Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Pinafore Dress

I mentioned recently I was working on a custom dress.

Julia came to me with a request to make her a pinafore dress. A what?? A pinafore dress! I wasn't familiar with this kind of dress either. :-) For many years, her pinafore dress was her favourite, but one day it just disappeared.
In comes Adrienne! After exchanging sketches and pictures to make sure Julia and I were on the same page, I proceeded on drafting the bespoke pattern from her measurements. A muslim fitting later, and we were in business! Well, pattern-wise, at least...
Finding the right fabric proved to be a little more challenging. Julia wanted double knit in a shade of blue with a little purple in it -- simple request, I thought. Wrong. After looking almost literaly everywhere in Sweden for such a fabric, we finally turned to Gorgeous Fabrics online (thanks to a Reader's suggestion!), to find a crêpe textured double knit in Royal Blue.

The trickiest parts of construction was probably to sew the round pockets. This fabric was quite thick and bouncy, and didn't really respond to pressing (like, at all). This meant that creating a nice, even curve in the pocket was really, really difficult. After several failed attemps, careful and precise basting turned out to be the solution.

All and all, I really like how the dress turned out I expect it will look fabulous on Julia.
Now, is taking custom orders something I want to do more of? Mister AS+AS asked this question over dinner the other night and I was surprised to hear myself say that I wasn't sure. I always thought of bespoke tailoring and custom dressmaking as THE best job anyone could have.

I found out that the stress and pressure of meeting your client's expectations does take away a bit from the fun and pleasure of sewing. It's not longer "lah dee dah, I'm sewing!" if you know what I mean. Not that Julia was a difficult client -- far from it! She was the best first client I could have asked for. But it was still a bit stressful. What if I mess it up?

But of course, the other side is that there is something extremely rewarding in allowing people to feel confidant and beautiful and enabling them to go out in the world and do the things they want to do. Not that I would be pretensious enough to think that I'm doing that with my dress, but I imagine it's how the tailors of Savile Row feel at the end of their work day. :-)

Thank you for allowing me to share this sewing milestone with you. It's Sewing Club tonight, so I'm leaving you on an extra happy note.

Happy sewing everyone!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Sewing is Back! (But we knew that)

Good morning everyone!

So nice to see our own Kristiann from Victory Pattern in the biggest newspaper in Canada today.

Don't you love to see our amazing community being written about in mainstream media?

Enjoy reading the article and congratulations to Kristiann for the feature!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Sewing Gods Strike Again

I must have done something right, Readers, because the sewing gods seem be looking after me, still. If you recall, in Spain, a screwdriver flew down from the sky to land on my terrasse, and I was finally able to repair my sewing machine.

Well, the other day, I came into my building and there she was...
To whom did she belong to, and why would someone abandon her in the hallway? You bet I made it my priority to find out.

Fastforward a couple months and this dressform is now... in my sewing studio. :-)

Turns out it belonged to the organiser of the neighbourhood sewing club (because yes, we have a sewing club in our community -- pretty amazing, I know). Matilda, the organiser, had no use for the dressform and wanted to know if I would, perhaps, be interested in borrowing it... indefinitely? Hum, YES.

What is this sewing club about, your ask? I've been going for the past month now, and it's a group of women (men are also welcome, but none are joining us... for now. I'm working on convincing my partner to come. ;-) ) together to chat, have coffee and sew. It's been so nice to get to know other women who love sewing and to have access to quality sewing machines (namely, Husqvarnas, capable of sewing through eight layers of jeans like a knife through butter) and a serger. The organiser has studied both fashion design and tailoring, and even has a masters in textile arts. But best of all, she's very willing to share her knowledge, which means we'll be learning a lot in the months, in spite of the club not being a class per se.
You might be wondering what's on my sewing table at the moment! Well, I've just finished a custom-made dress, which I'm pretty proud of. But my sewing daydreams right now are totally dominated by Anne Klein's Vogue 1223 in the fabric shown on the mannequin. I'm trying hard to reign in this vision -- or, at least, to postpone it until the spring -- because it's totally impractical. What I need right now are fall and winter clothes, not another summer dress. But every so often, I turn to my dressform and... and... the fabric is just so pretty....

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Dump that Bias Tape -- Let me Introduce You to Fold-Over Elastic

I discovered fold-over elastic by accident in my local notions shop, but quickly realised that once you go "fold-over," you never go back!

What's so great about this stuff?
Essentially, it has the clean appearance of a woven bias tape, but the elasticity of an... well, of an elastic. The creased line in the middle makes it perfect for folding over -- hence, the name "fold-over". It makes for bias tape that's virtually impossible to mess up and that's what I used on my last dress. I could have used the satin side, but I chose the reverse, mat side for a more understated detail.
ALSO, because it feels so soft against the skin -- on both sides -- it would lend itself really well to underwear. I've seen it used for headbands and other hair accessories quite a bit, too. (Check out this tutorial for elastic hair bands by Megan Nielson.)

It's not hard to source online. This shop, for example, carries it in every colour under the sun at a quite reasonable price (hello, $0.50/yard!). You can also easily find it in glitter, velvet, prints and even tie-dye on Etsy and eBay.

Did you know about this notion and, most importantly, do you also think it's the BEST THING EVER since the invention of the sewing machine?? Or do I just need to get out more?

Happy sewing everyone!
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