Sunday, October 07, 2012

Home Sewing Is Easy

Hello loves! It's Sunday, some unexpected sunshine is streaming in through the window, Nic is working and we're listening to Bill Evans. It's pretty damn nice! We're heading out shortly to listen to some jazz in a nearby wine bar. It's been a good weekend, which is wonderful after the shitty week I had at work. I don't want to go into it too much here, but I had a horrible few days and I'm glad they're over and the gorgeous weather at this weekend felt almost like a reward for getting through them!

The other thing that can provide solace to a troubled mind is making, and I was able to do some of that over the weekend as well. I had a date with my sewing machine on Friday night and, as usual, the comforting chunter of the machine lifted my spirits and took my mind off my worries. When I came back to work after my holiday in Northern Ireland my dear friend SJ told me that as a birthday present, she had planned to buy me some gorgeous fabric. She knows me well, but she was overwhelmed by choice so I pointed her in the direction of Frumble and she bought me some of this:

You might recognise this as my blog header!

Generous SJ treated me to four metres of this fabric - more than enough to make whatever my heart desired! "Don't feel like you have to sew something out of it straightaway" SJ said to me, when she handed it to me "Take your time and find the perfect pattern." But you see, I didn't have to wait, I knew just what I wanted to do! Now, my fellow seamstresses will know that there are many times when you'll see something in the shops, love it, can't afford it, think to yourselves "I'll make my own" and this is exactly what I decided to do here. The lust object in question is this:

I already have one of these beautiful Limb dresses and I wear it a lot. I bought it on sale though, and while I think these dresses are totally worth the money at £99 (they're handmade by a small company, and they're beautifully made at that) I just don't have £99 to spare right now. But Butterick B5603 - previously seen as my Magnificent Obsession dress - felt like it could give me that Limb feel without being a total knock-off.

The fabric was washed and dried and cut out on Thursday night and, as I was working from home on Friday, I was able to sit down at half past four and get going. As with the Magnificent Obsession dress, this is a marvellously quick dress to sew. There are four darts - two in the skirt and two on the bodice back - and there's around a mile of seam to finish but there's nothing complicated in the construction at all. I elected to leave the bow detail off the neckline and the underbust. It would be darling in a plainer fabric but I thought it would be too busy with this one. I had taken some time with the fabric placement on the bodice and it was just so good to sew again! It's been a wee while. By 9:30 I was all done except for hemming and seam finishing, which I did on Saturday. Oh and on Saturday morning I took the (invisible side seam) zip out and put it back in to get it just right. I am pretty freaking DELIGHTED with the finished garment:

 Home Sewing is Easy dress - Butterick B5603 made from Alexander Henry cotton and worn with Irregular Choice Mermaid shoes

I'm wearing it here with a petticoat - which you can just see peeping out from underneath the hem - but like the Magnificent Obsession dress it looks just as good without. I could have done with doing a toile of this view of the bodice because, as you can see the bateau neckline doesn't lie flush against my chest. However this doesn't overly bother me because it means I don't feel too restricted. I tried to place the bodice piece to capture my favourite piece of the design:

Now really, if I was being picky I'd say that ideally I should have moved the Home Sewing is Easy bit of the print up a bit. But do you know what? I don't give a shit - and I love that you can also see the wee "burst my seams with pride" conversation!  I was totally inspired by my darling Sarah in this placement - check out her Home Sewing is Easy dress - amazing, isn't it? To be honest it's almost a shame to have to break this pattern up with seams and darts at all but before I cut into it, I photographed my favourite panels:

 "The name of my dress-maker? Why certainly! It's me!" I love this one - it looks like something Joan Crawford might have worn in Mildred Pierce

Look at that bitchy article in the pink hat. "Oh thank you. And - I made it myself!" UP YOURS BITCHY BOOTS.

Some comedy sewing terms there. Erm, using the word 'comedy' loosely, that is...

I think this one is actually my favourite. Check out the creepy little whistler in the background!

As with the bodice of the Magnificent Obsession dress, the back comes down in a v-shape in this version too:

I had the bodice most of the way put together when I thought "shit! That v-neck is going to flap around" so I took it apart and applied interfacing to the back neckline and the neckline to give them some stability. Of course it would have been better if I'd remember while I was making it, but no harm done. I'll know for next time. I hemmed the skirt by hand and, as you can see, it's long enough to wear a fluffy petticoat underneath but not an awkward length on its own. I catch-stitched the hem with hot pink thread - no-one will see it, but it makes me happy to know it's there! I turned and stitched all of my seam allowances too. It's my favourite method for finishing seams, it looks so neat on the inside and it leaves the seam allowance intact for potential future alterations. It's also quick and easy. Win win. 

I refrained from modelling this dress like the pattern envelope, this time. But Nic did encourage me to twirl and fart around a bit:


Basically the dress, she does not lie. Home sewing is easy. If you've been on the fence about this pattern in the past, go for it, it's gorgeous! For my part, I'm absolutely thrilled to have it in the wardrobe. And I can't thank my darling SJ effusively enough - not just for the fabric or the kind thought, but for being such an amazing friend in every way. SJ, if you're reading, you and this fabric and this dress make me feel like this:

Now, there is jazz to listen to and mojitos to drink. Good afternoon everyone!