Happy New Year!

GelukkigNieuwjaarI love little traditions like this one, so here’s the 2015 Rue des Renards retrospective!

In 2015 I made 30 pieces of clothing! If you had asked me, I would have told you I had sewn/knit a little bit less than in 2013 and 2014, but it turns out it was only my erratic blogging that gave me that impression.

Review2015Out of these 30 pieces, there are:

– 5 knitted ones: 3 cardigans, 1 sweater and 1 summer top.

– 25 sewn ones: 10 tops, 6 skirts, 6 dresses, 1 pair of shorts, 1 pair of panties, 1 coat.

– No hats or shoes! My work schedule didn’t allow me to continue my shoemaking course, and I didn’t feel up to going on on my own (maybe in the future?). As for the hats, no real reason there, 2015 was probably just not a hat year for me.

MarinettePiedDePouleI’m glad to report I have been wearing an impressive proportion of my 2015 clothes on the regular! The only ones I’d consider fails would be my nautical dress (I loved it, but the fabric – which I had prewashed, thank you very much – shrank in the wash) and my houndstooth one, although there’s still hope for this one: Sarah suggested that a slip might help the dress feeling less tight at the hips, and I’m going to try that! Now to sew a slip! 😀

TricotsI’m particularly happy with my knitting projects since I’d consider all of them big successes. They’ve all been worn a lot, depending on the weather, and I’d have trouble picking a favourite, but the black Zinnia has clearly been worn even more than the rest (purple Owls, orange Marion, mustard Tambourine and yellow summer top) since it goes with about everything and it even served as a jacket between seasons. What’s weird is how long it’s been since I completed a knit: the last one was in May! I have since almost completed two projects that only lack a few finishing touches (weaving in the ends, adding buttons…), but I have been putting off finishing them, I don’t know why… :-/

QuartEncinaEmeryNancyMy favourite sewing project has to be my Quart coat, I don’t think I need to explain why. I also love my Encina dress for summer, and my Mimi blouse, Nancy Drew outfit and Ondée twinset for all year round. Oh, and my Emery dress of course! And the rest of my Ondées. These are the garments that make me feel most like myself when I wear them.

TopsI didn’t make any resolutions at the start of the year, but finally, I sewed the skirt I had promised my friend! She seems to genuinely like it and I’ve seen her wear it on several occasions, so I’d count that as a big win, too!

Another thing I’m glad about is that I finally feel like I have taken the reins of my fabric stash. It’s still pretty huge, but I have donated everything I didn’t absolutely love and nothing spills out of the cupboard where I store it anymore (I used to have fabric everywhere!). I now think twice before buying and know exactly what I need or not thanks to my swatch album. My next aim is to never have more fabric pieces than the number of cards that my album can contain. Slow and steady, I think I’m getting there…

There’s another thing I would like to improve on in 2016: I have amassed UFOs to the point that I now have a UFO box! So it would be really nice if I could, if not get rid of it, at least finish some of those UFOs and definitely not add anything to the box of shame!

And finally, it goes without saying that I don’t intend on blogging as sporadically as in 2015.

This is all starting to look an awful lot like New Year’s resolutions, so I’m going to stop right there and wish you a Happy, Creative New Year!

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Le Quart des brumes

Quart1Woohoo, I can’t believe I’ve caught up on months of blogging slacking in less than two weeks! I have to say, being on holiday has helped a lot (who would have thought?), as well as setting myself a deadline.

I’ve kept the best for last: my Quart coat is by far my proudest sewing achievement this year! Proudest sewing achievement ever, in fact! I can see that it’s not perfect, and these pictures are particularly unforgiving, exacerbating each and every wrinkle and crease, also made worse by the fact that I have been wearing the coat every day since its completion, but I’m still very proud of all the work and time I put into this project.

