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Sewing Tidbits

Sewing Tidbits is the sewing blog written since 2013 by Delphine, the co-founder of Just Patterns.

Filtering by Tag: diy

On sewing the basics (SBCC Tonic Tee) and having a uniform

Sewing Tidbits

Dear Readers,If this was a competition about boring sewing, I believe I would win "haut la main" (I had to google translate this, apparently appropriate English translation is "hands down", funny because in French in "hand high", interesting...). Not only I'm showing you basic t-shirts from a pattern I used before, but I used only black and white knit. I did not even buy the fabric, I used tshirts from The Old Man. That's not actually true, I had one cut out for months in a corner of my sewing room, but my serger was threaded in white, and the knit was black... basic-tee-2So there you have it : 2 white t-shirts, 3 black ones. 4 made from existing tshirts. I did not even remove the labels at center back, because I got really lazy! Because it's not that interesting, I will spare you and show you only two of them. I used SBCC free tonic tee pattern. On some I save the neck ribbing which makes it very close to the neck and on other I used the original hem and made a band out of the excess I cut off the sides. I also used size XXS or XS to have a more relaxed fit for 2 of them. It was all done in a few hours. The longest operation was probably switching the serger from white to black.basic-tee-6This is obviously a weekend outfit for me, and they already got tons of wear, as expected. Since there is not much more that can be said about super basic tees, I figured we could talk a little about the idea of uniform. I don't know if you noticed, but these days it feels like one cannot open its reader or Facebook without stumbling on an article about a woman who decided to wear "a uniform". Some take it very seriously, like wearing the same clothes everyday, some a little less. The rational is more or less always the same : "I have super important things to do in my life, so I decided to figure out what to wear once and for all, like men do, (really ? do they?) and now I can focus on the rest (usually career)".basic-tee-3I have to admit, it is seductive. In general, radical approaches tend to do very well on the Internet. Wether it's sewing all the dresses in a vintage book (but then you don't finish ;-)), or cooking all the recipes, it "sells". I love reading about those big projects but I'm incapable of making such decisive commitments. Or maybe I just don't have time. Actually, maybe this is why they are so seductive, because we know we would do it. Personnally, I'm a good audience for them. After all, I did quit smoking with Allen Carr and cleaned my house with Marie Kondo.basic-tee-5 Going back to the uniform, it looks like the latest wardrobe craze. Remember when we were looking for our "signature style", our "10 essential" or creating "capsules" ? Well now, we need a uniform. It doesn't matter if you actually lead 1 or 3 lives (work, evening out and weekends) or leave in an environment with 4 seasons. You just need to say that you have a uniform. Because it shows how much more focused on important things you are than the rest of us.basic-tee-1In Haiti, we have about 2 seasons, one when it rains and one when it does not. And you actually don't need to dress any differently. Because it's hot. All the time. You just add a rain coat. I have to admit, I started wearing a variation of pretty much the same thing everyday : skinny jeans/pencil skirt, button-up/t-shirt and the occasional dress. You can combine it and you will know how I'm dressed wether in the office, at the supermarket or dining out. So I guess, yes, I have a uniform. If I was to participate in Me-Made-May (I'm not), I would bore the hell out of all of you!basic-tee-4 But here is the problem, I don't want to to call it like that because it already became a cliché. Trends go so fast online that you can get tired of them before even adopting them! Just like when everyone started "curating" inspiration on Pinterest and their blog. Maybe I can skip to the next wardrobe trend ? Please jump in, do you have a uniform, or a minimalist wardrobe? What do you think will be the next wardrobe trend?Lastly, I am about to board the plane to New York for a week, in case you are there and want to shop at Mood or just gossip email me!  

First hand sewn leather item!!

