1 pattern + 1 fabric = 2 dresses

Last weekend I cut and started sewing my coat Origami, I did so well that I found myself stuck on Sunday morning due to the lining missing (ordered it a few weeks ago)… And I could not do anything more without it.

Frustrated at not being able to continue sewing this coat, I decided to sew Petite Chérie a dress, the dress eventually became two dresses.



I wanted to satisfy my urge to sew so I used a dress pattern from Ottobre that I had already traced, the same as for the straight A’s dress. And that way I also celebrated the good news of the weekend: Ottobre magazine will soon be available in French.

Here is the pattern, it has three variations :  “Tropical Blend” from Magazine Ottobre 03/2011.

Patron robe trapèze fille Ottobre

Patron #18 “tropical blend” – Ottobre 03/2011


This is a fabric that Petite Chérie’s aunty Isa gave me two years ago. It’s red with Chinese embroidery. DD chose it in my stock. This is not an ideal fabric for a dress because it is rather stiff but Petite Chérie wanted it, so I used it. It’s a pain to press/steam though… And it shows!

I was going to cut it when my daughter pointed out that the wrong side was “beautiful, too.” It was different from the front : strips of colors with a moire effect and the same embroidery as on the right side except it was in white.

As a result I made two dresses!

  1.      With stripes (wrong side) with a pleated skirt.
  2.      In red (right side of fabric) a simple A-Line version. I attached the pattern piece of the skirt to the pattern piece of the top of the dress to use it as one piece. Well except for the back : I did not have enough fabric to cut everything in one piece so I added the skirt panel separately.

I admit I did it “quick and easy” : a simple green cotton for the facings, no piping at armholes and necklines, and I picked basic buttons in my stash.



Nothing like a pattern already tested, approved AND traced to satisfy an urge of sewing.

You’ll see this pattern again, I have at least 2-3 fabric combinations that I set aside for this pattern. But I think I’ll trace a larger size next time (DD keeps growing ^^).

Monday morning I was happy to find in my mailbox the lining fabric for the coat which means that I will finish it on Sunday! Yay!


So… Since last Saturday it’s rain, rain, rain… The pictures took inside produced weird (and bad) results (see below) so I took advantage of a few minutes of calm weather to take pictures… In the fog!

Petite Chérie is a fan of the red dress and wants to wear it for Christmas … But of course any opportunity is to be seized to wear it  (“Mom, I can put it on to go to Grandma’s?”… She goes to grandma’s every day…).


Pleated version (wrong side of fabric)

red version (right side)

2 dresses in the mist ^^

Chameleon Dress. Pictures indoors, with flash, against a crushed-raspberry-satin wall, don’t work !

Petite Chérie wearing the red dress

It’s time to cut the summer plait, chérie !

Looks like a Chinese tunic here, no ?


Ottobre Design in French !

Rejoice fellow French speaking seamstresses, The sewing magazine Ottobre Design, available till today in  English, German, Dutch, Finnish and Swedish, will now be published in French, starting with their next issue.

Every detail is on the Ottobre Design Blog : Bonjour la France.

This news should rejoice more than one ! Personally I think this magazine is a breath of fresh air for children and women patterns. There are two separate publications: children and women (with women like you and me posing for the magazine!). For an overview of the kind of patterns they offer, check their site (not in French yet).

You can subscribe for the French version now (see link above) or wait to find it on newsstands in January 2013 (for the children issue).

For those like me who are already subscribers in English, it is possible to receive the French version starting with the next issue, information for the transition is also given in the link above.

That’s great news to start the weekend !

Colette Patterns Sale

A quick note to let you know that today, Friday November 23, and today only Colette Patterns offers a 30% discount on its patterns, just like last year for Black Friday. Enjoy it HERE.

Prices shown do not take the discount into account, it will appear and will be automatically calculated at the payment step.

I already have 10 Colette patterns as well as the book “The Colette Sewing Handbook” which contains 5 patterns and is a true goldmine for beginner (or advanced) seamstresses… But I could not resist making a small order for two additional patterns: The “Iris” shorts and the camisole-slip “Cinnamon“.

Iris colette- Version avec boutons

Iris shorts

patron colette caraco

Cinnamon : camisole + slip

I ordered the printable/downloadable versions, which means that I saved the shipping fee (remember… I’m in France!) and the patterns are already in my possession!

FYI : For downloadable versions each pattern costs $12. With the discount it came up to a total of $16.5 (= 13.5€)… Pretty good for two patterns !


