Wednesday, July 19, 2017

July 19th. On this day, Galway liberated from Indians, Marathon becomes Snickers and... ah ha, Ted! Ice Age ends!

Ah hello there! And how are we all on this fine July afternoon? I'm grand - I have a cup of tea (Earl Grey, hot), Hannibal on in the background (S2, which is mostly not great but, you know, Mads...) and  I'm feeling pretty relaxed generally, having just come back from five days in Edinburgh. Nic was at a conference over the weekend, so we decided to extend the trip on either side and have a little mini holiday out of it. Edinburgh was the first place we ever went on holiday together (in 2007) so it's always had a special place in our hearts, but we haven't been back there for almost nine years. It was so good to go back and fall in love with it all over again.

Me at Edinburgh castle, October 2007

Me and Greyfriars Bobby, July 2017. I don't think I've changed that much in the last ten years.

Work has been kind of crazy for us both, so having a few days away was really good. We were staying in the Old Town and we basically spent the days pottering around Edinburgh, taking in the sights. I met up with Franca and Helen for coffee on Sunday morning and tagged along to their sewing day to say hello to Kerry and Jens and I bought some fabric from Edinburgh Fabrics, but that was the limit of my crafty activities - well, as long as you don't count drinking craft beer.


So that's the craic with me. I haven't been sewing for a while because of work being crazy, so here is a dress that I made a couple of weeks ago. And it's from a totally new pattern, lads. I KNOW. The pattern in question is B6446:

Actually I'm not super keen on the pattern envelope - not even on the gingham version (it might be the shoes - I really dislike 'barely there' sandals for some reason) but something about this pattern got under my skin. I don't know why, to be quite honest - I have always had trouble with wrap or even wrap-front dresses. But, you know, the heart wants what it wants, so I ordered the pattern. Then the stars aligned - I saw an incredible version of this dress on Janet's instagram from fabric very similar to some that Pigeon Wishes was selling in her Etsy shop... a plan was coming together! A heads up - she sold out of this fabric almost immediately, but you may be able to find it somewhere else.

I knew that I'd need to make a bodice adjustment because I have a high waist and, with the wrap-style bodice, there's no lengthen/shorten lines marked. I made a bodice toile out of the envelope which showed that I had cut the correct size but that I would need to do a swayback adjustment, so that's what I did. I made a second toile to check that this adjustment worked and then I finally cut into my fabric. I'm really pleased with the finished dress:

Good God, Lemon dress - Butterick B6446 in lemon-print cotton poplin worn with yellow Swedish Hasbeens heart sandals

I made version B, but I shortened the skirt quite a bit and I obviously left off the fabric sash because I hate them. The pattern comes with pockets and I omitted those as well - I know pockets on clothes is a feminist issue, but I don't use them and I find them annoying. So there. 


I followed the instructions and the cutting layout, which is something I wouldn't normally always do. The bodice is lined, and the lining pieces for the bodice front are the same (that is to say, the lining of the pleated section is not pleated, but has a dart) and I wanted to make sure I had everything in the right place. The only slight issue I had was with fitting the skirt back pieces to the bodice back, which is possibly because I had incorrectly marked the pleats. It was very easy to fix so even if it is a drafting error rather than user error, it didn't cause an issue.

Back view!

I'm really pleased that I took the time to do the sway-back adjustment, because it really did make a big difference to the fit of this dress. I still have a tiny bit of gaping at the neckline so if I make another, I might angle the zip in a little at the top to avoid this. I might not, though - I don't want to over-fit and it's not a big issue. What I will definitely do if I make this pattern again is to recut the armholes a little - they're drafted for sleeves and I think the sleeveless bodice would look better with that ease removed.


The dress turned out exactly as I hoped it would. I love the fabric and the combination of navy and yellow makes me happy. I have ever so slightly mixed feelings about it all the same - which are, I think, almost completely because this dress feels a little bit more grown-up than I'm used to. GROWN-UP. I mean for fuck sake. I'm 34. I am grown-up. Certainly I've had many compliments when I've worn this dress. My local Carluccio's gave me a free cocktail because my dress matched their menu!


