samedi 23 mai 2015

The raincoat project part 3 - Marcy Tilton you are wonderful!

I have been wearing my raincoat for at least two or three weeks. On and off since our spring plays a strange yo-yo game. One day it is 29C and the day after it is only 12C with close to freezing temperature during the night. Global mixing I call it instead of global warming.

The fabric was bought some six or seven years ago at Madeleine Soie et Laine, a store that no longer exists in Montreal... sadly. It was very easy to machine sew the raincoat but that fabric was though on my finger. The weaving is very dense, so passing the needle between fibres was difficult  when I had to hand sew the facing and sleeves hem. As all synthetic water proof fabric, it required low iron temperature as well as precaution so that I would not iron the waterproof coating applied on the wrong side.

I wanted to show pictures on me so that  you could see the lenght, that I judge perfect for my height. But I have this big cold and I look terrible. I seriously do not feel like playing model for DH.

So here is a series of pictures taken on Daisy who was kind enough to pause in the cold morning we had today (6C at 9:00 this morning).

Vogue 8934 - the collar is perfect to wear a scarf underneath, it's height protect from the wind
 The button holes wear done by a Pressage Unique on Beaubien street. They offer an excellent and quick service to tailors and sewist in Montreal. The button holes are all black except one that is light grey. Just for the fun of it.

Details of the hand painting I did on patches sewn on the raincoat

Vogue 8934 front view

Vogue 8934 back view

Vogue 8934 view of the lining

I had one button hole down in light grey
This pattern, designed by Marcy Tilton, is perfectly well drafted. All pieces fit with high precision. It was more than a pleasure to sew a garment using this pattern. Marcy, you are a true artist !!! The lines have style. Style and simplicity combined usually seduce me... and this is what that pattern offers.

I received lots of positive comments for this raincoat. Colleagues at work were surprise that I use wall paint for the little splashes. I confirm, wall paint does not run when exposed to rain.

Now I have to sew clothes for my son's graduation. It is taking place on June 19. Silk brocard is on the table !!!

lundi 6 avril 2015

The raincoat project part 2

In the retail industry, they prepare garments many months in advance. In my sewing world, I don't always feel like sewing summer clothes when it is -20 C or sewing wool jackets and wintercoats when it is 20 C outside or worst when it is 30 C and humid.

Since winter is very, very long and very, very cold this year, my raincoat will be ready on time. This must be a premiere in my life ;-)

Vogue 8934 view B

As I mentioned previously, I am working with Vogue 8934 pattern.This pattern has been designed by Marcy Tilton. It is a pure joy to work with this pattern. It is well drafted (all pieces fit wonderfully with one other ... it is not always the case)  and the sizing is excellent. Often Vogue patterns are too big for me if I follow their size chart. I cut size S which is for women usually taking vogue pattern size 8 or 10. According to their chart, I am a mix of both. Bigger in the upper body because of my wide shoulders and wide upper back compare to my waist and narrow hips. As I planned, I took off 8 cm of the initial lenght. It is now 96 cm long.

Vogue 8934 view A

I had a very precise idea in mind when I planned that project. Starting on view A, I wanted to use laser cut stencils and paint words on the appliqué (patches) pieces and play with that concept. In the back I would have wrote "Made In" and for the button hole patches would have formed the word J A P A N ...  but the two types of paint I tried were running. And the words were not presentable..  sadness in my heart.

I seriously wanted to finish this project by the end of Easter weekend. Instead of trying 2-3 other types of paint and spending lots of money for an idea that did not work. I decided on playing around with a mid size paint brush like the ones you use to paint your home.

Donna Karan dress
I had seen a very nice dress by Donna Karan with a large brush stroke type of pattern on a hip. So I decided to give it try. 

I like the patterns I have created on the patches. Once dry I finished them with my overlock machine. My project is getting together nicely. The shell is finished, the lining is also done and I am now hemming the bottom of the raincoat.

Speaking of lining. I often start by sewing the lining, it allows me to verify the fit as it can semi-play the role of a toile/muslin. For this very loose fitting raincoat fitting was no issue, but it is nice to try the fit and lenght before cutting the fashion fabric. Starting with the lining gives me this impression that my project is going faster. It is totally psychological, but I feel more encouraged when I start by the lining. We all have our little tips.

