Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Excuse me, Meryl Streep could play Batman and be the right choice. She is perfection.

Hello! Or, no, I'm going to say guten abend, because Nic and I are just back from a few days in Germany. We were there as Nic had been invited to give a paper at a conference in Darmstadt, and we extended our stay for a few days so that we could visit Heidelberg as well. Neither of us had been to Germany before and we had a really great time - both Darmstadt and Heidelberg were beautiful and fun, and it was a lot of fun to have a few days away from it all. When I get my act together and get the photos off the camera, I'll share some of them here - because other people's holiday photos are always so fascinating, right - but to be totally honest, most of them are variations on this theme:

Here's me with a pint of weisse bier in Schnookeloch in Heidelberg. I have never been a beer drinker but I have been expanding my palate somewhat over the last few months, and while in Germany I managed to drink my first complete pint! This was not it - sadly, I didn't manage to commemorate that momentous occasion, which happened at the Ratskellar in Darmstadt - but, eh, you get the picture. It's just as well that I learned to appreciate beer because I was certainly in the place for it, although I did manage to also drink some gin while we were there. In fact, my holiday souvenirs took the form of three bottles of German gin. I did find some fabric shops and some yarn shops too, but I was much more in the mood for buying gin. Anyway, I have a few trips to London coming up this month so I thought that would be a wiser place for fabric shopping.

So, that's the most recent craic with me. After a stressful early September, the very end of the month turned out beautifully. As I mentioned in my last post, it was my birthday at the end of the month. It fell on a Friday this year, so I took the day off work and had initially planned to go for business lunch with my friends Amy and Barney. It turned out, though, that my dad was going to be in England for the day on the Friday, so I moved business lunch to the Thursday (working at home for the win) and on the Friday Nic and I went up to Manchester with my dad and my sister Colleen. They flew into Birmingham and we met them there, and we all travelled up together. It was great fun and a real treat to be able to spend the whole day with Colleen. As it was my birthday and we were in the Northern Quarter anyway, I was encouraged to pay a visit to Abakhan, where I bought two pieces of fabric:

Abakhan in Manchester is pretty overwhelming. The ground floor is full of fabric bins, and you can buy by weight. The herringbone print piece at the top was from one of those bins, but I didn't have the time or the energy to root too much in them for anything else, so I bought the bottom piece from the back room, where they cut it from the bolt. It's a Michael Miller fabric and it was £5 per metre. Bonus! I bought a metre and a half because I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it, and I did this the very next day...

Endeavour dress - By Hand London Kim bodice with a pleated skirt, worn with Swedish hasbeens braided sandals

Ahhh. The lovely Kim bodice. I love the shape of this bodice but I am still working on getting the fit of it right. I'm short-waisted and have a short measurement between my shoulders and my bust, so I have found that the straps on the Kim bodice are very long on me. I have had to go back to a number of the iterations of this dress I have made in the last year and shorten the straps considerably, so on this dress I decided to compare the pattern piece against them and transfer this adjustment. I had a bit of a fright when I cut the fabric because the straps looked so short, but I think that they did work out to basically the correct length. I think they could stand to be a fraction longer - I wasn't as exact as I could have been, I guess - but the main thing is that they stay up!

Here's a close-up of the bodice. I didn't adjust the height of the neckline because I'm always a little bit paranoid about showing too much d├ęcolletage. It's because I'm so short - I'm always very conscious that anyone taller than me (most people, in fairness) can see right down my top! With that said, I was perhaps a little bit too conservative here and could stand to drop the neckline down a wee bit.

I'm pretty pleased with this dress - I think it gets me one step closer to achieving the correct fit on the Kim bodice. I don't love it, but I must confess that this is partly because it doesn't look nearly as cute in these photographs as it did in real life! I've made better-fitting dresses, but making this satisfied a craving for sewing and so I'm very glad that I made it. I wore this on the Sunday after my birthday to go for a pub lunch and an unplanned pub crawl with some friends, and I did feel good in it. I didn't have a lot of time to take a variety of photos - we snapped these few on our way to the pub. You'll just have to believe me when I tell you it's cuter in real life!

In any case, it was a fun dress to wear on an unexpectedly sunshiny day spent with friends. Friends who bought me gin and records...

BIRTHDAY GIN! I have some very good friends. 

Okay, now. My German gin is becoming warm as I write this and I must go and wash the henna out of my hair. My life is all glamour. Auf Wiedersehen!