Sew Paradise

French fashion report

Wide leg pants in menswear fabrics

Scarves, scarves, scarves

Wraps, capes and ponchos

flat tall boots

wide soft belts over fitted jackets with wide trousers

Sweatercoats, especially with ruffles and details

big soft satchel handbags

Ballerina flats

cropped swing jackets

mod swing coats

nursing tops and dresses Sew Paradise

Another cross wrap nursing tee

I finished the pale blue one. I basted the side seams (there are, at one point, four layers to get right) and realized the bodice, which is the closest to the body, was on top. OOPS). Thank goodness I basted first!  Ah at least I never serge first any more. That’s what being slightly sleep deprived will do for you.

I nearly finished the Christine Jonson flare leg pants in a heavy ponte knit – I just have to try on, and hem. I omitted the back zip and they are looking VERY fine if I do say so myself. Next up, in this pattern, the superdark wash denim (with iridescent gold on one of the weft threads).

I should interject in here I bought skinny  jeans today. Not just a size 4 (was I ever a size 4?) but slim jeans. And I think it’s been 23 years since I wore a pair of jeans like that. But again, they look mighty fine on 😉

But next up, first, are two flannel nightgowns. Yeah, they’re not the sexiest things (but frankly, neither is the ratty tee and boxers hubs sleeps in). I am going to make some classic PJ’s with piping on the collar as well. Probably two pairs of each type (gown or pj) and a lightweight flannel robe for travel. We are on the road constantly.

As I was nursing the baby (for whom the pajamas are partly for) I thought about years from now, how there will still be nursing openings in those gowns, and how I might pass them down to her when she has a baby. It made me sad, so incredibly sad to think my baby girl is growing up! Not sad in a bad way, but sad in a ‘no! don’t stop this beautiful time’ sort of way. But they’ll be the sorts of pajamas that I’ll pass down to her. And maybe her grandmother will make her some too. I must get with my mother about sewing again.

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more breastfeeding stuff

I have another of the Jalie 2787 tops to sew (pale dusty blue). And I bought some incredible double sided coat fabric the other day. The outside is a red tweedy knit, and inside is a faux sherpa/fleece in black. I’ll post a photo of the swatch I cut to do a test wash. The pattern I’m making is this one It’s a casual coat, but that’s the intention. A coat to wear walking with baby.

But tonight I have to go do something sewing or knitting since babe is asleep. Off to knit the baby shrug from the Debbie Bliss Simply Baby book.

nursing tops and dresses Sew Paradise

two more nursing tops

So I made two more breastfeeding tops. One, a cardigan ‘faux twinset’ with chanel styling, is based on a Basewear Two from Christine Jonson. And the other is Jalie 2787.

img_2742.JPGFaux twinset for breastfeedingJalie 2787nursingopening.jpg

Pretty nice eh? I think so.  I have another Jalie 2787 cut out in a pale dusty blue. And then there’s still the floribunda nursing one too. So many things to sew, so little time!

We’ve started a jacket sewalong on Sewing Refuge. I’m doing Burda WoF 106 from 9/07. Cropped sixties style raglan sleeve jacket. I have traced, that’s all so far.

In between all this, I do need to sew a pair of travel pants. CJ patterns flare leg pants in a brown ponte knit (I think there’s enough crossgrain stretch to forego the zipper, but we’ll see). Ah so many things to sew!

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i love blogs

I found the fabric district in Paris listed on an expat’s blog. Montmartre in the 18e. Haven’t yet found anything similar in Avingnon but I’m sure I’ll find something. There’s a piece of Provençale fabric with my name on it coming home with me.

I’m just about to turn in, and to fall asleep dreaming of sewing projects. Do you do this too? I imagine them step by step and then the finished product. The swing of a swing coat. The sweep of a ruana with curved ruffled hem, the swish of the perfect inner-Katherine pants. I chuckle – Burda refers to these as Marlene Dietrich pants, but I’m sure Kate made them popular first. At some point, I fall asleep, usually as I’m wearing them (which is probably how I got to the Addams Family dream).

What will I dream about tonight? A curved-hem ruana in an aubergine sweater knit.

See you in the morning!

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The Addams Family Sewing Class

Project Runway meets Addams Family. Last night I dreamed that I was taking a Project Runway style class from the granddaughter of Morticia Addams (her name was Maura in the dream). And we were deconstructing and reconstructing jackets. I paraded down the runway in a pink boucle jacket with pieced asymmetrical flaps in front, under where the cutaway hem was. I had on a pink mock turtleneck with hundreds of pink shell buttons sewn over the bodice. And I had on the most gorgeous red kitten heels in patent, with a tiny mary jane strap over the front vamp. I wore it with a skirt in the Runway, but later on with jeans as I checked out. Uncle Fester was there, as was Cousin It and Hand. It was really a trip.

I woke up singing “they’re creepy and they’re kooky and they’re altogether ooky…they’re the Addams Family!”

So, don’t know what to make of that, really. It was just hilarious. I wore my pink boucle chanel style jacket in honor of the dream. It was perfect!

