Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Frederick, I have an important question. Why do humans not like me, call me 'Craphead'?

Well hello, all you lovely lot. Nic is out this evening, I have a crappy film on in the background and I thought the time was right to do a little blogging. The film is We Need To Talk About Kevin and it is very, very crappy. Lionel Shriver is obviously extremely cancelled, but I have read the book and the film was 50p in CEX, so here we are. I'm probably not going to make it the whole way through the film, but I will try to make it the whole way through the post.

The craic here is pretty minimal. August is always a bit of an odd month at work because there is a lot to do, but no need to be in the office to do it, so I generally work from home a lot. This is good and bad - little need to get up early or to be on public transport, but a lot of time spent looking at various spreadsheets and reports and not talking to anyone all day long. And while I hardly ever get that Sunday night feeling on a Sunday night, it is the best way to describe how I often feel during August - a strange dread of the autumn and the changes it always brings. I am not emotionally ready to say goodbye to the summer - the prospect of nine or ten months of grey skies, rain and cold is in no way appealing to me.

But anyway, I don't mean to be miserable. I think Tilda Swinton's very distressing haircut in this shitty film isn't really helping the old creative instinct!

As the heatwave left us a few weeks ago, my mind began to turn towards autumnal and winter sewing. In the depths of last winter, when life was extremely stressful, I went to Topshop and I bought a denim dungaree dress:

Me, in December, stressed out to the max. I bought the dungaree dress out of curiosity, really, to see if I liked the style and it suited me. The whole entire sewing blogosphere had gone mad for the Tilly and the Buttons Cleo pinafore and I was extremely certain that I did not want to spend the time making and fitting one, but I was happy enough to spend £35 to see if the style suited me. I ended up wearing this (and a burgundy cord one that Nic bought me a few weeks later) a fair bit in the winter. It's not that I loved wearing it or that was was warm and comfortable, but I honestly think that in a very stressful and unhappy time, it was comforting to wear something that looked so childish. If I couldn't go back to the comfort and safety of childhood, at least I could look like I had.

I probably will wear this dungaree dress again this autumn and winter. I still don't have a lot of interest in making a Cleo dress because, whilst I think this style looks good on other people, I'm not convinced of it on myself. I liked wearing denim again though and a few weeks ago I started to feel the urge to get some denim into my handmade wardrobe, so I bought the Victory Patterns Madeleine skirt pattern and some nice denim from Ray Stitch.

It's not a new pattern but I had never considered making it before because I don't wear skirts. I haven't worn a skirt since about 2007 and I had just decided that they didn't suit me. So I'm not sure what it was that put this pattern into my head, but it got in there and it just wouldn't leave. Isn't it funny how that can happen? 

Anyway, the pattern and the denim arrived and then I faffed around for a while wondering whether I would be wasting my time making it. Like, would I actually wear it? It sounds silly, but I really got in my head about it. I can't even think why - maybe it's a side-effect of having spent too much time working from home! I had a few days off at the end of last week and decided to get cracking on it, and I spent Thursday morning and Friday afternoon sewing it. And I love it. LOVE LOVE LOVE it. 

Victory Patterns Madeleine skirt, stripy top from Marks & Spencer, Tatty Devine necklace and Swedish Hasbeens heart sandals

So yeah, I look goofy as fuck in this photo but I don't care. I really like how this skirt turned out!

The pattern is rated as suitable for beginners and I would say this is fair - it's a very simple design that is elevated by cute details like the giant pockets and the braces. I took my time over sewing it and nothing in it was very complicated. Although, do you remember I said I got in my head about making it? I did this about my measurements and which size to cut. The finished garment measurements put in me a 10, but when it came to cutting out the fabric I worried that it would be too small, so I cut out the 12... which turned out to be much too big! I ended up recutting the waistband to a 10 and then sewing large seam allowances at the side seams to get the skirt to fit the waistband. It wasn't a problem but I was pretty irritated with myself for making such a rookie error!

Braces, baby!

