lisette 1879 souvenir blouse & shorts AKA i’m not stepping out of my beninese house

lisette1879souvenirtopBshortsCplusachair11Heartbreaking! This is what I call the Lisette 1879 Souvenir top and shorts I made. They’re so comfortable, look great on me, and I just love how they look together. HOWEVER this is Benin and this is a culture where showing skin above the knees is a huge no no. Breasts are okay but show too much leg and people will start having the wrong idea about you.

lisette1879souvenirtopBshortsCplusachair02Anyway! I’ve been sewing through my stash lately. After all those Laurels I really accumulated a bit of fabric so now I’m working through it all. The ikat print fabric is leftover from I am Kimono Cut and a Tabbed Laurel.

1879This looks like a stash buster, right!? I swear it’s a coincidence that my fabric is the same color.

lisette1879souvenirtopBshortsCplusachair03These shorts were meant to be. Look how perfectly (and barely) they fit on my scrap fabric! I become so excited when I see unintentional non-wasteful things happen.

lisette1879souvenirtopBshortsCplusachair04I started sewing and putting the shorts together, and all was going smoothly until… well. The thing about sewing is that stuff only becomes intuitive the more and more I sew. As great as diagrams and instructions are, when a garment makes that 3D jump from its 2D pattern, they never resemble each other at all. Only by sewing does this stuff start making sense. The saddest part is that this is the second time I’ve made this mistake. I did the exact same thing with the Colette Iris shorts – but that time was even more embarrassing because I thought that by trying them on hey would magically fit correctly. This time I knew better and reached for the seam ripper immediately.

lisette1879souvenirtopBshortsCplusachair05I used a lapped zipper! A rarity for me since most patterns I use call for an invisible zipper.

lisette1879souvenirtopBshortsCplusachair06This must be scrap karma for my stash busting efforts. Look how perfectly the souvenir top fits inside the piece originally destined for a a Colette Laurel. This fabric, by the way, is the same one used in the Hibiscus Laurel.

lisette1879souvenirtopBshortsCplusachair07To the treadle.

lisette1879souvenirtopBshortsCplusachair08And look how tiny the pile has become! There’s not enough fabric to make a garment, but…

lisette1879souvenirtopBshortsCplusachair09There’s enough to make scallops for a future scalloped tote bag.

lisette1879souvenirtopBshortsCplusachair10Scrap karma again, for the third time. This time the scallop pattern fit perfectly inside the Laurel cuffs I had cut out. I’m being rewarded I say!

lisette1879souvenirtopBshortsCplusachair17Ta da! Here they are together. Indoor photo shoot, for reasons explained before.


krbI have a friend named Kelly. I love her a lot but I also love her top bun. Just look at it. Doesn’t it look like ice cream? Or some sort of cinnamon swirled cupcake?

lisette1879souvenirtopBshortsCplusachair14So I decided to try and copy her. In the process, you can see the waistband of my shorts. I switched to vertical stripes because I was limited by my scrap fabric, but I do like the effect.

lisette1879souvenirtopBshortsCplusachair13Here’s my (attempted) top bun. A rather perfect way to complete the outfit, right?

lisette1879souvenirtopBshortsCplusachair12I’m still yet undecided if I’ll wear the top with something else for the rest of my stay in Benin, or wait it out until I leave when I can wear them together.

lisette1879souvenirtopBshortsCplusachair16It’s not easy making stuff I can’t wear! But I was tired of dresses and needed to make something completely different that didn’t use a lot of fabric. Shorts were the answer.

lisette1879souvenirtopBshortsCplusachair18It’s not a proper photo shoot until Bosco makes his appearance.

lisette1879souvenirtopBshortsCplusachair19Front with Bosco.

lisette1879souvenirtopBshortsCplusachair20Back with Bosco.

lisette1879souvenirtopBshortsCplusachair21Blowing a kiss to Bosco.

lisette1879souvenirtopBshortsCplusachair22Some dramatic side lit detail photos.

lisette1879souvenirtopBshortsCplusachair23Now let’s talk chairs. I don’t have a closet for my clothes. I have a hiking backpack. No point in investing in storage solutions if I’m only living in a place for a year. And because of all the sewing I do, that thing is full. This is where overfill clothing gets stored. But can you make out what’s underneath?

lisette1879souvenirtopBshortsCplusachair24My favorite way of getting rid of fabric, the pagne chair! A huge rectangle with the ends folded over to slip a rod through. I actually made this a while ago when I had friends come over and they needed a place to sit but never got around to writing about it until now. What better time to bring up this chair than when I’ve got an outfit to match it?

lisette1879souvenirtopBshortsCplusachair25Here’s a matchy photo of my me made outfit with the me made chair. Please ignore the terrible angle and what not… I live in a small room and don’t have the place or the space to properly set my camera down.

lisette1879souvenirtopBshortsCplusachair26The best thing about the pagne chair is that it’s at the perfect height to pet Bosco.

lisette1879souvenirtopBshortsCplusachair27So sorry to pull a Downton Abbey on you.

lisette1879souvenirtopBshortsCplusachair28Here’s the chair outdoors.

lisette1879souvenirtopBshortsCplusachair29Woof says Bosco, as usual.

Pattern: Lisette 1879 Souvenir blouse & shorts
Fabric: Ikat 10212 & secondhand sheets

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