english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


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Adventure Tanks & Ilsley Skirt in France

Back in September, Phil and I spent a short week visiting Paris. We visit once a year (we stay in a caravan park in Maisons-Lafitte, so it’s quite a cheap break), and we always try to do a day trip outside Paris. This year we visited Chantilly – in particular, the Château de Chantilly.

Fancy Tiger Craft Adventure Tank & Marilla Walker Ilsley Skirt, at the Château de Chantilly

Fancy Tiger Craft Adventure Tank & Marilla Walker Ilsley Skirt, at the Château de Chantilly

I can never resist sewing new garments for a holiday, but had limited time before this trip, so went with a couple of quick projects – a Marilla Walker Ilsley Skirt, and a Fancy Tiger Crafts Adventure Tank, both in a floral scuba fabric from Birmingham Rag Market.

Château de Chantilly

Fancy Tiger Craft Adventure Tank & Marilla Walker Ilsley Skirt, at the Château de Chantilly

From the train station, Château de Chantilly is walking distance through a wood and park. The Chateau is stunning, and also enormous, so try and arrive early.

Fancy Tiger Craft Adventure Tank & Marilla Walker Ilsley Skirt, at the Château de Chantilly

Fancy Tiger Craft Adventure Tank & Marilla Walker Ilsley Skirt, at the Château de Chantilly

This Adventure Tank is the Muscle Tank version graded between an XS and S. The Ilsley Skirt is Size 2. I was super lazy and didn’t hem the skirt or top since the scuba fabric won’t fray, however I may go back and hem them as I think they will last better hemmed.

Château de Chantilly

Château de Chantilly

Phil bought me a Creativebug subscription for my birthday last year, so I got access to the Adventure Tank pattern as part of my subscription. The Fancy Tiger Crafts Creativebug lessons are some of my favourites, they’ve just released a class for a cute new clutch pattern which I’m planning to make soon.

Fancy Tiger Craft Adventure Tank & Marilla Walker Ilsley Skirt, at the Château de Chantilly

Fancy Tiger Craft Adventure Tank & Marilla Walker Ilsley Skirt, at the Château de Chantilly

Château de Chantilly

Château de Chantilly

Château de Chantilly

Château de Chantilly

Château de Chantilly

Château de Chantilly

Château de Chantilly

Château de Chantilly

Château de Chantilly

Château de Chantilly

Château de Chantilly

Château de Chantilly

Château de Chantilly

I also whipped up another Adventure Tank, using a small remnant of knit fabric from the stash table at The Sewing Weekender. This is pictured below, also with my Ilsley Skirt, at a different chateau – The Château de Maisons, in Maisons-Laffitte.

Fancy Tiger Craft Adventure Tank & Marilla Walker Ilsley Skirt, at the Château de Maisons, Maisons-Laffitte

Fancy Tiger Craft Adventure Tank & Marilla Walker Ilsley Skirt, at the Château de Maisons, Maisons-Laffitte

Despite having stayed in Maisons-Laffitte annually for the last four or so years, we’ve never yet visited the Chateau. It closes daily for lunch, and we’re normally too slow getting up in the morning to visit before lunch, then off visiting Paris in the afternoon. This year we made an effort to get up and dressed and visit the chateau one morning, before it closed for lunch.

The Château de Maisons, Maisons-Laffitte

Fancy Tiger Craft Adventure Tank & Marilla Walker Ilsley Skirt, at the Château de Maisons, Maisons-Laffitte

We were the only visitors to the Chateau on the morning we visited – they had to unlock the door to let us in when we arrived! It was very nice to have the whole Chateau to ourselves, and gave us chance to get these photos of my simple outfit in a grand setting.

Fancy Tiger Craft Adventure Tank & Marilla Walker Ilsley Skirt, at the Château de Maisons, Maisons-Laffitte

Fancy Tiger Craft Adventure Tank & Marilla Walker Ilsley Skirt, at the Château de Maisons, Maisons-Laffitte

The Château de Maisons, Maisons-Laffitte

The Château de Maisons, Maisons-Laffitte

The Château de Maisons, Maisons-Laffitte

The Château de Maisons, Maisons-Laffitte

The Château de Maisons, Maisons-Laffitte


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A Week in Paris

Me and Phil recently spent a week in Paris. I’ve been travelling quite a bit for work lately so it was lovely to travel for pleasure instead:) While there we visited some sites we hadn’t explored on our  previous trips.