Really the only bit that caused me any grief was unpicking basting stitches, which I stupidly did in navy thread. I went out for dinner with my friend Charlotte on Thursday night and we shared a bottle of wine, for which the hangover gods decided to punish me whilst unpicking these bastard invisible basting stitches on Friday afternoon. 

To be fair, it wasn't as bad as all that. I'd only had a few glasses of wine, after all. Still, I needed a strategic nap, a cry and some hash browns before I could get back on it. But after that it was all smooth sailing!

Here is one of my pockets! I probably should have bought topstitching thread and a needle and all that to do the topstitching on this dress, but I didn't. I bought a few spools of Gutermann thread in this golden colour and played about about with the triple stitch a bit on my machine and used that. It's not super even, but honestly I think the skirt is quirky enough that 100% perfect topstitching isn't a huge priority (but hey, if you want to judge me for it, enjoy yourself.) The pockets are very large and they are not flattering in the sense that they draw attention to the widest part of my body (my hips) but that's fine. 

The braces are optional and removable. The pattern calls for two hidden buttons in the back of the waistband and two buttons on the front of the waistband. I have had these gaudy anchor buttons in my stash for years - like, I think I might have bought them in Walthamstow in 2011? I was very glad to use them, at any rate. The pattern has two different lengths for the braces and this is the short length. I think I could have sewed the buttonholes slightly further apart - wearing the braces makes this skirt quite high-waisted - but I have enough denim left over to make a second pair if I want them.

I do love how the braces look. I was a little worried that they would slip down the whole time and be annoying, but I wore the skirt for a day out on Saturday and they weren't an issue at all.

Here's me wearing essentially the exact same look on Saturday, pictured here with Delia Derbyshire.

I enjoyed wearing the skirt so much on Saturday that I wore it again on Sunday. It was extremely cold and rainy and miserable and I was unhappy about having to wear boots, but I styled it out:

Yes, my t-shirt DOES have Johnny 5 on it! Nic bought it for me from Underboard earlier in the summer - I didn't have anything to wear it with and it was too good to wear as just pyjamas. Maybe I made a skirt just so this t-shirt could get an outing?! You might not know this about me, but Short Circuit 2 is one of my favourite films ever. NOT Short Circuit, which is vastly inferior, but Short Circuit 2 - it is very problematic in some respects (Fisher Stevens in brownface... like, WTF) but as a story of an outsider trying to be accepted by society it is ICONIC.

Me, strongly feeling myself in my Johnny 5 t-shirt

So, a surprising success but a success. I am very happy with my skirt and I liked the denim so much that I bought more - inspired by Zoe's version, I'm going to have a go at making the Jennifer Lauren Ivy pinafore dress. I'm far less certain that it'll suit me, but it'll give me the option of dressing like a toddler when things get tough without me worrying about flashing my bum to the world because yeah, that Topshop dunagree dress is short.

There probably isn't room in my wardrobe for many multiples of the Madeleine skirt, but I do think it would look very nice in red. So perhaps I will make myself a red one... red denim, or red drill? I'm on the lookout for something suitable. A cheery red skirt might help see me through the dark days of winter. It might.

Look, no reason for this photo. It doesn't add much, but I think I look cute in it. This stripy t-shirt is from Topshop.

So that is the craic with me anyway. The terrible film is over and I have run out of things to say, so I'm off. Until next time, mes amies. Good night!

Friday, August 03, 2018

Police work wouldn't be possible without coffee. No work would be possible without coffee.

Hello my dears! Unsurprisingly, the dream of blogging more often has sort of fallen by the wayside in the face of a busy summer. But, sure, what can you do.

Anyway, things are grand here. I had a busy July at work with lots of meetings and then running a recruitment exercise on top of that so doing lots of sifting and interviewing. Spending long days in often windowless meeting rooms isn't optimal during a heatwave, but at least my wardrobe of 90-95% summer dresses and 18,000 pairs of sandals was up to the job.

