Caroline’s dress

It’s been a while I wanted to make something for my sister. Exigent as she is it was a real challenge 🙂 She wanted a dress with an open back that’s easy to wear. I don’t know about you but even though I love open back dresses, often they’re not very practical in real life. Especially if you don’t want any bra-showing going on. 

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To meet my sister’s wishes, I decided to make a dress that is knotted at the back, making sure that the knot falls just at the level of the bra-strap. The dress also looks like it’s two separate pieces: a crop top with a skirt. However, in front, the top part is attached to the bottom part to give this cropped top effect without showing tummy.

IMG_1202The pattern I made myself based on my sisters measurements and a simple shirt pattern but I think it’s easy to recreate. Basically you can take any shirt pattern that you like (I used the Odette T-shirt from La Maison Victor) and draft two ties at the back. It’s important to draw these ties so that the knot falls at the level of the bra strap! The top part is fully lined to have a nice finish at the back, and to attach the shirt part onto the skirt part using the lining at the front. The skirt part consists of two simple straight rectangles (with a width that corresponds to the largest part of the hips + some ease) and an elastic waistband. 

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For the fabric…  it’s made from two cotton scarfs that I found in sales at a local store where I just wanted to buy thread (Eurodif for the French out there 🙂 ). It’s probably not the most sustainable fabric but I couldn’t resist when I saw them. Even though I’m pretty conscious about sewing -mostly doing recycling/upcycling- sometimes I like to sew from scratch using ‘new’ fabric. Especially if it gives a garment that will be loved and worn, or at least I hope so 😉 

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And these scarves were the perfect lightweight fabric for this summer-dress! And I think my sister is happy with it!

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Tulip jeans

Hello hello,

It’s been a while but here’s a new recycling project! 

Instead of the classic cut-of your old jeans to get shorts I wanted something a bit more original. Luckily Grégoire had some old jeans with holes in them that I could use for my project. Last year I had bought the Pippa pattern from Dessine Moi Un Patron as I loved the tulip shape but I never got to it. That has been taken care of now! 

I made a size 36 as indicated by the size chart however I’m glad I added some belt loops as the jeans tend to loosen up upon wear. I also added 0,5 cm of seam allowance (on top of the 1 cm that’s included in the pattern) so I could do flat-felled seams which gives a nicer finish. As you can see the back part was to big to get out of the jeans in one piece, so I divided this pattern piece in two at the fold level.                                                                           IMG_1231Instead of hemming the shorts I decided to leave the edges raw to keep a relaxed effect but I did add a stitch to prevent too much fraying. I made these in the beginning of summer and they have already had a good share of wear and washing to have this nice effect I wanted!

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As I used old jeans having a washed effect, the sides of the shorts, which are cut from the upper part of the jeans, are lighter. It accentuates the pattern design nicely!

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Isn’t it wonderful these dunes, a beautiful place we discovered in Lithuania this summer thanks to our friends!

 

Pattern: Pippa shorts from Dessine Moi Un Patron

Modifications: I followed the pattern and sewed a size 36 according to the table of measurements with the addition of 0,5 cm seam allowance to do flat felled seams. The back piece has been divided in two due to limited fabric.

Fabric and haberdashery: Old jeans from Grégoire and an invisible zipper bought at a local store. The lining of the pockets is in a white poly cotton found at Emmäus.

Plumtilab and the Terebell overalls

I admit, I kind of abandoned this site – apart from the occasional picture – but here is a new post!

Basically it is a year ago I bought my sewing machine and started this journey that I never imagined to become such a big part of my life: sewing! I’m at a point where I can make wearable clothes, even though I realize I still have a lot – and I mean a lot – to learn. Just to say I was pretty surprised when Chloé from Plumtilab asked me whether I was interested in testing her first pattern. And I’m happy I said yes since it was a very nice experience! It is interesting to see all the work and testing it takes before a pattern comes alive.

What is Plumtilab?

Well, it’s a new (French) pattern brand created by Chloé and her first pattern has been released: the Terebell overall! Not only was I surprised when Chloé asked me to be part of her testing team, the Plumtibees, but also when I discovered the first pattern are overalls… something I never imagined myself wearing again after my teenage years. But, well, here I am! Luckily these ones are feminine and rather figure-hugging. IMG_0482.jpg The latter aspect was a bit frightening but with good stretch fabric it goes well (best you use fabric with 30-40% stretch). And the best part of it all, you even don’t have to wear it as overalls if you’re not in the mood: just unzip the upper part and you’re ready to go with your high-waisted trousers.

IMG_0520Another option is to wear the high-waisted trousers with suspenders, which I didn’t include but you can check the versions by the other Plumtibees (chacha_lala_). To attach the suspenders I used push-buttons to keep a more clean and polished look. If you use normal buttons you just have to add buttons on the front waistband  and buttonholes on the suspenders to include the trousers-suspenders option. In retrospect, I better used normal buttons since the push-buttons have the tendency to detach when doing big movements.

