Lil Weasel

For the opening of its online shop, the parisian brick and mortar shop Lil Weasel is organising a little game to win a gift card. It’s a cute little store in one of Paris’ roofed passaways, full of beautiful fabric, yarn (or so I’ve heard, because to be honest I don’t much about yarn), patterns and other sewing tools. I’m therefore gladly doing a little bit of advertising here to join the contest, and I’ll add it to my French shops reference list right away. And I might try to go to the parisian store soon to check those pretty swiss dot fabrics in real life (not that I really need new fabric, but they seem very nice)… ;)

L’Aiguille en fête 2013 (report)

Earlier in February I mentionned L’aiguille en fête, a sewing/knitting event. I went there on Saturday 16th with my mum (it was fun to have a mother-daughter meet-up centered around needlework) and I have to say I had a very nice time. We started with the exhibition part, which ate up a lot of our time, even though the main theme was less interesting to me this year than the previous ones. After that we had to rush a little bit to see the vendors. Next time I should try to go early in the morning. But I still made some nice discoveries, bought a few nice things (my wallet is less happy about that) and overall had a very good time. Here are a few of my favorite memories in pictures, and you can see the rest on my Flickr.

The exhibition theme was “knits”, so they had a big space devoted to wool. They showed a variety of (unprocessed) wools from different parts of Europe and some projects made of wool (a lot of which made from felted wool).

Then they had several smaller spaces devoted to creators.

We were completely charmed by the embroidery work of Ms Marie-Therese Saint-Aubin (who seems to have written embroidery pattern books that are quite popular, judging from the comments were heard). Most of them are cross stitch embroideries. Loot at how delicate her work is! Both the stitches and the created drawings… we were really impressed. And on top of that, that lady is very nice and willing to answer questions and explain her technique.

The charming Eleonore, designer of the Deer and Doe patterns (and creator of the Thread & Needles French sewing/knitting community). We talked a tiny bit about the next patterns, to come early April (we can’t tell much about it, but with the small bits I know I’m sure the next collection will be great!). I can’t wait!

Embroideries that immediatly caught my eye on the Rouge du Rhin booth. I even got one of their designs. One of the ladies who owned the booth kindly showed us how to make the embroidery stitch that you can see on the white and blue cushion on the right of the first picture. We didn’t know it and I really loved how it looks. It’s call Palestrina stitch. I also like the two-tone Boulogne stitch very much. You can see it in red and white at the top center of the second picture. Doesn’t it remind you of Tim Burton’s work? Of course both of those stitches are on the pattern I got! ;)

And now let’s talk about what I brought back. I wasn’t really reasonable, especially since this year I mainly got patterns and kits, which are more expensive. Let’s start with those. Patterns: the cushions embroidery pattern, the Sureau dress by Deer and Doe and a sashiko embroidery motif. Kits: a kit for a patchwork bag that I completely fell in love with, and a magazine + felt kit to make a cute autumn crown. I’ve been thinking about getting that last one for the past years, so this time I decided to just do it.

Then comes materials: some small cuts of japanese check fabric, sashiko embroidery thread, lace appliques and a “tiny feet” stamp that is just adorable. And at last, some charms and wood buttons. I think I went a little bit crazy on the buttons…. ^^;

Now I “just” have to find the time to use all this! At leat I didn’t bring back big fabric cuts that would pile up on what I already have. ^^; And as I said at the top of this post, you can find all the pictures I took on the devoted Flickr set, I took about a hundred of them.

Charity sale – Bik-Nok 10th session

The 10th session of the “Small sewing – big projects” charity sale organized by Bik-Nok will start in just a month: March 24! The theme is “Liberty, prints and flowers”. You still have a little bit of time left if you want to donate a handmade item for the sale. Or just head over there on March 24 to pick an item to buy. ^_^ The website is in French only, but some people send anywhere in the world. Just look for the “Envoi : en France et à l’Étranger” mention below the price in the item description. The benefits will be used to help give shelter and education to poor children in Vietnam (if you read French, you can find more info here).

L’Aiguille en fête 2013

L’Aiguille en fete is a french convention centered around needlework. The 2013 edition will start tomorrow February, 14 and last until Sunday. I’ve been there in 2010 and 2011 and really enjoyed it. I missed it last year because I was preparing the wedding and really didn’t have any spare time to go, but I intend to go this time! I even bought my ticket in advance.

