Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The point is, when you eat at Hank's, YOU and YOUR FOOD are going on an adventure!

HEY NOW! How is everyone? I am...injured, actually. Nic and I were watching an episode of Made In Chelsea earlier and, when it finished, I danced out of the room to the theme tune and banged my foot against a box that was sitting in our hallway. I must have hit it awkwardly because the smallest toe on my left foot is purple and swollen. It might fall off! No, okay, it won't. It's just bruised but it is painful and also obviously I do feel a little stupid for getting an injury dancing to the Made In Chelsea theme tune. Hey, it is a good theme tune though.

Devastating foot injury aside, it's been a good couple of weeks. Work has been pretty good, which is nice, and I have been doing lots of fun things. Last week Nic and I went to see The Divine Comedy playing in Leamington:

Long-time readers might know that The Divine Comedy are my favourite band - they have been since I was about 12 - so it's always such a great experience to see them live. The fact that they were playing in my hometown was even better and it was a really fantastic gig - if 13-year-old me had known that one day she'd get to see Neil Hannon performing The Frog Princess whilst dressed as Napoleon, she probably would have spontaneously combusted with happiness!

On Sunday, I was off to London. Anneke was in London with her boyfriend for a few days, so I was able to meet up with them both for a bit of pizza and pottering around Brick Lane. Then I headed off to Notting Hill to meet my friend Kate and her flatmate at the Portobello Star for drinks before going to this:


The last train up to the provinces leaves London pretty early on a Sunday night, so I had booked a hotel and taken Monday off work, which gave Nic and me a little holiday in the city. We were staying in a really nice hotel on the City Road so we spent Monday in that area - we had an indulgent mimosa breakfast, walked around St. Paul's Cathedral, visited the Tate Modern and had a late lunch in Dishoom. It was really lovely.

Being a tourist on Old Street

So that's the craic with me anyway. We have some fun stuff coming up too over the next couple of weeks as well, so when I'm able to wear my shoes again I'll be ready for more adventures.

I've been sewing away and recently I managed to get some photos of a dress that I made back in June - JUNE - to wear to my cousin Sean's wedding. I've worn it lots since then, so I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to get photos of it!

Lucy dress - Butterick B5748 in Liberty Carline tana lawn, worn with Swedish hasbeens   
Suzanne sandals

ANOTHER B5478. Whatever. I bought this blue colourway of the beautiful Carline print from Shaukat over a year ago, and it took me ages to decide what to do with it. I bought it initially planning to make a shirt-dress from it, but the tana lawn has a much finer hand than the poplin that I have made my other shirt-dresses from, so I decided against it. Once we had our flights booked to get back to Northern Ireland for a wedding and I wanted to make an appropriate dress, this combination presented itself. 

And here is me wearing the dress back in June, along with my sister Kelly and my brother Daniel. The wedding was lovely - Nic and I only went to the evening reception, and this dress was pretty perfect for dancing and having fun in. While I was ironing it, my mum asked to try it on and she liked it so much that she asked me to make one for her too - which I did, in a navy pin-dot fabric. I have some of the red colourway of the Carline lawn stashed away to make her another one for her Christmas present too.

There's not too much I can say about this pattern now - I love it, and I love wearing this dress - I've worn it such a lot since I made it. I wore it on a day out in Oxford a few months ago:

Being a tourist at the Radcliffe Camera. Just out of shot: Lewis and Hathaway chatting shit.

I hemmed the skirt with ivory bias binding, which I think works really well - the lawn is obviously really light and floaty and the bias binding gives it a bit of body without weighing it down. I don't have any photos of the back of the dress, but I used cotton tape on the scoop neckline to help keep it fitting closely and to prevent it from stretching out. 

Although cotton lawn is such a summery fabric, I have been able to wear this dress in these early autumn months. On the day we got the main blog photos it was warm enough to go bare-legged and wear sandals, but as I had to go out in the evening I put on some blue tights and boots with this dress. It didn't look as good - but I have a bit of an attitude problem about tights - but it was still pretty cute. I think I might be able to wear this dress once or twice more before it gets really cold. Failing that though, it can be tucked away to await warm spring days again.

