Pattern: Lucette wrap top & Erell kimono top – Coudre le Stretch by Marie Poisson

Size : 44 and 46

Fabric : white jersey knit and teal jersey knit, both from Tia Knight on eBay

To change a little from the recent Anglo-saxon series of sewing patterns, here is the Lucette wrap knit top! When making my Miette skirt, I realised I needed a simple top that didn’t flare so much. This simple one comes from the French book Coudre le Stretch byMarie Poisson.

This book contains a wealth of information on knits, from a brief history to all you need to know about necklines! Each pattern is presented in many combinations based on sleeve length, body length, neckline shapes, etc. Oh, I forgot to say that the patterns in this book are only for the top part of the body: no pants or skirts.

For this particular version, I chose short sleeves, without waistband or gathers. I chose size 44 for the bust and waist and graded to a 46 for the hips. My fabric is a very simple white jersey, with just a little bit of spandex in it.

The downside with having so many combinations is that you have to manipulate the pattern sheet a lot to find everything you need. I added a 98 cm long and 4.5 cm wide band for the front and neck facing. This is something I absolutely loathe doing! If only habberdasheries could sell knit bands like they sell bias binding, I would totally buy them 🙂

 

 

People seem to like this top, judging from the many nice comments I’ve had. Maybe people I hang out with are not so happy with prints? Or maybe it’s the wrap aspect that they liked 🙂 I hope so, because I don’t plan to sew exclusively white for the rest of my sewing career!

A few months prior to this (nearly 9 months, hum), when the book was published, I sewed the Erell kimono top. I had chosen this pattern because of its simplicity: only two pattern pieces! It was a good way to evaluate the quality of the instructions and the pattern drafting of Marie Poisson.

Even though, it’s not the kind of top I wear to work, I’m very happy to have it at the weekend and it’s been in regular rotation since! The neckline is rather wide and that looks nice when you’re standing up. However, when you bend down, it’s very revealing 🙂

I didn’t take notes with this one but I think I chose a size 46

 

[sewing] Pepernoot Coat – Waffle Patterns

After the semi-success of the coat I sewed last year, I wanted a new and warmer coat. I’ve had my eye on the Pepernoot Coat nearly since it was published, quite some time ago. I love the pockets!

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Materials

The Pepernoot Coat sewing pattern is avalaible in pdf and in English (also in Japanese if you have such skills) and it cost me 12.30 €. The size range goes frome EU 34 to 48. It includes the pattern for the lining – a nice touch, because it means you don’t have to worry about your patternmaking skills.

The outer fabric comes from Tissus Price; it’s not what I had in mind at the beginning. I initially wanted to make this coat in a blue-grey or turquoise wool fabric I saw last year on Bennytex’s website, but unfortunately – and not surprisingly – it was discontinued and there wasn’t much choice in store for wool or coat fabric when I started looking for it at the end of September. It made me wonder whether I was the only one planning to actually finish my coat before the cold days arrived! Anyway, I found this nice and warm polyester and viscose fabric. It’s thick and seems to be of a nice quality: it hasn’t pilled yet and I’ve been wearing it daily for 3 months now.

 

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I actually bought the quilted lining in a brick-and-mortar shop during my last working trip to Paris (Le Gentleman des Tissus). It’s my first time sewing such fabric and I really enjoy it: it’s soft and warm and gives a professional look to the inside of the coat.

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Nothing special for the thread, I just used it doubled for the topstitching as I was too lazy to order specific thread.

Modifications done after the muslin

Thanks to the muslin, I discovered that the sleeves were on the long side and more importantly they were super wide. I removed 4 cm in total. According to the measurements table, for my muslin I cut a 44 for the top part to the waist and graded to a 46 for the hips. Unnecessary! As you can see from the photos, a straight 44 for the whole pattern is largely enough. I could have gone down another size, but keeping it a little too big is great for layering underneath. And since the shoulders fit well, I think the coat doesn’t look too big.

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I followed Mari’s advice and put snaps to help close the coat. However I rarely use them because the front band stays nicely in place. Oh well, these snaps give a nice finished touch.

The good part

The drawings in the pattern are beautiful and very detailed; the instructions are super clear: it’s been a long time since I’ve had such a pleasant sewing experience. Before I started sewing, I contacted the designer about using a quilted lining and she gave me a quick and nice answer.