As you can guess it consists mainly in seller booths. Lots of quilting and embroidery (mainly cross stitch), but also a good number of knitting/crochet and some general sewing (notions, fabric, kits, patterns…). This time they changed their location to a bigger venue, so I guess there will  be more sellers and maybe a little more variety. Still, even if I don’t quilt (yet) or knit, and if cross stitch isn’t my favourite kind of embroidery, I found the event to be quite inspiring. Plus it’s nice to be surrounded by lots of people who also like needlework (in 2011 I didn’t have that many people around me to share that love with). Each year they pick a theme and organize some exhibitions centered around it. The years I went the themes were “theater costumes” and then “lace”, and I found the exhibition quite interesting. I think it’s nice they not only have seller booths but also an exhibition part. The theme is year is “knits”.

If you’re in the neighborhood, you might want to take a look!

Puces de Saint Ouen: wedding dresses

Here comes the second part of my flea market report. Last time I mentioned that we visited a wedding dresses exhibition currently held at the Serpette market. I took pictures of most of the dresses, pictures that I’m sharing today. The exhibition is quite small, but some of the dresses are really nice. I you do happen to be at the flea market, it’s worth going to check them out. The exhibited dresses are actually on sale, so they change all along the exhibition as people buy them and take them home. Here is an overview of those we got to see last saturday.

This black dress facing the exhibition room entrance is of course modern:

According to the exhibition staff, this dress below dates from the 40s. I wouldn’t have guessed!

This one is from the beginning of the 20th century. Look at that lace:

This one as you would have guessed is from the 50s:

And last is this outfit which suprised us a little. I wouldn’t have worn that to my wedding, but to each his own.

The pictures are all available on my Flickr stream, where you can see them bigger if you want. And if you want to see the dresses for real, they’re in the exhibition gallery, alley 6 of the Serpette market (which is on the street named rue des rosiers).

In the last part of this report I’ll show you what I came back home with. ^^ But this will have to wait until next week, as I’m going to visit family this week-end.

Puces de Saint Ouen

On Saturday I had my first vintage shopping trip! :) The lovely Jen from Pretty Little Pictures, a fellow seamstress and vintage lover, is currently in France (she lives in Australia) and when she wrote a post on WeSewRetro asking if anyone would like to meet I jumped in. Someone recommended she made a trip to the big flea market in Saint Ouen (north of Paris), known as Les Puces de Saint Ouen, and I offered to accompany her if she planned to go. I had never been there and thought it might be fun. She did want to go, so we spent a few hours there on Saturday and it sure was fun! I’ll split my report (with pictures) in several parts, so that you have a chance of reading it before next month…

After my train being (of course!) delayed due to several minor incidents I finally was able to meet her around 10:30 in the north of Paris. Luckily the weather (which is being rather fickle lately) was really nice, so we were able to walk to the market while chatting. We were both wearing handmade circle skirts and had a little Marilyn moment while passing over a kind of grid on the pavement, which I would have gladly avoided, so be careful with those… After that incident we kept getting worried about our skirts at every wind blow. The flea market of Saint Ouen is quite big, and actually divided in several markets spread along three streets in the south of the city. Each market is quite different from the others, in size, style of items and more importantly in architecture/organization and atmosphere. It was really funny how each one feels quite different. I had done some research on the Internet beforehands and took notes with me, so we had an idea of where to go. We avoided the most expensive historical furniture and art ones, to concentrate on the cheaper and most flea-market like ones. We started with the Vernaison Market, which I really liked. It is the oldest one and they say it remains true to the original style of the flea markets. It’s outdoors, quite big and divided in tiny passageways bordered by little shops. You can really get lost in there if you’re not cautious! I have know idea of what this market’s map would look like, but it sure felt like we turned a lot. The pictures below were taken there.

