Sunday, 24 April 2016

Merchant and Mills Union Dress

So, I have finally gotten around to making the merchantandmills union dress.  It appealed to me since it was released, in that it seemed an easy-to-wear dress with pockets that could be worn in a number of different ways.  Every time I took the pattern out of the envelope, I was never sure which size to make.  Sometimes when I have sewn M & M patterns they have turned out way to big for me and there were so many steps to this one, I'd have been gutted if it hadn't have fit.

Had I used the measurements on the envelope I would have been making an 18!! In the end I went with the actual pattern measurements on the instructions and made a size 14, which is my normal dress size and the fit is great.
Three-colour buttons.

I'm not going to lie, for this dress to look fairly plain and simple, there is a lot of making to it, but I think it's definitely worth it. There are darts for shaping, the making and attaching of the mandarin collar, front and back facings, making the front placket, lots of top-stitching, front pockets, in-seam pockets, sleeve insert, side-splits and button-holes.... PHEW!!

That's quite a lot, I think, but none of the individual parts were really too tricky.  It's all explained well and I just took my time.  The trickiest bit for me was attaching the collar, especially at the front, simply because it's quite a narrow collar piece so you don't have a lot of room to work with it.

I shortened the sleeve to elbow length, as we are meant to be in spring and coming into summer, I toyed with having to taper the sides, but in the end I didn't.  They are straight enough to just shorten.

The side in-seam pockets feel like they are a bit too low for me, don't know whether that's my proportions or not?  I made it from a medium weight linen fabric from Merchant and Mills, which was purchased last summer, it's pretty crisp at the moment, but I think it will soften and crinkle well over time.  It's a french navy shade of blue and was really great to sew with.  (I don't think they have this particular linen at the moment, but lots of other beautiful ones)

So, in the end I'm very pleased with the final result and I think I will get a lot of wear out of it.

Wore it today, but was very glad to have my Haremere jacket to put on over it ... it's still pretty nippy here in the Antrim hills.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Moving forward in my dungarees.

It feels like an age since I've written a blog post, it's not actually that long, but a lot has happened in the last couple of months.  The main thing was that my lovely dad passed away on the 28th February after a 5 year battle with prostate cancer.  He had been in hospital for 10 months (apart from one day in July when he got home and fell and broke both his arms that night) and although I had got him moved to a nursing home near me after Christmas, he quickly deteriorated.  Since my mum passed away in 2007, we were even closer.  I miss him every day, our wee chats about this, that and the other, but it's better for him  - no more pain.

My brother and I have had the arduous task of clearing the family home (for 46 years), so that has been difficult both physically and emotionally.  It's amazing how much stuff can be crammed into a semi-detached house!  Even though I have been trying to de-clutter and down-size in our own house this past couple of years, this has made me realise even more how unimportant 'stuff' is.  Yes you need a certain amount to live and have a nice home, but simplifying, for me, is definitely the way to go from now on!  Having said that I have kept some things, but only things I know we will use day-to-day.  Crystal, teasets, Royal Doulton ladies, silver - sorry they have gone and the awful thing is nobody else seems to want them either.

Anyway, aside from all this I am gradually getting both time and my sew-mojo back and I started with a nice and easy make, the tillyandthebuttons agnes top.  As per usual with Tilly's patterns the instructions are great and the top is a quite shapely.

I made the version with the plain elbow length sleeve and the ruching at the neck line.  It was the first time I'd done ruching and it's really quite easy, but adds a bit of shape.  The fabric is a beautifully smooth and soft jersey from, which I see is sold out, but I also have the other blue one which is similar in weight etc.

I also got around to making the Marilla Walker Roberts Collection dungarees, having made the dungadress.  I found it slightly big, so went down a size in the dungarees and it's a much better fit.

The trouser front has a pleat either side which gives a little more shape.

  The fabric is a medium weight double gauze from Merchant and Mills, which I can't see any more on the shop (yes, it was definitely worth buying more of).  It has a herringbone tweed-like appearance on one side and paler blue chambray on the other and is lovely and soft to wear.

 My teenage boys did give me a rather quizzical look when I appeared in them - they wanted to know if I was going out to work in the polytunnel! Cheek!  They're way too good for that, haha.

Must admit if someone approaching the big 50 should really be wearing dungarees, but I quite like them and am now thinking of the jumpsuit.  Too much, nah.

I used the same Atelier Brunette fabric as the one for my Pussybow blouse, which goes pretty well and was going well with the evil that is SNAP FASTENERS when I realised that the last one wasn't quite right.  Of course, I had none left and had to wait a week for some new packs to arrive.  Oh well.
Have to say I don't really trust fasteners, in general, think I'll carry some safety pins around just incase!

Now that Easter is over and we are into April, I will have to assess my wardrobe and make a plan for some lighter makes.  Also, the garden and seed-sowing is beckoning, my dad was a very keen gardener so I shall be planting with him in mind this year, lots of colour!  I was very lucky to have him as my dad, will miss him.