Tuesday, June 16, 2015

New Collection - The Éléonore Pull-On Jeans

Jalie 3461 - Éléonore Pull-On Jeans

The Surrender

By now, you probably know that my daughter Éléonore is a little girl who knows what she wants. When it comes to pants, here is what a pair of pants need to have to get her approval:
  • comfy low rise waistband (the belly button is off limits!)
  • no buttons (not quick enough!)
  • slim leg (but not too tight!)
  • stretch woven (non-stretch denim is not comfortable enough, she wants her knits for leggings only and she claims lightweight non-stretch woven fabrics are "shorts fabrics")
Her requests did make sense (and aren't we all picky when it comes to jeans?) but being as stubborn as her, I tried to have her wear yoga pants, poplin pants, cute jeans with appliqués. She.would.not.budge. 

I decided I had to pick my battles and let her win this one because I don't want her to wear leggings until she goes to college (and I also wanted to avoid going insane... arguing with a pre-schooler about pants rise before 7am is not my favorite thing to do). 

Finding pants like that in stores is not impossible. The only problem is that she is 4 1/2 but her hips measurement is closer to a size 2. This leaves us with the usual two ready-to-wear options that I'm sure many of you face when shopping for pants: huuuuuge waist and ok legs or ok waist but legs that are way too short. 
In Québec, we have a familiar expression "Avoir de l'eau dan' cave" that literally means "to have water in the basement". We use it to describe pants that are too short, when kids outgrow their pants. Cute, isn't it?
Jeanne came to the rescue. Éléonore now has comfy pull-on jeans that fit at the waist and "has no water in the basement" :)

Jalie 3461 - Éléonore Pull-On Jeans
Also know as The Best Jeans in the Universe (according to this little model)

What started as a side project for my little one became an "official" pattern idea when a friend of Jeanne's came over and mentioned how difficult it was to find a great-looking pair of pull-on jeans/trousers. That's what we call great timing!

She preferred the feel of a wide waistband to the usual zipper fly and button but did not want to have pants that looked like denim jogging pants either. Pull-on pants and much quicker to sew too!

That's all Jeanne needed to hear to start grading her grand-daughter's pattern! We both tried the jeans in our size. We fell in love with the very first prototype! That's how our new pull-on jeans pattern was on its way to becoming one of our favorite items in this collection!

She loves her new jeans AND is thrilled that I own a matching pair!
(Éléonore is wearing the 3352 Dolman Top

The Pattern

Here is the nitty-gritty (which is pretty close to Élé's wish list!):
  • Designed for stretch woven fabrics with AT LEAST 20% stretch across the width
    • Please do not email me to know if your 10% stretch denim of if your lightweight poplin will work. You need 20% stretch or more.
    • Order samples when buying online as descriptions do not always include the fabric stretch. Here is how you measure fabric stretch.
      • Éléonore's favorite pair is made in this stretch twill. It is listed as a fabric with 15% stretch, but it's closer to 20%. Because of its lighter weight, it worked beautifully.
  • Wide waistband that hits just below or at the belly button
    • There is a one inch elastic inside the waistband. You can use a wider elastic if you have some on hand, it's really up to you.
    • We used the main fabric for the waistband, but you can also use a knit to make the jeans easier to pull on. 
    • You will have to use a knit waistband if you want to sew a waistband in a smaller size than your jeans (for example a size T waistband onto a size V jeans) and you want to make sure the waistband is nice and snug against your lower back.
  • Faux pockets at the front
    • Less bulk and much quicker assembly. 
    • With the yoke piece, you can easily hack the pattern and create your own pockets. I'm confident someone will blog about that hack or share something on PatternReview about this eventually ;)
  • Fitted through waist, hips and thighs, straight from the knee down
    • These are not skinny jeans, but are "skinny friendly". As a big-calf girl, I is SO frustrating when a pair of skinny jeans fits perfectly everywhere but that just want to explode at the calf! It's easier to take in than to let out.
    • With a straight leg, you make a first muslin and then decide by how much you want to take in your next pair (because you will want many, many Éléonore jeans in your closet). 
      • For example, Dawn took in 3/4'' at each side of the hem, 1/2" at the knee whereas I only had to take in 1/2'' at the hem and 1/8'' at the knee for the same fit.
Jalie 3461 - Éléonore Pull-On Jeans
Easy to turn into skinny jeans!
  • Yoke and real pockets at the back
    • For a "real-jeans" look and because pockets are on MY wish list.
  • 1 cm (3/8'') seam allowance
    • You can sew it with your serger at 6 mm (1/4'') for a little more ease
  • Two lengths
    • Long and cropped (pixie, pedal pusher, capri...).

This sewing pattern is now available on our website in paper and PDF formats.

