Enfin Lupin!

I made this jacket almost a year ago and it took me that long to write about it, which might be a new record on this blog! There are three even older creations I haven’t shown here yet, two Ondée tops I don’t intend on blogging about in detail (but which should still appear in future blog posts) and Monsieur’s jacket, which I definitely want to write an article about; I “just” need to take pictures of him wearing it!

The scarf I’m wearing in the first picture is a simple garter stitch scarf I finished knitting in May. It’s such a simple project it doesn’t deserve a post of its own, but I like keeping track of everything I make, so I did want it to at least appear on the blog. The yarn I used is a cotton and silk blend called Florine, by Veritas. It was my first time trying one of their new yarns, and I loved it! It was nice to work with and the finished scarf is delightfully soft. It was too warm to wear when I finished it, but it’s just the right warmth for the weather we’ve been having in September. I guess that’s all I have to say about this incredibly basic project. Except that it was incredibly boring to knit, too: eighty stitches x more than two metres of garter stitch, yaaaaawn!

Now for the juicy part, my Lupin jacket! I finished it at the start of last autumn and it’s proven to be the perfect autumn/spring jacket, the one I reach for whenever it’s not cold enough for my rain jacket. Although I did hope it could read as a 1940s jacket, I was not completely sure it would and was especially wary of how it would look with full skirts, especially since I had sized up to get enough room for my shoulders. I must say, I’ve been pleasantly surprised! It also looks really nice with skinny jeans, with my Cardamome dress, with my Zéphyr skirt… Actually, I don’t remember not liking it with an outfit I was wearing; I just wouldn’t wear it with a long cardigan, that’s all.

I did choose its colour with versatility in mind: I thought grey would look nice with virtually any other colour. It’s the shape I was not so sure about.

The fabric is a thick cotton satin (but fairly matte) I remember buying on sale at Maison Dorée when I was making this skirt in 2013! I had bought it to make a Pavot jacket but went for this other Deer&Doe pattern instead. It was a bit stressful to work with because it unravelled more than I would have liked, which made sewing the welt pockets a touch tricky, but far from insurmountable. I forgot to take a close-up picture of the pockets, but you can see them in the next picture (and I did share a close-up on my Instagram while I was making the jacket):

All in all, sewing the Lupin jacket was much more straightforward than I would have thought. I followed the instructions and, sewing it step by step over a little bit more than a week, got a nice looking finished jacket if I do say so myself.

My favourite part might be the lining. It’s a cotton lawn I got at our first ever fabric swap, once again in 2013! I had already used a small piece to line the waistband and pockets of a skirt. It’s really soft and I love the small floral pattern. I also love the buttons I put on the epaulettes, antique Belgian military buttons I bought at the same time as the ones I put on my Quart coat (I bought a whole box of various antique Belgian military buttons at the time):

There are two small things I would change if I ever were to sew another Lupin jacket. The first one would be to lengthen the sleeves by one or two centimetres. Their length seems right when I stand with the arms along the body, but when I raise my arms (to hold the handlebar of my bike for example), they start to feel a bit short. It’s something I’ve been noticing with all of my jackets (bar one, the Minoru jacket, whose sleeves are unusually long), so it’s not that the Lupin sleeves are too short; it’s just either personal preference or I have monkey arms (or both), in any case something I should keep in mind for any future jacket/coat I make!

The second and last thing I would change is also pretty simple: I would add a hanging loop. It’s something I feel is missing every time I hang the jacket, and it would be such an easy addition, I’m sort of kicking myself for not thinking of adding one beforehand! Like lengthening the sleeves, it’s something I should always keep in mind when sewing outerwear.

Except these two small imperfections, I don’t have anything bad to say about this jacket. Other than not being sure the shape would look right with full skirts, another thing I was wary about was the fact that there is no closures. And, well, the fact that I didn’t even think about it anymore until I started to write this blog post most probably means that no, this jacket definitely doesn’t need any closures!

I always procrastinate on sewing outerwear (I mean, even more than usual), but I really shouldn’t: it does require more work than sewing “normal” clothing, but the satisfaction is proportional since you get to wear each piece of outerwear so much more than the rest of your clothes!

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Flamingos!

