Working for Flora

So, I’m sure you are more than aware that By Hand London launched their latest pattern last week, the Flora dress.  Oh, my.  Isn’t she an absolute show stopper?!  I’ve loved seeing all the tester versions across some of my favourite blogs.  And seriously is there anyone on this planet who, if asked, would turn the BHL girls down?!  And having seen some of the care packages they sent out to their testers, wow!  The BHL girls know how to look after their pattern testers!

She has a fitted bodice and full skirt that I love, but with a twist.  I love the faux wrap top and whilst I have always, always been wary of a mullet hem, this dress has converted me and I want one NOW!  But, I’ve made myself a promise to get fit and as an incentive for each fortnight I complete my 30 minute bike workout, I can buy myself a present.  Flora is going to be my first present.  I’ll tell you this, it makes me want to get on that bike and work!

In in the interim (when I’m not telling myself, xx minutes until it goes to an easier resistance, or xx minutes to go) I’ve been dreaming about which fabric I’m going to make her in.  And then Amy, who blogs at Almond Rock,posted an Instagram picture of a fabric at Textile Express and I was sold. I’d never come across this retailer before but I know Amy has used them on a number of occasions so I jumped in and bought the fabric (and some floral jersey too – well if you’re paying £6 P&P you might as well get your money’s worth!).

d8_floral_navy

It’s just perfect, Navy, floral and a lawn.  It’s going to drape beautifully and I may be a little bit in love!

If you want any inspiration though, just look at Lizzy’s TWO versions (AM and Nightshade which is a knockout), Sonja’s vibrant beauty, Dixie’s classic interpretation, Roisin’s use of a fabulous print, Marie’s classic beauty, Fiona’s Pretty in Pink version, Lauren’s vibrant summer dress, Zoe’s chic monochrome number, Nette’s vibrant red dress and Emily who selflessly made the dress for her sister!  If these incredible pattern test versions don’t get you wanting to get behind your machine and make your own version in very short order, I don’t know what will!

Gather Kits: Mortmain

Hi y’all.  Sorry for the absence on Monday it has been a crazy couple of weeks and this weekend there was just no let up.  As a result I have been floored by a cold (yep, a simple cold) and sore throat.  My body is telling me I need to give myself a bit of time for some R&R!  Long story short, work is busy, my Husband’s self employed status is turning back to employee and director as of the 1 April as we’ve taken the decision to change his business into a Limited company.  His business is stupid busy, which means behind the scenes I’m busy!  We’ve recently put in for a number of jobs and been awarded the majority of them which makes me incredibly proud of him but also brings with it a fair degree of stress as these are all on a commercial level.  Pretty damn impressive for a one man band!  At the moment I’m working a minimum of 32hrs a week in my place of employment, working 10-20 hours on Husband’s business and being a Mum as well as trying to maintain a clean(ish) house with food in the cupboards!  How I’m not crazier than I am I have no idea…

Anyway, please forgive my less than glowing face and somewhat grumpy expression, I wasn’t feeling exactly glamorous when taking these, but you’re more interested in the dress than me, so what the heck!

Mortmain

Back in 2013 Gather Kits were looking for pattern testers for their first pattern ‘Mortmain’.  I stuck my hand in the air and was lucky enough to be picked!  This is actually my second version of the dress as the first one is now too big (wahoo!).  I made it using a teal plaid wool (I think, it was from the charity shop and presses like a wool!).  I did my usual FBA (please forgive the bust darts that look like they’re heinously placed – I’m wearing a different bra to the one I fitted this in) and sway back adjustment.  I also chose to fully line this rather than just use the facings and also swapped out the exposed zip for an invisible one (but I forgot to take back view photos – sorry!).

Because I chose to line the bodice with white cotton, I didn’t want to run the risk of this peeking out around the neck or armholes.  So I carefully pressed the edge of the facing under and edge stitched it to the lining.  I’m really pleased with how close I got the edge of the facing and how close to invisible it is!  To get a really good finish on the lining I followed this tutorial.  I then catch stitched the lining to the waist band of the skirt.  This enclosed where the skirt meets the waist band too.  I lined the skirt by duplicating the skirt pattern piece and creating the box pleats with both the outer and lining fabric.  I think I got the plaid lined up pretty well!  The lining was finished with my overlocker and I overlocked and pressed up the skirt hem before catch stitching it by hand.

