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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: self-drafted

From Inspiration to Garment part 4 - Starting with a block

Sewing Tidbits

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).Sewing Tidbits - Chambray Tunic-1Sewing Tidbits - Chambray Tunic-3For 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.Sewing Tidbits - Chambray Tunic-5Sewing Tidbits - Chambray Tunic-4These 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!!Sewing Tidbits - Chambray Tunic-6Overall 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.Sewing Tidbits - Chambray Tunic-2Sewing Tidbits - Chambray Tunic-7I 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 ?

From Inspiration to Garment - Part 2 - Sewing

Sewing Tidbits

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!chambray-dress-1If 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!chambray-dress-3The 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?chambray-dress-2chambray-dress-5I 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...chambray-dress-6 chambray-dress-7I'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!Comparaison Chambray Dress

From Inspiration to Garment - Part 1 - Draping

Sewing Tidbits

Dear Readers,I mentioned in my last post that my sew-jo has been low since the beginning of the year. I can think at least of 2 reasons. One, I cleaned out my closet (and the whole house while in my Marie Kondo phase) and I like owning less things, which tends to be incompatible with sewing. Second, I'm quite satisfied with my wardrobe. It sounds counterintuitive but after cleaning it , I see less gaps than before. Probably because I actually know what I own now. If you add the fact that I also shop RTW, it means that I'll have to empty my wardrobe regularly and focus on less but better quality items.When I cleaned out my closet, I had to part with a lot of handmade items. I never managed to do it before. The Konmari approach helped me realized that they were garments that performed their "Joy-Giving function" by being made but no longer did it by being worn. They had to go, and they did. However, it was not a very pleasant and to avoid it in the future, I want to focus on sewing what I will really enjoy wearing. Different tools are available for that (Capsule planners, Wardrobe architect, etc.) but they are all too formal/definitive for my taste. So I decided to be simple and shop my own Pinterest fashion board for ideas. I created a Sewing Queue board to gather my ideas and help me maintain focus when fabric shopping.After finding a pretty Rag&Bone Chambray at Moods during my last trip to New York City, I decided to start by the first above picture. I believed that it has been pinned thousands of time. I went to find the original dress on the Cos website (see 2nd picture) and I was stunned at how this dress would never have caught my attention without Pinterest!Since I am also to renew my sewing appetite, I decided to brush up on my draping skills. I attended several FIT courses when I lived in New York, and this is probably what I miss the most from the city! When draping by myself, I have a draping book open for guidance and reference. I actually don't use it much but I like to have it next to me. I own several and my favorite is still one of the first books I bought: Draping - Art and Craftmanship for Fashion Design, by Annette Duburg. In my opinion, it has the clearest step-by-step instructions both for basic and advanced designs.chambray-draping-2No matter what book you use, the steps to draping are always the same and I will try to outline them. Before starting, this is what I did:

  1. Design analysis - in this case I noted kimono sleeves, front and back gathers for the bodice, font and back darts in the skirt, italian pockets and an invisible zipper at center back.
  2. Preparing the form - it includes adding style lines and in this case attaching my (self-made) arm which I taped to a cupboard to keep it way from the body (for the kimono sleeve).
  3. Prepping the muslin - cutting the different pieces, straightening the grain, pressing it and adding the main lines (center front, center back, bust, hip and others as necessary).

chambray-draping-1I then proceeded with the actual draping. There is a general order to this (neckline at center front, waist, bust at side seam, neckline at the shoulder, etc.) and it becomes natural once you have done it a few times because it's quite logical.I like to use style tape not only to mark the line on the form but also on the muslin. You may need to re-do it a few times and it will help keeping the toile relatively clean until you are ready to mark on it. Tape is also very useful to drape pleats or gathers.chambray-draping-3 chambray-draping-4 chambray-draping-5When one think about draping, we tend to picture ourselves creating beautiful "drapés" and laboring over tiny gathers. The reality is that you spend a lot of time removing the muslin from the form, ironing it flat, "true-ing" your lines, cutting the excess of fabric, repining together and putting it back on the form. After each change, you repeat the process to assess whether it works or not. In that sense, draping is not necessarily much faster than flat pattern making. Of course, it depends on the design and your own preference.chambray-draping-6 chambray-draping-7The waistband is a simple straight band, nothing particularly is particularly challenging about it. The only thing you have to get right is the positioning. In my case, I realized that it looked better a little higher than what I initially thought.chambray-draping-8 chambray-draping-9 chambray-draping-10Once I was happy with the bodice and the waistband, the next step was the skirt. You can see it below but I was unsatisfied with the hip curve. I ended up using the pattern of my open skirt project. I removed the pegging at the hem and I widened the side seams to match the waistband.I have to add that the overall this is tighter than how you should drape. I lost some weight since my form was made to measure 4 years ago. My solution is to drape "skin tight" on the form and I get a comfortable garment on myself. I never had bad surprises so far...chambray-draping-11chambray-draping-12My least favorite step is next: copying onto paper. I find it an intrinsically imprecise process.  Once done, I added my seam allowances, drafted all the details such as facings, closures and pockets. It's the perfect time to mentally sew the garment to make sure the process is engineered in the pattern as much as possible. Doing this, you will be amazed at how much easier it is to sew a pattern you drafted compared to one you bought. Everything just comes naturally and I make less mistakes.I don't do many process posts so I hope this was useful to you. If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen the dress finished already! Let me know if you have any questions or if you have any draping tip you would like to share!One final point, I'm currently spending the month in Ottawa, Canada (for work). If any of you are around, I would love to engage in some sewing gossiping/fabric shopping/coffee drinking!

