May 25th - Self-drafted skirt

Me-Made-May is over, thank you Zoe, it was a lot of fun. If you don't mind, I'd like to share a few quick thoughts with you.

May 29th - T-shirt refashion

  • You should go see the Flickr Pool for inspiration. The stylishness, creativity and craftmanship is amazing.
  • I haven't made many comments for lack of time, but I really loved everything.
  • I need to go on a World Tour to trace back all the wonderful fabric I saw.
  • I should take another look at Burda Patterns, some of the girls have made wonderful garments with them.
  • I don't plan on planning, SWAP is not for me, but I should plan on making a few tops other than cut up t-shirts.
  • My pant making skills need a lot of work.
  • I have to take better pictures, iPhone pictures are a bare minimum.
  • I need to do something with my hair!
May 28th - Another Nicole Miller with boats

Thank you so much for your kind comments, it was really nice to rumage through my sewing history. Now on to some new stuff.

May 30th - BWOF pants

May 27th : Letting Go

Letting go is what you can live with.
That treshold is different for every seamstress. Mine is pretty high. I like a good finish inside and out. I take great care of finishing every seam, binding everywhere, matching motifs, stripes, plaids, attaching linings. I find that the garment last longer, is more washable and I love to bias bind hems, it's pretty when you sit down.
I am thinking about this because I read Very Purple Person 's blog post this morning about her recent green dress which she calls a fail. The dress is not a fail, I think it's totally wearable, nobody will ever notice the mistake and people are more likely to say, where did you find those green shoes!  But I do understand her, I fuss over my sewing so much.

Case in point, this Ellen Tracy Butterick pattern I made in 2001. Now being wiser, I would notice it doesn't fit the model and stay away from it! Look at those gaping neckline and arms! (And No! I will never ever make plaid pants cut on the bias, this is such a receipe for disaster!)
Of course, I ended up with the same problems, you can see the gaping neckline still, I didn't know how to fix this one back then but I couldn't live with the armholes so I fixed them thus, which is not the way to do it, I know, but the dress was finished, I didn't have a dress form, I still don't have a full length mirror blah blah blah! It works, I could live with that.

But catasrophy, I totally ruined that dress when trimming the waist seam. One should never ever trim anything when tired : I cut a hole in my dress! Could I live with this? 

Well, I did. I glued a tiny bit of fusible interfacing under it, it's partly hidden by the belt and since I made it 9 years ago, only one person remarked the 'hummongous' gash. The general comments are "pretty dress, where did you buy it?". I can live with that.

May 26th : Geoffrey Beene

This Geoffrey Beene dress is another beauty I don't wear often. I don't find it especially flattering on me. But I loved making it, it's expertly cut and the puzzle was difficult to put together, which I like, it made me think. My fabric was stiff enough so I didn't underline, and didn't use the hem facing pieces either, it's tent like enough for me. 

Take a look at the inside zipper hidden in the front pleat, it's so clever! The bust dart were in the cut like the Mondrian, which must have been all new technique back then. If I was to make it again, I'd go for a softer fabric. The pattern is an 8 and I am a 12 and the grading I did on it was empirical at best so I would certainly change that as well.
The Me-Made-May challenge is almost over and one of the thing it has highlighted for me is that I have a propensity to make the pattern exactly like the enveloppe, as seen here, here and here, which raises the question : Why? Don't I have enough imagination?

May 22nd and 24th : Skirts

These are just a couple of skirts, May 22nd is the Nicole Miller I told you about, a tried and true pattern.

And this one is a 15 year old! It's a Modes et Travaux pattern, which I cannot find. If I find it again, I'll post it because it's a 12 piece skirt with godets and it's perfect to go dancing.

May 21st and 23rd : Histoire de robe/Dress History

May 23rd

Toutes mes robes ont une histoire à raconter. Je les ai faites pour une occasion particulière, pour un état d'esprit ou l'apprentissage d'une nouvelle technique de couture, le tissu est spécial (merci encore Suzanne!) ou le patron m'a été offert. En les portant, je retrouve chaque histoire.
Celles-ci, je les ai faites en attendant, une attente longue, difficile et déstabilisante pendant laquelle j'ai beaucoup cousu, un geste salvateur.

May 21st

Every dress I've made has a history. I made them for a special occasion, a mood I was in, to learn a new sewing technique, the fabric is special (thanks Suzanne!) or the pattern was offered. When I put them on, I can relive their histories.
I made these whilst waiting, an extremely long, painful and unsettling waiting period. Salvation came in sewing.

