Spotted: Little black dresses and Paris shops

Those are two new books that I spotted recently. Let’s start with “Ma petite robe noire”, or “My little black dress” in English.

It’s a translation of this book: “The Little Black Dress: How to make the perfect one for you”. Since there are plenty of reviews on Amazon I won’t go into to much details here, especially since I didn’t get the book but just looked at it in the store. The idea of this book is to give you enough explanations so that you can create a dress that fits you. I found it funny that the title is about little black dresses, since the book can be used for any dress. It starts with a little background on black dress though, and why they’re a basic item. The author then follows by explaining how to create a dress slopper, and then explains how to alter it based on three dress styles: one name after Audrey Hepburn, that is a classic shape, then a wrap dress pictured below (my favourite!) and another one that I don’t remember. Before the alterations part there is a chapter on fabrics and how to choose a dress design that suits you and your body type.

The book seems nice and beginner-friendly, with lots of step by step pictures. But for me it feels a little mixed-up (for lack of a better word). I find it’s somewhere between a pattern making book, but then it lacks variations, and it’s only about dresses, and a project book. I have what I feel are more thorough books on pattern making, so I’ll probably pass on this book. But others might (and surely do considering the Amazon reviews) find it interesting. One thing worth noting: it seems from what I read on the reviews that the author explains how to drape the dress on a body or a dressform, not how to draft paper pattern, and suggest you have a friend drape your dress on you.


“Divines merceries pour créations de rêves” means “Divine notions shops for wonderful creations”. It talks about notion shops in Paris and shares projects made with materials bought in those shops. The history of this book amuses me: it’s a actually a translation of a japanese book! Which means that some japanese people decided to write a book about notion shops in Paris, contacted French creators, made the book, and some time later a French publisher decided to translate it. This is a weird journey. ^^ The book describes four shops (La Droguerie, Entrée des Fournisseurs, Ultramod and Le bonheur des dames) and four creators (Céline Dupuy/Mlle Kou, Hélène Deslais, Hélène Le Berre and Anne Loiseau). A section is devoted to each shop. Each section first describes the shop and what you can find there, with pictures. Then there is an introduction about the artist and finally a few projects made with materials from the shop. The instructions and patterns for the projects (accessories and jewelry if I remember well) can be found at the end of the book. It is not the kind of books I’m looking for, but for those interested it is very nicely made. And I was happy to discover Le Bonheur des dames, which seems to be a very interesting shop that I will try to visit.