Posts from ‘How-to guides’

Jul
20

Colour Her book

Never stop being creative!

This is my newest art project; a collaboration with graphic designer Iris Glaser.  We were inspired by a window display we painted in my store in December of fairies, Fridas and fashionistas.  (see pictures here)  A few months later we spent some time on the idea of a colouring book for girls and women that would reflect our current experience of art and feminism.  Mix and match was the perfect way to express our varied selves, ever changing and all ages.  Drawing from the comtemporary and the mythological, we created 12 plates that were fun and empowering images.  We chose cardstock so that the book can be used with watercolours as well as markers.  Making sure every head, torso and legs were equally fun and different, we made sure not to include stereotypical professions or princesses.  No princesses at all!  Believing we need to actively choose the images we surround ourselves with, our ladies show a diversity in their expression of femininity.

color her mix and match book

Here is my daughter Victoria working on her first mix.  She calls this one the ladybug girl.  She really loves the hair and the robot girl legs.

Colour Her girl

colour her bast cat goddess

colour her organic farmer

rocker mermaid

painting watercolour colouring book

Iris painted this spectacular mermaid singer.

colour her medusa

colour her mermaid

colour her brown girl

painting in colouring book

colour her Kali Frida Robot girl

colour her showgirl

Colour her book cardstock

colour her cover

Colour her Fairy MomToday I feel like this spunky multi-tasking fairy mom.  I would never wear those shoes, but in my imagination I do.

The book is available for purchase online and in my boutique.

Jan
18

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May
23

Here they are, all piling up on the table.

Hearts that take waaaay too long to make!  They are pieced from little cut pieces of silk chiffon.  Then we spray them with water and fill all the gaps and keep working that way until they become full fluffy multicolor heart explosions!

silk chiffon ruffle hearts

Appliqued onto tank tops, they come to life.

Camisol coer Katrin Leblond

Ruffle heart tank top white

silk chiffon scrap appliquee

multicolour silk hearts

Here you see them at the early stages of the process.  We sew them onto black or white Lycra mesh so that they retain their elasticity.  The technique is quite complicated.

hands on sewing machine

making hearts for appliquee

Annick making silk ruffle hearts

Before we sew it onto a top, it gets a little haircut to clean up the edges.

Silk heart Katrin Leblond Designer montreal

 

katrin leblond studio

silk herats on sewing machine

What a mess in the studio when these are in production.  Soon we will be making little mini heart pins.  Can’t wait.

Shop KL tops online NOW!  Click here!

Jan
15

Wearing dresses in the Winter is great! But not always easy or warm.

A few easy ideas or accessories will make your wardrobe a little more manageable.

Take this summer dress, for example.

Sexy Dress B+W with circles embellishment by Katrin Leblond Montreal designer

Option A:  Add a black turtleneck underneath.  Preferably something not too thick so that you don’t notice where the waistband ends.  This is a more sporty, casual look.

Sheer turtleneck by Montreal Designer Katrin Leblond

Col roule noir par Designer Montrealais Katrin Leblond

I sell turtle necks in black, red and blue…all on the 50% off rack right now.

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Option B: Add a bolero.  I make 4 different models in all possible colors.  This one ties in the front and has full length sleeves.  This is a more elegant, feminine option.

Bolero by Montreal designer Katrin Leblond

Choose a dress with a lining, or buy a slip.  In the winter we wear thick tights, or leggings under everything.  Dresses often cling to your layers and don’t fall and drape properly, not to mention the static created by some carpets!

The Gabriella dress (below) has a built in lining.

Black dress with sheer overlay at bust by Katrin Leblond Montreal DesignerDresses with long sleeves are hard to find.  We have winters that are colder than most, so designers are not designing with us in mind.  They are designing for all of North America and more moderate climates.  That is why some Fall/Winter collections are very un-wintery.  Below is my long sleeve Sara Dress in Black with silk multicolor embellishments.

