Little French Dresses: Suzanne

comments: 80


PATTERN: Suzanne, from Citronille
FABRIC: Men's shirting cotton, from Fabric Depot

Losing my sewing room for a while is making me nervous! I know it is going to be so much nicer when it is all fixed up and re-organized, but [bites nails nervously]. . . . It really doesn't look (anymore) like it does in the pictures we took a few years ago when we repainted — it's so much messier now and stuffed with I don't even know what. I'll take new pictures and do a before/after. When we first put the room together, ten years ago now, there was no IKEA available in Portland. So the space was sort of patched together with cast-offs and free furniture and my dad's old metal shelving. None of it has been particularly functional, and I'm pretty convinced that my chair and sewing table has contributed to some lower back aches for me. I spend a lot of my life in this room. It's going to be really neat to have it be a little fancier and more functional. It wasn't really a project I thought we'd be taking on this summer, but with all of the other construction going on in the neighborhood, we decided to just bite the bullet and dig in right now, rather than keep putting it off.

That said, according to my schedule I really have only a couple more days of sewing before I really start unplugging everything in there and putting it all away for a while while we paint and rip out carpet and have the new floor installed (sweepable — yay!). The floor will be pale grayish-blond (finally decided on that yesterday) and the new paint a medium grayish-blue (haven't picked that yet). The trim will be white. All the shelving will be different types of "wood." I'm thinking about getting a kitchen island for a cutting counter. Right now I have an old table put up on cinder blocks so it is the right height. But there is no storage space under the table, and the kitchen islands have drawers and cabinets and nice storagey things under them, which might be nice. I don't know. I'm not very good at figuring out what kind of stuff to get. I start blanking. I've spent a couple of days at IKEA feeling excited but seriously overwhelmed. I like to go by myself, so I can go slow, and think. When you're there, if you listen you can hear people in various stages of stress, talking to each other about what they need. TENSION HEADACHE. Andy and I got in an argument about a chair one time at IKEA. This is inevitable for us when  shopping in any store that's the size of a football field with carts the size of Mini Coopers. Ever since, I now notice so many people having pretty much the exact same conversation we had that time about the chair. They all look extremely grim, just like we did. I feel for them! But on the inside I am giggling a little. It's such a nightmare sometimes! I try to just walk around by myself, silently chanting, "Serenity now. Serenity now." Because, like, you don't want to have a bad time doing something that's supposed to be fun, but it's stressful trying to make sure you are getting the right stuff when you aren't even totally sure of exactly what you need, and you expect to have it forever (as I do). Etc. Etc. I'm sure it's best to do it little by little, but on the other hand, you want to go there as little as possible, so . . . IKEA conundrum. I think all engaged couples should go to IKEA together, actually. Good marriage training. Work it out over Swedish meatballs and that yummy lingonberry drink stuff (love that). You'll probably know whether you're marrying the right person or not by the time you leave the store.

Anyway, so, okay: a bit of sewing before you won't see any sewing around here for a while. This is serene Susanne, who is also such a pretty color of blue.


Ahhhhh. Boy do I love that color. I am really into blue lately, I guess. I ususally am into blue, but lately: love love love. It doesn't often occur to me to make clothes in solid colors, but I guess that when the lines are so pretty and interesting, as I was gushing about yesterday, it really is a shame to obscure them in a print. It's a bit harder to sew on a solid color, because your stitching shows up more, obviously. So it's nice if you can topstitch very neatly, or whatever. That looks sharp, as my dad used to say. And oh, the gathers [sigh]. Shirting cotton (which is lighter weight and has a higher thread count than regular quilting cotton? I'm not really sure what the diff is, technically, but that's my guess) just loves to be gathered like that. Whatever it is, I'm happy to oblige.


I have a shirt that's almost this color. I think I'll wear it today and try to finish my new quilt top this week. That's the last thing for a while. Self, that's the last thing! [Telling myself.]

*Update: Forgot to mention yesterday that if you are looking for the United States shipping option on the Citronille site, it's under "Etats-Unis."


That is just the sweetest litte dress! I'd love to make one for my little ladybug. Thanks for sharing this!!

ahh! it almost looks periwinkle in the last pic. simple and beautiful.

where do you find the time to do all of this! i'm always impressed!

I admit, I only drove by the IKEA in Burbank. I could never go inside. The parking lot overwhelmed me. I can go to the one here in Portland, but I share the blanking aspect...Good luck on the new space. Yippee!

gorgeous! I'm with you on loving those clean beautiful lines, and the blue is just stunning.

