Saturday, June 27, 2015

Tweaking the 'Cirque Dress', Vogue 9112

Vogue 9112
I Love You, Now Change

In response to requests for adding a sleeve & lengthening Vogue 9112, AKA 'The Cirque' dress I made this my off and on studio project over the past few weeks which included a few ups and downs where I took a break and let it rest.  After auditioning many possible fabrics, I settled on our 'Greensprings' Japanese cotton double gauze from a recent shipment.  (Darn, while I pfutzed with the dress, the fabric sold out.  A new bigger than ever shipment of Japanese cottons is coming next week).  

Now that I have figured out the sleeve and length, I'm eager to make it again and am considering using a knit or a combo of knits and wovens.  In a knit it would hang closer to the body and be very comfortable.  Would also make a very cool little black dress, or you could dress it up in a silk or down in a jersey.  I finished/faced the hem with a single layer of bias as I wanted all the length possible.  Next time I'll cut it an inch or two longer.  I also want to try a future version without the collar.  In that case, I'd recommend making the neck edge a bit smaller, using the 2 versions I've already made as a guideline,  would raise up the back neck and shoulder an inch or so, as-is it is a pretty wide boat neck which might work for some.  

I lengthened the dress 5", adding the length at the hem which worked well, though I missed adding on the center front section, so had to piece it.  See the fix in the video below.

Vogue 9112 as shown on the pattern envelope.  I used light/mid weight cottons for these versions.
The fabric in this version uses our Foggy Gray Ikat from Thankoon, still in stock.
This version uses a Japanese seersucker, sold out.
The first attempt at adding a sleeve did not work.  The theory in adding a sleeve is that you must be sure the armhole of the garment and the sleeve cap will work together.  I found a shirt pattern with almost the same shape and measurement as the dress and cut the sleeve in a ¾ length.  Basted it in and turned under the hem in an elbow length and ¾ length.  In spite of the theory, it was clunky, did not work, and I did not like it on me or on the dress form.

Ripped off the sleeves and tossed the dress in the washing machine, then hung it outside to dry.
It softened nicely, whew.....back on track.

After sorting through a batch of different white/ivory meshes, I decided on this Ivory Point d'eEsprit Mesh for the sleeves. It is the right color, the faint dots blended with the pattern and texture of the dress fabric.  

For this sleeve variation, I got out my dress pattern pieces one more time and went searching for a knit sleeve pattern with a similar armhole.  Vogue 9057,  turned out to be a good match, so I cut the sleeves double layer, to elbow length with the hem cut on the fold.  See my tutorial on cutting double layer knits for more details.  Basted the sleeves in place, and, voila!  Success!!


Initially I thought I would eliminate the collar, but the neckline seemed too wide and too deep at the back, a good thing to know if you want to just make a simple bound neck edge.  Next time I make the dress, I'll add to the neckline at back and shoulder.  I narrowed the width of the collar by 1" along the straight outer edge, cutting that edge along the selvedge so the writing would show.     
Took an additional ½" tuck at center back so the collar would stand away and not be so high.

The Finished Dress

Video:   Add a sleeve & length to Vogue 9112, 
plus tips for piecing.

Summer Update
Right now, I'm immersed in preparing sample garments and step-outs for a new Craftsy class.  Done in tandem with Katherine, we're filming at the end of July for an early October release.  The working title is The Artful T, and we each have made a half dozen new T-shirts for the class.  

Two new Vogue patterns for summer 2016 are on the design table, due by September 1.  The online fabric store is hopping, keep running out of room, so we're building a bigger receiving warehouse plus improved photo studio.  I'm in the current photo studio most afternoons photographing fabrics to post on the website.  

I've fallen head over heels in love with photography, have a wonderful tutor helping me with the tech end, and am still absorbing all I learned at the fantastic Paris photo workshop last month, more on this in a future blog.  In the studio, I've been enjoying listening & watching Craftsy classes on photography while I design and sew.  My current Craftsy class is Creative Photography with George Lange, it is excellent.   Now the camera goes with me everywhere.

Later this summer I'm off on a buying trip, but for months I've been stockpiling fall fabrics and will begin posting those in July.  The new fall Vogue patterns are set to be released in mid July. I've seen advanced photos of my two upcoming fall patterns and am excited to share them with you.  The pieces (coat+pant and seamed tunics), all work together making a perfect travel or core wardrobe.  Off on a road trip to San Francisco to celebrate her birthday.  We have plans to visit some of our favorite  bay area designers to pick up fabric for the fabric store, and I'll be posting new fabrics from the road.  

We love to see what you are making.  
Please share your projects and send photos to:

Happy Summer from my studio to yours,

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Paris Update

It has been quiet on my Paris reports and blogging, a good sign that I was fully immersed in being there.  Each visit seems like the best.  Every group touches my heart and expands my circle of friends.  Here are some views of things that caught my eye in Paris windows and a few Paris and travel resources.  The French economy is hurting and it is reflected in the window displays, still lovely, but less extravagant, more pared down and simplified.    

Paris Hats
Spring hats in the windows at Colette on the rue St. Honore
Hand made Japanese hat, made of paper, intentionally crushed, comes in a flat hat box, perfect for travel.
I bought a different style, love that it can roll up in my purse without destroying it.
A Paris hat is always on my shopping radar.
Little White Dresses

Fad?  Trend?
No matter what you call it, they are everywhere this season.
Pale pink dress at Repetto, famous for the little flat ballet slipper.
Orange linen
Orange Lace
Love this cartoon fabric in a simple little '60's style dress.
Other view of the cartoon fabric dress.
This in the window at Edith Mercer, a cool little shop right across the street from the Bon Marche department store.
Metallics are another spring/summer trend, here layered knit tops.
Hand effect embellished jeans.
Ripped and torn jeans are a strong trend which I saw being worn in the street.
Lace and denim.  
Clunky flat sandals a la Birkenstock are a major trend.
Platform sandals, another strong look.
Chic and clunky sandal at Robert Clergerie
Vintage Chanel, the real deal in a window at a tiny depot vente (resale shop) on rue Guisarde on the left bank.
Matching white wool Chanel bag in the same resale shop. 
Coat being made for an independent designer.
We visited the couture studio where they were applying the feathers.

