One Pattern, One Week – Days one, two and three

You may remember that I posted about the “one week one pattern” project organised by Tilly. The idea being that for one full week you (or rather I) would wear garments made from one pattern, be that a pattern by one of the Big 4 pattern companies, a smaller independent company or a self drafted pattern. Obviously various interpretations of the chosen pattern would be allowed but in addition to this being a sewing challenge – in so far as the items would have been sewn from the same pattern – it was also a styling challenge – to see how people could style the garments throughout the week.

Well, last week was the week in question and although I left it until the very last minute to decide what pattern to wear all week I eventually decided to go with the Violet blouse from Colette Patterns.

I already had two versions of the blouse made up and over the course of the weekend I finished up a further version which gave me three blouses in total for the week. I thought that this would be workable and it proved to be fine, in spite of teething vomiting baby. I knew though that it would still remain a challenge as blouses aren’t my usual top of choice. I wear them every now and then so they are not completely rare i my wardrobe – but a whole week of them?? That would be hard.

Day One

The OWOP week started on a Saturday. Saturday for us starts early with delivering children to various music lessons followed by pony riding classes. Afternoons are usually spent in the garden or chilling round the house or in the park. Not a day I would normally wear a blouse. That said I stuck to the plan and wore the Valentine’s Violet over a white t-shirt (with the aim being to give it a slightly more casual vibe). I wore it over skinny jeans and added a red belt for a pop of colour and to make it seem as though I have a waist. A red jellydesigns bangle and gold trainers finished off the look.

Day two

I was full of enthusiasm this morning after the success of my day one outfit (I hadn’t been at all sure that it would go over skinny jeans, which are my staple at the moment so I was chuffed when Saturday’s outfit worked out) and so stayed with the Valentine’s Violet and skinny jeans but instead of the belt I added a green blazer over the blouse and wore purple ballet pumps on my feet. I probably should admit that I really only wore this outfit for half a day as Sunday morning I did a bike/yoga workout and didn’t get showered and dressed properly until lunchtime but even so I was pretty pleased with my effort.

Day three

Monday saw dressing for teaching so I pushed the boat out and decided to go for the more formal grown up option – teaming the blouse with a skirt!! This time I wore the japanese print violet which I will bring you more up to date with later this week (ie I haven’t blogged about it yet!!). I wore it with my new RED pencil skirt……..also to be blogged about soon! This was a fairly radical departure from my usual attire but actually it felt pretty good (even if I did change one I got home… wasn’t very suitable for clearing out the garage!)

More to come on the rest of the week….

Featured Seamstress…and other random stuff


We have been away for a week in the mountains which was great (if you want to see some photos have a look at my photography blog here) and now I am raring to get at my sewing machine.

I currently have one violet blouse that just needs buttons to finish it off

one half pin tucked pink top to finish

and my rainbow challenge fabrics to transform into gorgeous garments ready for the spring (which seems to be upon us already!).

I finished up my plan for my rainbow challenge whilst we were away and I just need to check I have enough meterage of each of the fabrics to do what I want to do and then I will share my plan with you.

I also need to finalise my ambitions for one week one pattern which is creeping up with increasing speed! More to come on that this week.

If you follow the Colette Patterns blog you may have already seen that I was a Featured Seamstress over there last week. If you haven’t seen you can check out the post here – fame at last!!!

A bientôt!

Pin tucks and stitching straight

You may wonder what I have been up to? Well, apart from deciding on the designs and patterns for the Rainbow Challenge fabrics (more details coming soon) I thought I would do a bit of technical sewing, by which I mean, testing out a new (to me) technique. I have been attracted to lots of tops and dresses with pin tucks recently and so thought I would give it a go.

Rather than do something straightforward like taking a pattern with pin tucks in it and following the instructions and pattern markings I thought I would take a simple pattern (the Colette Patterns Sobretto) and completely modify it to add pin tucks down the front, a button back, facings and sleeves.

The pieces are all cut out and I have done one half of the pin tucks. In theory pin tucks are very straightforward. You just need to mark how far apart you want them and how wide you want the tuck and then you need to draw very straight lines and then sew very straight lines. And, there in is the problem. I “need” a longer ruler and I think I need to practice sewing straight lines. My pin tucks aren’t bad but they are not perfect either and of course my eyes are drawn straight to the bits where things went a bit astray. There is one bit that  I am going to unpick and re-do and then I will battle on with the second half and keep you updated!

One Week One Pattern

Have you checked out Tilly’s blog recently and her One Week One Pattern challenge?

I think I might take part, only I am now away for a week, so no sewing, and that leaves me just a couple of weeks to sew away if I am to show seven different variations of one pattern (you don’t have to show seven different variations at all – check out Tilly’s guidelines – but given how messy things generally are around here it would be good to have something clean to put on each day!). I will see how things are when I get back from holiday but if i do take part it will be with the Colette Violet pattern  – I already have two made (the black and white one shown here – and another that is now finished and I will show you in more detail once the photos are taken) and I have been practising pin tucks on another top that it is in the making with a view to making another Violet with pin tucks. So that would make three and i am pretty sure that I could come up with some other variations without too much trouble… this space! And check out Tilly’s post if you fancy a bit of the action.

Opera Dress

At the beginning of the summer I read a blog review of a pattern by Lisette. As it was a range of patterns I had not heard of before I clicked onto their website to have a look.

The review I had read was for a tunic top and the blogger was raving about the pattern, about how easy it had been to sew and how practical and comfortable the tunic was to wear. (I’m afraid that I cannot now remember where I read the review). I browsed the website for a while and ended up ordering two patterns. Firstly the Passport pattern which is for a dress and jacket.

