Sunday, November 7, 2010

Top Simplicity 3956

Last winter in France, I went to a fabric store with my sister KiKou. I was mainly looking for cotton voile fabrics as I haven't found that in my fabric stores here in US(maybe I just wasn't looking where I should have...).
She found this square printed greenish fabric. I wasn't so excited by the print, but she loved it so I decided to buy it.
The long Houstonian summer still there in September, I decided to use the fabric for a Simplicity 3956 tank top. Here's the result:

Simplicity 3956 top

I have been following the tips on Pattern Review: I put the zipper on the side instead of the back. I think it's convenient because you have less pieces to sew and it isn't annoying when you're sitting with your back along a chair.
The bad point about it: the fitting!!! It's really hard to make the top fit properly this way. Mine is a little too wide on the top part of the side, just under arm...
And you have to cut and past some pieces and paying attention for the sewing marges and the front/back of the fabric...

Tank Top Simplicity 3956

The cotton fabric is perfect for hot and humid summer days. The top part is lined so it's not transparent at all.
I like the look even though the bottom hem makes some waves who make the top look kind of large, instead of just falling. It's probably because my fabric is really light weight.

Simplicity 3956 side

Some details from the inside.
I'm proud of the hem 'cause It's just soooo long to make a nice small hem. I would like to know how to use properly my hemmer foot as it would be so simpler! But I tried it for sewing a sleeping bed sheet and it's far from net (I should probably post a picture of the result so you could help me...)!
On the other hand I'm ashamed of the zipper. I really should have put biais all around, because right now, it looks everything but nice from the inside! I might add the biais before next summer

Simplicity 3956 details

Finally, even though the pattern is saying it's easy, it might have been one of the most challenging project I have used so far, maybe because of the change I made for the zipper, maybe because of my fabric, or maybe for the fitting.
But that's the closest thing I've made so far with a from-the-commerce flare, excepted for the sister-of-the-bride dress.

But summer is now gone so I will have to wait until next summer to wear it! Too bad...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Simplicity 3503 Dress/Pool Cover-Up

I wanted to try this Simplicity 3503 pattern view B and thought a pool cover-up would be an easy go.
I used some cheap fabric from High Fashion Fabric (Houston fabric shop). I think it's a two way stretch fabric for lining swimwear. A long time ago I bought it thinking of all the swimsuits I wanted to do, but I discovered later I would need four way stretch. So this dress allowed me to make some space in my stash.

Simplicity 3503 view B

I made it simpler than the original by suppressing the lining for the belt and the tie in the back. I just wanted it really fast to sew to wear it as soon as possible. And since it was just a cover-up I wasn't too stressed by the finish.
I made a size 10 as I thought I was, without taking my measurements (I don't think I'm able to take them properly anyway). But I finally had to remove 1 or 2 inches on each size for the top part until the belt.
Simplicity 3503 dress

And after hesitating I made it quite short (way shorter than the pattern), as I though it was a great length for a cover-up. I should probably have add 2 inches.
I like the look even though the fabric is too bright. I would prefer it in a cotton knit fabric.
And the bell lining would have been nicer because you can see thru the white fabric.
And one mistake: I sewed the belt with straight stitch. It makes it difficult to enter. So next time I will probably try the stitch I used for the hem:
Simplicity 3503 cover up
I want to do it again, but I definitely need to make the top part tighter! I'm thinking about making a dress to go with my boots.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Crazy pattern sale on Vogue, Butterick & McCall's

Look what I got in my email:
Vogue McCall Butterick paatern sale

Even though I'm used to buy these patterns for this kind of price at JoAnn and HobbyLobby, that's the first time the official web site of these brand have an offer like that! Plus, it's all the brand together! At $1.88 and $3.88, that's a steal!
That's just so cool, I had to tell you all.
But be fast, it's only until tomorrow!

Good shopping y'all.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Buttercup Bags - Free pattern

It's been a while since I've first been lurking at this free online bag pattern.

For sure, you know I'm speaking about the unique, the gorgeous, the famous,...

Buttercup Bag, Made By Rae

You knew, didn't you?

My sister wedding was a perfect excuse to make my first one.
I used a brown polyester satin (from JoAnn, the same I used for my dress sash) for the outside, and a brown cotton for lining (from a bedskirt I'm not using).
These fabrics are way too thin to make a bag, but I though it could work for a one-day use. I think it looks good enough if you pay attention on how your are putting stuff inside (otherwise it's just bumps and holes!)