Although I did love wearing these sandals with the dress - they're what I wore for dancing in at Sean's wedding, too, and they're pretty much an exact colour match for the roses in the print:

So, that's the craic there. Now I am going to go and elevate my foot (MY FOOOOOOOOOT) and watch an episode of Law & Order: UK because Bradley Walsh. Laugh if you want. I love him.


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

I was sobbing at a pizza buffet, and they asked me to leave.

Hello hello! I hope that everyone has been having a good week. I've been having a busy week at work  so it's got to Wednesday but it feels at once like it can't be Wednesday already and also that the week has been nine days long at least. My dad was staying with us from Thursday-Sunday as he had some stuff that he needed to do in the area. It was brilliant to have him here, but entertaining all weekend would be tiring anyway - it's even more so with my dad because he has so much energy! We had a really lovely time. On Friday night we went out to dinner at Dough and Brew in Warwick so that I could introduce Daddy to the concept of craft beer and pizza. On Saturday, we needed to go to Derby as Daddy was looking at a van he's thinking of buying, and we had a lovely few hours exploring Derby and Leicester. This was especially awesome as Nic and I found a G-Plan coffee table for sale in Derby, which is something we've been after for ages.

Here it is in situ! Daddy also enabled me into buying a ridiculously expensive Orla Kiely bread bin in John, is that not the most obnoxiously middle-class sentence you've ever read?! It is beautiful, though. I've been dithering about whether or not to buy it for a year and a half and have looked for another one that I like as much and none came close. That's where we are in life now, folks. DESIGNER BOXES TO PUT BREAD IN. I mean

It wasn't all shopping. We went to a museum and everything:

This is a jet engine. 

On Sunday, we went to the tip and then took Daddy on one of our favourite walks in Leamington - over the fields to the Saxon Mill. We detoured through Old Milverton on the way back and spent about an hour taking photos of a mushroom growing in the churchyard:

Honestly, I can't describe how happy it made my dad to take photos of this mushroom.

It was a pretty idyllic weekend, which was perfectly timed as an antidote to other stressful, shitty family stuff that's been going on in the background. My dad might be back in a few weeks' time (he's probably going to buy that van, so we might have another trip to Derby in the near future) so that should be fun!

I worked from home on Monday and, as the sun was shining, I was able to get some photos of a dress that I made last week in anticipation of this mega nuclear brexit winter the the Daily Fail is threatening us with:

Cobblepot dress - Christine Haynes Emery bodice with box-pleated skirt in Cath Kidston fabric, worn with Swedish hasbeens Merci sandals

AHH THIS FABRIC. Last autumn, Cath Kidston brought out a dress made from this fabric:

It sold out really quickly, but also this cut doesn't really work on me - it's too long in the bodice and a bit boxy on me. Also, it has a side zip, which is something that I hate in RTW dresses. You can't buy the fabrics that Cath Kidston uses for dresses directly from them, which sort of sucks (although their fabrics are so expensive, it would probably just annoy me how expensive they'd be if they did sell them.) Anyway, there is an ebay shop that does sell them (the seller's name is prettychicfabrics) so I've been able to buy some of the best prints from there - the mushroom print, the Oxford rose print, the Autumn Bloom print and the Ashdown Forest print (although I haven't blogged that dress yet).

As with the original dress, this fabric sold out quickly on ebay - I bought some for myself and some for a friend, and then I alerted two other friends to it and they bought the rest. SORRY LADS. I knew that I wanted to hold onto it until the autumn, so when it started to get a little bit colder I sewed that shit right up:

Obviously it had to be Emery: it worked beautifully for the Bearaigh dress and I knew it would work well here. This dress is actually the second Cath Kidston barkcloth dress I've made in the last few weeks - I decided to test out my Emery bodice/box-pleated combination out on the Ashdown Forest fabric first, as I was less attached to it and knew I could deal with it if it didn't turn out the way I wanted to. I need to get some proper photos of it, but here is a photo from instagram:

I was really pleased with it, so I didn't hesitate in cutting into the penguin fabric. The only change that I made was to cut the skirt on the penguin version a little bit longer.

