FINISHED! A baby beanie - the last of the holiday knitting..

I went back to work yesterday after 6 weeks off.  I was full of dread but in fact it was nice to be back.  It was only day one though when the office is full of chatter and social catchups and many people including big bosses don't know yet that your are back... today will probably be different.

UntitledJust before work, I finished this wonky little baby beanie, which I started for the plane trip back. I used a combination of the bamboo wool I bought at La Droguerie.  This is SOOO soft, a bit wonky, but soft. It will be sent off to the latest little baby boy today.

I really like working on those little double pointed needles.  I really do.  But  now I have to extend myself and get some new tricks in my bag.  Socks are still on my 'to do' list!  Anyone know of a super simple 'sock-a-long'!?

My pursuit of sock knitting however might be momentarily waylaid as I spotted this pattern in the latest issue of Frankie magazine.

Clearly I'm a sucker for styling as I love this.  And it all looks completely doable.  I love the shrug but would it be a bit constrictive, like a straightjcket?  How lovely does the rolled neck jumper look for a Canberra winter.  MMmmm.. I could be tempted. 

Thanks to 2 great gals for the blog award

I've been terribly slow to recognise the lovelies Amy and Claire who both nominated me for a Liebster* award last week (or maybe it was the week before ??).  I feel very special to have been nominated for this award and really appreciate the nice things they both said about my blog, my style and my sewing.

Thanks - you guys are top notch!

So, go and check out both their blogs. They are new blogs, but they are already full of beautiful clothes! I particularly love this Grainline Scout Tee and skirt by Amy. Who would know it used to be a doona.. and her latest Laurel.. aah, I love that fabric.  And Claire is a girl after my own heart with her Mathilde blouse .. I love those buttons.  I can't wait to see what they come up with next!

I'm going to wimp out and not pass this award on (hopefully no bad luck will come my way). I did pass on the lovely blog award I received from the beautiful Merche back in December so there are some great blogs mentioned there. (Oh and check out Merche's  entry for the pantone colour contest. Wow!!)

Thanks again Amy and Claire, it's lovely to be recognised xx  Happy sewing!

*“The Liebster Award is an award given to rising bloggers who have less than 200 followers. Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.”
The rules are:
  • You thank the person who nominated you! 
  • You answer the 11 questions posted by your nominator
  • You pass on the award to 11 new recipients
  • You post 11 new questions to your recipient bloggers

FINISHED! Laurel Fall

It's been a little while between sewing finishes, but today, I finished my Colette Laurel in the fabric (Liberty and pinwheel corduroy) I bought at La Droguerie in France just before coming home.  The pattern itself is easy and the instructions are superb.  Unfortunately this dress took way longer for me to complete than it should have.
I had a bit of stage fright with this.  Firstly I had been away from my machine for a little while and secondly during the construction I kept questioning my fabric choices, with Ben at one point stating that the dress looked like something from the middle ages - or worse.

I had a bit of trouble with the fitting as well.  I made up a size 4 but had to take in at least an inch from each side.  The bust darts.... well you can see from the photos that they aren't exactly right..... although strangely they were fine in my final fitting after I dropped the shoulder seams down to 1/4 inch.  Just goes to show that I wasn't careful enough to check all positions - or else I hold myself strangely in photos.  I think I've read elsewhere that the armscye is small and I agree with this.  I had to chop about 1/2 inch into it to make it bigger and possible for my arm to get in and move!  

My 'bib' is also a bit out - which is annoying but I'm hoping isn't too obvious when wearing it.

You'll notice also that I changed the sleeves as well.  I'm not a fan of a tight fitting sleeves so adopted the sleeve from Tilly's Mathilde blouse to fit.  
All in all, it's an odd sort of interpretation by me of the pattern, which one minute I like and the next not so much.  I had decided to make an autumn Laurel for the contest and so tried to make something that had a real Autumn feel about it.  I definitely think it has that, so feel I met my personal brief.  I hemmed it by an inch to make it really mini (I'm really short so beware if you aren't as it is short - and shorter in the back than the front).

I'm not sure how much wear I'll get out of it but it is fun and with the right attitude might be of  'a fashion' enough for me to wear to fashfest next week.   

End of April (post holiday) sewing plans

I have been feeling very sad today.  Many many things going on. I am  ready to be back home.. but I'm also sad for the family that we leave behind here in France. Many tears today and there is still two days to go...

So, Ben and I went to l'epicerie today for lunch (sans les enfants). It is hands down my favourite place in Strasbourg.  If in Strasbourg. GO!!
Afterwards, we snuck by la droguerie for one last shop before we leave on Friday. I had on my mind the need to find some fabric for the Laurel which is top of my list for April sewing next week (post jet lag recovery) when I'm still off work with the kids for the last week of school holidays.

I bought some (surprise!?) Liberty (Mawstons Meadow) with some corduroy and trim.  I love a bib in a dress (see the two sugar tees I've made) so I think that I might make the Laurel version with the bib and maybe this fabric as the feature. It doesn't look so much in the photo but the orange really stands out and is quite fluoro.
I also bought this horsey Hermes -esque trim, just because.  Don't worry, I have no plans for it yet......It won't be part of the Laurel, at least I don't think so...
My other plan for April is to make a pussy blow blouse to go with this jumper I bought earlier in our trip form Bensimon.  It has some great sparkly thread through it which isn't captured in this photo but I really want a blouse underneath.  I'd like to try the Archer, which I bought before leaving Australia...but am a bit scared.  So maybe I think I'll go to my old faithful W from Les Couleurs Francaise which I've made quite a few times.  I'm thinking this time in a chambray... although will have to buy this fabric at A2F when I return.  

