Martini and Open the book

Martini dress for Open, the book launch

So I did it again… mixing business with pleasure. With no regrets – just pure delight in my two worlds working together again, so effortlessly, so cohesively this time.

Lets start from the top. By day, my hat-wearing is in the graphic design department of mostly publishing houses where I design covers and inside pages for children’s and young adult books.

Late last year I was asked by Pan Macmillan if I would like to design the inside pages for a very cool book by radio and TV presenter, Gemma Cairney. This is the point when all my senses got seriously ignited and creative juices whisked up on hyperdrive. Errr… ok… like yes totally please… honour all mine and all that!

Open is exactly what it says on the tin: “A toolkit for how magic and messed up life can be”. All those taboo hard-to-deliver subjects laid bare, on the page, cool as.

I don’t often shout from the rooftops about my work unless I truly believe the hype but in this instance, with Gemma at the helm, loud-hailing her invaluable advice and support, awesome art direction from Rachel Vale who also designed the gorgeous cover, fellow designer, and wonderful person Tracey Ridgewell, and a plethora of edgy art from illustrator Aurelia Lange, I was in my element and couldn’t possibly keep shtum.

Here’s a little taster of what’s inside:

open spreads

This book involved a proper dream team, of that you can be sure. Just check out the thank you’s at the back. It’s all inclusive and that’s what made it such a pleasure and an honour to be working as part of #teamopen on this very important and unique book. Boy do I wish I had this book when I was a teen.

It was a lot of work in such a short space of time and yet when it was all over and the proof copies were in, it seemed like a distant blur. And then I got an invite.

So when one gets an invitation to a very special book launch party, whereby the dress code is ‘fantastical and dazzling’… what is one to do? Make it, right?!

Open by Gemma Cairney

I didn’t have much time to plan. A couple of weeks in fact. So I needed a tried and tested pattern. All hail the Capital Chic Martini! I have only made this once before, in a vintage bark cloth (see here) but always knew there would be a need for more versions. Thank you so much Sally for such a brilliant design. I love it so much!

capital chic martini dress

The fabric had to be shiny – no doubt about that. And preferably yellow. Though the thought made me squirm. It could all go horribly wrong and I might possibly end up looking like some gone-wrong banana.

But I set to, with some weird synthetic shiny stuff from the Goldhawk Road, quite thankful that a no-smoking policy is ever present. All the time with a niggling urge to customize the dress somewhat. Then I chanced upon some pink fabric of the same kind in another shop. And appliqué stars just happened.

And then the night before, at quite literally the 11th hour,  I had a thought that I could paint one of the illustrations from inside the book, on the dress. Excitement overload!

I couldn’t possibly go ahead without first asking Aurelia’s permission – Open‘s incredibly talented illustrator – so when she got back to me with an absolute yes, it was all stations go, and I made a stencil from sticky-back laminate paper and used black fabric paint to daub one of her many cool iconic illustrations. I just love the end result.

martini dress aurelia illustraion

 

The party was immense. At the Women’s University in Mayfair, with period rooms bursting full of the most inspirational and creatively talented people. Jaw awe to say the least. I’m so proud of Gemma and I’m not even her mum! And just look how she rocks a sequin or two!

Gemma Cairney and ooobop

It’s insane that I managed to whip up this dress at a time when my workload has been so bonkers. But it just goes to prove that passion triumphs over ever everything. Even shut-eye! I will totally sleep when I’m dead.

I learned a lot from this project. Mostly that I respond well to a hefty deadline; I love that my job brings such creative people and projects to my table. But also that I relish a bespoke brief and a perfect opportunity to create an out-of-the-ordinary outfit for a party. I’ve just got to learn to deal with the attention it gets. Didn’t factor that in, lol!

capital chic martini dress

Daniel took these photos for me a couple of weeks ago. Just love the yellow against the green. He is so clever to have by-passed the daffs in in the local park to get to a scuzzy railway arch… who knew?!

 

capital chic martini dress

By stark contrast I’ve just finished three of the prettiest bridesmaid dresses in floral Liberty Lawn, that I hope to share with you after the actual wedding. So I must be due something more for me, hey?! Plus there are plans for a @Mccallpatternuk #thecocktailhour dress for the @eveappeal. More on that soon.

Are you more productive with a looming deadline or do you do just as well without? And would you be more inclined to make or buy a short-notice party dress? I’d love to know.

Till next time, my lovelies. Happy sewing! xxx

Significant birthday dress

 

ooobop party dress front

Mostly I sew from patterns. Vintage ones, Burda ones, any of the big-four, independent ones, any that take my fancy, really. But when it came to finding a pattern befit of a significant birthday party dress, I was stumped. I searched through the hundreds I owned, I trawled through plenty more online and still I didn’t come up trumps until a visit to the hairdressers presented this beauty in one of their glossy mags.

dior inspiration

Who was I kidding?! But a girl can dream right?!

With a couple of months to go and so many people asking what I was going to wear, the pressure was on and almost too much to bear. I even considered RTW as a get out clause! But following more procrastination and now only 6 weeks to go, cool words of advice from Sally of Charity Shop Chic, put me back on track and sold it to me as a simple circle puffball attached to a bodice of choice.

ooobop creeping through the woods

I just needed a prompt, a bit of pressure and some added faith, obviously!

