going well and I suddenly decide that I want to wear what I'm working on, THAT night! And instantly, things start going all wrong... I make mistakes I would normally never make, the machines act out, the little human wakes up, you name it... Of course, I never get to wear the garment that night and my next sewing session will be dedicated to fixing mistakes. Sounds familiar?Read More
Sewing Tidbits is the sewing blog written since 2013 by Delphine, the co-founder of Just Patterns.
Filtering by Category: Made by Me
Compared to previous years, 2018 was relatively calm for me. I didn't move across any ocean and I didn't birth any human! But I did experience significant changes, some that were to be expected and some that were completely unexpected. On the expected side, my quiet and smiling baby turned into a determined, not to say very stubborn, toddler committed to climbing onto everything (especially me). On the unexpected side, two major changes of responsibilities in my day job have have considerably increased my workload.Read More
One of the issues of blogging only sporadically is to remember to give some contexts to whatever I'm about to say. Over the last few months, I have mentally wrote several posts so I feel like you are up to date with my train of thoughts when in fact, not at all! So let's recap a little.Since moving back to Haiti exactly a year ago, I have moved from one challenging and time-consuming job to another even more challenging and time-consuming one. Who would have thought that was possible?? But possible it was, and this is the situation now... In parallel, I also found that if I thought that being the single working mom of an infant was not an easy job, being the single working mom of a toddler is a completely different game. Basically, I have two very tiring jobs....Read More
I'm slowly climbing out of the overwhelmed single working mom hole although I have to acknowledge that I may fall right back into it at any time. Life has a thing for intently proving me wrong every time I start feeling like things are under control. But before that happens, I'm trying to get as much sewing and photographing done! The skirt I am showing you today has been on my mind since November.Read More
It has only been a week since I last posted here, so this should give you an idea of how much I am boiling inside, waiting for my sewing machines! This year I sewed 23 items, which is a pretty good output for me:
17 garments for myself. I'm happy with that number. I try to keep my wardrobe a manageable size and it wouldn't make sense for me to aim for more. The big lesson here is that I probably shouldn't buy sewing patterns anymore... This year, 9 garments were from patterns we released under Just Patterns, 4 were self-drafted, 1 was Burda, 2 from Indie designers (both free) and 1 is an mash-up of indie/Big4/self-drafting.
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3 items for the little human: a spring coat, a white special occasion dress and a summer hat. I'm terrible at documenting baby sewing outside of Instagram. Actually, let me rephrase: I'm terrible at baby sewing. I find it really difficult to find clothes that would be 1/comfortable for Little Tidbits, 2/ are interesting to make and 3/ not too time-consuming because she outgrows them so fast. Or maybe I'm just a Selfish Seamstress (TM) and that even motherhood could not change that!
1 Just Patterns sample in our fit model size (to be released next month).
1 unusual item, I made a sample for a friend who runs a gender queer underwear business. She showed me a picture of a lapel to accessorize her line and I made the first sample. You can see it on the Play-Out website!
For the sake of accountability, here are the garments I included in my #2017MakeNine post. I sewed 4 out of the 9 garments below:
I did finish the white Blazer (it's the pattern mash-up mentioned above). I haven't managed to blog about it but I have a few pictures I used for Instagram. The Balmain blazer on the other hand saw no progress. It's in a box and well advanced. I hope to complete it in 2018.
I made 2 out of 3. The white pencil skirt was my submission for the first round of the Pattern Review Sewing Bee Contest. I also finally got around sewing a Stella Jean inspired skirt from one of the pieces of African wax I have in stash since leaving in Zambia. This one is un-blogged, but you may have seen it on Instagram. I sewed 3 more skirts but not the one included in the Makenine.[gallery ids="3723,3610" type="columns"]
I did sew my own sample of the Linda wrap dress. Actually I sewed 2 more variations. One sleeveless I posted on Instagram and one for Sew News that I will show you next year. I wasn't sure about the Capital Chic sheath when I made my plan and I didn't get even close to sewing it.[gallery ids="3724,3259" type="columns"]
I sewed 4 tops and 2 Tshirts this year, but nothing I had mentioned in the 2017Makenine. Oops...
What are the lessons for 2018?