Mortmain 2

I love working with plaid – it’s a challenge but when you get it right it’s really satisfying too.  You can also have fun with the direction so I cut the waist band on the bias and used some lightweight fusible interfacing to stop it stretching out.  It gives this work appropriate dress a little bit of a twist and some added interest.

This pattern is a great basic and the box pleated skirt manages to have a full hem that I love with out being too bulky around the waist.  The separate waist band nips you in and gives a lovely shape.  I used the instructions to insert the exposed zip on my first version and they work really really well giving a fabulous finish.  All in all I’d recommend this pattern and not just because I was lucky enough to test it!  It’s a great building block and with the sleeve options with their cute cuff detail it has so many possibilities!

Imagination is the Beginning…

Seasonal sewing?  Pah, that’s for organised people.  Or those that sew with a plan.  Not me, then!

As February comes to a close and snowdrops, crocus, iris and even daffodils are starting to make an appearance in the garden, spring may, just may (don’t want to jinx it!) be on its way.  Which is, of course, the perfect time to start making a thick, lined wool cape.  Yup.

This has been simmering away in the back of my mind for a while.  The seed was sown by a rather beautiful and sophisticated colleague at work who has been wearing a cream with brown plaid cape with sleeves and a funnel neck all winter.  I love the funnel neck that has a big buckle to thread a belt like closure through on the collar.  This inspiration has been percolating for a while and I’m now well into the planning stages of my own cape (hastened I might add by the zip on my ski jacket giving up the ghost – another thing for the repair pile!).

Milano Cape 1

I’ve always wanted to make a cape ever since Tasia posted her version of Simplicity 5669.  It’s a pattern I even have in my collection, bought with the full intention of making that cape one day.  The image I have in my mind’s eye though is much more swirly, has more movement.  I then remembered Papercut Pattern’s Milano Cape, part of her first collection “Imagination is the Beginning of Creation”.  The collar is more suited to being accessorised with scarves and snoods, it had the movement I was dreaming of and the welt pockets and double breasted style lends its self to creative embellishment!  You guessed it, I bought the pattern.

There aren’t many versions of this cape blogged; in fact I can find only two!  Amanda of Bimble and Pimble’s version and a sample made up for a class.  My only doubt, if you will, about the pattern is the size of the neck.  It’s pretty darn wide and Amanda fitted her lovely self and her dog in that neck hole!  I want something more closely fitted there so I suspect I will be altering the pattern to suit.  Whether that means using a smaller neck line or grafting on the collar from another pattern I’m not quite sure yet.  S5669 that inspired me all that time ago may be the solution!  I could also try my hand at pad stitching to shape the collar…

I know I want this cape to be fully lined, like Amanda’s and Tasia’s.  I’ve been stash diving and come up with a reasonably heavy crepe backed satin in a lustrous plum/magenta colour.  It’s a pinky-purple I guess!  Drafting the lining should be pretty straight forward and I intend to use Amanda’s method of tracing the outer, laying the facing over the top and tracing them then adding a seam allowance before cutting the facing area away.

Milano Cape 3
Left to Right:
Poppy Kettle’s Single Welt Pocket
Karen’s eBook
Steph’s Piped Pocket

I’m also going to do something different with the button holes.  I want to use bound button holes as it’s a technique I’ve never tried.  I have one of those Dritz bound button hole jigs that I won on Casey’s blog a long long time ago, as well as Karen’s eBook on how to make a bound button hole.  It’s those little tailored touches that I want to have a go at (like the possible pad stitching on the collar).  I’m going to get some bespoke buttons made too as I can’t find any I like and if I’m going to the effort of bound buttonholes, the buttons needs to be a bit special too!  I briefly considered covering them myself but that’s fiddly and I’m rubbish at it.  The prices buttoncovering.co.uk are extremely reasonable and they know what the heck they’re doing so will produce something I want to use.

I’ve been happily researching all sorts of techniques and construction methods and Poppy Kettle’s single welt pocket tutorial is the one that makes the most sense to me!  It also shows how to add a pocket bag which I’m keen to do as the pattern its self requires the pocket to be topstitched to the cape, which I don’t want to do.  I also intend to add some piping to the single welt pockets using some of the lining fabric, a little like Steph did on this pocket a while ago.