Unsurprisingly Paris has a number of fashion museums, and we managed to visit two of these while there.

I was particularly impressed by the Palais Galliera Museum of Fashion. The Museum holds extensive collections of clothing (18th century to contemporary), accessories, drawing and photography, but, due to the delicacy of these collections, the museum doesn’t have a permanent collection on display. The current temporary exhibition that we managed to catch was photography from Conde Nast magazines (e.g. Vogue, Vanity Fair, Glamour). The photographs included dated from 1918 to the present day, although I particularly liked the vintage images. Most excitingly, alongside the photography, the Museum displayed haute couture pieces from its collections – which included pieces by Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent.
Paris, April 2014
I didn’t pack too many me-made clothes for the trip to Paris, knowing that Me Made May was just around the corner, but I had to take my Coco dress to Paris! Here it is within sight of the Eiffel Tour, in the grounds of the Palais Galliera.
Paris, April 2014

We also visited the Museum of Decorative Arts which is housed in the same building as the Louvre, although a separate museum. The Museum has a varied mixture of collections (furniture, toys, etc.), including textile collections. Like the Palais Galliera, the Museum does not have a permanent textile collection on display, instead running regular temporary exhibitions. We caught an exhibition of work by the Belgian designer Dries Van Noten. As well an an extensive selection of pieces by Dries Van Noten, the exhibition included beautiful vintage pieces from the Museum’s own collection by designers including Schiaparelli and Dior. Gorgeous!
Paris, April 2014

Among the other museums we visited was the Musee des Arts et Metiers, where I admired some beautiful vintage sewing machines and looms.
Paris, April 2014Paris, April 2014

Of course, while in Paris I had to visit the fabric district in Place Saint-Pierre (right by the Sacré Cœur). I treated myself to two 3-meter off-cuts or ‘coupons’.
Paris, April 2014
I didn’t buy anything from Reine but popped in to admire the Liberty fabric, and the awful mini mannequins they have throughout the store. You have to wonder who makes the clothes for these (the mannequins aren’t full size so do they use children’s clothing sizes)?
Fabric Shop, Paris

Another spot we hadn’t visited previously that was AMAZING was the Puces de St-Ouen market area. The area contains around a dozen separate markets. I’d particularly recommend the Marche Serpette, which includes a number of vintage clothing, record and book shops, and one shop selling vintage sewing patterns, buttons, etc.
Paris, April 2014Paris, April 2014
Paris, April 2014Paris, April 2014
I wore my Victoria Blazer to the Puces de St-Ouen, as well as my gorgeous new bag. A very exciting Easter gift from my Nan.
Paris, April 2014

As movie lovers, me and Phil also visited two historic cinemas.

The Rex is a 1930s cinema, with art-deco style facade. It was designed to be ostentatious – the stage includes water jets, and when it was opened huge numbers of dancers used to perform before films started. It’s a working cinema and still regularly hosts movie premiers. They also run a backstage tour which I was very excited about, although admittedly hilarious, the cinema took a Disney-style approach to the tour so unfortunately you don’t get to hear much about the cinema’s history or see much of the real cinema behind the scenes (it’s all a bit phony).
Paris, April 2014
The Cinéma du Panthéon, originally opened in 1907, offers a total contrast to the Rex. It specialises in independent films, and has a stunning salon on the first floor, with an interior designed by Catherine Deneuve, as well as a very cool book shop.
Paris, April 2014
I could have spent all day in the beautiful Salon, but the prices meant we stuck to a cup of tea!
Paris, April 2014

Such a lovely week:) The weather meant we were also able to spend a lot of time sat in Paris’ parks eating cake!
Paris, April 2014

And… just to prove that I didn’t make Phil spend all his holiday visiting fabric shops and fashion museums (admittedly not his first choice of things to do), we also visited the Parc des Princes to see Paris Saint-Germain play.
Paris, April 2014

See also my post about the craft shops we visited during last year’s trip to Paris.


