Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Me-Made-May 2013 - Week 4

Top: Pimkie
Skirt: Kelly skirt by Megan Nielsen (kinda), never blogged
Shoes: Pimkie

At the beginning of May, I stored away my winter clothes and replaced them with summery stuff. This is always a great chance for spring cleaning and some clothes don't survive the passage.
This year, it was with a heavy heart that I realized that I hadn't worn my two Darling Ranges dresses (one and two) in a very long time. They both didn't fit me correctly, the first is too low in the front and the buttons are too heavy; the second, I just don't like the fabric, it creases too easily and it doesn't go with anything in my wardrobe.
But I couldn't just throw them away. So I tok the fabric of the first and the buttons of the second and made a Kelly skirt. I had just barely enough fabric, the waistband is pieced and the buttons are too close together, but I made it work and now I have a super cute new skirt. Yay for recycling!

Top: Banksia top by Megan Nielsen (never blogged, worn here, here and here)
Cardigan: Stefanel
Jeans: second hand
Shoes: Converse

This outfit was way cuter in my head, I was a bit disappointed while editing the photos. I don't know exactly what went wrong with it...
Anyway, my lace sleeveless Banksia is still very much loved and I liked the idea of pairing it with a mint cardigan.

Top: Pimkie
Skirt: Beignet skirt by Colette Patterns (never blogged, worn here)
Coat: borrowed stolen from my mother

We had such horrible weather on Saturday, I woke up to pouring rain and a very low temperature. I also had 5 hours of sleep, so I basically grabbed whatever I found scattered in my room. I'm more than satisfied with the result.

And I'm afraid that's it for me and Me-Made-May, this week I'm staying at my boyfriend and I've packed stuff that you've already seen or that I've very recently blogged about.
Between the weather requiring me to choose comfort over style and the fact that I'd have to take photos in a pretty dark apartment, I decided that I prefer no content at all than bad content. Not everybody thinks like that and that's absolutely fine, but I do.

I think I'll do a recap of MMM at the end of the week so that I have to regroup my thoughts on this experience.
Good luck to everybody on your last days of MMM!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Megan Nielsen's Breakwater collection

You probably did, since they've been out for almost three weeks, but I couldn't not feature them on my blog, because not only Megan is one of the sweetest people I've had the pleasure to exchange emails with, she's also extremely talented and she did a superb job once again.

I originally meant to have a little tete-à-tete with her and ask her to present the new patterns for us, but since she has recently been interviewed by Maddie and she did a very comprehensive series of post on her new creations, I'll just give you a quick look of the patterns and link back to her posts (click on "Read more" below).
I really recommend the read if you're interested in these patterns: these posts clearly show the amount of work that went into this release and that Megan really knows what she's doing. Also, I always enjoy reading about the inspiration of an artist.

"Full wrap skirt with graduated hem, and attractive cascades along the hemline. Aimed at a beginner level this skirt is perfect for every day wear, but also dramatic enough for a special occasion."
"A stylish wardrobe basic, this woven tank top and dress features relaxed fit, scoop neckline, and curved hem. Full of potential and ideal for casual and more formal occasions."

"Ideal for every day wear, this modern take on culottes combines the practicality of shorts with the cuteness of a circle skirt. Pattern features a fitted waistband, wonderful drape, invisible side seam zipper and hidden centre front and back pleats to create the illusion of a skirt."

"This versatile design works equally well casually, as it does for more formal occasions. Features attractive cut outs over the shoulders, loose fit from below the bust, button closures at the neckline, and a cute collar."

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Burdastyle Magazine 06/2013

I'm sorry I'so late with my review this month, I've been distracted by MMM and a couple of great guests.
Also, I didn't know I needed to be registered to the Russian site of Burda in order to see the complete review (thank you Sveta for helping me out), and the technical drawings hadn't been released elsewhere yet.

This is actually a well balanced issue of Burda.
By balanced, I mean there's stuff I really like, some WTF-ery and a lot of stuff in the middle.

Let's start with the good.

As my dear Mathilde said, this is my "coup de coeur", my instant favorite. The neckline is a bit too deep for me, but that's an easy fix. Other than that, this looks like a perfect, comfy everyday dress that you can make in so many different fabrics and variations.
I also love how it's styled in the photo. It's supposed to be a street-style photo, but I wonder how staged these are.

Very, very cute skirt with a sash. Definitely a fabric eater, though, between all those panels, the gathers and the sash. I might be too cheap for this.

How original of me to like a shirtdress. I basically love them all. But come on, this is very cute and the shape and position of the pockets is something different.

