Open Skirt Project

Dear Readers,

 

I will not apologize for the long absence, as it seems to be too common around sewing blogs (especially this one). There is a flu going around Haiti and I’ve been so sick that I could not participate in round 2 of the PRSewingBee. For me, that means very VERY sick… Enough on my disappointment, let’s have a look at V3 of the Open Skirt Project! For my next versions I will start using Size 1 for myself instead of size 2 as I like a closer fit. I’m very happy with the lowering of center front:

V3 Open Skirt Project

I did manage to send out the first newsletter of the Open Skirt Project and to update the pattern based on feedback and my own toile of version 3 (up). If you are interested in trying it out check out the size chart below:

Size Chart

Please take into account that although there will be instructions in the future, currently you have to be able to sew it on your own! For version 4, The PDF layout has been entirely redone and now you can use the layers in acrobat reader to print only the size(s) that you want!

If you are interested in trying out V4 of the pattern and receive the updates, please sign up for the newsletter (I promise I’m way too busy to send it often so there is no way you feel spammed).

I will be off for a week to Dominican Republic and I have not been doing much sewing lately but hopefully I will have things to show before the end of the year…

Named pattern : the Shadi skirt

Dear readers,

It appears that I have been making a lot of announcements on this blog lately and my follow-up capacity is limited. But, for once, I have good news: you may remember my purchase of the Shadi Knit Skirt pattern from the F/W 14-15 collection of Named Patterns. Well, I did sew 2 versions of the skirt in August, photographed them in Guatemala in September and now they are on the blog in late October, YAY!

Named shadi skirt

Named shadi skirt lace

It’s a simple pattern that I could probably have drafted myself but I really wanted to give this company a try. I don’t regret it. The construction was pleasant. I like the narrowing at the knee and the very wide elastic waistband. The first version is made from leftovers of my faux lace Nettie Dress.

named stripe shadi front named stripe shadi back

I found this super sof striped jersey in one of Port-au-Prince fabric stores. Obviously, the lace one is only one appropriate for work, the stripes are reserved for date nights… But both are perfect for traveling, they take 0 space, they don’t wrinkle and they can be dressed up/down easily.

Named stripes shadi skirt

I used size 32EUR (0 US). I love that they take the smallest spectrum of the sizes into consideration. However, Named patterns are designed for tall people and at only 5’3, I knew I wanted the skirts considerably shorter. But I forgot to shorten the pattern before cutting the fabric. It felt like a waste, I don’t know what was distracting me, sigh…

I guess this is how much I can talk about two basic knit skirts! I hope I will find some of Named future designs more wearable as I enjoyed working with this pattern. I will definitely use it next time I stumble on a cute knit (very rare around here…). It’s a very quick make and it forces me to practice my (limited) serger skills.

I still feel sort of guilty for not making the pattern.. Do you sometimes buy the pattern of something you could have drafted? Is that ok?

New Named patterns!!!

I have no idea why my blogroll is not full of them already but FYI the new Named patterns are out!!

I never tried them before, mostly because I believe that they are designed with tall (Finnish) people in mind. And obviously 5’3 dark hair me does not qualify (not because of the hair). But I love that we have more edgy pattern designers around. Honestly, I am not a retro girl, so even if I find a lot of indie designs cute, I will never wear them. Unfortunately for me, a lot of the designs don’t fit my lifestyle. I don’t know winter, or even fall (Yes you can hate me now), and I have very little activities that require wearing overalls or fringed sweaters… So I had to go with a basic design.
Even though I could have found it in a burda magazine/hacked my nettie/drafted it, I decided to give the company a try with the Shadi Knit Skirt pattern.
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It was just bought and printed, I will report back asap!

You can see the whole collection on the Named website.
What do you think? Do you plan on making some of the designs?

Frankenpattern making, the result of Grainline Moss and Lekala 5430

Moss Denim Mini Skirt - Grainline Studio - Lekala 5460 by Sewingtidbits

 

You guys! I took pictures! I did, and of 3 projects so get ready for some intense blog activity, because I may be reaching a post a week! I know, I know, it’s going to be INSANE!

So, first to come is the result of my frankenpattern-making from december (DECEMBER !! shame…). I did a whole construction post then, so there is not much to add.

Moss Denim Mini Skirt - Grainline Studio - Lekala 5460 by Sewingtidbits

 

As you can see, it’s VERY VERY short. I don’t know what possessed me when I decided on the length… If I remember well I chopped off at least 3″. Aaaah late night sewing, when will I learn ?? It’s a lot of (short) legs showing… But surprisingly, it does not stop me from wearing it almost every weekend. It’s like impractical cut-offs. What can I say, I like to live a dangerous life!

Moss Denim Mini Skirt - Grainline Studio - Lekala 5460
Where I hold a wooden giraffe in an attempt to fight posing discomfort…

Now, on the whole process… The construction went seamlessly (haha) except because of my own stupid, stupid mistake. Can you spot what is wrong here ?

Moss Denim Mini Skirt - Grainline Studio - Lekala 5460

That’s right, I assembled the wrong yoke and back pieces AND serged them AND topstitched them. YES BOTH OF THEM. The result looked kind of weird but I did not stop. When I realized, even though I was alone in my sewing room, I was extremely embarrassed… Of course I took a picture, so that you can all make fun of me or reassure me that it happens to everyone (while thinking, OMG this girl is kind of dumb!).

Apart from that I’m super happy with my pattern prep process, the zipper and the pockets almost assembled themselves (almost)…

Grainline denim moss skirt
Blurry rushed Iphone photo…

Denim grainline moss skirt Grainline moss denim skirt

Fabric : in my initial post, I said it was chambray and as you can all see, it’s not. It’s denim. OBVIOUSLY! I actually had to google the difference… The verdict is : denim is a twill, chambray is a plain will. So if you all knew this, you can make fun of me again.

