Saturday, March 30, 2013

Announcing the Ma Cherie French Knickers Sew Along!

Well, it turns out I did get the flu after taking care of my sick man, and now that I don't feel like dropping dead any longer, it's time for that sew-along we were talking about!

Underwear are so marvelously versatile and the Ma Cherie French Knickers are no different.

We're going to make some gorgeous underwear together! The plan is for me to sew a basic pair of French Knickers and walk you through the steps as explained in the pattern. Then I'll sew several other versions and demonstrate different techniques for finishing and embellishing them. We'll go over different fabrics you can use and elastic choices. If we have time, I'll show you how to trim them with ribbon facings, lace edging and insets, scallops, bows and even embroidery!

If there's something you'd like me to cover, please leave me a comment and I'll do my best to work it in.
Now for the pattern. Anyone who wishes to participate in the sew-along can now buy the digital version of the pattern at at a discounted price. This discount will be available until April 10th.
If you're printerless, don't worry, I have a paper version too! The paper version is available here.

Depew 2018 Ma Cherie French Knickers Pattern
In my next post I'll talk about fabric and trim choices, and I'll give you links to some of my favorite places to find the perfect trimmings for lingerie.

Here's a sneak peek of some of the beautiful things I've bought to embellish my knickers with:

Silk Ribbon, vintage lace, antique silk embroidery threads...we're going to make some beautiful lingerie!
I hope you have a lovely, sunny, and warm weekend. And I hope there's cake involved. Everything is better with cake.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Anyone for a Sew-Along?

Hello lovely readers. Sorry for the radio silence. I've been nursing a very sick husband. What seemed like a simple man-cold turned into the full-blown flu so I was forced to mother the hell out of him until he had no choice but to get better in order to save himself.

He's back at work today (God bless the military for making sick men go back to work) coughing on anyone he sees and probably starting another pandemic.

So I'm freeeeeeeeeee for the day until he comes home for soup, and I thought, this is a good time for a quick blog post!

I wanted to take a quick poll and get your opinions. Would any of you be interested in doing a short sew-along for the Ma Cherie French Knickers Pattern?

A friend of mine (who is a bit new to sewing) saw the pattern the other day and mentioned that the pattern, and in fact all underwear sewing looked quite intimidating to try. Having my self sewn what feels like a hundred of these while pattern testing, sewing knickers feels like a walk in the park for me. It is in fact, really easy, experienced or not, and I wanted to offer my help to anyone who was afraid to give them a try. Hence, a possible sew-along. If anyone is interested, I would love to know. If you're not interested in sewing knickers, is there another pattern you would like to do a sew-along for?

Whatever type of sew-along we end up doing, it will be my last one until the fall because I have great news to share with you! In just 3 months, we'll be moving back to the U.S.! Four years in Norway has been an incredible gift, filled with trials, lessons, many broken bones, and lots of blessings but I'm thrilled to start a new chapter soon.

We'll be settling into the Monterey, California area and I'm over the moon. I visited there once when I was a girl. It was my first time seeing the ocean (having been raised in the Mountains of Colorado my whole life) and I was just young enough to believe that it might have been the most magical place on earth!

Some sunshine will be a nice change :)

I'm going to go back to bed now to catch up on the sleep lost listening to my sicker half cough all night for almost a week (so I don't catch the flu myself!), but before I do, here is a hilarious video that very accurately details the horrors of man cold sufferers everywhere.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Fashion Service Magazine: a few pages from 1930

Hello lovely readers. Today I am sorting through my huge (HUGE!) collection of Fashion Service magazines from the 1920's through 1930's and I found a few pages I thought that you might like to see.

These images come from the July, 1930 issue of Fashion Service Magazine.

These hats just make me tingle all over. Wouldn't it be amazing if we could bring these back in style again?
Don't those pajamas just make you long for the weekend and some sunshine to lounge in?

Usually if the magazine didn't include a diagram and instructions for making the featured designs, they recommended which pattern models (McCall's, Pictorial, etc.) one could buy to sew the desired look.
This issue, however, was advertising patterns produced by the Woman's Institute, for example, the beautiful model below (bottom right), #6D-7, could be made by ordering "W. Institute 2594" for 15 cents.

Reading about the patterns advertised surprised me because I've never seen a pattern directly released by the Woman's Institute before, and my Google and Pattern Wiki searches didn't show any either.
Have you ever seen one?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sew French... March, 1956 and a free purse pattern!

Today for you my dear readers, I have several lovely images from the March 18, 1956 edition of Le Petit Echo de la Mode.

"I just love to get cozy with my book, leaning on random furniture!"

The pages were so fun that I just had to share them with you.

Always included were the fashion pages advertising sewing patterns you could mail order, a bit like the old McCall's Magazine. Ah, fashion from 57 years ago. What a treat!

Pretty Spring Prints!
 I just love the colorful spring prints contrasting with solids in these outfits. Wouldn't you love to be able to find fabrics like the ones illustrated in these skirts?