Petite Emilienne - Strasbourg

UntitledThere are not so many fabric shops in Strasbourg, well not in centre-ville anyway, but there is one.  A super cute little one called Petite Emilienne.  It is tucked away in 21 Rue Sainte-Madeleine.  

It is a tiny tiny tiny shop but stocks a great little range of books and fabrics, including my ever favourite Liberty of LondonFrance's own France Duval Stalla and you can even order your own 'dans ma petite valise'.  

I was in there the other day looking for some fabric for my Laurel   and I came away with a couple of gems....

This has got to be the coolest laminated fabric I've seen in ages.  Petite Emilienne has it made up into a tote bag with fluoro bias binding that is on display in the shop.  I had to get the materials for exactly the same, naturally! I am now thinking though that I didn't buy enough binding ..
This sparkly trim was used in the shop display on a very cute Liberty bag.  I bought several metres of this.... but I couldn't quite work out if I was told that it was auto collant (sticky) or not.  Another d'accord moment!
And I also bought these little scissors as I didn't bring my usual ones to France... why not!?

Me Made May '13

I've signed up again for Zoe's  Me Made May 13! I enjoyed it so much last year that it was inevitable that I would sign up again.  Last year I met loads of great supportive sewers by doing this challenge and also found new ways to incorporate my clothes into my wardrobe. The no repeat outfits definitely stretched me!

I've gone with a similar challenge to last year, but this time added in a rule for myself about no panic sewing.  Most of my sewing fails happened last year during May as I panicked and tried to sew up new things quickly.   I have also put in a challenge though to make 2 more wearable items during May (although my list of sewing plans is growing and growing so maybe it will be more).

Here's my pledge:

'I, Kirsty of Top Notch, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '13. I endeavour to wear at least one handmade garment each day for the duration of May 2013, with no repeat outfits. I will also make two new wearable items and will not do any panic sewing!'

Last year I posted here everyday, but this year I will probably do a weekly roundup. I will post my outfits daily on flickr group.

If you want to read more or sign up click on over at Zoe's blog.  Sign up even if you just pledge to wear one item!    

FINISHED! semi sampler holiday scarf

Last night I finished the scarf that I have been knitting with the alpaca wool bought from La Droguerie on and off for the last two weeks.  Phew!
I mentioned that I had originally thought that I would do a bit of a sampler scarf to try out new stitches but in the end I only had courage for three basic stitches: moss, stockinette and plain knit. Where I did stockinette stitch I did 4 knit stitches at the beginning and end of each row to help the scarf with not rolling too much. It still rolls!I used 3.5 needles and cast on 43 stitches.  It is about 19cm in width when not rolled but of course the sides roll to a fraction of that.  It is about 88cm in length.
I also did a button hole, mainly for practice, but also as a 'design feature' so that the scarf wouldn't need to be as long and could be threaded through, with the scarf staying nicely in place.  Ben, on constant lookout for choking hazards thinks the hole and this feature is a problem.  Me, I just think the hole is badly done.  But it is there now.

It was originally made for my little one Elliot, but he thinks the Alpaca it's too itchy.
Oliver kindly 'modelled' it for a bit ....
and even wore it around outside for about 20 minutes.  I think I can call this a success.
BTW: The extremely cool tshirt Oliver is wearing is from Engram Clothing on Etsy.

Loving: Claudie Pierlot

Yep - still in France on holidays!  We returned from skiing last Saturday and have since been eating and drinking from family event to family event. This afternoon there is a grand afternoon tea for two birthdays with an enormous amount of Ben's family followed by a dinner with Ben and all his sisters and his brother.  On Wednesday we are taking a short trip to Champagne (yes!!!) with his sister and then staying at his Uncle and Aunts on Thursday.  Yep it's all family.  

I continue to knit, but am completely over the scarf.  I really should have commenced a smaller project, but it's nearly done now, I think only about 2 more stripes to go. I really miss sewing.

Every now and again, I pop out to do a bit of window shopping and despite not having fashion shopping like Paris here in Strasbourg, they do have a bit and there are a few French brands that I love peeking at. The 'C's of French Fashion: Claudie Pierlot and Carven and Comptoir des Cottoniers and Cotelac.  Here are the Claudie Pierlot pieces I have been fondling each time I sneak into the Centre-Ville.

This first dress, is to me the ultimate upcycle of an old sweatshirt... just add sequins.  The ever lovely Zoe, on twitter thought this might be like wearing an armour.  But I am not deterred. I think with the right sequins... oh and the right occasion.  But what would that occassion be?
Trust Dress grischine Claudie Pierlot
I'm a big fan of this look, it's from the '1983' capsule.  Maybe it's the name of the capsule that does it. I'm a bit tempted to buy this jacket though I've never really worn red... 
Veste Verlaine multifonce Claudie Pierlot
And here are a few other jackets that have caught my eye:
Manteau Geneve sable Claudie Pierlot
Surely, with the right pattern I could make these blazers below.  The last one simply has grosgrain ribbon detail on the lapels and pockets. I hear By Hand London are going to release a blazer pattern soon....
Vetiver Jacket camel Claudie Pierlot
Vicky Blazer bleujean Claudie Pierlot