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 !

dimanche 16 novembre 2014

WANTED dead or alive !!!

I have been silent but sewing very interesting clothes for the past 11 months. I took pictures and I now simply have to post them.

Though summer is behind us and snow started to fall today in Montreal, I am still thinking about next summer. If any of you has this pattern (Vogue OOP 2126) in XS_S_M and would be willing to sell it, I am a taker. Write me an email.

Thank you in anticipation!


dimanche 22 décembre 2013

Happy Holidays !

I made this fun skirt for me dress form with a petticoat of steel netting to which I attached two types of evergreen branches (fir and pine).


vendredi 2 août 2013

My robe Burda est teminée - The Burda dress is ready !

This is just a quick post during my vacation to show the Burda 2013-04-109 dress all finished. I love ti!

Burda 2013-04-109 Front View




The A-line of the dress and the fact that it is not fitted, allowed me to remove the zipper and replace it by a shoulder opening.

Burda 2013-04-109 Side View



Burda 2013-04-109 Back view

Hem facing.
Since I had only 0.95 meters of fabric instead of the 1.30 that pattern called for, I had to face the hem. The lining is embroidered as usual.

jeudi 11 juillet 2013

Deux toiles pour une robe ligne A - Two muslins for an A-line dress !

Burda 2013-04-109
Lorsque j'ai entamé ce projet, je n'aurais jamais pensé devoir faire autant de corrections. Le dessin ci-dessus résume les principales modifications apportées au patron. Déjà en regardant les photos attentivement dans le magazine, j'ai noté que l'on voyait le soutien gorge de la mannequin. Contrairement à certaines femmes croisées sur la rue, l'option soutien-gorge visible n'entre pas dans mes critères d'élégance.

Ainsi lors du traçage initiale du patron, j'ai choisi mes tailles habituelles dans Burda. Je me base sur mon expérience et leur tableau de taille. j'avais tracé un 38 au buste, un 34 à la taille et le 36 pour les hanches. J'avais également relevé l'amenchure. À ma grande surprise le haut de la robe était nettement trop grand, la robe était plus serrée que ce que je désirais aux hanches et j'avais besoin d'une correction de 3 cm pour accomoder mon dos courbé et mon derrière rebondi. L'encolure à l'arrière était un peu grande.

Pour la deuxième toile, j'ai donc :
  1. Tracé un 36 pour le haut de robe
  2. Remonté l'encolure dos (voir Fit for real people pour les étapes à suivre)
  3. Retiré la fente à l'arrière (avec la shantung brodé les risque sont trop grands)
  4. Ajouter une ouverture à l'épaule gauche
  5. Redessiné la courbe de côté en retirant 1.7 cm sous le bras (basé sur la première toile) et en terminant à zéro à la taille
  6. Élargi légèrement aux hanches (entre la taille 36 et la 38) pour évaser légèrement jusqu'à l'ourlet.
  7. Corrigé la longueur du dos (correction pour dos courbé)
La deuxième toile me semble très bien. Il est entendu que la forte correction pour dos courbé ajoute 6 cm de tissu au dos. Je me demande si je n'adoucirai pas la correction. Comme je taille la soie ce soir, je vous en parlerez dans mon prochain message.

When I planned this A-line dress, I would have never thought having to sew two muslins and make that many correction. 
For the first muslin, I cut my usual combination of sizes: bust 38, waist 34, hips 36. I raised the armscye. I ended up with a dress that was to big at the top and a little more fitted at the hips then I wanted. Here are the corrections I made for the second muslin:
  1. Traced size 36 for the top
  2. Raised back neckline to avoid gaping (See Fit for real people for the technique)
  3. Took off the slit at the back that is too risky with a embroided shantung silk
  4. Add opening on the left shoulder
  5. Took off 1.7cm at the side starting at the armscye and tappering to the waist line
  6. Increase width at the hip line between size 36 and 38 and increasing width at hem line to emphasise the A-line shape
  7. Sway back correction for 3cm
 The second muslin seems very nice. Of course the sway back correction added 6 cm of fabric. I have to decide before cutting if I reduce the correction to avoid the extra fabric. I will decide tonigth

The fabric I use is illustrated in the previous post. Le tissu utilisé est illustré dans le message précédent.

