Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Montreal Spring Sewing Meetup

Hello everyone, Shannon is organizing a sewing meeting (bilingual!) to celebrate the never coming Spring of 2015! Head over her blog to fill her survey... See you soon! :D

/ Bonjour à tous, Shannon organise une sortie (bilingue!) entre bloggueuses couturières pour réchauffer le printemps qui tarde en 2015! Allez sur son blog pour remplir un mini sondage et indiquer vos disponibilités... À bientôt! :D

PS : Aidez-nous à sauver la Gaillarde par un don, une boutique sans but lucratif de réinsertion pronant la réutilisation des textiles! Voici le lien indigogo... Merci!  

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Spring in Montreal!

Well, I know it might not feel at all like spring, but here some activities that might warm some sewists hearts...
/ Même si le printemps tarde à se faire sentir, voici quelques activités à Montréal pour réchauffer nos coeurs de couturières...

Musée du Costume et du Textile du Québec
  1. Book Café : Fashion books and collectors items sale.
    Saturday March 21rd 2015, from 10am to 5pm.
    / Café du livre : Vente de livre sur la mode et d'objets de collection.
    Samedi 21 mars 2015, 10h-17h, au Marché Bonsecours.
  2. The current exhibition "Chic & Choc" is presenting 60 garments and accessories chosen for their scintillating beads and sequins, from a Roaring Twenties flapper dress to a stunning Céline Dion concert gown created by Annie Horth.
    Until April 18th 2015.
    / L'exposition courrante "Chic & Choc" réunit une soixantaine de vêtements et accessoires tous sélectionnés pour leurs broderies de perles et de paillettes, de la robe des Années folles à l’éblouissant costume de scène de Céline Dion créé par Annie Horth.
    Jusqu'au 18 avril 2015.

McCord Museum
  1.  "Love in Fine Fashion" displays 30 elegant wedding dresses and accessories from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries are featured in the current exhibition.
    Until April 12th 2015.
    / "L'amour sous toutes ses coutures" est une exposition de 30 robes de mariée racontant l'histoire des unions du 19e siècle à maintenant...
    Jusqu'au 12 avril 2015.
  2. The new permanent exhibition "Wearing our identity" about First Nations is a must to discover ancient traditions where the creation of original garments proved a rich heritage of identities and cultures.
    / La nouvelle exposition permanente "Porter son identité" propose aux visiteurs de partir à la découverte de l'héritage des Premiers Peuples, véritable témoin de la richesse de leurs cultures et de leurs identités..

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Last Minute New Year Dress

I wish you all an happy and healthy New Year in 2015! With enough time to sew!! :D

I have sewn a dress for my Daughter, started sewing at 22h on Dec 30 and finished before lunch on the Dec 31rst! It is a super fast make for me. :D

I was so proud of my gorgeous little munchkins and received many compliments on my sewing. They were quite well behave too even with the lack of sleep and if they were so excited to play with their cousins!! I was proud of my sewing too, although my husband's uncle (a professional tailor) tactfully suggested that I buy a proper invisible zipper sewing machine feet! ;) 

Here is what I did for future references:
  1. I copied the bodice of my daughter's white RTW dress (about size 6x-7).
  2. I added a lining for the bodice only (Tutorial by Dreaming of Avonlea)
  3. I made a full circle skirt for extra swirling fun (Calculator by By Hand London)
  4. I used an invisible Zipper (Tutorial by Coleterie) with double fold bias tape to wrap the cut end.
  5. I used double fold bias tape to finish the lining bottom edge.
  6. I tried a tiny hem for the circular skirt (Tutorial by Coleterie
  7. I hand sewn a white fabric belt with a big front bow and a bow tie for her brother!
Fabric and Notions :
  • Periwinkles and White Polyester "Peau de pêche" (satin?) (remnant from my bridesmaid's dresses)
  • Lilac ultra cheap polyester lining (bought to sew an Halloween costume that I never made)
  • White invisible zipper
  • Navy double folded bias tape (remnant from my birthday dress) 

Monday, November 3, 2014

I gave in and ordered from eShakti

eShakti top with 3/4 sleeves in 41-34-41 custom size.

So, since my semester started I have barely time to breath, let alone sew!! But I did the next best thing, design a top for my custom measurements and had it sewn and shipped to me ;)

eShakti is a web only shop for very nice dresses, tops and skirts ; with some retro flare and a lot in natural fibers. What is special about them is that you can order an item to your specific measurements and customize the sleeves, neckline and hem length... All for a very reasonable price I think.