Quart2I had been in dire need of a replacement for my Minoru jacket, whose pockets had literally started to disintegrate after three years of daily wear, so when I stumbled upon this olive green heavy water-repellent cotton twill at €3 a metre (!) at Tissus Passion last September, I didn’t think twice and bought 4 metres, more than enough for any coat or jacket. It didn’t take me long after that to choose Pauline Alice’s gorgeous Quart coat as a pattern, which I bought the very same day. The Venezia lining was in my stash.

I traced the pattern almost as soon as I got it, but then I got cold feet and sewed a few easy projects before finally starting on the coat for real in November.

Quart3This was my first time sewing a Pauline Alice pattern, and I like living dangerously so I didn’t make a muslin. I looked at the size chart and cut accordingly: a 36 for the bust and waist graded to a 40 for the hips. It’s alright for this twill coat that is not intended to be worn with a lot of layers underneath (usually a dress or a t-shirt with a hand-knitted cardigan or sweater, which is what I’m wearing in the pictures), but had it been a winter wool coat meant to be worn over thicker layers, I think it would have been a size too small at the shoulders.

Quart4Sewing the coat took me about a month, broken down in steps I could complete here and there. The only thing I found truly hard to deal with (had it not been near the end of such a long project, I’d have thrown the towel!) was attaching the lining pleats to the exterior fabric pleats: after a few trials and errors, I found it easiest to press the bottom of lining and main fabric flat to get rid of the pleats, and reshape the pleats once everything was attached. Other than that, the Quart coat is a loooong project to take on, but there’s nothing difficult to it.

Quart5I was impressed by the instructions, which I followed to the letter: I thought I’d need the step-by-step tutorial, which I downloaded from the website, but in the end I found the pattern instructions to be sufficient. I think there was only one step that had me stumped (step 36 for anyone making the coat – I thought I was supposed to start stitching at 4 cm from the bottom edge of the main fabric while you have to start at 4 cm from the bottom edge of the lining), but Mimolette helped me understand this one and I was back on track.

Quart8I bought the thinnest shoulder pads I could find at Veritas and made my own sleeve heads with some fleece from my stash. I used Karen’s e-book (which I had bought two years ago for that coat I never finished) to brush up on my bound buttonholes and everything went swimmingly. As for the buttons, they are probably my favourite part of this coat! I wanted some military buttons to go with the style of the coat, and when I couldn’t find anything I liked in any local shop, I had the idea of searching on eBay, where I found the perfect buttons, sold by someone living here in Brussels! They are Belgian army uniform buttons from WWI (big ones at the front, small ones on the epaulettes), and I love the touch of history they add to my handmade coat. Not to mention, I think they look so much nicer than what I had found in shops!

Quart7I was a little bit disappointed when I wore the coat for the first time on my bike because the sleeves suddenly seemed too short… Luckily, it’s nothing a pair of fingerless mittens can’t fix, and I think I was just spoiled by the extra long Minoru sleeves, drafted with a cyclist in mind. Something to keep in mind for the next time I make a coat or a jacket, but honestly, that won’t stop me from wearing this one to death!

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Déjà Vu

DéjàVu2Here’s the last Ondée I hadn’t photographed yet, with a Hollyburn skirt I made back in May!

That Hollyburn is more of a summer skirt and I wouldn’t wear that outfit in real life since I don’t like such a light-coloured skirt with dark tights, but I don’t hate it either so I took the opportunity to blog those two garments at once, especially since I don’t have anything new to say about the Ondée sweater (same size as usual, same fabric as the blue version).

DéjàVu3I had already sewn a Hollyburn skirt, which was actually the first garment I ever posted on this blog. I love and have been wearing that winter version so much that I wanted another one for the warmer months. I bought the fabric with that exact project in mind at Gotex at least two years ago, but so many projects, you know how it goes…

DéjàVu4It’s always a bit of a disappointment when a project you have been thinking about for so long doesn’t turn out as perfect as in your head, which is the case with this one. I blame the fabric: although it looks like a sort of chambray, it’s in fact a polyester/cotton blend, and, just like the one I had used for my Centaurée, it has taken the worst of each component: while the cotton means it wrinkles easily, its polyester part won’t take a press! This was definitely my last time ever sewing such a material.