Butterick Holiday 2012 – Spring preview

Here is the Holiday 2012 – Spring preview collection from Butterick.

33 patterns with retro looks, maternity, plus sizes, special event dresses for girls patterns and accessories.

To see the collection, you can browse the lookbook at the end of this article.

Here are the patterns I “spotted”.

Retro patterns

Retro dress, 40’s style I think. The pleats at the waist that give definition there and ease at the bust, are the same design element that can be found in the Sencha blouse, from Colette patterns, that I adore.

Patron couture années 40

Retro dress Butterick – Ref. B5846

I like the dress below and its clean lines. It has a V neckline front and back, short kimono sleeves, the skirt can be “pencil” or “A line”. I can see myself wearing it. Despite it being stamped “retro look” I found it has quite a modern edge.

Patron vintage

retro dress Butterick – Ref. B5851

A fake wrap dress (the bow is only decorative), the pattern can be made with a semi-fitted or gathered skirt. I’m not fond of this one.

Robe rétro Butterick - Réf. B5850

Retro Dress Butterick – Ref. B5850

Maternity patterns

This patterns all are not exclusively designed for pregnant women, but they will all fit pregnancies very well. To sew in stretch jersey :)

patrons couture grossesse

Top or dress ref. B5848 on the left – Dress ref. B5860 on the right

patrons couture maternité

Tunics Ref. 5855

“Soirée” dresses for girls

Patron robe soirée enfant fille

Dress Ref.5845 on the left – Dresses ref.5843 on the right

Isn’t this “Chanel” style jacket cute for a little girl? The pattern also includes pants and a skirt.

patron veste style chanel enfant

Jacket, skirt and pants Butterick – Ref. B5844


Browse the lookbook

And that’s it for this collection !

Origami coat : help needed !

I’m going to sew the Origami coat by Lalimaya and I need your opinion!

I have several versions in my head and I can not choose one. So I put up a small poll (see below to vote) to ask you which version(s) you prefer, and help me decide!

But first a quick word so you know what’s it’s all about !

The pattern

Manteau Origami de Lalimaya = Origami coat by Lalimaya

There are women and children patterns for this coat. I intended to also make one for Petite Chérie (DD) this winter but given the stock of coats she already has, it wouldn’t be wise… So she’ll have one next year … or the one after that.


Woman origami coat – Lalimaya



Origami coat



Here are the fabrics that I picked :
  • For the outer fabric : a red wool and a gray wool.
  • For the lining: printed cotton by Melissa Crowley: “The woman spring bouquet” (odd name in French !). It is ordered but not yet received, I can not wait!

The sleeve lining will be in white satin for a good “slip” when you put on the coat. I may add a flannel interlining to make the coat warmer… I’ll see… Anyway it won’t have any impact on the look of the coat.

Fabrics chosen for the Origami coat – Lalimaya

The versions

Lalimaya designed her pattern in such a way that a multitude of fabric combinations are possible. That’s great to make a really personal coat.

My style is fairly classic, that’s why I used only plain fabric on the outside. After playing with my drawing software, here are the possible versions I picked… And between which I can’t make a choice !

Clic to enlarge

Difficult choice !

Vote !

The vote happens on my French blog, so all numbers will be adding up in one place. I created a special page there for English readers, right here : Poll for Origami Coat.

Both “French” and “English” votes are recorded there.

Thank you !

I’m hoping to do a quick muslin of the lining (to check if my size choice is the right one) and trace the pattern in the upcoming week. Alas, I’m not at home this weekend (Paris here I come !) so I won’t be able to advance quickly !

[box type=”info”] Poll is closed and the “winner” is version #2 !

Thanks a lot to everyone who voted, you did help me pick a design… Pretty sure I’d still be at it without you ! Thank you ![/box]

Airelle “dragibus” blouse – Deer&Doe

Here is my Airelle “Dragibus” blouse from the French pattern company Deer & Doe ! Splashes of color in anticipation of spring! As usual, all pictures are at the end of the article.


The pattern

Deer & Doe’s Airelle is a blouse with front and back waist darts, shoulder yoke in which the front is gathered, ¾ sleeves with cuffs and a collar.

Blouse Airelle – Deer & Doe

The strength of this blouse pattern is that it can easily be adapted to a casual, classic or dressy style.

The pattern is printed on thick paper: I like that ! I hate pattern papers that tear too easily.
The instruction booklet is well presented and illustrations are clear.

