Friday, December 30, 2011

Keyka Lou patterns retiring

Hello, everyone!
Just a quick post to let you know that there are 16 patterns being retired at Keyka Lou, so you might want to snatch them while you can. They're also on sale at 3 $ each, so it's a great occasion!
My favorites are the Garden Party Wristlet and the Charm School Handbag. There's just a couple days left to buy them, so run!

I also want to wish a Happy New Year to all of you. I'll be working tomorrow night, but I hope you'll have fun and be safe!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Interview: Vanilla and Lace

The next two guests on my blog are two people I'm very very excited to have here. The first one is Abi from Vanilla and Lace, she sews beautiful dresses I fell in love with the moment I saw them. And the next one... I guess you'll have to wait for it! Enjoy!

Introduce yourself: tell us something about where you live, your origins, hobbies, etc.
I'm Abi and I live in the very rainy Portland. You can find me at my sewing machine most hours of the day, sometimes wearing sequin dresses and red lip stick. (Hey when you work from home you get to do whatever you want!)
How did you start your shop, Vanilla and Lace?
It started from a burning passion to finally make my dream a reality. Some of these dresses have been in my sketchbook for some time and one day I just decided to go for it.

How did you choose the name of your shop?
It's also the name of my blog which I named a couple years ago after two of my favorite things to craft with.. vanilla...and... lace! 
Do you have formal training (art, design, sewing, etc.)?
I don't. My mom was an avid sewer growing up so I learned a bit from her... and everything else is self taught from years of trial and error.

Do your creations support you economically? If not, do you have another job?
It does! And for that I am eternally grateful. We live very simply so we're both able to do what we love and love what we do.

What are your main sources of inspiration?
Most of my inspiration comes from fashion in the 1950's and 60s, but I also draw inspiration from films, art and other designers.
What are the main satisfactions you get from your shop?
I LOVE (!!) seeing pictures of gals in the dress they bought.. it is so rewarding to see something go from a pile of fabric to a new favorite dress halfway across the world. It's also pretty incredible to be able to call what i would normally be doing as a hobby anyway, work.

How and where do you advertise your business?
I haven't advertised much of anywhere yet, except for on my own blog and twitter

Do you have any advice for who wants to sell or already sells handmade?
Force yourself to take days off even when orders are piling up! It's important for your sanity.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Teddy Bear Parfait

For me, going back to a Colette pattern after sewing something else is like meeting a good old friend. I've never hidden my enthousiasm for Sarai's patterns, I guess you'll know it by now if you read my blog.

For my latest sewing project, I went back to the Parfait pattern (see my previous version here) and went from sundress to winter jumper dress. I share the love some bloggers feel for curdoroy (see here and here, among others) and chose this light warm brown (which seems orange in photos, but I swear it isn't). I'm very happy of the final result: it's warm and fuzzy, just like a teddy bear.

The only changes I made to the pattern: I cut heart shaped pockets (thanks Nette for the tutorial) and instead of an invisible zipper, I used a vintage inspired technique: a lapped zipper. I really like how it looks, so I think I'll use this technique more often.
And since today it's Christmas Eve... Merry Christmas, everyone! I'm going to spend tomorrow at my aunt's having our traditional family lunch and gaining a few kilos. Yum!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The cutest thing I've ever sewn

... is, without a doubt, this little pouch right here. After completing it, I had a very narcissistic moment in which I could not stop looking at it, opening and closing the zipper or just holding it in my hands. It might sound crazy, but if you're crafty people then it must have happened to you as well. Sometimes you're just too proud of yourself, and there's nothing wrong about it, right?

Anyway, the pattern I used for this beauty is the Spring Forest Clutch by Napkitten and I strongly recommend it. Be aware that it's an intermediate/advanced level pattern. If you're a beginner, it might be quite frustrating. It took me a good three hours to complete my first pouch!

