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. 

IMG_1162

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. 

IMG_1216.jpg

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 😉 

IMG_1186.jpg

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

IMG_1189

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.

IMG_0516

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 🙂

IMG_0641IMG_0645IMG_0649

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).

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.

IMG_9599

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! 🙂

IMG_9764

IMG_9801IMG_9802IMG_9803

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

Relax in Fusain

I know there are far more important issues to contemplate, but here I am thinking about things like: should I start buying anti-wrinkle cream, what happened to Hugh Grant and should I start wearing real trousers? Even though I’m the typical jeans-shirt person, I have always found smart trousers very beautiful. However, I never seem to find a pair that suits me. Now that I started sewing I decided to try and make trousers that I like and fit me (which is the most difficult part…).

IMG_9230

My first attempt at trousers was an adaption of the Aime comme Manège shorts without any particular features: no pockets, no button- or zip-fly and no real waistband. I do like them but let’s face it; real trousers are prettier when they have all these nice details. Though, not wanting to tackle all these rather complicated sewing affairs at once I decided to made transitional trousers before attacking smart trousers. I used the Fusain pattern from Blousette Rose. It’s a PDF pattern that involves pasting a lot of pages together but it’s worth it, they have a nice fit. The pattern and instructions are in French but she proposes other nice patterns in English. Seam allowances are not included and, I don’t know why, I was not in the mood for adding them myself. Instead I took two sizes bigger as indicated by the size chart, which corresponds more or less to 1 cm seam allowance, and it worked out well for the size! I do have to say that my version of these trousers facilitates a lot of fitting issues. Indeed, instead of the button-fly I added an elastic waistband .

IMG_9260

To this end, I removed the button fly part from the front pattern pieces and I didn’t sew the folds. For the back pattern pieces I kept a 1 cm fold each. This made the trousers just wide enough to pass them over my hips. For the waistband I have cut a rectangle with a width of 20 cm and a length corresponding to the trousers’ waistline (+1 cm seam allowance at each side).

IMG_9258IMG_9263

After sewing this rectangle closed, I added bias binding to the side of the waistband that will be visible at the inside of the trousers. I sewed the waistband on the trousers right sides together. I folded the waistband to the interior and sewed them on, leaving a gap to pass the elastic. Then I sewed a line 5 cm above the waistline. This gives the effect I looked for, like the trousers are tightened together with a belt.

IMG_9245.jpg

IMG_9253

The fabric is the same dark green one that I used for my autumnal jacket. Unfortunately I have washed this jacket on 40°C and it has shrunk… Luckily it is still wearable and at least I can say that it’s very likely a wool blend. So let’s cross the fingers I don’t make the same washing mistake with these trousers!

IMG_9211

IMG_9219
Maybe I should have used a lighter fabric for the back pockets because they are bit visible…

For sure next time I will make proper smart trousers, with the button-fly and waistband included, but I do like this pair. They are so comfortable, like sweat pants in disguise!

IMG_9233.jpg

 

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 supressed 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 an elastic one (I used and elastic with a width of 4 cm).

Fabric: The same dark green fabric from a flea market that I used for the Cardigan Bergen.

Hacklamode: Alma dress from Louis Antoinette Paris

It’s a bit off-season but here is a new summer outfit! I made this to participate to the sewing contest organised by Louis Antoinette Paris. Usually I really like their patterns but this Alma dress didn’t appeal to me at first… Given the main price I decided it was worth to take the challenge and make something that I would wear; luckily it’s called #hacklamode!

hacklamode-louisantoinette-saison-3-940x631.png

Basically I turned the dress into a T-shirt and skirt, items that are easy to wear and combine with what I have in my closet. The “hack” was pretty easy, for the T-shirt I adapted the upper part of the dress as shown in the image below.

