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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: sewing

Hacked Burnside bibs or how to make things complicated...

Delphine (Sewing Tidbits)

I thought I might interrupt the Stephanie Skirt programming around here to show you the latest garment I made: a gatherless version of the Burnside Bibs by Sew House 7 and to share my changes in case you want to try it out for yourself. I usually have 2 ways of planning my sewing projects: 1/ I find an inspiration garment in RTW and look for a suitable pattern (or draft it if I have to) or 2/ I like a pattern and decide to make it as is or with minimal changes. This time was different…

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Another take on Just Patterns Stephanie Skirt

Delphine (Sewing Tidbits)

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.

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Just Patterns - Moodboard #1

Sewing Tidbits

Dear readers,

After a period of involuntary hiatus and regrouping we are gearing up to our next pattern releases! It's been great to interact with our customers on Instagram and by email the mean time. We also received great feedback from our development group and other members of the sewing community so you can expect to see some changes around here in the coming months.But before we go more into all of that, we thought we would share some of the visuals that drive our aesthetics these days and the direction we are taking!

We hope that some of those inspire your sewing as much as does for us! If you want more Ready-to-Wear inspiration for each our patterns, you can follow us on Pinterest where we keep a board for each of them!

Inspiration for the Yasmeen Skirt

Sewing Tidbits

Just Patterns Yasmeen Skirt

Yasmeen Skirt

Inspiration & Styling

The Yasmeen skirt was born from our desire to have a statement skirt that introduces a hint of the the over the top feel of the 90's runway shows into your every day wardrobe. Its design lines celebrates women's curves, in a way we hope is reminiscent of the King of Cling, late Azzedine Alaïa.

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While the skirt has definitely a special occasion feel to it, your choice of fabric and styling can transform it completely. For a very dressed up version of Yasmeen, choose a fabric with a sheen to it. The drape will dramatically affect bottom of the skirt looks. In a taffeta the flared bottom will tend to stay out and give a very formal look, while in a more fluid fabric such as silk, the volume will only appear with movement.[gallery ids="946,947" type="columns"]

There are also plenty of ways to make your skirt more casual. In the winter you can try a wool version, to be worn with a chunky sweater, or a leather jacket. In warmer weather, a linen Yasmeen worn will flat sandals will take you easily from the beach to a nice dinner out with a chic resort look.

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Finally, you also have the option of playing with the length. You could experiment with an ankle grazing skirt in an airy fabric for fluttered hem effect. The modern proportion will look very chic whether you pair it with heels or with sneakers for a cool yet polished feel!

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Do you want more inspiration? We collect images in a dedicated Pinterest board for you to look at (and for ourselves!!). Don't forget that you can also check Instagram for #yasmeenskirt since our testers have already started to post their amazing work!!

Are you ready to get started on your very own Yasmeen? Don't forget to share it with us!

 

A white pencil skirt

Sewing Tidbits

white-pencil-skirt-61.jpg
White Pencil Skirt by Sewing Tidbits

Dear readers, 

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.

White Pencil Skirt by Sewing Tidbits
White Pencil Skirt by Sewing Tidbits

Pattern

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.

White Pencil Skirt by Sewing Tidbits
White Pencil Skirt by Sewing Tidbits

Making

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.

White Pencil Skirt by Sewing Tidbits

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?

My Just Patterns samples - Linda, Kate and Christy!

Sewing Tidbits

linda-dress-and-slip-4.jpg
linda-dress-and-slip-1.jpg

Dear readers, 

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!

Linda dress and slip-5.jpg
Linda dress and slip-3.jpg

Pattern

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. 

Linda dress and slip-4.jpg
Linda dress and slip-2.jpg
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Making

  • 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.

Just Patterns Bias Slip dress by Sewing Tidbits
Just Patterns Bias Slip dress by Sewing Tidbits

Pattern

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!


Making

  • 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. 

Linda dress and slip-10.jpg
Linda dress and slip-11.jpg
Linda dress and slip-12.jpg

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!

