Wednesday, 15 May 2019

La Maison Victor Cara Dress

It is funny how the choice of patterns to sew can be influenced. I have already pondered about how I can check Burda magazine, not like anything in it and a few months later "discover" an amazing pattern in it.

I might have a "to sew" wishlist which I am going through slowly, but in the end, when an interesting pattern comes by, I will change my priorities.

And this is how I sewed from La Maison Victor for the first time. Truth to be said, this is not a magazine I prefer. It is nice, on great paper, with detailed explanations, cute styling, but when I look at the technical drawings, there is rarely something to fall in love with. I find their patterns rather simple, nicely styled, but I already have a stock of simple patterns to begin with, so I have never bought the magazine.

Also, it takes way too much space for the few patterns it has. Again, I do not think I really need the detailed explanations on simple patterns.

However, at the beginning of the year, I read a blog on 3 patterns sewed from the winter issue of LMV and I actually liked all of them. At that point of time, the magazine was no longer on the newsstands, OF COURSE, but I managed to order its German version and start sewing from it.
For the moment, I have sewed only one pattern - the Cara dress - but I did it twice and it is certainly not the last one.

The first is from a quite thick viscose jacquard from Stoff & Stil. I really liked the colours and it makes for a nice transition spring dress. I am not sure about the long sleeves though, as it looks too much like a pyjama, to my liking. We'll see if I decide to shorten them.

The other dress is from a milano black jersey and honestly, I have no idea how I messed up on that one, but on the black version there was just way too much fabric around the arms. I ended up shortening the dress on the shoulders (my usual adjustment) and taking away some of the fabric excess. Dress saved, but in the end, I must have lost a few cm on the length, to the dress is slightly too short now (at least when worn without thighs).

I am starting to think I would add a panel to extend the length and sew this dress in black again because it really creates a great little black dress for everyday wear, it is a perfect secret pyjama.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

The Different Trench Coat

I have always thought that a trenchcoat is such a great wardrobe basics, however, I have never really liked them on myself.

Until I have seen this Burda coat 103-02/2017 on another sewing blog. And I also realized that I had the right Burda issue already. So after having sewn my winter coat, I set out to make a spring one.

Of course, I muslined the pattern, and adjusted it based on the winter coat. I must say that most versions of this coat I have seen on the blogosphere were sewn from light fabrics, linens etc, while I have bought a quite stiff cotton twill in a wonderful grey shade.

Therefore, the coat has little bit of volume which was not so obvious on my muslin, even though I tried to transform the folds to darts on the bodice. This is probably the only thing I would change on the pattern if I sewed it again. Apart from that, I really love this coat (and wear it quite a lot currently).

I used black silk for the lining and just for the little pleasure, I added a rose piping with little grey freckles. This detail makes me smile every time I see it.

The coat has big pockets, a necessity for me, I totally love the buttons on the waist.

I have to say that the coat is a big success, it gets worn all the time and works with a lot of my wardrobe items. It fits right and was real fun to sew. I cannot understand why I was so afraid of sewing coats before; this was my 2nd coat (and I have sewn a 3rd one in the meantime) and I had real pleasure sewing it.

So here is to the next coat!

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Sallie Jumpsuit

I have been pondering sewing a long jumpsuit for some time now. Actually there are two reasons: jumpsuits keep popping up all over the blogosphere and I had a colleague who was a big fan of jumpsuits and it was always so nice and elegant on her.

I had sewn 2 short jumpsuits about two years ago and wore one of them on vacations. The other one is clearly showing too much skin to my liking, so I ended up donating it (it was originally a long jumpsuit with open back which I shortened, so it ended up not quite harmonized).
However, I wanted to try my teeth on a long one and the Sallie jumpsuit from Closet case patterns seemed quite appropriate.
Now, I have to admit that there were like 3 months between the time I bought the pattern and the fabric and another 2 months before I got to sewing it. And that is where I realized that Sallie is clearly defined for 4way stretch jersey fabrics and I had bought a black viscose crepe (with 0 stretch!). I sewed a muslin in the size above, just in case, which revealed that whatever happens, it was not going to happen in a woven fabric.
For whatever reason, I thought having seen the Salie jumpsuit in wovens, but a quick google search only showed jersey versions, so I capitulated.

Change in plans:
1. I ordered McCall's 7366, clearly a woven jumpsuit I have been eyeing for some time now, as McCall patterns were on sale

2. I decided to use this viscose jersey I had bought at Stof &Stil at the beginning of the year and was not at all convinced on. I actually did not like the pattern of the fabric (also, it feels rather viscose-y), but when trying it on, I thought it was rather cute and in my colours. I must admit that when ordering it I was not expecting it to bee soooo stretchy, and in the end did not know what to sew with it. So the jumpsuit was actually a great replacement project for it. At worst it would only be a wearable muslin.

