Thursday, February 27, 2014

Plaid Birthday Shirt

I made this flannel shirt for my daughter's birthday and she has actually worn it often in the month she has owned it. Success!
I used pattern 115 from the October 2012 issue of Burdastyle. I made a swayback adjustment (though you wouldn't know it from the pictures, but I think the way she's holding herself, the neckline is pushed back and the whole drape of the back is affected), took some ease out of the sleeve cap and that's about it for modifications.
I enjoyed playing with the balance and rhythm of the plaid and matched it as best I could.
All seams are flat felled.

We took these pictures in Arles either inside, or just outside the Roman Arena while on a short trip to Provence last week. It was sunny and that felt wonderful ! By the way, if you should go to Arles, we ate in a small lunch spot where the cook is a Japanese/Chinese/Canadian and she served wonderful East/West salads and sandwiches drizzled with the best local olive oil. It's called Fad'Oli and it's just off the Place du Forum at 44 bis rue des Arènes. We felt lucky to find this place so I want to share.


For lining the yoke, I used Connie Long's excellent tutorial in her book "Easy Guide to Sewing Blouses"

A bientôt!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Only Lovers Left Alive

Tilda Swinton in Only Lovers Left Alive

This is such a gorgeous movie. Beautiful. Contemplative. Like pressing pause and watching life go by, slowly, as if you yourself were thousands of years old. Most contemporary film directors try to cram  so much action, suspense, emotion into those 2 hours or so... It felt wonderfully liberating to watch these two beautiful creatures just do nothing and be. And the music is amazing.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Slouchy Pants

As I begin sewing for Spring and dream of pretty sundresses, the truth is, in Winter, I mostly wear a uniform of pants and V-neck or turtleneck sweaters. I do wear jeans a lot, but I like slouchy pants even better. They are comfortable and they taper at the hem so they can't drag in puddles (it rains a lot here in South Western France).

When I think of slouchy pants, Charlie Chaplin comes to mind. The bum with the big heart :)

I'd say his look is very current! You can see many similar styles at online shops such as Totokaelo or Creatures of Comfort.
pinned similar pants back when the Fall 2013 RTW shows were happening. They were all over the runways and I am very happy that comfortable clothes have recently been given the spotlight.
I sewed these a few months ago using Burda 7250 which I lengthened so they scrunch at the hem. 
The fabric was an unlabeled remnant. My guess is a rayon/poly blend with possibly a bit of wool thrown in. It has a really nice marled texture and great drape.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Safari Jacket Inspiration

Grace Kelly in Mogambo

I think a jacket is the piece which can really tie a Spring wardrobe together. I have such a jacket which has been getting a lot of wear for several years now. It is a safari style jacket in an army green cotton and it really goes with everything. It is the only jacket I take when traveling in the Summer. Very convenient since it is unlined and washable, but it is worn out and in need of a replacement.

So, I have been looking at a lot of pictures of Safari jackets and even set up a pinterest board for reference.
Even though Yves Saint Laurent is often credited with popularizing the safari jacket for city wear, it seems it was quite fashionable in the 50s, as this Vogue cover would attest.

1950s safari jacket Vogue cover

Style wise, my preference goes to Yves Saint Laurent's early 70s versions, as they are functional with very large pockets and have all the features of a shirt-jacket : unlined with flat-felled seams, button band, shirt collar and cuffs. No fuss. I like their long and slim proportions. This will be my inspiration jacket :

Yves Saint Laurent 1969 Safari Jacket

In the 80s and 90s, designer safari jackets tended to be more voluminous, with big shoulders, cinched waists and flared hips and were often made of luxe materials.
More recent versions have shrunken proportions and tend to be very refined with many details and hardware. I want to keep things simple with this jacket, so I'm sticking with the original Saint Laurent.

Time to get to work!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Sewing a wardrobe you love.

Sarai has an excellent series of articles right now on Coletterie called "Wardrobe Architect". In her own words, it's about "crafting a small wardrobe that reflects who you are".
I find the 3rd installment particularly interesting. She has us rate different garment shapes on a scale from 1 to 10 (10 being the highest), according to how happy we feel wearing them. This is brilliant! There are so many articles available on the internet for building capsule wardrobes based on mathematical formulas or determining what clothes you should wear based on your body type. Letting the happiness factor guide you is a really fresh and exciting perspective.

After doing the worksheet, I realized that for a pared down, functional wardrobe that I would truly love, I could easily limit myself to the shapes I rated with a 10. Since these are the garments that make me happiest, why settle for anything less?
It's difficult to find clothes with just the right shape, length, ease and color in the shops, but when you sew, I think it really becomes an attainable goal.
Following these guidelines, my clothes would all have a fluid fit (not too fitted, not too loose). Tops would be hip length, sleeveless or long sleeved and with either a V neck or turtleneck. Skirts and dresses would be knee length with a defined waist either at the natural waistline or at the hips. Pants would be full length and low waisted.
There! Everything else in my wardrobe really might be superfluous.

So, this brings me to the picture at the top of this post : The iconic Halston shirt dress. I have a thing for 70s pattern illustrations. They channel the easy elegance that I think is the essence of that decade.
The shirt dress embodies my ideal proportions. V necked when the top buttons are left undone, knee length and slightly loose fitting but structured with a tie belt. They are comfortable and make me happy. I will be sewing a shirt dress this season!