Monday, September 09, 2013

If anyone ever gives you ten thousand to one on anything, you take it. If John Mellencamp ever wins an Oscar, I am going to be a very rich dude.

Oh, HELLO! It's a cold and blustery September afternoon and I'm feeling like we might have seen the last of summer. Yesterday I saw the muscular little shirtless man outside Savers with his top on. Never mind the misty mornings, THAT'S how I know summer is on its way out. So when I woke up this morning I had proper back-to-school feeling. Not the new-pencil-case-shiny-shoes feeling that the shops try to tell you that you should have, but the "aw shit, I hate getting up in the dark" feeling. This was largely assuaged by coffee, but today could have been better. Spilling my soup all over the office floor was a particular high point.

This is basically exactly how it happened, only I was less graceful than Kevin about it.

But anyway, I will stop complaining because things are still pretty damn good at the moment, even if it is a bit cold. I had a very happy weekend, starting with sharing some delicious gin on Friday night with our friend Julian, who was over in the UK for a conference. Leamington Food Festival was being held on Saturday and Sunday in the Pump Room Gardens. As ever, there were far more hog roasts/pulled pork than seemed necessary to my mind but the veggies didn't go hungry either. I totally neglected to get any photos, but the halloumi empanadas were particularly fucking DELICIOUS. There was also the unexpected joy of a bonus meet-up with Kathryn, who was in Leamington to visit friends. I managed to get a fair bit of sewing done as well, and made two new dresses. I also watched one very bad film (Batman: The Dark Knight Rises, and no, I don't want to hear it from the Nolan fans. We're never going to agree. I think he sucks BAWS) and drank some very delicious cocktails. 

So, that's us all caught up - how about I show you a dress then?

Well, my love affair with By Hand London's Anna pattern is in full swing. I really love the shape of the bodice and think the combination of the slash neck and the darling little kimono sleeves is extremely flattering. I do want to make another maxi version of it at some point - and I have visions of an autumnal one, designed to be worn with boots - that will have to happen soon. However, I had bought some fabric at the last Goldhawk Road meetup that was crying out to be used. It is a pink floral cotton lawn, and it was only after I bought it and got it home that I realised that it was the same as Ooobop used for her First Dress of Summer - fabric I had been salivating over ever since she posted that beauty. I had enough of it to make a maxi dress, but looking at her beautiful gathered skirt made me want one too. I'm grabby like that. So, The Booklovers dress was born:

The Booklovers dress - By Hand London Anna bodice with a gathered skirt, worn with Irregular Choice Mermaid heels

I look goofy in that photo and I'm inadvertently doing a smug lean. That's not on purpose, although I do like my dress a lot! This dress was super easy to make, in the main because the Anna bodice is such a breeze to sew and also because, uncharacteristically for me, I machine-sewed the hem. It's a dirndl skirt, so I hemmed it flat - one of my lovely readers commented to suggest this and it worked beautifully. I still really love hemming by hand, but with such a busy print it didn't feel necessary.

These photos were taken a couple of weeks ago, which is why my hair is longer here. But hey, isn't this fabric adorable?!

I inserted a concealed zip as per the pattern and it went in fine, but the first time I wore the dress it got stuck, and then the zip teeth got damaged. When will I learn that concealed zips + gathered waistline = massive pain in the motherflipping ass? So last week, I took that shit out and put in a proper zip. The concealed zip works with the original Anna skirt but not with my hack. Lesson learned.

I am really happy with how the bodice looks with the gathered skirt. I mean, with this small print I sort of look a bit like a Laura Ashley store from the 80s threw up on me, or like a Cath Kidston migraine, and I think the skirt adds to that effect. So it's not my favourite thing I've ever made, but I am very happy with it. It's been nice to wear in the warm weather but I think it could look very cute with some awesome Chris Cagney style knee-high boots when the autumn genuinely does kick in.


As with the bodice for the Elisalex dress, I love how totally versatile the Anna bodice is - I'm seeing it with all sorts of different skirt variations and fabrics. I bought some really cool zig-zag print cotton lawn when I stopped by Goldhawk Road last Wednesday after work (I got it in Classic Textiles, which I think is my favourite of all of the shops on that road) with exactly that in mind. And it really WILL look amazing with some Chris Cagney style boots. And I don't even LIKE wearing boots. BOOM!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some soup to clean up...

Roisin's Famous Soup. YOU GUYS I AM SUCH A DICK. But at least I didn't spill any on my dress.