Tidbits #6

Delphine (Sewing Tidbits)

It's Me Made May! I wish I was able to write some clever opening about it but really I can't... I didn't make any "commitment" to MMM but I'm trying to make conscious decisions about wearing my handmade garments more often. So I'm loosely participating, and I broke my personal pathetic record by wearing at least one me made garment per day around 10 days of the the month so far.

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Tidbits #5

Delphine (Sewing Tidbits)

Welcome back for a new edition of Tidbits, where I gather links of what I enjoyed reading, watching and listening lately. This week is all about inner conflict and my naturally french contradictory spirit. You can blame it on my on-going binge watching of In Treatment. That show is seriously addictive!

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The other white shirt

Sewing Tidbits

Dear readers,It looks like the new blog format is working for me so far, I hope it is for you too. However it's too soon to tell if I will be able to keep it up. It wouldn't be the first time that I manage to maintain decent activity levels on the blog, only to let it completely go a month later... One thing I forgot to mention though is that I don't currently plan on posting on other platforms than here and Instagram. No more PR, Kollabora (which never seemed to foster interactions or traffic anyway), Burdastyle or Thread and Needle. Traffic was never high on this blog and will certainly drop now but I kind of like the idea of a narrower little corner of the Internet, mostly with regular readers.Squareshirt SewingTidbits-2But let's talk about today's topic, another big square white shirt. Whenever I sew a white top, I kick myself for not making more. It's so easy to be seduced by colors and prints in pretty fabric, but there are not many garments as versatile as white tops and blouses.When I made the Ralph Pink pattern I mentioned last week, I already had in mind a crisp poplin version. Probably because of this Burda pattern (coincidentally Mokosha just posted about it, and it's reminding me that it would probably fit my current needs) and this Everlane number :
I really love the final garment. It fits my current needs perfectly and has been through several wash and wear cycles. I hope not to outgrow it too fast because it's a very office friendly option in my shrinking wardrobe. I don't have a definite word on Ralph Pink's Sahara Shirt Pattern, like most patterns it did require a certain level modifications to match the idea that I had in mind. I did appreciate that the pattern pieces were relatively simple and went together easily.As you can see in the inspiration pictures, a crucial aspect to modeling a square shirt is to pretend you're about to casually perform a set of crunches.  I will comply as long as I'm not required to do the actual crunches!Squareshirt SewingTidbits-4That's it for today! Hopefully I will be back soon with more pictures of recent makes. This post is proof that I CAN take pictures inside my apartment, even if they are on the boring side... Oooh tropical background of Haiti, how I miss you!! Any tips for indoor pictures you would like to share?

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 ?

French or Italian? A Nettie t-shirt in stripes

Sewing Tidbits

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!!Nettie T-shirt by SewingTidbitsOne Saturday, I went to hide in the heat of my sewing for an hour or two and pulled out my Nettie pattern. To turn it into a hip length tee, I stopped the patterns where it indicates to add for dress length and decided on the high front, mid-low back and short sleeves. Since I made this pattern twice already (here and here), there is not much more to report.Nettie T-shirt by SewingTidbitsThe fabric came from my stash, I bought it in Port-au-Prince and it's a left over of a Shadi skirt I made last year. The entire shirt was sewn on my serger and I am still not perfectly good at matching stripes with that machine... I changed the order of construction slightly so that I can attach the neck band and the sleeves flat. I was so determined to own this tee that when I realized that I actually didn't have enough fabric for the front, I decided to piece it. Not very professional since you can see it in my shoulder area, but I don't really mind.Nettie T-shirt by SewingTidbitsAs soon as I finished it, I threw it on and ran to The Old Man to get his opinion on my Italian tee. His comment sounded appreciative but was along those lines: "OOOooh a French tee!!". I guess the stripes betrayed me... No matter how much leaning on the door frame I did with a coffee mug in my hands, he would NOT see the Italian side of it...Nettie T-shirt by SewingTidbitsIn 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??

