Monday, May 02, 2016

Bill Oddie gave me a dressing gown as a Christmas present. He enclosed a receipt so I could take it back if I wanted to. I submitted Oddie’s receipt for tax purposes. I’m guilty as hell Lynn.

Hey guys! To my readers in the UK, happy May Day holiday! I have certainly appreciated having the day off work today, although the unseasonably cold and windy weather has meant that all I've wanted to do is chain-drink cups of tea and watch DVDs with Nic.

That, however, is exactly what has been needed. The bad week I was having last week? Well, it didn't get any better. My uncle Hugh - my dad's brother - died on Sunday night. He was 55 - a year younger than my dad - and he had been diagnosed with terminal liver cancer on 10th March this year. So, while not unexpected, his death was very, very sad. Nic and I flew home to Northern Ireland on Monday night so that we could spend time with family and go to Hugh's funeral, which was on Wednesday.

Hugh was a remarkable man. He was quiet and fair, but wickedly funny. It was desperately sad that he grew so ill so quickly but I can't help but be grateful that his illness wasn't longer. His wife, my auntie Marie, is a nurse, and she nursed him faithfully over the last few months. He died at home, with his closest family and his dog Scooby by his bed.

It's actually too sad to write any more but I am glad that Nic and I were able to be at home with my family last week. It wasn't all tears and sorrow, as we were able to spend time with my siblings and our nephews. It's hard to be sad when you're chasing imaginary dinosaurs with a hilarious toddler!

So... yes. That's been the past week. Nic and I came back to Leamington on Friday night and, while I haven't been at work, I was still in need of a long weekend! I went shopping in Birmingham on Saturday with some wonderful sewing friends and then I spent Sunday sewing. I'm back at work tomorrow, but now that we're in May our New York trip suddenly seems deliciously close - it's just over three weeks away - so there is a lot to look forward to.

I spent last Sunday sewing as a way of taking my mind off what was happening at home. I've been in the mood to sew dresses with a scoop neckline and, having toiled the Sew Over It Betty dress and experimented with the neckline on the Emery dress, I remembered that I had Butterick B5748 in my stash.

I sewed a few dresses from this pattern when I was far less experienced, and I struggled with getting the fit right - I guess this is why I had put it out of my mind. The shape of the bodice was just what I was after, though, so I pulled it out of my stash to inspect it. I decided that I needed to cut a few sizes down and to shorten the bodice by about an inch. I made a toile of the bodice, which I was delighted to find fit beautifully. I put a Christy Moore CD in the player, cut into my fabric and cracked on.

Burning Times dress - Butterick B5748 in Hill-Berg bird-print cotton poplin, worn with Swedish hasbeens Suzanne sandals

This dress is basically straight from the envelope, with the only real adjustments being that I shortened the bodice and I moved the zip. The pattern calls for a side zip but the bodice has a centre back seam, as does the skirt. I don't like side zips - I find them awkward to do up - but it's easy to have moved the zip to the centre back. I can see why it's a side zip in this pattern as the scoop is quite low, so some people might struggle to do up the zip... but I rarely find this to be an issue! Do you want to have a look at the back?

Yeah. I'm super happy with this dress. I must be, if I'm showing you a picture of my back, right?!

The fabric I used is a cotton poplin by Hill Berg fabrics, which I bought on ebay.

I sort of bought this by accident... no, seriously! I was looking for it in another colourway (the pink that I sewed an Anna dress from in 2013) and when I clicked into the listing for this shade my finger slipped on the 'add to basket' button. Laugh if you want. It genuinely was an accident! Anyway - who was I to argue? It was something stupid like £3.49 a metre so I went on ahead and bought 3 metres. I'm glad that I did because I really like the colour. In 2013, I wasn't sure what sort of birds that these are. I still don't know in 2016. Someone - I have a notion that it was Evie - told me that they are terns.  They might be hummingbirds. Whatever they are, they're a pretty colour. So sorry, so not Bill Oddie.

I wish there was more to say about this dress. It's always going to be a little bit bittersweet because of the timing of when I made it, but I daresay that won't stop me from wearing it. If we ever get a summer, it'll be lovely on hot days.

Here's a little close-up. I got some new glasses! They're Red or Dead and they're from Specsavers. I got the same frames as sunglasses last year and liked them so much that I wanted to get them as glasses. So that's what I did. I hope that they're more Janine from Ghostbusters than Dame Edna but to be honest, I'll take either.

Well, that's it from me for this evening. I have to be up ridiculously early tomorrow so a hot bath and an early night are calling to me. See you later, possums!