Tunich with multicolour appliquee by Katrin Leblond Montreal designer

Black embellished tunic by Katrin Leblond Montreal designer

More long sleeve dresses (3/4 sleeve actually).  Some women prefer 3/4 sleeve, but I think the problem often stems from not having sleeves hemmed to the exact right length.  At the boutique we offer an alteration service on anything purchased here, and I encourage you to always make things fit just right even if it means taking off only an inch.

Turquoise Dress by Katrin Leblond Montreal Designer

Plum shimmer dress by Montreal Designer Katrin Leblond

Boutique Katrin Leblond 4647 St-Laurent Montreal, QC 514-678-9616

Feb
05

Dear Clients,

I am writing today to tell you to buy less.  I know, weird eh?  I design clothes and I own a store, yet I believe in buying less and I suggest you do the same.

Along with my love of fashion, I am also a long time environmentalist (I almost became an environmental Biologist when I was in CEGEP).  I believe that good quality clothes should last a long time, stay fashionable and be well loved by the person wearing them, or the next person who inherits them. When you’re done with a garment, if it is still clean and in good condition, pass it on.

Here’s how I suggest you get the maximum use from the clothes you purchase, thus reducing each item’s environmental footprint:

1. QUALITY:  Buy only clothes that you love and that are well made.  Perhaps you have to spend more on each item, but you will recover that cost by wearing them more often and for longer.  Buy less, but  definitely buy what you want.

Helpful hints for checking quality:  Good quality jersey fabric should not pill (fuzzy balls on surface). Try rubbing the fabric vigorously in a circular motion to test.  Sometimes, nice wools do pill, and there are a few tricks to maintain a nice surface.  Firstly, you can purchase a “clothes shaver” or “lint shaver”.  It is an electric shaver that magically shaves away all the pilling and returns your garments to their original new state.  Secondly, you can try with a single blade disposable razor.  This is my technique of choice, though I avoid using the razor on very fine rayon jersey.

When buying pants: There is nothing more unfortunate than puffy knees or a saggy bottom.  To avoid this, do a few deep knee bends and check to see if the fabric  in front of the knees gets pushed out, or if it slowly shrinks back into place. You want it to return to the original shape. Pushed out knees is a sign that the wrong type of fabric was used to make the pants.

Examine  the seams and the interior finishing of the garment keeping an eye on the quality of the sewing.  The more often you do this, the better you get at spotting quality.

Read the care instructions:  Is it made from fibers you like to wear?  Will you be able to care for it in the way the manufacturer recommended?  I generally make clothing that wash and wear with very little fuss (except my ready to wear wedding dresses). I recommend that you machine wash garments in cool to warm water with mild detergent and line dry.

2.  REPAIR:  I darn my socks while I watch movies.  Some of them end up with many different coloured yarns in the heel.  I am not offering to darn your socks for you, but I will repair any Katrin Leblond Design clothing you bring me.  Just bring your items to the store and we’ll fix them up to the best of our abilities. Repairs that we are responsible for (manufacturing defects) are  free. KL clothes that have experienced normal wear and tear will be repaired at a fair price. I do not repair clothes that are not from my store, but can recommend an excellent alterations shop.

3.  SECOND HAND: If you don’t want a certain piece of KL clothing anymore or can’t think of anyone to give it to, simply drop it off at my store and we’ll donate it to “Le Chainon”.  It needs to be clean and in decent condition.  Please attach a note to it that clearly says “donation”.  It’s important that good quality clothing stay in circulation as long as possible. Let’s keep it out of the landfill.

 

I design clothing because I love what I do and my designs allow women who love my work to feel creative and self expressed.  I make environmental decisions as a business woman all the time.  I feel like I can have a big (big in my little world) impact on the environment by applying my philosophy to my business decisions.