Monday, June 15, 2015

New Collection - The Bella Fit and Flare Dress

Jalie 3460 - Bella fit and flare dress
(in a drapey polyester knit)

How it all started

Last October, we received this email:
This is my heartfelt plea for you to expand your ballroom dancing section to include dresses suitable for competition and exam use. Like so many young dancers' mums (I'm actually a grandmother), I'm struggling to find suitable patterns for juvenile (under 12s) and junior (12+) dancers.
At first, we thought we could never, e-v-e-r fit a ballroom dress pattern onto a pattern sheet. We were not sure we wanted to launch a two-sheet pattern but because we were absolutely stunned by the price of ready-to-wear ballroom dresses out there ($300+ for a very basic dress), we thought it would make many mom (and grandmothers) happy with a pattern.

Jalie 3460 - Juvenile ballroom dance dress with bishop sleeve
(stretch crushed velvet dress, stretch lace sleeve and lightweight knit leotard)

The pattern includes a leotard that is attached to the dress at the armholes (this way, there is no pulling at the neck if the fit on the leo is a little short and less layers at the neckline). Needless to say that it was not difficult convincing our little model to wear a "princess dress" and twirl for the photo shoot :)

Jalie 3460 - Bella fit and flare dance dress with attached leotard
Stretch lace over polyester knit leotard - Many stretch laces available at FunkiFabrics

Love at first twirl

Knowing Dawn sews at lightning speed, I asked her if she was willing to test the pattern (with a regular sleeve, without the leotard), just to see how it would fit on her tall and slim twins.

The response was, let's say, pretty positive :)
There was too much begging, I had to make another one [...] The dress is amazing. Bella is asking me to wash it so she can wear it again. :) Both of the twins have been wearing it in the evenings and twirling in it. Obviously a winner. 
We were so focused on the original request that it hadn't even crossed our minds to make it as an everyday, fun little dress too! We decided to add a cap sleeve and voilà! The Bella dress was born!

The pattern

We went all out! Here are the specs:

  • Two lengths: knee and ankle
  • Princess seams - great for fitting, color blocking (or mixing a bold print for the center front panel with solid side panels) or adding pockets!
  • Three sleeves: long, cap or bishop sleeve
  • Optional leotard (I plan on hacking that piece to make a fitted slip under a lace dress like this Boohoo Ivy Dress!)
  • Scoop neck (higher in the front, lower in the back)
    • I tried the dress backwards and guess what?! I love it even more! Thanks to the generous stretch of the fabric (60% in the length and width), it fits perfectly both ways!!! Here is our model, wearing the dress backwards:

Jalie 3460 Bella Dress - Backwards for a lower front neckline

This dress is perfect for twirling, and we mean it! The skirt is a full circle and the great thing about it is that the flare starts lower than the waist. This means no wardrobe malfunction when twirling too much. You will only be showing a lot of leg :)

Jalie 3460 - Bella Dress - Full-circle skirt hem finished with horsehair braid

Éléonore wore a prototype last Christmas in glitter velvet with a lighter knit sleeve. Jeanne finished the hem with horsehair braid for a special touch. It really gives more oomph to the circle skirt and it is almost easier to sew than a regular hem!

Jalie 3460 Bella Dress - In stretch velvet with polyester knit sleeve and leotard
More recently Jeanne made her a new "beach-cover-up" version in a printed spandex that matches her bikini! It is basically a knee-length rash guard that covers the bikini bottom (and the legs, when she is crouching). Great for building sand castles AND stopping for ice cream on the way from the beach :)

We love it when specialized patterns like this one turn out to be so versatile!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

New Collection - The Carmen Skating Dress

Jalie 3465 - Carmen Skating Dress
(long sleeve with point and finger loop, nude glitter mesh sleeve with lace-over-neon spandex bodice and skirt)
Jalie 3465 - Carmen Skating Dress
(long sleeve, in a printed stretch mesh / neon spandex combo)
Making a seamless sleeve was no easy task, but we worked hard and are so happy with the final result and very proud to share it with you today!

Who is Carmen?

We did not name this dress after the famous opera or famous detective. Carmen is the owner of Entreprises Rodebec, our town's best kept secret. She opened the store in the 70's, selling speed skating skates and has now become a reference in the region for gymnastics, skating, synchro swimming, dance.

At 78 (going on 30!) she is always there, welcoming young athletes every day with her beautiful smile, singing as she cuts fabrics and counts rhinestones.

Whenever we need something for a skating costume or photo shoots (fabric, feathers, ballet slippers, rhinestones, skates, chiffon in 750 different color, tiaras, name it!) we call her to the rescue, even when the store is closed!

We go there so often that Rodebec was the kids' first official Jalie fabric shopping experience!

2-week old Henri and 6-month old Éléonore shopping for fabric at Rodebec

The Dress

  • Seamless sleeve: three-quarter length, long or with point and finger loop
  • Keyhole back with clasp to hold the sleeve at center back.
  • A-line skirt with hem shape than makes the leg look longer

The seamless sleeve style has been very popular in skating competitions in the past years. Nude mesh for a strapless dress illusion and tone-on-tone were the two styles we would see.