I was so tired when I finished this dress that I put it on and felt really underwhelmed, but I actually love it. I love the little penguins!

So yeah, basically...carry on as you were, Cath. Bring out these awesome fabrics, then let me get my grubby paws on them on ebay so that I can make dresses with sleeves that fit me and that I like. This is working for me. This kind of slubby barkcloth works well for me in the winter because it's cosy and warm without being bulky. I have another couple of pieces stashed away, including this 'Paradise Flower' Cath Kidston print:

As you can see, I'm pretty into navy at the moment...I bought these Ten Points boots last week and they are lush. 

Having made so many sleeveless Emery dresses over the last few months, I had kind of forgotten how much I like the pattern's sleeves. And, having made dresses from patterns with inferior sleeve drafting, it was so nice to remember how well the Emery sleeves are drafted. MAN. They are such a delight to sew and wear. 

So, in summary: YAY PENGUINS. I'm coming up to a period in the year where the average amount of aggro in my life increases (work reasons) so I enjoy how genuinely arsey penguins can be:

The pushing is great, but I love this lad speeding in from the right, clearly all about getting into this fight as well.

Let's be real, though. I'm not going to be the badass penguin.


So, Nic has just brought me a gin and tonic, which means it's time for me to head off in another direction. Just imagine me, narrated by Werner Herzog. 

The rules are: do not disturb or hold up the deranged penguin. NIGHT THEN. 

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

I wasn’t flirting with her. I didn’t even mention that I work in propane!

Hello! Good evening. This post is coming to you from a cosy nest on the sofa, where I am currently holed up feeling sick and a bit sorry for myself. It's nothing serious, but enough to make me a little bit grumpy and grotty. To tell the truth, I'm feeling a little bit low all around - the change of season and all of the truly shitty news is taking its toll on me. Ugh. I'll be fine, but I'm definitely not on top form just at the moment.

I've been dealing with it in the best way that I can - sewing, when I have the energy; spending time with friends and binge-watching comforting TV programmes. At the moment, that's Made In Chelsea, which, I don't want to hear it from you if you think that show is stupid and trashy. It is trashy, but it's not at all stupid. If you're too good for it, well, good for you, but I think it's fabulous. Nic got into it fairly recently (I think he enjoyed the return of Francis Boulle in the South of France episodes) so we went back to the start and I'm watching it all with him. We're up to the end of series 5 at the moment so right now it's all about whether or not Spencer and Lucy Watson (she's definitely one of those people who you have to call by their full name. It's not Lucy. It's Lucy Watson) are going to get together. It's brilliant.


The downside to watching so much Made In Chelsea is that it just makes me want to drink champagne like, ALL. THE. TIME (heh, what's new) but the good thing is that watching all of these rich and beautiful children living their strange, purgatorial lives is a little bit affirming. They may be drinking champagne and hanging out in beautiful places all the time, but they all have to spend time with people they hate on the regular. I am glad that is not my life. I would be friends with both Lucy Watson and Binky, though. And dear old, beautiful, stupid Ollie, with his Natalie Imbruglia in the 90s haircut.

Nothing's fine I'm torn

So anyway. That's a little insight into my life, recently. I have been doing things other than just watching TV, I swear. But the TV-watching is funnier to talk about.

I'm still struggling to get photos of recent sewing projects because my own face is bugging the shit out of me. BUT, I did get some photos of a dress that I made over the summer. I made this dress to wear to my nephew Matthew's christening in July, out of some Anna-Maria Horner fabric that I bought from Kerry when she was doing an instagram destash. 

Mary-Beth dress - By Hand London Anna bodice with a pleated skirt in Anna-Maria Horner 'Social Climber' fabric, worn with Swedish hasbeens Merci sandals

I bought the fabric in the spring and sat on it for a little while before deciding what to do with it. I had just under two metres, it's a quilting cotton and it has an obvious directional print. I wanted to think about what to do with it. I'm not sure why exactly the Anna dress presented itself to my mind, but it did. Also, I remembered that I had the perfect zip in my stash:

Because of the aforementioned fabric constraints, the Anna skirt wasn't going to work, so I subbed in the pleated skirt from New Look 6776. I've combined these patterns before and it works pretty well.