Buttercup Bag
You can see plenty of wrinkles because I've been using them so much! They need a good ironing!

I did the second one as soon as I went back to US to have a bright summer bag instead of my boring (I love it, though), classic black handbag.
I choose 2 matching yellowish-green quilting fat quarters at JoAnn. Yes, JoAnn again! I always loved all the choice for quilting fabrics and was happy to have a project with that!
This bright handbag is probably the only "crazy touch" in my wardrobe! I've been using it since I made it. I added a white piping to break the all-green look.
I've also used a heavyweight fusible interfacing which I fused on the lining fabric.
It was an inspired advice from QueenOfDiy. It makes the bag stand nicely.
She also explains how to make a zipper closure, and show how to make a cellphone pocket:

Free bag pattern

The only thing I would change?
The cheap closure I put. I should have bought magnetic buttons or zipper closure.

Buttercup bag free pattern

Here, a picture of the lining fabric with pocket (I did the pocket as I wanted too, without following the pattern)

Buttercup bag pattern Rae

I won't let you wait any longer, so there it is, the free (under the condition of not selling it) pattern!
Click on the picture

And a link to the THE Buttercup Bags Flick-r gallery.

I already plan to make a winter one, but I still have to choose among 3 really nice fabrics I bought to this purpose... unless I do an autumn one!

Friday, September 17, 2010

McCall 4460 dress

As promised, I'm gonna give you more details about the dress I was wearing for my sister's wedding.
It's the McCall's 4460 pattern, view B without shoulder strap.

I wanted a photo shot with the photograph on the wedding day to have nice pics of the dress to show you. But I was so busy on this day I totally forget.
So I just have the pictures I made for the Pattern Review contest (excepted for the one you've already seen two posts before, about the wedding day).

McCall 4460 wedding dress

I used a beige Dupioni silk from and brown netting and polyester satin from JoAnn. Plus lining (polyester China silk) and underlining (organza).
I'm a little ashamed to tell you I bought Polyester fabric from JoAnn to go with silk for my sister of the bride dress (I'm blushing right now!). But I feel more confident with cheap fabrics (I was anxious to start cutting the silk!) and it makes more sens for me if I can't find nice rtw dresses for less than what I've done...
JoAnn is also the closest fabric store and you can see what you're buying (in comparison with online shops)
Maybe I'll use more natural fabrics when I will feel more confident about my sewing skills... maybe not!

Nevertheless I think my dress looks nice and maybe also expensive (?).

Here is the back view, which would have looked way better with an invisible zipper. Actually, the zipper used is an invisible one, but not knowing how to sew it on, I've sewed it as a regular one :-/

back zipper McCall 4460

And a close up of the princess seamed bodice. I'm proud of it because I spent so much time trying to make it fit properly!

Bodice pattern McCall 4460

If I had to redo it, I would:

- Use the piece of pattern I had to draw for the bodice instead of the one given (See my Pattern Review comment for that)

- Sew the invisible zipper as an invisible one. I'm now able to do so, thanks to the so nice and talented Re Becca (go to see her blog and all her pattern reviews on PR). That's so easier and nicer to make it this way than what I did! I still have to practice the bottom part, but thank you so much Becca!

- Use a cotton fabric to line the dress instead of the polyester china silk I used. Polyester was such a bad choice for this close fitting bodice to be wear in a hot summer day...

If you want more informations and pics about this pattern, go check my review on PR:
Pattern Review

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Snow White Costume, self drafted

In France we're used to costume more or less weirdly the bride-to-be and to make her do fun and crazy stuff for her bachelorette party. It's usually around a theme.
Since KiKou (my sister who is sewing with me on [Kikuyu]) has always been a big fan of all Disney's cartoons, I made a Snow White costume for her:

Snow White Costume
Isn't she a nice princess?

To make it, I used:
- a big old blue shirt (thanks dad!)
- some red fabric leftover
- some white lace trim
- a big polyester satin yellow/gold (I would say 3m (3.1/4 yard) but I'm not sure).
- a model to try on the costume-to-be: Thanks to my mom and youngest sister! (yes, all the family had to contribute for the bride-to-be gift!)

snow white sewing
I bought a black wig and added a red ribbon.
I'm happy with the finish and love the top part which was easy to make and fits greatly due to the cotton knit shirt used!

