The Clémence Dress

Drafting your own patterns is a rewarding practice, but it has a major drawback: when it’s not working, you can only blame yourself. When it’s easy to curse a creator for a tricky sleeve to sew, two pieces that don’t match or nebulous explanations … when you screw up on your drafting job, you can only blame yourself. And it’s even worse when you don’t understand your mistake!

Everything started from this fabric, found in a Agnès B sale two years ago. The time when I thought I could cut a dress with sleeves in a coupon of 1m50. And that plaid fabric didn’t mean matching pattern !

I had immediately seen a shirt dress, probably inspired by this pretty dress. Two autumns that I waited to validate my bodice with darts to start … but before, it was necessary to determine the composition of this fabric.

It’s a bit of a sales concern for Agnes B: you don’t know what you’re buying. The rolls are laid, you cut what you want, and you will pay your due at the checkout. While unrolling my fabric I came across this label, which indicated a 100% silk composition. Yet its appearance was quite stiff, although fine. I thought that a silk was necessarily slippery, and by searching for informations I learned that a silk can be woven in different ways, and thus, present itself in different aspects. I then followed the advice of my teacher, although it always scared me, given my legendary clumsiness: burn a piece of cloth to determine its composition.

(Once, as a child, I almost burned my little sister’s room by wanting to burn the edges of a sheet to make a parchment. ^^) (True story.)

WELL, (AND TAKING ALL MY PRECAUTIONS 😀 ), I burned a piece of my fabric, and using this great book, I noticed that the ashes formed like bits of coal … exactly what is meant to become burnt silk! The mystery was solved.

(And I don’t tell you the pressure, like, I’m going to SEW SILK DAMNIT!

To do so, I took the pattern of the Amal dress. As on the Sandrine dress, I lowered the middle front of 2cms. I drew short sleeves. I kept the pleats of the skirt. And I started drafting a new collar.

You know my passion for shirt collars: I love them in two parts, with a collar stand. I followed the method recommended in an Esmod book, and a toile validated my drafting job.

(Believe me, at this moment I was pretty proud!) (I should have enjoyed it, it wasn’t going to last 😀 )

I cut my fabric, sewed my bodice, then my skirt, and when it was the moment to sew the waist, I discovered that the 2 middle fronts of my bodice are 1cm longer, at the fold for the buttoning. Not bad, I said to myself, I must have missed precision when cutting my fabric. I cut these 2cms, finished the assembly of my skirt, proceeded to finish the dress, and at the time of the final fitting … patatras, I felt really stuck at the chest.


You see it in this photo, the fabric that stretches between the two buttons. These 2cms, cut above because imagined in excess, were on the contrary very necessary to the ease of the dress!

I had to spend hours on my drafting, to go back in all directions to understand my mistake, but I am still unable to point it. If you knew how I felt miserable !


Finally, I called my drafting teacher, and adorable as she is (a pearl I tell you, a pearl!), She took the time to give me some tips to overcome the need for ease :

  • do not touch the darts : that would not change the problem.
  • either recreate a button placket, incorporating the lost 2cms
  • create a box pleat in the back, adding fabric
  • either undo the sides seams, reducing my seam allowances, which are of 1.5cm.Alas, I had no fabric to do anything again. And all my dress being sewn in French seams, I didn’t have the courage to undo all my armholes to reduce my side seams.

(Yes, it’s the wrong side of the dress, tell me that you sympathize. ^^)

In the end, I tried to pick up a few millimeters on the side seams, reducing my second french seam, but it didn’t change my ease: the buttons always pulled on the front of my dress, and I had an excess of cloth under armholes. It was so ugly. So I took everything back to the original.

I managed to close it, but this stretch between the 4th and the 5th button annoyed me. And it’s Emilie who will give me a tip: add a pressure to sew between the 2 buttons so that it doesn’t open!

And it works ! So, certainly, I don’t gain comfort, but visually, it’s not like my buttons will explode at the slightest breath.


This profile picture shows how much my chest is squeezed into the bodice. Note that I wore it this weekend with another bra, and I gained a little comfort. (and yes, I take advantage of this post to pre-empt any comments of this type: I AM NOT PREGNANT. 😀 )

Note that with all these adventures, the notion of pattern matching did not particularly touch my mind. 😀 Having only 1m50 of fabric, I had to choose between a matching waist or a side one. I tried to succeed at best the side matches, but as you can in this photo, it didn’t work everywhere.

And to be honest…

Sorry. Not sorry 😀

The buttons come from Mercerie Extra

…the collar is a shirt one…

…and here it’s closed.

(When I try to impress my students.) (In truth it doesn’t work at all. 😀 )

Verdict: listen, if the first fitting I was totally devastated, for wearing it this weekend, my opinion is nuanced. While this is not the most comfortable dress in my dressing room, but it is totally portable, and with this cardi, the outfit is adorable!

