…on my bow blouse
addiction love. And as an added extra, you get a hint about what pattern I’m using for my next Minerva network make …
Sigh. I’ve been out of touch the last week due to numerous reasons, but although I have lots to blog about, I haven’t quite got enough time for a true reveal today. There, that’s it, I won’t offer excuses, but the fact that I’ve had a good week without writing shows there’s been lots getting in the way! But it does mean that I’ve a veritable spaghetti junction of new makes to share with you, and a castaway also!! Watch this space.
Instead, some glimpses and tastes of just some of what I’ve been working at.
Yes, that is liberty, yes that is rick rack….ooh! Not quite finished yet. To Buttons, buttonholes and beyond!!
Now don’t look too closely …at the badly matching waistband and also at the hideous pocket shape: I so rushed this and my coverstitch wasn’t having any of it. Talk about BIG FALLING OUT. We are speaking again now, but we were in quite a huff with each other. That there though is one half of my fancy lace edge zips . And I can’t decide whether the project I’ve got cut out for using the rest of it is glam, or just plain risky!
And finally, check out this baby. Half done but seriously the best I’ve ever got to ( it actually looks neat and even)
I referred to the brilliant e-book published by Karen at Didyoumakethat. All you ever need to master bound buttonholes. It’s one of those eureka ! Moments!!
Oh my but it has been a busy week. Not content with beasting myself shuffling 22 miles on the previous weekend (& taking all week to regain any semblance of being able to stay awake beyond 5pm) I had the mother of all birthday parties to organise. It was my youngest son’s 21st party: an all day pizza oven garden party with family to be held on the Saturday just gone. And all the planning, preparation & cooking combined with all the other special ingredients to exceed our already excited expectations. It was the pizza oven family garden party to beat all other pizza oven garden parties – a ball was had by all & I have the recycling crate overflowing with the empties & the gazebo still remaining on the grass to prove it. Now I’m not going to share any stories of the party itself except what we cooked in our all-day wood fire. Just in case you’re interested. (If you’re not, easy enough to scroll down to the next para ) With the assistance of the Wood-fired Oven Cookbook by David & Holly Jones we had pizzas to start ( in a very hot oven): a couple of recipe pizzas to share- Eastern spiced lamb with feta then a butternut squash & mozzarella pizza. Then we made up our toppings as we went with a wealth of different cooked meats & veggie-suitable combos. It was non stop pizzas for a good hour plus (they take minutes to cook)! After that we used the falling (but not insubstantial) heat in the oven to slow cook a sumptious (I’m told) lamb kleftico, a roast chicken internally basted by a can of beer (that’s the polite way of describing cooking it with a can of beer up the chicken’s jacksy) & a mushroom risotto. We could have then cooked all sorts of other cakes or even meringues in the even lower heat but by the time we moved onto the evening meal it was dark & the lure of creating the most memorable spotify playlist was a distraction of a different kind. There. That was the edibles – plus toasted marshmallows over the fire basket. And it’s over now, all I have to focus on over the next month is doing the right things for the Great North Run this weekend followed by the marathon itself on 6th October (survival is the goal).
There hasn’t been much sewing over the last week to be honest. But what have I to show you? Something I made a little earlier?
Why, the time has come around all too quickly to present to you my second Minerva make with the Minerva blogging network.
Now what I have mused on recently is that in choosing my Minerva makes I started with the fabric & then I brought in the pattern afterwards. I didn’t think “Let’s make a strapless boob tube” & then look for stretchy fabric covered in gold sequins. Therefore, I hope that I’ve matched the right patterns to the delights I fell for on Minerva’s website.
This month I was suckered in by some beautiful floral linen/ cotton blend. Yes it is bright. Yes the flowers are all over & yes the linen is a lovely quality – perfect for a dress or a skirt, but is more leaning towards medium weight & perhaps less suited to a floaty shirt.
Once I had selected it, I chose to make it into a circle skirt – perfect September wear. Whilst I have the Pavlova pattern by Cake Patterns you could use other patterns you may already have or look up some tutorials online for how to draft your own circle skirt pattern.
ByHandLondon has an excellent tutorial and sewalong for drafting different types of circle skirts, I would also recommend Casey’s comprehensive sewalong to make a circle skirt. The Pavlova pattern has four seams at quarterly intervals which I guess makes it less heavy on yardage, although I think it would be easy to have cut this skirt out on the fold to end up with only two side seams.
Once you have cut your circle segments, making a circle skirt up is pretty simple. I have used an invisible zip & this particular pattern uses a slimline waistband, (or is it a waist stay?) although you could easily make a deeper one if you chose. Of course, the Pavlova also has a cute shell pocket, which totally gets lost in this hefty floral print! But I know it’s there & it gets used for transporting little daily necessities around .
