Retro Skirt

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Quand il s’agit de couture, il y a une étape que je trouve vraiment très pénible: Le Patron.

Déplier correctement le papier hyper fin, trouver la bonne taille, avoir assez de place pour étaler tout le coupon bien comme il faut, découper le tissu sans se tromper de sens etc… Bref, très souvent tout ça m’ennuie beaucoup et je m’impatiente…  Et je finis donc par bidouiller mon propre patron, en prenant de très grands risques parce que dans ces cas-là on ne pense pas toujours à tous les détails et on peut faire de très grosses bêtises…

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Et bien là, ma foi, je suis très, mais alors très contente de mon petit modèle maison!

Le coupon vient d’un magasin de charité style “Armée du Salut” et je suis sûre que c’est de la laine vu comme j’ai dû slalomer entre les trous de mites!! Bref, je ne prenais pas trop de risque, ce n’est pas comme de tailler dans un coupon de Liberty, vous voyez??

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When it comes to sewing, I usually get really frustrated with the first step: unfolding, figuring out and pinning the pattern pieces to the fabric correctly. For some reason, I get really impatient and more often than not, I end up putting away the pattern and improvising something on the spot. Very risky strategy, as it’s tough to think of all the details ahead of time and you can end up with a big mess…

Well, this time around, I’m actually very happy with my little homemade design! I bought the fabric in a thrift store, and given all the moth holes I had to cut around, I’m pretty certain it’s wool ;) Anyway, I wasn’t risking any fancy fabric on this experiment…

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skirtfront41

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skirtside skirtback

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Donc voilà la bête, un peu rétro comme j’aime, je me suis bien amusée à jouer avec les rayures. Elle est légèrement trop grande — tombe un peu sur les hanches, mais ce n’est pas plus mal comme ça…  Une jupette bien sympa pour finir l’hiver!

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In the end, I think the gamble paid off, I really like the fit (it’s just a tad bigger than I wanted it to be, but still ok), and love the retro flair…. I had fun playing with the stripes of the fabric, as you can see!

Moving in!

I’ve been a busy bee: moving furniture, unpacking boxes, finding a home for all of our STUFF. And I thought we had done a good job streamlining things when we left L.A.!

J’ai été très occupée ces jours-ci, emménagement oblige: changements d’adresse, meubles déplacés, cartons vidés, assortiments hétéroclites de choses dans tous les coins, choses qui sont péniblement digérées (parfois régurgitées) par les placards, tiroirs et autres rangements.

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I also finally unpacked my car, which was still filled to the brim with things we hauled on our cross-country road trip 4 months ago. And look what I found under the layers of sweaters, hats, comforters etc…

Ma voiture, qui vaillamment nous a menés jusqu’à cette côte-ci au début de l’été, a été enfin vidée elle aussi, et regardez ce que j’ai trouvé sous le pêle-mêle de vêtements, chapeaux et couvertures:

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thrifted-vintage-kitchenware thrifted-vintage-patterns

thrifted-gardening-fabric thrifted-geranium-painting

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Little souvenirs we thrifted along the way, sweet vintagey goodness from the American heartland, just waiting to be plucked by us:

Plein de souvenirs vintage récoltés le long de notre Road Trip:

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Thrifted things

Thrifted things

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Oh, and here is THE HOUSE we are renting. Sorry about the crummy photos, it’s just so WET outside (but very cozy inside, you’ll just have to take my word for it, it’s still way too messy to show.)

Et voici notre nouvelle maison! Oui, nous avons été choisis par la propriétaire après plein de tergiversations! Les photos sont moyennes, désolée, il fait très moche… Mais c’est très cozy à l’intérieur. Je vous montre dès que c’est montrable.

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Front of the house

Front of the house

Back of the house. The wisteria needs some serious pruning.

Back of the house. The wisteria needs some serious pruning.

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I can’t believe we actually live in a house, with *three* bedrooms (yes, we now have a guest room AND a craft studio/office! How spoilt are we!) The rent is the same as what we paid in L.A. for a one bedroom apartment! I feel so very grown-up now. I can’t wait to get back to knitting and sewing. But all things in due time. First, the moving in. Then, um, a job?

