Thursday, April 23, 2015

It's a beautiful, sunny day and we're in an opticians. It doesn't get any better than this.

Hello! It's Thursday afternoon, which is my Friday this week as I have taken tomorrow off. Dudes, I have needed it. This week has been pretty tough. I know you're probably all pretty much over me crabbing about work, but I have had a stressful week. I ended up crying on my walk from work to the train station yesterday afternoon - not because anything particularly bad happened but because I had just hit a wall of feeling totally fed up. I have an extra project on top of my usual workload and it is just doing my head in. Nothing seems to be going right, it's a huge time-suck and it's been making work really hard. I've also been ill - the cold I had last week turned into a chest infection, so that was fun.

Anyway, last night I came home from work early to have my hair cut - I was never more grateful that my salon offers its customers wine - and then Nic and I went out for dinner with friends. I was working from home today and I was a bit kinder to myself, and I'm feeling a lot better now. I'm not going to lie though lads, alcohol helped. So did getting something pretty in the post this morning. What can I say? I'm shallow.

I bought an orange satchel from Zatchels last payday and it FINALLY arrived today. They do say that their bags can take up to 30 days to be dispatched which, fair enough, but each time I have bought something from them it's taken ages and only eventually been posted when I contacted them to remind them about it. Sigh. That's how it happened with this bag too, which is very annoying, but the bag is pretty awesome so it could be worse.

Two things made me want to buy the bag. One is that I have quite a few satchels now and, you know me, when I find something I like I essentially want it in ALL THE COLOURS. The other is that, at some point at the end of last year, Heather B posted a picture of Miss L-Fire's lobster sandals on Instagram and a whole outfit based around it popped into my head. I pre-ordered the sandals as soon as they were available and... you know where this is going, right?

Lobsterlex dress worn with Andi Satterlund Myrna cardigan, Miss L-Fire Rock Lobster sandals and orange satchel

I knitted an orange cardigan to wear with my Lobsterlex/Lobster sandal combination. YEAH! This is an Andi Satterlund 'Myrna' cardigan and I did knit one of these before which is, quite frankly, kind of embarrassing now. I hated the yarn (it was that shitty Rico cotton yarn) and also, I misunderstood the pattern and knitted it too short. So this one - while not perfect - is a massive improvement. It's gratifying to know that I am getting better at this.

I nearly always end up pulling this face when Nic takes photos of me because it makes him laugh

So. Myrna details, right? I knitted this using Cascade 220, but the superwash rather than the...erm, normal? Sorry, still don't get yarn weights. Anyway, I bought this because it already comes in a ball rather than in a skein and so I wouldn't have to wind that shit into a ball. Eh. That didn't really work but the yarn itself is super to work with - it's soft and springy and not too fluffy. And it comes in basically EVERY colour so it might be a while before I knit with anything else. This colour is called Pumpkin and it's not aggressively orange but I do kind of wish I had bought the brighter orange, which is called Blaze. It's not even that I like the colour better, it's just that the name is awesome.

Does anyone else remember Streets of Rage 2?

I knitted this cardigan up really quickly. I had to go to Slough for work the Friday before last and, although I have a Hetty cardigan on the go, I didn't think I'd be able to concentrate on the sleeves on a train journey so I cast on Myrna. By last Sunday it was ready to be blocked, so it took me just over a week! Granted, I was ill and spent more of that week knitting on the sofa than I usually would, but still. This was a lovely mindless project because it's knitted mainly in stockinette. There's a little bit of lace detailing around the neckline and waist, and I really enjoyed knitting the v-neck. The sleeves are fun too, with the sleeve cap done with short rows. I loved knitting the sleeves but they're part of the reason why I'm not sure how much I like this cardigan. Anne Shirley would be ALL over these puff sleeves but I'm not certain I like them on me.


Okay I am going to say one more negative thing about this and then I'll say nice things. I knitted this, like, two rows too long. I don't know if anyone else will care, but I would have liked it to be a fraction shorter. Also something weird happened to my cast-off at the corner of the waist ribbing where the button-band begins and I had to re-do it and now I think it looks a bit weird. Can you see it?

