Sunday, October 17, 2010

When the parisian métro is out of order... the answers, at last!

Do you remember my little game?

In a previous post, I posted some parisian photo taken by hubby when he went home from work walking because the parisian metro was out of order.
The little game was : can you recognize where exactly theses photos have been taken?

Now here come the answers!


Drumroll please!!!


Hubby made this incredible map (see above) for us:
  • On a parisian map,
  • His walking from the last unclosed métro station (Palais Royal) to the next unclosed métro station (Jussieu): do you see the green line?!
  • Each photos in small.

Thanks so much hubby!
Enjoy dear reader!

To be more complete, I let him speak to explain his "balade".

Hello everyone,

First, Pascale cheated a bit, because the first two photos have been swapped...

The first photograph (the second one I took) is the sun setting over Pont Saint-Michel, taken from Petit Pont ("Small bridge", yes that's its name). I did not expect it to be so good, having taken it with my iPhone 3GS.

The second one (the first one I took) is, of course, Notre-Dame de Paris. I thought about all of Pascale's foreign friends and, rather than stepping up to the parvis and taking the usual Notre-Dame snapshot, I chose to took a picture of what parisian passer-bys see from the sidewalk, that is, Notre-Dame partially hidden by trees.

I finally decided to have dinner, and the third photograph has been taken in the restaurant. This place, called Antinea, is an italian restaurant, located Rue Maître Albert. I discovered it a few years ago, totally by accident. There is a famous computer science bookshop in the very same street (Le Monde En Tique), and I just landed in this restaurant one day, after exiting this bookshop. We had lunch or dinner many times there ever since then.

We have not been to this restaurant in a while because, now, they have a wide-screen TV, which totally changes the mood of the place. When the photo was taken, it was still this warm, welcoming, tiny place we cherished for years.

Finally, the fourth photograph has been taken Rue des Ecoles, near Rue Saint Victor, while I was walking to the métro station at night. There definitely is a special atmosphere in this area, and it is always a pleasure to walk there at night when the weather is fine. Even if, as it was the case this time, it is not by choice!

And for those who are interested, it was a small 3-kilometer stroll.

See you there, maybe?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Not enough yardage, back yoke in 2 pieces for a winter coat?!

I picked up this, inspiring, I think, vintage coat pattern from my stash to make my winter coat.
I planned to make this coat from a specific textured wool that have been languishing in my stash for 2 years, or a little more (buying winter fabrics in June-July, or summer fabrics in December, always is a good deal in most Parisian fabric shops ;-).

The fabric has been prewashed (to avoid unexpected shrinking) and the patterns pieces have been ironed flat. I started to play with all of them and no way: I have not enough yardage to make a coat from this fabric!
I can't probably find a little more of this fabric. So, I have two solutions to make the coat from this fabric:
  • Cutting the back yoke in two pieces (with a center back seam) instead of one.
  • Not cutting the sleeve facing on the grain: a bad solution, I think!
The only valid choice is to cut the back yoke in two pieces with a center back seam and to add a piece of muslin to stabilise the back yoke from the inside. It's not very nice to me, but I really want this coat from this fabric.
So, all the pattern pieces has been traced and cut yesterday and trust me there is only few tiny scraps left!

To be continued...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Girly soft wool fabric

Last year, I pick up some soft wool, or perhaps wool blend, fabric from the bargain table.
The wool is soft gray with printed flower on it: shade of blue and green on one fabric and shade of pink on the other one. Theses fabric are for my girl: girly and nice for a little ones.
The fabric has a perfect pattern to make girly dress and skirt: flower everywhere and a border full of flowers and and grass on each side.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Autumn suit: second shirt

Just a photo to show the second shirt for my autumn suit (in pink flower cotton fabric, on the left) done with the matching scarf. I am still unsure about the button choice: white or green again?!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Making a rag doll with a child

How to avoid the little children voice "Mooom, I want a doll with a dress and a pair of pants and a shirt and a bag and her friend, hum friendS, with..." (I let you guess the endless list ;-)
The simple way to avoid this, when the little girl can't understand that I have no time to make all of this, and certainly not in a few minutes, was, I thought, to make a doll and its dress, with the child, to show her how long it can take to complete.
I was wrong of course: my little girl forgot all the work we did and the time we spent, to ask for another doll and all its wardrobe the minute we finished the first one... Poor mother of a little girl.

