Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Ha ha ha ha ha. You've got to laugh when you fall off a sofa! Ruddy Sofa!

Yo yo. I hope you all are having a good week. I'm relieved to have reached Wednesday evening because this week feels like it's dragging its sorry ass, and I'm really ready for it to be the weekend and then the holidays. Things are good generally, but I can see the end in sight for this year's work and I just want it to hurry up and be the holidays already so I can go home and cuddle my new nephews and fuss over Paddy and be pampered by my parents. I know, I'm pretty spoiled!

I am spoiled, you know. Despite all of my shameless, embarrassing fangirling over By Hand London, not only have they not taken a restraining order out against me, but they sent me their new pattern! As soon as I saw the line drawings for the Georgia dress, I knew I needed it in my life. It also fit the bill pretty perfectly for what I have in mind for my (very non-traditional) wedding dress. The pattern arrived on Tuesday last week and I wanted to sew it right away, but I had a half-finished dress to complete. That dress turned out to be a wadder (you win some, you lose some, I guess) so in the afternoon I got down to tracing and then sewing Georgia. By tea-time I had a dress all done bar a bit of handsewing and the hem. Got to love that! I sewed it up using some tropical floral stretch sateen I'd bought on the Goldhawk Road:

Apologies for the horrible photo, I took it in low light with the flash. It looks really trashy here but the fabric is lovely in real life.

I had bought the fabric with the intention of making another Anna-Charlotte lovechild, but I didn't manage to get around to it before Georgia arrived. As it happened, what I have in mind for my wedding dress is a tiki-type fabric so this worked pretty well for a trial run. The stretch sateen is very forgiving and easy to work with, but it's worth bearing in mind that a more stable woven fabric will behave differently so of course I'll need to make another one, just to test that out!

I will need to do a bit of work to this pattern to get the fit just right. I knew I would because the bodice is cupped, and I'm reasonably generously proportioned in that area. I was happy to go with the pattern as drafted for this trial run, especially as the stretch fabric is pretty forgiving. I'm happy enough with the fit on this but it will definitely need an FBA for my wedding frock. Luckily, the By Hand ladies will be running a sewalong early next year and they have assured me an FBA will be covered in that.

Anyway - it's the arse-end of November and it's pretty chilly. So here are some photos of me in a strappy little dress, outdoors. BECAUSE BLOG.

Club Tropicana dress - By Hand London Georgia dress and Vivienne Westwood for Melissa Lady Dragon shoes

If I look cold here then it's because, by God, I was cold. The light in the flat on an overcast day just isn't good enough for blog photos though! Anyway, the dress! I like it a lot. I love the pattern and I know that when I get the fit right this will be another By Hand love affair. You can't quite see it because of the busy print, but the cups don't come right down under my bust in the way they should. I could pull them down, but it would be indecent on the top! I suspect that adjusting this will be a fairly simple operation, I just wasn't sure where to start.

Otherwise, I love the fit and the shape. The construction is very nice and simple and, as ever, I found the instructions clear and helpful. I put the straps in exactly as drafted, and they cover my bra straps perfectly. That's important to me because I hate strapless bras and I hate my bra straps showing! This was another reason why I was attracted to this pattern for a wedding dress. Being able to wear a proper bra on the day gets a big thumbs up from me. 

I did take some photos of the back of the dress but I had to delete them. I'm pale, and I like being pale. But the blinding whiteness of my back was just obscene. The dress looks cute from behind and you'll just have to take my word for the fact that my bum looks pretty damn good in it. But the combined effect of my Irish skin and the diffuse lighting of an overcast day was not at all attractive. I promise that, in the spring, when I make another one, I'll show you the back.

As I'm not going to give you a picture of the back, here's the inside of the back bodice. I slipstitched the bodice lining down, but you could easily stitch this in the ditch for a really clean finish. I just like hand-sewing.

So that's the craic with Georgia. I have to nail the fitting of it, and this is definitely more of a party frock than the other By Hand London dresses so I don't know if I'll immediately make a million of these! However, she is basically perfect for what I want for my wedding dress, and I think this little party frock will work brilliantly in a variety of very fun fabrics. As with all the other By Hand London patterns, it was utterly delightful to sew. It'll be more challenging for me to hack - but I'm already envisioning turning the upper skirt portion into a bodice, and adding a circle skirt - or even combining the Georgia skirt pieces with the Anna skirt pieces and making a slinky strappy maxi dress. For my wedding dress, I'm going to lengthen the skirt pieces to a midi length and possibly peg it a bit more.

So, bascially, this is another winner. These girls and their patterns, I love them. Better get that restraining order ready, ladies. STALKER ALERT!

Needless to say, after these photos were taken I belted back upstairs and put something warm on! I was working at home yesterday and had a full day of spreadsheet joy in our chilly little flat, but it's all good. I was still warmed and happy from a good Monday at work and an absolutely outstanding weekend. On Saturday morning I caught a train to London and spent the morning with Nic and our friends JP and Han. We met in Shoreditch and had lunch on Brick Lane before walking from there to Bloomsbury (via Islington, for some mulled wine in Camden Passage) so I could meet up with the Spoolettes for some bowling! I totally neglected to get any photos, but Sally wrote about it just perfectly here. Oh, and Clare has just posted about it here. I didn't make a bowling shirt, but I wore my Pauline Alice Cami dress. I pretty much sucked at bowling. I had one fluke strike, a few decent shots and a large number of gutter balls. Still, it was hard to care when I was laughing so much and sipping on gin. I wasn't much better at karaoke, but I enjoyed it just as much. It makes me happy that, as well as giving me lots of lovely dresses, learning to sew has helped me to meet so many fucking awesome women. BEST. HOBBY. EVER. And, just so you know, some bowling alleys sell champagne. Ask me how I know. 

Right, on the subject of raving, I need to be off. We've got to Cherubim and Seraphim in our Inspector Morse rewatch. It's the one where Morse goes to an illegal rave. Sadly, I can't find photos of it online but you'll just have to take my word for it. Morse at a rave is pretty fun.