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,


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 ?

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 !

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]

Haute Couture free patterns

Here are a few Haute-Couture free sewing patterns I came across. They are all offered through SHOWstudio.

Some are really intricate (the John Galliano jacket comes to mind) and instructions are minimal (do not expect a step-by-step with illustrations although some have instructions and other illustrations) but these patterns are really one of a kind : the designs are truly unique !

As a seamstress just seeing the flat patterns of such garments is a truly wonderful opportunity and great inspiration. But here we can also download the pattern, print it and have a go at sewing great designers’ creations.

Oh and of course… They come in only one size, so many of us will have to adjust the patterns for their own size.

A clarification : the patterns in themselves are not “haute-couture” in the French meaning of the word, most are from ready-to-wear collections. But some of the designers (Galliano, McQueen) have done Haute-Couture collections for renowned “maisons de couture” (Givenchy, Christian Dior).

Here are the beauties :

John Galliano Pirate jacket


Galliano – Pirate jacket

Galliano – pirate jacket

Autumn/Winter 2001 collection

Download the free pattern from showstudio

Alexander McQueen kimono jacket

Picture by Nick Knight – Alexander McQueen’s kimono jacket

Picture by Nick Knight’s – Alexander McQueen’s kimono jacket

From his Autumn/Winter 2003 collection

Download the free pattern from showstudio

Yohji Yamamoto mystery garment

Yohji Yamamoto “mystery garment” – Photo by Nick Knight

“mystery garment”  2002

Download the free pattern from showstudio

Junya Watanabe Dress

Photo by Nick Knight

From his Autumn/Winter 2005 collection.

Download the free pattern from showstudio

Antony Price Macaw Dress

Antony price Free sewing pattern

Macaw dress – Antony Price


Macaw dress

Macaw dress



free sewing pattern

Macaw dress


From his Spring/Summer 1989 collection.

Download the free pattern from showstudio

Stephen Jones hat

Inspired form the classic béret… Taken to a whole new level.

Download the free pattern from showstudio