Circling round and round

I’ve never really been much of one for maxi dresses, although I’ve often admired them from afar. This summer, I wanted to change that and actually make one for a change, not least because, for reasons I’m not entirely sure of, maxi dresses are inexplicably linked to summer in my head. I had visions of wearing it to summer parties, of swanning around in it whilst wearing lovely sandals, and generally being a vision of summer.

In the end, due to the weird absence of a summer we’ve had in the UK this year, this dress has only been worn once (to a barbecue where it then unsurprisingly proceeded to pee it down, which led to some rather hasty alterations). However, next summer? Next summer I’ll be ready….

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When life hands you lemons…

I’m not sure what it is about lemons, but for a really, really, long time I’ve been after a dress covered in lemons. Specifically, non-cartoon style lemons on a black background. Last summer a friend had a pair of trousers in exactly the right print from H&M, and although I did rummage the racks, they hadn’t thought to make it into a dress (fools!).

Then, towards the end of June, I discovered that Meg had managed to source the perfect fabric that I was after and was selling it on her Etsy shop. Fast as a flash the fabric was ordered, and almost as speedily Meg got it out to me. I had a pile of possible makes as long as my arm but it was no good; as soon as it arrived I had it washed and, the next free day I had, I began to make the dress, because when life hands you lemons, the obvious thing to do is make lemonade.
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Like blossom in spring but captured for summer

My most recent project for the Simple Sew blog team was a really easy one for me to pick; the Grace dress had just been released, and with its scooped neck and two skirt options I knew it’d be a great wardrobe builder (maybe even, dare I say it, a possible competitor for my beloved Mortmain pattern?).

I wasn’t disappointed, and the finished dress is one that works really well with the fabric I used. It also came together incredibly quickly; having started to cut out the fabric at 11am on a Saturday I was ready to wear it out for drinks with friends that evening, which is always the sign of a good pattern (at least it is in my eyes!)
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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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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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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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Have dress, will travel

It was that weird hinterland between Christmas and New Year and we were dashing from a (slightly) boozy lunch with friends to a (slightly more) boozy dinner with the boy’s family.

Nonetheless, my Christmas money was burning a hole in my pocket, so I found myself going into Guthrie and Ghani. Don’t look like that, it’s just next to the pub where we had lunch and they had a sale on, so it was definitely justified.

Whilst looking through all of the beautiful fabrics I stumbled across something glorious: fabric covered in replicas of those fabulous vintage travel posters that make me long for the golden age of travel (let’s ignore the fact that, given the ease of global travel, that might actually be now….).

I knew immediately that this would be my travelling dress. I also knew that it wouldn’t be worn until the next time I went on a proper adventure.

As luck would have it, that proper adventure was just around the corner.

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