Monday, May 23, 2016

Me, my ass double and a drill that once appeared on Home Improvement are currently starring in a feature film called Take My Hand

Hey everyone! Hello!

Life hasn't been much less chaotic since the last time I was here. Well, no, that's not strictly true. It's been slightly less chaotic but the chaos has been a little bit more organised. Work has been flying at me from every angle. I got an email on Tuesday that tipped me over the edge into having to go and have a stress-cry (the email was totally fine, too, I was just tired and totally fed up) and then I had two days of very intense meetings in London.

Aaaah. I've been working really long hours and feeling pulled in all directions. I had a big and unexpected piece of work land on my desk a couple of weeks ago on top of all of my business as usual stuff and all of the extra chaos that has been happening recently and it just about put me over the edge! The good news is that I finally cleared it today and - even better - tomorrow is my last working day before a three-week holiday. THANK FUCKING FUCK FOR THAT, LADS. Now seriously.

So, all of the delightful twitching and all that I described in my last blog post is still there and is even worse, in some ways. Ugh. But holiday time is nearly here so I'm holding on.

That's the craic with me. I've been sewing, too, so here's a dress that I made recently.

Last week I wanted to spend Saturday afternoon sewing, so I had a wee hoke around in my pattern stash and found this one that looked likely...

I have absolutely no memory of buying this pattern. None. Seriously. Don't know when or where I got it. Worse than that, when I opened it to cut the pattern I discovered that I already had cut it. It meant that past me had made present me's job easier... but, yeah. I don't know when I did that or what I was thinking when I did. Because, you know, this pattern envelope isn't as heinous as some New Look envelopes (looking at you here, NL6776) but, like, you'd hardly sew this based on that envelope. As with so many other New Look patterns, though, this is actually pretty cute - which you can see from the little polka dotty drawing of view D - so, maybe that explains it. Like I said: no memory.

I had cut it out in a size 10 - past me had - but present me's measurements more closely matched the size 8. So I did have some cutting to do - I trimmed it down and made a bodice toile. I was also experimenting with an adjustment: the pattern is drafted to have a side zip and I hate those, so I needed to add in a centre back seam allowance. Also, the pattern instructions said to sew the bodice with a 3/8 seam allowance so I wanted to check that out. The 3/8 seam allowance was no bueno, but moving the zip to the back worked. I tried the bodice out again with 5/8 seam allowances all over apart from at the side seams, where I needed to use a 1 inch seam allowance and I was good to go.

I had this pretty cute Michael Miller fabric that I had bought from Modes4U when I was having a crappy day:

The print is called Meadow Daisy and Bernie Dexter has used it in one of her dresses. I had only bought 2 metres so I didn't have quite enough to sew the panelled skirt of the pattern. I decided to make like the Bernie dress and add a gathered skirt to it. 

Prospect Park dress - New Look 6020 in Michael Miller Meadow Daisy fabric, worn with Swedish hasbeens peep-toe sandals

The gathered skirt is closer to the inspiration dress but in this small-scale print, it's definitely not the most flattering. My waist is totally lost in this photo but I promise it is actually there! 

As well as changing the skirt and moving the zip to the centre back... and all of the stuff with the seam allowances, I also lined the bodice. The pattern doesn't call for lining, but I would nearly always prefer to line a bodice than to use facings. I lined the bodice, but I used the facing pieces to cut interfacing, which I added to the shell fabric before attaching the lining. I did this because of another modification I made, which was to use the back neckline for views A and B - a v-back:

Adding interfacing helps keep the neckline from gaping. It's a trick I learned from NL6776, actually, so nice work, there, New Look patterns. Good job.

One of the things I really like about this pattern is the shape of the sweetheart neckline:

Ugh seriously guys my face is goofy as fuck these days. It's like 300% more goofy than usual. Maybe it's the stress. Or the beer. Anyway - yeah, the neckline. It's similar to the neckline from the By Hand London Kim dress, which y'all know that I love, but it's not as low-cut. It's good.

