I made it – literally and metaphorically!
I rushed to buy Francoise by Tilly and the Buttons as soon as it came out and initially planned to take part in the competition. However, the end of term is so mad that I just never finished in time. However, I loved looking at everyone else’s dresses and it gave me lots of ideas. I decide to add contrast cuffs to match my collar – now this might not seem very adventurous to you but this was my first time off piste so to speak and I have to say how chuffed I am with how it turned out.
I bought the fabric from Clothkits – it is some sort of wool blend, gorgeously soft to the touch. It is a delicate herringbone pattern and I still can’t quite decide if the contrast if black or dark brown. Bits of fluff were coming off all over the place and I am sure I will regret not having made friends with my overlocker yet. I bought one a couple of months ago and am still waiting for a chuck of time to devote to us getting better acquainted. So edges which would really benefit from being overlocked are just pinked – however, I do sort of like pinking – it somehow seems very 1960s.
Having missed the deadline for the competition I decided I would have Francoise as my Christmas Day dress – even this looked in doubt but after a final push yesterday and some last minute hand sewing this morning I finally finished it on Christmas Eve. Although, you could well be forgiven for not realising it was 24th December from these photos – it is gloriously sunny here in Arundel – the tide is very high (the river always looks prettier) and I thought that the cathedral would make a festive backdrop to my photos in the absence of snow – although I am sure the neighbours thought I was bonkers traipsing up the garden in a pair of high heeled patent shoes. On reflection I think the dress will look better with my suede boots.
In terms of fitting, I cut a size three on the top and graduated out to a four at the hips – I probably didn’t need to do this as there seems to be lots of spare fabric at the back. I’d be really happy to hear from anyone else who has made a Francoise as to how their collar went. I THINK I have messed mine up – it doesn’t go the whole way round the back – I wasn’t sure if it was a design feature but suspect not. You can just see where it ends in my back view shot.
I am super pleased with my dress – it’s my most adventurous make to date (by myself – no workshop hand-holding) and so I feel fairly confident about tackling more challenging projects in 2015: it has been a great first year of sewing. So, from sunny Arundel, very Merry Christmas to you and yours!