In my last post, I did mention that my realization that I wouldn't be able to document all my sewing in blog posts but when I counted how many garments I blogged vs sewed, I realized that out of the 17 handmade garments for myself, I only blogged 5. That's really low in my opinion. Even if 5 of the 12 un-blogged items are samples for Sew News that I cannot blog them before the issue they are featured gets published, that still leaves 7 garments that could have made it to the blog. I will try to post some of them in 2018 and I hope it won't bother you. Let's just pretend that I'm super professional and I plan my content in advance!
I will not be making a #2018Makenine plan for several reasons. First, i don't think that the #2017Makenine helped me focus my sewing. I sewed what I already knew I would make and, unsurprisingly, didn't sew the ones I wasn't sure about. Just for the sake of making a plan, I tend to include clothes that I'm not 200% excited about. There is no value in doing that. Secondly, in my experience, when moving to a different country, it takes some time to reevaluate what you need and want to wear. So I'm going to take some time thinking and maybe doing some planning. Just like everyone else in the sewing world, I've been reading the Curated Closet, and I also did a round of the 10x10 Challenge (you can read about it here and I'll post more in details about it later). I want explore the intersection personal style and a handmade wardrobe and I will try to document the process.
In order to plan be more mindful of what I sew and what I wear, I need to be realistic about my average sewing productivity. For 2018, my assumption is that I'll sew between 15 and 20 garments for myself. 6 technically already decided on since I have a commitment with Sew News for 3 samples and we have already made plans for 3 pattern releases with Just Patterns. Ideally, everything I make this year will bring cohesion to my closet and contribute to a decrease in my fabric stash!
I'll be back soon with my thoughts on a year of selling PDF sewing patterns but in the mean time I would love to hear your thoughts about wardrobe planning and sewing plans! Did you manage to follow-up on your 2017 plans? Are you taking part in the #2018MakeNine? Happy new year!
Greetings from France! Today's post is my definition of an achievement. I'm showing you the blouse I made for round 2 of the Pattern Review Sewing Bee Contest. I'm calling this an achievement because not only am I terrible at sewing on a deadline, I'm even worse at taking pictures and posting them in a timely manner. And with this blouse I managed to make both happen! (smug face).It's not the first time that I pass round 1 in the Pattern Review Sewing Bee, but it's the first time that I managed to complete the project on time for round 2. When I saw that the theme was sleeves I wasn't terribly inspired. I'm not one to add frills or follow #sleevefest. But I did had a picture of this Chloe Blouse hanging in my sewing space and I figured I could make something wearable/I had exactly 2 days to buy fabric, prepare a pattern and finish my garment before flying out to France but it all worked out.
Pattern – self-drafted
I drafted the pattern using my TNT shirt as a starting point. My TNT pattern started initially as a Grainline Studio Archer shirt but I'm not sure that any pattern piece would be recognizable by now. To create this pattern, I joined the shoulder yoke to the back and omitted all waist darts. I created a simple front by removing all pockets, plackets, etc. and lowered the neckline by 2" at Center Front, widening 1" at the shoulder tapering to nothing at Center Back.The sleeves are cut to reach the middle of my forearm. The flounce detail is very simple. I created it by using this technique, but it ends up being a half circle, so with a little bit of math you could draft it directly.
Fabric – Grey Silk Crepe de Chine from Mood NY, contrast ivory crepe de chine from stash.
Notions – Lingerie hook from stash
The construction is very straightfoward, but because the fabric is silk crepe de chine it takes a bit of time to complete each step with care. The fabric is cut on the open (I just learned that this was the proper wording, as opposing to "on the fold"), between 2 layers of paper. All seams are french, the neckline is bound using a strip of bias self fabric. The hem and the back opening are finished with a baby hem using ban-rol. I cannot repeat enough how much i love ban rol for those hems. It produces perfect tiny hems without any wrinkle or stretching.
To follow the Chloe blouse, I used a remnant from this slip dress to bind the inside of the sleeve flounce, but omitted the tying bow. To bind the inner corner neatly, I used something similar to this technique, doing a little bit of origami. When it comes to binding, quilters are the best! Cutting, sewing, folding, they have all the tricks!
I like my finished blouse and I have no doubt that I will wear it because I love the color and the comfortable fit. After checking out the other entries on Pattern Review, I realize that my little sleeves are WAY too understated for the challenge... But even with the sleeve detail being so small, it still somewhat feels outside of my comfort zone.