Oh... And one last thing: Do NOT forget the prince charming to wake up your princess!
snow white self draft pattern

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dresses for my sister's wedding

Here a pic of her in her stunning dress with her dear darling:
robe de marié KiKou
Her dress was made after her taste and instructions as a all-year-long school project for a future seamstress in her last year of sewing high school. It's a dupioni or shantung silk (I have no idea how to recognize it, since in France we just call that "wild silk").
She really loved to be able to get such a nice customized wedding dress, and trying it on a few times during the process. She was so happy with it! And seriously, that's a steal...

For this wedding I made my youngest sister's dress and mine (the one for which I decided a year ago to start sewing).
You can see her (on the right) and me around the groom's bother:
robes soeurs de la mariée
Even though in France we're not used to have bridesmaid (so no all assorted bridesmaid dresses), we though it was nice for the pictures to have matching colors.

I did my young sister dress following her wills, without a proper pattern. I also made a matching cover up like the one already made for me: Vogue 8622. But she haven't had any use for it since it was warm enough.

My dress (on the left) is the McCall's 4460 pattern. I also made a matching Buttercup Bag Made By Rae which is a really nice free pattern.

But I will tell you more about all this sewing in upcoming posts.

Congrats to my sister for her wonderful wedding! I hope you'll live happily ever after ;-)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Vogue 8622 Evening wrap

Vogue 8622

To match my bluish-black evening dress, I made Vogue 7161 evening wrap. Since I was afraid the color was too much of a "look at me" style, I decided to make a classy one and choose this Vogue 8622 View C.

evening wrap Vogue 8622

I used a black polyester chiffon.

I love the french seams finish!
When I bought the pattern, I was afraid how seams will look since I don't have a serger. But french seams are fantastic: you just need a regular sewing machine, with straight stitch. And it looks so nice and neat.

You just have to pay attention to start with wrong sides together.
By the way, I made a mistake when making the lower sleeves seam: I haven't noticed how they wanted to put it...
They should be shorter because they should be fold toward the top of the sleeve.
But I finally like how it looks, and this avoid me some hand sewing.

evening wrap Vogue 8622And look around my neck: it's a home-made beads necklace!

A view of the back, with my evening dress:

Neck and bottom pleats were king of annoying to make because of the slippery chiffon.

I like how neck pleats look, but I'm less convinced by the bottom ones.

Here, another picture of the back, over a white top. This way, you can clearly see some french seam.
evening wrap Vogue 8622

I enjoyed sewing it and I love the look, I might wait to find a silk chiffon to do it again.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Vogue 7161 Evening wrap

Vogue 7161

I made the evening wrap Vogue 7161 from Elizabeth Gillet view A, to match a dress for a wedding.

I used two polyesters silk shantung from JoAnn's.

Etole Vogue 7161

It was really easy to make and the good point is it stay in place alone!
I would say the bad point is the fusible interfacing. The pattern doesn't tell you on which side ironing it (I put it on the clearest one). And I think it makes the wrap a little weird even if it help keeping the shape.
Next time I would try without fusible interfacing or with a double sided fusible interfacing.

Etole Vogue 7161 arrierepattern wrap Vogue 7161 Elizabeth Gillet

Monday, May 24, 2010

McCall 5913 Coat

Veste Coat McCall 5913

I made this McCall's 5913 "coat" before Christmas. I first wanted to make it as a comfy fleece for home. So I made the view C, long with a sash.

It turned out so nice, I finally wore it for going out.

veste cape 5913 Coat

It was really easy to make (no lining). This was my second sewing project and the most difficult part was the buttonholes. For my (old) machine, you have to add a buttonholer which is impressive. After giving a few tries, I manage to understand how it works, and it's pretty easy. And they look so great!

veste boutonniere buttonhole

I hightly recommend it and will definitively sew it again next winter in a coat fabric, but a little longer and with lower holes for the sash.

Coat McCall 5913

Monday, May 17, 2010

Japan Couture Dress

I've made this purple dress with a japanese sewing book. It seems to be a trend in France among sewer to use these books, even without translation, according to the number of member on the JCA's web site.

Japan couture addicts

I used the book they call "01 - Every day camisoles et petits hauts" and made the pattern number 14.

Livre japan couture robe 14
ISBN: 978-4-579-11043-8

My realization:
japan couture robe violet

I added a lining for cold days and remove the zipper since the dress is large enough to put in. I will have to redo the lower seams since it doesn't look so great, due partly to the lining.
The fabric is the leftover from my Vogue 8527 clutch bag.