For having a pretty dorky-looking pattern envelope, this is a really cute pattern. And, like all New Look patterns, it has loads of great options. I definitely want to sew view A and - it won't surprise you to learn - I have already made another sweetheart neckline dress, but with the skirt as drafted. I made it yesterday and am saving it to wear on holiday. Here's a little peep at it though:

If you're seeing a theme here, you're not wrong.

I wore the Prospect Park dress last Sunday to go out for breakfast with Nic and then to spend some time with my lovely friend Lucy and her kids. I was pretty pleased by the camouflage opportunity it gave me...

Right now. Not only is it Monday night, but it's our second wedding anniversary today. I had to spend  it at work for reasons which are probably pretty clear, so tonight Nic and I are celebrating by drinking cava and packing. Here's one more picture though, just because I like this dress a lot.

I'll not be around for a while now because holiday. Try not to miss me too much, like. See you on the other side!


Sunday, May 15, 2016

If you're going to the kitchen, could you get me two whiskey sours? One for each hand.

Hey guys! It's been nearly two weeks since I've been around - do you all still remember me? The last two weeks can only be described as chaotic. I've had some absolutely lovely days - last weekend was pretty perfect - and some super, SUPER shitty days as well. Work has been pretty horrible - after getting through something majorly bad happening a few weeks ago, something very similar happened again this week. This more recent one was simultaneously less bad and much worse, which I appreciate is difficult to explain. Anyway - for the moment, it seems to be sorted out, so that's something. I have been angry and discouraged, and pretty fucking stressed. It think that, in a weird way, I would have coped better if the issue was one that I had caused, rather than being one that I was subject to. At least then I would have the comfort of knowing that it wouldn't happen again. As it was, I got to Thursday like:

Anyway. I'm mostly feeling better now - I feel less stressed mentally, although my body hasn't quite caught up yet: I have ridiculous facial twitches (both eyes, one eyebrow and my forehead) and trembling hands. I need a holiday. Luckily, I have one coming up!

I did reach the end of the week feeling much more positive. This week was very difficult but I was able to get back to having a sense of perspective by the end of it. It's difficult not to take unfair and ill-informed criticism of your work personally. I love my job - I work hard at it and I'm good at it. I enjoy it. I'm lucky to have a job that revolves around thinking about things, being creative and solving problems - I even enjoy, somewhat perversely, all of the damn spreadsheets. So I celebrated regaining that feeling on the journey home from London on Friday night with some high-class train booze:

I've been sewing here and there - it's hard when your hands are shaking - but obviously I haven't been blogging it! I will have to try to catch up at some point. Here's a dress that I made a couple of weeks ago and wore to my friend Amy's birthday party last Sunday. It's another Butterick B5748 and longtime readers might find the fabric familiar...

Mr Pinchy dress - B5748 in lobster cotton, worn with Swedish hasbeens Merci sandals

Yessss. Lobsters! It's not the same piece of fabric that my Lobsterlex dress was made from. Having refashioned that dress once, I didn't have it in me to do it again when it became too big. Kerry alerted me to the fact that Shivani was selling a length of it on her instagram destash account, so I jumped on it. How could I not? It was time to get lobsters back into my wardrobe!

I had three metres of this awesome fabric and it's 60 inches wide - more than enough for a midi-length circle skirt. Having been so pleased with the Burning Times dress, it seemed like the obvious choice. The fit of this dress turned out a little bit different, though. This is partly because of the fabric - this is a cotton spandex blend, so it has a little bit of stretch to it. Also, I lowered the waist darts slightly as I thought they came up a little bit high on the Burning Times dress. I should have left them where they were - you can see some wrinkling under the bust - but it's no biggie.

The skirt as drafted on this pattern is pretty long - it's a vintage re-issue - so I went with the longer length this time. Swishing around in a circle skirt is so much fun and it's even more so when it is covered in lobsters. Wearing it on Sunday made me bite the bullet and order myself a Tatty Devine lobster necklace, which arrived during the week with some other things I bought on ebay...

