Sunday, March 22, 2015

Introducing the Little One


Dear friends,

I love sewing and I love blogging. I also love sleeping at night. Unfortunately, I learned in the last few months that combining the all with a pregnancy or young baby is very very hard !

I must confess that I have been a bad blogger, both on QuirkyPrettyCute and on the CSC. The last trimester has been incredibly hard to combine with work, and the first two month of my little boy's life have been a a mix of joy, discovery and sleep deprivation.

Meet our little Oscar ! He was born on Jan 16th. He is doing great and is filling our lives with so much happiness ! I may be biased but I think that he looks like the most beautiful smiling baby in the world !

Tee made with leftover bits of fabrics! Yeay for holding on to scraps!


Now, let's come back to sewing ! I have a backlog of unblogged little things. Maternity clothing and baby clothing. I even have a couple of nursing items. I am not sure about when I will find the time to write though. Indeed, in the last few months, I had to chose between sewing or writing about sewing. Until now, I have mostly been attracted to the quick fixes of small projects. Little things I found easy are now a thing of the past :
  • getting all dressed up and apply make up on before taking photos
  • actually shooting the photos
  • processing the said photos
  • researching documentation or links
  • drafting a post

But there is hope ! Oscar is now starting to sleep more regularly and play by himself, giving a few 30-60 minutes breaks a day when he power naps. We are usually going for a walk during his longer naps. That means that I can start typing things more often.

Sewing mums, I would love it if you could send me tips ! When do you sew ? When do you blog ? Do you sew for your little one ?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Burdastyle Plus Blog Tour : The Loose Jacket


Today is my turn to reveal my Burda project ! Since we have been in contact with Burdastyle, I have been extremely excited. See, I learned to sew with Burda patterns. If we go even further back, I can still remember going through the monthly new editions with my grand ma when I was still a little girl. In Europe, Burda magazines (or other sewing magazines) are used more than the envelope patterns. For me, even if the monthly Burda Plus collections can be hit or miss, I will always keep on looking forward to the third Friday of each month because I know I will come home with the new edition.


For this blog tour, Burdastyle offered each of us at the CSC to try one pattern that they would send to us for free. We could take a pick amongst many models from their latest bundle collections. I decided on the Loose Jacket (127). This was an easy pick because it was the only pattern I could use this winter during my pregnancy.



This was actually a fun and somehow new experience because I usually draw the patterns from the magazines but this time I printed out the PDF version and taped it together. I must be one of the only people on earth enjoying the taping. I find it, weirdly, very relaxing.



I wanted to make a very comfortable cardigan/jacket with a woolen jersey. The fabric I picked only stretches one way, and I count on it for the days I may have to pull it closed around the bump... My wool is also quite thick, it is stripy on one size, and more fluffy on the other. I chose to let the stripes show on the outside and to have a peek of the fluffiness along the front flounce.



My fabric choice made me decide to slightly shorten the length of the pattern and to go for one size smaller around the shoulders. I also did not grade up for the waist nor hips because the pattern already provided a lot of ease.



All in all, the pattern was super easy to put together. It is quite simple and interesting in the same time. The instructions call for a raw hem edge, but I decided to go for a contrasting bias binding edge. I made it with scraps from an old project in thin black wool.



The result is the most comfy cardi/jacket I ever had ! It is also super warm and will accomodate my body changes. I really like the front flounce and the way you can just wrap yourself into it.



On the downside, the cardi/jacket looks very big, due to my fabric choice, to the flounce, and the provided ease. If I had to redo it, I would use a thinner fabric, to allow for a better drape.



All in all, I am looking forward to the late and cold fall days to cuddle up in the sofa or go for a nice walk outside in my new warm and fuzzy cardi/jacket !




Don't miss the other stops of the Blog Tour!!!

September 29th — Jenny at Cashmerette — the Jersey Dress
October 1st — Tanya at Mrs. Hughes – the Printed Tunic
October 2nd — Laurence at Quirky Pretty Cute — the Loose Jacket
October 6th — Mary at Idle Fancy — the Faux Wrap Dress
October 7th — Mary at Young, Broke, and Fabulous – the Draped Dress
October 8th — Sophie Lee at Two Random Words — the Cape
October 9th — T at U & Mii — Contrast V Neck Dress

Friday, September 19, 2014

Wrapping up my Spring/Summer capsule!


The Summer is almost over... Even if we are having a nice and warm september here, the leaves are already falling from the trees or adopting beautiful warm colors. I love fall. It has always been my favorite moment of the year. My fall will be filled with maternity clothing and a great vacation planned to North California. But before that, I want to say a last goodbye to Summer.