Milano Cape 2

So I’m pretty much there and nearly have all the materials I need to make a start.  I’m just waiting on the fabric I eventually chose to arrive after getting a number of swatches sent through the post.  I wanted a wool melton in either a dark grey, black or navy as these are all ‘neutral’ colours for me.  I wanted it to be soft to the touch, reasonably thick and drape well.  Most of the samples had the drape and texture but were too thin.  Another was too thick and didn’t drape the way I wanted.  I’ve found my fabric though, courtesy of eBay and if you believe the description the fabric is of Italian decent.  Whatever it is, it’s what I was dreaming of in a deep inky navy that’s almost black.  There will be a lot of steam in my future when it comes to pre-shrinking all 4m of it!

I hope you don’t mind but as this is the first thing I’ve made with a lot of these techniques and even vaguely tailored, I’m going to be documenting the process and my research and sources for the techniques I use!  Oh, and there’ll be the usual sort of thing interspersed through it all – I suspect this will be a slow burner, done a little at a time…

Charming Cami Dress

Ugh, my blog post titles are far from poetic!  However, it is high time I shared with you my version of Pauline Alice’s Cami Dress.  It’s been in my wardrobe quite a while now (since September!) as I made it pretty much as soon as the pattern was released – I’ve only just photographed it though hence why you only get to see her several months down the line!

I made it in some Tula Pink fabric from her ‘Prince Charming’ range.  There are turtles, butterflies, girls in swings, waves and all sorts going on in the print.  I love the turtles the most though!

Cami Dress 1

Me being me, I had to mess with the pattern.  Sometimes I do this because I have a certain idea in mind, sometimes because I don’t like certain details.  In this case it was a mix of the two!

The two changes I made were to the finishing of the sleeves at the cuff and the shape of the skirt.  For the sleeves I used the cuff pattern piece from By Hand London’s Victoria blazer as I love the way it finishes the seam edge so neatly, but also provides some interest as well; particularly in the contrasting fabric.  The second change was to ditch the gathered skirt for a flared A-Line version.

I drafted the skirt myself using the technique in the Craftsy class ‘Design and Sew an A Line Skirt’ and then slashed and spread from the hem to the waist to get the biggest flare I could at the hem.

To match the contrast of the cuffs, I also used the navy contrast on the inside of the collar.  This is actually the second collar I made as I screwed the first one up completely.  Thankfully Four Square Walls published her collar tutorial just as I decided to rip off the first version and saved my sanity.

Cami Dress 2

Other, minor tweaks, I made were to put more buttons on the bodice as the FBA (Full Bust Adjustment) adds length and the number specified in the pattern didn’t look quite right.  I’ve got one of those amazing simplex guides that makes easy spacing of things like buttons an absolute walk in the park.  I also added a button at the cuff because I liked the way it looked!

Finally, I inserted the side seam invisible zipper in upside down.  This means the tab is at my hip rather than up under my armpit when I’m wearing the dress.  I find that the tag and inflexibility of the slider really irritates me if I insert it the ‘normal’ way up and inserting it so it closes by zipping downwards is an easy fix!

Next time (and there will be a next time) the only change I intend to make is to ditch the pockets.  Yep, ditch them.  Because of the side zipper it makes the placement of the pockets a little awkward as they’re an inch or so too low for me.  Don’t get me wrong, I generally love pockets, but because these aren’t quite in the right place for me I don’t use them.  I know there are other pocket treatments that could work, but frankly I pretty much always have some sort of bag with me so leaving them off isn’t a massive issue!

Phew, I had more to say about this dress than I thought!  I hope you’ve all had a good week.  I’ll be glad when this one is done.  Work has been busy and exhausting and I got my exam results today and now I know that all the work I put in paid off!

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I’m also pattern testing (So. Much. Fun!) at the moment and have a full on weekend planned which included catching up with friends and their little people, swimming, more friends and helping Husband put together three enormous (for us) tenders.  Safe to say life is exciting and challenging at the moment.  One thing it isn’t is boring!

Anna the 1st

Click image to go to source

Happy Valentines my lovelies!  If you’re into this particular day, I hope you’re having a wonderful one and if you’re not, I hope you can side step the mushy stuff and maintain your sanity!  Husband has a card and some After Eights, and I’ll cook something nice later but that’s the limit in this household!  As I’m writing this on Thursday evening I have no idea if he’s remembered or not (I suspect not… But that’s him and it doesn’t bother me).

