Wednesday 24 October 2018

My Favourite French Sewing Pattern Companies

(image source: Anna Rose Patterns)

Lately I've become obsessed with a lot of French sewing bloggers/Instagrammers and French-speaking sewing pattern companies. Obvs, all French-speaking sewers and pattern companies aren't one amorphous entity, and every sewer and sewing pattern company has their own unique blend of style elements and influences. But that said, I'd say that there are some styles, silhouettes, details, colours and fabrics which I've noticed regularly cropping up in the output of a number of French-speaking sewers and pattern companies, and these are MASSIVELY floating my stylistic boat at the moment.

I'm hoping to absorb some of these elements into my own sewing and wardrobe, and in this post I want to record my favourites from the French-speaking pattern companies I've had a chance to check out so far. If you are a fan of any others I haven't mentioned, please leave a comment so we can go and take a look.

(image source: Aime Comme Marie)

Aime Comme Marie

The Aime Comme Marie site seems to be a magazine and a lifestyle blog, as well as the producers of sewing and knitting patterns patterns for women, children, men and the home. Phew.

Paper or PDF?

I *think* some/most styles are available in both formats.

French only?

From what I can tell, yes. Apologies if I am incorrect.

My favourite:  

This company first drew grabbed my attention with their ruffle-sporting Magellan and Macaroni styles (the latter is pictured above). However, after further research, I now think the Malice dress pattern is the best of the bunch.

(image source: Anna Rose Patterns)

Anna Rose Patterns

This pattern company's style is exactly what I'm talking about: sweet, simple, timeless, wearable, subtly quirky, and loads of other adjectives that I can only hope will one day be applicable to my own style.

Paper or PDF?


French only?


My favourite:  

The Blouse Paule (pictured above) is an interesting, unique take on a casual knit top, but it's the Blouse Ortense that has really captured my heart (pictured at the top of this post).

(image source: Anne Kerdil├Ęs Couture)

Anne Kerdil├Ęs Couture

This collection of patterns neatly straddles the line between vintage/retro and modern in style. Impressive.

Paper or PDF?

Almost all the range is available in both formats, however there are a few that are PDF only.

French only?

Honestly, I don't know. However, the fact that it isn't mentioned, makes me think the patterns are probably French only. Probs worth emailing if French instructions are a deal breaker for you.

My favourite:  

The Bergen cardigan pattern looks a great layer for autumn/winter/spring, and jacket-alternative for summer. However, the stunning scalloped hem of the Cezembre blouse pattern (pictured above) is the one mostly likely to soak up some of my money.

(image source: Atelier Scammit)

Atelier Scammit

If you're into beautiful yet simple, A-line blouses with subtle details, then Atelier Scammit are may well become your favourite sewing pattern company. They do offer a few other styles of pattern, but that type of blouse is clearly their bread and butter.

Paper or PDF?


French only?


My favourite:  

I adore most of their patterns, but the Artesane (pictured above), which is so beautiful from the front AND the back, might just be my fave.

(image source: Atelier Vicolo N.6)

Atelier Vicolo N.6

Actually this company is Italian, but their site is in Italian, English AND French. Clever peops and cute designs.

Paper or PDF?


French only?

I'm assuming that the patterns themselves are in Italian, French and English, but please check before you buy as I can't see it written explicitly anywhere.

My favourite:  

I'm enjoying the Dharma dress pattern (pictured above) for its spin on the traditional fitted-bodice-and-gathered-skirt dress style, but it's the Jolanda blouse pattern that I'm closest to buying.

(image source: Deer and Doe)

Deer and Doe

Deer and Doe are probably the best known French-speaking pattern company in the UK (if not the wider English-speaking sewing community). They definitely seemed like the first indie French-speaking pattern company to get their patterns translated into English, and then stocked in UK craft shops.

Paper or PDF?

All are available in both formats.

French only?

No! Both French and English!

My favourite: 

I've owned the Chataigne shorts pattern for years, and I *will* get round to making next summer, however the new Opium coat pattern (pictured above) took my breath away when I saw it.