Overall though, I'm pretty happy with this and I think I will knit another Myrna pretty soon. Maybe in the Blaze colourway... LOL JUST KIDDING. I didn't love this when I finished it, but actually I think I'll wear it a fair bit. I didn't have an orange cardigan and I think this will work well with quite a few of my dresses. But mainly I'm still totally buzzing that I can knit stuff that I actually want to wear and the things I'm being critical about are still pretty minor. I know I can and will get better at this with practice.

Here's the back view - I think you can see from this that it could stand to be slightly shorter. The pattern is designed to have a cute little keyhole feature in the upper back but I am just not good enough yet at casting off in the round to not make a mess of it. Also, I know that a short-sleeved cardigan is not terribly practical in general but I thought I would wear it less if it had a hole in the back - even one that was meant to be there.

I think it looks pretty cute unbuttoned as well...

And... as for the sandals. Well, much like the bag, these were kind of worth the wait:

They are totally and utterly ridiculous and I don't even care. I love them, and I promise I won't only wear them with this dress. It might be difficult to want to wear this dress with any other shoes, though!

Anyway, I'm going to leave you here. I have stuff to do this evening... housework stuff that I haven't had the time to do this week but also drinking wine and eating dinner and hanging out with Nic. Remembering that life is good even when work is hard.

Earlier today. Hashtag classy as fuck.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Farewell and adieu to you, fair Spanish ladies. Farewell and adieu, you ladies of Spain.

AHOOOYYY THERE MATEYS! It's Friday! It's Friday and, for the first time this week, I woke up feeling well. It's only been a cold, and I've been able to work through it, but MAN, it has made this week a massive drag. I had a few pressing deadlines at work, and then a few arbitrary and annoying last-minute deadlines were thrown into the mix - I've basically spent this week on the sofa, cussing out the world.

I'm still not 100% better - I'm sniffling like nobody's business and I can feel a tension in my neck that is partly due to the fact that I have been writing all week and partly, you know, having a sore throat and that, but I am feeling chirpy enough to do something other than knit and watch eleven thousand episodes of Law & Order UK. So I'm calling it an improvement. Just in time, too, as I'm away to London tomorrow for a museum visit, afternoon tea, fabric shopping and cocktails with some sewing friends. As Peggy Hill would say, HO YEAH!

That's the craic with me. No sewing this week - seriously, I have basically only been on either the sofa or in bed (working from home for the win) but, maybe this afternoon. My sewing machine is winking at me from the corner and I have some mad fabric that's waiting to be made into some sort of impractical party frock. You know, standard. But, like I said in my last post, I do have a queue of stuff to blog about. Rachel commented on my last post to say that when I blog a dress, her five-year-old daughter shouts, "Dolly Clackett's got a new dress!" Well, Rachel's daughter:

(Seriously though, is that not the cutest damn thing you've ever heard? That really made me smile.)

Here's the dress, anyway:

Amity dress - By Hand London Kim dress, worn with Miss L Fire Lovebird sandals

Dolly Clackett has a new dress and a fat face, apparently. And she also has prescription sunglasses now, which look a lot less goofy in real life. Maybe.

So. The story of this dress is that I used to have a different dress made out of the same fabric. It was a By Hand London Anna dress with a gathered skirt and you can see it here. I loved that dress but it became too big, and it didn't survive one of my many wardrobe culls. I can be pretty brutal, even with handmade dresses that I love. Anyway, a few weeks ago Sharne spotted some of the fabric (which is 'My Favourite Ship' by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller) at a ridonkulous price in Abakhan (like, £5.95 a metre) and she very kindly bought a couple of metres for me and popped them in the post. Sewing people are the bomb dot com, and that's the truth.

