Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Bright Pink Coat from Gertie

In the last year, a few good books came out : Colette's, Gertie's etc. I have obvioulsy purchased both and I fell in love with both. I did a couple of projects from Colette and three from Gertie. Today, I will gush about one of them.

When I recieved the book, I skipped directly to the last chapter because I was so intrigued about what Gertie would create. I have been following her blog faithfully for years now. I have also participated to her Lady Grey and Crepe sew-alongs and they have helped me learn so much ! Gertie also has a highly contagious enthousiasm about pushing yourself to learn and create your opportunities in life. She is such a model...

From Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing, I made the Pencil Skirt, the Keyhole Blouse and the Coat. I will make sure I show you the other two items but today is all about the coat.

You may not know it, but I bicycle to work everyday, 40 minutes to go and 40 minutes to come back, on good days :) I needed a comfortable and WARM coat for the winter. I have actually tried a few other patterns before but no other muslin fit that well ! I had already bought some beautiful pink wool, grey/green/pink lining, and metallic buttons.

You will see in the photos that we had a pretty cold and snowy winter here in the Netherlands ! These are also the first real pictures we took in our garden.

First of all, I am in love with the shape of the coat : fitted on top, and loose on the bottom. It if perfect for bicycling because it stays snug and warm on top and comfy on the bottom. I chose to not make the belt that went with it. To me, the metallic buttons on one side are enough of a feature and the belt is not necessary. I did not have to change much to it, I only had to upgrade 1 size at the waist.

When I went to buy the fabric, I really wanted a contrasting lining. This one was perfect because there was a hint of pink in it. It is a tightly woven fiber, keeping the warm inside the coat. I have also used a really cook interfacing that gave great shape to the garmen AND added some warmth to it. I must say that the lady at my local store was the nicest.

One of my favourite part of the design was the sleeves. It was the first time I used sleeve darts and I must say that it makes SUCH a big difference ! I have also invested in a special button mecanism that secures them. I am also quite happy about the collar. I decided on not handstitching it. I have sculpted it with interfacing and steam instead, and so far, it has been holding its shape great.

The small details also make a coat. I went for bound buttonholes. They are still not as perfect as I wish but they are much better compared to what I would achive in the past. I have also handsewn the hem and the sleeves.

I have been living in this coat all winter long, and I am feeling (oddly) sad about having to leave it in the wardrobe during the warmer days ! This coat has brought a smile on my face countless times, especially when I got complimented on it. I would recommand this pattern to anyone !

Saturday, March 2, 2013

How I made my bridesmaids dresses!

As promised, this one is about my big day !!! Mister and I got married on the 6th October 2012. It was such a lovely day ! So this post is going to be about the garments of that day : my wedding dress (made by talented people), the bridesmaids dresses (all 3 made by me) and the flower girls dress (also made by me).

Quite early on, I decided to not sew my own dress. I knew that I would recognise every little problem it might have, and I had absolutely no previous couture or corsetting skills. I was also unsure on what would happen in the weeks before the wedding, and what if I would not manage to finish it ! I did not have an ideal dress in my mind, but I knew that I wanted either lace or organza. I went to shops for the first time in Belgium with my mum, and bridesmaids. This was probably the worst day of my life !

  • Shop #1 : I wanted to start the day with cheap options. I tried a couple of dresses on. The lady was very nice, and very sorry that she mostly had sample sizes I could not try on. But I had a first glimpse of what a built in corset could do to my figure:)

  • Shop #2 : They had dresses in my price range but more expensive than the previous one. When we came in, the lady said that we could walk around and pull out the dresses I liked, and that we would discuss it later. Oh yeah... When we had things pulled out, she put all of them back, telling me that they would not look good on my broader figure. She than pulled out uggly huge ones coming directly from the eighties. I wanted to cry. The worst thing is that all the dresses I would have wanted to try on were only sample sizes, meaning I could not even slip in them. They could only hold them in front of me.

  • Shop #3 : Higher end, with lovely Pronovias numbers. Same sample size problem here. But the ladies were at least lovely. They did their best to give me an idea of what the dresses would look like on me. And I must say that completly fell for a Pronovias one. The problem was that I could not order someting worth so much money without really trying it on...

So I went back home completely depressed. But my quest was not over! A few weeks later, I went to another shop with Mister's sister. And I found my lovely dress, and loop, and veil !!! It is a strapless A line dress, with built in boning and lace appliques on the bust. It has a lining layer, a silk layer, and a dreped organza layer, gathered asymetrically at the waist to create a « slimmer » illusion. The veil was a crazy move ! I was getting married in a church, and I really wanted a long one. At the shop, they only had small or VERY long. And, let's be honest, once you try on the long one, you can never go back, no matter how many zeros figure in the price... Anyway, it made me feel like a princess and that's what it should be !!! Here is an extra photo with the bubbles after we said yes at the church

Now, let's talk about sewing ! I could not get married without some DIY action ! From the beginning, I knew that I was going to sew the bridesmaids dresses. The idea was to use the same fabric for all three but different patterns because all three have very different styles.

My cousin is younger and likes funkier things. From the beginning, she wanted an asymetrical dress, slightly above knee length. I sent her a few patterns ideas, and in the end, we went for McCall 6330. I LOVED working on this pattern because it has such an interesting design. I enjoyed the asymetrical darts and the effect it had on the whole pattern. It took me a while to understand how to sew in the strap but I found the process so interesting.

I did a muslin that my cousin tried out. There were a few tweakings to be done, I had to narrow ot on the top. Ideally, I would have done an FBA, but I had no clue on how to to it on this pattern as it has unusual darts, and is asymetrical per nature. There is also a supportive piece and the lining. All in all, I was too afraid to do anything wrong, so I used the good old « pinching while wearing » method. It turned out great !

The second dress I made was for a friend from university. She likes more classic things, and to be covered. Her requirement was that she wanted a knee length, a V neck, and something that covers the bra straps. From the ideas I sent, she chose Vogue 1235, from DKNY. It has a deep V-neck and pleats for both the bust and the skirt. The back, however, is gathered. The construction was very straightforward. After the fitting, I had to raise the neckline. The V was too low.

The last dress was for my other friend from university. She is more girly and like graments that are well fitted. She wanted layers in the bottom, and a fitted strapless top. I sent her a few possibilities but I knoew which one I wanted her to keep. I had fallen in love with it earlier in the spring. It is one of the two first Leanne Marshall. I woud not have ordered it for myself because I would not have any occasion to wear it and because simplicity patterns are very expensive and you cannot enjoy the same huge sales as for BMV. The shipping costs are crazy and my envelope stayed stuck two extra weeks at the customs !

But anyway ! At the muslin stage, I had to do the equivalent of an FBA as well. And she wanted the waist to be as fitted as possible. Constructing the garment was so fun ! I used boning !!! Boning is one of my favourite new things in the sewing world. The end result was awesome !

And here is the big reveal !!!
Aren't they beautiful ? All three purchased the same accessory and it worked great ! I am so glad I offered them the dresses because they have been so helpful and lovely and nice, they have also organised the best Bachelorette week-end (Harry Potter themed)

In the church

Sneakily preparing for their speech!

The icing on the cake ! I also made a cute little flower girls dress. I went for a simple Burda kids pattern from april 2010.

It is a simple trapeze dress with flounces. The idea was to have it white, with contrasting flounces made of the same fabric as the bridesmaids dresses. She was the cutest little girl EVER !

So, that was THE BIG WEDDING post :)
For those of you who are still reading, here is a foodie bonus !

Scallops tartare

Chicken with veggie gratin

Multi layered ice cream and sorbet cake

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