I'd intended to take an entire week off sewing, but actually, there ended up being a few hours here and there during half term where my children were both out with friends and I had a beautiful little parcel of fabric from Dorte of Dragonfly Fabrics sitting on my table tempting me to sew.
I've coveted Anna Maria Horner's Maybe SixPence voile fabric since I first saw it, but especially since seeing it in Night Knitter's Flickr stream (this Tova dress, and later this child's dress are both made in this fabric). When Dorte very kindly invited me to choose something to sew with from her lovely shop, I made a bee-line for this print. It's a while since I've sewn with voile and I'd forgotten quite how deliciously silky it is.
I decided to revisit a pattern I'd used over the two previous summers, the first version being this one above in citrus Four Square (another of Anna Maria's voiles. Dorte stocks it in all four colourways), the second I created a year later in a Liberty print by Lauren Child. I love both of these tops, but suddenly realised that I'd love them even more if the neckline fitted with my favourite cardigans from Gap which I have in an embarrassing number of different colours. So this time, I redrafted the neckline to perfectly mirror that of my cardigan (predictably, I happen to have one that perfectly picks out the pink of the petals on this print).
I also drafting longer sleeves this time, as it feels like it may never stop raining.
I decided to use this fabric on the reverse side - the two sides are almost identical, but the face side is a slightly darker grey and I preferred the slightly faded, paler look of the inner side. I have to say that whenever I intentionally use the wrong side of a fabric it makes me feel as though I am being slightly deviant and when I sew the first seam together, placing the fabrics wrongside-to-wrongside, I feel as though fabric police are about to leap out of a cupboard and rugby tackle me from the sewing machine before I can make crimeful stitches. Luckily no one did do this, but my cat, who knows she's not allowed in the room sat watching me from the doorway with her ears pricked up (she has to sit half a metre inside the doorway to do this, so this is wilful badness on her part) as though she too were on the qui vive for people who might see me.
I love the way that the slight pleat beneath the neck opening means that darts can be dispensed with for this top.
You may have guessed that I love sewing summer tops more than anything else, but I do currently have a dress planned.
I fell in love with this eyelet dress in French Connection a few weeks ago. I am wearing my 'what do you think?' face especially, as I was taking the photo to text over to my sister for a second opinion. You'll notice that I had my sunglasses on my head in this photo - it was taken in the one week of the entire year when England was sunny, but as it now looks set to rain for the entire summer, which makes that price tag for this dress feel unjustifiable, even if I did feel like a doll in a jewelry box* the moment I put it on. I never wear full skirts like this as I've always suspected they may be rather unflattering at my height, but unflattering or not, I could suddenly appreciate what the whole 1950s feel that seems to dominate some dressmaking blogs is all about. Wearing a flarey-out skirt with a nipped-in bodice makes you feel fantastic.
Yes, my hips suddenly looked twice as big, but the twirl appeal means that this ceases to matter and one actually feels like one looks like a girl** should (yes, I may have thrown a twirl or two in the changing room). It really struck me when I watched Mad Men last year, that our generation of women generally dress in a more low-key way now, with lines that give a slightly more androgenous aesthetic, which, rather than celebrating curves, seeks to streamline them from view. I'm not entirely sure that 60 years on we look better and judging from this report by Eva Wiseman which I read at the weekend, as a generation, we probably don't feel better either. Worrying. So a 1950s style dress will hopefully be my next project...but first I think I may make a quilt (or two).
* not normally good things, but in this case, suddenly fabulous.** There are times when using the word 'woman' would sound more appropriate in the context of a sentence - that one particularly justified it. But am I alone in disliking that word? To me it feels particularly dreary, lentil-ridden, bosomy word to me.