As expected, the fabrics was really painful to sew. My machine was chewing it on occasions and the fabric is strangely light-weight and heavy at the same time. I put a clear elastic on the shoulder seams, as well as on the cleavage, just in case. I can feel that the fabric can stretch very easily, especially with the weight. Also, I adjusted the waist elastic really on my waist, because this is the only thing holding the trousers part in place.

As for the pattern, I added 2,5 cm on the cleavage and I really like it that way. Also, I lengthened the the bodice part by 2cm, next time, I will shorten the crotch. I do not know if it is because of the trousers' weight, but I feel it is slightly too long. On the other hand it really creates an illusion of incredibly long legs ;o)

Verdict: I totally love the style! It is rather easy to take it off, so technical break does not equal 10 minutes of getting un- and dressed.
I think that it is too colorful and too pyjama-feel for wearing to work, but as a casual outfit, I take it!

Thursday, 25 April 2019

90's Are Back

And it is official now because I have just sewn a bodysuit. Ok, so I was a teenager in 90's, so I have already tried these back then :
- shiny leggings with large t-shirts and huge sweaters
- high-waisted carrot jeans, of strange colours like light violet
- pinafore trousers/dresses
- bodysuits
and probbly even more, but my memory preferred to delete that

And I do not always have the best souvenirs of this period. So the 90s coming back lately is not making me particularly happy. I have seen pinafores everywhere but still do not want to wear them again, I just associate it too much with pregnant women. Leggings are a sports-only option for me, fortunately.

I do not wear jeans anymore so I do not need to ask myself whether I buy high-waisted or low-rise :o)

However, as chilly as I am all the time, I thought that having a bodysuit is actually great idea. I used some coton-lycra which had some nice 4-way stretch.

Having sewn two Nettie dresses this year, I used Nettie bodysuit pattern because I am just sooo in love of this pattern. It is such a great basic and yet, so versatile. And I know I am so late on the Nettie bandwagon, but I cannot help myself.
Not so easy to take a decent picture of a bodysuit.

Honestly, I wanted to have a deep back but then, the bodysuit will be worn during a period when I will again be very chilly, so I was being reasonable and sewed a standard one, with long sleeves.
I must say, I am sold on that one, it is just the perfect length and width, the right amount of stretch and it creates a very nice silhouette.

So yes, this one is a basic one, but a great basic!

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Monetta - my thoughts

So I seem to be rediscovering some good old patterns which have already done their tour of the blogosphere. Here is another one: Moneta dress from Colette patterns.

I wanted another jersey dress for those days when you just do not feel like wearing something very sophisticated but you want to look put up. Within one week I found two cotton jersey fabrics which would perfectly fit the bill, so I decided to buy the Moneta dress and sew a fit-and-flare silhouette, which, to be honest, is no longer my usual/preferred one.
But again - the combination of jersey (=comfy and relaxed) and large skirt (=put up) made me think it would work.

It appears that I am no longer used to seeing myself in large skirts, so I have a few doubts. But it does not mean, I will not wear them, au contraire!

My first Moneta is from black cotton jersey with many flowers. After sewing dark grey items for most winter weeks, I just need colours. Also, the weather was just amazingly sunny and cool for the past two months, so I got out of my rust and bought myself some colours.
As for the pattern, there is not much to say about it: simple and quick sew.
I adjusted the shoulder area little bit, as usual, and shortened the dress significantly. Everything was sewn with my machine, as I do not have an overlocker, even the pockets were easy peasy. However, this is not an everyday dress, but I like it a lot anyhow!
I did not read the instructions, because... well, nothing really complicated.

Pleased by this one, I cut out a rusty cotton jersey from Stoff&Stil for a second Moneta. This piece was sewn in an evening, so yay for instant gratification. I wanted to wear it the other day but somehow could not put it on. I tried a few days later and that's when I realized the skirt is just too large for me or for what I am used to wearing.

I took away the skirt, narrowed it by easily 18 cm (cut away the pockets :o() and attached it again to the bodice. The end result is much better and much more wearable for me. It works well with a little jacket and still feels like wearing a pyjama. Not to mention that I totally love the colour.

During this operation I shortened the bodice by 1 cm, so potentially it feels little bit too short, but that's perfectly OK with me.

The good news is that I still have 30-40 cm of this fabric which will make a cute little top, I hope.

