September 30, 2015

Where I am casual - every day

Hello there!
I'm here to present my submission for the Sewing Indie Month sewalong, in the category of "Everyday casual". It is a Bronte top by Jennifer Lauren Vintage.

You have recognized the typical shoulder shape. I fell in love with the pattern because of this lovely neckline, but I must say I am even more head-over-heels now that I have made it and I can wear it in real life.

The Bronte top is comfortable and feminine, and makes a simple tshirt a cute wardrobe foundation. I decide to leave the neckline without any embellishments because I simply wanted to let it speak for itself and be more versatile. Also, I might be having a huge crush for black colour, so I feel pretty pleased with my new tshirt.

The fabric is a very drapey black lightweight knit, from a summer maxi dress I bought on the beach three years ago. The dress is now impossible to wear, due to a very worn out elastic at the neckline, so I had in mind to throw it away, not even donating it to charity. But I felt sorry to abandon such a meaningful dress: I used to wear it a lot during my first romantic getaway with Chéri in Florence. I must say I am very pleased to have transformed it in an everyday staple, so I can bring the memory with me all the time, and fill it with some new memories.

If you are familiar with the pattern, you know it is quite close fitting and hugs the body. That specific characteristic was a big no-go for me, because everything too close to my body is too revealing for my personal taste, so I made a few modifications.
I started with a size 14 and made a 3 cm. FBA, following this tutorial of the original sewalong. You know when you make an FBA you end up adding a lot to the waistline and you usually remove it. I removed only half of it, and thus obtained a tshirt wide at the waist but snug at the shoulders. Just the way I like it!

September 22, 2015

Where I present you my masterpiece (so far)

Hello there.
Once again I'm presenting something that was in my suitcase for my summer holidays. Talk about a backlog! It's a dress I made for weddings, so to take these pictures I actually had to dress up just for the blog. But I assure you it is just as it was this summer.

It is a Kim dress by By Hand London. This is my third one; the first one was blogged here, the second one is a strong candidate for an autumn wedding I'll be attending in a few weeks, so probably you'll see it soon.

I used my modified bodice: size 12/16 with 3 cm. FBA, plus several cm. added at the waistline. This works if I sew the bodice with 3/4" seam allowance (instead of 5/8"), so I just repeated what I did previously. I removed the pintucks at the hem, and gathered a smaller rectangle than the skirt pattern for my size.

That's it with construction, because, as you can see, the protagonist of this dress is clearly the fabric! 
It is a very thin polyester, which frays like crazy and was a hell to trace and cut. Anyway, one can forgive everything to this fabric! It came in panels, and I had four of them, arranged 2x2, if that makes sense to you. I actually regret not taking a picture of it before cutting.
I hoarded the fabric for more than one year because I never had the guts to actually use it: I wanted to showcase the panels, somehow with some boxy design where the fabric would take over few seamlines. Then one day I had the idea to transform it in a Kim dress for weddings, and every hesitation disappeared.

The fabric was enough to cut a Kim dress into it, but the real challenge was pattern matching. As you might know, the bodice has princess seams, and I am super proud that in the final result it's difficult to actually spot the seams: they are well hidden into the busy print.

I went for a total redesign of the fabric: the original panels are visible in the skirt, but for the bodice I decided to have a darker side with more brown colours, a lighter one with more yellow, and a continuity between front and back, leaving the white part at centre back seam. 

I also wanted to keep the panel visual game, because I felt it would have been a loss to totally remove it. So the skirt is made with two of the panels. I like that the light brown vertical stripe which divides the panels is still visible on both sides (and it's different from one side to the other).

Because of the peculiar fabric pattern of the skirt, I moved the invisible zipper on the left side. It is not totally invisible, but I blame the fabric for being completely unstable and with a certain amount of give. For the same reason you will find some pulling horizontal lines across the back. 
Anyway, contrary to my habit, I will not focus on the flaws (like the very ugly hem, which I might one day re-do), and just enjoy the dress I created. I am a big fan of symmetry, but in this case I am willing to admit it is far more interesting to have different colours on the shoulder straps, because I know it is made on purpose (I made it myself!) to balance the colours of the skirt.

I have received many compliments for this dress, and it officially consecrated me as a sewist for my family. I think I styled it quite well with light yellow shoes and blue accessories. More on the accessories in a couple of days, because they deserve a proper presentation. 

September 20, 2015

Where I swoosh and blossom

Hello there.
I've these pictures ready since a few days, but I got hung up on Gossip Girl and did not write this post until now. I am as frivolous as that. And also I am quite addicted to TV series. Speaking of which, tonight the season 6 premiere of Dowton Abbey airs in UK. I'll watch it tomorrow, of course, looking for more vintage sewing inspiration.

Anyway, I want to present you a dress which I made last summer, then abandoned this summer and rediscovered a few days ago for the autumn chills.

It is a frankenpattern between Plantain tshirt by Deer and Doe (the archi-famous free tshirt pattern), and Lekala #5135 skirt pattern (also free). I downloaded and assembled both pdf's without any specific idea in mind.

The main inspiration for this dress came from the fabric itself. It is a jersey I bought by the kilos in Toto Tissus in Toulouse, just because I loved it, maybe two (or three?) years ago. At that time I had no sewing skills whatsoever, I didn't even know what a pattern was, neither did I own a sewing machine. I just liked the fabric and bought it knowing that the good idea would come.

