After some illnesses here, it's taken me quite a while to start getting back into the swing of things, but yesterday I received a wonderfully inspiring package all the way from France:
Since I had to buckle all three into the car to drive to the post office to retrieve the package, I decided to enjoy opening it once the kids were napping and made myself a tasty snack too. (Have you tried Justin's chocolate almond butter yet? don't, you won't stop eating it.) Please ignore all the dirty dishes in the background - you would too if you had been waiting an entire month for this delicious little envelope!
I discovered these patterns a while back through a random mention in someone's flickr comments. I wish I remembered who, so I could thank her. There wasn't a great deal of information on the website, and many of the line drawings only offered the front view, so I didn't entirely know what I was getting, but I figured that the charming illustrations must be an indicator of quality. Have you ever seen anything quite as precious as these? They were irresistible!
The patterns came in A4 sized sleeves, with all the instructions printed on the inside of a folded outer sheet. The instructions are verbage heavy, but there are enough diagrams that I get the idea. I've also learned quite a lot of new French vocab in the process!
The pattern pieces themselves are - get this - hand drawn! So lovely. So very European - in the good way.
When I was last in England, I noticed that they also shared our love of handmade things, but that they do it just a little differently. I don't mean to speak for all Americans, of course, but I feel like our goal in hand making things is a professional looking finished product. I certainly aspire to the idea of handmade, not homemade. It's not that I want my things to look exactly like shop things, I just want them to look skilled. However, in England - even in shops - I noticed that the DIY style emphasized a distinctly handmade aesthetic. I have the new Cath Kidston sewing book, for example, in which many instructions are given for hand sewing that I think most Americans would just do at the machine.
I think I must be feeling a touch of Wanderlust lately, because It's been very nice for me to receive a taste of something different. What I liked about living in Europe - back in my previous life, that is - was the chance to come to really understand another culture's way of thinking. It's not something you can get by Eurorailing around, but after a year or so somewhere, you could start to understand. I never lived in France, but just maybe doing this one thing the French way will build some new understanding, however small. Maybe I'll do method sewing and use metric, too. lol.
So this is a preview of what's to come. I have fabric on the way for the little puff sleeved dress and am still debating how to handle that simple tunic. I'm currently finishing some rather boring summer sewing for myself. (Turns out I shouldn't have thrown away my fat clothes after baby #2. Sigh.) After that's done, I will start on the Princess Royal's fall wardrobe. Meanwhile, I will have some really wonderful baby things to share very soon, I promise!