Sewing Tidbits

Dear readers,It's already in April and I am completely ignoring my only commitment for this year : to post twice more than in 2014 - 46 times. As a wannabe M&E expert, I have tell you we are NOT on track to meet the target!I have been sewing, but since it's 5 black or white t-shirts and a knit wrap dress, my excitement to take pictures and write about them is pretty low. On the other hand, I got something in the mail last thursday and it's A LOT more exciting!!craft-sha-leathercraft-leather-hand-sewing-set-light-15-tools-book-kit-[2]-242-pIt's CraftSha Leather Light Hand Sewing Set and it's pretty amazing, because 1/ I ordered it from Japan (GoodsJapan, in case you are interested) and 2/ it came in the mail. IN THE MAIL! You may know that there is no mail in Haiti... I'm not entirely sure how it all happened but I don't care, it is soooo nice!! I also bought a very fancy knife, specially made for left-handed people, which makes me feel like a leather samurai!!Leather case-3Of course I had to start right away and The Old Man very conveniently lost the previous leather phone case I had made him, and the one before that was eaten/destroyed/buried in the garden by our dog (yes, adorable but evil). As the third iteration of the same pattern I made for his phone (Samsung Galaxy S4, I think), it is a lot more special because it's hand sewn (the others were ruthlessly thrown under the machine) with Japanese tools.Leather case-1The set comes with a little booklet (in Japanese) for a basic project. I am very partial when it comes to all things Japanese  and this is no exception. The pictures are very clear so you can follow along without understanding a single sign. I always wonder how much I would learn if I could read Japanese instructions. Their diagrams are so informative already, I cannot help but think what is written must be mind blowing (like, this adjustable uniform shared by Very Purple Person).Leather case-5All the tools were a nice to use, but for such a small project you have a lot of steps. Cutting, filing, applying the thingie on the edges, glueing, punching holes, stitching (with 2 needles at a time), more edge thingie, etc. In addition, there is a learning curve. As you can see my stitching leaves a lot to be desired. What I learnt so far:

  1. Pay a lot of attention when punching the holes, 1mm difference is HUGE in the final look
  2. Hand sewing requires regular tension and not too much of it, the stitches tend look better a little looser.

Leather case-2The leather is a from a skin The Old Man bought years ago in Colombia. It's softer than the vegetable tanned leather used in the booklet and dyed (but only the upper layer) so that also made a difference on how it reacted to the tools.Leather case-4It's not my first time working with leather, I've made handbags, wallets and garments by machine, using a teflon foot and a special needle. Lately, I started to find the results disappointing since I don't own a machine that would handle the thickness well. My industrial hates it, the feed dogs leave marks on the skin and it skips stitches. The home machine does a slightly better job but topstitching is very unpredictable. So hand sewing seems to be a good solution for small projects.That's it, the case is not perfect but I'm reasonably happy with it as a first project. I can't wait to experiment more, maybe with a clutch for myself. Have you tried hand sewing leather or do you avoid it completely? Share your tips!!

A simple black Nettie dress

Sewing Tidbits

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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.jpgI 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.wpid826-Black-nettie-dress-27.jpg wpid824-Black-nettie-dress-19.jpg wpid821-Black-nettie-dress-16.jpg wpid817-Black-nettie-dress-3.jpg 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 !  

Linen dresses Part II

Sewing Tidbits

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20140321-182417.jpg 20140321-182435.jpg 20140321-182445.jpg 20140321-182453.jpg20140321-182518.jpgOk, so now that I confessed that I let The Old Man design one dress and that I realized that I'm not the only one after reading your comments on my last post, I can go further in my confessions. In addition to cooking for me, cleaning my wounds (a not-so-funny story in the streets of Port-au-Prince) and driving me around, The Old Man keeps a Pinterest board of LADIES outfits, for me. Yep. I said it.I know.... Now, let's move on to the dress. This is the second linen dress on which I worked with The Old Man. The selected inspiration dress was an Asos ponte knit number. Try to explain that ponte and linen do not behave in the same way and you will get a blank stare back at you... So I decided to keep the technical challenges for myself and try to make it work in a Tim Gunn's manner! As it is extremely difficult to show the seamlines in the pictures, I hope you will get a closer idea in the dressform shots and the inside-outs. As for my previous linen number, I used my now TNT sheath dress pattern Lekala 5166. This time I kept the center back shaping. I made the dress longer (OBVIOUSLY) and tapered the seam at the hem up to 1" on the front and back side seams. In total that represents 4" less in the knee area so adding a back vent was mandatory if I intended to do more than standing straight in that dress. I created the underbust seam and I closed that section at the princess seam to just keep a pleat under the bust. My other modification for the front was to extend the bottom of the side dart into a pocket. For some reason I find these type of pockets visually interesting as well as practical. If you remember I already used it in my Reiss inspired coat last year. So instead of a 1 piece front you get a front and a side panel that acts also as the pocket bag.After the pattern work, the construction was fairly simple :

  • the upper front pieces  sewn at center front on the SA
  • on the main front a attached the pocket facing and then added the side panel and then attached to the rest of front,
  • Attach the upper front and the front together
  • Sew the back darts
  • Join front and back at shoulder seams, do the same for the front self lining and back facing
  • Insert the invisible zipper (still with the Fashion-Incubator technique), sew the center back seam (and the vent)
  • Attach the facing all around the neckline and armholes. Turn out the whole thing like a sock. I hope you are all familiar with the all-in-one facing technique. If not, I think Salme patterns did a good job at illustrating the concept.
  • Sew the side seams in 1 step, from hem to facings
  • hem, topstitch the vent and done!