So, last Spring, I sewed a rag doll and its dress with my little girl. This is our first step.

We chose a simple rag doll from theses two inspiring japanese books (photo above: it's impossible, in this house, to take a photo without at least one little hand on the way).

I tried to explain all the process to the child:
  • Tracing and cutting the doll pattern pieces from the book.
  • Tracing and cutting the fabric pieces.
  • Assembling all the parts in a given order.
  • Finishing the dolls: embroider the eyes and the mouth, stuff the doll and make the doll's hair.
  • Repeating the whole process for each doll garment we planned to do.
After four sewing sessions, we ended up with this rag doll (first photo of this post).
Next step next time!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Autumn suit again

Do you remember my Autumn suit?
I said I will choose basic pants to complete this suit.
Yesterday evening, I suddenly realized that neither the shirt nor the jacket have pockets! A mother of growing kids always needs pockets to store (sometimes to hide ;-) a wide range of small things: keys, coins, tissues, toy cars or dolls, pebbles and other treasures!

I absolutely need pockets:
  • I can hardly have pockets in the shirt or the top
  • Neither in the optional buttoned scarf.
  • Patch pockets would completely destroy the look of the jacket.
  • Internal hidden pockets in the jacket can be a solution, but I would have to modify the jacket pattern and I want this suit as quickly as possible.
  • Select a pants pattern with pockets seems to be the simplest solution.

Project status as of today:
  • I wore the shirt another day and the fit suits my needs as a stay at home mother with young children. So, I decided to make the second shirt and the jacket right from the patterns without any alterations.
  • I cut the second shirt and matching scarf in pink flower cotton: they are ready to be sewed now.
  • I cut the jacket lining.
  • I have to cut the jacket and sew it.
  • I have to select a pants pattern with pockets, but in a basic style to complete the suit, and make it.

To be continued, soon I hope...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Summer Burda shirt

Last Summer I used a Burda pattern (pattern 102 from the April 2010 issue of the magazine, photo above is from the Burda website) to make some summer shirts.
I had in mind something French Chic in white with some navy-blue accent: very Deauville (a well known french seaside resort since 1850).

I made the shirt in white cotton and I used a navy blue with white dot cotton fabric for the flaps holding the kimono sleeves.
For the Chic-white-with-a-navy-accent I had in mind, I chose four-hole white buttons for the flaps and I sewed them with a navy thread making a cross (photo above).
To close the shirt, I wanted four-hole navy blue buttons sewed with a white thread cross. I intended to wear this shirt with navy blue pants and white flat ballet shoes to finalize the Chic Deauville look.

Unfortunately, my local retailer does not have much of a choice for buttons in early Summer. She sold me navy-blue ball buttons instead of four-hole ones. I knew I should have said no, but I needed the shirt in time for Summer holidays.
And the result rather looks waitron (first photo below) or naval officer (second photo below) than Chic.

I am happy with this shirt, it's a nice pattern, the fit is perfect, maybe a bit too long (I will reduce the length if I do this pattern again).
But I feel a bit disappointed and I can't get this bad button choice out of my head. I think I will change the buttons before next Summer, even if I have to redo the buttonhole by hand.
To conclude: in sewing never let the flow change your mind, even about details, when you have planned something carefully!

To be continued before next Summer, hopefully...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Last sunny Sunday?!

Last Sunday we enjoyed a very sunny day. Probably the last one for some weeks: the weather has turned to rain now. Not cold yet, but rainy.
Even though we were all tired, and we all had a early Autumn cold, we decided to enjoy the sun and went for a walk in Paris.

Our first stop was at Jardin du Palais Royal. Ever since I first saw them, when they were installed about a quarter of century ago, I always loved the Buren's columns: all the children enjoy running around and climbing on them, and my two ones make no exception.

Daddy's help is welcome for some of them... By the way, look more carefully at this photo: if you notice the curtains of the building behind, you will understand where the artist get the idea for the black and white stripes for his columns.