The most time consuming part of making a circle skirt, I will not lie, is the hem! You need to make sure that you let the skirt hang at least overnight before marking your hem out so that the fabric has chance to settle as some of it will be on the bias. I left mine the best part of a week, but that was just because I got side-tracked! The last time I made this skirt a kind commenter told me that I should try it shorter, so this time that is what I did. Using Barbarella’s (my dummy ) hem marker is a godsend for negotiating a circle skirt – or you could stand on a table & let someone help you of course!
I aimed to try something new for me as well. Horsehair braid. Now I’ve seen it written about on other blogs & kind of get that it makes the hem stand out a bit, gives it some structure. But I had not idea what to expect when I ordered it. To the rest of the uninitiated out there modern horsehair braid is not chestnut or piebald. It is made out of strands of nylon that I can only describe have been “woven together” sort of on a bias – which means the braid can compress & stretch around curves…& stiffen a hemline something rotten. I looked up a number of tutorials for how to apply it, Cake Patterns here, Sew Country Chick here but I found this method most useful from my Dressmaker’s Techniques Bible.
Sew the horsehair to the wrongside of the skirt’s hem with ¼” of the horsehair to ¼” of the skirt’s hem.
What I will say is that the cut ends of the horsehair braid can poke through fabric – next time I think I would try to wrap them in a strip of bias binding or something to contain the little nylon ends poking my legs! That was clearly something I did not account for in my research, but maybe you can try to overcome that niggle yourself. But it’s given the skirt some va va voom, donthca think?!
So what do you think? The linen is the perfect match for this style & I LOVE that it is bright & cheerful. Look, it even brought some cheer to a dull day at the seaside. (Well that & firing laser guns at baddies at the amusements with my son! I know I was his dumb silent partner but I could pretend it was me getting all the shots on target!!)
So the kit, if you want to make yourself a garish luscious circle skirt is available here and comes with fabric, invisible zip, horsehair braid and matching thread.
See you soon xx
Is underwear a funny subject the world over or is it just us in the UK and our “unique!” sense of humour that renders many things that are ‘private’ more funny in the context of a smutty joke? I’m thinking Carry On films, seaside cartoon postcards etc.
The stories around undies, or knickers if I am to be precise that I think of when I am scouring my memory banks, are coloured by the cultural references above and evolve from childhood funnies to a more grown up relationship with underwear. There’s the legend of one of my great aunts whose knicker elastic broke when she was out in the street ( clearly in the days when knickers had elastic that was threaded through a casing at the top of said drawers). What did she do? Swoon with an attack of the vapours owing to the embarrassment that the world and his wife ( a very patriarchal society in those days) had seen her underthings? No, of course not, she calmly stepped out of them and put them in her pocket, carrying on her way. And to use modern parlance, she went ‘commando’. Now this amuses me, putting new terminology that always makes me smile , around a family legend. But anyway. Then there were the glimpses my brother and I were unable to avoid when playing on the floor and we looked up at the old lady who babysat for us, legs akimbo, modesty secured by her thigh length gathered hemmed plain white nylon bloomers. Yes, we sniggered amongst the Lego.
What other thoughts surround knickers? Ok, a phrase I encountered was ‘Red shoes, no knickers’ suggesting the moral standards that anyone wearing red shoes were presenting to a very different society from the one we have now ( where I have two pairs of red shoes and a pair of red boots and I can tell you, it’s not an invitation and going commando is not my thing!) Then, there’s the concept that when going out you should always wear your best pants, in case you get run over. What’s that all about?! Who’s done the probability calculations on that one?
And then there is the moment reached, a coming of age of some sorts, when you graduate from buying 5 pair multi pack knickers from Marks and Spencer with only two pairs that you really like, and instead feel deserving of ‘matching sets’ buying knickers and bras that match… Clearly when also feeling flush or in need of personal investment!
Well, what this is leading to is the next phase for me.
But as I write this I also wonder what would my Mum think about me showing the internet pics of my pants?!
From childish giggles then to sophistication, the sewster that subsequently explores knicker making for a while ( I hope) lives in the mish mash phase of experimentation, before hopefully the home sewn knicker nirvana that Melissa and Carolyn abide in. One day I aspire to making beautiful handmade knickers, with pretty lace and gorgeous colours, but I have many miles of practice to travel first, and whilst I am travelling along this course, my knicker drawer shows the fruits of my learnings…none of which form matching sets with bras (but one matching vest & pants) and all of which look kinda scrappy
Well they would look kinda scrappy since I am using scraps: left over jersey, sort of matching elastics from my stretch elastic drawer. Here is the latest batch. So whilst I am learning to make the perfect pair of knickers, I have also been using knicker making to get to know my new coverstitch machine, and get better at serging. You see knicker making is generally a quick make. Very easy to cover lots of ground and whip up a few pairs in an afternoon. These three pairs I made with only my overlocker and my coverstitch. That feels like progress! No zig zagged elastic attaching ( even though I got quite good at it when making my bikini…)
So breaking it down a bit: I serged all of the knicker seams and also attached the elastic using my overlocker. The coverstitch I used for the stage where you sort of set the elastic by stitching it to the seam allowance (legs and waist) I’ve done this before using a twin needle or a zig zag stitch, but all the knickers below show my practice with my coverstitch.
