It’s been a while. Sometimes life is like that. I’ve been sewing but not blogging, embracing my inner introvert (if that’s not a contradiction in terms). We moved house (albeit about 30 yards) last October and I got me my very own sewing room, which has transformed the whole process of sewing and given me a space to call my own.
Anyway, to the dress in hand. I love Christine Haynes. Hers are some of the blog posts I most look forward to reading; I love her style, her warmth and her patterns. Bizarrely, this is the first of her patterns I’ve sewn up. I have a little stash of Emery dress fabric waiting to go but I am, by nature, a cogitator, so I imagine just like with the Colette Patterns’ Laurel dress, I will make a toil and then whack a few out.
Marianne is my friend. She pays me the compliment of making me look quite well pulled together, while feeling like I have all the comfort of wearing my nighty. I don’t feel self-conscious of my midriff either, so a round of applause for Marianne please. Our blossoming friendship nearly came a cropper when the lovely ponte roma I bought from Ebay arrived with a giant hole perfectly positioned in the centre. When I say “giant hole”, I don’t rely on my usual copywriter’s style of over-embellishment for dramatic effect. It was easily the size of a large dinner plate and enabled me to wear the fabric Tonto-style as a poncho.
While I queried the eyesight of person cutting the fabric, understandably I thought, the seller could not have been nicer and gave me a full refund. But still, how do you cut out a length of fabric and not notice a hole that large? The fabric itself is lovely and washed and stitched well, but it did mean that I was very restricted in the pattern placement and style (and length!) of Marianne I could choose. All’s well that end’s well though and she’s a beauty. I cut a size 6 on top and graded out to a size 8 from just under the arm and it fits beautifully. After draping it on Agnes I was temporarily alarmed, thinking it looked far too small to fit me, but not a bit – in fact it looks far better than I ever imagined on these middle-aged bones. The joy of ponte roma is that it doesn’t cling where I don’t want it too and despite feeling that the style of sleeve would only accentuate my bosom – zut allors, all is well! There’s a bit of fabric gathering under the arm but I’m not sure that’s not down to the wretched hole I was trying to cut around (I’m fairly sure there was some slippage) and my efforts to match the stripes.
This time I sewed the entire dress on my sewing machine for a change rather than my overlocker, while following Christine’s sew-along. The pattern is very straightforward but I really liked jogging along next to Christine – the sew-along helped slow the process and made it even more enjoyable. There were some tips I picked up that were new to me, even though I’ve sewn with knits quite a bit over the last two years and I have to admit, sewing ponte on my Janome rather than my rather spirited and feisty overlocker was very easy.
When life gives you lemons, make a Marianne dress, I say. Most of the time I like to hide in the corner and remain the observer, but being part of the sewing community on a wider scale involves dipping your toe in the water, particularly if you want to be a part of it all. I love waking up, checking Instagram, and seeing what sewing peeps on the other side of the world are doing, as well as here in good old Blighty: snapshots into other people’s lives make this big old world feel a whole lot smaller, widens your perspective and helps you feel connected in the best way possible to a group of generous-hearted, talented individuals.