Nic and I have just come back from a long weekend in Northern Ireland to catch up with my family. The last time I was home was in March and it was FUCKING FREEZING, so it was really good to have a few days in Northern Ireland when the weather was actually mostly decent. I am biased, but Northern Ireland really is very beautiful when the weather is nice and it has just been too long since I have been able to enjoy that. It was a brilliant, if utterly exhausting weekend.

On Thursday night, we went to the shore of Lough Neagh at Maghery, which is about half an hour away from my parents' house. My dad wanted to scope out where the moonrise might be as he wanted to take photos of the blood moon - sadly, he wasn't able to do this because the weather changed, but it was still so nice to get down to the loughshore on such a lovely evening.

On Saturday, we went to Belfast. It was actually quite a classic Northern Irish summer day - by that I mean it was cold, there were gale-force winds and it was shitting it down with rain. When I looked at the forecast for the weekend earlier in the week, it looked like it would be fine and dry so this change in the weather necessitated an emergency trip to Joules to buy a coat (for which I was scolded on Instagram by someone who told me I was stupid for not checking the weather forecast, and then that I must have been unable to understand it when I said that actually yes, I HAD in fact looked at the forecast. Ugh.) Naturally, I decided that this would be a great day to take Nic to the Titanic quarter. Love to be at the shipyards when there is a severe weather warning, what can I say?!

On Sunday, we went to Portstewart Strand so I could put my feet into the Atlantic. It turned out to be a reasonably stressful day trying to organise a large group of people who utterly resist any kind of organisation. It was worth it, though, for these views:

I MEAN. It was actually the first time I had been to Portstewart (growing up, we always went to Portrush because, Barrys, right?!) but I definitely want to go back so I can explore this beach without having to worry about pleasing anyone else.

It was really good to be back amongst my people for a few days - even if it wasn't relaxing, as such, there is something really special about going home and I love Northern Ireland a lot.

Me and my daddy in beautiful(!) Dungannon (which my computer tries to autocorrect to 'dungeon' like, lol)

That's the craic there. It's been a busy but good summer so far and I am looking forward to a slightly more relaxing August.

Clearly I have been sewing, so today I'm going to show you a dress I made recently. Last month, I bought Love Sewing magazine because I was intrigued by the pattern that was the cover gift:

The pattern is McCall's 7714, which has a cute princess-seamed bodice, an inset waistband and options for a full pleated or slim skirt. It's probably obvious to anyone why I liked this pattern, but I was also very into the fabric used on the cover, which is some cotton duck from Cath Kidston. I liked it so much that I decided that I had to have this specific dress. You can wring your hands if you want over my lack of creativity and I will not care. I loved this dress, I wanted to make it, and I could so I DID.

Mossby Strand dress - McCall's 7714 in Cath Kidston 'Whitby Waters' fabric, worn with Swedish Hasbeens Suzanne sandals

I've sewn enough McCall's and Butterick patterns now to be fairly familiar with their block and I find that it largely fits my body quite well with minimal adjustments. For this dress, I shortened the bodice along the petite lines and I took a little wedge out of the back neckline and that was it. I think there is an error in the pattern - the waistband piece for the size 10 bodice just did not fit the bodice pieces, and I'm not sure if the bodice or the waistband is out. I discovered this when I made a toile and was able to work around it - I just drew another waistband to the appropriate measurements, which was very easy because it is just a rectangle. 

Even though I made a toile, I found the finished dress to be a little big and after I took these photos, I went back and took it in by 5/8 on each side and I am much happier with the fit now.

The fabric isn't a dressmaking fabric - it's a heavier-weight cotton with no drape. That said, it is quite soft and is surprisingly comfortable to wear. It was easy to work with and takes the pleats really well. These Cath Kidston prints are usually around £20 per metre and are very wide, but I got this in the sale at £10 per metre and I bought 2m.

We live far away from the sea but I was able to take the dress for a dip in the local toddler pool - it was abandoned at this point because of the football.