I used two free downloadable patterns. The sozo pants/ knickers pattern and the Rosy Lady Shorts by Cloth habit. Let me say that both of these patterns are brilliant. As an e-pattern that you print it’s no surprise that there are only a few pages to print out for your smalls! And barely any sticking together. A good place to start with downloadable patterns if you ask me. They both have brilliant instructions that guide you around all stages of construction.
My SoZo knickers
Now this is the second pair I’ve made of these over my history of knicker making and they are more successful than the first, due to fabric mainly, (my first pair were made out of eeugh fabric with too much polyester and not enough smoothness) and getting a better leg elastic tension, although they are still a bit loose around the legs. practice will make perfect. The blue elastics don’t quite match though, adding to the reality of the patchwork knicker collection I am sewing.
Next up the same fabric, but using the Ladyshorts pattern. Look how the grainline is in a different place for these from the SoZo pattern. Interesting, yes?
Now the Ladyshorts are my favorite fit, I’ve made a few of these and they are quick as long as you get the first seams sewn in the right place. The number of times I have not sewn the centre fronts/ backs but leg holes together or even waists together by accident. Now the great thing about the Ladyshorts is that you know what size elastic to work with too – measurements are given in the pattern. I find they work best with thicker elastic around the legs to provide a bit of width at the (cough) gusset. As you can see more use of not quite matching elastic, but when worn they do not look like granny pants, but are still hipsters.
I made this pair using the Ladyshorts pattern too
I thought the rainbow elastic would be über cool on pants. I’m not wrong am I!? I actually just attached it wrong side elastic to right side top of knickers with my coverstitch to make the most of the rainbow elastic goodness. I found some yellow knicker elastic from my elastic drawer for the leggies and therefore this pair are possibly the least patchwork out of all my handmades. However, like I said, the narrow leg elastic makes the gusset narrow and I predict less comfy as a result…hopefully not quite a cheese cutter….but I will not be sharing that info with you!
Now the thing is, I don’t yet think they are good enough to get run over in….but as the most memorable line I heard this weekend puts it (‘ Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ )
It’ll be alright in the end. And if it’s not alright, it’s not the end
I’ve got lots of sewing aims this week, and at the beginning of the week I planned to concentrate on getting started ( and finished) with my vintage inspired swimsuit, aka mccalls 6569, in time for my short stay at the beach later this week.
Sewing this vintage inspired swimsuit formed the basis of my Didyoumakethat Sewlution. I’d bought some turquoise Lycra and lining from Truro fabrics in May. Why did I leave it until the last minute and until the best of our summer is over? The answer to those questions baffles me, I really have no idea except if it wasnt for having made the sewlution in the first place, I might have let it gather dust for yet another summer….
So, mccalls 6569. Remember I adored the frills and ruching? Despite the swell of Internet love for the the newly released bombshell swimsuit, I felt I should stick with my original plan and not desert this Mccalls. I’d clearly fallen for the one piece with frilly skirt ( think back to childhoods where such frivolous pool garb was not the domain of inter club swimming galas populated with Speedo and Arena swimming costumes with racer backs, but still, the very yearning for such frou frou nestled deep in the heart of my girlish desire). And whilst i was at it, there was only one bikini for me; clearly the two piece with frilly skirt. I am nothing if not consistent and Dare I say a tad romantic in my obsession.
A few weeks ago I prepared myself by cutting out the zillions of pattern pieces for both two and one pieces. What is it about the smallest of garments that leads them to have the most number of pattern pieces?!? And remember the lining too…I was cutting out for England …in front of the TV, of course. It’s such a nice little job to do with the TV on, as long as you’re not watching something with subtitles that is.
I thanked myself for having prepared the pattern pieces when on Monday I applied myself to cutting out. I knew that it could be a long task. I knew that I would be dealing with lots of pieces, in both turquoise Lycra, and white lining. I opted to make the one piece first. This decision was based on the place in the summer that we now find ourselves….chance of wearing a bikini for tanning top ups in late August is slim. One piece swimsuit on Cornish beach seemed much more realistic. And braver for photos too.