I tried a knit top first, just to test their customize size options in a top I wouldn't necessarily need to pay to return... When you register you get a welcome rebate and I bought my top at 30% during a promotion weekend... So it was 38$ before tax but I paid 28$ with taxes and shipping for a custom made top. It arrived VERY fast 5 days later! Here is the review I sent them after washing and wearing my top 1 day :

The original top

"I love the color, the material is a medium-thick interlock knit, the quality of the sewing is perfect. I order to my measurements, I am 5'3", (34G) 41-34-41, 165 Lbs.

The bust fits me very well, the waist/hip hem is just too wide for my taste. There is more ease than I would have sewn in a knit (too boxy for my shape ; I need the top to come in below my bust to be more flattering).

I am considering adding thin darts vertically under the bust and taking the side seams in a little.  Meanwhile I will wear it tucked in only.

I would have loved a thin black elasticized sleeve hem or cute cuffs for elbow or 3/4 sleeves...

I love the options for sleeves and length. I wonder why all dresses in poplin are not offered in all colors? Maybe you could ask the customer's preferred fit for knit garments ; this knit top has too much ease for a knit but a similar woven might be fine... The packaging smelled bad (plastic smell) but I washed the top so it all went away..."

I didn't received anything from eShatki, I am just posting my review here in case crazy ladies like me stalk the web to see what they want to buy on someone else before committing to a purchase! ;)

I am not convinced yet that their sizing is good (nor bad), maybe the style was just not the most flattering on me... The real test would be to order a sheath dress without stretch!! I am quite smitten by this one even if it is polyester...

quilted jacquard dress
Diamond quilt jacquard sheath dress

Friday, July 11, 2014

Montreal's Costumes Exhibits

A quicky post about 2 sewing related activities in Montreal this summer :

Musée du Costume et du Textile de Montréal
 1) The Museum of Costume and Textile is having a 70s exhibit now / Une exposition sur la mode style macramé des années 70 au Québec, designer Francine Vandelac : Totalement Maille! (20 juin au 12 octobre 2014)

Université de Montréal, François Barbeau

2) The University of Montreal has an exhibition about a designer of costume for the theater, ballet, cirque du soleil / L'Université de Montréal offre une exposition sur le travail de création de costumes du designer François Barbeau : François Barbeau Créateur de Costumes (25 mai au 7 décembre 2014) 

Montreal's summer isn't just filed with awesome festivals! ;)

Friendly Reminder for Next Week

Fabric Shopping on St-Hubert

(FRANÇAIS PLUS BAS) Here is just a friendly reminder for our date next Friday July 18th at noon to have a quick lunch & coffee at Tim Hortons, shop for fabrics, have a drink afterward to unwind and swap patterns/fabrics/notions! :D There is parking available on Chabanel and in underground Parking (333 and 555 Chabanel). Please, make sure to bring cash if you plan on buying fabrics.

Tim Hortons St-Laurent/Chabanel - 18 juillet - 12h

Friday July 18th on Chabanel

  • 12h - Tim Hortons, 9485 St-Laurent (métro Sauvé)
  • 14h - Start shopping at Cuir Boilard, 185 Louvain.
  • 5@7 - Rapahël Bistro, wine bar,
    8497 Ste-Dominique (corner de Liège)
    (15 min on foot)
    Reservation under "Caroline Côté" at 17h15 (10 pers.)
  • Friday itinerary  in google map.

On Chabanel, it will be the perfect day to shop for :
  • leather skins (Cuir Boilard and 2 stores at 99 Chabanel O.)
  • swim/sports fabrics at the unique SuzieSpandex on St-Laurent, corner Chabanel.
  • bargain priced fabrics everywhere (apparel, home dec, not much for quilting) 
There is parking with parcometer on Chabanel (credit cards accepted, can be paid with smart phone App too) and paied parking at 300 and 555 Chabanel O (about 4$/h, max 10$).

Nearby streets offer free parking, just mind the "resident only" signs to avoid a parking ticket... It is sometimes confusing as alternating sections of both sides of the streets requires a parking permit.

From the Tim Hortons to the wine bar afterward, it is only a 15 min walk...

If you want to walk more, the shopping center (Marché Centrale, on l'Acadie) at the West end of Chabanel has free parking too.

