Saturday, March 31, 2012

OWOP: Day 6, 7 and a review

Where was I? Oh, yes! Thusday:

This lace top is definitely a winner. As I said, it's very versatile and it makes a pair of jeans look more feminine.

I cheated on Friday. I did wear one of my Banksia but was so frustrated with indoor photos that I waited until the next day to go back at my parents' and take decent pictures of the last Banksia, which I hadn't shown you yet and I like a lot.

This is actually the first one I made, as soon as I got the pattern (after a super quick muslin). The fabric was in one of Megan's sewing kit and I fell in love with it. It also was a dream to with and it's perfect for this pattern (it's a cotton blend). This time I didn't to anything fancy with the skirt, I just lengthened the pattern pieces and used bias tape to make a casing for the elastic.

Ok, to wrap OWOP up, I want to share my thoughts on this pattern.
I guess it's pretty clear I love it to pieces, since I made it five times. I used size S although I probably should have tried an XS with an FBA (the neckline gapes a bit, but the fit is supposed to be a bit blousy). I'll definitely try it next time.
The bust darts are very high, I don't know if it's made on purpose but they worked for me (except on the georgette one, where they look a bit strange).

The only problem I had with the pattern is that I had to add 4 cm to the collar piece in order for it to meet the button placket. You can see in this dress (which was made before I modified the pattern) that the collar ends a bit away from the placket. I stay-stitched the neckline, so it shouldn't be because it stretched. Did anyone else had this problem?
But that's it, otherwise I LOVE the style, the unique shape of the collar, the placket, everything. The instructions are once again very good (although I would add a suggestion to stay-stitch curved areas) and the pattern is very versatile, as you have seen from my versions.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

OWOP: Day 3, 4 and 5

I knew that taking indoor photos in my boyfriend's small apartment wasn't going to be the best  (I'm not comfortable at shooting outside in the city, with people around). To make it worse, I forgot my 18-55 mm lens at my parents' and only have my 50 mm lens with me (which requires a BIG space between you and the camera to take a full figure photo).
So, much to my frustration, my next OWOP pics are going to suck. Let's just say I'm so grateful I can usually shoot outside. I hope I'll manage to take better photos of my Banksia tops in the future. Maybe I could start making a few "what I wore" posts regularly?

On Monday, I wore my least favorite Banksia. It's made in a vintage floral fabric I love, but the fit is a bit off. I had planned to make it without the buttoned placket, but the gap between the two ends of the collar was too big and looked weird. So I created a pleat at the neckline in order to salvage the top. I also made the sleeves shorter than they're supposed to be.
It's not the most comfortable top to wear, but it looks cute with my Jenny skirt.

On Tuesday I wore my sleeveless lace Banksia. The fabric is and looks super cheap, so I didn't have too much hope for this top when I cut it, but I'm quite happy with the result. It's cute and it goes with so many things, from frilly skirts to jeans.

On Wednesday, I wore another new favorite (together with the apple print dress and another dress I have yet to show you). This top is made in bright pink georgette and it reminds me a lot of the original Banksia by Megan Nielsen.
Unfortunately, it looks a bit of a mess here and the neckline gaps slightly, but it's nothing too serious (I have to wear a cami underneath it anyway since it's see-through).
Oh, and I guess after showing this parrot printed skirt my obsession for animal prints is out in the open.

Monday, March 26, 2012

OWOP: Day 1 and 2

It was such a great idea to participate to OWOP! I managed to make 5 Banksia in total and I'm very excited about each one of them.

This one is definitely the best out of all of them and probably my favorite dress ever. I had to wear it on the first day because I was too excited to show it off. I used this adorable apple print (yes, the same one of this blouse) that I had saved all winter, waiting for the perfect project.

I used the Banksia bodice and shortened it, omitted the sleeves, made the collar in a contrasting colour and then made a skirt inspired to Pattern Runway Gathered Sundress. It has bias bound gathered pockets and elastic casing at the waist. And, round of applause, the skirt is lined!

Sunday was very busy, I spent most of the day working (I'm a waitress on weekends), came back just in time to bake homemade pizza with my family (YUM) and then I headed back to the city with my boyfriend.
Casual clothes are a must when I work, so I wore this Banksia tank I made with plaid cotton gauze, a leftover from a blouse my mother made for herself. This was extremely fast to make, it's sleeveless and the buttons are not functional (ie there are no buttonholes). I think it looks very cute with my zebra cardigan (best random purchase ever).