I’d thought when I bought the fabric, ‘ coo, I’ve bought enough to make the one piece and the bikini’, therefore was rather stunned to find out that my one metre was not enough for the one piece. What, one metre of Lycra is not enough to make a swimsuit, yet you can often squeeze a sleeveless dress out of the same length?! What’s that all about?
Plan B kicked in. Bikini pieces were found, roll call made against the cutting layout in the pattern, and headway was made on cutting out each piece plus lining where required. The bandeau draped top, is View A, and therefore appearing first in the instructions was made first.
I took my time with this, being very careful to match edges, dots and seam lines. Unfortunately I’d bought this pattern when I was a D cup, and have since shed rather a lot of stuffing up there, so had to make on the hoof shrinkages to ensure up there was cosy enough for what remains. Lots of seams, cup sewing, lining sewing, edge and top stitching and then the gathered and draped front shown above. Inside it looks like this
Yes it’s got boning in too, encased in the side seam allowances. I’d say those side seams are the least tidy, as i did not have much seam allowance to play with as casings for the boning, but was just following the instructions, ma’am.
Sometimes I used my overlocker, and sometimes my regular machine. I should have used my coverstitch, but am not proficient enough to manoeuvre it on smalls …yet….so there is one top stitched seam, at the bottom of the top, that I zig zagged out of safety. This top took about 3 hours to sew I think. By the time evening came I was ready to plunge into the frilly skirt briefs.
Wearing in Cornwall still seemed attainable. By this stage, I felt confident attaching the clear elastic to the legs with zig zag and turning in again. Is clear elastic easier to work with than regular elastic? I’m certain this finish is neater than any of the undies sewing I have done up to this point.
But all of a sudden, brake lights, hand brake turn even. Tyre Tracks of melted rubber left by screeching to a rude halt. The bomb struck.
This is as far as I have got. Yes, it looks like a bikini, but not the frilly skirted bikini of my dreams. Here comes the bombshell….Folks, you need more than one metre of fabric to make an itsy bitty teeny weeny bikini- it’s true! You need More fabric to make this bikini than you do a summer dress, seriously. I ignored the cutting layout at my peril. I did not read the pattern pieces to my cost. Look at these pieces here and see what the common thread is…
Each of these pattern pieces has been cut solo, but they need a pair. ‘Cut two’ they all say. Did I?! I think you know the answer to that. And I think you know that I have run out of fabric. Will I finish this bikini this summer is a good question….another test of my self discipline….
And whilst I am going to Cornwall, I was not planning on revisiting Truro, not with only a couple of days and the beach calling…..what a cliff hanger to end on!
I want to make my version of this dress …just like this, in black with the slash neck
This is what pulled me in – this dress exactly. And I WILL make it. I am fancying it will be in black linen. But first I was propelled into making my first version with stash fabric after not being able to repel the Anna storms that have been breaking out across the internet….so here’s the story…
Lizzy had the right idea- she of three Annas. The Anna dress is a dress you want to capture as you move. It has something of the middle ages about it. I feel like a lady wearing it. A lady in waiting perhaps? (Although waiting for what, I don’t know)
Maybe it’s because this is the only dress that has turned me to the “maxi” length. It’s not new, but it is to me. I had a brief fling with a maxi skirt last summer & all I wanted to do was to be caught walking through the sea with it.
I haven’t worn it since, but that’s not because of the salt. (It awaits transformation …)
The Anna dress from By Hand London though? I still feel as if I am wearing a combination of a nightie or as Roisin put it, as close to a sari as you can get without it being a sari. But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing, it just means that it is outside my usual clothing zone. But I think it’s worth it. I already want to make more. I REALLY want to make a black slash neck maxi Anna (have you got that by now?!) and then a slash neck midi Anna. And I want to make one for my son’s girlfriend. She complimented me on this Anna & I could just see her wispy graceful form floating around in a classically simple but super chic maxi dress.
So OK, onto my first make opinion. Everyone who has made this dress raves about how quick it is to make & it’s true. Choosing the fabric & eeking out what I had was the hard part. I so wanted to have enough of the fabric I used to make my kimono as an Anna, but absolutely no dice. (It’s available now here at Minerva by the way, described as a voile & I think it would make a glorious Anna) .The fabric’s pattern had a definite right way up & the skirt pattern pieces are flipped around all over the fabric’s pattern direction, which wasn’t going to work with my 2m! By the way, thank you Karen for advising that you can lop off about 9” off the hem & still have enough to trip over (as a shorter person that is!).
So fabric choices from my stash were limited. Luckily I had a length of this blue dotty fabric acquired from Abakhan in May. No pattern direction at all. It became my first Anna. I seemed to want to make it quickly though, since everyone had said what a quick make it was, I too needed it to be quick. Therefore although I absolutely lurve the slash neckline, I was afraid it might fall too high & I wasn’t prepared to make any time consuming alterations…so I went v neck.