RSVP - Confirm your presence at cotc03 at hotmail dot com.
Do not hesitate to invite friends! I will update the bottom of this post with a list of the confirmed attendees.

See you soon!

Un petit rappel amical pour notre rendez-vous vendredi prochain, le 18 juillet, à midi pour un diner rapide au Tim Hortons, un après-midi de magasinage et un 5@7 pour faire un swap de tissus/mercerie/patrons autour d'un bon verre! :D Il y a du stationnement sur Chabanel ainsiqu'au 333 et 555 rue Chabanel. Apportez du liquide si vous prévoyez acheter des tissus.

Vendredi, 18 juillet sur Chabanel

  • 12h - Tim Hortons, 9485 St-Laurent  (métro Sauvé)
  • 14h - On commence par Cuir Boilard, 185 Louvain.
  • 5@7 - Rapahël Bistro, bar à vin,
    8497 Ste-Dominique (coin de Liège)
    (15 min à pied)
    Réservations au nom de "Caroline Côté" à 17h15 (10 pers.)
  • Itinéraire du vendredi  sur google map.

Chabanel est l'endroit idéal pour trouver :
  • Du cuir (Cuir Boilard and 2 stores at 99 Chabanel O.)
  • Tissus de sport/costume de bain (SuzieSpandex, Globetext, StretchText)
  • Des bas prix imbattables! (tissus mode, décors, pas de coton à courte-pointe)

RSVP - Confirmer votre présence à cotc03 at hotmail dot com. 
Passez le mot à vos amis! Je vais tenir la liste des confirmations à la fin de ce billet.

à bientôt!


Friday / Vendredi - 18 juillet 2014
12h @ Tim Hortons, 9485 St-Laurent (métro Sauvé)

  1. Caroline @ Sew Eng. 
  2. Mélanie, my sister!  
  3. Suzy, ma mère!
  4. Kay Young @ The Sewing Lawyer
  5. Claire @ 1 seam at a time
  6. Anne-Marie L  
  7. Rhonda @ PR and Rhotos Rag
  8. Renée B.   
  9. Vicki @ Another Sewing Scientist
  10. Julie @ SurMesure on Burdastyle

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Plan for a Retro Inspired Bikini


I have been obsessively researching the web for inspiration to sew a retro inspired bikini since my last panties sewing last month... Here is my Pinterest board : inspiration for sewing swimwear and lingerie.

And a few of my favorites :

Black and Floral by PettiBear

Key hole by Halia Mia Swimwear



My husband, tired of seeing me obsess over this hypothetical project, sent me fabric shopping yesterday. I went shopping for nylon lycra in the Chabanel Fabric District. I bought some super wide black nylon lycra for a little less than 8$/m at Globe Text for muslin. Then, I bought lovely fabric : 1m of solid magenta (12.50$/m), 2m of black/white/magenta floral (13.50$/m) and 2m of black power mesh (9.50$/m) at StretchText on 9320 St-Laurent. Then, I went to Trimcity for elastic at 7381 St-Hubert. I bought some picot edge, smooth edge, clear elastic and regular braided 1/4 inch black elastic all around 3$/4yards to try out... I should have plenty to make 2 bikini and a one piece and several of top trials!

Power mesh, Floral and solids nylon lycra
Floral Fabric Scale
Various Elastics

Patterns Plan

Bikini Bottom

I plan on using my TNT pattern for the bottom : the Vera Venus Grannie Pannie, free one size pattern (size 10-12). It is fast and only have 2 seams : the crotch and back seams. For more elaborate designs, I will either use the side seams line to cu it or use my bought pattern, the Oh Lulu Betty Undies...

VV Grannie Pannie

Bikini Top

After agonizing an entire evening about which pattern to use, I finally chose Wearing History #4003D 1940s Brassiere, 5$ one size pattern (bust 32-35) after a good night sleep, filled with bikini sewing dreams! Mostly because I really like the long line and lack of underwire, it is a instant digital download and not expensive. But it is made for woven fabric. Since it is a little on the small size for myself, it might be not too bad. I will probably need to increase the bust cup size anyway... But a close second choice was Burdastyle Bustier 5/2011 #127 ; it just wasn't as long below the bust but can be made as a swimsuit by using interfacing in the front...

WH 1940s Brassiere
So now I just need enough alone time and/or quiet nights to sew it before the end of the summer!

