The Diana Dress

Have you ever had such a craving for a project that you can’t sew anything else? This is exactly what happened with this dress.

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I told you here the discovery of the perfect cotton knit, and besides this royal blue, I had also ordered a bright yellow. I reserved it for September, because this color suits me better when I’m tanned. When I came back from Italy, I took it from the stash : if in spring I thought of making a Moneta, today I could not imagine this fabric otherwise than like this:

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The obsession started with the discovery of the Alice top from Sew Over It. Unfortunately, the pattern is only available in a pack of £ 45, with another pattern and a course on knit fabrics, which did not interest me at all. All this was way too expensive for a simple PDF. So I searched, searched … spent hours on English, American, even Russian sites to find a similar pattern. Without success. And that’s when I thought I was not losing anything … trying to draft it myself.

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I took Wanted in size 40, which I lengthened the shoulder lines of 1,5cm. I redesigned the neckline based on the depth of Zephyr. I shortened the top so that it’s the same height as the bodice of Moneta, bending the waist up to size 36. I then traced a line at 11cms above the waistline, and split my front in 2. On my top piece, I traced a line between the bottom of the piece and the tip of my breasts. I then cut this line up to my sewing line, and enlarged the piece by 10cms.

For the back, I also lengthened the shoulder lines of 1,5cm, traced a neckline and cut the bodice to the level of Moneta, by bending the waist to size 36. I also drew a rectangle for the knot, picked up the short sleeves of Wanted in 40 and sewed a first toile.

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Honestly, for a first try, I was really delighted with the result! I had to raise the neckline of 2cms by going up the middle of the down piece, redrawing the sewing line of the top piece, and enlarging by 1cm the knot along its length. And arm myself with courage for the second toile.

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And there we were good ! Then I had to draw a neck band. For the skirts, I simply took back those of Moneta, in size S, shortened by 5cms. In the end the assembly was quite fast.

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And I’m so delighted with the result! I’m so glad I took the challenge. It’s true, I took no risk … except succeeding !

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The only thing that makes me sad … is to have sewn it so late! Summer has gone so quickly this year. :/ To cheer me up I ordered a new color of this cotton knit, to duplicate it, but with long sleeves this time.

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Verdict: sexy neckline + knit comfort + funky color + tiny waist + dancing skirt = BINGO MY CAPTAIN! Not surprisingly, I love this dress, and I’m happy to close the summer sewing in its company. And I now look forward to sewing her little wintry sister!

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And why Diana? For two reasons: the first is that it was sewn on the anniversary of the death of Lady Di, and it is necessary to know that I worship Diana Spencer (I had to watch 50h of program about her early September 😀 ) (the husband got crazy everytime he heard the first notes of “Candle in the Wind” 😀 ). And also because I listen to Diana Ross a lot in recent weeks, including this song, which is a bit my coffee + my vitamin C + my endorphins this month of September. The Diana dress, then. ❤

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Spend a nice week, and take care of yourself ! ❤

Myrna, the revenge

Since the time you must know me: I hate to remain on a failure. The Myrna cardigan was one, and it was obvious that the 2017 summer would not pass without a revenge … the story I tell you today. 😉

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It was bedridden with my wounded ankle in February that I went in search of the perfect wool. I realized, after research, that a cotton wool would be better if it was composed of a little wool. And it was surfing from site to site, that I came across the wool Adriafil Duo: composed of wool and cotton, its gauge was closer to the one recommended for Myrna. True, it was a bit expensive, but given the fiasco of my first try, I wanted to put all the chances on my side.

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I will be honest with you: at the start of the project I pretended to knit a gauge, like, a dozen rows for 20 stitches. By measuring it quickly, I tought it was ok with the one asked. Without thinking, I went on a size S, because it’s the size that suits me with Andi patterns. And arrived in the middle back … I realized that even Juliette could not fit in. It was ridiculously small. It was definitely time … to actually knit and analyze a gauge.


(me, as soon as I read “rule of three”: D)

WELL, I REALLY knitted my gauge, which I SCRUPULED compared to the one requested by Andi, and necessarily, it did NOT stick to the whole. So I had to choose another size, and it is thanks to this website that I understood that I had to knit a size L!

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And inevitably, when you choose a size in correspondence with your wool, it goes immediately better! You can see on the pictures that the fit at the bodice is great.

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My only downside is for the sleeves: I don’t know if it comes from my wool (cotton) or my way of knitting the sleeves (I use mini-needles and a short cable not to have to do the magic loop) but I find them very “puffy”. You will say “Well Emilie, it’s the design of the pattern!”, But I still find that you can hardly guess the “puffy” side of the sleeves on Andi’s presentation, while for me they’re quite large. I think I would have preferred shorter and smaller sleeves. (Yes I’m a pain in the ass ! 😀 )

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As on the previous opus I did not knit the small hole in the upper back. The buttons come from a small haberdashery in Italy. (great moment of loneliness, when you want to speak sewing with a person who does not speak your language, and you do not master her either. 😀 )

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Verdict: Listen, if at the time of the fitting I was a little disappointed with the result (with the anguished husband in the background who asked me “but you are not going to knit it A THIRD TIME ?) when discovering those pictures I kept things in perspective, and I’m sure that over time I will learn to love these puffy sleeves, which give the model its originality. It harmonizes well with the great majority of my summer wardrobe, and I know it will be worn. And just for having FINALLY figured out all the interest of a gauge, I think this cardi will go down as a red-letter day !