DéjàVu5I have been trying to lower my fabric stash (no pledge or anything, just trying to remain conscious of what I already have and stop overbuying like I used to – I have to say it’s been working pretty well!) and I didn’t want to keep the small remnant that was left after cutting the skirt, so I made the belt loop version and I sewed a matching bow belt to go with it. I used Tilly’s tutorial (in her book, but you can find it on her blog, too), and I added two snaps to make sure the ends stayed in place.

DéjàVu6Weirdly, despite my qualms about the fabric, a less than perfect zipper insertion and the fact that that skirt shape in a light colour probably isn’t the most flattering shape on me from behind, I still like the skirt a lot. I made it a little bit longer than my first version, which I have always thought was a tiny bit too short to my taste, and, I completely forgot to take a picture of that, but to finish the hem I used some light blue bias tape with white polka dots. Since it was destined to be a casual summer skirt, I didn’t line it, and I used my serger to finish the seams.

DéjàVu1

A Foxy Twinset

Foxy1Continuing on with catching up with my blogging backlog, here are two Ondée sweaters that together form a twinset! One of them is a collarless short-sleeved one, and the other one is an adaptation of the long-sleeved version, which I changed into a cardigan following Marion’s tutorial. Both are the same size as my other Ondées.

Foxy2Mimolette and I both bought the same fox print cotton jersey knit at the Stoffenspektakel, I’d say two years ago, and this year she had the idea of challenging ourselves to sew that fabric before the end of fall. Thanks to that little challenge, I finally got that adorable print out of my stash, and I went in search of a pattern that would be easy to sew and that would get a lot of wear.

Foxy3Enter Ondée, but with a twist this time since I made a matching short-sleeved top and long-sleeved cardigan. Making the short-sleeved top was a breeze, and the cardigan was not much more difficult: in addition to following Marion’s tutorial, I also interfaced the facings with some knit interfacing and understitched them with a zigzag stitch.

Foxy6My intention was to use the whole length of fox fabric and there was a very small piece left after making the twinset, so I took that as an opportunity to finally try my hand at making some underwear: I used So, Zo’s free pattern and made a pair of panties! I should have made a size bigger or pulled less on the elastic while sewing it because they ended up just the tiniest bit too tight (still wearable), but this will be an easy fix for any future version.

Foxy5I love love love my little fox twinset! I have been wearing it constantly (the fabric is already starting to show signs of wear), and it’s been getting lots of compliments. It was my first time making an Ondée without the collar, and I’m pretty sure it won’t be my last: it truly is the perfect t-shirt shape for my taste!

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Snails on a Eucalypt

Escargot1I hesitated sharing this top as it is so simple. I would have preferred showing it at the same time as a matching bottom in order not to devote a whole post to such a basic piece, but none of the garments I haven’t blogged yet fits the bill, so here goes.

Escargot2It’s Megan Nielsen’s Eucalypt tank, a pattern I’ve made twice already, once in a woven as per the pattern, and once in a knit. I got the fabric from a swap in September (thanks again, Yanoudatoi!). My intention that day was not to come back home with anything, but I couldn’t resist such a cute print, so I allowed myself to take it but use it immediately, which I did.

Escargot3It was a very short length, so I didn’t hesitate for long: the only pattern I could think about that could fit such a tiny piece was the Eucalypt. There wasn’t enough fabric to make the bias tape, so I went in search of some pre-made at Kaléidoscope, where I knew I could find some that was light enough since they carry a lot of Liberty bias tape. Not only did I find bias tape that was light enough, but I found matching bias tape! Not matching as in the same colourway, no, matching as in the very same fabric, with just a tiny nuance in colour!

