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Blue Deer & Doe Reglisse dress

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I haven’t posted anything here for a very long time so the pictures you are about to see were taken a couple of months ago – which explains the snow left on the ground…

Now that New York summer has truly kicked in it feels like a lifetime ago.

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I made the Deer and Doe Reglisse dress in a peachy-feeling polyester that I got from the garment district. Although I love the D&D patterns – I have made a few now – my measurements do not correspond to the standards of the brand so I have to play around a little. I am a size 36 except for the waist which is a 38. Since the dress has an elastic waist I just cut a 36 but it was a little too tight and hard to slip on so I widened it a little. If I make it again I will need to modify the pattern slightly so that the waist is a 38.

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It was still spring so I was wearing a few more layers…

I love the details in this dress – especially the shoulders. I think I must have done something wrong with the neck line though because it doesn’t quite sit the way I would like it to but I don’t think it’s too noticeable.

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I love this dress! It is so feminine and well cut. I can’t help it but twirl every time I wear it. In New York City this is actually not the most practical. I have had a few Marilyn Monroe/embarrassing moments…

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Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, New York City

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As a French citizen and haute couture lover, I could not miss the fabulous exhibition that has been at the Brooklyn Museum for the last few months: The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: from the Sidewalk to the Catwalk.

JP Gaultier’s influence goes beyond the fashion connoisseurs: his creations have revolutionized women’s and men’s fashion over the last decades and we all wear outfits inspired by him whether we know it or not.

The exhibit was absolutely amazing and probably the largest I have ever seen dedicated to one fashion designer: approximately 140 haute couture and ready-to-wear ensembles were presented  ranging from his earliest works to his most recent creations.

Here is a – small – selection of some of his major designs often displayed on custom mannequins with interactive faces created by high-definition audiovisual projections. I found that a little spooky at first but very innovative. Looking forward to hearing what you think of that detail!

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JP Gaultier “talking” about his definition of style and major design influences

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The marinière, or striped sweater. Gaultier’s flagship style and now a true part of the French stereotype.

Decades after the women’s liberation movements that set modern society free of corsets and other oppressive garments, Gaultier’s avant-garde designs have challenged societal, gender, and aesthetic codes in unexpected ways.

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JeanPaulGaultier_14One of his most famous designs worn by life-long muse: Madonna

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Transcending gender…

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 Gaultier’s Punk era

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Boudoir, BDSM inspirations

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Gaultier’s worldwide inspirations

The Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition is already over in New York City but after being originally created for Montreal, Canada, it will now keep traveling the world. The next stop is Australia. it will run at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne from October 17, 2014 to February 8, 2015. Enjoy! 

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Deer and Doe Chataigne shorts

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I have not posted anything on the blog for so long. And yet it’s not because I haven’t been busy sewing. Quite the contrary actually, but the challenge has been getting the newly made garments photographed. I sadly had to let go of my beloved photographer when I moved to New York and since then it has been tough to combine daylight, nice weather, and a patient friend willing do take multiple pictures in less-than-comfortable-close-to-the-ground positions! I’m thinking about investing in a tripod so I can make a fool of myself alone in my new backyard… I am keen to get  advice from other bloggers to figure out their photography techniques!

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In snowy Central Park by -10C or 15F. I took off my coat for about 30 seconds and felt like I was gonna freeze!

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So anyway, instead of waiting forever to show great pictures, here are a few of my new Deer and Doe Chataigne shorts. I was planning to participate in the Chataigne sew along but I did not take into account delivery time for international orders so I finished them 24h late… I really love the amazing ones made by other sewers all around the world and it has inspired me to make a colorful version for the spring.

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My Parisian version of Central Park: the Palais Royal gardens during a brief visit a couple of weeks ago. Slightly different weather on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean… 

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Like all Deer and Doe patterns, the shorts were a pleasure to make and are a great fit. I cut them in a size 38 since the size 36 of other Deer and Doe patterns had been a little tight at the waist. But since the shorts actually sit on the hips I had to take them in a little on the sides. Next time I’ll cut them in a 36. The fabric is a suit polyester and I used the leftover stash from my Sureau dress for the inside yoke and pocket lining.

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Sureau paisley dress “Made in NYC”

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When I bought my NYC sewing machine I was very excited about trying it out and sewing my first “Made in NYC” garment.

I had brought a couple of patterns from Paris that I wanted to try out here from my beloved Deer and Doe brand. I started with the Sureau dress for which I used a paisley print cotton. The word Sureau in French actually means elderberry; don’t you think the tree next to me looks like it? I wish I had done it on purpose but to be honest it was mostly a great background!