Another plus: it wasn’t in the pattern pieces but I remembered to make a hanging loop 🙂

 

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What could be improved

The raw edges of the opening of the pockets aren’t finished in the inside and they fray; it means I sometimes have threads hanging from the pocket opening, not great. It’s really a pity because apart from that, there’s nothing wrong to say about this pattern. You could argue that I’m not exactly a newbie and I could have anticipated this and you’d be right!

To sum up

This was my first time sewing from a Waffle Pattern (I’m very tempted by the Caramel jacket/cape) and it was an enjoyable experience: I recommend this designer’s work! What about you? Have you tried any of her patterns?

[sewing] Bra #4

No need to look in the archive, I’ve never really shown you any of the previous version, and some of them have been thrown away! The first one came from Merckwaerdigh: I had bought a complete bra kit with all the fabrics and notions and it included a pattern. It was great for a first try because it involved some hand holding. In the end, the bra ended up not being wearable mainly because of the fabric that was too stretchy; I didn’t have the support I wanted. I recently checked the website to purchase another bra but I didn’t like the colours on offer.

 

The second kit came from BWear; it was a Craftsy bra kit containing all the elements needed to make a bra and a Classic Full Band Bra pattern by Beverley Johnson. It was a great experience to be able to feel the fabrics recommended for the pattern and shown in the Craftsy class. I don’t know about you but none of the fabrics shops around me carry Simplex, Duoplex and Powernet fabrics. The bra I made looked very good but was not wearable without some tweaking: the underwire was too long and so was digging in my underarm. Apart from that major issue, I didn’t like the pointy cup (or perky as B. Johnson says) but she shoes in the first Craftsy class how to round the cup.

The third try used the Watson bra pattern by Amy from Cloth Habit. It’s not a style I usually wear because of the lack of support for me. However, I didn’t use the right fabrics for this try so I could be wronged 🙂

And finally here is the latest experiment: the pattern comes from the Bare Essentials: Bra with no modification whatsoever. I used underwires from a dying bra that fitted me very well so I knew for sure the underwires would be the right size for me. I also unpicked the hooks and eyes and the rings and sliders (all the little things you can gather from an old bra).

 

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I’m very happy with it! It’s not perfect but it is fitting perfectly in some crucial areas such as the band, the bridge at the front (resting nicely against my rib cage). The straps are in the right position too.

 

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It was the first time for me using a stretchy channeling; it felt weird to start with but in the end the stretch factor was useful so I think I’ll buy this type of channeling again.

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I lined the bra because the outer fabric was too stretchy and I wanted support at least for the lower cup. The lining fabric is Simplex, a fabric not very stretchy but with nice support. The strap and bande elastic and the channeling and fabric come from The Sewing Chest. bra1_07

Chosing the right fabric is very important for a bra, you can’t use exactly what you want, it has to bee stretchy enough in some areas and not too stretchy in others, which can be a little confusing for a beginner. For the back band, I used two layers of light powernet and it gives me support and comfort which is exactly what I’m looking for in a bra.

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The all over white colour is a bit bland but I plan to give some colours to my bras in the future!bra1_04

Pamela doesn’t have the same cup size as me so she needed a little padding. As I mentioned, the fabric used for the public side of the cups and the front band is a very stretchy, very fine and slippery fabric and I absolutely did not enjoy working with it. Since the stretch is different between the public side fabric and the lining, there are wrinkles everywhere on the outside fabric. I still have some of this fabric so I’ll use it for bottom underwear instead of bras.

Even if Pamela is padded here, you can see that the cups are a little too pointy for me.

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Things that need to be changed for the next version:

  • making the upper cup a little larger, a wedge of 1/4” or 6 mm might be enough
  • rounding the apex

If you want to have a look at the fit on me, you can check my Instagram feed.

If you want to try bra-making, there are lots of information on Amy’s and Lauren’s websites, do check them!

See you soon for the next version!

[exhibition] Fashion Forward Exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs

edit: the exhibition is unfortunately closed, but you can find the book here.

At the beginning of the month of May, I took the opportunity of a week of training in Paris to visit a fashion exhibition. It was “Fashion Forward : 3 siècles de mode (1715-2016)” au MusĂ©e des Arts DĂ©coratifs. It was stunning! The exhibition displayed more than 300 wardrobe pieces for women, men and children.

It’s always slitghtly moving to be able to look at dresses and shoes more the three centuries old, especially since they are very fragile. I’m not too keen on 18th century dress, I much more prefer texture differences on dresses from the second half of the 19th century.

The scenography of the end of the exhibition was really impressive and allowed visitors to take a peek at the back (and lower part) of the clothes. I’ll let you have a look at the photos!