As the sun was shining yesterday and I was working at home, I used my lunch break to finally, finally, photograph the first By Hand London Anna dress I made.  This is by no means a recent make of mine – more like last summer shortly after it was released!  It’s a really happy, summery dress – mainly because of the fabric (mermaids, fish, whales!).

Anna 1

I did my usual FBA and sway back adjustment on this as well as Sonja at Gingermakes back neckline gape fix.  I used french seams where I could and  I catch stitched the sleeves for a lovely, flexible finish.  I also used a few tricks I’ve picked up to finish the facings and the facing to zipper.  This dress taught me that I needed a little more length in the bodice as the waist was a smudge too high and the pleats were also well into the bewb area rather than under them.  Something I didn’t catch when I actually toiled the bodice of this!

To finish the facings I sewed the facing to the interfacing, right sides together, pinked the seams and then flipped the interfacing over so that the glue side was against the wrong side of the fabric.  I then pressed.  This makes a really beautiful finished edge on the facing and takes a very short period of time to do.

Anna 2

The other finishing technique I used was where the facing meets the invisible zip at the back.  I use the Fashion Incubator method, which always gives me a really nice finish – In fact I use her insertion method too where you sew up the seam below the zip BEFORE you insert it.  Generally a fantastic resource for all sorts of things – beware you will loose hours but gain tons of knowledge!

I like this dress – although it is a little sheer!  Care is needed with underwear colours and situations where you’ll be back lit.  And strong gusts of wind as this skirt will catch a breeze as easily as a circle skirt!

So, there we are.  My 1st Anna dress.  A short and sweet post as this dress is already so well documented on the inter webs!

PS If you fancy winning a rather lovely brolly or a pattern of your choice, let me know in the comments of this post.  I’ll pull a winner out of the hat on Monday!

Starry Eyed Archer

Archer

Oh, I am such a tardy blogger!  I made this shirt back in October (I think?!) and meant to blog it in December as I hadn’t managed to before so that it coincided with Archer Appreciation month.  Missed that deadline too, but better late than never!!

Not a  lot to say about the Grainline Archer really, it’s a lovely pattern that goes together really well and in this flannel it is also super super warm.  I am wearing this thing to death and whilst I’m going to put some shaping into the side seams for further iterations, I’m still happy with this one.

The only variation I made from Jen’s excellent instructions was to use Four Square Walls’ collar tutorial.  I’d used another method on my Cami dress (Yep, another yet to be blogged make) back in September and ripped it out in frustration.  Andrea’s tutorial came at just the right time!

I love this shirt, it’s comfortable and warm.  Because of the bazoomer’s it hangs straight down so I’ll look at adding a little shape in future versions, but it’s more of a winner than anything else as far as I’m concerned!!

Happy Happy Joy Joy – Northern Hemisphere Style

OK, I’m on catch up mode with stuff I made last year and beginning of this year.  There isn’t going to be any choronological order to these posts, it’s more going to depend on when I get a chance to photograph things and sit at the computer to write.  But on to the pretty skirt!

Do you remember the skirt Sew Busy Lizzy made for the Minerva Blogger Network using Vogue 8882?  Well, Lizzy told me I’d love it and boy did I love it.  That kit was bought with birthday money pretty much instantaneously.  It was also made PDQ as well and I wore it for our Christmas meal in early December, Christmas Day and a few other Christmas shindigs.  Did I get any photographs?  Did I heck!  So, I grabbed these photos at the same time I was photographing Anna Tron on a bleak, rain swept January morning.

Happy Happy Joy Joy

This entire outfit actually started out life in one of my Fashionary Mini sketch books (I have a set of three as well as a Silver Zebra print A5 book) and whilst I am not as tall and willowy as the outline in the book I’m pleased as punch with the finished outfit!

Vicki at Minerva Crafts was so helpful when I bought the bits I needed to make this skirt, swapping out the pattern size to one in my size range, double checking with me that I was happy and sending it all so quickly!  The fabric is lovely, it has a two tone effect that gives the colour real depth and it drapes beautifully whilst still having some body.  I really should have taken photos with a petticoat underneath because it looks fabulous (oops!).  You also get that beautiful swish sound as you walk in it.

