Tag Archives: christine haynes patterns

Hey Marianne!

15 Feb

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.


Agnes meet Marianne, Marianne meet Agnes

Agnes meet Marianne, Marianne meet Agnes

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.

Neck binding that went to plan!

Neck binding that went to plan!

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.

A dinner plate sized hole.


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.

Gormless with strange hair fin, plus job sheet in the background

Ignore the strange hair fin I’m sporting.

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.

Gratuitous cat shot: Lord Boo looking imperious - and learned.

Gratuitous cat shot: Lord Boo looking imperious, as is his want.


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.