Missing Manequim magazines…

27 Jun

Busy, busy, busy spring and summer.  Sorry for not posting in May, I just finish completing a five week online course, which kept me busy.  I am also busy with doing extra housework since my husband is out of commission due to a dislocated elbow from mountain biking.  I am behind with all my magazines and releases of new patterns from the big 4, so I know this post is a bit behind.

Recently my Manequim magazines have been going AWOL in the mail.  I was mailed the wrong magazine for April and a replacement never came. My May issue never appeared, but after contacting customer service they have agreed to mail me another May issue.  Thankfully June issue showed up today, so I am a bit relieved I am only missing two issues instead of three.  I dread it when I miss an issue of Manequim.  Out of all the pattern and sewing magazines that I subscribe to, this is my favorite pattern magazine.

I was going through my last Manequim, which was the March issue, before this fiasco happened and they have this bag pattern which is in the same likeness of the Stella McCartney Fallabella fold-over tote (retail at $1265.00).  This bag has been around since 2010 and has been a popular bag among celebrities to carry.


Photo taken from intheircloset.com

The Manequim version looks close to the Stella McCartney bag and it’s easy to sew.  For a fraction of the price, you can make your own Fallabella bag.

Manequim  March 001


Mrs Stylebook Winter 2012

25 Apr

I am back!  Sorry for my inconsistent  postings, I have been busy in my personal life and was also out of the country for a month so I was delay in getting this post out.  To make it up, this post is pretty long with lots of visual to look at.  Winter is almost over in this part of the hemisphere so this post might be redundant for those entering into spring/summer sewing, but in the other part of the world where summer is ending and autumn is approaching this review has come just in time.

Mrs Stylebook Winter 2012 001

I received the winter 2013 Mrs. Stylebook from my vendor, however I did not receive the fall special edition.  I am debating if I should just order it off of Ebay, it looks more interesting than the winter edition.  The winter issues has your typical coat, jackets, long sleeve garments for the season.  The free pattern in this issue: classic modern coats, simple chic half coat, dolman sleeve short coat, A-line half coat, zip-up pullover, and a jacket; all very simple basics and easy to sew.

Mrs Stylebook Winter 2012 004

A classical modern coat with raglan sleeve, one hook closure and a self made belt.

Mrs Stylebook Winter 2012 007

My favorite out of the six free patterns, a simple chic half coat with concealed button closure and attached leather ties.

Mrs Stylebook Winter 2012 010

Yikes! The fabric choice could have been more fashion and less upholstery for this dolman sleeve short coat.

Mrs Stylebook Winter 2012 013

An A-line half coat with drop shoulder sleeve.

Mrs Stylebook Winter 2012 016

(Left) A cardigan/jacket with two snap button closures, the same draft as the classical modern coat but cut shorter.  (Right) A zip-up  pullover with drop shoulder and an exposed front zipper.

Mannish Coat

Mrs Stylebook Winter 2012 019

Two men’s wear inspired jackets – the left jacket has a shoulder yoke detail done in a contrasting fabric and the right jacket has patch pockets with snap button flap closure.

Lace & Tweed Jacket

Mrs Stylebook Winter 2012 022

(Left) Influence from the 70s safari jacket can be seen in the use of large patch pockets on the front of this jacket.  The jacket edges is frayed and is reinforced with twill tape to control the fray.

(Center) Zip jacket with a lace overlay decorating the center front.

(Right) Lace jacket decorated with pointed lace border around the collar.

Short Cape & Coat

Mrs Stylebook Winter 2012 025

I love these two pieces!   Both have a structural  look to them that is basic yet distinctively unique.  (Left) This jacket’s curving style lines is reminiscent of a Frank Gehry sculpture with the front flowing into the collar and the collar jutting up to frame the face.    (Right) This poncho/coat  is modernly updated with strong use of angular design lines, in its silhouette and in its pocket shape.

Half Coat

Mrs Stylebook Winter 2012 028

(Left) Coat with a loosely draped collar and accented with slanted pockets.  (Middle) Oversize notch collar coat with a cocoon silhouette.  (Right) A coat with faux fur accent on the collar, the seams and the hem; mimicking the look of a shearling coat.