Again, how original of me to like a vintage pattern! But, AGAIN, how cute is this? That top with the matching belt is adorable.
The shoes on the model are so ugly they should be illegal. I get that they wanted to modernize the look, but those things are hideous. Just sayin'.

This is all fine and dandy, but a Burda issue wouldn't be complete with some assorted ugliness, nor would be a review of mine, so here it is.

Without that curved panel at the waist, this could be cute, but as it is, it's very, very unflattering. A bad tennis player dress.
Now, I don't really like bomber jackets in general, although some people can make them look extremely cool. But I had to include this photo, because I find the idea of a MESH bomber jacket hilarious. Super useless and quite ugly.
The skirt is just there to remind us that the people at Burda are not giving up their rectangle patterns any time soon. Jeez.

And speaking of mesh, what the f is this?
I hope mesh clothing is not having a comeback, it was ugly enough in the 90s.
Oh, the pattern is not bad at all (a variation of the first dress above), it's the realization that makes me cringe.

This was probably the most discussed ensemble of the issue because honestly... Who sews her own scuba gear? The pants, I get them. No really, they can be easily translated into sport attire (for running, cycling, etc.) and I guess the top could be as well, but, once again, it's the presentation that just leaves me speechless (well, not really, since I'm writing a whole post about it).

The same pattern looks a whole lot better when made in a more realistic fabric:
I personally wouldn't go into the trouble of making a princess seam t-shirt. If the pattern is well designed, it barely needs dart to fit well. I guess this could be good for color-blocking or something like that.

Please, Burda, just re-think your photoshoot concepts.
Most of us don't give a rat's ass about fashion-magazine-look-a-like photoshoots. We just ask to see the garments better and that you tone down the craziness.

And I'll end this post with this ugly, unflattering 80's gown made in a horrible, shiny fabric, which is probably the worst thing in this issue. I've seen far worse from Burda, so it might be a good sign.

I think I'll end up purchasing this issue for the vintage patterns and the first dress. It's a good bargain, even though I don't need new patterns.

What abou you, are you going to get it? Did you buy it already and have already started working on something?

[While we're on the subject of sewing magazines, Silvia is having a giveaway for the latest issue of LMB, that I reviewed here. Just FYI :D ]

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Me-Made-May 2013 - Week 3

DressBleuet dress by Deer and Doe (originally blogged here)
Shoes: Pimkie
Bag: Local boutique

My dearly beloved Bleuet was the perfect dress to start the week in a good mood. This was blogged recently, so I won't spend any more words on how much I love this pattern. I'm still in love with it, I made a sleeveless version in a print which I hope to blog about soon and I could happily make another 100 versions of this pattern. It's just perfect for me.

BlouseLaelia blouse by Blousette Rose (originally blogged here)
Jeans: local market
Shoes: Converse
Trench coat: Pimkie

I look a bit disheveled in this photo, the collar of the blouse and the bottom especially needed some ironing.
I was in a rush and I was going straight to my boyfriend, where I wrestled all evening with his two adorable dogs who are shedding like crazy. I was plastered in dog hair when I came back, so I didn't care too much about looking put together.

Shirt: Zara
Skirt: Madeleine skirt by Victory patterns (originally blogged here)

Sigh. Why don't I wear high-waisted circle skirts more often? They look so flattering and cute!
I thought I had archived my Madeleine skirt until next Autumn since it's made of wool, but temperatures dropped significantly this week and my region is in a pre-state of emergency because of all the rain we've had. Yikes!
Those rain boots were the best purchase of last winter, I've been wearing them lota.

Oh, and OF COURSE I own a polka dot umbrella, what did you expect from me?

Shirt: Zara
Skirt: pleated skirt from a 2005 issue of La Mia Boutique (never blogged)
Shoes: Pimkie

Speak of an unflattering photo... I was wearing another t-shirt underneath the long-sleeved shirt and it bunched up at the waist, so here it looks like I have huge muffin tops. Ew.
This skirt is about 6-7 years old, a testament to the fact I never throw anything away. It's a bit of a cheat because it dates back to the time when I was learning to sew, so I did little more than choosing a pattern and the fabric, and then I watched my mum doing most all of the work. Maybe I sewed a couple straight seams, but I definitely wasn't involved in constructing the pleats, the zipper, doing the topstitching and the hemming.
Anyway, this skirt has a pleats at the center front and center back, which give a nice movement, French pockets and a wide waistband. As I gained some weight in the last few years, the waistband now sits a bit higher and the skirt has become shorter, so now I'm only comfortable to wear it with tights. All in all, it still holds up pretty well.