It was rather windy the day we took these pics and my hair got totally crazy.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Green Wool Jersey Dress

Is it just me or is the general offer of jerseys in a terrible mix of polyester and viscose, at best? Sure, there are many cotton jerseys as well, but chilly as I am, for winter I need something warm. Ok, apologies to everybody living in the really cold countries, but I tend to be chilly all winter long and I learned one thing: warm clothes are a basis for my everyday comfort.

So, when the winter seemed to have started here (I know, I know, we are having -1 to 3°, so nothing even compared to where I grew up), all my sewing plans fell away and I just needed a real wool dress. At the same time I found this double interlock which has 50% wool, mixed with some viscose and poly, and in addition, in this amazing dark-green colour. Actually, I was little bit worried for the shade, because with internet pics, you never know. When it arrived, I just loved it, it is a perfect colour for me!!!

Also, I just had an occasion where I would put it on - some in-laws coming over - so that would make this perfect comfy, yet, nice dress. I ordered the fabric on Sunday evening praying would ship it ASAP and I would have it before the next week-end. In the meantime, I had enough time to work on the pattern. My inspo picture comes actually from Burda, but I figured that the pattern is not difficult and I could easily recreate it with some pattern I already own. I found this Burda dress 110-08/2017 - it is a tall pattern, but with some muslin playing, that should work.
I shortened the skirt a lot, but kept the top almost as is, as it have me some more volume there. I shifted the shoulder/sleeve line easily 8cm higher, kept the sleeve length, but shortened the cuffs according to my inspiration picture.

Once the muslin was done, my fabric washed and ironed, the construction was rather quick, as with all jersey dresses. I even added a stretch lining, hopefully this will help with the tights-sticking issue.

I was not sure on how to finish off the neckline, so finally, I only sewed in a strip of fabric and turned it in. For the hem, I used a different stretch stitch, as on my ponte dresses, the double needle stitch tends to break in the end.

Ok I finished this dress about 30 minutes before the in-laws were supposed to come (but you know, we are in France, so I had plenty of time to pack all my sewing stuff, prepare the dining table etc.), so no stress.

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Discovering Knipmode

I have heard about Knipmode (FashionStyle in France) several times before, but never got really interested in it. For me it fell in the category of “other sewing magazines available on French newsstands with very basic patterns”, like Mode &Travaux, something very very far away from Burda and the reason I like Burda a lot.

But then 2 of the bloggers I follow did a review of this autumn issues and I went to check their Dutch site to see the patterns in detail. And I was rather positively surprised by the original patterns and some good ideas. Also, they tend to present one pattern sewn with very different fabrics which really show up its full potential. Then I found the paper versions and checked again and really liked the Oct and Nov issues and bought both.

I had had plans for at least 2 dress patterns in them, but strangely the first pattern I sewed was a skirt. I got a French version of the magazine, so normally, I am supposed to understand, and therefore read, the instructions, but honestly, I did not bother. They are as short as Burda ones, only written with bigger font and the skirt was rather simple. Also, for zip insert, waistband and lining I just followed my gut and sewed as I thought was the best way.

I used a very soft violet corduroy (this season, I am falling in love with violet and honestly, I start thinking it is actually a neutral colour!), lined with a remnant of the lining from my coat. The fabric was fraying all the time and I had violet pieces all over my living room, so I zigzagged all the seam allowances. Most of the seams are topstitched, which helped keeping them in place.

As for Knipmode, I would have a few remarks/comments:

  •        They do not separate normal and plus sizes which is a great one. I always envy the plus sizes dresses in Burda which never exist as normal ones. It makes tracing out more complicated, as there are many more lines, but they also start at 34 (and it fits) even though they say they start at 36...
  •          They do not do petites – I can understand that there are not many petites in the Netherlands, but I am and before sewing any dress, I will have to do many adjustments
  •          They have a surprisingly many patterns for stretch fabric. Even this skirt was supposed to be sewn from something very stretchy and with elastic in the waist – well, my corduroy is only sliiiightly stretchy and I stabilized my waistband a lost. Such a pity for such a sharp design. Also it does not look like that on the photo.
  •          There are less patterns in one issue than in Burda – it goes back to them showing one pattern in many fabrics
  •          Their “fashion comments” are as bad as Burda’s. But then, writing these comments must be a quite tiring job, so I just will not look at them and all will be fine.

So will I try it again? Probably yes, as I am trying to sew more jersey things and as I quite like their novelty patterns.

PS: sorry for the bad hair day, it was very windy today...

Sunday, 17 February 2019

New Year's Dress

We like to leave for New Year's for warmer countries to enjoy some sun and get a dose of vitamin D o survive the rest of winter. This year, though, the New Year's destination was Bergen, Norway. Funnily enough, this city being on the Atlantic coast, it is much warmer than Oslo (which is pretty much on the same parallel) and the day we were leaving, it was even warmer than Paris.
Anytime we said to somebody that we were going to Norway, the reaction was "oooh, cool, you will have a lot of snow!". So yes, we saw a few snow flakes the last day, but in general, it was rather nice, with temperatures around 5 degrees.

