Lucky me: Midi is the new Mini and some zipper drama…

As I said a few times before, the length of my skirts after 3 years in New York had diminished considerably and it happens that they are not only inappropriate for Haiti but also extremely impractical (try to get yourself into a Nissan Patrol elegantly in a tight and short pencil skirt and you will know what I mean). Therefore, and despite everything you can hear about short people and longer skirts, my recent sewing projects have all been hitting the knee and below. Including this last shiny shiny project :


Conveniently enough, some runways have decided to agree with me (proof, proof, proof and PROOF !). I guess there is a limit to \how many seasons you can profess to go even shorter than the year before… The pattern is one I used before, but longer this time. It’s the pleated skirt pattern from burdastyle and I made last fall in leather.


Of course leather would not have been a very good choice for the haitian weather so I used a coated cotton I bought at Paron’s Fabric before leaving New York (Ok, yes maybe I did do a little stash building operations prior to leaving… and yes maybe I’m feeding the stash everytime I get out of Haiti… but yes, I do buy fabric also in Haiti… I’m 3 times guilty!).

I really like the kind of retro silhouette that the extra length brings to this pattern.


Ok, so maybe you can’t really see the coated shiny part of the skirt on those picture but I think it more visible on the close-ups. I did bring comments from my female colleagues such as “Oooooh shinyyyy!!!”. I guess a lot of us have an inner little girl wishing we would go to work everyday wearing shiny outfits!

The usual dress form shots: they are usually better quality because I take them with my Iphone instead of my crappy camera…

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I used the main fabric for the pocket and because the fabric was not fraying at all I did not do any kind of seam finish. My only concern with this fabric is the ironing. You have to use a press cloth even to open seams….


I don’t remember if I had to do it for the leather skirt but I had to take in the back for at least 1″ on each side.

Also, this time I used a invisible zipper instead of a metal exposed one. Why? Well first because I think it suits the style of this skirt better, but also because THERE IS NO NICE METAL ZIPPER IN PORT AU PRINCE (Or am I wrong ? I will ask Lakaribane but after seeing her discussing colors of invisible zipper at the store-that-shall-not-be-named, I’m guessing I’m right). I used my usual method from Fashion Incubator for invisible zippers (really I cannot recommend it enough) with one of the zippers I brought back from my last trip to New York. I was sooo happy to have one to match perfectly. Now you can fell the drama coming… I finish the skirt that sunday evening with the hope of parading on Monday morning at the office. I put it on the form, close the zipper, take a picture for instagram and try to take it off the form to put it in my closet. ZIPPER STUCK, I spent an hour trying to remove it. Out of desperation I undid the seams hoping I would be able to fix it better of the form. Couldn’t. Cried a little. Put the skirt aside for 3 days until I had time to change the zipper to a not-perfectly-matching one… End of drama.

The culprit!
The culprit!

With this non-fraying fabric I decided to leave the hem raw but to avoid the unfinished effect I added 2 rows of topstitching.


Anyway I’ve been quite productive sewing-wise so you can expect more posts very soon! Last question, my current date raised the issue of the skirt being maybe 1″ or 2″too long (2013, the year when guys started discussing hem length…), what do you think ? I could just cut it and redo the top stitching…


Burda Open Back Dress 03/2013

EDIT – New close-ups I found on my phone. Yes I’m one of this people who has a phone that takes better pictures than her camera. I should do something about it but I don’t feel like jumping the “reflex” step yet…

I finally got around taking the pictures and writing the post about this dress that I finished two weeks ago !! If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I had some issues with the fit, but here is the final result :


For some reason the picture quality is not nice this time, I apologize!  I made the dress in size 17 (Burda petite sizing, see pattern here), which is my usual size and I normally have very little fit problems. Well not this time…


I really like the full skirt and the open back but the dress does not seem to agree to stay in place. The back tends to ride up and the shoulders tends to come closer to the neck preventing the neckline from lying nice and flat…

CIMG0073The fabric is a printed silk I found here in Port-au-Prince (I was so happy). I used a brown cotton poplin for the sash and the lining of the bodice. This poplin have been in my stash forever. I remember packing it almost 4 years ago when I moved from France to Zambia. I, of course, had packed my sewing machine and some notions. I added this fabric as a “just in case”. Fabrics were amazing in Zambia so there was no case but it followed me to New York and finally found its use in Haiti where it found its match with this silk.


I’m not sure if I like it more with or without the sash… Any opinion ?


Anyway… Regarding the fit, it did not show any issue when put on my form so I was disappointed when I tried it on before putting in the zipper and it was GAPPING like CRAZY on the side. I’m not one afraid to show some skin but this was waaaaayy to close to a potential wardrobe malfunction. I let it rest for a few days and then I decided to scoop the neckline a little and I added some “darts” on the back pieces. See below :



You can see the diagonal dart that I added at the waist & side seam intersection 

Construction is fairly simple once you figure out the instructions. I fused all the outside edges of the bodice with the fusible tape I got for a ridiculous price one day at Pacific Trimmings in NYC.


For the straps, the idea is to sew them up to where they are going to connect to the cap sleeve, clip and turn them out. Then you can enclose them between the self and the lining.


I am not yet fully proficient with my serger so I just zigzagged the raw edges of the sleeves :


For the invisible zipper, as usual I used the Fashion Incubator tutorial. For some reason in the last few weeks I saw it popping up on other sewing blogs (yes, plural) as a “new” way of finishing zippers and lining with no hand sewing, but it’s been around on Fashion Incubator since 2005!!

Some dressform shots where you can see what I was saying about the back riding up :





 And finally some better quality close-ups…





So, sash or no sash ??

Lagarfeld (and Burda) for meeeeee!!

I’ve been wanting to make this Karl Lagarfeld’s skirt (pattern available here)  since the day it got released, which was in 2010… so I’m not proud. Anyway, I had this military green wool from Fabricmart from over a  year ago, I’m really underestimating my stash! Work has been busy so it took me a while to  finish this skirt but here it is !



I was a bit unsure about the elasticated waist in the back and I happen to quite like it !


I love that it has pockets. If I was to do it again I would make them deeper. I would also be more careful finishing the waistband in the front because it got bulky from the seam allowances. The only change to the pattern I made was to to add 2″ for length. In case you’re thinking about making this skirt, trust me, lengthening is indispensable. I’m 5’3, I wear my skirts “New York short” and I would NOT have been comfortable if those 2 inches were not there…


I lined the faux-pockets flap with so left overs of grey china silk. The waistband, the zipper area and the cuff are interfaced. The metal zipper is Riri from Pacific Trimmings and the metal buttons from M&J.


Next project will be the illusion jacket from Burda 10/2012, I already got fabric from Mood. It’s a beautiful wool from Marc Jacobs. I got it fully professionally fused by Sun Fay (257 W 39th street on the 4th floor here in NYC), they do several yards in 10 minutes while you wait. The interfacing is  weft from Guide Fabrics.

I have some work to do on the pattern (size it down and petite adjustment) but I hope I’ll be able to show some progress soon…