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As soon as I moved to NYC I went looking for fabric shops. Everyone directed me to the Garment District and especially Mood Designer Fabrics described as the best fabric store in the city (I will put together an article on buying fabric in NYC similar to the one I have about Paris in a little bit when I get more shopping experience here). Indeed it was and I walked out with the fabric I needed to make my new dress. The only challenge was asking for yards and inches which was a a little disturbing for the meter and centimeter-thinking French gal I am!

Sureau paisley dress Made in NYC_3Like all other Deer and Doe patterns it was a great cut. The brand indicates that its designs cater for rather curvy women with a C cup so I made a slight Small Bust Adjustment (SBA) to fit my B cup. I cut the dress in a size 36 except for the waist which I widened to a 38. It fits perfectly and was quick and easy to sew. Oh and I love my new sewing machine!

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Unfortunately, New York has gotten pretty cold in the last couple of weeks and even the fall colors have morphed into a sad grey which I suspect will last a few months. So in the next picture is what I was actually wearing a couple of days ago when we shot the pictures. Not very mild huh?!

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And this is what I am preparing to look like by Christmas when it will be really freezing… All I am missing now is a sleigh and reindeer so I can deliver my Christmas presents in three weeks time!

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Tartan skirt

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When I held a fancy dress party a couple of years ago my roommate dressed up as a Highland dancer. He went to the Marché Saint Pierre to buy the necessary attire and proudly came home with a piece of red tartan fabric. I wish I had a photo of him in his dashing costume but unfortunately we’re still going through our huge picture archives!

I got really lucky when he said to me a few days after the party: I won’t use this fabric again – or at least not for a very very long time – so if you want it it’s yours. Yaaaayyyy!!!!

No I didn’t wear it as a kilt… I made a simple straight skirt with a yoke piece at the waist.

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I still get asked how Scotish I am when I wear it (fashion sense anyone? This was SO in back in 2012!) and I love that it creates such a statement.

Pattern_640The skirt is based on the Simplicity 4420 pattern. I made view B which I shortened by a few inches. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be on sale on the Simplicity website anymore (does that mean I own a vintage pattern???) but you can find it on eBay and other websites. The pattern is just a basic bias tiered skirt so I’m sure you can find many different designs from multiple pattern brands.

(Sorry about the very bad pattern design picture. I took a photo of the envelope with my phone and never thought I would need it for anything but my personal pattern library!)

Now here are just a few more pictures – I’m sure you can see just how much I love wearing this really simple skirt that I made in just a couple of hours.

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Sewing in the city

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When I moved to New York a few weeks ago, I quickly realized I would have to get an American sewing machine to 1/ sustain my passion – or should I say my deep need – to sew, and 2/ keep my blog updated with new – NYC made – creations.

I’m a pretty old fashioned dress-maker and I tend to find that the older the machine the better! So like a true New Yorker I hit Craigslist and went searching for a second-hand machine. I was so excited when I came across the perfect deal that I went to pick up my new best friend the next day!

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It’s a Singer 6217 model in perfect condition. After a few tests I can happily say it works great! My machine in Paris was a Toyota and I must admit I do like the Singer brand better. It feels like every detail has been considered from a sewer’s perspective and designed to make our life easier.

As you can see it is already being used and the next sewing project is on the way. Any idea what it is?

I’m already looking forward to having it finished, worn and photographed to show you!

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Skirt or dress?

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For the  last couple of years ready-to-wear fashion brands have been introducing more and more “two in one” clothes such as dresses that basically look like a skirt and top. For people who already had trouble telling the difference between a skirt and a dress (is this a call to the men out there??? nooooooo ;-) ) this must be so confusing. I must admit I feel bad now for the boys who all these years would put themselves out there by complementing us on our dress and we awful creatures would just answer with contempt “it’s a skiiirt!!!” and turn around laughing and walk away with our girlfriends. Sorry guys for what we made you suffer!

IMG_1746_2So this is my version of a skirt-dress. I love that style which is so practical: you don’t have to worry about matching up an outfit and keeping all the pieces in place during the day.

The design is based on two different patterns: Simplicity 2406 dress by designer Cynthia Rowley for the top and Burda Marie 9177 skirt for the bottom. The top is a white cotton with a slight brocade-like white-on-white print and the skirt is a black cotton sateen lined with black polyester.