(image source: Delphine et Morissette)

Delphine et Morissette

This French-speaking pattern company/epic-one-woman-band is based in Belgium, not France. And thanks to the relentless prodding of my much-suffering husband (who has a decent grasp of French, especially when he's armed with a translation app!) into translating a lot of her blog posts, I've found out that she's really funny. But back to the patterns. Her shop and the patterns themselves are a bit more lo fi than many (for example, her instructions come in the form of a word document with no step-by-step images or illustrations). But the patterns are all (IMO) very wearable with beautiful proportions and clever details. (You can see my version of the La Trop Facile jacket here, and the La Brune blouse here and more successfully here.) Plus, some adorable children's versions of many of her women's patterns are also available.

Paper or PDF?

PDF all the way.

French only?


My favourite: 

I've had my eye on many, but I keep coming back to the Flamenco and Japon patterns (the latter is pictured above).

(image source: Ikatee)


Until recently, this sewing pattern company only produced children's styles. However, they have recently started to produce a selection of their patterns in women's sizes too. You should also know  that they very generously offer a free PDF sewing pattern of your choice from a small selection in exchange from signing up to their newsletter.

Paper or PDF?

Don't quote me on this, but all their children's patterns seem to be available in both paper and PDF, and the women's patterns only in PDF at this point in time.

French only?

No! Both! Woo hoo for me!

My favourite:  

As I mentioned above, some of their styles are being turned into women's versions which I am thrilled about because I am OBSESSED with their two most recent releases, the Ida and Louise, both of which are the fruits of a collaboration with an amazing sewer Fanny (@petites_choses__). I've also had a lot of fun so far sewing the Corfou dress and Avana trousers for my little girl. 

(image source: Mimoi)


This sweet little company offers a handful of patterns, but currently for me it's really all about the Blouse Leonie and it's expansion pack of wonderful style options. 

Paper or PDF?


French only?


My favourite: 

The Blouse Leonie (pictured above) the most perfect collar design in the world, and everyone else can go home. 

(image source: Republique du Chiffon)

Republique du Chiffon

RdC have got a massive range of interesting, edgy-but-very-wearable women's pattern styles. Plus, if you believe that twinning(with your child) is winning, you should know that seven of their styles are available for children.

Paper or PDF?


French only?

Nope. A few months after it's French release, each pattern is available translated into English.

My favourite:  

Ohmygoodness so many. Having made two garments using their popular Suzon blouse pattern, I still haven't got it out of my system. They also have some fabulous coat/jacket patterns (including the Jose), and some Danielle dungarees WILL be mine...

(image source: Slow Sunday Paris)

Slow Sunday Paris

From what I can tell, Slow Sunday Paris is only a couple of years old, but their whole vibe looks so lovely and they have a great range of patterns already.

Paper or PDF?

Both, but surprisingly most of them seem to be available in paper format only.

French only?

Despite the fact that some parts of their website is written in both French and English, it seems as though the patterns are French only. That said, from the PDF I've bought, the instructions look super clear with great illustrations for each step. So if you don't speak French but are armed with a translation app, you'll probably be fine.

My favourite:  

I just bought the Dorothie blouse pattern (pictured above) because A) I'm a sucker for a sweet little blouse pattern, and B) that sleeve. And if you haven't checked out the back of the Lila top pattern, then make sure you're sitting down because it's amazing.

Thursday 11 October 2018

Burnside Bibs: Serving Land Army Realness

I've got so much love for dungarees and pinafores these days, I can't even tell you. I bought this pattern back in May whilst I was making the most of the generous Me-Made-May'18 celebration discount codes after coveting almost every pair I'd seen on Instagram.They finally got made at the tail end of the summer after I'd finally managed to answer the all important question of what fabric to buy. 

(image source: Sew House Seven)


In case you haven't come across the Burnside bibs pattern by Sew House Seven, lemme talk you through. Both versions include fabulous, large, curved, front pockets and clever straps/ties that narrow from the shoulder to the back and can be tied in a number of ways. There are two different bib shapes: scooped and straight across. Both versions feature a gathered back waist detail (great for bypassing a lot of trouser-fitting headaches), but version #1 is a little more fitted, with back darts and a concealed side zip to help you get in and out. There are optional patch back pockets and two leg lengths. 

