Notebook necklace

Hello ! I hope you’re having a great 2015 year so far. I left you with a rather worrying post about my Internet connexion the last time I wrote… I’m happy to say everything went back to normal after a short time. But then life happened (work, lack of spare time, sewing projects, memories to build with my son, a very tired me) and even though I really like this place I couldn’t find spare time for blogging. But I’ve been sewing! And I keep reading blogs through my Feedly app on my phone while commuting (I’m really happy smartphones exist!).

I’m  back with a simple project today. If I want to be able to post articles I’ll have to fight my tendency for very long posts, cause those end up never being done. So here is a Christmas gift I made for a dear friend.

I didn’t make the book/notebook myself, I bought it from the ladies of a bookbinding workshop at a Christmas market. All I did was create a necklace around it. I like simple pieces of jewellry so this necklace reflect that.

I wanted to add something besides the book, and when I found this quill I really liked it. It reminds me of the quills people used to write in past centuries. I spent quite some time moving it from one place to another on the chain to find the arrangement I liked best.

I added a small metal tag near the opening system. I find it’s a nice touch, it adds some interested at the back.

On this picture you can see that it’s a real miniature notebook with pages you can write on. I recycled some tissu paper and a little box to have a nice package. I even printed and glued my logo to the package, on top of the original writing. It was fun. ^_^

I got another book for myself, so a second necklace will be made as soon as I have some more chain and another quill.

No Internet

Just a quick note to let you know that I don’t have access to the Internet at home anymore… We don’t know why, I hope they will find out quickly so that we can get it back! It’s not fun anymore (never was actually, I have some things to do that require using the Internet)… And staying at work after my regular day to use their Internet connection, as I’m doing right now, makes me go home very late and I can’t do it often.

Hope to be back soon, cross your fingers for me! In the meantime, please let me know, do you have plans to make handmade presents for Christmas this year?

Last summer

Finally finding some time to talk about what kept me busy this past summer…

We bought an apartment!

And we had some work to do inside before we could settle in. More than we initially thought, as it wasn’t paint on the walls of the main rooms (dining room and bedrooms), but something that we had to remove before we could paint. So we spent quite some time…

sanding,

scrapping things off the walls,

smoothing the walls,

painting,

cleaning,

and finally, moving in

and unpacking everything.

It’s a huge investment, which is stressful, but the place is great now that we made it our own. And we learned new skills. ;) We wanted to do most of the work before moving in, because of Mr. E., which was stressful and exhausting, but thanks to the very nice people who helped us we managed it! We have wonderful friends and family members. In case you’d like to see the before/after pictures I posted everything on my Flickr account. This past summer we also…

Celebrated Mr E.’s first birthday! As you can see he loved the paper wrapping his gifts. ;) It’s not always easy to have a child, but I love him dearly and I’m really happy to know him.

Improved the apartment. Two words: “Thanks Ikea”.

Spent a one week holiday in the south west of France to see one of my two best friends and my god-daughter, her little girl who was born only three months after our son. They live in the US and were in France to see the family. Mr E. discovered the swimming pool and loved it!

And I colored my hair! ^^ You might have guessed it on the last pictures I posted, or seen it on Facebook. I love it!

In the middle of all this I did manage to start sewing a little bit again at the end of summer. I made a dress for my god-daughter, which I forgot to take pictures of. I’m hoping her mom will send me some so that I can show it here. And I did a little something for two friends’ wedding. I do have picture of this project. The past weeks have been quite busy but I’m slowly working on more toddler clothes at the moment.

Sewn art

This title is a reference to a competition going on at Thread & Needles, a French sewing community (I know, why an English name if it’s a French community? Maybe because the girl who created it was a IT girl? ;p ). This is not my entry for the competition, but an old project that perfectly matched the competition theme. I thought it was a perfect excuse to take new pictures and share it! ;)

This dress was a gift from some of my friends for my 17th birthday. I had no idea at that time that I could learn sewing, but I did love to design and drawn garments. One of my friend’s mother knew how to sew, so there offered to custom make me a dress from one of my drawings. You can guess how happy I was.

The lucky winner was a drawing of a dress inspired by an illustration by Clamp. It’s on the cover of the 2nd Card Captor Sakura art-book. The outfits from this series are really fun and original and I really liked this dress in particular. But since I wasn’t a child anymore and didn’t live in a manga, I had to make some changes.

