May 27, 2013

Summer is coming

So, I finished the Lacroix shirt last week when it was raining outside. Today, the weather has turned again and it was sunny the whole day. Quite suitable for what does, after all, look quite a lot like a Hawai shirt.
And since I didn't have an opportunity to take pictures earlier...

I asked E to help get some nice-ish photographs of my new shirt. He's been doing a great job with the camera this month (like the green cape pictures) and he usually manages to capture me smiling...
He did so today as well but unfortunately our timing was quite a bit less than perfect for the light in our home. So, my apologies for the dark pictures and for those which look a bit bleached and/or grainy because I had to make them lighter in photoshop.

This is how I envisioned this shirt. Tucked in retro style.

However, I don't hate it like this either...

I've just finished these trousers, by the way. Another pair of my good old self drafted go-to flared leg pattern. Not exciting enough to get a post of their own but very welcome for day-to-day wear.

The look of this shirt is a bit out of my comfort zone. So much print. E, ever honest but diplomatic, said it looked "different but nice". 

I am loving the fit though. I added some room for the bigger cup size and although it doesn't have waist darts, I did shape the sideseams to get a bit of shape. At center back I added some extra ease to make those little pleats at the back yoke a bit more substantial (see the technical sketch in this post). 

Oh, and it helps that this fabric has just about the perfect weight and hand for this kind of shirt. Maybe it was meant for shirts...

And we made some silly pictures as well.

May 23, 2013

Elle choisit l'été

I hope that's right... My French is rather poor.
Anyway, I think it means "she chooses summer". With the weather in the Netherlands more like autumn than (approaching) summer, the "summer state of mind" is much discussed. Can you believe we may get some frost tonight... 

Enough complaining about the weather. The French was supposed to be a little bridge to the topic of this post: French Elle magazine! The issue of 2 June 1955, to be precise. 

Back then, Elle was published weekly and from the ones I have, this is the issue closest to today's day and month.

It's immediately clear that this is not just another housewife's magazine. It's quite unlike my Dutch ladies' magazines and, come to think of it, rather different from its modern-day descendant as well...

Almost all adds are beauty or fashion related. The are no articles about childcare and most household ones are about care for one's clothes. There is a cooking page though and several stories.

There are some more serious general interest articles, like this one on a meeting of teenagers from around the world, organized by Unesco.

And there's showbizz. Like this report of filming a movie with Juliette Gréco in Saint-Germain-des-Pres (there she is, in the bottom left picture).

Or this snapshot of Brigitte Bardot being entertained at the Cannes Film Festival. 

And of course, there's fashion...

Model Bettina shares her foreign fashion finds...

And you could order the pattern for the suit she wears.

Then there's a choice of brightly coloured summer dresses...

I just love seeing period colour pictures. Although they are often less sharp and printed overly bright, they really add another dimension.

What about 6 pretty summer dresses with dots?

Or 6 with stripes? 

I just love this one.
Incidentally, this is that time in the mid-1950's when waist-lenght bodices and figure hugging longer ones are in fashion at the same time. You can see the evidence on all the dress pages.

On to practical fashion advice: how to use small bits of fabric and ribbons to give a fashionable accent to one's outfit. I think this is something the French are just naturally better at.

And there's a hat tutorial. Unfortunately, it's for a bog-standard beret but isn't that full page photograph for it glamorous?

There's even a garment pattern on scale. It's for a lovely blouse with a fold-over front. The picture is printed over two pages so I couldn't scan it but believe me: It's a simple fitted kimono sleeve blouse at the back but the front bodice is gathered onto a sleeve/yoke. Really nice. Maybe I should try and make it...

Oh, and of course there's a knitting pattern. With another glamorous full page picture. I have never seen a swimsuit knitting pattern like this before. It looks charming but this is not something I would care to try.

Hmm, summer dresses... Maybe I should just start on one...

May 20, 2013

Oh, la lacroix!

Take a look at this fabric (the colour is a bit off in this picture, the ones at the end of this post show it properly):

I picked it up at the market about a year ago. It was on sale for 1 euro a meter and there was another colourway as well (which I didn't like: yellow instead of read and pinks where this one has blues...). I liked the unusual print: wild, random flowers on a large scale. And looking closer, I was puzzled by the signature: Christian Lacroix. What the...
I don't know if it's 'real' or not. A lot of market sellers buy remnants where-ever they can find them so this could be genuine designer fabric left over from a collection years ago. It could also be a fabric produced for some Christian Lacroix line but never used there and sold off by the bolt. And of course, it's very likely to be some kind of fake. But even then it's probably based on the look of some Lacroix collection. I'd like to know which one. 
Christian Lacroix is not a designer I know a lot about. 