But as you can see, I loved the design enough to make more than one. The first one, my favorite (which features the same bias binding I used for my Darling Ranges Dress), is for sale in my shop; the second one is a custom order from my lovely cousin, who has a beautiful bathroom decorated in black and green, so she wanted a makeup pouch that went with the room.
Finally, the third one, a mix of edgy and romantic, is going to be a Christmas present for my boyfriend's mother. I hope she likes it!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Interview: LaLisette

While I'm a little under the weather and having two new me-made garments to photograph but being unable to do it, I leave you in the company of the very talented Lisette from the Etsy shop LaLisette. I hope you'll enjoy her interview and if you like her creations as much as I do, be aware that she's offering free shipping until Dec 21st. Enjoy!

Introduce yourself: tell us something about where you live, your origins, hobbies, etc. 
I'm Lisette and live and work in Amsterdam.
I have a little studio where I design and create my products.
I really enjoy making things with my hands.

How did you start your shop, LaLisette?
It started with making gifts for friends and a few assignments.
At one point I decided to start selling things. A friend made a website/webshop for me so from then on I could start my business.

How did you choose the name of your shop?
I have a french name, so by adding La in front of my first name it was good to go. It sounds nice!
Do you have formal training (art, design, sewing, etc.)?
I went to fashion school and worked in fashion for a long time. From sales to product development.

Does your shop support you economically?
I'm starting to get there :)

What are your main sources of inspiration?
That can be anything that catches my eye. I really observe a lot and see nice details in a lot of things. But mainly other people or just from the streets and traveling.

What are the main satisfactions you get from your shop?
Fist of all creating your own products. And finishing a product and send it out to the buyer. Every time I send out an order it is a present for someone which is a nice idea. And all the positive reactions you get from customers is also very motivating.

How do you advertiseyour business?
Mainly through social medias, Facebook, blogs, mailings and magazines.

Do you have any advice for who wants to sell or already sells online?
Make a good plan for yourself, make sure your products have a signature which is recognizable and are you. And be patient, it takes time before people will find you if you sell online.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Burda 01/2012 and giveaway winner

I guess something is wrong either with me or with Burda when the only pattern I really like is for a Wilma Flinstone costume.

 But it's cute, no? Although it's not actually the only pattern that picked my interest.

Lingerie! I don't think I'll try these, but it's nice to see something different on Burda!

And finally, I like the design of this coat dress, although I wonder how you can walk in it without flashing your underwear to the world and it's a bit sad to see how the interesting design lines disappear once you use a dark color such as black.

So, quite a bland issue, I'd say. I don't think I'll purchase it, but we'll see. What are your thoughts?

And finally, the giveaway winner! Drumroll, please...

The winner is Marie!

Congratulations! Please contact me with your address! And for everyone else, I hope there will be another giveaway soon!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Interview: Dandyrions

With Christamas approaching, I've been spending more time than usual on Etsy and I've been discovering some really wonderful shops. One of them is Dandyrions; I hope you'll enjoy getting to know its owner, Lisa.

Introduce yourself: tell us something about where you live, your origins, hobbies, etc. 
My name is Lisa Higuchi and I run a small shop on Etsy called "Dandyrions". I currently reside in Orange County, California and I am 28 years old. I've always been sewing, drawing or making things with my hands. I would go shopping with my mother and see something that I really liked but couldn't afford so I'd go home and try to replicate it. Needless to say, I've always had a love of every kind of art and have realized after holding a 9-5 job for a few years, that I would be happiest pursing a career in fashion design.

How did you start your shop, Dandyrions ?
I started Dandyrions when a good friend introduced me to the Etsy site and at that time, it was just a hobby of mine to make dresses for myself.  When I first started, I was discouraged to see that I wasn't getting any sales for a few months, but once I learned more about the site and how to get exposure, my sales slowly increased, as did my product line.
"Dandyrions" is a derived word from the flower (or weed) name, 'Dandelion'. I chose this name because my mom used to always refer to herself as a dandelion: they aren't the prettiest flower but they are the ones that always thrive. She's originally from Japan so with her slight accent, she phonetically pronounces it, "dandyrions" . I personally think she is the prettiest flower though (you reading this, mom?!).

Do you have formal training (art, design, sewing, etc.)?
I have no formal training or degrees in any areas of art, except if you count high school extra- curricular classes. So other than that, I'm self-taught and have learned through my many, many mistakes. This may sound crazy, but I've also learned a lot from the reality TV series called Project Runway. They would show clips of how the designers draft patterns by draping muslin over their dress forms and after I saw this, I went out and bought a bolt of muslin and realized I could do the same and create my own patterns! Now I can actually comfortably wear the dresses I make and would eventually like to start selling them.

