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' moments...like, 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 sweetheart...it'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.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Kids! They're as bad as Special Branch. You never know what the blighters are up to.

YO! I hope everyone is having a lovely Wednesday evening. I'm feeling pretty chilled, myself. Nic and I went out for a nice long walk, I've just placed an exciting order on Master of Malt (Few barrel-aged gin for me, Teeling single grain Irish whiskey for Nic and various samples for the two of us) and  it'll soon be dinner time. These are all very good things.

I've been having a pleasant time of it since I last wrote. I had some good news at work last week: there is a strong possibility that my temporary promotion will be made permanent without my having to reapply for the job next year. My line manager, who is currently on maternity leave (and whose role my temporary promotion is to cover) has been promoted. It won't take effect until she returns, but it means that I will be able to stay on in the more senior role. As I had to apply for and interview for the temporary promotion, it's very unlikely that I'll have to go through that process again for the promotion to be made permanent. I'm relieved about this. I would have been more than happy to go back to my old job when my line manager came back to work if she had been coming back to her old role, but I'm also really pleased to be have the opportunity to stay on in the more senior role. Also this week, I had a new team member start and showing her the ropes has been enjoyable. Now that we are fully staffed (which is the first time for a long time in my team) I'm looking forward to the things we'll be able to achieve.

It feels really good to be excited about work. I love my job, even when it is hard, but we had a few pretty brutal months and they took their toll - I'm happy to feel so enthused about it all again! This bloom of enthusiasm may be temporary...I have to go to London for a meeting tomorrow and because of engineering work on the line, the round-trip is going to take five hours and involve two rail replacement buses. Still, I suppose I'll be able to get some reading and knitting done in that time.

That's the craic with me anyway. Do you want to see a dress that I made recently?


A few years ago now I made a dress with some cute Robert Kaufman fox fabric:

Tommy Timberlake dress

You can read the post about it (and see the scolding I got in the comments for using too many gifs) here. I love this dress and still wear it. I mean, yes, it DOES in fact look like a grown-up-sized toddler dress but I think we have all established that I have the dress sense of a three-year-old. I'M FINE WITH THAT. Anyway. Since then, the people at Robert Kaufman have brought out various versions of this foxy print in different themes. And guess what? One of them is nautical and you know I can't resist that shit.


A little nautical fox. I MEAN COME ON. Naturally, I bought some of this. I bought mine from Fabric Yard - unfortunately they don't seem to have any of the navy colourway left, but you can find it in grey (also, they have the cute little foxes from my Tommy Timberlake dress too. These aren't affiliate links or anything - I just like the shop a lot). Here's what I made:

Portions for Foxes dress - Butterick B5748 bodice and pleated a-line skirt in Robert Kaufman fabric, worn with Office 'Love Me Tender' shoes

I am SO happy with this dress. I've been really enjoying sewing and wearing Butterick B5748, having rediscovered it earlier this year. Obviously, with this directional fabric, a circle skirt wasn't going to be practical and I didn't want a gathered skirt. I did the same thing as I did for The Day The Tractor Cowped dress, using the same self-drafted box-pleated skirt.


This is my ideal dress in so many ways - sleeveless, with a scooped back, full skirt and in a fun, colourful print. I know what I like, and I like this dress! Also, I wouldn't change anything about it and that is a good feeling. Here it is from the back:


As you can see, I didn't manage pattern- matching across the back. I didn't have quite enough fabric for it. I don't know, though. I kind of like the little two-tailed foxes that have been created by this. Maybe it was my childhood spent playing Sonic The Hedgehog?


Like seriously, how cute was Tails? 

Obviously I love all of the little nautical foxes on this dress. Like this one:


Um, aviator glasses, a sailor collar and a beret at a jaunty angle? Is this a hipster fox, or are we talking #stylegoals here? Because, I don't know about you, but I would wear this.


Can't beat a marieniere worn with a scarf, can you?


And this is just a classic look.

Here they all are up close!


I took this dress on its first outing when I wore it at home in Northern Ireland a few weeks ago. My nephew Joe was more interested in this one than he was in the tractor one - which leads me to think that I really do need to make a dinosaur dress - and I wore it to go out for lunch and then to a local park. It was absolutely grand for running around pretending to chase dinosaurs. Unfortunately, it was also grand for falling down some stairs, but while I got a bruised bum at least the dress didn't take any hurt.

I'm already on the lookout for suitable fabric to make another one of these dresses. I've heard tell of some Alexander Henry pinup zombie fabric that might be just the ticket!

