citronille antonine: sewing in french

inspired by this dress gail posted in the pinterest vintage may group, armed with my new cintronille patterns, i made c an antonine. i had a blue and cream seersucker in my stash from bolt (which i bought to make a dress for myself… um… well, at least a year ago), and it was a perfect match. the inside of the dress is lined with the new cotton couture (drool, this stuff is lovely, i want some pj pants in it) in soft white. i had originally planned on leaving a bit of the lining peeking out from the hem, but c insisted i “cut off the white part”.

although i’ve sewn from japanese pattern books (which are usually heavily diagrammed), i’ve never sewn from citronille patterns before. and you’re curious about these, right?  here’s the lowdown… (and if you speak French, by all means let me know if i have incorrectly translated something.)

the back of the pattern lists the recommended fabrics, additional notions, and fabric requirements (in meters). it also lists the size measurements (height/stature, waist/tour de taille, and chest/tour de poitrine). i chose the size 4 based on the height measurements.

here’s the first page of the pattern. looking at the nomenclature at the top of the page, the pieces correspond to the front/devant, back/dos, and manche/sleeve.  next, see the part where it says “les valueurs de couture de 15 mm sont comprises”? that means that the seam allowance is 15 mm (and it’s already included in the pattern pieces). since 15 mm = 0.59″, i used a narrow 5/8″ (which is 0.625″) seam allowance. the next bit about the “ourlets de 4 cm” means that the hems are 4 cm. (obviously, you want to pay attention to the fact that one of these numbers is in mm and the other in cm).

the glossaire gives the definitions of a bunch of terms. i mostly skipped over this part, but the “droit fil” is the grain line and “froncer” is crease/fold. i’m wondering now if i should have paid more attention to la glossaire. ah well. okay, the legend shows the images for the outside/endroit, inside/envers, lining/doublure, and interfacing???/triplure. not 100% sure on that last one, but this pattern didn’t use interfacing. i then proceeded to skip notching my curves and clipping my corners. not sure if they wanted me to do this before sewing? anyways, i didn’t.

moving into the garment assembly, i think the instructions are clearish based on the pictures, but they certainly aren’t as detailed as those in the japanese pattern books (in my experience).  the nice thing about the patterns being in french is that i stand half a chance at translating the text (high school french helped but i don’t think it’s necessary). other commonly used terms are endroit contre endroit/ right sides facing, batir/sew (i really thought it was “baste” and basted the pieces in pic 1, but turns out it’s “sew”), piquer/press, epingle a nourrice/ safety pin, glisser l’elastique/ slide the elastic, faire un retre au bas de la manche, en repliant 5 mm pois 7 mm/ fold the base of the sleeve 5 mm and then 7 mm… and so on. armed with a french-english online dictionary, it’s not so hard.

i did find that the elastic measurements for the sleeves were a bit off – the elastic around the arm was way too tight and that around the shoulder a bit too loose. so a bit of fiddling was required there.

i added some buttons to “cuten it up,” as my husband would say. the dress ended up a bit loose around the chest (though really it’s good enough), so next time i may go down to a size 2 (which sounds much better as 2 ans, or “deuxieme ans” don’t you think?) for that piece, and take in that elastic around the shoulders. surely if i do both those things, the fit will be perfect. or too small.

here’s some “action” pics, taken this morning on my desk. when you live in rainy portland, you get what you get, and sometimes the desk has to do, especially when your daughter is sooo excited to wear her new twirly dance skirt to school. (score, mama!) i love the combination of a fancy dress with chucks.

i really enjoyed this pattern and can’t wait to give another one a go. if you’re interested in ordering a citronille pattern, go for 2-3 patterns (no more, no less) at a time, they end up being around $16 each shipped to the us. (the shipping cost and speed go up once you hit 4 patterns).

have you sewed any citronille patterns?? would love to see pics of your creations!

