Hello everyone, I hope you having a good week? GCSE results tomorrow for me to be feeling anxious about and then on Friday, off on a walking cruise to Norway which I am super excited about. It has been dream of mine for many years to go to the Norwegian Fjords.
I am really pleased with this dress – even though there are still a number of fitting issues. However, I pushed myself a bit and realise that I am getting a little more confident in what I am prepared to have a go at.
First up the fabric. I bought this on my trip to Goldhawk Road, At that point I didn’t have a specific project in mind so only bought 1.5 metres. I then got frustrated with myself because I didn’t have enough for what I decided I wanted to do with it (Ultimate trousers, Anna dress). Having just completed a Gather Mortmain dress which I was pleased with (see here) I decided to have a go at making another one but this time with sleeves.
To fit in with the theme of Two is the Magic Number for The Monthly Stitch I decided to make up my Mortmain in two fabrics – I felt the box pleats would show off the flamingos to their best advantage. I found a plain cotton in a similar shade to the flamingos in C and H fabrics – I only bought 0.7 of a metre to make the bodice and really had to eek this out. When I looked at the pattern for the sleeves properly I realised that there was a cuff detail with elastics, buttons and keyholes. I immediately dismissed this as being too complicated. However, once I actually sat down to start the dress, I thought I’d try and see how it went and I’m pleased I did! It is worthwhile reiterating here that this is an absolutely brilliant pattern with really clear instructions.
I don’t know why I still get so anxious about doing anything for the first time – it is these little cuffs which have given me a sense of achievement with this frock. A few months ago there was a little flurry of knicker making (since replaced by, firstly the Morris Blazer and then the Bettine). I was part of the knicker brigade and bought shedloads of elastic which has since sat languishing somewhere amongst the fabric. I just used this for the loop after having first cut off the lacy part of the knicker elastic. The button is a glass one from my mum’s button box (1960’s).
Something I have only realised since I have been sewing is that although I have small boobies I do have large shoulders. I had completely forgotten this when I started to make up the Mortmain (my previously one having been sleeveless it was not an issue). SO annoying! It was incredibly tight under the arms so I decided to do a big scoop out of the fabric and re-sew. I am sure there is a more professional way to do this. It worked to a certain extent – i.e. it feels OK and I can move my arms but looking at the pictures it really is too tight and pulling across the back. Talking of which ….
I now absolutely love exposed zips – I bought this delight on EBAY and when it arrived I had to keep looking at it as a thing of beauty. Mr CK caught me staring at it as I had laid it out on the sofa and thought I was bonkers.
The experience with the armholes has taught me a valuable lesson – I will now always take extra care with measuring/fitting sleeves. I remember now that when I made my 1960s coat, after all the fuss of putting the shoulder pads in, we decided it would look better without on me, so I took them out again.
My final flourish was to use bias binding on the hem – this was because I wanted to make the dress as long as possible and I had used all of my fabric on the length. Whilst I quite like short/above the knee in winter with thick tights, I favour just below the knee in summer because my legs/knees are not what they used to be! Which brings me to another little ponder!
I recently read the following in a FAB new blog – Coolarama which made me have a little bit of a wobble: “I need to stop making cutesy dresses for 20/30 year old’s, I’m a bloody 40 something! Get a grip and dress like a grown-up!” As I surveyed my recent makes and pondered my own age, I wondered if others might be thinking that about me: Parrots, Frida Kahlo, Flamingos, Queue for the Zoo, Tennis Racquets etc etc. Anyway, hopefully you’ll be pleased to hear that I didn’t ponder that for too long! I love the amazing choices of fabrics we can buy to make really unique clothes for ourselves and I plan to grow old disgracefully making whatever takes my fancy.
Just to reinforce that little moment of positivity I just bought a new paid of shoes this morning which will go perfectly with my dress – shame I didn’t have them when I did the photos.
Toodle pip dear friends – I am off to continue my dream of becoming “a glittery flamingo in a park full of pigeons” (can’t find where that quotation comes from to credit it but it sure is a cracker (along with another favourite motto of mine – it’s really doesn’t matter if the glass is half full or half empty – there is still room for more wine).