My name is Isabelle and I live in France. I am proudly petite (154 cm, ie. not quite 5’1″), and enjoy creating clothes that fit my small build, reflect my personality, and conform with my belief in sustainable development. I also love making clothes for my daughter, born in Feb. 2012.
I come from the Northernmost tip of France; I arrived in Paris in 2000 and lived there for most of the next 10 years, with a few interruptions to go work and live in the US and England. My work finally led me to settle at the opposite of France from where I was born, in Montpellier – just a few kilometres away from the Mediterranean.
The Kitty behind La Couture
The cat who often steals the show and loves to assist with my sewing projects is called P’tite Mignonne, which may translate into Little Cutie. She was born in January 2003.
P’tite Mignonne is a rescue cat; I adopted her when she was two – a scared, subdued and underfed kitty. She has changed so much from this time onwards – flourishing into the queen of the house, highly charismatic, but also indefatigably cuddly.
I get a lot of questions about her breed. No, she is not a Maine Coon or a Norwegian. It seems her father was Siamese, which explains her stunning colouring – and her being highly talkative and sociable, but also awfully obstinate 😉
P’tite Mignonne trusts me in any situation, which makes her a wonderful traveller – thank goodness, as we’ve covered quite a few thousands of kilometres together! Together we have lived in Paris, London, Amsterdam, Northern France and now Southern France, not to mention holidays. 🙂
My history with fibre arts
I’ve been attracted to fibre arts for as long as I can remember – I wouldn’t feel whole without some sort of creativity or other. As neither my mother nor my sisters are the creative type, I am completely self-taught in embroidery, sewing and crochet. I used to feel a bit lonely in my crafty endeavours, but the Internet and the friends I made through it changed all this.
• I started embroidery when I was about 10 and found a cross-stitch kit for 10 francs (about 2 dollars). I started collecting these kits and making a lot of them as gifts for my relatives. Internet and my finances allowing, my tastes then evolved towards more elaborate designs when I grew older, and especially after I started my first blog in 2004.
I started sewing
in 2004, when I was living in the US. I didn’t have a sewing machine, so my first creations (including a dress) are entirely handsewn.
I still remember fondly my trip to Britex Fabrics in San Francisco in the Spring of 2004 – what a revelation that was. My first purchase once I was back in France was a sewing machine – and this is when I started this blog.
My first dress! Entirely sewn by hand. The lilac broadcloth came from Britex Fabrics. I used a vintage McCall’s pattern that I’d bought on Ebay.
My first and foremost inspiration is my maternal grandmother, who was an amazing professional seamstress – and more generally has been one of my role models in life. I remember being fascinated by the magical process through which she created dresses for my mother and for our dolls. Mamie was so happy that I took up sewing (though she was too old and poor-sighted by then to teach me), and sewing has been my special way of feeling closer to her ever since she passed in 2007. Thinking of her has also often been an incentive not to skimp on the details and on the finishing touches 🙂
• My beginnings with crochet
are rather recent as they date from November 2009. My job was becoming increasingly demanding and I just didn’t have enough energy to focus on sewing projects in my meagre free time. I really missed having a creative outlet, though; I found out that crochet was a great answer
as it allowed me to keep on creating in a more restful manner.
• In 2011, Karine, a friend from the local knitting/crochet group, gave me one of the greatest gifts ever: she taught me how to knit and purl. I had been able to teach myself crochet from books, but not knitting. Knitting has been such a wonderful experience from the start. Plus, I can make absolutely all of my clothes now, including sweaters, cardigans and warm woolen dresses!
I am also passionate about classical music (I sing soprano), ecology, and all things handmade. Besides clothes, I make my own natural haircare, soaps, etc. All this has to come second after a very demanding job, so yes – that does make for a busy life! I wouldn’t have it otherwise 🙂