Me-Made-May 2013 - Week 3

DressBleuet dress by Deer and Doe (originally blogged here)
Shoes: Pimkie
Bag: Local boutique

My dearly beloved Bleuet was the perfect dress to start the week in a good mood. This was blogged recently, so I won't spend any more words on how much I love this pattern. I'm still in love with it, I made a sleeveless version in a print which I hope to blog about soon and I could happily make another 100 versions of this pattern. It's just perfect for me.

BlouseLaelia blouse by Blousette Rose (originally blogged here)
Jeans: local market
Shoes: Converse
Trench coat: Pimkie

I look a bit disheveled in this photo, the collar of the blouse and the bottom especially needed some ironing.
I was in a rush and I was going straight to my boyfriend, where I wrestled all evening with his two adorable dogs who are shedding like crazy. I was plastered in dog hair when I came back, so I didn't care too much about looking put together.

Shirt: Zara
Skirt: Madeleine skirt by Victory patterns (originally blogged here)

Sigh. Why don't I wear high-waisted circle skirts more often? They look so flattering and cute!
I thought I had archived my Madeleine skirt until next Autumn since it's made of wool, but temperatures dropped significantly this week and my region is in a pre-state of emergency because of all the rain we've had. Yikes!
Those rain boots were the best purchase of last winter, I've been wearing them lota.

Oh, and OF COURSE I own a polka dot umbrella, what did you expect from me?

Shirt: Zara
Skirt: pleated skirt from a 2005 issue of La Mia Boutique (never blogged)
Shoes: Pimkie

Speak of an unflattering photo... I was wearing another t-shirt underneath the long-sleeved shirt and it bunched up at the waist, so here it looks like I have huge muffin tops. Ew.
This skirt is about 6-7 years old, a testament to the fact I never throw anything away. It's a bit of a cheat because it dates back to the time when I was learning to sew, so I did little more than choosing a pattern and the fabric, and then I watched my mum doing most all of the work. Maybe I sewed a couple straight seams, but I definitely wasn't involved in constructing the pleats, the zipper, doing the topstitching and the hemming.
Anyway, this skirt has a pleats at the center front and center back, which give a nice movement, French pockets and a wide waistband. As I gained some weight in the last few years, the waistband now sits a bit higher and the skirt has become shorter, so now I'm only comfortable to wear it with tights. All in all, it still holds up pretty well.


That was it for my me-made week, but before I leave you, I wanted to announce the two winners of the "How Much Fabric? Reference Cards" giveaway:

I will get in touch with both of you, so please keep an eye on your inbox.

If you didn't win, you can read my review here and get your cards here.

Black and Blue Roxanne dress

Do you remember me raving about Victory Patterns' new collection? Kristiann, the brilliant mind behind these wonderful designs, was so kind to ask me if I wanted to try one and while it was a tough choice, I was too in love with the collar of the Roxanne blouse not to pick it.
My only problem was I wasn't too sure of this blouse lenght, because I feel it only looks good when paired with leggings or skinny jeans, two type of garments I fell extremely uncomfortable wearing.
Since I loved other design features like the little pocket, the back yoke and the back pleats, I decided to simply lenghten the pattern and make it into a dress.

What I did was to slash the pattern pieces at the lenghten/shorten line and extend the lines until I added about 35 cm. I must have done something wrong, though, because I didn't intend to replicate the asymmetrical hem of the original design. I don't know if the fabric just shifted while I was cutting, or it wasn't on the grain, but when I sewed the front and back pieces together, the front was significantly shorter than the back. After a few moments of swearing and head scratching, I tried it on and found out I didn't mind it at all. I quite like this lenght, actually, and although the front is a teeny tiny too short for my taste to be worn with bare legs, I'm writing you 4 days after shooting this pictures with rain pouring out my window and a temperature of 11°C, so I guess it's time to wear it with tights (YAY!).

The pattern was a pleasure to work with, it's very simple to construct and the instructions are super clear. I love the "Victory!" exclamation at the end. 
If you decide to make Roxanne yourselves, please be aware that this gorgeous pleated collar is quite bulky, and keep it in mind when you choose your fabric. I used the same IKEA cotton my Lily dress was made of, and while everything worked out great in the end, I had to grade and trim seam as much as possible and steam and press the life out of it to keep it flat and nice looking. Just FYI.

I'm pretty much in love with this dress and all of its features, it's quite edgy and eye-catching. The contrast between the bright blue and the tiny polka dots is bold but very "me".
I know in photos the dress looks better without a belt, but in real life I think I need a bit more definition at the waist, especially when I don't wear 12 cm heels like in these pictures (i.e. always).

I'm sure I'll wear my Roxanne a lot with tights and a cardigan and I really want to try and adapt the collar to other tops, just like Nettie and Lee did.

Oh, Chloe!

I guess it's only fair that I start this post by apologizing for the photo overload. I finally managed to use the camera remote I bought a couple weeks ago, so I finally have photos where I'm actually in focus against a blurry background! I'm so happy about it that I had some trouble editing down.
The fact that I'm quite in love with the dress I'm wearing didn't help either. Did you recognize the pattern? It's the Chloe dress from Victory Patterns, which I've been dying to make ever since seeing Lizz's version.

