Tuesday, 22 September 2015

La belle Citronille

Have you heard of Citronille patterns? They are a range of children's and women's clothing patterns with classic, vintage-inspired style and super-cute cover drawings that remind of of Oliver + S. Until recently, these patterns were only available in French - but now Fiddlehead Artisan Supply has started selling a range of patterns complete with English translations, which is very exciting news for anyone who has ever admired French bloggers' gorgeous Citronille outfits.

I was lucky enough to be given a pattern to sew for Fiddlehead and Sew Mama Sew's Citronille Challenge. Mine is the Paloma, a sleeveless dress with a fitted bodice and two gathered skirt sections. The pattern is nice and quick to trace and cut out (seam allowances are included! hooray!) and the instructions were pretty straightforward and easy to follow.

I made size 6 length with size 4 width based on R's measurements. I sewed the dress exactly as instructed but replaced the buttons on the back with metal snaps so they wouldn't catch on R's hair. The snaps are such a great alternative to buttons, and having spent a lot of time unpicking botched buttonholes lately, I was only too happy not to have to sew any! I also increased the width of the binding by a half centimetre or so - it's something I always do, because I'm not too good at working with narrow binding.

I really love this dress, and you can see from R's expression that she loves it too. It has just the right degree of fullness, giving it plenty of flounce and a nice full profile - not to mention a high degree of 'twirlability'! The fabric I used is a bouncy cotton seersucker which worked beautifully for this style. My only regret is that while the bodice is a perfect fit for R right now, I don't know if it'll last more than a season. But never mind, our warm weather is just beginning here so she'll get plenty of wear out of it, and I'll have an excuse to make a new Paloma before too long.

While Citronille patterns are quite simple in design and straightforward in construction, they are best suited to those with a bit of sewing experience. The instructions are quite sparse - although they do include diagrams - and they don't mention anything about seam finishing, nor do they give details about techniques such as gathering (for the record, I top-stitched the gathered sections of the skirt to make the gathers lie nicely). Rather, the patterns assume a basic knowledge of sewing and provide you with classic styles that can be made 'as is' or customised as desired. The beauty and simplicity of Citronille patterns is evidenced by the enormous following they have in France - check out the French-language site Je couds Citronille for numerous examples of every pattern in the range.

Now click over to Sew Mama Sew for the chance to win a Citronille pattern of your choice! Or visit Fiddlehead to get your fill of French style en Anglais.

You can also check out the blogs of these sewists, who will be posting their Citronille creations between now and 25 September:

Michelle Morris of That Black Chic
Sherri Sylvester of thread riding hood
Tenille Brien of Tenille's Thread
Maris Olsen of Sew Maris
Vanessa Lynch of Punkin Patterns
Sara Johansen of The Sara project
Natalie Strand of Vegetablog
Diane Reafsnyder of Gator Bunny
Jessica Wright of Willow & Stitch
Sara Homer of Now Try This
Kelly Donovan of Craftree

Thank you Fiddlehead and Sew Mama Sew for the opportunity to try out the Paloma - I'm so happy to have sewn my first Citronille !