Monday, May 28, 2012

Me Made May - Week 4

Friday, May 25th
After a very very hot train ride, I got home wanting to dress comfortable and to let my skin breathe. So excuse the flip flops, but it was hot!
I wore my Ginger skirt I made last year. I wore this skirt just a couple of times, I think I'm way too short waisted for a waistband that wide. But I love how it adds a nice touch of colour.

Saturday, May 26th
I was way overdressed in my Alice dress for the local market. Then again, I'm overdressed most of the time, and I like this dress so much that I don't care. This was the first time this dress came out of the wardrobe since last summer and I had forgotten that instead of hemming the lining, I had stitched this cute scalloped detail.

Sunday, May 27th
Hello, huge forehead! I often regret cutting my bangs, then I see a photo like this one and I remember I did the right thing. Anyway, I look like a mess in this photo because I felt that way. I barely rolled out of bed on Sunday, I felt sick and tired for no apparent reason. I wore my Salme Patterns pleated dress with a denim shirt. This dress is going on retirement until next fall, it's way too short for bare legs.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

La Mia Boutique 06/2012

Such a great new issue! Let's dig in:

I litterally squealed when I saw this dress... until I read it's meant for stretch fabrics. Still, I think I'll cut the neckline and collar and use another pattern for the rest of the dress. I've wanted a sailor dress for ages, this has given me the final push for it.

Another very cute dress with a nautical feel to it. I love the princess seams, the contrast collar and the pockets.

If I'll ever attempt to make a maxi dress, this might very well be it. Love the high neckline in the front and the cutout in the back (which is still bra friendly, something essential to me).

Another jersey dress. Not too much to say about this, aside from the fact that I think the v-shaped draping is very flattering and I like the matching belt/sash.

If you like jumpsuits, this is issue is just for you. I have never been attracted to jumpsuits, never even tried one in a store, because I'm afraid I have the wrong shape for them, but these two patterns are so beautiful they are causing me to question myself.

I was pleasantly surprised that the editors asked for feedback from the readers on their Facebook page, because they received complaints for the quantity of patterns they release for knits and stretch fabrics. I am one of the complaining readers, since I never seem to find good quality knits at a reasonable price (just fugly prints or super cheap poly stuff). I hope this will reflect in the next issues.

As usual, you can find all the technical drawings in the Flickr set.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Up In The Air dress

I finally made a dress that enhances my levitation skills!

I've had this dress in mind ever since the March preview of Burda came out.
The (apparently) complicated design reminded me of something from the Pattern Magic book, which for the moment I've been too lazy to tackle.
Originally, I wanted to make this dress in a checkered fabric, just like the one shown in Burdastyle Magazine, but then I found this beautiful viscose that reminds me of a stormy sky. I usually prefer more obvious prints, but I thought this one was perfect for this pattern.

My only problem was that the fabric was pre-cut and the piece was too small for the pattern. My solution was to add a seam at the center back bodice (which thanks to the print is barely visible) and to shorten the skirt part.

By the way, I'm quite short and the pattern is intended for tall women, but I took 10 cms off the pattern piece, I didn't include any allowance for the hem, and then I cut 8 more cms from the bottom before sewing a narrow hem. That's a lot!
So, if you plan on making this dress, take accurate measurements before cutting the fabric, because you might end up wasting a lot of it.

The only other modification I made to the dress is to add a couple of hand stitches to keep the two top front parts together in order not to show too much cleavage.
I didn't even think of making an FBA because I was quite scared by the pattern pieces, so the draping at the chest is a bit different than it should be, but I still like it a LOT.
The construction is easier than you might think. Thank God, Burda included some images to explain the process, because there is some twisting and tucking to do that I would have never understood in written form. If you're curious, you can check the English instructions for free here.