What do you think readers? Are you pro or anti #sleevefest?
I have tendency of making radical statements, about the smallest things, even when I'm not that convinced myself. It's a French thing and it's embarrassing. As a result, I often end up in the awkwardly looking at my shoes because I just did what I said I would never ever do. A few weeks ago I heard myself proclaiming that I was officially sick of seeing exposed metal zippers. And here we are with this pencil skirt, which most interesting feature is an exposed gold metal double zipper…
I had initially no plan to participate in this year Sewing Bee contest organized by Pattern Review, but when the pencil skirt theme was announced, I knew I had to. I wear a lot of pencil skirts, I have my own pattern and I can make one relatively quickly. But the twist is that the skirt has to be inspired by music or a musician... I've more of an analytical mind than a creative one. So asking me to think of skirt when I listen to song or look at a bridge leaves me completely blank.
I decided to look at celebrities wearing pencil skirts, and Victoria Beckham is a big proponent of them. I know it's a stretch to call her a musician, since she publicly acknowledged that she actually never sang while part of the Spice Girls. But I was a HUGE Spice Girls fan in my early teens (walls covered in posters type of fan!) so it's actually a pretty good match for me. I also very much like the way she handles her fashion labels. Pencil skirts are a basic piece of Victoria Beckham's main label and she has at least one per season. Since I live a few blocks away from Saks Fifth Avenue, I decided to have a quick look at her skirts. Just like Roland Mouret, she uses a type of thick knit material, something between scuba and Herve Leger Bandage dresses, and leaves the garments unlined. I'm not a fan of the knits, and that exact material is quite hard to come by, so I decided to do a classic lined wool skirt with that distinctive metal double zipper at the center back.
Pattern Link – My own free pencil skirt pattern
Size – 00
I removed the waistband and did a faced high waist instead. I extended the waist line straight up by 1"1/4, including the darts, and I drafted a facing.I used my lining pieces (unfortunately I haven't been able to make it available as part of the download yet) and remove the CB seam allowance on both the self and the lining to allow for the exposed zipper. In effect, that eliminates the back vent too.
Fabric – Wool suiting from Mood Fabric, I believe it was The Row, lining is a lightweight silk twill from my stash.
Notions – Custom made double zip from Botani in the NY Garment District.
The wool, the silk I used for lining and the interfacing were all from my stash so it was basically a "free" project. Until I decided to splurge big time on the zipper. I know you can get a double zip shortened at Pacific Trimming in NYC, but the day I went their technician was not there. I couldn't come back any other day and I was on a deadline for the PR challenge, so I went to Botani instead. Their service is great, you can customize any element of a zipper, the tape, the metal color, the size of the teeth, the pull, separating, etc. 20 minutes (and 20 dollars) later you have your perfectly matched zipper!I've made quite a few pencil skirts by now so the construction was very straightforward. I bagged the lining, enclosed the zip between the self layer and the lining and left an opening in one of the lining side seams to turn the skirt over. It's quick and it looks very clean.
The hardest element of this project was managing to take pictures of it before the deadline of the contest. I only managed to get a few decent ones and a little person decided that she needed to be part of the photoshoot. I really like my final skirt, and I'm super happy that it was part of the pieces I had on my #2017MakeNine plan! I hope to do a post soon on how I'm doing with that plan, let's see if I carve out the time.
What about you? Are you following up on your sewing resolutions for 2017?
First, let me thank you for your reactions on my last post. I received lovely messages in the comments, on Instagram and by email. In addition to people volunteering to become part of the Just Patterns Development Group, I had some great discussions about sewing, patterns and fashion!With over 70 volunteers for the development group, it has been very difficult to restrict the selection to 20 but we managed and now everybody is hard at work and already providing great feedback!
To offer an alternative to those who want to ask questions while they sew our patterns or post their finished makes we also created a Facebook Community Group. I'm not much of a Facebook person myself but I'm surprised already at the fluidity of conversation it enables...
But let's talk about today's dress! This is my first version of our latest pattern release, the Linda Wrap Dress. I have been obsessed with this dress since Eira drafted it and It's for garments like this that I originally wanted to launch Just Patterns. I am thrilled that it has finally joined of my closet!