I think it’s only offered in French at the time. If you need help with the translation you can use my French-English sewing lexicon or just leave a comment !

Drawings of possible variations from the blouse are shown at the end of the booklet. This is a very good idea. However, for beginners, it would be nice to go a bit further and indicate the main changes from the reference pattern. But if you have already sewn a couple of garments, you’ll easily spot what you have to do to sew the other views.



The pattern is available in French sizes 34 to 46 (that’s 4-16 US sizing).
As Colette patterns, Deer & Doe patterns are designed for C cups… and that suits me fine!

Incidentally, one thing I’d love to find on French patterns envelopes is the measurements of the finished garment per size. This is what allows me to pick my size correctly with U.S. patterns… I know that I can measure everything flat …. But well… Lazy inside !

I used the size 42.
For reference my French bra size is 95C (= 36C US) with a bust measurment that “fluctuates” from 98 to 100cm (I’m at the limit between C and D cups). Based on this measurment I should have used a size 44.
But on the blog article dedicated to the Airelle Blouse #Les patrons# La blouse Airelle Eléonore (Deer & Doe’s designer) specifies that the blouse is “very slightly fitted but not too close to the body”.
So I decided to go ahead with the size 42, without doing a muslin, I cut my fabric… And … Suspense … Everything is almost perfect !

Good surprises with this size : I didn’t have to do a sway back adjustment or shorten the bodice (which I do veeeeeery often). It’s perfect at the bust.
Note to self relative to the size : Beyond size 42 shoulders will be too wide (about 0.5 cm already in excess at the shoulder seam). So for other more fitted patterns from D&D start from a size 40-42 and do a FBA. + Neckline problem to fix (see below).



The main fabric is a fine printed poplin called “dragibus”. The coordinating fabric, used for bias binding at the neckline and flat piping, is a half cotton- half linen in purplish gray.
Both were purchased from Etoffes des héros.

popeline dragibus

popelin dragibus

metis gris violacé

half cotton- half linen in purplish gray


Design changes

Only two small things:

Flat piping
In the ad pictures of the pattern, what immediately attracted my eye is the piping at the shoulder yoke seams. I loved this detail! So although the instructions were note given in the booklet, I decided to add flat piping at the front and back yoke seams.
I also made a tutorial on sewing flat piping for those who want to add this detail (for this pattern or any other one), with specific instructions for the Airelle blouse.

[box type=”download”] Flat piping tutorial for the Airelle blouse [/box]

No collar
I didn’t sew the collar. I finished the neckline with bias binding. Having previously removed the seam allowance at the neckline (front + shoulder yoke pieces). I sewed the bias binding by hand… Overall the result is ok, but I’ve messed up in a few places where the thread shows. And the thread doesn’t really match the fabric…

I have a problem with the neckline : it doesn’t lay flat at the sides (see pictures below). Is it because the fabric for my bias binding is heavier than my main fabric? Is the size wrong? Is this due to a shoulder problem?  I shall investigate !


This is an easy blouse pattern… Well, I must say that, in my opinion, the collar is the most difficult part and I didn’t sew that !

I especially like the shoulder yoke it will easily allow to change the look of this blouse, with color blocking or changing the direction of a plaid, for example.

Otherwise, Petite Chérie (8 years old DD) fell in love with the dragibus fabric and asked for a dragibus blouse for herself… I’ll go rummage through my Ottobre patterns for her …. But not before sewing my Origami coat from Lalimaya !



There are 14 of them ! First the details pics and then the pics of me wearing the blouse. Petite Chérie (8 years old) took the pictures of me wearing my dragibus blouse, she’s making progress, isn’t she ?

Detail of flat piping and front neckline – You can see where I messed up the hand sewing at the neckline ^  ^

airelle deer and doe

Detail of flat piping and front neckline… Again

Détail col Airelle - Deer&Doe

Neckline detail, hand-sewn bias – Deer & Doe – At the center you can see the wrong side of the back-shoulder yoke seam.

Airelle Deer&Doe - detail manche

Airelle Deer&Doe – Sleeve detail

Back piping detail (bottom) and bias binding at the neckline (top) – It’s on the right side, but the flash washed out the colors.



Back !


Airelle Deer & Doe

Airelle blouse – Front

Blouse airelle deer and doe


I look so very friendly in this picture oO – You can see my neckline problem there.

Back with my * beep * in the foreground… It is so elegant … This is mainly to get an overview of piping at the upper back … Not really showing there actually.

Profile… Not a weird posture !

Another very natural pose !

