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 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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Pastel

pastel1Yes, another gathered skirt with giant pockets; yes, two new Ondée sweaters! I know, I know

What can I write that I haven’t written before, especially since the fabric I used for the Ondées is the same as for my first version, only in different colourways, and the fabric of the skirt is the same as for last week’s culottes, only with vertical stripes instead of flowers? I also used the remnants of the culottes for the pockets and the covered button, so really, nothing new under the sun. I even bought the fabrics in the same place.

pastel5Oh, but wait, I did use a new pattern for the pockets of the skirt! Burda 06/2015 #103a is a gathered skirt, so they only provide you with measurements, no pattern pieces, except for the pockets. I used my usual gathered skirt measurements instead of the pattern measurements, but I did use the pocket piece! I love those pockets: I can literally fit a cat in each one! Now if only my cats would cooperate.

pastel3I have been more into skirts that fall below the knee lately and I would have liked this skirt to do so, but I didn’t have enough fabric left after straightening the grain (I lost about twenty centimetres, grrrrr!), so this length had to do. Judging from the crazy amount of times I have worn this skirt in almost four months, I think I might survive the trauma.

pastel4I have realised since making the two Ondées (and two others after that, oops!) that I should have cut at least a 38 at the shoulders instead of a 36 like I did. It’s funny how at first you don’t see something, and then you notice it and it’s all you can see. I am now the proud owner of ten too-narrow-at-the-shoulders Ondées! Now that won’t stop me from going on wearing them. Also, being the positive person that I am, I see that as an opportunity to sew ten more! Silver lining and all that…

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Culottes and a Eucalypt

jupeculotte1When leafing through Burda, I often need to look past the styling and always need to examine the technical drawings to fall in love with a pattern. Not this time. When I spotted the May 2016 Culottes (#110a), it was love at first sight. And at second sight when I looked at the technical drawing and saw their lovely scalloped front yoke. I needed those culottes.

You can imagine how happy I was when I found a very similar fabric to the one they used in the magazine at the Stoffenspektakel. So happy that I started working on the culottes right away instead of hoarding the fabric for a couple of years as is usually more my style!

I cut a size 40, graded down to a 38 at the waist/top of the yoke (it’s a low waist, so no need to go smaller than that). It was a pretty fast and uneventful make, the only difficulty being the angles of the scallops, where the scallops meet each other. Angles that I didn’t manage to sew correctly; mine are much more wavy than pointy as they appear to be on the technical drawing. But no one who didn’t see said technical drawing is going to notice that, are they?

jupeculotte5Aside from that, these culottes were a breeze to make. They are also quite nice to wear, especially in this fabric (I think it’s a polycotton), which, contrary to other blends I’ve used in the past, seems to have taken the best of both worlds: it presses really well, but it almost doesn’t wrinkle!

However, I don’t wear them very often. Why is that? Because, and I feel so stupid for not having realised and remedied that beforehand, there are no pockets… So, even though I find the culottes so cute and all, I don’t find them very practical, and I keep reaching for the pockets.

jupeculotte2The top I’m wearing with them in the pictures (I unconsciously composed an outfit that is very similar to the one in Burda, didn’t I?) is also a partial fail. I used Megan Nielsen’s Eucalypt tank and, looking at my previous versions of the pattern, I shortened the straps, thinking this would lead to a better fit. I also made a few changes just for this version, for aesthetical reasons: I made the straps thinner, deepened the neckline (front and back), shortened and widened the body and added a lace trim (from my stash; I had just the right length) at the bottom.

jupeculotte4I’m happy with my aesthetical changes, but the fitting change was kind of counterproductive: I feel like the fit of the top part is worse than before! And it leads to the shoulder seams falling too far towards the back and the whole top appearing asymmetrical: if I don’t put the shoulder seams back in place, the top seems shorter in the front and longer in the back.

Another thing I’m not happy at all with is the way my bias finished neckline and armholes look. At first they looked pretty good, but after a wash they wrinkled a lot, and no amount of pressing seems to be able to solve that. And yet I had prewashed both the fabric, a quality cotton lawn, and my bias tape, made from the same material.

jupeculotte3I’ve worn the top a lot this summer, both tucked and untucked, so I wouldn’t call it a total failure, but it’s always frustrating when a project doesn’t meet your standards, especially when you don’t understand exactly what went wrong! Ah well, I keep telling myself we are all bound to fail some projects from time to time, and that makes it only better when the next one is a success!