See you in a couple of days with the next outfits!

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Peggy and Father Gill dress

Have you seen the awesome Mad Men inspired creations at The Sew Weekly?
I had a hard time with this one in terms of deciding what look to recreate. There is too much awesomeness in that show!
In the end I got inspired by this dress worn by Peggy in Season 2 when she meets Father Gill:

I used pattern 108 from Burdastyle Magazine 04/2011 with some alterations: I omitted the sleeves, drafted a rounded collar, added a bias cut placket, a horizontal pleat at the hem and some elastic to the waist.

The result is a cute dress that I think Peggy would wear today. It's not the easiest thing to wear for me, because you risk to look pregnant and a toddler at the same time. It definitely needs to be styled properly.
But I really like this dress, and I might make it again using a more easily wearable fabric (maybe a solid) with few tweaks.
You can read more about it in my post.

On other news, I decided at the last minute to participate to Tilly's One Week One Pattern. I made three Banksia (one dress and two tops) in the last two days, and I'm about to cut the fourth. So far so good!
Here's a sneak peek:

I'm curious: if you're participating as well, how do you plan to blog about it? A post every day or one collective post at the end of the week? I was thinking to post a daily photo on Flickr and then to write a summary post at the end, but please share your plans with me.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Interview: Cuore

Long time, no interviews! After a long period of loneliness, my latest guest is Mika, with her beautiful animal accessories she sells in her Etsy shop. If you're a dog lover like me, you'll die for them.
Enjoy her interview, it's really inspiring.

Introduce yourself: tell us something about where you live, your origins, hobbies, etc.
Hi everyone! My name is Mika, and I live in Southern California. I'm 1.5 generation Japanese American, and I am obsessed with movies, milk tea, and dogs. I function well in cold weather, and feel very happy when I'm shopping at Target. There's something about Target that always makes my heart smile.

How did you start your shop, Cuore? How did you choose its name?
My shop name, "Cuore", means heart in Italian. I lost my amazing Dad to cancer about 7 years ago, and before he passed away, the nurse said he had a strong heart. I'd like to think he'd be proud of me right now.
I started Cuore after working in the corporate design world for 7 years. I really wanted to put my skillZ to use for my own business, and decided to take the plunge. I started really small, and didn't really have a huge plan or anything; I just kind of craft what I like.

Do you have formal training (art, design, sewing, etc.)?
I attended the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles and have a degree in Fashion Design, and worked at Paul Frank Industries for 7 years as the womens accessories designer. I met and worked with really amazing and talented people, and learned SO much about the accessories world.
What are your main sources of inspiration?
My inspiration comes from my Japanese culture, dogs and animals, humor, and color/fabrics. My friends inspire me too.
What are your favorite materials to use?
My favorite materials are felt (easy to applique and there are countless colors), and duck canvas!

Do you have any advice for who sells or wants to sell online?
I think designers should really shape their tastes/ideas before opening a shop online. Figure out what items you're really good at making, and think about your style and what your "direction" is. Who is your target customer, and what does he/she like? Also, be patient - sometimes it takes years to figure out what you're really good at.

Monday, March 19, 2012

La mia boutique 04/2012

Yay, new issue! I'm not as excited as last time, but this magazine is still better than the latest Burda.
Ok, let's dig in.

Very cute shift dress, I love the neckline both at the front and the back. The ruched details of the jacket add interest and make it very nice.

More ruching! I really love the sleeves of this dress, I might use them with a different bodice, or even with this same dress, because I like it quite a bit.

I usually prefer bermuda to shorts, because I'm not too fond of my thighs. These seem pretty nice to me, if a bit too complicated. The top pattern is included as well, but it's nothing special.

Gorgeous jacket! The pattern is taken from an Italian army jacket and I really like it. There also are some army-inspired patterns for men, so check them out if you want to sew something for your special someone.

For more technical drawings, you can check out my Flickr.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Burdastyle Magazine 04/2012

I've been postponing writing this post for two days now because I'm not really sure what to write in it. The preview on the German site is once again fragmented: there's one preview with some photos from the issue, one with all the technical drawings and one with photos of all the garments on the dressform. I really wish they went back to the old way, which was much more user-friendly.
Anyway, there's really nothing too exciting for me this month, but these are my picks.

This jacket has nice style lines. That is all I have to say about it. I like the long sleeved version better, but of course it was made in black fabric and you couldn't tell any detail.

Very very cute sleeves. Again, not much more to say. It's a super basic tunic.

