Sunday, October 13, 2013

A Liberty version of Rachel Comey

Fall is here and this is my first fall project!

Earlier this year, Mister brought back some beautiful Liberty prints from London. I have trained him well! One of the fabrics her got me is this beautiful Jack and Charlie Tana Lawn. When you see it from afar, it looks like a simple polka dot print, but it draws you in because from up close, you can see cute pears. It is a beautiful delicate cotton and the quality of the print is beautiful.

I have been waiting some time for the perfect pattern. I wanted to use these 2 meters to make a simple dress that has something special. I found happiness in the last fall collection from Vogue patterns: a really cool Rachel Comey dress: V1350Lined dress has yoke fronts extending into sleeves, close-fitting bodice with side back seams, raised waist, semi-fitted skirt, side front extends to lower side back, no side seams, mock front bands, and concealed snap closingI particularly like the neckline and the sleeves. I was also intrigued by the curved side seam on the skirt.

After my usual upgrading, I had to make a couple of adjustments. First, and almost as usual, I had to remove ease along the front neckline. Second, I had to raise the lower back seam. Surprisingly, the curved seam was quite easy to sew. You cannot really see it on the finished dress but it's quite a cool line. I really love this dress and it is my fall staple. The lining makes it warmer. It looks great with or without belts, cardigans, and a variety of stockings colors!

The princess seam on the back was quite tricky. The point had to be sewn in was the patch method. This is the first time I attempted it. The result is not too bad! You can see some of the patch fabric a the point but it's still good. If one of you has tips to get it in a smoother way, please let me know. I will try to do better next time.

I also decided to strengthen the armholes with bias inside the seam. I also used the same bias at the waistline. I wanted it rest better at my waist. I love the feel of it nicely snug. It makes the dress feel more precious.

I also love the lining. I avoided bright colors. I did not want a bright orange to peek through because I am planning on wearing bright stockings with this dress and I don't want any clash.

A few more close ups below. I always like how lined garments look like inside out!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Mini capsule for China

August has been crazy for me! I started a new job, I started a diet, I turned 31 and I went on vacation!
After August comes September. September is one of my favourite month to sew because it’s the beginning of fall fashion. I always feel like it’s a new beginning.

But before the fall mojo hits me, I would like to share some of my last summer projects!
In July ans August, I have been completely focused on preparing a Vacation Collection for my trip to China. I had already finished a Laurel dress. I just needed a couple of light linen separates that would be cute on photos, light in a sometimes tropical weather, easy to wash, quick to dry. I decided to make one pair of trousers, and one skirt.

For the skirt, I wanted something that would flow with the wind, but also easy to wear. I’s the first time I drafted a pattern for myself. Ok, that was an easy pattern… It only had a few properties:
-          Rectangle skirt, gathered at the waist
-          Added belt
-          Front of the belt interfaced and fitted
-          Back of the belt with elastic
-          Long in the back, high in the front

When I went to the fabric store, I chose a light blue linen. It felt quite thin in the shop but I realised later that it was a little bit too thick for the gathers.
Anyway, this project only took me a couple of hours. I cut the belt pieces and interfaced the front. I cut the skirt and drew the high/low hemline. I pinned the rectangle skirt to the belt and instead of the gathers I had initially thought, I made a few pleats. I just had to hem and it was ready!

Entry of a Buddhist temple

This was such a quick job and I really enjoyed having the result within one afternoon!

When in China, this was one of my favourite things  to wear because it made me feel so girly when the wind was blowing, making it fly, but still covering me. It was awesome in Hong Kong when it was almost 40 degrees (Celsius) and even better when we visited the Summer Palace in Beijing.

Victoria peak in Hong Kong with my good friend Rémy

The second thing I wanted to have was wide linnen trousers. I had purchased the Colette Juniper. I have a long history of try out and errors with trousers patterns, they never really worked for me. I thought that the Colette ones were nice and wide. I made a quick muslin and I loved the effect ! The pattern was so flattering. I usually have issues with the area right under my waist. It's droppy and looks awful. But the Juniper is nicely skimming that area.