I purchase 90% Montreal made fabrics, threads, buttons and zippers. Yes Ladies, the textiles I use are actually made in Montreal.  It goes without saying, that all the cutting and sewing is done in Montreal as well.  I started buying Montreal textiles because I worked as a textile designer at a local knitting mill when I graduated from Concordia Fine Arts.  I fell in love with industrial production.  Now I love manufacturing.  I feel exhilarated by factories and industrial machines.  I am  proud to contribute to Canada’s manufacturing economy by producing over 2000 garments per year.

Thread and Fabric: I buy Montreal made thread because it supports local businesses, and because of its superior quality.  It doesn’t break in my sewing machines(Hooray!)  If you have ever sewn, you know how annoying it is to re-thread a sewing machine. It actually saves time using quality thread.  And finally, I buy Montreal made fabric because the carbon footprint of moving 150 rolls of fabric 5 km instead of 10’000 (how far is China anyway?), well that has to be worth something to Mother Earth.

I can’t do this alone, so I ask you, my clients, to make an effort to prolong the life of your clothes.

Love, Katrin

Nov
13

What she’s wearing:

Accessory around neck: scarfette $8

Navy linen vest: $175

Wristies: $39

Skirt with wool appliqué: $160

Navy is just another black.  Blue black.  Don’t be afraid of it Montrealers.  I know you are addicted to black, but navy is just a softer more daytime version of black. Wear it with red and you make the colour shine.  Wear it with white and you look summery and nautical.  Wear it with mustard or lemon or yellow and you will be making a very avant garde fashion statement.  “But I don’t have navy shoes” I hear you say.  So what!  Just wear black tights and black shoes, or better yet knee-high brown boots.  Now go out into the world fearlessly.  Navy is your friend.  It makes rosy cheeks look rosier. In the deep of winter you will look less pale.  Best of all,  it’s a classic.

How to wear a VEST:  The vest is a sexy top on it’s own.  I mean it.  It’s got that “I’m naked underneath appeal.”  (even with a cami) It is perfect for Holiday office parties because it allows you to feel hot while looking professional.  The vest is also great for layering.  Wear it over a collared shirt for the cute sexy librarian intellectual look.  Wear it over a loose gypsy blouse for that masculine meets feminine appeal.  Wear it over a flowery dress and it changes everything; now that dress has become a suit.  Wear it under a blazer for the double breasted effect.  I tell you, it is endless.  If you ever find a vest that fits your feminine forms and makes you feel sexy (i.e. it does NOT flatten your bust), you must buy it.  It will last you a lifetime and never go out of style.

Nov
01

It is no surprise to me that Halloween and the Day of the Dead are one day apart.   This is the seasonal time when things shift, plants die, seasons change.  I’m going to keep this simple.  Here are a few ideas for how you could celebrate this unique time:

1.  Go for a walk in the cemetery:  go alone or go with your family.  Look at the tombstones.  Pay your respects to the dead.  Enjoy their company, whoever they were.

2. Jump in the leaves:  Rake them into a big pile.  Listen to the crunchy sound they make.  Jump in them.  Kick them.  Throw them.

3. Take a look at pictures of your elders or grandparents:  Look through old photos or albums.  Share stories.  Write down names that you remember and how they were related to each other.  The family tree will be easier for future generations to reconstruct that way.

4.  Look at the night sky: Put on a warm jacket, or better yet grab a sleeping bag and go look at the night sky.  Do it in the city or in the country.  See clouds or see stars.  See whatever you see.  Take 10 minutes away from your warm indoors and feel the cool evening of the Fall.

Sep
13

This is a scarfette.  It is a mini scarf, a necklace, a ribbon, a hair tie.  It is also a bracelet, a belt, or a button hole extender when your jacket just won’t close anymore.  I have been making them for 5 years and have sold thousands of them over the years.  Add a touch of colour.  Complete that outfit with flair.  Show the world you dare!

New batch for Fall at the boutique now!

Aug
05

 

Now listen here.   I am writing this guide so that you get it right.  This is our goal: You wife is going to like what you purchased and it will fit her just right.

You will have to do a bit or homework before you hit the boutiques.  This is the single most important piece of advice I can give you.  Do your homework and a successful gift will follow.  Remember, this is not about buying something YOU like for her…it is about buying something SHE likes.

