Posted in sewing

The Rip Heard Round the World

Thank you for the lovely comments on my red Parisienne dress. I am very pleased with it and I’m happy I’ve introduced red back in to my wardrobe.  

Thank you to Jo for the best explanation ever on the difference between Parisienne and Parisian.

“Parisienne” means that the noun or person being referred to is feminine. “Parisian” is for the masculine people and nouns. I was a married to a Frenchman for 15 years, so I did pick up some knowledge, other than how to spot a philanderer!

When I got home last night I finally got a look at the lining rip I heard while reaching for chocolate at the office. I should also note that both versions of this dress require a hand in getting in and out of. I usually get to work and ask someone to zip me up. I forgot to ask for a little tug down before I left the job. Doh! Serious acrobatics when I got home trying to get myself out!

Mrs. Mole said:

…adding some reaching ease of 1/2 inch or more might help on the next one.

Here’s the lining. As you can see, it’s torn about 1.5 inches along the underarm seam line than shredded another 1.5 inches. This wasn’t a problem in my previous dress, but the previous dress was also sewn larger.

I’ve slapped a thimbleful of Fray Check on the tear and will probably patch it at some point. I doubt I will actually replace the lining, etc. A patch will do just fine.

Posted in sewing

Valentine’s Parisienne Dress: BWOF 8-2009-128

** updated with DSLR photos

I wish you could see it in person. It’s far more striking than the photos show. My DSLR is still in the shop and my point-and-shoot is what I’m using. It’s fine. But, it renders colors wonky indoors with flash and makes my hair look like a mass of black instead of defined curls. Red is also just makes the camera crazy. Blah, blah, camera talk, blah, blah. And, I’m too lazy to re-take photos. So, forgive my weird skin tone, odd facial shadows and kooky colors.

It’s fitting that it’s titled Parisienne Dress (Burda 8-2009-128) . Otherwise, I’d name it the Arielle dress. As I mentioned in my first post, Patti F. sent me this material when I played shipping agent for the Arielle / Hati / Sewing Supply collection. Arielle has about the cutest accent. Both French and Caribbean at the same time. It’s kind of lyrical really. At any rate, it took me some time to get to this, but I’m really glad I did.

What’s the difference between Parisienne and Parisian? Anyone know? I took Spanish, not French…

This is my second go-round with this dress. The first time was last January. I think this will become a yearly winter dress. It’s so hard to find a dress with sleeves! Like the teal version this one is also made from wool.

 What did I do differently this time? Not too much. I shortened the dress by one inch and pegged the skirt. Two things I said I wish I had done the last time.

I also sewed a size smaller. I thought it was a little boxy the first time I made it (I’ve since taken the first version in). This time I shortened the bust dart and lowered the dart by 1/2 inch. I’ve been making FBAs for one year now and am starting to get the hang of it. The belt I’m wearing is from ASOS about two years ago.

This dress still has my favorite facing / lining technique. I love the facing at the top with the lining below. Except, I am MAD. When I got to work, the lining shredded right at the armscye. SHREDDED as I reached for some chocolates. That’s what I get. I don’t even really like chocolate.

And, I bagged the lining sleeve again.

Machine blind hem finish on the bottom.

I’m wearing this dress to work today and I LOVE a woven dress for work.  Red seemed appropriate for Valentine’s Day. I’m also entering it in the Red Dress contest on

This concludes my string of red garments. I’ve finally moved on to a new serger thread color!

Don’t forget to enter my Kwik Sew bra pattern giveway.

And, Happy Valentine’s Day!

Posted in sewing

Red Dress Contest Progress and Valentine’s Dinner Dress Update

I decided to make something for’s Red Dress Contest. I had red on the serger and a red dress planned when I read about the contest. It all seemed to come together at the right time. I chose the Parisienne Dress from Burda 8-2009-128. I made it last year is a wonderful teal wool.

Two years ago, after the earthquake in Haiti, Patti F. in Chigaco gifted me two gorgeous fabrics. This red wool and a pinky-purple plaid. As soon as I had this red wool I knew it was destined to be the Parisienne Dress.

Here’s where I am. Dress is cut and mostly constructed. I need to finish the zipper. I’m happy to say the lining is also cut and sewn and I just need to install it. There’s about two more hours of work needed and I’ll be done. I’d love to wear it to work on Tuesday, but I’m not holding my breath.

