Out of Season

GrisRoseHey, I finished my Summer sweater! In November, how timely!

I actually finished it two weeks ago, but I really didn’t feel like taking any pictures, what with the lack of time and daylight. I finally took the time to take some pictures yesterday, only to realise afterwards that I had completely forgotten to iron the peplum. Ah well, there’s no way I’m taking the pictures all over again, so you’ll have to forgive me for the wrinkled peplum and its curling up hem.

GrisRose2The pattern is from Phildar magazine #86 (sweater #29). I mostly followed the instructions, the only tiny changes I made were to knit a longer peplum (13 cm instead of 12, how daring of me!) and to pick up stitches for the collar instead of knitting it apart and then sewing it stitch by stitch as per Phildar instructions.

I used the recommended yarn, Phil Coton 3, in Mercure and Rosée.

GrisRose3It was a really easy knit, but it made me fully realise that, while I usually love the result, I actually hate knitting colourwork. I find it so tedious with the bobbins and the tension, argh! I’m not saying this is my last colourwork project, because there are some cute patterns out there, but for my next projects I’d better concentrate on something else (ah, lace… ah, cables…).

GrisRose4It was really hard sticking to that project once fall had arrived and made me long for cosier knits, but I’m glad I have that no UFO rule because it forced me to complete it instead of putting it away and most probably never being motivated enough to get back to it and finish it. And, even though it’s clearly not the most useful garment for November, I have to say I find it pretty cute. But how could a knit featuring both a peter pan collar and a peplum not be cute? I like the colours, too, and the trompe-l’œil strapless bodice of course. I’m pretty sure I won’t be having any trouble wearing it come the warmer weather.

GrisRose5PS: I have of course already started another knitting project, a wintery one this time.

Sewing Book Crush: Little Miss Y.’s Homemade Wardrobe

Today I would like to give you a more detailed overview of the sewing book I wrote about last week, Little Miss Y.’s Homemade Wardrobe by Astrid-Fia De Craecker. It’s in Dutch, but the projects are so cute I thought it could interest some of you advanced enough not to need the instructions, and worse come to worst, eye candy for everyone! You can click on the pictures to see the details.


On the cover is a variation of the ‘December’ dress.

I found that book while browsing Belgian sewing online shop De Stoffenkamer late at night looking for things worth adding to my shopping basket while I was making another purchase. Seeing as there were only a picture of the cover and a small text of presentation and I couldn’t find a lot of information online (I think the book had just been released), I was really wary of buying a pig in a poke. But among the information I could find online was the fact that the author of the book had also written Homemade Mini Couture, a book that didn’t interest me because it was about sewing for kids, but that I had flipped through and thought it was a shame the focus wasn’t on sewing for women because a lot of the projects looked so damn cute.


‘Januari’ coat (you can tie a scarf through the hollow collar) and ‘Februari’ dress (the dress I made).

So I took the risk and added it to my order (that’s what shopping at night does to you). And I’m most definitely glad I did! If only for the dress I already sewed and its three (THREE!!!) peter pan collars, it was love at first sight. The retro layout is beautiful and there’s not one project in the book that I don’t like. I don’t see myself sewing all of them of course (or do I?), but there are at least seven I’d like to make (I know it’s not realistic knowing how slow I sew and how many other projects I have in mind, but I’m talking about my dreams, not down to earth reality)!


‘Maart’ cape and ‘April’ wrap dress.

I’m showing you all of the projects here because had I been able to see them before buying the book, I would not have hesitated for one second whether to buy it. I’m not sure I have the right to do so and I hope it’s ok as long as I mention the source: it’s not like I want to pretend they’re mine or anything… What do you think?

There are other pictures in the book, either of details or of variations, but I chose only to include the introductory picture for each of the projects.


‘Mei’ blouse (not shown here, but the back has a cute cut out!) and ‘Juni’ shirtdress.

Anyway, back to the book: in theory there are twelve (cuuuute) sewing projects, one for each month of the year, but there are even more if you count the fact that there are two garments (shorts and a halter top) for July and more suggested variations for most of the patterns. Each pattern goes from size 30(!) to size 44. Just so you know, I made my dress in a size 36, which would be my Burda or Deer&Doe size for such a dress, and it fit perfectly. You can also find the usual basic sewing techniques at the beginning of the book: those instructions as well as the instructions for each project are illustrated by Maarten Vande Wiele, who made all of the artwork in the book. I read the instructions for the dress I made, and I found them quite clear and complete, with details that add a nice touch such as grading and understitching the collar seam.


‘Juli’ short and halter top and ‘Augustus’ high waist dress.

Now for the things I didn’t quite like about the book. I already mentioned the first one in my dress post, which is the fact that I found the pattern a bit difficult to trace. Each pattern uses a different colour and the pattern sheets don’t seem that full since there are only two to four patterns on each of them, but some lines of one pattern were on top of a line of another one and it was also difficult at times to follow the curved line of the size I chose among the other sizes (though I must confess that I traced the pattern late at night, which meant terrible lighting and not the brightest state of mind). Also, there’s no worded indication such as “fold line” or other things like that, only signs, which you’ll make sense out of if this isn’t you first time working with a sewing pattern, but which I couldn’t find a legend for in case I needed one.