7348407134178322344?account_id=1
The blue lines are the original pattern and the red lines are the one I made. For the back I didn’t include the part with the buttons. As you can see I made the neckline bigger, I elongated the T-shirt and I added a tie-feature. To finish the neckline I have cut a band in the same jersey (width = 4 cm and length = length of neckline – 2 cm)

For the size I took one size smaller as indicated by the size chart for two reasons: given the stretch it’s better to have it more fitted and I used the ‘overcasting’ stitch of machine which only has 0,5 cm seam allowance (instead of the 1 cm included in the pattern). I added a tie-feature at the front and as you can see I have made a ‘lining’ for this tie to have a nice finishing.

 

Being very happy to finally master the double-needle sewing technique, I used it to finish everything: the sleeves, the neckline and the bottom hemming!

IMG_9170

The skirt is very straightforward: two rectangles made out of the bottom part of the pattern with addition of the side pockets and an elastic waistband.

For the fabric I ordered a grey jersey from Pretty Mercerie. It’s a while their lovely fabrics are eying on me, but I find it tricky to order online because you cannot touch the fabric… So I took a safe bet and ordered the plain jersey and it ended up perfectly for the top, the right amount of fluidity! For the skirt I used a wax fabric that my mother-in-law gave me. Normally I’m not into wax, I like its bold colours and prints on other people but not on me. This wax is pretty sober, however, and I love its colours! Also, I never realised it is called ‘wax’ because it literally is waxed, giving a nice shiny effect that hopefully will stay after several washes…

IMG_9188IMG_9182IMG_9177

I think the jury will have a difficult task ahead; there are so many great versions out there! My ‘coups de coeurs’ are the black dress from @creasun_couture and the skirt-top combo from @candijaili_couture. Anyway, if you like my more ‘relaxed’ version you can vote for me but I wouldn’t blame you if you vote for another dress 😉

Pattern: Alma dress from Louis Antoinette Paris in size 34 (you can still download it for free until the 5th of November!)

Modifications: Upper part turned into a T-shirt and bottom part into a skirt

Fabric: Grey jersey from Pretty Mercerie and wax fabric from my mother-in-law

 

 

 

Autumn has arrived! Cardigan Bergen from Anne Kerdilès

Loving the summer and not loving winter, I’m happy there’s autumn with its wonderful colours to make the transition bearable! Also it makes a great background to show you my latest make. It’s a light jacket based on the Cardigan Bergen pattern from Anne Kerdilès, a French pattern maker I discovered on Instagram.

Bergen jacket

It has nice details such as these shoulder pleats.

IMG_9120

Normally the pattern is destined for a knit fabric but I think it is also possible to use non-stretch fabric, as I did! The fabric is an unexpected find on a local sewing flea market few weekends ago. 8756329698650072498?account_id=1It is a lovely dark green and I wanted to buy a modest two meters of it. To my surprise the lady didn’t sell by the meter and I either had to leave it or take the whole roll… well given her price my decision was quickly made! And even better, I could have a pretty brick colored wool fabric with it, which will become a coat for my mother one day. Unfortunately I don’t know the composition of the green fabric. I searched Google for Modesto Bertotto and it seems to be a company making men’s suits in Italy… I guess it is a wool blend but not sure though. If you know more you can always let me know! Anyway you will see a lot more makes in this fabric as I have quite some spare 🙂

IMG_9114

IMG_9123IMG_9122

Dia1

For the pattern I did some slight modifications; making the neckline V-shaped and adding a zipper instead of buttons. To this end, I removed the overlap required for the buttons. Logically you have to modify the front yoke’s size as well. Sadly I did some miscalculations  and the yoke is a bit too long making it wobbly at the bottom. Also, I would advise to leave a big enough margin (1 cm) underneath the zipper to easily sew the yoke onto the jacket, which of course I didn’t do. Luckily, as long as I don’t close the jacket, it is not too noticeable…

 

 

Here are some more pictures of the jacket in autumnal scenery!

IMG_9072

IMG_9066

 

Pattern: Cardigan Bergen from Anne Kerdilès in size 36

Modifications: French seams (only 1 cm seam allowance is included in the pattern so the jacket is more in between a size 34 and 36), V-shaped neckline and zipper

Fabric and haberdashery: Fabric from flea market and zipper from Mondial Tissus

 

 

Leopard bling! France Duval Stalla coat from Atelier Scämmit

Presenting you a shiny leopard coat! As horrible it may sound for some of you, for me it’s perfect! I think many friends and family can testify my weakness for animal prints and all things shiny.

