Monday, June 30, 2008

The Cyclamen Top / Le haut Cyclamen

English version: click here ->
Version française: cliquez ici (et décochez l'autre case) ->

New Look 6470...
Making a top doesn't get any easier than this. Only two pattern pieces, and yet the top doesn't look basic, but subtly sophisticated... This would be an ideal pattern for a beginner wanting to learn how to sew with knits.

For a change, I didn't have to take the pictures with my tripod and timer - Seb willingly obliged, and there's a definite difference in the pictures' atmosphere. He kept goofing around, and made me laugh so hard!

Of course, he had to leave again yesterday for another 10 days... and then another week... and so on. Four months to go, and our lives will be back to normal! Yay :)

New Look 6470...
On peut difficilement trouver plus facile que ce haut ! Il a pourtant l'air subtilement sophistiqué... Ce serait un patron idéal pour un(e) semi-débutant(e) qui souhaiterait se familiariser avec la couture des jerseys.

Pour une fois, je n'ai pas pris les photos moi-même avec trépied et retardateur, mais j'ai eu droit à une séance photo avec mon photographe préféré... Evidemment, la séance s'est terminée dans des éclats de rire !

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Falstaff, and the Nannetta Dress

Yesterday, Seb and I were unexpectedly treated to a night at the Opéra! My brother's girlfriend, who's an outstanding flute player (and loves stitching! And Jane Austen! Yes, we do get on very well), was playing in the orchestra, and managed to get us tickets for the cost of a cinema seat. I am a huge, huge opera lover, but hardly ever get to go to perfomances... tickets are so expensive. This kind gesture totally made my week!

I finished this dress in the half hour before we left, just in time for the evening. As I was planning and cutting out the dress, I thought of it as a casual summer dress, but thanks to the beautiful fabric, and to the length I chose (to put the eyelet border at its advantage), it turned out dressy enough for a night at the opera.

Seb took his camera, which was a great opportunity to take pictures for the blog. I agree with Trena - taking pictures (especially with a tripod and a timer) can be tedious and time-consuming... besides, nothing beats pictures in situation! That is why, although this dress is my latest finish, it shall be the first reviewed. :)

Review for New Look 6774

(I put the knots lower on the straps today, they look better this way)
Fabric used:
The fabric is a cotton with an eyelet border that I got from a clearance table at the Marché Saint Pierre, the same day we chose the fabric for the Black Amethyst coat. It was 2 euro a metre, and I took one and a half.
Likes and dislikes:
I have no dislikes regarding this pattern other than it starts at a size 10. I needed to grade it down two sizes to get my fit.

Oh, and I will do a few things differently from the instructions next time, for a neater finish on the inside:
- The inside would be finished more neatly if the straps were inserted between the bodice and lining, instead of slipstiched on the outside of the lining.
- There would be no apparent waist seam allowance on the inside if the lining was slipstitched (or topstitched) to it. I'll do these changes next time, as I didn't have enough time to unpick and redo the seams for this dress. It makes no difference on the outside - I just like the inside to look as neat as possible.
Falstaff was wonderful. The performance was a particular success - you know, this special, magical osmosis between orchestra, singers and audience? It was all there. We had some of the best seats, too, thanks to our friend. I'll remember this evening all my life.

After the performance, Nannetta seemed the obvious name for this dress :)

Wishing you all a lovely, sunny weekend :)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sewing Binge / Orgie de couture

English version: click here ->
Version française: cliquez ici (et décochez l'autre case) ->

Hi friends!
I'm still here! Just not much online :)

I took a good nice break last weekend, and went to the countryside - this time packing neither laptop nor work, but fun reading, patterns and fabrics. My sister, BIL and their son were there, too, so I had a grand time with adorable Robin, who's becoming quite the talkative little boy!
Here are a few pictures of my favourite little guy:

Gardening with his grandma


I sewed some, too... OK, to be honest, this was quite the sewing binge.
Here's what I did:
- finished Butterick 6582, which finally turned out exactly as I pictured it, albeit after many alterations. I wanted this dress to be special, as both the pattern and fabric were precious gifts, so I spent several weeks (more than a month) working on it.