I could go on and on about this design because I love everything about it! I think it has great details, such as the collar, the metal buckle and the big pockets. It also has a kind of uniform vibe that makes me feel extra confident on days I have to attend important meetings. A little like a man suit, but more interesting that its traditional female counter part, the sheath dress.In case you are wondering, the only closure is at the waist. I recommend wearing a slip underneath unless you like to live dangerously! The skirt overlap does generally a good job at revealing only an attractive yet appropriate amount of leg. But I've been caught in some crazy NYC winds and luckily I was prepared!
Pattern - Linda Wrap Dress
Size - 34
The biggest disclaimer of this post is that I did not sew the pattern as is. I used size 34, I removed 1" to the skirt length and 2" to the sleeves length. I could have sized up for the skirt to have some extra ease in the hips area. For future samples, I will also skip shortening the skirt and remove only 1" of the sleeve length. When we reviewed the fit and measurements of the final garment, we decided that it would be too small on most people. We moved all of our grading up one size as a result. But in case you are not into the relaxed look, sizing down is a great option.
Fabric - Wool from Mood Fabric, I believe it was Rag&Bone
Notions - The 35mm buckle, eyelets and snaps (inside the belt) are from Botani in the NY Garment District.
Of course I am biased, but I find the construction of this dress very straightforward. I love that using french seams and sandwiching the bodice and the skirt between the 2 layers of the belt provides clean finish on the inside, no serging or binding required!You may have seen on Instagram that I bought a Dual Compensating Raising Foot for my industrial machine and it really made the double topstitching easier. Since buying it I keep looking for excuses to double topstitch ALL THE THINGS!
The belt buckle is probably the only unusual part of the construction but I posted some pictures of the process and if you take your time it shouldn't be hard to figure out.
I used our bias slip dress pattern to create a lingerie style slip. I needed a V neck to match the wrap dress plunging neckline, so I used the neckline of our bias top pattern. And since I was going to cut some silk I decided that I may as well make a lingerie tank too!
Fabric - Nude Silk Charmeuse from Mood Fabric
Notions - Gold lingerie strap hardware from Botani.
I used a single layer of fabric instead of 2, finished the edges with bias binding and made adjustable lingerie straps instead of spaghetti ones. I wouldn't say that it is a very quick sew because of the time it takes to cut properly but the construction is relatively fast. I always find my slip/tank projects very rewarding. The garments feel luxurious and get worn a lot (including just to sleep!!) and the time involved is reasonable.
I really love those 3 additions to my handmade wardrobe and I can predict that the wrap dress is going to remain a favorite for the years to come.
After all, isn't creating pieces that will last longer than some cheap fast-fashion option what we try to achieve as sewers? Which of your handmade garment(s) has endured the test of time? I would love to hear your thoughts on creating a wardrobe that lasts!
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]...
Pattern - Just Patterns #1101 - Pleated SkirtSize - 34This 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.
Fabric - "brocade" from Mood in NYC, unidentified fiberNotions - 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!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...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!!
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!
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!
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/AResources - 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.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.
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....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.https://www.instagram.com/p/BFFrqlrGrPF/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?
Dear readers,As promised, I am back with a compilation of my favorite shirt making techniques and strategy. If you want to follow along, my first recommendation is to have 1 or 2 shirts with you for reference. I prefer men's shirts because they tend to have more elegant finishes than women's, at similar price points.Even top of the line Banana Republic, Ann Taylor and J. Crew can be used references (not the outlet type).My most important disclaimer is that I do not like David Coffin's book. I'm a bit irrational about it but I will not use it as a reference for this post.I know it's been tremendously helpful to a lot of you, I own it and I just don't like it. I even gave it away.The less important disclaimer is that you don't need to have sewn shirts before to use the techniques I will describe but you do need to have sewing experience and a good handling of your machine. I use an industrial Juki for the entire process (except the buttonholes) but there is no reason it wouldn't work on a home machine.If you tried my free pencil skirt pattern (see here to subscribe to the mailing list to get the latest version of the skirt and updates) you know that one of my goals is to engineer as much of the construction in the pattern as I can. It requires preparation before cutting for me it helps with clean results and make the construction a smooth process.The next post in the series will be about pattern changes but I first want to look into the features of the shirt so that you know the changes you want to apply and the ones you don't!