 

 

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[sewing] Sewaholic Gabriola Skirt

We’ve seen maxi skirts make a great come back these last few years and of course I couldn’t resist after seeing all the beauties over the internet. There are more and more patterns being released and it gets easier to find exactly what you’re looking for. I knew I didn’t want a knit skirt so I had to chose between two candidates: the Gabriola by Sewaholic Patterns or the Fumeterre by Deer and Doe. Looking at the techical drawings, I found the first one to be more interesting and with a more flattering overall silhouette.

Sewaholic Patterns – Gabriola

Dee and Doe – Fumeterre

The skirt panels of the Gabriola flare out a little, which means the swoosh factor will be better than a simple elongated A-line skirt.

Gabriola

I found the fabric when we went to Bennytex with my friend Catherine. It is a stretch cotton, maybe a gabardine and I chose the matte side of the fabric, which I think was originally the wrong side. I hesitated between this solid colour and a print fabric but really wasn’t sure it wouldn’t be too much for me. The length of the skirt is already a statement in itself, so I thought I’d stay on the safe side.

 

As to the construction, there’s nothing very complex, especially since it doesn’t have pockets : a few panels, the yokes pieces, a zipper and the waistband. I’m not happy with what I did with the waistband – I should work on these, since I’m not really good at waistbands.

I still haven’t worn it a whole day, mostly because my tops don’t really go well with it. Since it’s a high waisted skirt, I would need a top that is fitted at the waist and not too long. Typically the kind of top I’ve stopped wearing after my pregnancy. I am going to think about it, I thought it could look good with a plain white t-shirt. What do you think?

Recap

Pattern :  Gabriola Skirt – Sewaholic Patterns / Fabric : stretch cotton, gabardine (?) from Bennytex / Size : 14-16 / Modifications : length shortened, waist cinched

  • What I liked most:

The overall line, the pattern pieces, the instructions.

  • What I liked less

The absence of pockets, the straight waistband, the difficulty in fitting the skirt.

I would add that I’m not used to wearing this kind of skirt, so I have to be very careful in the stairs, either when going up or going down,  but it’s inherent to this kind of skirt.

 

[knitting] FO: Millisande

Finally finished! Phew, that took ages… I started this jumper last August, hoping I could finish it in time for winter. Alas, it didn’t go according to the plan. Firstly because there are lots and lots and lots of cables, and no stockinette portion to rest your hands and brain. Secondly because I ran out of yarn when I only had about 10% of the knitting left (top part of the left front and collar). I had to purchase more yarn, secretly hoping the difference in dye wouldn’t show too much. Yes, because I didn’t tell you that this yarn has been sitting (or lounging) in my stash for four years now – so I had absolutely no hope that I could find the same dye lot. ah and back in 2012 when I ordered this yarn, for some reason it took more than 2 months (!) to reach my home. No way would I buy from the same shop.. 

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I then crossed my fingers and lo and behold, the colour is really really close and I don’t think anyone can see the difference. However, the new yarn felt much thinner than the original one. I checked my ball bands to see if I had mistakenly ordered another yarn but no. The label design had been updated, but it was still my Drops Lima. Let’s have a closer check: nope, it’s not exactly the same. In the meantime Drops has apparently decided to change the yardage of the yarn. The difference is huge: it goes from 90 m (98 yds) for the old version to 100 m (109 yds) for the new version. I can assure you that you feel the difference! 

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Thankfully, I can’t really see the difference in colour or thickness – but I promise I’ll try to use up my stash before the next century – or at least try to pick patterns with the right amount of yarn 🙂

 

  • pattern: Millisande – Ann McCauley published in Brooklyn Tweed Wool People vol. 8
  • yarn: Drops Lima colour 7810 – 17 balls

 

[sewing] Octobre Blazer Sew-along with Gail – part 2

I’ve made some nice progress on my blazer the last couple of weekends.

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After adding the muslin stays, I’ve added the ones that are supposed to be in hair canvas which I didn’t have. The under collar is done as well as the reinforcement for the shoulders and all the elements of the front.

 

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Next step was to sew the vertical seams, press and take care of the pockets and all that’s done!

Front lapels folded

Front lapels folded

I haven’t checked what the next step is but it Sunday evening and in leaving it all for next weekend: week time sewing is rare and usually involves less complex parts.

[sewing] Octobre Blazer Sew-Along with Gail – part 1

I’ve been wanting to do a proper blazer for a couple of years now, I enrolled on the Craftsy class about tailoring and received the pattern that goes with it (Butterick 4610) more than a year ago. Last August, I finally traced the pattern pieces and made a muslin but that was it. I think I was too scared to start it so it was just lying there in the cupboard where I leave all my UFOs?

