Tuesday, 1 July 2014

French It Baby!


A slightly delayed post for a slightly delayed birthday party. My aunt and her new husband turned 60 in March and February respectively. Because they live in North Yorkshire, they thought it would be cold and dismal at that time of year and a celebration would best be put off until summer, when the sun was bound to be out and everyone could do country dancing in little cotton frocks and bare feet. Well, it was warm and cotton frocky and bare footy when we left London on Saturday. It was raining when we got to North Yorkshire. It was also freezing. I had only brought a cardigan, which in hindsight was ambitious even in the south.
But the outing did mean I could wear my new "French Gypsy" dress from Sew La Di Da Vintage. Originally, I planned to make the Sew Over It "Betty" dress for this party, but continued abortive attempts to make the bodice fit are turning that particular project into a rather Herculean task. "French Gypsy" has NO shoulder seams to contend with, so my wonky shoulders were not a problem (my wide shoulders were later in the form of chaffing, but that might be over enthusiastic stretching of the elastic when I sewed it in).
I used the heart print cotton I got at the ExCel in April having originally wanted to use the paisley print bought at the same event but it’s basically two inches wide and not suitable for such a big and swishy skirt.
This pattern sewed up really quickly and easily. There are very few pieces and even with my French seaming (too lazy for the over locker!) only took a day (albeit a long one) to put together. I also sewed the midriff section on upside down, which is always hilarious when you’ve done very neat French seaming and your interfacing frays.
There’s a lot of hand-sewing: all round the neck and arms (sewing on the HOMEMADE bias binding!) and the hem is about a mile long. Obviously, I was still sewing this at 11pm the night before the party, when we had to get up obscenely early to get to Yorkshire in time for lunch. We failed, because I am an eejit who misread the train times.
After much jollity at the party, for which I am eternally grateful to the Lovely Mister for talking to my drunk mother for most of the afternoon while I spoke to a lovely psychotherapist and a soon to be retiring headmistress about the joys of sewing. To give LM an afternoon off from awkwardly taking photos of me on his camera phone, I made use of the very pretty bedding garden and my dad’s camera that he wore around his neck like a tourist at all times apart from when dancing. He was actually mistaken for the photographer several times. So that’s why I look awkward. And also bloody freezing because it was about eight o’clock by this time and I’d lost feeling in my feet.
I do so love this dress. Hopefully, next time I wear it, I won’t be imploring my father to hurry up before I die of frostbite having had to remove my cardy…

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