Friday, January 01, 2016

Ugh, I hate January. It's dark and freezing and everyone's wearing bulky coats, so you can do some serious subway flirting before you realise the guy is homeless.

Hey everyone! Happy New Year! I did mean to post again yesterday, blankets, the sofa, pizza-making and champagne intervened. Ah well! I hope that you all celebrated the evening in the way that suited you best: for me, that was drinking champagne and watching an Astaire and Rogers film - Shall We Dance.


It was a good evening and I woke up without a hangover. Hurrah!

So today I'm going to share with you one more dress that I made in 2015. It's not quite as fabulous as Ginger's frock above but I only have Roisin to make my gowns, not Irene. This is a party dress, though - I made it to wear to the Sewists' Christmas party and my work Christmas party, and I also ended up wearing it to have Christmas dinner with friends on the Sunday before Christmas. As party dresses go, it's done good work.

Perdita dress - By Hand London Kim dress with a circle skirt, worn with Vivienne Westwood for Melissa Lady Dragon bow shoes

It's another Kim dress! Not sorry. I love the bodice, especially now that I have sorted out the fit of the straps. This fabulous fabric is polyester crepe with a slight stretch to it, and I bought it from The Man Outside Sainsbury's on a trip to Walthamstow in October with some sewing friends. I had previously seen the fabric in action when Karen made a top from it in September, so when I saw that TMOS still had it, I was all over it. It was something like £3 a metre and I bought 3 metres of it. My original plan was to make a knock-off of a dress that I had seen in L.K. Bennett:

I still kind of want to make a knock-off of this dress, to be honest, because it's beautiful. However, this polyester crepe was not the one for it. It just didn't feel right - the springy, bouncy crepe felt like it would resist that lovely pleat at the front of the skirt. So I dithered about it for a while before deciding that a circle skirt was the way to go and paired it with the Kim bodice.

Bodice view! I took the belt from another dress but I think I'd like to make a little bow belt to go with it.

I nearly always sew with cotton because it's what I like to wear. Working with this crepe took me out of my comfort zone slightly - but, to be fair, only slightly. It did take a press fairly well and didn't fray too horribly. It was fairly irritatingly slippery to cut out but it was grand. The very best thing about this fabric though is that it just does not crease. This was perfect for each of the parties I wore it to, as for each of them I had a decently long train journey to get there. So this is kind of a magical party dress for that reason. I really love it and I think it might be one of my favourite things I made in 2015. It's hard not to love a polka dot party frock, right?

So yes: my party dress! Which, by the way, looks great with my just-finished pink Chuck over the top of it, so I'll be able to wear it on more everyday occasions. Yes! (imagine the Benton fist-pump gif here as I don't think I can justify using it twice in two posts.)

And that was 2015. I counted up my finished projects the other night and the total came to 61. This was composed of 14 knitted garments, one crochet blanket (a giant granny square blanket that I made as a Christmas present for my father-in-law), a skirt for my friend Lucy and 45 dresses. I'm not going to do a top 5 best and worst list (although I am enjoying reading everyone else's) because, with a few notable fails (hello Marion cardigan, I'm looking at you) I'm very happy with almost everything I made this year. I have a few favourites, obviously - I mean, I'm not being funny, but I think the Rural Juror dress is fucking awesome:

I also totally love the Larry Vaughn dress - the Sew Over It vintage shirt dress - and I must make another one:

In terms of knitting - I am learning all the time and enjoying it more with each project. I don't wear all of the knitted garments I have made this year but I have been really proud of them all, especially the ones I have made in the latter half of the year. Although my Marion cardigan was a fail, it meant that I learned how to knit cables, which I'm very proud of. 

So, crafting-wise, I think that 2015 was a good year. It was a bit of a weird year personally. The first few months of the year were really challenging at work, and it took a while for me to get back into a good place emotionally with regards to my job. I did, eventually, and I feel pretty happy about it now although I know that 2016 is going to bring lots more changes and challenges.

Quite a few sad things happened in 2015 - by that I mean in my personal life, not just in the wider world - so it was a year of real personal growth. Despite this, I'll look back on it as a good and happy year because Nic and I looked after each other throughout it and managed to have a lot of fun in the process. You can't say better than that, right?

I don't really do New Year's Resolutions and my hopes for 2016 are simple: that Nic and I are able to continue to meet our challenges together, that I am able to carry on sewing and knitting joyfully, that I can keep on blogging in a way that entertains me and that I can continue to make things that I am proud of, like this drawing that I made last night of Bradley Walsh in Law & Order UK:

I'm only partly joking about that last one. I'm quite proud of this drawing. I mean, YOU try drawing a man with that hairline in black ink without accidentally drawing Hitler.

So that's 2015. I have some exciting adventures lined up for 2016, and I might spend tomorrow making my first dress of 2016 too. Can't be bad. 

Now, on that note, I'm away here. I'm going to drink tea and knit and watch a silly film. Thank you to everyone who read and commented in 2015. Happy New Year!