Sunday, August 26, 2012

Leopard print Pendrell blouse

This week at The Sew Weekly the theme was "collars" and you know I couldn't skip this one.
I finally got around to sew the Pendrell blouse I had previously planned and I'm very happy with the result.
As I wrote in my post, this blouse pattern from Sewaholic is extremely popular, so I don't think I need to write a detailed review on it. But I really, really loved working with it, which seems to be a recurrent feeling with Tasia's pattern. Right now I'd love to try the Alma blouse and the Thurlow trousers, but I'm saving up for other upcoming patterns.

I made view C and drafted a peter pan collar that stops at the shoulder seams, as I didn't want the bulk of a collar in the back. It is a size 6 with no alterations, just 10 cm shorter (the original lenght is a bit crazy, imo).
I used a leopard print silk georgette, which wasn't that difficult to work with and feels so luxurious against the skin.
I really like this blouse! I styled it with trousers because, well, you never see me with trousers and I thought I was a nice change, but it looks really cute with skirts as well. I'm sure I'll wear it a lot this winter.

And while I deserve a pat on the back for sticking to my plans, I'm afraid I'm not going to be as good with the rest of them (except the Macaron). I cut fabrics for three new garments yesterday, and none of them were planned. Oh, well...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

La Mia Boutique 09/2012

Ugh... I'm so disappointed by this issue. The only word that comes to mind is meh. I bought it without even leafing through it, because if I had seen what's inside I probably would have left it at the newsstand (but then again, how I would have missed my monthly review).
My rule of thumb is: if there's at least one or two patterns I really like and that are fairly unique, at 5 euros, the issue is worth buying. But there's nothing really that interesting this month.

[Please excuse the bad quality of the collages. I couldn't bring myself to put more effort for these patterns I don't even like.]

These two capes are the only two patterns I kind of like, especially the second one. But I also know it's very, VERY unlikely that I'll sew a cape in the future, because as cute as they look, they're too uncomfortable for every day life.

One more nice cape and two button down shirts... As I said, nothing earth-shattering, nothing I haven't seen a million times already either on LMB or on Burda, so not exactly great.

The jackets in this issue look quite horrible, in my opinion. The first one is very boxy and the second looks quite frumpy. The dresses with the weird hem don't do anything for me, I also think they're probably not that flattering on anyone else but a model.
On a little side note, I kinda like the styling in these two photos, which is saying a lot, since the rest of the pictures have incredibly tacky styling or look plain weird.

Am I right? This is bad photography and bad styling in my book, and while this is not a fashion magazine, I expect a little more than this. With this issue, I literally bursted in laughter every time I turned the page.

If anyone has a different opinion than me and is interested in this issue, I'm selling it on ebay.
You can always see all the technical drawings on Flickr.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Kelly Skirt

Back in May, I was lucky enough to be a tester for Megan Nielsen's new pattern, the Kelly skirt. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know I love her and her designs, and this was no exception.
This skirt is aimed at beginners and I completely agree on the skill level. My skirt came together in about six hours from cutting to wearing, including six time consuming buttonholes, one of the things I dread the most sewing. I can't decide if I should add a seventh button, I don't need it for practical reasons, but I feel the skirt might look better with it. What do you think?
If you're a beginner and you're scared of buttonholes, you can just sew the ones you need to pull the skirt up and down (for me it's 4) and sew the remaining buttons through all the layers of fabric.

Fabric wise, I took the boring route and chose a black cotton canvas (although it looks blue in the photos) I had in my stash. I wanted something I could wear with basically every top I have in my wardrobe and I couldn't be more satisfied.
This skirt looks great with anything! Blouses and t-shirts, casual and dressy. And it's so flattering! I was a bit worried when I first got the pattern because A-line skirts don't always look good on me, but I was amazed when I put it on. It's one of those garments that make me feel confident when I wear them.
And did I mention it has lovely pockets?

On a side note, I know in my photos I usually look quite serious, almost stuck-up. It's the general first impression most people get of me (I even had a teacher in elementary school telling me that, so...), to the point that I appear pissed off or bitchy. What can I do, it's my natural expression and I can't really help it. Truth to be told, I am a serious person, but I have other sides to my personality, of course.
Like this afternoon. I needed to blow off some steam and decided to have some fun with these photos. So I started jumping...

And then this happened...

I'm sharing this shot in the hope of making someone laugh, I know I need it at the moment :)

To end this post on a semi-serious note, some conclusive thoughts: I can't recommend this pattern enough. Even though it's very simple, I absolutely think it's worth the money. By changing fabric types and lenght, you can have a very versatile pattern too.
I hope there will be more Kelly skirts in my future, I definitely want to try and make one in a softer, drapier fabric.

If you want to see more lovely Kelly skirts, go check out Andrea and Kelli!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Burdastyle Magazine 09/2012

There is quite a lot I like in this issue, but it's basically four variations of the same pattern:

I know I wrote four and then included three pictures. That's because the fourth variation is a blouse with a very nice stand up pointy collar, but the fabric they used was hideous, so I decided to save some space.
But, am I right about this pattern? I love all the variations above! Of course, the dress with the peter pan collar is my favorite (again, horrible fabric choice IMHO). I really like the subtle gathered shoulders and the princess seams. The blouse is probably very flattering, since it has an additional dart (I'm hoping for back darts too).