The cornflower blue Zatchels saddle bag was brand new and ridiculously cheap on ebay - it was under £12! The anchor buttons are for another McCall's 6696 shirt-dress in the red version of the polka dot cotton sateen that I made the Encore Tricolore dress from. I like a bit of repetition, as is evident from both this blog post and also everything else that has ever been on this blog. There's a good chance that the lobster necklace will be totally invisible on the dress, or that it'll be just TOO MUCH - especially if I wear it with my lobster sandals. But, if less is more... think of how much more more will be. 

The lobsters go brilliantly with my new orange clogs of deep joy:

I think they also went pretty well with this crown, which I was briefly able to steal from the birthday girl...

So, all in all, I think that a working lobster dress is going to fit very nicely into my wardrobe. 


Well, I'm going to go now. We're up to the end of S9 of ER and Very Bad Things are happening for Kovac and Carter in the Congo, so that kind of needs my attention. Have a good week, everyone!

Monday, May 02, 2016

Bill Oddie gave me a dressing gown as a Christmas present. He enclosed a receipt so I could take it back if I wanted to. I submitted Oddie’s receipt for tax purposes. I’m guilty as hell Lynn.

Hey guys! To my readers in the UK, happy May Day holiday! I have certainly appreciated having the day off work today, although the unseasonably cold and windy weather has meant that all I've wanted to do is chain-drink cups of tea and watch DVDs with Nic.

That, however, is exactly what has been needed. The bad week I was having last week? Well, it didn't get any better. My uncle Hugh - my dad's brother - died on Sunday night. He was 55 - a year younger than my dad - and he had been diagnosed with terminal liver cancer on 10th March this year. So, while not unexpected, his death was very, very sad. Nic and I flew home to Northern Ireland on Monday night so that we could spend time with family and go to Hugh's funeral, which was on Wednesday.

Hugh was a remarkable man. He was quiet and fair, but wickedly funny. It was desperately sad that he grew so ill so quickly but I can't help but be grateful that his illness wasn't longer. His wife, my auntie Marie, is a nurse, and she nursed him faithfully over the last few months. He died at home, with his closest family and his dog Scooby by his bed.

It's actually too sad to write any more but I am glad that Nic and I were able to be at home with my family last week. It wasn't all tears and sorrow, as we were able to spend time with my siblings and our nephews. It's hard to be sad when you're chasing imaginary dinosaurs with a hilarious toddler!

So... yes. That's been the past week. Nic and I came back to Leamington on Friday night and, while I haven't been at work, I was still in need of a long weekend! I went shopping in Birmingham on Saturday with some wonderful sewing friends and then I spent Sunday sewing. I'm back at work tomorrow, but now that we're in May our New York trip suddenly seems deliciously close - it's just over three weeks away - so there is a lot to look forward to.

I spent last Sunday sewing as a way of taking my mind off what was happening at home. I've been in the mood to sew dresses with a scoop neckline and, having toiled the Sew Over It Betty dress and experimented with the neckline on the Emery dress, I remembered that I had Butterick B5748 in my stash.

I sewed a few dresses from this pattern when I was far less experienced, and I struggled with getting the fit right - I guess this is why I had put it out of my mind. The shape of the bodice was just what I was after, though, so I pulled it out of my stash to inspect it. I decided that I needed to cut a few sizes down and to shorten the bodice by about an inch. I made a toile of the bodice, which I was delighted to find fit beautifully. I put a Christy Moore CD in the player, cut into my fabric and cracked on.

Burning Times dress - Butterick B5748 in Hill-Berg bird-print cotton poplin, worn with Swedish hasbeens Suzanne sandals

This dress is basically straight from the envelope, with the only real adjustments being that I shortened the bodice and I moved the zip. The pattern calls for a side zip but the bodice has a centre back seam, as does the skirt. I don't like side zips - I find them awkward to do up - but it's easy to have moved the zip to the centre back. I can see why it's a side zip in this pattern as the scoop is quite low, so some people might struggle to do up the zip... but I rarely find this to be an issue! Do you want to have a look at the back?

