Wedding part 2: inspirations and fabrics for my outfit

A few details about how I designed my outfit, chose the color palette and found my fabrics. The full post is only available in French at the moment (you can go read it), but here are a few pictures.

The picture that inspired my silhouette:

You can see here how it clearly inspired my first draft (on the left). On the right I made a few changes, among wich the length of the “apron” of the overskirt at the front. I realized I liked them better when they are a litlte longer (to be less like an apron and more like an overskirt).

A few keywords to summarize the styles that inspired me: tartan, victorian, Belle Epoque, steampunk.

Another picture that made a strong impression on me, because of the general feeling and the colors, it seemed to match perfectly what I wanted to get (from Urban Threads):

Autumn color palettes:

Fabric samples from the corset maker’s stock and choosing the check fabric. I had to order many tartan/check fabric swatches online because it was impossible to find a nice one in autumn tints in Paris. I hesitated between the green one and the brick colored one in the second picture, but the green one seemed to match the other fabrics better and tie everything together.

PS: today it’s two years since I wore this outfit for the big day. :)

Lil Weasel is growing

Do you remember Lil Weasel, a parisian haberdashery that I previously talked about ? A small shop located Passage du Grand Cerf, full of lovely items (fabric, wool, patterns…) and with a friendly staff… They’re celebrating their 4 years of existence and opening a second shop just in front of the first one! I say it’s good news, because it was indeed quickly crowded.

For the occasion they’re organizing a giveaway to win a gift card on their blog and Facebook page. I admit this post is here to participate, but I never would have talked about it if I didn’t like the shop and didn’t want to recommend it. ;) Hurry up, you have until tonight to join (sorry it’s short notice but I couldn’t write about it earlier) !

See you soon for a real post. ^_^

Wedding part 2: my outfit

There are people who are still interested in seeing pictures of my wedding outfit, and that makes me happy, so here they come! It was high time I shared those, almost two years after the event… First I’d like to show you my inspiration mosaic again (with links to the original pages when I have them):

First raw: Heritage of Scotland, my picture, Flickr, my picture (Juliette et Justine skirt), Heritage of Scotland
Second raw: Etsy, Truly Victorian, Heritage of Scotland, Clockwork Couture
Third raw: Tumblr, Tumblr, robotvsbadger.com, Recollections, Walk in wardrobe, Urban Threads
Fourth raw: Uptight Clothing, Recollections, ??, Tumblr (Alexander McQueen F/W 2006-2007), Steampunk Couture
Fifth raw: Recollections, Tumblr, padmitasmakeup.blogspot.com, Atelier Volute, Etsy, Heritage of Scotland

And here are some of the sketches I made during the design part, when I was trying to find out what I wanted. None of them is the exact sketch of my outfit, but they inspired me, allowed me to test ideas and to communicate better with the other people involved. Some details should have made it into the final outfit but didn’t due to a lack of time or a lack of skills (or both, my lack of experience causing me to hesitate for too long).

And finally, here is what I looked like on our wedding day, with all the outfit pieces worn together.

The outfit was composed of:

  • a sleeveless top with a sweetheart neckline made from a plaid cotton (Scottish wedding dresses inspiration), that I made myself from a highly modified 50′s pattern.
  • underbust victorian style corset made of silk by Volute (sadly they’re not in business anymore…). I did the embroidery on the front panels myself.
  • a long skirt made in a very nice olive green heavy satin fabric (it’s a mix of silk and rayon) that I sewed myself. The shape is inspired by the skirts of around 1895.
  • an overskirt of bright green silk made by the people at Volute. The shape is a result of a mix of inspirations from different time periods: gothic skirts I own, bustle skirts from the 19th century, a drawing from 1890… The back can be let out to form a train or arranged in bustles with the help of three ribbons sewn inside.

Those are the main pieces, that we made especially for the wedding. They were accessorized with the following:

  • a petticoat bought on Ebay and modified to get the shape I wanted.
  • a nice dark green cardigan that I’ve had for some time and really like.
  • since it was cold, a cream colored handmade shawl I got on Ebay. What’s fun is that it was originally handmade for a wedding by the seller, and she decided to part with it after it wasn’t of any use to her. It’s a nice cycle.
  • and for the really cold times, I wore my black wool cape on top of all this (yes I know, not the best color to complement my outfit, but I did with what I had on hand). I got that cape for my 18th birthday and it’s quite special to me.

