Friday, January 31, 2014

Plantain Shirt from Deer&Doe

Hi everyone !

I am still amazed by the comments I have received for my latest post on body image and + sewing. It was hard to write but that was worth the trouble ! I will get back to the subject soon but today, I will stay on a safer ground : not one but 2 finished projects and a contest entry !

Let's rewind back.

In some of the blogs I follow, the pattern company « Deer & Doe » has been mentioned a few times but I never really clicked through the link. Last month, Jamie mentioned their new and FREE pattern, the Plantain. Of course, I had to download it ! After the download, I clicked around their website and I fell in love with all their designs. They create beautiful and feminine dresses, tops etc. My husband was making fun of me because I would keep on whistling every time I checked another one of their patterns, singing aloud that I wanted it ! I was also so happy because it is actually the first time I came across a French speaking website (I am a native French speaker). And they opened up so many doors to other beautiful blogs !

As some of you may know, they are also hosting a contest on their Plantain pattern. I have used it for two projects, therefore I have no choice, I must apply ! The Plantain is a really cool Top pattern made for Jersey fabrics. It has cute details like elbow caps and also flares below the waistline. It also has a nice and rounded lower neckline. I find it very flattering and incredibly easy to assemble.

The pattern comes with very clear instructions. To be honest, this is the first time I actually sew something in jersey, meant to be in jersey. Of course, I improvised in the past on other projects, but it kinda sorta does not count, ya know. With this project, for the first time, I adjusted my stitches (my PFAFF offers « stretch » stitches). I did a first project with a nice light blue Cotton Knit, using leftover lace from other projects for the elbow caps details. It makes it feel SO precious and girly ! The knit was slightly less stretchy compared to what was advised in the instructions but it still worked great !

I am very happy with the result and I have already worn the Plantain twice ! It works great with jeans. I already know that I am going to sew a white skirt for spring to wear with it :).

Now, let's not forget that the pattern comes in smaller sizes and I had to upgrade it. But it worked out great, so, ladies in doubt : go for it ! It is super straightforward.

I was planning to only make this version of the pattern for now. But something happened on Monday evening ! I was between two projects and I wanted a « quick fix » and I thought that I could maybe make another Plantain... So why not search through my stash for another knit... And POW ! The idea came over me ! I had 3 meters of a beautiful and dark yellow « waffly » knit purchased a few years ago. I also had navy blue knit leftovers. Mmmh, but 3 meters was surely too much for a top... Why not try a Maxi Dress ! And that was it. The idea was there ! From that point on, it went extremely quick ! I just prolonged the pattern from the bottom of the top down to my legs' length and cut the fabric. It was ready within a couple of hours !

At first, I was wondering how it would fit around the waist and hips area, but it magically worked superbly ! It is fitted where it should be and flares where it should flare. I also love the contrasting navy blue. I loved it so much I also used it as binding for the neckline and the sleeves.

Here you go pretty ladies (and gentlemen). I can see a bright future filled with cute and quirky Plantains, Happily Ever After. What about you ?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Plus Size Sewing and Body Image

My sewing machine has to be repaired, my latest muslin is built and I am not happy about the photos we took for the project I want to post about. This leaves me with time to think about things that are hard to explain. I have been happily ignoring the subject of Body Image in my blog so far but I think it is an important one. It is very easy to be very positive, advocate upgrading and embrace my curves but sometimes, things are more complicated.