Yeah. I'm super happy with this dress. I must be, if I'm showing you a picture of my back, right?!

The fabric I used is a cotton poplin by Hill Berg fabrics, which I bought on ebay.

I sort of bought this by accident... no, seriously! I was looking for it in another colourway (the pink that I sewed an Anna dress from in 2013) and when I clicked into the listing for this shade my finger slipped on the 'add to basket' button. Laugh if you want. It genuinely was an accident! Anyway - who was I to argue? It was something stupid like £3.49 a metre so I went on ahead and bought 3 metres. I'm glad that I did because I really like the colour. In 2013, I wasn't sure what sort of birds that these are. I still don't know in 2016. Someone - I have a notion that it was Evie - told me that they are terns.  They might be hummingbirds. Whatever they are, they're a pretty colour. So sorry, so not Bill Oddie.

I wish there was more to say about this dress. It's always going to be a little bit bittersweet because of the timing of when I made it, but I daresay that won't stop me from wearing it. If we ever get a summer, it'll be lovely on hot days.

Here's a little close-up. I got some new glasses! They're Red or Dead and they're from Specsavers. I got the same frames as sunglasses last year and liked them so much that I wanted to get them as glasses. So that's what I did. I hope that they're more Janine from Ghostbusters than Dame Edna but to be honest, I'll take either.

Well, that's it from me for this evening. I have to be up ridiculously early tomorrow so a hot bath and an early night are calling to me. See you later, possums!

Friday, April 22, 2016

And though washing one's hands twenty to thirty times a day would be considered obsessive/compulsive, please bear in mind that your husband is a coroner. Thank you for your call, Janine.

Evening boys and girls. Happy Friday! I am very happy to have reached Friday. This week didn't get off to a brilliant start and it took a rapid nosedive at around Wednesday lunchtime. Something went wrong at work in a pretty major way and it has been stressful as shit. It's not over yet, either. Things are in place to address the issue, but it's going to get worse before it's over. As ever, I'm very grateful for the people that I work with and even more so for Nic, who has kept me sane.

So, yeah. It's been a pretty shitty week. All things considered, it could have been a lot worse, though. This weekend will be eased with a gift that Nic bought on Monday to thank me for looking after him after his accident last week:

Celebrating surviving a bad week isn't as good as celebrating something actually good, but I'll take it.

So, onto something positive. I haven't had the time or the mental energy for anything other than work this week, but I am still sewing faster than I can blog. Here's something I made on my long Easter weekend and - prepare yourself, lads - it's a pattern that I haven't sewed before!

I didn't buy Tilly's book Love At First Stitch when it came out. I don't really sew things from sewing books, you see. I ended up giving away my Colette book and my copy of Gertie's first book. However, I was flicking through a copy of it one day in a bookshop and was drawn to the Megan dress pattern. Specifically, I was drawn to the combination of the high-waisted skirt and the cute tucks on the bodice. My friend Amy lent me her copy and I was able to have a little go at it.

Chateau Rouge dress - Tilly and the Buttons Megan dress in wax cotton, worn with Swedish hasbeens braided sandals

My measurements suggested that I should sew a size 2, so I traced that and did a quick toile of the bodice. I thought I might have to shorten it, but as the lines of the dress mean that the bodice is short anyway, this wasn't an issue, so I went on ahead and cut into my fabric. 

The fabric is a wax cotton that I bought last summer in Paris. It came on the bolt, rather than in a pre-cut length and I bought it from Moline in the Marche St. Pierre. I think it was around six euro a metre and I bought two. I like it a lot but wasn't overly attached to it - it seemed like the perfect candidate for a wearable toile. Although I was sure that the dress would broadly fit, I wanted to test the wearability of it - as it's a bit outside of my usual style, I wanted to make sure that it's a dress that I would wear!