I mean, lemons though. Such a fun print:


It's actually the second dress I've made this year that's covered in lemons. I haven't properly photographed or blogged the other one, but I made it before going to Paris:

Lesbian Yellow Sourfruit dress

That one is Butterick B5748, another classic... and yes, worn with more yellow clogs. When I find something I like, I go with it. What can I say?!

Maybe I'm a bit obsessed. I'm making liguine al limone for dinner tonight and everything. 

DRINK ON-BRAND.

So that's the craic there anyway. I love dresses and lemons and Liz Lemon. 


I'm away here to make my lemon-based dinner. Later!

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Idea for a programme entitled 'Yachting Mishaps'. Some funny, some tragic.

Hello hello! What's happening, folks? I'm grand - I'm honestly trying to blog more and stay in touch, especially as I have a backlog of lovely dresses to show you, but the part of my personality that is totally lame has been pushing itself to the forefront, making it hard to sit down to blog.

I've spoken about it a fair bit but it's true to say that my mental health has been suffering recently. A friend said recently that Brexit has made him so angry in so many different ways that he has to work hard to preserve his mental health, and this really rang true for me. For me it's not just Brexit, of course - it's the absolute state of the situation at home in Northern Ireland, everything that has happened here in England in the last few months (including the way in which English people are interacting with Northern Irish politics) and...well, as I've said a few times, just the general state of the world. I have a very lovely life and, thanks to therapy a few years ago, I have some good coping strategies - but I'm having to use a lot of energy just to stay sane at the moment and it is tiring. I'm working hard to retain my sense of self, but it has meant that blogging is hard because I often don't feel like trying to write about anything that isn't the things that make me feel rage and sorrow, you know?

I feel displaced. I feel very keenly that I don't belong in England but that I don't know where I do belong. 'You can never go home again' is more than just a trueism - I don't feel that I belong in a Northern Ireland where, as a woman, I don't have my full human rights because of its Victorian abortion laws (or, indeed, an Ireland which has an even worse attitude towards its countrywomen than Northern Ireland has. Read about the pregnant 14-year-old who was imprisoned for wanting an abortion to see what I mean, or the babies buried in a septic tank in Tuam if that doesn't convince you). It weighs more heavily on me than I would have believed a few years ago. I'm childfree by choice, and I live in England - a country where I could have an abortion if I needed one - so it isn't an issue that has an impact on me directly, but I don't believe that any woman should have to live in a country that will not only deny her autonomy over her body, but will criminalise her for trying to assert it. As Liz Lemon would put it, that's a deal-breaker, ladies.

I don't know why I'm telling you guys this. I don't feel like I need to explain gaps in blogging - I don't think anyone expects that. I think it's useful to be honest about mental health difficulties. I want to keep writing here: this space and the friends I've made through it are important to me, and I don't want to lose this outlet, but it's too hard to ignore the things that are on my mind. Thank you for sticking with me as I work through it.

So, yes. I bet you're thinking that I must be a fucking riot at parties at the moment, right? You'd probably have a point. I'm still capable of talking about all of the frivolous shit that I usually would, though, honestly. A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to a friend's birthday party. It was in a pub in Coventry and we had a lovely evening - bizarrely enough, she'd booked a magician. He didn't do a stage-show, though, it was more that he was wandering through the crowd, springing magic tricks on people... anyway, I had a fun dress to wear to the party, and this is it!

Last Seen Wearing dress - New Look 6020 with a circle skirt in anchor-print cotton sateen, worn with Vivienne Westwood for Melissa Lady Dragon shoes

I made this dress in April, and the fabric came from ebay. I occasionally look for cute anchor-print fabrics there, and when I spotted this I knew I should buy it as it's the exact same fabric as a Vivien of Holloway dress I used to have. I loved that dress - it was an extravagance when I bought it and it was totally worth it - but it became too big and I became less keen on wearing boned, halter-neck bodices, so I gave it away.