Mathematics not being my forte, I didn’t buy enough to bind the bottom hem, so I sewed a baby hem instead.

Escargot4In addition to that little involuntary one, I made two voluntary modifications to the pattern: I straightened the hem because I intended on wearing the top tucked in most of the time, and I added a fake button placket.

I don’t think I’ll be back with a new post in the next two days because CHRISTMAS!, so let me wish you a Merry Christmas already, and I’ll see you Saturday!

Enregistrer

Checkmate Dress

PiedDePoule1When I saw this dress in the September 2012 issue of BurdaStyle, I immediately fell for it and kept an eye open for a suitable fabric. I found what I thought was the perfect fabric about two years ago at the Stoffenspektakel, but I had so many other projects in mind that this one, like many others, got pushed back to end of the queue.

But this September, when I “needed” a dress for an upcoming party, this pattern seemed like the perfect choice.

PiedDePoule3I used black wool (from La maison des tissus) instead of the recommended leather for the pockets because I wanted the dress to be machine washable, and I didn’t bind the collar (I traced a facing instead). I also changed the back neckline for that of this top, which, in hindsight, was kind of a stupid idea: who wants to bare so much skin when wearing a thick wool winter dress?

I didn’t insert a zipper and the dress pulls on over the head easily. The idea of inserting a zipper on that b**** of a fabric was giving me nightmares, so I was relieved to have the possibility to skip this step! The fabric was the only difficulty I faced during the making of this dress, but without my serger, I simply don’t think I could have handled it! I literally breathed a sigh of relief once every edge of the dress was finished.

PiedDePoule4Sadly, I do not like the finished dress as much as I thought I would. It looks great on my dress form, but not so much on me… I cut a 36 for the bust/waist and graded to a 38 for the hips, when my hip measurement puts me in a size 40! With the fit and flare styles I mostly sew, I can usually get away with cutting the same size for the hips as for the bust and the waist, but I miscalculated the ease on this one, and as a result the dress feels a little bit tight at the hips. And with that fabric from hell, there’s no way I could let the seams out to gain a size. It’s such a shame, because I love the fit of those French darts!

PiedDePoule5

The dress and sleeve hems were serged, then turned and invisibly hand sewn.

This didn’t stop me from wearing it for two nights out, but now it’s waiting in storage while I figure out whether I’ll wear it again as a dress, shorten it to make a top, or donate it.

Ah well, at least now that the pattern has been traced, I can make another version, in my true size this time!

PiedDePoule2

The Clue of the Lady In Blue

NancyDrew1Like a lot of people who sew, there are many times when I finish a garment, vow to make another one because I like it so much… and then promptly forget about it.

So when I told you about how much I liked my first Ondée and how I was definitely going to sew other ones, I was conscious that, even though I intended to hold my promise, there was a good chance I’d be swayed by the next shiny new pattern and never keep my word.

NancyDrew3But lo and behold, I did keep my word on this one! And the Ondée sweater is such a fast sew that I actually made two in one afternoon! I’m showing you the first one today, a blue one with white collar, which is also the one I have been wearing non stop since its completion. The main fabric is a cotton/lycra knit from eBay seller Tia Knight. The collar fabric is the same I used on my first Ondée. Looking back at that post, I realise I forgot to mention that I had bought both mint and white jersey knits at the Stoffenspektakel, where you always find loads of high quality cotton/lycra jersey knits in every colour of the rainbow! I also forgot to mention the size I made: a 36, my usual bust/waist size for Deer&Doe patterns.

Like for the first one, I serged the whole top except for the collar (I didn’t feel like changing the serger thread to white just for the collar!), for which I used a zigzag stitch. Once again, I topstitched under the collar with a zigzag stitch.