Paris Travel Tips
Left Bank
Take a short video tour of the left bank neighborhood near where we stay, eat, shop and hang out.

Organizing my stuff for being out and about in a city every day is a bit of a challenge.  A daily ritual is to empty out and re-pack my bags each morning. I carry my camera at all times too, and these two Groom bags proved to be the perfect combination.  Everything close at hand with the camera around my neck turned on and at the ready.

Small and lightweight, this is the bag both Katherine and I carry in Paris as well as for every day at home.
 Zips securely closed with an inside zipper pocket. Cash goes in the larger 'main' pocket, credit cards on the inside and there is still room for a lipstick...just the essentials. When traveling, I wear the bag inside my jacket with the zipper toward my body.  We have both gray and black in stock.
Capuccio Backpack Bag in Stencilled Hide & Leather
I carried this bag every day in Paris.  Surprisingly lightweight...I sometimes forget I am wearing it!  I never put money in a backpack, but it holds map, raincoat, umbrella, small purchases, spare camera batteries etc.  The zebra stripe works with both light and dark color clothes too, and it is now my favorite basic larger bag.  

A new addition to my suitcase collection, this is an ideal carry on bag...holds computer, iPad, camera gear, a change of clothes and a few cosmetics.  Slides under the seat and is a neat fit in smaller planes so everything can roll right on board.

Where to stay in Paris
Chez Martine Deret
Owned by Marcy's friend Martine Deret, centrally located in the 2nd arrondissement, near the Louvre and Opera Garnier.  2 bedrooms, 2 baths, large airy living/dining area with sofa bed, large American style kitchen.  Perfect for women traveling together, ideal for 2 couples.  Marcy and Katherine stay here before our tours begin and this is our home away from home while in Paris.  Martine deals directly with clients, and everyone we've directed to her raves about staying here.   
For inquiries contact Martine via e-mail:

Favorite Paris Hotels
Click on the link above for a small group of highly recommended and charming group of family owned and operated hotels.  Can't say enough good things about these hotels, and I hope to stay in all of them in my lifetime, (so far have stayed in 3).  Impeccably run, personal, with a marvelous staff, each hotel is different, but the feeling is the same.  Our groups love them too, and return to stay on future trips.  Beautiful rooms, great locations, delicious breakfast, charming atmosphere.  

Join Marcy & Katherine in Paris in the Fall
Our November trip is now officially a go, and we'd love to have you join us!

For now, I'm happily back home and in the studio, photographing and posting new fabrics, sewing prototypes for 2 summer 2016 patterns and, along with Katherine, preparing to shoot another Craftsy class on the Artful T.  AND... engaging in my new passion for street photography.  Stay tuned.......

Happy sewing & designing  from my studio to yours!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Paris in the Pink

Balmy & Blooming in Paris

Cruising all over town with our fabulous group of women.  Took a boat ride on the Seine, had a fashion lecture on the little black dress, fended off pickpockets in the metro.  Averaged walking 4 miles a day.  Scoured the flea market, spent an afternoon at Giverny, shopped for fabric and buttons, window shop, get lost, find the hotel, meet in the bar at the end of the day for a glass of wine and sharing the day's adventures.  There are 3 museum shows in Paris right now that are not to be missed.
Waiting for the bus.
If you visit Paris, use the RATP website to plan your route by bus or by metro.  Metro tends to be quicker, while the bus gives views of the city.
Walking to the button exhibition past one of the prettiest metro stations, on the left, looks like a giant piece of jewelry. 
After visiting Giverny, we went to the Orangerie to see Monet's Waterlillies.
Breathtaking.  Go early, the museum opens at 9.
Resting and chatting in the Tuleries Gardens.
Color Trend: La Vie en Rose
(Think ALL shades of Pink) 
Paled version of what the French call 'prune'.
Pale pink in the trees at Giverny.  
The same shade of pale pink is in shop windows too.
Peony Pink
Abundant bouquets of peonies in the market.
Simple shift with asymmetrical fabric flowers at the neckline.
Tulips in the garden at Giverny
Digitally printed linen 
I like the way the large scale print is pieced to break up the pattern.
Girl's dresses in a posh shop on rue Madame
Touches of Lace

Lace overlayer.  This shop had lots of little lace tops and slip/camisoles to layer over and under.  I bought a couple and am going home to bring out my lace and sew some.
Eyelet is a strong fabric and fashion trend to dress up  or down.
Eyelet shorts.
Little Flat Shoes
Just the thing to wear with the soft colors and fabrics of spring & summer....

Paris Travel Tips
Tank top/cami with secret pocket.  Found at  Clever Travel Companion. Holds credit cards and cash flat, safe and easy to access.  Dries overnight.  Fits smoothly without adding bulk.
$30. Five stars, love it!
Willi's Wine Bar is one of my favorite places to eat in Paris.  The original wine bar, owned by an Englishman, the food and wine is superb and the staff speak English.  Always a winner.
The Palais Royal
Take a video stroll through my favorite space in Paris, the Palais Royal

This week I'm taking a photography workshop here in Paris, more to come.....