I didn't have a project in mind for the fabric when I bought it, but the idea of making a more wearable version of the Vivien of Holloway dress was appealing - basically, a dress with a circle skirt that I could wear a bra with! I've used the bodice from NL6020 quite a few times now, and it worked really nicely with my self-drafted circle skirt. 


The fabric is very lovely to work with - it's a stretch sateen with quite a lot of body to it, so it's comfortable to wear and easy to sew with. I pre-washed it, of course, not only to account for shrinkage but also to rid it of the slightly plasticky smell these cotton sateens sometimes have. It's not actually an unpleasant smell but it reminds me so much of the cheap toys I used to spend my pocket money on as a child! I was pleased to find that the bright colour didn't fade - I had only ever hand-washed the Vivien of Holloway dress in cold water, so I had no idea how this would hold up to machine washing. It's all good, and all-in-all a much more practical frivolous party dress than its predecessor was!

I've worn it a couple of times since I made it but I think it probably will be more of an occasion dress than anything else. The Roisin of 2010 would have worn this dress to work (well, to be fair, the Roisin of 2017 might still wear it to work - I couldn't rule it out for definite) but my taste in day-to-day clothing is a little bit more understated nowadays. I mean, it's all relative - I think at one point my taste ran to 'Sun-Ra on his holidays' so, you know, my tipping point is probably different to yours. It was nice to have a fun partyish dress on hand for an occasion, even if it's no longer something I would wear just to eat ice-cream in the park.

So anyway. I'm going to say goodbye here. The postman brought a parcel today which I want to go and investigate...


Cheers!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

She'll be a summer girl. She'll have hair. She'll have summer friends who know how to be outside. She'll play tennis and wear dresses and have bare feet, and in the autumn I'll ditch her because she's my summer girl!

HOWDY PARTNERS. How is everyone? Mainly a little bit like this, perhaps?


I mean, don't get me wrong. I'm not really complaining about good weather. I wish that I didn't have hay fever and that humidity didn't make me swell up, but I'm happy about the warm weather, even if it makes it difficult to leave the house. There are numerous ways to cope.


The last time I wrote, we were about to go on holiday to Paris. We went, and it was awesome. We had ten days and were staying in the 17th arrondissement, in a beautiful Haussmann apartment next to Parc Monceau. I did a little bit of fabric shopping and we did some cultural and touristy stuff (we went to the Pompidou Centre and to the Musee de Montmartre) but mainly we spent the time pottering around, drinking champagne and people-watching. It was bliss.

Here's me with a glass of Ruinart and a Cafe Gourmand on the Ile de la Cite, living my best life.

We had ten days of relaxation and beautiful weather and then we came home to horrendous rain, a General Election and the fucking DUP.  Despite having lost my faith in the Labour Party as a result of their generally quite crap performance as opposition, I was impressed and encouraged by their campaigning and it was an easy decision to vote Labour again. My constituency had been Tory since 2010, and our MP was a total no-mark waste of space, so I was genuinely delighted that the seat went red.

My dress let everyone know how I intended to vote.

Everything following the General Election has been pretty strange for a Northern Irish person living in England. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it's been enraging hearing English people engage with Northern Irish politics at this stage in the game. It's certainly been annoying to see people horrified at the idea of a coalition with the DUP on the basis of their policies (homophobic, sexist, dinosaur-denying) because this shit is nothing new. It's just that it's only of interest to people here when it affects them.