NancyDrew4The skirt is also a repeat! It’s another version of this skirt I love and wear so much, based on the tutorial in Gertie’s book (also available on her blog). I don’t know how I managed that since I seem to remember I measured the waist of the first version, but the waist is a little bit looser than that of my first one. I intend to insert a small piece of elastic at the back to remedy that, but me and alterations, you know how it goes…

It’s a question of an inch, so the skirt is perfectly wearable as is, but it doesn’t stay in place as well as a skirt with zero ease at the waist.

NancyDrew5Despite that little flaw, I love that skirt so much and have been wearing it accordingly. Did you notice the print? It’s a Nancy Drew print! It’s from a discontinued Moda Fabrics line. As one of Nancy Drew’s biggest fans when I was a kid (while we’re at it, did you know that, in French, her name was “translated” to Alice Roy and she is widely known as Alice détective?), I couldn’t pass up this fabric when I found it three years ago at de Stoffenkamer. I bought it with the intention of making this exact skirt! I cut (more like, tore!) the pockets from the remnants so as not to waste any scrap that could be used. The fabric was narrow enough that I could use the whole width on each skirt panel… including the selvedges!

A note about the fabric: it has that very weird smell (almost, I don’t know… fungusy?) when being ironed. I thought this was maybe due to a storage problem of some sort, but it’s been washed quite a few times already and the smell is still going strong every time it gets ironed, so I’ve come to think it’s probably the dye itself that’s to blame. Luckily, it doesn’t smell at all once it’s cold!

NancyDrew2This outfit is nothing complicated, but I have been wearing it a lot these past few weeks. When the weather was a little bit warmer, I wore it mostly with this cardigan, and these days it’s finally been cold enough to pull this one out the wardrobe. It’s an outfit that I think is both cute and easy to wear. I won’t promise anything, but I’d really like a few duplicate versions!

Little House on the Emery

Emery1What better way to (re)start catching up with my backlog of unblogged garments than with one of my favourite ones?

This is a Christine Haynes Emery dress (size 4), made with lovely quilting cotton I bought (heavily discounted!) from Fabric Rehab. I lined the bodice with some lilac cotton I had lying in my stash.

Emery6I substituted a simple gathered skirt for the skirt of the pattern. I finished the dress fourteen weeks ago (thanks, Instagram!), so I don’t exactly remember why. Probably good old laziness… I remember thinking “yay, I’ll be able to tear the fabric for the skirt!” and then being disillusioned when realising that the fabric was printed a tiny bit off grain, just enough that it was impossible to keep the rows of houses of the print in line with the torn edges. So I had to cut along said rows of houses instead of perfectly on grain to make sure that the houses wouldn’t hang askew on the finished skirt.

Emery3Other than that, this was a pretty straightforward dress to make. However, as with absolutely every single sewing project of mine, there was a moment right near the end when I persuaded myself that it was going to be a dud (it’s a sickness, really!): this time I focused on the imperfect print matching at the back. I didn’t even try keeping whole houses on the skirt for lack of fabric, and weirdly this didn’t bother me at all, but I did try it on the back bodice and the almost but not quite entire houses running along the (hand-picked) zipper annoyed me so much that I couldn’t see anything else anymore. But as usual, after letting things settle for a while and especially after wearing the dress, I can barely see what was upsetting me so much at the time!

Emery4Now that I have been wearing the dress for a while, the only thing I might change for a future version would be to maybe shorten the bodice (or just the back bodice?) by a centimetre or two for an even better fit. The waist is also a little bit wider than I would have chosen, but this makes for a more comfortable dress, so I don’t think I would change that after all. I like my high-waisted skirts to have zero ease at the waist because otherwise they don’t stay put and among other things don’t look as nice with cropped tops as a result, but with a dress there’s no risk of the skirt part moving around since it is held in place by the bodice.

Emery2I’ll be back very soon to try and show you the rest of what I made… before the end of the year! Yes, I am so hopelessly rigid that, save for ones I would complete at the very end of the year, I just can’t start 2016 without having blogged all of my 2015 makes! Or maybe I am just looking for an incentive to start blogging regularly again? 😉

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