It has been a while I have this France Duval Stalla pattern from Atelier Scammit and finally felt enough confident in my sewing to make this coat. It has a kimono design on the front sleeves, without losing the coat’s fitted effect. As mentioned by many other bloggers it is better to sew a size bigger if you want to wear a big sweater underneath!

For the fabric I chose a polyester brocade for the outside, a brown satin cotton for the lining of the bodice and a grey microfiber for the lining of the arms, all from my fabric stash. The brocade is a good example of a fabric that I love but which, I imagine, is not very “sustainable”…

IMG_8659

The sewing itself went perfectly thanks to the amazing video in which Johanna from Atelier Scämmit explains very well all the steps (in french). For the pockets I did a trial following her other video, however I never managed to get a nice finishing at the edge of the pocket. Searching the internet I found a tutorial on the website of Deer and Doe which worked perfectly for me. Well, the pockets are not perfect but for a first they are acceptable!

IMG_8665

Even though the fabric might be a bit too stiff for this pattern I like my new coat a lot! I have to say I forgot about the eternal sunshine here, so if you are blinded after crossing me in the streets I apologize 😉

 

img_8769.jpg

IMG_8760

Pattern: France Duval Stalla from Ateliers Scämmit in size 36

Modifications: Shortened by 5 cm by cutting the pattern on the waist level (above the pockets) followed by lowering the pockets by 3 cm

Fabric: Polyester brocade, satin cotton and microfiber from Tissus Bennytex

 

 

White trousers

To give you an idea of this sewing project, I wanted to entitle this article: Why not to sew white trousers.

White trousers

As I could never find nicely fitting white trousers I decided to sew a pair… mmm, easier said than done. Not only I had to deal with pattern adaptations I had never done before, I also had to deal with the transparency problem of white fabric. Adding a lightweight cotton underlining rather easily solved the latter problem. Indeed, I just cut the same pattern pieces in the underlining fabric and the outside fabric and basted them together by hand (making this step quite cumbersome). Next, I sewed them together using a zig-zag stitch, allowing to finish the edges before assembling the trousers. The outside fabric is a lovely heavy weight viscose cupro from Tissus Bennytex used previously for the Jackie top.

 

The fitting issue was more complex and I discovered that it is quite difficult to make trousers that ally comfort and aesthetics. I used the Aime comme Manège pattern as starting point, which is a high waisted short I had already sewn before. Although I really like the short’s fit, I find them a bit uncomfortable sitting down, so I tried to fix this issue. I also elongated the legs using another pattern as guideline (“pantalon Fusain” from Blousette Rose). Not being an experienced sewer I found it difficult to decide on the required adjustments. I probably made more muslins than needed, from which I’ll save you the details. It was particularly difficult to make adjustments that didn’t contradict other adjustments. For instance, for the sitting problem it is advised to lengthen the whole crotch but then I had excess fabric in the front, which required shortening the crotch in the front. Anyway, far from being professional, I’ll just give you a list of the sites I found useful for trouser fitting:

  • Colette blog:  Schematic overview of all trousers fitting problems and their solutions
  • Cation Designs: I stumbled on this blog while searching for trousers sewing issues and I found her explanations very good! They even included some modifications I had never seen before (e.g. the diagonal dart). I really recommend taking a look at her various articles regarding pants fitting.
  • Closet Case Patterns: Clear images of the most common trouser fitting issues and how to resolve them.
  • Artesane: Very clear website (if you understand French) with images of the most common crotch issues and how to resolve them

White trousers

I can say that this whole sewing journey made me quite obsessed, checking out other people’s trousers, which is pretty weird if it’s not for pattern modification reasons. Thank god for the eternal sunshine here so that I could wear my sunglasses to prevent uncomfortable glances 🙂

 

Scalloped Cédrat dress

Being completely charmed by the Coquelicot pattern from the talented Dessine Moi Un Patron, I was happy to discover another free pattern at the Mode et Travaux magazine! You can download it here: Caraco Cédrat.