And how is my Valentine’s dinner dress going? Well, it’s not. I won’t regal you with all the ways in which I dicked and dithered around with sewing a dress. But, I just could not make a decision on what I wanted to make and out of what fabric. There was too much silk jersey that has become ‘too nice to cut’. And this animal print. I actually really like it. And, I generally despise animal prints for myself. So, it became ‘special and different’. At the same time, I didn’t want to look like a tart. Then, I decided no pattern I owned was the *right* pattern for the animal print. So, I bought like ten from the Vogue Pattern sale.

I am not just not a last minute sewist. I can sew fast. But, I can’t make these decisions in the cooker. So, I’ll wear something from some recent shopping and call it a day. I’m totally ok with that too.

Besides, because it’s Valentine’s Weekend the latest dinner reservations we could get for Saturday (despite calling three weeks ago) was a geriatric 5:30 p.m. I don’t know that the retirees we’ll be eating with at 5:30 would have been able to handle me in all my leopardness, LOL. I’ve been calling it my Geriatric Valentine’s Dinner for days now. Turns out someone else I know made dinner reservations for Tuesday  at the same place and the latest they would get was 4:30 p.m. So, it’s not just me!

Posted in sewing

The Parisienne Dress, Burda Magazine: 8-2009 #128

I was talking with my girlfriend Julia this week about what women are supposed to wear in the winter. She went shopping and everything and she meant everything was sleeveless.

This dress is great for winter as you can wear the long sleeves! After seeing Elaine’s and meli88a’s and knew I was going to have to make it up. I noticed on the French site for Burda the comments thought the model was a perfect Audrey Hepburn. I was thinking of this dress as very Jackie O. Funny, right?


I started this dress over the long MLK weekend with two yards of a beautiful teal wool from the Carol Collection. This isn’t a color I normally wear. But, I actually get most of my fashion advice from you guys. You always tell me to wear more jewel tones and better shoes 🙂 So, here I am in a jewel tone I wouldn’t normally pick and in a new pair of Mary Janes! I’m so susceptible to peer pressure 🙂

Luckily, the dress isn’t too poochy around the stomach. I don’t know how I feel about the tulip shape on me per se. But, I do like the gathers.


This pattern was a first for me. Burda includes facings that are meant to be sewn to the lining. Well, first let me say Burda’s lining instructions are just for the bodice — not even the sleeves. I lined the dress throughout using their facing and I LOVE how it looks! This is the way Ready to Wear dresses look (I think they do. It’s been so long since I’ve bought a lined dress from the store). The lining is from my $1 a yard buy at Jomar in Philly. Trena says it’s noisy. And, it is noisy like taffeta. You can definitely hear me coming! I bought 10 yards of it and I’m down to the last one.

I also bagged the lining on the sleeves — so to speak. I was so thrilled to finally accomplish this in my coat that I wanted to try it again. It’s nice not to have two layers shifting about.


  • 1/2 inch FBA. I really need to get better at these when they aren’t princess seams.
  • 1 inch swayback adjustment
  • I traced the 40 and graded to the 44 at the thigh and gave myself a 1 inch seam allowance
  • Added 7 cm to the width of the sleeve. I don’t think I have large arms, but it’s a given that I’ve got to bump up with Burda.
  • Took almost 2 inches of length out from Center Front. The skirt was totally drooping on me — making the pleats incredibly unattractive.


Zipper. Which despite a 100 zippers, I didn’t have a teal. I bought this one from Sew True.  While zippers are invisible, I find that I can still see bits of them, especially at waist seams. So, I prefer them to match as closely as possible


This one is purchased from ASOS. I find the ribbon darling, but didn’t have any on hand and haven’t made it to the store. Plus, I need more cinching than I think the ribbon can allow.

I’m tempted to take another inch or so off the dress and peg it a hair more. I’ll see how I like it by the end of the day. My goal in 2011 is to SHOW MY KNEES! There are so many ways to accessorize this dress! You can rock the pearls for a Jackie O look. Brooch is perfect for business. Big earrings make it fun.  Plain belt keeps it classic. Chunky belt to modernize. Nice, basic dress. Perfect for work!