Friday, April 11, 2014

You can't say your favorite kind of cake is birthday cake, that's like saying your favorite kind of cereal is breakfast cereal.

How's it going there everybody from Cork, New York, Dundalk, Gortahork and Glenamaddy? I hope everyone has been having a good week. Nic and I are back in Leamington now, after a pretty good week at home in Northern Ireland. We had a great day at my sister's wedding on Saturday. I was a very graceful bridesmaid in a very pretty dress and, it being an Irish wedding, I only really got over the hangover today. It was a good week, but it's also been excellent to get back to Leamington and my sewing machine. I was waiting in today for a courier to arrive (delivering some shoes, obviously) and spent the afternoon sewing. It was lush, and so was the celebratory gin I went out for this afternoon.

Anyway, as I mentioned in my last post, I do have something of a backlog of projects to show you. A few weeks ago, Lisa Comfort of Sew Over It got in touch with me and asked me would I be interested in pattern testing her new pattern, the Betty dress. I was short on time and the turnaround was pretty tight, as it often is with pattern testing, but when I saw the pattern I was too tempted to say no! For some reason I can't get the photo of the pattern to upload but it's described as "a 50s inspired dress with a fitted bodice and full circle skirt." So, you know, that's relevant to my interests. Because of other commitments, I only really had one shot at making this dress before the deadline so this is kind of a wearable toile.

Big Block of Cheese dress - Sew Over It Betty dress and Vivienne Westwood for Melissa 'globe' Lady Dragon shoes

A Big Block of Cheese dress! I bought this fabric when I went shopping with lovely sewing blogger friends at the start of March, and it came from Barry's in Birmingham. In truth, I had meant to buy it the previous month when I was visiting Barry's but sadly on that occasion I was too sick to cope with the heat in there so didn't buy anything. I kept thinking about it though, and when Helen rocked up in her World Map dress, I took it as fate. I bought 2.5 metres of this fabric, which worked out to be the perfect amount for the Betty dress. Also, I love wearing my Claudia Jean dress so much, it seemed like she needed a sister. Basically I bought this map fabric just so I could make a dress and call it the Big Block of Cheese dress.

Sewing-wise, Betty came together very quickly and it's a straightforward pattern. There's a really neat trick for finishing the all-in-one facing in the bodice so that it's all enclosed, but I must confess that I found the instructions for this to be utterly baffling. I was all ready to just throw in the towel when Nic looked at the instructions, looked at the pieces and was just like, "duh. You do it like this." It's a very neat technique and I understand that there will be a sewalong, which I'm sure will explain it for anyone else who finds it confusing! That was really the only difficult thing about the pattern, which I think would be suitable for a confident beginner otherwise.


I cut a size 8, and I made my usual adjustment of raising the shoulder seams slightly. The fit is okay, but I think I am going to have to play with it a little bit to get it just right. This fabric was inexpensive enough that I was happy to use it as a potentially wearable toile, and this is wearable!


You can see from this photo that I have some excess fabric under my bust and across the neckline. I will take some of the width out of the neckline and - well, I'd welcome your thoughts on what to do about the excess fabric under my bust. This pattern is so pretty that I would like to get the fit better on it. That being said, I don't think that issue is going to prevent me from wearing this dress as it is.

Back view - one of the pretty details on this pattern is the scooped back. I'm such a sucker for this!


Aaah, cardigans. They're good for hiding when something doesn't fit just exactly as well as you might like it to!

I enjoy pattern testing - or at least, I have enjoyed it on the occasions when I've been invited to do it. The Betty pattern is apparently very popular at Sew Over It's classes, and I can see why - this style is just exactly what I enjoy wearing and I think it's very versatile. Apart from the one instruction that I struggled a bit with, the instructions were very clear and I can't fault the drafting or design. It's a cutie! Sew Over It were excellent to work with as well, and it's really pleasing to build relationships with independent designers here in the UK. Lisa sent me the finished copy of the pattern but it feels a bit greedy of me to keep it when I have the copy I tested from, so I'm going to give it away to one of you lovely readers! I'll hold the giveway open until Friday 18th April at 9pm BST - so pretty much one week from now - and all you need to do is leave me a comment below to let me know you'd like to be entered in the draw. You can also tell me what fabric you'd make it from, because I'm nosey that way!

Well, anyway. It's Friday night and we're celebrating. Having booked a venue for our after-wedding party a couple of weeks ago, Nic and I went to view it this afternoon. It's just been refurbished and they'd just finished it this afternoon! It's really cool, and apparently they're going to have something like 100 different gins on the menu - I mean, who even knew there were that many types of gin? Anyway, I'm very happy with how our (very minor) wedding plans are coming together. Basically everything is set now, so we're celebrating this evening with champagne and Double Indemnity. YEAH. Just as well I'm finally over that hangover, right?
Thank you, alcohol.