How cute is this outfit? For once, I think they chose the perfect fabric for the pattern. I like the boxy shape of this jacket and I think I could look great both dressed up like in this photo (although, where the heck is she going with that cake stand?) and dressed down, with a pair of jeans or cropped pants.

Nothing earth-shattering, but you know I'm a sucker for unusual design details and I'm very curious about the shape of these darts.
And for those of you who sew with knits (I never seem to find decent ones), a nice t-shirt pattern.
I love the contrasting yoke and the ruching on the sides should be quite flattering.
Not that you can really tell from the photo, which is once again nice, but completely useless in order to figure out how the garment really looks.
Many photos in this issue are like that; when photographing the lace dress above, why did they drape a cardigan on the only visible sleeve? Also, I didn't include the photo of the model wearing the red blouse because she was sitting in front of a mirror, leaning against it. And can you really tell anything about the dress with the peter pan collar?
They have very good looking models, nice backdrops and props, the styling is not always my favorite but I've seen much worse... So why can't they showcase their product better? That's why I always wait for the technical drawings to be released before forming an opinion.

All in all, it seems like Burda is on a roll. Now, your turn to tell me what you think about this issue.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Something new and something to look forward to


Impressed much? I know I am. In the photos above, you can see the four new patterns by Victory Patterns, forming the Niagara collection. I must say Kristiann did once again a superb job, releasing four unique and trendy designs full of amazing details. They are all very versatile, including multiple variations for each pattern.
The Roxanne blouse and the Nicola dress are my favorites.

Speaking of independent pattern designers, I can't wait to see deer&doe first designs come to life. This project spawned by the amazing Eléonore, who tells me the patterns will be printed in French, but should be available in English in pdf format.
This girl has amazing taste and I love everything she makes, so she has all my support for this project. Go give her some love!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

One dress, three ways: Date night

Here's the final look featuring the Sonja dress. This time I dressed up, ideally for a date night, like for a fancy dinner or something like that.
I wore my beloved beaded scalloped collar, black high heels and a black vintage bag.
This dress was thought more like an every day, casual piece of clothing, but I think I doesn't look too bad for a more elegant occasion.

So... any thoughts? Did you like this mini series or I fussed too much about this dress? Would you like to see more posts like these, occasionally?

And did you like a look in particular?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

One dress, three ways: Quirky

Here's the second look featuring my Sonja dress. I called it "quirky" because the big collar makes it a little unexpected. One of the reasons I liked the design of this pattern is that the high neckline is perfect for detachable collars. This one is made from a pattern by IMakeItYouMakeIt and I love the vintage look it adds to anything you wear it with.

I added a vintage leather clutch, open-toe wedges, put my hair up in a bun and worn a bright lipstick (have I ever told you I'm a lipstick junkie?).
To be honest, this is a look I really love and feel comfortable in, but that would attract too many weird looks for my taste in my small town of 3000 people.

Lipstick: Pupa
Clutch: vintage
Collar: handmade (pattern here
Shoes: Pimkie

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

One dress, three ways: Casual

Hello everyone!
First of all, let me thank everyone who left a comment under my last post. I'm always overwhelmed by the kindness of the online sewing community and by how much two strangers can relate to each other from two computer screens. I'm a bit behind with replies, but I'll get to it soon, I promise.

Now, let's talk about the dress in question. I recently decided I wanted a simple summer dress in a floral fabric, I wanted it to have a high neckline and naked shoulders. I remembered about the Sonja dress pattern by Salme patterns (available as a free download here) and it seemed perfect for the job.

For such a simple pattern, I knew the fit was crucial. It wasn't easy for me to find the right alterations for this bodice, because after an FBA I still had gaping at the armscye. In the end I used a method similar to this one, drawing a dart at the armscye and pivoting it into the bust dart, but I guess I removed too much fabric from the armscye, since now it pulls slightly and gives me a bit of side boob. Nothing I can't work with anyway, it's not too noticeable nor unconfortable.
As always, I omitted facings and finished neckline and armscyes with bias tape (although that might contribute to the pulling, so maybe it wasn't the best idea).

To make this simple dress more interesting, I installed an exposed zipper in the back, and I love the effect. My original idea was to use a metal zipper, but that would have meant no washing machine, and this dress will be worn too much for the cost of dry cleaning.
This dress made me love pleats! I initially wanted to turn the pleated skirt in a gathered one, but then I went with the original design and really loved it! I definitely won't avoid them anymore.

I'm very happy with this dress, it's exactly what I wanted. And since this dress is very versatile, I decided to play dress up for the blog and wear it in three different ways.

Belt, purse, sandals: Pimkie
Necklace: niandra
This casual look is what I would wear on an everyday basis: glasses, ponytail, huge bag and flat shoes/sandals. 
I also added a skinny belt because I made the bodice less fitted than I usually do, which makes it so much more comfy. I just need to wear a belt if I want to make it look more cinched.