I had planned a second overskirt (to be worn between the bright green one and my skirt) in the same plaid fabric as the top, and a high-collared lace top to wear under the sleeveless one (to remind a little bit of victorian collars). But due to my slowness and my legendary talent for procrastination, they didn’t happen. Plus the lace top was scaring me a little, it wasn’t a project to tackle as the same time as the rest of my outfit and wedding organization, I was anxious enough without trying to figure out how to make it. But in the end I loved my wedding outfit as it was. I felt beautiful and most of all, I felt like myself! And that was the point of all this in the first place. My dear husband reacted the way I was hoping when he first looked at me, he loved my outfit, and I also got very nice comments about my outfit from our guests (and Mr Robot also, but I didn’t have any part in the sewing of his outfit). And maybe one day I’ll find the motivation and an excuse to make the missing pieces (for a belated “trash the dress” photo session that we couldn’t make at the time?).

Bonus point of this modular design: it wasn’t a one time only outfit. Being able to wear it several times was one of my initial goals and I’m happy to say that it has been fulfilled. The top I wear quite often when the weather is nice enough, the corset has been worn regularly (even to work!), and I wore the skirt once for a date with my husband. I’d wear it more often as I love its shape and color, but due to its length and the fibers it isn’t the most practical piece of clothing I own. I’m thinking of making a similar skirt in cotton. The only piece that hasn’t been reused is the overskirt, but I’m sure it will happen some day. In the end the outfit cost me more than what I was planning to spend at the beginning, but at least for that price I got custom made, designed by me, in beautiful fabrics that I liked (no ugly synthetic fibers!), so I guess it’s okay. ^^

My new t-shirt

Tonight I’m going to share a project that’s quite popular on the French sewing blogs right now: a Plantain tee. It’s a free pattern released by Deer and Doe earlier this month. It’s not a shape I usually wear but I was curious and the challenge organized by Eleonore (owner of Deer and Doe) gave me the motivation I needed to try it.

I wanted to make it into a dress for the challenge, but was afraid to start the dress without making a test garment first (my measurements have changed since my pregnancy and I’m not used to D&D’s sizing), so this t-shirt came to life. I used remaining fabric from my pregnancy top. I didn’t have much fabric left and had to make the short sleeved version. I made it in size 38 without any pattern modifications (it fits in about 80cm of fabric if I remember correctly). I did reduce the hems though: I made them 1.5cm at the bottom and about 0.7cm at the sleeves, wich make the top and sleeves slightly longer.

I was very pleasantly surprised by this top when I tried it on: I found it lovely and more flattering than I thought it would be. Plus in this drapey fabric it’s very nice to wear. I couldn’t take pictures without another top under it because it’s cold right now, but I’ll try to take some as soon as possible to better show the nice neckline. I’m sure this baby will have brothers and sisters, especially since I’m now the happy owner of a serger (birthday present from my friends and family, thank you so much!). It made sewing this top a real pleasure. I couldn’t start working on it before last Sunday because of a sick Mr E. and a lack of ink in my printer, but I still managed to finish it yesterday. Yay for a quick and rewarding project (yes, that’s a quick make for me)!

At the last minute I decided to cut the neck band off grain to play with the stripes. I’m really happy I did it! I love the result and already got nice comments about it. Small details like this can make a difference. I changed the construction steps for the sleeves. The pattern has you sew them flat and then sew the sleeves bottom and the top sides in one go. Since I wanted to test the fit early on I sewed the shoulders, then the side seams, tried the top (it was okay), and then sewed the sleeves closed and set them in.

The contest ends tonight so my dress won’t be made on time, but I’m still happy that it made me discover this nice pattern. I really recommend it! And since all Deer and Doe patterns come in both French and English, you have no excuse not to try it. ;)

Project firsts:

  • first garment entirely sewn with a serger and coverstitch machine. I have to say that I was quite pleased of this and rather proud of my little t-shirt, as a knit fabrics beginner.
  • first jersey neck band
  • first Deer and Doe pattern
  • first time sewing with my own serger!

The positive:

  • the stripes almost match at the side seams! See above and below. Okay, so maybe I shouldn’t be happy that they almost match, but considering that I didn’t make it a priority, it’s a nice result. I didn’t spend much time on this but tried to place my pattern pieces roughly at the same level when I cut my fabric. The left side is quite nice. The right side only matches at the top, the bottom being totally off. I say it’s a good result/time ratio.
  • I discovered a very nice pattern (and some people who saw my tee might try it also)
  • I have a nice top to wear
  • the serged seams look nice
  • I used fabric and thread from my stash

The negative:

  • I’m note as comfortable with the coverstitch machine we have at my sewing lessons as with my serger, I’m not very happy with how my hems look. Luckily you don’t see them too much on this busy fabric. I have to practice more!

