FINISHED! Paris almost cropped box with culottes

In January, I met up with InnaJoLisaJulie BarbaraNinie (later for dinner) in Paris. Gosh it was such a great day and night!! I'm still to properly write up where we went and what I bought but the last shop that we went to was a very special place De Gilles Tissus (156, rue de la Roquette  75011) . I bought one piece. A metre only of this (not cheap) 1970s vintage wool, the selvedge said G Petillault Paris. Well how could I leave it there?! The colour, apart from matching Inna's coat, is absolute perfection. The original plan was to make a boxy top out of it. So I did.  
I wanted my boxy top to have a roundish neck, dropped shoulders and a kick at the bottom. I think it works.  Unbelievably, I found it difficult to find a good box top that I liked/had so reworked what looks to be the only pattern (from recent makes) that I own. I adjusted the back piece so that all the checks lined up at the shoulder. The back has a button closure.
Where possible, the seams are finished, opened and then sewed down or like on the sleeve, I finished the sleeve together and then stitched down. I lined it with a blue voile. I had some slippery stuff in the stash, but felt a bit anxious with this make as I so wanted it to be great, so went with the voile. It makes it a bit more difficult to wear a shirt underneath but that's ok.
Ok, so it's not perfect. I could have shortened the sleeves by an inch but the biggest thing is my lack of courage with the length.  I think I wanted it to be a crop, but at the last minute chickened out and made it an almost crop. The length of this top needs a shirt underneath to be worn with skinny jeans for me.  It is ok with these culottes but could have been shorter to show the high waist of the culottes and be just a bit more flattering - but if I'd done that then I feel it would have been too short to wear with anything else... so maybe it's a good compromise after all.
Culottes I hear you say! Another pair!?? Yep.  I made the top and knew immediately that it needed a pair of Girl Friday Culottes.  Hooray for stash. Last year I bought this slightly textured (with a bit of stretch) navy wool from Addicted to Fabric, to make a pair of Colette Clover pants... they never got made because frankly I never felt like sewing up something so 'basic wardrobe'. But these fit my wardrobe perfectly.  And so refreshing to make something with plain fabric! I think I'm still making my culottes a size too big, but am managing to fix it in the waist band. You would think after this pair and this one I'd have nailed this fit aspect!
Despite any minor imperfections with the proportions of the top, I'm really happy with this whole outfit. In fact, Jo just wrote a post proclaiming the virtues of this very silhouette and I am in total agreement. It is so comfortable, and I'm just so happy I have this top in my wardrobe that just about matches the idea I had in Paris and reminds me of that great day. 

GIVEAWAY! She wears the pants!

I have a real treat for you today. Tuttle publishing contacted me recently to see if I'd like to review the recently published in English, 'She wears the Pants'. Now this is a no brainer. I have had, for a few years now, the Japanese language version, 'She has a mannish style'. This book remains my number one favourite of all my Japanese pattern books.
I have made the Velour Blouse, the Square Top, the Draped Cardigan and the Draped Mini dress (twice) from this book. Clearly, this is the most patterns used from any of my Japanese Pattern books.
In my opinion what sets this book apart from the others, is the edgier styling and the move away from the cute and whimsical feel usually seen in Japanese books. It's a little bit rock, a little bit moodier. The quote from the front contents page says it all:

“Sometimes you want to dress cool and boyish, in special, unique pieces that are only for you…”
I think there is something in here for everyone. There are some complicated pieces, such as jackets and pants, but also some very straightforward pieces (particularly the drape dress that can be made in a matter of hours).  The book comes with full size nested pattern pieces which slip nicely into an envelope at the back of the book.
Gathered Blouse is likely to be my next make from this book given my latest obsession with the dropped sleeve!
I haven't made anything yet using the English instructions, so I can't vouch for how accurate / easy they are to follow, but given they are in English, I know this will take the guess work out of most of the construction for those who usually guess at how to make garments from the Japanese.
Japanese Sewing Books has also written a comprehensive review of this book, which I highly recommend.
Now, the best part, I have two books to give away. To anywhere in the world!  All you need to do is leave a comment and I'll draw two random winners on Monday 30 March 2015!

FINISHED! A palette cleansing peplum

This make was a bit of a palette cleanser to a 'slightly disastrous top' that I was making out of the most perfect striped blue silk that I bought in Paris.. but let's not think about that now.  You've seen this pattern recently. Yes, it's that peplum top again from the Japanese pattern book 'Clean and Natural'.  Can't get enough peplum! Please don't be disappointed with me buying two pieces of fabric from the same store and using the same pattern for both of them. I just really love this pattern at the moment and it just seemed to be perfect for this fabric.
The fabric is Blue Marine Irouleguy (code: 18009763,01)  which I bought from La Droguerie in Strasbourg with Christine.  It's quite a sheer cotton with an embroidered pattern.  I thought that I would need to wear something under it but so far it's actually fine and not at all see through.
The top is made exactly like last time, although the neck is slightly larger on this make - not on purpose, but just because the fabric is more fluid and it might have something to do with the slight fraying that happened around the neck despite it being stay stitched.  Again, I used a self covered button on the back closure.  I unpicked quite a few seams to get the matching just right. I could have probably made the sleeves 1cm shorter, but it's not a show stopper.
I've been wearing both my 'Clean and Natural' peplums heaps and I'm completely in love with the silhouette.. But right now, I'm in a sewing lull. I've got ideas but am struggling to sew anything. So, until I find some time and some sewjo in order to tackle projects with a bit of confidence, it is viva la peplum!