Friday, October 24, 2014

Sorry, Joan. Your sandwiches exceeded the required six centimetres in width.

Hola people, happy Friday! I hope everyone has been having a good week. This week has been pretty full-on for me at work, and until last night I was suffering from insomnia as well. I was working from home today and managed to sleep for ten hours last night (going to bed at 9:30 woot woot) so this week I've been too tired to do much of anything, basically.

Although my new job doesn't officially start until next week, I've unofficially been doing it for some time and I'm still getting used to the change. I have additional responsibilities, which I was prepared for, but actually the biggest shift for me has been the mental shift into the new job. I'm pretty conscientious at work anyway, but I've really been feeling the pressure from within to not only get things right, but to get them REALLY right. It's my inner overachiever, I guess. That bitch keeps her mouth well shut when it comes to sewing, but she never shuts up about work matters!

Thankfully, towards the end of the week I started to feel like I had a better grip on what I need to get done over the next few months so I was able to start sleeping better and feel more confident. I haven't managed to do any sewing this week but I have a lovely clear weekend ahead of me and two exciting sewing projects to get cracking on so it's all good. It'll mainly be nice to have time to think about something other than work, you know?

Anyway, that's the craic there. And I do have a dress to blog about today - well, because I usually blog when I have a new dress to show off. I made this dress before the craziness of this week hit, using some fabric I bought in Belfast when I had a few hours of fabric shopping with Kestrel Makes. Belfast city centre has two fabric shops, but we both ended up buying fabric in the Cath Kidston store. There is actually a Cath Kidston store in Leamington, but it doesn't sell fabric, so I felt a little less bad buying something so generic as a sort of holiday souvenir! The fabric I bought is described as 'cotton duck' and the print is called 'Camden' - I don't think it's available to buy online, but if you have a local store that stocks fabric you might be able to get some.

So anyway. Cath Kidston seems to use the term 'cotton duck' in a fairly generic way to describe their slightly heavier weight cotton canvas. That's just a word of warning that they're not all created equal. The Camden print is a medium weight canvas and, while I'm sure it's not really designed for garments, it worked just fine here.

Nancy Spain dress - By Hand London Elisalex bodice with skirt from Simplicity 1419, worn with Irregular Choice 'Can't Touch This' heels*

This dress was extremely simple to put together. It's basically my favourite bodice pattern - the princess-seamed bodice from the Elisalex dress - attached to the pleated skirt from Simplicity 1419. And because this print isn't directional and the fabric is 150cm wide, I was able to get this dress out of a metre of fabric. BOOM. Just as well, really. Cath Kidston fabric is pretty but very overpriced at £20 a metre.

Bodice view - so you can see the print more clearly

I spent a bit of time in the shop dithering over whether to buy this, the train print or the London bus print fabric. In the end, this won out because the print is so loud! (Spoiler: I did subsequently buy some of the London bus fabric) It feels very 60s to me, and it's a bit unlike the more typical ditsy floral that Cath Kidston is known for. The label said that this fabric could shrink by up to 5% so I made extra sure to pre-wash it before sewing with it. This is something I always do anyway - it's habit now, more than anything else- but with anything that seems to be loosely woven it's a really good idea. As it happens, I don't know if this shrank at all but washing it did make it a bit softer and more pleasant to sew with.


Nic posed me like this. I'm not sure why and I'm not sure if I like it. But this is what I look like, standing like this!

I really like the skirt pattern from Simplicity 1419. The pleats to one side are flattering and it's somewhere between a-line and full, so I think it's a very pretty silhouette. The fact that the pleats don't go the whole way across the skirt made it easy to match up with the bodice of the Elisalex dress. The measurements were roughly the same, but the pleats gave me a little bit of freedom to fit the skirt and bodice together neatly, and to line the pleats up with the bodice seams. I'm really pleased with how this dress turned out - I love how much the weight of the fabric makes the skirt stick out. I'm a child that way, I guess.


Here's the back view. You can see some wrinkles in the bodice which Nic tells me aren't there in real life. He might just be telling me that. Either way, the dress is close-fitting but it doesn't feel tight! Anyway - I know people like to see the back view of handmade dresses, and this way you can see the lucite heels on some of my favourite Irregular Choice shoes too!


I didn't take any photos of the innards of this dress but, just so you know, the bodice is lined but the skirt is not. I turned and stitched the skirt seams and I finished the hem using bias binding - once I tried on the dress to decide on the length I liked the skirt length so much that I didn't want to lose any of it. 

At my surprise hen do in May, I ended up drunkenly gushing to Elisalex about how much I love the bodices of both the Elisalex and the Anna dress. She very tolerantly listened to me - because it's fucking obvious. It's why I have used them both so many times with so many different skirts! Hm, in fact, this is reminding me that I haven't sewed an Anna dress in a while... anyway, with that in mind, I'm entering this dress into their current competition - the Pattern Hackathon. Why not, right?!

I'm going to leave you with one more totally gratuitous photo, because I think this dress is really cute. Then I'm going to eat a bit of cake and make dinner. Tonight Nic and I are going to a friend's house to watch The Crow. Nic has never seen it and I haven't seen it since I was a teenager. I hope it'll stand up to a rewatch - wannabe Goth teenager Roisin fucking LOVED that film!


I wore this dress with one of my many Hell Bunny cardigans. Cardigans by a brand called "Hell Bunny" - basically all that remains of the little mini-Goth I was a teenager.

I know legit goths didn't listen to The Cure, but that's why I was merely a wannabe. Don't care though. I still have a crush on Robert Smith in the 80s.