Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Emerald Belladone dress + a little surprise

First things first: I have a new camera! I was becoming more and more frustrated with my old camera and I finally saved up enough to allow myself to splurge for a new toy.
This new little thing (and the tripod I bought with it) are going to make my blogging life a lot easier: first of all, the camera has a flip screen, which is going to help me so much (goodbye, dozens of photos where I'm out of frame!). And then, it is qualitatively better than my old one. I'm not going to throw in technical features, because I'm quite ignorant about them, but it's generally easier for a noob like me to get a good quality picture.

That being said, my first run with my new toy didn't go as well as I was hoping it to, I still need to get used to it. My brother trolling me from the window (UGH!) and my neighbor sneaking up on me with her dogs didn't help this photo shoot either, but that's ok.

The moral of the story is that I don't feel this dress looks as good in these photos as it deserves to. I especially wanted to use a different background to avoid the green overdose effect, but I was very limited in my choice.
Oh, I love this dress soo much!
I've already raved about this pattern by Deer and Doe and about how incredible the fit is on me. I couldn't resist making a second version, especially when I saw this emerald green gabardine at the fabric store. I've been told my super pale complexion looks good in jewel tones, and so far I'd say it's true (see another example).

Now I should find a long sleeved t-shirt with a low back, to preserve the peek-a-boo effect.

This gabardine is as beautiful to see and wear as it is unpleasant to sew. It doesn't want to be pressed and won't lie flat for anything in the world. To solve this problem, I started topstitching. Every seam is topstitched and I went a little crazy with the waistband, using it as a decoration.
This time, I used bias tape as facing, because I didn't want any contrast on the outside of the dress.

Lastly, the little surprise mentioned in the title. One of the features of my new and improved camera is that it makes videos!
I couldn't resist, so I did a little experiment with it today. It's just a tiny little clip, but I had so much fun making it, I definitely want to keep experimenting. First thing to do: use a wider lens. My 50mm lens just doesn't work for this kind of project.

So, if you want to see how the dress moves (and my very ungraceful walk - sorry!-) here it is:

Saturday, October 27, 2012

La Mia Boutique 11/2012

It's sewing magazine week here at the blog, apparently. So, let's criticize some Italian patterns, shall we?

After I saw this pattern, I couldn't be impartial anymore. I mean, they CLEARLY included it to win me over and have me write a positive review. Mission accomplished!
Joking aside, I kind of squealed when I saw this blouse. I mean, it does have my name written all over it, doesn't it? So refreshing to see something on trend AND wearable on a sewing magazine.
Thank you, guys at La Mia Boutique.

But it doesn't stop there.
How adorable are these two coats? I'm especially in love with the second one. None of the two is earth-shattering innovative or original, but it's two flattering, classic designs that would work on many many people.

One thing I love about this magazine is this kind of very designed, very detailed, unique patterns. That's what catches my attention, not the basic shapes that I could draft myself (or at least, not all the time!) that you see more and more often in Burdastyle Magazine.
That's definitely not the best photo to showcase the details of this dress (sigh!), but the technical drawing is very promising.

To be completely honest, I don't know why I included this top. It's not exactly my taste (except for the bow), it's not super flattering... It's different, I guess? What do you think? Maybe for someone a bit more mature than me?

The plus size section is also particularly inviting this month.
I LOVE this dress, a nice twist on the sweetheart neckline + lace yoke with an exposed zipper at the back. With all these nice details, they had to do it in black, huh? No back shot, huh? Sigh, again.

The asymmetrical dress is also very cute, the neckline seems very flattering on the model and everyone needs a wiggle dress, right?

Finally, I love how they vamped up a simple tank top with lace and tiny pintucks.

All in all, a very nice issue. LMB definitely wins over Burda this month!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Burdastyle Magazine 11/2012

I'm very late with my review this month because it took longer than usual for the Russian site of Burda to have the complete preview online, but believe me, we haven't missed much.
I scratched my head when the first partial previews came out, but as usual, I wanted to see the complete magazine before forming an opinion.
This time, I really don't know what to say.

 WHAT?! A rectangle? AGAIN?!

What is this overskirt thing supposed to be???

Leaving the patterns aside (which are quite horrible anyway, IMHO) for a moment, what did the stylist of this shoot smoke? Who are these looks supposed to inspire?

 An otherwise nice coat LINED WITH A FREAKING FUR JACKET??? What?!