The other truth is that, despite the following facts, I never seem to have enough nautical-themed dresses:

  • I can't swim and have no intention of learning (don't lecture me, I don't care)
  • Leamington is pretty far from the sea. It's a matter of dispute, but we do have a tree that people claim is the tree that is furthest away from the sea in England. It's called the Midland Oak, and it has a plaque on it and everything
So, you know, another dress with nautical shit on it maybe isn't that necessary. But who cares, right? 
Seriously don't lecture me about learning to swim, because I don't want to hear it.

I still have a little bit of work to do on the Kim bodice to get the fit just right. I've re-drawn the straps to make them substantially shorter, which I thought might make shortening the bodice unnecessary. I think I could still stand to shorten the bodice a bit. I could go all-out and do a slight FBA as well but to be honest, what's stopping me from doing that is that I don't really mind my bust being a bit downplayed, here. I don't know. I still feel pretty exposed in anything other than a high neckline. Those are minor things though and I'm mainly pointing them out because I feel like I should. I'm super happy with this dress. So happy, I'm even going to show you my Derpy Back. Prepare yourselves:


Just looking all casually here at the pedalos. Yeah - Leamington might not have the sea, but we do have a place where you can hire pedalos shaped like cars and swans and stuff. You can hire actual boats, too, but that's not as funny. I'm standing on a little bridge here, which seemed like a good place to take photos, but we kept being interrupted by this couple who... I don't know what they were at, to be honest. They were either powerfully curious at the act of someone having photos taken or they just really enjoyed crossing the same bridge OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

In all seriousness, I was shaking my head here. Why does the public have to ruin public places?!

In honesty, the bridge was already kind of my back-up photo location. Right by this bridge is a little children's play area that has a pretty boss pirate ship climbing frame/slide deal, only when we walked past it initially there was a really sketchy guy sitting on the merry-go-round thing. Like, you couldn't make it up - it was some sketchy looking dude in his 40s, sitting on his own in a children's play area, with his hands in his pockets. It was like something out of Brass Eye. Or the Daily Mail. There weren't any children around, so it could have been worse, but I didn't especially want to engage with him. However, the couple on the bridge were such an irritant, we decided to go to the little play area anyway. The sketchy guy had moved on, but that damn couple followed us! I'm totally serious. Anyway, who cares, because:

oh yeah

The fake pirate ship has a steering wheel, which I desperately wanted to have photos taken on. I wasn't sure I'd be up to climbing up the rigging and, foolishly, thought the best way up was by going up the slide. "How hard can it be?" I thought, "It's only for small children!" WRONG.


Nic did take some photos of me at the steering wheel thing, but to be honest I look like a complete dick in all of them. So here's me looking out to sea. I mean, looking out over the park, and thinking about my lunch:

I bet you're wondering how I could look more like a dick in the photos that I deleted than I do here. Ha ha!

The only way down was to take the slide.

Honestly, you guys. The things I do for this blog. But also this was the best lunchtime I've had in months. After we played on the slide, Nic and I went and bought sandwiches and had a little stroll in town, and then I came home and finished up my work for the week. Hurrah! We're going to head out shortly for a walk and to do some grocery shopping (translation: buy some wine) and I might even get some sewing done when we get home.

The name of the dress is a reference to two things. One is that I was listening to Elliott Smith while I was sewing it - I started with Figure 8 and moved on to XO - but also, you know, it has boats on it. They're pretty big boats, but Jaws is one of my Top 5 Favourite films. It's a film that I never don't feel like watching, if that makes sense? Like, I'm always happy to watch it. I'd be happy to watch it even if I had already watched it that day. Jaws is another reason why I'm in no massive hurry to learn to swim. No, that's a joke, mostly.

I love everything - seriously everything - about Jaws. I think it's pretty much the perfect film. But, and think me shallow if you like, but seriously one of my favourite things about the film is Murray Hamilton as the Mayor of Amity, Larry Vaughn. I mean, come on:

LINEN BLAZER WITH ANCHORS ON IT. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. That's also a nice tie there, boss. Maybe it's weird, but I am totally inspired by this. Maybe I should make a blazer out of that Robert Kaufman anchor-print chambray that was everywhere a few months ago. I reckon I could wear that. I wouldn't look as totally rad as this guy though, sadly.