I'm not a nationalist, but that's the background I come from. I grew up Catholic in a border village in Northern Ireland. I have little interest in a United Ireland, but I consider myself to be both Irish and Northern Irish rather than British. I live in England and I have no real intention of moving (although ten days in Paris made the daydream of a Parisian life even more appealing) but increasingly I feel like a stranger here, and never more keenly than when English people discuss Northern Ireland as if the Troubles were all of our own making and not, you know, as a direct result of England's colonialist past. It's been hard not to feel enraged all the time, I have to be honest, and difficult to know what to do with those feelings. I know that a lot of people don't want to hear it if you try to talk politics and I'm sure that some of you won't be comfortable with me talking about it here, but I'm not about to ignore it either. As the situation currently stands, the DUP - who have repeatedly blocked equal marriage in Northern Ireland, who oppose the Good Friday Agreement, whose leader is implicated in a scandal costing the Northern Irish taxpayer £400 million, whose intransigence caused the collapse of the power-sharing agreement and means that Northern Ireland still has no government - potentially have a stranglehold on a weakened minority government. There's a reason that 'May you live in interesting times' is a curse, and we're certainly living through those.

But anyway, you come for the dresses, I'm sure, so here is a dress. In fact, it's the dress I wore to go and vote, and I made it... I think at the end of March. I took these photos in April, I think, and for some reason I really hated them. Looking at them now though, they're not so bad:

Second Time Around dress - Butterick B6333 with a half-circle skirt, in Liberty Carline lawn, worn with Swedish Hasbeens 'Suzanne' sandals

ANOTHER B6333. Whatever, not sorry. I don't think I have any more of these to blog about so next time you might get some fucking variety up in here (well, what passes for variety around here). Me oh my, I do love Carline, and my first shirt-dress was a M6696 in the red Carline poplin. I made it a few years ago now and the fit wasn't brilliant, so I don't wear it much. I still have it, because I'm oddly sentimental like that, but I don't wear it. I chanced upon some of the lawn on ebay at some point last year and bought it. I didn't have a shirt-dress in mind for it, but I was so happy with the How Can You Leave Me On My Own dress that I decided another one was in order.


I considered underlining this dress as Liberty tana lawn is so light and drapey, and I wondered if a bit of structure would be a good thing in a shirt-dress, but I decided against it in the end. This print is large enough and dark enough that it isn't see-through, and I didn't want to lose the essential coolness and breathability of the fabric. I think in these pictures I am wearing the dress with a slip as it was a little chilly, but I wore this dress in Paris without a slip (because it was so hot) and didn't have any issues with it.

I made some self bias-binding to finish the armholes and face the hem. FUCK. ME. I think it might have been the most tedious thing I have ever done, and I regularly spend whole days checking numbers on giant spreadsheets. I mean, it was worth it (and I have loads left over) but the tedium of it made me angry. There are lots of tedious sewing jobs that I enjoy - I am one of those people who genuinely enjoys hand sewing and I even like sewing on buttons (I don't like tracing, though, I'm not a pervert) but this was a bit too much even for me.


I love the dress and have worn it loads since I made it. In fact, I wore it to work yesterday! It came to Paris with me, and it was perfect for the very hot weather we enjoyed there.

Here I am, wearing it in Parc Monceau...

...and later the same day at Trocadero, with a minor monument in the background

I think this iteration of a Carline shirt-dress has a slightly more casual feel than the others I've made, but it is so comfortable and cute to wear. It's been a winner. 

I don't always explain where the names of my dresses come from. This one is obvious, and it's also named after one of my top five episodes of Inspector Morse. For the sake of completeness, here is my list:

Second Time Around - the sadness of Kenneth Colley

Dead On Time - Oxford's Next Top Widow

Death Is Now My Neighbour - Evil Richard Briers Is Now My Favourite

Deceived By Flight - Lewis' hoose-painting leave interrupted by cricket

Masonic Mysteries - mysteries solved with inferior opera

Goodnight!

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...

Thursday, May 11, 2017

It's a salad, only bigger, with lots of stuff in it.

Hey strangers, what's happening? Yet again, it's been a while, but that's just how life is at the moment, I'm afraid. The last few weeks have been quite difficult, as my granny died on Easter Monday.