Initially, I preferred the straight across bib shape, but had changed my mind by the time I had to cut the pattern pieces out. I was always going to go for the more fitted back waist option, as I wanted to reduce the likelihood of the back area looking like a gathered-up bin bag as much as possible. I hoped the addition of back pockets would help with that too. 

There was something that I found a bit off-putting about the back belt loops as well. I think the way the straps run through them and they gather up makes me think of curtains or something, so I decided to perform a small pattern hack to eliminate them. I made a channel from a rectangular strip of fabric and stitched that to the area where the belt loops should have been applied instead, and I'm much happier with the resultant look. 


After two recent successful firsts (1, sewing with and wearing linen and 2, embracing this colour green), I felt emboldened to choose this olive green cotton/linen mix from Fabric Godmother, which I never would have chosen before those two projects. The linen content gives it a lovely flow, and the cotton content means it doesn't wrinkle half as badly as regular linen probably would. It's quite a loose weave, so I was afraid of it fraying, but I just handled it carefully and there wasn't an issue. Plus, after making my Lander shorts and wearing them extensively during the summer, I was really surprised by how well this colour fits with the very limited colour palette that the rest of my wardrobe adheres to. Until recently I had been freely calling this colour 'khaki', but this week I received some schooling that khaki is actually this colour, and my shorts and burnside bibs are more accurately described as 'olive', or  'army green' perhaps. You live and learn.


Truth be told, when I first put these bibs on after completion, I must admit to feeling disappointed. Even having chosen the 'fitted' option for the back waist, I feel that I haven't fully avoided the gathered-up bin bag look from the back. Also, the crotch depth is REALLY low. And this is coming from someone who needs to 'scoop out' the rise (i.e. lower the crotch point) of every trouser sewing pattern I'm ever going to encounter. And I think that the position of the back pockets is much too low, and that plus the unflattering gathering and low crotch are all combining to give me the appearance of a saggy bum. And lastly, although I'm now down with this colour, is this much of this colour in this style of garment just too Land Army re-enactment? Is 'Land Army reenactment' even a thing? (Fun fact: one of my nans worked in the Land Army during WW2.)

(image source: Women's Land Army Tribute)

On the other hand, I love the shape of the bib section and they are tremendously comfortable to wear, so wear them I most definitely will. I think that the angle that these pics have been taken at aren't showing them totally at their best, and when I wore them whilst helping out at the recent Fabric Godmother open day, I inspired two people to buy this pattern. 

Will I use this pattern again? I'm not sure. I'd be tempted to try again with a drastically raised crotch and some tweaking to reduce the fullness at the back. However, I *may* have accidentally just bought another dungaree pattern to play with in the meantime... 

If you have any ideas on how to approach reducing the fullness in the back whilst maintaining the balance between the front and back leg pieces, I'd be VERY grateful to read your thoughts. Thanks in advance...

Friday 5 October 2018

Free Pattern Friday: Kids' Tank

Welcome to my monthly 'Free Pattern Friday' feature, where I road test a free sewing pattern or tutorial: sometimes a children's one, sometimes a women's one. I publish these posts every first Friday of the month, timed to provide inspiration for those of you who plan to get their sew on over the weekend. I firmly believe that, if you pick your projects carefully, sewing doesn't have to be a crazy-expensive way to clothe yourself and your family. Thanks to all the amazing pattern designers who have offered up their hard work for us to enjoy for free.

I'm really excited to be highlighting this free pattern today because, if you've got kids between 18m and 6 years old, it could become your new favourite pattern, no matter what season you're currently heading towards. I can attest to this tank pattern being a fabulous addition to a kid's summer wardrobe, but I'm also expecting these tanks to do a turn as a useful under-layer during winter. The pattern is by Life Sew Savoury (AKA Nap Time Creations), a big thanks to Emily for sharing this for free. It's labelled 'Girls Free Tank Pattern', but I totally think it's a very unisex style, and I've made a couple for Frankie to prove it.

