Tidbits #4

Dear readers,

 

I hope you are enjoying the weekend. I am finally catching up on sewing plans I have been delaying and I’m finally making some progress. For today’s edition of Tidbits I gathered some information about making an arm for your dressform.

chambray-draping-5Sewing Bits

  1. First I thought I would mention this nice blog I follow : Note to self. I just love the short note style and the pretty nordic style pictures!
  2. This post from Cloning Couture, is what reminded me about arm making. Mary is even offering her pattern for free!
  3. I drafted mine (above) from a book one of my professor had when I took classes at FIT Integrating Draping, Drafting and Drawing. I’m fairly certain this is the method referred by Pandemic Apparel, unfortunately the post is old and all the pictures are gone…
  4. The last one, I’m terribly curious about. It’s from researcher Rickard Lindqvist who write all sorts of complicated interesting things about pattern making. His free pattern is a 3D simulation of an arm. It looks so unusual. If anyone you make it I hope you will let me know!!

Other Bits

  1. I’m not a quilt person, but I thought those modern designs by Louise Gray were very pretty and would fit very nicely in my apartment…
  2. I have a total crush on the Fall 2017 RTW collection by Christian Dior. I just want to dress in subtle shades of navy all day, every day!
  3. Talking about Dior, here is an nice Instagram accountnice Instagram account of a “petite main” who works as an extra during runway season. Enjoy!

That’s it for today, I hope you still find Tidbits interesting! Please let me know what you have been reading/watching/listening to!

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Tidbits #3

Dear Readers,

 

It’s been a while since I wrote the last Tidbits, but here we are. I had drafts sitting in my blog editor forever and I had to delete a lot of the links which I thought were not relevant anymore. But I kept some, that I thought were interesting anyway. I want to mention first that if you are like me and enjoy those round-up posts, my two favorite sources articles you won’t find mentioned on all the other blogs are Oliver + S weekend links and the newsletter of Center for Pattern Design.

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On my sewing table…

Sewing bits

  1. I have an obsession about automated drafting to measurements so of course, Sew Fitography caught my eye. It seems to me that this is something that should already be widely available… At least, if I was a big pattern company, I would be investing on this quite a lot. Two years ago, I had an interesting discussion with the founder of Fitle (we graduated from the same business school) and it was fascinating. They are already working with established brands for RTW but also with custom shirt makers. The founder never thought about the home-sewing pattern market… Can you imagine trying on a pattern on your virtual double to decide what size to start with? All the fabric and time one would save?? That’s the dream for me!
    I just love when sewing intersects with new technology. I have so many questions about Kite, the pattern projector that Upcraft club is developing, but I’m excited to see what comes out!!
  2. This is a shameless plug, but my friend and I just started a pattern project. We had some sales already and we are super excited. I think you can tell that marketing is not our strong suit…. We’d rather be sewing all day!! I really want to do a full post here to explain the why and the what but I’m still thinking and pondering!
  3. I never heard of In-Seam studio before but I find their tutorials so pretty. I kind of wish I had the eye to make things look like that…

Other bits

  1. I believe I could spend hours just looking at behind the scenes video of Couture…. I’ll assume that all of you saw Signé Chanel, but maybe you haven’t seen that short video on the making of the mirror dress from S/S 2017.
  2. A great article by Tim Gunn.

 

That’s all for today! Did you read/see/heard something super interesting recently?

Tidbits #2

Dear readers,

Welcome to the second edition Tidbits where I randomly link and talk about sewing and non-sewing things that have been on my mind lately! I really enjoyed the discussion and the links you shared on Tidbits #1 so I thought it would be worth to keep going…

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found on Sigrid Sewing Projects

Sewing Bits

Interesting thoughts from Debbie at Lily Sage & Co on why you may end up with more iterations of a trend when you sew then when you buy RTW. Refining a design does require more than one garment for most of us, but unlike Debbie I don’t do much transformation/refashion of my previous makes and no matter how slow I sew my wardrobe grows and grows and grows…