I wish I could think of more to say about this dress, but I am a bit stuck for words! Apart from the annoying waistband thing, it was very straightforward to sew and I have worn it lots. Obviously I love the print - I am still not over my love of all things nautical - and, having avoided patterns with set-in waistbands for ages, I am delighted to have found a pattern that works on me. I also really like the v-neck, which is just the right shape for me!

There is an option for a round neck, which I will also make at some point. There are princess seamed bodices and princess seamed bodices, if you know what I mean, and this is one of the good ones so I am sure it will be put to work many times in the future.

The dress is named for a place I have never been - Mossby Strand in Skåne, Sweden. I've been working my way through the Henning Mankell Wallander books over the past few months, having watched and loved the Krister Henriksson television series last year. I have watched a few episodes of the BBC adaptation as well, known in our household as Brannander, but I'm not a fan - despite them being very faithful adaptations of the books, there's just minus craic in them. It's a shame, because I am overall quite a fan of my fellow countryman Branagh, but it turns out that he can't hold a candle to my One True Wallander, Krister Henriksson. Also, you know, I just CANNOT with Tom Hiddlestone, so there is also that.

Linda and Svartman. One of the reasons I can't get along so well with the BBC series is a lack of Linda as policewoman and no Svartman - the character was created for the Swedish TV series and sort of based on the Svedberg character in the books, but he is so great in the TV show for being a little bit crap. I love him.

I don't mean to be some Nordic Noir wanker and it's not really a question of authenticity or anything - my preference is largely down to the fact that the Swedish series is just much better craic. Also, because it starts with Before The Frost, the first 13 episodes and the final six episodes feature Linda Wallander as a policewoman. I loved Johanna Sällström's performance as Linda in the early episodes (she sadly died in 2007) but overall the Swedish version just has lots more women in it and they're all awesome.

Anyway, at around the time I was making this dress, I was reading The Troubled Man, and in it, Wallander reflects on a place that has become emotionally significant to him over the years:

Every time he came back to [Mossby Strand] he had the feeling that this stretch of coast, not very remarkable in itself, certainly not all that pretty, was nevertheless one of the central points of his life. This was where he had taken Linda for walks when she was a little girl; this was where he had tried to make peace with Mona when she told him she wanted a divorce. This was also where, ten years ago, Linda had told him about her ambition to become a police officer, and that she had already been offered a place at the police academy. And it was here that Linda had told him she was pregnant. 

I'm often asked how I come up with the names for my dresses and how I remember them and there isn't one answer to this question, but one of the answers is that they're named for places or moments or thoughts that I'd like to keep hold of, and this is one such example.

So yeah. That's the craic with me. I must go now and get on with my Friday, but I'm sure I'll be back soon. Have a good one!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

You are strong, you are a Kelly Clarkson song, you've got this!

Hello hello HELL-OOOH!

I hope you're all grand. I'm feeling pretty grand: I have been (mostly) enjoying the warm, sunny weather - on the one hand I do not enjoy the hayfever and the fact that I swell up in the heat (sooooo attractive, right?) but on the other hand I am getting lots of wear out of my large collection of sandals.

I'm currently feeling pretty good because my summer of horrible work travel is almost over - I am done with trips to Slough and Milton Keynes for the forseeable future and apart from one day in Doncaster, the summer is looking blissfully free of budget hotels in places I don't want to be. It's the little things, really. It's good to find happiness in the little things because, fuck knows, there is more than enough misery in the world at the moment.

I've been spending lots of time enjoying the sunshine, reading, watching TV and films and sewing. Towards the end of last year, when life was extremely stressful and I was very bummed out by the endless winter, I made a promise to myself to make time to read every evening before going to sleep. This isn't a big committment - all throughout my life, I have loved to read, but I had fallen out of the habit of making time to read regularly. It's something that is probably familiar to lots of us - I was spending time in the evening scrolling through twitter, which left me too exhausted to read but too wound up to sleep. Putting my phone away and making myself pick up a book instead was an easy solution and it didn't take long to make it into a habit again.