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Craft Shops Et cetera in Paris

Paris Navigo Card

(Our Paris Navigo travel cards)

Me and Phil spent last week in Paris. While we were there gay marriage was legalised, with France becoming the 14th country to legalise gay marriage.
French Newspaper Headline, April 2013

It was only the second time we’d visited Paris, so there was lots we wanted to see. Amongst the sites and galleries we managed to squeeze in some shopping. This post outlines some recommended shops and will be followed by a more general photo post showing some of the inspiring colours, patterns and shapes I photographed whilst in Paris.

Craft Shops

At the foot of Sacre-Coeur (near the funicular and off Bd Rochechouart) you’ll find Paris’ fabric shop district. Once you get near you can’t miss it as you’ll spot the colourful rolls of fabric lined up outside the multitude of fabric shops. The largest of these (and the largest fabric shop in Paris) is the Marche Saint-Pierre, which is visible from the steps of the Sacre-Coeur.

Paris

Marche Saint-Pierre Location

If you don’t find a suitable fabric in Marche Saint-Pierre, there are many similar shops located in the surrounding streets. In these stores you’ll find Liberty fabrics, as well as a wide selection of fabric types (printed cottons, felt, toile, lamé…).

Paris

Paris

For designer fabric brands (Michael Miller, Kokka, etc) and just for the pure joy of it, visit Moline Mercerie. Moline Mercerie is a truly lovely shop which stocks a full range of haberdashery supplies including lots of buttons, ribbons, books and patterns.

Paris

I was very good and restricted my shop to some offcuts of a couple of the lovely fabrics they stock.

Moline Mercerie Fabric

In the streets around Sacre-Coeur the focus is largely on fabric but you’ll also find shops stocking knitting and embroidery supplies, and cute boutique shops.

Paris

Paris

Embroidery fans should also visit Bonheur des Dames located in the Viaduc des Arts (near the Bastille and Gare de Lyon metro stations). The Viaduc des Arts is a row of beautiful glass fronted shops but the majority are only used as displays for artists and businesses so there isn’t much shopping to be done.

Paris

While in France don’t miss the chance to check out the wide selection of craft magazines available.

French Craft Magazines
(Craft magazines in a supermarket – you’ll find lots more in a decent newsagent)

I purchased two Burda magazines while there (also available in English and a number of other languages, but I couldn’t resist getting them while there to read on the metro).

Burda Magazine

If you haven’t bought one of these magazines before they are well worth a look. They contain a huge range of patterns so there is bound to be something you’ll like. The patterns inside range from easy (pyjama trousers) to mid-difficulty (reprinted vintage dress pattern).  A few pictures of the patterns on offer, and the instructions and pattern pieces are below.

Burda Magazine

Burda Magazine

Burda Magazine

Burda Magazine

Burda Magazine

Burda Magazine

Burda Magazine

I did eye up some other sewing magazines but they focused more on children’s clothes or some (like Simplicity) seemed aimed at an older audience.

Comics

I’ve long loved the Album comic store chain. As children/teenagers me and my brother used to look out for Album shops when holidaying in France with our parents. The very best place in Paris for comic shopping is on and around the Boulevard de Saint Germain (near Notre Dame) where there are three Album and two Pulp comic stores.

General

More generally, Faubourg St-Antoine, previously a furniture-maker district, (the end nearest to Opera National de la Bastille and Bastille metro) has a number of home ware stores (Habitat, Muji, Maisons de la Mode) as well as high street fashion (Petit Batou, Kookai, Gap, etc).
Petit Bateau Catalogue
Petit Bateau Catalogue
(Petit Batou catalogue)

The streets around Centre Pompidou (Rue Rambuteau, etc) are good for cheap eats and high street shopping, and it is generally a bustling neighbourhood with shops open late – no doubt influenced by the  Centre Pompidou’s late opening hours.