Leaf bracelet

I just got my camera back so I can show you the post I had planed for earlier this week. :)

From time to time I’m able to find the way back to my craft space, which allowed me to make a few handmade presents the past months. I’m sharing one of those today. Ages ago my sister had asked me to make her a bracelet with a leaf pendant I found at La Droguerie. There is a saying in French that goes like this : “All will come in good time to those who can wait”. I say that’s lucky for my relatives… I finally made the bracelet for her birthday this year!

At the time she said she wanted something simple, just the leaf pendant on a chain. But I wanted to invest a little more of my time and creativity in her bracelet, so I decided to add a few green colored wooden beads. It makes the final product a tiny bit more elaborate but still simple. She seemed to be happy with the gift (the good thing being that it was totally a surprise to her, since she had forgotten about her wish) and I’m glad I finally made it.

Technical note: the beads I got when I was living in Japan, and all the metal parts come from La Droguerie.

A new year


(Image from Vector Graphic by DryIcons)

What was I saying in my last post? That I didn’t mean to leave you now that I have a baby? Well, I certainly didn’t mean to… but it seems I wasn’t fully conscious of how few available time I would have or of how I would want to spend it… sorry I didn’t come back earlier! I was supposed to share something before the end of the year, I had a post written, but I forgot my camera with the pictures to illustrate it at my uncle’s house during the holidays… I took other pictures when I came back home but I didn’t have the time to write another post before today.

So now that the year has changed, I wish you a very happy and joyful 2014 year! May you create lots of good memories during this year, complete interesting projects and enjoy time with your loved ones. 2013 was of course a very important year for us, with the arrival of our dear Mr E. He’s growing up fine and every week we’re impressed by the new things he learns to do. We are a little bit tired, but it’s like that for all parents, isn’t it? ;) It already feels like 2014 will be an interesting year also, although we’re not planning anything as life-changing (no second child planned for the coming year ;p ).

And I plan to be back here for real this year. That’s my year goal. ;) I will need to get better organized, but it shouldn’t be impossibly challenging. What about you, do you have any goals for this year?

Last package

In my last post I was talking about the lovely packages I received two weeks ago. Turned out a last delivery was awaiting us that week.

Our little guy Mr E. decided to join us on Sunday August 4th. ^_^ He showed up a little after 11 in the morning, after I spent most of the night in labor (next time I’m ordering a daytime labor so that I don’t start with a big lack of sleep ;p ). He’s in good health and so are his mum and dad. We’re getting to know each other and slowly learning how to adjust to this little human being. Hence the silence around here for the last couple of weeks (I can’t believe it’s been two weeks already since his birth!). But given my irregular posting schedule you probably didn’t worry.

I’m not sure exactly when I’ll be posting in the following weeks, but I’m not planning to be totally away from here. I’d like to use some of his sleeping time to show you what I made before his birth (and continue my wedding series). See you soon!

Nice packages

I’m still here, and the baby is still waiting inside, so I’m taking a little bit of time to blog. This week I received two nice packages that I wanted to share.

The first one was a surprise from a very dear friend. We’re both fan of Gorjuss illustrations (actually she’s the one who made me discover Suzanne Woolcott’s work), and she sent me the most adorable buttons and ribbons from Santoro’s Gorjuss line.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I definitely recommend you check them out. At first Suzanne was only selling her prints through her webshop, but they’ve been working with Santoro for a few years now, who’s making and selling various goods from Suzanne’s work. Those ribbons and buttons don’t directly feature Gorjuss illustrations, but they totally match Gorjuss spirit and style. Aren’t the buttons absolutely adorable in their little bottle? :) I didn’t take out the ribbons, but they don’t look too stiff and I’m hoping I can use them for sewing. If not, they’ll be perfect for gift wrapping.

The second package I received was full of lovely fabric. Do you remember the post I wrote back in May about Lil’Weasel’s online store opening? They had a giveaway to celebrate. Turned out I was one of the winners! I totally didn’t expect it and was very excited when I found out. Which happened after quite some time, because they didn’t blog it right away, the email they sent me never reached me and I didn’t check their blog for a while.