Here's a little close-up of the bodice - not sure why my hair is going so weird!

I like this dress a lot. The colours are so beautiful - I love the combination of the warm golden yellow with the pink of the roses. The only minor criticism I have is that it's a quilting cotton and it is on the stiffer side, so the little kimono sleeves really stick out! It might not be that noticeable to other people, but I can see it. I think they'll be less pronounced after a few more washes, though. 

You can see the sleeve issue here on the back and also my no pattern matching which, to be fair, wasn't really an option because of the amount of fabric that I had. I do love that lace zip, though!

This was a good dress for the occasion. My sister asked me to be my nephew's godmother, so I wanted something smart enough to wear to church, and I think this delivered. It also went really well with my pink Kate Spade bag, so I was all set. The weather was beautiful the weekend I was home for the event (I also had a family wedding that weekend - I sewed a dress for that too, which I'll have to try to get photos of) so this was pretty perfect!

Here's me out at the pond, enjoying some rare Northern Irish sunshine

I'll certainly continue to wear this dress throughout the autumn - I think the colours are actually perfect for this time of year. And obviously, I am clinging to my sandal-wearing for as long as I can because I have a lot of sandals.

Right. I have to bounce. Francis Boulle and Proudlock are competing for the same girl AGAIN so obviously I need to give that my full attention. 


Monday, September 26, 2016

My name is Mr Big...I tell you what.

Hello there! How's she cutting? Everything is grand for me. I have had the day off today - it was my birthday yesterday, so I decided to take a long weekend. The weather has been damp and dismal, so Nic and I spent it pottering in town and eating birthday cake. It's been pretty blissful! I had a lovely weekend and was thoroughly spoiled - I spent Saturday sewing and in the evening, I went for dinner at Dough and Brew in Warwick with friends. Pizza and craft beer - what's not to like? I received some amazing gifts, including another Tatty Devine sewing-themed necklace:

So that has been the craic! I've been really busy at work, which has stepped up a gear now that we're officially into the busiest part of the year. It's been sort of nice - a lot has changed over the last few months at work and I really feel like the transition into my more senior role has properly happened now. It's been a busy and eventful summer and it's definitely been very stressful, but I feel good about how I have handled it. So, you know, that's nice!

Anyway, tonight I'm going to show you a dress that I made during the summer. I've worn it loads but just never got around to getting proper photos of it until this week! 

Seventh Avenue dress - Butterick B5478 with a pleated skirt, worn with Swedish hasbeens Mimmi sandals

So, it's another B5478 bodice with a pleated skirt - I love this combination - in some Cotton and Steel Rifle Paper Co fabric. I pre-ordered this print from The Village Haberdashery earlier in the summer - it was the one print from the range that really grabbed me, although I have since bought another one (you can see it in the photo at the top of the post!) The print is called Bon Voyage:

The print is a little bit smaller than I would usually prefer, but I am very taken with it...the references to Paris, New York and jazz clubs were very relevant to both Nic and I! It was the jazz club flyers that made me decide to buy it, but I love all of the little details. I also really like the little touches of gold. I bought the cotton but I think this one might also have been available in a rayon. 

I took this dress on holiday with me to Amsterdam and wore it again a few weeks ago when we happened to be at the seaside during a heatwave:

It's very wrinkly here from having been in my suitcase for three days before I had a chance to wear it!

Although the fabric base is technically a quilting cotton, it's actually really soft and drapey, which means that the pleats don't look super structured. I like this, although I think it makes the dress look very casual. 

Here's a majorly fucking goofy photo of me so you can see the bodice in more detail!

The weather forecast suggests that we have a few more sunny days to come this week, so it's possible that I'll be able to wear this dress once more before I pack it away with the rest of my summer clothes. While I am happy to wear cotton dresses throughout the autumn and winter, I think this one is just too thematically summery to work with a cardigan and tights. 

