Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Fundamentally, people are suckers for the truth. And the truth is on your side, Bubba.

Evening, evening! Now, first up - I drew the winner of the £50 ASOS giveaway at random, and the winner is Marie of A Stitching Odyssey! Congratulations, Marie! Appliances Online also sent me a £25 voucher to thank me for hosting the giveaway, and I put it towards that checked dress. It's so rare now that I will buy a new dress, but this one has been on my wish-list for an age, so I'm pretty happy about that. Hurrah!

Anyway, I hope everyone is having a good week. Mine got better today as it was payday, and I was finally able to do a couple of things I've needed to do: order the Anna dress pattern from By Hand London; book annual leave for August and flights home and book train tickets to the London meet-up on Saturday. I was also going to buy some shoes, but the pair I wanted had sold out in my size. Ah! More money for fabric, I suppose. I also bought a bottle of wine and some trifle because you have to have some treats, right?

So, on Friday last week Jo of The Amazing Taracat posted her latest make - a fabulous mash-up of two of my most favourite patterns, Sewaholic's Cambie dress and By Hand London's Elisalex. I was immediately seized with a powerful desire to also combine these two patterns - I even had some gingham in my stash if I wanted to shamelessly stalk poor Jo. I was working at home on Friday so as soon as I logged off at four o'clock, I got down to sewing! I decided not to use the gingham - which, to be fair, I already had ear-marked for another project - and went for some more eccentric Paris fabric. I must have been in the zone because by 7:15, I had a dress all finished apart from the hem. That's pretty fucking fast, even for me, but I was so enthusiastic! And here's what I made...

Rue des Poissionniers dress - a fabulous Cambie-Elisalex mash-up, worn with Irregular Choice Mermaid shoes and a vintage handbag

These two patterns are such a beautiful match - major MAJOR props to Jo for putting them together. I cut my regular size in both (size 8 Cambie bodice, size 12 Elisalex skirt) and the only adjustment I really had to make was around the pleats in the skirt. I just did as Jo did, and made them work with the darts on the front and back bodice pieces. Job done. It was super-easy, which is partly why it all came together so swiftly. I loves it!

The fabric came from Paris and it's another pretty eccentric print. Nic spotted it in Coupons Saint Pierre and I have to confess that I mainly bought it because it made me laugh for about five minutes. So, from a distance it looks pretty standard, like a map or a sea-chart. Up close, though, those "islands" are shaped like fish, and the writing all over it is either the names of types of fish, or just generally nonsensical names and terms. It's pretty surreal. I showed it to my friend Michael last week and after looking at it while I ragged on it, he said all seriously that he thought it was so weird it was beautiful. I'll take that.

I like this little shoal of islands. 

I have to say, though, I think it does look fab made up as a dress. My random Paris fabric selections have all turned out to be winners - I think I'm going to have to go back! And to always take Nic fabric shopping with me, because he has a good eye.

This isn't the best photo, but it gives you a better idea of the print

So, as I said, apart from the hemming I was able to sew this up very quickly. This is in large part down to the fact that I am extremely familiar with both patterns now. But I don't want you all thinking I was cutting corners or anything - I'm also pretty happy with how my dress is finished. The bodice is lined, as the Cambie dress is, and the skirt is unlined. I finished my skirt seams by pinking them:

As I usually sew with cotton, my preferred seam finish has been turning and stitching. However, I've recently been really enjoying pinking seams. I think it looks so neat and pretty and it holds up well - I have seen vintage dresses that are forty or fifty years old that have pinked seams and that are still going strong! 

I finished the dress on Sunday when I hemmed the skirt by hand, and then I put it on and headed down to the Pump Room Gardens to the fair. I love the fair, although it's a bit crap this year. I mainly just like eating candyfloss and going on the waltzers:

PENIS CANDYFLOSS. I'd like to say it looked less like a penis in real life but I honestly don't know. I was too busy eating it and trying to keep it out of my hair. Still though, this is a pretty convincing cock and balls candyfloss, isn't it? And all for the low, low price of £2. Bargain.

Here's a slightly more dignified picture of the bodice. It's not as funny, though, is it?

I've paired the Elisalex bodice with loads of other skirts, but until Jo posted her Cambilex dress, I hadn't thought of using the skirt in other iterations. I will again though, because I really LOVE the exaggerated shape of the skirt. I know it's not to everyone's taste, but I love the tulip shape. It looks great from behind, in my opinion:


Hi, that zip does look better in real life. Just FYI. Look at those pleats, though, aren't they fabulous? I love this skirt pattern, for real. I also love that, for once, the bandstand wasn't full of teenagers so I could pose there. Thanks, teenagers. I guess you were all pretty busy on the extra-scary rides at the fair.

And that's that. Cambie and Elisalex. Two great tastes that taste great together. Thanks for the tip, Jo!