The shops are quite varied here. We found a few selling vintage clothes, lace or sewing notions, and a lot were just offering a mix of different things among which you can hope to find some of those. In a shop that was mainly sewing furniture we stumbled upon a box full of embroidery patterns with some sewing patterns and magazines mixed in. It was like digging in a treasure box. :) I did my first vintage clothes shopping at this market, I’ll tell you more on what I got in another post. After leaving this market we were quite hungry and stopped in an italian restaurant for lunch. If you ever go there, it’s a little further up the street, after the Dauphine market. It was quite nice and seems to be actually owned by italian people. We then went back a little to visit the aforementioned Dauphine market. This one is indoor, with a big glass roof. It’s divided in straight alleys bordered by shops on two levels. We found an incredible vintage clothes shop there! They had pieces from the 19th century! They had very nice dresses on display on mannequins (which made us want to check it in the first place). They also sell reproductions of victorian boots in limited series. All the outfit pictures shown below were taken there and you can find a few more on my flickr.

There were quite a few other vintage clothes shops, although smaller and not as impressive as this one. And also a little shop specializing in printed materials: old advertisements and drawings but also old magazines and patterns! We spent quite some time there, it was really hard to decide what to get (although Jen has been very reasonable, I was impressed). We found another shop after that also had magazines, patterns and notions.

After this market we went to the Serpette Market. It’s quite expensive and not what we were looking for, but they currently have a wedding dresses exhibition there that we wanted to check. You’ll get pictures in the next post. This market is indoor without natural light and the atmosphere was really different from the other two, not as friendly and nice. We then went to briefly check two other smaller markets in the other streets, which we didn’t like as much. The Passage Market has a big vintage clothes shop (I think it takes at least 1/3 of the place!) but it seemed to be lots of designer pieces, so more expensive. And we couldn’t take pictures of the window! :( We then headed back to Paris, as we were a tiny bit tired from walking all the day. The contrast between the flea market’s atmosphere, with all it old things, and the bordering street we took to go home with its streetwear market merchants was a little weird.

As you can guess I had a really nice time. I loved the flea market and spent a really nice moment with Jen, whom I’m happy to know. She’s a very nice and friendly person and it was fun to discover the market with her and share some time with a fellow vintage-inspired seamstress. I guess I’ll go back to Saint Ouen now that I know it, but I’m afraid it won’t be as fun to go alone. But if you’re ever in the neighborhood and like vintage stuff, I definitely recommend you to go check it out!

Event : Giveway Day

I wanted to make a small annoucement about an interesting event: next Monday (May 21) is the next installment of Sew Mama Sew‘s Giveaway Day! If you don’t know Sew Mama Sew, it’s an online fabric and pattern shop. They also built a community with a forum and an interesting blog full of information and tutorials, and host giveaways there regularly. And twice per year they organize a worldwide event called “Giveway Day”. Anyone anywhere in the world can organize a giveaway on that day, and they will list all participants on their blog so that they can be found easily. It has to be related to crafting of course, and to follow their guidelines. So head on over there on Monday for chances to win lovely things and discover new interesting blogs. And if everything goes well, there might even be something to see around here too…

Blog tour teaser

I’m happy to announce that I will be part of Casey‘s blog tour “Cherished Collections”. So please come back here on July 22 (that’s my assigned date, next Friday) to learn more about one of my collections. I’m trying to prepare something fun and sewing related but still a tiny bit different from what you usually see around here.

In the meantime I suggest to those who don’t know Casey yet (is this possible?) to go take a look at her blog, Casey’s Elegant Musings. It’s always an interesting and inspiring read, with pretty outfits, vintage finds, tutorials, little pieces of advice and anything you need to get your sewing/styling fix. ^^

For Japan

As I was in Japan for almost four years and still have friends who live in Japan, I’m very affected by what’s happening there lately. At first I felt really helpless, I wanted to be there and help my friends and this country I love. I’m sure there are other people out there who feel the same, who would like to help. That’s why I decided to list all the ways I know through which people can help. I didn’t want to write a very very long post, and I wanted the list to be easily found again if you need, so I’ve created a dedicated page. You can find it here:

If you feel like you can’t give a lot, maybe you can try to create a little something for a grouped charity sale, or buy a tiny item at such a sale. And if you really can’t do any of that, please talk about those events around you, so more people know they can do something. I’m not Japanese, but I’m happy to see that so many people care and are trying to help as they can. Thank you to all those nice people!