Thursday, January 16, 2014

Au Canada

Last year a friend gave me quite a quantity of linen fabric (thanks Teena). I have now, to date, made 2 shirts using this fabric. It is a little challenging to work with since it is linen plaid that requires a whole lot of matching.

I have auto delivery for Louis Cutting's patterns which means that patterns magically appear at my doorstep every so often. I have quite the collection of them now. Since I had this wonderful linen fabric, I perusing the patterns, deciding on the top from "Relax a Little".
From experience I know that for a top like this one, I need to add an inch to the length so that the top falls at a more flattering part of my body.

Making the shirt went well, except for the sewing of the sleeve area to the wrong side, but I digress... Shirt was finished awaiting buttons, I tried it on.
It was... it was....well, boring. I tried out on it all of the usual suspects for buttons, mother of pearl, brown, wood, nothing worked and certainly, nothing made the shirt pop. This was supposed to be an simple top, something for this summer. I put it away where it hung in my sewing room for a couple of days.

Last year I found this old glass milk jug with attached lid with raised lettering "La Lorraine" at a second hand store in Alsace. It was love at first site and the price made it a bargain. I washed the inside and over time have started filling it with buttons. As I find them in my sewing space I pop them into the jug so that they are all in one place and easier to find. While cleaning my sewing area, I found the perfect buttons.
Last year I was at a flea market in a small town nearby and there was a woman selling all sorts of brass buttons and lots of fun lace bits. I bought 3 sets of buttons from her and a stack of pieces of lace and embroidered pieces. As she tallied everything up, she grabbed a bag of brass buttons, one that I had passed over from buying, "with my complements" she said as she tossed them in with the rest of my purchases. Later I took them out , looking at them made me smile. I decided I needed to find someone from Canada to give them to.
-Just a little brief history -
In 1959, France under the presidency of Charles de Gaulle, withdrew its Mediterranean Fleet from NATO command. Over the next few years, NATO military aircraft were removed from France so that by 1967, France had taken back control of all air force bases.
Here is a map from Wikipedia showing the locations of the NATO Airbases in France prior to 1967:

Notice the number of them near the Luxembourg and German borders. So it should not  be a surprise that old military artifacts show up quite often at flea markets in my area of France.
-Now back to sewing-
You may have guessed by now that what I had been given was a set of Canadian heavy jacket brass military buttons. Dating them would place them as at least made in 1967, most likely earlier. They are in beautiful shape.

Buttons alone would not the shirt make. it needed, it needed....LACE!
Digging through my stash I found the perfect lace edging to use. Heavy to match the buttons, but pretty to complement the shirt.
The lace was a breeze to sew on
Finishing it off are buttons to look almost like amulets on the shoulders. 
Love it!


  1. It is lovely, Jean and again your creativity astounds me. I'm not very whimsical in my thinking.

  2. oh yes, the lace really makes it!

  3. A blouse with provenance all of its own! Its lovely : )

  4. You truly did turn this into a unique and lovely blouse!

  5. your shirt turned out adorable. Isn't it nice that we can set things aside for a bit and when we come back with a fresh look, it isn't as hard as we made it?

  6. LOVE your shirt.... I'm here for the GYB party and my eye was drawn to this post because... I'm Canadian.

    I have those very buttons on a winter coat that a friend ... refurbished... for me. It's a big, long, Russian looking winter coat that was in rather rough shape (lining shredded, buttons gone). She found the buttons somewhere and created a whole new lovely purple lining. It is one of my treasures.

    Hope you are enjoying the party!

    My ramblings about ... writing, meditation, life and sometimes gardening or ...whatever... are over on my blog ...Ramblings of a renegade scribbler @

  7. What a great little shirt! For certain, it is no longer boring. I can just picture that with a sweet gathered skirt and a pretty pair of flats, like Leslie Caron would have worn in an American in Paris!