What I love with this pattern is that you can use that for a summer dress, a winter dress worn with leggings, or a tunic if you had a belt. And in purple (yes, it's purple, even if you might not see that so well on the pictures), assorted with green it's a great outfit for Mardi Gras!
I plan to make one in a white printed cotton for a classy summer dress.

Japan Couture Mardi gras

I haven't found so many english websites about japanese sewing, but you should search! They have plenty of books. Even without being able to read instructions in most of them you have pictures to illustrate the steps.
If you click on the "JCA's" picture, you will end up on this website, on a page with all the other realizations for this dress.
Even if the site is in french you can look at all the pictures just by clicking on any book front page on the left column to see what people made with that book. If you have questions don't hesitate to ask me!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Fabric flowers

I made an organza flower to ornate an evening dress.
It's really fun and easy to do.

Here's a "how to" in pictures:

flower organza

fabric flower

I cut six organza flower shape in two sizes for this final flower.

fabric flower organza

You can find explanations and pictures in this wonderful blog:
Organza Flowers by Reese Dixon
and on Jo-Ann website:
Classic Elegance Flower by Jo-Ann

Sunday, March 7, 2010


I made this nightgown as a Christmas gift for KiKou (the other half of the [Kikuyu] "brand"). I used a brown organic cotton knit and an orange cotton bias.
I spent a long time trying to draw the home-made pattern, and end up changing everything on the muslin directly on KiKou.

nuisette patron

I'm happy with the result but it was pretty difficult for me and I won't sew again without a pattern for a while !

nuisette nightgown

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Winter cushions

Still in the Christmas gifts, this is the present I made for my mother. It's a set of three covers for cushions. They are for the winter/Christmas season, because of the print on the fabric: a brown printed with white and blue trees ans Season greetings cotton from HobbyLobby.
The other fabric is a blue dupioni silk from
The pictures colors are not the real ones because of the lack of light.

The front:

Coussin Noel hiver

The back:

housse coussin

A close-up view:

bouton fimo

And I made the buttons with some brown oven-bake clay (Bake shop). It was my first try with clay, but I'm happy with the result.

winter cushion

--------------------- Update August 11th, 2010 ---------------------
I'm not sure I will ever try to do my own buttons since those are finally kind of sticky.
Does anybody know a way to avoid that?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Reversible toiletry bag

I decided to make a reversible toiletry bag as Christmas gift for my youngest sister, because she needed to change hers but didn't manage to find one as nice as the old one.

Okay, you can find a lot of toiletry bags, but what about one big enough to put inside some big products, soft enough to gain space in a luggage, and with an opening big enough to find easily anything inside it?
She loves the old one for all these advantages, so I decide to copy it in a nice fabric.

I asked my parents and her boyfriend to measure the bag. I sent an email to her asking a lot of questions, and learned this way she loves fabrics with lines or modern drawings, but with a limited number of colors. And I knew her bathroom was blue.

Pieces trousse toilette

After spending way too much time in the fabric store, I came back at home with two wonderful fabrics (the one with lines is an Amy Butler cotton). Since I wasn't able to decide which one will end up inside, I decide to make a reversible bag. This way, my sister would be able to choose her favorite one.

trousse reversible

I had a hard time sewing the round parts, and the fabric parts between the two ends of the zipper. I was pleased with the result, even if I'm not sure I will make again a REVERSIBLE toiletry bag...

detail zipper toileteries

A few more pics to compensate all my pain! ;-)

reversible toiletry bag

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Comfy fleece poncho

Since my youngest sister is spending her first winter in her own apartment, I wanted for Christmas a gift able to warm her up.

When you think about winter, cold, cloudy, wind... what are you dreaming of?
Me, I imagine myself in a log cabin, seating in front of the fireplace, rolled in a blanket, drinking a hot chocolate.

But we all live in apartments without fireplace, so I opted for a comfy fleece poncho.

poncho polaire fleece

It's super easy to make. you need:
- a piece of fleece (I used an IKEA throw)
- scissors
You make a hole for the head, and it's done!

Yes, you right, I add some things because I thought it wasn't fancy enough. So I 've underlined the collar with a heavy black thread, and add a black fleece pocket to keep her hands warm for lazy TV evenings.

On the picture, you can see it needs a good ironing because I wrap it before carrying it in my luggage...