Don't you just want to copy this lovely embroidery!
And let's not forget the sexy Elizabeth Taylor-style slip one would wear underneath!

 And last but not least, the purse to go with the whole ensemble! You can make your own following this great pattern included in the magazine. I believe that the scale for these diagrams are set in 1 cm squares.

Bon Week-end à vous!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Book Review: Embroidered Effects

As you all know,  I love sewing my own lingerie and I love using vintage patterns to do it. However, some of my favorite patterns have also had embroidery transfers included to personalize and beautify said lingerie. This always frustrated me, that I didn't know how to embroider and couldn't use the pattern to it's full potential. Recently though, I vowed to myself that I would keep learning new things and new skills on a regular basis in order to avoid felling like a stagnant pool of used up creative juices. Yuck. So my first step, obviously, had to be learning to embroider. I know, not only would I be fulfilling the sacred vow that I had sworn on the head of Vinny the cat, but I would also be upping my game in the lingerie sewing sphere!
Image courtesy of

I jumped online and almost immediately, I found Embroidered Effects, by the marvelously talented and quite humorous Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching. (Seriously, check out the website, you'll be hooked in seconds.)

Now let me tell you how much I love this book. It went straight to the pile of Necessary Stuff on my nightstand (right along with the trashy romance novel, the medicine for my chronic nerve pain, and Moo the stuffed penguin... three things I can't live without).
The first night I tried the patterns and stitch tutorials included with the book, I ended up stitching long after my husband had fallen asleep because I couldn't put down my needle! I found out that embroidery was fun, just like Jenny Hart promised it would be, and I didn't want to stop. Ever. Not to mention, the slow, careful stitching helped relax my bad arm and actually soothed the pain I usually go to bed with each night. Well, there you have it. The cure is embroidery!
And look! Lookit what I made!

Day 1

I did this using a simple back-stitch (something my Grandma actually taught me for hand sewing) and French knots. And then I took the half dozen or so stitches that I learned after that and I started fooling around with monograms. I've always wanted to add cute little monograms to things like French knickers and now I can. Here was the second thing I ever embroidered... a monogram design that I found online.

Day 2
I made this using a satin stitch, back stitch, split stitch and French knots, all learned from Embroidered Effects, and when I finished that, I thought "This book just taught me how to do everything!"
So... this is the part where I tell you that I escalate things. Quickly. I'm an escalator.
Naturally then, my third embroidery project couldn't be something simple. I decided that since, in my mind it was just like drawing, I would just embroider something that had already been drawn. No big deal.
I had just the drawing in mind, a fashion sketch by Robert Piguet from 1951.

Robert Piguet, 1951 -  From Fashion Illustration 1930-1970.
So I traced it out with a transfer pencil and one bright Saturday afternoon, I curled up on a chaise in the sun and embroidered this:

Day 3

Soooo.... long story short, here is why you might like this book better than others.
Tone: Miss Hart didn't write a textbook. The book is friendly, putting you at ease and welcoming you into the world of embroidery like a great hostess invites you in for some tea and gossip. The author's love of embroidery is apparent and even before you pick up your needle and try your first stitch, you already love it too.

Project with included pattern from Embroidered Effects by Jenny hart.

Not to mention, this book is BEAUTIFUL. It's full of delicious illustrations that capture the art of embroidery and Miss Hart's own unique, "This ain't your Grandma's embroidery" attitude. My favorite aspect is the slight vintage flair infused in the accompanying patterns. You get a slight whiff of pin-up combined with an air of 1950's motorcycle gang meets June cleaver in a thong. If that's a thing. And I like it.

You can find Embroidered Effects and other books at along with patterns, tools, starter kits and everything else you need to get started!
I'm pretty sure that if you give embroidery a try, you'll be as hooked as I am.

Have a great weekend!



Friday, March 1, 2013

Let's choose a winner, shall we?

It's time to choose a winner for the Ma Cherie French Knickers Pattern giveaway! So many of you commented with what fabrics and notions you would use to make these that I got online and bought a ton of fabric to sew another dozen versions for myself. Your comments inspired me to sort-of break my monthly sewing budget. (Bad Anna!)

Ma Cherie French Knickers Pattern

But it's time to announce a winner! Everyone's comments were great, which would make it hard to choose but luckily we have a random number generator for that.

Our lucky winner is #36, congratulations to Catja, who commented:
" I have never really sewn with slippery silky fabric before, so this would be a good project to try it out! Wouldn't use up too much fabric, in case it did not work. I would likely make them in ivory with a black trim. Or vice versa, depending on which combination I could find."
Congratulations! You can email me at to claim your prize!

On that note, here is a pair of French knickers by Anthropologie that are almost exactly as Catja described. How cool is it that you can sew what would normally cost you a big handful of cash?

I like the bra too... boy am I inspired to sew lingerie this weekend!