Again, this is another dress that probably isn't the most flattering - I think the combination of the pale colour and the ditsy print doesn't work brilliantly on me, but, eh, that's okay.  I really like it and feel good in it when I'm wearing it - and, having been with me to picnic in the Malvern hills, to stroll the canals of Amsterdam and to drink champagne at at lighthouse in Kent, it already has lots of happy memories attached to it. 

Right...that's me for the evening. It's time for dinner. Goodnight!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Lemon, you look terrible, and I once watched you eat oysters while you had a cold.

Hello strangers! Remember me?! I took a little blogging break there because we went on holiday and, when we got back, went basically immediately away again (to London and Kent). Mainly though, I haven't been feeling it. This is partly because I'm going through one of those 'I hate my face', it happens from time to time - it's hard to blog when I hate every photo of me! I'm not saying this for compliments...rationally I know that I look fine (although I need a haircut) because I look okay in the mirror, but photos of me are just making me go, 'ew', you know?

AAAANYWAY. I think this is maybe partly end-of-summer malaise and largely some Ben Affleck-style beer bloat after a pretty indulgent summer. It will pass. I just have to power through it. And it's been worth it, because it's been a good summer. Our little holiday to Amsterdam was absolutely brilliant. It's an amazing city and I'm really looking forward to going back there again at some point soon. We were staying in a fantastic airbnb apartment in West Amsterdam, in a neighbourhood formerly called De Baarsjes, which was full of the most beautiful Amsterdam School architecture.

Jeruzalemkerk on Jan Maijenstraat in De Baarsjes

We were able to do lots of walking, as Amsterdam is a very compact and pedestrian-friendly city. The weather was beautiful - sunny but not too hot, so perfect for sightseeing. I did a little bit of fabric shopping - we visited the fabric market in Utrecht on the Saturday and I also bought some fabric from the markets at Albert Cuypstraat in De Pijp and Noordermarkt in De Jordaan. Nic bought some records and we also came home with some Dutch beer and chocolate, as well as a few packets of stroopwafels, so it was a successful trip all around!

Being in the Netherlands, I was keen to find some Dutch wax fabric. I struck out at the market in Utrecht, but I found some at both Albert Cuypmarkt and at the Noordermarkt. I had a little time one afternoon this week to do some sewing and decided to have a go at a new pattern - Threadcount 1610, which came with Simply Sewing mazagine earlier this year. 

The pattern sizes - which you might be able to see from the photo - come in XS-XL, a bit like some RTW dresses I guess. There are finished garment measurements provided, which put me into a size M. My previous experience with a Threadcount pattern made me wary of this so I did a very quick bodice toile of the size S...which still came up pretty big, so I ended up sewing a size XS with a little bit taken out of the front princess seams. 

Jannie dress - Threadcount 1610 with a box-pleated skirt in wax-print cotton, worn with Swedish hasbeens Kringlan sandals

The other adjustments I made to this pattern were to line the bodice rather than use facings, shorten the bodice by half an inch, leave off the cap sleeves...and to sew a box-pleated skirt rather than the darted, gathered skirt that is part of the pattern. It seems pretty cute but I wasn't sure I'd have enough fabric, as I had only two metres of this cotton and it's quite narrow. 

I have mixed feelings about the finished dress. I love the fabric and although it's quite obnoxiously bright, I think I'll be able to wear this dress into the autumn with navy or even pink tights. It's comfortable and it fits nicely through the back. I just think it's a little unflattering. Like, it makes me look quite wide? 

If I were to make this pattern again, I would definitely lower the neckline by about an inch. I'd also probably deepen the dip in the's a little shallow and I think it would look better if I dipped it more - if it were closer to the depth of the Kim bodice I think it would be much more flattering overall.

With those criticisms aside, the dress is fine and I think I'll wear it. It looks less boxy under a cardigan and, like I say, the fabric is cute. You can't win them all, can you?!

BUTTTTTT almost any outfit looks better when accessorised with my new necklace from Tatty Devine, which was waiting for me when I got home from Amsterdam:

It's a little sewing machine! You can't really tell from this photo, but it has real thread wound around the spool and through the needle. I love it. You can also get a sewing box and a pair of pinking shears...which I'll probably treat myself to for my birthday next week. 

