Monday, 19 June 2017

The Bali pants

Way back when we were living in Singapore, we went for a week holiday in Bali. I went there with the kids, I can’t remember what kept Philippe away, it might have been a meeting, a missed flight… Still, we had a great time exploring the island on our own.

Off course, we did a bit of shopping and Alice brought back the Bali pants. There were some kind of wrap pants, black with large white fishes. She loved, love them still. But they have been over worn and are falling apart. I honestly think she shouldn’t be wearing them anymore, but she has so many memories attached to them that she can't. Juliette loves them too. So I have been on a mission to sew new pairs.

Here they are: Simplicity 8134. I made two versions.


The first ones are straight out of the envelop, they are not exactly wrap trousers, more like flow-y trousers with flaps knotted in the front. I did not had to alter the size whatsoever, they fit Juliette perfectly. Construction-wise, I used French seams (you know how I like the inside to be looking as good as the outside, plus the fabric frayed a bit).



The second version, Alice’s one, have been substantial modified. The wrap version was the important component for Alice. I extended the sides of both pieces, omitted the waist band, extended and added ties on the front of the trousers, and left the sides unsown. Now they are truly Bali pants, they wrap around the waist, are tided in the back and the front. I need to add a label at the back as it is not easy to distinguish back and front. I think I got a thumb up for these too. And now both girls want short versions, of I go to my sewing table…

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Squam Love

I wish I had a synthetic mind and were able to tell you all the benefits, all the lessons I am taking from those few days at Squam. So in no particular order here what I love.

The beautiful settings, Squam Artwork Camp is by Squam Lake, in Holdernes, New Hampshire. The cabines were somewhat rustic, but not too much. I love our ice box, it reminded me of my Grand-Mother grocery shop. We had ice from the lake delivered every morning as well as wood for the fire. Yep, no heating in the cabine so a good fire was very appreciated in the evening. PJs time by 8pm, socks on (hand knitted obviously!). I shared the cabine with 4 other happy campers, and I think we had a good fit. I hope they enjoy the cohabitation, because I enjoyed it.

I took 2 classes. The first one with Karen Templer on cables for beginner. I’ve knitted my share of cables, but it is always interesting to take on somebody else approach, there’s always something new to learn. Again, the company of knitters, 16 of us, was great: a couple ladies from Australia, a couple of sheep farmers, beginners and experienced knitters of all ages. My second class was ‘In my opinion’ and how to write a personal statement with Camille DeAngelis. This was a more solitary activity and I have nothing to show for it now, however I want to come back to it.

There was a class on Yarn Bombing. I did not take it, I am not sure I’m ready to spend energy knitting for a temporary exhibition. Nevertheless I loved the display.

I got to visit the most wonderful sewing room ever. It belongs to one of the teachers, it’s chaotic and so well organized at the same time. Her house was perfect too, so welcoming. It did not take an lesson with Terri, but I will if I have the opportunity, everybody was telling how wonderful a teacher she is.

I don’t know whether I will have another chance at Squam, if I have I would really love to bring my family too and stay longer. There’s so much to enjoy on the lake.


On the way back, I stopped at Gather Here. And it was all I expected, fantastic fabrics, yarns, selection of patterns… I love the industrial-ish look…


Going back to real life is now proving difficult, especially after all the delays I had yesterday and making it home this morning at 3am. Never mind, I have plenty of kitting to do and keep those memories alive.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Sweet sweet weekend

This Sunday was our 23rd wedding anniversary! So we celebrated… from different location on the Globe (Philippe being on a business trip in Bali). He sent me a beautiful, but oh so sweet cake.

Next day we went to a graduation celebration, so I made some Lemon infused whipped cream stuffed puffs or puffs stuffed with whipped cream flavored with lemon juice (have you notice how food blogs tend to use various pompous names?). Anyway those are super simple to make. Any simple puff recipe will do, make sure that you keep beating as you incorporate the eggs in the dough. Also it is important to start baking the puffs in a very hot oven, then turn the temperature down.

The puffs are stuffed with whipped cream. Whipping cream in a mason jar is my new preferred way to do it. I put some heavy cream in a mason jar, filling less than a third of the jar, add a bit of confectionary sugar, close the jar and shake it. At first shaking the liquid cream makes a ‘gloop gloop’ sound, keep shaking, then when it sounds more like ‘whoof whoof’, it’s ready. Add a bit of lemon juice and it’s ready. I like to let the whipped cream rest in the fridge before using it.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Easy easy projects

Since finishing the Prom Dress, I have trouble picking up a new project. So I decided to go easy on myself and take on projects that will bring satisfaction fast (see last post: Ironboard cover).

I made pillow cases using the burrito method. There are so many tutorials on line that I’m not going to explain the process (just try this on Pinterest).

For the first set, I’ve used Annamaria Horner fabric: Enchanted and Cutting Line bought from Quilted Forest which since has closed down after 116 years in business.

The second set is done with some Cotton&Steel From Porto with Love, because… you know... cats!

Of course, these pillow cases have been tried and approved by my trusted helper.

Sweet dreams!

Monday, 1 May 2017

Iron-board Cover - A class at the Sewing Studio

It is not the first time that I sew a cover for my iron board, and each time I wonder why I did not do it earlier. It is such a easy project and it is so rewarding when the iron board look nice and neat.

This time I have chosen Rifle Paper Co, City Maps canvas. I really like this print with all the different cities. It is a canvas and I like the stifness of it.


I like my board to be bouncy so I put two layers of batting, secured them to the top with a zigzag stitch.


The edge is finished with a double fold bias tape and an elastic tighten to fit the shape of the board. And voilĂ , ready for laundry day!