But I kept to my tradition of sewing a X-mas/New Year's dress which this year had to be warm. I used a wool thick knit and Knipmode 09-23/2018 pattern which has a covered neck and real long sleeves.

I have a blog prepared about my experience with Knipmode, which I tried twice this year and honestly, I am still not decided whether I really like them. They have some cute patterns and they have all of them in size 34 (even if they say they do not), but the pattern sheets are really a mess compared to Burda and they design for big Dutch women:o)

Anyhow, this dress was a success: the crossover is cute, the neckline warm and covering. I am just hesitating whether to add a lining because it tends to stick to my tights.

Sure, it is a dark grey without much frou-frous, so rather basic but it is very cozy, so a win for me.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Vichy Dress

Buying Burda magazines is actually quite dangerous for me. I am not a subscriber (even though my boyfriend tries to tease me with the yearly subscription every x-mas), but I play along the rule that of I like at least 3 patterns in the magazine, I buy it.
PS: I think that if I saw a super top exciting pattern, I would buy anyhow, but this rule works pretty good, as I end up buying 3-4 issues every year, plus some of their older pdf patterns (you know, when you need to sew a men’s pyjama, then the 2012 pdf comes quite handy).

However, I am currently sewing around 3 pieces each month (I changed jobs and have now a more exciting, but also more demanding one, with longer commute which means that my weekday sewing time decreased significantly). It is an average of course, as it goes from one great coat of the year to 5 jersey easy peasy pieces.

So this Burda pattern was one of those “main reasons why I bought Burda 09/2017 issue”, waiting patiently the time it would climb up the priority list. Not helping was the fact that I did not have a special fabric in stock (or in mind), so no urgency.
Last year, when I discovered sewing with ponte, I figured out that the dress does not need to be sewn with wool suiting but a nice thick ponte would be great as well. And I found the right one at Pretty Mercerie. It is a grey/bordeaux/black vichy with an almost scuba feel. It has some more poly than I am used to, but the viscose content keeps it soft and, in the end, the fabric is also rather warm (some chemical magic, probably).

And anyhow, I already had the fabric piece at home, so I just decided to sew the dress, whatever might happen then. As usual, my perfectionist dark side came up to the surface and I decided that I would not let the pattern matching to the sewing fairy and I would work hard to make it happen. And you know what – I did and am so enormously proud of that.

Since the ponte is stretchy enough, I did not put in the zipper (also, zip in stretchy fabric = recipe for a disaster) and I do not have any difficulties putting it on. I stabilized the crossover with thin interfacing and was pinning and basting everything. And it totally paid off.

I had a few questions on the neckline finish, as all the ponte dresses I have sewn so far were finished with a t-shirt neckline, but this fabric was rather different, so I sewed in a facing and it worked miraculously. It is slightly basted on a few key points, but in the vichy, nothing can be seen.
I was little bit worried about my machine as it started skipping stitches on the double needle stitch, so I played with the tension for some time and hopefully, fixed the issue. We will see on the next make, otherwise, I will have to have it serviced soon.

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Out of the Comfort Zone

Well, not 100%, it is still a grey dress, hehehe.

I put this dress on my to-sew list some time ago, actually, the moment this Burda came out (August 2016, model 109). I must say, Burda guys did a great job styling it, it just looks really amazing in that large vichy. However, I knew from the beginning, that this is not completely my style and at some point of time even wanted to sew it for my sister, not for me. Also, I never took time to decide on the fabric.

Then, winter came, I was constantly freezing and going through my winter stash (my stash is stored in three drawers - silks, cottons and wool) and found this quite old stash piece of pinstriped wool flannel. So maybe I could be playing with the stripes instead of the vichy and it could work as well.

Burda oversize models tend to be really oversize, so I traced size 34 and sewed a muslin. I took the dress in, shortened the bodice as usual and shortened the skirt as well. I also wanted pockets because when I am sewing a large skirt and a comfy dress, I need pockets. I even managed to attach them to the waist seam so that stay really flat.

The result is quite cute, even though still large. I am not totally convinced of the kimono-like sleeves, I just think there is too much fabric in there (and yes, the fabric is stiff, but so if the Burda version).

On the other hand, it makes for a nice winter vacation dress, comfy and all. I lined the bodice and the skirt with black silk, because ... well, because it is always nicer to have silk against your skin. And I am quite happy about the strip-matching.