I used some gabardine in this gorgeous shade of purple that really compliments my super pale skin. I had never worked with gabardine and this bastard was such a pain to press. It just won't lie flat (as you can see from the bumpy binding at the neckline and armholes) and press marks seem to magically appear everywhere, even using a press cloth.
I even managed to find purple flower shaped buttons. Aren't they adorable? I initially wanted black and white contrasting buttons, but when I saw these ones, I couldn't resist.

The fit of the pattern was... well, strange. I didn't make a muslin, so I fitted the dress before sewing the lining. For the second time in a row, I had issues with armscyes. They were so low! Luckily the problem was easily solved by shortening the shoulder seam. I also took the waist in a little, in order to make the dress more form-fitting.

Finally, a few detail shots: the welt pockets have a snap to keep them closed. And yes, the fabric I used for the pockets is not the same I used for the lining. The horror! My OCD self couldn't sleep at the thought, but I came to terms with that.
As you might have noticed, I opted for a lapped zipper at the center back. It's my favorite technique, I think it looks so elegant! And instead of an hook and eye at the top, I put a button with a thread button loop.

I had the confirmation this dress looks good on me when my mother, who is usually very supportive but hyper-critical about my sewing, told me that I should wear it at my graduation. Great! I still have to write my dissertation, but at least I already know what to wear at the ceremony!

Madeleine skirt

I finally tackled my first pattern from Victory Patterns and I'm so happy with it!
I made the Madeleine skirt, but shortened it a lot, since tea lenght doesn't look too good on a short girl like me.

This skirt was my entry for this week at the Sew Weekly and I'm so happy it was featured on the front page! The theme of the week is "buttons"and, if you didn't already, go check the contributors' creations out, because there some truly inspiring garments, as always.
If you want to know more about my skirt, you can read it here.

Interview: Victory Patterns

Do you remember when I told you I was VERY excited about my next guest on the blog?
Well, I'm really really happy to have Kristiann from Victory Patterns to talk to us about her new awesome pattern line. I have discovered these beautiful patterns thanks to Lizz, Marie and a few other bloggers (they really are the latest love of the blogosphere!) and I've fallen in love immediately.
If you haven't heard of them already, I assure you they're worth checking out (I myself could not resist and I've almost finished sewing the first garment from one of these patterns).
In the meantime, enjoy discovering more about the mind behind these gorgeous designs!

Introduce yourself: tell us something about where you live, your origins, hobbies, etc.
I’m originally from Trinidad. When I was three my family moved to Scotland and eventually to Alberta and then to Toronto, where I live now. LOTS of moving!
I have too many hobbies for my own good and too many other things I want to learn how to do. I love textile design, working with leather, baking and cooking. I want to learn how to make jewelry and build furniture, take lovely photos and I really want to find more time to paint, draw and read, but time isn’t my friend.

How did you start your pattern line, Victory Patterns?
While teaching I noticed that there was a real lack of selection of patterns. Sewing and DIY is really growing and it was encouraging to see that as it convinced me that creating a pattern line might be a viable business idea. I have a background in fashion design, and I wanted to create stylish patterns that felt a bit like a clothing line.

How did you choose the name of your shop?
That was haaard! I thought about it for so long. I always have a hard time naming things. My cat's name is Kitty! I thought about the expressions and the feeling that my students have when they have learnt something new or completed something that they’re proud of. I did some brainstorming on words associated with that feeling and came up with “Victory”. I like that is sounded a bit classic as well, so I went with it.

Do you have formal training (art, design, sewing, etc.)?
I studied fashion design at Ryerson University here in Toronto and have worked in a number of areas in the industry. I also teach sewing and drafting which helps when writing the instructions because I can imagine the questions my students would ask as I go through writing each step.

As for the techy stuff, I have a genius brother, who managed to help me wrap my not so tech savvy brain around a few design programs that I needed to use to create the patterns. It was a really fun learning curve and a welcome challenge.

Do your creations support you economically?
I just launched the pattern line a month ago, so I’m sure it will take a while for me to say with confidence that it could support me. However, things have really picked up in the past few weeks. If the momentum continues, I might be able to work full time on it sooner that later. For the time being I teach in a few studios as well as privately, and I take on freelance projects. 

What are your main sources of inspiration? 
Each time I design I try to focus on a theme as much as possible which takes me down a new road of inspiring sources. But overall I love really interesting pattern drafting or fabric manipulation techniques. I’m very inspired by garment details, complex cuts and draping techniques, and by techniques and designs of vintage clothing.

What are the main satisfactions you get from your shop?
Every time I open my email it’s exciting. It’s so great seeing the positive comments that people write, or that sales are steadily coming in. It’s such a satisfying feeling that people are responding positively to something that I created. It’s still really new so I’m excited to see the creations that people make with these patterns.
How and where do you advertise your business?
I currently don’t advertise. So far people seems to find out about the patterns through blogs, Pinterest, Etsy, or word of mouth.
Do you have any advice for who wants to sell or already sells online?
I’m way too new at this to give seasoned advice, but I think the important thing is to create a beautiful, quality product that you believe in. If you’re going to have anyone working with you, it helps if their heart is in the project too. I’m starting to read about writing for online, and I think if you’re going to have an online business, it’s worth understanding how to optimize your site. (I got the Yahoo! Style Guide for Christmas and it’s great!!)