And finally, the garment you just can't live without: a short sleeved faux fur jacket with no closures.
Wait, WHAT?

I know I'm rarely impressed by Burda anymore, but this month was just a series of what-the-f moments for me.

The only patterns I actually like in this issue all come with a "but":
I like this tunic, BUT it's for plus sizes and I don't even want to think how difficult it can be to assemble following Burda instructions...
I like this dress, BUT if it makes a model look pregnant that much, what will it do on a normal person? Or is this supposed to be a pregnancy dress and I didn't get it from the Russian site? (This is also the vintage pattern of the month).

I (moderately) like this dress, BUT I've seen it at least three times in the last few issues. Also, why is the model wearing football shoulder pads? Because those can't be regular shoulder pads, unless they were ripped directly from an 80's dress.

Given the current state of this magazine, please consider giving a couple minutes of your time to sign Silvia's petition for a better Burda. I don't know about you, but I'd really like for things to change.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Ma première robe Sureau

What better way to get prepared for the sew-along than to show you my first go at this wonderful pattern?

To make this dress, I used some mystery fabric that had been in my mother's stash for years. I think it's a poly blend, but neither of us really can tell.
Anyway, I really loved the subtle drape and the colors of this fabric: brown and beige with hints of purple, so perfect for Autumn.

Let me tell you: it wasn't by chance that I wanted to have a sew-along for this pattern, it's because I love it SO MUCH.
It's my exact idea of the perfect every day dress: cute and feminine, but practical and easy to wear. Every girl should have at least one dress like this one.
It's also an extremely versatile pattern, and my head is bursting with ideas on how to transform it.

Even though I made a muslin before cutting the dress, I ended up with quite a bit of gaping in the neckline (you can sorta see it in the photo above).
Eléonore kindly suggested me to straighten the shoulder line (green basted seam in the second photo, sorry for the quality) to correct this issue, and it worked like a charm!
But I won't go into too much detail, we'll have lots and lots of time to discuss fit during the sew-along.
By the way, are you joining us? :)

Sureau Sew-along

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sureau dress Sew-along

It's finally here!
I'm so very excited to officially announce my first sew-along in collaboration with Eléonore of Deer and Doe. She will take care of the French readership on her blog, I will write in English.
As I had hinted previously, we are going to work on the most popular pattern of her collection, the Sureau dress.

The sew-along will start on November 5th, so that those of you who still haven't got the pattern will have all the time to receive it. The pattern has just gotten back in stock, and you can grab one for yourself here.

This is the schedule:

1st week (05/11):  Starting out 
      - Monday : How sizes work and a little French glossary
      - Tuesday : Choosing the fabric and buying the supplies for the dress and the muslin
      - Wednesday : Tracing the pattern + using more than one size, or in-between size
      - Friday : Sewing the muslin

2nd week (12/11): Adjusting the pattern 
      - Monday : SBA and gaping back
      - Tuesday : FBA
      - Wednesday : Adjusting the shoulder line
      - Friday : Lenghtening or shortening the bodice and the skirt

3rd week (19/11): Construction 
      - Monday : How to make perfect gathers for the bust and the skirt
      - Wednesday : How to set sleeves
      - Friday : How to sew the zipper

4th week (26/11): Variations 
      - Monday : Adding a collar
      - Wednesday : Omitting the sleeves
      - Friday : How to add a lining on the skirt / on the entire dress
      - BONUS: How to add horizontal pleats

Both Eléonore and I are quite the perfectionist types, so we are hoping to cover everything that you need! We will give further support on the Flickr group of the sew-along, where you can show your fabric choices, muslins and, of course, final dresses. The group is bilingual, so don't be scared if you see some French here and there (on the contrary, enjoy how international we're being :D ).

I am so excited, I can't wait to start! Admittedly, I'm a bit scared because this is my first sew-along, but collaborating with Eléonore has been a dream until now, so I'm very very positive! :)

So, who's in?
Please leave a comment below to further boost my excitement, and if you want to spread the love, here's a button for you to grab:

Sureau Sew-along

Friday, October 12, 2012

Sewing, photos and reality

I mentioned in my previous post that I wanted to share a little reflection on photos and blogging, and here it is.
Recently, I read a very interesting post on Catherine Daze's blog on realism in project pictures, which I recommend to anyone.

The points Catherine makes in this post got really stuck in my head and made me think a lot about my blog.