What are your main sources of inspiration?
What I look to for inspiration is mainly people around me. I'm constantly amazed at how people wear their clothes and what possessed them to match those items of clothing together. Seeing some individuals not care about how others perceive them is especially the best inspiration because encourages you to also free yourself from judgment and allows you to explore your own ideas.

What are the main satisfactions you get from your shop?
The mere fact that someone out there is willing to purchase something that I made is incredible! Running this small online shop has been such a fulfilling endeavor and has really made me realize that this is one of the things that makes me the happiest. Recently a good friend of mine went on vacation to Chicago and randomly ran into a girl who was wearing my fox shirt. My friend secretly took a picture of her and sent it to me and I just instantly cried, of out joy!

How and where do you advertise your business?
I don't do much advertising, but I realized in order to grow, you must do so. I do get some exposure through independent blogs, (such as this lovely one) and mainly by constantly posting new items in the etsy shop. Etsy itself has grown so widely, even internationally so having a shop there means a chance at getting some of their traffic. I have been told that online social networking, like Facebook, is something every business should engage in, but otherwise everything is done by word of mouth or through larger sites like Etsy.
Do you have any advice for who wants to sell or already sells online?
It's easy to expect something to happen but there's a lot of work and patience that goes into initially selling items online. If no sells are coming through, it's not necessarily because people don't like your items but that the right people are not finding your items. So really, it is the exposure that permits sales. I can go one week without any sales and then the next week, have 20 because my item was featured on the main page of Etsy so it's very fickle and very much dependent on exposure. Also, I can be very shy so it's been difficult to get the courage to pass out business cards or to even wear my own items and be my own walking billboard. Ultimately though, the best representative of your business is you, so don't be afraid (I have to say this to myself everyday!).

Monday, December 5, 2011

The woodcutter's daughter

My father took two days of leave from his job, but of course he didn't rest even a little: no, he went and help my cousins chop down some trees. I could see them working from my window, and inbetween fetching them hot beverages and snacks, I cut and sewed a front pleated dress from Salme patterns with this "lumberjack" feel in my head.

I'm very sad to say that I was very underwhelmed by this pattern. I didn't make a muslin for this, I simply followed the measurements on the instructions and so I cut an XL. Sewing taught me that it's not about the size on the label, it's about the measurements, but still it was a little depressing.
When I tried it on the first time I wanted to cry. I had this huge sack on me and I was tempted to just give up.
After a few long breaths, I chopped 8 cms from each side and shortened the torso a good 6 cms and decided I could make it work. I skipped the facings and used self-made bias tape for the neckline, armholes and hem. I also shortened the skirt quite a lot (5 cms or so). I probably should have cut a M for the upper part.

In the end, the dress is wearable, but not so lovable. It makes me feel huge in the chest and the pleats don't look as elegant as I thought they would. I know it was dumb to choose plaid fabric for this design, but it's a pattern I wear a lot and the pleats are subtle, but still noticeable.
If any of you tried this pattern please let me know, I'd love to hear your impressions!

p.s. Have you seen my giveaway yet? And that I now accept sponsors?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Multilingual giveaway

A big big thank you to all of those who commented my sew-along proposition post. I'm really glad that it raised some interest, so I'm decided to do it, although I'm going to wait until the beginning of January for the digital pattern to come out on Burdastyle (and to get prepared, 'cause I'm a bit scared :D ).

If you want to participate to the sew-along but don't have the magazine, you can thank the terrible subscription service that sent me a December issue of Burda which wasn't paid for. Since I have already bought mine, this extra copy is going to one of you. It's all in Italian, of course, but you'll be able to download the instructions for all the patterns in English on Burdastyle.
And to make it a little more interesting I'm adding two more prices: a vintage "Elle" blouse pattern (all instructions are in French) and a 1975 Burda magazine (texts are in German, instructions are in Italian).

To win, you need to be a follower of my blog and leave a comment under this post (please specify how you are subscribed: Google Reader, Bloglovin', etc.).

