A 99th blog post - thoughts and reminiscing

Friday, 14 August 2015

It's my blog-aversary... Actually it's not really,this blog began two years ago, in April, But this is my 99th post, and that's enough of an excuse to pause and reflect.


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I've been really pondering where all this sewing thing is going.
I have a fabric stash that has grown and grown (thanks in part to Paris Sew Social) but also because of my insatiable ideas. I look at piles of folded fabric and think - that's supposed to be my swishy summer maxi skirt, and there's would-be beach dress, and that's a pair of shorts for Missy, and there's a little skirt... and ... and...






And of course I have just a few spare hours a week and so the fabric remains folded on the shelf, and I have an awful sense of time running through my fingers.

It will be autumn soon - and then my little girl will be growing up, and next summer I imagine she won't want to wear a vintage-ish summer dress. I start to have slight sewing panic.


And then it all starts to seem ridiculous. She doesn't NEED that new dress. She has a rail full of dresses that still fit her that she barely wears. And I don't really need another dress either. So what is all this sewing, and blogging, and stressing really for?!?

And then I look back at the things I've made over the last two years. There are 99 blog posts here, and I guess 75 feature garments for Missy. 
75! That is crazy! She wears school uniform five days a week. It's no wonder that some of the things I've made seem to have been outgrown before they've ever been fully worn.  
Like this blouse...


This blouse was my first ever blog post, titled; 'It started with a 'Fat Quarter'
Yes in one idle moment I bought a fat quarter of fabric on eBay, before I even knew what a 'fat quarter' was. The original post is here. And here is little Missy, two years ago aged three, when I was still trying to take indoor photos. Missy's cheeky dimpled smile is unchanged though. The sleeves were way too long then, with the cuffs turned back, and I improvised with bias trim round the cuff seam.

Back then it was 'dress length', now it's definitely a blouse.
When I look at it closely, I can see how much my sewing has improved. I made my own piping for this, but didn't know I should use a zipper foot to make it.  And the pattern is an improvised hack, based on Straight Grain's bubble dress, with added button placket and box pleats.


I took these photos a few weeks ago, um months, when the buttercups were still out, and I hadn't yet cut Missy's hair. 


Since then I've been hit by blogging blues. For one reason and another, we've had a really rather difficult summer, and haven't managed to get away for a proper holiday. I'm finding it hard to manage all the tasks of family life, and work. And increasingly I find the face we present online hard to sustain. I look at other bloggers pix on their instagram feeds and facebook and their blogs, and see lovely holidays and children and it makes me feel a little overwhelmed. And I know that other people might look at my photos and feel the same. So I feel I need to add some words of honesty to balance out the 'online facade'.
 I live in a small house, and sew on the kitchen table. I don't have lots of spare cash for beautiful fabric, it's a little treat to myself. My children are gorgeous beyond compare, but they also stretch me to my limits, and I get tired and grumpy. 


But I am also learning to count my blessings, to see these magical dark eyes of my Missy, to perceive the reality around me, rather than the unreality of social media and perhaps to slow down a little and pick the buttercups....
Oh, and also to start to think about my 100th blogpost...


'Summer' encapsulated in a dress, by Nani Iro

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Oh summer why do you torment me so?
I love long days, blue skies, sandcastles, rockpools and more. And I love summer sewing - the chance to sew glorious prints and easy dresses - like this dreamy Nani Iro print.


Nani iro double gauze dress en garden

But I never have enough time in summer - there is just too much to cram in to these short months and long days. And barely a minute to get behind the sewing machine. In my head it drives me crazy. Because, you know, it's August, and autumn is looming (at least in England, where the summer is all to brief) If I don't  make those summer sewing projects a reality, it will have to wait til next year.

Nani iro double gauze dress en garden

So I have a confession - I really did not treat this fabric with the respect that it deserves. 
It is quite simply heavenly. The birds in this stunning print have a lilac metallic finish, that ocassionally glints in the beautiful understated touch that Naomi Ito adds to her Nani Iro designs.
I bought two metres of this from Miss Matatabi back in the spring, and intended to sew it up for Nani Iro month in June (Yes, I know - see what I mean about summer, it slips through my fingers...)



Nani iro double gauze dress en garden

These photographs don't do justice to this dress, or the fabric, or me for that matter. They were taken after I have walked a mile across cliffs to reach our secret beach in North Devon. 
So my dress is creased. 
And  I couldn't resist a quick swim in the sea and leaping in the Atlantic waves. So my hair is damp and salty.
And then I had to persuade Mr As-it-Seams to photograph me, and he'll do that for two minutes max before we start arguing. 
So these pictures will have to do. Because heaven knows when it will be sunny again and I'll have 'another summer moment' in my Nani Iro beach dress. 


OK - so here's the sewing details.
The pattern is self-drafted. I made a muslin and experimented.
I wanted a dress with no zip, to simply pull on.
I managed to achieve this and have a slim-fitting dress, with simple bust darts.
The neckline is faced, front and back, and understitched and interfaced, just to give this soft double gauze a hint of structure.

And the sleeves! Well I was in such a rush, that I cut them so that the selvege forms the hem. No hemming (although this does mean the birds are flying 'up' my arm rather than around - but I can live with that)

Nani iro double gauze dress en garden
Nani iro double gauze dress en garden



The hem  is faced, and has splits in the side seam. I love this detail, and I was going to take more photos to show, you... but for all the reasons above, I didn't..

And that's it - it was an easy-peasey dress that I sewed in a frenzy in one evening flat. And it used just over a metre of my fabric, so I'm hoping I can make a blouse too. Watch this space....

Nani iro double gauze dress en garden

We've been going to this secret beach for nearly 20 years and it's one of my favourite places on the planet. The surf, the rock pools, the cliffs, the green and the blue and the silver.
And we're lucky enough to have dear friends who live near here. For little girls running in the sea, this is paradise. And that roar of the ocean, calms my soul and eases my panic about summer slipping by.





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