You know how magazines always write those “20 Things you Absolutely Must Have in Your Closet to Qualify as a Human Woman with Any Value” articles? And it’s always like, a beige trench and a white v-neck? I will concede that both of those things are “practical” and “useful”, but what these magazines fail to understand is that sometimes what I really want in life is to be encased in a fabric cocoon. I don’t want basics. I don’t want realism. I want an extravagantly printed, borderline excessive linen statement piece that requires a pool and a bottle of rosé to function.
What I want is a caftan.
It’s kind of hard to understand how such a voluminous amount of fabric (which conceals nearly every little bit of skin) can be as unequivocally glamorous and chic as caftans are, but life is full of mysteries. They emit confidence and attitude. They say, “Look at me! But not at any of the body parts you’re used to seeing. Look at who I am. I give zero f*cks about the male gaze. I am wearing this for me. See me? DON’T I LOOK FABULOUS?”
Basically, it’s my kind of feminism embodied in an actual garment of clothing.
As you may know, I headed to Europe for a much needed vacation this month. Guillaume grew up spending summers in the south of France so we flew in for some intense family time followed by a few days on our own in Barcelona. I wanted desperately to pack the perfect “summer in Europe” capsule wardrobe, so I feverishly sewed up a few new things to bring with us.
Happy Sunday everyone! Alexis here, I’m pleased to meet you all! I’ve been helping Heather “behind the scenes” for a few months now and here I am today to keep up everybody’s favourite Sunday round-up tradition while Heather enjoys a well-earned holiday in Europe. I am the luckiest girl… Harry has been spending the week at my place. He and my cat have become fast friends- I had to separate them one night because there was too much cuddling going on. Yes, seriously! Heather will be back this week and will catch you up on her trip, but here are some fun links to tide you over until her return.
Do you ever get so ridiculously jazzed by a new pattern that you basically push everything else off your sewing table in your excitement to get started? This was essentially my reaction when Kristiann at Victory Patterns released the Hannah Dress this spring. I got to see this feat of engineering live on Kristiann at Camp Workroom Social last year, and I was blown away by how innovative the construction is; this is a very special pattern.
At first glance it’s a chic little shirt dress with a tunic placket and a deeply curved hem. What really sets it apart is the crossover back panel that wraps around the front and dies into the front pockets. It’s sculpturally interesting enough on its own to be made in a solid colour (how fabulous in linen!) but I decided to dive into my immense stash of shirt making fabric instead. I pulled out this lovely blue oxford, and waited for the right contrast fabric to sing my name.
It happened at Fabrications in Ottawa; I knew as soon as I saw this huge floral print quilting cotton that I had found my match. Of course I failed to save the selvedge so I can’t remember the company, but it’s very soft with a much drapier hand than typical quilting cottons. I’m not normally a big floral print kind of lady, but I loved how modern and graphic this one was, and the blues matched my oxford perfectly.
It’s a great pattern to experiment with dramatic prints since they only pop in as an accent and don’t dominate the entire dress. I am utterly in love with the final result of this pairing;
We love love love seeing what you guys get up to on Instagram, and seeing all the Sophie swimsuits cropping up in the past month has been thrilling. I think it’s our best pattern so far when it comes to giving you lots of opportunity to explore your own creative ideas and each Sophie we see is so unique to its maker. ALL THE HEARTS FOR EYES EMOJIS!! Here are some current favourites, from Instagram and from some of our favourite sewing blogs…
Happy Sunday everyone! I am currently on vacation in Europe for a ten day jaunt. We’re visiting Guillaume’s family in the south of France and then spending a few days in Barcelona where I’m 200% positive we will eat and drink a hole right through it like the gluttonous beasts we are. It’s been an incredibly busy year and I’m so grateful to have a little time off, and wonderful in laws who live in beautiful places who can put me up/put up with me. Also very stoked to wear the little capsule wardrobe I’ve been planning all year. Mostly everything is handmade and in shades of white or blue – I’m just hoping I packed enough linen. Alexis is in the studio while I’m gone so we are still shipping orders and responding to customer service emails just in case you need something while I’m away.
In the meantime, here is some pretty handmade eye candy.
I keep meaning to draft the perfect slip dress; very inspired by this beautiful one from Miss Maddy Sews.
Today I have a super special bra guru to share some fitting wisdom with you; Amy Chapman of Cloth Habit, the exceptional bra-making blog, is here! Amy and I have been friends for a long time and I asked her to share some tips on fitting a balconette style bra cup like the one in the Sophie Swimsuit pattern. Amy is a bra-making and bra-fitting expert so I hope you find her advice helpful if you’re trying to fit this pattern (or any balconette!) to your breasts. Here’s Amy…..
Call me insane, but fitting bras has to be my favorite thing to do in all of sewing-dom. (Fitting pants comes next.) It breaks out the problem-solver, and I looove solving problems.
Bras are unique in that it is hard to get a decent picture of fit without assembling most of an entire bra. So I like to make a “bra muslin” whenever trying a new underwired style. Here’s an example of a muslin for a strapless bra which has has a very similar cup as the Sophie. For my test bras, I cut and loosely sew together an entire bra from similar or the same materials. I sew the cups from foam (if foam is being used) and nothing else. I sew all seams with a very long straight stitch or zig-zag, sew the elastic to one side only, and loosely stitch in the hooks and closures so I can easily take them out for reuse. I topstitch the channeling in very loosely, leaving the ends open. It’s all very ugly but it does the job. If you decide to “muslin”, have fun making it ugly!
Hey guys! I totally hoped to have my weekly wrap-up out yesterday but I was kept pretty busy with our Ginger workshop at the Stitch Sew Shop in Alexandria, Virginia, AKA the cutest town in America. We had an awesome weekend and three of us got to make summer neon jeans that you can see from space.
Last week was filled with beautiful me-mades; here are my favourites.
I wasn’t sure if I should share this recent make. I mean, at this point I’ve sewn, photographed and blogged so many Ginger Jeans (hacked, flared, zipped, you name it) that it I worry it’s redundant. While this current iteration is pretty classic as far as jeans go, they’re special to me because I made them during a workshop while teaching other ladies how to make their own jeans too. I am always particularly fond of workshop samples for that reason; they’re a tool that keeps giving back (to my booty).
And look at all that long hair! I don’t miss you AT ALL. I highly suggest hacking it all off if you’re bored with your look. It will grow back, promise.
These Ginger babies are made from the same Italian denim I used to make my recent flares. Turns out the recovery isn’t so great (which makes me very glad I didn’t use them in any of our kits) but the finish/wash is exceptional so I don’t mind getting them back into fighting shape by washing them every 2 wears or so. It’s been a while since I made a true high-waisted pair, so I returned to this old favourite. The only change I made was to narrow the yoke by about 1/2″ (transferring the 1/2″ to the top of the back leg). Lately the height of the yoke has been bugging me so this was a simple, proportional fix. I also went up a size since it’s been many moons since I could comfortably wear any of the many size tens I made in the past.