Happy Happy Joy Joy 2

I did the same as lizzy and blew out the facings for the hem and just turned and stitched a narrow one instead.  This meant I have about 1.5m of the fabric left that is now a superhero cape. I wore the cape for Boy’s birthday at the beginning of January!  In short, that kit was an absolute bargain and I love this skirt!

Wardrobe Architect: Designing and Building Thoughtful Attire

I’m not going to go over old ground here as I’m sure many of you read Coletterie.com, the blog for Colette Patterns.  Sarai is writing a series of blog posts about designing and curating a wardrobe that reflects who we are.  This is a wordy post.  I completely understand if you’d rather skip over this one as this is as much me ‘thinking out loud’ as it is anything else!

architect-300

I love the shiny and new, I love outlandish patterns as well as the pretty ones.  I also work in a pretty conservative office that may not appreciate some of my favourite dresses in certain circumstances (but they can deal with my bright red hair so…).  I’d also like to sew things I’m going to wear to threads.  I’ve already culled part of my pattern collection and raised a bit of money through eBay that has bought me some knit fabric and a rather fabulous umbrella.  A second cull is forthcoming.  But before I cull patterns that made it through the first cut, it makes sense to think a little more about what I want as well as what I need in my wardrobe.

Want and need aren’t exclusive in my books.  I can want a pretty pattern but not need it, I can make a wardrobe key stone in a less than basic fabric.  Some of my sewing is going to be just because I want a garment in that print or because I like that pattern, some is going to be built around requirements such as solids and work basics.  There’s going to be a mixture of cake and frosting as whilst I sew for my unique shape I also sew for fun and the sheer joy wearing a full skirted dress brings me!

My tastes have changed over the years, they can change at the drop of a hat or take a while to evolve.  I have a split personality when it comes to my wardrobe; a tomboy and a girly girl.  As I write it’s been a long day at work and I’m still in one of (and there are a number due to the variety involved in my job) my ‘uniforms’.   Today is jeans, a long sleeve T with a work polo-shirt over the top and my work fleece on the back of the chair as I’ve been digging around, handling things and been in cold places.  Other days may require ‘professional’ as I’m interviewing or in court.  Then there are days where either goes or a fun dress is going to be OK.  Day’s where I’m not quite sure what’s on the agenda (or know that it my change at short notice) means black trousers and the polo shirt.

So, my wardrobe has to wear many hats professionally!  Then of course, there is Boy.  Who loves it when I wear dresses but also wants to climb trees, race the dogs in the park, or bounce on a trampoline.  So there’s even more reasons to support my multi-personality wardrobe.

What I do know is that I like dresses with a fitted bodice and a flared skirt.  Trousers always used to be wide legged and for work that still holds true, but I now prefer a slimmer cut for my jeans.  I need my work wardrobe to be different to my home wardrobe.  I don’t mind an element of overlap but for a long time I wore the same thing working or not.  I need to put work in a box when I’m not there and dressing differently helps me do that.

My religion doesn’t affect my aesthetic.  My philosophy towards clothes has changed though as a result of a number of factors: money, learning to sew, recent events in the clothing trade.  I’m more grown-up with my money now and consider my purchases more.  Learning to sew means that I expect more from my off the peg clothing – I look at construction and finish and will pay for a better garment (within reason).  The name on a piece of clothing means nothing and I’m sure as hell not paying more just because it’s on there!

This is a departure from when I was growing up.  To be frank, I really was clueless about fashion until my mid-teens and then only became aware because my younger sister was really trend conscious and started steering me towards and away from certain things.  For a while she was (and would admit) that the name meant everything and I followed suit.  Thankfully nothing horribly expensive but there was a lot of branded sports wear for our tom boy lifestyles.  When I met Husband I didn’t change the way I dressed as I was comfortable and it didn’t bother him, although a nice dress was always appreciated!

The turning point for me has been the addition of Boy.  For a few reasons.