ADDITION: I was really bugged by the excess fabric in the back. Sherry for the amazing Pattern-Scissors-Cloth blog explain how to redraw the side lines to reduce the excess of fabric. See HERE.

dimanche 30 juin 2013

Des weekends de pluie- Rainy weekends


Habituellement durant l'été, je passe beaucoup de temps à vélo, vraiment beaucoup de temps. En fait, chaque été je roule environ 3000 à 3500 km sur les routes du Québec et parfois dans le nord des États-Unis. Cette année, comme il pleut presque tous les weekend, et bien j'ai le temps de tracer et de coudre. Disons que je ne suis moins en forme, tandis que ma garde robe ce porte mieux.

Usually during summer, I spend most of my weekends cycling on the roads of Quebec or the roads of the northern states of US. This year we have had rain almost every weekend. Today is an exception...  and we have a big party this afternoon. I will have no time for either of my favourite activities. 

This year I was determined to use the fabric in my stash uniquely. Lets face it, I have enough in that closet to sew one garment per month for the next two years at least. Though lots of my sewing friends have much more fabric then I do, I was under the impression that buying more would be insane. When I start not remembering all the fabric I have, well this is THE sign that I have to much stuff.


Burda Magazine 2013-04-114

Burda Magazine 2013-04-114
Il y a deux semaines, j'ai mis le paquet un après-midi et j'ai tracé quatre patrons. Le premier à être réalisé est ce pantalon Burda tiré du numéro d'avril 2013. Parfois, j'ai peine à comprendre les descriptions de Burda. Pouvez-vous me dire en quoi ce pantalon cousu en bouclé fait hippy? Ciel, ils n'ont pas connu les mêmes hippies que moi! 

The first pattern I traced two weekends ago was a pattern for a pair of pants that Burda Magazine qualifies as Hippy!  Really, those bouclé pants look Hippy to them?? Well they did not live the same hippy years I did... For me, this pattern is very 1960. 

I had a flower print medium weight cotton bought to make a retro dress (95% cotton, 5% lycra) some 3 years ago at Madeleine Soie et Laine. The more I was looking at that fabric and the less I wanted to have a sheet dress with huge flowers. I was afraid the dress would look like I grabbed the curtains to sew a dress. You know like in the Von Trapp family did in the movie? Not the look I wanted!  After being inspired by this picture on the blog Atlantic-Pacifique


Blog Atlantic-Pacific clic to see the post
well I thought I could also wear a pair of  pants made of a loud print. Yes, I know, this is unusual for me. But, I thought that with a long tunic it could be cute. Was I wrong

The picture in the magazine suggested a very tight cut. I traced a size 36 according to their size chart and it ended up a little to big I had to shorten the front crotch of 1.2 cm on each legs and 0.5 cm on both back legs. I also took in 0.5 cm on the crotch seam. The rest was perfect. I always trace a size 36 for pants in Burda. The hem line is not as narrow on my leg. I think themodel is wearing pants that are 1 or 2 sizes to small.



The final result is shown on the first picture at the top of the post. As soon as I have pictures with me in the pants, I will post them. 

I added a contrasting pipping at the waist line and a plain black waistband. Well there was enough flowers on the pants and I was under the impression that the big print would not make such a neat waistband.  

Burda Magazine 2013-04-114

Black waistband and piping - bande de taille noire et cordonnet contrastant

Slit hem - ourlet avec fente
 The result: Worn with a black twin set, I feel like I was snatched out of a Mad Men episode ! Funny pants but on a small dose.

I almost forgot!  For pants corrections, I always use the excellent book: Sewing pants that fit. They explain so much better than I do.  Pour les corrections de patron, j'utilise toujours le livre: "Sewing pants that fit"


Comme ce pantalon est maintenant terminé, je passe à la création suivante. J'ai décidé de confectionner cette robe dans un shantung de soie bleu acier, brodé ton sur ton.

After sewing those pants, I decided to make myself a simple sleeveless dress with this pattern. The fabric is a silk embroidered shantung in steel blue.

Burda Magazine 2013-04-109

Burda Magazine 2013-04-109

Burda Magazine 2013-04-109

Silk Shantung in steel blue

Le patron de cette robe me semble un peu trop échancré sous le bras. Comme on risque de voir mon soutien-gorge, je dois corriger le tout avant de tailler.

By looking very closed at one picture in the magazine, I was under the impression that the low armcye would give a plunging view on my bra...  I will of course correct this flaw before cutting the dress.

En rafale, voici les autres patrons tracés recemment. - Here are the other patterns I have traced recently.

Burda 2012-10-121
Burda 2012-10-121

Burda 2012-10-118

Burda 2012-10-118

Burda 2012-10-118

 After the dress, I think it will be the skirt...  in black since the fabric in my stash suitable for this garment is black. My new modo: "Shop in you stash first" !  I makes more space for buying more...