You may have read recent blog posts and reactions (here at Sew Liberated and at Noble&Daughter) about the pressure of blogging, which I thought was quite interesting. I would link it to the sewing blog transition almost exclusively towards showcasing finished items. I was enjoying recently the latest posts of Sigrid who has been in my reader for a very long time.Like Sigrid’s, a few years successful blogs were all about elaborate evening dresses, little french jackets or tailored coats sewalongs, highlighting the process of making things. I went back to Gertie‘s older posts too, when she was actually sewing her way through the Vogue Book (exciting sewing blog times!!), and her posts were definitely more about the making. Today, the frequency of finished garments posts  influences heavily the popularity of a blog. While, blogs showcasing the process of making complex garments still exist but they are just not the norm anymore.

It could explain the relative simplification of patterns offered by some Indie Designers, as they try to match our expectation to have a quick make to show. But of course, there is only so much content you can create around making a woven tank, so you only post about your finished garment. The vicious circle of consumption is activated and you are looking for the next tank pattern, to sew in 2 hours and blog in 1!

In addition, it puts pressure on the Indie designers to try to churn out patterns as quickly as possible. I guess that if you are StyleArc or Burda, you have professional patternmakers, samplemakers and graders on your payroll as well as a huge library of existing patterns to derive new designs from. It’s completely possible for you to do monthly releases, especially since instructions are rather sparse… But if you’re not one of those established companies and you have the pressure of delivering new patterns regularly, it can lead to disappointing or underwhelming patterns. In my opinion, the latest pattern from Tilly and the Buttons, the Marigold Jumpsuit is the perfect example of that.

As a disclaimer, I’ll say that I am not in T&TB’s target customer so this pattern is not intending to fit my expectations. I have also no idea if this pattern is actually selling or not. So it’s definitely a stretch for me to call it a bad pattern release. It may be selling like hot cakes (“comme des petits pains” for those of you who like French-isms). But in my eyes, it’s just so sad. I don’t see it flattering, well-designed, filling some kind of gap or even cute. I know we could enter the endless debate of what is a flattering fit, personal taste, good design, etc. and that’s not exactly where I want to go. I’m not even sure that it does match well the rest of this designer’s offering. In addition, there are several cheaper and better looking jumpsuit patterns available in Burda, Big4 and other Indies… I will direct you to this fun free pattern released on the French blog Essais & Erreurs, if you are looking for something different!

On the other hand, having some kind of trust issue with the more complex patterns of Indie designers, I rarely buy them and even more rarely make them. I want to remedy that and I bought the Françoise Jacket by République du Chiffon. Between the pattern price and the shipping to the US, I ended paying way more than I normally would allow myself for patterns so I hope it proves a success. I am in love with the proportions and the narrow collar but of course I want to make changes so I will have to make a muslin and take it from there. I would like to make 2-pieces sleeves with functional button vents, add a back vent (or 2) and see if I can forego the double closure. Lots of work ahead, so I’m not sure I will gather the energy to do it all.

francoise-jacket

and other bits

Because we cannot only talk and read about sewing, here is an interesting article in the NY Times about having more time to unwind, except if you are a woman

Today, I have grand plans of managing to go see the Manux X Machina exhibition at the Met, getting my nails done and taking pictures of finished makes all before 4pm (can I insert a nap somewhere??) so I’d better stop my ramblings, and get started!! Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts  and own tidbits in the comments, you know how much I love reading them!

Tidbits #1

Dear readers,

The other day, I wrote about short-form content and I never thought that with the blog name I chose (many moons ago, on a whim and without particularly liking it), maybe that’s what I meant to do all along!! So, welcome to Tidbits first edition, where I share stuff I saw, read, heard.

Dartless Top SewingTidbits-3Sewing Tidbits…

2 beautiful Instagram accounts : Notes of a Pattern Maker and Contour Affair.

Now that’s what I call a great post from Jen at Grainline Studios. I’ve been completely underwhelmed by the brand’s latest pattern releases but her voice hasn’t changed and is still ON POINT. There are no secrets to good sewing, only practice practice practice!!