Another basic garment, with an interesting detail at the neckline. I have included it here, but since I don't like to sew with knits, I doubt it will ever end up on my table.

Cute sailor pants! I'm curious to know if the front flap is real or if the buttons are fake.

And finally, a child pattern, because lately I like them more than the ones for adults. How unfortunate. But look how nicely it's finished on the inside, with the striped bias tape!

If you want to see more photos, Juliette posted some on her blog that I somehow didn't manage to find on the German site. The Italian themed photoshoot seems very nice, but the patterns are not really my cup of tea.

As usual, the technical drawings will be soon available on my Flickr page and stay tuned for the latest La Mia Boutique issue in a few days!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Inspiration: Horizontal pleats

Inspiration comes and goes, and while I always have at least a dozen ideas of garments in my head, the ones I focus on the most (and eventually get to make) change constantly.
Right now, I really want something with horizontal pleats, which could be a recreation of the Ver-dance With Me top from Modcloth or a Pastille dress from Colette. We'll see!

 Ver-dance With Me Top

Raspberry Sundae Top

Periwinkle in Time Dress

Galant Strapless Dress by Jack

Pastille dress

Claudia Skirt Pattern

p.s. A little update on the Chloe pattern: I wrote I had some fit issues in the armscye area and Kristiann from Victory Patterns was kind enough to let me know that the sleeveless version of the pattern does have a low armscye (it becomes higher if you put the sleeve in... I hope it makes sense). Keep it in mind if you're thinking to tackle this pattern.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Oh, Chloe!

I guess it's only fair that I start this post by apologizing for the photo overload. I finally managed to use the camera remote I bought a couple weeks ago, so I finally have photos where I'm actually in focus against a blurry background! I'm so happy about it that I had some trouble editing down.
The fact that I'm quite in love with the dress I'm wearing didn't help either. Did you recognize the pattern? It's the Chloe dress from Victory Patterns, which I've been dying to make ever since seeing Lizz's version.

I used some gabardine in this gorgeous shade of purple that really compliments my super pale skin. I had never worked with gabardine and this bastard was such a pain to press. It just won't lie flat (as you can see from the bumpy binding at the neckline and armholes) and press marks seem to magically appear everywhere, even using a press cloth.
I even managed to find purple flower shaped buttons. Aren't they adorable? I initially wanted black and white contrasting buttons, but when I saw these ones, I couldn't resist.

The fit of the pattern was... well, strange. I didn't make a muslin, so I fitted the dress before sewing the lining. For the second time in a row, I had issues with armscyes. They were so low! Luckily the problem was easily solved by shortening the shoulder seam. I also took the waist in a little, in order to make the dress more form-fitting.

Finally, a few detail shots: the welt pockets have a snap to keep them closed. And yes, the fabric I used for the pockets is not the same I used for the lining. The horror! My OCD self couldn't sleep at the thought, but I came to terms with that.
As you might have noticed, I opted for a lapped zipper at the center back. It's my favorite technique, I think it looks so elegant! And instead of an hook and eye at the top, I put a button with a thread button loop.

I had the confirmation this dress looks good on me when my mother, who is usually very supportive but hyper-critical about my sewing, told me that I should wear it at my graduation. Great! I still have to write my dissertation, but at least I already know what to wear at the ceremony!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Darling Ranges, take two

Ever since my first version of this dress, I've wanted to make another one, but I didn't have a fabric I liked. Then my eye was caught by this printed cotton that reminds me of something baroque. I don't know why, I just see it.
Anyway, went and cut the dress exactly like last time (size M with an FBA), but surprise! The sleeves were pulling like crazy, resulting in a gaping neckline and, overall, in a very uncomfortable dress. What the heck? I guess the stiffer, heavier fabric I used accentuated some fit issues, although I couldn't exactly figure out what the problem was. I'm still a beginner at perfectioning fit, so please help me: could it simply be that the sleeves didn't have enough ease?
Anyway, I didn't have any fabric left, so I just unpicked the sleeves, made some bias tape out of them and finishes the armholes with it. VoilĂ .

I LOVE this dress in its sleeveless form! I think more Darling Ranges will follow (maybe in one of the fabrics from my previous post, as more than one of you suggested...). I think I will wear it a lot this summer, although this fabric starts creasing the moment you wear it and the skirt part looks a bit stiff.

Oh, and speaking of Megan Nielsen's patterns, I'm anxiously waiting for my Banksia pattern to arrive. After seeing this, my hands are itchy!