You can see the resulting dress is longer and simpler. We kept the style of the motifs but simplified them a little bit, as my friend’s mother had to embroider them by hand (I think she wasn’t too happy about it ^^; ). If I were to make it today I wouldn’t choose the same fabric, as it probably has a good deal of synthetic fiber, but it does hang nicely.

This dress was a favorite of mine for a long time, I wore it whenever I wanted to be nicely dresses and feel pretty. I have to admit it had been quite some time since I last wore it though. Putting it back on for the pictures made me want to wear it again. Sadly it’s a little bit tight around the arms now… I might try to let out the seams a bit and see if it solves the problem.


Facebook

In the French version of this post I talk about two giveaways on a french sewing author’s blog. If you want to read about it head over there.

I also wanted to share that I created a Facebook account! It’s over here. This account is for all things creative and crafty, and since it’s for sharing links and short texts I can post there even if I don’t have time to write blog articles. Part of my posts are about the dolls I collect, but if I have more sewing-related contacts it will encourage me to increase the sewing-related talk. Please give me an excuse to do so! ;)

Giveaway winner

The giveaway is now over. Since all participants commented in French I invite you to read the French version of this post for the winner announcement.

It was fun to read all comments and see what people like and what they would make with those prints. There are definitely some favorites. The winners, with 6 mentions, are “Fleurs d’été”  (the red one having 3 mentions) and “Dot Power” (with 3 mentions of the purple version). Then there are “Ecorce” in purple and “Pois perdus” (3 in blue, 1 in pink) with 4 mentions each. I think the blue “Pois perdus” was the most ordered motif during the jersey sale. Then “Jungle” was mentioned 3 times. And with 2 mentions we have “Indian summer”, “Pétales de cerisier”, “Tulipe”, “Flower power” and “Pois fleuris”. There were also diferent fabrics of the “Arlequin” series. As to what you’d do with them, as could be expected you talked about dresses and skirts, sometimes retro inspired A-line shaped, blouses and tops (the Datura pattern by Deer and Doe being considered by 2 commenters) but also about bags (3 times) or cushions (2 times). And of course you talked a lot about swimsuits, which is not suprising considering the current sale. You seem to like the Soma pattern from Papercut, which was released not long ago and is totally cute, so I definitely understand (did you see Lauren’s versions? You definitely have to!). I’d love to make a swimsuit but it won’t be for this year, I won’t have enough time sadly… If you want to read everyone’s suggestions I suggest you go read the comments directly. As for me, here are the motifs I ordered during the jersey sale, the two on the right to make matching tops for my skirt and the Dot Power in purple just because:

On a more personal note I hope you all had a nice week-end. It was a three days week-end for us here, and I really enjoyed it: we had a sewing party with some friends, it was wonderful! During one and a half day all we did was sew, eat (lots of yummy food) and chat together. There were 5 of us in total, plus my friend’s father since it was at her parents house. It was the first time I did something like this, we had a blast and are totally planning to do it again! As a result I will have a few things to share with you soon. :) Here is a small teaser…

70′s dress from a japanese pattern

Do not forget the giveaway for La Modette’s fabric store, you have until tomorrow 10pm Paris time to enter (that’s 1pm pacific time I think)!

This dress was made a few year ago (I was still living in Japan!) and was never shown here, but I love it and with summer coming it’s a good time to finally share it. This project was born because we were invited to a “disco” themed party, which was a perfect excuse to finally make of those long and flowy dresses from the 70′s that I love. I browsed the web for inspiration (no Pinterest at the time, I had to save the pictures on my computer ;p ) and fell in love with this pattern drawing: McCall’s 4399.

I didn’t want to order a pattern, so the plan was to make a dress similar to the maxi shown on the cover, using a pattern I already owned as a base. I didn’t have any vintage pattern at the time in my collection. Instead I turned to my collection of japanese pattern books, and found that the top of the I dress from the Stylish Dress Book had a similar top that I could use.

I used a picture from the envelope back as my guide for fabric requirements and the overall shape of each pattern piece and I went modifying my pattern to get the dress I wanted. In the end only the shoulders and armholes of the original pattern remain untouched. XD I changed the neckline to lower it and added lots of length to the top. The original pattern has a seam under the bust with a gathered skirt, mine doesn’t have any horizontal seam. However there are seams down the center front and center back since the botom of the dress was to wide for my fabric width. I was planning to add sleeves, but left them of at the last minute because of a lack of time. I did like the dress as it was so I left it like this.