Since January, I have read 30 books, all but one of which have been books I've read for the first time. A lot of it has been comfort reading in the sense that I know the characters from TV - I've read a fair few Ian Rankin Rebus books and I've been getting into Henning Mankell's Wallander in a big way, but I've also read some great non-fiction and a few books I've been meaning to read for a while. It has widened my tastes in reading and while I've only read one total dud (Naomi Alderman's The Power - I hated it and I can't really explain why) I have read a few books that I really loved, like The Light Years by Elizabeth Jane Howard.

Nic and I spent one rainy afternoon in Paris reading and drinking in a neighbourhood bar in Batignolles and it was perfect.

The TV and film situation has been good too, although I have been making less of an effort to only watch new things. Earlier this year, on a whim, I bought S1 of LA Law on DVD - Nic and I finally got to the end of NYPD Blue and I wanted to watch something else starring Jimmy Smits that wasn't The West Wing (wonderful, but too depressing to watch it given the monster that is currently in the white house) or Sons of Anarchy (lol but no.) In addition, I figured that something co-created by Stephen Bochco and Terry Louise Fisher with a theme tune by Mike Post would be right up my street. AND I WAS RIGHT. I love it.

I mean, what's not to like? I love a good legal drama, the cast is fantastic and the title sequence is literally a solid minute and a half of people walking in and out of conference rooms while synthesisers and saxophones play. It is SO good.

It's also very encouraging to be watching and enjoying so much something that was first broadcast in the late 80s - the next time someone hectors me for not having watched something yet, I will remind them that the current hot TV shows will still be around in a few years time. But also that I have less than no interest in ever watching Breaking Bad. That's even more of a lol, no than Sons of Anarchy.

Anyway... SEWING, one of my other interests and the thing that probably brings you to this blog. Today I'm going to show you a dress I made in May, from fabric that I bought last year. The craic with this dress is that last autumn, I fell in love with one of the fabrics from Gertie's range for Spotlight stores in Australia - this fabric:

Now, I'm not in Australia and Spotlight don't ship internationally, but luckily for me there is a wonderful international community of sewing people who will help a sister out. The amazing Colette kindly agreed to get hold of some of the fabric and post it to me, which just left me with the dilemma of what to do with it. Thankfully, Gertie herself solved that problem by way of her collaboration with Butterick:

Butterick B6556

I love border prints but I find they can be a little bit tricky to work with - working perpendicular to the grain rather than parallel to it changes the fit, and with such lovely fabric I didn't want to risk ending up with a dress that was a pain to fit. B6556 is the perfect pattern to use with a border print like this one, though as, judging by the grainlines on the pattern pieces, it has been drafted to work well with border prints.

I started by making a bodice toile, which showed me that I needed to shorten the bodice by an inch. Then I made a wearable toile with wax cotton from my stash that has the print running parallel to the selvedge:

Love Like Mine dress - Butterick B6556 in umbrella print wax cotton, worn with Swedish Hasbeens heart sandals

I didn't have enough of the fabric to use the skirt pieces from the pattern and I wasn't sure about the notched neckline so I straightened it. I don't love the finished article but I can't put my finger on why - I think it's just that I don't love the colours on me - so I have packed it away to reassess it at a later date. Because I had some reservations about the dress, I decided to make another one before cutting into my precious rose fabric, so I made another version with some fabric I got from Marie's destash:

No Tea No Shade dress, worn with Swedish Hasbeens Katja sandals

This time, I did sew the notched neckline and I had enough fabric to sew the skirt from the pattern and I LOVED the finished dress. Don't let the necklace fool you: this was love:

Amazing Nope necklace by my good friend Storij Designs

I was convinced, so I finally took the plunge and cut into my lovely rose fabric:

Games People Play dress worn with Swedish Hasbeens peep-toe sandals

There isn't a huge amount to say about the construction of this dress - I can't really speak to the instructions as I just glanced at them, but it all came together pretty much as you might expect. As you can see, I didn't sew sleeves on my dress - the photo on the envelope gave me the impression that they would be quite restrictive as the armscye looks to come quite far down the arm - I might be totally wrong about it, but it looks like it might be difficult to fit.