I. LOVE. THIS. DRESS.

I love it so much that I almost didn’t dare starting to wear it! I finished it about ten days before my travel to Spain, so I decided to save it for the travel and didn’t wear it before we left. Once in Spain, we spent a week in Madrid and I didn’t wear it because I wanted to save it for later. Then we arrived at the village where we spent the rest of the holiday… and I didn’t wear it because I felt it was too fancy for the village! So more than a month after finishing it, I hadn’t worn it even once!

Once we got back to Belgium, I kept postponing the first outing of this poor dress: it was not even that I feared damaging it; the problem was that I was afraid to wear it and realise it was not comfortable or didn’t fit as well as I thought or some other letdown and be disappointed. Don’t worry, I have since come to my senses and started to wear it! And it is comfortable, and it does fit as well as I thought it did! 😀

Which it should, since I made a muslin, but still, I was worried! I rarely make muslins. I know, I know, boo me! But I always check the measurements of the pattern and usually baste the garment together to check and correct the fit before I sew it for real. When in doubt, I also use fabrics that I like, so that I can wear the finished garment if it’s a success, but that I won’t cry over if things don’t work out the way they should.

But this fabric, ah, this fabric! I don’t remember where I first saw it, but it was out of stock, so I hunted it down for months (maybe years?) until I came upon it at the late Fabric Rehab. I bought enough to sew a Deer&Doe Belladone, which was what I wanted it for in the first place. When it arrived I realised it was thinner than what I had expected (I was expecting more of a quilting cotton and it is a poplin), so into the stash it went until I found a pattern that would be worthy of such a dreamy piece of fabric.

The pattern I bought on Etsy: it’s a vintage pattern, Woman W388. I loved the simplicity of it and thought such a simple silhouette would suit various fabrics from my stash, including and starting with my precious flamingo fabric. I was a bit bewildered when I opened the envelope to see that it was an unprinted pattern: quite surprising since I’d say it dates from the early sixties! But then I thought it would be nice to try my hand at an unprinted pattern for the first time with what seemed to be a pretty easy one. And it was!

I soon learned unprinted patterns are in fact no more difficult to use than printed ones. In case you’ve never used one, there are holes of different shapes in lieu of printed markings, that’s all there is to is. There’s a key to which shape means what (notches, darts, grainline…) in the instructions, but you don’t even really need it as it’s intuitive enough to be understood just by looking at the pattern pieces if you’ve ever used any pattern, printed or otherwise, before.

So I set out to trace the pieces and sew a muslin of the bodice. This first draft looked horrendous on me! The first obvious problem was that it was much too big. I took off 1 cm at each side seam (4 cm total) and things started to look more promising. I then shaved off between 1 and 1,5 cm from the top of the front piece and between nothing and 1,5 cm from the top of the back piece. I also cut a 2,5 cm wedge off the bottom of the back piece and tadaaa, perfect fit! Okay, maybe not perfect, but as perfect as I can achieve with my meagre fitting knowledge! I’m still debating whether that wedge I took off the bottom of the back piece should have been 2 cm instead of 2,5 cm and have not reached a definite conclusion yet.

The skirt didn’t need any fitting as it’s so full, plus I didn’t even use the skirt of the pattern, for which I didn’t have enough fabric. I made a simple gathered skirt, as full (the width of the fabric) and long as I could with the fabric I had left after having cut the bodice, straps and bias tape. Two widths of bias tape are used for this pattern: a smaller one for the little bows (ah, the little bows!) and a wider one to finish the neckline:

The pattern has you sew the straps inside the bias binding at the back (which I did) and then adjust the straps at the front and stitch them on top of the bias binding. I didn’t like that so I reopened the binding at the front placement of the straps after I had settled on a strap length and hid the strap ends inside. It’s much cleaner/prettier like that.

Another simple deviation from the pattern was the addition of pockets. I hesitated between side seam pockets and patch pockets and opted to use these cute rounded patch pockets I borrowed from a late 1950s robe pattern I had in my stash (McCall’s 4319). I think these pockets look lovely on that dress, so I think I’ve made the right decision.

