un été couture république du chiffon éléonore dress (tunic?)

eleonore01Woah that’s a lot of French in this title. Say hello to the Éléonore dress from the book Un Été Couture by Geraldine Debeauvais from République du Chiffon. Except it came out more tunic length for me so I have to wear it with pants, but perhaps in a future version I’ll make it longer.

eleonore02I purchased this book when I visited France last year, but it took me a few months to finally make something from it. That seems to happen with any cookbook/pattern/etc – I love it immediately but take a while to actually make things from them. It’s full of garments that have a slight vintage touch – not too much, but enough for me to love the details.

eleonore03I decided that my first project from this book would be the first dress in the book so I could get used to the style of the pattern and instructions. It is hard to see the details in the black dress being modeled, but I was attracted to the faux wrapped top, the diagonally placed buttons, and the elastic waistline because who doesn’t like elastic? I was actually in Taiwan when I made this and there was lots of eating going on, so that affected my decision a bit.

eleonore04Here is the line drawing which is clearer. It’s rated two roosters, a definite symbol of France.

eleonore05The instructions are in French, of course. I think I figured it out although my sewing French vocabulary is limited. I was a bit annoyed however that two of the steps said to refer to other patterns. I don’t mind it when books do that as I understand steps can become repetitive, but I don’t like it when it happens in the very first pattern. Had these “see other pattern” steps happened in pieces featured near the end, that would have made sense. I like books that build upon skills as you learn them, and this first pattern had me jumping around to different patterns and techniques. Other than that the illustrations were nicely drawn and the instructions were explained well.

eleonore06My fabric, of unknown content and unknown name and unknown material because I bought it from a remnants bin in the Taiwanese market, was a fraying monster. And I had no serger. And I felt like a cat owner because I constantly had threads falling on and around me.

eleonore07It doesn’t look too bad, does it? I however think the waistline hits me at the wrong place, and it turned out too short to be considered a dress.

eleonore13And I think part of the reason is because I was a bit sloppy in how I put in the elastic. Before I’d sew my elastic directly in, but this method is cleaner by creating a tube when you sew the top to the bottom. However I may have sewn more than the 17mm recommended, thus shortening my top and bottom more than intended.

eleonore08Next time I will definitely be lengthening the bodice! Now that I think about it (I made this in January) I think I may have forgotten to add seam allowances. They aren’t included and you have to add them yourself to the traced pattern, so I easily could have absent mindedly skipped that step. Add that to another reason why it turned out too short for me.

eleonore12Also, sleeves. These sleeves were drafted for some slender arms. Compare the Deer and Doe Airelle sleeve with the Éléonore sleeve, both a size 46. Granted the SA is included for Deer and Doe and not for the Éléonore, but still – I knew it wasn’t going to be comfortable unless I made the sleeve wider for my upper arms.

eleonore11So that’s what I did, and you can see it created a bit of a “poof” near the top. I made a pleat so I could ease in all the excess fabric.

eleonore09To be honest this isn’t flattering on me. I feel pregnant.

eleonore10And that elastic waistline that is too high does strange things to my bust and side silhouette. Because of all the above reasons I wasn’t too inspired to add finishing touches to it with the buttons, so I left them off.

eleonore14Still, all smiles here! I’m proud I learned some new French vocabulary, a new way to add in elastic, discovered a new book for my sewing collection, and have a new top for days when I need to eat a lot. Things I will do next time: lengthen bodice, redraft sleeves correctly, and choose a thinner fabric. Also, remember to add in my seam allowances – important!

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