The first is that I want him to have a really strong set of values about respect (for himself and for others), equality, pride (as in self worth and confidence) as well as empathy.  So much you can tell, but you can teach so much more by example.  If I show him that I have respect for myself and take pride in myself then he will too.  If I show him that he doesn’t need to follow the herd to be respected and treated as anyone’s equal then that will be his expectation.  Believe me, I don’t want some bratty, attitude laden little s*** as a son.  I do want him to follow his own path (he’s got some strong ideas about what he’ll wear and he isn’t afraid to be different.  School uniform may be a challenge in September!) whilst also being mindful and accepting that others may choose a different way and that this does not make them any more or any less than him.

The second is that being pregnant, nursing and being a Mum has changed my body.  It’s softer, it’s bigger and my stomach will never be flat again.  So bodycon dresses aren’t for me; if it’s too fitted over my stomach I spend all my time trying to put something over it!  I still have a thing for pencil skirts and whilst I’m not sure if they’ll work for me, I’m gonna give it a try.  I do know I like a fitted bodice though and if I pair that with a flared skirt I can concentrate on the areas in which I have a level of confidence (above the waist and below the hips) and gloss over the bits I’m not so comfortable with (my stomach and butt).  This isn’t said to fish for compliments or reassurance.  I’m damn proud of what I achieved in giving birth to a happy and healthy little boy.  I’d do it all again with the same physical fall out in a heartbeat.  Sure I’d love to be slimmer but that’s mainly for health reasons (there is some vanity in there too because I had passport photos done this week and they are horrific, ugh).

Style

I also interact with a much broader range of people now as a Mum.  Prior to Boy it was work and friends where we all have common ground of one sort or another.  Now that common ground can simply be that you have a small person with you.  I’m interacting with childcare professionals, other parents, other children aged 0 to 18, teachers, doctors, nurses that I came into contact much more infrequently before.  I don’t want Boy to loose out on possible opportunities because my presentation brands me as ‘scruffy’ or ‘up tight’ or ‘high maintenance’ or ‘slob’.  I want to be approachable by all those people I now deal with so that I am told what’s going on with Boy and so that I’m not a barrier to him being friends with anyone because the child finds me scary or the parents apply some label.  I know I’m never going to please everyone and I’m not trying to do that, I’m simply aware that going to an extreme with a certain style alienates as much as conforming means you get lost in the crowd.  My ideal is somewhere in the middle ground; enough personality and individuality that I stand apart but not to the extreme where it puts people off.  Clothes as a conversation starter rather than a barrier.

Of course, you lovely bloggers have had an influence as well.  Without you I wouldn’t have dared use some of the prints I now love.  I wouldn’t be aware of the patterns I turn to over and over again.  I wouldn’t be as confident in myself without you.  And that makes me a better Mum; because I believe in myself Boy can see that self belief in me and I hope will naturally believe in himself.  Wearing dresses makes me feel feminine, the prints make me feel like an individual – there is no one else going to be wearing what I am!  And that gives me confidence and because I like what I’m wearing I walk taller, swing my hips and feel more attractive.

Then of course there is the endless subject of conversation that is the weather.  I live in East Anglia and I swear we have our own microclimate.  Safe to say we experience the whole range of weather but not to the extremes of other areas of the country and certainly not other countries!  Occasional snow, occasional heat, lots of temperate weather and rain (although we’re the driest part of the UK apparently?!).  Dresses (unless wool) work all year; the main consideration is whether tights and / or a cardigan are required or not.  This gives massive scope to the wearability of what I make as it isn’t confined to a set period of the year and honestly the wool dresses do get worn in the summer for formal work stuff.  So no seasonal limitations!

So, if I had to summarise my ideal core style it would be:

Suitable for the task
Individual
Confident
Approachable
Attractive
An element of whimsy or fun

Secret Santa Anna Tron

Well, Hi there.  What do you mean it’s nearly the end of January!  Your lying.  Oh…  It really is.  Where has this month gone?!  Suffice to say it’s been a bit busy round these parts, but I’ve finally managed a little sewing and have one of my favourite dresses to date to show you!

Anna Tron

This is the By Hand London Anna dress and is the second version I’ve made (I just haven’t photographed the first one yet, OK?!).  The fabric was a gift from my Secret Santa as I took part again last year with the swap organised by the lovely Kat who blogs at Krafty Kat.

