vendredi 4 avril 2014

Sneak Peek: Spring sewing

I have a few finished projects that I haven't had a chance to take proper photos of. So in the meantime here's a quick sneak peek:

My neon dress - so happy with how this one turned out, especially since I only had 10-15 hours over two days to make it.

My new denim skirt. It's actually a refashion project since I used thrifted jeans and turned them into a skirt. Probably one of the most classic refahionning there ever was, but again I,m quite happy with the result.

This one had been one my list for a couple of years. It's copied from a RTW sweater I own. It' only missing button-holes (and buttons) on the back, which hopefully I will do this week-end....

That's it for now. I have a couple summer projects that I was going to start on, but now I'm obsessed with figuring out my wardrobe for the 5 weeks trip we're taking to New Zealand and Autralia in just a couple of weeks. Since it will be Fall there, but should still be quite nice, I'm dreaming of layering, with long sleeve shirts and have been digging around the intranet and pinterest for all those free shirt patterns.  I'm hoping to make a couple of lose long sleeve shirts and maybe a maxi dress.. We'll see!

dimanche 30 mars 2014

Burda Easy fashion - Spring 2014

I regularly go to the French Burda magasine site to check out the latest issue before deciding if I want to buy it. This time the issue of Easy fashion - Spring 2014 was available. I took a quick look and I was very happily surprised by the patterns.

First, this cute little bomber jacket. I've seen quite a few around the blogoshpere (mainly the Rigel Bomber jacket by Papercut Patterns, which had me really re-think the idea of that style). I think I might actually prefer the higher, rounder neckline on this one:

I've also been dreaming of making bustier tops, for the summer or to wear under a cardigan/button down shirt. This one looks like a good one to start with. It also involves sheering in the back, which would help with fitting:

 But the big ticket that made me want to definitely buy this issue was this jumpsuit:

It is basically the same bomber jacket as above, but attached to pants. I feel like it could be really nice and comfortable in a light, silky fabric. I actually quite like the photographed version. And the best thing, there are two other variations of this jumpsuit, all based on the same top and pants:

Three quarter sleeves and shorter hem, with a tie neck instead of mandarin collar. Love.
And for those hot summer days:

Sleeveless and shorts. Love. Love. I can see it in a scarf-type fabric, maybe with a solid color for the sleeve yokes.

Jumpsuits have been on my sewing dreamlist forever but I never found a pattern that I was 100% convinced by until now. I like that these have raglan sleeves and a front zipper, it's different from the more classic button down or wrap/drape front. I want to make all three versions. And the best part is, once I fit one, I can basically make the other two with the same alterations.

This is another thing that I really liked about this issue, is that a lot of the pieces are used in different variations and paired together to form another garment. For example, the dress below is basically the bustier top from earlier, paired with a skirt thst also come as a seperate pattern:

It may seem like a cheat (you're not getting as many patterns as it seems), but I actually think it's really smart, especially since these "easy" issues are, I assume,  targetted towards less experienced sewers. It's a great way to introduce the idea of "frankernpatterns", while still making it easy and accessible to create a variety of garments.

I'll end on two more cute looks: wrap skirt and cross top on the left, another version of the bomber jacket and cute shorts on the right.

I went to my local newspaper store, but they didn't have a copy of this issue. I feel like they only get 1 or two copies of the Easy issue and i didn't want to risk missing it, so I asked my mom to find it for me in France (I'm sure she'll have no trouble), and send it via post. I can't wait!

jeudi 13 mars 2014

mercredi 19 février 2014

Spring Pants

These pants have been a long time coming. I finished them in the fall but then it was too cold to wear them and I put them away until I got around to photographing them.

The fabric is 100% linen, a bit on the stiff side, grey-ish brown with white pin-stripes. The pattern is BWOF #112-03-2009 (below left), and originally, this was my inspiration (below right):  flowy legs and "papet-back" style waist.

I had to make quite a few adjustments to the pattern between muslin #1 (straight off the pattern) and muslin #2 (altered pattern):
- added 2.5 cm of crotch depth (which in retrospect might not have been necessary? not sure)
- Removed 2.5 cm from the crotch length (I followed this tutorial and this one
- altered the pleats by making the middle pleat 2 cm narrower, moving the side pleat 2cm towards center front, and adding a 3rd pleat closer to cf. This was to both remove some of the volume in the front and spread it out a bit better. I also still had in mind at that time, that the waist band would be pleated for a "paper-bag" effect, and I wanted those pleats to line up with the pants pleat.
-Took in 2cm off the side (and had to move the pockets accordingly)
-I also added 6 cm to the front so that the waistband would sit at the waist and note below, and 4cm to the sides. Apparently this is what you do for a full tummy, which isn't my case but the front just sat really low compared to the back, and the alteration made it feel much better...

That was all alterations made to the pattern before muslin #2. I cut muslin #2 and sewed it up and I was actually quite pleased with it, especially all my playing around with pleats in the front turned out pretty good. Two things I did wrong on that muslin though, that affected the final result: 
First I used a fabric that was a lot lighter than my final fabric, more drapy, so it actually concealed some of the flaws that later showed on the final fabric.
Second, to save time I didn't include the full pocket on the second muslin, I just sewed the pocket openings shut so I didn't have to add the lining. As a result, it looked great in the muslin, but on the final garment the pockets wouldn't lay nice and flat and kept sticking out.