You know what I'm saying, right? I just don't have that kind of panache.

Anyway, that's my nautical Kim dress. You'd better believe I'll be packing this when we next go to visit Nic's mum and dad at the seaside. Hopefully I'll have some kind of nautical blazer to wear with it by then too. Watch this space.

Right lads, I'm going to head off here and go out and buy some wine. Farewell and adieu, you fair Spanish ladies.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Often, the good suffer and the wicked prosper, and one hardly knows which of those is the more annoying.

Morning, boys and girls! Well, okay, afternoon. But hello anyway. Right now the spring sunshine is competing with the spring wind outside, someone nearby is happily grinding away (I think it might be the neighbour that we less-than-affectionately call Part Time Grinder but it's hard to tell. As soon as the sun comes out, grinding starts) and I'm lying on the sofa under lots of blankets, scowling a bit because I woke up this morning with a cold. Boo! I was going to spend today sewing but instead I'm going to drink tea, knit and watch Law & Order S4 or The X-Files S6, depending on which one of those boxed sets Nic is able to find in town. I've had kind of a stressful week, so this feels like an irritatingly fitting end to that. Ah well, onwards and upwards. Nic is also bringing cake back from town, so that's sure to make me feel a bit better as well.

I had planned to do a bit of sewing today, but that can wait. As it is, I have a backlog of finished projects to photograph and blog about! Here's one of them: the first dress I made in 2015, finally blogged four months later. EFFICIENT.

Immediately after I finished making the Montague Terrace dress, I cut out another McCall's 6696 dress, on which I shortened the bodice by an inch and a half. I finished it, and it was too cold to wear it, and I wasn't sure if I had made the right adjustment (I went on to make another one - the Joy Parade dress - with only the bodice back shortened) so I decided to pack it away until spring and then decide what I thought of it. As the sun made an appearance last week, I unpacked more of my spring clothes and tried this dress on again and, as often happens, I went from feeling a bit disappointed with it to really liking it. Fickle girl!

Inbetween Days dress - McCalls 6696 in heart-print cotton poplin, worn with Vivienne Westwood for Melissa Lady Dragon bow shoes

I'm pulling a stupid face in this photo - I am in all of the photos of this dress - but, ah well! So, I think that part of the reason why I wasn't sure about this dress at the time is that it was cold and dark when I tried it on. Also, I had a few extra pounds of Christmas chub, which made the fit of the dress less pleasing. Now I've shed that winter coat, I think it fits better and I like it a lot more.

I bought the fabric when we were on honeymoon in Paris. It was a 3m coupon and I bought it in Les Coupons de Saint Pierre - I think it was something ridiculous like 10€ for 3 metres. It doesn't have any manufacturer information on the selvedge but an instagram conversation with Christine Haynes made me realise that it's probably a copy of a print by Umbrella Prints. This isn't one of their prints - Umbrella Prints tell me that they never released this design in this colour - and although it's lovely, I wouldn't have bought it if I had known. Anyway, the deed is done now and the whole thing alerted me to the existence of Umbrella Prints, so that's the craic there.

Looking at it now, and being able to make a comparison across the three dresses I have made from this pattern, I think that shortening the front and the back of the bodice is possibly the way to go with this dress. It's maybe hard to make a definitive judgement though as obviously this dress is sleeveless. Also, the fit is clearly still not 100%. But anyway, I'm going to wear this a bit more and think about it before making another one. I will go back and move the bodice buttons slightly though - moving them a little bit off-centre will stop some of the pulling that you can see across my bust.

Those are very minor niggles though - I really like this dress and it's a lovely, light and breezy spring shirt-dress. I wore this on Easter Day for a stroll around town with Nic and I even heard one girl in the park whisper to her friend that she liked my dress. Compliments for the win!

