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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: silk

My Just Patterns samples - Linda, Kate and Christy!

Sewing Tidbits

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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!

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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. 

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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. 

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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!

What is going on with all the big shirts?

Sewing Tidbits

Dear readers,From the reactions to my last post, I gather that you are still around and ready to engage and that's pretty good news! So first I would like to thank all the commenters, I think there was a great conversations going on!One of the reasons for my lack of posting is the fact that I sewed several items I ended up disliking. In my opinion, that's the most discouraging thing that can happen to a seamstress. You have an idea, get excited, find the fabric, the pattern, spend hours making it, try it on and..... Meh. How anti climatic is that? It doesn't help that once I reach  construction stage, I don't like to interrupt myself.I finish all the seams and stop to try on items only just before hemming/adding closures. I usually can get away with it because I know what shapes work on me and I spend time adjusting patterns before cutting fabric. Except these days, I have no idea of how to fit myself because....Squareshirt SewingTidbits-1I'm growing a little human!! That's another reason the blog hiatus, I really really didn't feel like being in front of a camera and all my clothes feel weird.I used to wear fairly fitted clothes, most of the time in the smallest size available, with a defined waist. Obviously all that is gone already and I'm not sure of what's left... I don't really feel like wearing a lot of those tight jersey dresses that seem to be screaming "LOOK AT MY BELLY" but I'm also not use to see myself hidden in voluminous shapes. Tricky time! So I thought about big shirts:After seeing the version made by Paprika Patterns, I decided to try Ralph Pink's Sahara Shirt pattern. I've been tempted several times by his patterns, on the basis that they look "different" from most other Indies, but the sizing seemed too big for me and I struggled finding a pattern I really liked. It probably doesn't help that not a lot of other bloggers have made his garments (with notable exception by Inna and Oona) so I wasn't sure what to expect.https://www.instagram.com/p/BFFrqlrGrPF/I printed the pattern, found suitable cotton-silk in the stash (same as a Vogue 1247 skirt sewn in 2014), cut the smallest size (US 0), sewed and sewed and sewed. It's a relatively quick make, without many seams (although I used french seams everywhere), and they matched well enough. I would recommend checking the length of the front button plackets (I think they were too long) and the side seams but there was nothing truly catastrophic... Until I tried on the shirt. I could not picture myself going around the city is what looked like A GIGANTIC TENT!!I put it away my sewing friend from the Pattern Line came over and convinced me that all it needed was taking in the sides a little. By a little, I mean 3" on each side seams... The total reduction is 12" (!!) tapered to nothing at the underarm. I also removed some of the extra length at the back to soften the curved hem effect. But you know what? Now, I actually really like it! As you can see, I didn't lie when I previously said that blog posts would have less pretty pictures... Next time I will tell you about my iteration in white poplin (in the first picture).In the mean time, I would love to hear your thoughts on those pattern companies that seem less popular among sewing bloggers, does it stop you from trying them out?  

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!

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...)