Anyway, that's your lot for this evening. Goodnight!

Monday, July 25, 2016

It was a topless woman on a tractor. Do you know what they call that in Europe? A cereal commercial!

Hey hey boys and girls. Happy Monday! I've been a meeting all day today...I have another all-day meeting tomorrow and generally a pretty meeting heavy-week looms. They're mainly all rooms with windows, so it could be worse, but it's been a while since it's been this meeting-intensive. I'm out of practice! I still have a few quieter weeks of summer (and then a holiday) before work becomes seriously busy again, so I shouldn't complain. But, then, when has that stopped me?!

Things have been generally pretty great, though - we've had a really fun few weeks. We had a visit to Bristol a few weekends ago to see our friends Katherine and Justin. Last weekend I took a long weekend so that we could go back to Northern Ireland to go to my cousin Sean's wedding. While we were there we were able to spend lots of time with our seven Northern Irish nephews and be there for the newest one's baptism. Matthew was born on 1st June and my sister Colleen asked me to be his godmother, which was wonderful. He was baptised on the Sunday.


Here I am with my sister Colleen and baby Matthew, and you can see three of my nephews in the background too! My dad took this photo with his super camera - I'm looking forward to seeing all the other photos he took that weekend.

This past weekend was lovely, too - we had dinner with a friend on Friday night and spent the day in Birmingham on Saturday. We had a mini gin festival in our flat on Saturday night with friends - I have a lot of gin and it was a fun way to share it with friends.
My festival setup

Some of my gin

So anyway - life has been busy, but in a nice way. I have a free weekend this weekend and am planning to spend at least some of it sewing. As ever, I have a little bit of a backlog of projects to show you. Today it's one that I made from some fabric that I bought when we were in New York in May. Fabric with tractors on it. 

Nic and I had a few hours with Oonaballoona on one of our days in New York. We were feeling a bit delicate so decided to focus the shopping on a few stores. I told Marcy that I wanted to visit Chic Fabrics, as I loved seeing her instagram posts from the store and she was delighted with this suggestion, as she said that there was fabric there she knew was made for me. She had seen the fabric on Peter's instagram and she wasn't wrong. I loved it. 


Riiiiiiiight?! I've been slowing down my novelty quilting cotton sewing but, you know, this was $1.99 a yard and I am only human. I had to buy it. Of course, I could have used it to make something other than a dress but come on. This is me. 

I bought two yards, which I knew would be more than enough to make a dress from. I didn't have a specific fabric in mind but after I had booked my flights home to Northern Ireland, I knew that I wanted to have the dress made to wear home. Having recently enjoyed sewing Simplicity 1610, I decided to go for that bodice. I wanted a pleated skirt but something a little bit different, so I 'drafted' one. I say drafted - making a pattern for a box-pleated a-line skirt is not what you would call challenging, but that's what I did anyway. 

The Day The Tractor Cowped dress - Simplicity 1610 with a box-pleated a-line skirt, worn with Swedish hasbeens Flora wedges

Having sewed this bodice a few times and worn its various iterations a fair bit, I think I may have shortened it a tiny bit too much. I'm not sure this dress hits me at the most flattering part of my waist. But I'm wearing a dress with tractors all over it, for fuck's sake. It's never going to be super flattering or elegant!


Yes, that IS in fact a sassy lady tractor driver there. I like her boiler suit. I used to have a similar boiler suit when I was a little girl. Mine was navy with red piping and I wore it when I was helping my dad out fixing washing machines and putting up TV aerials and stuff but it did come from a farm supply store in Aughnacloy. Ah, memories. 

I was actually really happy to make this dress to wear home. My grandparents were farmers so I spent a fair bit of my childhood around farms. My brother-in-law has a farm too, so there is still farming in the family! This fabric is pretty kitschy, definitely, but I enjoy the connection to my people. Also, any excuse to run around singing Hit The Diff is all right by me.


In fact, I very nearly named this dress the Hit The Diff dress. You know that I like to name my handmade dresses and there's usually some meaning behind it. However, when I posted a picture of the finished dress on instagram, my friend Claire named it for me - The Day The Tractor Cowped. This is a very old joke between the two of us. While doing our GCSE in Media Studies, Claire and I had to storyboard the trailer for a film...which we decided to base on a story we had read in the yearbook put out by the boys' school that was attached to our school. It was a thrilling tale of the day when a tractor cowped - which, for the non-culchies out there, means 'fell over'. Our film was going to be called Tractor! and its action hero was going to be my dad. You guys, it was immense. That film is mine and Claire's great lost masterpiece. I'm glad to have commemorated it by making this beautiful dress.

