24 December 2014

Have a Good One!

Wishing you a very merry festive season!

I hope you have a lovely few days planned - what are you up to? I'm looking forward to snuggling into my glow-in-the-dark PJs with a glass of sherry, eating my body weight in cave-aged Gruyère and watching Edward Scissorhands. I've got a sweatshirt Coco dress cut out and ready to sew, and might finally get around to starting my second ever knitting project.

We're going to be taking a break from processing orders from the shop until Monday 5th January. You can still order stuff during this time, but physical orders won't get posted until 5th Jan, and we won't be answering emails until then either. Digital patterns won't be affected - they will be emailed to you automatically as usual.

Speaking of digital patterns, you may have heard something about VAT MOSS (or #VATMESS) and the resulting impact on sewing pattern businesses and the choice that you have as a customer. Basically there is some new EU legislation coming in on 1st January 2015 which means that anyone - in any country - who sells a digital product by automatic download to a non-business customer in the European Union will now have to pay VAT at the customer's rate, rather than the seller's rate. This affects sellers of digital products all over the world, not just in the EU. The result is quite a bit of extra work for businesses in terms of VAT registration either in every single EU country they sell to or to the simpler MOSS scheme, as well as filing quarterly VAT returns and reporting on customer data.

Why am I telling you about some boring tax issue? Because, sadly, some small businesses have decided to stop selling digital products - including PDF sewing patterns - because they find the work load and accounting costs too burdensome. I totally empathise with them, and quite frankly I'm gutted that this legislation is going to have such an adverse impact on digital entrepreneurship and the growing choice we have come to appreciate in the craft community. Hopefully in time there will be some solutions in place to help reduce the logistical and financial burden of this legislation on small businesses, who, ironically, the decision was supposed to help... Okay, this was supposed to be a lighthearted Christmas post and has now become a long rant about tax legislation (sorry!), so I'll stop in a sec, but I wanted to let you know that I am all set up for VAT MOSS and will continue to offer digital sewing patterns in my shop in the new year, since we know that many of you love having this option.


I don't know about you, but my brain needs a rest for a few days. Be back soon. Have a good one!

22 December 2014

And the Winners of the #SewingFrancoise Contest Are...

112 entries. 3,102 votes. The public has spoken - here are the winners of the #SewingFrancoise contest, as chosen by you...

The winner of the Janome DKS100 sewing machine is...

Terzi Begum! Wooooooop! We love how you made the dress your own by adding the cuffs, as well as how you styled it - clearly a lot of people felt the same way as you received the highest number of votes. Congratulations, lady!

And that's not all - nine runners up each win £100 fabric shopping voucher to fuel your sewing! The runners up, in no particular order, are...

Victoria, Barbara, Johanne, Chiara, Katarina, Gabby, Danielle, Ksenia and Lien! Yaaaaay! Well done, you guys! I'll be in touch with all the winners by email to arrange getting your prizes to you.

Massive thanks to the companies who donated prizes to the contest - Janome UK (who have just joined Twitter - go follow them!), BackstitchDragonfly FabricsElephant in my HandbagFabric GodmotherMinerva CraftsMonalunaPlush AddictSewbox and The Village Haberdashery.

I also wanted to say another big thanks and huge congrats to everyone who entered the contest. We loved seeing your entries and the huge diversity of styles - we'd have given everyone a prize if we could! Since we don't have 112 prizes, just know that you have all won our admiration for your creativity :) Go take a look at the Francoise Maker Gallery if you haven't already, there are sure to be some dresses on there that you fall in love with.

I don't know about you, but I'm off to eat a mince pie now...

19 December 2014

Fabric Shopping in Paris

Fabric shopping in Paris

As promised, here's a round up of the fabric shops we visited in Paris a few weeks ago:

Fabric shopping in Paris
Fabric shopping in ParisFabric shopping in Paris

Anna Ka Bazaar
17 rue Jean Beausire, 75004 (metro Bastille)
I fell head over heels in love with this delightful boutique, run by the same people who design Atelier Brunette fabric. It’s teeny tiny but everything in there is so well curated, from pretty stationery and Japanese books to fabrics and trims.

Fabric shopping in Paris
Fabric shopping in Paris

Lil Weasel
1 passage du Grand Cerf, 75002 (metro Étienne Marcel)
Freya was a bit concerned as I dragged her through the red light district looking for this shop, but suddenly we turned a corner into a magical arcade with a glass roof and decked out in fairy lights and all was well. Lil Weasel occupies two shops opposite each other. One is dedicated to knitting, with shelves brimming with beautiful yarn. The other focuses on sewing, with a gorgeous selection of fabrics, trimmings, and indie patterns.