I don’t think I really need a Cape Blazer in my closet (or do I??) but this is what I like to see from the Indie pattern designer!

A nice article about sewing in the Atlantic. I enjoyed the history part on the sewing kit but the text doesn’t really go anywhere at the end and I “stayed hungry” (that’s a litteral translation of the French expression “rester sur sa faim).

And other Bits!

I’m fairly recent listener to podcasts, and have been following the one produced by Leandra Medine of Man Repeller since the beginning. However, it’s been a few episodes that she is losing me. The last one is all about getting out of your comfort zone and I’m just getting tired of the constant run for improvement. Can’t you just be happy about where you are and what you have? Do you really have to “challenge yourself” all the time to become a “Better You”? Listen and tell me what you think!

A few weeks ago, I saw this great Cuban movie Viva and I highly recommend it! I’ve never been to Cuba but I could really feel the Carribbean vibe I have encountered in Haiti, the Dominican Republic or Panamá. The story is beautiful, the music is awesome and the photography is mind-blowing!

What are the words or images you enjoyed recently, please share!

Update and thoughts

Dear readers,

 

(Warning: this is a long one, so I’m putting some pictures from my Instagram feed to make it less heavy!!)

You may have completely forgotten about my existence and that would only be fair. Since moving back to New York 5 months ago, many many things have happened (some of them include sewing). For some time I didn’t have enough energy to blog, and there will be more on that later. I am grateful to have my energy back now but I haven’t figured out yet a way to take pictures that’s not too daunting.

My dress form stayed in Haiti, and that means all pictures of finished garments would have to be on me… Those of you who follow me on Instagram will know that I am still alive and sewing. But having a backlog of projects to show on the blog is adding to the paralysis. I do have a camera, a tripod and an apartment that gets decent sunlight (although only between 1 and 3pm). So that means little to no pictures, and really, what’s a sewing blog without pictures??

Are we still reading the sewing blogs in our feeds?

(she asks while typing and hoping that someone will reply…)

In addition, there are been several announcements recently of people quitting on their sewing blogs, sometimes to focus on Instagram, as you can read here and here. It feels like a recurrent discussion by now. Blogland looks like Real Estate sometimes, with cyclical highs and lows. From where I stand it does certainly look like we are hitting a low, but I may be wrong.

I currently have 294 sewing blogs in my Feedly. Granted, they are not all active, but still 294!! I enjoy reading blogs with my morning coffee, but can I really call this reading? It feels more  like skimming through repeated content. So why? I obviously don’t have an answer to that.

On the other hand, some  have also been implementing traditional sewing blog recipes for more than 5 years, and sometimes 10 and they are still going strong!! Through good writing and discipline they keep generating a lot of engagement, and I definitely don’t skim their posts… There are also new and not new gorgeous sewing blogs around that keep inspiring me to run to the sewing machine(s). But to be honest, both options require a lot of work, time and skills that I don’t have!

Enjoying the process

I’m a firm believer in that you should decide what you do based on how much you will “enjoy the process”. If I keep blogging in some form, it’s important for me that I enjoy the process of making it happen and not only the outcome of a pretty and up to date blog. Because let’s be honest, that is never going to happen. So let’s  start with lists, lists are FUN (you’re allowed to disagree) to see if it helps :

Things that I like :

  • Sewing
  • Thinking, Talking, Plotting, Reading, Watching all things about sewing
  • Changing my mind
  • Trying to take pretty pictures to emulate the bloggers I admire (and never succeeding)
  • Process pictures (because I don’t have to be in front of the camera, ha!)
  • Giving my opinion (I like that A LOT and probably too much)
  • Interacting with readers and other bloggers through comments&emails
  • Reading and sharing articles on things that are not sewing related

Things I don’t really like :

  • Getting myself ready to be in front of the camera
  • Taking pictures with a tripod
  • Reading my old posts and realizing my writing makes no sense (ugh)
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Restricting my opinions because I fear to be seen as not nice.

