Sunday, April 27, 2014

Shorts: Chapter 1 closed

Hi everyone !

Do you remember my struggles with shorts ? Well, I have not abandonned ! The muslin stage was very painful and I needed to close the difficult chapter with a temporary happy ending...

Erlier this month, I attacked the mythical shorts with my usual optimism. I thought that using four different patterns would at least bring a couple of successes. From the bunch, I only liked the version with 3 pleats : Burda 7/2013. But still, they were riding up. So many of you sent me tips and tricks and I decided to apply some of them to the shorts I found the best original fit:
  • using a heavier fabric : beige denim
  • lower the crotch length

I was not expecting much but I was pleasantly suprised with the result ! In this case, the weight of the fabric makes a huge difference. And there is almost no bunching thanks to the changed crotch length. When I put them on, I was pretty surprised.

I had no great expectations but now I know that I will get some wear out of them, Even in public !

To be completely honest, I will not be able to wear these for my hiking plans. I think they are not long enough. But they will be perfect for the warm summer days at home, even with guests, on vacation, or gardening.

Now, this first chapter is closed with a happy ending. But there is still a lot of pages to be written ! I am trying another pattern at the moment and it is quite promising. I have also ordered the Chataigne from Deer & Doe. This shorts adventure promises to deliver much more surprises !

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Curvy Colette Plus Size Blog Tour : Monochrome Mabel

I am already back with my second entry in our Curvy Colette Plus Size Blog Tour. This time is all about the Mabel!

The Mabel is a skirt pattern made for knits. The skirt will hug your curves. A few versions are available : short, longer with a vent, with or without a front pannel or placket.

When I recieved the picture of the pattern, my first reaction was to panick a little bit. As you may know, the area of my body that causes the most problems is my lower stomac area. I named it my kangaroo pouch. I usually try to hide it as much as possible. With the Mabel, this is the first occasion I had to embrace my morphology.

After reflexion, I decided to go for the version 1 : it is shorter and a simple front pattern piece. The coral version worn by the Colette model completely convinced me ! A shorter version would also work better with leggings in the summer. I also thought : « If I go for a figure hugging skirt, let's embrace it to the fullest and go for shorter !

I cut the size 2XL, grading half a size down around the waist. I also chose a fairly thick jersey I had purchased as part of my mini-capsule haul. The pattern makes the skirt very interesting. And I am not exagerating, within 2 hours (including drawing and cutting the paper pattern pieces), the Mabel was finished.

I learned a lot with this project. But what I learned was about myself ! For the first time, I am wearing a very tight fitting skirt. It leaves very little to the imagination. You can see the bits I usually try to hide. Wearing this skirt actually felt very liberating. I have a larger lower stomac, so what ? In the same time, I can show off my muscly legs and my waist. I am also very happy with the back view... So is Mister !

This is such a funky skirt ! I love the fabric and it can be paired with many tops. I am planning to make a peplum top in the same fabric. Wouldn't that be awesome ? Also, isn't that a great print matching?

Mary has already revealed her beautiful polka dots version as well. If you haven't seen it, go and read. It looks beautiful on her !

So ladies, are you planning on trying out the Mabel ?

If you follow our Blog Tour, you will see 6 beautiful versions :

Wednesday, April 16th -- Jenny at Cashmerette
Thursday, April 17th -- Mary at Idle Fancy (That's me! That's tomorrow!)
Friday, April 18th -- Exclusive interviews on Cashmerette and Idle Fancy with Sarai and Alyson
Saturday  Sunday, April ; 20th -- Laurence at Quirky Pretty Cute
Monday, April 21st -- Tanya at Mrs. Hughes
Tuesday ; Wednesday, April 22nd; 23rd -- T at UandMii
Thursday, April 24th --Jenny at Cashmerette
Friday, April 25th -- Mary at Idle Fancy
Sunday,  April 26th -- Sophie-Lee at Tworandomwords
Wednesday, April 28th -- Mary at Young Broke & Fabulous

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Curvy Colette Plus Size Blog Tour : A Broderie Moneta

Hello everyone ! I hope you are having a great Easter Weekend. Mine is proving to be extremely exciting ! I am sure you read all about it on my fellow Curvy Sewing Collective members, today is my turn to feature in our Curvy Colette Blog Tour.

The last few weeks have been a rollercoaster ride ! Jenny contacted me and asked if I would be interested in taking part of a blog tour involving the two new Colette patterns. My husband can bear witness, I didn't stop talking about it for days ! Colette has been my favorite pattern maker since I made my first Beignet. I was alread super happy when they announced they were working on a larger pattern block AND on knit patterns. This means a well deserved rest from upgrading for me !

Today, I will reveal my version of the Moneta.

The Moneta is a lovely and flattering dress pattern for knit fabrics. It is nicely fitted on top and loose in the bottom. It comes with different sleeves options and with free bonus collar versions !