And, secondly the Portfolio pattern for the tunic top mentioned above (which can be made in three lengths – top, tunic or dress), and trousers.

The dress and jacket pattern was tidied away into my pattern box once I received it as I figured I would wait until the baby was born before sewing such dresses again.

However, shortly afterwards we were invited to go to the Opera. Now for some a night at the opera might be a regular occurrence. But when you live in the outer sticks of rural southern France and spend a lot of time with little people (otherwise known as children) a night at the opera is something to shout about. And something worth a new dress.

At the time I was six months pregnant so I perused Burda and the other major pattern companies for a maternity dress pattern but found absolutely nothing that appealed so I decided to use a pattern I already had and adapt it for the bump.

I had a couple of metres of black linen fabric in the cupboard and decided that a maternity version of a LBD would be just the thing for the opera. I had in my mind a fairly simple design and after going through all my patterns I decided that the Lisette Passport dress pattern would be just the thing.

I had already made a couple of other maternity dresses by adapting regular patterns (the Crepe one seen here) and I used the same method this time. I shortened the bodice section to finish just under the bust line and lengthened the skirt section accordingly also adding width to the front skirt section which I pleated to fit into the waistline (now, under bust line). Now if you have looked at the pattern for the dress at all you will have seen that the bodice is constructed with a crossover pleat in the centre at the front waistline. Unfortunately in adapting the pattern for the bump this feature was mainly lost.

To add a feminine touch I finished the armholes with lace bias binding which you cannot see on the photos below but which softened the look. I also added a same fabric tie belt to cinch the dress in on the waistline a little more.

I ended up wearing the dress a lot. I may not have looked or felt very ‘little’ over the last couple of months of the summer but a black dress is always useful and this one was no exception.

The pattern is definitely on my list (yes, that would be the never ending one!) of things to sew again – mainly because I really like the bodice construction with the centre pleat – I’m thinking in a bright colour or patterned fabric for next spring……..

Anyone for a crêpe party?

I admit I have maybe spent too long reading Nigella Lawson’s cook books of late (you probably had to see the tv episode of her in a lacy negligé, fully made up with perfectly coiffed hair pretending to have just got out of bed and stating that surely everyone has days when they wake up and just feel that they must have a frittata party – to get the heading of this post but I digress…)- but this dress (from the Crêpe pattern by Colette Patterns) was my ‘go to’ party dress of the summer (she says, as though she has parties to attend every other night!).

The pattern is for a simple wrap dress with an A-line skirt and a tie waist. There are two variations included – for a straightforward round neck  or a sweetheart neckline and both variations wrap at the back so that the front of the dress has clean lines.

As I was carrying the bump around over the summer the first dress I made I altered to accomodate a growing tummy. I shortened the bodice section to finish just under the bust and lengthened the skirt sections accordingly. I also widened the front skirt section and pleated the additional width to fit to the bodice. The final maternity alteration I made was to inverse the bodice pieces so that the dress wrapped at the front so that if the additional width I had added to the skirt section was not enough I could just loosen the dress a little.

The red, black and white fabric was a Mona cotton and the contrasting tie belt was made from a black and white spot cotton that I had in the cupboard.

I haven’t yet tried this dress on again since the bump became a baby but I am hoping that I can either still wear it as it is  – with just a very full skirt, or that I will be able to adapt it to make it wearable. I loved it in the summer but looking at the photos now I think it would also look good with thick black tights and a black cardigan or jumper – perfect to brighten up a dreary winter day!

Red Marinière

Everyone knows that you cannot beat a good marinière top. It is one of my favourite go to tops when nothing else seems to look or feel right. The classic stripes always seem to hit the mark.

My current navy and white stripe top is from Petit Bateau (the latest in a long line of navy and white striped tops ).Given that they get quite a lot of wear it is the type of top (like white shirts and t-shirts) that just need replacing after a while so I thought that I would have a go at making one.

I spent a while looking for just the right navy and white jersey – not too thick, not too thin – but to no avail. I then spotted on the Raystitch website this red and white striped jersey.Lovely, but just a pity they didn’t have it in navy.

But then I saw this red and white striped version from Boden. Maybe? I ordered the Raystitch jersey and set  to creating the boat neck variation of the T-shirt pattern from Sew-U Stretch.

Et voilà, the finished article. As you can see I also adapted the pattern to create long sleeves and I added a ribbon stay tape into the back neck line to stop the neckline stretching out.And, the finishing touch? The three gold anchor buttons sewn onto the canvas strip topstitched onto the left shoulder.

It’s a wrap

Towards the end of the summer I realised that whilst it was still very warm I should probably make myself at least one top that could be worn if the weather did get slightly cooler (given that the bump by this stage was big enough that none of my ‘normal’ clothes would fit over it).

I had, from time to time, during my pregnancy looked at DIY Maternity – a blog, run by a lady called Meg Nielsen, devoted to home-making maternity clothes. Meg also sells sewing patterns for maternity wear – including one for a wrapover top, perfect for third trimester wear.

Perfect for dealing with a large bump but the top could also be worn afterwards which when you only have weeks to go of your pregnancy is a bonus as the thought of spending time making something that in a month or so won’t fit isn’t that appealing. So I ordered the pattern and used a coral pink coloured jersey that I had bought earlier in the summer.

Once I had made the top I realised that the V neck wrap neckline would also be perfect for feeding and so I decided to see if I could adapt the pattern to make a slightly more streamlined top but keeping the v-necked wrap neckline.

The first version I made in a navy jersey.

The second in a Liberty print jersey that I bought on line from Raystitch.

I love these tops. They are comfortable, easy to wear for feeding bambino but also look great too (in my humble opinion!).