dimanche 22 mars 2015

The Vogue 8333 jacket I started in 2009

I started that sewing project in a sewing class... well a sewing class I did not enjoy at all. Retail wear oriented construction is just not my thing. So I was kind of not friends with the jacket until I picked up Claire Shaeffer's fabulous instructions and I decided to pimp the jacket's up to the level I wanted. I still have many steps ahead, but I am getting there.




By the way, this is the first tailored collar I have ever sewn.  I am very proud of it. I waited 24 to sew a tailor jacket simply because the collar intimated me. Well, I should have jumped before.

And Claire is a sewing genius !!!

dimanche 15 mars 2015

En avant la peinture !

The canvas for the painter's creation is done. I cut and started sewing it yesterday before cooking a delicious dinner.

Well I am not bribing here.

My friend Manon said that the osso-buco I cooked yesterday was the best one she tasted in her life. Well THAT is compliment. It is certainly a great motivation for cooking other dinners for her and her fiancé. A lovely couple DH and I appreciate greatly.

But this is another story...  As I specified in my previous post, the cape is cut in a medium weight cotton and lycra fabric. I was very easy to work with. I finished the front edges with a narrow hem of about 0.8 cm turned twice and the hem is finished with the same method but I doubled the width. for the ties I cut one very long piece of fabric on selvage of 4cm wide. It is folded in two, pressed and then you bring both edges on the centre fold and you sandwich the edges inside by folding the ties in two again. Clear as mud ?

If my explanations are terrible because of English is not my mother tongue, here are pictures that must be worth a hundred words of not a thousand.

Step one: press flat the piece of fabric

Step two: press it in two

Step three: press one half towards centre

Step four: the the second half towards centre

Step five: sandwich both edges inside by folding it in two again.

Step six: use your edge foot the sew very close to the edge of the tie

Step seven: press again and tada !  Yes you all knew that, but just in case.
I added a collar to the original pattern (go to my previous post to see the Nina Ricci Pattern). The collar was drafted with the intention of giving a dramatic effect instead of a cutey look. This is done by having the upper corner going outward with a 30 degree angle (more or less). Ho! with this close up I see that I have threads to cut again ;-)


The shaping on the shoulder is done with a dart. The original dart was giving a strange shape to the cape. There were two distinct peaks sticking out of Daisy's (my dress form) shoulders. Needless to say, that the effect was not the one I looked for.

I elongated the darts of 2.5 cm and curved the end inward. Now it looks nice in my opinion.


This cape has 2.7 meters of hem. I was long to fold and sew and there is no way I would have done it by hand....  though I love hand stitching.

Voilà !

To be honest, I want to keep it for me. And my friend Manon wanted one for herself...  I might sew one for her in navy blue wool crepe with a gorgeous aqua lining...  colours she love to wear. Next pictures of this projects will be the ones from Brian Y....  I cannot wait to see it.

It will be painted by Ivy Rotchin clic to read an article about her


samedi 7 mars 2015

Working with creative peoople

In my last post, I presented a knit dress made from a Jalie pattern. The dress was sewn for and worn by Florence, a sweet young woman I am friends with. The pictures were taken by here boy friend Brian Ypperciel.

In their professional life, Brian and Florence work in the fashion industry ; her as stylist for Canadian magazines and him as fashion photographer for magazines and commercial brands.

You can see their work on Facebook : Brian Ypperciel
Florence O. Durand

Or on their web site:  http://www.brianypperciel.com/  or http://www.florenceodurand.com/

Outside of all the contracts they do solo or together, they often organize creative shoots in collaboration with friends of theirs, like body painters, hair or makeup artists etc.

For the next creative shoot, they asked me to sew a cape, a black cape. For the moment, I cannot show you the inspiration for the shoot. But, let say that this picture could be related to the project. No real feathers...  you will see.

The cape will be made in medium weight silky cotton-Lycra mix though the stretch part is not important for this project. I am using one of my vintage Nina Ricci pattern as a base. The cape will be painted afterwards by a local artist.

This Nina Ricci cape is semi-circular and unlined. All edges (neck, front and hem) are finished with a facing. The inside edge of the facing is cleanly turned in and sewn in place through all layers.



I am not certain that I will need sew on the facing since the cape will be used only for one shooting. I think I might just sew a narrow hem all around the edges. I will see how it goes. One thing is certain, I will add a collar as they asked for one and ties for the closure.

Here are two examples of creative shooting Brian and Florence have done together. Florence created the head piece featured in the picture on the left.