Do you remember my mini capsule plan ? I made it back in Spring. It is now time to really evaluate its successes and shortcomings. All in all, I am very happy because I have completed a lot of what I had planned and needed. Of course, a couple of pieces are missing, and some others were added. Getting pregnant tends to shift things. Testing patterns and being part of a wonderful group pf ladies at the CSC also moves things around a little. But let's dig into this a little bit more !

Last year, I decided I needed...

  1. Jeans : Status : UFO

If your remember, I have started working on that, with a muslin and a lot of enthousiasm. After the muslin and the adjusments, I have actually cut the fabric and assembled the first pieces. It is now folded in my UFO basket. I stopped working on it during my first trimester energy dip and I will pick it up once I can use normal jeans again.


  1. T-shirts : Status : Completed



I have made 2 plantains. A white one, and an off-white one, with a bright pannel print. I am super happy about these two. They are still very comfy and I have been wearing them all Spring and Summer long !

  1. Shorts : Status : Completed but with a bitter taste

Shorts were my crusade this year. I wanted to a at least one pair that looked good and was comfy enough to go for hikes. During my first round of try outs, I made muslins for 4 different patterns, with big fails, and some ok results. This was a very hard project to lead for my self confidence and I decided to make one pair of the pattern that worked the best. I actually really like the result and I wore the shorts on vacation and also in the town some week ends. They are not the comfy-hiking version I wanted at first, butI am quite satisfied with the result. In a while, I will however pick this up and continue my crusade to try and find another patterns. You left me a lot of great tips !

  1. A white hoodie : Status : Aborted

I wanted a white hoodie for Summer mornings or nights, especially on vacation. I ran out of time before our trip to Crete, so I bought a white cardi instead.

  1. A Summer Maxi dress : Status : Completed

I have not blogged about this yet, but I made a beautiful white dress, using a non plus size Burda pattern that I have upgraded. This dress is so beautiful, particularly thanks to the gorgeous fabric I used for it. It is also very very comfy around the waist (waistline that has kind of disappeared as of late). You will find a few more details with the pictures below.

  1. A classic dress : Status : Completed

I needed a nice dress to wear to my sister in law's thesis defense. I used the Hawthorn pattern and golden a cotton eyelet fabric. I blogged about it here. I wore it a few times and I am looking forward to wear it again next Srping and Summer !

  1. A white skirt : Status : Completed

I initially wanted to make a white Anemone, which is the reason why I tried it first in another fabric. I have barely worn both versions as the waist is very fitted and it was not comfortable quite early on, and already in the first trimester. I have only one picture of the white version, and I think that the picture does not do it justice. You can decide for yourself.

  1. A colorful skirt : Status : Completed

This is the Anemone I blogged about here. I love it and I am also looking forward to wear it again next year.

  1. A dressy corporate dress : Status : Aborted 
To be honest, I have lost all interest in a Summer version of the Wiggle dress :) This summer was all about comfy knits for me !

As I said, all in all, it's quite a great achievement ! From the 9 items I wanted, I have completed 6.5. On top of that, you can add more projects that came up with pattern testing and blogtours. I made a Moneta, a Mabel and an Olive ! I also got started on a few maternity projects, but this is something I will blog about soon !





Before we part, I leave you with a few pictures of my Maxi Dress and some shots of special Summer times, where I wore Me-Made-Clothing.

The pannel print made this dress very special! I used a contrasting fabric to break the whiteness of it.

The front pleats make this dress very comfy and accommodating for growing bellies.







Breakfast on our balcony back in Santorini.

These are my favorite Summer looks:

Plantain + Juniper

Make-it-work mabel + self drafted skirt

Moneta in Crete

Moneta

Shorts

Who has ever atempted to work on a season capsule ?
How did it go ?
Which item of this capsule do you think is the best result ?


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A golden eyelet Hawthorn


Hello everyone!

I am still catching up on me-made garments I made for the summer. Today will be a little bit more classic.

In May, we attended the phD defence of Mister’s sister. This took place in a beautiful building from the university of Utrecht, NL. I don’t know how these events are organised in other countries, but this is quite prestigious here and you have to dress up a little.



I wanted to make a nice dress with a classic style. I already had the fabric in my stash: a beautiful golden cotton eyelet and I just needed to pick the pattern. I went back and forth between different ideas but I ended up wanting a fitted bust with short sleeves, and a flared skirt. In the end, I decided to use Colette’s Hawthorn. I liked the simple silhouette and the classic details (a flat collar, the button-up front).

 

I cut a size 18 and graded up to a virtual 20 from the waist down. For more fitted skirts, I would grade up to 22 at the hips but this was not necessary with this semi-circle shape. I also added a little bit of width around the biceps.