Although I am one of those annoying people who can’t wait for autumn to start, I must say I’m going to be a bit sad to say goodbye to this summer dress for so many months (this might leave me enough time to find a well-fitting strapless bra to wear with it though, who knows? 😉). I am trying to get as much wear as I can out of it while it’s still possible. I once again took the pictures for this blog post coming home from work and this is the outfit I wore that (rainy) day… Minus a cardigan of course!

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Vintage Lace

The last garment I posted on this neglected blog was a knit, so I hesitated posting this one for a minute. Then I realised, why would it even be a problem to post two knitted garments in a row, especially with a five months hiatus in-between? I’ve also completely abandoned any effort to present my creations in the order I made them and this knitted top is the last thing I finished. This hasn’t stopped me from wearing it a couple times already!

The day I took the pictures was my first day back at work after the summer holiday and what you see here is the exact outfit I wore that day. I came back home and suddenly thought, hey, why don’t I take some pictures of this top for my blog? This hadn’t happened since last March apparently… It took me ten minutes, fifteen tops, which makes me think I really need to get back into the habit of taking pictures when I’m wearing something I haven’t blogged yet.

This is my version of Andi Satterlund’s lovely Zinone top pattern. As soon as I first saw the pattern when it was published, I knew I wanted to make the cropped version (duh) with the full-lace back, in off-white for a vintage lace effect. I of course turned to my go-to yarn brand where I immediately found what I was looking for, DROPS ♥ You #6 in 101 off-white.

I didn’t bother knitting a gauge swatch and, well, I should have! I knit the whole body down to just before the waist ribbing when I realised it looked kind of short and, more annoyingly, the armholes looked tiny! I tried on the top and the armholes were indeed too small to be comfortable. I also measured it and compared the measurements to the pattern schematics: the width was pretty perfect, the length, not so much… This is when I at last thought of checking my gauge: not surprisingly, the stitch gauge was spot on, but the row gauge was much too tight!

I was on holiday in Spain at the time and knew I was going to get lots of quality knitting time in the following two weeks, so it wasn’t too much of a pain ripping out the body up to the armholes. I then added twenty more rows to said armholes (front and back) and went on to knit the body a second time. I intended on adding more rows to the body, too. However, when I reached the waist ribbing again, I got the impression that the length I had added to the armholes might prove sufficient once I knit the ribbing. This was confirmed when I tried on the finished top: although shorter than intended by the pattern, it is the perfect length for the high-waisted skirts I want to wear it with.

The only thing I am not entirely happy about with this top is that I didn’t think of adding any depth to the neckline: the row gauge discrepancy means that I should have added some rows there, too, in order for the neckline to be as deep as intended by the pattern. I didn’t think about that until I had knit the i-cord edging at the very end and saw that the neckline had ended up higher/smaller than it should have. Luckily this doesn’t make the top too difficult to get on and off, phew! It’s one of those errors you don’t even think about when you wear the finished garment (I would have completely forgotten about it had I not mentioned it in my Ravelry notes)… Speaking about the neckline, how nice does the i-cord bind-off look? It was my first time trying this method and I had a bit of difficulty understanding why I was doing what I was doing at the very beginning, but I decided to trust Andi’s instructions, and rightly so.

Between the fact that I didn’t get a lot of time to knit at the end of the last school year and that I almost had to knit it twice because I didn’t check my gauge first, this top took way more time than I thought it would from start to finish. I am glad that I managed to finish it and wear it a few times before summer leaves us for good, though, as it would have been a bit of a shame finishing it and not being able to wear it even once before next spring!

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Gato Morado Cardigan

The last time Monsieur and I were in Madrid, we came upon the cutest yarn shop, El Gato Negro, during an evening walk. It was closed at the time, but it looked very promising from the outside, so I noted down the address in order to come back the next day while Monsieur spent the day at the Prado.

Man was I right! The shop was chock full from floor to ceiling of a rainbow of yarns! There were mostly synthetic blends in there, but there was also a nice selection of natural fibres, at very affordable prices! There were little samples on display, and the yarn was sold by weight. I spent a shameful amount of time browsing the samples and in the end I chose a 100% wool in this gorgeous purple. There was no label on the skeins and not a lot of information available in the shop, only a small tag with the name of the yarn (“Especial”), its composition (100% wool) and its price (€60/kg – I bought 600g and I used a little under 300g for this cardigan).