The fabric is a stretch cotton twill with this fabulous black and purple geometric print.  I went with the bateau neckline for this make as I didn’t want to break up the print.  The dress came together beautifully and I swapped out the facings to use the hot pink bias that accompanied the fabric.  My only irritation with the dress is my fault!  I’m shrinking (which is a good thing) and despite taking the side seams in on this over and over it’s still to big through the torso.  I’m going to follow Roisin at Dolly Clackett and hope that a turn through the washing machine will shrink it’s proportions suitably.  Or take even more out of the side seams!

Anna Tron Fit

I hope the photos above illustrate what I mean.  I’ve got a lot of fabric pulled behind my back or at my waist.  I’m not sure now the washing machine will fix this – I may need to be more daring in my side seam reductions!

So, along with the fabric, came the rather gorgeous pink bias binding which I used to finish the neckline, arms and hem.  I think it’s this inclusion of a really bright colour along with the geometric pattern of the fabric that made me name this dress ‘Tron’ as I’m not usually one for naming my makes!

Details Anna Tron

See, I love that insane pop of colour!  It matches my hangers too and I’m pretty happy with that pattern matching up the back where the invisible zip is.  So, not only did I get enough fabric to make a dress and finish it with a pop of colour, I also received a number of lovely sew in labels and a little handmade felt fox!  I love foxes so Secret Santa was spot on the money there, too.

Secret Santa

Just wonderful!  One of those labels will be going in Tron Anna.

And for those of you who haven’t come across Tron or Tron Legacy (I’m sorry, I like them both!) here’s a poster for the original film showing the illuminated patterns on the costumes that this dress makes me think of:

Link to Source
Link to Source

Annalex

Sorry, more By Hand London dressing going on here…

Let me introduce to you Annalex; Elisalex’s bodice and Anna’s maxi skirt.  More Mrs Robinson on the leg front though than Angelina!  I made this a long long long time ago (August!) but By Hand have just released this ‘love child’ post so I thought I really ought to start attending to this here blog again now I’ve sat those exams!!

Elisalanna

You got a sneek peak of this dress in my post about my Victoria Blazer.  There’s not a lot really to say about this dress!  The bodice is lined and the skirt french seamed.  It did take a bit of adjustment to get the skirt panels to continue the lines from the bodice, but nothing overly complicated.  I just made some skirt panels wider and some narrower as necessary!

I originally had a completely different plan for this dress.  I wanted to use a tropical print for the centre panels of the skirt and bodice and then a plain black for the sides to give a really neat colour block effect but I couldn’t find the print I’d imagined in my head anywhere.  I’m still on the look out though as that dress has to be made!

So I used this cotton sateen that came from my Goldhawk Road jaunt.  I love polkadots but if they’re too regimented it annoys me for some reason!  I much prefer a more random dottiness (which describes me quite well…).  So when I saw this fabric in a window display I needed 3m of it!  Needed I tell you!  At £5 a meter and 60″ wide that was no hardship either.  As long as you don’t have a directional print it’s perfectly possible to get a maxi from a reasonable amount of fabric.

My only miff with the fabric was that when I got it home it had a grubby mark at intervals along the selvedge where the roll had been propped on the shop floor.  I could not get this out so had to work round it.  If I’d known it was there I would have negotiated a better price on the fabric.  Ah well, live and learn.

Elisalanna Detail

So the bodice is lined (using some nautical vintage cotton) as per the Elisalex instructions and the skirt is french seamed as per Anna’s.  I hemmed the slit by hand as well as the hem and used a hand picked regular zip rather than an invisible one.

There’s not a lot more to say really!  The mash-up of two gorgeous BHL dresses is a success in my eyes and those girls can do no wrong.  Georgia is in the que and Charlotte has also been added so I now have the full collection…  I really must photograph Anna; the post is written but, photographs…

By Hand London Collection

 

Oh, and it was my birthday over the weekend!  The Charlotte skirt was a gift from me to me (to be made up in a small hounds tooth), I also received a new food processor as I blew up the last one (it was 15 years old!!), the Batman Trilogy (Christian Bale versions),  a new cycle helmet, a Crud Catcher rear mudguard and a bike trailer for Boy as he’s not up to long distance rides yet.  Also the Rock of Ages sound track as well as Despicable Me 2 (if the postman ever brings it – it’s allegedly out for delivery as I type…)

I was also treated to a pedicure so I have pretty toes at the moment and as I’m rubbish at coming up with a gift list I now have money to spend on Amazon and some cash to spend on whatever I like!  Any suggestions?!