Over the winter months, I tend to do less dressmaking. In the summer I love wearing flirty skirts and pretty sundresses, both of which are fun to make, but during the winter I usually feel less inspired. I’ve been working on the same dress for a couple of months now. It’s a simple shift dress, made from an off-cut of beautiful grey wool which I picked up for a song in New York back around Thanksgiving, and I’m lining it with a gorgeous turquoise coloured satin. The dress is coming along well – all that’s really left to do is line and hem it – and if I like the end result, I’m planning to use the same pattern to make a dress to wear to Miss S and Mr E’s wedding in May, using some glorious pale blue French linen I bought in Paris a few weeks back.
Shift dress Lining
But as February is coming to an end, my thoughts have once again been turning to the warmer months ahead, and, in particular, to our upcoming holiday. In two weeks’ time, RR and I are flying away for some summer sun in the Caribbean. We’ll be spending 3 days relaxing on Barbados, followed by a week-long cruise aboard a Clipper ship. Needless to say, we’re looking forward to it immensely! We’ve never been to the Caribbean, and we’ve never been away in the winter to some place sunny, and we love Clipper cruising, so we’re both very excited! But what to take to wear??? Back in January, I had a massive re-organisation of my sewing room, and since then all my dressmaking fabric has been moved from the top shelf of the spare room wardrobe. It’s now temptingly on display in my glass-doored fabric cupboard, bang in the middle of my sewing room. I see it every time I’m in there or walk past it (which is most of the time, to be honest!) And sitting on the top of the stack of dressmaking fabric are some beautiful prints, ideal for making pretty, summery skirts and dresses. So the combination of our upcoming holiday and having all my fabric on view has got me inspired with my dressmaking again. So far, I’ve made two summery skirts, and I’ve earmarked some fabric to make a sundress to take with me on holiday (which is also turquoise – my new favourite colour, it seems!)
A-line skirt with wide yoke and box pleats Panelled straight skirt with flared hem
I’m back in the UK at the moment (hopefully the skirts will still fit by the time I get back home!), but now I’m absolutely raring to go with the sundress and my wedding outfit for May. And I’m pretty sure that when I do get started next week, I will have plenty of ‘help’ from my chief sewing assistant, Mr. Boy. Whilst Mimi Bubba likes to help me quilt, usually by plonking her not insubstantial bulk on top of whatever I happen to be piecing or quilting, Mr. Boy prefers to help out with dressmaking. And his favourite activities to help with are stealing tape measures and lying on top of crinkly-sounding pattern paper. What a helpful boy! It’s a good thing I love him, isn’t it?!
Although I’ve now made several dresses and skirts for myself, I’ve never had the confidence to sew clothes for anyone else. I mean, I can put up with the little quirks and mishaps of my own sewing, but meeting someone else’s expectations, that’s a whole different kettle of fish! But I’ve always fancied giving it a go, and I figured that if I was going to try, I had the perfect guinea pig in the form of my niece, the tall, beautiful and slender Miss B. She’s 13, and has very firm views about what she likes to wear. And she especially likes to wear skirts and dresses. So before she visited us back at the start of August, I asked her if she’d like me to make her a skirt while she was visiting. Immediate response – yes please! And could I show her how it’s done? And could it be a pink, full and flary knee length skirt please?
So I dug out a pattern for a circular skirt, along with what I considered to be the ideal fabric from my stash – a really pretty pink with little white pindots. Here it is, really close-up.
Very 1950s, I thought, very cute. How beautiful it would look with a little white top and sandals. Simply gorgeous!
Miss B, however, begged to differ.
Did I mention she has very specific views about what she likes to wear?!
So on her first day here, we set off to search for some fabric that met her exacting, teenage standards. And as soon as we entered the store, she made a bee-line for the most gorgeous pink fabric with red apples on, with navy blue stalks and leaves.
It wasn’t until we got home, and RR had admired the beautiful fabric, that Miss B changed her mind about the skirt. A circular skirt was too full, she’d prefer a flared A-line instead. After I’d bought all that fabric. There was going to be quite a bit left over… oh dear, what a shame 😉
So on our return from Barcelona, I set to work on the skirt, made alterations galore, worked out how to line it…
Added a satin bias ribbon to finish the hem…
And ended up with this…
And doesn’t she look a picture of loveliness in it??? I certainly think so, but then again, I am somewhat biased 🙂
Well, all good things must come to an end, and so it was with Miss B’s visit. She’s back home with her mum and dad now, and although I’m missing her, I didn’t take too long to make good use of the leftover fabric. I don’t care that I’m probably a good 25 years too old to pull off such a look, I wanted a skirt too! And here it is – what do you think?
And there’s still fabric left over. Enough maybe for a cute little top, certainly plenty for a matching bag. We shall see. Well, waste not want not and all that!
Oh, and while I was at it, that fabric I initially pulled out of my stash was far too pretty to go back into the cupboard, so I made it into a cute sundress for little ole me 🙂
It’s been hot this week. Really hot. And humid. Bleurgh! 25°C (77°F) is about my limit, but it’s been way up in the 30s recently, and there is pretty much no air conditioning here in Switzerland. So whilst all my sun-worshipping friends are basking away and topping up their tans, I’ve been wilting, like the delicate English flower that I am 😉
I had hoped to do some more free motion quilting this week, but who wants to be manoeuvring a big quilt under a small sewing machine in all this heat? Not me! So, a change of plan… I’ve moved all the fans we own into one room, put the shutters down and whiled away several hot and sticky afternoons stitching together hexie flowers for my Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt. So far, I’ve sewn all 14 yellow flowers (7 with little polka dots and flowers, 7 with big flowers and no polka dots…), and I’m about to move on to another colour. Get me!
Despite the heat, I did manage to get some machine sewing done this week, mainly in the evenings when it’s cooled down a little.
Last Thursday, the second block of my Fat Quarter Shop Mystery Block of the Month arrived, which reminded me that I hadn’t made a start on Block one yet… So this week, both blocks got made. I’ve never been a huge fan of basket quilts, but having made these two blocks, I’m starting to change my mind. I think they’re lovely!
I also thought it would be fun to make a new skirt to take to Barcelona next week, so I dug out my Emaline skirt pattern from Sew Serendipity, which I’ve been wanting to make for a while. I decided to use this beautiful brightly coloured Kaffe Fassett print. I’d initially bought it to use as a quilt backing for what I’d planned to be a bed-sized quilt, but as the quilt came together, I changed my mind and decided to make it lap-sized instead. Happily this meant there was plenty of backing fabric left over to be re-purposed as a beautiful summer skirt!
The skirt itself went together reasonably quickly. I had to do a bit of adjusting – the pattern is designed for someone 5’4″ tall, whereas I’m a smidge over 5’10” – and I ended up lining it to help prevent creasing, but I’m very pleased with the outcome. In fact I’ve already worn it! It’s so light and cool to wear, and really comfortable too, that it looks like I’ll be making this pattern over and over again. And maybe wearing this skirt will motivate me to get out the original quilt top and backing, and finally make a start on quilting it! Well, you never know…
Linking on up to WIP Wednesday, despite limited progress!