From Inspiration to Garment - Part 3 - With a commercial pattern

Sewing Tidbits

Dear readers,It's the third part of my little serie and I want to talk about those times when you feel too lazy to draft or drape the pattern! For several years now (yes, several), I have been thinking about slip dresses. I was a teenager in the 90's so I will always be convinced that calvin klein epurated slip dresses are the coolest. Kate Moss and Rachel from Friends shaped my idea of style (for the best and the worst!!)! Twice a year, when the idea of making a bias slip would sudden become urgent, I'd frantically research patterns meant to be cut on the bias, take note of linings in some Vogue patterns and forget about it. Until next time. But not this time! Let's look at the inspiration first, all collected on Pinterest, with of course, queen Moss:
As stated before, some Vogue patterns include a slip which is meant to be cut on the bias. Carolyn of Handmade by Carolyn made a beautiful version. I myself own New Look 6244 but it's at my parents' house... in France... I actually made this dress 10 years ago but purposefully ignore the bias for the lining (so stubborn) because I did not see the point. Ahem Ahem... I have to admit that in my early sewing years, I was (still am) very stubborn and I did not see the point of many things . Those things included seam finishes, easing sleeves, aligning the grain, wearing ease and many more... Slowly but surely I integrated them in my sewing for the better!Bias silk dress by SewingTidbitsOne detail, I dislike in current Vogue slips such as 1287 is the bust dart. I was convinced I could get away without one since the bias could do the minimal shaping I require. I finally decided to go with the lining of Lekala 2021. It doesn't not specify that it's meant to be cut on the bias, (at least Google Translate does not say so) but since I got to start with a pattern customized to my measurement, so I figured it was worth it.Bias silk dress by SewingTidbitsMy first step was to do a toile. I used regular muslin even though my silk was going to be behave differently. I figured a "skin" tight fit on my form (slightly bigger than me) in muslin would result in appropriate amount in and the 2 layers of silk would have appropriate wearing ease on me. It was a bit risky but it worked! I also used the toile to check the neckline and position and measure the straps. I had to take in 1/2" from each side at the bust and waist, tapering to nothing at the hips and I made no changes to the neckline.http://instagram.com/p/3ERTPTGrMX/The most challenging part for me in working with with silk is cutting, especially on the bias. It takes forever and I'm always tempted to cut corners. However, this time I did not. I lied my 23mm silk crepe from Calamo New York on a first layer of paper, aligning the selvage with the straight edge of the paper to prevent distortion. I created a "marker", which is another layer of paper with all the pieces to be cut drawn in their cutting position. I added my "marker" on top and pinned between the pieces to avoid marking the silk. I then cut through the 3 layers. Bias silk dress by SewingTidbitsBias silk dress by SewingTidbitsI have an important piece of information that some of you may resist. It's OK to cut through paper with your fabric scissors! Yes... I know what the home sewing police says but really, you'll be fine! And it will actually dull your blades a lot less than cutting wool or tweed!!Bias silk dress by SewingTidbitsI stabilized both layers of the neckline with fusible strips and attached the sides with french seams. For a reason I cannot explain, sewing went well for the first pass of the french seam but my industrial Juki refused, yes refused (!!), to go through the second one with a repeated mess of skipped stitches. I was confused and about to cry but I decided to add a layer of paper on top of the seam and tear it off after stitching and it did the trick!Bias silk dress by SewingTidbitsFor the straps I used the method described by my friend E. on her blog. The only thing I would add would be to not be afraid to use a rather large strip of bias, such as 2.5 or 3" as the allowance will "fill" the tube. For the hem, on top of providing the tutorial, E. gifted my ban-roll. I don't know why I never tried before. Actually I do know why (see stubborness mentionned above) but I regret it deeply. This thing is absolutely AMAZING: perfect baby hem on silk. Every. Time.  No need to say more. I actually want to try it to hem shirts with it too!Bias silk dress by SewingTidbitsThat's it for my notes. I love love love the final dress and I wore it for my birthday (30... yikes). We went dining and dancing and I felt very comfortable in this simple yet dressed-up silhouette. I am now thinking of making a single layer one out of thicker black silk crepe. And tank tops, a lot of tank tops, I may have opened the pandora box of bias project! Do you have favorite patterns for bias cuts ? I would love to see what you recommend!

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!