Flat-felled seams throughout
This includes side seams, underarm seam AND the armhole. Actually, the sleeve is attached first, so the underarm and the side seams are sewn at once since I prefer to attach the shirt sleeves flat.
I'm actually not sure how they are called but it's the principle of a french seam applied to a dart. It works well for deep darts and darts that extend all the way down to the bottom (or front) of the shirt.
Separate button band
A very common feature on my RTW shirts that I love the look of! It does require you to wok with different front left and right pattern pieces but since I cut single layer it's really not an issue !
Alternative pocket and placement
I will provide the pocket template I copied from a RTW shirt but I really recommend that you go in your closet and figure out which of your shirts has the best pocket size and placement for your shirt. I'm convinced that they make a huge difference when it comes to ensuring your shirt looks more professional!
2-piece sleeve placket
Cuffs attached and top stitched in one-go
This Fashion-Incubator technique is the way I do it and I don't think I will ever go back. I'm trying to implement it collars too but I haven't had the same level of success yet.The probability of this series being too ambitious for me is real, therefore I will not attach any time frame to it! It make take a month, a year, you never know!! What I can say for now is that I'm already working on the post detailing changes to the pattern. In the mean time, I would love to start a conversation here about shirt making here, please share your favorite resources and tutorials but also the ones you tried and did not work out!!
Dear Readers,Happy New Year!! I hope that you are enjoying a pleasant and peaceful holiday season. I have disappeared for a while again, and it's likely that it will take me a few weeks before I can make it again on the blog. Since last weekend, I moved (semi) permanently back to New York City. Over the last month, I've been traveling to find an apartment (the whole lease thing is soooo complicated), getting my visa, going back to France for some cheese&wine time, packing all my things and settling down. As with every move, the mixture of excitement and sadness sometimes becomes overwhelming.Regarding sewing, I now notice that I came to a full circle. Before coming to Haiti, I sewed and shirt dress (this one) and now a shirt dress will be the last thing that I've sewn there. I can say during the almost 3 years I spent in this country, I've improved my shirt making skills and this makes the entire process very enjoyable. One of the things that I enjoy the most about sewing shirts is that I can do it all on my industrial machine (except buttonholes) and that the inside is as clean as the outside.The pattern is a lengthened version of my white shirt, which was initially derived from the Grainline Archer. Although it's not perfect yet, it feels nice to have a pattern that can produce a decent shirt with major alterations. I do want to make some changes to future versions though :
- While in France, I wore this dress with a sweater, tights and boots. My sleeves were not rolled-up and this is something that hasn't happened in a while. It made me realize that i/ I was to radical when I shortened them, they are missing 1/2 to 1 inch and ii/ the cuff is way to wide, on my wrist.
- I now find the collar a bit wide, especially in relation to the stand. I want to draft an alternative very narrow collar.
- The length is manageable but maybe slightly on the short side, ahem ahem...
- Finally, I'm still bothered by something that looks like an excess of length in the upper back. I pinned it out once (1 inch!!) but it would also require altering the sleeve head in some weird way which I still haven't figured out...
The fabric is a Japanese cotton purchased at Mood during spring trim to New York City and it's probably the best thing out of this garment. It's soft and strong at the same time, light but not too see-through and I have the feeling that it will age well. My main concern was using an interfacing that would not make it to heavy in the placket/collar/cuffs.I do want to do a post where I round up the different tips/tutorials that I gathered over the last 3 years and that I know use as my standard for my all my shirt. I may do it before I manage to set up my sewing operation (yes, I'm serious like that). Let me know if you know of any resource that should not be overlooked!Finally, in January last year I had made only one resolution here, which was doubling my number of post. In 2014, I posted only 23 times so in 2015 I wanted to reach 46... .... .... (embarassed silence) .... Unfortunately, I ended up posting only 13 times... Oops!! It looks like regular blogging is just not compatible with my life, oh well... In 2016, I will keep doing what I can and hopefully you will keep reading me! The good thing is that I can only (hopefully) improve from here!That's it for 2015, sewing and Haiti for now. I hope you are enjoying your loved ones and I will be back soon!