Sewing has completely changed me. The way I dress, the way I see my body, the way I feel about my body. Have you ever taken a body image test ? Or given it a thought ? You can have a few type of issues. My 2 issues are as follow : I am unsatisfied with my body and I sometimes feel subjectively bigger than what I am. What's awesome about sewing is that it helped me enormously on both spectrums. Look at the drawing below :

Exercise 1 : evaluate which shape corresponds to yours : #8
Exercise 2 : evaluate which shape you would like to have : #6
Exercise 3 : ask a friend to evaluate which shape you are : #8

The difference between 1 and 2 can indicate your body dissatisfaction. This changed slightly in the last few months as I have been losing weight. Before starting sewing, I would have wanted to be a #4... Sewing taught me I could look good even if I am rounder. Of course, I am still not satisfied ! I would like to be a little bit smaller to be able to sew more fitted garments and more different shapes that simply do not suit me at the moment.
The difference between 1 and 3 indicates if you have a biased body image. Before I started sewing, I would have guessed that my shape was bigger than the #9. Making my own clothing and using accurate measurements made me understand better how my body is. Knowing my body better actually helped me accepting it for the time being.

Now, I know it may feel wrong when I say that accepting my body helped me losing weight. Oddly it did ! Shall we go through the body changes and influences of sewing and acceptation ?

I have always been rounder, already as a child. I was very aware of it. At that time, my grandma was sewing my clothing. She made beautiful things and they made me feel nice and special but I always felt too big. And I grew up that way. Adding kilos steadily. Food was my safe heaven.

During my studies, I took a leap year and I lost 30 kilos. The adventures and the stressfree life being an aupair abroad made me grow wings.

Of course, after I came back and a break up, I gained all the weight back on. I also met my husband and discovered the sewing world. I tried my first projects. At that point, I was going for ideas that were more special and quirky, bringing the attention to the details of my outfits and less to my size. Upgrading was simply a mean to an end, it never was a restriction to me.

Little by little, I learned new techniques and started to like my body more. I figured out what looked good on me. Of course, I would always keep some cookiness. But at that point, I pinpointed what worked better. Most of the time things went great but I still have the odd “fail” project. Upgrading is still a huge part of my sewing habits.

At this point, I knew my body. I objectively knew that I was (still am) obese. Some projects made me feel like I had to change something. This came gradually. For exemple, I made a dress for a “pre-wedding” event. I hate all of the pictures because you can see my arms. Later in the year, I could not hike as well as others when we were on vacation. Little details adding up month after month.

After a while, I just wanted to do something and started a diet last July. I lost 13 kilos in the first 4 month and I am still plateau-ing. Christmas did not help, neither did a miscarriage. But I am still very happy with the results and I am looking forward to the coming months and how my body will change. I am very active and I am sure that I will keep on getting healthier. In my last projects, my sewing has reinforced the happy feelings. I started working on more fitted garments. And they make me feel great!

In conclusion, I feel so grateful! Sewing was a plaster when I had body image issues and became a motivation booster after I changed for the better.

Does sewing do that for you?
Please share!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Burda February 2014 – My picks

One of the main feedbacks from your comments was that you would like more plus size related topics. I thought that commenting on the latest Burda issue would be a good way to ease into the subject. I will talk about the Plus size segment of this issue in general, I will show you my 3 favourites and I will talk about patterns from the non plus features, explaining how I would tweak and upgrade them (the lazy way).

Now, you all know that Burda has good and bad months. To me, this issue is a good one. There are really cool things both in the Plus section and in the other articles. The theme for the Plus section is « Just Charming ». They use easy patterns with refined details. They have chosen nice Crepe, Linnen etc. Fabrics in neutral colors. I think that the patterns here apply mostly to work situations. Here is my top 3! You can find the technical drawings here.

The dress herself is quite basic, it's the color blocking that makes it interesting. I would love to try it with light fabrics for the summer : one neutral tone and one color with more punch such as tangerine-ish.
This is a + pattern so I would not have to upgrade, I would cut the 50 from the shoulders to the waist and switch to a 52 down. What would be tricky ?
  • the sleeves : I have larger biceps. I usually avoid long sleeves. In this case, I would maybe make a biceps adjustment, depending on how the muslin falls.
  • The back darts : I would have to make them deeper to mark the waist a little bit more. I found that a defined waist/hips at the back does wonders for a rounder silouhette

This double breasted coat is really cool and classy. This year, I already got started on another pattern (Cooper from Colette). If I had gone for this one, I would have picked a light pink canvas and home made matching buttons.
I would also draw a 50/52 version. I would only worry about the fit of the sleeves on this one.