I used French seams where I could to construct the dress. Does anyone else use their serger/ overlocker for the first stage of French seams like I do? It eliminates the need to trim seams before turning, pressing & sewing the second seam that encloses the first seam?
And just like everyone else I also lurve the bust darts- so pretty! Now I think my bodice could do with a bit taken out of it for next time – the neckline gapes by about 1.5” (& that was after I’d taken a few tucks in the pattern’s neckline before cutting out the fabric) . I also shaved off a slim wedge at the centre back which seems to have been enough. But the fit of the rest of it seems pretty good.
For once I made a special trip to get an invisible zip and I think it’s worth it, having put it in. A nice neat finish. One question I’ve got of the Amazing TaraCat though….how on earth can you get this dress on without a zip? I am surely not able to get it over my head.
The front split – oh laughs! I misread the pattern markings & my first seam ended to create a split that was almost pelvic! Ha ha. That didn’t stay. I also read that Lizzy regretted machining hers since it is on display so much, so I took the time to hand sew it, & I am glad that I did. I also hemmed by hand so that is also invisible.
It’s been very much a home dress so far though. I swaddled myself in it last Sunday after my long run. The day was grey & cooler & my legs needed some coverage. At one point I really was the medieval lady when the pashmina came out to wrap around my upper body. You see this dress & cardigans do not really mix in my view. It’s too courtly….anyway, it was very much a lounging and entertaining at home dress on Sunday. And since, it has been a working at home dress. Padding around the house with bare feet collecting hot drinks & tapping away at my desk.
All this explains its slightly wrinkled appearance in case you were wondering! It’s being used !!
I do however have a vision of Anna maxi dresses with ankle boots & wrinkled down socks. A bit of a festival frock perhaps?
I’ve just got to show you a lil’ sexy number. Well, not really sexy, it’s just I guess not what you’d wear out & about – it’s loungewear in extremis. It’s a dressing gown/ kimono wrap for the summer.
I’d been hankering after something this practical for a good year now, not having anything except a warm fwuffy red winter dressing gown. AND in my mindseye it would be made out of cotton lawn & would have big bouquets of flowers splurged across it. Reminiscent of a laydee with one of those crystal perfume bottles with the tassled squirter in a vintage boudoir.
But we all know that gowns such as this take up a lot of yardage and lawn does not come cheaply. I was holding out. And holding out. And eventually threw in the towel as wearing my fwuffy red dressing gown in this summer is quite frankly a health hazard.
I saw this lawn on Croft Mill’s site & snaffled some up. Unfortunately (will I ever learn?) I did not get enough to make a longer line robe. And when I went back to look it had appeared to have sold out. Darn it. Romantic boudoir lady had to rethink & contemplate the possibility of romantic ninja girl.
Using the pattern from Sweet Nothings (which people is just rectangles with the odd curve cut out for neck shaping) I measured up & eeked out as long a gown as I could with just 2m of 150cm wide lawn.
That done I realised that this pattern called for a nice contrast border for neck, hem & sleeve edges. What did I have in my stash? Well, this is a treat. I had some golden (it is like liquid gold for sure) yes golden satin that I had been given by Amy, Almond Rock at a blogging meet up last year. Oh my, did it present the most perfect contrast ever?! Thank you Amy! I bet you hadn’t imagined it would be put to such a perfect use.
So I sewed it all up – French seaming the main kimono. Come attaching the cuffs, that wasn’t too bad – they are attached in two operations with the last being finishing the right side folded edge with some lovely top stitching. But the neck, front & hem band…that was more tricky. Why was it so much more tricky? Well, because it has mitred corners. And not just “mitred corners” but “mitred corners in a double folded band”. The instructions told me to “mitre the corners”. You know, just like that. I looked it up in my two sewing resources, the Dressmaker’s Technique Bible and my Vogue Sewing Book, absorbed the principles, but did not have enough info to tell me what I needed to do for a double folded band.
It was a case then of trial & error, my fading marker pen, ruler and 45 degree set square. And pins. I pinned the first half of the diagonal seam (ie one side of the folded piece), looked at it from the right side as if it was sewn & then learnt what I had to do differently. I then repined, re-looked and then sewed when I was happy. I repeated this process for the second (& thankfully final) stage of this mitring process. Now whilst it is not perfect, it was good enough for me.
I didn’t have enough liquid gold to make the tie belt so bought a couple of metres of exceptionally wide satin ribbon. Sorted.
And how do I feel when wearing it? Like the romantic flower twirling boudoir lady? Or karate kid ninja girl? I wanted to take pics in the breeze with the wind billowing out my robe. Sort of like being on the front of Titanic.