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A good weekend to all, and take good care of you!❤

A brand new start

Back from holidays, I come back to you with a special post, which will not present any sewing. But that will undoubtedly be in my eyes one of the most important posts of this blog.

For those who have been following me for a long time, you know, I left the professional world at the birth of my elder, Tom. It was followed by 8 very beautiful years, where I grew up, learned, evolved with Tom of course, then Juliet, and finally Paul. Paul, my little one, the one who was born yesterday and who will go to school for the very first time in a few days. My parental leave ended at the beginning of the year, and it was time to think about a career shift. I confess, I was totally lost at that time. And I had the chance to meet a gentleman, as part of my skills assessment. A patient gentleman, so kind. My first guardian angel on this path.

I’ve met a lot of people in the last few weeks. There have been many suggestions. I was suggested to professionalize the blog, already. But I stubbornly refused to consider this track. This space has always been my haven of freedom. The place where I write what I like, when I like, without following any editorial line, without being obliged to accept such or such a partnership. Sew the pieces I want, sew the fabrics I have chosen, to the rhythm that suits me. I was even told one day that I was probably suffering “from an excess of authenticity”. But it does not matter: my liberty and my sincerity are not for sale.

Obviously, I was also often suggested to launch my own line of patterns. But alas, many do not realize the titanic job of such an undertaking. One often imagines that a designer draws a pattern between two appointments, in a beautiful workshop, a cup of tea in hand. But for having met the creator of Deer and Doe for example, I know what such a company requires as investment, financial as human. That to throw a pattern is not just to draw a garment: one must choose a morphology, measurements, style, a piece that will please the greatest number. Testing a boss, grading it, materializing it, marketing it. Manage accounting, respond to customer requests, provide the most perfect work possible. There is an immense difference between patronizing for myself, to my taste, to my measurements and drafting for others. No, definitely, and at this moment of my life, it is not this way that I wanted to borrow.

The conclusion of the tests during my assessment turned in my head: “you have to find an activity in the service of others, where you could use your creativity, while keeping time for your family balance.” But how to materialize this sentence? And that’s when I remembered the words of my second guardian angel, Chantal.

Chantal, my drafting teacher. One day, during a lesson, she looks at me and leaves me the most naturally of the world “good, when will you decide to give sewing class?” I remember, I burst out laughing: “me, the one who doubts all the time, give classes?”. But Chantal, beyond her abyssal knowledge in sewing, reads better than anyone else in the others. And that day, she’d probably read in my future.

Give sewing classes, of course! But how ? Where ? I do not have a workshop, no place to share this passion that moved deeply my life. But as I am a lucky person, this is where Clémence, my third guardian angel, will come to surround me with all her advice. She will listen to me, help me, give me confidence. “Listen, I have students in knitting class who take sewing classes at Carabistouilles. It does not cost you anything to give them a call : maybe they will need someone?”

And in July, Nathalie, the fourth and last guardian angel of this beautiful path. The one that manages the Carabistouilles workshop. A meeting, a feeling, a common desire to team up and open new sewing classes. Projects, ideas for thematic workshops during the holidays. And yesterday, the very first workshop, and this joy, indescribable, to see a little girl go away with her work. She was so proud of herself, but did she realize I was even prouder than her ? Happiness is complete only when it is shared, and that is exactly what I want to share with the greatest number: joy, pride, accomplishment of a finished and successful work. Sewing has brought me so much: it is time today to sow the seeds that made me grow.

All this long post to share this: this new adventure, my arrival at Carabistouilles, and the publication of workshops available. I hope I will have the pleasure of meeting some of you.

Thank you again Michel, Chantal, Clemence and Nathalie. And thanks to you who read and commented on this blog, for years or 3 days. Your fidelity and your kindness are a real gift.

I wish you all a nice september. And take good care of yourself. ❤

The Sandrine Dress

It’s with this dress that I will end the summery sewings, before we leave on holidays tomorrow. And it’s quite perfect, because it’s probably the work I’m most proud of this year. 😉

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Remember when the Amal dress was published? I told you my last drafting lesson and the moment we had taken with my teacher to trace the sleeveless version. I wanted my armholes to be bigger, probably inspired by a dress I adored a long time ago.

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How I loved wearing this dress. It was with sewing that I began to wear only dresses: before that, I wore everything, but I rarely felt pretty in my outfits. But this one! I felt like Dalida every time I wore it. (Which is a compliment for me eh, I’m a fan!) Today it’s a bit tight to me, I realize that the waist is a little low for me and the tint has discolored in some places but I keep it in memory. My sleeveless version of a shirt dress had to have bigger armholes, at its image.