The fit is fairly good, but not perfect. I'm happy with it in terms of size but I think the bodice needs a little bit of work. There was some gaping at the back neckline, which I addressed by tapering the zip in from a larger seam allowance at the top to a 5/8 seam allowance everywhere else. The neckline is still standing up a bit on my shoulders, which I think would be easy enough to fix. I didn't get a photo of the back of the dress, but the back bodice is a fraction long so I might think about a swayback adjustment. Well. I will definitely think about it. I will almost certainly not do it, because it's only a fraction long. Part of me wants to bring the dress in a tiny bit at the waist - it's looser there than my usual style but I won't, because that's how this dress should look.

As experiments go, I didn't take a massive risk, like, but I'm very happy with the dress. I think this style works much better with the fabric than the full-skirted dress I had in mind when I bought the fabric and I have worn the dress multiple times since I made it. Nic loves it and, interestingly, he loves the one bit that I'm still not sure about - the gathered sleeve caps:

I also had a haircut the day I made this dress so I was feeling pretty cute.

Nic thinks that they look cute and retro, and I think he's right - but I have been flip-flopping on them and also think that they look a bit extreme on me! But they haven't put me off the dress, and anyway, it would be easy to remove the ease from the sleeve caps so that the head was a bit flatter.

All in all, I like this pattern a lot. I didn't really look at the instructions in the book so I can't speak to their quality but this dress came together with no issues. It's unlined, so it was a nice quick make, and I am really taken with the bodice tucks. You can't see them in this busy fabric, but they give the bodice a really lovely softly structured shape. I think it's a gorgeous detail. 

I've since made a modified Megan dress, inspired by this dress that I tried on in Cath Kidston. The dress itself was not for me - it had ridiculously tight sleeves and the fabric was sort of horrible - but it had tucks on the bodice and a pleated skirt. I messed around with the Megan bodice a bit and had a go at making my own... I haven't got proper photos of it yet, but here's a little preview:

Proper photos to follow, along with a blog post at some point. Probably!

So, yeah. I think it's good. I've always thought that Tilly's patterns aren't my style and - well, mostly they're not. I might be the only sewing blogger out there not to have made a Coco dress or top and I'm fine with that. But I really like the design details on the Megan dress, so it was certainly worth a punt.

So that's the craic there. Now I need to go and put some pizza in the oven and the champagne in the ice bucket and get this weekend started. Have a good one, everyone!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Follow your dreams. You can reach your goal. I'm living proof. Beefcake.

Hey guys! Happy Friday! I am having a very chilled out Friday night with pizza, gin and episodes of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. Yeah, don't laugh at that last one. Or, laugh if you like. I don't care. This show is weird but I still like it.

It's been a less hectic week this week - with the exception of a middle-of-the-night trip to A&E last night. Everyone is fine, thank goodness, but today Nic and I have been mainly resting and feeling grateful for the NHS. As the weather has been so dismal, staying indoors and watching DVDs seemed pretty appealing anyway, so it could have been a lot worse.

Here's a flashback to a few weeks ago and some sunnier weather with a dress I made last month. Actually: two dresses! But I'll get to that in a moment. So, one day about a year ago, I wore my Poppy Heather dress to work:

You can read about this dress here if you'd like!

My lovely friend and colleague A commented on how much she liked it, saying that it reminded her of a book - The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle - which happened to be her daughter's favourite book. Her daughter M loved the book so much that her first birthday party was Hungry Caterpillar themed. I knew that Very Hungry Caterpillar fabric existed, so I resolved to get some of the fabric and make M a dress from it. I wanted to wait until she was a little bit bigger and, when it came time for A to go off on maternity leave with her second, I thought it would be a nice gift for M. Luckily, my local branch of Hobbycraft had the fabric in stock so I was able to make this:

