Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A golden eyelet Hawthorn

Hello everyone!

I am still catching up on me-made garments I made for the summer. Today will be a little bit more classic.

In May, we attended the phD defence of Mister’s sister. This took place in a beautiful building from the university of Utrecht, NL. I don’t know how these events are organised in other countries, but this is quite prestigious here and you have to dress up a little.

I wanted to make a nice dress with a classic style. I already had the fabric in my stash: a beautiful golden cotton eyelet and I just needed to pick the pattern. I went back and forth between different ideas but I ended up wanting a fitted bust with short sleeves, and a flared skirt. In the end, I decided to use Colette’s Hawthorn. I liked the simple silhouette and the classic details (a flat collar, the button-up front).


I cut a size 18 and graded up to a virtual 20 from the waist down. For more fitted skirts, I would grade up to 22 at the hips but this was not necessary with this semi-circle shape. I also added a little bit of width around the biceps.


I am very happy with the end result! The buttons add a subtle effect that is very flattering. I chose to wear it with a thin contrasting belt. For some reason, the dress looks a little bit too plain without that belt.

Due to the nature of the fabric (eyelet), I had to underline most pattern pieces with a golden rayon. For the top, I lined the front and back pattern pieces, simply copying the shape of the fashion fabric. For the skirt, I did not have enough lining for a semi-circle, so I did a dirndl skirt that I attached at the waist.


The day of the defence was beautiful and we walked around in Utrecht. I felt very special. I must admit that high heels on old fashioned European streets is not the comfiest kind of walking, but sometimes, you just have to get on with it…

We took the pictures in the little patio hidden in the old faculty building where the reception took place. It has beautiful open corridors all around and has an old church feeling to it. 

All in all, I am very pleased with the Hawthorn. I will definitely make it again, after my belly stops growing and (hopefully) shrinking. I would like to try a nice winter version, with longer sleeves and contrasting buttons.

I find it very funny to see these photos taken in June because my boday already changed quite a bit and this dress absolutely does not work with the bump. I am really looking forward to wearing it again because it made me feel so ladylike!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Anemone grading notes

Hello everyone,

After last week’s post on the Anemone skirt, many of you have asked for more details on how I upgraded the pattern. I will try to provide you more information below and document it with pictures. To me, the whole process is quite easy and I do it on a “auto-pilot” mode. This is why I may skip things that you would like to see. If that’s the case, just send me a question and I will reply as quickly as possible.

Before we get started, you can have a look at this post I wrote a while ago. Tanya has also written a very nice article about the same subject. It is very clear.

With every project, I basically follow the same guidelines.

1.       Take my measurements
2.       Write them down next to the size chart of the company I am using
3.       Calculate the amount of virtual sizes I need to add to what they already offer
4.       Transform the pattern pieces accordingly (drawing on the printed version)
5.       If necessary, transfer it onto pattern paper (if the pattern pieces overlap)
6.       Make a muslin if I am not used to the company or if the design is intricate.

What I did with the Anemone

Steps 1 to 3: I have put all the information in the table below. As you can see, I chose to grade only 5 sizes at the hips even if my measurements indicated a “plus 6”. There are a few reasons for that:

-          If you look at the shape of the skirt, it has more ease around the hips
-          I wanted to keep the proportions of the pattern
-          Grading up 6 sizes frightened me a little
-          I carry more weight in the lower tummy area, and if I need more space, I can add a bit of ease along the front seams

Deer&Doe sizes
Bust31 1/23334 1/236 1/437 3/439 1/241
Waist23 1/225 1/426 3/428 1/23031 1/233
Hip33 3/435 1/23738 1/240 1/441 3/443 1/4
Virtual sizesUpgrading info
plus 1plus 2plus 3plus 4plus 5plus 6MEGrading
Bust43 1/24645 1/2plus 2
Waist34 1/23637 1/23941 1/240plus 5
Hip44 3/446 1/447 3/449 1/450 3/452 1/452plus 5?

Step 4: The Deer and Doe patterns come printed on large thick paper sheets. This makes it very easy to draw the alternative lines around the actual pieces. As explained in this post, I measure the distance between two sizes, and add it up, drawing little dots where the pattern line would be if it was graded all the way to the size I need. In other words, I am doing what a pattern software would do if they had to add more sizes.

Disclaimer: this is not the ideal way, in a perfect world, larger sizes would be calculated from another block, with slightly different proportions.
I usually try to go for the grading even if it is not the most accurate version you could have. It worked in most of my past attempts.

Example of grading along the waist.

The best way to go with curves is to measure at small intervals to make sure you capture the actual curvy design.

In some cases, the piece of paper is too small, I usually finish that small part when I draw onto Swedish paper.

Step 5: As you can see on the first general picture, a few pieces overlapped after I added sizes. The best you can do is to copy them onto Swedish paper.

