Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tenue de Concert

And now for something slightly different ;)
As you may recall, my vocal ensemble's regular dressing code for concerts is black. Sometimes, however, some of the women perform as part of a smaller ensemble, with a few baroque instrumentalists; for these concerts, our outfit has to be coloured, preferably in red/maroon tones. We had a concert on Nov. 21 and here is what I wore:
The pictures were taken after the concert, and I was feeling the exhaustion after the pressure of a very dense concert (Haendel + Pergolesi) and weekend-long rehearsals, all on top of a busy week at work. I'd also undone my hair, as the photo shoot wasn't planned and just happened at the last minute. I had actually already changed into my normal clothes when it dawned on me that it could be quite an opportunity to have pictures of me taken here and then, in the beautiful museum where the concert had taken place: so I quickly changed back into my concert outfit for a few pictures. Hence the tousled hair and wan look ;)

The skirt is Simplicity 2953 (ETA Dec. 3: on my European envelope, the pattern number is 7239 is the European pattern number; I just found the American pattern number on the Simplicity website) - an über simple two-panelled skirt, with a slim waistband, a zipper and hook and eye closure.
The first time I performed with this smaller formation, people had sort of forgotten to tell me about the dress code ;) I only had a few hours before the final rehearsal to buy fabric, a pattern, and make the skirt, so I couldn't afford to be too ambitious. It fits the bill perfectly as it is, anyway.

The fabric is crepe-backed satin - it isn't too shiny in normal lighting, but it does shine quite a bit when the flash is on though!
The beauty of this fabric is that it doesn't take a single crease, which is very handy when you travel to the concert location, sometimes 50 to 100 kms away, and are not sure how you're going to be able to store your outfit during the final rehearsals.
The top is Vogue 7997 - I made it 2 years ago. The fabric has a high amount of lycra, which makes it very silky and IMO acceptable for formal occasions. I really love this top, and force myself not to wear it too often, so that it remains fresh and like new for this kind of occasion.

Here is the outfit in action, during the concert:
You know, I would love to have fun and make a really nice concert outfit some day. As much as I think I should really ease on the concerts as I have way too much on my plate ATM, I do love this opportunity to dress formally (on top of the thrill of the actual concert, obviously!). Wearing a full skirt is so nice. If you have any pattern ideas, please do share!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A photo session at Isabelle and P'tite Mignonne's

Isabelle: "Brr, it's so darn cold - I'd better hurry with this photo shoot"
P'tite Mignonne: "Yay, the garden door's open - freedom!"

Isabelle: "Oooh, who's here?"
P'tite Mignonne: "Rats - I've been spotted!"
Isabelle: "Come have a cuddle - you weren't trying to escape to the neighbours' garden again, now were you?"
P'tite Mignonne: "Craaaap..."

This shawl was finished over a month ago, and it's been in use every evening, but I hadn't had a chance to take proper pictures yet. It's proving very difficult to take indoors pictures with enough natural light now that I live in a ground floor flat, and it's been so cold (and increasingly so) that it takes some motivation to go outside with the tripod. Not to mention the neighbours that, er, might find me a little weird. It actually snowed here yesterday morning (a few hours before the pictures were taken), so these pictures took some dedication. I also took pictures of another finished object, but wasn't plucky enough to photograph my latest Jalie top. We've been having an absurdly cold autumn here!

Oh, and talking of P'tite Mignonne and I, we finally wrote an "about us" blurb to complement the blog. This blog has been around for over 6 years, after all, so those of you who weren't there from the start might not always know the whole story!

ETA: Seen the latest Simon's Cat yet? How very apt ;)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Café Crème Cowl

Hello, all :)
Remember this?
I didn't say what I was planning on doing with these at the time because it was intended as a gift for my younger sister, who sometimes reads my blog.
I made her a big fat cowl to keep her warm in the Paris winter.
Cowls and big textured knits are all the rage ATM, especially in camel/cream colours; my sister is more fashion-forward than I am, so I try and look up what's in when I want to make her something.

Oh, and you see, I love these colours - cream and tan - but they are absolutely not hues my complexion could pull. The good thing with having a sister that's an "Autumn", is that I still get to play with these gorgeous shades, for her. See how well it matches her tawny hair, hazel eyes - and her brown coat!

And - miracle of miracles - these pictures were taken in my home town, here in Southern France. I've been living here for a year and a half, but my sister is the first in my family who actually came to stay for a weekend, a couple of weeks ago. I am so glad my sister finally came to visit; we had the best of times. We used to be very close as there's only one year's difference between us, and I've missed this connection so much.
(Coat isn't handmade as I had an emergency last year and all my handmade coats were still in Northern France, but underneath I was wearing my little crochet dress)

She had just bought this coat when she came to visit, and I gloated inwardly when I came to meet her at the train station and anticipated how well the cowl would accent it.