And then Gail announced that Octobre was Blazer Month and she was hosting a sew-along where she specifically talks about machien tailoring. I hadn’t heard about machine tailoring before, so I’m thrilled to see there is a line between classic hand tailoring and plain fusible interfacing. She has already published many detailed post – it’s a huge job! so if you want to start a blazer but you’re a little worried about the process, now’s the time to start!

Adding the muslin stays

Adding the muslin stays

Thankfully my muslin for Butterick 4610 showed no major fitting issues and the only modification I made was to (as usual) grade a size up from the waist to the hip. The shoulders still look a little wide, but the pattern calls for shoulder pads so I think they will make a difference. If not, then tough, it’s only my first proper blazer.

My outer fabric is a wool blend, some kind of twill weaving which show fine stripes of red and yellowy-orange. My husband did not sound enhusiastic about the colour 🙂 I haven’t chosen my lining fabric yet, but Gail said that she cuts it at the very last moment so I still have some time to go and buy some nice fabric.

So far, I’ve cut the outer fabric, and the reinforcements in muslin and in a heavier and very stable woven stash fabric as I didn’t have hair canvas. As this fabric has absolutely no mechanical give, it should do the job. I have also basted my muslin stays to the outer fabric. The next step is to do the machine tailoring on the under collar. I do all these steps in small bites, my daughter is getting better at letting me sew whilst she’s awake, but there’s always something to do to help her, dress her doll, bring her to the toilet, etc. I don’t think in the end I’ll  be able to say how long it takes, because it will probably be about 4698 times 10 minutes!

[sewing] Sewing Lessons #1 and #2

This year I’ve decided to take sewing lessons at l’Atelier sur le Fil with RĂ©bĂ©cca. I’ll be joining 8 other ladies on their 2nd year, and working on 1st year projects too. Lessons take place every tuesday from 8 to 10 pm.

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Here are the fabrics chosen for the class projects : a kind of chambray for the skirt, with darts already pinned. Top right, the fabrics for my bag: black for the outside and pink for the inside

On my first lesson, I came unprepared and didn’t have all the right stuff such as pattern paper and a ruler. It brought bak to my mind memories of school year when you don’t really fit in! Thankfully, I was ready for the 2nd lesson and had everything on hand.

 

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My class stuff

The first project for the 2nd year is a lined tote bag and I will do a 1st year project too: a simple A-line skirt. Other ladies have also started tracing a buttoned blouse pattern and I hope to join them soon. It’s great to be able to meet other sewing enthusiasts, to see different creations from the same pattern and to have some time for myself during the week! yes mister dad works far away and I have to do 80% of the “work” at home and caring for our daughter, so it’s a welcome creative break 🙂

[sewing] Jasper Sweater

Hi, I’m back after a very long summer break! As usual, I did continue sewing but forgot to blog about anything! Here is one of my latest makes: the Jasper Sweater by Paprika. It’s already been worn several times, and highly approved. I did the view without the hood as you can see – as much as I liked the hooded versions I saw, I don’t wear hoods.

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The pattern is not very complex, but I did have some issues with the pocket welts. I really like the sleeve pattern, it has a very unusual shape. I also appreciated the fact that bigger sizes are made from a different block, resulting in two different files for the pattern.

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For those of you not aware of it yet, this pattern comes as a sweater but also as a dress. I don’t think I’ll ever make the dress, as I’m not sure it will suit my body shape. I omitted the collar tab, as Carolyn did, primarily because I didn’t have the right button on hand. And finally I’m glad I didn’t sew it on, as I like being able to pull the collar up.

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The fabric comes from Mamzelle Fourmi, it’s a moderately thick sweater fabric form Lillestoff and I really fell for its colour! It wasn’t too hard to match the stripes though obviously I didn’t succeed at every single one 🙂 I forgot to take pictures of the inside (might not be too bad considering the quality of the pictures), but I serged all my seams with a bright yellow thread for some nice contrast.

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All in all I’m very happy with this sweater, it’s confortable, well fitted and a great colour! I just need to find a thicker sweater knit for the next version.

  • pattern : Jasper Sweater/Dress – Paprika Patterns
  • fabric: sweater knit Lillestoff – organic ribbing – Mamzelle Fourmi
  • total cost : pattern (12.36 €) + fabric (58.15 €) = 70.51 €