The model on the right picture is Sophie Touchet a Gatineau, Canada born model who has started an international career two years ago. She modelled for big designers and magazines. In 2014 she did 43 fashion shows...  Difficult life style in my point of view.

For more of their work, you can click here: Vogue Portefolio

 I am very much exited about this project. I will post a picture after the March 24 shooting. I should be able to post in early April. I might do a making of, if they allow me to.




vendredi 2 janvier 2015

Sewing a maxi dress for Florence

Photo taken by Brian Ypperciel

Photo taken by Brian Ypperciel


Sewing is a hobby for me. A hobby that dresses me up in a unique, fun and sometimes elegant way, but still a hobby. I have sewn for my younger sister occasionally. She is not a fan of fashion and sometimes I think that she needs one or two peaces that fit well and give structure to her wardrobe.

After sewing a maxi dress for me. This lovely friend of mine, Florence, asked me to make one for her. Aaaaawwww what it ever so worth it ?

If you want to give your shot at this :
  • I used Jalie 2805 t-shirt pattern as a base for the top. Florence is a perfect size Q. I simply needed to make a sway back correction of 1 cm. 
  • In the center back I drew a perfect straight line down to the length I wanted. (this pattern is cut on fold but I usually prefer to make a full pattern to be right, right, right on grain) In this case it was her back length going to the floor plus hem, since she wanted to wear it with flats or low heals. 
  • From centre back, the hem is curvy and you go up on a slow curve for about two centimetres  on the sides. This way the hem is straight on model. If you hesitate, take any wide skirt pattern for knits and use the hem curve as a base. 
  • If you need an example of hem curve use Kwik Sew 3333 dress pattern.
  • The width of the back at hem is 110 cm and 100 in the front.
  • From the hip, I drew the side seams freehand.
  • On this dress the front is shorter so that she can walk freely and dance as well.It might look nicer with a longer front but it is not fun when you walk, I have tried it. I also do not like the look of a dress that falls like a cascade on you feet. It looks like the person did not take the time to hem at the proper length.
  • I used a bamboo knit with a very silky hand and enough body to fall nicely and elegantly.
  • For a dress of 1m50 long (Florence is about 1m68) you will need about 2m70 of 1m50 wide knit (without sens). It all depends on the width of the dress.
The front and back pattern pieces look like this:



It was a fun and easy project. I love to sew for her !!

Photography Brian Ypperciel, model the sweet Florence...

jeudi 1 janvier 2015

More details on the Burda 2014-05-115 dress

It is rare that people wearing retail clothes would turn them inside out to show it's finish. Retail clothing usually has a clean finish but nothing to fall off your chair.

For the present post, I decided to show you the finish of the summer Burda Magazine (2014-05-115) dress I have sewn last June I think.

Burda 2014-05-115
I chose this pattern mainly for it's asymmetrical neckline. The mix of colourful knit and dark woven fabric creating a lively as well as sexy summer dress, also caught my attention.


The pattern calls for a cotton and lycra knit as well as for a textured stretch cotton. The knit I used is from Emma One Sock, while the textured cotton is from Couture Elle in Montreal (my favourite store). The cotton is not stretch. Since I fitted this dress very close to my body, I am very happy that the front panel stretches. If not, I would have a hard time breathing in this dress.

I have sewn so many sheet dresses that were a tad too big, that this time I wanted to nail the fit very well.
It worked !!  Now I want to retrofit two other dresses that are so big on me, but his is another story.

So back to my initial intention, showing the finish of the dress. I used a technique that allows to underline the dress at the same time as you "Hong Kong" finish the seams. This technique is very well explained here on Laura's sewing room. Laura adds an extra seam allowance of 1.6cm (5/8 to 3/4 inch) on each side of each pattern pieces. While I usually had 2 cm (7/8 inch). I want to be certain that the lining does not pull on the fashion fabric.

This technique takes a little more time then a regular lining but the finish is sooo clean and beautiful !!  I love it. I go around in parties showing my friends a tiny bit of the hem and the lower section of one side seam.

The lining and the fashion fabric are sewn together right side together on the sides only and you use the lining to cover 6 mm of the the seam allowance of the fashion fabric, as shown on the following picture. Read Laura's blog, she is excellent to explain the technique. The result is clean and beautiful.


Hong Kong finish. I used a man garment 100% rayon lining.
Hong Kong finish. I used a man garment 100% rayon lining.
Sometimes the upper part and lower part of the fashion fabric and lining might have different length of a few millimetres. It should not be too much. It happened for me at the hem, which was not dramatic since I had to shorten the dress of at least 5 cm (2 inches). I finished the hem with a bias tape as well.