Then we walked to a café, to have lunch, and we came back home for a late afternoon nap.
On the way, DH took this awful photo (above), that shows part of one of the most famous urbanistic curiosities of Paris: Louvre, Obélisque de la Concorde, Arc de Triomphe and Grande Arche de la Défense are all on a single line. Around the 10th of May, and on late August, the sun sets on this exact line (link is in French, sorry, but the photo is stunning).

We also made a stop at Pont des Arts (because my last one ask for some mum-milk, see below), where DH also took the first photo of this post: the Seine and a microscopic Eiffel Tower on the left.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A beginner's mistake: "I am green!"

To continue with my Autumn suit, I decided to make a muslin for the shirt. The pattern size is 32inch bust. I am a bit larger than that, but it's pretty close to my measurements when I am not breastfeeding a baby, as I currently do.

I chose a light inexpensive cotton to sew, I expected a wearable muslin.
I took some measurements and made the shirt right from the pattern without any modification or alteration. The photo above show you the result.

DH said I should stop breathing in the future and it will be OK!!! I disagree: it's close fitting and the bust dart is too high but I think it's OK. I will add a snap button at the waist to prevent graping in this area.
I will wear this shirt monday all day long to see if it fits really nicely or if it's too close fitting for a stay-at-home mother with a baby and a child to take care of.

But what about the beginner's mistake?
Did you notice the green cotton biais at the top of the collar?
The shirt was lined, I forgot the lining and added a piece at the back of the collar. But being interrupted one hundred times by the children during my sewing process, I "simply" sewed the collar to the facing on the wrong side rather than sewing them together on the right side. The perfect beginner's mistake! I noticed this mistake at the end of the process, when it was too late to simply unsew it. To correct this I trimmed the excess, turned it on the wrong side and handsewed a cotton biais at the top to have a wearable shirt.
In French, when you are very angry about something, you can say: "Je suis verte !" (I am green ;-) It would note be appropriate to use it in a letter to your grandmother, but you can say it to relatives.
I was so angry about this beginner's mistake that I chose a green cotton biais and matching green buttons to complete the shirt ;-)

Pun not intended: I swear I did not know, while writing this post, that "green" also is a synonymous to "beginner" ("deficient in training, knowledge or experience", says the Webster) Thanks to Hubby for signaling it to me (he is still laughing about it!)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Planning an Autumn suit

Even though I am facing a sewing dilemma, I need new garments for Autumn.

I am a suit person, but right now I am a stay-at-home mother with child and baby. Suits are not the best choice for me, pants and shirts, or tops, are more suitable.

Thinking a bit more:
  • I need something convenient enough for my life as a stay-at-home mother.
  • I need something versatile enough for the parisian autumn weather: cold in the morning, hot in the afternoon, sunny or rainy with a lot of changes during a single day, often windy.
  • I need something versatile enough to pass for a suit, if I need one.
  • I need something chic enough to fill my personal taste ;-)

Having a look at my pattern stash, I picked up this nice vintage suit (photo above). It's a suit, but...:
  • I can sew a basic pant instead of the skirt. I will have a pant, a jacket and 2 or 3 shirts or tops: a perfect versatile ensemble.
  • It's a pant and shirt ensemble with a jacket if the weather call for it.
  • It can make a nice pantsuit if I select the fabrics carefully.
  • It can be chic, no doubt, event though I don't exactly look like the lady on the package ;-)
  • And at last, the jacket has no closure in front: nice for a still breastfeeding mother with bust size changing as the baby sucks or not during the day.
I have a medium-light brown chocolate wool fabric in my stash, perfect for the Autumn atmosphere. I can add some nice cotton prints or a more dressy fabric to make 2 or 3 shirts and scarfs. I am not sure what to use right now.

The photo above shows some flower print cottons. On the left a pink print, on the right perhaps a too light fabric for Autumn, at the bottom an inexpensive yellow and green print and, in the middle, the chocolate wool fabric.

The photo below shows some more dressy silk fabrics,. On the left, an incredible italian silk print (perhaps too large for this use), on the right a burnt silk that needs a lining and, in the middle, the chocolate wool fabric.