Also, since this is a surprise gift it better be something fun and special that she would not buy for practical reasons.  Yes, I said it: Don’t buy her something practical.  What I mean is: don’t buy her work clothes, don’t buy her rain boots and definitely don’t buy her an apron.  Sure lingerie is fun, but that’s a whole different buyers guide.  I am here to tell you how to buy her something nice to wear on the weekend, in the evening, for a pic-nik, for a date, for a special occasion, for the LOVE of your woman.

Here’s what you need to do to prepare

1. Get the size right.  Check the closet or dirty laundry when she’s not home.  Look at a few of her tops and a few of her skirts/pants and write down the sizes and brand names.  Tops and bottoms may not be the same size.  This is common and very important for you to take note of.  Make sure you are checking clothes that she actually wears regularly.  Go online and check the website of some of the brands she wears.  See if they have a size chart posted.  That way you can even get her approximate measurements.

2. Observe.  Look at her.  Look at pictures of her that you have on the wall.  What skirt length does she tend to like?  Is it above the knee or below?  Or does she never really wear skirts and always wears dresses or pants.  What kind of neckline does she tend to wear?  Is it a v-neck or a round neckline?  Does she like to show cleavage or prefer it a little more modest?  This might take a week or two of paying attention.  If you need to take notes, do so discreetly.

3.  Listen.  This is a lifelong lesson.  Your woman will always tell you what she wants you to buy her if you were just listening.  Chances are when you go for walks and she stops to peek into a store window she sais: ”  oh look at that pretty dress…do you like it?” or “Those red shoes are really nice, I wish they were flats.”  There is lots of information to be gleaned from walks and observation.  All you have to do is go back to that store another day and buy her the dress she liked in her size.  But, don’t buy her those red shoes.  Buy her similar red shoes that are flats.  That might take a little shopping around, but !wow! would you impress her.

4.  Go to stores that she already likes.  If she has a favourite boutique / designer do not all of a sudden try to introduce her to a new brand.  You can work your way up to that, but as a beginner you should buy safe.

5. Close your eyes and pretend you are her.  When you open your eyes, look around the store and see what catches your eye.  Trust your intuition.  A little bit of magic might guide you towards the right dress!

6.  Let the sales staff help you, but don’t let them bully you.  This is a tricky one.  It is a good idea to let the sales staff help you find something because they know their inventory best.  However, you know your wife best and this is a gift from you, so make sure that you make the final decision alone.

7. Kow what she wants to hide about her body.  If she hates her stomach and hips, make sure not to buy her a clingy dress that will make her feel self conscious.  If she likes her breasts, but doesn’t like showing cleavage, make sure to choose a neckline that is not too low.  You get the idea here.

8. Go the extra mile and accessorize.  Complete the gift with a necklace that matches, or even a bottle of perfume.  Buy earrings that suit her hair length or a bracelet if that’s her preferred accessory.  Every women has a favorite accessory and it is best to stick with what she likes to wear.  Don’t get her long earrings if she always wears studs.  Don’t buy a bracelet if she never wears them.  Chances are it will drive her nuts and she will only wear it a few times to for you see.  On the other hand, I do believe in adding a new color to an accessory collection.  If she has lots of earrings, but none of them are blue, this is a window of opportunity for you to add something new to her collection.

 9. Make sure you know the retailer’s return policy.  I know the idea of her returning your gift sucks, but even with all your research, you might get it wrong.  Oh well, that’s no big deal if you shopped at a store she likes and she can exchange the item for something else.  Make sure you kept all the tags and the original purchase receipt so that returning the item easeful.  Go with her.  Watch her choose something new.  After all, whatever she chooses is still a gift from you.  When you leave the store together tell her that you are happy she got something she likes.  You don’t want her to feel guilty for exchanging the item you chose for something else.  You want her to feel light and free and pretty.  You can even encourage her to wear it right away.

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