Are You Advanced? / C'est Quoi Votre Niveau?

What's your sewing level?
I'm asking because I saw someone the other day that was listed as advanced on a sewing forum and I thought : "Are you kidding me lady? How on earth can you say that and show me a top with major gaposis of the armhole, a stretched out neckline with fuzzy top stitching and a fit for a dog?" I felt it was an insult to my years of careful preparation and my ever growing array of self-thought sewing techniques. 
She must have pressed the wrong button when registering. 
The question remains though, when exactly do you reach the advanced level?
Is it when you don't need instructions to make a lined skirt, dress, jacket, pants or coat? Is it when you have a choice of methods for constructing and fitting a garment? Is it in constancy? Or like Ann on the Sewing Bee, grace under pressure? I was thinking about that yesterday, making a mental list of stuff I need to learn before daring to call myself advanced and then I snipped right through my seam. 
I'll have a double serving of humble pie please.
ps. I have fixed it, only you and I will notice, and I really should have bought the plates that go with this fabric for fun.
C'est quoi votre niveau?
Je demande parce l'autre jour sur un forum, j'ai vu une madame qui se dit couturière avancée et je me suis dit : "Mais elle se fout de moi? Comment peut-elle dire ça et me montrer un top avec les emmanchures béantes, un col tout étiré avec une surpiqûre toute croche et un tombé à vomir?" C'était une insulte à toutes mes années d'apprentissage de techniques diverses et de préparations minutieuses.
Elle a dĂ» appuyer sur le mauvais bouton lors de son inscription.
Mais la question m'a trotté dans la tête, quand devient-on une couturière avancée?
Est-ce quand on n'a plus besoin d'instructions pour faire une robe, une jupe, une veste, un pantalon, ou un manteau doublé? Est-ce quand on connait plusieurs manières de faire et d'ajuster un même vêtement? Est-ce dans la régularité? Est-ce que c'est dans le calme malgré la pression comme Ann dans The Sewing Bee? Je pensais à tout ce que je dois encore apprendre avant de pouvoir dire que je suis une couturière avancée quand j'ai mis un coup de ciseaux dans ma couture.
Un peu d'humilité pardi!
ps. J'ai rĂ©parĂ©, seuls vous et moi allons savoir, et j'aurais vraiment du prendre les assiettes qui vont avec le tissu pour rigoler.

Compass Cutter Giveaway / Cutter Compas Offert

Things don't always work out.
Months ago, Minerva Crafts was looking for someone to make innovative use of their Olfa Compass Cutter. As I was preparing for the craft fair, I thought up a whole bunch of circle cutter crafty stuff to do and sent them a mail saying it would be really cool to make more fabric buttons, they loved the idea and sent me one to try out.
I'm really sad to say that it's the wrong tool for cutting tiny fabric circles. Fabric is way too slippery for a straight blade and whilst I was struggling to make perfect circles, I was thinking somebody needs to invent a rotary circle cutter. It turns out that Olfa makes one.
I reported to the good people of Minerva Crafts telling them it was the wrong tool for the task and asked if I could pass it along to one of my reader who does paper craft which they have agreed to do. 
So here is my first sponsored giveaway, leave a comment below before May 9th. I ship anywhere. 
In the meantime, I thought you would like to see one of the things I made with the fabric circles. I didn't invent this, the original tutorial is here, but I improved upon it by securing the ring base to the pincushion which kept falling off in my original make.
Have fun making them!
Parfois, ça ne marche pas.
Il y a quelques mois, Minerva Crafts cherchait des gens pour trouver une utilisation innovante pour leur Cutter Compas de chez Olfa. Comme je prĂ©parais le MarchĂ© des CrĂ©ateurs, j'ai pensĂ© Ă  plein de bidouilles avec des cercles de tissus et je leur ai dit que je referais bien des badges en tissu. Ils ont aimĂ© l'idĂ©e et m'ont envoyer l'outil pour l'essayer.
Malheureusement, le tissu ça bouge trop pour la lame droite et pendant que j'essayais de faire de parfait petits cercles de tissu, je me disais qu'on avait besoin d'inventer un cutter compas au couteau rotatif, mais ça existe déjà.
Quand j'ai dit au gentils gens de chez Minerva Crafts que ça n'allait pas, j'ai demandĂ© si je pouvais le donner Ă  une de mes lectrices qui fait des crĂ©ations en papier, ils ont dit oui. 
Voici donc mon tout premier cadeau sponsorisé. Laissez un commentaire avant le 9 mai, c'est ouvert à tous.
Je voulais quand même vous montrer au moins une chose que j'ai fait avec des cercles de tissu. Ce n'est pas mon invention, le tutoriel original est ici, mais je l'ai amélioré en cousant la base au coussin, la colle seule n'était pas suffisante et le coussin tombait tout le temps.
Amusez-vous bien!


