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...