Redeeming Myself With A Myrtle and Foraging on A Sunday Morning Recommences

Well, you can’t say you don’t know in advance what this post is about unless, of course, you are not a sewer (in the needle and thread sense of the word) and haven’t heard of a Myrtle.

The Myrtle is a new dress pattern by Colette which can be made in stretch fabric or woven and is very easy to make and comfortable to wear and, if my two (yes two!) sewing machines hadn’t thrown a wobbly about doing a zig zag stitch on the stretch fabric I used, it would have been finished in an afternoon.  All was going well until I got to the waistband and had to do a zigzag round the casing for the elastic and, for some reason, still not fathomed, my machine just wouldn’t do it.  I changed the needle, the tension, the thread, the swear words – nothing worked.  I changed machine – still no good.  In the end, I had to use a long straight stitch which I hope will hold.  As is becoming more and more predictable with me lately, it was a little big on the shoulders so I sort of pulled them to the front and did a top stitching doodah with my double stretch needle because I have these things in my armoury and I know how to use them.  So, just to prove I can make a dress that fits me, here it is

Colette Myrtle DressThis really is a quick and easy pattern and the result is very comfortable to wear.  The bodice is cut double on the fold so is self-lined (sounds complicated but isn’t) and, although the pattern stipulates 3 metres of fabric, I only used 2 by being really mean and stingy and folding and refolding the fabric like a miser.  Although I did leave out the pockets as, if I have pockets, I put my hands in them which seems to work for some people but just makes me look slovenly.

Anyway, after it peed down of rain again yesterday, this sunday morning dawned bright and sunny so I hauled myself out of bed and headed for the nearest vide grenier for some serious treasure hunting.  It has not been a good summer here in the South of France this year and, in fact, it has been so bad that I have been jealous of my Mum and Mlle. Tialys the elder who regularly tell me how hot it is in the U.K.  even though I know that us Brits have a fit of the vapours if the temperature goes over 20 degrees C, prompting lots of people to shed layers of clothing in inappropriate places and to labour under the illusion that sunshine makes everybody a little blind and therefore not able to notice the often unseemly flesh on public display all of a sudden.  But, I digress as usual and this morning was a bit of a strange one in that I ended up spending the most money on stuff I’m going to adorn my own house and garden with.

Found this gorgeous antique french comtoise clock which, after a bit of a wipe and a bit of tentative fiddling by Mr. T. looks like this

antique french comtoise clock

All the bits and pieces appear to be present and correct on the inside so I just need to get a pendulum, a winder thingy and two very heavy weights and we will wall mount it and then wonder why we didn’t think of a way to stop it chiming every hour and half hour.

We also bought, from the same flea market vendor, this cart.  It is, we are assured, a market florist vendor’s cart.  Whatever.  It is delightful and once we get the horrible brown paint off and oil the wood, it will be gorgeous.

Antique Florist Cart

A close up of a wheel, just because I took the photo and where else would I show it?


Lovely spokes!

French Marriage Souvenir

Common in the last quarter of the 19th century and up until the First World War, these souvenirs of a marriage were placed under a glass globe and the bride’s tiara was usually pinned to it  with mirrors symbolizing the time the couple were together before marriage and, as time passed,  the number of children born together with other mementos of the union and of family life.  Must do something about the drips of paint  (how did that even happen?) but what a lovely souvenir.!

Anyway, off to sunnier climes for a few days (I shouldn’t really have to say that when I’m in the south of France) and taking a rest from the sewing machine, Etsy shops and the demands of certain humans, canines and felines alike.


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  1. #1 by katechiconi on August 3, 2014 - 22:04

    With the clock, you can render it silent by simply not winding the strike mechanism, the one on the left. The one on the right is the clock mechanism. My antique wall clock has a very loud strike, but I’ve become accustomed to it and don’t notice any more.

    • #2 by tialys on August 17, 2014 - 13:14

      Thanks for the tip Kate. I am, as we speak, on the search for a couple of weights and a pendulum. I must find the weights at a flea market rather than online because they are sooo heavy, obviously, that the postage will be a bit steep. However, most of the weights for these are rather plain and ugly being, I suppose, generally hidden on the inside of the longcase. What have you got on yours?

      • #3 by katechiconi on August 17, 2014 - 16:47

        It’s a large bronze disk, slightly convex, with a loop at the top which hooks onto the pendulum arm. My clock has a swinging arm, not weights – it’s a wall clock about two and a half feet high, with lots of ornate carved ornamentation and marquetry. It was love at first sight!

      • #4 by tialys on August 17, 2014 - 20:43

        It sounds beautiful Kate. Our one needs both a pendulum and two weights and I’m sure we’ll come across them at a flea market soon. I did actually see a set recently but there was one sort of flattened sausage shaped one and two that were in the shape of heads. I found it difficult to actually lift any one of them. A man wandering around told me they were for a clock but he said a clock in a church. Lord knows who he was and whether he knew what he was talking about but, in any case, that was before we’d bought our clock so I was only sort of randomly interested.

  2. #5 by lovelucie1 on August 4, 2014 - 14:01

    Love your Myrtle. I’ve seen many and promised myself one when I move onto stretch fabrics. (I finished my top!)
    The flower cart is wonderful. Reminds me of the flowers sellers in Oliver Twist and My Fair Lady.
    Have a lovely break. Although should you need one living in the south of France? Up here we imagine you’re on one long holiday……..

    • #6 by tialys on August 17, 2014 - 13:19

      Well, the problem is, after a while of starting to live somewhere one would usually go on holiday, normal life starts to get in the way and the samel everyday problems, routines and other stuff come and find you no matter where you live. Having said that, I try not to take the more relaxed pace of life, the beautiful scenery and the cheap wine for granted 🙂

  3. #7 by Ami on August 17, 2014 - 09:44

    Firstly, that Myrtle is beautiful! I have been holding off getting the pattern until I have been good and made a few more Monetas but that has just gone out the window I fear! I really prefer the skirt on the Myrtle and the cowl makes me think of 1930s dresses. Lovely!
    Secondly how irritating about your zig zag issues- I had a similar experience with machine buttonholes the other day. Ended up thinking it probably would have taken the same amount of time, and less un-picking, to have done them by hand! Machines seem to have minds of their own sometimes!
    Thirdly that cart is possibly the best flea market find in the world!! Stunning! And the clock!- beautiful!
    Lastly the heat seems to have left us here at least for a little while if that makes you feel any better. In fact this morning it is feeling positively autumnal as I type this! 🙂
    Happy sewing

    • #8 by tialys on August 17, 2014 - 13:24

      Thanks Ami. It really is a comfortable dress to wear and easy to slip on for daytime but could be dressed up for evening too.
      Yes, machine buttonholes!! That’s what’s putting me off making Grainline’s Archer dress – a whole line of buttons with all those opportunities to mess up.
      I don’t know what happened with the weather this year. We have had the usual heat here but all too often it turned to storms with masses of rain which isn’t at all normal for July and August. Usually, we can stop cutting the grass in June as it stops growing in the heat through the summer but, this year, it has remained a weekly task. (I say ‘we’ but I actually mean ‘he’ 😉 )

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