I got to place my order last Sunday and received my package on Wednesday I think. I was super reasonable and only ordered fabrics to make things for the Pamplemousse (official nickname for the baby, I don’t know if I already talked about it, it means grapefruit in French, don’t ask ;p ). Plus that way I could order several fabrics from France Duval Stalla, about which I read a lot of good things on blogs but never tested. Yay for baby clothes that don’t require a lot of fabric! ;) M. Robot got to approve my fabric choices, to make sure I didn’t get anything that was against his view on what is suitable for a little boy. ;p

cotton lawnspoplinscorduroy

We also got two prints from the “Les amis” line by Patty Sloniger for Michael Miller. I also like the owl print, but I couldn’t order the whole shop so the cute little foxes won in the end. The “faux bois” prints (available in different colors) also caught my eye, but they didn’t have it in the shop. I might get some online later…

The fabrics arrived wraped in tissu paper, with a little note handwriten on the bill and a few cuts of “handmade” labeled ribbon. Since I don’t live very far from the store the delivery was really fast, which is great. :) The only thing that could have been better for me would have been to be able to pay through Paypal. But overall I’m very pleased with the service!

Now I just have to use all this to make nice clothes and accessories. It might have to wait a little though… I’m currently sewing for the baby, but I’m concentrating more on room decor and usefull accessories than on clothes right now and the doctors seem to think he will probably arrive a little bit early. I’ve heard I won’t have much sewing time for a while after that… ^^;

First jersey piece

As promised here are a few pictures of my new top taken during our holidays. Looking at them makes me want to go back, it was so nice to enjoy the sea for a week and not have to worry about anything. It was the best way to start my maternity leave and forget about work.

This top is actually quite simple, but it was my first piece made of jersey fabric, so it feels like an achievement. I’d been afraid of knit fabrics and had been avoiding them, except for the occasional dolly piece that I would sew by hand. That’s why I had made it one of my goals for this year’s sewing courses to start sewing with knits. At the beginning of June I realized I had very few time left to achieve this, since the lessons would end soon, so I stopped the project I was working on, went to a cheap fabric store in Paris to get a nice looking but inexpensive jersey and then went looking for an appropriate pattern in my Burda magazine collection. Since I didn’t have much time and because of my jersey fear I wanted something quick and simple. And if possible something that could accomodate my big belly. I settled on the 123-A top from Burda 2013/01.

If you’re considering making this top, please know that it’s quite large and long! I expected it, but not that much. I traced the pattern according to my maternity bust measurement, which is one size bigger than my regular size. But I think my regular size would have accomodated my 8 month pregnant belly without any problem! The top body is straigt so it’s quite roomy. Also the sleeve opening is quite large and low, so if you’re not wearing anything underneath your bra band will show when you lift your arms. Lately it’s been too hot in Paris for me to mind, but it’s not something I usually like.

This top was quite easy to sew, it makes me wonder why I waited so long to sew with knits! That said it’s a pretty forgiving project, since it’s very simple and not fitted. I started sewing it using the serger we have in the sewing class, and since I couldn’t complete it before the lessons ended I finished on my regular sewing machine, using its elastic stitches. And you know what? Everything went ok! The stitches might not be as nice looking as if I had used the serger all along, but it worked and my seams are stretchy and not too bad looking so it’s fine with me. I even used a twin needle to hem the bottom. It’s a little bit wavy, I don’t know if it’s because of the needle or the stitch settings. But with the busy fabric you don’t see it that much when I’m wearing the t-shirt.

I was very careful when cutting my fabric to have it laying properly, so that the stripes wouldn’t be wonky, but I didn’t think about matching them at the sides… ^^; I guess I’ll do better next time. The intructions called for Vlieseline stabilmanche to stabilize the back neckline, shoulders and sleeve opening. Since I didn’t have any my teacher suggested I cut small bands in a bias tape and used those as stabilizers. It made the back neckline a tad too thick and rigid with all the layers, but it’s okay. I didn’t use any stabilizer on the sleeve openings though for fear they wouldn’t hang properly. Below is a picture of how the shoulder seams look like with the bias strip stabilizer.

So here it is, my first knit project! I feel more confident in using jersey now and would love to try other patterns. I’d like to make some fitted garments, which are more my style. But it’ll have to wait until I have the time. With all the things we had to do in the house to prepare for the baby’s arrival I’m only now finding the time to sew, and there are some more urgent things in my to-do list, like things for the baby for example. ^^ He might arrive any day now, I’d like to make a few things before that…

Holidays

The past few months have been very busy, but I’m now officially on maternity leave. Friday was my last day at work. From now on I’ll try to concentrate on myself, the baby to come and our little family. We still have a few things to prepare before the baby’s arrival, and I have a good number of sewing projects on my waiting list.

But for now we’re kicking my maternity leave with some holidays. We’ll be away for a week and I don’t think I’ll have easy access to the Internet there, so I probably won’t write again before we come back. I’ve added to my suitcase my first handmade jersey top, which I’ve just finished. :) Hopefully I’ll have some picture of it worn at the beach to share with you when I return.

See you soon!