Thursday, April 11, 2013

He's a weirdo and he's hard enough to rollerskate on.

You know sometimes there are dresses that you get a bit obsessed with? Well, this is me and most of Bernie Dexter’s range. This isn’t as financially harmful as it could be because, as we have seen, the dresses aren’t desperately difficult to recreate as she often uses fabric that the likes of me and you can find and buy.

One of her dresses that is high on my wishlist is this one…


I’m not sure what the proper name for it is as Modcloth give everything these cutesy names, but on their site it’s the What A Dahlia dress. You never know, at some point I might just cave in and buy it because it’s adorable and I have, as yet, been unable to track down the fabric. But I did come close – this Anna Maria Horner cotton isn’t immediately similar, I grant you, but it does have a recurring graphic flower motif. I love the colour, but my heart is still yearning for the deep red of the Bernie Dexter fabric.

Anyway, I pinned this fabric and got on with my life until a few weeks ago, when the lovely Vicki Kate sent me a voucher to spend at Fancy Moon! I dithered for a bit – I’m not great at buying fabric without a plan – and then bought 2.5 metres of the Anna Maria Horner. I thought, why not. When it arrived I spent a bit of time trying to figure out what to do with it, and then both Cynthia of Dapper Duds and Sinje of Strich und Faden’s awesome Cambie dresses popped up on my radar and BAM! That was it. Cambie is my girl, and with another make I was clocking up my 6th one. And I’m not even done yet, and I don’t care. At this rate my wardrobe may end up being just Cambies and Elisalexes, right?

Anyway, yeah. I got down to sewing on Easter Monday afternoon. I know what I’m doing with the Cambie dress so despite the fact that it is fully lined so there’s a lot of skirt to gather and to hem, I was able to make this in around four or five hours that afternoon. I do love this pattern quite a ridiculous amount and there’s a very good reason why I have made it so many times – it’s a lovely one to sew and to wear.

Saturday 6th April 2013
Saturday 6th April 2013 - Flood Meadow Cambie dress and Irregular Choice Swallow shoes

I wore it for the first time on Saturday for a day out in London with Nic, who was speaking at the National Jazz Archive. It was grey and dull when we left Leamington so these photos were taken in Dorset Square, which is just around the corner from Marylebone station. I love this little square because as well as being pretty, it’s home to two blue plaques for writers whose work I admire – one for George Grossmith, and one for Dodie Smith. I’m a bit crumpled from being on the train, but check out this new front step action! I only wish my usual front step was this fancy.

As usual, I cut the pattern in a straight size 8, and the dress is lined with some more of that bright pink cotton I have lined all of my recent dresses with. It started life as a 100% cotton flat sheet that I bought (brand new, in the packet) from a charity shop for a whole pound, and it has lined four dresses. Pretty neat, eh?! The only changes I made to the pattern were to use a lapped zip instead of an invisible one – I learned this the hard way after my Cowgirl Cambie stresses, and also I just prefer the way they look. I also omitted the pockets. I did this with the full-skirted Hazel dress I made a few weeks ago too. I love the idea of pockets, and I’m glad to be able to make dresses with them in, but I find I just don’t use them. I’m not really a hands in pockets kind of girl, and I always have a bag with me. That’s obviously not to say I won’t ever put pockets into a dress again because I think they are a nice design feature, but I didn’t this time.


I’m really pleased with this make, particularly the skirt. The fabric has a bit of drape to it, but not much, and this works well with a full gathered skirt – it holds that bell shape really nicely even without a petticoat underneath, and that's partly to do with the fact that the skirt is fully lined and has quite a deep hem. I love how the lapped zipper looks and, as always, one of the great things about the Cambie pattern is how nicely it is finished on the inside. Yes, even after 6 of these I'm still looking forward to sewing more!

A little back view - wrinkles are mostly train-related

The fabric I chose is called 'Field Study Cell Structure' but I named this dress Flood Meadow. Nic and I had a long walk on Easter Sunday morning and were surprised to find one of our favourite fields almost totally under water, despite it having been pretty dry recently. Anyway, apparently it's meant to flood, and it's a wildlife reserve, and that's called a Flood Meadow. The name stuck with me!

This dress was just the thing for a wee day out in London, as were the shoes. The National Jazz Archive is always lovely to visit, and Nic's talk went extremely well. Afterwards we headed back into central London for dinner in Soho and to enjoy the sunshine. It was a glorious spring day, and I couldn't help but feel happy and hopeful. This helped:

Meet Thor...

...but you already knew I was Wonder Woman, right?!

I have tomorrow off work and so a nice long weekend of sewing and sleeping and socialising ahead - just what the doctor ordered after a busy week at work. So, I'm off to get that started with a glass of wine.