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The pattern itself is well drafted and the instructions are clear (in French though). You just have to be patient as it contains a lot of pieces. And you have to love topstitching! A tricky part is the zipper since you cannot find a separable zipper in stores (or at least I didn’t) and you have to adjust the zipper to fit. Luckily Chloé has added a little tutorial on her site to do this. The overalls themselves are very nicely designed but I have to admit that they’re not every-day wear for me. I really have to be in the mood to wear these figure-hugging clothes. Feeling bloated, for instance, is not a good mood 🙂 For the side pockets, I would advice to use a lining in similar colors as I noticed that the pockets’ inside can be visible during wear. Overall, I’m very proud of these overalls, especially of all the finishing and topstitching: they’re the final touches that make all the difference!

IMG_0507IMG_0517This testing experience has made me look forward to the next pattern!!

Side note: I took me a while before I realized there is a little pun in Terebell or T’es rebelle – You’re a rebel! But it’s a pun unintended: it’s actually a name of a star which fits very well the universe of Plumtilab.

Extra side note in French: Je sais que cet article sera mieux en Français vu que l’univers Plumtilab et ses patrons sont en Français mais je n’ai pas encore le courage pour cela. Déjà l’Anglais me demande de l’effort quand même pour écrire sans fautes. En tout cas il y a toujours Google Translate pour cet article 🙂

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Pattern: Terebell overalls from Plumtilab

Modifications: None, I followed the pattern and sewed a size 36 according to the table of measurements. Since it’s a tight model I suggest to sew a bigger size if you don’t want the figure-hugging effect.

Fabric and haberdashery: Fabric is denim thrifted at Emmäus. It’s important that your fabric is stretchy enough. The buttons and zip-fly are bought at a local shop (Au Bonheur des Dames in Aix-en-Provence).

Tulip skirt

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Time to show you my tulip skirt! It’s made from a big pair of thrifted trousers so it was not so challenging given that there was quite some fabric to work with. Nevertheless, I used up every inch! I wanted to try out this idea where there is some three-dimensional tulip effect at the front. I’m still mitigated, as the front panels are a bit strange while moving but standing still it looks nice! Also, in the beginning I didn’t attach the panels to the bottom hem of the skirt, which was better. However, the original skirt was too long and I shortened it the easy way by cutting and hemming, panels included – maybe should not have done that 🙂

The panels are interfaced with a silk-cotton blend from Tissus Bennytex and the skirt is lined with the same fabric. The invisible zipper was recuperated from the original trousers.

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Overall, I’m not sure if the skirt will get a lot of wear which is a pity but as I like to try out new designs I’m pretty satisfied though 🙂 It’s also one of the reasons why I like to use second-hand clothing to experiment, it makes me feel less guilty if it doesn’t turned out great. At least no new fabric has gone to waste!

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Pattern: home made

Fabric: green polyester with a wild silk effect from thrifted trousers and brown silk-cotton blend from Tissus Bennytex

Haberdashery: invisible zipper from the same trousers.

Relax in Fusain: part two

As you shouldn’t deprive yourself from the good things in life I made myself another pair of sweatpants in disguise! The modifications are the same as I did before except for the back pockets. After analysis of some store-bought trousers I realised that the back pockets are often fake. So I decided to make fake ones as well to avoid the lining of the pockets to be seen on the back.

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The fabric was found on the market in Aix (the stand never came back unfortunately) and has a lovely drape. And bonus it doesn’t’ wrinkle! That said it must probably be something polyester… not the most environmental-friendly fabric out there :/ But it saves a lot of ironing! 🙂

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The shirt is made from the same curtain I used for my open-back shirt.

 

Pattern: Pantalon Fusain from Blousette Rose in size 1 (I cut the pattern on size 3, which more or less corresponds to a size 1 as seam allowances are not included)

Modifications: I suppressed the button-fly and folds from the front pattern pieces. I made 1 cm folds on the back pattern pieces, and replaced the waistband with a larger elastic one (I used and elastic with a width of 4 cm). I also made fake back pockets instead of the real one indicated by the pattern. 

Fabric: Wrinkle-free fabric from a local market

Warm winter coat

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We have to face it: summer is not near… So a warm coat was needed to bear these few grim months that are January and February. As I returned to Antwerp for Christmas, I had the chance to go to my favourite second-hand store there: Think Twice. And it was worth it; I found a lot of treasures, of which one was this huge and very warm coat! I immediately fell in love with the colour, it’s like a non-colour which I like a lot as it is versatile and easy to wear. Also, the wool was pretty and it had some nice embroidered details on the sleeves. However, it was clear it needed some adaptations to fit my small stature. First of all, it needed shortening and taking in the sides, the shoulders and the sleeves.