Flat piping tutorial

Here is a tutorial on how to sew flat piping. The tutorial was made using the Airelle blouse pattern by Deer & Doe, that’s why you’ll find, in the frames, specific instructions for this pattern.

Adding flat piping is an easy way to embellish a garment, or do variations on a pattern, by  accentuating a seam with a contrasting (or coordinating) fabric. Here is how to do it in 5 easy steps !

[box]For the Airelle blouse, the flat piping will be added just after sewing the darts, at the yoke-front and yoke-back seams.[/box]

1- Cut bias strips

For a flat piping of 0.5 cm, cut a strip in the bias with the following dimensions:
Length = length of edges to add piping to.
Width = (seam allowance + 0.5 cm) x 2


[box]Airelle Blouse

Length = length of the edges to “flat pipe” – For my Airelle blouse that’s the front edges of the shoulder yoke + back edge of the shoulder yoke.
Width = (1.5 + 0.5) x 2 = 4 cm [/box]

2- Create the flat piping

Fold the bias strip in 2, widthwise and press.
[box]Airelle Blouse

We now have a strip that is 2 cm wide.[/box]


Fold in 2 and press.

3- Stitch the flat piping

Lay the bias strip on the right side of the garment along the seams you want to add flat piping to, aligning raw edges. Pin.

[box]Airelle Blouse :

Align the piping strips along the front and back edges of the shoulder yoke, on the right side. [/box]


Epingler le passepoil

Pin the flat piping on the right side of the fabric, aligning raw edges.

tuto passepoil

Flat piping pinned on the 2 front edges of the shoulder yoke. As you can see on the pic, I had already sewn the flat piping at the back and shoulder yoke seam.

Stitch within the seam allowance to secure the flat piping.

[box]Airelle Blouse :

The seam allowance being of 1.5 cm, stitch at 0.5 or 0.7 cm from the raw edges.[/box]


Stitch the piping on the right side of the fabric within the seam allowance.

flat piping stitched !

4- Sew the seam

Lay, right sides together, the two pieces that need to be joined, the piping is sandwiched in between. Stitch using the seam allowance given in the pattern instructions.

[box]Airelle Blouse :

After gathering the top edges of the front, lay them on the shoulder yoke, right sides together, the piping being sandwiched in between, stitch according to the instructions with a seam allowance of 1.5 cm.

Do the same with the back : lay the back on the shoulder yoke, right sides together, the piping being sandwiched in between, and stitch.[/box]


Flat piping sandwiched between the shoulder yoke, on which it was previously sewn, and the upper edge of the front (gathered).

Seam sewn !

5- Finishing

Overcast / serge the seam allowance.
Press the seam allowance down.

Marge surjetée et repassée vers le bas - Ici vue de la couture dos-empiècement

Seam allowance serged and pressed down – Here you can see the back + shoulder yoke seam on the Airelle blouse.

And that’s it, flat piping added ! Easy peasy, right?

Flat piping tutorial

Flat piping added !

Flat piping on my Airelle blouse

I love this technique, it opens up new possibilities for easy pattern customization.

My Airelle blouse is done, You can see it right here : Airelle “dragibus” blouse

Poncho-Sweater Tutorial

Here is a repurpose tutorial to recycle your sweater into a poncho and make a Poncho-Sweater … Or is it Sweater-Poncho ? ^ ^.

It’s really easy to make: 2 seams to rip and 2 seams to stitch and you’re done!

The idea came to me because I have some sweaters in my closet that I do not / no longer wear for various reasons. It’s the case of the sweater I used for this tutorial… I wore it once in 5 years because I do not find it very flattering on me. But I could not bring myself to give it away because I like the shawl collar so much. So, instead of letting the moths eat it, I had nothing to loose trying to give it a second life.

This repurpose tutorial is also perfect for recycling children sweaters, as long as the neck opening is still large enough for their heads. You can transform their favorite sweater, that became too short and too tight, into a shrug or a short poncho. That way they can continue to wear it a little more time.

The pics of the finished poncho-sweater are at the bottom of the article.

let’s go for the tutorial!

We need

  • A seam ripper
  • A knit sweater
  • A sewing machine or a serger or simply a needle and your little hands !

[box]Note : My sweater in this tutorial has 3/4 sleeves, the “crenel” that you’ll see at the end is specific to this sweater. With long sleeves the “crenel” will be different. [/box]

The final length of the poncho will be the same as the sweater used.