The fabric is a bit out of my comfort zone. I usually go for plain fabrics or small, un-obstrusive prints. But I like this one. It looks fresh and summery. And it's a lovely soft but stable cotton.

Because the fabric is so bold, I thought it would be best to make a simple garment. A short sleeved shirt.
I thought about kimono sleeves but then I decided it would be good to break up this huge print with seams.

So, this is what I went with: a very basic design (and a rather rough sketch). Convertible collar, back yoke with small pleats, plain, normally set short sleeves. The only slightly unusual feature being the bust darts which rise, 'French dart' style, from the waistline. I may or may not add back darts. 
In my mind, this is a shirt to wear tucked into my high waisted skirts or trousers.
Oh, and I'm thinking about using red buttons.
As simple as it may be, it is a bit of a test as well: this is the first garment in which I've tried to correct for my current, larger, cup size. I didn't really have to because nearly all of my self-drafted things still fit (which has to be because I used to put in just a bit more ease at the bust, for proportion's sake) but I wanted to try it anyway.

This is how far I've come today: it still needs the fiddly bits: collar, hems, buttons and buttonholes. And side seams, of course. 
Oh, I may use red buttons...

I'm liking it so far, but I'm very curious to see it on. 
Back to the sewing machine!

May 13, 2013

Spring/Summer sewing plans...

To be honest, I'm not that good and making coherent sewing plans. I pretty much tend to make what I feel like making. Or what I need. 
Of course, that doesn't mean I don't have plans for what to sew in the coming. It rather means I have too many...

Me-Made-May is a bit of help here. It helps to be get even more aware of what I actually wear. I mostly wear trousers to work and I often struggle to make nice-yet-practical combinations. 
Ergo, I need another pair of my 'standard' trousers (seen here in with my cape). 

Probably one in black twill and one in dark blue jeans. And more 'semi-dressy' tops. Comfortable things which may ore may not be in jersey but are not really t-shirts. Like the flip twist top I made last week. 

However, that is hardly the stuff of daydreams. I'll show you some of the things I've sketched (I'm not great at sketching). 

This dress is something I've wanted to make for the past two summers. A strapless dress with a twist at the bust and a full skirt. I will make it in a cotton with an abstract sunflower print on white which I've had in my stash for those two years. I plan on constructing the bodice using lingerie drafting technique to create seperated bust pieces. I'm not sure about the skirt yet. Circle, pleats or dirndle... It may have to depend on the amount of fabric I have available. I think I bought 3 meters.

This is also a dress which has been lurking in my memory for a while... A sort of 1950's style bodice with short kimono sleeves on top of what the site (which unfortunately doesn't exist anymore) would call a "cowl skirt". In fact, the skirt is cut with large 'points' at the side which create a draped line. I plan on making this pretty soon, using some dark teal fabric I bought last autumn.

Do those things sound like sewing "frosting" to you yet? On the odd chance they don't, I'm pretty sure this will:

A jumpsuit with "cowl legs". Vaguely based on Poiret hobble skirts, last seen on Sylvia in Parade's End, this would be neither practical, nor in tune with today's trends. Nor, come to think of it, with my usual looks...
And yet, I'd love to make it. I plan on using some of the dye-it-yourself crepe fabric M gave me and dye it grey. 
I made a lot of different sketches for this thing. First, I got really ambitious and thought about mounting a complicated, draped bodice on a boned, strapless underbodice. Then, I remembered the idiosyncracies of jumpsuits and thought the better of it. After that, I considered a shirt style top, like Sylvia's outfit has. And noticed I already planned pretty much the same thing for the dress I discussed before. 
This sketch then, is the happy medium I ended up with. Coming this summer, to this blog ;)

And then there's this.
Remember the wonderful 1949 party dresses I showed you?
Two of those really caught my imagination. One is more of a winter option so I have no problem with letting it wait for a while. The other one it this one:

The Dior. Cotton or linen decorated with embroidery, beading and/or sequins... Wouldn't it be great to make some sort of own version?
And then I found this stuff for sale at the market:

They sold it in several colours so I brought the fabric I had in mind. A good quality blue cotton I bought a lot of when it was on sale over a year ago. It's  nice fabric but I've always felt that, on its own, the colour is way too much like that of a hospital cleaner's uniform...
I've used it once before, for the Marion hybrid dress, which was sort of a wearable muslin, but there's plenty left. 
I'm thinking shawl collar, short, fitted kimono sleeves and a long-ish half circle skirt, probably with stick-out pockets. 