Very Hungry Caterpillar dress for Little M

I bought half a metre of the caterpillar fabric and two metres of the dotty fabric - which I knew would be far more than I needed for a little girl's dress, but enough to make myself a dress from it too! The pattern I used for M's dress is the Flo pattern, which was a free multi-sized dress pattern from the December issue of Love Sewing Magazine. I made the age three size - M is two and a half and I wanted to make sure that she had room to grow into it before the summer. It was a very easy pattern to sew, although I think the lack of markings would make it unnecessarily challenging for a total beginner. I didn't use the recommended amount of fabric for the skirt - it seemed like a lot for such a small dress and I was concerned that it would swamp M. Anyway - it sewed up very quickly and easily and both A and M were thrilled with it. I so rarely sew for other people but it felt good to make something that I knew M would love.

And, as I said above, I couldn't resist that awesome print so I made myself a little dress too...

The Very Hungry Caterpillar dress - By Hand London Kim dress with a pleated skirt, worn with Swedish hasbeens Kringlan sandals and Ollie and Nic apple bag

Literally nothing left to say about the Kim bodice now, is there? I still totally love it. Now that I know which alterations to do to it, I can sew it pretty quickly and with no stress. I actually made this dress and M's dress while I was still pretty spaced out with the flu and watching Homes Under The Hammer. Both of those things really tired me out! I took this dress on its first outing on Good Friday, when it was warm and sunny enough to justify it.

As it was a sunny bank holiday, I decided to run with the theme and accessorised the dress with a bag shaped like an apple and this Tatty Devine cherries necklace. It's what the hungry caterpillar would have wanted.

Someone on instagram told me that to be a real hungry caterpillar, I had to wear this dress with a red cardigan. But I'm contrary as fuck. No-one tells Dolly Clackett what to do. So I wore it with my yellow Miette cardigan. Ha ha! But also I will clearly wear it with a red cardigan soon, because that suggestion was legit.

A few people expressed disappointment that my dress didn't have the actual caterpillar on it too. I can see why - it seems like something I would wear - but I like that it's not immediately obvious what the reference is in this fabric. Also, maybe I'm getting serious in my old age, but I'm not sure that I would actually wear a dress with hungry caterpillars on it...

Yeah. I know. I just made a dress with wild west skeletons on it. There's probably no limit to what I would actually wear. I just liked the spotty print more.

I was in John Lewis there a few weeks ago and, while I wouldn't have bought anything from the ladies' section, there were so many cute little party dresses for babies that I was all, yeah, I would totally wear that. So now that I have a matching dress with a two and a half year old I guess it's official. I have the dress sense of a toddler. We just need to make sure not to turn up to any parties wearing the same dress.

Right anyway, it's Friday night and I have gin to drink. Goodnight!

Monday, April 11, 2016

They have trees and Ewoks and barbecues, which is why I like Endor better than America.

WELL HOWDY HO! Well, it's dismal as flip here today in Leamington, but it's hard to be too gloomy. I have pickled onion monster munch, tea, and Monday is over for another week. Can't be bad. I had a busy week last week, as usual, but I took Friday off and had a three-day weekend. I chilled out with Nic, went for a lovely long walk, watched some films, drank some gin and did a little bit of sewing. All pretty standard stuff, but it was good. It's taking me a while to adjust to my new role so being able to take a break is really helpful for my sanity. So is the fact that Nic and I are re-watching the early seasons of South Park. It might be wrong to identify so much with an angry eight-year-old, but I love Cartman.

I also love cheesy poofs

Anyway, that's the craic there. Cartman isn't the only angry TV asshole that I've lost my heart to. In fact, most of my favourite TV characters are angry assholes: Andy Sipowicz, Robert Romano, Dale Gribble, David Lee, Raylan Givens and Al Swearengen. Maybe I'm an angry asshole. Probably. Anyway, today I'm sort of writing on the topic of Al Swearengen because the dress I'm sharing with you tonight is Deadwood-themed. No, seriously. Check this shit out:

So, this amazing fabric is called Deadwood Saloon and it's by Alexander Henry. A few weeks ago, Alice from Fabric Yard got in touch with me and offered to send me some fabric to be a guest maker for their blog. I've shopped with Fabric Yard before and was more than happy to collaborate with Alice, especially as the business is based in Northern Ireland. When Alice offered me my choice of fabric, I was initially going to go for one of the Frida Kahlo prints as I have had my eye on these for ages. But as soon as I spotted this fabric I was totally smitten. It's Deadwood, but with skeletons! 

