Instant Gratification, or Japonaiseries – 3

Hi everyone!

Yesterday morning, I decided to make a skirt; I traced it, cut it out and sewed it in the course of a (long) morning; wore it at a reception in the evening and Seb took pictures as we came home yesterday night. Instant gratification through and through! Since Seb too pictures so quickly (that’s truly devotion- it was 1.30 am!), I thought this deserved an instant post, too.


It had to be a slim skirt because I didn’t have much fabric left; but I wanted something fancier than a simple pencil skirt. I hardly have any skirt pattern in my stash (3, I think!); I wanted something in the style of the Miss Moneypenny skirt, but didn’t have enough fabric left for that one, so I browsed my old Burda issues. My choice settled on the “exclusive design” from the October 2004 issue:

Before I go on, I want to thank all those of you who advised me so well when I mentioned what a hard time I had with this fabric. I bought Microtex needles and it made a world of difference – the fabric sewed up without a single skipped stitch. I would never had been able to finish that project so quickly without you. Thank you!!

I adapted the pattern and construction for a knit fabric: used the smallest size, skipped the zipper altogether, took out 8 centimetres from each size at the waist and then graded the seamline to reach the original seam at the hips, for more ease. I didn’t want to feel cramped.

Seb and I were to attend a formal reception in the evening (which was fantastic). I wondered if the skirt worn as an ensemble with the kimono top could work as a classy outfit. It was OK, but I felt something was lacking – a belt to define the waist! I never wear belts; I find them difficult to manage when you’re short, and uncomfortable to wear with jeans or pants. I didn’t have a single one at home! I looked into the (many, many, cheap) shops in my neighbourhood, but nothing worked nor fit. The sizing system must have been changing over here because the smaller sizes which used to fit me are now too big – same thing with jeans. This uniformisation in sizes and shapes must be a problem for lots of women. I wish they would keep accommodating to a wider range of sizes – down and up… Yet another reason to sew, I guess!
I came home and thought about a remnant of decoration satin my mother had given me a year ago. I hoped there would be enough to make a sash that could tie in the back; slightly reminiscent of an obi sash, but shorter – I just wanted a subtle exotic hint. There was just enough.

I made the sash at 7 and the reception was at 8! Oops. All went well though.

This replaces my original plan for a skirt in my Autumn/Winter Wardrobe.


Now for a fun fact: I loved that skirt when I first saw it in the Burda magazine 3 years ago, but Seb hated it, so I left it aside. Yesterday, when he was home and as I was trying the skirt on, he said, “wow – I love that skirt!!” Laughing, I showed him the original model and reminded him how he used to hate it. He told me what he didn’t like was the ribbon at the bottom, and the rigidity of the fabric – as if the model had to be stuck in that skirt forever.

ETA: pattern review here.

43 thoughts on “Instant Gratification, or Japonaiseries – 3

  1. Yulwen says:

    You were beautiful 😉We’re glad you enjoyed your evening 🙂But if you left the reception to take the picture, you shouldn’t have : you could have ask to Thomas 😉 (joking).See you soon.*Hugs*


  2. Shannon says:

    Great outfit! And you’re right, the sash gives it the perfect je ne sais quoi (that’s about all I remember from all my years of french classes – sad isn’t it?). I bet you were the best dressed woman at the event!


  3. Barbara says:

    You look utterly smashing, Isabelle! Classy with a touch of the exotic. I like your version of the skirt much better. The model didn’t put me in mind of a chastity belt (LOL!) but it didn’t look like a fun piece of clothing to wear. So glad you got it all done in time – how brave and daring of you!! I need to have clothes picked out for the (rare) event like that at least a couple of days in advance or I stress out.


  4. Ali B says:

    Hi Isabelle, I love your latest masterpiece, it is very elegant and versatile for many different occasions! I haven’t got round to updating my blog (still!) but wanted you to know I passed my MSc! Got the results a few days ago! I will get round to updating my blog this week especially as I now have re-installed my camera software onto my new laptop (only 2 months late LOL!!) Have spent all today sorting out my craft room and getting rid of loads of junk, so its all ready for a new season of crafting, now that the studies are over Hoorah!! Much love dear friend, Alison xxxxxxx


  5. Kathryn says:

    I’m glad the microtex needles made the difference. It’s hard making suggestions when you really can’t feel the fabric involved. I have to say I buy a lot of my fabric by feel and I like a lot of different textures.I can’t imagine being brave enough to start a sewing project that I planned to wear that evening. Bravo! It looked smashing!