You can see that I left some of the process regarding seam finishes out. I mostly used seam binding as you can see on the inside out post!20140321-182629.jpg 20140321-182643.jpg 20140321-182656.jpg 20140321-182703.jpg 20140321-182713.jpg 20140321-182722.jpg 20140321-182737.jpg 20140321-182752.jpg 20140321-182745.jpg I really like this dress and I wear it quite often even though it is a bit formal for the everyday look at my work place. Thus, it's great for these I-have-a-meeting type of days. However the décolleté is a bit on the osé (bold?)  side...Overall it was a great experience and I officially awarded TOM with a special advisory title on my sewing. I know it's been a while since my last post, but in the mean time I've been to NY (brought fabric that you will see very soon), to Guatemala, sewed 2 pencil skirts, currently looking at relaxed wide linen pants and worked on a special project that you should be able to enjoy soon if things go according to plan. Yes, I've been busy...My last word are on press cloth, I will admit to be a wild presser. I press everything heavily and I try to pretend that I don't see the shiny marks that I am creating... But to be honest it's bothering me more and more. Recently I read this post on Sunny Gal Studio's blog and I think it's time. Time to stop being lazy and start using a press cloth! In my 14 years of sewing, I had to fight my laziness many times : stop ignoring that you have to "set in" a sleeve, stop cutting double layer for silk, stop thinking it's ok not to finish seams, etc.... Overall this is how my sewing improves, gradually and in steps. BUT I know very little about press cloth. Do I need more than one ? Is a piece of muslin ok ? Does it depend on fabric ? I will have to do some research...What is your favorite source of information when it comes to press cloths ? And I would love to hear what was the latest step you took to take your sewing to the next level!  

Linen dresses part I

Sewing Tidbits

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20140318-091635.jpg20140318-091608.jpg 20140318-091553.jpg 20140318-091505.jpg 20140318-091543.jpg OK I know I announced a lot of posts, or at least weekly ones, but of course life/work got in the way. I'm currently enjoying freezing in the streets of NYC for a quick 5 days and then I will be off to Guatemala. I made this dress before the end of 2013, and it is sort of an experiment than could be entitled "what happens when you let your boyfriend design your dress?".First of all, I have to say that he is very interested in women dressing. Like we shop together, for real. He does not wait around the entrance looking like he's trying to escape. He selects clothes on the rack, wait around the dressing rooms, gives his opinion about fit and quality of material, etc. I've never been so much of a group shopper but for some reason it works well and generally if I follow his advice I get a lot of compliments by strangers later... So ok I give in, a guy may have better taste than me to dress me... After doing a closet clean-out due to some weight loss and style evolutions, I talked him into defining a dress he would like to see me in.Overall no big surprises : it's short, it's fitted and in a solid color... Men... He also made the specific requirement that it should be linen (and navy). Which is good because it's the only natural fiber readily available in Haiti (at high cost though).For the pattern I used the made to measure lekala 5166 that I used for my little 90's dress. I altered the pattern to make a sleeveless dress (bring the underarm seam up and in), removed the back seam and its shaping so it's a bit more loose in the waist, raise the neck line and create a placket opening, and finally lengthen it  a little. I'm sticking to my strategy of working based on Lekala patterns, and it has been very rewarding so far!20140318-091648.jpg 20140318-091700.jpg 20140318-091713.jpg 20140318-091738.jpg Construction was fairly simple, I finished the seams with french seams and the front placket unbuttons down to the waist so no need for other closures. I fused the placket pieces and the opening on the dress. Unfortunately I only had white interfacing but it's on the inside so it does not bother me too much. Since I made that dress well over 3 months ago, it got a lot of wear already. Comfortable + flattering + easy to wash = heavy rotation!!20140318-091726.jpg 20140318-091523.jpg Overall the experiment was a total success so we tried a second time. I already have the pictures of that second (linen... again...) dress and should be able to post it soon! What about you ? Have you ever let someone else decide on all the aspects of a garment you were going to sew for yourself? Is your partner a good source of advice for clothing or does he run away when you say you are looking for constructive criticism ?