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 :

[instagram url=http://instagram.com/p/cUabCVmrJN/ width=300]

DONE!! The PR contest skirt = Preen + Theory + Me

Sewing Tidbits

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I'm so happy to have finished on time for the ongoing RTW contest of pattern review. It's my favorite contest and actually the only one I manage to enter. Last year I made this skirt, inspired by McQ. For this year I really fell in love with this Preen Line skirt. I think it's cute and it will fit my new life perfectly (more on that later).Final result :IMG_0188 I really like this skirt and it was pretty easy to make too. First I draped the body and the belt on my form with muslin to arrange the pleats.IMG_0203 Then I trued the lines and transfered the drape on paper. I drafted back faux-flap-pockets and I traced the zipper front from my Lagarfeld skirt and I added sewing and hem allowances.IMG_0207As you may see there is no side seam, I don't think there is one on the original skirt either and it makes the construction SUPER fast.IMG_0210 I interfaced the zipper area, the belt and the flaps. The rest is mostly topstitching...IMG_0211IMG_0208Now on the material side, the cotton is Poplin from Mood, here in NYC and it was from Theory. Zipper in from Pacific Trimmings and the snaps were in my stash. Yeeeeeaaaaars ago (yes many, ok maybe not so many, let say 10) I came across this snap/eyelet kit from Prym. At the time I was broke and in High School and the 30-40 euros felt like a big indulgence (time passes...). Well, I'm pleased to report that it was TOTALLY worth it. I've used it many times over the years, still have supplies in it and the tool+attachments is great and a lot better than using hammer or any other tool I tried. 

For the challenge on PR I tried to take pictures similar to the one on the Outnet, it was actually fun! Do not try this by yourself with your camera on a stand, you need someone to look at the original picture and correct you (thaaaaank yoooouuuu Boyfriend!!!!). Trust me, I wasted A LOT of time. If you'd like and you are a PR member, you can look at the amazing garments made by the other contestants and vote here! As of now, my favorite entry is Kristine's, I loved following her  process of making it!

Preen skirt

So finally (it's a long one I know), I've been away from the blog the last few weeks but not from the sewing machine as I hope to show soon. Also it's really cold in NY now and I don't like to take pictures inside... Plus, most of the stuff I made is spring-summer. You may think that I'm transitioning early into spring but I found out last month that I MOVING TO HAITI, like next week. I'm going there for work and I'm super excited for the challenge and the opportunity to learn so much. Plus I secretely hope to meet La Karibane! How do I know? Thanks to the Great Idea (yes capital letters) from Another Sewing Scientist of a google map of sewingblogland!

Anyway, I have a few more things to post before I live but there will be a little break while I'm setting up in Port-au-Prince and wait for my sewing machines (coming by sea). See you soon!!

  

Cardigan+Jacket = Cardicket or Jadigan ?

Sewing Tidbits

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I saw a similar cardigan at Urban Outfitters but the quality of the knit material was terrible so after a visit to Mood I found this very soft wool and silk blend I decided to make it. The contrasting ivory fabric is from my stash, it's probably a blend of some sort but I can't remember. It drapes quite well. It was also the perfect occasion to start sewing knit with my new toy :It's my first serger so I definitely need practice and my first seams are hum hum... slightly distorted...Anyway I LOOOOOOVE the result of this cardigan ! I would wear it day and night if I could (or if I was living alone and had no witness).CIMG2075It's also a useful addition to my closet for something that is relaxed and office appropriate. Proof (thinking face) :CIMG2086The shape of the pattern is actually pretty simple. I'm entertaining the idea to draft the pattern in a CAD software and make it available. It would be a great application of the PAD System class I just finished at FIT.

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CIMG2084The only thing I would change would probably be the shape of the collar, the notch is a little wide for my taste... I like this thing so much that I may actually do it again (which is not something that I do often).CIMG2072I'm just finishing a sewcation (sewing-vacation) so I have quite a few things to show, although FIT homework kept me busy making half muslins of gathered bodices (which are not really worth showing...), stay tuned !