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.

Continue reading

The most ridiculous time of the year

Before we start, yes, it is now February. And yes, this is a blog post about Christmas. Your point…?

SO VERY EXCITED

Ah Christmas. A time for all sorts of ridiculous things, including, for reasons I’m still not entirely sure of, a decision to make matching Christmas outfits for me and the boy, along with a bow for Pickle, and then pose for a “family photo” which got used on all of our Christmas cards….

To avoid us turning into a Buzzfeed listicle about people who love Christmas a bit too much, I’m not going to post either the actual photo or any of the out-takes. If you’re really good, maybe, just maybe, Father Christmas will bring them to you next year / I’ll show the picture to you at some point in the future in a real world setting.

It went into the real world too!
(This is just before I went out for my work’s Christmas do.)

What is it?

For me; a holly print dress with a sweetheart neckline and three-quarters circle skirt. The boy had a waistcoat and bow tie of the same material, whilst Pickle had a bow that was attached to her collar.

Is it blue?

No

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

I bought several metres of holly print polycotton from Minerva Crafts. I lined my dress with some cream cotton I already had, and the waistcoat with white fabric from the rag market.

Imagine this is being worn by a man with a beard.
Also, note the holly shaped buttons #twee

What’s the pattern?

My dress is a modified Mortmain dress by Gather patterns; the sweetheart is the same one used on the second space dress whilst I drafted the three-quarters circle skirt specifically for this dress. The waistcoat is Simplicity 8023 view A, and I copied the bow tie from a pre-existing bow tie that the boy has. Pickle’s bow was the easiest of all; a square of fabric tied together and attached to a new collar, so no pattern needed!

What was good about making this?

The best thing was probably the fact that it made me laugh every time I thought about what we were doing, and then laugh again every time I have seen the picture since. Or maybe the actual best thing was when the cards started landing and people were telling us how much they had enjoyed the cards. That was pretty nice too.

(and yes, that’s a horrendously corny answer, but if you can’t be corny at when writing about Christmas, when can you be corny?)

Why yes, there is a cat treat out of shot to get her to look up long
enough to show off her fancy bow tie. How did you guess?

What was bad about making this?

There was a fair bit of strategy involved in getting Pickle involved in the photo, which probably counts as part of the making. In the end, we got the collar on her the day before so that she wouldn’t then run away as soon as I tried to pick her up for the photo (she hates having her collar changed).

Would you make it again?

This was a fairly niche make… And whilst I have already had friends ask what our plan for next Christmas is, I’m a bit worried about making a rod for my own back. So for now, let’s say no, but maybe ask me again in December / next February!

x

Mother bleeping dinosaurs

2-11-img_0766

It’s probably no surprise that I’m a bit of a fan of dinosaurs (hi there multiple jumpers, multiple necklaces, and an attraction to line drawings featuring dinosaurs). For quite a while I’ve had a dream of making a dinosaur dress, but finding fabric that wasn’t obviously children’s fabric was pretty difficult. I like the Lizzy House fabric  from a few years ago that a couple of people have used before (with a special shout out to Elle’s fabulous skirt) but I wanted something that was closer to the natural history style drawings in my dinosaur magazine when I was a kid, the thing that was my main introduction to all things dino.

One day, for no reason other than I wanted a five minute procrastination break, I found myself trawling “dinosaur fabric” on etsy. And there it was. The most perfect, naturalistic styled drawings of dinosaurs, all over a 3 yard chunk of fabric.

IMG_5670Needless to say, I bought it as soon as I could, and squealed with delight when it arrived, throwing it straight into the wash. But then it just sat there. A bit like the Nani Iro fabric, I was too darned scared to cut into it.

Roll around September, and this year’s Sew Brum. I knew I wanted a new dress for the day and I knew I wanted it to be something exciting and special. And just like Jurassic Park, it was time to bring dinosaurs back into existence (although with hopefully fewer negative repercussions and people getting eaten by out of control raptors).

What is it?

A mother bleeping dinosaur dress!

10-img_0762Is it blue?

No, but, frankly, in this case, I don’t care

What’s the fabric and where is it from?

DINOSAUR FABRIC! I found it on Etsy back in April, although the seller at the time doesn’t have any left. It’s 1980s cotton, and if you want to try finding it for yourself, the selvedge says “Hollytex” on it.
15-IMG_5671Not that I’m excited, obviously…

What’s the pattern?

The Mortmain, because I wanted something that I knew I could make without worrying and that wouldn’t disrupt the pattern on the front too much. I put a gathered skirt on it this time, and it’s about time too that this happened, it makes it even swooshier than the box pleats on the standard pattern.

What was good about making this?