Are we allowed to disagree or to dislike ?

That last point is very important for me. For some reason, I don’t feel comfortable writing what I really think about brands, products and what is going on in the sewing world, because it’s often not going to be nice. Most of you don’t know me in real life, but if you did, you would know that “being nice” is not a very strong concern of mine!! So why here? Of course, there is a difference between expressing your opinion and being mean or disrespectful. The issue is that in order to avoid the latter, I also censor the  former.

This auto censorship is particularly striking to me as I literally have no ambition of having any commercial activity linked to my blog. I have no brand endorsements, nor am I seeking any. I don’t get asked to do reviews or pattern testing. Basically I can do whatever I want. But I don’t. I tried to be active on GOMI for while, but it also ended up boring and repetitive. The same “clique” impression it initially criticized appears to be re-forming there with the same people commenting over and over on the same things. I still read it occasionally but I don’t find the opinions expressed there as refreshing as I used to.

So, is this a space where i can say that I really don’t like what has been released these days in terms of Indie patterns? And then, am I allowed to change your mind later about a particular pattern (yes it happens, often)? Can you make an Indie pattern and find the drafting terrible for a somewhat  basic shape and then write about it? Can I once express excitement over the launch of a new sewing media, only to be disappointed one or two issues later? Can I comment on the fact that sewing podcasts seem to be restricted to the same 5 or 6 people being interviewed on different shows?

What to expect around here…

I read some opinions of people thinking that Instagram is killing blogs. I don’t think it’s completely true yet. For instance I feel self-conscious of posting repetitive content on Instagram. If I make a shirt, I don’t think I will be comfortable posting a picture of the shirt, then a close-up of the collar, another of the placket, a shot of the inside, etc. And yet, I love seeing those pictures on blogs. So I want to keep the blog active for now.

A lot of changes, obviously. I knew 2016 was going to be a year of change, I had just completely underestimated by how much! However, I feel that I have to make them in order to keep this space alive. I was never a long post type of blogger, but I really want to experiment with short-form content and I think there will be different type of posts :

  • I would like to do more process shots as I sew. A sort of a visual diary of a garment in the making  (but not tutorials) and blog them right away without too much commentary. I could follow them up with a wrap up post on that garment which would get written only AFTER it was worn for a day or two! Too often I made something, posted happy pictures, wore it the following day only to discover that there is something wrong with the fit.
  • I would like to share, inspiration, articles, podcasts and other reads that I found interesting. Some will be sewing related, some will not.
  • I want feel able to comment freely and constructively on what I think going on in our little corner of the internet, and hear what you think about it too!!

That’s it for today, I would really really love to hear your thoughts so please jump in the comments about what you think is still relevant content for sewing blogs, and let’s keep talking!!

 

 

 

 

Seamwork

Dear readers,

Apart from pyjamas made from the Madeleine free pattern, I never ever made a Colette pattern. They don’t fit my size, my style or my sewing preferences (too much hand sewing and beginner techniques). However, I do own the book, I’ve been reading the blog since the beginning and got on every email lists for sneak peeks…. To be perfectly honest, I even started a project from the book but I quit at the muslin stage as I got too upset with the pattern. Despite my lack of interest for the patterns themselves, I am impressed at how Sarai’s ideas for the community are always ahead. And she did it again with Seamwork (if you enter your email, you can win 1-year for free and you give me an extra entry, if you don’t want to give me an extra entry click here ;-)).

I strongly believe that sewing is underusing the possibilities of online publishing. An online magazine like Seamwork will be a good first step. Personnally, I cannot wait to see more ebooks/apps that make full use of the different type of interactive media that can be integrated: video, animated illustrations, text, pictures that are zoomable, samples in 3D, in-app comment/feedback… This is something I am passionate about, so I could go on and on. But I want to hear from you! How do you think sewing instructions, patterns, books, etc. could make better use of the available technology?

Slouchy white linen pants and thoughts on the online sewing world.