The cut-out sleeves were a little tricky to figure out but the instructions were crystal clear so it worked out fine. I made the back opening smaller for more comfort and finished it with a vintage bronze colored button. I sewed the pleats on the front of the skirt as indicated in the pattern but I decided to make the back as a straight pencil skirt with two darts on each side.

black and white dress montageThe skirt and top were easy to put together but an unexpected problem appeared at the very end which made me give up the project and put it away for a few weeks. You know, it’s that really infuriating detail which gets so frustrating that you just give up the entire thing…

I put an invisible zipper in on the left side of the skirt and since the top had a back opening and was pretty wide on the sides I thought it would be all good. But what I didn’t realize was that since the top was gathered at the waist I actually needed an opening there too. The solution I eventually came up with (with the precious help of my awesome sewing consultant: my mother) was to add 4 press studs which I sewed by hand on the inside part of the fabric above the zip. It’s unfortunately not as invisible as I would have liked – especially since I only had black studs at home and couldn’t be bothered to go out and buy some white ones! But it works and I have been excited to notice since then that dresses in shops are actually designed the same way.

What ready-to-wear designs have you been inspired by lately? Do you follow the current trends when you sew or do you just go your own way?

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Le Rouge et le Noir

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This is a simple black skirt that I made to wear with a bit of everything. I already have a Little Black Dress so now I have a Little Black Skirt!

This outfit is fairly dressed up but the skirt also works as a more casual style. Maybe I should start making pictures with different combinations. I’ve seen a few blogs featuring “dress up/dress down” posts. Who’s in?

I almost always get comments when I dress in black and red. Is that a French thing? Or is it universal? I get asked if I’m Latino (seriously?), if I like tango, and other very stereotyped comments. I only ever think of the Stendhal classic Le Rouge et le Noir (apparently variously translated as Scarlet and BlackRed and BlackThe Red and the Black. What do you know it as?)

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The skirt is based on the July 2011 Bubble skirt pattern by Burda. I had been looking for that kind of skirt for a long time and this one is just perfect. I changed the pleats slightly and made two of them instead of one. I added black satin piping on the pocket seams and satin belt loops.

I would have liked it to be higher waisted as I mostly wear it with tops tucked into it. But I already took the sides in about 1/2″ on each side and I think it’s good enough. The pattern is actually cut on the hips so I may add a waist band next time.

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…sorry about the terrible/lack of ironing. It really shows in the light…!

I also love the dress based on the same pattern. It is definitely on my (very long) to do list.

Do you have your little black dress/little black skirt?

Somehow when taking the pictures we thought the outfit matched a very Parisian car in the street so here’s a little bonus…

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Do I even match the street art colors (look far away in the top righ-hand corner)?! Hmm yeah I know it’s a little far fetched. But I just noticed it when uploading the picture!

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Purple rain

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Admittedly it was not a rainy day when we did the shooting but purple always makes me think of that Prince song which I love (I did not see the movie though – maybe that should be the next step…).

I made this sun dress last year for the holidays as I was going to the South of Spain during the summer. I really liked the bodice of New Look dress pattern #6699 but I wanted to experiment with something new by making a pleated skirt instead of the suggested skirts on the pattern.

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I put together E+J for the bodice pieces and cut a rectangle for the skirt to which I added the necessary space for 5 pleats on each side of the skirt at the front and 3 at the back.

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What I found out the hard way is that the pleats made the skirt MUCH shorter once sewn and assembled with the top than anticipated. So it’s lucky that I was mostly going to wear it in Spain so I just blended in perfectly. If you haven’t been to Spain, be prepared: most of the girls there dress VERY short and VERY sexy dresses when they go out!

Honestly I have never worn this dress in Paris since… Could I get away with it in NYC in the summer? Besides its length I do like the shape of this dress, especially the beautifully gathered bodice.

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The fabric is a bright purple cotton voile with very thin stripes. I lined the whole dress as it is quite see-through.

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Maybe I can wear it to the beach on my next trip to Aruba or Porto Rico. Isn’t that where New Yorkers go looking for sun during the winter months?! Where are you going this winter?

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Deer and Doe Airelle blouse

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When Eleonore released her collection of Deer and Doe patterns I literally fell in love. Her designs  are contemporary with a touch of vintage and retro inspiration and the entire brand is beautifully packaged and marketed.

The first Deer and Doe pattern that I made was the Airelle blouse. I had grey cotton left from my stash which I used as a wearable muslin. It is not very original but it was a good way of testing the brand as every pattern brand is different, especially the sizing and fitting.

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The blouse was a breeze to make! The instructions are extremely clear and everything just comes together the way it is supposed to. I used grey cotton voile for the bodice and black cotton for the collar, sleeve edging and shoulder piece. Both were from my leftover stock.

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I’m already thinking about the next one I will make and I think it will have gold or silver piping on the shoulders…

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