One-piece Lover

Mrs Stylebook Winter 2012 003

(Left) Short sleeve dress with tucks in place of darts.  (Right) Loose fitting dress with expose zipper detailing.

Mrs Stylebook Winter 2012 006

(Left) Baby doll dress with lace collar.  (Right)  Princess line dress with flare skirt and 3/4 length sleeves.

Working With Stripped Fabric

This sections shows interesting way to lay pattern pieces to utilize the visual effect of stripes.

Mrs Stylebook Winter 2012 009

(Left) A  peplum jacket with two piece sleeves and a portrait collar.  A matching fishtail skirt completes the whole ensemble.  (Right) A fitted jacket with two piece sleeves.  Originally when I saw this jacket I thought it was trim added onto the jacket to give it this effect, but it’s really from placing the pattern pieces strategically on to the striped fabric to achieve this look.

Mrs Stylebook Winter 2012 012

(Left) A double breasted jacket with contrasting bands top-stitched horizontally across.  (Right) A collarless princess seamed jacket with trumpet sleeves.

Layering Style

The Japanese are renown for their ability to layer clothing on top of layer and experiment with contrasting print and color.  The style feature in Mrs Stylebook is not as extreme as the layering that I have seen on the street of Tokyo, but I thought this section was pretty cool in its instructional on the art of layering.  An added bonus is some of the clothes featured in this section you can draft and sew yourself.

Mrs Stylebook Winter 2012 015Mrs Stylebook Winter 2012 018

Knitting Section

Five pieces to knit : shoes, finger-less gloves, scarf with pocket, beret, and button up collar.

Mrs Stylebook Winter 2012 021

Working with Wool Fabric

Mrs Stylebook Winter 2012 024

(Left)  Loose cardigan (Right) Color-blocked jumper/dress

Mrs Stylebook Winter 2012 027

(Left) Tunic with multiple tucks (Right) Jacket with a decorative flounce hem

Cross Stitch Project

There are three cross stitch design template used to make buttons that can be used in a variety of crafting or sewing projects.

Mrs Stylebook Winter 2012 028

Three Craft Projects Using Old Scarf

The projects are – top, rosette, and a bag; all of the the scarfs used in these projects are of the square variety.

Mrs Stylebook Winter 2012 029

At the end of every Mrs Stylebook there is a tutorial on basic drafting skills.  The summer 2012 issue focused on collars, neckline and darts which I never got around to covering.  This issue features the bodice sloper and the variety of garments that can be drafted from this one sloper.

Mrs Stylebook Winter 2012 030

Knipmode November 2012

23 Nov

I think I am probably one of the few people still left that subscribes to Knipmode. I started my subscription last year just when the magazine changed editor and had a major overhaul in direction. I know Melissa from Fehr Trade dumped her subscription, but I decided to give it another chance to see if it improves. It’s a bit better this year but it still has a long way too go if they are trying to emulate Burda and offer more fashion forward patterns. Something new that I haven’t seen in Knipmode is the offering of designer patterns, so in the November issue there are two sewing patterns, a coat and a dress by Dutch designer Mart Visser.

The coat is very on trend with the oversized coats that have been showing up on the fall runways.  The coat is decorated with satin banding along the front edges, the neck and the sleeves.  It is fasten with a button at the top and the remainder with  concealed snap buttons.  Woolen fabric is recommended for this coat.

The dress is the quintessential “Little Black Dress” –  simple and sophisticated.  Like the coat, the dress is decorated with satin banding along the center front and the armholes. The waist is cinched in by a drawstring made from suede. The dress is finished with an invisible zipper on the center back. Wool crepe is recommended for this dress.

Knipmode has also redone their website and it is similar to the Burda Style website where each pattern is available for purchase. They have done away with the monthly pattern chart, which has upset some readers since they use it as a gauge if they should purchase the magazine or not. You can search for patterns according to monthly issue through their advance search, but so far, it looks like they only have the last two issues and slowly edit out patterns from older issues.

Fall 2012 Vogue Pattern Release

23 Oct

I am playing catch up with all of my postings.  I know the vogue fall patterns came out two months ago, but I figure I will do a quick review anyway.  This release was much better than the summer release.  There were a lot of garments with interesting design lines and details.  Here are my picks:

Rebecca Taylor V1316

I love this color blocked dress from Rebecca Taylor in grey, black and brown flannel.  It was from her 2011 F/W collection and the dress was retail at $395.  Instead of breaking the bank to own this dress, you can sew it up for less than the retail price.