The giveaway ends next Saturday (Dec 10th) at 12am CET. Good luck!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What about a sew-along?

In my post on the latest Burda issue, Jenb left a comment asking whether I was going to make the dress pictured above and she suggested that we could have a sew-along.
What do you think about it? Please leave a comment if you like the idea.
Since not everyone is a subscriber to Burdastyle magazine, we could wait until the digital patterns come out on (which will be in a few weeks, since the November patterns just came out).
As I told Jenb, I don't feel too confident to host a sew-along, but I'm sure we can help each other and learn from each other. That's an aspect I've always loved about sew-alongs.
What I'm thinking to do is to cover the main steps of the construction providing some visual help through photos. There already are some great sources on making a muslin and choosing fabrics, to which we can refer.
Also, if there's someone who would like to participate actively by writing posts to help me cover everything, please let me know.
I'm very curious to know what you think about this!

Monday, November 28, 2011

La mia boutique 12/2011

I might have said some bad things about this magazine earlier. I think I'll have to take it all back.

I freaking want this (although not so short)!  Since I saw this, I've been looking for some mustard heavyweight fabric and found nothing. But I'm motivated.

No faux fur for me, thanks, but with a collar made from regular fabric this dress would be awesome.

Most slimming dress I've ever seen. It somehow reminds of that Stella McCartney's dress that has been talked about a lot, but still I'm amazed by how good it looks on the model.

The bow, the pockets, the princess seams... I love this dress!

You can see all the patterns of this issue here.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Scallop fever #3: More Scalloped Hem Shorts

A few days ago, I was a bit down and I felt the need to make something quick, that I could cut, sew and wear in an afternoon. So, to keep my hands busy, I brought to life an idea that had been in my head for some time: winter shorts!
I decided to go with a pattern that I had already tried, the Scalloped Hem Shorts from Pattern Runway. This time I cut them shorter (the original lenght of the pattern) and I must say they're nicer like this.

They turned out cute, didn't they? They're not the most flattering cut on a shape like mine, but I still like them very much. I used some super old wool that has been in my mother's stash for years, it's a houndstooth pattern in gold, blue, green and a little hint of burgundy. Very appropriate for Fall!
I don't have much else to say, I didn't even take detailed pics of the inside and everything else because in my restlessness, I didn't really put too much effort in finishing seams and stuff. These shorts are not perfect, but they were a great distraction.
Did it ever happen to you to feel the need to sew (or make) something withouth caring too much, just to keep your hands busy?

♥   Scallop Fever #1
♥   Scallop Fever #2
♥   Pattern Runway interview

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Interview: Salme Patterns

A while ago, I saw this beautiful dress featured on A Good Wardrobe and I grew curious. Today I'm happy to feature Elisa, who created that beautiful dress and owns Salmepatterns on Etsy.
I'm in the process of trying one of her patterns and I hope to share it with you soon. For the moment, I hope you'll be interested in getting to know her better.

1 - Introduce yourself: tell us something about where you live, your origins, hobbies, etc. 
My name is Elisa, I'm from Finland, but have lived abroad for the last 8 years and am now in the process of relocating back to one of my favourite places, London, so I'm currently living out of a suitcase for hopefully not that much longer! I am looking forward to start exploring the fabric stores of this city!

2 - How did you start your shop, Salme Patterns? 
I guess it first started with my own dissatisfaction of sewing patterns available. I felt that they were not up to date seeing that sewing has been taken up by so many young and fashion interested people lately. For example, i couldn't find a pattern for a jumpsuit though they have been so trendy for years now!

3 - How did you choose the name of your shop?
It was a very easy choice, I wanted a traditional Finnish name, but not my own, that doesn't sound incomprehensible in English. Salme is the name of my lovely grandmother, who is also my idol when it comes to sewing and crafting. I am in fact wearing socks knitted by her as we speak! (Houses are cold in London!!)

4 - Do you have formal training (art, design, sewing, etc.)? 
I have a masters in architecture and have also studied patternmaking for women's apparel. My being an architect and knowing so many drawing programs, some graphic design and photography has helped me a lot along the way.

