Afternoon Tea Dress

More tea Vicar?!

Can you believe that the dress above started from a pattern that looked like this?

I wonder what on earth she was thinking about...

What a sultry look eh?

I found the material at a bargain price in a furnishing fabric store but thought it was pretty enough to make something wearable with.  It was more an experiment to learn a few new techniques for me as now that I´ve finished the dress, I realise that I don´t really have anywhere I could wear it!  I don´t think the chickens would appreciate it and I´m not sure it would go so well with my wellies.  The dogs probably wouldn´t take much notice of it either on our walks.  Hey ho, I´ll put it back in the wardrobe for now and wait for an invitation to a Vintage Style Garden tea party.

I had a good play around with the pattern.  I realised that the pleating in the bodice would do me no favours, so took the original one in.

Adjust, adjust...

Then I cut it out according to the adjustments I had made in my muslin.

..and...cut!

I took time to finish the edges properly.

Zigging and zagging

Unbelievably a little local shop had some pretty satin bias binding which I used to cover the inner seams and finish the hems and edges with…I got a bit carried away as I liked it so much.

Pretty Pink Satin Binding

These were then hand finished. Love sewing by hand!

Tiny, invisible, hand stitching

Finally I decided to add some cap sleeves.

Pin the sleeves

I´m happy with how it turned out and may well use the muslin to make up another dress in a more “useable” fabric.

Big lesson learned for me – I have severely wonky shoulders! I had to adjust the bodice shoulders so many times to get the right fit.  I blame it on carrying heavy school bags loaded down with books in my youth…

Green Dress

I´ll blend in nicely on St Patrick´s Day in this....

So, anyone who popped by today hoping for a recipe or a vegetable garden update will be sorely disappointed.  Sorry!  Today is sewing, well dressmaking to be more precise.

I have never been formally taught to sew apart from a brief four week evening class about a hundred years ago which did, usefully, teach me how to put a sleeve in.  The rest I am picking up through trial and (a great deal of) error. 

Living in Spain has made buying clothes quite tricky for me. Being a woman who loves her food means that this is reflected in my shape – I think I´m an “apple”….well endowed on top, and not much bottom to speak of.  If only I could find my waist I´d be heading somewhere towards hourglass! Actually, no, I´d just be a top heavy woman with a waist and a flat bottom…

Spanish fashion, at least in Andalucía, seems to cater for either the very young, thin and trendy or middle aged and frumpy.  I´m probably over exaggerating, but finding something half way fashionable that suits a well rounded forty something is quite tricky.

This year I decided to stop buying things that I either never wear because I get them home and decide they´re hideous, or wear a few times and then they fall apart. I also have a wardrobe full of lovely clothes from my “past” which I felt could be recycled and given a new life.

Back to basics for me, both in terms of not spending money and using what I have at my disposal to recreate.  Buying new material though, is permissible! 

Having gone through my wardrobe now and pretty much renewed everything that could be altered, I have plenty more skirts that actually fit, dresses that go over my chest but come in at my hips and the charity shop is also a whole lot better off.

I wanted to make something simple, but to do it well and chose a summer shift dress from the latest Burda magazine.  No zip (although having said that, I think I´ve pretty much mastered putting in zips), but I added some darts to fit it a little while still leaving room to put it on!  It´s the first time I´ve done a v-neck and I used bias binding.  I´m sure professionals would turn their noses up at this short cut, but it worked well and I´m pleased with the results.

Ok, am off to put on my new summer frock and do a bit of wafting around in it!