Spring 2014 Finished Projects

Sewing Knits Fabrics

I have made a few new projects in 2014. I started sewing in June because my 1 day a week without kids (Merci maman) was now free again : no more school homework or volunteering at my daughter elementary school... I have sewn knits projects exclusively : they are fast, easy to fit and I used cheap (1.50$ to 5$/m) rayon knit fabric from Chabanel in Montreal... Here are my projects :

Knits Maxi Skirts

I used the remnant of my verso top indigo rayon knit and a new floral rayon knit to make simple maxi skirt with a yoga band. I love wearing it so much that I made a second "sur un coup de tête" in one day! I really like them both, they are great casual skirts.

I made the indigo one first in just enough fabric to get a 40 inches hem all around, but it can get hard to get into my Westfalia van without lifting it and it is a quite revealing sometimes since it is so tube like (evidence in the small right picture below). The floral one is more comfortable with a 60 inches hem all around. For reference, my waist is 33 inches (waistband is 30 inches for a snug fit) and the length of the skirt (without waistband) is 35 inches ; I am 5'2" 160 lbs.

Here are the tutorials I used :

My maxi skirts, with fuchsia top worn all bunched up to show the waistband

When I was sewing my Fuchsia Top, I kind of liked the crop top look before it was finished, so I think I will sew myself a crop top...  Even if I am quite self aware at my current size, my age/wisdom/don't-care-as-much-anymore-attitude and the lovely ladies sporting crop top on the web might give me enough confidence to wear it out!?!

Fuschia Knit Top

I used my drafted verso top front to make a top ; with the same top and back pattern piece, a ruched band in the middle and banded hem. I planned a dress but I was so undecided about the waistband and skirt that I end up doing a top instead! Inspiration : trellis dress  by eShakti. I have sewn my take on the trellis dress waistband, but I didn't like it enough and decided I need more separates...

Trellis waistband muslin

But I really like the finishing of the neckband. I used a tutorial on how to sew neck binding in 3 different methods from Kitschy Coo : The grumpy person's guide to knit bindings nut end up doing the method from Ikat Bag. But you can see my Pinterest board for various Sewing Tutorials for more options...

Problems : The top of the midriff seam is too low after a while wearing it ; I think my top stretched because the shoulders and neckband are not stabilized. I still wear it, I LOVE THE COLOR and softness of the rayon knit!

My fuchsia knit top with a ruched wiastband

Floral VeraVenus Granny Pantie

I modified my previous version by :
  • Adding 1 inch to the front of the gusset lining
  • Sewing with zig zag the SA of the Gusset-Back-Front to the Gusset (doesn't show from outside)
  • I left the front of the gusset lining unfinished
And I figured out elastic, finally!!! I sewn my pantie, then measure exactly where the elastic was to be and used 90% of that measurement. The pattern is available for free on the Vera Venus Free Patterns page. My previous version can be found in the underpants experiment series.

Floral Vera Venus Grannie Panties

I now really want to sew myself some high waist bikini!!

Foxer - Women Boxer Briefs

As a teen, my favorite undie was a Calvin Klein gray boxer short. I wore that under my cut out jeans and under skirts and dresses until it worn out and couldn't find a replacement anymore... I was eying Jalie 2572 - Women Shapewear, but the price of the paper pattern and a picture I saw of the inside looking more like a legging with added gusset had me thinking twice... I decided to try my theory and sew a super short legging with a gusset lining.

I based it on So Sew Easy tutorial to draft your own leggings ; she even have a spreadsheet that do the calculation for you! I really liked it. I also stumbled onto a men who is sewing his own Spiderman costume from scratch in the comments, it was quite interesting! I love to get a glimpse into the secret hobby life of people!

Unfortunately, it gave me a camel problem... So no picture for now. I will investigate more to find out how to fix this. Maybe my fabric is too thin too... I have found a great source of info about the camel toe problem on Fashion Incubator. Stay tune for more details eventually... I might cave in and finally buy the Jalie pattern! ;)

My husband says he loves my hobby ; mainly because I often sew half naked. He told me I should rename my blog The Half-Naked Seamstress and commented that it would be ultra dangerous to do his own hobby in his underwear (building guitars with power tools)!!

PS : I started using PicMonkey to make collage and I quite like it!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Montreal's Sewing Meetup on St-Hubert Recap

Thank you to all for the wonderful sunny afternoon on St-Hubert! We had so much fun chatting that we didn't have time to see all the stores ; I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did! We were warmly welcome at Elle Couture and Tissus St-Hubert and delightfully looked at all their lovely silks! Unfortunately, I took only a couple of pictures as I was too busy enjoying myself!