- made a pastel blue, short-sleeved version of the Vogue bolero top (2980, used before)
- made a cyclamen draped top, New Look 6470
- made a sleeveless, criss-crossed version of the dress from Simplicity 3775 (already made with long sleeves and a scooped neckline). It is not perfect (serger SNAFU), but still wearable.
- am almost done with a dress from New Look 6774, which I am making in an eyelet khaki cotton with an eyelet border.

Can you tell I'd been missing my sewing?

The thing of course will be finding some time to take pictures of all these, as I am now back in the writing groove! Let's take it one step at a time, shall we?

I'll try and catch up on your blogs and newest creations ASAP. Happy sewing to you all!

Bonjour à tous !
Je suis toujours là ! Mais pas beaucoup sur les blogs ;)

J'ai pris une pause nécessaire dans mon travail le week-end dernier, et je suis allée à la campagne, équipée de lectures détendantes, patrons et tissus. P'tit Robin était là aussi, alors je me suis bien amusée. Il parle de plus en plus ! Quel p'tit bonhomme adorable.
Voici quelques photos de mon petit garçon préféré :

Jardinage avec ma Maman

Coucou !
J'ai cousu, aussi... Bon, pour être honnête, ce fut une véritable orgie de couture ! Ca faisait si longtemps !

- j'ai fini la robe Butterick 6582, qui a fini par devenir la robe dont je rêvais (après de nombreuses modifications du patron de base). Je voulais que cette robe soit très réussie, car le patron et les tissus me sont précieux.

- J'ai fait un petit haut boléro bleu pastel (Vogue 2980, déjà utilisé)

- J'ai fait un haut drapé cyclamen, à partir de New Look 6470

- j'ai fait une version sans manches et cache-coeur de la robe Simplicity 3775 (déjà faite en manches longues et encolure ronde), dans un jersey noir à petits pois blancs. Elle n'est pas parfaite (j'ai fait une bêtise au moment de surjetter), mais portable.

- j'ai presque terminé une robe New Look 6774, dans un coton khaki à bordure en dentelle anglaise.

Vous croyez que la couture m'a manquée dernièrement ?

Maintenant, le problème va être de trouver du temps pour faire des photos de tout ça... car je me suis réattelée à mon travail avec ferveur. On va prendre les choses l'une après l'autre, d'accord ?

Bonne couture et/ou broderie à vous !

Monday, June 09, 2008


Simplicity 2891
Or how to sew and stay happy, in 5-minutes increments.
(Yep, I copied the model's pose. Up to the hair band! She looks so darn cute, don't you think?)

Hi everyone!
Surprised to seeing me back so soon? Well, so am I. I went to my parents' country house and shut myself up in a room overlooking a meadow for a few days, on what could be termed a writing retreat. This seems to have worked rather well, as I wrote my last chapter from start to finish there... It still needs a bit of tidying up, of course (and I need to make sure it's not total crap), but I am the first surprised at how much I managed to accomplish. Although I still need to fully realize.

Every evening, too, I worked a little on this top: cutting out the pattern one night, the fabric another... and so on and so forth. I finished it in Paris tonight. Rather like my chapter, this little top kind of built itself on its own!

Pattern Description: Misses' tunic or top with sleeve and trim variations

Pattern Sizing: 6-14. I cut a 6.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? I think so?

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes.
Except there’s a mistake on the pattern for the sleeves’ gathers: they ought to extend from one outer dot, beyond the middle dot and on to the other outer dot. Unmissable mistake, though, and easy to fix.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I was attracted by its girliness. I like the yoke and love the gathered sleeves.
This top doesn’t have a zipper, yet is designed for non-stretchy fabrics. While this often means a top will look like a tent, I think here that the designers managed to give the top just enough ease to pull it through the shoulders, without making it too large.
I mean, OK, it's not the MOST flattering top in the world, but I have plenty of close-fitting tops and this, paired with fitted jeans, doesn't look half bad IMHO. It looks relaxed and breezy. (I think?)