Rebecca TaylorV1315

Another Rebecca Taylor dress from her 2011 F/W collection with long sleeves and a scoop neckline in a leopard print.

I feel the Vogue Pattern styling for the Rebecca Taylor dresses are too severe, I prefer a more casual styling which is more appropriate to the look of the brand.

DKNY V1313

A loose fitting dress with an expose front zipper.

For the color blocking of the DKNY dress I would change it up with a bolder, sportier color palette of grey and neon like this Urban Outfitter dress from Lucca Couture.

DKNY V1322

A notch collared cape straight out of DKNY 2011 F/W runway.

If you’re not crazy about color blocking than construct the garments in one color. The same DKNY cape was also produced in a solid color.

Chado Ralph Rucci  V1317

From Chado Ralph Rucci 2011F/W collection, this dress was made in synthetic suede for the runway. I like the Vogue Pattern version in double knit more because it drapes more fluidly on the body.  I read some reviews where some people found the waist tie unflattering because it added bulk to the front.  You can easily change the tie placement to the side (runway version) to minimize the front.

Issey Miyake V1320

This is the long version of the Issey Miyake 2011F/W houndstooth jacket.  I prefer the shorter version but the longer jacket has more versatility as a transitional fall to winter jacket. I saw this Polyvore style board and I thought the person did a great job styling this jacket.  The pop of color with the mustard scarf is a great way to introduce color in a neutral palette wardrobe.


Donna Karen – V1321

Two patterns from Donna Karen’s 2011 F/W Hitchcockian blonde theme collection – the first, a voluminous belted jacket with a shawl collar and the second, a beautifully draped cowled blouse with a side panel pencil skirt.

Donna Karen – V1324

Anne Klein V1325

A chic suit set from Anne Klein that includes the jacket, the blouse and the pants.  I especially love the tie blouse in this set.

Toronto Caribbean Carnival 2012

2 Sep

Been a busy last couple of weeks, from vacationing in New York, participating in Caribana, attending a wedding in Montreal and sadly even attending a funeral back home. I’m back now and here to post my experience playing mas (abbreviation for masquerade) at Caribana.
Candyland was the title theme of the band that I participated with. Sugary confections such as Juicy Fruit, Bubblicious, and Cotton Candy were the inspiration for the costumes. My costume, Eye Candy, wasn’t named after any sugary goodies, but since it has the word “candy” it kept to the theme.  I was feeling adventurous this year so I chose a caged bra instead of the regular bra top. Thankfully I had no wardrobe malfunction with the caged bra but it dug into my skin a little making it uncomfortable to wear.

I decided to play with a different band this year from the one I played with last year. I chose a band that has a reputation for being late with their costumes, but since I have played with them on two subsequent years, one year with no problem at all and the other year with late delivery on my backpack (the shoulder/back piece). I took a gamble and decided to play mas with this band again – what a dud my gamble turned out.

First, they gave me and my friends the run around regarding the pickup date for our costume; first it was Monday, then Wednesday, and finally Friday the night before the parade. I can’t even tell you how upset my friends and I were over this delay. Second, my friends and I get to the mas camp on Friday and were kept waiting for several hours for our costume. In the seven years of participating in Caribana this has never ever happened to me. I was so disgusted that they weren’t even apologetic about keeping us waiting for so long. By nine at night I received my costume minus my necklace and bracelet, I was too tired to hassle them for the missing accessories so I used my leg band as a choker as a substitute.

Despite the delay in my costume, I had a good time at the parade. The sweltering heat added to the festivities mimicking the tropic like our costumes.

Mrs Stylebook Spring 2012 Review Part 2

5 Jul

I have been very late on finishing my review for the Spring 2012 Mrs. Stylebook; I will finish the last part of the review when I come back from New York in mid July.  Continuing where I left off, this section displays the on trend pieces for spring.


(Left)A shirtwaist dress with contrasting banding on the hem of the sleeve and dress and on the shoulder seam.  The dress has a four button closure concealed on the inside of the dress.