Going back to this nice and soft denim, I do not remember where I bought it. It was 4 years ago, when I just moved to NYC and I decided to knock-off an Abercrombie gathered mini skirt. It was a disaster, skirt was never completed and very little fabric was salvaged, stored and moved to Haiti, to finally found its use 3 1/2 years later.

Moss Denim Mini Skirt - Grainline Studio

 

Lastly, I’m thinking more and more about what I sewed and what I sew. I lost some weight in the last 6 months, so I went through a closet purge assisted by The Old Man – TOM. It was a painful process, but I had to admit that I don’t wear a lot of things that I made (including quite a few that was blogged last year). The time involved makes it extra hard to remove items from the closet, even though they were worn once. So I want to plan my projects a lot more carefully now.

TOM has a very precise idea of what he likes me to wear (very decent, I promise) and I’m starting to realize that he is usually right. Currently, I’m running by him my ideas before I jump into the making and the results have been very wearable: more solid colors, natural material and focusing on a close fit. As much as I like loose shapes and interesting prints, they tend to make overpower my small frame. To give you an idea, the next posts will include 2 solid linen dresses and a shirt dress.

What about you ? Do you have an approval process before you start a garment or you jump right into what your heart (or pinterest) tells you ?

More knit training with a maxi skirt

On that amazingly productive sewing day where I made 2 garments (I know it’s not that many but for me it’s a lot!), both of them were knits. First this t-shirt and then the below maxi-skirt:

It’s actually not very different than a lot of tutorials that you will find online but I drafted mine with a curve waistline and hem. Also I like to have fullness at the bottom so it’s a wide A instead of a rectangle.

All seams were serged and I added a partial lining in the same fabric because I was a little concern that the thin knit would let my underwear show. The waistline is a classic foldover one that you also find on yoga pants:

Weird...
Weird…
Folded (and less weird)!

Fabric was found here in Port-au-Prince on one of my excursions before meeting with Lakaribane for the first time. Let me tell you that I was quite proud of my find since nice knit is not Haiti’s most common good. BTW, by an initial-and-totally-not-scientific assessment, I’m convinced that mangoes are Haiti’s most common good, which is très delicious but totally useless sewing wise…

The fabric had an edge print: “studio line by caravel fabrics samsung” and apparently it means that it was made in South Korea. I would love to hear the story of those 3 yards traveling the world to end up in a haitian store!

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Not really much more to say about this project except that I will make more skirts when I find more knits (and that’s Lakaribane’s responsability because it will probably require an expedition to One Love) because seriously, I wear maxi skirts every other day.  Also, I have used this project to practice my CAD patternmaking and tiny Illustrator skills so you may see this come up as a free downloadable pattern soon… (That is if my illustrator capacities improve because the pattern is done and graded but I’m just trying to turn it into a multi page pdf, any advice in that regard is very welcome!!
)

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In other news, if you follow my instagram you will know that I finished another Skinny Bitch Curvy Chick Pattern (let’s just call them SBCC ok?) , I’ll blog it as soon as it gets photographed :

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 :

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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.

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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.

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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….

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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.

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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…

CIMG2188

DONE!! The PR contest skirt = Preen + Theory + Me

I’m so happy to have finished on time for the ongoing RTW contest of pattern review. It’s my favorite contest and actually the only one I manage to enter. Last year I made this skirt, inspired by McQ. For this year I really fell in love with this Preen Line skirt. I think it’s cute and it will fit my new life perfectly (more on that later).

Final result :

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I really like this skirt and it was pretty easy to make too. First I draped the body and the belt on my form with muslin to arrange the pleats.

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Then I trued the lines and transfered the drape on paper. I drafted back faux-flap-pockets and I traced the zipper front from my Lagarfeld skirt and I added sewing and hem allowances.

IMG_0207As you may see there is no side seam, I don’t think there is one on the original skirt either and it makes the construction SUPER fast.

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I interfaced the zipper area, the belt and the flaps. The rest is mostly topstitching…

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Now on the material side, the cotton is Poplin from Mood, here in NYC and it was from Theory. Zipper in from Pacific Trimmings and the snaps were in my stash. Yeeeeeaaaaars ago (yes many, ok maybe not so many, let say 10) I came across this snap/eyelet kit from Prym. At the time I was broke and in High School and the 30-40 euros felt like a big indulgence (time passes…). Well, I’m pleased to report that it was TOTALLY worth it. I’ve used it many times over the years, still have supplies in it and the tool+attachments is great and a lot better than using hammer or any other tool I tried.

 

For the challenge on PR I tried to take pictures similar to the one on the Outnet, it was actually fun! Do not try this by yourself with your camera on a stand, you need someone to look at the original picture and correct you (thaaaaank yoooouuuu Boyfriend!!!!). Trust me, I wasted A LOT of time. If you’d like and you are a PR member, you can look at the amazing garments made by the other contestants and vote here! As of now, my favorite entry is Kristine’s, I loved following her  process of making it!

Preen skirt

So finally (it’s a long one I know), I’ve been away from the blog the last few weeks but not from the sewing machine as I hope to show soon. Also it’s really cold in NY now and I don’t like to take pictures inside… Plus, most of the stuff I made is spring-summer. You may think that I’m transitioning early into spring but I found out last month that I MOVING TO HAITI, like next week. I’m going there for work and I’m super excited for the challenge and the opportunity to learn so much. Plus I secretely hope to meet La Karibane! How do I know? Thanks to the Great Idea (yes capital letters) from Another Sewing Scientist of a google map of sewingblogland!

Anyway, I have a few more things to post before I live but there will be a little break while I’m setting up in Port-au-Prince and wait for my sewing machines (coming by sea). See you soon!!