EDIT (06/06/2017): Here is the yarn in question (colour #61 I’d say)! Hmmm, and apparently it’s supposed to be used for tapestry weaving or embroidery, not knitting… I would totally use it to knit a sweater/cardigan again though!

I knew I wanted to knit a cardigan, but I had no idea which one. Back in Brussels, we went to a yard sale where I found a series of old buttons (I’ve already used some of the black ones on my starry Cardamome), among which were these purple ones I hoped I would be able to use on the same project as my Spanish yarn.

Not long after, Andi Satterlund published the Blaster cardigan. I immediately thought of my purple yarn (and buttons!), but I was not sure it had the correct gauge. I was actually not sure what its gauge/weight was at all, nor which needle size it called for. It looked either sport or DK weight, but I had to knit a gauge to check. I tried 3,5 mm needles first, but the fabric seemed too tight, so I changed to 4 mm ones. These gave a much nicer result… and actually got gauge for the Blaster cardigan! Now if that wasn’t fate…

The only modification I made to the pattern was lengthening the sleeves. I’ve come to realise wool cardigans with 3/4 sleeves are not the most practical for me, so that’s an adjustment I often make. I simply went on knitting and decreasing until I got to the length I wanted. I seem to remember that the number of stitches I got at the very end of my sleeves, pre-eyelets and ribbing, didn’t suit the eyelet pattern and that I decreased two at a time on the last row to adjust for this.

Other than that, I followed the pattern as written. It was my tenth time knitting an Andi Satterlund sweater, so it was smooth sailing.

The yarn was very nice to work with, too. It’s a little bit drier than what I’m used to, but that’s not something negative. I’d say it’s very similar to the touch to Drops Fabel, to give you an idea. And it’s already proven to be quite hard-wearing, judging from the impressive number of times the cardigan has been worn since mid-November. Not to sound like a broken record again, but I do love the finished cardigan! It goes with a lot of my dresses, but it seems like it was made to match my purple Emery, doesn’t it?

PS In case you were wondering, the foxy brooch I am wearing in the pictures was made by Mimolette, using a Mollie Makes freebie from a few years ago!

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Apples and Roses

Last November, I was contacted by Nadja from Schnittchen. She wanted to know if I’d be interested in sewing one of their paper patterns for free. I had never tried a Schnittchen pattern before, so I was curious and went and took a look at what they had on offer. I didn’t want to try a pattern just because it was free; I wanted to try a pattern I would have bought myself. I saw a lot of things I liked, but the style of most of the patterns was still more modern than what I usually wear. The Zoe dress on the other hand seemed like something I would have bought with my own money: fit and flare silhouette, very high waist*, peter pan collar, pin tucks, cute sleeves… Need I say more?

*I’d say between high waist and Empire line.

Bodice and skirt pin tucks.

I debated using this rose and apple print from my stash or buying a solid colour fabric that would bring out the pin tucks better, but in the end I preferred using what I had on hand. Besides, I thought the dress might look pretty cute in that print! I had originally bought it from Stragier, on the same day as this other cotton print, because at €15 a metre they seemed like bargains in contrast with what you can usually find there (to give you an idea if you don’t know Stragier, Liberty tana lawn is by far one of their least expensive fabrics! 😱).

I didn’t make a muslin, but I did try on the basted bodice before sewing it for real. The only fit modification I made was rising the darts a touch. And I have to say I’m quite impressed with the fit of the dress! The bodice, sleeves and waistband are a size 36, the skirt a size 40.

Other than the small fit modification I’ve just mentioned, another minor change I made was adding side seam pockets. FYI, I placed the top of the pockets 7 cm below the bottom of the waistband.

I also added two decorative buttons at the neckline: I couldn’t find any markings for the placement of the collar, so I looked at the close-up pictures on the Schnittchen website and tried to keep the same distance between the two front ends of my collar as in that picture, but mine seem to have ended up a bit too far from each other and because of that the area looked strangely empty. Hence, two red buttons (from my stash – no idea where they came from, but if I had to guess I’d say my mother reclaimed them from an old garment) to fill that space. I think it’s one of those happy accidents because I love those buttons on the dress! Monsieur is less enthused: he doesn’t understand the need for buttons where there’s no opening. I myself have no problem with purely decorative buttons, as you may have gathered by now if you’ve been reading this blog for a while.