(Right) A sleeveless V-necked dress with pleats substituting in place of darts.

Spring Coat

(Left) A coat with large patch pockets on both side and a hood, which isn’t visible in the photo, the hood has a loose fit with an extension that drapes down to the front.

(Middle) A double-breasted trench coat constructed in chambray fabric.

(Right) A red swing trench coat with lots of volume.  I love how they styled this look with the patterned silk scarf and slim black pants.  Very Parisians!

Shirt Style

(Left) It looks like a regular over size shirt in the photo but it’s an unusual drafted shirt with bat wing sleeves.  There are only three pattern pieces – the left side, the right side and the collar.  The shirt is also easy to assemble with the two sides folding into itself, than sewing it along the shoulder seam, and finally attaching the two together at the center back.  No sloper require for this garment.  Just draft from the given measurement.

(Middle)  I love this drop waist shirt with the shoulder yoke and the patch pockets.

(Right)  A tunic shirt in a border printed fabric with patch pockets.

Gather & Pleated Skirt

(Left) A knife pleated skirt with a border hem.

(Middle) A pressed in pleated skirt.

(Right) A box pleated skirt.

Basic Jacket

(Left) In the tradition of a tailored man’s jacket, a female version with notch collar, sleeve vent, and double welt flap pockets.

(Middle) A fitted jacket tailored with cuffed sleeves and single welt flap pockets.

(Right)  A jewel collar jacket constructed in three contrasting fabric, the main fabric used looks like a boucle, the other two fabric not so sure but looks like a cotton or linen woven variety.  The decorative detail on the sleeve hem and waist seams utilizes the fray edges of the contrasting fabric.

Loose Dress and Blouse

This whole section feature loose fitting dresses and blouses.

(Left) A chic A-line dress with fullness in the back brought on by the inverted box pleat in the back.

(Right) A colour blocked dress with a little box pleat at the hem.

(Left) Using some creative pattern drafting, interesting fullness is created at the bottom of this tunic.

(Middle) A tunic with lace overlay.  This tunic is so easy to draft and sew.  No sloper required.

(Right) A peasant blouse with back button closure and waist tie band.

(Left) Another easy tunic top to draft and sew.  You can use two handkerchiefs, instead of fabric off the bolt to construct this top.

(Left-middle)  A tunic with drawstring sleeves and a sheer back insert.

(Left-right) A casual button less shirt constructed with a back yoke, a flare back and a back tie.

(Right) A bib inserted cowl neck tunic.

Dress For A Champagne Birthday

12 Jun

Sorry for the hiatus from blogging, I have been busy sewing up a birthday dress for my friend’s flapper theme champagne birthday party. I must admit this project was a challenge for me because I had to decide on the style of the dress and I had to minimize body parts that she was self-conscious of – her upper arms, her stomach and her thighs. Right away,the flapper dress was off my list as a dress choice because the silhouette doesn’t flatter a curvy figure. My friend suggested a Chinese cheongsam which I advised against, since it’s a body conscious dress that would show the parts that she wanted to minimize. After hours of perusing through my stash of Burda, Patrones and Manequim magazines, I decided on this dress from the December 2011 issue of Burda magazine.

This dress is not an accurate historical portrayal of a dress from the 20s, but it has elements of the 20s that can be loosely interpreted for this period. I made it in a size 44 and these were the changes that I made:

  • I lengthen the bodice by 1″ to accommodate her bust. In hindsight, I wish I didn’t make the adjustment because my friend wasn’t wearing a proper bra during the fitting, making the final garment a bit loose in the bodice.
  • The waist area had too much ease, so I took in 1/2 inch from each side seam removing 2 inches in total.
  • For modesty sake, I sewed the center front of the dress 2 inches up, so her cleavage won’t spill out.
  • Being 5’2, wearing a mid-calf dress shortens the figure, so I shorten the dress above her knees .

The fabric used for the dress is a nondescript black poly-cotton fabric, which I later discovered to be extremely wrinkly almost like linen. The fabric was also a bit sheer so I flat-lined the garment with the self-fabric.

Overall, my friend was happy with the finish product and styled it wonderfully with a cute bob and a beret. I, on the other hand wished the fit were more perfect.

There I am with my friend, wearing my DIY flapper headdress.