About

Bonjour !

My name is Isabelle and I live in France. I am proudly petite (154 cm, ie. just over 5′), 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 two children – and having a girl (born February, 2012) and a boy (born July, 2016) gives me loads of opportunities!

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I was born in Pas-de-Calais and grew up in Lille, i.e. the northernmost tip of France; after spending most of my twenties in Paris in 2000, with a few interruptions to go work and live in the US and England, my work led me to settle at the opposite of France from where I was born, in Montpellier – just a few kilometres away from the Mediterranean.

Why ‘Fluffy Fibers’?

For the past decade and a half, I have been living with P’tite Mignonne, which may translate into Little Cutie. She was born in January 2003, and is a rescue cat. Together we have gone through so much – and have covered several thousands of kilometres, as we have lived in Paris, London, Amsterdam, Northern France, and now Southern France.

Because P’tite Mignonne is very fluffy, I often joke that my knitting and spinning is always comprised of at least 1% cat hair, and that no garment is complete withouth kitty fluff. Sadly, with P’tite Mignonne getting older and more frail, she doesn’t move around as much and therefore hasn’t graced my garments (nor the podcast) with her fluffy presence in a while. She does however remain her calm, cuddly, sunny self.

My history with fibre arts

I have been attracted to fibre arts for as long as I can remember – even as a child I would not feel whole without some sort of creativity or other. As neither my mother nor my siblings 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 have made through it changed all this. Not to mention there is a lovely, friendly, lively group of knitters in Montpellier.
I took up 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 fondly remember 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, which used to be called Kitty Couture.


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.

Inspiration

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 away 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, 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!

My other interests

I am also passionate about classical music (I sing soprano), ecology, and all things handmade. Besides clothes, I like making 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 🙂

3 thoughts on “About

  1. Jenn says:

    Isabelle,

    I just caught up on the three most recent audio podcast episodes and I wanted to tell you that I really appreciate the audio podcast. I discovered your podcast a year ago and have gone back and listened to every episode. I’m not a knitter or a spinner, but am working on sewing a handmade wardrobe. I studied french in school and visit France once a year for work. Your comments on life in France and sewing are so enjoyable to listen to. I would love to watch the video podcast, but my work responsibilities don’t leave me time to watch. The audio podcast keeps me company on my commute. You have good reasons for wanting to go to only video, but I wanted to let you know that at least one person is still listening and would miss the audio.

    Best,
    Jennifer

    Like

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