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On en a, de la chance, d’habiter dans une maison, avec TROIS chambres! (ben oui, quoi, une chambre d’amis ET une chambre rien que pour la couture…) Et le loyer est le même que celui qu’on payait pour notre apartement de Los Angeles, qui n’avait MEME PAS de chambre d’amis ou de chambre à couture. Va falloir s’y mettre sérieusement, maintenant, à la couture! Bon, d’abord, il faudrait songer à trouver du boulot, rapport au compte en banque à sec.

5 things I love about London

Only three days until I fly across the pond to attempt to settle in Washington, DC. I feel like this two-month stay in London just flew by! I’ve grown quite fond of this city and feel very privileged to have been able to experience a slice of British life.

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As a special hommage, here are 5 things I particularly enjoyed about London (I am not counting obvious things such as Kensington Garden, shortbread biscuits, free museums etc…) With a little help from the talented photographers on Flickr:

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Dans trois jours on quitte Londres et on s’installe à Washington, DC. Voici 5 choses qui me manqueront particulièrement (bon, je ne compte pas Kensington Garden, les shortbreads, les musées GRATUITS, le charme des petites rues so british et tout et tout…) Jolies photos trouvées sur Flickr.

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#5:

Disappearing London (3), by Gervaulx

"Disappearing London (3)," by Gervaulx

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The courteous and sympathetic British police officers who found my wallet (including my GREEN CARD! *That* was a scare.) just a couple of days after it was stolen by a pickpocket. I was amazed at how nice and thorough they were, even for such a “minor” crime. Thank you!!!

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Eh oui! Les gentils policiers qui ont été super gentils et pros quand on m’a volé mon portefeuille, et me l’ont retrouvé en 2 jours!! (il y avait tous mes papiers dedans, y compris ma carte verte… ça aurait été une galère sans nom de repartir aux US sans…) Bon faut dire que quand on vit aux US, on apprécie les policiers gentils et polis…

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#4:

David Suchet / Poirot by Holypug

David Suchet / Poirot by Holypug

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The fact that EVERYDAY on British TV there are Agatha Christie adaptations starring the great David Suchet as Hercule Poirot. My love for the little Belgian (“NOT French”) detective started many, many years ago.

In fact, my mother finally “weaned” me off bedtime stories at the ripe old age of 8 by reading me half of an Agatha Christie novel, which I then had to finish by myself if I wanted to know “whoddunit.”

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Quand on a, comme moi, grandi avec Hercule Poirot, on est vraiment, mais alors super contente quand ils passent des adaptations de romans d’Agatha Christie en boucle à la télé!!!

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#3:

Mystery Yellow Woman at Spitalfield by Pit Van Meeffe

Mystery Yellow Woman at Spitalfield by Pit Van Meeffe

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The quirky yet classic elegance of many Londoners. Love the tailored coats, feminine shoes, cardigans over liberty dresses, crazy colors.

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L’élégance décalée de beaucoup de Londonien(ne)s. Le savant mélange entre le côté classique intemporel et les couleurs/accessoires totallement inattendus.

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#2:

Cardinal Humes Charity Shop by Canis Major

Cardinal Hume's Charity Shop by Canis Major

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Charity Shops: in a city as expensive as London, there’s got to be a trick to getting cool stuff for less. In the case of charity shops, MUCH less. They are everywhere, and the prices are usually really reasonable.

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Heureusement qu’ils sont là, ces charity shops, parce que dans une ville aussi chère que Londres, où est-ce qu’on trouverait des supers fringues et babioles pour presque rien?

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#1:

Liberty Stack by Ravenhill Designs

Liberty Stack by Ravenhill Designs

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Libertyyyyyyyyy!!!!

Thanks to the web, I discovered where one should buy one’s supply of Liberty while in London. For about half of the usual price (actually, much less if you only need bits).

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Grâce à quelques petites recherches sur internet, j’ai maintenant de nouveaux fournisseurs de Liberty à moitié prix (ou moins si on se satisfait de petits coupons)

London! And a couple FOs.