I can picture myself wearing this dress for a fancy date this summer, maybe at the seaside (a girl can dream, right?)...
I feel so girly in this breezy dress, it's really an attention grabber!

p.s. If you never tried them yourselves, be aware that jumping self-portraits are HARD!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Me-Made-May 2012 - Week 3

Hello, everyone!
Last week the weather forgot that it's spring and it got cold and rainy once again. So, while I dream of wearing light dresses (like this one or this one), I'm stuck with more winter-y clothes. My outfits are not the most cheerful nor the most inspired this week; yet, here they are:

Thursday, May 17th
The blouse is my adored lace Banksia blouse that was never properly blogged, just worn here and here. This top always gets quite a few compliments and what cracks me up is that people tell me it looks expensive, when the fabric was probably the cheapest poly lace of the world.

Friday, May 18th
This is definitely my least favorite outfit so far (and I look like a villain in the second photo). I like my Baroque Darling Ranges dress, but after a whole day of sitting down studying and sewing, it looked like a hot mess. Very poor fabric choice. I had to crop the photos because the wrinkles at the bottom looked terrible. I also forgot to adjust my beautiful vintage duck printed scarf a bit, so it looks like a rag.

Saturday, May 19th
Saturday mornings I get up super early to go to the local market with my mother (it's our little tradition). Last saturday I woke up to a very cold and rainy day, so I wore my wool Beignet skirt (never blogged), my favorite wool cardigan and a colorful scarf (I have a small collection of vintage scarves). I love this skirt as much as my other version; this one is in a bit of a less cheerful color, but it goes with everything.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Burdastyle Magazine 06/2012

New issue, new complaints! Joking aside, let's see what caught my attention this month:

For once, I love both the fabric they chose and the way they styled this dress. It might be because I'm desperatly wishing for the weather to get warmer and to be able to go to the seaside, but I love this little dress. I'm very curious about the construction, because I don't really understand how the gathering under the bust is created.

This pattern is just a shorter, sleevess version of the dress above, but between the lace and the gathered shoulders I fell in love with it. It looks so comfy and breezy, while very feminine.

I don't see myself wearing this dress soon, especially with the plonging neckline and the virtual impossibility to wear a bra, but it's really gorgeous. I hope the magazine will feature a better photo, that shows how the back looks, and I'd be very curious to see this on a girl skinnier than me... I bet it's stunning.

I'm afraid this pattern isn't that unique and that a very similar one appeared in the magazine in the last few years, but I adore the color choice. Those two little pockets are so cute! I would definitely try it on if I saw it in a store.

Finally, the designer pattern (although I couldn't find whose design this is it's by Luisa Beccaria, thanks Kerstin). Stunning!
It's a pity that where I live finding someone that pleats fabric permanently is almost impossible and very expensive (is it the same where you live?).
Still, what a beautiful dress!

All the technical drawings will be soon available in the Flickr set.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Giveaway winner

Congratulation to Carolsue, I will get in touch with you soon with the instructions to reclaim your prize.
If anyone else is interested in purchasing the software you can use the code STMMMS52224 for a $10 discount off the purchase of the My Memories Suite Scrapbook software and a $10 coupon for the store.

See you back in a couple days with Burda previews!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Me-Made-May 2012 - Week 2

Since I don't have a proper introduction for this post nor any words of wisdom to share like last week, let's start with the clothes.

Monday, May 7th
This dress was made in 2010 (pre-blog, but it was documented here) and I've worn it to death, both in summer and in winter. It was one of the first garments I made that I was really satisfied with. The pattern is Colette's Macaron and it's my favorite ever; I think I could live happily with a wardrobe full of Macaron dresses.
The gorgeous floral print is supposed to be a Valentino fabric I bought from this sweet (crazy) old lady who has a tiny fabric shop filled with treasures. I really should go and pay her a visit one of these days...

For all the Macaron pattern lovers out there, have you tried this pattern? I'm very tempted to...

Thursday, May 11th
I wore my Sencha from last summer; it's a garment I wear quite often, but this week I realised I always style it the same way. I should try and wear it with a skirt for a change.
If you're a busty lady like me, this blouse is perfect because it doesn't require a FBA, and it's super flattering for your curves. Also, the buttoned back is adorable and I really like how the capped sleeves look on me.

