Useful pages

28 February 2013

I heart Christopher Kane

Hi, I am Lucia, I am a fabricholic,
I still buy and buy but a sewn wardrobe is beginning to materialize, yay! Here is to keeping that up.

For my daily dose of eye candy I follow the Red Carpet Fashion Awards blog. For 99% it is gorgeous evening stuff that I would never have the occasion to wear. The rest of the time there are photos of celebrities in day or casual clothes. And every once in a while, among the wearable day dresses, there is a true stunner like this Christopher Kane pleated dress with overlay (photo courtesy the Red Carpet Fashion Awards).

The minute I saw it I knew I wanted to have my own, and with a very level head I pinned it to my Pinterest board to remind me to look for professional pleaters in my area.
One week later, I realized it was now halfway through the Pattern Review's annual RTW Contest. I don't know what it is about that contest but it gets my heart pumping every time. And this year the prize is free fabric?! From Mood?! Nothing could stop me from joining. Nothing. Not the fact that I didn't have fabric for this dress. Nor the fact that half the month was already gone. Nor the fact that I was 2 days away from leaving on holiday which would leave me with less than one week to work on said dress. Not even the fact that I would have to pleat the fabric myself (!) by hand (!!) because there was no time to have it done professionally since I didn't even know where to do that...

To make a long story short, I now have a pleating board of my very own after following Nicole Beaufrog's very helpful video. And, with a few tips from a 90's Threads article on pleating fabric for skirts, I managed to cook up my very own Christopher Kane knock off in 5 days flat.
Wow. For me, this is like having achieved warp speed.

Let me tell you I cannot believe I got this done. Sure, the pleats are not as skinny nor as sharp as on the real thing, but I'm kinda proud of my beautiful knock-off with fat, wonky pleats :-) And that diagonal pleat on the bodice? Nightmare, I tell you. I first sewed it to the lining bodice at the inner pleat fold, but in the end I had to give it a few stitches near the outer pleat fold as well to stop it from curling out. Darn bias!
And that skirt overlay you see? That's the second one I made. This one has a silk organza underlining to stop any waving at the diagonal edge (that darn bias again) and it is wider at the bottom hem to compensate for the sideways pull from the pleats underneath.
All in all I am loving my dress and the crazyness that made me make it in the first place. I do wish that I was a better photographer (or this fabric was easier to photograph) so you could see the great color and shine of the fabric. And I also wish (and this is something I realized only while wearing it for the photos) that I knew how to tame static cling, because the more I move in it the more it clings! Yikes! How can I ever wear this in public??? I will need to research that next, sigh...
Here are a few more photos, next to the original Christopher Kane. Yeah, the one in the professional photographs with professional lighting and "professional stuffing" or whatever it is that they do to make it look so perfect while floating freely in space?! How DO they do that??

And now, I'm going to enter it in the Pattern Review's RTW Contest. Wish me luck! :-)

Ah, almost forgot. To make this dress I used Burda pattern 03-2013-110 but heavily modified. My review of Burda 03-2013-110 is at Pattern Review.

It really bothered me how appallingly bad those photos above are, so tried to make better photos today in daylight. I am still a very bad photographer, and the wind wasn't helping either, but at least you can see the dress details a bit better in this one. BTW, many thanks for all the kind comments, they make my day! I'll respond individually when I have a bit more time.

15 February 2013

A skirt for my knitted poncho

Hi, I am Lucia, I am a fabricholic.
I still buy and buy but a sewn wardrobe is beginning to materialize, yay! Here is to keeping that up!

I can't believe that in my 2012 inventory I forgot to mention the garments I knitted last year! Granted it was only one poncho and one purse. The poncho is a copy of Laura Biagiotti's Fall 2010 white poncho and I looooove mine! So much so that I made a skirt just so that I could wear it exactly as in the knitting pattern photo.

The skirt is Burda 08-2007-113, but without the beautiful draping at front.

I know, I know, that is precisely what makes this skirt special. Well, the original plan was to make it with that bit. Then I forgot to lengthen the draping piece by the same 4cm that I had lengthened the other 3 skirt pieces. Argh! I only realized my mistake when the side seam came up short. See that at bottom right on the in-progress photo? Yup that's it...

I still had enough fabric to cut another front, but not another draped front. Then I happily decided that I was better off with just a plain skirt because
(1) the hem on the draped portion was not going to look very nice with the reverse side showing and (2) the draped bit was too fussy for under the poncho as intended.

And you know what? I really am very happy with the plain skirt! It is a great basic.

