A detour to Cambie and Echo

Oops, did I say that I wasn’t very good at updating?  I’m not very good at updating.  Consequently, you will occasionally end up with a post like this one, where I post a couple of oh-look-I’ve-finished’s all in one go.

First of all, Wren.  Wren is still in progress.  I just can’t quite get the adjustments right.  It is getting closer with every iteration, but I have now run out of cheap-and-cheerful jersey to practice on, so Wren has stalled until I can make it to the market, where jersey doesn’t cost £12 a meter.  As I work full time, this will have to wait until I take holiday so it may be a little while.  Fingers crossed that the Sheffield markets yields something useful in a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, I still needed a fancy dress for a recent event, so I returned to the much-loved Sewaholic Cambie.  I first made this dress approximately 3 years ago from Birch Organic cotton in Elk Grove.  Sadly, I lack images of this (my former laptop gave up the ghost last year) but you can kind of get an idea from the fabric image below.

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My original iteration was a bit of a mixture of sizes.  Most of the body and the armholes were a size 14.  The bodice front only was a size 12, but with a FBA.  It was the only way to get it to fit closely.  I then still had to take a 1″ wedge out of the top of the bodice to get it to fit across the top of my bust.  My new version was a straight size 10, so I think a couple of years of diet and exercise have finally balanced my proportions out.

Please bear in mind, looking at these photos, that I lack a dress form and it is very difficult to get decent photos of myself wearing dresses in this flat.  Particularly when the dress is as dark as this one.  Regardless, this gives you some idea of the finished garment.

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The fabric is a mystery from Leeds market.  I think it’s probably a polyester but it has lovely drape.  The only issue in sewing it was slipperiness.  This stuff slid about all over the place so it was quite difficult to control.  You can see this on the slightly wonky neckline (three attempts and this was as good as it got).  I lined just the bodice in the same fabric, mostly to prevent any issues with the lining showing at the sleeves or neckline.  Because the pattern was so busy, I didn’t bother gathering the sleeves – I just cut 2 versions of the lining.

My second finished item of the month is the Echo Flower shawl, which has been in progress since May.  I actually finished this right at the beginning of September, but it’s taken me a little while to get around to photographing.  The pattern is actually very straightforward, and I made really good progress until the end of May, when the number of nupps involved in completing the edging caused me to put it away in frustration for around 3 months.  This might just be me, though – I’ve never been fond of nupps.

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The yarn is 2 skeins of Manos Silk Blend in Europa, which I picked up at woolfest nearly 2 years ago.  It has made a reasonably large shawl.  Not big enough to use as a full wrap as I’d hoped, but big enough to keep the chill of the air conditioning off at work.

And that’s all for now.  I am in the midst of planning yet another Fumeterre, view A in denim this time, and a Granville shirt to go with it, so there should be more posts forthcoming.  Eventually.  I’ll get around to it, I promise.

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You should start a blog…

Last weekend, I made a skirt.  I was inordinately proud of this skirt, and consequently spammed everyone I know with pictures of it via Facebook, Ravelry and text message.  My friend Ashwin came back with compliments on the skirt (well done, that was the right move!) and the question as to whether or not I had a blog.  Well, his exact words were ‘you should catalogue this in a blog’.  A man after my own heart; I love records.

This is far from the first blog I have ever started.  As a teenager, I was as enamored of livejournal.com as everyone else I knew, and I’ve dropped in and out of tumblr, twitter and instagram as the mood grabbed me.  I’ve not really stuck with any of them.  The eagle-eyed amongst you might also notice that this blog was in fact created in March 2014, over 2 years ago.  My posting was sporadic and low-quality, and I have decided to wipe the slate clean.  Apart from anything else, I’ve managed to work my way through a lot of my early dressmaking questions now, and I suspect the jump to ta-daa might be a bit jarring.

So why have I started again?  Ashwin’s question reminded me of a few things.  First of all, despite my lack of consistency and the fact that I’ve just deleted a whole 7 posts, I really do love a reminder of how I’ve developed.  Secondly, I would like to become more a part of the community that blogging offers; Ravelry is extremely effective for knitters but nothing has quite taken off in the same way for sewing the way that blogs have.  Finally, Ashwin’s question reminded me of another blog post I read, back when I was first learning to knit (10 years ago now – I was still at school!).  The Yarn Harlot, one of the most successful and well-known bloggers out there, opened her blog with a similar story.  Her friend Ken helped her set up her own blog, and look how far she’s come now.

So, new page, new start, new things to blog about.  Starting with that skirt.