Here's the back! No, I don't know why I'm leaning in that awkward, stupid way. I was hungry and thinking about my lunch so maybe that's why.

I am already looking forward to finding some time to make a fourth one of these dresses, and possibly a fifth! I have an idea of making one in wax cotton and, to that end, I bought some more of the fabric that I used to make my Bedelia dress (which is sadly becoming too big) and it might be the right candidate for the job. I'm also considering making some out of the Liberty Queue for the Zoo fabric that's been sitting in my stash since January, waiting for its assignment. So, we'll see. At the moment I have more plans than I have time or energy, but summer is usually a little bit quieter at work, so I hope that I can make some of these plans a reality!

Cardigan girl! I wore this dress with my pale pink Hell Bunny cardigan - and then I got Easter chocolate on the sleeve, like a dick.

Actually, right now what I really want to be sewing is something very retro-themed. Yesterday, Nic and I met up with a friend who gave us the first two issues of a comic called Lady Killer. Nic already had issues 3 and 4, but once we had the start of the story I had to read them all, because:

The outfit Josie is wearing on the cover of the bottom-right issue (issue 4) is pretty atypical of the rest of her clothes in this comic. She's an assassin, and she does most of her jobs in great big fluffy petticoats and circle skirts. So, it's made me want to put on a great big fluffy petticoat and a circle skirt dress, and maybe try to recreate this look. But not in a solid colour because I'm not an assassin. Honest.

I actually made a dress with a circle skirt a couple of weeks ago and it's waiting to be blogged, so maybe I'll try to style it up like Josie here with a cropped jacket and an umbrella. Nic is thrilled that I have found a comic that I like so much. It's not just because of the clothes, either. The story is pretty terrific. Being that it's about a badass female assassin in beautiful clothes, it's hitting a lot of my areas of interest! Maybe it's because I've been sick and stressed this week, but Lady Killer cheered me right up, as did going back to the first season of Luther. BECAUSE ALICE MORGAN.

Anyway, that's the craic there. I'm going to leave you with one more (totally unnecessary) photo of my dress and say goodbye. Nic has just come back from town with lemon cake and S1 of Law & Order UK (a compromise, as the shop didn't have either of the boxed sets I wanted) so I have a busy afternoon ahead of me. Laterz.

I'm goofy. But I like my dress. Since unpacking it last week I've bought some mint-green clogs that will look lovely with it too. Getting new shoes was one of the better moments of this past week.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

If I worried about what every bitch in New York was saying about me, I'd never leave the house.

Yo yo! Hello pups, happy Easter! After an exhausting, if short, week at work, I have a lovely long weekend stretching out ahead of me. Sleeping, sewing, knitting and eating chocolate beckons, as does a trip to the cinema on Monday to see the new Fast and Furious film. Seven times the fastness, seven times the furiousness. What's not to like?!

As I said, work was pretty exhausting this week and I've been feeling a bit stressed. UPS put me through the wringer a bit as well this week by managing to lose the parcel containing my replacement Macbook. Man, their customer service is BAD. Really bad. After five phone calls to them to see where my parcel was, in which I was told that it was (variously) in the local drop-off point, with the driver, in my flat, in Tamworth and also in an 'unknown location' it eventually turned up. Hurrah!

So anyway, that's the craic there. I have some bad films to watch this afternoon, including one with Gene Hackman AND Dennis Franz, so that's good. Before I do though, do you want to see another hand-knitted cardigan? And a dress that I made last year but never blogged because I hated my face in all of the photos of it? OH, GO ON THEN.

I knitted another Agatha cardigan! I know that one of these days I should branch out into knitting something from a designer that is not Andi Satterlund. However, there are still a few of her designs that I'm keen to make so, not sorry. There will be more Andi Satterlund designs here in the near future. I'm knitting a purple Hetty cardigan and have an orange Myrna planned too. I thought it would be good to knit another Agatha cardigan while all the things I learned from the first one were still fresh in my mind. So one day a few weeks ago, Nic and I walked up to Wool Warehouse and I bought a few skeins of Cascade 220 in 'Goldenrod', some buttons and a pair of Knitpro circular needles. And then, boom! I knitted another cardigan!