To have a ensemble that suits my needs, I will sew:
  • The jacket.
  • A basic pant (I can find it in my pattern stash).
  • 2 shirts and scarfs in cotton or in a more dressy fabric.
  • The top of the dress alone, probably made from the wool fabric, to wear as a top.
To be continued, of course...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The incredible story of hubby's shirt

I planned to sew a men shirt for DH for a (too ;-) long time.

I bought a pattern about one year before we got married, then I bought a sewing machine and ... sewed my own wedding dress. All DH got was a pocket square from my wedding dress fabric.

I cut the smallest size of the shirt pattern, and forgot it for about a year. I bought a shirt fabric, became mad for not finding back my pattern and in the end cut the most part of the shirt, except the left front, don't ask me why!
I tried to sew the shirt, but I never managed to had enough time: I always needed that other little thing so quick to sew. One and another one baby came and they grew up fast, DH is no longer growing so he can wait a little more...

When I tried to assemble the shirt, I wasn't able to find the pattern pieces and I didn't mark anything on the fabric pieces I had cut so long ago...
The collar appears to run too short for DH. The pattern has already been cut and I was unable to find most of the pattern pieces. By then, the pattern was out of print, and, once gain, I left this project sleeping for a while.
On a lucky day, I found this pattern on the internet in the perfect size for DH.
I cut the pattern in the biggest size this time (probably too much for DH, but who knows). I marked all the pieces of the pattern on a large leftover from my vintage shirt, except the left front: there was not enough fabric left for DH shirt! I never thought of this before choosing the fabric: DH is taller than me, what a surprise! ;-)

I picked up a soft yellow cotton fabric and a white and blue stripes cotton-linen blend fabric from my stash. DH chose the soft yellow cotton and left the white and blue stripes for me (I will show you what I made of it in a further post).
I was lucky enough to find matching soft yellow button from my grandmother stash.
Six months later the shirt was completed and DH was happy to wear it.

The verdict is : it runs too large everywhere, see photo above (DH is not drinking white wine, he is just holding my glass while I was taking the picture, at my sister-in-law's new house party).

Now I have to make another try, this time one size smaller.
To be continued, no doubt, but this project can run for months or years...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A cloudy Sunday afternoon

It was a cloudy day last Sunday. The children where playing with dolls, toy cars and other indoor games. Suddenly DD informs us that she DOES NEED some goodies for her doll: a washing machine and some clothes. DH and I decided to do something for her. The following photos show our efforts and the final results: please don't laugh... too much ;-)

Father and daughter assembling the doll washing machine: made of cardboard.

French lingerie on japanese doll ;-)

The cardboard washing machine completed.

A spring summer outfit: tunic and wrap skirt.

All the set made during the afternoon.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Breastfeeding: a sewing dilemma

Breastfeeding a growing baby causes a sewing dilemma. Let me explain a little bit more.

The facts:
  • My tiny baby has grown into a two-year-old little boy, with an already strong personality.
  • I still breastfeed him and I will probably continue for one year, maybe less, but not much more.
  • My full-breastfeeding bust will return to normality in about one year.
  • I have some so nice suit, blouse, dress (the list has no limit ;-) patterns to use.
  • I have some perfect fashion fabrics to cut into a so nice suit, blouse, dress, and so on.
  • Should I cut into my so perfect fabric to sew this so nice suit, blouse, dress, just for a few months of use before my body changes again?
  • Should I wait a little (possibly much longer)?

The photo above has been taken in an incredible garden: the botanical garden ("Orto Botanico") in Roma (Italy), where we went on vacation last July.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

DH black jeans rescue

In the sewing world, we often talk about these special-occasion outfits we are so proud of, and that we wear only once or twice. It is far less often that we talk about all the other outfits we made, and we almost never talk about all that we have to repair or rescue.

Today I will share a little repair/rescue story.

My husband is hard with his clothes and especially with his pants.
Look at this poor RTW black jean (photo above):
  • I hemmed it when DH bought it. After a lot of walking, the friction on the top of the shoes torn the fabric.
  • The too thin fabric for the pocket lining has too much torn, and has already been fixed with pieces so many times.
  • The heavy fabric on the inside of the waist shows some signs of wearing out.
DH love these pants, they fit him well and the fabric itself is still in good condition: it's time for some repair or a complete rescue!