May 20th : More Sewing For Two

These Diane Von Furstenberg deserved a different post, everything about them is a blessing.
The fabric comes from a shop that was closing in my Mom's village and I got it for nothing, the pattern is perfect for the fabric, they were made in 2005 for my vernissage at The Stewart Hall Art Gallery in Pointe-Claire where I showed my Twins project that Zeke was nice enough to think worthy of showing.
The project involved making an entire wardrobe for me and my sister to go on a trip which we never made. But she is a good sport and she will wear everything I tell her to, a true blessing right there.

Me-Made-May : The Update

I've been Sidetracked but it was a good thing. Look at those totally Kawaï bags. (They are gifts, but I can show them, the recipients don't have web access).
Frankly, it wasn't very interesting anyway, here is a picture heavy post, to catch up, nothing very particular about what I've been wearing, the weather was awful so lotsa layers involved, but today is beautiful, so I am wearing a wedding dress to celebrate! More on that later.

May 13th, Living Colour t-shirt refashion. My favorite, it got so much wear, I had to dye it again. BTW, I did see them in Paris in 91!

May 14th, 4 pannels skirt, t-shirt refashion.

May 15-16th, slow day at the ranch, Burda Kimono T refashion. Another concert I've seen, in Nantes in 93-94.

May 17th, another cut up t-shirt. I should count them!

May 18th, too cold for comfort, this is a wool Nicole Miller top that I lined in polarfleece for a job where I had to work outside in November. I am getting seriously depressed by this weather now...

I've made the skirt several times, if the weather holds out, I'll show you.

May 19th, Kenzo skirt I've talked about already.
That's it for now. Hope I didn't bore you. See you later!

Brenda Leigh Johnson And Her Costume Designer

Photos from the TNT website

I have never aspired to dress like a fictional character. That would mean dressing like everybody!
But sometimes, there is a fictional character that I will like more than others because of the costume attention they get. Brenda Leigh Johnson of The Closer is one of them. I want to see what she is going to wear. 
There is so much attention to costume details in that show, that though set in modern times, I put it on par with Mad Men, another favorite costume details tv series I watch.
All this attention is the fine work of Mr Greg LaVoi who has a blog on the TNT site where he tells you where he buys her stuff, how he mixes, recuts and matches vintage, designer, store bought, hand made and H&M. I like that he does repeats, where Brenda wears the same thing often, just like us, and I love her jackets and oooh! and aaah! in front of the tv every episode.

Sidetracks II

Remember this post about me being sidetracked by Alexander Henry's Thunder Flower?
My crazy brother actually posted all of the US stash over. 
So guess what I was doing this weekend? Not working on The Two Year Old Pants for sure!
I drafted men's pyjama pants and cut verypurpleperson's reversible bag pattern in red for me and a smaller version, 80%, for two little girls who have special days coming up.
I'm ready to fill the bobbins and lower my presser foot. Have a nice day!

May 12th aka The Prom Dress Revisited

So bear with I go back in time to my first prom dress.
My first prom invitation came when I was 14. This created a big "I-have-nothing-to-wear" crisis around the house (thinking about it, it probably was an every day occurence) and I lived 500 miles away from ANY civilisation, Montreal, "where everyone is, no doubt, stylish and fashionable as it IS the center of the world", an idea debunked in about 5 seconds when I went to Concordia U which was full of people from Ontario wearing Sears mail-order polyester (another pre-conceived idea of mine, but not so far from the truth as they wore a poly/cotton blend ordered from Eaton's).
My very wise Mom did the sensible thing and sent me to the family's dressmaker (I was sewing already but not that well!). She'd already made this beauty for me, so there was trust between us : 

I chose Butterick 4043, a black and white cotton print and having no breast to speak of, the impending slipping dress during the slow song crisis (Aerosmith's Dream On, probably) was averted by putting in straps, forgetting about the whole wrap around idea and inserting a back zipper. Retrospectivly, you can only nod in agreement as dancing a slow still means I have to raise my arms to reach anyone's shoulders and it would have had a very unwanted effect. 

The only remaining evidence of the existence of this dress is in this picture. This is my best friend Hélène, with her 'beau Denis', who had nothing to wear and avoided a major crisis the year after.

My second prom dress was a red hawaïan dress with a surfer print refashion, in 1979!

May 11th Happiness in spite of...

The Me-Made-May challenge is getting difficult. Not because there is not enough clothes to wear, it's because I am dying to show you all my neat summer stuff and it's not happening because it's winter here! So, today I offer you one of my sweaters. It's self-drafted, me-made and the best piece of knitting I've ever done. 
Anyhow, to feel better, I just went to the corner quilting shop and marvelled at all the little tools, gizmos and doodads that help you sew along (I want that pocket placket turner whatever template and I am looking for a reason/project to go buy it!), picked up some thread and some fabric for a refashion and I forgot about the cold.

