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!

hirondelles6

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Yes Frills!

frilly2With time, I’ve learned to choose my knitting projects more and more wisely. It’s been years now since I’ve knit something and not had any use out of it. In short, I am usually pretty happy with my finished knit projects. But this one, ah, this one, I like it even more than the rest!

I first discovered the pattern years ago on Casey’s old blog: she had made an adorable turquoise version with white edging which had me convinced I needed the book it came from. Not that easy since it was out of print at the time. I had to wait for quite a long time before it was rereleased, but after months (years?) of stalking the designer’s website, finally, I could get my hands on it, and on volume 2 for good measure. These two books are chock-full of lovely designs I immediately added to my mental knitting queue, with this Frilly Jumper at the top, of course.

frilly1You know how knitting queues go (i.e. not fast), so it took me another few months (years?) before finally starting working on it. I knew I wanted a crisp white edging like Casey’s, but I agonised over the main colour for a while. Then I found this perfect red at Hema of all places (I didn’t even know they sold yarn until then), 100% cotton, and I got down to work.

Ravelry tells me it took me three months to knit, but I think it could have gone much faster had I had more free time during that period. It was an easy knit and the instructions were clear. I hesitated a bit over the size and chose to make a 76-81 cm (30-32’’) based on the finished measurements, which seemed plenty enough for my 33-34’’ bust. It was the right choice: the amount of ease is perfect for me and I love the fit of the finished sweater.

frilly4The only place I deviated from the pattern was the collar: the pattern has a four-piece collar, which I didn’t like at all. In fact, the thing I liked most about the pattern when I first saw it was what I thought was a ruffle collar. Ruffle, singular, not four ruffles. It’s only when I read through the instructions that I realised that there were indeed four separate parts to that collar. This made no sense to me, and I was so much keener on a one-piece collar frill, so I changed it. It was an easy modification: I simply knit one long neck frill of 342 stitches instead of four short ones, and seamed it up at the back afterwards. Apart from than that I followed the instructions for the small neck ruffles, only on a bigger width.

As always, you can find the rest of the technical details on my Ravelry, but this is the only consequent change I made.

frilly5This little summer sweater is one of my favourite knits ever, if not one of my favourite creations ever. It looks exactly like the picture I had in my head, and it goes with so many of my skirts… The only little thing I could criticise is the thickness of the sleeve frills, that prevents me from layering most of my long-sleeved sweaters over it. Still, the weather has allowed me to wear it a lot already, and I know it won’t spend a lot of time in the closet come the next warm season.

frilly3

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