I decided to do version 1. I need a summer dress I will be able to wear during my vacation next month and I was very interested in the lining technique explained in the instructions. I picked a lightweight Borderie Cotton Knit in a off-white color. I used a coordinated Stretch Silk Charmeuse for the lining. I cut a size XL from the shoulders to the bust and graded up to a 2XL from the waist down.

I used the pdf pattern version and for the first time in my sewing life, I could just cut the pattern along lines without having to upgrade anything ! It made me feel so good ! The sizes I picked fit really well and I did not have to do any adjustment.

This project was also a great learning experience. I have used a twin needle for the first time and could not stop playing with it. It is so cool and created such a clean finish on knits ! I was also amazed by the armhole seaming technique described in the booklet. It was magical !

I am extremely happy with the end result ! The dress is comfortable, pretty and can be dressed up or down with high heels or simple sandals. It will look great with a straw hat during warm summer days. It also feels precious with a simple cardigan. You can add a belt too. I think I will try to wear it with opaque tights as well.

As always, pockets are welcome ! It means that I will not hask Mister to carry my phone and keys around when we go for a walk or run errands.

I will use this pattern again, for sure to make some cool winter dresses with longer sleeves !

And this is not over ! I will come back tomorrow with my version of the Mabel skirt ! I can also completely recommand the posts written by Jenny and Mary and their interviews with Sarai and Alison.

Also, if you are not following the other menbers of the Curvy Sewing Collective, please do so to not miss their versions of the Mabel and the Monetta !

Wednesday, April 16th -- Jenny at Cashmerette
Thursday, April 17th -- Mary at Idle Fancy (That's me! That's tomorrow!)
Friday, April 18th -- Exclusive interviews on Cashmerette and Idle Fancy with Sarai and Alyson
Saturday ; Sunday, Aprl 19th ; 20th -- Laurence at Quirky Pretty Cute
Monday, April 21st -- Tanya at Mrs. Hughes
Tuesday ; Wednesday, April 22nd ; 23rd -- T at UandMii
Thursday, April 24th --Jenny at Cashmerette
Friday, April 25th -- Mary at Idle Fancy

Sunday,  April 26th -- Sophie-Lee at Tworandomwords
Wednesday, April 28th -- Mary at Young Broke & Fabulous

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Exciting news : The Curvy Sewing Collective

Hi everyone,

You may have read about it on one of my fellow bloggers but I have very interesting news ! With a few other lovely curvy ladies, we have started up a sewing collective : The Curvy Sewing Collective !

As Tanya and Jenny already explained, this little group was formed after we all complained about not having one platform where we can share tips and anecdotes for Curvy Ladies. You know how passionate I am about the positive influence of sewing on body image and mental heath. I am also very interested in allowing yourself to wear whatever makes you feel pretty, quirky, and cute, if that's what you are into. We decided to share our passion. 

I am sure you have read at least one post from all of us.

Jenny @ Cashmerette is a British Expat in the US. She became an expert in wrap dresses and has posted so many awesome tips lately ! I loved her article on pattern companies and the sizing differences.

I have been following Mary @ Idle Fancy for a long while now. I am in love with her dreamy photo shoots and her beautiful dresses. Like many of us, I will admit that I am extremely jealous of her wonderful hair.

I discovered Tanya @ Mrs. Hughes a few weeks ago and I am having a lot of fun catching up on her past projects ! She makes me want to dive into Vintage sewing patterns and adopt a puppy ! Also, I love her eyewear !

I came across T's blog @ u&mii back in January when she pulled 10.000 Plantain versions out of her Mary Poppins bag. She has a crazy shoe collection and her photos are always so colorful !

Mary @ Young, Broke and Fabulous is the girl I wanted to be when I was in college ! She has pretty garments, glasses and hair. She also sews awesome cosplay outfits ! And she plays Quidditch !

This adventure has been great so far and we have very interesting projects going on. We just need a little bit of time before we can show you more. So far, there has been a LOT of great comments!

Isn't it exciting ???!!!
What do you all think about it ?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The shorts muslins of hell


Since my last post, many things happened… Many shorts muslins mainly (and still no overlock pedal arrival, grrr)! This is a very interesting experience, even if it is not completely positive. On the bright side, I received a lot of great tips in the comment section, I also realised that this is a touchy subject for many ladies. This project is definitely pulling me between aesthetics and practicality.  The main tips I got were as follows (massive thanks to Tropical Threads!):

-                      Dropped waist if you are in a warm climate.
-                      Pay a lot of attention to the crotch length/depth
-                      Avoid lose legs because it created the riding up effect
-                      Pleats are not a big issue but I would need to find a way to reconcile pleats with fitted legs
-                      Use thick fabric
-                      Broad hem (sits well and brings extra weight)
-                      Consider other patterns
-                      Use of inseam stays (thanks for this one Jamie!)

