Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Laurel dress (in the nick of time!)

Size: size 4 for the torso, graded up between a 6 and an 8 at the hips. The length is more or less of size 8.

Alterations: Lowered the bust dart by 1,5cm and shortened it by 1cm. Took the waist in slightly. Added in-seam pockets. Omitted the zipper.

(As you can see, I decided to add this quick list at the beginning of my posts, à la The Sew Weekly, House of Pinheiro, True Bias, etc. This is meant as a reference for those who are not interested in the rest of the post or are returning here looking for this information.)

If you follow me, on Twitter or Facebook, you might know that I started working on this dress just Saturday (which actually became Sunday night...). OOPS!

As every other seamstress on the Internet, I got incredibly excited when the Laurel dress contest was revealed over a month ago, so I purchased the pattern almost immediately, even though I wasn't completely in love with it.
I had planned to take my time with the muslin and had enough ideas for at least two versions.

But of course, I hadn't taken into account the fact that I SUCK at plans and that I'm the biggest procrastinator on Earth, so there I was, two days before the deadline with an ill-fitting muslin and not enough time to make the block printed fabric I would have wanted.

I couldn't just give up, so I made another muslin and went digging for fabric in my stash.

The first time around, I had cut a muslin for the blouse version, taking for granted it had the same fit as the dress.
Boy, was I wrong! The blouse has a weird armhole curve and was desperately calling for an FBA on me, while the dress fit me quite well since the beginning (I just had to move the bust dart slightly and adjust the side seams to my curves).
And at the muslin stage, I also noticed I could easily slip into and out of the dress without a zipper, so I happily omitted it.

If you add that the bottom and sleeves didn't need hemming because they were cut on a border print,  this dress took me little more than an hour to make, which is fantastic.

Actually, I couldn't cut one of the sleeves on the border, so i stitched as if it was a trim... Can you notice it? It's practically invisible!

This beautiful fabric is part of a precious gift my boyfriend's father made to me last year, he gave me these beautiful vintage batiks he had bought in Indonesia and kept for over 30 years. I used another piece to make a Hazel dress (again, from Colette patterns!) last summer.
These fabrics are even more dear to me now, since he passed away last winter, which still feels unbelievable to me. I know this is a great way to remember him.

Anyway, final thoughts on this dress: it was a surprise to me, but I really really love it! I was afraid this silhouette might look "nightgown-y" on me, and although it's probably not the most flattering for my body, I like it a lot. It's loose enough to be comfortable, but not as much as to be unflattering, and it's a great balance between casual and girly. I definitely understand why this pattern is getting so much love, now!
Who knows? This might not be the last Laurel I make...

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Datura blouse with cutout neckline

When I posted about my Peter Pan collar Datura, many of you expressed curiosity towards the the cutout version. So it's not exactly by popular demand that I made this second version, but your comments definitely pushed me.
And when I found this lovely light blue cotton that looks a lot like my new love, chambray, I decided it was a good marriage.

I swear my hair is not neon orange in real life... EEK!
I often have the tendency to overcomplicate things, but this time I kept it as simple as I could and used the same fabric for the whole blouse, bias binding included. I really like how this creates a good balance with the many, lovely design details of the Datura.

And just for fun, I styled it in two different ways. I don't think it looks at its best with the skirt, but it's just because this fabric is not as soft as I'd like it to be, so it gets a little messy when you tuck it in a waistband. Other than that, I think it's a very versatile blouse that can be worn in many ways.

The cutout neckline is much simpler to construct than one might think. You just need some patience attaching the bias binding.
The yoke is lined and I also used French seams for the side seams, so the inside looks immaculate, which is always a plus in my book.

And to wrap up this short post, a little announcement:

"I, Anna of paunnet, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '13. I endeavour to wear a self-made accessory or item of clothing for at least four days a week for the duration of May 2013."

Last year, my pledge was three days a week, so in the spirit of challenging yourself, I added one more. I think four days a week is a good compromise. I do wear a lot of handmade garments, but I don't want to take a picture of myself every day. For me, it would be more stressful than fun, which is what this challenge is supposed to be. Four will be a challenge for me, but one I can handle.

Are you taking part?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Burdastyle Magazine 05/2013

I've been wanting to photograph three finished projects and post about one of them since last week, the fact I managed to shoot not even one of them made me bitchier than usual.

But enough about me, let's dive into this review of "Sewing Rectangles Magazine":
You have your sheer rectangle with rectangle-shaped seams and a bow....

The rectangle shirt with asymmetrical hem and rectangular sleeves...

 The rectangular lace top with a rectangular lining...

The rect.... WOT?!
A rectangular sleeveless sweater with a rectangular panel of lace peeking out and a triangular cutout?
OH MY GOD! I've been waiting all my life for this!

And finally, the masterwork: a top made of twisted rectangles.

But if you're a plus-sized lady, don't be afraid, Burda will help you look as big, boxy and dowdy as you can:
If a model can look this bad in these clothes, so can you!

If you're eyes aren't hurting enough yet, feast on these granny panties: they're perfect to look as if you're wearing a diaper!

And what about this little number? They were so kind as to style it as tragically as usual, so that we just couldn't ignore how ugly it is!

The funny thing is, if you chop this pattern at the waist, it makes one the few patterns I like in this issue:
Cute, right? What a difference a ruffled hem makes...

And these two are probably the only two other things that picked my interest in this issue (the second one being a vintage pattern... duh), although I'm too consumed by my own sarcasm to give them a decent commentary.

