We have been doing an autumnal equivalent of spring-cleaning in our flat, which has been lovely. A few weeks ago, our friends Amy and Barney gave us an excellent 70s sideboard that they were getting rid of because they are moving house. We got rid of a mis-matched set of Ikea Billy bookcases (they went to a local charity) and about 7,000 DVDs and revamped the corner of the living room where those things had been living:
We bought the retro ladder shelves from Amy's shop, Berylune. She lent us the drill to put the shelves up with and even delivered the sideboard - how lucky are we?! I am so happy with how this corner of the living room looks - everything is so much brighter and prettier. It also makes me happy that the sideboard lives on, as Amy had found it for the bargain price of £3 in the tip shop a number of years ago. I am so happy that it has found a place in our home!
Although the weather is still quite warm, I have been quite into sorting my autumn and winter wardrobe out. The fact that the winter of 2017/2018 lasted approximately 39 months has something to do with this, I guess - I am more motivated to sew cold weather clothing than I have ever been before! I have been really enjoying wearing my Madeleine skirt and the variety of stripy t-shirts I got to go with it (from Seasalt, mainly. The buggers have emailed me every day for the last two years so I guess their investment has finally paid off) so I decided to have a go at making a pinafore dress. I started with some more denim and the Jennifer Lauren Handmade Ivy pinafore, because I liked Zoe's version a lot.
Ivy pinafore worn with Seasalt sailor top and Swedish Hasbeens sandals
Now, real talk. I have some mixed feelings on this. It is cute and comfortable and I had fun making it. Nic loves it and I am pretty sure I will wear it when it gets colder - it will look great with tights and boots. It's a little out of my comfort zone, though. It is extremely 'Children's TV presenter in the 60s' or maybe even Sarah-Jane Smith...
Like, you KNOW Sarah-Jane would have worn the fuck out of this look in The Hand of Fear. So it's definitely not bad, it's just not something I am used to.
I sewed the size 10, blending out to the 12 for my hips. I didn't use the lining and instead finished the inside seams with bias binding. I bought the two orangey-red wooden buttons from a local haberdashery (I really couldn't get Zoe's version out of my head) but I didn't end up making buttonholes as they are optional - the dress can be pulled on over your head.
I didn't sew a toile as the style of the dress isn't meant to be very fitted - in any case, it can't be, as you need to pull it on over your head - and as a result the fit could definitely use some work. I'm not going to show you a photo of the back, so you'll have to just take my word for it that the upper back is a bit off. I could possibly have gone for a size 8 in the upper half, still blending out to a 10 or 12 in the hips, but of course, over-fitting a dress with no closures would be a bad plan.
ANYWAY, reservations aside I am still very glad I made the dress. I am sure I will wear this on those cold, working-from-home days in the winter when all I want to do is wear something comfortable and cosy. Nic tells me that he thinks I am being over-critical, and that lots of women would love to be able to buy a dress like this in the shops. He's very sweet and this is exactly why I married him.
The pinafore fascination did not leave me after this experiment, though, so I took a different tack. I've been lurking Wrong Doll's Kwik-Sew/Madeleine mashup for a while and decided to have a go at my own version. I loved the shape of the bib on the Jennifer Lauren Pippi pinafore and thought that it would go well with the Madeleine skirt, especially as the Pippi pinafore has similar statement pockets. I bought some red cotton twill on ebay and off I went...
Wings of Hopeless Dreams dress - Jennifer Lauren Pippi Pinafore/Victory Patterns Madeleine skirt, worn with Seasalt sailor top and Swedish Hasbeens Katja sandals
HOW TWEE IS THIS THOUGH?! It is extremely twee. I am very, very happy with it.
The colour of the red twill is so saturated that it has blown all of the detail out - sorry! The Pippi pinafore bib is darted and comes in different cup sizes. I cut the size 10 c-cup bodice and I am really happy with the fit. I lined it and the pockets with some leftover Liberty Carline tana lawn:
I decided to go with the button closure because I think it's a sweet and unusual detail. I don't love dungaree clips and I thought that they would be a bit heavy for this fabric, which is medium weight.
Maybe you can see the buttons a bit better in this selfie! If not, just enjoy my face once again.
This dress was so much fun to sew and it would have been really quick to make if I hadn't made so many stupid mistakes! I was tired and distracted, I suppose, and it ended up taking me three goes to get the waistband right. But I got there in the end, and a bit of time spent with the seam-ripper doesn't have to be a bad thing. The fabric was very easy to work, which reduced the boredom (for me) of sewing with a solid colour.
Here it is from the back. I do in fact have a waist! I cut this dress out on Thursday afternoon and sewed it on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. I put it on as soon as it was finished and wore it out for lunch, a walk and some wine in the garden of my favourite pub. I wore it to work with another stripy top (a navy and white one, also from Seasalt) today. It's definitely a winner.
Making the most of drinking wine outdoors in the sun before nuclear winter sets in for another 143 months.
I am sort of tempted to make another one of these - the cotton twill comes in a whole range of colours - but I'm not sure how many pinafores my wardrobe can take. Also, how would I choose a colour?! Maybe I should sew a red and white stripy one and just fully give in to the Sarah-Jane Smith vibes.
Anyway, that's the craic there. If you're curious as to where Famous Original Dolly Clackett has gone, fear not: I have two novelty print cottons (Tula Pink Death's Head Moths and some Alexander Henry Pinup witches) to make into dresses over the next few weeks, so she's still here. But the pinafores are fun too.
Now, those very fluffy pillows are calling to me so I am out of here. Goodnight, my loves!
LUXURY HOTEL STYLE