I will of course show you the photos and it’s usually quite easy to see what does or does not work. Let’s be completely honest, shorts mostly did not work. First, let’s focus on the aesthetic (I’ll have a rent about practicality later…)

The no-pleats version: Abort! Abort! Pouch alert! Also, the length is not for me. There is a crotch length issue and the pattern just does not work.

The one pleat version: now that I look at it a few days after the big drama muslin day, I must admit it does not look as bad as I remember. There is still a crotch length issue but the main problem is the placement of the pleats, they are really not flattering. Apart from that, I like the cuffs and the length.

The 2-pleats version: the pleats don't work for me. I just don't like the way it looks. I actually find it quite upsetting to talk about :( 

The 3-pleats version: I just need to add a little bit of crotch length but I quite like the way this looks!

Overall, the version I like the most is the 3 pleats. I am not sure if it is because they hide the pouch area or because it just feels wider. The crotch depth feels almost ok but I am not really an expert. I also have a very irrational feeling that after 4 muslins, I need to pick one version and make it to close this unpleasant chapter.

Now, let’s jump into the Bunching up issue! You will find 4 very unflattering shots below. Protect your eyes! For each muslin, I jogged 30 seconds on the spot to see how bad things would get. And it got pretty bad pretty quick, way before the 30 seconds were over…

3 pleats version 
2 pleats version
1 pleat version
No pleats
This is not a good sign because the reason I want shorts is to go hiking in Crete… Ok, I could use a shorter pair to garden at home, or to wear in the summer at home, on warmer days. I think that’s the reason I will sew one of the muslins above. I actually really like the pleating effect and the cuffs of the 3 pleats muslin. This is Burda 07/2013. I will try to apply some of the advice I have received so far: use a heavier fabric (I have leftover beige denim from the Albion Duffle coats), have a dropped waist and use cuffs to add weight to the hem. I will also adjust the crotch length a little bit.

In the meantime, I think it will be wise to find other patterns. I am considering using the top of the Burda jeans pattern that I know fits well. ThIris from Colette could also be a good one. Do you have any other recommendation?

Have you ever had a project that tests your dedication or that makes you struggle with your body image? Even if it is for the best…

Sunday, April 6, 2014

A quest for plus size shorts

Hi everyone!

I am still focusing on my Spring/Summer capsule and awaiting the arrival of my serger foot from UK (it’s been in status “sent” for 2 weeks now…) to finish the jeans. So I started working on the next items that I will need: shorts! Yes, shorts! This is a very taboo subject for many Curvies. And I am taking this as a challenge. Shorts can be classy or pretty or cute or sporty or sexy.

They can be everything you want and I want some. I am going to Greece in May/June and I would like to have a couple of pairs to go for hikes. The thing is, I have very bad memories about shorts from when I was younger and I am (maybe non-realistically) hoping that sewing my own will make it all better. So far, most attempted projects (skirts, tops, dresses) wrote every bad experience right. The only issues I had are with trousers and that is not a perfect starting point for the Shorts Adventure! I have seen it work in some occasions so I keep my hopes!

Many bloggers have touched down and made great versions. 

Erika and the Iris shorts

Pimsy and her Chataigne

But I am still afraid... Let’s explain why shorts are tricky for Curvies (and some Skinnies too)! They ride up! And when they ride up, the skin of the thighs rubs and hurts. It’s also not a very flattering view.
I did a little bit of research online about possible styles and advise for plus size shorts. And I was extremely disappointed!
“buy shorts at least a size bigger”
“no pleats”
“go for capri ength”
“don’t go higher than just above the knee”
“no pockets”
“narrow legs” (but what what what? That does not work with the “one size bigger” bit)
“wear skorts”

But but but! I wanted some shorts that stop at mid-thighs! With cuffs and handy pockets! I also love the look of pleats… And I don’t like capris, they feel so matronly (as Tim Gunn would say). Though, I like the idea of shorts wider at the waist so they fall down a little bit. It would allow ventilation that would be very welcome with warmer days.

I started looking around for shorts patterns. You can find them with every pattern company. I decided to try a few muslins from Burda issues I already have in my collection. I don’t want to invest in patterns that have high probabilities to not work for me. I also think that’s quite interesting to test out various features from the same pattern block used by Burda. It makes for better comparison.  I have chosen 4 different versions that

-          have cuffs/no-cuffs
-          are wide/narrower
-          have 1/2/3/no pleats
-          are short/long
-          have a curved/straight waist
-          are wide/more fitted

Of course every pattern is a combo of various factors and it is complicated to decide.

Burda 6/2010

Burda 7/2012

Burda 7/2013

Burda 3/2011 
It is a very interesting concept to look into. I will let you know how things turn out!
Muslins ahead!
Do you have any shorts good or bad experience?
Don’t hesitate to send me links with advise or ideas or cool shorts sewing projects!
I will need all the help I can get!

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