So here are pictures of my project. Today, I have to finish the hem, sew the collar and the front band and voilà !! I have not decided on sewing patches in the button hole area like on view A. I have to see first the garment with the front band.

 The lining is sewn in a Sevenberry quilting cotton made in Japan. For the sleeves, I used left over of man jacket lining to facilitate putting on and off the raincoat.The quilting cotton would not be smooth enough and it would stick on a wool jacket for example.

I forgot to mention that view A is not lined and that view B has a lining pattern. Si I used pattern pieces from both views and I mixed the instructions of both views. The back lining is cuton fold and you create the vent by sewing a fold at the bottom and a partial seam at the top of the back

 The global view of the back lining gives this result. The fabric is great for a lining or a PJ, but it is way too busy for a dress...  in my point of view of course.

View A and B have pockets. Marcy Tilton designed them with front and back part in the same fabric as the raincoat shell. I used the quilting cotton for the front part and added a neat band to hide the pattern when my hand is in the pocket.It is nicer when I put my hand in the packet and it is less bulky. Here is a series  pictures illustrating the pocket.

The band is 5 cm wide.

Marcy makes secure the pocket with a little seam on the top through all layers.

Peaking inside a little

Peaking inside a little more
 Sewing through this fabric by hand is rather difficult. To ease my work, I attached the lining to the hem band BEFORE sewing the band to the raincoat. You see in magenta all my thread marking. I mark all pattern religiously. Except the water-repellent fabric to avoid piercing it to much. I mark it with wax paper instead. Pressing, marking and basting are done with lots of attention my sewing room.

Ajouter une légende
Now ready for a weekend breakfast and the raincoat will be finished by the end of the day.  See you later.

Here are 2 bad pictures taken with my phone. This is a fun project.

mercredi 1 avril 2015

The pro's at work

I have recently talked about the work of Brian Ypperciel et Florence O. Durand. The creative shooting with the cape had to be postponed. Until I have nice shots to prensent, I thought that I would share with you a lovely making-off video that features Brian and Florence...  and the lovely model Elissa Bibaud

I hope that you will enjoy it as much as I did...  you will certainly understand why I am trilled to work with them.

samedi 28 mars 2015

Made in Japan - The raincoat project

This winter has been very cold and snowy in eastern Canada. This morning the thermometer was still  around -10C. Though I have doubts that spring will one day appear at our door, well history has proven that even the most difficult winters eventually end.

In that perspective, I am starting this weekend a new project... At the same time as I am working on my Vogue 8333 jacket. During long projects I always need to start shorter ones so that I get encouraged by finished garments.

So here is a sneak peak of the fabric used for this new raincoat. The lining is made in a quilting cotton from Sevenberry. I bought it many moons ago at Madeleine Soie et Laine, a Montreal store that closed it's door 3-4 years ago unfortunately. The raincoat fabric is a fine textured polyester also bought at the same store.
Quilting cotton used as lining from Sevenberry

Raincoat fabric in polyester is as a nice crisp and enough body

For this project I am using the Marcy Tilton Vogue 8934 pattern.

 In her blog, Marcy precises that the lenght of the coat as show on the model is not the one she designed. The coat should be worn mid-calf.

Here is the exact text she posted on her blog: "Take the photos on the pattern envelope with a grain of salt.  The models are GIANTS, AMAZONS, over 6 feet tall.  I am 5'6" and the coat hits me mid calf, not too short, not too long.  I think that the mid knee length on the models is too short, at that length the bell shape looks a bit I cropped the photos to give a clearer idea, and you can see photos of me wearing my own version below."

Well I am 5'4" and I am afraid that a raincoat with a bell shape that goes down to mid-calf will make me look short and squashed. I will take 7-8 cm of the length. With a skirt and flat shoes, it will be cuter. All apologizes to the designer for not respecting her design. I intend on sewing model A with the back seam and the contrast patches. Made in Japan is the theme and word cloud is the mood. I will be testing paint on my fabric and play around with that concept.

Happy Saturday !

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:  or

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 !