Sweater used for this tutorial


Let’s rip



1- Using the seam ripper we are going to rip the two side seams and two underarm seams. This should in fact be the same seam running from the lower edge of the side to the lower edge of the sleeve.


tuto poncho pull

Découdre = rip the seam

In most store bought sweaters sleeves are sewn flat so the side seam and underarm seam are sewn in one go, as a single seam. This is perfect for us as it will allow us to unpick the side+underarm seam without touching the armhole seam.

Running vertically is the  side+ underarm seam that crosses the armhole seam.

To check if this how your sweater was made : just look at the intersection of the side and armhole seams (at the armpit). If the side seam is above the armhole seam then you can fearlessly rip the side+underarm seam.

It is clear that the side+sleeve seam runs above the armhole seam.

In a knit sweater stitches can be difficult to see, so pull away the pieces gently to see the thread clearly.

Écartez bien les mailles pour couper le fil

Coutures côtés et sous les manches décousues

Coutures côtés et sous les manches décousues


Let’s stitch


1- Lay one sleeve on the back, right sides together, align edges and stitch from the armhole seam to the lower edge.

[box] Note : the bottom of the sleeve and lower edge of the back do not match and this is normal! On my sweater the sleeve is shorter, on your sweater the sleeve might be longer.[/box]

2- Repeat with the second sleeve.

That’s what it looks like on the wrong side, once the two sleeves are attached to the back:

You can see the two white stitching line I serged.


On the left : the front of the sweater, on the right : the back with the sleeves attached on each side.

Poncho-Sweater done !


[box type=”info”] To make a classic poncho completely closed, you can then attach each sleeve to the front. As previously put sleeves on the front, right sides together and stitch..[/box]

Pictures of me in my poncho-sweater. Petite Chérie took them so uh… Approximate framing with ugly background and exposure … I have to let her learn, right… 😉


Back again

Front !


Long red fur vest

This red long fur vest was sewn from a free Burda pattern.

Ok, so the alibi was that the vest was suppose to be part of a costume : the Haradrim Witch  … But, once the vest finished, I decided that it wasn’t appropriate. Anyway, as I just wanted a red fur vest and was looking for a “cover up” reason, the fact that it didn’t suit the costume was no biggie.

Now that it’s finished, I’ll definitely wear it in my every day life. Probably with a dress and boots or a slim and boots.


This is a free pattern from Burda.

Free burda pattern – Long vest

It’s downloadable HERE after registering for free. I tried to find it on the BurdaStyle web site, but it doesn’t appear to be offered there. So you’ll have to go through the EU website. Instructions are in French and German, with illustrations.

The pattern is available in French sizes 34 to 44. I sewed size 42 (chosen according to my bust measurement) … It was too large … See “Adjustments”.

The long vest closes with 3 Fur Hooks & Eyes. The short version (supplied in the same pattern) uses toggle closures.

Agrafes fourreur

Fur Hooks & Eyes used for this vest

The pattern consists of a half back, a half front with collar attached and a piece of half collar.

To cut this pattern in fur (which is to say through a single layer) I advise you to print each piece twice :

Cut the front left and front right as a mirror image.

Assemble the two half backs and cut through the single layer of fur as one complete back piece.

Assemble the two half-collars and do the same as for the back.

For more details on how to sew fur, see this article: sewing fake fur.



Fur: it is the same fur used for Petite Chérie’s shepherd vest.

A faux fur with long hair is suggested by Burda to make this vest, but I fell for this shorter hair “rippled” red fur. It is 100% synthetic, super soft and was purchased from the l’Etoffe des héros.


Fausse-fourrure rouge à relief vaguelettes

Lining: It is an Indian printed cotton with a red and black paisley pattern, purchased in a “Nalli Silk Saree ” shop, in Delhi.


I shortened the bust, as in 90% of the time when I sew for myself. I had to shorten it by a good 4 cm (= 1.5 inches).

Of course, it shortened the total length of the vest by 4 cm. I decided not to add the 4 cm at the hem because I am really lazy the vest length was just fine that way.

– After sewing everything (only the hem remained to be done) it was clear that the vest was too big! So I took the side seams in, using 3 cm seam allowances instead of 1.5 cm … That way I removed 6 cm (over 2 inches) of ease. It is much better and I can still wear a sweater underneath.


patron burda gratuit

Burda vest – front, closed

patron gratuit burda

Burda vest –  Front, open

patron gilet gratuit burda

Burda vest – 3/4 open

patron couture gilet gratuit

Burda vest – side, closed