To be able to do this I had to take the whole coat apart, lining included, and sew everything together again. It was basically sewing a whole new coat again! During the process I also decided to change the collar, to make it less heavy and sleeker… And as a final touch, some silver beading to enlighten the embroidery and addition of silver buttons!

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It makes it chic, doesn’t it? 🙂

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PS: It might look that I abandoned a bit this site… but it is because I’m thinking to change it up a bit (another layout, making it bilingual as I am living in France, and some other things as well) and I do have spent a lot of time sewing 🙂

Growing up

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We all have that item sleeping in our closet. Even though we know that we will never wear it again it is difficult to separate ourselves from it. I used to wear this skirt a lot starting university but the last couple of years I felt more like a twelve-year-old in it instead of the grown-up I am (more or less). However, I couldn’t bear the thought of giving the skirt away so I decided to remake it into a sleeker version!

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Almost each refashion project I start by disassembling the garment using my precious seam ripper. It takes more time than just cutting it up with scissors but you’re left with better pieces of fabric to work with. This skirt gave me two big rectangles, which was very easily turned into a more fitted skirt. I used the same pattern that I drafted for my granny skirt this summer with the front pleats sewn together like darts. However, this would give me a pretty plain skirt… luckily I had some fabric left! First I wanted to add some ruffles but somehow I felt this would turn it again into a twelve-year-old skirt. That’s where I came up with this simple design. It’s very easy as you can see in the scheme below! All you need is a straight skirt pattern (I drafted one myself but the Aime comme Mini from Aime comme Marie looks like a good one!) and the following modifications:

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  1. Cut out two rectangles, sew each rectangle together on the long side and turn inside out.
  2. Gather one side.
  3. Sew these rectangles on your front skirt panel with the gathered side in the middle.
  4. Cut the excess fabric and finish the edges of your front skirt2539295118955591441
  5. Prepare the waistband: sew a rectangle onto the waistband covering the two gathered rectangles on the front panel. This gives a little ‘bow’ effect. I think the effect would be more striking with a bigger waistband but I was a bit limited in my fabric.5609990754029484818
  6. Assemble the skirt and done!

 

 

 

To finish the skirt, I recuperated the lining and zipper, and I used plaine brown cotton to solidify the waistband. Being a bit limited in fabric I didn’t kept the original hem, but you can still see the imprint of the original hem. Hopefully after a few washes and ironing it will fade!

 

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Pattern: self drafted

Fabric: old favorite skirt

Haberdashery: invisible zipper recuperated from skirt, thread bought at local store (not everything can be recuperated 🙂 )

Give me a kiss

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This refashion was very basic: turning an old men’s T-shirt into one for me using the Odette pattern from La Maison Victor. I traced size 36 and used it without adding seam allowances (normally you should add seam allowances with La Maison Victor patterns). The shortened pattern fitted onto the old T-shirt bodice and there was fabric left to finish the sleeves and the neckline. The bottom hem is the original one.

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To embroider the pearls I first made a string of pearls which I then sewed onto the drawing I drafted on the T-shirt.

To uplift this basic light grey T-shirt I embroidered black pearls. Since I don’t know how to do embroidery I wanted some easy lines and that’s where I ended up with this simplified kiss!

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Street-art in Portugal a few years ago, which gave me the inspiration to start with!

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Pattern: Odette T-shirt from La Maison Victor in size 36 without seam allowances

Modifications: Shortened compared to the original pattern (due to fabric limitation 🙂 )

Fabric: Old T-shirt

Braids, braids, braids

33397586155437097304475649093597159710I made this shirt in summer already but never showed you the details. Having made high-waisted trousers I wanted to combine them with something short, and that’s where I decided to turn this shirt into a cropped top. To start, I took of the sleeves, collar, front pocket and buttons which left me a large bodice to work with. Using my mannequin I modeled the shirt to get the overall fit. It was the first use of this wonderful gift from Grégoire! To get a good shape for the armholes I used the Malia Top pattern from La Maison Victor. To finish, I  experimented with this braided effect I had in my mind for a while. To this end, I made straps that are 4 cm wide and very long (forgot to measure, basically I used up all the remaining fabric) which I sewed together right sides together. After turning, I obtained 1 cm straps which I braided and sewed onto the top by hand. It’s not a quick project so you have to be motivated if you ever decide to do this. Especially turning inside out these long straps is quite challenging for your patience 😉 Also, I was a bit afraid that the braids would lose their aspect after washing. Luckily, they have already withstand several washes so I’m happy with how this turned out!

 

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Details about the white trousers can be found here.
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If you look carefully, you can notice that after removal of the front pocket, its placement is still a bit visible, but nothing too disturbing…  Let’s say it’s the charm of refashioned clothes 😉

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