And that's all the craic from me for this evening...I'll be back soon, I hope, with a fresh haircut and in better form. But probably still with that necklace on, because come on. It's amazing. Catch you later!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

I have cried twice in my life. Once, when I was seven and hit by a school bus and then again, when I heard that Li'l Sebastian had passed.

Hello! How is Thursday treating everyone? I've been having a busy week and a slightly stressful one too, as my granny fell yesterday and is now in the hospital. She cut her leg open pretty badly and bled so much that she needs a blood transfusion, because her blood pressure is very low. She's lucid and alert when she's awake so I'm hopeful that the transfusion will help. It's hard not being closer to home when stuff like this is happening, so the best thing that I can do is to distract myself. This evening I've been sewing, and now Nic and I are watching Braindead (which my friend Kate recommended me, and which is a lot of fun) so that's helping too. I might have a little gin and tonic later too, you never know.

Anyway, yes. That has been my week. The improvement in the weather has inspired me to get sewing again, and over the weekend I made a dress that I have been planning for a few months now. It's sort of a sequel to this dress, which I made last July:

Encore Tricolore dress - McCall's 6696

I made this McCall's 6696 last year out of some stretch cotton sateen that I had bought in Barry's and at the time I thought I'd go back and see if they had it in other colours, because I liked the finished dress so much. I still really do like the dress, although it now has some sadder associations as I wore it to Nic's grandpa's funeral and my uncle's funeral as well. I could do without any more funerals for a while. It hasn't become, like, a funeral dress or anything but despite the fact that I like it a lot...well, I don't reach for it as often.

Then, in April, I was shopping in Barry's with some sewing friends and I saw that they had the exact same polka dot stretch sateen in red, so I bought some to make another one of these dresses. It has taken a while, but I finally got around to it over the weekend:

La Rochelle dress - McCall's 6696 in red polka dot cotton sateen, worn with Vivienne Westwood for Melissa Lady Dragon shoes

Ugh I love this pattern so much, I can't even. And it is so much fun to sew! I had this all cut out a week or two before I started sewing it - I cut it out in a cutting-out session when I was also making a dress for my mum, so when I was ready to get sewing it was all waiting for me. I love that. I split the sewing into two sessions, getting everything as far as the buttonholes and buttons done in one day, and making the buttonholes and sewing on the buttons on the second day. And, speaking of the buttons... HELLO:

ANCHOR BUTTONS! The original dress has anchor buttons, which are red with a white anchor, so I was thrilled to find these white and blue ones for my red version. I listened to the Black Box Recorder album while I was making the buttonholes. Sarah Nixey, though. I love her.

I busked it a little bit with the button placement - to me, it's less important whether they are evenly spaced and more important that they are spaced so that there isn't gaping across the bust, and so I tried the dress on before making the buttonholes and pinned it together at the button band to determine where the buttons should go. If I wanted regular buttonholes, you know, I'd buy a shirt-dress from a shop. I'm happy with how it turned out, although I guess I could put another buttonhole in between the first and the second ones to even it out a little bit. But also, I probably won't. With this dress, as with a few previous M6696 dresses, I sewed my buttonholes horizontally rather than vertically. I don't know if it's actually better, but I like it better!

I wore this dress on Sunday to go out for lunch with Nic and then have a chilled out afternoon at home. The sun briefly came out, so I decided to go full twee bastard with the fruit-themed accessories. Nic really loves the dress, complimented me many times on it, and basically demanded that I wear it to a party we're going to on Saturday. So, I might well do that. I'll definitely take it on holiday with me. I mean, the other one got to go to France, so it seems only fair that this one gets to go to the Netherlands, right?

So anyway, speaking of Nic, he has just put a gin and tonic down in front of me...and something pretty exciting has just happened in Braindead, so I think I'm going to slide on for now. Laters, potatoes!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

I really only listen to German Death Reggae and Halloween sound effects records from the 1950s.

Greetings, humans! It is Sunday evening and dismal af outside, so I am taking the necessary steps of drinking tea and watching Made In Chelsea. I'd like to say that it's my guilty pleasure but I'm not that guilty about it and I don't actually enjoy it that much ever since all of the best people left (WHERE IS FRANCIS BOULLE). But still, it's comfortingly crappy.