What I also couldn’t find was whether the seam allowances are included or not in the patterns. Judging from the form of the collars of the dress I chose, I concluded that they are not included (and everything worked up fine, so I guess I was right). ETA: I was right, but I don’t know how I managed not to see that it’s in fact written perfectly clearly under the pattern pieces diagram of each project! It says that you need to add 1,5 cm seam allowances unless specified otherwise.


‘September’ skirt and ‘Oktober’ short jacket (there’s a bow on the collar!).

My last criticism concerns the size indications: you can find a size table for each pattern at the end of the book, indicating some of its finished measurements (but not all of them!), but no general bust-waist-hip measurements of the body it is supposed to fit. As an example, for the dress I made, for the size 36 you’ll know the underarm measurement of the dress is 86 cm and its total length is 90 cm… and that’s it! I personally went and measured the pattern pieces to get a better idea of which size I had to choose.


‘November’ (red) little black dress and ‘December’ bustier dress.

Oh Dear, I really hope not to have put anyone off buying the book with my nit-picking! Despite my criticism, I still think it’s a great book that is totally worth buying! And I actually wonder whether the things I found missing weren’t a simple oversight instead of a deliberate choice. But I wanted to write a honest review, one that would have anyone who reads it make an informed choice about buying it or not. I would definitely recommend buying Little Miss Y.’s Homemade Wardrobe if you like vintage style sewing, because the projects are cute as can be and not difficult at all to sew once you figure out which size to pick! I already sewed what is close to the dress of my dreams with its three peter pan collars, and I have a feeling it won’t be too long before I either revisit the same pattern or try another one.

After the Before

Refashion1Finally, after a lot of work (and a few tears) here’s the outcome of the refashion I posted about! I’m beyond happy with the result, but, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, the work in progress almost ended up in the trash…

With a week off of work, I thought I had plenty enough time before me to make it in time for the contest, but I had forgotten that my boyfriend and I had planned to spend a few days at the North Sea. This led to me spending hours on end sewing on my free days, hoping to finish before I left last Wednesday, which I didn’t. I came back Saturday evening and spent my whole Sunday sewing. I was pretty sure the dress would be finished by Sunday evening, and it would have been if I hadn’t made the most stupid mistake. I carefully gathered the skirt and attached it to the bodice, finished the waist seam with the overlock stitch of my sewing machine, trimmed said seam to 5mm… only to realise that the left side seam of the skirt, instead of corresponding to the left side seam of the bodice, was corresponding to the left front princess seam of the bodice! It looked awful, made even worse by the fact that I had added side seam pockets on the skirt: hello, kangaroo pocket!

Refashion2I had to restrain myself from cutting the dress into a billion little pieces out of rage and, following the wise advice of my boyfriend, I took a small break, ate something and, when I came back with a calmer mind, decided to unpick and redo the waist seam. It made me lose a lot of time, which meant that I couldn’t finish the dress on Sunday and had to do it on Monday evening, after coming back from my millinery course at 10pm… But I did finish it, and I was able to take pictures on Tuesday despite the gloomy weather, so everything’s well that ends well! To think the deadline for the contest was originally Sunday evening… It sure was lucky that they moved it to Tuesday! 😀



Now, enough dwelling on the negative, let’s talk about the dress itself. Doesn’t it look nicer than the original? 😀 I cut the whole original dress apart and used the pieces as fabric for a recently acquired pattern. The pattern is from this adorable Belgian sewing book I recently purchased. Here’s the original design as pictured in the book:


Click on the picture for the source

I changed the asymmetrically pleated skirt for a simple longer gathered skirt that used less fabric and, as I mentioned above, added side seam pockets. I also replaced the lining with bias binding at the armholes and neckline (and it was a real pain to sew that bias binding properly: next time I’ll use the lining and avoid a lot of drama) and I used the same bias binding to sew the hem (I used the same method – and the same binding but in black – as for my Chardon skirt). Contrary to the neckline and armholes, the hem was easy to finish that way, and the stiff binding makes the skirt stand out as if I was wearing a light petticoat, yay!

Refashion4I found the pattern a touch difficult to trace (I had trouble figuring out which lines belonged to which pieces), but I don’t really know whether to blame the pattern sheet or the lack of light when I traced it, and everything ended up fine in the end, so no real complaint here.


My invisible zip isn’t really invisible, ah well!

And can you believe how cute that pattern is? I mean, did you notice? Not one, not two, but THREE peter pan collars, I die! And the fit is simply wonderful. I didn’t take the time to make a muslin (oops, here’s that broken record again), but I first basted the whole bodice together to check for any fitting issues beforehand. And, I couldn’t believe my luck, it fit almost perfectly!


The two top collars are made from some cotton remnants I had in my stash.

I used French seams everywhere except on the waist seam: I don’t know who is responsible for the misconception that you can’t French seam curved seams, (probably the same person who spread the belief that sewing knits is difficult!) but it worked perfectly on the princess seams… and on the side seams with pockets! I used this tutorial for French seaming the side seams with pockets and it was a revelation. To think of all the times I thought I had to choose between side seam pockets and French seams…


The polka dot bias binding.

Despite the drama, I now have a dress I LOVE. I don’t know whether I’ll be able to wear it to work, but I know I’ll be wearing it a lot outside of work. And it’s so cute and comfortable, I’m pretty sure I’ll sew another version in a less crazy fabric, one that I can wear at work without the risk of mesmerizing my students with colourful tulips mixed with what, come to think of it, kind of looks like marijuana leaves…