Sunday, 26 June 2016

A Not So Fitted Day Dress

Do you ever make things that don't turn out quite right, but wear them anyway? After all that hard work it, would be a shame to relegate a handmade outfit to the back of your wardrobe, never to see the light of day. Or do you spend hours unpicking and adjusting them to make them perfect?

I think its nice to blog about sewing mistakes, as we all make them and someone out there may be able to help. I also learned a lot from making this dress, so even if it is not as I imagined, it was worth it.

I made the Day Dress by the Avid Seamstress and I have to say I really like the pattern. But, after much hesitation I made the mistake of cutting a size too big and only really realised this once I was too far into the project to easily remedy things. Playing with the side seems is just not going to work here, I need to do a lot of unpicking and taking in to get the fitted look that would do the pattern justice and as an intermediate sewist, I have to admit I am not entirely sure how best to go about it.

But, I still quite like the dress I have made and until I find the time and patience to alter it, I think I'll just add a belt and go with the loose fit. I should also say that this is the first sewing project I have made using my new overlocker and I love the finished edges!

Warmer weather Bettine

Have you ever bought a pattern just because everyone else seems to be making it? That's what I did with the Tilly and the Buttons Bettine dress. At first I avoided it, because elasticated waists don't really flatter me and I wasn't convinced about the tulip skirt on me. But then I saw so many nice examples on social media that I caved in and decided to give it a try.

I made this version using the PDF pattern and some cheap fabric from my local shop. The fabric is a light cotton but still fairly crisp for this type of dress, as you can see under the arms where the drape is not quite right. I am nevertheless happy with the result.

I was right about the tulip skirt though, I had to straighten it out a bit because I ended up with two wing like flaps just below my hips. 

I made it just in time for the summer finally arriving, so hopefully it'll get some wear. After weeks of rain, the sun came out for my photo taking today; we took a Sunday stroll along the lake in Rolle, Switzerland, close to our home just across the border in France.  

Thursday, 26 May 2016

I made my first pair of trousers!

Making trousers has always seemed like a daunting task to me, so I have stuck to skirts and dresses while learning to sew. That was until I found this great pattern from new indie pattern company, the Avid Seamstress.

I read about this company in the UK magazine 'Love Sewing', which I subscribe to. There was a photo of a dress pattern that I really liked the look of, called The Day Dress. I just had to check out their website and when I did, I also found the City Trousers pattern and couldn't resist buying it.

I am normally quite careful about purchasing sewing patterns from places I haven't tried before, but the patterns looked so great that I ended up buying three, including one for my daughters so that I wouldn't feel so self indulgent...

I wasn't disappointed, the city trousers turned out really well for a first timer, helped by the fact that the pattern has a simple back zip fastening instead of a trickier fly font. I really enjoyed making them in this bright floral print from La Maison D'Ursule, although the next pair I already have planned will be much plainer.

The printed patterns from the Avid Seamstress are beautifully presented and come with additional information sheets that are very useful for beginner to intermediate sewers like myself.

I am now working on the Day Dress pattern in this lovely Sevenberry fabric that I found on sale at Mondial Tissus in Annemasse. And, more excitingly, I finally bit the bullet this year and invested in an overlocker so the insides of this dress will hopefully look much better that usual.. I'll post again when I finish the dress.

Monday, 23 May 2016

French or English Seams?

Did you know that in France, a French seam is called an English seam (une couture anglaise)? No, neither did I, but my (French) sewing teacher and I had a bit of a giggle about it when it came up in class.

True to the name of this blog, my family and I have been on the move again, leaving Canada to move to France for my husband's work. Moving continents and having a second child has resulted in my sewing blog laying dormant for the past year.

But, I have not stopped sewing. In fact, when we moved to the rural French village we now call home, the most exciting thing for me was the fact that, in addition to a cheese shop and a bakery, there was a small sewing school! What more could a woman want? Although the cheese shop is a little dangerous...

I have been attending workshop style classses at Atelier Bayadère for the past year and have really enjoyed learning new sewing techniques and sewing different projects. I have made my first bags and zipped pouches and some cute girls dresses.

Being more on top of things these day, I feel it is time to resurrect my blog and start sharing my projects again and maybe even investigate where the French seam technique really comes from.

So, here are a few of my favourite makes since arriving in France:

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Toronto's Fashion District

As well as learning how to sew, I am also learning where to find fabrics in Toronto. Over the past few months I have been checking out fabric shops all over the city as well as a few online sellers and will be writing about some of my favourites in this blog. 

If you want to buy dress making fabric in Toronto, the city's Fashion district is a great place to start. This former clothes manufacturing hotspot still houses a large number of fabric and notion shops, even though the textile industry that gave the area its name has long died out. The area also contains some great independent fashion stores. The district's main stretch is along Queen Street West in the downtown area of the city, roughly between Spadina and Bathurst.  

Most of the fabric shops in this area carry more dressmaking fabrics and fabrics for home furnishings and a lot less in the way of quilting fabrics, which is great for me. Since I arrived in Toronto, most of the fabric shops I have found have focused on quilting cottons as there are so many quilters in town. So it has been nice to find out about places to buy dressmaking supplies. Most of the stores in the Fashion District are labyrinth caves of fabric roles and notions and you can get lost for hours! 

Fabric selection at King Textiles

Note: do not go with small children, your buggy won't fit down the aisles and your little people will have a field day pulling haberdashery from the shelves! (I have developed a deep appreciation for online fabric shops since my children became mobile, but more on that in another post!) 

Two of my favourite shops in the fashion district are King Textiles on Spadina Avenue and Leo's Textiles on Queen Street West. 

King Textiles is a family run store and has been in the Fashion District for 25 years and recently moved to a larger location on Spadina Avenue. They carry fashion textiles, home decor fabrics and large range of haberdashery. The owner's son David told me on my last visit that they supply fabric for everyone from local film industry dressmakers to Toronto's fashion students as well as home sewists like me. And while fabric sales were in decline 5 years ago, things are now picking up with an influx of younger people taking up sewing as a hobby, thanks in part to shows such as Canada's Project Runway, great news.

Further along the main stretch of the Fashion district on Queen Street I found a great shop for the more luxurious of dressmaking fabrics. Leo's Textiles is brimming with silks, tulle and lace for evening gown and wedding dress making. While my sewing skills are not yet there, I love pouring over the fabric in this shop and the sales people are really friendly and helpful. Maybe I could find a pattern for a simple lace cocktail dress...

Rolls of lace and posh frock fabric at Leo's

I must confess that the photos for this post were taken at the end of last summer, but it is nice to see a touch of sunlight in early March when the snow is still on the ground and temperatures in most of Canada are still too far below zero for my liking!

Fabric shopping can be addictive and I really need to do some stash busting sewing soon, but for now I will delude myself that I need to research fabric shops for my blog. Where do you like to buy fabric? 

Leo's Textiles 

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Handmade Christmas Decorations

My sewing time has dried up again, so no new posts of clothes sewing for a while (my Belcarra blouse is still a work in progress). But these cute Christmas decorations were quick to sew up and I managed to fit them into a spare hour.

I got the pattern and the fabric from Love Sewing magazine that I get delivered to me from the UK, for that little bit of home. The cinnamon sticks smell great and I even added some star anise and cloves to the stuffing to add to that Christmas fragrance. I made them a little bigger than suggested. I think they look nice on our tree.