an from straight grain

guest post: an from straight grain

Our second guest this week comes all the way from Belgium. An writes the blog, Straight Grain and she is quite an amazing sewer. The clothes she makes for her daughter are always so very pretty. For the past few months on her blog, she as been hosting the series, “Kids’ Clothes Belgian Style.” It is a super stylish series, with a fantastic line up of bloggers–be sure to check it out! Today An is talking about a pattern by the French company Citronille. I have never worked with any of their patterns before, but have always been very curious about them.  After this post, I see more French patterns in my future!  

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Hi everone! I’m An from StraightGrain, and I’m so honored to be a guest here on the brand new Kids Clothes Week blog. When Meg asked me to write about one of my favorite patterns, it didn’t take me long to decide which pattern I would discuss. The pattern I’ve used most is without a doubt the Violette, a dress pattern by Citronille.

Citronille might be unknown to many American sewists, but in Europe it is pretty popular. This French brand has an incredible range of clothing patterns for babies, children, teenage girls, and women, as well a series of sewing books, yarns, and fabrics. The sewing patterns do not stand out by their astonishing level of creativity or novelty – they are simply well designed, quality patterns for classic children’s clothing. But let that be exactly when I was looking for when I bought the Violette pattern 🙂

Before I learned how to draft patterns myself, I was looking for a good pattern with a basic bodice, a separate skirt, and sleeves, which I could use to experiment a bit. This actually proved to be harder to find than I thought, so I was really happy when I found the Violette pattern. While some of Cintronille’s patterns have been translated to English, the Violette hasn’t (yet?), so I had to rely on my rather basic French skills. But because of the clear diagrams which are provided in the instructions, this proved to be no problem.

In today’s post I’d like to show three different dresses which I made with this one pattern. For the first one I shortened the bodice and the sleeves. The fabric is Liberty of London Mitsi in Blue.

violette dress pattern



For the second one I kept the original length of the bodice and sleeves, but replaced the buttons in the back with a hidden zipper. The fabric is some natural linen on which I painted golden dots.

violette dress with zipper


For the third one, I shortened the sleeves, used a hidden zipper, replaced the gathered skirt by a pleated one, and experimented with some piping and pleats in the bodice front (tutorial is here). In other words: nothing was left of the original Violette dress, but I still feel like I couldn’t have made this dress without the Violette pattern.

violette pattern with piping

So, three rather different dresses from just one simple pattern; I guess this shows how a very simple, quality pattern is often the ideal basis for getting your own creative juices flowing. If I hadn’t learned how to draw patterns myself, I’m sure I would still be using the Violette pattern all the time. The nice thing about this pattern is also that it works with different types of fabric, as I experienced when making these three versions (respectively in lawn cotton, linen and quilting weight cotton).

One thing I would change about this pattern is the neck facing. It consists of three strips which are to be sewn together (back bodice – front bodice – back bodice), while it easily could have been drawn in one piece. For my second and third version I also widened the facing a bit, as in the original version it is rather minimal and hence too easily pops up above the neckline.

Well, that’s my little story about the Violette pattern. Dear Meg, thank you so much for having me here, and to you and everyone else: have a wonderful, super-creative Kids Clothes Week!


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  • Reply farrah April 16, 2013 at 9:31 am

    An from a Straight Grain makes the sweetest dresses ever. I always love her fabric chooses

  • Reply Venus April 16, 2013 at 9:38 am

    All of An’s designs are just gorgeous… I love her style!

  • Reply Frances April 16, 2013 at 9:42 am

    Lovely as always, An! And now I’m inspired to try some French sewing patterns!

  • Reply Samantha April 16, 2013 at 10:04 am

    An’s blog is one of my favorites for a reason 🙂 So glad to see her work here! One day I will be confident enough to sew en Français and with Liberty fabric!

  • Reply gail April 16, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    an’s stuff is so lovely! i’ve always wanted to try a citronille…of course she makes it look easy!

  • Reply Heidi April 16, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    I’ve been eyeing those patterns for awhile now….lovely designs An always makes every pattern she sews look like it’s from a classy designer boutique!

  • Reply Darci April 16, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    Great post. I’ve been wanting to try a Citronille pattern, wish I could get them stateside to avoid the shipping 😉

  • Reply kristin April 16, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    ah yes, i’ve been wanting to try a citronille pattern too! same with darci – wish someone stocked them stateside, even though i hear they ship really fast. love these, an!

  • Reply Laura April 17, 2013 at 1:49 am

    Lovely to see you here, An! Beautiful dresses, as always!

  • Reply An (StraightGrain) April 17, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    Aaaw, thank you all for these lovely comments! Great to see that you found my little review useful. 🙂
    an x

  • Reply Haley April 17, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    She’s so cute almost anything you put on her will look adorable!

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