Late Archer appreciation: it's a shirt, it's a dress, it's a shirtdress!

Sewing Tidbits

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What, a new post??? I warned you, it's going to be crazy blogging weeks with at least a post a week... It will be probably followed by the usual hiatus. Not because I haven't been sewing (I have, 2 pencil skirts in one weekend, so proud!) but because I travel every 2 months so that usually put everything on hold. This time, I will be going back to NYC for 5 days (YAY!!! FRIENDS !!! DOUBLE YAY!!! MOOD FABRICS!!! TRIPLE YAY!!!) and then joining The Old Man) in Guatemala (3rd time now).

Now going to this dress, if you follow me on Pinterest, you know that I have a limited number but very pronounced obsessions (hum hum Miranda Kerr... hum hum). Among them you can count skinny jeans, pumps, shirts, maxi skirts, pencil skirts and SHIRTDRESSES. All these pretty much define how I dress on a daily basis.I already made one last year but since then I started thinking about a dress that would be basically a long loose shirt. And what would be more perfect than Grainline Studio's Archer pattern for that purpose ? That's right, NOTHING!Following the advice on Twitter from A Stitching Odyssey, I used size 0 for bust and waist and graded out to a 2 in the hips. In addition, to turn this shirt pattern into a dress I just added 10 inches below the hips area. I think it's important to do the lengthening below the hip level other wise you end up elongating the curve between the waist and the hip. Other than that I did 0 alterations. Yes, you read well zero.Knowing me you could have expected a debauch of 1/4" seam allowances, redrafting of the under collar, changing the button placket, etc. But, I wanted to follow the sewalong to the letter, so i did NONE of that, ET VOILA! I finished all seams with french seams, including the armholes (I recommend it, it's really really nice).The fabric is something synthetic that I found here in Port-au-Prince, I would go for something like rayon. Actually, The Old Man found it and made me buy it. He is EXTREMELY proud of it, so every time I got a compliment for the dress, he is beaming (men..). As much as I like to contradict him, I have to admit that it's nice to wear, easy to wash and to iron. I already used the remnants to make one of the pencil skirts mentioned above. But of course it will probably take me an additional 2 months to blog about those.So anyway, I did not make it on time for the Archer Appreciation month launched by Lucky Lucille and Miss Crayola Creepy back in December (part of my love/hate relationship with sewalongs) but I really love this dress. It's a great option for these days when you have nothing to wear! I have a white 23mm silk crepe in my stash that is screaming to be made into something similar to this very popular pinterest picture... I may remove 3/4" to the shoulder length though, because they are dropping a bit.Have a great day everybody, I will finish this post with a gratuitous picture of where I was last weekend, this is  Ile-a-Vache, an island in the South of Haiti.20140226-122851.jpg

I'm alive... And I took pictures!!

Sewing Tidbits

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Sooooo, from what I read on other seamstresses blogs I'm not the only one struggling to take pictures. To be honest when it's between some sewing time and some picture taking time, sewing wins every time... But I managed to make an effort. I praised so much the Lekala patterns that you deserve to see what they look like. CIMG2327 So as I said in my previous post, I started with Lekala 4285. It's a nice pencil skirt with some shaping and pleats at the back. CIMG2308 The fabric is a stretch cotton pique from Mood. If I remember properly it was from Theory. It has quite a lot of stretch so it's actually perfect for a pencil skirt to make the walk easy. CIMG2321 I made one alteration that is going to sound major but it's actually kind of my fault. Between the stretch of the fabric and me being scared of not having enough ease in the hip area (so I stated a bigger hip measurement that usual when I ordered my pattern), the skirt was really big when I tried it on (before adding the facing). I ended up removing 1/2"on each side (total reduction 2"!!). Other than that, I made no alteration, not even the length!! CIMG2322 I used seam binding for all the seams. I'm sort of a seam binder maniac. I only got a serger this year and sometimes I get very upset that I don't get good results right away. Because of my classes at FIT, I took the habit of binding the raw edges of my muslin samples (yes I like to get As...) so I bind quite fast now... But I promised that I'm improving my use of the serger, I try to use it at least once per project.IMG_2202 I think the skirt will get a lot of wear, mostly at work. Of course, being white, it does suffer from a typical Murphy's Law. Everytime I wear it, I have a 50% chance to drop something on it (think coffee, blood, anything that will show A LOT) in the first hour that I arrive in the office. It would be way too easy if it happened before I left the house, because I could change and where would be the fun of trying to conceal a stain for the whole day!IMG_2196 The fabric definitely appears more wrinkly in the pictures than it is in real life. All the back seams are top stitched as well as the top of the pleats.IMG_2197If you plan on making of these patterns, don't rely on the instructions. Google Translate will NOT do a good job translating sewing stuff from russian to any other language. However the technical drawings are quite accurate so they are worth taking a look (or 2, or more...) at. IMG_2199For the invisible zipper, I used my favorite technique (from Fashion Incubator), I know some people do it differently but I really don't know why. It works perfectly every time! The adjustments that you need to your pattern are the followings:

