Dancing the Charleston in the rain

A friend decided recently that, rather than having a party to celebrate entering her 30s, she was going to pre-empt it all and instead have a farewell to her 20s. As you might expect (or maybe you don’t?) the theme was all things F Scott Fitzgerald, with 20s style the lynchpin on which the evening was built.

Looking online at flapper dresses, I saw a couple of things that I liked the look of, but quickly found myself thinking “I could make that”. One quick trip to the rag market and several thousand dead sequins later, I had done just that.
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If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?


I regularly play ukulele as a part of Moselele and, whilst most of the time that just means sitting in a pub and raucously singing songs from the 80s, it also sometimes means performing actual concerts.

This year, we were asked to play a set as part of the celebrations for Birmingham Pride, which is held annually on the late May bank holiday. My immediate thought on hearing this was “I need to make a flag dress”.

So I did.
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Hand me my warpaint

Everyone has the little thing that they do when they want to feel more confident, and whilst I can’t speak for you, for me it’s almost always to grab the lipstick.

Whether it’s the subtle pink that I grab when I’m working from home to make me feel more grounded and ready to smash my deadlines, or the rich plum that feels vaguely gothic, there’s something very present making about the act of putting on lipstick. Red lipstick is the absolute king of all of these, a bold bright colour that makes me feel ready for anything from date nights with the boy through to the most difficult of difficult meetings.

When it came round to deciding on the dress that I wanted to make to wear on a trip to Lasan for the boy’s birthday, I stumbled across this fabric in my stash and realised that its time had come.
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The elusive hunt for instant gratification

I’d like to start today with a story. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

Once upon a time, a young woman learnt to sew dresses and it was exciting. She was so happy to be able to weave together fabric and make wonderful clothes that no-one else had, and, day by day, before she even knew it, she reached a point where almost everything she wore had been made off of her dining room table.

But then disaster struck the young woman. She discovered that, as her wardrobe grew, and her skills, and her fabric stash, so to did her ability to critique. And, day by day, she watched as the exciting thing that she had learnt became an albatross around her neck.

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Turns out a year is really not that long in sewing land

Sometimes you make something and you wondered just what it was that took you so long. The Betty dress is one of those makes.

As a pattern I’d been aware of it for a while, and, back in May of last year I finally got round to buying it. I also hadn’t realised that it took me a full year from purchase to sewing it up, so that’s a bit embarrassing….

At any rate, towards the end of April I finally bit the bullet and got a version made, and boy am I glad I did!

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One day I’ll stand on the beach and look at the pier whilst I eat a stick of rock, a Graham Greene novel in my hand.

Perfecting my stick of rock look

For Christmas this year, I asked for a copy of the most recent book written by Wendy Ward, A Beginner’s Guide to Making Skirts. I follow Wendy on Instagram, and had seen a couple of the pictures and designs at the point of publication. They’d grabbed my attention and I was intrigued, particularly by a button-down skirt I’d seen.

I’ve been after a decent pattern for a button skirt for a while; I really like the versions of the Sew Over It Erin skirt that Gabby and Vicki have made, but wanted something with a bit more swoosh to it. Step in the Brighton skirt (all the skirts are, rather beautifully, named after places that have a special association for Wendy), which ended up being one of my Make Nine patterns for the year.

It took a while for me to sit down and actually sew, but boy, am I pleased that I did!

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Get on your bikes and ride!

Several years ago I bought a bike. I’d not ridden a bike in at least a decade, so I made a couple of crucial decisions when making my purchase, chief of which was that the bike had to be something that aesthetically I liked the look of so that, even if I didn’t ride it very often, I’d feel happy when I did ride it.

The result of this was that I bought a bike that is highly unpractical for someone who lives on the top of the hill, but a bike which, nonetheless I love. I try to cycle to and from the station whenever I’ve got a meeting (although not if it’s raining after a rather unfortunate experience), and I have a rule that whatever I’m wearing to the meeting is what I’ll be cycling in.

The upshot of this is that I regularly cycle in pretty much all of the things that have appeared on this blog, and I’ve got a bit of a reputation amongst my friends and family for having a bordering-on-ludicrous bike.

This dress is the next logical step.
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If I had a crystal ball I could see the future, but as it is I guess I’ll guess

I’m not sure what happened, but one minute it was the first of June and now it’s the middle of July. Some of this is because I went away on holiday (and it was marvellous) and some of this is because I’ve been taking the time to pause, think, and reconsider what I actually want out of More Blue Fabric.

The first thing to say is that I want to (and I will) continue posting my finished projects, and doing it under the same format as before. I really like being able to look back through the things I’ve made, and, it might be my day job kicking in, but evaluating what was and wasn’t good about each make helps me think about what to do next.

That’s not all though, and one of the things that came out of thinking about what I blog and why I blog is that, fundamentally, it’s the act of writing and having a focus to the writing that I enjoy. With that in mind, I’m going to start introducing posts that are related to my sewing but look at different aspects of creating. I’ve got a couple of ideas for blog posts already (at least two of which I’d planned to write in June, but, life) as well as a new series of posts that, in an irreverent way, focus on the fact not everything goes right every time.

Running through all of this is an attempt to be more structured and organised in my blogging; one of the reasons I have a backlog of posts to write about finished projects is that carving the time out to blog hasn’t always been as easy as I’d assumed it might be. I don’t plan on making blogging a chore, nor is it going to be something that’s an ironclad agreement that I will have new posts with the regularity I’d like all of the time, but I do have a content plan. Which is a weird sentence to type and feels a bit incongruous with what is, ultimately, a floaty blog about floaty dresses. And yet….

And yet, I’m currently at a milestone point in my life (hello big 3-0) and, call it a third life crisis if you will, but I’m thinking about the things I do, the ways that I spend my time, and the way that I want to spend my time, and making changes when things don’t look like they’re quite the right fit any more. Sewing is a big part of how I spend my time, and I want writing about sewing to be something that is considered as a part of that time, not something that’s incidental. It’s about shifting the priorities and the order of things, altering the focus and looking at writing here as a form of making that is as important as the stitches that hold the fabric together. In doing so, I’m hoping it will also make me value the act of sewing all the more and build richer stories to share.

Which is all a bit of a rambley way to say that you can expect to see a fair bit more blogging going on round here. I hope you’ll stick around.

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