It’s so floaty & amazing fabric. So photos reflect my attempts to showcase its swirl factor. I could not get the prow of a boat in my garden though.
Maybe I should have waited for the boat show.
And belted? Well I guess that’s when ninja girl comes out to play! (Hairstyling is homage to ninja girl btw)
If you were expecting high kicks it is 1. Too hot today and 2. too much risk of exposure!! It’s bad enough that I’m flashing my drawers! (Although the model in the Sweet Nothings book is flashing hers too. I’ll claim that I’m just following her lead…)
And yes, that is my trashy slip I am wearing with a black vest.
I’d resisted Tilly’s Miette skirt for months it seems, since I have projects & inspiration coming out of my ears. But kept clocking all these fantabulous versions appearing left right & centre. I held fast & tried to maintain a degree of control over spontaneous pattern purchasing & sewing. But it all became too much for me. I needed a fix, a sweet skirt that came with so many endorsements, and just kept looking so darn cute everywhere. So who’s skirt was the straw that broke my resolve? Well it was Taracat’s denim / ricrac Miette. You know I have a thing for ric rac & I have almost a whole drawer filled with the stuff (one of those mini organiser drawers it has to be said). How could I resist an everyday skirt with one of the best pockets in the whole world to surround with ric rac?
So I had this piece of royal blue quite coarse linen that I had bought off Ebay a while ago. It’s bright people. It’s got an element of stiffness to it that I felt would complement the A line shape of the Miette skirt. Did I have enough fabric though or was it only suitable for a Colette Ginger? Well, I scraped a Miette – just. But at what cost?
I have to line the exceedingly luxuriously long ties with my lining fabric. In fact the whole waistband was lined in contrast – the same as I lined the pockets too. It’s the fabric I made my summer sundress out of last year, some pretty ditsy red cotton floral.
The pockets were edged in ric rac – like piping, sandwiched in between the lining fabric and the blue linen. I chose red as it seemed more adaptable, although the idea of royal blue & bright sunshiny yellow is always a temptation in Badgerland. But the red & the lining seemed to be the thing.
Here it is playing around with the ties show the lining – not sure that it’s how I will wear it…but….
What is there to say that’s not already been said about the pattern & the instructions? You already know by now that there are two levels of instructions (detailed on-line supplements to the downloaded instructions), & everyone, just everyone, loves the fact that you have a checklist to tick off when you use the downloaded instructions – I am no exception!
Construction for me, as with everyone else (are you yawning yet – hoping for something you haven’t heard before?) was exceedingly straight forward – this really is a brilliant beginner’s make – no zips, buttonholes, just some nice straight machine stitching.And for a nice fit, a wrap skirt is a joy- just tweak it the way you want to by how you arrange your wrap & tie.
So no surprise this Miette skirt is a cute success and I was all for thinking it could be one of those garments that bridged the work & play wardrobe. I could imagine wearing it to work. But here’s the thing. Since wearing it for play it’s gone all combat for me. And what do I mean by that? Well, I wore it for a heavenly dog walk with my dog nieces, with walking boots (sensibly leaving my wedges in the car – we were going multi terrain after all). I have become increasingly reluctant to carry handbags around with me & try to get away with squeezing the bare essentials (phone, keys, purse) into jacket pockets. But in the summer, especially this summer, even the bare essentials can weigh even the roomiest of skirt pockets down. Not the Miette!
So it survived the commando experience in the woods and on the hills with two dogs (plus paws from doggie greetings). Was I afraid to bend down in case the wrap caught a gust of wind & away she blew?
No way! That dog gets all my lovin without any compromising wardrobe experiences!
Check out my pockets here. Not only does it carry purse, two sets of keys – car & house, & phone, but there is also an ipod in there & some tissues AND still room for poo bags.
From the side too – Awesome! I shall now repeat the phrase that we write so many times when after our first take of a new pattern, “There will be more”. But whilst the intention & the love of this pattern is there, it is another pattern in my near consciousness to join my “spontaneous project” category for when the mood takes me & when the perfect fabric waves its hand at me. However, saying that, I also think this skirt would be a great gift to make for a friend – less fitting required than normal skirts. In fact I might already have someone in mind who would fit the bill perfectly ….now that’s a lovely idea. Making such a sweet skirt to give as a gift would make me very happy. (Right, that’s another conscious note made for the Miette!) Now if I asked how many of you had made it already I’m sure you’d all shout. But what about as a gift for someone else? Who’s done that? As a surprise? Is it a good option? Is it time to start a campaign, “Miettes as Gifts?!”