Getting to work with dinosaur fabric. Once the dinosaur love is out of the way, I’m really pleased with the pattern matching on this one. The side seams are neat as a button, whilst on the back seam I managed to get the T-rex’s tail to match on either side of zip. Plus, at the waistband, I managed to get the pattern to line across the bodice and the waistband across all three bodice pieces. This felt like a real step forwards in the pattern matching stakes.

I finished the neckline and armholes with satin bias binding, and although I’m still not entirely certain it’s the best finishing method, I’ve definitely got neater (tip: slower is better as far as this is concerned!)

Oh, AND pretending to be various dinosaurs whilst the boy was taking my photo (not seen here: diplodocus. That one is DIFFICULT)

What was bad about making this?

I’m not completely convinced about the zip, but that’s more to do with the actual zip being a bit cheap and being two inches too short as I wanted to get it made and ready for this year’s Sew Brum and I only had one day on which to buy a zip. Whether I can be bothered to go about replacing the zip is a different matter…

Would you make it again?

As far as the Mortmain is concerned, never say never!
x

Space dress! Again!

IMG_9081

It’s one of life’s great questions: why have one space dress when you can have two?

As a result of internet ordering and some rather economically cutting when I made the first space dress (thank you a pattern that didn’t need matching!) I had quite a bit more fabric left than I expected. Enough, in fact, to make another Mortmain. It would have been rude not to!

What is it?

A shift dress with a pleated skirt. I altered the neckline to make it a sweetheart neckline rather than the standard round neck.

Is it blue?

As blue as space.

IMG_9043

Playing Sound of Music in our local park…

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

The constellation fabric from Fabworks Mill, as before.

What’s the pattern?

It started out as the trusty Mortmain by Gather Patterns, before I cut and altered the neck to give it a sweetheart.

What was good about making this?

It was good fun to try my hand at some (very light) pattern drafting by altering the neckline. I also discovered a total cheat’s approach for finishing the neckline when you can’t / don’t want to deal with altering a facing piece. I simply overlocked it at 5/8″, turned the overlocked edge to the inside and stitched in place. Piece of cake.

13-IMG_9053

What was bad about making this?

The nervousness about whether the alteration would work was the main one. That and the fabric creases a bit more than I’d like, so pressing the pleats in place was a bit of a pain.

Would you make it again?

Probably not with the sweetheart (although maybe I will) but I will probably make the Mortmain again, not only because it’s my go to cotton dress, but also because there’s some super special fabric in my stash that, although now used, at this point in time was waiting to be sewn…

x

Heart print dress

IMG_5980Remember that I mentioned when I made the floral dress that I had already made another one? Well here it is!

What is it?

A sleeveless shift dress with a pleated skirt.

Is it blue?

No

What’s the fabric and where is it from?

The fabric is a lightweight cotton that I bought from a shop in Walthamstow

What’s the pattern?

Gather Patterns Mortmain dress in the sleeveless variation

What was good about making this?

Much like when I made the floral version, this dress is so straightforward and comes together so swiftly. The detailing on the exposed zip is great and the fit is pretty much perfect for me.

What was bad about making this?

I really don’t like the facing. It was a bit of a pain on the floral one, but this time it’s even worse. In between making this and writing it up I’ve been experimenting with both bias binding for finishing and with teeny rolled hems on necklines, so would consider either of those two in the future.

Would you make it again?

Yes. I’ve got a gorgeous piece of Nani Iro fabric I bought in Japan last year that I’ve been saving and this dress is just the right amount of material combined with a pretty perfect fit. Added to that having a wedding in a few months’ time, it would be a shame not to make it again. I’ll definitely change the facing though as I couldn’t bear to have ugly facings with a fabric this beautiful!

x

Green floral dress

IMG_6255

I love this dress, and not just because I get to spin around whilst wearing it…

I initially bought this fabric about a year ago to make a Lilou dress, but it ended up sitting in my stash box, unused and a bit unloved. Then I wanted to make a wearable toile and it seemed a good fabric fit; I wasn’t wrong!

What is it?

A sleeveless shift dress with a pleated skirt

Is it blue?

No

What’s the fabric and where is it from?

A floral midweight cotton. I think I got it in the Fancy Silk Store, but I’ve seen it in a couple of places and multiple colourways.

What’s the pattern?

The Mortmain dress by Gather patterns in the sleeveless variation.

What was good about making this?

I couldn’t get over how quickly this came together, nor how neatly the seams all looked. Not having to make a lining for a dress was a bit of a revelation!

What was bad about making this?

I misjudged the ease so had to lose two inches off the bodice once I’d made it (i.e. drop it a dress size with some seam pinching). Although, from another angle, that just means there’s two inches less of me than I thought!

Would you make it again?

Yes I would, and indeed I have.