I went with a beautiful ocre linen. It fit beautifully ! When in China, I loved wearing it the days we had to walk a lot. It was so comfy but became quickly too big because I lost 6 kilos between the muslin try outs and China so the waistband rested lower on the hips.

I am planning on using the same pattern, downgraded, later this fall.

I leave you with a few shots from our trip !

Monday, July 8, 2013

The ice mint dress

Wow! Summer!

What can I say? It's time for bicycle rides, barbecues, drinks with friends, but it is also time for renewed energy, longer days, and lust for new clothes!

After the Laurels, I wanted to work on a dress that adopted a true hourglass shape. I had found a gorgeous light cotton at my grand ma's and some appliqué she salvaged from a dress she made for my mum in the seventies. All I needed was the pattern! Now, this was before Colette launched the Hawthorn and this is why I picked up another pattern from Knipmode.

Knipmode is a Dutch magazine that works like the Burda. Melissa from Fehr Trade uses and reviews them quite often too. They usually have a lot of dresses patterns made for tricot and they also have very cool pants. For this project, I completely fell in love with this dress from the April issue. It has a very retro style and I love the lines on the skirt. And it has pockets!

I love the result! It feels quite precious and girly! I wore it yesterday to the cinema (World War Z was awesome) and today to work. I have received a lot of compliments in the hallways :) This dress is girly, comfy, light and precious in the same time. It was basically free! The fabric and lovely inserts were from my grand ma and the lining was leftover from a previous project.

This pattern only goes to a 46 (european size corresponding to 42 inches around the bust). Of course, I had to upgrade all the parts. I also had to adjust the neckline because it was gaping a little bit at the front. The rest did fit quite well.

I had to line the full dress because the cotton was too thin and you could see more than necessary through one layer. I have used a very thin lining, in a light beige color. To be honest, we had 30 degrees today and I did not feel too warm at all.

The pattern has a large V at the back. This is one of the details that makes the dress very flattering. It creates an illusion of a very balanced hourglass figure. The sewn in belt (insert lined with fashion fabric) has a contrasting color, also creating an illusion of a more "marked waistline".

I did my best to centre the pattern to keep things symmetrical. The pockets are such a cool detail too! I went a little crazy and hemmed my lining with a bias made of the fashion fabric. It is one of those details that make me smile. You would not find that on a dress purchased in the shop around the corner...

The last detail is the hem of the dress. I added a thin horsehair line to make it more rigid. That reinforces a lot the hourglass illusion.

Below, a few extra photos we took in the park behind our house. Our poor kitties were feeling so warm! Enjoy the summer everyone!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

My first pencil skirt. Thank you Gertie!

Since I started reading magazines, I have been stumbling upon the frequent article about how important it was to have a pencil skirt. In all these magazines, they say that they flatter all shapes. I absolutely did not agree until I I actually tried and sew Gertie's version.

I have already posted about the coat I made from a pattern from her book. As many bloggers, I am in love with the patterns and I am planning on trying many other ones! I am also quite looking forward to the second book she is already writing. I have seen many many versions of it, but one that I loved was Erika's. She chose such a vibrant colour!

At the beginning, I was afraid that this type of skirt would look bad on me. Indeed, I carry my most hated bits under the waist at the front. And anything that is too clingy makes me look pretty awful. I did a quick muslin and it actually looked nice. To be completely honest, I still need to wear supportive undies if I want it to look tip top, but I can actually wear it without. I get quite a few comments from plus size girls that would not have dared a specific look or pattern but that would do it after seeing it on my plussy figure. I really hope that you girls will try this one!

Here it is!

I have followed Gertie's tip and added boning to the waist band. It makes such a difference! I have also lined it with a coordinating black fabric. It allows the skirt to go with everything! And protects me from the static effect.