Don’t you think a pretty cover makes ironing a bit more bearable?
You can join me on May 5th, at 10:00 at The Sewing Studio in Maitland to learn how to make this cover. To register, just follow this link.

I will give the same class at my home on June 15, 10am to 3pm. Leave me a comment shall you want more details.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

THE Prom Dress

There was something I wanted to sew for a long, long time: a party gown, something fancy, something lacy, something shiny. But how often do I get the occasion to be invited to events which call for a party dress. Not very often, and in all honesty, I don’t thing I will wear such a dress anyway. So when Juliette asked me to make her prom dress, I kept a straight face as much as I could, but I was all jumping and somersaulting inside.

We picked the fabric in the Fashion district when we were in LA. Juliette had a very precise idea of what she wanted: lace corset and flirty skirt all in very light dusty pink, thanks Pinterest for all the ideas. Our fabric was a bit darker, and heavier, and the lace has large clusters of flowers.

Pattern-wise, I used the Esplanade pattern from Orange Studio for the top, fulfilling my dream to tip my toes in lingerie making. For the skirt I finally got to use my book Sew many Dresses, choosing the bias long skirt.

I made a couple of muslins of the bra part. The first seemed a bit small, but I should have put the wires in. Instead I went a size up, and the cups ended up a bit big (hello bra padding!). Once I decided on the cups size, I removed 1/2 from the bridge width, lengthen the body parts by 2 1/2 inches and finally added 2 1/2 inches on the with of the band to account for the fact I was not going to use a hook band. Also, I made some straps to comply with the School rules and regulation on girls attire (don’t start me on this, we don’t have enough time…). The straps have elastic inside to make sure that they don’t drop of the shoulders. Once all the pieces were cut into the main fabric, I placed them on the lace choosing where the pattern will fall. The lace goes slightly over the upper cut to add a bit of detail.


The pattern instructions are very well details and lots of drawings which make for a very smooth construction. Because all the pieces are cut in the bias, I pinned a L O T, took my time and everything got into places like a perfect jigsaw. I found attaching the underwire casing difficult, at some point there were probably 10 layers of fabric/lace/foam. My seam, where the cups meet the bodice parts, could be better, but I don’t expect anybody to look there too closely, right! I covered the inside seams with bias, so no scratching my princess’ skin.

As you imagine, bra making requires special trimmings. I got my special foam, elastics, wires, casing from Taylor Made. I can only recommend Taylor Made, Ying sent everything very fast and was very encouraging.


Now the skirt: a while ago I got this book Sew Many Dresses. I like the dresses, I like the concept of having different bodices, skirts, sleeves… but I never got to sew anything out of it. I might have been a bit overwhelmed by all the possibilities. The pattern need to be traced, assembled and that was not my preferred step, but the fit is great (on Juliette anyway). I did reduce the train thought as it was probably not very practical for a young person about to dance at a prom. Apart from that, there’s not much to be said about it, only three seams.


Finally, I attached the bodice to the skirt, I have been very lucky as they went perfectly together. I had to remove almost 2 inches from the bodice so the waist of the skirt would stay spot on for Juliette.

I think she liked it. And gosh, she looked good in the dress (OK, I’ve said that before, but she would look good in anything anyway).

Conclusions: 

  • I LOVED making this dress.
  • Bra making is not as scary as it seems.
  • I still can get over the fact that I made it. It is probably my best sewing project so far.
  • I am having prom-dress-making withdrawals symptoms, any other project I think about sound dull.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Paddleboard - Season 2

Last year, after a few SUP lessons with the Paddleboard Orlando, we decided to buy our own paddle boards. We felt confident enough to manoeuvre the board (honestly it’s not very challenging), we were reassured by our instructor that we had nothing to fear from the aligators (as long as we stay active). Since then we have a new Sunday morning ritual: after a late breakfast and after the New York Times has been read though and through, we put the board on the car and go for a long stroll on the lakes.


We like looking at (and commenting) all the front-lake properties. But the best things are the encounters with the wildlife on the lakes: there’s a couple of pelicans flying very low above the water, there are several hawks nests with chicks, a few white herons. It is very pleasant and calming… until late morning when the boats and jet skis start appearing, making big waves, and then it’s more challenging to stand up paddle board, and it’s time to go home!


Enough of my travel posts? I promise my next post will be about something crafty :)

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Destination Denver

Since we moved to the States, we made a point of tackling all the hipster destinations. So far, we went to Portland, Seatle, Austin, Nashville… With Juliette on Spring breack and Alice in revisions’ mode, we decided to escape for a long week-end to a part of the country we haven’t visited yet: Denver.

Honestly, we could move there easily. We had such a great time. OK, we were there for the beginning of Spring and we might have a different opinion in the mist of gloomy winter. Oh well!

Our first day was spent in Boulder, hiking around the Flatiron. There was still some snow, actually I think it snowed earlier in the week. We were a bit surprise to get out of breath fast, and then realised that we were way up sea level.


Next day, I had one goal, visiting Fancy Tiger Crafts store. What a beautiful shop! It has everything I could dream off: a beautiful range of yarn, large collection of C&S and Nina Iro fabric, a big table for knitting meetings, two class rooms… I’m moving there!


A bit more hiking in the afternoon: the Garden of Gods.


Monday, we went for another walk (when you’re at a location where the weather is nice, you just want to be outside) around Bufalo Bill’s grave. And a quick visit to the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum which has an temporary exhibition of Art Quilt, and a few antiques too.


One last stop in Denver at the Tattered Cover Book Store: you don’t want me to start on what a proper book store is, you just want to visit this store and then be very sad that you only have B&N close by.