The good idea came last summer, after the release of Plantain, and I decided to make one tshirt. When placing the pattern pieces over the fabric, I recalled I had this skirt pattern assembled and enough fabric for it, and decided to go for a dress. I had to play a bit with pattern positioning, but I think I nailed it. What I like most of this dress is the loud border print (what would you expect?) which contrasts with the tiny polka dots (again:what would you expect?). I am especially proud that I managed to cut the sleeves in the loud print, so that it all comes together and it looks sober and loud at the same time.

After taking this picture I cringed for the wonky neckline. I decided to publish it anyway as an inspiration for any reader who is just starting his/her sewing journey. I want to encourage him/her to go for it and dare a new challenge in each new garment. You will progress fast, and one year later you will notice how much your skills have improved, but still be proud of what you did before. I am very proud of this neckline indeed. I am pretty sure this dress was my first experience sewing knits, so I totally excuse one-year-ago-Sara for the neckline, and I beg for mercy one-year-from-now-Sara, she will know what for.

The skirt features four panels and it is designed for wovens. It worked just fine with this knit fabric, even though it is quite heavy. It is so heavy it drags all the dress downwards, resulting in being very ugly without any belt, but I have this simple elastic belt which seams to be a good match for this dress (and for many others).
One thing I don't like about this dress is Chéri's comment: he says that it makes me flat, which means my ladies are hidden somewhere, which means beowb-less. I don't agree, but then he made the same comment about another Plantain tshirt I made, so I guess he has something against that specific pattern. We'll talk about that later on this week, since I have already took the pictures of the other Plantain. (If, and only if, I manage to get out the Gossip Girl bandwagon).

Of course I needed to take a picture of that! Every time I wear this dress I feel happy because of its colours, and I feel pretty because of its feminine shape: I love how the skirt swooshes with my steps! Last year this dress even got me the compliments of my department head (the coldest guy on earth), who said I was fleurissante!

To conclude, I am not ready to give this dress to charity, despite its defects, and I am planning to wear it a little bit more with the sun of autumn in Toulouse.

September 3, 2015

Where I'm back in Toulouse, kimono style

Hello there!
Guess who's back from holidays? My vacation is officially over and I have very mixed feelings about that: on one hand I really really really wanted to be back to my usual life; on the other hand, my usual life means looking for a job and leaving apart from my Chéri, so that sucks. Of course.

Anyway, I have quite a few sewing projects completed to be photographed and blogged, so this will slowly get me to my habits. I also have plenty of projects in my list and new fabrics to make good use of, but so far my apartment looks like a bomb has exploded in it, therefore I have no space for sewing.

This dress has been one of my favourites of all times. The pattern is the Kimono dress by Simple Sews for the issue 12 of Love Sewing magazine. I've made it in June, but officially photographed only today.

About the pictures, please excuse my constant frown. As I told before it's been a tough couple of days back home and apparently I have lost my already shaggy confidence in front of the camera. 

I have been wearing this dress all summer long, because I refused to pay extra 50€ for my luggage on top of a 208€ plane ticket, so I literally spent one month holidays with a handbag luggage. This also included a wedding outfit. More on that outfit in the next days.
Anyway, my summer uniform was based on four dresses, one short, one skirt and two tops. This kimono was the pièce de résistance

Can you blame me? I felt stylish and comfortable in it, and the fact that you are dressed with a single fabric layer which flounces at the summer breeze, makes it an immediate staple.

The most remarkable features of this dress are of course the wrap and the kimono sleeves. It looks like if you don't sew fluttery sleeves this summer you are out of the game, but in this dress I like that the kimono style is quite modest with respect to other famous kimonos around the blogosphere (I think of the SS15 collection of Named). The unmistakable sleeves are there, but it does not look as a chamber robe.

Especially not in this fabric, right? It is a present from Chéri and we bought it together in Remnant Kings in Edinburgh at the beginning of June. There was no description of the composition and it feels like viscose: it breaths well and drapes magnificently. I wish I could identify fabrics like that. But I can't. Lots of room to improve there.
With the remnants from this project I made the vintage blouse you have already seen around here.

Now that I see the pictures I realize I should have levelled the hem before hemming, but now I don't care: I have been wearing it like this all summer long, I am not going to be bothered right now. Also, I dedicated much of my time in doing a fake rolled hem all around, that I don't feel like destroying it.

The dress has a very simple construction, with three main pieces and an obi belt. If I have to do it again I would go for one size smaller but the same length. Also, I don't think I am going to sew another one of these. Don't get me wrong, this pattern is adorable and I don't need repeat how much I am loving wearing this dress, but I am the kind of girl who only needs one kimono in her wardrobe. Maybe it could become a wowing bridal shower present if made in a sexy silk and lace combination. So far none of my best friends are going to get married, so no need to plan another kimono any time soon. Also, none of them reads this blog so no spoilers, eheh.

I leave you with a couple more pictures of the dress in action during holidays. This one is taken in Pietrapertosa, in the south of Italy. You can see I can actually smile sometimes.

This one is taken in Bologna, on top of the Torre degli Asinelli. I had just climbed the tower (97 meters tall) and was super tired. Still, I smiled.

Well, that's all with this dress, I love it love it love it. After wearing it all summer long I thought I didn't want to see it again, but today I instinctively reached for it to go grocery shopping and then eating cake with a friend. I felt like a princess in both cases. 
See you soon with a few other summer makes and hopefully some autumn ones! Ciao!