Andi Satterlund 'Agatha' cardigan. I haven't thought of a name for it, though!

I'm so ridiculously happy with this cardigan, I can't even tell you. I mean, there are a few mistakes in it and I think I made the sleeves a bit too long. Also, maybe it's not the most flattering - the weight of the yarn means it's pretty bulky and I think it makes me look a bit like a yellow chubby chubster. BUT it's bright yellow and it's warm and cute and I'm still really jazzed that I can knit my own cardigans. FUCK YEAH KNITTING.

A different door! Cardigan worn with A Forest dress and Swedish hasbeens peep toe sandals

After wearing my blue one a fair bit, I realised that I had made a mistake in knitting the body and had made it too short. So I knitted this one to the right length and it made all the difference. It still rides up a bit in the back but it hits my waist at the spot that I like. I'm super proud of it and I don't even care.

Here's my bread back. But the cardigan fits well there too.

I added yellow grosgrain ribbon to the button band, but this time around I didn't add it to the buttonhole side. Basically I couldn't face putting it through my sewing machine for buttonholes. So, when the cardigan is buttoned up the button bands are a wee bit on the wavy side but, do you know what? Fuck it. AH LOVE MAH CARDIGAN. GIMMEH CANDEH.

This might actually be my favourite ever photo of me. Every day is for derps, Heather B!

Sadly, I don't feel anywhere near as thrilled with the dress. This is a By Hand London Kim dress that I made in November, and which was destined for the charity shop. It was in a charity shop bag until Nic vetoed it - he's not bossy usually but he hates me giving away any of my dresses - but, I've got to be honest. I might have to sneak it to the charity shop when his back is turned because it's just not working for me.

The dress did fit when I made it, but it's too big for me now. I really like the Kim dress - I'm planning to make one this weekend, in fact - but I need to make a few alterations to the pattern. I need to shorten both the bodice and the straps. I could go back and alter this dress, I guess, but I probably won't. Alterations are the worst. It's a shame, too because look how cute the fabric is:

Fantasy Forest by Michael Miller

Maybe I will alter it. I guess Nic was right. YOU WIN, PILLAI.

So anyway, that's all the craic with me. I have a highly intellectual film to watch and some chocolate to eat so I'm going to toddle on here. A very happy Easter to everyone. Mind yourselves!


Friday, March 27, 2015

Do you know how hard it is to fake your own death? Only one man has pulled it off: Elvis.

OH HELLO! Happy Friday evening! I hope things are good with you all. I've had kind of an annoying week. Well, annoying with a few high points. Nic and I went out for burritos with Rick and Lauren on Monday night, which was great. I finished my yellow cardigan, which I will blog about soon, and I got some frankly fucking OUTSTANDING shoes in the post on Tuesday...

SHUT THE DOOR. How good are these?! They're from Miss L Fire, and I pre-ordered them last month. Yes, I plan to wear them with my Lobsterlex dress because duh.

These bright spots aside, work has been exhausting and a bit stressful. I had to organise an event for next week at very short notice, and it was one of those things where it came together really quickly and then, bit by bit, it started to fall apart. Anyway, I got it sorted out in the end and it's going to go ahead on Monday but, man. These last two days have been kind of a pisser.

Also, the man who was looking at our Macbook came back to me on Wednesday to say that it was going to cost a minimum of £570 to fix it, as the logic board and keyboard were damaged beyond repair. He thought that the other things could possibly be cleaned, but couldn't guarantee that more parts wouldn't be needed. But, we agreed to do a part-exchange on a brand new, sealed in box Macbook of the same spec with a years' warranty with Apple for a really reasonable price, so it's all good. After using this little Chromebook laptop for a day, Nic was all, "I don't care how much it costs! I want our Macbook back!" Fair enough. I know though, talk about first world problems. My wallet is too small for my fifties and my diamond shoes are too tight!