Fabric shopping in Paris
Fabric shopping in Paris
Fabric shopping in Paris
Fabric shopping in Paris
Fabric shopping in Paris

Marché Saint Pierre
(metro Anvers / Barbès-Rochechouart)
The area just South East of the Sacré Coeur is bursting with fabric shops. Many of them sell “coupons”, pre-cut lengths of fabric, with the length and price attached to them. There is tons is choice and it’s a great way to pick up a bargain, although does mean rummaging through piles and piles, which get messy very quickly!

Fabric shopping in Paris
Fabric shopping in Paris
Fabric shopping in Paris

Sentier area
(metro Sentier)
There are quite a few fabric shops around this area, some selling high end fabrics at similarly high prices, others for a steal. Be warned that some sell wholesale only, so it’s worth asking their minimum metrage (is that a word?) when you go in. Be sure to pop by Maison Sajou while you’re there (47 rue du Caire), a boutique stocking their own range of beautiful vintage-inspired haberdashery. And if you’re peckish, I stumbled upon this Kosher cafe where the very welcoming Harry made me the most delicious sandwich I’ve ever eaten… yum.

Fabric shopping in Paris
Fabric shopping in Paris

Brin de Cousette
2 rue Richard Lenoir, 75011 (metro Charonne)
A lovely shop offering a wide selection of sewing books and indie patterns, as well as fabric, sewing machine hire and workshops.

Fabric shopping in Paris
Fabric shopping in Paris

Mercerie de Charonne
69 rue de Charonne, 75011 (metro Ledru-Rollin)
A great place to stock up on buttons, ribbons and bias tape in all the colours of the world.

Fabric shopping in Paris
Fabric shopping in Paris

Malhia Kent
19 avenue Dausmesnil, 75012 (metro Ledru-Rollin)
If you’re after something special, this place is a real find. They produce fabric for haute couture fashion houses, and sell remnants at bargainous prices. We got a bit high-pitched in here, swooning over Chanel-style pieces (although if you’re dry cleaner-averse like I am, you may not end up buying much). Be sure to check the baskets near the front of the shop for small scraps which they’ll sell you for under a euro – great for making accessories, or just stroking lovingly.

A huge thank you to Carmen and Julie for showing us around Paris.

Have you been fabric shopping in Paris? If you know about other places we should visit, please do share in the comments...

16 December 2014

Vote for Your Favourites in the #SewingFrancoise Contest!

Oh. My. Goodness. Laura and I have been completely blown away by the dresses you made for the #SewingFrancoise contest!

There were over 100 entries, from which we have shortlisted 25 that stood out for us in terms of style and creativity to go to the next stage - the public vote. We really enjoyed going through the entries, but believe me when I say that choosing just 25 for the next stage was seriously tough. We've literally spent three hours umming and ahhing over it because we appreciate the love and effort that went into all of them and would give all of you a prize if we could. Go look at them all here! So major props to everyone who made a dress - you are ALL winners in our eyes :)

In the interest of fairness, since the selection is based on subjective criteria, we've made the contest a two-stage process.  So now you get to vote for the winners! Take a look through the shortlisted entries below, and pick your five favourite dresses in order of preference. Vote for your first, second, third, fourth and fifth choice in the survey at the bottom of the page (or if you're on a mobile you may find it easier to open the survey in a new window). Only one set of responses per person is permitted, and public voting will close at 6pm GMT on Sunday 21st December 2014. The winners will be announced just before Christmas.

The most popular entry will win first prize of a brand new Janome DKS100 sewing machine worth £500 (or, if the winner is outside the UK, an equivalent Janome sewing machine will be supplied). Nine runners up will each win a £100 fabric shopping voucher from one of the following - BackstitchDragonfly FabricsElephant in my HandbagFabric GodmotherMinerva CraftsMonalunaPlush AddictSewboxThe Village Haberdashery. Massive thanks to Janome and our sponsors for the amaze prizes!

Carly / Inbar

Gabby / Nicole

Alice Evans / Danielle

Sandee / Kat

Barbara / Spot & Cross

Laura Jane / Heather

Chiara / Victoria

Katarina / Lien

Ksenia / Johanne

Alice Cullen / Yoshina

Jenny / Terzi Begum

Emmie / Vasiliki

LouWeez Creates

Inspired to make your own Francoise dress? Here's the pattern!