  • The seam allowances in the zipper area is 1/2", from the top to 1.5" lower than the finishing point of the zipper.
  • The rest of the back seam is the way you like it (for me it's 3/8").
  • The facings have 0 seam allowance where they are going to be sewn onto the zipper.
  • Once you did this, you can refer to this post for the sewing order (includes pictures for the visual learners). I never even made the pressing jig (I'm too lazy).

So in my configuration, the pattern looks like this :IMG_1372And the finish zipper on the inside :IMG_2203What's your favorite zipper insertion method? Have you tried the Fashion-Incubator ones ?Next time I will show you the little 90's dress but I also already made a variation from that pattern and I finished the Jedediah shorts (YAY!!) so stay tuned, updates are coming!

Easy striped dress, another SBCC pattern...

Sewing Tidbits

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I'm very late on blogging for 2 reasons: first I was Panama for a training last week (bought indigenous fabrics, so pretty!!) and second, my free time has been dedicated to finding a new house in Port-au-Prince to move in with The Old Man (picture at the end of this post).BUT sewing has still been happening. Altought at a reduced pace... I was very happy with the results of my first try with SBCC patterns, so I decided to go ahead and buy another one. Although I like the fit of these patterns, I'm not sure how many of the current offering I will make because the patterns are not exactly my style.Anyway, I settled for the Lemon Drop Dress. Unlike what is shown on the technical sketch below, the dress and the tops have a pleat detail at the center front.Overall the fit is extremely close to perfect. The dress is comfortable and it's a very easy project. It also helped that I now know you are supposed to butt the pages together and not overlap them (Pattern Review proving it's still indispensable...)CIMG2285The fabric is a vintage linen-and-something-blend that I got during my last trip to Paris. I know I promised that I would make a post about the fabrics I got there but I did not manage to see Lakaribane since I came back and I don't want to spoil the surprise fabric I brought for her... Going back to this fabric, I know this is a blend because it does not wrinkle (YAY!!) but it still has a very natural/raw feel to it.As I was saying, the fit in the armhole area is excellent (no gaping, YAY!!) and slight racerback is quite nice.CIMG2280It's a very easy dress to wear and even though it is quite simple in its shape, I got compliments when I wore it to the office (with flat sandals, shiny gold heels are not exactly logistics-base-approved).CIMG2282For the construction, I have to admit that I was slightly disappointed. Only because the instructions of the free pattern were so good. For this dress, the instructions are very succinct. Here is what I did :1. Prepare the back bend and sew it on the back. Sew the darts on the front.2. Sew one shoulder seam (yes only one), with a french seam3. Sew the bias binding on the neckline. I personnally like to first press the bias band in two, lenghtwise, sew the right side of the binding on the wrong side of the dress. Press the band up, fold and press the seam allowance of the band and then topstitch on the right side. I'm sure I'm not the only one doing it like this, I just couldn't find one of the gazillion of tutorials that must have been written on the topic (wait, I just found one on Burdastyle).IMG_1071 IMG_10684. Close the second shoulder (french seam again)5. Bind the armholes (same as above)6. Close the side seams (yes, french seams)7. Hem and make the tie, BAM new dress!!As you can see this is a super easy dress, not particularly trendy, in a fabric that should age well. Therefore, I think it's totally worth making it as nice inside so it lasts for a while (ie. french seams).I made size extra-small and my only alteration was taking an additional 1/4" on each side seam (total reduction 1") but I think that this is my personal preference for slightly more fitter garments. For the Petite ladies out there, some great fit details that do not require alteration in addition to the already mentionned great fitting armholes :Length is good without shortening!!Bust darts hit the right spot!Tie and channel is at the real waist level !I think I could also wear it with the tie, tied in the back, but I'm not too sure about it :IMG_1069 IMG_1070What do you think??Also as promised in the beginning of the post, below is a picture of our new house!! We signed the lease yesterday and I'm very excited about it! In case you were getting tired of the backdrop of my balcony, well it will be one of the last times you see it. However, I will have a garden now (that needs A LOT of work) so pictures will still be outside. Another good news is that I will also still have a dedicated sewing room.photoThe house comes furnished, and the walls just got repainted but there will be some sewing required for fancy pillows, curtains, and other little things to make it homey. I hope it won't be to boring for you guys. I already have some home decor plans for the fabrics I brought back from Panama that I will talk about later!Any good online resources for sewing for your home that I should know about ?