Jalie 3465 - Carmen Skating Dress
(three-quarter sleeve, in a blue glitter mesh / blue glitter velvet combo)

For a little inspiration, take a look at Yuna Kim's seamless sleeves that were absolutely stunning: nude mesh sleeve with lots of rhinestones, black mesh sleeve with gradient bodice and skirt.

We played around with fabrics and loved printed sleeves (in opaque spandex or stretch mesh). You can find lots of stretch mesh fabric at Funki Fabrics. They also carry stretch lace that has a lovely stretch both ways. They would make stunning dresses for a flamenco / latin program with matching velvet or solid spandex.

Éléonore trying a blue mesh / blue spandex Carmen Dress prototype

It also makes a great Elsa dress (Frozen... sooooo 2014):
Carmen Dress prototype as Halloween costume... why not?
Jalie 3465 in white glitter mesh, mystique bodice and nylon spandex skirt

Mix and Match

As we explained in the Anne Cheerleading Uniform blog post, the two patterns are compatible at the waist. This means that you can use the Carmen bodice and pair it with the Anne shorts or skort! Awesome, isn't it?

Saturday, June 13, 2015

New Collection - The Anne One-Piece Cheerleading Uniform

Jalie 3466 - Anne One-Piece Cheerleading Uniform
(in mystique with skort option)

You spoke, we listened.

One of the most frequently asked questions is:
 "Do you have any cheer patterns?"
Some people were looking for tops, bodysuits with shorts, skirts or bodysuits with skirt. We noticed that people were struggling most with one-piece uniforms so we decided to make a pattern for everyone out there who has been hacking/combining/altering patterns for cheerleading squads and dancers, to make their lives easier :)

Jalie 3466 - Anne One-Piece Cheerleading Uniform
(in a regular spandex with shorts option)

The Name

While we were testing the pattern, I saw cheer photos of Taylor, my friend Stacy's daughter on my Instagram feed. I have been following Stacy's blog for many years. She is a long time Jalie fan, one of the first bloggers who ever wrote about us. She is always there for us whenever we need her opinion or advice on something. Too sad Wichita, Kansas is too far from Quebec to go for coffee together while our kids are at school :)

I offered to name the pattern after her daughter who just graduated from high school where she was a cheerleader. Anne is her middle name and I thought it was perfect for this pattern.

Photo by Shelli Compton (SC Photography)

The Design

  • Designed for stretch fabrics
  • Interesting seams for unlimited color blocking options.
  • Empire waist seam for those would you like to use mesh for the middle section or to make a cropped top
  • Optional appliqués for those who master the art of color matching :) The appliqué technique is similar to the one we use on our 3241 gymnastics leotard pattern.
  • An optional skirt panel you can add to the front for a "skort uniform". Skirt in the front, short in the back. No more skirts riding up!

Éléonore does not really know what cheerleading is, but as soon as she saw a red/navy/gold prototype, she shouted "IT'S THE NEW WONDER WOMAN COSTUME!"

The little triangle weapons at the cuffs are not included in the pattern. Hers are custom made because she kept stealing our point turners... Éléonore likes strong female superheroes with cool, practical outfits for kicking, jumping and running. No bling bling, no pink, no rainbows. She rocks.

But wait, there's more!

Another popular request is:
"How to I add shorts to the ____ skating dress bodice?" 
Great news! The pattern is compatible at the waist with our new skating dress pattern (next sneak peek). This means that you can make this bodice with a skirt or briefs and you can use the shorts/skort with the skating dress bodice! Stay tuned!

Friday, June 12, 2015

New Collection - The Anne-Marie Tanks and Dress

Jalie 3463 - Anne-Marie Dress
Fabrics FLO237  from FunkiFabrics + ITY knit

The Name 

The pattern is named after our dear friend Anne-Marie. She is a super creative sewist (check out her blog I Mani D'Oro to see her lovely creations!) and also an avid cyclist who is stylish, even with a helmet on. We met at PR Weekend in Montreal back in 2010 and kept in touch since then.

We loved her idea of a cycling dress, but thought is was targeting a very niche market. After attending a tennis lesson with my first prototype, I made everyone jealous with my super-duper back pocket. I was official: this little pattern was going to be wayyyy more than just a cycling dress!