My last tiny deviation from the pattern concerns the zipper, which I chose to hand-pick. I could tell you that I wanted to get all couture or something, but I favour honesty over glamour so I must confess that I opted for the method that allowed me to sew from my couch! 😀 I also appreciate the control hand-picking a zipper gives you in comparison to inserting it by machine.

Sorry about the wrinkled skirt and sleeves: I had been wearing the dress all day before taking the pictures.

I haven’t found a lot of pictures of the Zoe dress on the net, and I actually haven’t found any apart from the technical drawing that showed its short-sleeved version (not even on the Schnittchen website), which is the version I chose to make. So I was bummed when I first tried on the dress with the sleeves, because I was expecting something else, something more like the sleeves of these two dresses, with gathers on top. I also found the Zoe sleeves aesthetically too long. But they were very comfortable, and I thought, why not try wearing the dress for a day first and then see whether I’m disappointed just because I was expecting something else or because I really don’t like the sleeves and should maybe shorten them? I’ve been wearing the dress a lot already, especially considering I finished it two weeks ago, and I can’t even see what the problem was anymore! As a matter of fact, the dress literally hasn’t seen the inside of my wardrobe yet!

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Bronze Brynja

brynja1This cardigan is one of my last finished objects, the last FO of 2016 in fact. I was wearing it today when, coming home from work, I realised how long it had been since I published anything on this blog, so I’m glad I’ve finally stopped caring about posting my projects in the order I finish them! Please excuse the crazy hair, I had just been rained on. OK who am I kidding, my hair is always crazy! :-/

brynja3The pattern is Brynja by Linda Lencovic, in PomPom Quarterly, Issue 11 (Winter 2014). FYI, it is now also available as an individual download. It had caught my eye when it first came out, and I immediately thought of it again when, about a year later, the lovely Aïda brought 19 skeins (yes, NINETEEN – no, I haven’t used all of them) of Phildar Sport’Laine (Bronze colourway), a discontinued wool/acrylic blend, at our annual fabric/yarn swap. The yarn slept in my stash for a little over a year, which I guess is not too bad compared to how long some other yarns have been waiting in there. It was very pleasant to knit with, and its only downside is that the 49% of acrylic mean that things can get a little bit sweatier than with my other, 100% natural, sweaters. Sorry if that’s TMI. It does not smell though, probably thanks to the wool content?

brynja4I did not find the instructions for the cardigan completely user friendly, which I’m thinking might have to do with the very limited space they had to fit in the magazine (4 very small pages, schematic included). There were also a couple mistakes in there, which had me unravel quite a few rows (details on my Ravelry). Mistakes/Small lack of clarity aside, it was still an enjoyable knit thanks to the AWESOME cable pattern. I mean, isn’t it gorgeous?

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The buttons were rescued from an old jacket by my mother. Merci Maman!

And so easy to knit and to memorise. Plus, no need for a cable needle. I loved seeing those cables take shape and I love the texture they give the finished cardigan!

brynja5However, when I first finished the cardigan and tried it on, I felt pretty meh about it, if not seriously disappointed. All I could focus on were the very low armholes, which I am not used to. I forced myself to wear the cardigan nevertheless, on a very casual day at work… and I fell in love with it! The low armholes can’t even be seen from the front, only from the back, and they do not bother me at all anymore; I actually like their relaxed feel! They don’t look that good when the cardigan is closed, but I always wear it open, so…

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Pockets! A bit small for the hands but perfect for tissues and chapstick!