And to play with the dead leaves it is just perfect!

(And promised, as soon as I understand the mistake, I will make an edit to this post!) (And why Clémence? Because I sewed this dress while a dear friend was preparing to give life again, that this friend’s name is Clémence, that she loves plaid fabric and that I discovered the Agnès B sales in her company: the Clémence dress, so. ❤)

EDIT: I wrote this article over several days, and that’s it, I understood! The mistake came from my drafting job: by lowering the middle front waist seam, I didn’t check that the top of the skirt would fit perfectly at the bottom of the bodice, and it was missing 1cm on the middle of the front skirt ! AH, believe me, I was tortured by this thing for days and I finally feel liberated! Not necessarily more comfortable in the dress but at least, I will check my seams better in the future. “I never lose: I either win or learn”, right? 😉

Nice week girls, and take care of yourself. ❤

The Eve Dress, Sew Over It

Have you ever banned you from types of clothes like that, for no good reason? Just because in 1995, you had tried a badly cut stuff that had you forever disgusted with a particular shape? Well that’s exactly what I was going through, for years, with wrap dresses.

I still remember this too small wrap skirt, in brown knit fabric, which was really too tight for me. I had bought it, only because it was on sale, and I dragged it for years with my moves, without ever getting rid of it because “you understand, it’s a brand!”. In the end, I gave it to a charity sale, and I’ve been traumatized with wrap dresses since then. I had convinced myself that no dress could ever make the rounds of my SO HUGE hips (sense of measure ^ ^), and so I’ve never thought about sewing this kind of dress, which I found yet so feminine. And then there was Eve.

I resisted for a long time the purchase of the pattern, and then there have been so many nice versions, whether of Bianca or Abi, that I decided to ignore my hesitations and launch myself. At worst, I would learn a lot … at best, I was winning a new dress in my closet. And then I had the perfect fabric in stash: all the conditions were met to get me started. 😉

Having finally found a copy shop in Marseille that prints the A0 formats without charging you a kidney (COREP, 40 Avenue Escadrille Normandie Niemen, 13013 Marseille) (and in addition they are super nice), I opted for the pdf version of Eve, and was quite disappointed to realize, by downloading the files, that the pattern materialized under 3 files A0. A 3 € 40 printing a file A0, if you add the price of the pdf, I could just as well buy the paper pattern directly. I know from now on that it’s better to check upstream in how many files A0 the pdf pattern is coming. (when the option is proposed) (not because sticking more than 25 pages, you forget me, it’s unbearable.: D)

I scrupulously followed the table of mensurations thinking about checking the measurements of the finished garment, and therefore opted for a size 10 on the bodice, which flares on a waist 12 at the hips. Having only 2m of this crepe (bought at Bennytex), I needed to reduce the skirts of 9cms. Thus, all my parts fit on my lay plan, while respecting the straight grain and the sense of the pattern.

The sewing of the dress starts with the bodice. It’s when this one is fully sewn that the neckline, cut in the bias, is stabilized by a cotton stay tape. I add my skirt, quickly perform a first fitting before going to finishes … and discover the extent of the damage.


The neckline has totally stretched, despite the cotton stay tape. It’s a CARNAGE. I could have thrown the dress in the trash, but I had sewed French seams everywhere, I loved this fabric … no, no there must be a solution. And that’s when I remembered the Nissa dress.

(Seriously, you imagine such a meticulous job ending up in the trash? NO WAY!)

When I found myself face to face with this distended neckline, I had called my drafting teacher in panic who had advised me, at this time, to undo and iron it, which, may be, would allow it to recover its original shape. And that if necessary, I could always try to reduce the extra by laying a piece of clear elastic. If for the dress Nissa, the iron was enough, here there was more than 6cms to resorb … the elastic was imposing.

I then measured my neckline, determined the extra, cut a piece of clear elastic of the desired length, and I laid it, as when you want to gather with a rubber band: by gently stretching it during sewing, with a zig zag point. And the miracle was!

Without joking girls (guys?), it was a close call. I didn’t expect such a great result. And it’s by seeing how the skirts cut in the bias have also stretched themselves, that I understood that my fabric didn’t have the least stability.

Impressive right ?

So I had to redraw the hem with my skirt rounder, and I decided to reduce the length of the dress a little: you know me, I love them above the knee. In all and for all, I shortened the skirts of 16cms (9 during the cutting, and 7 during the hem takeover.)



According to the indications, a hole at the waist is left to pass the link. As my dress was fully sewn in French seams, and as Sew la Jupe, I preferred to sew a buttonhole to replace the hole.


And I sewed a snap to keep the décolleté in place.