5 - Does your shop support you economically? If not, do you have another job? 
At the moment my shop is just a nice extra income, mostly just making up for my crazy fabric shopping addiction, but lately i have started to see it as a realistic possibility that i could one day do it full time. Salme Patterns has been growing slowly but steadily, and hopefully I will find the time to add many more patterns in the near future and see where it goes!

6 - What are your main sources of inspiration? 
Getting inspired is not a problem for me, i have too many ideas and too little time! I do love to read fashion magazines and go through every single collection after every single fashion week. I mostly get
inspired by beautiful detailing or an unusual cut, rather than a style or a trend.

7 - What are the main satisfactions you get from your shop? 
I have been getting such lovely feedback lately, it makes me so happy and eager to continue. I still feel like a beginner in all this so to it means a lot.

8 - How and where do you advertise your business? 
I don't advertise at all at the moment, but i've been lucky enough to have been contacted by a few blogs who have mentioned my patterns and brought some traffic to my shop.

9 - Do you have any advice for who wants to sell or already sells online? 
I guess it sounds like a cliché but you should really find your niche. Find something that people are interested in, and do it in your own original way. Also, always aim for superb quality, it's as simple as
that. Take all the feedback you can get and keep developing and improving your products.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Burda 12/2011

With my computer broken and all, I completely forgot about Burda! The December issue is already out, but I'll share my picks anyway. Maybe it'll help you make a choice if you don't know whether to buy it or not.
Of course the first issue after my subscribtion expired had to be great.
Just look:

For me, this dress alone is worth buying the magazine. I litterally went "Ooh!" when I saw it. The details around the neckline and the midriff are gorgeous and I have a soft spot for fluttery sleeves. I'm sold.

This, again, is beautiful. It reminds of something I've seen in the book Pattern Magic, but this has the advantage of not having to draft the whole pattern from scratch.

I've been looking for a blazer like this for a long time. There's something about the shape of those lapels that really attracts me.

I think I've already written at some point that I'd love to make a trench coat one day, and this is a pattern I'd really like for that.

You can see the patterns of this issue here, as part of the Burda Archive Project.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Minoru jacket

The pattern has been released, I have my computer back and I managed to take decent pictures: that means I can finally show you my Minoru jacket!
Back in September I was lucky enough to be chosen as a pattern tester for this beautiful jacket. At first, I was a little intimidated by the design, I thought it would be a difficult garment to sew. It was my first experience with Sewaholic, I had only read somewhere on the Internet that the instructions Tasia gives with her patterns are great and I came to discover that they are actually awesome.
This jacket came together so quickly and without any accidents of any sort. I was so surprised! So, if you feel a bit intimidated... don't! You just need some experience with zippers and everything will be fine, I promise.

As far as fabrics are concerned, I decided I wanted a cozy, sweater feel, so I chose a heavyweight dark grey jersey for the outside and added some graphic interest on the inside using a black and white houndstooth printed cotton.
Another thing that surprised me about this jacket is the amount of compliments I received for it. And the faces people made when I told them I had made it myself! So rewarding! My mother even asked me to make her one for spring, in a lightweight cotton canvas (we'll see, mum).
My only regret about this jacket: not adding pockets to the outside. I'm one of those people that carries everything in her pockets, so I definitely miss them.
Since finishing the Minoru jacket, I bought the Pendrell blouse pattern and I can't wait to try it. I also have a few tips on princess seams, so stay tuned!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thanks, Burdastyle!

This morning, while checking my emails, I found this beautiful surprise: my Darling Ranges dress is the Member Project of the Week on Burdastyle! I almost jumped on the chair, I couldn't believe I was there, alongside Mena... I'm really flattered.
So, a big thank you to Burdastyle and if you're new here... welcome!

I should be back to blogging soon, I already have a couple things to share and I can't wait!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Technical Problems

My Macbook had an accident last week. After much swearing and crying, now I'm relying on my boyfriend's laptop to check emails and Google Reader, but blogging will be kept to a minimum. I hope it's going to be for a short period of time.
Have a great week, everyone!

p.s. Many many thanks to Megan and Mathilde who shared my Darling Ranges dress on their blogs!