Somewhat shamelessly, I also wanted to make this dress to entertain my nephew Joe. When he was smaller, he was all into tractors. Sadly, I slightly missed the boat on this one - he's now totally obsessed with dinosaurs so the dress didn't merit much of his notice:



Joe D, not one bit interested, there. I'm going to have to make myself a dress with dinosaurs on it for the next time I see him. That should hopefully send me straight to the top of the aunt charts.

So anyway, that's the craic there. I'd better go as I have some stuff to do. You know, towin', liftin', sowin', balin', drawing, hauling and buck raking... that sort of thing. Don't forget to check out what Peter made with his tractor fabric though. It was a much classier affair than my dress, and very handsome he looks in it too! Right now lads. Goodnight!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

I wonder what time it is in Cork.

Hey guys! What's shaking? I'm sitting here on the sofa in my pyjamas with my head wrapped in clingfilm - it's henna time again - so, you know, it's standard issue glamour up in here tonight. I am going to have a glass of champagne later for no other reason than I can, though, so that's good. I love champagne.

Everything is grand here. Life is very busy at the moment. Work is in a slightly quieter period which, as I said in my last post, can sometimes make me feel restless. Luckily there's lots going on outside of work to keep me busy and I have been stitching my little heart out every chance I get! I'm having to be motivated in the evenings though as our weekends have been flat out. Last weekend we went to stay with some lovely friends in Bristol, which was ace. I didn't make it to Fabricland, sadly, but then I'm not exactly short of fabric. We did manage to fit in some other key activities, though, including sharing a flight of beer at Small Bar on King Street:


This weekend we're off to Northern Ireland as my cousin is getting married on Friday and my newest nephew is being christened on Sunday. The last time we were at home was for my uncle's funeral so it's a real blessing to be able to go home and see family for two happy occasions. Obviously I wanted to sew something to wear to the christening as well as something for the wedding, and I wanted to make a dress from my amazing tractor fabric too. I've managed to do all of those things (like I say: I've been sewing my little heart out) and I have another, totally unrelated dress to show you this evening.

Absolutely ages ago - like, last year sometime - I had a little shopping trip to Walthamstow market with Amy, Emmie and Lauren. Lauren and I ended up splitting two 6-yard lengths of wax cotton that we bought in one of the shops along the market. She sewed hers up pretty quickly - she made an Anna dress with a gathered skirt - but I sat on one of my pieces for ages, unable to decide what to do with it:

This photo from my instagram is the only photo I have of it! The Bimber miniatures were from my local wine shop, who gave them to us as samples. I had the gin and Nic had the vodka. They were yum.

So, yeah. After the success of the maxi length wax cotton Simplicity 1601 dress, it seemed like it would be the right pattern to use with this lovely fabric. So that is what I did:

Saga dress - Simplicity 1610 dress in wax cotton, worn with Swedish hasbeens Merci sandals

As with the Franklin Avenue dress, I cut a size 8 and shortened the bodice. I self-lined the bodice because I had enough fabric to, which was nice. The starbursts or fireworks or whatever they are are pretty big, so I wanted to have one fairly centrally on the bodice... but not dead centre, in case it looked like a bullseye or some kind of target. Nobody needs that. I'm pretty pleased with how that worked out:


The skirt was easier to handle at knee-length than the maxi-length one was, so I was able to get the pleats a little bit neater, too. They're absolutely grand on the other one, like, but better on this one. 


I'm glad to have finally sewed something with this fabric and I'm very pleased with how this dress has turned out. I'm not totally sold on the skirt in the shorter length - there's something about the front pleats that I think just don't work quite as well on a knee-length skirt - but I love the shape of the bodice and overall the dress is pretty cute. And, as the weather has been so crappy recently it's got me thinking about the autumn...this will definitely work with tights and boots when it gets colder. And it'll be good on bonfire night. Until then, it won't surprise you to learn that as well as these orange clogs, I also have red and purple clogs that'll look cute with this dress. So, you know, very practical altogether.