That was it for my me-made week, but before I leave you, I wanted to announce the two winners of the "How Much Fabric? Reference Cards" giveaway:

I will get in touch with both of you, so please keep an eye on your inbox.

If you didn't win, you can read my review here and get your cards here.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Bluegingerdoll giveaway winner + Craftsy offer

The winners of two copies of the Billie Jean dress pattern are...

Congratulations! Please check your inbox for an email from yours truly.
If you didn't win, remember that you still have until the 19th to get this pattern at its pre-sale price.

To make this post a little more useful, I also wanted to mention an incredible offer from Craftsy, the online hobby-learning platform.*

On May 18th, Craftsy is hosting Free Class Day to benefit DonorsChoose. For one day only, new members can choose one free course from a selection of favorite Craftsy classes, up to a $39.99 value. If you haven't taken a Craftsy class yet, this is your chance to sign up for your first by choosing from classes in quilting, sewing, knitting, cake decorating, and more.

If they meet their goal of giving away 10000 classes, Craftsy will donate $5000 to DonorsChoose to fund arts education in public schools across the US. Existing members are not eligible for the free course offer, but will still receive a special treat.

Isn't this great? I'm a big fan of their courses (especially this one and this one), so I think this is an awesome opportunity!

*this post contains affiliate links

Friday, May 17, 2013

La Mia Boutique 05/2013

The LMB people seem to have recovered from the general insanity of the last months.
Sure, this issue is not all gold, but when there are more than 3 patterns I like, I take it as a very good sign.

The cover and the first photoshoot are inspired by Grace Kelly. YES!
Elegant, feminine, classic vintage silhouettes... What can I ask more? I'm not crazy about the very aging styling, but let's not dwell on that.
LOVE the princess-seamed bodice with the unusual dart placement. The bow belt is a very cute touch.

This dress had me literally squealing over it. So many lovely details. It even has French pockets!

I don't care too much for the coat, although it's not bad at all, the dress is the true star here. Another very, very nice vintage inspired dress with a beautiful pleated skirt.

Then we have something more modern but equally beautiful. The neckline is absolutely stunning and the draped skirt looks very elegant.

I think I'd love this dress a lot more just with the short, gathered sleeves. That's one pattern piece that I'm possibly going to trace and use as a variation on another pattern.

This looks more like a dress to me, but it's styled as a tunic with pants underneath (sorry, I scanned the wrong photo). Anyway, it's a very cute garment, although maybe not for the best for someone who's trying to hide a bit of belly.

Oh my goodness, the crazy stylist is at it again... I'll let slide, for now.
The top with the cowl is as cute as it is simple and I like the kimono/bathrobe pattern, it could come in handy if I decide to make myself a robe.

Dear LMB stylist, that hat is just too much. Now you crossed a line. Ok?
That being said, the patterns here (plus-size) are very cute, I just love them both.

So, overall... YAY! I'm crossing my fingers this is a sign of good things to come from this magazine, although they are usually pretty inconstant with their stuff. We shall see...

While we're on the subject of sewing magazines, can anyone help me figure out why there's still no complete preview of the June issue of Burda on the Russian site? The magazine is already out and the photos and technical drawing usually have already been up for a while. I'm worried! :(

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Interview: Bluegingerdoll Vintage Inspired Patterns

Today I'm happy to have Abby of Bluegingerdoll as a guest, she's a new indie pattern designer who specializes in vintage inspired creations. You know you want to know more about her!
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background? When did you start sewing?
I'm Abby and I live in Melbourne, Australia with my boyfriend and our 2 crazy dogs, Kenobi and Winnie. I have a love of all things vintage, especially the 40's and 50's. I also have a horse and love to go riding (when I can!), love cooking up a storm, crime shows, summertime and potato chips!
I was taught sewing in high school briefly, to be honest I really didn’t take to it at first, I actually hated going to sewing class, the teacher was a total bore, but fast forward a few years in my 20’s and I become really inspired about the thought of creating my own clothes and sewing them, and actually having the wardrobe I have always wanted. I quickly became obsessed and haven't stopped since.

How did you start Bluegingerdoll Patterns? What pushed you to begin making sewing patterns?
I started drafting sewing patterns, for a few reasons, one being the commercial patterns that are available, aren’t really inspiring and the designs not really my style at all, and let’s not talk about the random and constant fitting issues with the patterns. Original vintage patterns were what I usual sewed with, but were becoming increasingly expensive and hard to find anything in my size. So I guess the drafting come from necessity, and it felt like a natural creative step from sewing as well. I also had all these design ideas but no way of creating them unless I drafted the actual pattern myself. So I started to teach myself to draft patterns, first starting with modifying vintage patterns then onto the drafting patterns from scratch. I found that I totally loved it and I really wanted to hone my skills with this craft, so I decided to learn from the pros and studied a Diploma of fashion design and technology.