More knit training with a maxi skirt

Sewing Tidbits

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On that amazingly productive sewing day where I made 2 garments (I know it's not that many but for me it's a lot!), both of them were knits. First this t-shirt and then the below maxi-skirt:

It's actually not very different than a lot of tutorials that you will find online but I drafted mine with a curve waistline and hem. Also I like to have fullness at the bottom so it's a wide A instead of a rectangle.

All seams were serged and I added a partial lining in the same fabric because I was a little concern that the thin knit would let my underwear show. The waistline is a classic foldover one that you also find on yoga pants:Weird...Fabric was found here in Port-au-Prince on one of my excursions before meeting with Lakaribane for the first time. Let me tell you that I was quite proud of my find since nice knit is not Haiti's most common good. BTW, by an initial-and-totally-not-scientific assessment, I'm convinced that mangoes are Haiti's most common good, which is très delicious but totally useless sewing wise...The fabric had an edge print: "studio line by caravel fabrics samsung" and apparently it means that it was made in South Korea. I would love to hear the story of those 3 yards traveling the world to end up in a haitian store!

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 Not really much more to say about this project except that I will make more skirts when I find more knits (and that's Lakaribane's responsability because it will probably require an expedition to One Love) because seriously, I wear maxi skirts every other day.  Also, I have used this project to practice my CAD patternmaking and tiny Illustrator skills so you may see this come up as a free downloadable pattern soon... (That is if my illustrator capacities improve because the pattern is done and graded but I'm just trying to turn it into a multi page pdf, any advice in that regard is very welcome!!)

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In other news, if you follow my instagram you will know that I finished another Skinny Bitch Curvy Chick Pattern (let's just call them SBCC ok?) , I'll blog it as soon as it gets photographed :

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Perfect T-shirt: FREE PATTERN ALERT !!

Sewing Tidbits

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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!CIMG2212Now, 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!CIMG2220I 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 ;-) )CIMG2232 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_0832And 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?IMG_0833 IMG_0834 IMG_0835As 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? 

Lucky me: Midi is the new Mini and some zipper drama...

Sewing Tidbits

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As I said a few times before, the length of my skirts after 3 years in New York had diminished considerably and it happens that they are not only inappropriate for Haiti but also extremely impractical (try to get yourself into a Nissan Patrol elegantly in a tight and short pencil skirt and you will know what I mean). Therefore, and despite everything you can hear about short people and longer skirts, my recent sewing projects have all been hitting the knee and below. Including this last shiny shiny project :CIMG2201Conveniently enough, some runways have decided to agree with me (proof, proof, proof and PROOF !). I guess there is a limit to \how many seasons you can profess to go even shorter than the year before... The pattern is one I used before, but longer this time. It's the pleated skirt pattern from burdastyle and I made last fall in leather.CIMG2190Of course leather would not have been a very good choice for the haitian weather so I used a coated cotton I bought at Paron's Fabric before leaving New York (Ok, yes maybe I did do a little stash building operations prior to leaving... and yes maybe I'm feeding the stash everytime I get out of Haiti... but yes, I do buy fabric also in Haiti... I'm 3 times guilty!).I really like the kind of retro silhouette that the extra length brings to this pattern.CIMG2203Ok, so maybe you can't really see the coated shiny part of the skirt on those picture but I think it more visible on the close-ups. I did bring comments from my female colleagues such as "Oooooh shinyyyy!!!". I guess a lot of us have an inner little girl wishing we would go to work everyday wearing shiny outfits!The usual dress form shots: they are usually better quality because I take them with my Iphone instead of my crappy camera...IMG_0823 IMG_0822I used the main fabric for the pocket and because the fabric was not fraying at all I did not do any kind of seam finish. My only concern with this fabric is the ironing. You have to use a press cloth even to open seams....IMG_0828IMG_0825IMG_0829I don't remember if I had to do it for the leather skirt but I had to take in the back for at least 1" on each side.Also, this time I used a invisible zipper instead of a metal exposed one. Why? Well first because I think it suits the style of this skirt better, but also because THERE IS NO NICE METAL ZIPPER IN PORT AU PRINCE (Or am I wrong ? I will ask Lakaribane but after seeing her discussing colors of invisible zipper at the store-that-shall-not-be-named, I'm guessing I'm right). I used my usual method from Fashion Incubator for invisible zippers (really I cannot recommend it enough) with one of the zippers I brought back from my last trip to New York. I was sooo happy to have one to match perfectly. Now you can fell the drama coming... I finish the skirt that sunday evening with the hope of parading on Monday morning at the office. I put it on the form, close the zipper, take a picture for instagram and try to take it off the form to put it in my closet. ZIPPER STUCK, I spent an hour trying to remove it. Out of desperation I undid the seams hoping I would be able to fix it better of the form. Couldn't. Cried a little. Put the skirt aside for 3 days until I had time to change the zipper to a not-perfectly-matching one... End of drama.The culprit!With this non-fraying fabric I decided to leave the hem raw but to avoid the unfinished effect I added 2 rows of topstitching.IMG_0826Anyway I've been quite productive sewing-wise so you can expect more posts very soon! Last question, my current date raised the issue of the skirt being maybe 1" or 2"too long (2013, the year when guys started discussing hem length...), what do you think ? I could just cut it and redo the top stitching...CIMG2188