Stay tuned for two more looks in the next few days!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Simplicity 2250 Cynthia Rowley

I'm sorry, but I'm too tired to find a quirkier, more imaginative title for this post. I'm too frustrated to even write this post. If you just want to look at some mediocre pictures, feel free to stop reading here. If you have the patience to read a long rant on my bad luck, grab a cup of coffee and here we go.
A while ago, I saw this fabric with tiny navy stripes had just arrived at my friend's fabric store and I immediately got obsessed by this Cynthia Rowley pattern I had bought last Spring. If you have never seen it, this fabric looks just the same as the dress on the envelope, which I've always really liked.

 I had read many terrible reviews of this pattern, but I was too motivated to be scared by them.
So I tackled the pattern... and I realized I had bought the wrong size (cursing moment #1). I was so good at math at school that I still get surprised at how often I fuck up with inches to metric conversions. After a bit of facepalming, I decided to try to cut it anyway, since I still needed room for my chest and an FBA with this pattern is out of the question.
It's not an easy pattern by any means, but the construction went fine, all in all. I just had to take in the bodice a lot (about 10 cm) and I did it at the side and center back seams.
The finished dress sat in my wardrobe for a while, waiting to be photographed, until one day I went to the seaside and came back with a major facial breakout on my jaws and cheeks (cursing moment #2). I think I just had a bad reaction to the sunscreen lotion, but it looked so bad. I've struggled with acne since I was 14, and while my skin is far from perfect, it got so much better in my 20s. Having that red bumpy mess on my face once again made me feel so self conscious that I tried to take photos of me wearing the dress, but I couldn't bare to share them with the Internet (and cropping or blurring my face looked so creepy).

And that takes us to yesterday. My skin had healed (if you have acne-prone/oily skin, DO try cleansing it with oatmeal, it's miraculous), it was a hot yet cloudy day with (=good lighting) and I had all the afternoon for pictures. I took photos of this dress and for three more posts, which meant a total of 520 photos. I take a lot of them because I definitely prefer to edit down than to regret not having taken more. I also have to delete a lot of them, because as I don't have a photographer, I'm often out of focus or out of frame.
Anyway, while importing them on iPhoto, the files got corrupted. All 520 of them (BIG cursing moment #3). And I had already deleted them from the camera. I seriously wanted to cry, because despite losing more than an hour and a half of my time, there were some very nice shots in there. I don't know what happened, not even Google could explain it to me.
When I calmed down, I went back out and took more photos, but the clouds were gone, so the light was too harsh; my makeup had litterally melted so I looked less than fresh and I was too angry anyway to put some effort in this shoot.

So this long story explains why these photo are less than my favorite. But I either put this post up today, or I would have left this cursed dress out of the blog, which would have been a real pity, since I really like it. But is it really cursed? Is the universe punishing me for something, like, I don't know, having a taste for complicated patterns?
I'm just thankful that all of this doesn't happen for every garment I make, or I'd have stopped blogging long ago.

The end. You can have a pee break now.
If you have any question about the dress (since I barely mentioned it), please feel free to ask.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

12 in 2012 - Check in

Do you remember 12 in 2012? I sure have forgotten about it!
Well, not really, but I have forgotten about some of my goals. Since almost two thirds of the year have gone, I decided to go back to check how I was doing and... it's BAD.

12 Pieces of Handmade Clothing:
1. Shirt dress                         → Planning to make one with Simplicity 2215 and surprise fabric
2. Blazer                                → I really don't know why I included this.
3. Trousers                            → Fingers crossed, I really want to make a pair.
4. Gertie's Bombshell dress  → I don't know. I'm starting to think this dress is really not for me.
5. Coat/ Jacket                      Planned! The pattern I want to use is in the mail.
6. Something for my
"Scallop Fever" series         Done!
7. Ruby slip                         Ops! I completely forgot about this one!!!
8. Colette's Oolong             This pattern is a fabric eater, so I must find some inexpensive yet cute.
9. Victory Patterns' Hazel    I recently had THE best idea for this pattern!
11. Wildcard!
                                          → Since January, I made lots of dresses, some blouses, two skirts and a  pair of pajama bottoms. See here.

12 New Sewing Techniques and Skills:
1. Boning
2. Hong-Kong finished seams
3. Bound buttonholes
4. Bound neckline placket      See my Banksia's.
5. Waist Stay
6. Zipper guard
7. Sew from a vintage pattern
8. Draft a skirt sloper/block
9. Draft a bodice sloper/block
10. Knit a garment
11. Refashion an unused garment
12. Draft the pattern for an accessory

♥ Host a sew-along on the blog  We might be almost there...
♥ Release a free pattern              I have zero ideas about this one, so I don't know.

I told you, it's bad.
I recently started to plan my sewing a bit more, but I'm afraid a year-long plan was a bit too much for me. I still have four more months to do as much as I can, but I'm almost sure I won't cross everything off list (especially the techniques, if I'm not going to make the Bombshell dress).

What about you? How are your plans going?