Look at that neckline!

But that note of caution aside, I do really like this pattern. I think the shape of the neckline is really sweet and I love the full, pleated skirt. The back neckline is also quite lovely:

A rare sighting of my back! I used a concealed zip rather than the lapped one called for in the pattern, just because this is what I prefer.

I really love the finished dress and I feel super fancy when I wear it. It had its first outing in Paris for a day in Montmartre. I took it to visit the Rue Caulaincourt pizza man:

You know he's serious about making pizza because he is wearing a vest.

I wore it to drink champagne on a roof terrace:

Me, the Tour Montparnasse, the Tour Eiffel and a glass of Laurent-Perrier

I wore it to drink rosé on a roof terrace:

The dress and I had a lovely day.

It feels a bit dressy for everyday, which is partly because of the fabric, which is cotton sateen with a bit of a sheen to it and partly because the neckline is a bit lower than I am used to. But, for the times when I can't wear it to drink champagne in Paris, I might make like Carrie Bradshaw, for whom the dress is named, and tell people I'm wearing it because it's laundry day:

This was one of my other inspirations for this dress, although I hope that wearing it does not result in having to have sex with Jon Bon Jovi.

So that's the craic with this dress, which really does feel like an international sewing blogger effort what with the design coming from America and the fabric coming from Australia. I didn't really contribute anything to it, to be honest, but at least I treated the dress right and took it on holiday to Paris. I'm good that way.

Anyway now it's time for me to scoot on and maybe watch an episode of LA Law. I'd normally insert a gif here but the show is so old now that it's hard to find gifs of it so instead here's Jonathan from Queer Eye because he is an angel sent to bless us with his sweetness:

Good night, honeys!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Do you know where I might find a Detective Chief Inspector... looks like "Mouse"?

Why hello there, it's yourselves! I hope you're all well. I'm currently enjoying this ridiculously sunny and warm weather - as a faintly blue-tinged Irish woman, I'm not really physically compatible with such heat (I swell up, I get heatrash, I burn REALLY easily) but as someone who has 11,000 pairs of sandals and even more sundresses, I am very happy to be seeing the sun. I have been busy trying to get back into the swing of work and I had the unmitigated joy of spending last week in delightful Slough. Did I say 'unmitigated joy'? Hmm... that's not quite what I mean.

It was a pretty trying week, to be honest. It was a week of extremely busy days in a fairly unsuitable environment with very little to do in the evenings, because Slough is generally quite shit and horrible (apologies to any readers in Slough... but, I mean, I'm not wrong.) It was better than it could have been becuase my colleagues are lovely, the much prettier town of Windsor was a short walk away and... well, the week eventually came to an end and I was able to come home. My own bed never seemed quite so sweet as it did after a week spent in a budget hotel next to Slough railway station. I was meant to be spending most of the first week of July in a similar budget hotel situation in Milton Keynes (I do not get to have fun work travel, sadly) but thankfully those plans have changed. I don't think I would have been able to cope with all of that excitement.

Slough internet... one of the issues during the week was how slow the internet was when we needed to get all of the work done on an online system. Communictations Limited was extremely apt.

Slough aside, life is pretty good. I've been enjoying the good weather and trying to make the most of it by having nice days out whenever possible. Over the last few months, Nic and I have been taking occasional day-trips to Oxford. It's only a 35-minute train journey from Leamington but as neither of us much like the city centre, it's not somewhere we had previously been interested in going to very often. This changed a few months back when we decided to explore the outlying suburbs and we had a lovely day in Jericho.

Here's me acting the fashion blogger on Observatory Street in Jericho.

On the day of the royal wedding, we had a very pleasant day pottering along the Thames path. A few weeks ago, we decided to walk along the canal to Wolvercote and find some riverside pubs - as Morse fans, we decided to aim for The Trout (which Morse visits in The Wolvercote Tongue and Second Time Around) with anything else being a bonus - we also ended up in The Perch at Binsey (which Morse and Lewis visited in The Daughters of Cain.) I decided to wear a dress that I made back in April for the occasion:

La Piscine dress - Butterick 6333/McCall's 6696 mash-up in Lou Taylor swimmers cotton worn with Swedish Hasbeens heart sandals.