Friday, May 12th
This skirt is at least three years old and it's a bit unfair to call it me-made. It was made with the help of my mother when I was still learning to sew... It seems ages ago I was terrified by a zipper!
Anyway, it's a very simple skirt, with little pleats all around and I love its simplicity. I must admit that wearing it makes me question my tendency to always prefer complicated patterns...
Excuse the foot shot, but this was the first day warm enough to wear sandals and I was so happy to have my feet finally free to breathe! :)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Giveaway: My Memories Suite


I've been wanting to host a giveaway on my blog for a while since the number of you lovely readers has grown quite a bit in the last few months.
So, when I was contacted by My Memories to give a copy of their software away to one of my readers, I jumped at the chance. Although this is not sewing related, I still hope it appeals to many of you (who doesn't like free stuff?).

My Memories is an award winning digital scrapbook software that is extremely easy and fun to use. My Memories Suite is rated #1 by Amazon and TopTen Reviews. Using this software, anyone can create digital scrapbooks, photobooks, cards, calendars and gifts without having to buy expensive and complicated software programs.

I had never tried a software of this kind, since I had never been introduced to scrapbooking, but it really is extremely simple to use. You can create your photo albums within minutes by using some very cute templates (many more are available for download on the site) and add calendars, text elements, and much more. In addition, you can make scrapbook layouts, photo books, cards, videos, so it allows you to be as creative as you want, even if you're a total noob at photo editing softwares like me.
This is a very simple example of an album page that I created by using a couple photos of my chilhood:

So, if you want to enter the giveaway you just need to visit and leave a comment below telling me which digital paper pack or layout is your favorite.
The giveaway ends on Wednesday, May 16th at 12:00 PM GMT.

Good luck!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Me-Made-May 2012 - Week 1

Hi, guys! How did your first week of wearing handmade garments go?
I have already learnt a couple things:
  1. I really have to make an effort and try to sew a pair of pants.
    I don't have that many pants or jeans that fit me well anyway, plus this is the time of the year when I wear pants the most, because it's starting to be a bit too warm for tights and definitely too soon to go bare-legged. So I hope I'll manage to squeeze in a Clover muslin soon. I know it will be a lot of work.
  2. I should get more creative with my photos.
    During the week I'm at my boyfriend's and I can only use my point-and-shoot, which is way crappier than I remembered. So, instead of counting on the quality of the images, I should try and find some different ways to shoot myself. For example, I loved how Chie incorporated a lot of details of her outifts and how she used partial shots of herself instead of the full-figure shots I tend to default to for myself.
Moving on to the clothes, now!

Thursday, May 3rd
As I said above, crappy photo. But at least, the skirt is new to the blog! It's a Beignet skirt I sewed in 2010 and I've been wearing quite a lot in spring and summer. It's made in a raspberry cotton canvas (it's actually cretonne) and I think it's high time I make another one of these (I'm thinking powder pink). The Beignet is such a versatile skirt, comfortable enough for everyday wear, while still making me feel feminine and cute.
The sheer polka dot button-up is from Pimkie and I absolutely love it.

Friday, May 4th
You might remember this, since it's one the latest additions to my wardrobe; it's a Banksia dress and I blogged about it here. I've said in that post how much I love this dress and the fabric it's made of. It's not too light nor too heavy, it has short sleeves (which I tend to prefer for every day), pockets and a super cute peter pan collar. Just perfect.
Oh, and the akward pose was just to show you how much I love elbow patches.

Sunday, May 6th
I usually work Sundays, but not yesterday. That meant complete relax and sewing time for me. I pulled out a Sorbetto top I made ealier this year and I that I never blogged about because it didn't seem all that interesting to me, but I do wear it from time to time. I used the same fabric as this dress and Mena's sleeve pattern.
I'm not a big fan of loose tops on me because I feel they make me look larger. I definitely prefer something that cinches my waist in; still, this outfit is way more glamorous than what I usually wear at home. No second-hand sweaters from my brother + sweatpants combos during Me-Made-May!