I bought some of that little cotton ribon that French name "talonnette", I have no no clue about its name in English. I sewed it in place at the hem.
I unsewed some heavy cotton waist lining and pocket from on of DH's reformed summer light pair of jeans.
I resewed the waist and pocket in place, after cutting the old ones.
but I have done nothing yet for the back pockets and the inside of the waist.

Now that loved pair of jeans will start a new life and some months, perhaps years ;-) of use.
And DH will be happy.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A parisian promenade

I am back in Paris. Last week-end we simply took a stroll after the afternoon nap of my last one. Here are just some photos to share, no captions with them tonight.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I am back

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Chat à zépingles : a sewing story

Today I want introduce "chat à zépingles" : this funny cat pin cushion is something I hinerited from my grandmother.

I allays saw this funny pin cat on my grand mother sewing table. I use to use it when I start sewing and I never stop to use it.

I am not sure who made it: my grandmother said it was my aunt and my mother said she made it. My grandmother and my aunt are gone for a long time now: who made it will still be a part of the mystery!
I am only sure, it was made in the 40's from my mother's winterdress: she was a child and she had grown the dress run too small for her...

It's not a very usefull pincushion, but it's mine and a part a my personal sewing story! In fact, I am not sure I can sew without it...
My children adopted it with the great fear of my husband ;-)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

When the parisian métro is out of order...

A few weeks ago, the parisian métro was not working well.
Stuck and unable to go home, my husband decided to take a walk in Paris...

Since the métro status was not improving, Hubby decided to have dinner.

I thank him for those so parisian photos.

I propose you a little game: can you recognise where excatly theses photos has been taken? I will give you the answer next week.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Update about the coat for my husband

Huby asked for a coat. I showed you my first try some weeks ago.

I enlarged the Burda pattern by extrapoling the larger sizes from the smalers ones on the multisize pattern. Today, I assembled an half muslin and pined it on my husband T-shirt (with my husband in the T-shirt... he complained a lot and was affraid by those so small pins ;-)

But I am not pleased at all with the fitting result (see photos above):
  • There is something wrong on the shoulder area (those sleeves construction are evil) perhaps it's only too large.
  • It's too small on the belly area but I will let the side seams out a little, as Debra Martin suggest me and I guess this will solve the fitting problem of this area.
  • the sleeves and the coat are a little too long but this is not really difficult to solve.

Looking carefully at the photos I decide to make another try.

The half muslin is two size larger than my first try: it seemes to be too much. In fact, according to my husband chest measurment one size larger will fit better on this shoulder and chest area.
I will measure my husband tomorrow to have his exact measurements for waist, nape to waist and sleeves lenght. With theses measurements I will try to make a better muslin for the next try.
A complete muslin is more time consuming to do than an half one, but it's easier to try for fit. And too much pins terrify my DH ;-)

To be continued...
Any advices or comments are welcome of course!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Trying to draw sewing patterns...

Remember my previous post about my daughter's birthday present: dolls and their wardrobe.
I plan to give a try in drawing sewing patterns.This project give me the opportunity to do it without using to much fabric and paper!

I use this video about draping a blouse block pattern as a strating point.
Off course, the doll isn't pinable, so I use tape instead of pins. Due to the small scale doll, I use kitchen paper instead of muslin fabric.
The photos above show you my first test on the doll. I simplify the pattern: only one dart in the front, one in the back and one on the shoulder front.

I remove the tape and the kitchen paper from the doll. I copy the resulting half front and half back pattern on paper. Then I use tape again to try it on the doll. Some photos above show you all of the process.

Then I check the fitting problem : the darts are too short on the shoulder front and the pattern is too long on the back.

Now I have to follow the same process for the sleeves, the skirt and the pants. After that, I will have to use slide and pivot technique to draw the patterns...

More important to me. What I have learn from this little try:
  • Draping techniques are no so complex but need correct tools to be done: pinable dressform isn't an option!
  • Using doll size is nice, but this doll is too tiny to really make a good try.
  • I don't really need to follow all the process to draw simple tiny doll patterns: draping kitchen papper is OK for me.

To be continued...
  • for my DD birthday present.
  • for another try with a larger doll: I guess my doll from Japan will be a nice compromise.
  • for drawing sewing patterns that fit for me, huby, DD.