  6. Lisbeï13 says:

    Hello my dear Isabelle !You are very beautiful in your “ensemble japonisant” (I thought it was a dress seeing the first picture). I think it’s the black satin belt that makes alla the difference, giving such a japanese style !I wish you a good evening !


  7. Cherie says:

    Isabelle, what a classy outfit – an ethnic-looking “dress” that is perfect for you! I’m pretty sure you were a standout at the reception! No LBD for you! And I concur with everyone – how brave to start the skirt the morning of! I sometimes used to get that sort of inspiration a wee bit close to the event. But the feeling of accomplishment makes up for it! Seb must be pleased to have you “on his arm” so to speak!


  8. Shashi Nayagam says:

    Dear Isabelle, I know I keep saying this but it is not enough no matter how many times I say it you are such a gifted seamstress. Wow to finish just in time to wear it that is something. It suits you very well. Glad your evening was a success.


  9. Summerset says:

    Fabulous and chic. The belt/sash is the perfect finishing touch! You have the touch of exotic without looking too costume-like.I have to say that I find the same problem with belts here. I buy a small and then punch 2 to 3 more holes in the belt so that I can wear it! Very frustrating.


  10. Hala says:

    it is true , a 3 metre fabric can go a long way on a petite person like you but i think it would barely warpa my bottom hihihihihilovely skirt , i adoreeeeeee it , i would go for the tank top for a night edition of the ensemble…bisous tous plein


  11. Tracy says:

    Another fabulous outfit, Isabelle! You look terrific. Still a novice when it comes to sewing clothing, I’m amazing how you chop a pattern down to fit! So glad you had a great evening. And that hubby approved the outfit! ;o) Happy week to you, my friend ((HUGS))


  12. Vicki says:

    Wow, Isabelle, what a fantastic outfit! The sash really brings it together into an evening ensemble. Great job, you look great!Knit fabrics are great! And don’t throw away the scraps after the tank either – they can be used for bindings, trims etc on other tops.


  13. anne marie says:

    hello!me voici de retour à la case commentaires après un mois d’Octobre bien chargé!tes travaux de couture sont toujours admirables (et admirés) .Bien sur,je me suis plus attardée sur les premiers pas de p’tit Robin :o)Maintenant il doit être bien plus sur de lui.Bonne semaine !


  14. Renée says:

    Un petit commpentaire en français au milieu de toutes tes admiratrices! C’est vrai que tu es douée. Une vraie professionnelle! Je me demance toujours quelle doit être l’abondance de ta garde-robe! Quand on achète ses vêtements, comme moi, on le fait peu souvent! Je suis heureuse que tu aies ce talent, et encore plus que ton mari apprécie les résultats. Je suis toujours dans le processus d’une convalescence chaotique, mais quand je prends des antalgiques (toutes les 8 heures) je peux broder pendant quelques heures, à défaut de pouvoir faire autre chose, d’autant plus que je dois éviter de sortir à cause du froid. Je te souhaite de tout encore une belle fin de semaine.


  15. Dénia says:

    Coucou mon isacette robe est trop trop belle!! et le tissu est super kawaii, j’adore!!Elle te va vraiment vraiment bien!!!Tu sais que tu pourrais faire des habits pour Pullips, tellement tu es forte!!Je te fais plein de gros bisous


  16. Tany says:

    Ohhhhhh, the skirt you were wearing when we met!!!!! I loved it in person, it’s you: delicate, beautiful and passionate!(Finally I have some time to catch up, it has been crazy since I arrived: family, birthdays, etc; believe me or not I still have to unpack!!!!)MANY HUGS and missing the good times we’ve spent together!


  17. Anonymous says:

    BOY, I’d love to get my hands on that Jupe 121 pattern from the 0ct 2004 Burda, I missed it and have been looking for it ever since. I was living in France at the time but now am back in the states.brandenburg456 at


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