Me, from now on.

That has been the craic this week anyway. And now it is Friday! The sun has been shining and we have a fun weekend lined up, starting with the bottle of the prosecco that is currently chilling away in the fridge. And, I have a new dress to blog about!

So, okay, the story with this dress is that I went fabric shopping in Birmingham with Amy, Helen and Marie a couple of weeks ago. Because I haven't been sewing all that much recently, I wasn't really in the market for much shopping but, you know, it would have been just rude not to buy anything. I bought a few bits from the market, and we went to Barry's last of all. I was mooching around when I spotted some familiar-looking stretch cotton sateen...

Bottom right is the sateen in question

Any of y'all with long memories might remember that I made a dress out of this fabric before...

I made that dress - a combination of the By Hand London Anna bodice and Charlotte skirt - in September 2013, and I wore the shit out of it over the next few months. I loved everything about it, but as it doesn't fit I haven't worn it in over a year and, a few months ago, I gave it to a friend. So when I saw the very same fabric in a different colour I thought the time was right to make myself a new one. And here it is!

Blossom Time dress, worn with Mel 'Raspberry' heart shoes

I feel like there's not a great deal to say about this dress! The only difference from the first one I made, apart from the size and the colour, is that I used a concealed zip rather than a lapped zip in this dress. Over the last year or so I have come to prefer them, although I think style-wise, they work equally well in this sort of dress:

Here's my bum. No pattern matching. No fucks given.

I used the size 8 Anna bodice and the size 10 Charlotte skirt pieces. I didn't move the darts on the skirt to meet the pleats/darts on the bodice as the print is so busy that the darts kind of disappear into one another! The bodice and the skirt fit nicely together, despite being different sizes, although I did have to increase the seam allowance at the top of the skirt so that it would match up with the bodice. I could have sized down on the skirt to get more of a wiggle shape, but I wanted something I could move around in and that I would feel comfortable in at work.

It was good to sew something that's out of my usual fitted bodice-full skirt silhouette. I've been wanting to add a few pencil-style dresses to my wardrobe, having given away nearly all of the shop-bought pencil dresses I own! The nice thing about that is I gave them to a colleague, who often wears them to work, so I still get to see them. 

The cotton sateen is very enjoyable to work with. It has a bit of stretch and a good bit of body, and it doesn't need to be treated much differently to 100% cotton. I used a slightly cooler iron on it, but that's about it. I pinked all of the seams - I had done that on the original dress and it held up really well. It seemed like the best finish for this fabric so as not to add any additional bulk. 

I have been heavily into florals this year. I've only made one novelty-print dress so far in 2015! (which I haven't blogged yet, but I will eventually) I think you can see why I couldn't resist this print, though. I'll have to get back to my crazy prints eventually though, right?

Anyway, it's Friday night here and I need to crack open the prosecco and start my weekend. Have a good one, everybody!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

I've always said humans need more animal blood. It keeps the spine straight.

Hello hello! What's the haps, boys and girls? I am having a very restful and fun weekend after an unexpectedly stressful and annoying week. Work has been busy and a little bit irritating - well, it could have been worse on both scores, but my patience was limited this week - and, on Tuesday, Nic spilled beer on our lovely Macbook Air and...well, if that's ever happened to you, you'll know that beer and expensive electronic equipment do not mix. It's been sent to be looked at, and it's probably going to be reasonably expensive to fix. We bought a chromebook thing so that Nic can continue to work until the Mac is fixed or replaced, and it's fine. Actually, it's kind of a hilarious knock-off of a Mac except that it's turquoise, but it's doing the job for now.

So, it hasn't been a red letter week, all things considered. But it took an upswing towards the end of the week - we had dinner in the pub with friends on Thursday night and I was working from home on Friday and the sun came out! I had quite a lot to do, but it was much easier to get it done with sun streaming in through the (open) windows. Nic and I went out for a walk at lunchtime, had lunch in The Larder in The Park and got some photos of a dress I recently made. I haven't been sewing much at all recently. Work has really taken its toll on me in the last few months and it's left me with very little mental (or physical) energy for much else. I do have some projects backed up to blog about, and I haven't completely stopped sewing or anything - it just sort of feels that way because my output is so much lower than it was this time last year!