Seriously, guys... WTF? The FIVE "variation on a rectangle" patterns could be a new low for Burda.
Am I right?
I am SO glad I didn't renew my subscription...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

La Mia Boutique 04/2013

For once, I'm writing a review and I find myself without a lot to say.
I don't know if it's a good or a bad sign for this issue, or maybe it just means it's forgettable.

One thing that struck me, is that there are a s**tload of sheath dresses this month:
These two are part of what is described as a 50s inspired photoshoot... Do you see it? I don't. Not even the styling looks vintage.
Anyway, I kind of like the second one, with the faux top underneath.

These two are as generic as it gets. I really don't have any comments, except that dog is as adorable as it  is random.

More randomness... A wedding dress.
Is the model mad because she has a huge bow attached to her back?

Now, the only two pieces I really like in this issue.
The dress looks very chic on the model and the cinched waist makes it very wearable.
The jacket is just incredibly cute, with the cropped sleeves, the rounded lapel and the two buttons.

Finally, we have a Carmen Miranda inspired photoshoot (again, why? So random...).
Can you visualize how excited the LMB stylist must have been when he was told about this theme? If you read a few of my reviews of this magazine, you know that I HATE the styling and I'm convinced whoever is in charge might be a little crazy. It's always bold makeup, chunky jewelry and generally A LOT of accessory, so this must have been a field day for the guy.
But to be fair, some of the garments are actually cute.

That's it. All I had to say.

Since I'm running out of space in my room in a spring cleaning mood, I decided I'm not going to keep this issue, so it's for sale on eBay.
I also listed a bunch of old issues that need a more loving home, so please check this link out if you're interested.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Chambray Bleuet dress

This is a love story.
It all started last year, at the end of summer, when I heard rumors of a new indie pattern company called Deer and Doe. After I began stalking repeatedly manifested my interest in this, Eléonore, the designer, asked me if I wanted to have a preview of her designs and give her my opinion on them.
Being curious as a fox, I jumped at the chance and my jaw dropped when I saw Airelle, Belladone, Pavot and Sureau.

But then I saw Bleuet, and it was true love.
By now, you know ad nauseam how much I like these patterns, but Bleuet was a whole other deal.
It was the shirt dress I had always wanted but that nobody (me included) had never drafted. It had princess seams, a cinched waist, a pointy collar and cute puffy sleeves.
And then I saw the bow at the back and I was head over heels. Cutest detail ever.

Have you ever felt like a dress is just perfect for you? Like, it's flattering for you, and at the same time it's a perfect reflection of your style, of what you want to convey through your clothes?
It happened to me a couple of times, but this time it's THE ONE.

The fabric I used was chambray, another new love of mine. It's often listed in the recommended fabrics for Deer and Doe patterns, but I had never used it, for some reason. Now I could happily make an entire spring/summer wardrobe with it.
I paired it with squared mother of pearl buttons I found at my local market, which add another adorable touch.

The pattern is marked as an "advanced" level of difficulty and it might be the reason why this pattern is not one of the most popular. The construction is quite long and the 14 (or 15, depending on the size) buttonholes can be discouraging. I sure was thankful for the "memory" buttonhole setting of my machine.

In terms of fit, I made a muslin but I didn't need any alterations. I cut a size 38 at the shoulders, a 40 at the bust and waist and a 42 at the hips (based on other patterns I made from this company), and it was perfection. This is the reason I'm using Deer and Doe patterns so often, they fit me with little to no alteration. I'm a bit afraid I'm boring you guys, but can you blame me?

In conclusion, even if it takes a bit longer to sew, this dress is so worth it! I can't believe it took me so long to get cracking on this pattern. I've already planned a sleeveless version for this summer in a bright floral cotton, and I can't wait to make it!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Deer and Doe giveaway winner

The winner of a beautiful Réglisse pattern is...

Congratulations, Becky!
Please check your inbox for an email from yours truly.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Burda Easy Fashion SS2013

For those who are not familiar with this publication, Burda Easy (or Easy Fashion) is a biannual sewing magazine aimed at beginners and young seamstresses.

I swear I was so excited about this magazine when I first started sewing. It was awesome! I'll leave you a link to one of the first issues my mum got for me when I was learning to sew (here), it's in Italian, but just look at the pictures.
There wasn't a ton of patterns, but there were always many cute, interesting ones (this was also the "era" when indie patterns were almost non-existent).

Now, you'll understand what I mean when I say that this magazine changed a lot and dulled down immensely when you see this:

Fabric rectangles with elastic or a drawstring.
The last "skirt" doesn't even involve sewing.

Followed by this. Disgusting.
And the styling is beyond ridiculous.

To be fair, there are a few nice patterns, although they don't justify buying this magazine at all, at least for me.
This pants can be a nice project for a beginner, although I wouldn't recommend that sash that ties right at the crotch to anyone.

 I don't like this type of hem very much, but at least this is on trend.

I was so excited about this pattern when I saw the photo because I thought it had ruched sleeves, or something like that. Turns out it's a regular blazer styled with bunched up sleeves. Sigh.

This is kinda cute, although a shirt dress is probably the last thing I'd recommend to a beginner. Unless you have a very good machine, sewing so many buttonholes can be a pain.

This is a cute dress that was made in a terribly heavy fabric, styled poorly and photographed even worse. It has a lot of potential, though. There's also a blouse version of this pattern (you can see it above, paired up with the pants) and I like it a lot.

This issue is definitely a NO for me. Burda has increased their pricing, so one more reason not to purchase this.
What about you?