Sunday, March 02, 2014

Those flowers were supposed to say "We love you, we're so sorry" not "You're dead. Let's disco."

Hello! I hope everyone is having a lovely Sunday. I'm in full-on hibernation mode as the beautiful, spring-like weather of the last few days has given way to a cold, drizzly, overcast day. I'm also feeling pretty Sunday-ish at the prospect of having to be in London all next week for work. I'll hopefully have a good week because, although I'm there for work, I have lots of fun things planned. Still though. I hate working in the London office. The food is better, but the atmosphere in that place sucks. And the food's not that much better.

Anyway, I really shouldn't be feeling too sorry for myself because things are pretty good. On Friday evening I got drunk, had my hair cut and went for dinner with Nic in our favourite restaurant. On Saturday morning we booked our honeymoon and it was sunny and mild enough to eat lunch in the park. I made amazing home-made bean and sweet potato burgers and we watched The Thing From Another World. I haven't done any sewing, but that's okay. Sometimes it's okay just to rest, hey?

I was sewing during the week, though. I finally got around to trying the new pattern from new pattern company Gather - the Mortmain. The girls at Gather very kindly sent the pattern to me as a gift, and a gift it was! As well as it being right up my street style-wise, the pattern envelope and instructions booklet is just gorgeous. It took me a little while to get to sewing Mortmain - in part because I was deep into my love affair with Emery. Anyway - I finally got around to making a toile of the bodice last weekend, and during the week I sewed up my dress. It was nice to break it down into small steps - I've been feeling a bit burned out over these last few weeks - but I'd say in total it didn't take more than a few hours.

Ms. Tree dress - Gather 'Mortmain' dress and Mel 'Raspberry' shoes

Isn't this fabric crazy?! It's not clothing fabric, it's more like home furnishing fabric. Although weirdly, while I would wear something like this, I wouldn't decorate my home with it! I bought it in the rag market when I went fabric shopping with Char and Sarah last month. It was £8 a metre and I bought 1.5 metres - the beauty of this kind of fabric is that it's pretty wide! 

There does seem to be an actual story of some kind running through the fabric. Typically of me, though, I forgot to read it before cutting it up! As far as I can tell, there are a couple of sassy redheads, someone called Betty, a boat and someone called Catman. And there is one beautiful piece of gobbledygook that made buying the fabric totally worthwhile because I love it so much:


That's a phrase I need to try to work into everyday conversation, am I right?

Now obviously, most of the time it's best to sew with fabrics that are designed to be worn. I wouldn't be running out and making lots of clothes out of upholstery fabrics or anything, but I think this fabric works well with this pattern. The heavier fabric holds the box pleats well and works with the wide waistband, and I think it also copes well with the exposed zip feature. But I'll show you that in a minute...

I wanted this red-head looking stricken next to a boat to be a focal point on the bodice, but when cutting it out I kind of forgot about the dart placement. So this is Dart Face the Second. Mind you, I don't think she looks too disfigured by it! Apart from the little bit of wrinkling where the bodice meets the waistband, I'm pretty happy with the fit of this dress too. I cut a size 8 and, as usual, I raised the shoulder seams by 1/4 of an inch and dropped the neckline to match. I increased the seam allowance at the bodice side seams slightly for a closer fit. Oh, and I lined the bodice. The pattern doesn't call for lining, but, you know, this is furnishing fabric. Wearing cotton lawn right next to my skin is more comfortable.

Lining the bodice meant that I ignored the pattern instructions for sewing it, but I did follow the instructions for inserting the zip. As I mentioned above, one of the design features of this dress is an exposed zip and I had never sewed one of those before. I was a little bit nervous, but I had an awesome heavy-duty zip in my stash courtesy of my friend Lauren, so I went for it. The instructions are really good and it's very straightforward and while I wouldn't do this for every dress, I think it looks awesome here:

Don't worry, though. If you don't like the exposed zip, you can just sew in a regular zip instead as the seam allowance is the same. 

Nic was tickled pink when I brought this fabric home from Birmingham. He loves comics. Not in a Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons kind of way, and not in that douchebaggy "actually they're graphic novels" way either. He just likes comics. Recently he's been reading a series of comics by Max Allan Collins and Terry Beatty about a badass crime-fighter called Ms. Tree. She's awesome. Her name is Michael, and she takes over her husband's PI business after he dies. 

I haven't read this issue yet, but my money is on the blonde in the middle row being the murderer.

Ms. Tree herself isn't a redhead, but I think you can see why this dress made me think of her. I love this woman, who looks like she wouldn't be out of place in a Ms. Tree comic:

And just to add silliness to silliness, I decided I'd pose with the comic in the sunshine:

This photo worked far better in my head than it did in real life.

So anyway, that's my Mortmain dress. It really is a lovely pattern. I'll be interested to see how the pleated skirt looks in a fabric with more drape to it. This is a narrower skirt than I have been sewing recently, although in this stiff fabric it doesn't look it, and I'm kind of curious to see how that will look in a lighter cotton. It's very exciting to see so many new independent pattern companies springing up in the UK and I'm very interested to see what Gather do next. The amount of work and love that has been put into the design and drafting of this pattern is obvious - I'm looking forward to their next release!

And this isn't going to be my last comic dress, either. Yesterday I bought myself a couple of metres of the new Alexander Henry Home Sewing is Easy fabric. Hawaii, baby!

Sunday night. It's time to pack for next week and then watch Inspector Morse. But before I go - the randomiser (Nic) picked a winner of the Simplicity sewing book. It's Peppercornius! Peppercornius - drop me an email with your address and I'll get that book in the post to you!