No dislikes.

Fabric Used: Cotton eyelet, in my favourite shade of blue. Another fabric Seb chose with me, so it's in our favourite colour (we got this one at Bouchara).

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:
- I did a FBA (my first serious FBA!).
- Instead of using fusible interfacing, I underlined it with white organza, because my fabric was see-through.
- I swapped steps 25 and 27: instead of sewing the sides and the sleeves' underarm seam, then attaching the sleeves to the top, I first attached the sleeves to the top, then sewed the side and underarm seam in one go. This made handling the sleeves' gathers much easier.
- Almost forgot! I shortened the top, and narrowed the sleeves a little.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes to both. I would love to make a version with the yoke in a contrasting fabric.

Conclusion: A cute little top that was fun to make and is nice to wear.
I almost decided on adding some lace as per the pattern picture (my initial idea), but with this eyelet fabric, I was afraid in the end that it’d look too lacey and maybe give away its homemade origin ;)
I believe it looks sleeker, and younger, without added frills.

Thanks ever so much for your comments on the Black Amethyst coat!
What a treat it was to come home and find all these in my inbox.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Black Amethyst Spring Coat

Black Amethyst, AKA Burda February 08 #117

I’m not really sure what I may say about it that will be useful... Dear Laura’s review was fantastic and there’s really not much I may add! The pattern is very well drafted. It was of course awesome (for me ;) ) that it was designed for petites! No need to tweak the pattern.
I was tremendously inspired by Laura’s own experience, doing a Hong-Kong seam finish like her, topstitching the collar and lapels as she did too – this did help tremendously with the collar’s floppiness. Thanks so much, Laura. :)
The only other change I added was to lengthen the sleeves from 3/4 to full length, to have the ability of wearing this with a long-sleeved top.
This pattern requires a lot of work, precision, and dedication... Especially if you’re a sucker for punishment and decide to make it in a slippery, wrinkled taffeta, which therefore cannot be pressed during the sewing. This made the cutting, tracing, measuring and sewing so much more difficult. In the end, though, I found it well worth it. I love the combination in textures of the vertical wrinkles and the horizontal topstitching.
A word on the fabric: Seb and I chose it together on one of our precious weekend walks around Paris (this one comes from le marché Saint-Pierre, premier étage, I think). It is a wrinkled taffetas woven with two different threads: the warp is an iridescent amethyst, and the weft is black. I know each picture shows a slightly different hue; well, they're all here, in real life.
This coat was a first in several respects:
- inseam pockets (oh, I love the pockets! I love the ability to put my hands in the pockets while I strut about Paris)
- Hong-Kong seam finish (with aubergine satin bias tape)
- shoulder pads
- stand-up collar (this was the most difficult step in the whole process – I spent soo much time and ripped many a seam getting that darn collar right!).
Giving myself this challenge at a time where my work is itself such a huge endeavour, might have been a little much, and there were times when I thought so. But I don't regret it. I like a challenge!
This is one of my favourite creations so far - one of those I'm most proud of, and enjoy wearing most.

When I arrived at my parents' wearing this last week, my mother insisted on photographing me in the garden right away. She also said, at once - what a pity Mamie isn't there to see it.
I still haven't come to terms with my grandma not being here anymore. I've been through mourning before, but losing Mamie a year ago has been the most difficult thing in my life. It still is.
However, I've realized I need to do thing as well as if she were there, and could see them. Sewing is both a way to try and get closer to her, it is my own special way of remembering her (she comes alive again in my mind while I sew, I can see and hear her); but it is also a cause for renewed sadness, that there is so much that we cannot share anymore.

Seb knows so well how important this project was to me, that he gave me an amethyst necklace and earrings set for my birthday, to match. How thoughtful is this?
The set comes from Etsy, too, meaning it is handcrafted and one of a kind. A perfect match indeed.

Simplicity must have a special carrier from their warehouse to Paris, because the order I placed a couple of days ago, and which I was mentioning earlier today, was waiting for me at the PO tonight! Miss Cutie approves of the patterns.

I'll be away and offline until next week... So long, everybody!