My dear plussy friends, I don't know about you, but I can NEVER find the perfect trousers patterns. I only purchase RTW ones but I have been dying to try jeans and I could not find a good AND affordable version. This one looks great. Well, it is obviously cut too big for the model.
I would try this one with a slightly stretchy denim fabric, cut a 50 all the way so it's nice and snug. I have no idea what would be tricky with this. I think that it would gape a little at the back and I have no clue how it would be around the crotch area. But it would be a great adventure trying!

The magic of sewing is that you are not limited to « plus size » patterns. They are sure more straight forward to trace and they are good at camouflaging if that's what you are after. I chose to no be limited by that. If you just put a little bit of energy in upgrading as you go, it's really easy. Sometimes, too much upgrading damages the proportions or the design. Then it's up to you to make it work !

There are a few designs I would probably try on myself. I usually chose patterns that have a shape that would work well on me (no reactangles or boxy things etc.). I also choose something I LIKE !

I am sure this would look great! V neck, larger at the hips, flat front, cute detail at the back.
Make it work : upgrading to the equivalent of 50/52, check how the sleeves fit, maybe shorten them.

I love to dress up but I also like my comfort. This dress looks so interesting with 2 tones, one in stretch, one in woven.
Make it work : upgrading to 50/52. The sleeves would be fine as they are stretchy. I would have to wear a belt to define the waist.

Doesn't it look cool ! I would wear this with jeans or colorful pants.
Make it work : upgrading to 50 (maybe 48), no problem with the stretchy sleeves. This construction is not a basic one, I wonder what upgrading would do to it. I would also have to see if it does not become too long or short.

This would make a lovely summer top to wear with a skirt. Dressy in a plain fabric or playful with a cute print. The open shoulders would fit me well and the cinched in waist would be great combined with skirts
Make it work : upgrade to a 50/52. Explore the results around the shoulders. Will there be some gaping or not... Do not wear with trousers or jeans (at least for me)

This is basically what I think about when I open a new Burda, when Vogue releases new patterns etc. When you look at patterns, do you only look if they look interesting or not ? Do you immediately see what would have to be tweaked ? What do you usually change ?

Let me know if you like this kind of post, I can do that with the patterns of the big 5 or with Colette etc. Are there some details that you would like me to pick up ?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Linen Second Skin - Ottobre

How many of you know the magazine « Ottobre » ? I know that Marie reads it. It is a Finnish company. They have a few children issues per year and two women issues, one in Spring, one in Fall. Most of their patterns are available up to a size 52. The models in their featurettes are young and old, thin and round. Most of their designs are quite basic and allow you to let your creativity run. This time, I chose a very simple dress.

This pattern was in the Fall 2011 edition. The same bodice was tweaked into different dresses. I love the classic darts. I chose the version with deep V neckline and a round plunging back. I used a beautiful linnen from my Grandma's closet. The result is a great classy and verstile dress.

In the summer, it feels fresh and in the winter it works great with tights and a cardigan. It is so basic that the smallest accessory dresses it up. I wore it the day I presented at a conference and it lookd professional and felt comfortable.

What did I change ? Ottobre has this pattern up to a size 48 so I had to upgrade it slightly. I also shortened the sleeves and cut them in a scallop shape. Also, instead of gathering the fabric at the waistline, I tucked it into simple pleats.

Now, for the future posts, I have more finished projects to show you. But I would also like to chit chat too. I have the ideas below, what would you like to read ?
  • New patterns from Vogue, Colette etc
  • Sew alongs I take part in
  • Burda magazine critiques
  • TV Thursday
  • Body Image
  • Plus size related content
  • Round ups of what I read in the week ?
Related Posts with Thumbnails