25 thoughts on “citronille antonine: sewing in french

  1. gorgeous results! great fabric for this dress and the pink buttons are a perfect accent. it’s fun to see inside a Citronille pattern too – thanks for the tips and translations, i would so love to try one of these someday! which other two did you get, by the way?

  2. I love citronille patterns but have never purchased any because they are pricey and in French nonetheless. Thanks for the inside scoop and pretty pics, hope to give them a try someday!

  3. This dress is so, so beautiful!! I have been eyeing the Citronelle patterns, as well as the company C’est Dimanche, for awhile now but have not had the courage (or funds!) to make the purchase. How bad was the shipping charge from France? Thanks for the helpful tips on sewing from these patterns. Your dress turned out so lovely, and I’m a sucker for blue and white stripes. Please keep sharing your Citronelle creations!
    (ps – I loved your last post on your sewing room – I’m in the middle of re-doing mine and love your work desk! Gotta love IKEA!:)

  4. to die for! love everything about this dress, the pattern, the fabric & the wearer!
    p.s.: enrolled to a sewing class, guess who inspired me to do so? ;)

  5. It’s beautiful! Love it in seersucker and the buttons are a great touch (as are the Chucks)! I think we need to talk Bolt into carrying these, don’t you think? Let’s convince Heather up there. ;)

    • Thanks for the review. I’ve been interested in these patterns for 2yrs now and wanted to get some. I guess the only way to get them is to order online. I have given up on finding a domestic source

      I told my lqs about these patterns and she immediately emailed them to inquire about wholesale orders, but she never heard back from them

  6. Pingback: vintage may roundup « skirt as top

  7. Thanks for the review. I’ve been interested in these patterns for 2yrs now and wanted to get some. I guess the only way to get them is to order online. I have given up on finding a domestic source

  8. Pingback: a bucket bag for summer | nested in stitches

  9. Thank you…stumbled across this review during a google search. Glad to know that 2-3 is the right way to buy them (for shipping!!!)

  10. Wonderful post – I found it very useful in deciphering my Citronelle ‘Rose” . I think ‘froncer ‘ is probably gather or frill rather than crease/fold – I may be wrong , of course..

  11. i just found your blog looking through some elsie marley flickr pictures and i must say it feels like inspiration christmas!
    i love seeing little girls in classic clothing and your call for us moms to update our wardrobes is so where i am at right now. i’d love to LOVE a handmade wardrobe for myself but i am SO picky about what i will make/wear. i definitely fall into the wanting it to look handmade not homemade camp.
    thanks for such a great blog.

  12. Pingback: my 2nd baby is home! and I’m ready to sew. | MADE

  13. Adorable dress!
    A few corrections: 1. “Froncer” means to gather the fabric. “Pliure” is the fold. 2. “Batir” does actually mean to baste. “Piquer” means to sew.
    HTH, Sarah (French is my mother-tongue :-))

  14. Just found your blog as I was searching for a US supplier of these patterns. The finished dress is adorable and you and Sarah are so kind to translate! I would love to make some of these for my granddaughter. I have been using Olabelhe patterns and Rae’s Geranium pattern quite a lot, but the simple lines of Citronelle are very appealing too. Did you order online from the company? How did you handle the exchange rate from $$ to euros? They do have a few patterns available in English, but not all the ones I want. Did it take a long time for shipping? I would like to order 3. Thanks for reading this long note…I will be reading your blog regularly.
    Corky, Houston

  15. So excited, I ordered 3 patterns May 26th and they arrived today! I had 2 yrs. French in high school and 2 semesters in college, but that was the 60’s. Struggling a bit even with the online dictionaries. I want to do Marie 1st – it looks the easiest; I also bought Apolline and Albertine.
    I probably should have bought Maud and some English patterns 1st, but I was inspired by your blog and all the dresses pinned on “Pinterest”.
    P.S. “A Sunny Day” book is on its way from Amazon – you really inspired me.

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