La Maison Victor - Flo Dress

Guys, I am so excited about this dress! I don't even know where to start this blog post. Let's just get it out there in the open, this dress is THE BOMB. I love it so much! You can just see how happy I get when I am wearing it. I feel like a princess and I want to twirl, dance and smile non stop, and I took these photos at 7 am in the morning... So yeah, I am more than happy with it! Ok, now that I've declared my never-ending love for the dress, lets get down to the details of how it came to be. I was contacted by Isabelle a few months back when she was wondering if I would be interested in participating in blog tour for La Maison Victor, a Belgian sewing magazine. At the time the magazine was only available in French and was sold only to European sewists. Isabelle was in the process of expanding the magazine not only to English speaking audience, but also to other continents! How cool is that? Even though I knew the timeline interfered with my wedding coming up in early September (No, I am not stressed! You are!...) I knew I had to participate. My love for sewing magazines goes way back to my childhood. Before I even could hold a needle or knew how to do simple hand stitching I would lie on the couch perusing my mom's sewing magazines, imagining all the things I would like to make one day. I have a big stash of Burda sewing magazines, and I gave up my subscription to it a few years back after discovering indie sewing community and indie patterns. I still love Burda, but I find with my stash years and years worth of magazines their new designs just do not excite me. Now, along comes La Maison Victor. I've heard about the magazine before, but I never really explored it. I really liked their designs but somehow I never bought any patterns. I received the Summer issue of the magazine early prior to it's release in North America, to help me get ready for this blog tour. I was so excited when I got it in the mail!! I flipped through it right away and I couldn't part with it. The magazine even made an early camo appearance in my Suki Robe tester photos... The magazine itself is very beautiful. It is printed on high quality paper and is full of gorgeous and inspiring photos. I love looking at pretty pictures and they don't have to be photos of garments or outfits. I find that simple and beautiful photos of almost anything can inspire me. It's something about lines, color combinations and the overall feel of them. The magazine definitely provided me with inspiration boost! There are patterns for everyone. This issue of La Mason Victor came with a total of 9 patterns, 4 of them are sewing patterns for women, 2 for kids, 1 for a baby and 1 for men. There is even a knitting pattern for a women's sweater! Besides patterns the magazine also includes a few crafting projects. Just look at this fabulous flower crown. I am will be saving this tutorial for future use. The flower crown looks so beautiful. I am not even a flower crown kind of girl, but looking at it I want one. I can get away with wearing one to the office, right? All the patterns come with the magazine. They are printed on good quality paper, not tissue paper, yay! You do have to trace them out though. The patterns are printed on both sides of three sheets total and pattern pieces overlap. For those who have seen Burda magazine patterns, this is nothing like that! You can clearly see each pattern piece and tracing them out is a breeze. The only thing you have to keep in mind is that the pattern pieces do not include seam allowances, so they need to be added once the pattern is traced. I can see how it would be an issue for some, but I really do not mind it. I actually like that I can add my own preferred seam and hem allowance. This way I can even vary it! Like add 1/4" for the neckline instead of 5/8", or something. Besides I like having actual stitching lines drawn into the pattern pieces, this way if I was to make any hacks, everything I need to start off with is already there. The instructions have pictures to follow along and are quite thorough. I didn't follow the instructions for Flo Dress fully though. I ended up interlining, boning and lining my dress, so I skipped the instructions right after I figured out the pattern pieces and cutting guidelines. Now, let's get back to the dress... I originally wanted to chose something that other participants weren't making, just so that I can help show off the magazine in it's full light. When I was choosing the pattern, Flo Dress has not been picked by anyone yet. So Flo it was! I feel that it couldn't have worked out better. Flo Dress ended up being the perfect dress I didn't know I needed. Right as I was about to start making it, I realized I didn't have a dress to wear to my stagette, and since I didn't have time to make two I decided that Flo would be the one. I originally envisioned Flo Dress in printed flowery cotton, just like in the magazine, so it took me a bit of time to come around to liking the off white cotton satin I chose for it. The fabric came from my stash and I must have had it for years. After I decided to make Flo for my stagette, I started thinking of how I want to make sure it is comfortable, stays up and looks good. After some research I realized I would need to interface, interline the bodice and bone it as well. I also wanted to be able to go bra-less so that my bra straps are not showing. To accommodate for it I knew I would want to sew in bra cups into the dress. And because I like to complicate things, I also decided that I would add a waist stay to help my dress stay up. So there, a simple blog tour turned into a more or less major dress project. Astonishingly, it didn't take long to make. I started off with making a quick muslin for the bodice. I knew the skirt would fit no matter what just because it is so flared, so the bodice was the only place where I needed to iron out any issues. To my surprise, the bodice fit almost perfectly right off the bat! I had to take it in by 1/4" right under the bust and that's it! Thinking about it after, I think fitting this bodice would not be hard because there are 7 pieces to the bodice, meaning there are all together 7 short seams and any fit adjustments are easy to accommodate because of it. I cut out each of my bodice pieces 4 times. That was a lot of cutting and marking! Thankfully the pattern pieces are so small it didn't take long and wasn't too annoying. I cut out one set of bodice out of my fashion fabric, one out of lining, and one out of stiff off white cotton I ended up using for interlining, and finally I cut them all out out of interfacing. I interfaced my fashion fabric, and I interlined my lining by basing stiff interlining pieces to lining and treating them as one form there on. I assembled my bodice and interlined lining separately and pressed all seams open. Then I attached boning to the lining from the inside to every seam except for the center back seam where zipper would go. The boning pieces are centered over each seam, so my lining looks topstitched from the inside. To make the bodice even stiffer, I attached two more pieces of boning in a "v" shape going from right under the bust and meeting at center front waist. I also changed my straps from bra straps recommended in the magazine to simple 3/4" wide fabric straps. I figured out the length I needed once I tried one the bodice before attaching the lining to it. I did not only add a waist stay, I went above and beyond by hiding it inside the bodice. I couldn't find petersham ribbon wide enough so I used twill tape instead. It worked okay, but I am wondering if petersham ribbon would be better. I made big button holes at each back bodice for the waist stay to come out so I can hook it together at the back. Finally once the dress was fully assembled, I attached the bra cups to the inside by hand. I ended up trimming them because they were a little too big for the dress so that is why they are serged. I also think they look slightly more "finished" like that. That was a super quick explanation of how I assembled the dress. If you want a full blown tutorial on how to make a stiff, boned bodice like that, do let me know and I will make sure to put one together. Well, I'll make sure to add it to my list of tutorials I need to finish once the wedding is done and I have more time. I love the way this dress turned out! I didn't anticipate liking it this much. Thinking about it now, I definitely want to make another version in floral cotton, just like I originally planned. Well now that you've got all the way down to the end of this blog post, you must be wondering how you can get your hands on La Maison Victor. I am so excited to tell you that the magazine is sold throughout Canada in many different stores. So many in fact that I couldn't simply list them in this post and I had to attach a separate PDF document with the full list. I will certainly be on the look out for new issues from now on! On that note, I shall go back into hiding and working hard on finalizing this upcoming wedding. Wishing everyone an amazing rest of the summer! Love, Anya
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