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.

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Encina Dress

Encina1How time flies when you’re on holiday… I hadn’t planned on taking a blog break for the whole duration of my summer off from work, but these two months have flown by and I have just realised that I haven’t posted anything here since the end of June.

I have mentioned previously that I don’t like posting my finished makes in the “wrong” order, i.e. not in the order I finished them, but I have finally come to my senses: this would mean photographing my sundresses in the dearth of winter, which… nope, not going to happen!

Encina2So here is the last thing I made, and a clear favourite! I spent the month of August in Spain, and since I had just gotten rid of a few too old summer dresses, I needed to sew one or two new ones to take with me.

This one is a Japanese pattern, dress F1 from this book (how cute is the cover dress by the way?). As you can probably guess from the loose fit and simple design, it didn’t require a muslin and it was really easy and fast to sew. I made a size M (FYI, my bust is a Burda and Deer&Doe 36) and it was spot on; I didn’t need to take anything in or let anything out.

Encina4When I first inserted the back elastic, I thought it looked really weird, thick and lumpy, but I was surprised by how much better it looked on the finished dress, and although not perfect, it doesn’t bother me any when I wear the dress.

Encina5My only deviation from the pattern was adding two giant patch pockets, for aesthetic and practical purposes. At first I sewed them right along the side seams of the dress (as you can see here), but in the end I felt like they would look better placed about ten centimetres closer to the centre, so I unpicked and reattached them.

Encina6The fabric, a pale blue cotton with white trees, came from Stragier. It cost €15 a metre, which is more expensive than what I’m usually willing to pay for a simple cotton, but it seemed so much cheaper compared to the outrageous prices of most of the fabrics in the shop, and anyway, I couldn’t pass up such a lovely print! Because the trees reminded him of the oaks that adorn the country in the area where we spend our annual summer holiday, it was my boyfriend who dubbed the dress my “Encina dress”.

Encina3I’m particularly happy with this dress. It was unbelievably comfortable in the Spanish summer heat, and I also find it really pretty and surprisingly flattering (though I won’t be mad at you if you roll your eyes at my proneness to find potato sacks flattering…).

Next up, another favourite, the other dress I sewed for my Spanish trip!

The Last Summer Dress

Centaurée1According to my Instagram, I started sewing this Centaurée dress at the beginning of July, and I finished it two weeks ago. Two months from start to finish, wow… It didn’t help that I spent three weeks away from my sewing machine of course, but still; I couldn’t bear seeing it hang unfinished in my sewing space anymore! At least it was still summer when I finished it, so I was able to wear it once before storing it away!

Centaurée2What took me so long, you ask? Well, I had this great idea in my head of gold piping between the geometric panels. Which means I had to line the bodice. And shell fabric plus lining plus very thick piping equals way too many layers at the side seams for the zipper to lay smoothly. I tried inserting that zipper about five times; I even tried hand-picking it to get more control, but to no avail. I thought I had to either make do with a horribly shoddy zipper, or say goodbye to my gold piping dreams.

Centaurée4Then it occurred to me, I could sew the side seam shut and insert an exposed zipper at the back instead! I found this white zipper with gold teeth in Paris. I thought it was going to look perfect on the dress, but back home I realised it was a separating zip. I could have kicked myself! I looked for a replacement here in Brussels, but apparently metal teeth zippers are all separating?

Anyway, once again I had to think of a plan B, which was to cut off the bottom of the zipper, cover it with a piece of the gold bias tape I had used for the piping, and call that a design feature…

Centaurée5There was no way I was not finishing that dress after all the time I had spent sewing the bodice panels! And the piping, oh my! Not even the execrable fabric could stop me from soldiering on. When I bought it it was advertised as 100% cotton, but the last time I went to that place they had changed the sign to cotton/poly blend. You know how they say that blends take the best of each fibre? This one took the worst: it wrinkles like cotton, but it presses (more like, doesn’t press) like polyester.

Centaurée3After all the problems I had during the making of this dress, it took me a few days before I could tell whether I liked the result or not. It’s not perfect, but I love its shape, which I find very flattering (at least from the front. As you can see in the picture above, there’s a small risk of looking pregnant from the side, ah well!) and all the little details I added such as the flat piping, the gold topstitching and the patch pockets!

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