My Brynja has now become one of my most worn cardigans (I know I say that about a lot of my knits, but it is true, I do wear most of them on a very regular basis – the majority of them never even see the inside of my wardrobe from about September to June). Its colour goes with a surprising amount of prints and other colours, which I did not see coming. By the way, did you know the name of this colour in French is “caca d’oie”, which means “goose poop”? Oh, the glamour! It’s actually a very accurate description of the colour, much more so than the one chosen by Phildar, isn’t it? But I didn’t think “Goose Poop Brynja” would make as catchy a title! 😉

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Polka Dots Again!

cami1Why did I wait so long to sew my first shirtdress?! I’ve been collecting patterns, fabrics and inspiration for years, but so many projects, so little time, such a slow seamstress, you know how it works…

Anyway, here is my first shirtdress then! The pattern is Pauline Alice’s Camí dress. This version is actually a wearable toile: I used some very inexpensive cotton (the same as this one and this one but in a smaller scale) which had a few flaws so that it wouldn’t bother me too much if things didn’t pan out. The buttons are vintage, from my mother’s stash.

cami2I first cut a size 36 bodice with 38 shoulders, but it was way too tight so I sized up to a 38 with 40 shoulders. It’s still not a good fit at the shoulders nor at the collar, which sometimes hangs a bit funny, but it’s passable. I wonder if lengthening the collar stand buttonhole a touch could not solve part of the problem. At the moment this button is not perfectly in line with the rest of the buttons/buttonholes as it should be, and this makes the collar tighter than intended. Not truly uncomfortable, but less comfortable than the collar of my Cardamome.

cami3The rest of the dress fits well (I lowered the waist darts by 2 cm), contrary to what some of these pictures, taken after a day of wear, would have you believe. The waist could maybe stand to be taken in a tiny bit? I’m not sure. The shoulders fit better (and the collar points hang better, too) when the collar is open, but I always wear it closed, so that’s not a satisfactory solution. This has not stopped me from wearing the dress a lot, especially since I usually pair it with a cardigan! Still, I really must learn to fit my (giant?!) shoulders!

cami4I didn’t use the skirt that is included in the pattern but cut twice the whole width of the 150 cm wide fabric x (60 cm + waist seam allowance + wide hem) for an extra full skirt! I also added a buttoned breast pocket (inspired by Annie Coton’s Camí and using Pauline Alice’s optional breast pocket template).

A lot of reviews of the pattern complain about too low pockets, and rightly so. I personally used Clémence’s nifty tutorial (in French, but she links to this one in English) to raise them and couple the left one with the invisible zip instead of placing it right under the zip.

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Pocket AND invisible zip!

Another small complaint I have, which I haven’t read about anywhere, is the lack of precision of the pattern: a grainline arrow that isn’t parallel with the button placket by a couple millimetres (unless that’s intended?), shoulder and side seams that aren’t the exact same length on the front and back pieces (and yes, I triple checked, my tracing isn’t to blame)… Nothing serious, but it does make it look a little bit amateur, and I prefer it when things are more rigorous. I don’t remember encountering the same kind of issues making my Quart coat, so I’ll chalk that up to the Camí being Pauline Alice’s first pattern.

cami6I’d really like solving my shoulder fitting problem on this pattern, so I do intend to sew it again, but first I want to try the other shirtdress patterns I have in my stash, so it may take a while before I revisit this one!

Just you wait until I find my TNT pattern and the shirtdress might become the new gathered skirt!

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A Favourite Cosy Outfit

cosy1Ah, Cardamome! Ah, Armande! I intended to blog about them separately because each deserves its own blog post, but I was wearing them both on a day I came home from work when it was still (sort of) daylight, so I jumped on the occasion to take some pictures, and a shared post will have to do.

cosy3The Cardamome dress is yet another Deer&Doe pattern (yes, I do intend on sewing them all ultimately!). It was my favourite one from the A/W 2015 collection and I immediately knew I wanted to make it in this starry cotton lawn I had in my stash. It took me a little bit more than a year to get to it, but I didn’t change my mind in the meantime. I also knew I wanted to highlight the curve of the bib with some piping of the same colour as the stars, which are not white but off-white/ecru. It turns out off-white piping is not that easy to find! I resorted to buying some extremely pale yellow piping and tea-dyeing it. It did not make it a perfect match, but quite close, and the difference is virtually unnoticeable when you look at the finished dress.

cosy4I think I’ve said before that I had recently realised that a lot of my clothes could benefit from either going up one or two sizes at the shoulders or making a wide shoulder adjustment. On this dress I tried simply cutting a size 40 at the shoulders blending to a 36 armhole-bust-waist-hips. I didn’t change the height of the shoulders, only the width, so I kept the 36 sleeves. They fit, so I guess this must have been the right choice. I didn’t bother cutting a larger size at the hips because the skirt seemed wide enough. The skirt is indeed wide enough, but barely. Close call there!

cosy5I didn’t make buttonholes for the buttons (vintage, from a yard sale last August) but used sew-on snaps on the front placket and simply sewed the buttons through all layers at the cuffs, thinking I’d add snaps later if it bothered me not to be able to open these. It has never bothered me.