I have also always wanted to own and run a small business as well, and become my own boss and realising I had a passion for sewing and pattern making, I decided it was high time to start making that dream a reality. I could totally see myself being extremely happy and content doing this day in, day out. And I decided my designs were worth sharing with the world, and so Bluegingerdoll was born.

Tell us more about your first pattern, the Billie Jean dress.
Billie Jean is a beautiful 1950s vintage inspired dress.  It features a fitted princess seam bodice, which is designed to enhance the waist, and an alluring and flattering neckline design. It is a versatile and easily adaptable dress that is wearable in all seasons, day or night, and suits a variety of different fabrics. Perfect for experimentation and for you to add your own individual touch.  There are 2 dress styles to choose from, in the pattern:

Dress 1 - A fully lined figure hugging wiggle dress, flattering all the right curves.
Dress 2- A fun full gathered skirt, with lined bodice and practical in seam pockets.  

Both close with lapped zipper at centre back.  I have created instructions for that are easy and clear to follow with loads of diagrams, which will ensure the sewing of Billie Jean is straight forward.  Billie Jean is also available in paper or PDF patterns.

Where do you see your pattern company in the future?
Billie Jean is the very first pattern release for Bluegingerdoll, and the huge amount of positive support I have received through Facebook, Twitter and the blog, has validated it for me, that I am on the right track and maybe a little bit closer to my dream of being able to making the pattern business a full –time gig. In the meantime though, the next pattern design is in the process and is hot on the heels of Billie Jean for release, and the plan is for a few more designs to be released later on during the year.

Thank you, Abby!
To celebrate the launch of her first pattern, Abby was also kind enough to offer 2 copies of the Billie Jean dress pattern to my readers. The winners will choose if they prefer the pdf or printed version.
Because the pre-sale of this pattern ends soon (on the 19th), this will be a very very short giveaway, so whoever doesn't win can still take advantage of this offer.
In order to win, leave a comment below before Friday, May 17th at 11:00pm GMT.
Please leave an email address so I can get in touch with you (you need to write it in the comment, because I cannot access the address you leave in the Disqus form).
For en extra chance to win, like Bluegingerdoll on Facebook and leave a separate comment.

Good luck, everyone!
Giveaway closed, winner announced here.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Me-Made-May 2013 - Week 2

BlouseDatura blouse by Deer and Doe (originally blogged here)
Cardigan: Zara (old)
Jeans: second hand
Shoes: Converse

I was a bit under the weather the first half of the week, so taking pictures of myself was the last thing I wanted.
I still wasn't 100% on Thursday, so my Datura blouse was the perfect compromise of style and comfort.
I really need to make the bust darts shorter if I make this blouse again, because they look like nipples right now. I wasn't very noticeable on a print, but it bothers me a bit in this chambray version. 

Shirt: Pimkie
Skirt: Beignet skirt by Colette Patterns (first seen here)
Tights: H&M
Shoes: Pimkie

I can't believe this skirt already has almost three years. It's still one of my most worn makes, and I get to wear it all year round. It also appeared in last year's me-made-may.
Everyone raves about this pattern, and it's totally deserved.

T-Shirt: Pimkie
Skirt: Kelly skirt by Megan Nielsen (originally blogged here)
Flats: Les Lolitas

This isn't exactly the most exciting outfit ever, but it was one of those days when I spend too much time getting ready on hair and makeup and then I end up having less than 5 minutes to get dressed. I didn't even have the time to put on a necklace.
Anyways, I told you multiple times how much I love the Kelly skirt, so I won't spend any more time on that. Although I'll say that I definitely prefer this skirt in a stiffer material (such as my black version), rather than this denim, that has a bit more drape to it.

Dress: Lily dress by Colette Patterns (originally blogged here)
Cardigan: local market
Shoes: Pimkie

Oh, this dress. I love it so much... in theory. The colors are a bit too bold for my everyday life, and the material wrinkles so terribly (you can see it in the photos) that it gets worn very rarely. I also think the styling of these photos is not the most inspired choice: this dress begs for sandals and a more relaxed hairstyle.
However, I was surprised at how comfortable it actually is: I was afraid that this kind of skirt was going to be a bit too tight for everyday, but it's actually not at all. The kickpleat really makes your life easier. I really hope to make another version of Lily in a better material sooner than later.