The first time I wore it, I was in shock. This skirt really makes me look good. It looks best with high heels. I wear it with skin toned heels or with black ones, depending on the stockings I wear. After a few   try outs, my two favourite combos are pencil+flowy blouse and pencil+Tshirt+Cardi.

I found the pattern very easy to work with. The proportions were great for me. I have basically upgraded the waist and hips of 2 sizes and it fit very nicely. The only little problem was related to the waist band. It gaped a little bit so I had to take the top side in by 6 centimeters in the front, and 8 in the back.

I will probably use this pattern again and try a very bright colour. But I will wait until fall/winter because I usually like my spring/summer skirts to float a little.

Have a great week end!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Laurel - Take 2

As some of you may know, I have made a second entry in the Laurel contest, this time, in the "best detail" category. 

I started sketching ideas after Mister and I sent a week end in Rome where I fell in love with the dresses of the Valentino store! From that day, I wanted to buy some lace fabric, cut out the flowers and sew them back on a netting sort of fabric.

After a few visits to my usual fabric stores, I realised that this original idea would be quite pricy.
In the same time, we just booked our holiday to China and I thought I would need a nice linen dress to deal with the warm summer days. I decided to mix both ideas: a white linen dress, with lace appliqués. 

I gave this one a little bit more ease for warm days. I decided to hand sew all those little green lace flowers and have a spreading dandelion effect, as you blow them in the spring sky. And the same flowers would twirl on the back up to the opposite shoulder.

This was a lot of hand work. First, finding out where to lay them, and than actually sewing them. It took me a few evenings, watching TV series in the background!

I also encased the neckline and the sleeves hems with a bias i made with the same fabric as the dress.

That was my second Laurel!

I have a lot of ideas for the next post. Hint, I scored a Burberry coat for 47 EUROS! I was thinking about taking a few close ups and explain to the blogosphere why I will not even try to replicate it :)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I am a Laurel contest prize winner!

Hi everyone!

If you surf around the sewing blogosphere, you must have come across Colette's Laurel pattern contest. The results came in and I won the 2nd prize in the "Best use of fabric" category!

Let's have a little flashback. Back in March, Sarai launched what is the biggest sewing contest I have ever seen, to go with Colette's new spring pattern: Laurel. I decided to take part in it! I started with thinking about which fabric I wanted to use. I have sketched at least 15 versions, all crazier than the other. But my mind kept on coming back to the fabric I bought in Indonesia.

During our honeymoon, I fell in love with the process of painting Batik fabric: it is a cloth that is traditionally made using a manual wax-resist dyeing technique (for more info, please visit this page).
I purchased two different silk Batiks, and I decided to use one of them for the Laurel. It has a beautiful print, changing gradually to a beautiful edge print and I knew it would look great along the hem of the dress and also of the sleeves.

I chose to try for the first time the downloaded version, Living in Europe, I found it much easier and our cats had a lot of fun with the puzzle making process! Evidence below!

I had to upgrade the pattern, I went for the size 20 from the shoulders to the waist and for the size 22 from the waist down. I was a little afraid at first because I usually wear dresses that have a clearly marked waist but the quick muslin proved to be a great surprise. All I had to work on was the sleeves. They were a little bit too small. I also prepared my own bias to encase the neckline and the sleeves.

And here is the result! A few photos outside, and a few indoors too! It was really fun taking the photos. It was still quite cold out and there was static electricity, making the dress very clingy! I shook it off a few times, and I hope that my neighbors did not see it :)

I was so happy to see the results this morning! I have watched with a lot of distress all the wonderful versions of your pattern and I was somehow sure that I would not win anything because so many ladies made such a great job! I also thought that the fact that I am a plus size misses was not going to help out.

The results appeared in the morning and I bashed my colleagues ears in! Completely unable to focus on the stuff I was supposed to deal with! This prize made me feel so great about my sewing skills and ideas and also about myself. 

And this is not the only Laurel I made, I will post about the second next time! So tune in!

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