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At first I thought I would reproduce my skirt with pleats, but probably also inspired by my red dress, I wanted a circle skirt, with some flare. I then draw 2 half circle skirts: one for the front, and one for the back. If the back is a half circle skirt without transformation (with just a middle seam to join the seam of the middle back), I decreased the flare of the skirt, at the side seams, and lengthened its middle to create a buttonplacket.

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Looking at the pictures of the Amal dress, I noticed that I could lower the middle front of my bodice. The 2 centimeters in addition lengthen a little my short bust, and draw a beautiful curve. That’s pretty, right ?

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It was after sewing the bodice and skirt, and as I was about to sew the facing that I realized the armhole yawned in the back. I don’t tell you my rage when I had to undo everything, trace again my armhole back + my facing … but looking at this picture, I think that efforts were worth it.

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Speaking of facing, I had to rethink the Amal dress one, since this version was sleeveless. It was there that I remembered the advice of Lucille, who, following the Katy dress, advised me to create a facing that would include button placket, collar, and armholes. And indeed, it works and gives a great result!

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Only downside : when I trace it, I get stuck on the chest darts of my bodice. I didn’t see how to do it, so I finished it just above. Finally, under the armholes, the facing only measures 3cms. I totally forgot to reason in 3d: indeed, when sewing the facing, the chest darts would be sewn, so I don’t have to worry about when sewing the facing ! For the next one, I will extend it, at least 1cm more. Sewing the facing on the seam allowances of the the sides seams of the bodice gives it a certain stability.

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“Well, how to make him swallow that I intend to put 25 dresses in the suitcases for 14 days of vacation …” 😀 😀 😀

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If this dress is called Sandrine, it’s because it could never have been born without her. 😉 Sandrine is my girlfriend in drafting lesson, and it was she who advised me to visit Wonderland Tissus, during our vacation in Nice. I found between two fabrics this Hawaiian-style poplin, and I immediately saw a shirt dress. I was afraid of the poplin on a circle skirt, but I am really delighted with the result: it is dancing without being leaden, and the icing on the cake : it’s windy-proof !

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Verdict: As I say above, I’m really proud of this dress. In drafting I really lack confidence in me: I always feel like I can do nothing without the endorsement of my teacher. Here I managed to overcome my fears, I listened to my instincts, I tried things … and the result is exactly what I had in mind! At the same time feminine, sexy, comfortable and flowery: all the boxes are ticked, you can go to Italy pretty dress! 😉

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I wish you all a good weekend, and take good care of yourself. ❤

The Catherine Dress

Inspiration in sewing can come from everywhere: a movie, a silhouette crossed in the street, Pinterest, blogs of girlfriends … even a people news website. 😀

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Yes, I confess: I’m addicted to this kind of stuff. Oh I’m not proud of it, believe me: I’m wasting a lot of time and this information are totally worthless … well, except maybe this time.

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So I read a news story about how Kate Middleton looked at her dear husband William at the last Wimbledon (the least interesting news in the world) when I saw her dress of the day.

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Immediate crush : everything is absolutely perfect in this little jewel. And that’s when I remembered having the perfect fabric in stash to sew a similar one!

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I found this fabric thanks to my girlfriend Clm on the market of “la Plaine”: it is a smooth crepe, with a beautiful tombé, slightly transparent. I took 1m, with the idea of a small summer dress: bustier bodice, small straps, floral pattern on the skirt … sold sold, I left with the fabric, tidy up my stock. ..and copiously forgotten until this picture of Kate Middleton.

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This project was also the occasion to check how my gathered skirt hangs with a fluid fabric: remember, last summer I had already sewn it, but in a stiff fabric. So I could check how it hangs with a fabric with more drape.

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Here we are confronted with the limit of the fixed pictures: it is difficult to retranscribe the drape of this crepe. The following photo may be more interesting.

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Undoubtedly inspired by the heatwave that we’re living here, I deliberately chose not to line the skirt. The floral pattern opacifies the crepe, but remains transparent just under the waist: flesh panty required.

The bodice is lined, with a white crepe, also found at “La Plaine”.

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Crepe I realized the poor quality post-seam : I hope the lining will hold out over the washings.

The side seams are french ones. I had gone to make a tuck in and sew by hand the margins of the seam back of the skirt, and then finally lazy. They will remain overlocked.

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(Yes I always finish my zippers with a bit of bias. It’s a finish that Burda always advices, and as I learned with their patterns, I kept this ritual. 😉 )

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What more can I tell you about this dress? We are always facing the bodice of the Whitney dress, with its princess cuts …

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… and the back is finished by an concealed zipper.

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Verdict: tested yesterday in full heat of Marseilles and this dress is perfect in heatwave ! The skirt is so light that it is hardly felt, and the bodice, although adjusted, is quite breathable too, because it’s realized in two very fine fabrics. Given the temperatures forecast for Tuscany in 8 days, this one will probably be the first in the suitcase!

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I wish you all a good weekend, and take good care of you.