Nic and I have watched the first two seasons of The Bridge over the last few months, and while this dress is not something that Saga Norén would wear, she's been on my mind a lot recently so I named this dress for her. We're taking a break before we watch S3 because that show is intense as shit and life is intense enough at the moment...but hot damn, I love Saga a whole lot. Nic had started watching season 1 thinking that it would be a good show to watch while I was sewing - you know, it's subtitled, so the noise of the sewing machine is no problem - but I horned it on it on the second episode and it became one of those shows that we had to watch together. I'm very glad. It's awesome. So far it's the only Nordic Noir I've watched apart from the film of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (the Swedish one, of course). I'm late to the whole craic there, but sure that's grand. It just means I don't have to wait around for new episodes.


We did try watching The Killing after we finished the first season of The Bridge, but I couldn't get into it at all. I mean, Sarah Lund is definitely very cool...but I found it a little bit boring and visually it reminded me too much of Soupy Norman for me to take it very seriously. 

Soupy Norman

The Killing. THE SAME.

So that's the craic there anyway. My stash is now running low on wax cotton so I'm on the lookout for some more. Nic and I are off to Amsterdam next month, so I'm hopeful that I might find some Dutch wax there or at the Labjesmarkt in Utrecht. I'm going to need to learn a few key phrases in Dutch before we go, I think!

That should be enough to get me a few metres of whichever fabric I'm after

So here, it's time to go and pour some champagne and get to work on hemming a dress. Goodnight!

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

I am sometimes bored by people, but never by life.

Hello hello! Evening everyone. What's the craic? I'm grand - I've been having a bit of a weird, anxious week. It's definitely everything that is going on in the world; there is just too much news right now. Some reasonably big changes are coming at work and it's impossible to predict just how much and in what way they'll change things. We're currently in the reasonably quiet summer months - which for us means not being completely and utterly flat out - and, while I should be able to enjoy the relative calm, it makes me feel restless. In summary: nothing to actually worry about (apart from the news, that is) but enough to make me feel restless and anxious and unable to sleep. I've been trying to work through it in the best way that I know how: sewing, long walks with Nic and making fun plans.

So that's the craic there. I have been sewing loads, which has been making me feel good - especially as it means I'm working my way through my stash! Tonight I'm going to blog something that I made a few months ago but never got around to photographing. Remember when I made a Tilly and The Buttons Megan dress? Well, shortly after making that dress I spotted this dress in Cath Kidston:

Hydrangea dress - it's currently in the Cath Kidston sale, if it takes your fancy

Much like the Megan dress, the bodice on this dress has cute little tucks rather than darts and, as you can see, it has an a-line pleated skirt. All very nice. I tried the dress on in the shop but, while I liked the shape of it overall, I really really hated the fabric. It's a slightly shiny waffle-textured cotton - not bad on its own, but the colour did nothing for me. Also, you know, it was £75. I don't consider this to be too much for a dress, but it is too much for a dress that I am lukewarm about at best. BUT, all this crabbing aside, it did give me some ideas, which I went home and promptly tried out.

The plan was to lengthen the Megan bodice slightly and stick a pleated skirt on it. Simple, right? It was that simple. I measured the length of one of my favourite bodices - the Emery bodice - and I compared this against the length of the Megan bodice and added on the difference. This meant lengthening the darts in the back bodice, but that was simple enough. I made a couple of bodice toiles to get an idea of how it would work and then I cut into my fabric.

Juliette dress - modified Megan dress with a pleated skirt, worn with Swedish hasbeens duck toe sandals

Yes, the fabric. We have seen this before: many times! But all but two of my cowgirl dresses have been phased out of my wardrobe so when I saw the red colourway pop up on ebay, I bought two metres of it. I used the pleated skirt from New Look 6776, which has a lovely shape.


I was able to cut the bodice to showcase the sassy cowgirl on the rearing horse, which is one of my favourite parts of the design. I didn't do any pattern matching apart from that - as you can see from the waist seam - but I don't know how much that matters on a dress like this.


I've worn the dress a few times since I made it in April. I like it, but I don't totally love it. I think I could have lengthened the bodice a little bit more to hit me at a more flattering place - although I usually need to shorten bodices, I think this is slightly higher than my natural waist! Also, as with my other Megan dress, I'm just not sure about the puffy sleeve heads. 

Here's a massively unflattering photo of me to emphasise my uncertainty about those sleeves...

But, you know, I like the neckline and the skirt and obviously I love the print. I probably won't make another one of these (although I probably will make another Megan dress at some point) but I'm glad I gave it a go. And sure, isn't that part of the fun?


And I definitely like it a hell of a lot more than that dress from Cath Kidston. So there's that. Now, that's your lot from me for this evening. Laters!