Because of that I had to do quite a few more alterations on the final fabric, including moving the back darts around a bit, playing with their length, adjusting the waistband for sway back, and trying to get these darn pockets to look right. Another mistake was to use white broadcloth as the pocket lining, when I should have gone with brown to match the pants, but that's all I had on hand (i didn't want to use self-fabric as it would have been too stiff). Unfortunatly because the pockets  don't lie nice and flat, the white of the lighting shows a bit... Which I guess is ok, since the pin stripes are also white. In the end I tacked the pockets about down about 3-4 cm from the waistband, which makes the opening smaller, but still useable, and prevents most of the sticking out.

After all that fiddling, I was ready to be done with these pants, and I eventually dropped the idea of a paper-back waist. My fabric was a bit too stiff and my couple of attempts at it didn't look right, so I just went back to the original waist band but made it slightly wider.
In the end, even with all the aterations, I'm still pretty happy with these pants. They actually turned out very comfortable and pretty close to what I had in mind. They are almost too warm for a hot summer day (the linen is somewhat thick), but they will be perfect for spring or a cooler summer day/night as we have so many of here in Vancouver..


mardi 18 février 2014

Boxy Sweater

There was a time where I only wore tight fitting shirts. They would look great at first but then I would wash them and they would shrink in the wash, leaving me with an exposed mid-riff and pulling on my sleeves to reach my wrists...and then I realized that wearing a loose top didn't have to look like I was wearing a sack, and some looser shape could actually work for me.  It didn't hurt that trends switched to looser tops and tigher bottoms, which I've definitely embraced, as the below pictures will demonstrate.

This is somewhat of a stash busting project, although the fabric hadn't been in my stash for very long (but stash-busting makes it sound so guilt-free). The pattern is #117 from Burda magazine October 2013. I liked the boxy shape and the clean lines, quite in trend right now.
The fabric is a medium/heavy weight forest green knit with a nice body to it, purchased from Gala fabric.

This was a fast project in that I didn't bother making  muslin. I did however make adjustments right off the bat. I compared it with another burda magazine loose-fitting pattern, my now TNT button-down shirt, and made the same ajustements as I had made to fit that one:
Small but adjustment, and I also pined out a 2cm horizontal tuck in the back (i'm not sure what "body flaw" this adjustement corrects but it seems to get rid of some extra fabric that otherwise gathers in the back). The pattern is a 'tall size' so I didn't touch the length.

First I machine-basted all the pieces together to check the fit, then took them apart to make some additional changes: I took 1cm off the sides and sleeves on both front and back, and took an additional 3 cm off the sleeve width at the cuff.

This pattern would be great for color blocking and different fabric textures, or to mix leather and jersey, etc... I only had the one fabric, so I tried adding some extra details to make it a bit more interesting. I considered using the wrong side of the fabric for contrast on the side panels (the color was a more wash-ed out version of the right side), but it didn't look right. I added an exposed zipper in the back and top-stitched the side panels quilt-style. I used two layers of fabric on the sides so that the "quilting " would be a bit more pronounced (even though you can't really see it very well).

I really enjoyed working on this project, which presented no big challenge but allowed me to try my hands at some new techniques: the exposed zipper (a lot more tricky than the invisible one if you ask me), the quilting (mostly time-consumng and also jersey tends to stretch as you're topstitching so I had to recut the pieces once all the top-stitching was done) and the front slit with facing.

I really like the final product. It's a pretty casual top, but it's super comfortable and has a bit of a modern edge to it I think. I could see making this again with leather accents or in a fancier, stiffer fabric for a more "luxe" look ...

lundi 10 février 2014

Inspiration: Denim Skirt

I wear a lot of denim. Jeans obviously, but I've had a couple of denim skirts in my closet that have been long-time staples and that I can't stop wearing. I feel like it's a style that never really goes away, and I'm planning a jeans to skirt refashion to add another version to my wardrobe.

Currently the trend is for distressed - a new, classier twist to the grungy 90's. I like it for the bit of edge that it gives an otherwise classic piece. Without going as far as 5&6 below, I might give it a try on my next project...

(1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)

dimanche 19 janvier 2014

A Quick Hat

After spending a good threem months on my sweater, I wanted to try a quick knitting project. I had picked up an issue of Phildar magazine in France back in September, and had bought the yarn for one of the hat patterns.

The Yarn is Laine Partner 6 in colorway Chataigne & Fushia.

The hat came together pretty easily. The only thing a bit confusing about it at first is that you sue circular needles, but it's not knitted in the round. Because of the two colors, knitting with circular needles allows knit one way with one color, and then knit the same way again with the second color. So you don't work back and forth all the time, sometimes you might knit on the right side for two rows before going to the wrong side, and vice-versa ( not sur if that makes a lot of sense).

Anyways, I knitted this in a few days and didn't bother blocking it (yarn content is mostly synthetic). I really like it, it's a nice pop of color and the pattern is pretty easy, after a few rounds you don't need to look at the pattern anymore (until you start decreasing.

Turns out also, my mom had grabbed the same yarn to make the matching cowl, which I though she was making for one of my cousins, but she actually was making it for me, and I received in the mail.

(I don't think I would wear the two together in reall life though)