The shop is called O'Ma, it's in Auray, Brittany, France. They are really nice people, they can repair your machine, they have a wall full of nifty stuff plus haberdashery, notions, buttons, interfacing and they do carry the marker that Gertie's Better Sewing just talked about and, if she says they are wonderful, then I'll go pick one in every colour ASAP.

May 10th : Sewing For Two

Years ago, right after my sister gave birth, she was lamenting that she had nothing to wear and wanted a uniform because she didn't want to have to think about clothes. So I toyed with the idea of making a bunch of wardrobe essentials for a little while. This is the result of that. It's pretty boring and the idea just went away as it came, in a jiffy! 

The Two Year Old Pair of Pants

My only 2010 resolution was to finish these pants.
I'm not good with pants, let me rephrase this, I am excellent at wearing pants, but not good at making them. I don't understand them, I can't see them in my head. Every attempt at making them has been fraught with hair pulling, teeth grinding and seam ripper madness. I can never get a good enough fit. There is a scrap heap of abandoned pant muslims hidden in a corner of the house. Once in a while though, I go throught this phase where I think maybe I should give it another try.
I must have been very depressed when I bought this pattern, thinking that view A would make excellent slim pants and I know I didn't read the description because it's got 17 pattern pieces!
Anyhow, I started on them, and against my better judgement and instinct, I followed the instructions in a fit of I'll-certainly-learn-some-more-if-I-do-it-like-they-tell-me-to. After a while, my instinct whispering abaited and was replaced by screaming : "This is wrong, It doesn't make sense, You'll get into trouble, You fool! Now go get your seam ripper and last, I told you so!"
So just in case, before cutting these, you should take a look at Sandra Betzina's video about the Flat Fly-Front which specifically tell you NOT to follow pattern instructions and Kathleen Fasanella tutorials on Welt Pockets which also tell you the same thing. 
Maybe I should trust myself a little more, I am sure I'd get better results than this : 

Seam ripper where art thou!

May 9th

J'ai pas l'air très heureuse, mais il fait tellement froid ici!
Ce patron me rappelle Matante Louise, je me rappelle parfaitement quand elle a fait la jupe B et je me rappelle quand elle prenait des cours de couture. J'était pas bien grande et j'étais fascinée! C'est sans doute pour ça d'ailleurs que j'aime le style des années 70, parce que toute petite, je la trouvais tellement élégante!
C'est son anniversaire aujourd'hui : Joyeux Anniversaire Matante Louise!

I don't look so happy, but it's been so cold here!
I distinctly remember my aunt Louise making the skirt in vew B, actually, I remember her taking sewing classes and I remember being fascinated. It was the 70's and if I really like that period, it's partly because she was so stylish!
It's her Birthday today : Happy Birthday Aunt Louise!

May 7th and 8th

This is Vogue 1132 which is a pretty spiffy pattern if you ask me, but I should warn you that not everyone was as successful as me in making it. Mary Beth even had a Blogger Meltdown making this.
I am a 12, but did a 10 so I could look like the girl on the enveloppe and even with that, in order to get the sleeves right, I had to take out a full 2 inches out on each sleeve.
I would like to say a special thank you to Kathleen at Fashion Incubator for her tutorials about bagging a jacket. They are the most comprehensible bagging tutorials out there and I can only urge you to go learn from them if you intend to make a lined coat or jacket. The lazy seamstress in me was so happy, I only had 10cm to hand sew and the result is amazingly professionnal looking.
The only thing I am sorry about is this cheap poly-rayon I used. I was stash busting.


This is the pretty generic pencil skirt with a big pleat in the back I made to go with it. I won't wear both at the same time though, too dowdy.

May 6th Merci Suzanne

Il y a quelques années de ça, alors que je paradais une de mes tenues, mon patron de l'époque a mentionné que sa belle-mère était une excellente couturière et qu'elle avait plein de tissus dans son grenier dont elle voulait se débarrasser. J'ai dit "amène!". Des 2 sacs poubelle pleins que j'ai reçu, j'ai gardé les plus beaux et les autres ont servi à faire des essais. Le polyester est parti au recyclage.
Voici un des tissus qu'elle m'a laissé, un magnifique voile paisley en laine avec des couleurs d'une richesse incroyable. Le Java de l'Oscar de La Renta vient d'elle aussi.
Merci Suzanne!

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