We started with lunch at a Peruvian Rotisserie and pizzeria. My chicken was great! Then we did a patterns and fabrics swap.

RIGHT : Vicki, Terri, Julie

LEFT : Catherine, Anne-Marie, Shannon, Suzie

I scored some treasures : a superb nice bouclé in my favorite colors from Anne-Marie, a cool sparkly mauve/black stretch fabric from Julie, useful water proof fabric from Terri and a pattern of a dress with colorblocking capability and different cup sizes too! I will bring the remaining patterns and fabrics that didn't find a home during the swap to the next meeting in July...

My swap bounty!

Then we hit St-Hubert street to shop for fabrics :
En cherchant sur Couture Elle en ligne, j'ai trouvé une série d'article en Français à propos des métiers de la couture à Montreal. Ils sont vraiment très intéressants : Reportage - Le fil d'Ariane, étudier le passé pour mieux créer demain.

Reportage sur les métiers de la couture à Montréal

We finished with a drink at the Gainzbar in a super cozy lounging area next to the bay window. The ambiance was nice, the background music soft enough to continue chatting merrily about sewing, travel, food and life! I was again so taken by the conversation that I didn't have any pictures, but I found those on the Gainzbar website... 

Gainzbar - 6289 St-Hubert

Our lounging area!

I kept bothering Terri that she had so much in common with my mother ; travelling, spending time with her grandchildren, sewing, teaching people that doesn't know computer how to use them, etc... Everything except Belly Dancing! ;)

Pour Terri : ma mère, ma soeur et moi l'été passé. ;)

Thank you again for coming to all the lovely lady I met today :

See you on Chabanel next month!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friendly Reminder for Tomorrow!

Fabric Shopping on St-Hubert

Here is just a friendly reminder for our date tomorrow at noon to have lunch, swap patterns/fabrics/notions, shop for fabrics and have a drink afterward to unwind :D

Pizzelli Coq - 7613 St-Hubert à midi

Saturday June 14th on St-Hubert

  • 12h - Pizzelli Coq, 7616 St-Hubert, 514-495-0111 (métro Jarry),
    Reservation under "Caroline Côté" (10 pers.)
    ** If desired : bring patterns, fabric or notions to exchange **

  • 14h - Start shopping at KAVA going South
    Kava, 7609 St-Hubert, métro Jarry.
  • 5@7 - Gainzbar, 6289 St-Hubert, 514-272-3753
    Reservations under "Caroline Côté" at 17h (10 pers.)
  • Saturday itinerary in google map.

On St-Hubert, it will be the best place to find :

  • Notions and threads (Kava, Notions stores, etc.)
  • High end fabrics (Couture Elle, etc.)
  • Vast choices of apparel, home dec, vinyl, quilting cotton, knitting yarns. (more than 20 stores)


Samedi, 14 juin sur St-Hubert

  • 12h - Pizzelli Coq, 7616 St-Hubert, 514-495-0111 (métro Jarry)
    Reservation au nom de "Caroline Côté" (10 pers.)
    ** Échange de patrons, tissus et mercerie si désiré **
  • 14h - On commence par KAVA et on va vers le sud
    Kava, 7609 St-Hubert, métro Jarry.
  • 5@7 - Gainzbar, 6289 St-Hubert, 514-272-3753
    Reservation au nom de "Caroline Côté" à 17h (10 pers.)
  • Itinéraire du samedi sur google map.

St-Hubert est la meilleure place pour trouver :
  • Mercerie et fils (Kava, Notions stores, etc.)
  • Des tissus luxueux (Couture Elle, etc.) 
  • Un vaste choix de tissus mode, décoration, vinyl, cotton à courte-pointe, laine à tricotter (20+ magasins)

Confirmations :

Saturday / Samedi - 14 juin 2014
12h @ Pizzelli Coq, 7616 St-Hubert (métro Jarry)

  1. Caroline C @ Sew Eng. 
  2. Vicki @ Another Sewing Scientist
  3. Catherine @ Ramble on Cat 
  4. Julie @ SurMesure on Burdastyle
  5. Terri @
  6. Shannon @ The Finished Garment
  7. Anne-Marie @ Le mani d'oro
  8. Suzie @ Fabric Maverick