It’s the perfect summer top with subtle details that make it stand out from the ordinary: little bows to attach the shoulder bands and well-designed inserts at the front and back. Wanting to emphasize this nice design I decided to make a scalloped border.

First, I made a muslin out of a cotton voile from Les Coupons de Saint Pierre, which, to my happiness, is pretty wearable in the end. Perfect for when it’s another heat wave again (and again: living in the South of France can be pretty challenging for someone from Belgium). Besides adding a scalloped border, I also enlarged the front and back insert.

 

Next, I made a dress in a fabric that I had leftover from the tulip top I made before. It’s a cotton-polyester mix from Tissus Bennytex with a little denim effect, but much lighter to wear. Perfect for summer! I added a scalloped border but I didn’t enlarge the inserts. Even though I liked the effect on the top I was too afraid it would look like I was nine months pregnant again.

Cedrat the dress

Since I took some pictures during the sewing process, I’ll show you a little step-by-step of how I proceeded (unfortunately I didn’t take pictures of the modifications made on paper, so I hope it is clear with my cut fabric pieces).

PATTERN PIECES

The explained modifications were done on the paper pattern pieces before cutting the fabric

1 and 4) I added a scalloped border to the original front and back upper pattern piece (“Cédrat buste devant au pli” and “Cédrat buste dos au pli”) so that they will overlap the corresponding lining piece.

2 and 5) For the lining I took the original upper front and back pattern piece (“Cédrat buste devant au pli” and “Cédrat buste dos au pli”) without any modification.

3 and 6) To make a scalloped hem on the upper front and back pattern piece, I cut a corresponding border with 2 cm seam allowance included.Dia1Dia2

7 and 8) To make a dress out of the original pattern, I measured my hip circumference (H). Then, I adjusted the width of the border of the original pattern piece as follows: H/4 + 1 cm (“Cédrat devant empiècement au pli” and “Cédrat dos empiècement au pli”). This will add 4 cm in total to the hip circumference of the dress. To match this new border width, I rounded the side of the original pattern piece. Then I just drew a straight line downwards for the bottom part of the dress (up to the desired length of the dress).

Cédrat dress
The green line corresponds to the border of the original pattern piece. I only modified the width of this border so it would fit my hip circumference. I rounded the side of the original pattern piece to match this new border line (red curved line). For the bottom part of the dress I just drew a straight line from this border line up to the desired length of the dress (red straight line).

ASSEMBLY

  • Sew the darts in the front pattern pieces (1 and 2). Unfortunately my darts are not very nice. I redid them twice but they stay quite visible…
  • Finish the raw edges of pieces 3 and 6 (that’s why I included the 2 cm seam allowance).
  • Sew piece 3 to 1 and 6 to 4, right sides together, and trim excess fabric so that the scallops looks nice when turned to the right side. I topstitched the rounded border of the scallops.

IMG_2367

  • Sew the lining to the upper pattern pieces right sides together: neckline, armpit and shoulder bands, but not the sides. Finish the seams and turn to the right side. I also topstitched the edges because I liked the effect.
  • Sew the bottom pieces of the dress (7 and 8) to the lining of the upper pieces (2 and 5) wrong sides together so that the scalloped hem of pieces 1 and 4 will cover the seam. I found it a bit tricky to sew these parts together due to the V-shape of the pattern pieces. To finish, I sewed the seam flat to the lining so it would stay in place.
  • Sew the sides of the dress together. I did this using French seams for a clean finish. It’s funny how these are called French seams in English and “coutures anglaises” (English seams) in French.
  • Hem the border of the dress and it’s done!!

I hope these explanations were a bit clear and if you have questions don’t hesitate!

 

Here’s a little impression of the dress in the French countryside. It’s a bit creased after a day of wear (as am I 😉 ), but I’m very happy with this new dress in my wardrobe!

And here it is when it just left the ironing board: