Retired Blog

This is not a big surprise considering the lack of updates last year.

I’m too busy with Sacôtin, Pop Couture, my “office” job and the rest of life to have time to properly take care of Couture Stuff. So Couture Stuff is officially retired!

If you wish to keep following my adventures, I can only encourage you to register for the Sacôtin newsletter : here. You will also find tutorials and some free patterns on

Thank you for these shared years here and your comments!

See you soon, at Sacôtin’s,


Round summer bag… with mustache

I treated myself to his round summer bag, sewn from the Sacôtin “Candy radiating bag pattern”. A pattern I created. I already sew a few of these but I want to preserve them as “archives” for my little business. So I needed a Candy bag to wear proudly this summer.

The pattern

Candy the radiating bag pattern from Sacôtin. A round summer bag with a radiating effect on the front. And because I like fun design details, the rays on the front create 4 pockets !

This pattern is ideal to have fun and get creative with fabric choice and placement by combining 2-3 or 4 different fabrics.

I rated this pattern “intermediate”, not because of technical difficulties but because of the preciseness needed. A motivated beginner will be able to sew it.


I added 2 pockets in the lining : a patch pocket and a zippered pocket.

I’ve also written the tutorials to show you how to create these pockets for the Candy bag pattern. Tutorials can be found on the Sacôtin website :

Add a mobile phone pocket tutorial

Add a zippered pocket tutorial


  • Cream cotton canvas
  • Salmon pink cotton/linen blend
  • “Terra in black” by P & B Textiles
  • “Mustache” by Alexander Henry

I really wanted to use the great mustache print by Alexander Henry in a bag and I though this pattern would be perfect for it because the rays would echo a mustache shape (kind of).

I also fell for the “Terra” collection by P & B Textiles. They are printed cottons, available in a wide range of colors, and the print give a very nice  illusion of texture to the fabric.

Bag pictures

Patron sac été rond

Candy with mustache

Moustaches in the trees

Mustaches in the trees

Poche intérieure zippée

Zippered pocket

Poche intérieure zippée

Zippered pocket

Poche plaquée pour portable

Patch pocket

What else ?

I’m slowly “recovering” from the stress of launching of my bag patterns line.  I shivered the all morning of the launch. Everything went fine but I was really nervous about showing my baby to the world.

Thank you for warmly welcoming the patterns. Your first feedbacks on sewing the bags really did help me get my stress level down :)

New French bag sewing patterns

This is a big day for me! Today I’m officially launching Sacôtin, my line of bag sewing patterns.

You can now discover the 4 patterns I’ve created for the spring-summer 2013 collection. These pdf patterns are available in French and English.

Le logo Sacôtin

The adventure

I announced my project 3 months ago on my French blog and I want to thank all of you for your support through this blog (French or English version), the Facebook page and your subscriptions to the Sacôtin newsletter.

And a very special thank you to Maria (Velosewer) who proofread the English instructions, you are a blessing !

I also announced that I would offer 4 patterns on launch day so that’s today! To find out who the winners  are visit the Blogôtin (Sacôtin’s blog).

The patterns

Since February I have worked continuously to create the whole structure of my small business and the first 4 patterns.

I’ve created bags that I love and I paid particular attention to the instructions that I wanted detailed, clear and illustrated. I wrote the instructions just as I would like to read them myself as a client.

Here are pictures of the 4 patterns, for more information please visit!

Cloé patron de sac réversible - Niveau Débutant

Cloé reversible bag pattern – Beginner level

Candy patron de sac rayonnant - Niveau Débutant avancé

Candy radiating bag pattern – Advanced beginner level

Alex patron de sac besace mixte en 2 versions - Niveau Débutant & Intermédiaire

Alex messenger bag pattern in 2 versions – Beginner & Intermediate levels

Annie patron de petit sac organisé - Niveau Avancé

Annie the small organized bag pattern – Advanced level

I hope you like them !

Ghastly Family zippered pouch

I finally took some time to sew this zippered pouch that I wanted to offer to my friend Isabelle… For Christmas … Hum no, not the next Christmas, the one that went by 5 months ago!

I took advantage of the “calm before the storm” because in two days, Wednesday 15th I’m launching my first collection of bag sewing patterns (in French and English) under the name Sacôtin.

So here Isabelle, you see, your present has finally been sewn! Now I just have to offer it to you without crying because I want to keep it for myself!

This small flat zippered and lined pouch has a simple shape, its strange charm comes undoubtedly from the fabric… Which has a strange charm. But which fabric is that, you ask? It is “Ghastly family reunion” in mold green by Alexander Henry.

Every scenes printed representing this ghastly family is great and you’ll get to see more of the Ghastly family on my blog because I intend to sew a bag, a pillow, undies… with it and all for myself.

I’m leaving you with the pictures, I’m going back to work to polish the final details for the launch of Sacôtin (I’m stressed out but I’m happy).

Pictures !

pochette zippée

Ghastly family pouch – Front

Pochette ouverte

Ghastly family pouch opened

Pochette zippée ghastly family dos

Ghastly family pouch – Back


1950 free sewing book : how to make gloves

Many knew the wonderful website that was  Unfortunately the website has been down since 2011.

Nobody seems to really know what happened to and I thought it would be a shame if all their wonderful and hard work was lost forever. That’s why I’ve decided to republish it online under the same Creative Commons licence.

I saved pretty much all the texts and pictures from on my home computer back in 2011 and today I’m sharing one of their work unaltered.



How to Make Gloves


Eunice Close


How to make gloves

How to make gloves

Read the book

You can access the table of content and every chapter of the book from this page : How to make Gloves by Eunice Close 

More ?

I’ll be adding some more books from their work, when I get the time. As some of you know, I’m pretty busy right now launching my little bag patterns company : Sacôtin. The boutique will open next week : May the 15th to be exact (you still have time to try and win a bag pattern by the way).

The next book I’m thinking of adding is “Modern Pattern Design” by Harriet Pepin (1942). Because it’s a pretty large book and re-publishing it takes time, I’ll probably publish one chapter at the time.

Do let me know if you’d rather have me put another book online first, as written above I have pretty much all their work saved on my computer.

Win 4 bag patterns

A short message to update you on my progress in the Sacôtin adventure, to announce the launch date and perhaps give you a chance to win bag patterns… Sacôtin bag patterns of course 😉

For those who do not know, for the last 2 months and a half I’ve been on a part-time entrepreneurship to create Sacôtin: a line of bag e-patterns. More details HERE.

Previously on Sacôtin

The 4 patterns are done and the last one is being tested right now.
I’ve already sewn the final bags for the first 3 patterns, those will be the ones pictured on the website.

About the patterns, I can tell you that :

  • The 4 spring-summer bag patterns levels range from beginner to advanced.
  • The instructions are on average 12 pages (without the pattern itself of course) and they are illustrated.
  • According to the testers, the instructions are (quoting) ” clearer than in books.” That was a huge relief to hear!
  • The patterns are real/full size.

Next on Sacôtin:

Aka “to do list” :

  • Sew the last pattern for the photo shoot
  • Take pictures of the bags !
  • Finish the instructions layout
  • Translate all instructions into english
  • Create and translate the website
  • Too many things I’ve already forgotten :/

Oh and I should not forget to go to my work-office and spend time with my daughter ! I’ve been working 7 days a week for the last 2.5 months and I haven’t been able to spend as much time as I’d like with her :/ . Hang on sweetie, it will get better soon, I promise!

Wednesday May 15th, 2013

That’s the date to mark on your calendars : Sacôtin is launching Wednesday, May 15th, 2013.

Win 4 Sacôtin bag patterns

To thank those who encourage me in my progress through their subscriptions to the Sacôtin Newsletter or by becoming a fan of the facebook page, I will draw, on launch day, 2 people among Newsletter subscribers AND 2 persons among the Facebook “fans” and these 4 people will receive the bag e-pattern of their choice among the four that will be available in May.

If you are registered on both, you’ll have twice as much chance of winning.

Here are the links to participate in the draw :

Your turn to play !

♥ Le logo Sacôtin ♥

♥ Le logo Sacôtin ♥

Vintage toy sewing machine

Each time I’ve been passing by my Kay-ee Sew Master (toy sewing machine from the 40’s), for the last 9 months,  I’ve been thinking : “I really need to take photos of it for the blog, it’s just too cute”. Well I finally took the time to do it, because it’s worth it … It is pink!

It was a birthday present… From last year. My buddy Ben found it in an antiques shop in Rochester (MN) and brought it back to France for me. Knowing that this Kay-ee was made ​​in Germany in the 40’s post WWII, on the west side of the Iron Curtain, this little machine has crossed the Atlantic twice.

These little toy sewing machines were manufactured in Germany but on behalf of an American company (KAY-an-EE Corp. of America, New York) and sold in the U.S.,  and they really worked.

Later electric versions were manufactured. This one is mechanical. It still has its needle, the foot can be raised and lowered, the wheel turns, and the feed dogs move. There’s even a tension disc. Yes, this toy sewing machine really works. It produces a single chain stitch (no bobbin is used) and I’ve posted a photo of the threaded machine and of the stitching below. Alas the presser foot doesn’t maintain the fabric enough to sew straight ^ ^.

Without further ado, here are the pictures

Kay-ee sew master pink

Kay-ee sew master

Dos : on voit le levier du pied presseur

Back : view of the presser foot lever

Pied presseur et griffes d'entrainement.

Presser foot and feed dogs.

Machine à coudre vintage


Kay-ee sew master

Engraved plaque : “Berlin – Made in Germany – US zone”

Machine enfilée !

Threaded machine !

Point de chainette kay-ee endroit

Stitching : right side

Point de chainette : envers

Stitching : wrong side (single chain stitch)

Taille comparée à ma Janome

Size comparison

Dans sa boîte !

In its wooden case


She is cute, isn’t she ?

Easy sling bag tutorial

Here is an easy tutorial for making a sling bag like the one pictured below.

This bag is worn across the body or as a regular shoulder bag. You can see other pictures of the bag here.

This is an easy sewing project, perfect for beginners or for those who want a quick and easy bag to make.

What I like about basic simple patterns, like this one, is that you can easily customize them and make them your own. On the bag I used to make this tutorial, I simply sewed an appliqué on the front of the bag and added a small pocket inside.

I’ve posted this tutorial on my French blog 2 years ago and I though it was about time I translated it to English.

easy Sling bag tutorial

easy Sling bag tutorial

Sling bag worn

Sling bag worn by “Georgette”

 The tutorial provides instructions for a lined bag but for those who want a super fast bag to make I will also provide instructions for an unlined one. Beginners : do not be intimidated by the lined version, it isn’t difficult, just a little longer !

Here is the tutorial with step by step pictures

[box]We need[/box]

[custom_list type=”check“]

  • Main fabric : cotton, linen, canvas,…
  • Lining : cotton
  • Needle size : 90 or 100 (at least for steps 3 and 4)



Here is the pattern that needs to be traced

Seam allowance 1 cm (3/8″) is included

patron sac bandouliere

Sling bag pattern

The body of the bag is to be cut on the fabric folded in half, and the “fold” marking must be aligned on the fabric fold.

[one_half]Main fabric : Cut the body of the bag (corps du sac) twice (front and back) and the strap (bandoulière) once.

pièces sac bandoulière

You should have : 1 front, 1 back and 1 strap


[one_half_last]Lining fabric : Cut the body of the bag (corps du sac) twice.

You should have : 1 front and 1 back.



If you want to add an appliqué or a pocket do it now before assembling the bag !

The seam allowances are 1 cm (=3/8″) (unless otherwise stated).


Step 1 : body of the bag


A- Assemble


Sew along the dotted line



Lay the front on the back, right sides together, stitch the sides and bottom.




seam opened




Press the seams open.



Additional Step for a bag WITHOUT lining

Finish the seams: using a serger, a zigzag stitch or your usual method.

If you make a bag with lining you can skip this step.


B- Add volume




Dos = back – Devant = front



It’s a bit hard to explain but in fact it’s quite simple and easier with pictures.

Bag wrong side out : take one of the bottom corners of the bag to form a triangle so that the bottom seam and the side are aligned and in the center of the triangle. In picture it’s clearer.



Stitch along the white line



Sew at a right angle, along the white line on the picture, 3 cm from the tip.



Wrong side

Right side



Here is what it looks like once a corner is sewn.



Wrong side

Right side



Repeat the step for the other corner.


You can leave the triangles or cut them (you’ll have to finish the edges if you make a bag without lining).


Additional Step for a bag WITHOUT lining

Finish the opening of the bag: by folding the fabric on itself twice or by using a bias tape if you prefer.

Then go straight to step 3 : the strap

If you are making a bag with lining, ignore this additional step.


Step 2 : The lining

A- Assemble


Leave an opening at the bottom of the lining




Proceed in the same way as for the main fabric body see step 1 – A.

Beware : you will need to leave an opening of about 10 to15 cm (4″ to 6″) in order to turn the bag in step 2 – C.



B- Add volume

Proceed in the same way as for the main fabric body see step 1 – B.


C- Assemble the lining to the bag


assembler sac et doublure

Pin together the bag opening and lining opening



Insert the bag into its lining right sides together. Align the side seams of the bag and the lining and pin the openings together.



Stitch all around the opening



Stitch all around the opening.



Tirer le sac par l'ouverture de la doublure

Pull the bag through the opening left in the lining


Continue pulling until the bag is completely out



Gently pull the bag out of the lining through the opening left in Step 2 – A




Stitch the opening closed



Close the opening  by folding the seam allowances inside and stitching across.



Topstitch all around the opening of the bag



Put the lining inside the bag.

Press the opening.

Topstitch 1 cm (=3/8″) from the edge.

Sewing trick : if your main fabric and lining fabric are different colors, you can use a thread matching the fabric for the spool and a thread matching the lining for the bobbin (like I did for my bag).


Step 3 : The strap

You must wonder about my sanity, because the piece of fabric you cut for the strap is pretty large. Let me reassure you : I’m perfectly  mostly sane, in the end the strap will  be smaller and also, because of the several layers, more comfortable!


A- Fold the strip in two, right sides and long edges together.

The strip is now 9 cm wide and 105cm long.


sew, leaving a short edge open



Sew around the long opened edge and one of the small edge, leaving the other short edge open.


B- Turn the strap right side out. Press.


Turn right side out and close the opening



Fold the seam allowance on the opened edge and stitch closed. Iron the strap.


C- Fold the strap in half again.

It’s  now 4cm by 103cm.


Stitch along the lines



Topstitch the two long sides starting and stopping 15cm (=6″) from the short edges.


Step 4 : Attach the strap to the bag


Pin the strap to the bag



Pin the ends of the strap on the outside of the bag, aligning the side seams of the bag with the middle of the strap. Overlap by 2 cm (=3/4″)  (or more if the strap is a bit too long).



Stitch as shown



Attach the strap by topstitching a rectangle and two diagonals (see image)


And voilà your sling bag is done !

Sac bandoulière tête de mort

Sling bag

Now that you know how to make a basic sling bag, you can vary the size, change the shape of the opening… Happy sewing!

Sacôtin : bag patterns

Sacôtin is my new adventure, and as the title very subtly hints at, Sacôtin will be about bag patterns.

I haven’t talked about this project on my English blog yet, but I did talk about it a bit more on my French blog. So to keep the English readers up to date, let’s roll back to a few weeks ago.Sacôtin

On February 1st 2013 I’ve started a part-time scheduled at the office in which I’ve been working for the last 10 years. You see, in France, when you’ve been working for the same company for some time, you can ask for a leave of absence or a part-time schedule for the duration of one year, to start your own company. After the one year is up you can either say goodbye to your employer or go back to your full time schedule. Of course your employer can refuse the deal… Mine said yes.

So since February 1st I’ve been very busy pattern making, pattern testing (aka sewing bags), writing instructions and drawing illustrations… And going to my “regular” work.

Why bag patterns ?

Because I love bags, I have more bags than shoes and that says something !

Because they are the sewing projects that give me the most satisfaction. When you sew a bag there is only the pleasure of choosing fabrics, sewing and carrying it around proudly. There is no fitting problem, no gaping neckline, no FBA (although I do love conquering fittings foes).

Bag e-patterns

The patterns will be available as downloadable PDFs only.
They will be automatically delivered by e-mail a few seconds after buying.

Patterns will be available in French and in English.


Launch in May

The first patterns will be available in May. It will be a collection of 3-4 summer bag patterns.

Then I think, that starting in September, I’ll release a pattern every month – month and a half. It is not yet set in stone, but it seems a more dynamic and fluid option to me than releasing 3 patterns 2 to 3 times per year.


I’ve created two patterns. They have been tested, instructions and illustrations are ready, I still need to do the final layout for the PDF… And translate them to English.

I’m currently writing and illustrating the instructions of the 3rd pattern, then it will be tested by other seamstresses. The instructions and illustrations part is what takes me the most time : I pay special attention that everything is perfectly clear and easy to understand, and that takes time.

And well, you guessed it, the patterns are only the visible part of the iceberg, I have the website to set up, translations, paperwork,… The road is still long, but I’m on my way, one step at the time.



I’ve created the Sacôtin Facebook page, where I’ll publish my progress, my joys and torments from day to day. Once on the Facebook page, just click “Like” to follow it all.

I also set up a newsletter that I’ll use to announce the official launch, so if you want to be informed on D-day, register now !

That’s it I have unveiled (almost) everything about my project!

Fabrics from India

A few months ago I had the pleasure of visiting a friend in India and in addition to the expected fabric buying frenzy, this trip was a feast for the eyes.

If you’re like me, one of the clichés that comes to your mind when you hear “India” is a multitude of colorful fabrics. It is a cliché for a very good reason : Sarees and Shalwar kameez of all colors brighten up the streets of polluted major cities and small villages alike.

Hand block printed fabric

During a trip to Jaipur, a city renowned for its hand-printed fabrics, I had the chance to see craftsmen in action. Here are some pictures :

Hand printed fabric jaipur

You can see, at the top of the picture, the tray that contains the golden paint.

hand block printed indian fabric

The artisan dips his block in the tray and press it onto the fabric in order to print the pattern.

indian printed fabric

After a first pass with the golden paint and a stamp block, they do a second one over it with another block and a different color to complete the pattern.

india fabric jaipur

Printed fabrics hung out to dry in open air. The white fabric is not paint but the result of a previous dyeing with the “tie and dye” technique.


Buying fabric in India

During my trip to India, I went on a fabric shopping spree. From the outdoor markets to the chic district shops, I bought fabric everywhere ! And came back with 70 meters (over 76 yards) of cotton, crepe, georgette, silk and wool. Yes, I had planned an additional empty suitcase for the return trip from the beginning. 😉
I didn’t buy any saree. I would have never worn them and cutting in these beautiful 6 meters pieces would have made my heart hurt. I hardly bought fabric by the yard either… And now you’re wondering how I managed to bring back 70 meters of Indian fabrics, right?
Well, in India fabric is very commonly (mainly actually) sold in precut bundles to sew Salwar Kameez ensembles.
Indian fabric

some of the Indian fabrics I brought back

This bundles are called “suits”, they include three coordinating fabrics to make a long Indian tunic (kameez), pants (salwar) and a scarf (dupatta). The edges of the scarf are usually finished unless you purchased your “suit” at the market, in which case you may need to finish the edges.

A Salwar Kameez bundle is about 4.5 to 5 meters (5 to 5.5 yards) of fabric (excluding the dupatta).
indian fabric Nalli silk saree

Indian fabric “suit” from Nalli silk sarees

Buying fabric at Indian markets

At markets, and almost everywhere in India, be prepared to bargain. As a tourist,  you’ll most probably be announced a price 2-3 times higher than the regular price. I was in company of  Indian friends so I mostly paid regular prices (150 to 250 rupees for a suit bundle).
I was in India in December and on markets I have seen almost only synthetic fabrics, from average to poor quality. I’ve been told that in summer I would have been able to find some pretty cottons.
Indian market in Delhi

Indian market in Delhi (no it’s not fabric ^^)

Buying fabric at high end shops

In the high end shops (Nalli Silk Sarees, Kilol …) prices are displayed. There are high-quality fabrics (I still drool thinking about the beautiful silks) and prices can get very, very high. You will not find “suit” bundles for less than 500 rupees and expect in most cases a average price of 800 to 2000 rupees per “suit”. And much much more expensive (5000-10000 rupees) if you want very high quality fabric. As a reference, the the wool suits that I bought (very fine quality) were around 2000-2500 rupees.


Red and black Indian fabric  from Nalli Silk Saree

Red and black Indian fabric from a Nalli Silk Sarees shop



Indian fabric from a Kilol shop

Indian fabric from a Kilol shop


So here I am now with my beautiful fabrics. And over a year later I still haven’t made a big dent in my “Indian” stash (that sounds weird !). Just a tiny one ! I need more time to sew… In fact I need more time for everything and I think I’m not the only one !