I realize it’s been forever since I last posted, my summer has been full of changes of plans and plane tickets and I didn’t do that much craft-wise.

What I did do is acquire an impressive amount of fabric (especially yummy Libertyyyyyyy!! I have to thank Elizabeth for her London shopping tips). Also, I have accumulated a collection of various thrifted objects, found at this summer’s local brocantes. (what is a brocante? It’s a roving flea market street fair that sells secondhand goods and antiques and a favorite Sunday activity in my family). I’ll try to put up a picture of my brocante bounty at some point in the future.

As far as the “full of changes” bit, it turns out we’ll be living in London for a couple of months before finally moving to Washington, DC!

Gabe has to finish some work here and me, well, I’m just tagging along without too much purpose, which is a strange feeling, but overall, I’m happy to have this opportunity to discover London a bit.

Which brings me to…. My Liberty-themed FOs!

FO #1: Liberty Boxers

I had a sewing epiphany again while using my mom’s old Elna. As soon as I’m back in the US, I’m so getting rid of my clunky, fabric-eating, stitch-distorting machine. It was such a breeze to sew these boxer shorts, and I’m pleased with the details for once, it looks pretty well-made. Which reminds me, I should have taken pictures of the inside, too.

These are a present for Gabe, I sort of winged the pattern, roughly copying a pair of store-bought boxers. I used mother of pearl buttons scavenged from an old shirt.

FO #2: Liberty-lined Double-Breasted Baby Coat

I’m really happy with this FO, but then again, it felt like i put in a lot of work into it. The pattern itself is very simple, loosely based on a vintage pattern I found in an old knitting magazine. But as I went along, it occurred to me that the wool (Rowan felted tweed) would be a bit scratchy for a little one, and I decided to line the coat with this really adorable Liberty fabric, since I had just the right amount of it lying around. The whole lining is hand-sewn into place and was a tad small so it got tricky to make it fit right, but I think it worked out ok. THEN, I thought, wouldn’t it be cute if I made Liberty-covered buttons as well? I was going to continue with the embellishments (I thought about adding a little pocket, or embroidering something on the front) but my mom thought I’d better leave well-enough alone. And voilà!


This is for my dear cousin Héloise’s, who is having her first baby in a couple of weeks. She doesn’t know yet whether it’s a boy or a girl, so I kept things pretty gender-neutral. I have to admit it was hard to part with the coat, but since I don’t have kids of my own, it would be pointless (and scary?) to start hoarding baby clothes!

FO: Punky Brewster skirt

For some reason this skirt reminds me of Punky Brewster, the main character of this show I used to watch in the 80s. She was this sassy kid who was really into super bright colors and mismatched shoes…

This skirt marks the end of a long sewing hiatus. I’m not too confident about my sewing skills yet, and I think I got Fabric Paralysis, like when you just stare at all this great fabric in your stash, and it’s just too much pressure, as if there was no way you could live up to it?

Anyway, the fabric is a thrift store purchase I’ve been meaning to use for a while. It’s got this great texture, kind of like seersucker, and of course I loved the glorious green color, which is really hard to photograph by the way…

So I sort of made this skirt as I went along, without a pattern. It’s really very simple but I’m really happy about how it turned out and how it fits (in spite of the bad job on the zipper!). I love that it’s so colorful and invigorating.

My Bounty!

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Ok, so I went a little nuts over the week-end. But my favorite thrift store was having an out-of-business sale and I scored all the vintage patterns, books, buttons, linen (on left), and various sewing thingies for very little money (thank you Gabe for being my sugar daddy on that one).

The fabric on the left is actually an XXXL pyjama bottom that looked brand new, which I intend to recycle into something, and a pair of unfinished handsewn capri pants, which I intend to finish.

The fabric pile at the top came from Michael Levine’s and was not quite as cheap (ahem) but I do have a purpose for it (this helps me rationalize the expense). I have a couple of patterns in mind, hopefully I’ll get started on that before next weekend.

In other news, I can report very good progress on Mister Escargot, actually, I’m pretty much done, I’m just adding some customizations to it at the moment… I should have a FO in the next couple of days.