Bonjour Jupe Chardon

And bonjour Autumn! On my recent trip to Ray Stitch in London, I picked up my very first Deer and Doe pattern, the Jupe Chardon - which Google reliably tells me can be translated to 'Thistle Skirt', how lovely! The design of the packaging is just as lovely as it's name, and is probably one of the reasons why I found it so appealing.  

Judging a book by it's cover, 'how shallow!' you say. Well the contents didn't disappoint either. I had a little trawl on Pinterest and saw some lovely summery chambray versions, but as the weather is rapidly turning cold in the North of England, I thought it called for something a bit more autumnal.

I chose a medium-weight brown polyester, that despite photographing terribly (excuse the bad lighting and phone camera) looks like a nice, warm wool. I was tempted by the version that has a bow at the back, but I decided to make the standard skirt with belt loops to wear with my growing collection of jazzy handmade tops. 

Here's a shot of the inverted box pleats from the wrong side. If you ignore all the loose ends and raw edges, it actually looks pretty cool from this side - at least I think so! I made the box pleated skirt from the Great British Sewing Bee book earlier in the year, and the Chardon Skirt is pretty similar, you just sew a 3" vertical seam down into the pleat for that nipped-in waist effect.

As soon as the box pleats were done, the skirt was an absolute whizz to finish off - or at least it would've been had I got the fit right! The waist is already pretty sturdy , you just have to add the interfaced facing and some little belt loops.

I mis-judged the fit (as ever) so i ended up unpicking the zip and reinserting it. To tell the truth, i actually had to do this at least three times before I got the perfect fit with minimal wonkiness - I was definitely having a sloppy day. It's pretty lucky that I'd made it too big rather than too small though. It's also good that I chose a tough fabric that could withstand all that unpicking! 

It was worth the effort though as I love the finished Chardon. It's very wearable and so easy to put together - I was just having an off day with the zip promise! One very big bonus to this pattern is that it has pockets. They were really simple to insert and make a pretty skirt practical too. Of course I had to take a picture with my hand in one of the pockets, just to demonstrate...

The only thing I might do differently with the Chardon would be to make it a little bit longer. I didn't have any bias tape to finish the skirt (as the pattern suggests) so I just did a regular turned up hem, which made it a bit shorter than it should be. I would probably use an invisible zip next time too. Other than that, I'd say it's pretty spot on. Now which Deer and Doe pattern do I try next?

In other (very exciting!) sewing news, I'm starting a pattern drafting and garment construction course next week!  It's an evening course that runs up until the end of the year, so I'll hopefully be posting some bits about my progress throughout. Fingers crossed it goes well!

I made a Mimi!

As promised, here it is: I finally made a Mimi! I actually finished it off last week but I've been quite slow on getting this posted. I was also a bit unsure as to whether I liked the finished blouse at first - it's just SO FEMININE. But then I am female, and I was the one who chose to make the very pretty Love at First Stitch blouse, in a very pretty floral fabric.

I went to the fabric shop with the Mimi in mind, and it just sort of happened. I don't really say no to a very cheap viscose with a decent drape. I gravitated towards the lovely print, and in the week between finishing the blouse and posting about it, I think I've come round to the whole girly-loveliness of it.

If you've made any of Tilly's patterns before then you'll know how great they are, and if you've read my blog before, you'll know how much I go on about them! Well the Mimi is no different. In fact, I found it more useful as a way to exercise and improve certain techniques. It had a few more pattern pieces than I was anticipating, but that's just down to yoke and a few facing pieces. All of these help to create a super neat finish to the blouse.

Speaking of practicing techniques, oooo la laa, just LOOK at my French seams!  What a lovely finish and very easy to do, I think I might try the Frenchies out more often. 

I also got to do my first button holes since secondary school - it's still quite a big deal having a sewing machine with the capability to actually do things! I'd never used a snazzy automatic button hole foot before - I'm sure everyone else has been using them for years. You secure your button in the back and it automatically adjusts to sew a button hole that is the perfect size -MIND BLOWN! I'm glad I did a few practice runs though, as it didn't always get on with my cheapy-cheap viscose. 

Anyway, it all worked out in the end, so taaa daaaa! I have a hand-made button up blouse. All I had to do was put my Dr Martens on and all my gender-related worries were balanced out. 

If I was to make the Mimi again, I'd just make some minor adjustments to the shoulders, which turned out just a bit too wide for me. I cut the size to fit my (rather large bust) without considering what effect this might have on the rest of the blouse. Not very savvy sewing/sizing there! But now I feel much more confident in approaching other patterns for blouses/shirts. I have a vintage shirt pattern and some Liberty fabric that a friend bought me for my birthday, and I think that might have just jumped up my sewing queue...

Desperately seeking...

... sewing inspiration! I had last week off work with the intention of getting a load of sewing done, but after finishing my third Simple Sew Lottie blouse, I thought I needed a bit of a creative kick up the arse.

Don't get me wrong, I love the pattern and finished blouse is so easy to wear. I did add sleeves this time to bust some scraps from this earlier version I made for a friend. They actually turned out much better than I expected! I thought I was going to have to add cuffs but the almost billowing sleeves work pretty well with the paisley - 70s vibes, and nice and breezy, think its my favourite version yet!

So in other non-Lottie related sewing news, I went to London and got to pay a visit to The Cornershop, a newsagents brimming with hand sewn goods! The whole effort has been lovingly crafted by artist Lucy Sparrow, who was also acting store manager for the duration of The Cornershop's opening in August. Here I am outside (wearing my collared Megan dress!).

I asked Lucy the question that most people probably asked: 'how long did it take you to make everything?' And she replied with SEVEN MONTHS! Now that is dedication, and she was even  making up orders at the (sewn felt) till point - that's right, you can actually buy everything in the shop! 

So here are some shots of the shelves. If you squint, or like me, don't bother wearing the glasses that you're meant to wear, then the products look like they belong in a genuine corner shop.

So feeling suitably inspired by sheer commitment to the sewing lifestyle, I left, craving a bag of cheese and onion crisps - not sure if it was the felt or potato version though. You can find out more about the project and visit the online Cornershop here.

Next up I found myself visiting Raystitch in Angel/Islington where I was absolutely IN MY ELEMENT! It's the stuff that my sewing dreams are made of - so many beautiful Japanese printed fabrics, sewing books, patterns and general sewing paraphernalia. I had a lovely chat about indie sewing patterns and sewing blogs with the assistant, and walked away with two beauties...

Some serious sewing - well muslin making - is on the cards. I've never tried a By Hand London or Dear and Doe pattern before, so I'm really excited - though I could spend all day just looking at them and the beautiful packaging!

First up though, one I've been talking about making for ages. I finally made a start on the Mimi blouse from Love at First Stitch. Will post about the finished garment hopefully very soon!   

Thanks for visiting!

Thanks for visiting!