Step 6: In this case, I made a muslin. I have not taken any picture of it (I feel silly now). It worked for me so I went ahead and cut my fashion fabric. I am super happy with the end result!

As I explained in last week’s post, I added a couple of features to the instructions: a lining and boning. Both steps were quite easy.
For the lining, I simply used the same pattern pieces (excluding peplums) as for the fashion fabric. I just shortened them by a few inches.

Sorry for this non-ironed-version :)

For the boning, I have cut 6x 4 inches of Rigilene boning pieces. All I had to do is sew it with the machine within the seam allowances of the fashion fabric
The seams were pinked after that...

And there you go! That’s how I worked around the size chart limitations :)
Not too hard heh?

Was this post helpful to you? If so, what type of info helped you the most? Let me know so I can try to include it in the future.
If you feel that some information is missing, what would you like me to include?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A spring Anemone

HI everyone,

Before indulging in my maternity wardrobe planning, I want to show my me-made-summer pretty things (at the moment, there is only one of them that still fits my little bump). I want to start with one of my favourite skirts ever: my Anemone!

As you may know, I fell in love with the beautiful patterns from ElĂ©onore at Dear&Doe. It all started when I used their free Plantain back in January and March. Since then, I have finished 4 versions of it! But that’s another story… When you look at the patterns, they all really appeal to me because they look very flattering, cute and pretty.

I have however pondered about ordering (or not) to D&D for a long time because their size chart is not very large. Their larger size is 41in at the bust, 33 at the waist, and 43 at the hips. This means I would need to upgrade 3 sizes at the bust, 4 or 5 at the waist, and 5 or 6 at the hips (depending on patterns). Even after my many adventures in the upgrading world, I wondered if  wanted to invest into Indie patterns (and the price that goes with them) for woven fabrics with such a high risk of oopsies.

Well, one day, I just decided to try and I ordered the Anemone skirt pattern. I simply love the side peplums and the high waist, I thought it would really work for me. A colleague of mine also convinced me. That’s a funny story actually. I was checking patterns during my lunch break and I had the Anemone website window open. My colleague arrived behind me and said “Oh, that one is really something you would wear!”. I guess my colleagues see me as a peplum kind of girl…

Anyway, I ordered the pattern and I really enjoyed the packaging. It comes with two instructions booklets, one in French, one in English. It felt very odd, because if I am a native French Speaker, most of my sewing vocabulary is in English… The pattern is printed on a very large thick white paper that makes it really easy to measure and play around with upgrades. Would you guys be interested in seeing pictures of the pattern + the grading annotations I made?

I graded up 5 sizes at the waist and at the hips, to try out because I wanted to try and keep similar proportions to the ones of the original pattern. The muslin was quite nice (I forgot to document it) so I adopted these adjustments. My first idea was to sew a white skirt that I would be able to  use during spring and summer. I had the perfect fabric in my stash but I was afraid to use it directly because I wanted to use a few tricks I had not done with the muslin: add a lining, and add some boning along the seams around the high-waist. I feared that that portion of the dress would roll down and plastic boning would be a very simple solution for that. I decided to use some old cotton my grand ma gave me. She bought it 20 years ago for something like 2 EUROS a meter. What happened next is very funny. I fell in love with the end product! What I thought would barely become a wearable muslin became one of my favourite skirts ever! I love all the colours you can combine this skirt with, and there are some really pretty golden lines hidden in the pattern of the fabric.

I really like the way this pattern cheats and makes me look like I have a much narrower waistline! And oddly enough a flatter belly...

To make the lining, I just used the basic pieces of the skirt and shortened them. I really needed a lining because the waist is very adjusted and I wanted to make sure I could slip this on easier. I was also planning to wear it on colder days with tights.

We took the pictures back in May when we went to spend a week end with my family in Belgium. We were in a cute little town called Durbuy where you can still walk amongst medieval little streets and beautiful grey stone houses. They also do yummy ice creams in the summer and tasty warm wine in the winter if you are around!

Have you ever been to Belgium or Durbuy?
What is the largest grading you ever made?
Do you want to see the grading notes on the pattern? 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Happy news!

Hello Earth, here I am !

This post is going to be about happy news.
As you may have seen, I have been out of the blogosphere for a few months now. So much has happened since then !

Headline ! 

The Curvy Sewing Collective website was launched and it is getting a wonderful response ! I hope you have all visited it !

More news ! 

I went on a great vacation and I have lots of photos to share with you : what I wore, the mini-capsule I have put together and even some pretty sights. You can expect more finished projects in the coming weeks.

Chania harbour

Gossip Page ! 

I actually have a pretty good reason for vacating the sewing web world. It is now 18 weeks old and kicking...

Echo at 12 weeks

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