Monday, January 27, 2014

She had too much champagne and a monkey knocked her into some quicksand. It could happen to anyone!

What's up, pups? It's a chilly Monday afternoon and I have a cold so I am feeling ever so slightly sorry for myself. I don't know what it is about having a sore throat, but it makes me so emotional! Maybe it's the fact that I find lemsip disgusting. Anyway, I have been self-medicating since I finished work this afternoon by knitting and watching 30 Rock. I've made good progress on a second Miette cardigan - it turns out that knitting is a lot faster when you're not having to rip it out every fart's end - and, you know, Alec Baldwin.

I've had a really good few days. On Friday, Nic and I finally set a date for our wedding and started making the arrangements for it. We've changed our plans somewhat, having realised that our initial idea of getting married in Kent wasn't going to be practical. We're now getting married in Warwick, and much sooner than we had originally planned - we're going to get married on 23rd May! The registrar is booked and all there is left to do really is go and do the paperwork. The ceremony is going to be small and private - the venue we've chosen only has room for 8 guests - and that means that there isn't really much planning to do. This pleases me immensely because I think I'm missing the bride gene. I just can't get interested in or excited about weddings at all. I'm still going to make my dress, though. And of course I'm still going to buy some really fun shoes. Now that we've set the date I am starting to get very excited about it, and about our honeymoon as well. Paris, baby!

We had a quiet weekend and I was able to do some sewing, and there was even some sunshine on Saturday. Before I show you what I sewed, though, here's my first knitted finished object of 2014: a scarf for Nic!

I suck at unselfish sewing and I have never sewed something for Nic, so I thought it would be nice to knit him something. The good thing about a knitted gift is that every stitch is created by hand. I'd have to really care about someone to knit something for them. I used the yarn that I had left over from my Miette cardigan, and there was enough to make a scarf of a decent length and width. Knitting a scarf isn't the most exciting thing in the world, so I made up a pattern with enough repeating to make it mindless, but enough variation to stop it from becoming boring.

Agh! Sorry, that's totally out of focus. Anyway, I alternated rows of knit stitch with deeper rows of ribbing, and the ribbing is alternated as well with two rows of ribbing and two rows of twisted rib. I didn't block the scarf at Nic's request - he liked the wavy edges! And it saved me from blocking it, so I was happy enough. I do still want to sew something for Nic at some point, but for now I think he's happy enough with the scarf. And, biased, but I think he looks pretty cute in it.

As I said - I was able to get some sewing done this weekend. After seeing Miss Crayola Creepy's gorgeous Emery dress earlier this week, I was totally sold on the pattern and ended up buying it on my phone on the train home. What really sold me was when she said how well it fit out of the envelope in comparison to a similarly shaped dress that she'd had to toile many times to get an acceptable fit. This was basically my experience of the Peony dress by Colette (without all the toiles, but I had lots of attempts at the bodice of that damn dress and was never happy with the fit) so I thought that the Emery was totally worth a go.

I did a quick toile of the bodice on Saturday morning. This time around, I paid attention to my actual measurements and the finished measurements on the pattern envelope. I traced the size 4 bodice and toiled it up and was super pleased with the fit. So much so that I cut straight into my fabric - the amazing Island Girls print from Alexander Henry:

I just can't resist those pinup girls. They're so adorable!

I sewed the dress up in a couple of hours on Saturday afternoon. It was very straightforward - at least partly because I didn't really have to do any alterations to it. I made my usual change of raising the shoulder seams and lowering the neckline to compensate, and I also lowered the armholes slightly to match. Instead of using the skirt pattern provided I just used the width of the fabric - because I like a fuller skirt, and I didn't want to waste any of my fabric. I didn't make a collar because it would be too busy, and I omitted the pockets. That was mainly because of can't be arsedness. Here it is. SPOILER: I love it.

Blanche dress - Christine Haynes Emery dress worn with Vivienne Westwood for Melissa Lady Dragon shoes

The hem is straight, by the way. It was windy when we took these photos! I am so happy with the fit although on my next one I will make one very small adjustment and increase the size of the darts in the back neckline. Only marginally, though, because the slight gaping there is only very slight.

It was cold, so I wore a cardigan. This is how windy it was! My cardigan is from Hell Bunny, by the way. I wish they did it in every colour.

I really don't have much to stay about this pattern other than the fact that I really, really like it. I read through the instructions before I started and they seemed good, but to be honest, I just went on ahead and sewed it my own way. Not that it's any different, but with this kind of dress I don't really need instructions. And this is basically my ideal dress - with a cute fitted bodice and a full skirt - and I can already tell that this will be a hard-working pattern. I think this bodice will lend itself well to a variety of skirt hacks - I'm can already see it with a circle skirt (because, obvs) and I'm also imagining it in a slightly stretch cotton with the Elisalex tulip skirt... look, just be aware that you're probably going to see this a bunch of times over the coming months.

Here's a photo of the bodice and my unwitting bitchy resting face. I'm really not sure what I was thinking in this moment because I'm smiling in the next picture. The pattern includes pieces for longer sleeves but I knew that would be too much in this print. The sleeves set in really easily and are very comfortable. Dudes, this is one well-drafted pattern!

Back view. I'm getting a bit better at doing these. I put in a lapped zip rather than the concealed one called for in the pattern

Nic and I have been watching The Golden Girls a lot recently. His mum bought me the DVD of season 1 for Christmas, and we enjoyed it so much that we bought season 2 so we could watch it straightaway afterwards. The palm trees and flowers in this print call Hawaii to mind, but they also made me think of Florida (the first thing I noticed when we got off the plane in Orlando was the palm trees at the airport) and of course, the sassy ladies reminded me of my favourite Golden Girl, Blanche Devereaux:

That sounds like a good night in to me, Blanche.

The Golden Girls is awesome, though, and I'd look good in this dress out on the lanai.

I fucking wish I was in Miami with the Golden Girls right now. Even if it meant I risked running into that jag David Caruso.

So, that's the craic with the Emery dress. I know it's no departure at all from my usual style - but, you know, I like my usual style. This pattern is a really good addition to my pattern library because I know I'll sew from it a lot and it is cute AS. I'm a big advocate of having sewing staples - the patterns you know that fit well and that you feel good about sewing - but I must admit that it was nice to sew something new. I have a few other new patterns to test out in the coming weeks - the girls from Gather Kits very kindly sent me a copy of the frankly fucking adorable Mortmain dress to try out, and I'm doing a spot of pattern testing too and the pattern in question is pretty amazing as well. But don't worry. I'm still me. I have some amazing fabric to make another Anna dress with a circle skirt (it's the map print fabric in this post, which I bought the last time I was at Goldhawk Road) and even more Eiffel Tower fabric for even more Eiffel Tower dresses.

I'm going to leave you with a few more photos of the dress because it's so cute.

I had my hair cut on Friday afternoon. It felt like it had been ages and I felt so much better about myself afterwards. My hairdresser is considering going on a round the world trip. I hope she does, because that would be awesome for her and she's such a lovely person, but I'd be totally gutted to lose the stylist who cuts me the perfect bob every single time.

When I post pictures outside I always get people asking if Leamington is in a micro-climate or something. It's not, like, obviously. This is to reassure you that I do wear a coat!

I kind of lied when I said that Blanche was my favourite. Sofia is pretty amazing too.