Grainline Scout Tee Sewalong

Sewing Tidbits

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Starting to write this post, I just realized that I think it is the first time that I actually sew a pattern from an independent sewing pattern company. I have been obsessed with them, mostly because this is something I have been thinking about doing since I was 14, but I never was fully into the styles and if I tempted the sizings are usually to big. In particular, I remember emailing one about there smallest bust measurement (maybe you can guess with one I'm talking about...) saying that it was a pity their smallest size was so big. I got a reply saying that I should do an SBA (Small Bust Adjustment). I was very disappointed because to me it felt like they did not understand their customers. Petite and Small in measurements women are always thought to be shapeless by the "curvier" people out there. I'm probably not going to make a lot of friends here but I never thought that curves were about measurements. Leaving in 4 different countries and continent in the last 4 years, I've seen shapes and shapelessness in every size and at every age !Anyway... Maybe one day I'll write the whole body image mandatory blogpost...Going back to this pattern, I've been following Grainline Studio with a particular interest. I like a lot of things about Jen, her patterns and her designs and I was not disappointed making this one.CIMG2156This scout woven tee was made out of quilt cotton (GASP!) I bought 2 years ago when visiting Philadelphia. I know that a lot have been said about sewing with quilt cotton. I'm not one who would normally do it, it does not fit my wardrobe or my lifestyle. But once in a while, for a cute print, I allow myself to slip.... That same day in Philadelphia, I bought another piece of fabric that I used as soon as I was back in New York. TOTAL disaster!! I never wore it... Maybe one day I'll show it on the blog and ask for advice on what I should do with it.CIMG2179With all the silk things, the leather and the coat making, sometimes I forget about how enjoyable it can be to make a SIMPLE pattern in an EASY fabric. The whole thing from taping the pattern to putting the final result on Instagram took me less than 3 hours!CIMG2186I made size 0 with no alterations and I was extremely pleased with the instructions : concise, clear and efficient. I serged the inside to practice my serging abilities (still VERY limited, I'm embarrassed to admit...).I found the motivation to make it for the kollabora sewalong. I'm completely new to the kollabora community but it looks nice. However, I'm a bit hesitant to start uploading there as I am already struggling to find the time for the blog, Burdastyle and Pattern Review...IMG_0766I've seen some very nice knit versions here and there and I'm willing to try (more practice with the serger...). I think I would change a few things to the pattern. First, the shoulder seam is funny, maybe you can see what I mean on this picture :IMG_0769And for a knit, I would remove the ease of the sleeve and lengthen the bodice maybe 2 inches. What do you think ? Are you tired of the view of my balcony already ?