This dress features my first collar on a stand and my first sleeve placket, and both went swimmingly thanks to the instructions for the sleeve placket and this well-known tutorial for the collar.

cosy10Note that I always wear the collar closed because I am a dork and I love it that way! When I see pictures of about everyone wearing it at least partially open, I do realise that I am kind of alone on this one, but this won’t stop me from wearing it closed all. the. time. In the same vein, why do some people want to get rid of the smocking at the waist? It’s one of the cutest details of the pattern, you guys! Plus, so comfortable!

cosy6Now about the cardigan. It’s Andi Satterlund’s Armande, a free pattern if you can believe it! Once again perfectly thought out (the seamless pocket method alone makes it worth your while!), this pattern was a pretty quick and definitely enjoyable knit. Especially in Drops Nepal, one of my favourite yarns, in this gorgeous blue (denim blue – uni colour 6314).

cosy7When I bought the yarn (more than two years ago according to Ravelry), I had this sweater in mind, but I thought I would make the smallest size as usual with Andi’s patterns, so I only bought 11 skeins. But when I started on the project, I realised that I wouldn’t want as much negative ease for this pattern as for my usual cropped sweaters, so I went up a size. I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best, but 11 skeins were definitely not enough unless I intended to wear my sweater with half a sleeve missing. Lucky for me Saki, who had knit a cardigan with the same yarn, was nice enough to pass on to me her remaining skeins. And double lucky for me, they were from the same dye lot since she had bought them at about the same time in the same shop!

cosy8So after a very short pause I could get back to knitting what was to become one of my favourite cardigans. It goes with much more of my wardrobe than I would have thought, and I simply love its colour, its buttons (from Tissus Passion), its shape, its collar, everything! Like most of my cardigans I very rarely wear it closed, but it does look nice both open and closed.

cosy9I wouldn’t have thought when making this cardigan and this dress that I would like them together so much, but I really do! They’re also the perfect outfit to keep you warm when you’re sick like I am at the moment: the high neckline of the dress protects the chest from drafts and the cardigan is just the right warmth. A thermal cami, two pairs of tights, socks and boots complete what I think is an elegant yet cosy get-up.

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Bonjour bonjour les hirondelles

hirondelles1This dress may seem out of season, and as a matter of fact I did sew it in May, but I’ve been wearing it quasi nonstop ever since. It’s the kind of dress that I like to wear in all seasons but summer. So I’ve taken a break from it in July/August but have been very happy to be wearing it again from September on.

hirondelles3Deer&Doe aficionadas will have recognised the Sureau pattern with Bleuet sleeves. It’s my third version of Sureau, and the second time I use the Bleuet sleeves. This version came as a welcome replacement for my first and favourite Sureau, that died a natural yet tragic death last September. I don’t think I could have mustered up the courage to get rid of the old one had I not had this one as a replacement.

hirondelles4Once again I made a few small changes to the pattern, this time to give it more of a retro edge. In addition to substituting the sleeves, I also lengthened the skirt a little bit more than on my previous versions and added retro looking patch pockets (which could have been sewn better, oops!). For these I used the same method as on my rain jacket, i.e. lining the pockets then flipping the top over. I then sewed on some vintage looking buttons (the same as on this skirt), big ones on the pockets, small ones on the fake placket. I love those buttons; I think they give the dress a lot of its character.

hirondelles7The fabric I used is a printed cotton from Veritas. I had been eyeing it for a long time but had never bought it because it was only sold in tiny pieces (most fabrics were 75 cm x 100 cm; this one was something like a fat quarter or something like that). You can imagine my delight when I found it sold by the yard on the Veritas stand at the Stoffenspektakel… for €5 a meter, which was less than the price of a fat quarter in the shop! I bought what was left on the roll, about 1,50 m, precisely what I needed to make this dress.