So, I didn't make up for last week's fail, but I still kept up with my pledge of 4 me-made outfits. I can't believe we're almost at half!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Original How Much Fabric? Reference Cards: review and giveaway

Today I want to tell you a but more about my new sponsor, Gwen from GwynHug, and her product, the Original How Much Fabric? Reference Cards. As a disclaimer, I didn't pay for this product, I received it for review purposes, but I am giving you my honest opinion. If this bothers you, please don't read this post, but if you have followed me for a while, you know that when I don't like something, I don't have ANY problem to say it. 

So, what are these cards and what do they do?
The name says it all, really: these cards will help you figure out how much fabric you need to make a certain garment. They are both available as physical cards or in e-book format, measurements are Imperial OR Metric and they come in different sets (Women's Clothes, Plus Sizes, etc.). I have the Women's Clothes e-book ready to use in my smartphone.

Consulting these cards is easy, and very similar to using the tables on the back of a pattern envelope. The big difference is that here you don't have just one number, but three for every size: minimum, average and maximum. By using the sketches on the back of the card (or on the following page, for the e-book version) you can easily figure out if the amount of fabric you need falls in the minimum, average or maximum section depending on the garment you want make, and on factors such as length, fullness, presence of sleeves, etc.
There are five sections respectively for dresses, pants, skirts, blouses/shirts and jackets/coats, so basically everything is covered.
The number you get is thought to be as precise as possible, but there are are also safety margins that you can add to your number in case you want to be extra careful.
If my explanation wasn't clear enough, here's a very helpful video to see how they work.

So, why not just using the fabric requirements on the back of a pattern envelope?
Well, I don't always never carry patterns with me when fabric shopping, so I'll often see a fabric and think: "That would be perfect for that pattern I bought last year". The cards not only help me figure out how much fabric I need, but also not to overbuy, which is something I always do, worrying that I won't have enough fabric, and end up with remnants too small for a project, but too big to throw away with a clear conscience. I have a huge pile of those, believe me.

I was very impressed by the amount of work and research behind the creation of these cards: the fabric requirements from 8000 patterns were used to give the most accurate estimate possible.
If you’re like me, and you frequently buy fabric with an idea of the garment you're going to make, but you don't carry the pattern with you, these can make your life so much easier! I also often buy pre-cut lengths of fabric, and the cards can help me figure out what I can and cannot make out of them.

Want to win a set of The Original How Much Fabric? Reference Cards?
Gwen was so generous to offer two sets to my readers: one for a US reader (in yards) and one for an International reader (in metres.) You can choose between e-book or physical format and which set of cards you’d like.

How to win:
Go on Gwyn's website and choose the set that you prefer. Leave a comment on this post, stating which set you would like to win (metric or imperial) and an email where I can contact you in case you win.
You can enter from now until Saturday, May 18th at 11:00am GMT.
One entry per person. Winners will be picked randomly.

Good luck, everyone!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Me Made May 2013 - Week 1

Woohoo! It started!

Cardigan: Zara (Old)
Jeans: no brand
Shoes: Converse

I never blogged about this Airelle I made last Autumn, but I've been wearing it quite a bit.
The idea is the same as this other blouse: I refashioned a man button-up using the Airelle pattern, this one is just sleeveless.
By the way, the blue refashioned Airelle didn't survive the winter (ie I threw it away), because the material was too stiff and it was just uncomfortable to wear. This yellow one is a lot softer, so it works much better. Lightweight fabrics work much better with this pattern.

T-shirt: Banksia top by Megan Nielsen (originally blogged here)
Jeans: no brand
Bag: Fiorucci for OVS
Shoes: Pimkie

I really need to make more knit Banksia tops. This one was an experiment and although the fabric is not the best quality and print-wise, I really like it. Extremely comfortable for running around all day, with the added cuteness of a Peter Pan collar.

Shirt: Fiorucci for OVS
Skirt: Kelly skirt by Megan Nielsen (orginally blogged here)
Bag: vintage
Shoes: no brand

I love this outfit, even more so after my brother made the snide comment that I looked like Minnie Mouse. Like that could EVER be an offence to me (or to other awesome people)!
Anyway, this skirt seriously goes with everything, and looks great with everything. Thank you forever, Megan, for this pattern.

Now, there's no me-made look for today (Sunday). I came back from work late and completely exhausted, and it was raining. I just changed in my pj's and gave up, so to compensate today's fail (my pledge is four times a week) I'll try to go for five me-made days next week!

How did your first me-made week go?