Wednesday, May 24, 2017

If I'm going to be white, don't make me be Irish. That's the worst one.

Hello! I actually started drafting this post earlier in the week, before the horrific attack on Manchester on Monday night. It does feel frivolous in one way to be posting about shoes and dresses and holidays but it's important to. The attack on the Arianna Grande concert targeted young women. It was a violent act of misogyny and regardless of any other political or religious motive, I think it's important to note that this was an attack on the freedom of women everywhere. It is an attack on our freedom to be in public spaces.

So anyway - here I am talking about dresses and shoes again.  I'm on major holiday countdown now with only one more work day to go before I'm on leave. The sun has finally decided to put in an appearance here in Leamington and the forecast is looking good for Paris, so it's becoming pretty exciting!

Again, it's been an exhausting few weeks, but I think things are turning around. I've finally appointed someone to fill the vacancy in my team and I'm really pleased about it. It hasn't been without its difficulties but I'm so happy that I won't be doing two jobs any more. I've managed but I'm looking forward to being able to achieve the things I want to in my main job - things I've had to put on hold for the past five months. So that's good. It's been a challenging time but I've learned a lot from it.

I've had other fun - and far less fun - things going on in life recently too, including meeting up with sewing friends. I was really pleased to have the change to hang out with Tasha, Mel and a few other sewing buddies last month - I didn't manage to buy any fabric that day, but I did drink some cocktails and really, that's just as good.

See anyone you know?!

I was working in London last weekend and had dinner in South Kensington with some sewing friends on the Saturday night. There is no photographic evidence, sadly, because we made a very attractively-dressed bunch! Over the last few years I have sort of been shying away from meeting up with sewing folk in bigger groups. I'm not sure why I lost confidence with it, to be honest, but it was good to be reminded of how much I enjoy the company of the remarkable women I've been lucky enough to meet through my hobby.

I often stay in the South Kensington area when I am in London for work - the hotels there seem to fit the work budget and it's a fun area. Until Saturday, I had never actually made it into Shaukat on Old Brompton Road. It's just as well, really. A person could lose her head in there even if she didn't like Liberty fabrics. I bought two gorgeous pieces of tana lawn that I'll probably have to wait until after my holiday to get to sewing.

This is one of the pieces, which a colleague described as 'very Ursula LeGuin'

I've been sewing away, of course, but the horrible weather had made it difficult to get projects photographed. The sun has finally started to make an appearance so I seized the opportunity and got the camera out to get some photos of a dress I made last week. For absolutely ages, I've been meaning to sew a shirt dress in wax cotton - gorgeous versions of McCall's 6696 made by Jenny of Cashmerette, Heather Lou and Reana Louise (on Instagram) were all grist to the mill. I made a B6333 with a circle skirt in some Vlisco cotton earlier this year which I still need to get proper photos of, but I still wanted a classic pleated skirt shirt-dress. Enter some lovely wax cotton, bought from Birmingham rag market last month.


I went for B6333 again because, while it isn't perfect, there's just something about that pattern that has got under my skin. And so, off I went.

Bright River dress - Butterick B6333 in wax cotton, worn with Swedish Hasbeens heart sandals

As with previous versions of this pattern, I shortened the bodice by around an inch, and I lengthened the skirt and button placket to compensate - I wanted the length to be closer to midi length. I sewed the side seams with a 1inch seam allowance. I do still want to scoop out the armholes a little bit and will do that on a future make - you can see in this photo that the fit isn't amazing there - but as far as this make goes, I'm pretty happy with it.


I bought the black and silver buttons a few years ago from a local haberdashery that has now closed down. They're the same buttons that I used on my Chronic Town dress and I think they work really well with such a graphic print.

Here's the fit through the back, which I'm really happy with

The dress came together really easily. Good quality wax cotton is very forgiving to work with - it takes to pressing very well and stitches sink into it. This particular piece has those qualities, although it is quite stiff, still. Obviously I pre-washed it, and it softened up a bit but it is still quite stiff. This works well with the quite structured nature of the dress, but I think it'll also work nicely when washing has softened it up a little further.

I wore the dress on Sunday with some new shoes:


I already have yellow clogs, and I already have a few pairs of Swedish Hasbeens heart sandals, but the heart style in the yellow colourway was one of my 'unicorn' shoes that I had a long-standing ebay saved search set up for (also on that list: heart sandals in orange, Irregular Choice 'No Place Like Home' shoes in blue, Red or Dead green glitter shoes) I was delighted to finally get a hold of a pair in my size in brand-new condition. Happy days! Three pairs of yellow clogs may seem excessive to some of you. And if that's the case - well, good for you. Yellow is basically a neutral to me and I love all of my yellow clogs. I am excited to have these ones in my wardrobe. They're so cute!


I'm very happy to finally have made my wax-cotton shirt-dress plans come true, and I may even make another one at some point.

That's the craic with me anyway. It's late in the evening and I have some final packing to do, so I'm going to mosey. A bientot, mes amies!

Me leaving work tomorrow...