I used a bias tape to finish the hem. The knit was lined with a power mesh

The final look is very neat and comfortable.



Many people do not like Burda Magazine's instructions. I think that they are excellent. You simply need to read them slowly before you start. Make yourself a mental image of all the steps and then start. Sometimes, I even do samples with paper to understand them fully. Burda often teaches me new techniques for simple step I have done numerous time but in a different way. It was the case for this sewing project. Burda suggests to machine bastes 3 times (instead of 2) in order to produce a perfect rush side.
3 rows of machine bast stitches to gather the side


The last row, starting outside the garment, ends up showing after you have sewn the side and centre panel together. As shown here:



You simply take the stitches out after. It worked wonderfully. It was easier to obtain even gathers then by using only two row of bating.

Voilà ! I hope you all have an excellent sewing year !

dimanche 7 décembre 2014

Back to the tuxedo dress

Over the years, I have been inspired by tuxedo dresses designed by Paul Smith. Some had a shawl collar or a tailored one, some had sleeves and some were like that following, not suited for winters in Montreal. In the end, I wanted them all. I was dreaming of having one of those in my closet.



Tuxedo Dress from Paul Smith's 2013 collection picture taken on Polyvore



On realistic note, very chic dresses don't get to go out often of my wardrobe. I work in a university where most of professors and administrators are rather relaxed looking on a day to day basis. I had to make the concept evolve towards the reality of my life.Chic London cocktail are not part of my reality.

Well, I thought that this Burda Magazine pattern would be an excellent compromise between my work environment and my passion of tuxedo dresses.

Burda Magazine 2012-11-133
I cut the usual size combination for my silhouette: 38 for the bust, 34 for the waist and 36 for the hip zone. Gladly, I have sewn a muslin for the top part. Ho la la, this dress sizes very big. As you can tell from the following pictures, it requires many adjustments. I am floating in it and so is Daisy my dressform. I look like a little girl wearing her big sister's dress...  not the look I want !

Burda 2012-11-133 muslin 1 too big

Burda 2012-11-133 muslin 1 too big
 So I am back to the drafting table to draw a pattern one size smaller. I hope that it will work this time.

samedi 22 novembre 2014

Catching up on past sewing projects

There was almost one year of silence between now and my last post on the XMas dress form. There was no inspiration to write and lots of activities others than being in front of my screen. I was very active practising sports and I have sewn a great deal as well.  Here are pictures of of the project I finished in the last months.

This is dress is one of the my favourites. I like the asymmetric neck line (that is just perfectly drafted so that I can wear a regular bra under it) and the mix of  woven fabric in black and the knit in the centre front only.  The woven fabric is textured cotton from Couture Elle in Montreal and the beautiful and colour full knit is from Emma One Sock.



Burda 2014-05-115 hem not done

Burda 2014-05-115 hm not done yet ;-)

close up of the fabrics I used and the original Burda picture

DH and I went diving in the Cayman islands last may. for the occasion I have sewn a series of beach and summer dresses that I enjoyed a great deal. This one was sewn using a OOP pattern from Kwik Sew #3333 I added and internal bra to avoid any unelegant bra showing session if the dress moves a little.

KS3333
The fabric is a light polyester knit with a large print bought online at Emma One Sock. It is lovely ad fluid. I feel light and wonderful on a hot summer day. I lined it with a skin tone power mesh...  that you can see as the wind is lifting my skirt and in the lower picture as well.


Inner bra made with two cup, power mesh and underwear elastic.

Lovely Little Cayman Island
KS 3333

Back view
The last dress I will be showing today is a knockoff a retail dress I saw on fashion blog. After gazing it for a while, think on the pattern I could use and where to find the fabric, I realized that all needed was in my stash. This dress is made for home...  chilling out on my terrace with a glass of white wine. Like what I was doing right before taking this selfie with my iPhone.



I used KS 3333  as a base. I made the skirt and the bodice longer. I used a very unexpensive bamboo knit. I doubled the bodice and lined the skirt with skin tone power mesh. I love to roam around wearing the lovely dress.



Matching strip is a fun game !


KS 3333 back view
 Hoo yes I almost forgot this beach dress. It is self draft pattern. I used a very light and shear synthetic knit from Emma One Sock. I added trims and a hoody made from black power mesh. It is very nice over a bathing suit but not for the city of course !


Back view

Front view
Other posts are coming up. I have great garments to show !