Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Or can we agree that we're all just monkeys with suitcases trying to seem like people?

Evening! I hope this Wednesday evening is treating you all well. Mine is - after a tedious day at work and my train home being cancelled for the second day in a row, I went and had my hair done and then went to the pub and had some fancy gin. Yay! What's even better is that I have fancy gin here at home, so more gin. Yup.

Anyway. I'm having a tedious week at work but an otherwise busy and awesome July. I've been squeezing in sewing time when I can find it - after fabric shopping in Paris and London, and having been given some lovely fabric as gifts, my stash is getting a bit out of control. I have managed to sew a couple of my Paris fabrics, and I have a sewing day planned for tomorrow so, you know what that means. I will have more room for shoes in my flat.

The area of Paris we were staying in - just off the Rue Clignancourt and near Avenue Barbès - is a great place to buy African wax print cottons. The area is an important cultural centre for West African immigration in Paris so there are lots of beautiful fabrics available to buy, and lots of inspiration in the form of ladies wearing amazing outfits. I had good success in Tissus Toto last year so I made a beeline for both branches this year, and they did not disappoint! The first piece of fabric I bought was with Lynne in mind as her Sew Dolly Clackett prize. I bought a 5m length and split it with her. I believe she's planning to make a Deer and Doe Belladone with hers, and here is what I made with mine...

Le Comptoir Général dress - Colette Patterns Lily bodice with a circle skirt, worn with Vivienne Westwood for Melissa Lady Dragon globe shoes

The very large-scale print seemed to call for a circle skirt, but I wanted to try something new with the bodice. I've owned the Lily dress pattern for over a year but I think I was put off it by my difficulty with fitting the Peony dress. I thought that fitting this wouldn't be quite as tricky due to the princess seams. I didn't toile it for that reason and the fit is okay - I cut the size 4 and took the princess seams in underneath my bust. The fit isn't perfect, but it's not too bad.

You can probably see from this photo that the fit is a tiny bit off under the arms. But whatever. The other thing I would alter about the fit if I were to make this again is to lengthen the bodice by an inch. I am pretty short in the torso and this still hits me just above my natural waist. I guess that works with the skirt that's drafted to go with the pattern, but when it's attached to a fuller skirt a slightly longer bodice would be a bit more flattering.

If I'm making it sound like I'm on the fence about this dress, I'm not! Despite a few small niggles, I'm really happy with it and I think the style works really well with the fabric. I really enjoyed sewing it - the instructions for putting the bodice together and attaching the neckline flap thing were typically excellent, and the fabric was gorgeous to work with. I've been thinking about getting an overlocker - and I might in the next few months - but I really enjoy finishing seams by turning and stitching them. For some reason, that was really enjoyable with this dress. I bound the hem with pink bias binding - I had bought it for the inside of the hem, but that little extra stripe of pink at the bottom seemed like a nice touch.

Although I am pretty accustomed to dressing up in everyday life, this dress does feel extra dressy for some reason. It might be to do with the vibrant colours or the bold print, I'm not sure. Maybe I'll feel differently about it when I wear it with sandals and a cardigan, though. Either way, while it might not be as Holy Fuckballs Amazing as the actual Le Comptoir Général, it's a nice reminder of that fabulous place. They have a shop on their mezzanine called Le Marché Noir, which sells secondhand clothes imported from African countries, fabrics and handmade clothes and crafts. Nic and I had a little potter around it on one of the days and it's very cool - but I had already basically blown my day's budget on fabric by that point, so we didn't buy anything. Still - it was excellent inspiration - especially the handmade dresses. The maxi dresses and panelled skirts have already inspired a few other creations, which you'll see on here before too long. The last four dresses I've made have been made from wax block print cottons. I just can't resist those beautiful colours and prints!

Inside Le Comptoir Général on a rainy day - and testing out the sepia function on our camera

Anyway, I'm going to leave you with one more photo. I was going to show you a picture of the back of the dress because the neckline flap looks really cute at the centre back seam. But I can't bring myself to do it because I have a seriously goofy back. I mean it! I always have photos taken of the back of a garment because, you know, I think it's the good sewing blogger thing to do. You know, it's good to see what the back looks like. But fuck it. I look enough of a doofus from the front without my back trying to steal the show. I thought I pulled stupid faces - but I actually have a stupid back. DERP. So here's one more of the front. And, in respect to the comments on a previous post, I'm also going to include photos of some of the other fabrics I bought in Paris. Then I'm going to go and make a Sloe Gin Fizz and watch the S1 finale of Blue Bloods because we got to the end of S2 of Hannibal and S2 of Elementary and are out of good crime shows to watch. TEN FOUR. COPY THAT.

I know it's hard to believe my back could look dopier than my face, but you'll just have to take my word for it.

Heart print cotton lawn - I bought this 3m coupon in Coupons de Saint Pierre, I think it was €15. I think it's twee as fuck, but I love the colours.

Chinese vase print cotton poplin and floral cotton voile, both also from Coupons de Saint Pierre

Pineapple print cotton poplin, bicycle print denim and blue and pink polka dots, all from the same place. The bird print cotton lawn was from Dreyfus and I think it was the only thing I bought on the whole trip that I had cut for me!

Star print wax cotton and random hot air balloon poplin, both from Tissus Toto. I've already sewed the star-print cotton, but I have to get photos of what I've made! If you want a preview, you can see it on my instagram.