I used a floral cotton fabric that wasn’t probably the best choice in terms of thickness and drape (it probably is light quilting cotton) but that I thought was nice in terms of print. Plus I didn’t have much time so I had to do with what I could find around me. Because of that fabric it might not be as flowy as it could be, and it’s not as light as I wished it was during very hot summer days, but I wear it all the same. I wear it every summer since I made it. For the neckline ribbon the pattern calls for “stretch lace or foldover flexi-lace”. I couldn’t find any so I used a sort of gauzy ribbon. Since it couldn’t follow the round neckline at the back I slightly gathered it. Now I think it wasn’t the best idea, but I’m too lazy to change that… ^^; If I make it again I’ll probably cut a fabric band the same shape of the dress neckline (kind of like a facing).

The funny thing is that this particular pattern is for a maternity dress. Of course I wasn’t pregnant at the time but I didn’t mind and I don’t think the resulting dress screams “maternity”. But I was super happy to have it when I was indeed pregnant last year. :) It was indeed perfect, as you can see in the following pictures.

Overall I’m quite happy with this dress. I love that it is quite comfortable because of the tent shape (I can even tie the ribbon at the front to remove the empire waist) but still feels feminin. Sure it has flaws but at the time I made it I didn’t have that much sewing experience and I was super proud to be able to make it by altering another pattern. :) It’s quite nice to wear. I’ll probably make other(s) in the same style, either maxi length like this or shorter.

Firsts I remember for this project:

  • first vintage style garment
  • first time hacking a pattern

Blog birthday and giveaway

Giveaway is now closed, thank you for your participation.

Last Saturday it was my blog’s birthday. As you can see I took a few minutes to celebrate during a short escape to the coast. ^_^ Yes, it is supposed to be a birthday cake that you see drawn in the sand. ;p Mr E. [my 10 months old son for those who are new around here] discovered the sand on the beach, it was funny: at first he was scared, then skeptical, then intrigued and by the end he was covered in it as the result of his playing. XD

I have to say that I’m not even sure how old this blog exactly is. I wish I’d find time to write more often but I like it however it is. Through the years it became a part of who I am, just like sewing is, and I like spending time here with you. I made some nice acquaintances thanks to it and I hope to make more in the future. So here’s to another year of blogging! :)

And since blogs are about community and connecting, I’m celebrating with you by doing a giveaway! You probably realized I’m quite smitten with La Modette‘s cheerful prints. I want to share the love and support a local designer, so I’m offering a 20 euros credit to her store. Here’s your chance to test her fabrics. ^_^ If you haven’t read it already, you can find my test garment from her poplin here and the links to the others testers on La Modette’s blog. The website is still in French only, but she sends her fabric everywhere in the world (and you can pay by Paypal). If there are enough entries from non-french speaking people and a need for it I might post some explanations in English on how to order, but I think it shouldn’t be too difficult.

How to enter? Go check La Modette‘s website and come back here to let me know which motif you would get and for what project (if you already have an idea). You can earn another entry by sharing this on your blog, Twitter, Facebook (with public access) or other places and coming back here to share the link to your post in another comment. Giveaway is open until next Tuesday (that’s June 10) 7pm10pm Paris time. I will randomly pick a winning comment shortly after that so you have time to use the code on the next fabric order if you want. I got swatches for those: the voile is super soft and the polyamide seems indeed perfect for a swimsuit, soft, thick enough and stretchy with good recovery.

As for me, I’m going to think of the perfect use for the poplins I just received. I can’t wait to play with the different sizes and search how to combine them in projects. ^_^

Giveaway is now closed, thank you for your participation.

Sewing is the new thing

The other day I stumbled upon a short article in Elle magazine about sewing being the new fashionable hobby. Of course I had to share it.

They take the soon to be aired french version of The Great British Sewing Bee as the final proof that sewing is a thing again. I was a little bit disappointed in the content but I found it nice to read about sewing in such a magazine. And it is true that sewing is getting more and more popular in France. Contrary to some other countries we don’t study sewing at school anymore (my mother did in the 60s) and I think most women of my parents age don’t regularly sew, so people from my generation didn’t get an early acquaintance with sewing through school or their parents. Therefore sewing wasn’t very popular for quite some time, and many fabric stores closed. For a few years now we’ve seen many new fabric designers, modern fabric stores, independent pattern brand and sewing books (first translated from japanese and more and more written by French people) arriving. There are also more offerings for sewing lessons. It’s a really good thing, we get access to many interesting things directly in France. Let’s hope it will keep on that way and get even better!

What about in your place, is sewing getting more popular also? Or has it always been quite common for people to know how to sew?