hirondelles2I serged the seam allowances and I used bias tape for the hem in order to keep as much length as possible. I made the same size as for my first two versions, a 36, and the gathered skirt still allows plenty of room for my 40/42 bottom. Cotton skirts can stick to tights, and it’s the case here, but not too much either. I could see it in some of the pictures, but in real life I never think about it and it doesn’t make the skirt ride up. I might try wearing a slip for more comfort though.

hirondelles5I’m really pleased with this dress. I used to wear my first Sureau all the time; these days I wear this one all the time! Now after using the Bleuet sleeves twice, what am I waiting for to sew the rest of this lovely pattern? I even have fabric picked out and everything!

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Made With Love

bb1You know me by now, I’m a terribly selfish sewer/knitter. I have to be really close to someone to even think about sewing/knitting them something. And the worst part is, I don’t even feel bad about it! Sewing is my hobby, not my job, and I want it to stay fun… Not that sewing for other people can’t be fun; it’s just not my personal preference, and sewing for myself also puts way less pressure on my shoulders!

bb3But I do appreciate the occasional selfless sewing project, especially when it’s something I wouldn’t sew for myself. Sewing for my boyfriend (blog post about the jacket I made him in March still to come, ahem!) gave me the occasion to have a stab at menswear, which I enjoyed a lot, and sewing this little outfit for my goddaughter, my first time sewing baby clothes, was very rewarding, too!

She turned one in October and I could not not sew her anything! I browsed my Burdas to find something I could see her wearing, and this baby collection caught my eye right away: such cute patterns! I liked the idea of sewing a whole little outfit, so I chose the quilted jacket, the blouse with ruffle collar and the stretch trousers to go with them.

bb4Fabric wise, I went digging through my stash. I own a few cotton pieces I impulse bought at Veritas that are too small to use for adult garments (except maybe a fitted blouse), but so cute I could never bear to part with them. This cherry one was a favourite and I knew it would look so cute on my goddaughter, so that was an easy choice. After that I looked for matching pieces in my stash: a red cotton jersey for the outer layer of the jacket and a blue one (the same I used for this Ondée) for the leggings. I just bought the batting, bias binding (polka dotted because I know my goddaughter is not afraid of print matching!) and buttons (glittery ones for the jacket and plastic snaps for the blouse).

I only had two 75 cm x 100 cm pieces of the cherry cotton and I wasn’t sure it would be enough for the blouse and the jacket lining, but it was, literally to the half centimetre! I sighed in relief when all the pieces were cut! Same with the red cotton jersey, but this time literally to the millimetre, phew!

bb5Burda advises you to cut the pattern pieces before quilting the outer layer, adding 3 cm seam allowances, then re-cutting these seam allowances to 1,5 cm after quilting. I quilted the whole piece of fabric (“basting” batting and outer fabric with spray adhesive and using masking tape to get even lines), then cut the pieces.

Other than quilting the outer fabric, which was looooooong (but not difficult at all), the jacket was a breeze to make! The instructions were perfectly clear, and I don’t know why, but I found it quite fun handling such tiny pieces!

bb6The blouse was also lots of fun to make. I only deviated from the instructions for the hem of the collar ruffle: they have you turn it once, zigzag stitch then cut the excess fabric. I preferred turning the hem twice and using a straight stitch to make a baby hem, which I think gives a much cleaner result.

The trousers were less fun to make (just boring in comparison with the cute jacket and blouse), but they took about an hour from start to finish, so no complaining on my part. I used my serger to assemble the pieces and a zigzag stitch for the waistband casing and the hems.

bb2I finished the whole outfit way past my goddaughter’s birthday (but way before the next one so I’ll count that as a win 😉 ) and could only give it to her mother (who seemed to love it, yeah!) very recently, so I don’t know yet whether it fits her* (I made a size 80), but in any case I’m really happy with the look of the outfit. And I truly liked sewing for her, so this is definitely not the last time I do!

*EDIT: It does! 🙂

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