Burda Open Back Dress 03/2013

Sewing Tidbits

EDIT - New close-ups I found on my phone. Yes I'm one of this people who has a phone that takes better pictures than her camera. I should do something about it but I don't feel like jumping the "reflex" step yet...I finally got around taking the pictures and writing the post about this dress that I finished two weeks ago !! If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I had some issues with the fit, but here is the final result :CIMG0067For some reason the picture quality is not nice this time, I apologize!  I made the dress in size 17 (Burda petite sizing, see pattern here), which is my usual size and I normally have very little fit problems. Well not this time...CIMG0060I really like the full skirt and the open back but the dress does not seem to agree to stay in place. The back tends to ride up and the shoulders tends to come closer to the neck preventing the neckline from lying nice and flat...CIMG0073The fabric is a printed silk I found here in Port-au-Prince (I was so happy). I used a brown cotton poplin for the sash and the lining of the bodice. This poplin have been in my stash forever. I remember packing it almost 4 years ago when I moved from France to Zambia. I, of course, had packed my sewing machine and some notions. I added this fabric as a "just in case". Fabrics were amazing in Zambia so there was no case but it followed me to New York and finally found its use in Haiti where it found its match with this silk.CIMG0083I'm not sure if I like it more with or without the sash... Any opinion ?CIMG0092Anyway... Regarding the fit, it did not show any issue when put on my form so I was disappointed when I tried it on before putting in the zipper and it was GAPPING like CRAZY on the side. I'm not one afraid to show some skin but this was waaaaayy to close to a potential wardrobe malfunction. I let it rest for a few days and then I decided to scoop the neckline a little and I added some "darts" on the back pieces. See below :

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Construction is fairly simple once you figure out the instructions. I fused all the outside edges of the bodice with the fusible tape I got for a ridiculous price one day at Pacific Trimmings in NYC.

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For the straps, the idea is to sew them up to where they are going to connect to the cap sleeve, clip and turn them out. Then you can enclose them between the self and the lining.

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I am not yet fully proficient with my serger so I just zigzagged the raw edges of the sleeves :

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For the invisible zipper, as usual I used the Fashion Incubator tutorial. For some reason in the last few weeks I saw it popping up on other sewing blogs (yes, plural) as a "new" way of finishing zippers and lining with no hand sewing, but it's been around on Fashion Incubator since 2005!!

Some dressform shots where you can see what I was saying about the back riding up :

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 And finally some better quality close-ups...

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So, sash or no sash ??

Pink silk top - Long time UFO, long time UBO...

Sewing Tidbits

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This blouse was also finished before I left New York. This UFO (UnFinished Object) and UBO (UnBlogged object) was actually started it back in june 2012 when I traced the pattern and cut the fabric and then I put it in a drawer until 4 months ago when I finished it right before my move. So it did take me 1 year to show it from start to finish/blog.CIMG2137The pattern is from a 2003 Burda Magazine that I always liked and never took the time to make before. Which, was probably a good idea since my silk handling skills just recently improved (and there is still a lot of room for progress).Burda 2003Line DrawingThe fabric is silk charmeuse from Paron's in NYC. The pattern plays with the contrast between the matte and the shiny side of charmeuse. But I did not cut the neck band on the right side and since it's asymetrical (and I had no more fabric) it's on the matte instead of shiny. Only the pocket and the sleeve "cuffs" ended up being on the shiny side.CIMG2141The side knot is leather and the construction of it is quite smart. It doesn't come from inside the shirt but it's hidden in a fold. I tried to take a few pictures to show it better.IMG_0629IMG_0628I actually like this shirt a lot, and I wear it more than I thought I would. I find the cut to be quite flattering. But as with all silk blouse and hot caribbean weather, the main risk is hum hum... sweat marks... Sorry, I'm humane... So I have to think about my day first, will I spend it inside with AC or do I have to walk around?Here are a few close ups to show the contrast of the charmeuse.IMG_0630 IMG_0632 IMG_0633 I don't remember making any adjustments to the pattern, but of course, one year later who would remember ??!!IMG_0636 IMG_0635 IMG_0634 In other news, after some fit issues, the Burda dress is finally done but if you follow me on Instagram you already know that... The weather wasn't great this weekend so I didn't take pictures yet but I will soon !I started working on a skirt, it's actually a Burda pattern I used before to make a leather skirt. It does not happen often but YES I'm making a pattern twice!! I really like my leather skirt (so much that I brought it to Haiti, why? I don't know) but between the leather and the New York length, I won't wear it. So I'm making this version 7" longer out of a coated cotton I got at Paron's just before I left.Nap pale ! (Trying to practice my Creole...)