Dear readers,At this stage, you may rightfully ask yourself what is going on, well I could tell you that I will explain at the end of this post, but I won't. I'll say it right now. I'm moving back to NYC!!! Starting 1st of January, I will change jobs and will relocate in Manhattan. On the one hand, it's a great news. On the other hand, it means that I'm swamped at work trying to close as many processes as possible, plus organizing my move, searching for an apartment etc. Don't expect too much sewing or blogging to happen before I'm settled...However, since I have a significant blogging backlog and I'm never post very often anyway, you may not even notice the difference! Enough about the logistics, let's talk about sewing! For the 4th post of the serie (see part 1, part 2 and part 3), I gathered some inspiration pictures for simple tunic dresses (all found on Pinterest, as usual) :https://www.pinterest.com/pin/17029304818030395/https://www.pinterest.com/pin/17029304818116501/If you want to know more about using block patterns, you can read this post of the Fashion-Incubator. Basically, it's about iterative designs based on an initial pattern that fits well. In the home-sewing world, it's what we call TNT (Tried and True) patterns. The benefit is that you reduce alterations and depending on cases, can skip the toile stage. I really liked the upper body fit of my chambray dress so I started working on this version almost right afterwards (yes it was a while ago).For the pattern I simply took the bodice pattern of my previous version and lengthen it. I used french seams for the sides and added pockets. If you wonder about in-seam pockets and french seams, you can check out this tutorial.http://www.instagram.com/p/6FXVJnmrGO/My other construction change was to use bias binding as facing. It would have been quick and easy if I had used the self fabric but of course I decided to make things complicated and used some of the silk crepe remnants from my slip dress. It took a little more time but I love the contrast of the cream silk and the blue/grey chambray. I used this fabric before for a pair of Colette Madeleine pajamas. I bought it at Mood NYC back in 2013 and it's very easy to work with. I used white thread for topstitching. I stole the pocket pattern from my white shirt.These days, I try to skip bust darts to simplify the lines for a cleaner/sharper look. I love those simple straight silhouettes on other people but when it's time for me to wear them I find them more flattering when belted. I have to apologize about the pictures, unfortunately The Old Man has not completely mastered the focus with my new lens!!Overall this project has been very cheap since everything came from stash and I made my own pattern. Regarding the fit however, I'm only 75% happy. I wish I had shaped the side seam a little to take in the waist and give more ease at the hips. I did add back darts as an afterthought to remove the excess when belted. Most importantly, I should have worn my previous version of this pattern more before using it as a block. I drafted a square angle under the arm that requires to be clipped. It's a point of weakness for this design and I had to repair it on each side for the first dress.I believe that it's the fundamental difference when you draft/drape your own pattern compared to buying patterns or RTW garments. Nobody did the testing for you!! Just like when buying a car, you have to take it for a ride before you commit! Standing straight in front of the mirror or for a 10 minutes photo session in your garden won't give you all the insights you need to assess the fit, the durability and versatility of your design. Now let's talk about it! How many times do you make a pattern before it becomes a block/TNT ?
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.https://www.pinterest.com/pin/17029304818045646/ https://www.pinterest.com/pin/17029304816858252/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!!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.The 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.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...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??