So I loved this little dress and decided to look at their website. And the kids clothing is ALL sweet. And then, I see woman sized patterns. I am now in a complete swoon cycle and don't think France can get these patterns to me fast enough.

Darling - I love this dress!

I've always thought that a relationship counsellor would make an absolute fortune at Ikea, just after the tills...

Such a lovely colour for a little dress.

Wouldn't this be SO CUTE with a little long-sleeved navy and white t-shirt underneath for fall??

IKEA is such a wacky place. When we moved in this house we got a ton of our furniture there and did our entire gutted kitchen with it. I remember particularly a trip when we (my parents, my husband, our then two little ones) went up to get all the kitchen cabinets and it was just...insane. We were all delerious by the end, and M camped out in one of the beds made up in the kids' section and wouldn't get out. It's *that kind of place.*

Once your new sewing room is freshly painted, and refloored (sounds like a Carl Larsson floor) I'm sure that you'll love it. It's so exciting to re-do a room and pick everything just the way you want it. It's going to be incredible, you have such great taste.

The dress is so cute. She's a lucky little girl.

I love seeing other people's studios because i have such a hard time organizing my own. right now it is a complete disaster and it is time for a good cleaning and purging.
the top you maid is beautiful, as usual! i do love that color, too. have fun with the studio renovations and just think... lots of knit/crochet time! :)

I want to IKEA-cize MY workroom! ::jealous:: We want pictures! It's the pictures of your studio that brought me to your site to begin with...

Those really cool free-standing kitchen units with a huge wooden slab would make a killer cutting table. :::envy:::

Love the dress! I might make some for myself. Why don't you check out the magazines and book called "Where Women Create" for some studio ideas. I was totally inspired by them. Can't wait to see it!

Lovely dress. Your stitching is lovely. If I had done it, you would have seen all kinds of crazy, crooked stitching!
I know what you mean about being overwhelmed by stores. I just freeze. This is probably why I don't like shopping that much because I blank, stress and second guess (wow I made a corny rhyme without even trying). I don't want to make a bad decision since I am spending money. You have such a gorgeous style that I am sure whatever you pick will be stunning. I can't wait to see the end results.

Pretty shirt (and I love the dress yesterday, too!)! Good luck with the remodel!

IKEA tip: the kitchen cabinets are really versatile - you can put legs on the upper (shallower) cabinets and top with a counter just as easily as the bottom cabinets (and they work fine freestanding). You could put them back-to-back and make/have made a plywood or laminate top for a cutting table that is very inexpensive with TONS of storage.

Melissa L. says: July 14, 2010 at 09:21 AM

IKEA makes me crazy. I have to pick things out of the catalog first because once I get in there, I dissolve into a puddle of indecision and angst, and then have to go buy a bag of cookies.

Such cute dresses!

another beauty! i have a crazy love for chambray (blue) and am drawn to it in all forms. not a bad affliction though...

about a month ago, we painted many walls and i'm still putting the pieces back together again - rethinking placement, etc. it is disruptive, but in the end it's worthwhile. :) hang in there!

Gorgeous! The pattern pairs beautifully with the fabric. I am always a fan of blue.

I've only ever been in IKEA once because it gave me the hugest headache. Maybe too many options so that it drives you crazy? Humans were not built to take in too many options, and I am indecisive as it is.

I am in love with the color and style- such a wonderful dress

Why don't they ship to the US?! I hope that Facebook will come through for me and one of my friends in a country they ship too will buy them for me and then ship them over...

And just in case you haven't found them already, there are a few free patterns of her's at this website:

I 100% agree with the IKEA marital litmus test! My dear sweet husband and I rarely quarrel, but earlier in our marriage the place seemed to bring out the worst in us (and we always looked forward to going there...go figure) If you look around, you see a lot of it there... I look forward to seeing pics of your new workroom. An IKEA workroom is a carrot being dangled in front of me -I just need to clean out the attic first!

Sympathy for the remodel. We did our kitch a while back while living in our house. Remember the old country song "Misery"? Separation anxiety. Indecision. Its all there. 30 years ago when our daughters were babies I made matching mommie/baby outfits. Oh, how I loved that. I used red gingham with white eyelet trim. We were pretty cute I have to admit......

Nita in South Carolina says: July 14, 2010 at 10:31 AM

You aren't supposed to "silently chant" Serenity Now! You're supposed to BELLOW it at the top of your lungs, otherwise it doesn't work :)

I love you craft room right now and can't wait to see the remodel. We are moving in August so I have the remodeling bug too. Thanks for mentioning Ikea flooring - I forgot they had things like that.

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at