Back in July I was thrilled to be invited to join the Bel’Etoile International Pattern Tour. I had purchased two of their patterns earlier in the year but never got around to making them, so this was the perfect kick in the bum to try them out! Here’s how I got on…
Over on Instagram today (3rd Sept. 2018) I’m hosting a giveaway of one Bel’Etoile pattern – so go check it out for a chance to win!
At the same time I was also lucky enough to have spent a day walking from Shannon to Limerick with “Walk While You Can“, a charity walk travelling the length of the country to raise awareness and funds in aid of Motor Neurone Disease research. I decided to take advantage of being family-free on the other side of the country. So the next day I undertook a mini road trip home via Tuam to visit Quilt Yarn Stitch, and then on to Kells to visit Dress Fabrics. It was a great excuse to go visit the real life shops of two of the best online fabric shops based in Ireland.
I didn’t go crazy buying fabric, as my stash is getting a little out of control, but had hoped to use some Irish sourced fabric in the outfits I made for this tour.
In Quilt Yarn Stich I had to close my eyes to all the lovely printed jersey fabrics. I just can’t let myself buy more till I’ve used up some of what I have. I did fall for some lovely white quilted stretch sweater fabric and some cream/white solid sweater fabric too. Quite what I was doing buying white to be worn in a household with three small children I don’t know… (but I’m very glad I did!)
ISA, ISA, ISA
The first item I made was the Isa Dress and used some of that lovely quilted sweater for the front and back panels. This is the first Bel’Etoile pattern I bought back in April. I was drawn to the cool v-shaped colour blocking options. It also has lots of fit options to it – Sweater, Cropped Sweater, Sweater Dress and Dress.
I went with the dress option and, despite loving the v-shaped colour blocking potential, I decided that the quilted fabric provided enough texture. I paired it with some soft pink French terry from Elvelyckan Design that I’ve had in my stash for a while. The combination of soft colours and textures worked out just great!
The fit is lovely and relaxed with plenty of room for climbing about. It will be prefect in autumn/winter paired with some leggings/tights.
We managed to get away from the lads for a bit while on holidays in Castlegregory, Co. Kerry a couple of weeks ago and No.3 really enjoyed collecting stones on the beach – she was delighted to discover the big patch pockets the dress offers!!
Next up I decided to make the Lux Dress, well, two Lux Dresses! As there is now a women’s version as well as one for children! (During the blogtour, anyone who buys the Isa or Lux pattern, gets a free copy of the women’s pattern!)
So No. 3 and I were to get some matching gear for the first time! It occurred to me as I was finishing the Lux Dress for me that I hadn’t sewn a dress for myself in 10 years!! Not since one of my brothers’ wedding! Think I need more now!! I’ve pretty much lived in my Lux Dress since I made it.
For both dresses I used some lovely soft organic cotton interlock from Fabworks Online, a UK based online fabric shop that sells a lovely selection of organic cottons. A finely striped one for me and a whale patterned fabric for No.3. Beautifully soft.
The pattern calls for either a decorative surface positioned elastic waistband, or a concealed one using shirring elastic. I had neither so added in a casing for some normal 1″ elastic I had in my sewing box. I went about it arse-ways for No.3’s dress but learnt from that and improved the technique for my own, so was a much easier undertaking.
The little cuff sleeves are designed to be turned up, but I didn’t sew them up in either dress. There is also an option to hem the armhole, think I’ll try this for me next time. I will sew mine up, but I do like how they form little sleeves on No.3’s dress when left folded down.
I was a little concerned at the waist position – my narrowest point is a good bit higher than the pattern’s elasticated waistband – so it wouldn’t necessarily be the most flattering, but I decided to stick with the pattern for this first attempt and see where it led me.
I’ve got to say I do love the dress. The only adjustment to the pattern I made was to lengthen it by 7cm, as I’m 178cm tall . It is incredibly comfortable and while it’s very casual looking here, another fabric selection would make it so much dressier
This means nothing to me… Oh Vienna!!
Oh , but it really does mean so very much to me to be able to sew!! Next up I made a gorgeous little Vienna Dress for No.3 (the lads were really starting to feel left out!) using some lovely denim from Dress Fabrics and some quilted pink fabric from Fabrics Ireland.
I had picked up a remnant of a lovely soft denim when I went to visit Dress Fabrics’ garden party. It was such a relief to arrive at Maeve’s sheds! I had been driving all day and was greeted with tea, sandwiches (thank you to Maeve’s mum and sister!!) and best of all lots of beautiful fabric! Once again I resisted buying too much, but it was so good to see the fabrics up close. Buying fabric online is so very easy, but it is hard to know exactly what you’re buying. It was wonderful to have a good look around and now to be able to trust in the quality of everything she stocks! I got some lovely yellow French terry and some designer fake suede scuba fabric (not sure what to do with that, but couldn’t resist!) too.
The Vienna Dress is a more formal, structured “pretty” pattern than the Lux or the Isa. The little capped sleeves, and the ruffled seam to the front are lovely details. It calls for a zipped back, but I have never done a zip (!!) so instead added 3 lovely wooden buttons. Zips are on my list of things to learn to do, but hadn’t built up the courage at this point!
I’ve no idea what the pink fabric is! I bought it from TWI / Fabrics Ireland to line a coat that I made earlier on in the year and had a bit left over. It is quite thick and has a lovely bouncy quilted texture and is very soft. I wasn’t sure how it would work but am delighted with the result.
I love the contrast in colour and texture between the two fabrics and the buttons add yet another layer of contrast. It really is a very pretty pattern!
There are so many amazing Bel’Etoile outfits made as part of this blog tour by some terribly talented seamstresses (sewers? sewists?) and I would really encourage you to check them out over on Instagram. Just search for Bel’Etoile and you’re sorted!!