Dear readers,

Forgive me in advance for the ramblings. To ameliorate it, paragraphs will be separated by pictures from the white linen pants I made 3 months ago. Since then I change the waistband to the same rectangular waistband as my linen shorts.

The pattern is a very modified version of this Japanese book.
The pattern is a very modified version of this Japanese book.

I feel funny. I have pictures of finished garments to show and I don’t write the posts. I even love the said garments but talking about them is not as exciting anymore. The fact that they were all completed between 1 and 3 months ago may have something to do with that… So what to do? The blog is going to be 2 years old very soon. I keep enjoying it but I’m still looking for my “voice” (OMG that sounds so lame), or at least looking for something that sounds like who I am IRL.

Also, I just discovered GOMI… Such a relief to read what my little mean french inner voice has been saying!! Of course, I don’t agree with everything (who could?) but some points really resonated with me. Since sewing became so prominent online, maybe we lost something on the way.

The fabric is a linen blend from Mood NYC, extremely annoying to working (all about shifting and fraying)
The fabric is a linen blend from Mood NYC, extremely annoying to working (all about shifting and fraying)

When I started sewing, I also got internet access. But in 1999, not many sewing resources were available online, especially not in French! Everything was about forums back then and closed groups. I use to be part of one called affinitiz…

Thus to learn, I read books, bought burda magazines, took classes with an old lady and… I failed and failed and failed many projects. At least, there was no one to show them too. Except my critical French mom (hey mom!). Having them all around the blog would be kind of embarassing, with their unraveling seam allowances, blown seams from the absence of ANY wearing ease and their highly impractical sleeves.

However, since that day, I had the feeling that something was missing in the home sewing pattern industry. Something that would allow us to achieve results closer to high-end RTW: the ability to follow trends before they are translated in the mass-market, beautiful finishings, a focus on higher-end materials, etc.

Fast forward to the mid 2000s, this is IT! Burdastyle website has been launched, we are all talking about open source sewing, a website called “Inner French Girl” is around and awesome (do you remember??), fashion-incubator, the first sewing blogs . Such an exciting time!

White linen pants 3
I was very happy with my double welted pockets with flap, i took pictures of my pattern making and sewing process, but I don’t know if they are worth posting..

And now here we are, in 2014, and it’s all about pattern releases, book deals, fabric blogging networks, sewalongs and blog tours. I cannot say that I did not want to be part of it. I love shiny stuff! But I don’t have the time and the skills it takes to jump there. Plus, I miss the time when we were talking about collaborative sewing, when the Selfish Seamstress was throwing patterns at the world and when PR was a mandatory stop before spending 15 EUROS on a Vogue pattern!

Going back to GOMI, and to the pattern testing controversy, I’m not saying that bloggers should stop releasing patterns and getting book deals. As long as people buy them, they should keep on releasing them!! However, I believe that a collaborative approach could help the ones that are just bored with Peter Pan collar tutorials. The new sewing experts are here to teach beginners (and that’s great) or to underline stuff in silk organza (please don’t make me!! I promise I will be a good girl!!).

I don't think it shows in the pictures, but the (very) curved waistband I prepared initially made them slightly uncomfortable. So I ripped it off and put rectangular waistband. When pants sit that low, I think it suits me better.
I don’t think it shows in the pictures, but the (very) curved waistband I prepared initially made them slightly uncomfortable. So I ripped it off and put rectangular waistband. When pants sit that low, I think it suits me better.

So I’m offering an experiment. In the coming weeks, I will throw a free pattern on the blog. It will be a pencil skirt. Initially graded in 3 sizes, on the small spectrum of sizing range, because that’s the one I know. I will take pictures of my construction steps to put them here too. And then let’s all pattern test!! If people wants to tell me that explanations are poor, the pattern needs improvements, they can grade it to bigger sizes, the pdf layout is bad or whatever, let’s have it! And maybe, MAYBE, one pencil skirt at a time, we can work towards patterns fit (haha) our needs better. On the other hand, it is very possible that nobody cares, anyway, let’s at least talk about it!