So, the craic with this dress is THIS FABRIC.


The fabric is by the amazing Lou Taylor and is based on her swimmers design from the Lido collection. I love Lou Taylor's designs and own quite a few of her pieces - the swimmer necklace this print is based on was the first one I bought.

I love this swimmers necklace a whole lot. You can get it here and that's not an affiliate link.

Over the last while, Lou has been working on fabric and accessories based on her prints and she got in touch with me in March to see if I would be interested in testing out the dress-weight version of her lovely swimmers cotton. I don't mind telling you that I leaped at this - I was extremely excited by the thought of a Lou Taylor dress! I even had an inspiration dress in mind - this swimmer-print shirt-dress from Palava:

Louise swimmers dress from Palava - also not an affiliate link!

Lou sent me 3 metres of swimmers fabric, which is 150cm wide. I decided that I wanted quite a classic shirt-dress shape - something along the lines of M6696, but without a waistband as I didn't think it would work well with the print. I decided to do a mash-up of B6333 and M6696 - the bodice from B6333 with the skirt and collar from M6696. It turned out to be a match made in heaven - or at least, I think so!

I dithered for a while over what colour buttons I should use - I thought that dark blue buttons would blend in and leave the focus on the print, but in the end I went for these cute orange buttons from the fabric shop I am lucky enough to have at the top of my street. I think they are brilliant - they stand out really nicely and give the dress an even more fun, retro feeling!

The amazing Kraken necklace is from Birch, Please.

I don't have a huge amount to say about the construction of this dress because it was very straightfoward. Blending the two patterns together was very easy as they're from the same family, so they fit together really nicely. The fabric was very well-behaved to work with - it's a medium-weight poplin with a slight texure to it (almost with a linen feel) that takes very well to pressing.

A limited amount of the fabric went on sale in April and it sold out very quickly. Real talk - it was expensive. It was (I think) £65 per metre, which made it the most expensive fabric I have ever worked with. I can't argue with the price - the fabric is very lovely quality, of course, but what you're paying for is the design, which is wonderful. Lou Taylor doesn't have fabric available to buy at the moment, but if she brought out more prints in future I would be seriously tempted - particularly if the lobster print ever became available!

I'm currently growing the henna out of my hair, hence the weird two-tonedness of it in these photos! I had it cut last week and it's looking better... but just in case you were wondering why I was bringing the red panda realness!

After making my shirt-dress, I had about 1.2m of fabric left - which turned out to be enough to eke another dress out of! The print isn't directional and the fabric is lovely and wide, so I was able to make an Emery dress with a pleated skirt from it. I'm not sorry to have this amazing print in my wardrobe more than once.

Passport to Pimlico dress - Christine Haynes Emery dress worn with Swedish Hasbeens Merci sandals

Obviously I have been wearing the dresses with my swimmers necklace - you might be able to see it in the photo above - I mean, obviously it's too much, but it's not like that has ever stopped me in the past. A few weeks ago I ordered another Lou Taylor necklace to wear with them - this crab necklace. I am super excited for it to arrive!

So anyway, back to our day out in Oxford. We had a lovely time. I drank champagne and chatted with the ducks at The Trout, had lemonade in the sunshine at The Perch and ate a masala dosa near the railway station before getting the train home.

Loving life, trying to keep my champagne away from the ducks. You know yourself.

That's the craic with me. This weekend we're off to Birmingham as we have been invited to a cocktail party with some friends and we're hoping to also fit in seeing Dippy on tour at the Museum and Art gallery and maybe even a sneaky trip to the champagne bar in the Cube... you know how I roll! So with that in mind, I must go and tackle some of the giant ironing pile that is threatening to eat my living room... but, after a week in Slough I'm still feeling so good about being at home that even ironing seems enjoyable. Goodnight!