On the first question she presents, which is basically how clothes are styled in project pictures, we have very similar thoughts. She says she rarely wears the clothes the way she styles them for photos, because it's too impractical for every day life.

I must say I do exactly the same thing. In most of my photos, I wear a lot of makeup, I style my hair carefully, I never wear my glasses and I have heels on. It's very rare to see me so done up on an everyday basis: while I still feel overdressed most of the time, living in dresses and quirky prints, I am not a very glamorous person. I like to put some thought in how I present myself to the world, but I often have terrible hair, very little makeup on and most of all, I walk around a lot so I never wear heels.
So why do I dress up like that in photos? Because, as Catherine writes, that is how I'd like to wear the clothes, the look I'd love the most for them. I have fun playing around with styling and dressing up and I think the clothes look more interesting this way.

That means my photos are not 100% realistic, but I think they're much more fun and nice to look at.

The second point in Catherine's post is editing. And here is where we slightly differ in our opinion.

I do edit my photos, basically since the beginning of my blog. By that I don't mean making myself look slimmer, or airbrushing the skin of my face when I have a breakout. I wouldn't even know where to start with that. And when a project didn't turn out to be so hot, I don't fake it in pictures, I don't hide its faults because I want to be honest in my blog and I think sharing failures is always more helpful (either for me, for readers or for both).
But I really like to add a dreamy, colorful aspect to my photos. I try not to alter the colors too much, so that the garment I want to represent is still close to reality. I think they look a lot more vibrant, fun and, once again, more interesting to look at.
In my last post, I left the photos almost unedited (just used the auto adjustments on iPhoto for contrast and saturation) and I kept my styling as casual as possible. The result? While I don't hate them, I'm not really crazy about those photos, I find them a bit dull compared to my usual pics.

As you can see in the examples above and beneath, the photos are not not incredibly different after being edited, but still they can't be considered 100% realistic. Does this cross a line?

The reason why I shared these thoughts is because I'm very curious to know what you guys think.
Both what you like to see on other blogs (mine included, obviously) and what you think is fair and best to do with your own photos. Please let me know! :)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Refashioned Airelle blouse

I hope you're not tired of seeing Deer and Doe related stuff on this blog, because I've just begun! :)
For last week's challenge of The Sew Weekly, I took a second hand men shirt and turned it into an Airelle blouse.
I thought I was going to be in a minority of people taking an old garment and using a pattern to transform it, but it turns out most people did like me. I always look up to people sewing without patterns, I was a little ashamed to use a pattern for this challenge, but I guess I was idealizing the process of refashioning a bit too much.
Being my usual, distracted self, I forgot to take photos of the original shirt before I cut into it, but I guess everyone knows how a classic man shirt looks like, no big deal.

I cut the pattern in a size 38 and the fit is very good. It's not perfect overall just because the fabric of this shirt was a tiny bit too stiff for this design. I have made another Airelle blouse in a softer material and it feels a lot different, especially when I move.

This pattern is so full of lovely details: the gathering at the shoulders, the vertical darts, the collar, the back yoke. It's also super versatile: you can alter the collar shape, you can add or skip the piping, you can play with the sleeve length and get so many different takes on this lovely design.
I prefer to wear mine tucked in a high waisted skirt, but in these photos I decided to show that it also looks good as a casual shirt with jeans.

Speaking of which, can you spot something different than usual in my photos?
I think this is the least edited my photos have been for a very long time (if not ever), and I'm still wrapping my head around it.
I wanted to address this topic in this post, but I've decided to keep it separate, so... coming soon!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

You can't always get what you want...

... but sometimes you do!
If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen this dress a few weeks ago. My neighbor brought it to my mother to have it altered, and I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it.
It turns out, my neighbor inherited this dress from an aunt that recently passed away. They were very close, so she took a few items from her wardrobe to keep in her memory. But they had very different taste in fashion, and she didn't think she was going to wear her aunt's clothes at all.

So, when she heard how much I liked this dress, she asked me if I wanted to keep it! She was much happier to give to someone who was going to wear it and love it, instead of keeping it unused in her wardrobe, so I jumped at the chance!
And of course, it fits me like a glove (in these photos, it looks a bit tight across the midriff, but I was just swollen because of "those days").
Fate, destiny, coincidence, call it as you want, but I'm so drawn to this dress, I think we were meant to be together :) Sometimes I just take it out to look at it and it makes me smile.