So the heat has abated, last night (or even early morning) it seems as if most of the UK had thunder storms to clear the air. After a period of prolonged sunshine it is still dry & warm & beautiful outside, OK with more clouds. But for us Brits who seem no good at coping with any form of extreme weather, snow or heat, yet moan relentlessly about grey, dull, uneventful weather, does this mean our lives return to pre-heatwave form?
To me it feels as if we have come out of a dream, emerged out of a blissful (but warm) cocoon, reinvigorated by the experience, ready to take on the world. I will readily admit that as well as the huge joy that comes from waking up to the most fantastic blue skies and knowing (any certainty about good weather is rare in UK) that it was here to stay more than 6 hours, has impacted on my day to day:
- more time in the garden, less time on-line blogging and visiting blogs but the deepest tan I’ve had in years
- I can now sleep through the dawn chorus with the windows open. Or are the birds affected by the heat too?
- My lower legs & feet swell as if I’m preggers! On a daily basis! Maybe I am sitting down too much at work…
- Life’s pace has to slow down- the walk home uphill is now a stroll and not a power walk, it ends with an iced drink in the garden. This has to be good for us, right?
- But I have had some dreadful running experiences. I am not good running in the heat at the best of times, but have been demotivated and disheartened how I’ve missed runs “because it’s too hot”, or suffered dreadfully trying to maintain our usual type and timing of runs & ended up performing badly, struggling to run full stop. I will not tell you any more about the nadir except it was a 14.5 mile hilly run with little shade ending just before midday. Mad dogs indeed. But when you’re training for your first marathon this gets in your head & I have been forever berating myself for still not feeling “on track” & it’s my commitment at fault that I’ve not completed all of my weekly planned runs. So although workarounds were needed (eg getting up earlier for the weekend long run) I kind of knew that this particular issue would be short term. It’s UK, right. Our usual summer will return – & I feel as though it has today. I can enjoy the rest I’ve had & look forward to a fresh start.
Check out this running skirt (Jalie 2796) – too hot yet to wear as it is lycra that is in no way technically cooling or wicking.
The shorts are organic bamboo & quite thick too. So not worn or tested yet. Don’t ask about the main fabric except that it is wild, man.
So anyone who’s interested in general healthy stuff you might have some views to offer on this bit: my healthy eating approach to support my training, my running diet has had a review. Now I don’t eat meat (but fish, sometimes, yes) and I’m careful about what I eat with the weekend being for treats: a few beers, crisps, bombay mix (my weakness), & post long run extras as required. But whilst I am careful I was suspecting that I might need to revisit the fab & informative book, “Go Faster Food” by Kate Percy. This contains a load of advice & information about nutrition for running & heaps of wonderful tasty recipes for all meals of the day, plus juices, cakes & even some example meal plans to support training & pre race nutrition. The recipes all give a breakdown of the nutritional value and are also identified as suitable for recovery, pre exercise or for general training diet.
I have frequently made the Melon rescue remedy (so simple- Melon blended with ginger & ice) to hydrate & refuel after long runs. This weekend I made a batch up of slow roasted tomato sauce for pasta, as well as some awesome spiced sweet potato, chick pea & spinach soup – it’s divine. Oh and some date & walnut muffins (:-) )
So OK, I have gone through & got a load of recipes to try from this book. But I have been saving the best for last. My latest enthusiasm is juicing folks.
I’ve had spells of trying this in the past, but am hooked again, thanks to a running friend who has been sharing her experiences and sources of great inspiration. Juicing’s a bit popular at the moment, isn’t it? Did anyone see “Fat, sick & nearly dead” ? Worth a look – I am always inspired by people who turn their life around by changing their lifestyle & eating habits. I do believe in the healing power of so much of what we eat. My friend pointed out the “Juicemaster” website by Jason Vale. There are a number of free e-books of recipes to download. I have been excited to combine a whole load of veg: beetroot, cucumber, celery, spinach leaves with apples and lemon over ice to make the most palatable & excellent red juice that your body just knows is good for it. You know there are some delicious juices containing veg, they might be green or even separate a bit, but they can actually taste good – promise! You don’t have to go full freak to get some amazing health benefits – you can drink veg juice without it tasting obnoxious or reminding you of pondweed. But even more exciting – Jason has been using juicing to support his marathon training & there is also an e-book called “Running on Juice” that not only has a bit of training advice, but also some recipes for training & hydrating juices. I have put these to the test & they are very good. The process of chopping & juicing fruit & veg standing at the juicer with post run muscle throb is weirdly rewarding! Another site which tells you loads about the health benefits of each piece of fruit & veg, providing recipes for juices as well is Juicerecipes. The website’s a useful place to find out what to try if you have specific health conditions too – the healing power of food indeed. At the moment I am still fixed on recipes as it seems that when you follow a recipe you can be assured that it will taste OK. I find that going off piste, off recipe is at your own peril.
