Sunday, 30 August 2015

Perle de Nacre by Grains de Couture

This book.
It's like discovering a gold mine and then seeing all the gold is behind a razor wire fence.  Guarded by poisonous spiders.  Small ones.  Lots of them. (That's probably my personal nightmare.)

So I got this book twice.  The first time was right before I left Switzerland the first time and my housemate lost it.  I bought it again when I came back.  I was sad that it's not available in English, but the patterns are so delicious that I wanted to make sooo many of them!  It's not very approachable though, because it is in French, and you have to add seam allowances, and what makes the patterns interesting is that they have lots of details -- the kind of details that make adding seam allowances a seriously daunting task.

I know this because I was determined to start with Opale and I messed up all the seam allowances and I can't recut the bodice and it's lying in a pile of shame.

So I started over.  I made an Onyx for a friend - you can't go wrong with a sweatshirt, right?  And I realised the Perle de Nacre was also very straightfoward so I got on a roll and traced it at the same time.

The pockets are the top pleat! Ingenious!

It went without a hitch, surprisingly enough.  All my skirts this winter really educated me.  I didn't miss the instructions much - I didn't even glance at them, just used the diagram for the pleats.  I took a long time working on the pleats.  Here I was very glad for the drape drape experience!  However, I realised later as I was applying the waistband: when the pleats are not doing what you want, flip the fabric over.  The answer to my problem was on the back where I could see an imbalance that wasn't visible on the front.

I cut a size 5, I think remembering that skirts really need to fit properly at the waist.  Interestingly in Grains de Couture I cross so many size lines!  I guess this is what it feels like to work with patterns that are not made for your body shape.  I have to cut a waist size 2 bigger than my bust or hips...anyway it's a touch small as in it sits exactly at my belly button, which on such a skirt is good but is a weird style for me.  I will have to get used it and and maybe (quel horreur!) tuck a shirt in.  I only cut off about 1.5 inches and then folded over a 2cm hem. I could make it a bit shorter...and seems I have made the front longer than the back. Whoops. 

The fabric is crazy star canvas from MissMatabi on etsy.  I was in love when I saw it and dithered but eventually bought it.  I wasn't too excited when I saw it in person but now I'm excited again!  I love it in this skirt!  It is of course quite solid stuff, and holds the shape of the skirt very firmly.  I like it but I would (if I desired more such skirts) probably try a different fabric next time.

Overall this has increased my confidence in facing the Opale again.  I still love this book and every time I look through it I want to make something right now!  


  1. that is a very cool skirt, both pattern and fabric. I've never heard of that book but it looks intriguing.

    1. Hi Beth! I love the book - probably would get more out of it if my french were better though. Other than the patterns, it talks a lot about how to mix and match aspects of the patterns. I think Jolies Bobines made a dress from the book and I saw it on Kollabora : )

      The heavy fabric holds the pleats very nicely! It does feel a bit bulky on the front but I think it's subjective as it looks good in the photos...