 


I am very happy with the end result! The buttons add a subtle effect that is very flattering. I chose to wear it with a thin contrasting belt. For some reason, the dress looks a little bit too plain without that belt.
 
 

Due to the nature of the fabric (eyelet), I had to underline most pattern pieces with a golden rayon. For the top, I lined the front and back pattern pieces, simply copying the shape of the fashion fabric. For the skirt, I did not have enough lining for a semi-circle, so I did a dirndl skirt that I attached at the waist.

 

The day of the defence was beautiful and we walked around in Utrecht. I felt very special. I must admit that high heels on old fashioned European streets is not the comfiest kind of walking, but sometimes, you just have to get on with it…



We took the pictures in the little patio hidden in the old faculty building where the reception took place. It has beautiful open corridors all around and has an old church feeling to it. 



All in all, I am very pleased with the Hawthorn. I will definitely make it again, after my belly stops growing and (hopefully) shrinking. I would like to try a nice winter version, with longer sleeves and contrasting buttons.









I find it very funny to see these photos taken in June because my boday already changed quite a bit and this dress absolutely does not work with the bump. I am really looking forward to wearing it again because it made me feel so ladylike!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Anemone grading notes

Hello everyone,


After last week’s post on the Anemone skirt, many of you have asked for more details on how I upgraded the pattern. I will try to provide you more information below and document it with pictures. To me, the whole process is quite easy and I do it on a “auto-pilot” mode. This is why I may skip things that you would like to see. If that’s the case, just send me a question and I will reply as quickly as possible.



Before we get started, you can have a look at this post I wrote a while ago. Tanya has also written a very nice article about the same subject. It is very clear.



With every project, I basically follow the same guidelines.

1.       Take my measurements
2.       Write them down next to the size chart of the company I am using
3.       Calculate the amount of virtual sizes I need to add to what they already offer
4.       Transform the pattern pieces accordingly (drawing on the printed version)
5.       If necessary, transfer it onto pattern paper (if the pattern pieces overlap)
6.       Make a muslin if I am not used to the company or if the design is intricate.


What I did with the Anemone

Steps 1 to 3: I have put all the information in the table below. As you can see, I chose to grade only 5 sizes at the hips even if my measurements indicated a “plus 6”. There are a few reasons for that:

-          If you look at the shape of the skirt, it has more ease around the hips
-          I wanted to keep the proportions of the pattern
-          Grading up 6 sizes frightened me a little
-          I carry more weight in the lower tummy area, and if I need more space, I can add a bit of ease along the front seams

Deer&Doe sizes
34363840424446
Bust31 1/23334 1/236 1/437 3/439 1/241
Waist23 1/225 1/426 3/428 1/23031 1/233
Hip33 3/435 1/23738 1/240 1/441 3/443 1/4
Virtual sizesUpgrading info
plus 1plus 2plus 3plus 4plus 5plus 6MEGrading
Bust43 1/24645 1/2plus 2
Waist34 1/23637 1/23941 1/240plus 5
Hip44 3/446 1/447 3/449 1/450 3/452 1/452plus 5?


Step 4: The Deer and Doe patterns come printed on large thick paper sheets. This makes it very easy to draw the alternative lines around the actual pieces. As explained in this post, I measure the distance between two sizes, and add it up, drawing little dots where the pattern line would be if it was graded all the way to the size I need. In other words, I am doing what a pattern software would do if they had to add more sizes.

Disclaimer: this is not the ideal way, in a perfect world, larger sizes would be calculated from another block, with slightly different proportions.
I usually try to go for the grading even if it is not the most accurate version you could have. It worked in most of my past attempts.


Example of grading along the waist.

The best way to go with curves is to measure at small intervals to make sure you capture the actual curvy design.

In some cases, the piece of paper is too small, I usually finish that small part when I draw onto Swedish paper.

Step 5: As you can see on the first general picture, a few pieces overlapped after I added sizes. The best you can do is to copy them onto Swedish paper.





Step 6: In this case, I made a muslin. I have not taken any picture of it (I feel silly now). It worked for me so I went ahead and cut my fashion fabric. I am super happy with the end result!



As I explained in last week’s post, I added a couple of features to the instructions: a lining and boning. Both steps were quite easy.
For the lining, I simply used the same pattern pieces (excluding peplums) as for the fashion fabric. I just shortened them by a few inches.

Sorry for this non-ironed-version :)

For the boning, I have cut 6x 4 inches of Rigilene boning pieces. All I had to do is sew it with the machine within the seam allowances of the fashion fabric
The seams were pinked after that...



And there you go! That’s how I worked around the size chart limitations :)
Not too hard heh?

Was this post helpful to you? If so, what type of info helped you the most? Let me know so I can try to include it in the future.
If you feel that some information is missing, what would you like me to include?
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