And all of it, from about 20 cm above the hem right up to the collar, covered with bits of that lace, cut out and rearranged to elegantly overgrow this dress.
Way to much work? Ehm, probably. Impractical? Sure. Worth it? Kind of. 
I'm not on a deadline, I can work on this whenever I feel like it. Cutting out the lace flowers is the kind of mindless work which can be pretty nice sometimes and I'm sure some of the sewing on will be as well.
I don't think I'll complete this dress soon, but I'd like to think I can do it...

I can't even say I've covered all my crazy plans in this post. Just the well defined ones, for which I even have the fabric. There is more where they came from but I will consider myself very productive if I manage to make all of these, in addition to the more practical stuff...
And what about you? Any crazy, ambitious or imaginative plans looming at you sewing horizon?

May 9, 2013

More lingerie!

As promised in my Me-Made-May pledge, I made another bra and matching panties.
I am happy with the fit of my sage green bra but now, I wanted to use padding (the material: it's like a thin layer of foam between two pieces of lycra and it can be used to create something like a cut and sewn foam cup)  for the cup and try and draft a different style. Because I have the not very practical goal of making a corselette later this year, I thought it would be good to try making a strapless bra. 
For a strapless bra, you have to make the bridge a bit higher and use either a horizontally or a vertically seamed cup. A diagonally seamed cup, like I used before, doesn't work for this style. 

I cut the cup pieces from the padding adding seam allowance only for the underwire seam. Then, sewed the top and bottom pieces together using what I think is called a hinged seam: just holding the edges together and sewing a stitched zigzag over them. Worked like a charm.

I finished and stabilized the top edge by applying satin biais tape. Than, based on something I've seen in bridal lingerie, I decided to sew a piece of boning on the center line of the lower cup. I covered it with velvet ribbon. 
I cut the bridge and a the other parts of the band directly surrounding the cups from non-stretch net and lace. The edges on the outsides of the cups are sewn in place with another piece of ribbon covered boning. This adds stability to the band.
I had decided to make this bra entirely lacey, with the scallops of the lace forming both the tops of the cups and the entire bottom edge of the bra. Because of that, the elastic at the bottom had to be applied a bit different that usual: I sewed it to the net as normal, then turned it up and stitched it to the lace on the inside, just above the line of the scallops. 

I used another of the underwires from and some of their elastic (they also sell that padding material, I bought beige from them), black padding from Kantje Boord, lace from the market and lycra and other notions which have been in my stash for a while.

With the bra finished, I had very little lace left. Not even enough for Melissa's lacey thong pattern. So I adepted my earlier pattern for cheeky shorts/thong with a lace back. Basically, I picked the thong version because it has a narrower 
back pattern piece and then moved the side seams towards to the back, narrowing the back piece until it would fit my remaining lace. 

I've been wearing the set yesterday and it's quite comfortable. The silhouette of the bra is a bit pointy but I'm enough of a retro girl like it (under some of my clothes at least). It's a bit like the sweater girl look ;)
I know that those bits of boning I put in are largely to blame. No boning (or not all the way to the seam) and a tiny tweak to the pattern should give a much rounder shape. Of course, no sewn shape will ever be as round as a molded cup but then again, should we want that? 

I consider this bra a success and good practice for the corselette. It's just a pity I didn't have enough lace for a second pair of panties... 

May 7, 2013

Flip turn

Those of you who follow the Me-Made-May 2013 Flickr Pool may have seen this already, but I thought it did deserve a post of its own as well.

It is a new t-shirt in marl grey rib knit. 

I used the "flip turn for a draped effect" design from Pattern Magic 2. Although it doesn't get a big picture in the book, it is probably one of its most popular designs. Which is why I hesitated about making it at first. But it's also one of the most wearable designs and ideal for a fabric like rib knit which looks the same on both sides (for the un-Pattern Magic-initiated: in this particular kind of twist, one piece is folded over so the wrong side of the fabric ends up on the outside of the garment). 

As usual, I used my own knit sloper instead of the Bunka block. I also wanted to make sure my version would be clearly asymmetrical, not hesitantly so, like it seems in the book. And I decided to bind the neckline by serging on a strip of fabric. To do this, I sewed the shoulder seams first, then applied the neck band and only then I proceded to assemble the front with the flip turn. 