Dear readers,A few month ago, I finally indulged in beautiful box of Japanese leather tools and sewn a phone case for The Old Man to try it out. Pretty soon afterwards, I worked on the project I'm showing you today. As with any new craft, the learning curve is quite steep in the beginning. It reminds me a lot of learning how to sew:
- You are not sure how to handle your tools
- You make wrong choices when it comes to material/fabric but
- You love the results despite all the
One thing about leather work that I definitely appreciate is that it is relatively short compared to sewing. Of course, my inexperience makes me totally biased. I only tackle simple projects and I'm probably not putting in the level of efforts that professional finish would require. Sewing taught me that you don't have to be patient from the beginning, it's an acquired skill that develops once I get tired of making the same mistakes over and over. Only then I'll take the time to do things properly and wonder why I waited so long. Oh well...If you read my blog regularly, by now you have realized that I am more a copycat than a designer. My design "research" (haha), usually starts by endless Pinterest perusing, and for leather items, I find Etsy very useful too. For this project, I wanted to make something for The Old Man (again!! How unselfish of me...) in the same leather as his phone case. We travel regularly and we try so simplify packing. We both carry 2 passeports each and various electronics so I wanted to make a case that could hold an Ipad, travel documents, a pen and a few cards. The positive point is that I'm happy with the design, I think it's functional, nice looking and not too girly. On the negative side, the list a bit longer... First of all is the leather. It's definitely too soft for a structured case. When full and closed it's ok because the Ipad provides the structure, but the document side lacks firmness. I tried to remedy temporarily by inserting a piece of cardboard. Unfortunately the only solution will be to make is in a more appropriate leather (more on that later!). My second issue is with my hand stitching. Applying constant thread tension while saddle stitching is definitely a challenge. One that can only be remedied by hours and hours of practice I guess. The last problem is something that was just reported by the user. Apparently, the leather stretched out on the document side and things tend to fall out... Of course, it's a little disappointing to admit that this is not the perfect case that I had in mind, but I decided to treat it as a learning experience. When I was in New York recently I bought a BEAUTIFUL vegetable tanned hide, some more tools/finishing products as well as a Japanese book of bag patterns.After leaving Canada, I am doing a quick stop over in Guatemala but I can't wait to be back in Haiti to start scheming my next leather project!! Last time I posted about leather, one of my lovely readers recommended the blog of Gillian, Sew Unravelled, as she and her husband make beautiful leather items! I highly recommend taking a look at it, as well as at the blog of my NY friend E., The Pattern Line, where she just posted a leather corset belt she made for class at FIT. Do you have any other leather blogger recommendations to share?
Dear readers,Canadian weather seems to make me lazy, and since I'm not a very prolific blogger already, it's getting sad around here. But here I am! As promised, I have pictures to show you of the finished chambray dress I draped in my previous post. I mentioned before that sewing your own patterns is completely different experience than sewing commercial patterns. Since you don't have instructions it may seem counterintuitive, but it's much easier. Steps just flow naturally. Of course you have to figure out a lot of things, but hopefully you did that in the patternmaking stage!If you remember the original dress, it had a kind of funnel collar, which I don't find attractive. Instead, I decided to do a "visible facing". There may be a real name for that but I don't know. I stole the idea from my new favorite sewing book: Sewing for Fashion Designers by Anette Fischer. I plan on doing a book review of it because I am truly impressed by it. Considering the number of sewing books I read, this is quite exceptional.Another design change is the little turn up detail in the sleeve. The construction of the entire dress was pretty straightforward. I used a lot of my fusible tape to stabilize the neckline, the pocket opening and the zipper area. For the neckline, I dumbly interfaced the wrong side when, with my inverted, I should have done it on the right side. Oh well...If you saw this dress on my instagram, you may have thought that I was very fitted but in fact it's not. I love how comfortable it is, the style is relaxed and it makes it a perfect weekend dress!The fabric is from Rag&Bone, purchased at Mood during my last trip to New York. It does wrinkle and the sleeve style tends to accentuate the wrinkling but It doesn't bother me for a relaxed dress. I used some of of my muslin for my pocket bags, I always think muslin is the perfect match for denim and chambray and it feels less wasteful about the whole process. I didn't make my pocket bags deep enough for my taste, which is a recurrent issue. I always eyeball it and it's systematically to shallow. I wonder if there is a rule of thumb out there... Any hint?I love the upper body fit and I may iterate from this style and see what I can turn it into. I'm currently thinking and tunic/dress length without waistband of gathers to be worn with a belt. It looks clean and simple in my head and if I could sketch I would share with you. But my drawing skills are ... let's say limited (understatement...) so I guess you will have to take my word for it!I only wish I had checked the ironing before taking the pictures because the back looks quite terrible. It looks like the waistband does not match at the zipper, when in fact, it does!! The fancy camera does not do it all, I have to put more efforts in my pictures... I'm trying to turn those posts in a little serie that i call "From Inspiration to Garment". Now that I wrote it, I may lose all my interest in doing it (yes...). But in case I don't, I like the idea of exploring different ways to draw from inspiration to make an aspirational wardrobe materialize and work in real life. Next post will be unrelated (it's a leather one) but I will get back into it shortly! In the mean time, I leave you with a side by side comparison picture, do you think it looks close enough (except for the bad pose)? I'd love to here your approach to sewing from inspiration!