Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Floraison Dress

Hi everyone! I hope this finds you well.
Last weekend, I made a wrap dress from the fabric I got from Ann at Gorgeous Fabrics. I called it Floraison ("blossom") in honour of the stylized flowers scattered over the fabric.

Yep, this truly is a "gorgeous fabric"! Fabulous, even. Fabulous to look at, fabulous to handle, fabulous to wear. I visited the bunch of fabric stores beneath the Sacré Coeur last Friday, and I may now safely confirm that there is no way I could get such quality for that price here - and that's counting the international shipping charges (which Ann did manage to keep to a minimum)! With the dollar-euro rate being what it is now, I'd have to pay at least twice as much here. Besides, I couldn't find any printed knits that could compare in prettiness, even at Tissus Reine, where the designers buy their fabric (and where I just window-shop, for inspiration). We are very deficient in knits here, especially in sleek cotton-lycra blends!
So much for the fabric in Paris myth.
Ann, I'll certainly be back to your store when I have saved up enough for another order!

It was the first time I used that kind of fabric, but with the right needle and a few tension adjustments practiced on a scrap, it went just fine.

The pattern is from the Easy Burda n° 10 issue (spring 2006). Besides the numerous typos, I found the instructions very lacking. Sure, this isn't a problem when you're used to sewing, and this wasn't a problem for me. However, that magazine is supposedly geared towards beginners. I can imagine how frustrating and difficult it must be to sew that dress as a beginner's project. The pattern is wanting in notches and markings, too (especially in order to mount the sleeves onto the dress accurately).
This is one of a few reasons why I favour pattern envelopes over Burda magazines now.

Besides the inevitable fitting alterations, I made several others. The main alteration was raising the neckline for a less plunging décolleté. I used Ann's excellent instructions to re-draft that pattern piece. Thank you, Ann!

I bound the neckline with black satin bias tape (instead of turning under the edge as per the instructions), to add an interesting contrast to the black and white print. I also replaced the sleeve bands with the same satin bias binding.

The sleeves are slightly gathered, which I love. Besides, I heart three-quarter sleeves. Come to think of it, the sleeves are my favourite detail in the garment.

I did a rolled hem on my serger, using black thread, for a swinging hemline.

My final alteration concerned the sash. It was supposed to be a couple of strips cut in the same fabric as the dress. Instead, I recycled an embroidered scarf I had got years ago for a couple of bucks, and that I never wear, because my older sister, who has exquisite taste, gave me a beautiful black scarf for my birthday a couple of years ago. I cut the cheap scarf in two lengthwise, serged the raw edges, and sewed the lengths to the dress as required.

After the pictures Sébastien took of me in the dress, on Sunday afternoon, I took the fringe off the sash, for a neater result. Since Seb is now away in England, you can only see the finished result (sans fringe) on the dressform (first picture in the post).

Seb may be away, but I am not alone...
Miss Cutie is never far!

(she's not fat, really, just very fluffy!)

I wanted to thank each and everyone of you who leave comments on my blog. They are deeply appreciated. I wouldn't sew so much, nor with such gusto, if it weren't for you.
Thank you and welcome to the new commenters, too - it's an honour to have you comment here!
Take care, everyone.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Too tired for a title

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a good week. :)
Seb and I have both been working hard lately, and we are knackered. Add to that a sweet, but insistent kitty who wakes me (never him!) up every morning at 5 (despite the fact that we go to sleep at midnight at best), and you may get an idea of how I'm feeling! Still, I'm happy with what I have achieved.

We still both need to work this weekend, but I do plan to toss in some sewing, for sanity's sake. Besides, this has been a great mail week, stash wise! I treated myself to a "gorgeous fabric" (thanks Ann for the superb order!), and finally received my sewingpatterns.com order from February (no thanks there! Their $-5 or -6 sales are interesting for us Europeans who never have pattern sales, but why do their orders always take so long to arrive??).

I got the New Look 6429 surplice dress (left), and the McCall's 5314 wrap dress with a wonderful full skirt (right), for which I already have a gorgeous plum rayon.

Provided I don't pass out once I'm done with my work, I plan to make (or at least, start) a Burda wrap dress from Ann's stylized floral. The fabric is in the washing machine right now, but the pattern is all traced out. When I ordered the fabric from Gorgeous Things, I got so excited that I decided to trace the pattern right away, so it would be all ready when the fabric arrived. Tracing a pattern is my least favourite part in dressmaking, so since that chore was completed last weekend, it should be all fun now.

I did manage to fill two custom orders this week, which made for a couple of fun and relaxed evenings. The orders came from two very sweet ladies, which made it all the more enjoyable.

One order was for a lavender-scented flanged pillows set :

The other request was a kitty-themed shoulder purse:

I cut the fabric so there would be a kitty on the flap.

I love those custom orders - they are very inspiring as I try my best to meet a person's personal tastes.

Hope you all have a lovely, relaxing weekend! Take care everyone. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Lilac nightie

This was my sewing project last Sunday - a lilac satin nightie, trimmed with antique lace, and hemmed with a white satin stitch.

Sorry I'm not showing it in 3D, but I obviously won't pose in it, and it is too small for the dressform.

Miss Cutie likes it too:

The pattern is New Look 6643, but I made the nightie much shorter (partly because I didn't have that much fabric, partly because it was cuter that way); I made several adjustments to the back, as usual. Used a size 10 for the front, a size 8 for the back, but ended up taking 1.5 cm off each side. Ah, I've never had a nightie fit so well. They're usually too loose in the back, and the straps keep falling off.

Thank you for your wonderful comments about the red dress! Your response is so motivating. Thank you. :)
I can't wait to get back to working on it; but I need to re-furnish the boutique first, and I just filled a couple of custom orders for two very sweet ladies. Custom orders are very fulfilling :)
The boutique is out of kitty pillows, but I plan on going with different themes now, unless anyone would want another kitty pillow (I still have a little of that fabric left).

Hope everyone is having a good week!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Sunday Night Sewing

Hi everyone!
I hope you had a good week. Mine was pretty productive workwise, which feels great.
Our last weekend was an eventful one in many respects; as a consequence, I only managed to approach the sewing machine at 6pm, on Sunday. I was determined to get some sewing done nonetheless: I knew how dreary the next week would feel if I hadn't touched a needle all weekend. So I cut, pinned, and sewed until midnight.

Here's the outcome:

An empire top, with a side zipper, trimmed with ribbon.

The pattern is New Look 6515. Yep, another New Look... What can I say. They are cute and cheap ($3)... I love them.
I made view C.

The fabric is the same I used to make my sister's tunic.
The blouse is OK, but there's something about the top part that doesn't sit quite right. I'll have to wear a tank underneath if I don't want, let's say, some sneak peeking in the metro!

I thought of shortening the top part by the shoulders, but the ribbon would sit too high (and the bust area is scarce enough as it is). So, let's say I'll just wear a tank underneath! It's still cute, though. That fabric goes well with a pair of jeans, I think, which is why I chose to accent the dark blue colour in the print with that wide ribbon.

That fabric is so pretty that I used some to to make more kitty pillows for the boutique... among other things, such as this:
You can find them here.
I'll be happy to hear any suggestion if you want a different colourway and/or fragrance. Or indeed, anything else! :)

Happy birthday to dear Nicki!
Wishing everyone a lovely weekend.
I plan to sew and sing...
Could be worse, eh? :)