My grandparents, Francie and Molly, on their wedding day (13th July, 1954)

It wasn't unexpected, exactly. Granny fell and cut her leg last summer and it didn't heal, so in the autumn she went to a nursing home. It was actually a really nice nursing home but understandably, she hated it there - probably because she knew she'd be unlikely to go home again. The last time I saw her was when I was at home in January, and I actually knew that that it was probably the last time I would see her. She died on what would have been my granda's 87th birthday (he died in 1999) and my mum and two aunts were there with her when she died, so it was as peaceful and good a death as you might ask for. I was mostly relieved when I heard because it felt like it was her time, but of course it was heartbreaking as well. Nic and I flew home to Northern Ireland the next day, and her funeral was that Wednesday. It was a lovely funeral and it was good to have some time to spend with my family (we stayed until the Friday) but since then I have been feeling so sad that she's gone.

Me with Granny

Obviously this is totally normal, and I know that it's a good thing that she isn't suffering any more. Still, I'm sure you can understand that it's hard to accept that I'll never see her again. The moment when I lost my composure was watching her coffin leave the house, knowing that her house will never be the same again. I'm lucky to have had such a close relationship with her throughout my childhood and into adulthood, too. One of the nurses who looked after her before she went into the home told me that Granny was so proud of my sewing and pointed one of our wedding photos out to anyone who came into the house to say that I had made my dress. She love pretty, colourful clothes and was always keen to see what I had been making and wearing. We were very alike!

So anyway. Work has been as busy as ever but I'm a vaguely celebratory mood tonight, having got through one of the biggest days in our work calendar without any issues. Also, after a long and torturous recruitment process (not that long or even torturous, it just feels that way) I've filled the vacancy in my team that I've been covering since December. That hasn't been without its issues, but it'll be so good to go back to just doing the one job!

And that is some of the craic with me. But you're here for the sewing, yeah? And maybe the shoes? Here's a dress that I made...um...in March, according to my instagram:

Enough Said dress - Kwik Sew 4097 in Vlisco 'Migratory Birds' cotton, worn with Swedish Hasbeens Suzanne sandals

The pattern is Kwik Sew 4097, which I bought after seeing Annie from The Enantiomer Project's version last autumn. I'd never knowingly sewed a Kwik Sew pattern before, and I don't think I would have bought this one based on the pattern envelope because, lol:
Both of the models here are giving it plenty, for sure, but like... it's not totally inspiring. Annie's version was so cute though, and the line drawings were good, so I gave it a go. The finished garment measurements put me in a size medium, but the ease on this dress is crazy. I mean... there is a lot of ease, which is not at all what the samples on the envelope cover suggest. I ended up sewing the XS with 1-inch side seams (after a toile) and, having actually lost a little weight since I made it, I had to go back last week and alter it further. So guys - if you're making this one, check the finished garment measurements and the ease given on the pattern tissue, because it is wild. Kerry recently wrote a post about ease in sewing patterns that's worth a read, by the way.

I'm really happy with the finished dress, though - it is such a cute pattern! The bodice has pleats rather than darts in both front and back, and the skirt is pleated in a really interesting way. You make a little box pleat and then a bigger box pleat over the top of it, which gives the skirt a lovely shape.


My fabric choice kind of conceals the design details because of its graphic print, but I'm sure it would look great in a solid fabric (for someone else though, obviously!) I love how it works with this print, though, which is a beautiful Vlisco wax cotton that I bought in Birmingham rag market earlier this year. I spent a bit of time figuring out how to use the fabric - the bird motif has the bird flying parallel to the selvedge, so to have the birds flying left to right, I'd need to cut it on the cross grain. After thinking about it for a while, I decided that I liked the idea of them flying up and down, although it makes the birds seem less bird-like.


I still have loads of this fabric left - I bought a 5-metre piece - so it'll be a challenge to use such a distinctive print in a different way if I decide to make another dress from it.

This photo is basically identical to the other one...oh well!