Jalie 3463 - Anne-Marie Fitted Tank
Fabrics TS455 + MF5001 + NE3052  from FunkiFabrics

The Design

The dress has:

  • a soft V neck (not too high, not too low)
  • a shelf bra (with a clever sewing technique for a clean finish - no binding!)
  • princess seams, no side seams
  • racer back (you can have fun color blocking!)
  • optional pocket that can hold up to 4 tennis balls (adult sizes - apple purée packs or My Littlelest Petshop toys in kids sizes :))
Jalie 3463 - Anne-Marie Peplum Tank
Fabrics TS222 + MF5022  from FunkiFabrics

This pattern includes three views:
  • Fitted tank (fitted at the sides, great for inverted poses at yoga)
  • Peplum tank (lower side panel flares out a little, doesn't cling to our pants!)
  • Dress (tennis dress, cycling dress, summer dress, swim dress... you decide!) - I wear mine over my 3462 shorts when I go for bike rides and over my 3247 shorts when I play tennis.

    We hope you will like it as much as we do! Stay tuned for more sneak peeks :)

    Monday, June 8, 2015

    New Collection - The Lillie Leotard

    Jalie 3464 - Lillie Gymnastics Leotard (with 3/4 stretch mesh sleeve)

    The Name 

    It has been a great honour to count Fiona Buttery as our friend AND gymnastics critic/expert since 2010. She is a super talented sewist who makes stunning leotards for elite/international competitions. She is the designer behind the Team GB RG leotards for the London 2012 Olympics. Yes. She is THAT awesome!

    It is with great pleasure that we named this new gymnastics pattern after Lillie, her youngest daughter who was an elite gymnast and starred in Chalk, a short film a short film directed by BAFTA winning film-maker Martina Amati (for which Fiona made stunning leos too!).

    Lillie on the Chalk movie poster wearing a leotard made by Fiona

    The Inspiration

    Everyone in Quebec remembers young Nadia Comaneci at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. The stripes that ran under the sleeves and on the sides made her arms look a mile long! We wanted to replicate that effect, but on a more modern leotard.

    The Pattern

    Jalie 3464 - Lillie Gymnastics Leotard

    As we were making prototypes, we added a princess seam that 1) makes it suuuuper easy to adjust for a perfect fit and 2) is very flattering, slimming the waist and creating a lovely, feminine shape. 

    Jalie 3464 - Lillie Gymnastics Leotard
    Sleeveless, long sleeve, 3/4 sleeve

    At first, we wanted to make only a long-sleeve leotard with a nice fit at armhole (not batwing effect!), at every fitting, Éléonore insisted on having a sleeveless leotard.

    We figured out she was probably not the only stubborn 4-year-old gymnast who prefers sleeveless leotards so we worked hard to squeeze new pieces on the pattern sheet to include a "real" sleeveless leo, with its own side pieces.

    Here is mini-me, taking her modelling job very seriously:

    Jalie 3464 - Lillie Gymnastics Leotard (Sleeveless)
    Printed Fabric: RO244 from FunkiFabrics
    and... she insisted on showing off her "serious-seal" pose...

    It's hard to believe that it was me, posing for Jalie in oh-so-cool leotards back in the 80's! I didn't do gymnastics or anything. I was just a little girl who was happy to play with giant ballons and pretend I was the Athlete of the Year for the day :)

    Hope all gym moms out there will be happy with this new pattern! 

    Friday, June 5, 2015

    New Collection - The Cora Running Tights

    Last year, a customer made a special request for stretch breeches. We really liked the idea of pants without an inseam. After looking at many breeches in specialized stores, we realized customers would have a hard time finding the right fabric for them. We decided to keep the idea of a no-inseam pants, and took it to the next level.

    Jalie 3462 - Cora Running Tights
    Fabrics RUB695 + MF 5001 from FunkiFabrics
    We used lycra and as soon as I put on the first prototype last summer, we knew we were on the right track! A few pairs later, we came up with the back pocket idea. A wonderful, magical pocket that keeps your phone (of your favorite little music machine) in place. No bouncing. I even tried with a key. It didn't move around.

    Jalie 3462 - Cora Running Tights
    Fabrics RUB695 + MF 5001 from FunkiFabrics

    It fits an iPhone perfectly (adult sizes) and Henri wanted me to tell you that in kids size, the pocket is perfect for storing Pokemon cards :)

    Jalie 3462 - Cora Running Tights
    Practical Pocket at the Back

    Many of you already know Dawn,  the blogger from Two On Two Off. She is a long-time fan who sews, blogs, teaches AND runs (she also tested many patterns in this collection). We named this pattern after Cora, one of her twins who has already started running like her mom :)

    Jalie 3462 - Cora Running Tights - Printed fabric: TS165 from FunkiFabrics

    What makes this pattern so special is the funky seaming that allows you to play with color blocking, totally transforming the style every time. We included a biker short version that has a thigh band, which stays in place better than the usual hem.

    Jalie 3462 - Cora Running Tights and Shorts

    We hope those of you who were looking for expensive-looking running tights will be happy that you can now make them yourselves without breaking the bank.

    Don't throw away your fabric scraps! You really don't need much fabric to make mini leggings for your little ones!