A Bangladeshi woman is lifted out of the rubble by rescuers at the site of a building that collapsed, April 25, 2013. (Kevin Frayer/Associated Press) Pictures from

I am going to take a moment of silence.  
Otherwise, I am going to start crying and repeat myself

Je vais faire une minute de silence.
Sinon, je vais encore pleurer et répéter ce que j'ai déjà dit.

The Deadly Sins of the Pressed Seamstress

This is the prettiest dress I have ever made! But it's not for me...
It was a dream of mine to be working with lace, but I don't wear lace. Other people do though, for weddings and such, and my friend Isabelle was desperate. Originally, the idea was to make a copy of my red Christmas dress, but the ponte knit available was in sad winter colors, so I suggested stretch lace. Then I got to the fabric store and changed my mind because the stretchy stuff looked and felt negligee-like so I bought real lace (I think it's Alençon but I'm not versed in lace terminology) and polyester crepe.

I knew when I picked this lace that it meant more work I would have to redraft the bodice for a woven and zipper insertion and the sleeves for non-stretch lace. And I only had a couple of days (in reality, it took 3)... so I cheated, big time.
The pattern is an adaptation from Burda's peplum pattern lengthened in front, hey it already had sleeves and it's for woven, my friends measurements (I had already made a muslin for stretch) and the skirt and collar line are from the red Christmas dress.
I bought a generous amount of fabric to be on the safe side, cut it and then I serged, yes you heard me right, I serged the lace to the crĂŞpe underlining... If you are a Couture freak, you should stop reading right here.

Coverstitching close up curtesy of

I felt sacrilegious, about to commit a capital sewing sin. I pictured Couture gurus banishing me from the blogosphere : "you don't do that to fine lace" Whiz! Bam! Gone!
Yet, I thought, if Vuitton can coverstitch it's entire Spring 2012 collection, I can serge my lace if I want to! So with this defiant swagger and a clock ticking, I started to serge.

Other sewing sins include : no lining, an invisible zipper, no hand sewn overlapping of the lace, no matching motifs, except at the skirt and sleeve hems when cutting, no waist stay, hardly any hand sewing... and yet, I think it looks pretty awesome.
I must admit to having had a few heart failures in the process, but fortunately, lace is pretty forgiving  in hiding the few mistakes I made. Like when I messed up the French seams in the sleeves (Would you believe I still do that? Duh! Can you say I am not unpicking serged lace?)

French seam

Serged faux-felled seam
If I gave any advice on working with lace, not that I am an expert or anything, I'd say stay calm, take a break, have some tea, take your time, hand baste where you normally wouldn't, sew very slow with a fine needle, take a nap, rest, breath, go for a walk, stand back, think, breath some more, handle carefully, don't rush. Using my largest sewing foot worked best for me. It helped a lot that it was clear plastic.

The machine will eat your lace no matter what you try to do. I worked around that by keeping some parchment paper strips near the machine and sandwiched seams that were lace on lace, sewing very slow sometimes turning the hand wheel myself. Keep in mind that the paper is hard to remove, do it delicately and very slowly, folding the paper before tearing it and holding it down with your thumbnail. 

The hairiest moment was when the dress was almost finished, the sleeves beautifully set and I had to serge the seam allowance for a neater finish. I have never ever been this nervous sewing anything (I did contemplate binding it, but it was bulky, any suggestions?).

Finishing touches, slip stitched facings.

Barely visible invisible zipper
I'm quite proud of it because it fits her perfectly and she looks like a million bucks in it. Her husband finds her beautiful. 
Sadly, she'll have to dress it down as she runs the risk of looking better than the bride, which may cause a diplomatic incident, so I suggested a matching belt, cardigan, shoes, bag in the color of her choice. 
I'm dying to see the pictures.

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