Friday, June 28, 2013

I thought you had your leave, Lewis. You're always on leave!

Yo Yo Yo, what is up? It's Friday night and I'm obviously being a bad party animal as I'm at home, blogging, in my jammies. In my defence, I have to be in work at the crack of dawn tomorrow. A big old boo for Saturday working. I have cava and pizza, and I have Monday off, so I'm not going to complain too violently.

Last post I promised a new dress from a new (to me) pattern, and I'm going to deliver on that. In May, when I took part in the Coventry Cash Mob, I bought a couple of Simplicity New Look patterns from the fabric stall in Coventry market. I got chatting to the lady who runs the stall who, seeing me dressed in a fairly mid-century style, pressed a few patterns on me. One of them was New Look 6824, which is hilariously badly marketed:

It took me five minutes to stop laughing.

When I looked at the line drawings I could see a lot of potential, but this envelope is like a riot of fug. First there's the Princess Diana hair, then there's that flammable peach monstrosity. And the drawings are even worse, WTF is that weird purple sub-Ren Faire nonsense? I let her talk me into it anyway though because, as I said, the line drawings. Envelopes like this usually aren't anything to go by, even if the model in this case actually looks quite pleased with herself.

I decided to keep it simple and go with the version on the far left there, the one that seems to be made from sheets. I opted out of the fabric sash though, because I hate those. But look, I'm not beyond the odd bit of WTF myself, because here's the fabric I chose:

Sorry, not sure what's going on with the image quality there but basically here are the salient points of this fabric:
  • It's lilac
  • It has hearts on it
  • It has bones on it
  • It has dogs on it
  • It has one dog who appears to be being dog-shamed, wearing a sign that says "I heart You"
This was one of the first pieces of fabric I spotted when we were in Paris, it was in the remnants bin at the doorway of Tissus Toto on Rue Clignancourt. I hesitated over it, wondering whether I really would wear a dress covered in guilty-looking dogs. Nic persuaded me to buy it, telling me I'd regret it if I didn't. This is one of many reasons why he is basically the best boyfriend ever - other men would be embarrassed to be seen with someone dressed in fabric like this, but not Nic. What a guy! Anyway, after I bought this I reckon the wee man in Toto thought he'd found himself an easy mark - if he could offload this onto me, what else would I go for? He ended up showing me every bit of novelty fabric he had, near enough. I bought some with owls on it. I am ridiculous. 

The fabric itself is very nice. Toto specialises in African cottons and, while this doesn't have the typical wax print look, it does have that slight stiffness of waxed cotton so no real drape. It behaved perfectly with the pleated skirt.

The Toto dress
The Toto dress - NL6824 worn with Vivienne Westwood for Melissa Lady Dragon globe shoes

I cut a straight size 12, as this is what corresponded to my measurements, and I'm usually between a 10 and a 12 in Simplicity New Look patterns. The fit is fine, but I think on a future make I'll tinker a bit by taking it in ever so slightly at the princess seams under the bust. I'll also take a fair bit off the shoulder seams - after wearing this dress on Wednesday, I took the shoulder seams up by an inch and it really improved it. Still, it's nothing major and as the bodice has princess seams I think it's going to be easy to perfect in future. I really like the square neckline, it's a bit different for me but I think it's quite cute, and I love how the fabric looks made into this dress.

The Toto dress
A little view of the bodice. The other thing I will do the next time I make this is to tape the neckline - altering the shoulder seams improved how the neckline sits, but that will help as well.

But, you know, DOG DRESS. The dogs somehow manage to look even more sheepish when on a dress. I'm not sure how that works. Also, I wore this with new shoes - well, not so new now as I bought them last month, but I love them. They're sparkly, and weird, and when you walk you can feel the bauble thing bouncing around. It's an odd feeling.

So, totally fug envelope design notwithstanding, this is a great little pattern and one I can see myself getting a lot of use out of in future. 

I'm generally very fond of Simplicity Patterns, so I was really happy when they got in touch with me last week, offering to send me some patterns for myself and some to give away to my readers. I spent a bit of time picking out some patterns for myself (and ended up going for Simplicity 1882 and Simplicity 2442.) When it came to picking out some patterns to give away - well, it was obvious to me that I needed to give away one of my all-time favourite patterns - Simplicity 2444

Again with the slightly crappy envelope - did Simplicity get that horrible shiny fabric on consignment or something?!

I have sewn from this pattern six times. SIX TIMES. I'm not going to lie - when the patterns arrived, I briefly considered keeping one of these back for myself as a back-up. I might even buy a back-up, come to that. I love this pattern. You can have a look on my Handmade Wardrobe page to see some of my makes, but don't just take my word for it. Joanne of Stitch and Witter made a gorgeous bird-print version; Cynthia of Dapper Duds made an awesome bow-print one; Lynne of Ozzy Blackbeard made this fabulous measuring-tape one and Gemma Cartwright made this sassy gingham number.

I have two copies of Simplicity 2444 to give away, one in each size option. D5 is sizes 4-12 and P5 is sizes 12-20. You can check the size chart here. If you'd like to win one, just leave me a comment telling me which size you'd like. You can also tell me anything else you'd like to tell me - I'm always interested to hear what fabric you might choose, but you can tell me anything! The giveaway will close on Monday 8th July 2013 at 9pm BST, and is open to anyone anywhere. I'll select the winners at random.

I'm going to leave it here for this evening because cava and Inspector Morse

The Toto dress
Dog-shaming in dress form, and shoes with balls on. Sometimes I surprise even myself.