Time pressures? What time pressures?

New Year’s Eve is a strange thing; for some people there’s nothing they like more than staying out into the wee small hours, giddy and drunk on the promise of a new year, whilst for others they couldn’t care less and are happily tucked up in bed like on most other nights of the year.

I am not one of the latter people.

And as one of those who like a good party on NYE, I also like to have a fancy dress to wear.

This year (16 into 17) I was thinking about my dress for months. Not on purpose. It was more that I had a vision in my head of the perfect dress that I wanted to make but no opportunity to wear it. A leopard print wiggle dress. Outrageous but, for NYE, just outrageous enough.

I found a pattern, I found some amazing leopard print scuba in Dalston, I was away.

And then, at 4:30pm on New Year’s Eve I actually tried on the dress (I’d not had a chance to before then because of various Christmas crafting projects and Christmas being social projects).

It was a disaster. Not unsalvageable. But certainly not something that could be sorted before heading out to a party.

I had less than two and a half hours before we headed out, and I needed to eat in that time. It would have been madness to try and make something new in that time, right?

Right.

I did it anyway…..


What is it?

A slash neck dress with a three quarter circle skirt.

Is it blue?

No, but it is a turquoisey green which can sometimes count….

What’s the fabric and where’s it from?

A gorgeous African wax print that I bought from the rag market during Sew Brum.

What’s the pattern?

The By Hand London Anna dress with the three quarter circle skirt I drafted for my Christmas dress

What was good about making this?

Erm, getting it done in two hours (allowing for the break for dinner)? I cut the fabric out not really sure if I would actually manage to get it done in time, so getting it all sorted felt pretty good. Plus, in amongst the mild mania of the creation, I managed to get a neat pattern match on the bodice back and I’m really pleased with the pattern placement of the yellow spiral on the bodice.

Would you look at the pattern placement on that….

What was bad about making this?

I did feel pretty rude when our friends turned up for pre-drinks and I went “can’t talk, got to hem!”. They all went and played some weird game about Vikings (so weird, a half hour of googling can’t find it…) with the boy instead. To be honest, based on the sounds of confusion they were making, I’m not sure who got the worst deal there….

SWOOOOOOSH

Would you make it again?

I would. I’m smitten with this dress and have worn it a couple of times already in the last month. It swooshes ever so nicely and is dressy without feeling over the top.

Although next time, I might try to take my time with it.

x

Stationery addicts of the world unite!

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I’ve mentioned before how I have a habit of developing long lasting love affairs with particular fabrics, agonising over them, debating, walking back and forth like an expectant parent before finally biting the bullet and buying them.

This is one of those fabrics.

This particular love affair started quite some time ago, certainly the start of the summer (ah! Summer love!) and I knew it was exactly what I wanted. The colours are perfect and the interchanging pencils and sharpenings spoke to every part of my psyche that spent each summer at school agonising over what to buy for the coming year’s pencil case.

Despite this, I just couldn’t quite pluck up the courage to buy it. At least, I couldn’t until Sew Brum, where the positive influence of lots of lovely sewists (but especially Lauren) tipped the balance squarely in its favour!

What is it?

A boat neck fitted bodice dress with a gathered skirt.

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Is it blue?

No, but the lead of one of the pencils is!

What’s the fabric and where’s it from?

The fabric is certainly a Liberty print, but it came from the Liberty Man at the Rag Market for £8/m rather than the standard Liberty £22/m. Coupled with a very slight printing error on one side, this makes me think it might ever so possibly be a misprint rather than the real deal. That said, it is super soft and lightweight which is pretty fabulous.

What’s the pattern?

I used the By Hand London Anna dress for the bodice and matched it with a gathered skirt. I only bought a metre and a half of the fabric (it might be cheap for Liberty but it was still expensive for me!) and was very pleased to find that I could squeeze the dress out of that little; my scraps pile for this project bordered on non-existent!

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What was good about making this?

The speed of sewing was great; I put the fabric in to wash on the Saturday when I got back from town, cut in to it on Sunday afternoon and wore it to work on the Wednesday. It was also a great excuse for buying this sweet as a button pencil sharpener necklace from the Tatty Devine sale. It’s pretty much the perfect partner for this dress.

What was bad about making this?

The only bad thing was discovering the flaw in the fabric. I was pretty heartbroken to begin with, and then I realised that the slightly flecked abstract background of the print overall counteracted this and literally no-one else would notice.

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Would you make it again?

I think so. After the Space Dress I said that I wasn’t too sure, but with the addition of the gathered skirt I’ve found renewed love for this pattern. I’ve also worn it almost ever moment when it’s not been in the wash basket since making it, which is always a good sign!

x

Space dress!

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When I made the floral Anna dress, it was a toile for some rather special fabric; this fabric. Space fabric.

Everyone loves space, because it’s amazing, and this dress makes it even more amazing.

What is it?

A fricking SPACE DRESS

Is it blue?

Not just any blue, space blue

What’s the fabric and where is it from?

The fabric is a lightweight cotton that I got from Fabworks Mill (although it’s sadly now out of stock). I was pretty excited to get the fabric, but that got even more exciting when I discovered from Elle that the fabric was originally from Paul Smith! And then I googled how much a Paul Smith shirt cost, which was pretty terrifying. Fabric find of the year!

What’s the pattern?

The By Hand London Anna dress in the midi length version

What was good about making this?

Getting to sew with space fabric. Also, making something for a special occasion always makes it seem more exciting.

What was bad about making this?

As before, the sheer volume of seams that need overlocking with a six panel skirt is just boring.

Would you make it again?

Honestly? Probably not. I might consider making the maxi length dress, but after a couple of wears of this and the other Anna dress, I’m not sure if I like the bodice fit enough to make it again. I do still like it lots though!

x

Floral 1940s style Anna dress

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Sometimes you hear a lot about a pattern so you decide to give it a go. And then part way through sewing, when it looks like this, someone really helpful (or not….) says it looks like you’re making a costume out of Dinnerladies.

Great.

BUT THEN you finish it off, and you have something delightful and wonderful and you realise that was all wrong

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What is it?

A boat neck, kimono sleeve, mid-length dress

Is it blue?

The bias binding is!

What’s the fabric and where is it from?

The fabric is a soft cotton (lawn maybe?) that I got as part of the fabric swap at SewBrum

What’s the pattern?

By Hand London’s Anna dress in the midi length. There’s a lot of love for this pattern out there, so I thought I’d give it a go.

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What was good about making this?

It was really quick to come together and also had a couple of firsts for me; first time I’ve made a seven panel (seven gore?) skirt and the first time I’ve used bias binding for a decorative finish. The finish of the skirt to the bodice is really neat, with the panels all lining up against bodice features in a very aesthetically pleasing way.

What was bad about making this?

Oh my days. With seven panels joined together, that’s 12 raw seams. That’s an awful lot of overlocking. I got into a bit of a rhythm with it, but my word I was pleased when I got to the last one.

Would you make it again?

Yes; this was my wearable toile for a special dress I have in mind to wear to celebrate the boy’s 30th birthday.

x