I have a little surprise in store for all of you lovely readers, I'll see you in a few days to share it! :)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Interview: Charlie's Aunt

Hello, there! I have a new guest today, the extremely talented Emma from Charlie's Aunt. I fell in love with her bag designs and she was kind enough to share a few words about her and her work with us.
I'll see you back at the end of the week with my first Me Made May recap! :)

Introduce yourself: tell us something about where you live, your origins, hobbies, etc.
I live in Suffolk, a rural county in East Anglia, England. I was brought up here but later moved to Australia, where I lived for about nine years. I have dual British and Australian citizenship and would describe myself as vintage British with Aussie attitude. I love the British countryside, tea and scones, and quilted jackets, but I adore the openness and humour of the Australian people.
My hobbies include running four times a week, and making jewellery (although not at the same time!). I also play the oboe and piano.

High Tea Clutch

How did you start your shop, Charlie's Aunt? How did you choose the name?
I am a journalist by trade and I work for a regional daily newspaper (The East Anglian Daily Times) by day. I dreamt up the idea for Charlie’s Aunt while I was living in Australia. It all began after I wrote my first book, "Making Vintage Bags", which contained my own retro-inspired patterns for 20 handbags. The book has since gone on to sell more than 50,000 copies and is one of the publisher’s bestselling titles.
Because it was clear from the reaction to the book that people quite liked my handbag designs, I decided there would be a market for patterns. I have always been fascinated by sewing patterns – the diagrams, words and templates – and the way flat pieces of fabric can be turned into a fully functional three-dimensional or wearable item. After many years of making/selling clothing and accessories and tinkering with different ideas, I think I have finally found my calling. I started the business on money I earned from the day job.
The business is called Charlie’s Aunt because I have a nephew called Charlie. We lost Charlie’s mum, my sister Sarah, to breast cancer in 2002 when Charlie was just six years old. He is a big part of my life and very important to me. Sarah used to model my designs – she was beautiful on the inside and out – so it seemed fitting to name my business after her offspring. I have not been fortunate enough to have any children of my own, so being Charlie’s Aunt is the next best thing.

Anglia Bag

Do you have formal training (art, design, sewing, etc.)?
I have formal training as a journalist, adult education teacher and musician but no art or design qualifications. It all comes from my head and heart. My father was academic but also extremely creative. His mother used to make clothing for all eight of her offspring during WWII without using a pattern. I guess pattern design and sewing is in my blood. I have Ann Ladbury’s "Guide to Simple Pattern Cutting" to thank for my early technical know-how. 

What are your main sources of inspiration? What are your favourite materials to use?
My inspiration comes from vintage clothing catalogues such as Sears, old sewing patterns, and traditional British fabrics. The woollens and tweeds that I favour for my bags are not to everyone’s liking but to me, they are an integral part of the design. Most pattern designers sample in patchwork or quilting fabrics, where I favour the more rustic wool plaids, tweeds, corduroy, moleskin and linen cloths. As I said, although some might find these a little dull, I am totally in love with tweed and at least it makes my patterns stand out in the crowd.

Casablanca Clutch Bag

Do you have any advice for who sells or wants to sell online?
Selling online has been largely successful for me. I have an essentially “niche” product and the internet enables me to reach customers all over the world, which is absolutely necessary when selling such a niche brand. 
However, on the downside, I would have to say that you have to constantly keep reminding people your shop is there, either through blogging, social networking or endless self-promotion! That side of it I find quite challenging, but if you have a good product and heaps of enthusiasm for it, you can’t go far wrong.
One piece of advice is to make sure you charge accurate postage fees in your listings because you can easily get a shock when you arrive at the post office with a parcel. I posted some fabric to the US once and it cost $40 to post! I had only charged the customer $10 … and he didn’t even bother to say thanks when it arrived! Not good for business.