Checker skirt

The project I’m showing today is quite special: I got the opportunity to test one of the first fabrics produced by french designer La Modette. :) I was so happy when Sandrine told me that I would be part of the first round of testers for her new fabrics! She liked the fabric I had picked and the project I suggested.  It’s the first time I take part in something like this, it was exciting but also a little bit stressful. It felt like such a huge decision when I started cutting into the fabric to make something out of it. ^^;

First fabrics from La Modette

As you can see from the above picture (taken from La Modette’s facebook page with Sandrine’s permission), all fabrics from this first batch are really nice and colorful. I thought for a moment of making something with this umbrella print (cause umbrellas are fun and I still can’t forgive myself for not getting some of Alexander Henry’s April Showers print), but in the end I decided to stick with the checker print (which you can see better here) that had first caught my eye. Since I don’t have much available time lately (perhaps you’ve noticed?) I knew a simple project would be best. I thought I could make another skirt similar to my brown skirt with the lace print. It has few sewing lines and it’s based on rectangles, which would work well with that kind of print, and it’s a skirt I wear quite often so I’d probably make good use of another one in the same style.

I realized it wouldn’t be so easy when I measured the fabric after washing it. I also measured my original skirt and here is how it went: my skirt has two 52×99 cm panels (not counting the seam allowances) and my fabric was 94x155cm. They was no way I could cut two panels high and large enough to make the same skirt. Since I didn’t want to chance the skirt shape, my only option was either to mix fabrics (I’m sure it would be nice mixed with a plain black) or patch smaller panels together to create the length I needed. I figured the skirt would be easier to coordinate if I didn’t add yet another color to it, so I went for the latter.

Une jupe puzzle...

Technical details:

  • I cut a first rectangle of 52 (+ sewing allowances) x 155cm, and made a second one measuring 52 x 50cm (+ allowances) by sewing together two smaller rectangles of 26 x 50cm (+ allowances). As a result 3/4 of the skirt don’t have any seams, and the last quarter has two vertical seams and an horizontal one around the middle. I did my best to sew on the squares to hide the seaming.
  • as the fabric is rather light I was concerned about show through so I decided to line the skirt in a very soft cotton fabric (maybe a blend?) I’ve had for some time. Maybe it wasn’t necessary, but it had the added benefit of providing another layer to catchstitch the hem to, so that I wouldn’t have any hem stitch showing on the right side.
  • the waistband is a simple 6cm height band folded and sewn with 1cm seam allowances, for an elastic band that was 1,5cm large. It was a little tight for the elastic but I think it may have to do with me not reducing my allowances after sewing.

Nice invisible hemA nice hem without any stitches showing on the outside

So what about the fabric? As a tester I have to give my opinion about it (although it’s probably easier to review a pattern…). I found it nice and easy to use and found the colors to be really nice in real life too (at first on my computer I thought the light squares were white but they’re a sort of pale salmon pink). It creases normally for a cotton poplin. I prewashed it at 30°C, Sandrine says we can even wash it at 40°C. The colors didn’t fade or bleed. It seems the fabric shrank a little bit in the direction parallel to the selvage: the squares are supposed to be 4cm by 4cm according to the website, but mine were a tiny bit less high. The fabric doesn’t fray much. There was a tiny flaw in the print in one place, but I guess it happens sometimes. Unfortunately I saw it after I had already cut my pieces, but I managed to hide part of it by moving a seam a little bit and I don’t think it’s really noticeable on the skirt.

The good:

  • it was a great opportunity to take part in a nice project, test new fabrics, and promote and support a French creative woman.
  • the resulting skirt is fresh and cheerful.
  • I succeeded in getting the skirt I had planned, which has the right size, even if it seemed at first that I didn’t have enough fabric. It was an interesting challenge. The easy to match and regular motif clearly helped.
  • The motifs match almost perfectly at the seams.
  • I’m really proud of my catchstitched hem. I’m quite lazy usually when it comes to hand hemming, but I felt it would be a shame to ruin the lovely check motif with visible stitches. My stitches aren’t perfect, they’re still not quite regular, but it could have been worse, I’m getting better. It’s funny because they vary a lot in size at the beginning: first they were tiny as I was hesitant, and then as I got scared that it would take forever they got huge. XD After that I decided to be more focused and they got better.
  • The lining is super soft on my legs it’s a pleasure. :)

Isn't it nice?First stitches...First stitches: from tiny to huge

The not so good: I’m not entirely sure I made the best choices…

  • I should have cut to rectangles of 47cm by 102cm and add a band at the bottom rather that cut the right length and add a vertical band with a seam in the middle of it. It’s not balanced and even if the checks match from up close you can see the seams. And I’m afraid if might alter the way the skirt hangs.
  • I feel like the waist on this skirt is thicker than on my brown skirt. It’s probably because of the added lining and the fact that I didn’t cut the allowances.

Can you spot the seams?

Mr Robots says he really likes this skirt, which he finds fresh, and he thinks it fits me well. I’m wearing it right now with a black tank top. The top is fitted so it’s hiding the elasticized waistband and makes the skirt flares a little bit more under it, it looks nice. I think it looks better like this than with the shorter top I used for my outdoor picture. And it made me think of another use for this fabric: a dress in the 20′s style, in black, with a flounce in this fabric at the bottom. What do you think, would it be nice ?

I still have a little bit of fabric that I’m keeping for the perfect use. I’m even thinking about getting more of this same print in the same colors to try another idea or two that I had during this project. So maybe you’ll see more checks here soon? What about you? Will you fall into check love (this fabric is available in several colorways)? What would you make with such fabric?

La Modette

Hello! April didn’t leave me much free time to blog, but I did make a few things that I’m going to try and share in the coming weeks.

Today I’d like to introduce a new French independent fabric brand: La Modette. I first hear about it a few weeks ago when Sandrine, the designer, posted a call for testers on Thread & Needles. I went to check La Modette’s Facebook page to learn more about it, and was instantly seduced by her joyful fabrics. Here is the teaser we could see on the page:

Les premiers tissus test

Aren’t they nice? They’re printed on cotton poplin, and since La Modette’s official website is now up and running, you can order them for yourself. Although the website is in French only, so maybe it’s best if you understand French to order. Especially since the way she works is a little bit different from what we’re used to… It’s all explained (in French) here. There will be more types of fabrics available later: jersey, cotton voile, cotton sateen, polyamid (for swimsuits!)… I love that La Modette offers fun prints in fabrics meant for clothing and made in Europe.

I’ll be back in the coming days with the pictures of the test project I made with one of her nice fabrics… ;)

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,, Recollections, Walk in wardrobe, Urban Threads
Fourth raw: Uptight Clothing, Recollections, ??, Tumblr (Alexander McQueen F/W 2006-2007), Steampunk Couture
Fifth raw: Recollections, Tumblr,, 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… ^^;