I Made a French Top–Chemisier Berthe


Language is not a barrier. That’s what I found recently (Not that this would have stopped me to buy pretty sewing books). I bought this book about two years ago. I thought I know enough French to figure out the instructions, and what I don’t understand I can make it up! And as you can imagine I did exactly that.

The book, is really pretty. I like most of the patterns that come with it, even though they are not really my style. This is because my figure suits more fitted garments that follow the body lines or they have opening in the back that means the bra will show or I’d have to wear them with out the bra, which I will not do due to obvious reasons. So, if making one of those garments I’ll need to add a zip or close those particular openings.

Anyhow, for my first make from this book, Une Ete Couture by Geraldine Debeauvais who also owns http://republiqueduchiffon.com/en/, I chose to make Chemisier Berthe  aka Berthe Shirt. As this was a new to me pattern company, I decided after tracing the pattern and adding some seam allowances (poo…. I don’t like doing this). Remembering Amy’s (Almond Rock) (she has some lovely versions of this shirt) posts about this shirt, I lengthened the shirt by about 5 cm, but unlike Amy I kept the front higher than the back. I did however think of this project as a wearable muslin. This means I used more of the liberty like fabric I got from Abakhan that I had left. IMG_2266Until now I avoided making shirts because I felt I could not get in the buttonholes successfully. What I mean by this is getting the placement right so that there is no gaping in the bust area. But no more, one of my dear friends gave me for my birthday a SimFlex Sewing Gauge . IMG_0897This meant that once I decided the the placement of my bust buttonhole I can add the others at the perfect distance. Happy Days! Did I say I love this little gadget? No?! Well it’s another tool I wonder how I survived without.

While making the top, I decided to skip tracing the sleeve facings as I was to use bias binding to finish them off. I used black bias tape for the armholes and hem. As a result I used black buttons rather than red ones. A bit of contrast. I even added a spare one inside in case I loose one. IMG_2275Somehow I managed to make a mistake and now I have a ‘designer’ collar. I sewed it upside down. Don’t ask me how I did this. I only know that once I trimmed all the seam allowances and topstitched it I noticed something was not quite right. IMG_2272IMG_2268Wherever I could, I used French seams. Recently I have become very fond of this technique to finish my seams. I did then topstitched it in place so from the outside looks like a flat felt seam. IMG_2269IMG_2270For contrast and to used back buttons (I did not have red ones) I used black bias binding to finish off the armholes and the hem (I did not want to lose any length by turning in twice the hem). IMG_2274IMG_2267 I messed about while taking pictures of this top, so excuse the stupid poses. I was trying to see how much of my mid section will show. Just in case I decide exercising while wearing this top. IMG_2183IMG_2187IMG_2199IMG_2194Even though I lengthened the bodice, I still find it a bit short. So next time I make this top, I will just cut straight from the side front, to add more length to the front. The back is fine. But the front, has been scooped way to high for my liking.


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