My copy of the pattern is currently on loan to a friend, but I'm definitely here for the idea of making a maxi version of it, probably in another wax cotton. You know I have a weakness for wax cotton maxi dresses and I'll be going to Paris in a few weeks, so I'll be keeping my eye out for a suitable print. The  midi length version of the skirt from the pattern envelope is basically maxi-length on me, so lengthening it won't be an issue. It's definitely made me think I need to get over the fact that I hate the name Kwik-Sew so much (seriously...the spelling makes me wince) and check out their other patterns. Once I got my head around the ridonkulous amount of ease and had made my usual adjustments, I was pretty happy with the fit and the drafting.

So that's the craic with me anyway. Thanks for hanging in there - and hopefully it won't be as long again before I'm back. Au revoir!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

I like my coffee like I like my women. In a plastic cup.

Hello! Urgh... so my plan to blog more frequently has been a big fat FAIL, hasn't it? Oh well. Here I am now anyway. I'm having a short break from work for Easter, which is really good as everything has been so full-on so far this year. We don't have much planned other than relaxing and spending time with friends, and perhaps eating some tasty food and drinking some tasty drinks! I might even fit in some sewing if everything goes well.

Here's a dress that I made last month, just before Nic's birthday. It's another Butterick B6333 and I did show you a hint of it last time I posted. It's covered in beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees!

How Can You Leave Me On My Own dress - Butterick B6333 with a half-circle skirt, worn with Orla Kiely x Clarks Marianne shoes

The funny thing about this dress is how totally unplanned it was. I've had the fabric chilling in my stash for a while without a specific plan for it. I'd had the yellow polka-dot buttons in my stash for about a year as well. Nic was out one evening at an event in London and the idea for this dress just popped into my mind, so I got straight down to it.

Here's the fabric up close

I popped on a record, and got sewing. The directional print didn't technically lend itself to a half-circle skirt, but I thought, you know, fuck it.


There's not too much to say really about the sewing of this dress, to be totally honest. It was very straightforward to add my own half-circle skirt and to lengthen the button placket to match. I must have bought the yellow buttons with a shirt-dress in mind because I had twelve of them - everything came together pretty nicely.


The buttons are probably too big for a shirt-dress, really. Looking at the ones you can get in shops, the buttons are usually a good bit smaller. I like these, though - they add to the overall too muchness of the dress, if that makes sense? I bought them from Wool Warehouse and they don't seem to have them any more, although they do have some heart-shaped ones, should you need buttons even more twee than giant polka dot ones. Let's be real here though, as if there is ANYTHING more twee than this dress. I MEAN.

This is the face of someone who knows she should be ashamed, but isn't.

Nic really loves this dress and, when I finished it, he insisted that I save it to wear on his birthday. It makes me happy when he's so excited about something I made, so of course I agreed. He spent the whole day making me stand up so our friends could marvel at what I'd made, which was equally adorable and embarrassing. He's too good to me.

It's not perfect, this dress - I think I could probably do with scooping out the armholes a little bit and the collar is not my finest work (although it's perfectly grand) but I like it because it's exactly the sort of dress I would buy in a shop. I've rolled back a bit on novelty prints (a bit...okay a tiny bit, probably not really so you'd notice) but this is still very much my style.


In homage to the overall too-muchness of the dress, I wore it with these honestly quite hideous Orla Kiely Clarks shoes. Having not been much of a fan of any of them when they were released, I've been won over by their ugly charm. They ARE ugly, but in a way that appeals to me. These ones are the ugliest of all and I adore them and, despite the very high heel, they're surprisingly comfortable to walk in.

Anyway. I've worn the dress a few times since I made it and I'm sure I'll wear it lots over the summer. I wore it yesterday on a day out to Winchester, where a waiter in a bar told me I looked 'bee-youtiful' so naturally enough I left him a good tip. For the lols more than anything else.

Gotta love those instagram filters amirite

I am fully loving this Butterick bodice, despite it still needing a little bit of work on the fitting, so I'm sure I'll make a few more. It's possible that nothing will match the outrageous tweeness of this dress, but that's okay. I'm getting old now so I should probably make sensible things to wear anyway. 


That's the craic with me. It's the holidays, and it's cocktail hour, so I'm off to mix a drink. Bye!