It's been a busy couple of weeks at work and outside of work - helped along by the late summer heatwave that we were enjoying. I took a random Friday off work last week and Nic and I spent a wonderful sunny day in Oxford. Oxford is only 45 minutes away by train but it's been a few years since we were last there. I've never really clicked with the city, but this time round we had a really wonderful day - a long walk and a picnic in the sunshine, a little bit off the beaten track; a ramble in the Botanic Gardens where we found shade on Lyra's bench and, later, cocktails in the Morse Bar at the Randolph.

The Radcliffe Camera, famous for its many MANY appearances in Lewis

A pair of tourists on Lyra's bench in the Botanic Gardens

I can't believe it took me this long to make a pilgrimage to the Morse Bar...

...but it was totally worth the wait.

Awww...the contrast of the beautiful sunshine in the photos there and the completely dismal weather outside is making me a little bit sad. Also, everyone on Made in Chelsea is drinking champagne and it's making me wish that I was also drinking champagne. THE STRUGGLE IS REAL YOU GUYS.

I've been sewing away, as usual, but I am desperately behind in photographing stuff. It's partly because my sewing is pretty much variations on a theme by this stage and...well, it's a little boring to write about, which makes me worry that it's a little bit boring to read about. I suppose I can always jazz it up a little bit by throwing in the odd wee gif here and there, eh?

Tonight I'm sharing a dress that I didn't make. Last year, I featured a dress from the Dublin-based boutique Carousel's own brand, Circus. They got in touch with me again recently and sent me another dress - the Brigitte Tulip dress:

Brigitte Tulip dress by Circus Clothing*, worn with Lola Ramona Angie P shoes

I was drawn to this dress because of the print, which is very Orla Kiely-esque:

The combination of the fabric and the shape of the dress really called to mind an Orla Kiely dress that I desperately wanted a few years ago but couldn't afford at the time, so I was very excited to try it. 

Bow belt

As with the other Circus dresses in my wardrobe, the Brigitte dress is very nicely made. It's made from a good-quality, medium-weight cotton. The dress isn't lined, which is fine for a summer dress, and it fastens with a good-quality lapped size zip. In addition, one of the things that I really like about Circus is that they have an statement on their website about their production process:

We believe that to deliver the best product possible to you, our customer, it is also vital that our product is made in a factory where the employees are treated ethically and with respect. Our Circus range is made in close collaboration with our factory in India that is SEDEX approved.

This means:

  • Working spaces are modern, air conditioned, and not over crowded. 
  • Wages are on average 20% above minimum requirements. 
  • We adhere strictly to minimum working age. 
  • We adhere strictly to maximum working hours per week. 
  • We make regular visits to, and are in regular communication, with our factory to ensure both the products and the work environment are of high quality.
The Brigitte dress is €65, which isn't super cheap for an unlined dress, but I do appreciate the fact that they design their own fabrics and are doing something a little bit different.

I chose a size 8 based on the size chart, which I found to be accurate, and I was happy with the fit of the dress through the waist and bust. Unfortunately, I found the neckline a little high on me and the armholes a little small, especially at the back. This was partly exacerbated by the fabric, which is sturdy and has no give to it, as well as by the way that the neck and armholes are bound. This isn't an issue with my other Brigitte dress, so it could be just this particular dress.

Although I think the dress is really cute, I did find the armholes a little too uncomfortable to wear and after I wore the dress, I gave it to a friend. It's a shame, because this dress is pretty perfect in every other way! Luckily for me, it's a style that I can easily make for myself and I am happy that this pretty dress has found a good home.

This tulip print is not the only lovely print available from Circus at the moment - they have a completely adorable coffee cup print Brigitte dress and a cape-collared beauty in a bracken print. The only thing that will entice me to buy a dress from a shop now is amazing prints, and Circus certainly deliver on that front.

Now, it's all becoming very exciting in Chelsea right now so I am going to sign off. Goodnight!

Disclosure: I was provided this dress for review free of charge. I was not otherwise compensated for this review, the links are not affiliate links and I have given an honest review.