The wonderful yarn, Glen by Debbie Bliss, is a mix of Merino and Alpaca wool (and Acrylic), which are among the softest wools out there. However, the cowl was still the tiniest bit itchy when I'd finished it and tried it on - not really that rough, but I have super sensitive skin, especially at the neck (I used to get a lot of eczema at the neck when I was younger). To remedy the problem, I soaked it in conditioner. Wool is animal fibre, after all. I mixed conditioner with lukewarm water in my sink, gently immersed the cowl, and let it sit there for half an hour. I then refilled the sink with clear water to rinse, gently squeezed out the excess water, and laid the cowl to dry on a towel. It worked wonders to make it perfectly soft. Just make sure you don't use a fancy condish with silicones in it as it may coat the wool and make it all weird (and hey, silicones are really bad for the environment so I've long given up on them anyway ;) ).

The pattern is another freebie - Convertible Cowl by Stephanie of The Crimson Owl.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

The Éthérée Scarf

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

Thank you so much for the wonderful comments about my anthracite dress! The past week was IN-SANE and I haven't touched a needle or a crochet hook in way too long, but you've certainly motivated me to get the dress all finished.
This is a crochet entry, though it does feature extra sneak peeks of the dress ;)
Here is a scarf that I made with mohair yarn for Sylvie's birthday. The pictures aren't the greatest as my camera's battery was running low and I didn't want to wait and recharge it as this gift was already late.

I couldn't find a design that quite suited the eyelet look I had in mind, so I created my own little thing... My first crochet design!
I'll be very happy to share the design with you if there is some interest. Once I'd figured out the design this worked up quickly - it would made a great Christmas quickie.

Bonjour à tou(te)s !
La semaine a été rude et je n'ai pas touché à une aiguille ou à un crochet depuis 10 jours, mais voici un petit ouvrage au crochet qui date d'il y a quelque temps...
J'ai fait cette écharpe dans un fil vaporeux (Phil Light en coloris Givre) pour mon amie Sylvie. Les photos ne sont pas super car la batterie de mon APN était presque vide et je n'avais pas le temps d'attendre qu'elle se recharge pour en reprendre, vu que ce cadeau d'anniversaire était déjà un peu en retard ;)

Je n'ai pas trouvé de modèle qui corresponde à l'effet ajouré que j'avais en tête, alors j'ai créé mon petit modèle... Mon premier modèle de crochet ;)
Si ça vous intéresse, je peux partager mes instructions. Une fois que j'ai été sûre de moi pour le modèle, cette écharpe s'est crochetée rapidement... Ça peut être une idée de cadeau de Noël pas trop chronophage ;)

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

A "Mad Men"-Inspired Dress

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

Hello all!

I hope this finds you all well.

Here is a dress on which I've been working on and off for quite some time now. The pattern is Vogue 8532 and my inspiration was some of the styles in the Mad Men series. This style reminds me of the second-version, self-assured Peggy Olson - or Peggy with a dash of Joan thrown in.

This dress has been rather work intensive - it is fully lined and I didn't want to skimp on any finishing detail, as I chose to work with some truly nice material. The fabric is a gorgeous anthracite wool, and the lining is a China silk that had been sleeping in my stash for way too long. I have been making this in anticipation of colder days - for a while it seemed that winter would be coming very early here, but milder temperatures have returned for now. :)

I'll be honest with you - I am really proud of this dress. I hadn't worked on something so elaborate in quite some time. Isn't the back pretty?
All it needs now is a good hand-hemming session, so hopefully I'll be able to share pictures of the dress being worn soon!

Bonjour à vous !

J'espère que vous allez bien par cet automne parfois assez rude...

Voici une robe sur laquelle je travaille par bribes depuis un bon moment.
Le patron est Vogue 8532 et ce qui m'a inspirée sont les robes très classes de la série Mad Men qui se déroule dans les années 60.
Cette robe a nécessité pas mal de boulot, car elle est entièrement doublée et je n'ai pas voulu prendre de raccourci dans les finitions. Il faut dire que le tissu en valait la peine : une laine anthracite magnifique, que j'ai doublée avec de la soie de Chine. C'est donc une robe que je fais en prévision de l'hiver - on a d'ailleurs bien cru qu'il allait arriver bien plus tôt que prévu par ici, mais la douceur est revenue pour le moment. :)

Je ne le cacherai pas, je suis vraiment fière de cette robe : je n'avais pas travaillé sur quelque chose d'aussi élaboré depuis un bon moment...
Il est pas joli ce dos ? ;)

Tout ce qu'il reste à faire c'est une bonne séance d'ourlets à la main... J'espère pouvoir le faire bientôt afin de partager des photos de la robe portée !