The other night I snuck in a cutting session at a half hour naptime. Cut the two Jalie 2787 nursing tops, and recut an underlay for CJ Basewear Two cardigan. I’m making that one with black binding, bias bound pockets a la chanel style. I’ll cut away the armseyes of the underlay to make it nursing appropriate. It’s a faux twinset.

the Jacket sewalong started today at SewingRefuge. So Burda WoF 106, September 2007, I’m all over ya this week. My mother can’t believe it – cropped, boxy 3/4 raglan sleeve jacket is all the rage and she made a similar one in 1960.

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fall snuck up on me

First it’s 89 degrees, and the next week I had to layer a top over a nursing tee. Which really frustrated the baby, she tried to latch on over the nursing tank since I was fiddling with layers too long for her. So it’s time to sew nursing tops for fall.

First, since I sewed a possibly wearable muslin (more on that later), the Jalie 2787 criss cross top. I am going to forego fiddling with more twin needle hems – my machine just does NOT like them. I’ll set up the serger for a lettuce edge. Which reminds me, I need a little help from my (sewing) friends on that. Tried a tube top which is cute, but that ain’t no produce on that hem, top without lettuce

So, nursing tops. Two of ’em from Jalie 2787. Then, a modified empire overlay tank from a self-drafted pattern, and possibly a few underlay tees that have the deep armholes for nursing (don’t take the top layer off!).

I also bought Elizableth Lee’s Nursing Coat with baby insert for babywearing.

I look wistfully at the beautiful  new materntity wardrobe in the August issue of BWoF, but the baby is closing in on six months old and I haven’t yet decided if I want to take down the grit and courage off the shelf and do this affair again. But that’s a topic for another blog.

And then there’s the brown travel pants. I bought some stretchy poly ponte knit that will be perfect for the Christine Jonson flare leg pants. I think there’s enough stretch on the crossgrain to skip the CB zip too. But I’ll baste it together and try it on.

I haven’t even touched the Jacket sewalong yet – but SewingRefuge is doing one this month to November. I picked the cropped and cute BWoF Jacket September #105 (I think it’s 105, maybe 106). And a navy wool twill in my stash. mmm. With topstitching. mmmm. Yummy.

So back to the wearable muslin Jalie tee. I didn’t try it on before I serged the sideseams, and oops the bottom layer has gaposis and doesn’t do much in the way of coverage. Plus the icky double needle hem failure needs to go. I’ll use a very narrow zigzag to keep some stretch. Once I take the ENTIRE thing apart. Yeah. But I refuse to admit a wadder on this cute black and white matte jersey.

Next post is on the PJ wardrobe. Because I’m in PJs by 9pm, the baby’s bedtime and I need something nicer than what I have. And I might as well admit, for some time now, I’ve been in PJs by  9pm, it’ s not just the baby 🙂

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The workstation

Hubby built me a sewing workstation and it’s incredible.

Sewing WorkstationSewing Workstation 2

Really incredible. I could really create on this! My machine sits recessed (we opted to not use a lift, as the machine must then be screwed down to it) on a small shelf. There’s a shelf that folds down that holds it in place when the doors are closed. I am SO excited to sew on this.

My current next project is another tube top and jacket to match an existing pair of silk drapey pants.  I’m making the tube top in a brown stretch velvet (yeah not a summery fabric usually but hey, it’ll work). And probably another baby sling soon.

This week I am taking maternity clothes to consignment (my other blog, not linked to this one, details my loooong history of miscarriage, and my very difficult, dangerous pregnancy). So I am using that as an excuse to purchase new shoes for trip to France in the fall. And perhaps a new business suit.

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de nimes

Mom and I were headed to a children’s second hand store (closed on Sundays) and found a new secondhand boutique that *just* opened up. I tried on a super chic cropped velvet jacket that was elegant – but very impractical for life with baby spit up.  I passed it over for a burgundy shrug in a pointelle knit that was perfect. I also got *the* perfect jeans for paris. They’re cotton, poly and lycra in a wider (but fitted hip and waist) silhouette, very light weight, and require no alterations (petite, go figure).

So I have my pants for paris – the taupe Cosmopolitan travel pants and the denim pants. I might also make a yoke-waist wide leg pant in brown stretch velvet as well (if I have enough after the brown stretch velvet nursing top).

She also had a very chic belt that I also liked – it was in red pleather, gathered on to elastic with three rows of topstitching, and an edge-to-edge antiqued clasp. But I didn’t get that. I could do the same thing with a snap closure too. I have a pale green pleather, or, heck, blue suede. And where is that blue suede belt I made several years ago? That probably fits now. I should go find that in my sewing stuff.

This brings to mind the wine leather vest with Brazilian purple heart wood  toggles. That needs to come out of the closet as well for fall. So many chic outfits, so little time!

Though I did fall off the wagon with shopping, I am staying true to the thrift, secondhand and consignment boutiques.

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Is it the pants?


I’m looking a bit like an ice cream cone here – big on top, little on the bottom. Maybe this jacket is not suited for these pants. Or maybe I’m not suited for the pants? They’e the Christine Jonson Flare and Trouser Leg pants. Cropped (trouser leg). I loved the fit, but seeing the outfit together had me a bit worried it was a bad choice.


The jacket is from the hot patterns Sugar Babe set shown here on my dress form.  I think it’s super cute on the dress form (and on me, with this outfit) but maybe not with the cropped pants. We’ll see, those pants may become long shorts. Still do  you see capsule here? Add in the Jalie criss cross tee in white knit with black circles, and I think I see a capsule…