Saturday, September 28, 2013

It's like I'm not even camping. This is actually a dog couch, but it's super comfortable.

Oh hello! It's been a wee while, but I have been on holiday this week visiting Nic's family in Kent. I'm back now though dudes, and lovely and all as the seaside is, it's good to be back in Leamington. I will catch you up on the holiday in a separate blog post, though. I still have a backlog of sewing to get through showing you!

When I was at the Goldhawk Road meetup in August, Rachel of My Messings and I went halfsies on a 5m length of cotton sateen - just as Janene and I did in April! It's a good way to do it if you can - 2.5 metres of 60" wide fabric is plenty to make a dress with and it's a nice thing to do with a friend. So, I'm not sure if Rachel has used her half yet but a creation by another Rachael - this time, Rachael Conroy of 52 Creations - prompted me to use mine. She paired the bodice of By Hand London's Anna dress with their Charlotte skirt in a two-piece suit deal, and it looked so fabulous that I immediately ordered the Charlotte skirt pattern. It was kind of a perfect storm of inspiration, because in the same few days, Nic and I had watched Bridesmaids again and the dress Lililan wears to her bridal shower triggered in me a severe fit of LOADS. Annoyingly, I can't get a good photo of it online but it has a kimono sleeved bodice with a pencil skirt:

Maya Rudolph as Lillian in Bridesmaids

I had to recreate that dress - and so, the Rachel dress was born:

Rachel dress - By Hand London Anna and Charlotte mash-up, worn with Vivienne Westwood for Melissa Lady Dragon shoes

This was a very easy make. The fabric has a fair bit of stretch to it, but it behaves like cotton for the most part. I cut a size 12 in the Charlotte skirt to match with the Anna bodice, and it all fits up fine. Even the darts on the skirt front basically line up with the bodice pleats. The darts in the back don't match the darts on the bodice, but whatever. That would probably be easy to rectify but with such a busy print I didn't feel the need. The skirt is quite pegged, which I think looks lovely. As this fabric is stretchy I didn't need to put a split in the back, but for a more stable fabric I probably would need to.


I feel like this is a bit of a different silhouette for me, but I've been wanting to make another pencil dress. When I started getting my autumn clothes out of storage, I tried on my spotty New Look 6000 (the Polka Dot Problem dress) and found my feelings about it haven't really changed. It's pretty cute but I don't like the feel of the fabric - I'm not sure I'm going to wear it all that often, and I don't love the pattern enough to want to spend the time getting the fit just right, you know? So adding the Charlotte skirt to my sewing arsenal felt like a good way to get this shape into my handmade wardrobe AND it means that I now own all of the BHL patterns and you all know what a massive stalker I am. Anyway - I need more pencil dresses in my life, because I fucking LOVE this one. 

I didn't make any major changes to either the skirt or the top - I stuck with the pattern as drafted in both instances, apart from raising the shoulder seams as usual. I pinked all of the seams - this fabric behaves itself and doesn't fray, but I thought any other finish would add bulk. I used a lapped zipper because that's how I do!

Lapped zip

Neckline facing and label

So there's not too much else to say about the dress! I wore it last Saturday to do a spot of fabric shopping in Birmingham with HelenAmy, Sabs and Kat. I bought a few lengths of fabric for dresses - including some viscose, which I've never sewn with before, and some Liberty tana lawn in Barry's. Nic came along too and while we shopped, he did some research for his book in the new Birmingham Library. After I parted ways with the ladies, Nic and I went for some early evening cocktails in Hotel La Tour; proving that this dress is comfortable enough to shop in and elegant enough to wear while sipping champagne cocktails in a nice bar. You can't say much fairer than that, can you? Needless to say I want to make a few more - perhaps one in a waxed African cotton would be good. I mean obviously it would also look good in a block colour, but let's not kid ourselves here. That isn't going to happen.

Anyhoo, I am going to leave you with one more photo and then I'm going to go out for Mexican food and drinks with some friends. BOOM! I love the weekend.

There's always one photo like this one when I get photos taken for the blog. It's usually when I'm looking away to rearrange my face, and then they turn out to be good ones. This one is just reminding me that I need to get my hair cut.