I think it makes for a nice top which I will wear a lot.

May 5, 2013

A green cape!

I have been thinking, and blogging, about capes before. Last year, I even started drafting and making muslins but I could never quite get it to work, even just in my mind's eye.
Now, as I was folding the fabric of my latest haul onto the already overflowing shelf, I thought that bright green boiled wool would be perfect for a simple, not too full, cape. My thoughts quickly turned to a half circle shape with some kind of shaping at the shoulder. At first I thought I'd make it really simple, but this is the idea I put on paper:

Half circle cape, shoulder yoke which is rounded at the back and angles towards the opening at the front, simple convertible collar.

And this is what I made: Just that, in that wonderfully bright green boiled wool. Using the properties of the material, I left the bottom edge raw and didn't apply the facings in the usual way but rather just placed the outside on top of the facing and topstitched at 0.5 cm from the cut edges. I sewed on snaps for the closure. 
The cape was finished last Tuesday, but today E and I were walking outside and he agreed to take some pictures, which I think is much better than my usual self timer stuff. 
In this kind of wheather, nice but not necessarily really warm, it's a pretty ideal cover-up. And I think I could even ride my bicycle wearing it.
Another thing I like (but unfortunately forgot to try and take a picture of, but it may have been too windy anyway) is that, with the shaped yoke, the cape actually stays in place when worn open which makes it look a little like a jacket.

We took these pictures at the Dagelijkse Groenmarkt (literally translated "daily vegetable market", so I guess it was just that at some time, but in my memory there has never been a market there), the square around The Hague's Grote Kerk (Big Church), which casts the long shadow you see in the first three pictures. The structure behind me is the old town hall, a beautiful 16th and 18th century building which is now only used for weddings (information about it is here, unfortunately, it's only in Dutch).
Oh, and worry about my posing on the tram tracks. That particular route is not in use.

May 2, 2013

On blogger

After four years of blogging in white on black, with blogger providing a black on white version for mobile phones, text colour suddenly started to give me grief yesterday.
My post became impossible to read because the black lettering from the editing page didn't change to white to suit the white-on-black template. When I changed this to white on black in the editor, I got black bars with white text in the mobile version. I spent an hour or so trying to fix it, but without succes. Which is why I eventually settled on grey as a not-so-happy medium.
Today, I tried again on another computer, with equal lack of success. But I did find out the entire blog was easy to read in the standard, black-on-white template. Which is why I've changed to that.
My apologies for the hard-to-read post from yesterday. I'll stick with this template for now, and maybe look into some minor re-styling when I have the time.

May 1, 2013

Last minute

Yesterday, I read Tanit-Isis's latest blog post, which reminded me of something I had considered earlier...

So, here we go:

I, Lauriana of Petite Main Sauvage, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '13. I endeavour to wear only me-made clothes, with the exception of socks and underwear, each day for the duration of May 2013.
In addition, I will make another bra and some panties to add to my me-made lingerie.

Do you wonder why?
Well, it's not because I don't wear me-made clothes, just about every day. It's more because, like many obsessed seamstresses, I've got this pretty big wardrobe. Some garments are just not-so-succesful experiments which should be purched, others are gorgeous but not very practical things, yet others are falling victim to shifts in my taste... The list goes on and on. So, it would be helpful to see what I actually wear (not that that will stop me from exploring the weird and the wonderful on occasion though...).

Another reason to join is the community thing. I read some blogs, I'm always happy to hear from any of you who read mine but it's also nice to be part of club, a network. 
Burdastyle used to work like that for me but I feel it has now grown to big to give that effect. I was a member of Wardrobe Refashion for a while but that doesn't exist anymore (and I often felt like I was cheating because I'm so much more of a seamstress than a "re-fashionista"). 
I know lots of sewing folks do their networking on Pattern Review but since I rarely use commercial patterns, there's just no point in me joining that. 
So, I also see this challenge as a way to get out of my little corner of cyberspace and meet some new people who share my love sewing.

I know that, after three years of "Me-Made challenge months", many people are getting tired of endless outfit posts (and I know I don't want my own outfit posts here on the blog every day) so I apart from the occasional round-up post, I will only post daily outfit pictures on Flickr. 
And the picture with this post? That is today's outfit, in a crappy phone picture in the big mirror at work before anyone else got in...