Verdict: if we omit the extra of fabric that I discovered in the photos, at the side seams of the bodice, which make a slight blousing of the waist and probably arise from the distension of the fabric, I really like this dress. I find it flattering and feminine. What is amazing is its comfort, which I didn’t expect at all! Add to that the lightness of the crepe, I really feel like leaving my home in a nightie! 😀 I could probably tell you more after a few months of “use”, but right now I am “reassured” of the result: I had the impression, throughout the project, to go dark right in the wall. So to see such a denouement, honestly, it is a real relief! 😀 And if I ever have to redo this pattern, I will probably opt for a more stable fabric, like a cotton batiste.

I wish you all a great week, and take care of yourself! ❤

Scraptastic ! #10

More than two months without some scraptastic sewing here, it’s a record! It must be said that as children grow up, the possibility of creating something for them from my scraps is becoming increasingly scarce. Today you will read a jumble post, with scraps, dedicated coupons, quite a lot of projects … and pictures. A lot of pictures. (I had warned you: D)

So let’s start chronologically with the Juliette dress scraps : I had made up my mind to cut a dress, thinking of this one, already sewn twice:

We are facing the dress 639 out of the 2012 Burda Special Edition for Children (37H), which has the great advantage of requiring very little fabric for the bodice. The version of last summer still fitting her, I go on size 104, finding two small rectangles for the skirts. Nothing to gather, but it doesn’t matter, I thought, the dress will be straight and not flared, it will be ok ! And it was when Juliette decided to wear it that I understood … why there was not a sheath dress in the children’s department stores.


The poor little one could barely walk in this dress far too close to her body, and I had to find a quick solution, so that she would not be too disappointed. The back was completely finished…even the buttons had been sewn. What if I turned the dress into a top, could it work?

And it did! Thanks God I’ve put this right !

Note that it would have been a shame to put all this in the trash. On a short, she enjoyed wearing it, especially during our Italian holidays. Let’s skip to the Diana dress scraps ?

And yes, because no exploitable scrap either of the Donna dress, nor of the Catherine dress, both fitted perfectly on my lay plan. From the Sandrine dress there must be something for me to make a small pouch. Which brings us to my last dress, in yellow cotton knit.

I remember, pregnant of Tom I only wanted yellow. His nursery was dotted with this hue, from the walls to the bedding. I rushed on the slightest pajamas of this color … as if I felt, intuitively, that my baby would have a luminous and warm complexion, with beautiful freckles as he would grow up. Then of course, I NEED to sew something for him in this beautiful knit. And the Ikatee Marcel t-shirt was perfect for it!

This pattern is a real Swiss knife because it has many options, on a large size panel. And its version with the cut is perfect to skim the scraps !

Here you see it in size 8, shortened by 1,5cm on the hem. (I told you why I shortened it?) (It was not voluntary eh.) (I cut the back piece on the wrong fold.) (Basically I positioned the fold on the sides, and the sides on the fold.) (Yeah, yeah.) (So I cut again my piece by removing 1,5cm to catch the bottom of the armholes) (When you need nothing, call me, I’m here for that. )

WELL, if you omit my legendary blunders, this pattern is an excellent basic for little boys. Only downside: the neckline is very narrow. Here I had to enlarge it by 1cm.

You are still here ? We move on?

We don’t speak about any scrap here, but a fabric that totally fancied Juliet this summer, during a trip to the Plaine Market. A beautiful cotton knit, dotted with hearts, in which she immediately saw a nightgown. A few days later, she submitted to me, very seriously, her order.


(Yes, I get paid in sweet words.)

She wanted something very ample and very long. I immediately thought about this nightgown, the M one, published in “Fait Main” magazine of August 2011.

No difficulty here: two shoulder seams, one band at the neckline, you sew the sleeves, then sew them with the sides, 4 hems with double needle, and you get a very happy baby girl. ❤

I mixed the size 4 for the width, and the size 6 for the length, by digging the neck of 0.75cm.


It goes without saying that Juliette is crazy about it, and now understood the whole interest of accompanying me to every fabric shopping trips. 😉 (even her brothers want to come now.: D)

Last but not least, we finish with what seems to become a september ritual : the school overall !

It’s Juliette this year who needed an overall for manual work: I didn’t think long and chose again this pattern, from Gasparine Creations.

She wanted it PINK : I found in the stash a coupon of cretonne fuchsia, who totally did the job. It was she who chose the color of the snaps and flex, as well as the pretty design of Princess Belle.

You see here the blouse in size 8: I only shortened the sleeves of 5 cms, and the elastics for their hems of 2cms.

Pfiou, we have come to the end! To the survivors of this very long post, I wish you a nice week, and take care of yourself!


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.

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.



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 !

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.

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!

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. ❤

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. 😉

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.

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!

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.

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 ! 😀 )

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. 😀 )

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 !

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