Alice sent me 2.5 metres and it was pretty obvious that I was going to use the Emery bodice for this dress. I mean, come on. Let's be real. I decided this time to pair it with the panelled skirt from V8998 - the slight bustle effect that the side gathers gives the skirt made it seem appropriate:

Peaches dress - Christine Haynes Emery dress with skirt from V8998, worn with Swedish hasbeens peep-toe sandals

Not too much to say about this combination. I haven't paired these together before, but it works really well. I think the flat front of the skirt is really flattering, but the panelling and the side gathers gives the skirt lovely volume. But, you know, this dress is all about the fabric. Check it out:

Here's a card game in progress. I reckon the dude with the beard and hat must be Wild Bill Hickok, right? And in the background, that's possibly Seth Bullock. Well, actually - probably not. He's wearing the sheriff's star but that dude is much too laid back to be Bullock:

My friend Amy and I were buying a few bits in a sewing shop in Banbury last weekend and the guy serving us asked us what we were sewing. I told him, "Well I'm making a dress out of a fabric that has a wild west saloon on it, only everyone who is in it is a skeleton." He nodded slowly and then changed the subject. Not everyone gets it, I guess.

Of course, the skeleton theme of this fabric is not necessarily immediately obvious. I like that. Stealth skeletons.

I think the skeleton on the right is possibly Richardson. Yeah, it totally is.

Look, this whole blog post could basically just be Deadwood gifs, because there are so many great characters and great moments in that show. When I was mentally composing this post, I started to think about listing my favourite characters but that would be totally impossible. There are only two characters in Deadwood that aren't awesome - the one played by the Borg Queen and the one played by Sarah Paulson.

I didn't even know that I needed a Deadwood dress until I found this fabric. So, a big thank you to Fabric Yard for making this happen by sending me this fabric free fucking gratis - tonight I will open a celebratory can of peaches in your honour.

As well as sending me this fabric, Alice has given me a free postage code for you guys. If you use the code MYPALDOLLY  on an order from Fabric Yard you'll get free postage to UK addresses and, during April, you'll get a surprise gift as well. How good is that?!

Right lads. I'm away here. The west isn't going to win itself now, is it?

Monday, April 04, 2016

One fervid whirl over her turgid error. Rural Juror.

Hello! How's the form with everyone this Monday, eh? I have had a pretty good one, to be fair. It's been some time since I had that back-to-school feeling on a Sunday night, but I did last night for whatever reason. I tackled it by figuring out my to-do list and heading into work early this morning to deal get some extra work done - right, that sounds a bit shit, I know BUT it meant that I was able to arrange my week so that I could book a day off on Friday. Hurrah! You have to love a four-day week.

Part of the Sundayishness was the fact that the weekend had been so very lovely. The sun made an appearance and on Saturday, Nic and I spent the day with some friends. We did a little bit of shopping in Banbury - by no means the most exciting place in the world, but home to a really good secondhand record shop and an even better independent book shop - and we had our first outdoor ice-cream of the year:
Sleazy ice-cream face. I was very happy because I bought proper, full-size flakes in the pound shop to put in our ice-creams. Immense.

Afterwards, we drove up into the hills to have a drink in a lovely pub and a picnic lunch at Burton Dassett. It was so lovely to be able to sit outside at a pub garden and even better when the pub in question was in an actual castle.

On Sunday, Nic and I had a lie-in, pottered around a bit in town, went for a walk and some cake with Rick and Lauren and watched a film. I did some sewing, too. It was basically all of my favourite things!