Anyway, I had a few days off a few weeks ago (just before we went to Bristol) and on the Friday morning, I got some beautiful fabric in the post:

Nature Garden by Timeless Treasures

Awww yeah, am I right?! I put it straight in the washing machine so I could wash and dry it and sew it in one day. That's how excited I was to sew it, and I wanted to be able to wear it in Bristol that weekend. I've been after a fabric like this basically ever since I've been able to sew, so I could make a dress inspired by this lovely cherry blossom Bernie Dexter dress. To show off the pretty print, I wanted to keep it simple, so I reached for the Emery dress by Christine Haynes. As far as I'm concerned, it's the perfect canvas for a pretty print. Also, I can knock one up pretty quickly because I know it fits me and I have worked out my own construction order. By bedtime Friday night, I had a whole outfit planned out...

Flatlays FTW

I didn't recreate this outfit exactly when I was in Bristol - those purple clogs need a bit more breaking in - but I did yesterday, when it was finally officially spring!

The Rural Juror dress - Christine Haynes Emery dress, worn with purple Swedish hasbeens peep toe sandals, pink Zatchels satchel and pink Hell Bunny 'Paloma' cardigan

So, one of the challenges of working with a border print fabric for a garment is that either you cut the bodice on the straight grain, but with the print running the wrong way, or you cut it on the cross grain and have the print running the right way. Yeah, that sounds like a no-brainer, but with a quilting cotton it can be a bit of a risk. It wasn't too bad in this case, although I can really feel the stretch in the skirt! I cut my usual size in the bodice but I gave myself a tiny bit more ease by leaving a bit more room at the side seams. You can probably see a bit of wrinkling under the bust and, although the bodice isn't tight, I am much more aware of the waist seam than I am in other dresses!

Totally worth it though, because I really love this dress. I bought two metres of the fabric (I bought it from Modes4U, if you want to get some yourself) and, as a result, the skirt isn't as full as most of my other Emery dresses. I think it's more than full enough, however! I didn't try to pattern match the side seams but all you constables in the pattern matching police can sit the fuck down, because I *did* make an effort to pattern match across the back...

Yes, I wouldn't win the sewing bee. But as I have no interest in going on the sewing bee, I can deal. The cherry blossoms on the back bodice don't look matched, but they are matched as close as they can be.

And here it is from the front...

So that is the craic with the dress. I really do love it and I'm glad that it's finally spring, and not too cold to wear it. I was also very happy to pair it with my purple hasbeens, which I bought in the depths of winter. Well, not depths, as this past winter has been extremely mild. But anyway, I bought them on one of those days when I was feeling cold and hadn't quite pieced it together that buying summer shoes doesn't actually make summer come any more quickly.

It also means I can legitimately use this gif to describe what I did on Friday:

I did a whole bunch of other things on Friday, including eating cake for breakfast; writing a lot of very long emails about work stuff; scoring application forms; evicting the actual swarm of ladybirds that were covering the sash window in the bedroom, cleaning the window and then putting vapo-rub on it, because apparently ladybirds don't like the smell of menthol; going to the pub to drink wine and then eating chips and watching NYPD Blue.

Anyway, on the agenda tonight is making pizza and introducing Nic to the only one of my top 5 favourite films* that he hasn't seen: 10 Rillington Place (1971) I think pizza and wine will be helpful to get through what is a beautifully grimy and depressing film. I'm not going to lie, I'm looking forward to it. Richard Attenborough, though!

So, I'm off to make pizza. But yes, the dress is named after the film of the Kevin Grisham classic. Did you know that before he was a novelist, Kevin worked at a recycling centre?

*The Silence of The Lambs, Jaws, Clueless, Short Circuit 2 and 10 Rillington Place