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

Sewing Tidbits

Dear readers,Coming back from Guatemala in March to a clean and organized sewing room had the most surprising effect. I lost all my inspiration. After a week of indecisiveness, I bit the bullet and decided to use a pattern from my stash you probably all know, since Mccalls was running a sew along on their blog. My inability to participate in social events around the sewing community is well documented un-documented. As soon as I decide to take part in a sew-along, contest or anything, my excitement for the project drops entirely. In addition, not getting many opportunities to sew during the week, when I do, I clock several hours at once. The step by step approach of sewalongs - attach the collar and next week we'll tackle the sleeves - does not work for me. I'm more a #sewuntilyoureyeshurt and #oopsthatsleeveisinsideout kind of person. But I'll admit it, I am weak. I did not know what to sew, I had the pattern in my stash, I love thinkingI'm copying designers. So I went for it...vogue-8379-Sewing TidbitsI think I wrote several time about how rarely I work with Big4 patterns and why. I will NOT use 5/8" seam allowances on a knit. Reading the instructions, I realized there was ease in the cap sleeve. Ease in a t-shirt sleeve!! I also checked the many many PR reviews and saw that the skirt is considered very full. I draped size 8 on my form with the paper pattern. Vogue 8379 - Draping the pattern - SewingTidbitsThe picture is blurry but you can see how different it looks from the illustration. I decided to redraw the side seam and remove a lot of length. The final skirt length is 20" and the hem circumference is 74". I was surprised to find the waistline hitting at the right spot. I assume that it should be lengthen for none petite bodies. Other than that, the bust measurement is quite high, do they believe bust level is where the circled cross is??? Vogue 8379 - Draping the pattern - SewingTidbitsI removed 1/4 where the point of the wrap at the bodice meets the waistline to prevent gaping and changed all the SA's to 3/8". I removed 1/4" on each side seam of the bodice, thus a 1" overall.I found around 1" of ease in the sleeve cap. To remove it, I lowered the cap by 3/8"flatten the back portion and remove about 1/2" on each side of the underarm seam (1/4" being due to my intake in the bodice side seam). Vogue 8379 - Draping the pattern - SewingTidbitsThe dress was sewn entirely on the serger and what took the most time was probably finding the motivation of catch stitching the facing and the hem. The good parts in my procrastination is that with 2 weeks on the form, the skirt had all the times it needed to stretch out so I could safely mark and hem without risking further stretching.Vogue 8379 by SewingTidbitsI only did a passable job at making my catch stitching invisible and it bothers me a little. But definitely not enough to redo it! The fabric is the last piece of a black jersey which at this stage I'm not entirely sure I bought it in Paris or in NYC. I get very worried about my memory. When I hear other seamstresses with stashes 20 times the size of mine (yes, it's small), saying that they can remember buying each piece, I'm embarrassed. My entire stash holds in one drawer and although I think I know everything I own and could mention it from the top of my head, I get surprises every time! Am I the only one? Is my memory particularly bad?Vogue 8379 by SewingTidbitsVogue 8379 by SewingTidbitsI didn't like spending all this time on the pattern of what I consider a relatively basic knit dress. If you add my low sew-jo and The Old Man's not-so-subtle-comments about spending time on dresses when I mostly wear jeans & shirts, I was about the quit several times. Even when I finished it, I was disappointed. I was planning a pathetic blog post about how I AGAIN sewed something I don't need and how The Old Man was right. But last week I had a work cocktail and it ended up being very useful. I got a lot of compliments, including from The Old Man.vogue-8379-10 Vogue 8379 - SewingtidtbitsI am now convinced that this dress induced a major blogging break. Yes, I blame it on a dress ;-) . I started this review a month ago and could not manage to finish it. Final verdict: I will probably wear that dress but I can't say that I love it. I decided to take it as a lesson. Recently I was discussing with the very smart Seamripped if we sew what we want to wear or wear what we want to sew. In that case I believe I have been wanting to make a wrap dress for a long time (blame it on the DVF patterns) but I never pictured myself wearing one. So in the future I want to take let what I want to wear (my fashion board on Pinterest VS my sewing board). If you follow me in Instagram you saw that I put it into practice twice already...What about you? How do you decide what to sew?

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!!