The forecast is for a rainy week, but that's fine. I found the sunshine and blue skies of the weekend to be very sustaining and now that we're officially into April, that means that our holiday is next month. So, that's very exciting! It's more than a month away - not until the end of May - but STILL. I'm sort of hanging onto that thought.

So anyway, that's the life update. Now for a dress. Longtime readers might be aware of my fascination with landscape border prints. I have a beautiful Bernie Dexter dress made with one. Here's me wearing it with my green Chuck sweater in November of last year:

A few years ago, I made a dress with another Michael Miller landscape print - the Green Ginger dress. Sadly, this became too big and I gave it away:

The fabric is called Park Landscape, in case you want to try to find some for yourself.

Last year, I made the Rural Juror dress. And, holy shit,  I love that dress:

Yeah. I like a landscape print and I clearly need more than one in my wardrobe. So, when Sian posted a picture of landscape fabric on her instagram, I was curious to know where it came from. 

It's the fabric on the left. The fabric on the right is In Theory by Jessica Jones barkcloth from The Village Haberdashery that arrived on the same day. Good post day, right?

It's a Michael Miller print called Meadow Path and, when I couldn't find it, Sian very kindly offered to pick some up for me from her local fabric shop. She has since started stocking it in her own shop and she makes dresses to order, so if you sew and you want some - she has it, and if you don't sew - she can make you a dress from it!

So anyway, yes. THE DRESS. I bought three metres of this fabric and, unlike other border prints I have seen, this had the pattern running selvedge to selvedge rather than parallel to the selvedge. This was a good thing, because it meant that I could sew a dress from it with the pattern pieces on the straight grain. It meant a little bit of pattern matching, but because I had bought plenty of fabric, that was no problem. I pondered a while on what to make with it and decided to go for V8998, mainly because I have been loving the panelled, gathered skirt option.

Urban Fervor dress - Vogue V8998 in Michael Miller 'Meadow Path' fabric, worn with Swedish hasbeens peep-toe sandals

So, yeah! I am pretty happy with this dress. The bodice is self-lined and, while the width of the skirt pieces and the width of the design meant it was difficult to pattern-match completely across the front of the skirt, I think it looks pretty good.

Because this wasn't a traditional border print, or at least - it isn't like the ones I have sewed with in the past - I wasn't sure how to work out the balance of the print across the bodice and the skirt. I settled on focusing on the sky for the bodice.

Well, Roisin. That's not exactly the sky. No, what happened was that after I had cut out the pieces for the bodice lining, I decided that I liked the green better. So that's what I did. Either way, I couldn't quite work it out so that it was all sky across the bodice and waistband, and I liked how this looked. Also I think the green works better for my colouring so looks better up near my face than the sky blue  would have.

I've sewed this pattern quite a few times now, so the most challenging part of this dress was figuring out the print placement. I used twill tape to stabilise the neckline front and back - I don't have a photo of the back of this dress, but it has a low scooped back neckline. The twill tape keeps the back neckline close to my skin and stops it from stretching out. I blind-hemmed the skirt by hand - this is something I often do because I enjoy it, and in this case it was no different. I thoroughly enjoyed sewing this dress and couldn't wait until the sun came out at the weekend so that I could wear it!

So, I have a couple of landscape prints now in my wardrobe and no plans to resist buying any more such fabrics I can lay my hands on. I love them! I have a couple of unicorn-like rare prints that I would love to make dresses from - Serenity Bridge and Primavera by Michael Miller are two such prints. Ah, a girl can dream...

Serenity Bridge

Primavera blossom 

I don't think I love this dress as much as I love the Rural Juror dress - I just love the trees in blossom on that print - but as it felt like a companion to it, I deemed it a sequel. It's nice to have another dress in my wardrobe that has me humming songs from 30 Rock all day.

So that's the craic anyway. I'm away here to spend the rest of my Monday night chilling out. Bye!