Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Creative Perfectionist

I've been blogging here for 7 1/2 years and it's been wonderful! It has been a lifeline, a creative outlet, a forum, and a fantastic way to meet like-minded and supportive people.  

I love Rhinestones and Telephones; however, I have felt my outlook (as you know) shifting over the past several months.  Please join me at my new home: The Creative Perfectionist

I can promise sewing, knitting, and a good cup of loose leaf tea.   As well as Phryne Fisher, Sherlock Holmes, and the occasional Chewbacca figurine.

Won't you join me?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Pixie and the Lemon Tree

Say hello to my little friend! Miss G wanted Fluttershy in the photos as she matched my dress.  Girl after my own heart, I tell you!  I'm here today to proudly show off my new Lemon Tree Dress.  Jane made a stunning version using the Mortmain dress and my version is made, of course, with my current pattern crush, the Washi.

Roisin sent me this delectable Japanese cotton lawn as a thank you for hosting Sew Dolly Clackett.  Totally  unnecessary, as it was my privilege to host; however, one must never look gift fabric in the mouth, no?  It's the first time I have sewn with Japanese cotton lawn and I am completely smitten.  It is beautifully light and soft and has amazing drape.  As it is a bit sheer, I lined the dress with white cotton voile, also deliciously soft and light.

I thought the fabric was too delicate for shirring, as the Washi dress calls for, so I made a pair of waist ties instead.  I love having a completely adjustable dress - it's perfect for hot days like today where you don't want too much fabric touching your skin.   The fabric is 150 cm wide and Roisin was able to snap up the last two metres for me -  more than enough for a Washi. 

Like Jane, I was inspired by this gorgeous Kate Spade dress.  I have also wanted to add a citrus-themed dress to my wardrobe ever since Karen's St. Clements dress.  It's gorgeous and so fresh!

I had originally planned to use a modified Simplicity 3673 to get the same look; however, as I'm still over saturated with fit and flare dresses, I went for a simpler version.  I was a bit nervous as to how this lightweight fabric would stand up to a more structured pattern.

I love everything about this dress!  The giant lemons, the scoop neckline, the cap sleeves, and the way the fabric blows delicately in the breeze.  The fit is exactly what I wanted and the overall look is perfect! It's my version of the ideal summer dress.  

Apparently, the fabric is back in stock and is reduced to a terrific price.   They also offer a grapefruit and blueberry (?) version, which look rather like asphyxiated grapefruits than blueberries, in my opinion.  If you've not sewn with Japanese cotton lawn, I highly recommend it!  It sews up like a dream, doesn't fray overly much, and feels utterly glorious to wear.

I also had my hair cut, as you can see!  I never thought to identify myself so strongly with a particular haircut, but the proof is in the pudding, as they say. With this pixie cut, I feel more like myself than I have in the last year!  

Next on the sewing table are matching popsicle print dresses for Miss G and me. :) Perfect for family photos. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Floradora Dress

This is me, happy.
Much of the credit for the smile on my face goes to your lovely comments on my (un)gracefully ageing post.
I'm still taking them all in.
I will respond to each of you and I am taking the time to be sure my responses are as thoughtful as your comments.
Thank you.

* * * * *

This is my new dress: Floradora.  I used my current pattern flame, the Washi dress, and could not be happier with the result.  The fabric is Meadowvale Bright from the Tule collection by Leah Duncan for Art Gallery fabrics and is, simply, scrumptious.   I have fallen head-over-heels in love with Art Gallery fabrics.  It is of a slightly lighter weight than Michael Miller and the colours are deliciously saturated.   This is a truly beautiful collection and I have already been hatching plans to use more prints. 

 The fabric inspiration came, of course, from the Queen of  Dresses herself, Roisin. She made an absolutely lovely version of By Hand London's Flora dress and I was immediately captivated by the fabric.  This isn't unusual for me when lusting over looking at Roisin's creations.  She really does have impeccable taste, no?

I felt happy all day wearing this dress.  I felt like me! The rich blue of the fabric made me feel good and the print did, too.  Not to mention I paired it with my favourite shoes.   I have purchased both the Washi Dress and the Washi Dress Expansion Pack and highly recommend them.  The possibilities for customizing this pattern are endless and it really sews up a dream.  The only change I make is to use patch pockets instead of inseam pockets.  I don't like how inseam pockets flop around!

The Washi Expansion Pack comes with collar and sleeve variations.  For Floradora, I used the Peter Pan collar and elected to make the dress sleeveless.  I have so many ideas percolating for future Washis, including a winter version with 3/4 sleeves made with this absolutely stunning fabric.  The Washi is a kind fit with minimal tailoring.  It is nice enough to wear to work, but can easily be dressed down for more casual days. It is very simple to sew and I love how feminine it feels. 

Like anyone who works in an office in summer, it can get a little chilly and a cardigan is a must.  Last week I forgot my cardigan and ended up bundling up in my boss' lab coat.  To say I looked like a child playing dress up was an understatement!  They're not overly warm, those lab coats, but it was better than freezing!

Today I wore Floradora with my newest cardigan.  I knit it with my very favourite cotton yarn, Knit Picks Comfy Worsted.  I used one of my favourite lace patterns, which I found here.  I designed the cardigan myself, too!  It knit the body flat and the sleeves in the round, which is my preferred method of knitting.  I find top-down, all in one piece knits really hard on my wrists.   The only downside to this yarn is that it has a tendency to fuzz, but it's so soft and so nice to knit with that I really don't care.

I'm normally a purist when it comes to cardigan buttons, favouring pearl or shell.  However, these glittery stars were simply too much fun to resist and I like how they look on the pale blue.  I knit the same diamond lace pattern on the back and fronts of the cardigan with a one pattern repeat in the sleeves.  

I plan to sew many more Happy Dresses over the next few weeks including a sleeveless Hazel dress with some Nani Iro and chambray I have.  My Phryne Fisher Plan is coming along swimmingly, too.  I plan on getting a pixie cut again, similar to this, and I have summer holidays coming up soon.

Plenty of reason to be happy, grey hairs notwithstanding :)