I stumbled upon Citronille several weeks ago via the blog of one of my very favorite Ravelry knitters, Ittybitty. (She makes the most beautiful knitwear and sewn clothes for herself and her kids. Her color sense is so sophisticated and amazing to me.) From her blog I managed to click on a link that took me to Citronille and then I fell in love. I'd never heard of these before. Get ready for a flurry of little French dresses!
My dad's name was Albert, so I had to make this one first. All of the designs are so simple and sweet and lovely. They all look so comfortable and swingy and easy to wear (and easy to take in, or hem, or gather at sleeve-bottoms, if necessary, once they're put into use). The patterns are written entirely in French but also illustrated a bit, so that helps with the directions. I've made two so far (I'll show you Suzanne [my mom's and sister's and Andy's mom's, and come to think of it my middle own name] tomorrow), and I had no problems figuring out what to do (but I've sewn a lot of dresses by now, so I already kind of knew what to do; if you are inexperienced, you might need some help).
What I love about these dresses is that, although the shapes are so simple, all of the lines seem so right. That is, the "cut" of the dress just feels a little bit prettier and a little more poetic and a little more . . . French. When something is gathered, it's really gathered. Where something could be straight, it has a poetic curve, or a lovely fullness, or a unique angle. My friend Brooke and her family were over for dinner on Friday night. In telling Brooke about these patterns (while cooking in the kitchen, i.e.: away from the computer so I couldn't show her the web site), I tried to use the analogy I'd thought of (just minutes before the doorbell rang): I said that sewing them was like cooking something really simple but with really good ingredients. Because when you have so few lines, you want them to be just right. (This is me, trying to justify spending the money on the shipping, ahem.)
After following some links on the Citronille site, I saw that finished clothes (as well as matching doll clothes!) made from these patterns were being sold at Nils & Happy to See You. (I'm not really sure how these are all related to each other.) There are also patterns for women's, doll, and baby versions. It was exciting. I can see that these are going to keep me very happily occupied for a while. Until I have to take my sewing room apart for the new flooring. Which I should be doing right now, and not sewing. Choices, choices . . . hrmmm.