Pattern type:

I've always known this type of garment to be referred to as a 'vest', so I'm struggling to type 'tank' in this post, but whatever you call this simple, sleeveless, close-fitting garment made from knit fabric, you probably already know them as a wardrobe essential. With this pattern, you can start making them yourself, hoovering up a lot of your knit scraps in the process. Seam and hem allowances are included, and the neck and arm hole bindings are indicated as measurements.

Sizing info:

This pattern is graded for approximately 18 months to 6 years, but the blog post/instructions and the pieces themselves handily include chest measurements, so I'd recommend going by those rather than on age alone. Of course, the stretchiness of your fabric will always effect the fit of the final garment, and you may be aiming for a closer or looser fit anyhow. For reference, The green hearts and green floral tanks you see in this post are a size 4 (with the size 5 length), and Dolores was 4.5yo and average-to-slim build when these pics were taken. Based on the outcome of those garments, I decided to make the size 3 for Frankie for next summer when he'll be 2yo, as he's a slightly sturdier build.

Fabric info:

A 'thin t-shirt fabric' is recommended for the front and back pieces of this pattern, and I like that the designer also encourages us to upcycle unwanted t-shirts for this project. She doesn't specify a percentage of stretch, or if the t-shirt knit should contain elastane, so you may need to bare in mind the properties of your chosen fabric going in and consider your sizing choice accordingly, but otherwise I'd recommend experimenting with all those small bits of jersey you been holding on to. I've been using up all sorts of small pieces of knit I've had knocking around, from 100% cotton (the green hearts and pale grey flecked), to mysterious slinky stuff that probably includes elastane (the green floral), to cotton that DEFINITELY includes elastane (the pirate print) and even 100% cotton baby-rib knit (the caravan print, maroon and yellow). 

The neck and arm hole bindings/bands are designed to be made in rib, but if you use a different type of knit fabric for them, it is suggested that you add extra length if it's less stretchy than rib. Personally, I found that when I used a cotton jersey with sizeable elastane content for the bindings, I didn't need to add any extra length. 


With the binding/band pieces given as measurements rather than actual pattern pieces, this pattern requires a pleasingly small amount of printer paper and ink. I also enjoyed how the binding/band measurements AND the sizing/chest measurements are written on the actual pattern pieces as well as being included in the blog post/instructions, which is handy if, like me, you usually do the cutting and the actual making of sewing projects on different days. 

As I've mentioned, the instructions take the form of a blog post, which I really like for quick little projects with relatively few steps like this because I find it easier to refer to my phone than getting the laptop out.

Generally, I love this little pattern, which you might have guessed at by the number of versions I've made. But I've have found a few little niggles with it that I think are worth mentioning. Firstly, the front and back shoulder seams (at least on the sizes I've made) are of slightly different lengths and, therefore, don't quite match up. Secondly, the neck line on the back piece isn't at a right angle with the fold line at the centre back, so if you cut it exactly as the pattern piece suggests, the result will be a slight 'V' rather than a smooth curve. Thirdly, and this is a personal preference thing, I found the neck and arm hole binding measurements result in bands that are a bit narrow for my liking, especially on the smaller sizes. And lastly, because the hem kind of curves up at the side seams, I would suggest hemming the front and back pieces BEFORE stitching the side seams, rather than leaving that step to the end.

Customisation ideas:
  • Use contrast solid or patterned fabric for the bindings/bands
  • Use a solid knit for the front and bold, patterned knit for the back, or vice versa
  • Add a cute little breast pocket
  • Applique or fabric-paint a design on the front
  • Apply a layer of stretch lace over a solid knit on the front piece, or all over
  • Straighten and shorten the hem, then add a gathered rectangle of fabric to turn this tank into a summer dress
  • Skip the topstitching around the neck and arm holes for a cleaner look

Would I make it again?

What? Aside from the seven times I've already made it?! Yes. I would definitely make it again, and I intend to each year until both my children grow out of the size range. 

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