Grains de Couture Hommes et Femmes has been a great find for me. It is a luxurious and large book with enormous pictures and I find it easy to lose myself in dressmaking plans. It is a book of potential. The author encourages hacks and variations so you have to trust your decision making and go for it. You also need some dress making experience to get past the language barrier.
The book is beautifully written and translates well using Google translate. All the construction processes and pattern alteration ideas are listed and detailed in the back pages. I chose to make a maxi skirt variation which combines a couple of patterns for waistbands pockets etc and I added a few of my own ideas. I curved the pockets and made them larger.
I also stitched down the pleats to reduce the puffiness- who wants puffiness over their belly? I also lengthened the stitching lines that form the pleats.
To achieve the straightness, I used a bit of Washi tape- I use it quite a lot in sewing, e.g. for holding paper still when tracing or for cutting and altering patterns.
So after the success of this skirt, I turned to my next yearning; the Jadestone variant. For this I followed the book guidelines and used my Wiksten tank pattern for the arm curves. I traced a size 36 and took it in a little further at the sides and unleashed the pattern on my much loved stash of Anna Maria Horner Little Folks voile.
I added a little bow back detail (this bow is used in other patterns in the book)
The result is mixed. I love the back, the multi-fold detail is really interesting. The front is less successful. I love the look of trapeze tops, floaty flared pleated tunics but they don't suit me. I need more fit across at least the upper chest- this is why I love yoke shirt tops like Tova and Carme so much. What I really need to do with this is unpick the front (including the arm hole binding) and cut a Wiksten tank out of it to replace the pleats and then reattach to the back. Dressmaking is an inexact science and there are some things that just don't work out, as parts of my wardrobe can testify.
So I'll end on a happier note with the skirt, worn many times in the last month for Me Made May 14.
Pattern: Opale Variant, traced size 38 from Grains de Couture Homme et Femmes