Here is how I wore it today to work. That green jacket is a vintage find I bought in my grad school days and it was always impossible to wear with anything except jeans. Voila! Perfect with my new basic skirt.

Please do ignore that overextended blob at the right back. I ride a bike to the train station on my daily commute and the skirt got a bit stretched from the bike seat.

The skirt is made in a medium weight Ponte knit and because it is stretchy I eliminated the back zipper. Since Ponte doesn't ravel I didn't finish the seam edges.

Even though I had to redo the front piece it still took me only 2 days to make, which for me is lightning speed. Mmmh... I wonder if I can make another skirt like this in a single day? That would be a first for me!

My review of Burda 08-2007-113 is at Pattern Review.

08 February 2013

How exciting!

Well, the moment is here, to select the winner of my first ever giveaway!

And the winner is... comment number 4! That's Ruth. Congratulations Ruth!

Send me a message to amalitarmx at gmail dot com with your mailing address and I will post the book to you. I hope you like it!

And thank you all for your kind comments and for visiting my blog. This was a bit exciting, I have to say. I don't know why I didn't do this earlier. I think I'll keep an eye out for another opportunity to have a giveaway...

07 February 2013

So not my style

Hi, I am Lucia, I am a fabricholic.
I still buy and buy but a sewn wardrobe is beginning to materialize, yay! Here is to keeping that up.

This dress is a bit of a conundrum for me. The pattern is Burda 11-2011-120 and when I first saw it in the magazine I loved it. I used a beautiful tweed in my stash trying to balance the super feminine design of the dress. I worked hard at it. I added a lining and had to figure out how best to deal with the ruffled neckline and the lining (I gave the lining a super-scooped neckline and finished it with my first-ever rolled hem from the serger). I added shoulder pads to improve the shape of the sleeves. I had to sew the ruffles twice to get them just right. And then, after all that work... I just don't like it on me!
How could that happen? I thought I knew what I liked and what I don't, when did I forget? Sigh! I still love that tweed and the dress actually fits me well, oh, okay a bit on the fitted side, but nothing I wouldn't wear. Nope, the problem is all the ruffles, I really don't feel comfortable in this dress, it is just not my style. Has this ever happened to you? Made a garment that was just fine in all respects but you still didn't want to wear? Or do bizarre things like this only happen to crazy me??
Well, now that I have blogged about it I think I'm ready to give it away to the charity shop. Good bye dear tweed, I'm sure you'll make someone else happy. P.S. I know I should have also eliminated those wrinkles at the waist on the back, but back then I was still in denial about needing a sway back adjustment. In fact, after taking those photos I went and investigated how to make sway back adjustments. I don't quite get it how to do it when there isn't a horizontal seam at the waist (as in this case) but I'm working on it!
My review of Burda 11-2011-120 is here at Pattern Review.

03 February 2013

A gingham blouse, V7903 by Sandra Betzina

Hi, I am Lucia, I am a fabricholic.
I still buy and buy, but a sewn wardrobe is beginning to materialize, yay! Here is to keeping that up.

I have a largish backlog of pieces I've made in the past few months, but haven't yet blogged about. I think I'm going to pretend that I planned this all along since this backlog is now quite handy while I try to establish a blogging rythm. So without further ado: A fitted blouse in blue gingham.
The pattern is Vogue 7903 by Sandra Betzina. I really liked the multiple darts to showcase the waist and the sleeve cuffs. I've been thinking that I need more blouses to go with all the skirts I've been sewing lately, so I chose this pattern for my first try.

I love the look of a crisp, fitted shirt. So, in my delirium of Carolina Herrera-dom, I picked the crispest fabric I could find. This poly taffeta in a blue gingham print comes from the home-dec department and is clearly intended for puffy valances over a kitchen window. OK, see there, at least I can admit it now... Luckily there are plenty of good news. I am very pleased with the fit, and with such a crisp fabric I needed no interfacing at all which saved some time. I also love the cuffs. On the photo they are not so visible because of my obsessive stripe matching, but in person, with shadows and motion they do stand out as a very nice feature. Seeing how it is so crisp there was no chance that I would ever tuck it in, so I shortened the length a few centimeters to what I think is a more flattering length for me. With the many darts it looks a bit as if it has a peplum, which I find quite nice.

But the best of all are the buttons. I love, love, love, those tiny rectangular buttons. They are vintage, from a flea market in Annecy (France) and I was so pleased that they matched this shirt. So, despite the poor fabric choice, I do like this blouse and wore it a couple of times last summer, with white jeans as in the photo above or with my cobalt blue skirt which it matches perfectly. One of these days I'll get around to making another version in a more suitable fabric like cotton popelin.