Back In School

There is lots going on in the sewing blog world at the moment : The Selfish Seamtress is moving to Europe,  Gertie has a new book deal, Tasia of Sewaholic is going to sell her own patterns and I am very happy for all of them, new endeavors are so much fun! 
Here, @CarmencitaB central, life got a little kick in the shins as I went back to school last week. I start HTML-CSS classes tomorrow and am quite giddy with the prospect of new learning. Watch this space as it evolves and becomes what I envisioned when I started, but could not do because I lacked knowledge!
In the meantime, I put two little buttons on the side for my Facebook Fanpage and my Twitter feed which will be updated a little more regularly. 
Sewing has not totally halted, but progress is slow, I'll keep you posted.


This young woman has been imprinted in my mind for a while and I don't know if it's because of her absolutely fantastic yellow dress or if it's because she looks so forlorn in it. If I wore such a wonderful dress, it would make me happy all day but she just looks like she's waiting outside her corridor and she's just realized, that very moment, that she's been stood up or something.
It's the work of Mr Erwin Olaf and it's part of his Hope Series where his subjects all look like they are waiting for something that's not going to come. Wonderful work, really.
Fortunately, things do come, so some days, we do get to look happy in yellow dresses.

I Need Your Help

Am I doing things right here?
Burda's 08/2010 #113 is all cut and marked and interfaced, ready to sew, but I am still having doubts. There are a gazillion fusible interfacing tutorials, but there are no tutorials on WHERE to put interfacing.
I've read just about everything available at Sewing U (Googling sewing keywords) and I made choices. I didn't fuse the seam allowance because my fabric is really thick. I made a bigger interfacing piece on the side piece because the pocket would have looked funny and I thought it needed a little support. I abided by some of Fashion Incubator's tips about interfacing : I used a light fusible knit and crossed the fold line on the hem. I stabilized the neck area and the armhole, but I still have doubts.
So if any of you, my kind readers, have any tips you would like to share, I would be delighted. There is still time to correct the obvious mistakes.
Also, I bought this fabric at the local goodwill and it smells like it's been stored in a damp attic some place for years and though I have machine washed it, it still stinks when I iron it. I would gladly love to hear a tip about getting rid of the odor too.

In Progress : Another Burda

Emboldened by my very recent successful experiment with a Burda pattern, I am making another one!
I recently found this wool at the thrift shop and was going to make a skirt, but after washing it, I thought it would be a waste and a jacket would be better so I set up looking for one with very little yardage : #113 looks awesome. I am not sure about the back slit yet, but I like the extra long sleeves and I found this matching crazy ass chemical experiment gone awry polyester print for the lining and gave the project a go! 
Being out of drafting paper, I looked around the house for a possible replacement and found cooking parchment. It's slippery and scotch tape won't stick to it, but it's transparent enough to make sense of the psychedelic pattern sheet

Like with the Claire Shaeffer, I drafted every pattern piece, outer shell, lining and interfacing, which will help me get the precision I want. I did a quick tissue fit last night and everything looks in the right place. I'll try cutting it today and get back to you. I have very little fabric to work with, matching the plaid will be difficult, but I only paid 2€ for it so I won't fret over it too, too much.

Just in case you are wondering how I cut the lining pieces, Burda has a great video on how to do just that, I will use Fashion Incubator's tutorials on bagging a jacket and the Vogue 7467 instructions for the pockets so I won't follow the magazine's cryptographic instructions which never cease to baffle me, in either French or English. 
It's a regular complaint, I wonder why they don't document the making of the garments they sew for the magazine's pictures. Now that's an idea....

New Sewing Tool

Good morning to you all and please welcome my new sewing tool.
It doesn't have a presser foot, but it might as well, it puts Sewing U right here at my fingertips.
I am giddy at the tought of being able to watch all of Nancy's, Sandra's, Threads', Burda's tutorials and finally see your stuff in real colours.
Let me set this thing up and I'll get back to you.