Luckily for me I have a market on a Saturday morning that sells cheaper fruit & veg – some only good for juicing to be honest, but worth a weekly trip. Supermarket prices would be restrictive I think.
So there, my latest thoughts on training and what I’m trying to do. It’s not only the domain of runners though, maybe you are a juicing addict? Any resources to share? And any marathon vets out there, any training nutritional resources that you’ve used in the past that you would recommend? I feel I need all the help I can get!
The seaside dress – Or the folly of being a cheapskate. Or – what a lucky break.
Forgive me first of all – I have not been online that much – due to the high pressure currently sitting above us. Until my wifi reaches my garden I am having to add “sitting in the garden after work with an iced drink” to my daily priorities list! If I had online access too, then the world would be ace. I have a long long list of catch up to play – bit by bit over breakfast I see what’s been going on …
But back to this reveal. So I shared this fabric a while ago as I was in the throes of accommodating it into a project befitting its loveliness. Because it is adorable isn’t it? Stripes of seaside scenes: cute cottages, boats, beach and surf with the odd seagull thrown in. [Late edit, available here at Ditto fabrics]
Mrs C says it is a New Zealand design which I found hugely interesting, thinking that beach huts & deckchairs were too Brit to feature anywhere else across the globe. How narrow minded we can be sometimes! When I ordered it I was clearly feeling the pinch & wanted to justify a purchase without feeling extravagant (I must have been buying something else at the same time). I have a feeling I ordered less than a metre thinking that it would make a cute gathered or pleated skirt.
What happened then? Well, I kind of started to make a pleated skirt pattern but horror of horrors, I did not have enough width & so (please prepare yourselves) I cut the length into two thinking that I would add a coordinating border to achieve a full skirt of a grown up length. It would look like a deliberate design detail.
And then our summer was so awful last year that I didn’t make it and it sat eating pins in a basket, hidden away. It was never forgotten though and from Plan A moved to Plan B. I had the inspiration to make it into a dress using some coordinating fabric (same as that intended as the hem border) as a contrast bodice. And here continues the many evolutions of this dress.
But pause first. Just check out how perfect the toning of this contrast fabric is – it’s the yellow pinstriped shirting that I used to make my Datura blouse with. Doesn’t it look like the sand? How cool a match. I don’t think I could have ordered up anything more perfect & this was just shirting I’d had reclining in one of my drawers!
So, the journey continued. I thought it would be a great way to try out the Elisalex bodice as a wearable test before I cut into my other fabrics intended for said pattern. This required a couple of attempts as it is rather a snug fit. I made sure I’d sewn in a zip to truly test the fit of the bodice- this is not a muslining experience that you can get away with just pinning up the back. Once I’d got it to fit I realised that the skirt’s limitations (ie being sooo short of the main fabric) required a bodice that finished at the waistline & Elisalex doesn’t – it has an almost empire line. Peeps I had to go to Plan C …..Elisalex bodice & small skirt = too schoolgirl! But, no matter, I have my Elisalex ground work completed now.
So I turned to the Simplicity 2444 bodice. I had plenty of pinstripe & just tried again. This time success.
I did not follow the Simplicity 2444 skirt pattern- remember I had already cut out a skirt – but to be honest, once you have your bodice, you can just cut rectangles of fabric to pleat or gather them to make the skirt to such a dress – which is largely what I did here.
I tried to match the pleat placement of S2444 in case they aligned to the awesome double waist dart system going on in the bodice.
Attaching the border was a canny stroke of neatness. I already had the maximum length possible with my seaside fabric – I just needed my border to extend the length to make it a decent length & present “fun loving outdoor loon” instead of “schoolgirl”.
The border is essentially a long piece of fabric doubled up along its length which I attached & overlocked to the seaside fabric (ie 3 layers of fabric- like a band) – no separate hem required & it adds a bit more weight to it as well which is good with a full skirt.
Looking at the bodice I will make a few adjustments next time – I think it could do with being taken in a bit at the neckline.
I’ll probably also take a bit out of the top of the centre back too at the neck edge. Don’t know what’s going on in this pic, but I probably pulled the bodice around a bit hoping to make it sit at its best …not possible to see what was happening behind though! Plus it had all this beach action to cope with!
I love these beach huts – they seemed like the perfect backdrop. This was early in the morning, before there was anyone else on the beach.
So the dress. I think I got off well! But I would have cried so hard if it had gone wrong & I had to make cushions or make up bags with what I could recover from a dress gone wrong. Once again sewing by the seat of my pants worked out for me! Phew!! Just in time for our heatwave too. This dress I tell you is “the” dress that will always remind me of this amazing summer.