Camille Top: It’s Like a Cloud!

This is the Camille top by République du Chiffon. Made with Italian cotton, a French pattern, and worn by an American girl. (Enough to make the current American president start a trade war for no reason. Oh, no wait, actually he….Ach, forget it. I digress.)

Frivolous at Last - Republique du Chiffon Camille top

I picked up the cotton at a shop called Tessuti Raponi while I was visiting Milan last month. It was the first time I’d heard of a fabric shop selling fabric remnants by weight. Have you ever seen that before? You take the remnants to the cash where they weigh it up like a bag of tomatoes.

If you look very closely at the pictures you can just make out that there is a floral pattern of pink, blue and yellow on the flounce of the top. That’s the border print; the rest of the fabric (and the top) is pure white.


The fabric kind of reminded me of a bed sheet, but it’s really a great match for the Camille pattern. The only trouble is, it’s not a great match for me! I wasn’t sure if I could pull of this flouncy style, and I know I don’t look great in white…but when has common sense ever stopped me from forging ahead?? Luckily, just as I was finishing the hem, my lovely niece from California came for a visit, and it is *exactly* her style. I showed it to her asking if she’d be interested in taking it and she said, “Yes! It’s like a cloud!” (So like, yeah, I’ll sew for you anytime, honey. Just keep delivering the poetic metaphors about my sewing and I’m your personal seamstress.) Look how beautiful it is on her! Of course, she could wear a paper bag and she’d be gorgeous, but still.


The pattern pieces consist of exactly 3 rectangles. One for the bodice front & back, one for the flounce front and back, and one for the straps. An intermediate sewist could easily draft this. But I prefer the no-brain approach to sewing, so I paid for the PDF download.

Alas, a no-brain approach was not to be, as the pattern instructions are only available in French. I speak and read French well enough, but sewing-specific vocabulary was not a unit in any of the French courses I’ve taken, so I turned to Google Translate to make sure I wasn’t misunderstanding any of the directions. Apparently Google has not done any units on sewing-specific vocabulary either — here’s one of the translations I got:

Fold the steering wheel upwards. Then plate the margins of seam to the front / back and make a dead sting all round. Attention, take great care to fold the margins iron, make the dead bite at 1mm from the edge.

Who knew the French were so into dangerous sewing?? Dead stings, dead bites? I mean, I know sewing can be an extreme sport — you should see the giant bruise on my hip caused by me accidentally sticking myself to a depth of at least an inch with one of the pins in my hem — but this is a whole new level of mortal combat!

Eventually, I figured that dead sting (piqûre morte) was probably nothing more than a top stitch, and was able to proceed without anyone winding up dead.

Which reminds me about the fact that on the last thing I sewed, the instructions called for “crackstitching”. Don’t you think that’s a much more amusing name than “stitching in the ditch”? I definitely cracked up while I was crackstitching.  I envisioned a scenario in which I’m a wizened seamstress, sitting in a dark corner of a smokey bar, drinking whiskey, neat, and holding court with a small group of younger sewists. “Yeah, I’ve crackstitched,” I say casually. I blow out a cloud of blue smoke while the young seamstresses lean forward, wide-eyed. “And I’ll probably crackstitch again.” The young seamstresses gasp.

But I digress. Easily done where the word crackstitching is involved, no?

In summary, the Camille top is super-cute and a quick sew. And there are some lovely versions out there made with scalloped edge lace for the flounce. Lots of great options for a breezy summer top.

Thanks for stopping by!

— Lori



12 thoughts on “Camille Top: It’s Like a Cloud!

  1. Well you certainly had me laughing and chortling all the way through but honestly I laughed out loud reading that google translation. I’ve never had a lot of luck with those myself so when I see a pattern available only in another language, I wander off. Good for you for persevering! or more accurately good for your niece for you persevering. She looks gorgeous in it but I have to agree she would be gorgeous in anything you wrapped her in 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is a treat to read your blog, Lori! Thank you!
    The top is very cute and your niece is gorgeous. And she and the top were meant for each other.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hahaha! Google translate is never to be trusted. On AliExpress they sort of automatically translate the page, and I was so confused when it mentioned things about a harbor… But then I realized that they were translating YARD like SHIP YARD. So 2 harbors for me, please!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. LOL your niece is beautiful and a great model for this top!
    I actually went to Milan in May and saw that price by weight for the first time as well! I went to Tessuti e Scampoli. Very interesting way to price, but it ended up being very beneficial to me lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Tasha! I saw your post with pics in Paris…looks like you had a great trip. It’s funny, I didn’t realize it was priced by weight until I took my selections to the cash. I thought the price on the sign was the price per piece, so I ended up paying a little more than I thought I would for one of the heavier pieces, but it was still reasonable. The fabric for this top cost maybe 1 Euro 50. 🙂


  5. >D!!! That is too funny! I just read aloud the translate-ese to my boyfriend, and despite his lack of sewing experience he was able to pick up on that ‘steering wheel’ thing. ; ) The top looks beautiful on your niece (though like you said, it seems like it would challenging not to…) and the pattern reminds me of a soap bubble.

    Liked by 1 person

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