Burda 7517

Burda 7517 is done. Pfew!
I may be reconciled with Burda patterns, thanks to a good idea I had before I started the project. 
When I was showed how to make a Burda, I was taught to cut the pattern and then mark a 2cm seam allowance on the fabric. For some reason, that method didn't work for me. The results were baggy, needing lots of alterations and I ended up with a UFO pile of Burda fitting issues.
I am not quite sure of the nature of this thrifted fabric, it looks like "polyester acetate whatever" and is shifty as hell, so I thought that if I marked a 1,50cm, allowance on the paper and then cut it, it would be easier for me. It was and I will be working that way from now on.
The fabric stank so I washed it and it lost all the protective coating that made it sewable, so meet my new friend : Fabulon's fabulous starch!

I don't recommand doing this to every fabric, but on polyester "whatever", starching works. 
I also found a new colored washable glue at the supermarket which I really like because it's cheaper than buying the japanese import one and it was a great help with the zipper.

The dress is comfy, I am not sure I like it all that much, it doesn't fall like on the enveloppe, but it's grown on me. What I like most is the fabric's motif which, a friend rightly pointed out, is layed out like Monet's nenuphars. Wearing a little art makes the day go brighter.

Costumes Bretons

Yesterday, the village where I live was having it's annual Fest Noz, girls and some boys were dressed in their best Brittany dresses and danced traditional dances.

After the French Revolution, sumptuary laws regulating "Superfluity Of Dress" in France were revoked and Brittany women took that as a cue to embellish their frocks. All of a sudden, they could use gold thread, beads, lace to show off and by gosh they did!

Highly codified and regionalised, your social status dictated how high on your skirt the black silk velvet could go or if you could embroider the top of it. It dictated how many button you could put on a men's coat. The handwork is exceptional and some details of construction were very interesting. 

Do you see these handmade ruffles? Amazing. Look at the bodice, hand picked shaping. I had a grand old time, talking to the older women, how they got their dresses from their mother, an aunt, heirlooms, passed from one women to another. 
And I got to touch black silk velvet, the feeling of which is now engraved on my fingertips. 

Prom Dress Update

Prom dress, refashionned

Tasia of Sewaholic, whom you should read because she makes very pretty clothes, just showed her prom dress and it reminded me that I promised a picture of mine way back in May. My sister was nice enough to scan some pictures of her wearing it in the short cut version. My Mom bought the dress for me on a trip to HawaĂŻ. It was japanese influenced had a long slit on the side and had little surfers and palms trees in black and gold print. 
I can't beleive how elaborate Tasia's dress is. I couldn't have tackled that at 16. No wonder her sewing chops are so sharp! I did make a black satin jacket with red satin piping to go with it (Butterick 6571 view C) and that was difficult enough for me. 

Any of you living in 1979 will know this outfit was quite radical, punk even, the aesthetics of it, no ruffle, no frills, no petticoat, no pastel, no chiffon, was just reaching our far away St-Lawrence River shores. 
Just so you know, that year, being the rebellious silly youngsters we were, we boycotted the yearbook, the official photographs and we gave a piglet to the valedictorian. Carole, Lucie, Louise and I showed up unaccompanied as a small feminist stance. There are no records of that evening.
The satin jacket has long been lost but the dress is about to be passed away to my nieces if they want it. Isn't it neat that 30 years later, my prom dress will get a third life?

Leftover Fabric

"You must have some leftover fabric, why don't you sew me a (insert a garment here)".
As I am starting to hear this more and more, I thought I'd address this issue once and for all. I mostly sew for me and my very close family. In other words, if Junior here marries your daughter in 20 years, I might consider making you something eventually.
Also you should stop refering to my leftover fabric as scraps. I don't keep scraps. The pieces left after a project are big enough to line a pocket or a collar, make some bias, a small pouch for Pokemon cards, a muslin and so on. I might not have use for them now, but I will, one day. They are valuable and will not be wasted on you!
Bring your sewing machine, I'll show you how to use it, I'll show you how to follow a pattern, hem your pants, fix your rip but I won't do it for you. Go seek a professionnal if you need one.
There I have said it. The Selfish Seamstress is on to something and I should listen to her.

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