With all that poompf in the skirt section going on, the quest was for a simple bodice. One I could toile and fit with not much time on my hands. It also had to fit in with a busy work load leading up to Christmas, and be sewn in the the evenings so black was totally out of the question too!

ooobop party dress front view

I remember ear-marking this vintage Weldons pattern as a potential party dress some time back and when I rifled through my patterns for the umpteenth time, it shouted out all the reasons it should be chosen. Simple to fit, no sleeves to insert, flattering neckline, small amount of fabric required and a perfect yoke for a string of cockerel feathers!

weldons pattern 3833

The small amount of fabric issue was quite an issue at this point as I’d already decided that silk was the only way forward. The only way I was going to get a classy, crumpled look and not just wind up looking like a discarded crisp packet!

ooobop in the woods

The skirt section is a greedy full circle with an added 16 inches around the waist to accommodate 4 box pleats: Two at the front and two at the back. The full hem is then gathered onto an a-line, mini underskirt which I self-drafted by closing the waist darts on a self-drafted skirt block, and adding a little flare. Both are attached to the waist seam.

party dress back sunrise

The wonderful Sew Busy Lizzy gifted me the polka-dot taffeta some time back. I love that it found a special use. Not so shiny that it caused static, strong enough to support all that silk whilst adding a cheeky secret air of Moulin Rouge!

polka dot taffeta lining

Having toiled the whole thing in calico beforehand, it transpired I needed 5 metres of dupion silk. Pricey at £25 a metre if one shops in Broadwick Street, London. But £12 if you’re lucky, in Goldhawk Road. I say lucky because I pretty much went in all the shops to get the right colour – a two-tone black & red. And the last one I tried had not only the best colour but offered the best price too.

back view of party dress

For all my fretting, Sally was absolutely right of course. It really didn’t take long to sew. The indecision and worrying took way longer! And fears about working with silk were laughed off when I made the first cut. Literally like cutting into butter. And it behaved and sewed up brilliantly.

And so the finished article partied hard to the band and the DJ with a hall full of amazing family and friends. It went way too quickly though, and I so wish I could press replay so I could get round to spending more time with everyone who came. But I guess thats the downside of hosting ones own!

Mr O aka Daniel Selway took these amazing shots for me this morning. Nothing wrong with a party shot but lets just say there’s a definite improvement of photographic quality in the sober light of day!

party shoes

Happy new year to you all. Wishing you a peaceful, healthy, and joyous 2017 xxx
 

Get thee behind me, hackers!

ooobop party dress in Power Rangers pose
Don’t mess with the real Power Rangers!

I’m back, I’m back!!

So sorry to everyone who’s tried to reach me over the last month or so. Ooobop was subject to a nasty hack and took me completely off line. I kept telling myself that worse things happen at sea and that maybe it was a sign to take me away from the screen for a while but actually I was devastated! And guilt-ridden. For weeks my screen displayed a message of danger in black and red. The possibility of users inadvertently and unknowingly downloading malware was too much to bear. My host suspended my blog to prevent such things happening but I didn’t have a clue how one fixed such things. Until a wonderful star of a work colleague stepped in to the rescue.

And now it’s fixed. And safe. And all is happy again at house of Ooobop!

But I’m not holding breath and will never be so complacent again. It happens. To everyone. What is wrong with people who seek to sabotage and destroy? A life unfulfilled I can only imagine.

So remember to back up your work people. And if possible install a plugin to scan for hacked files and to monitor the access of visitors to your site. Changing your login passwords occasionally is a good measure too. I’m not going to pretend to know everything one can do to protect a blog but it does pay to know someone who does. Or pay someone. Especially if like me your blog is a big part of your life.

Transpires there are so many published posts on how to protect your blog from hackers. But I found the following to be in the kind of language I understand! I’m way too easily bamboozled by tecchie lingo.

A guest post on Be A Better Blogger by Cassie Philips of Secure Thoughts,  http://beabetterblogger.com/protect-your-blog/

And ProBlogger has a whole heap of articles and advice from guest bloggers on it site here: http://www.problogger.net/?s=how+to+stop+hackers. Incidentally Darren Rose makes for great listening on the ProBlogger podcast too.

So if you haven’t done already, please take a mo to protect your work. And best not to close the stable door after the horse has bolted, like I did!

And if you have any similar experiences or tips to share, please leave a comment so we can all be safer going forward.

I can’t wait to share some special makes with you soon. Including my 50th party dress, a teaser of which features in the mad photo above and which has had some coverage on Instagram but needs to be properly documented on here, insides and out!

In the meantime, wishing you all peace, love and hope throughout this festive period and always.

Love Janene x

 

ooobop review: Burda Style March 2015

Burda Style March 2015 cover

Can you feel that spring sunshine, desperately trying to squeeze though your bedroom window in the morning? Well if that isn’t happening, the March 2015 issue of Burda Style magazine will do it’s best to brighten your days.

There’s some lively goings-on this month, with all sorts of asymmetric, geometrical, hankerchief-hemmed and draped goodness!

Beach Pearls sets some scenes for a summer wardrobe: I just love that maxi dress (A). It’s not dissimilar to the viscose jersey one I made here, but the bust detail is right on the money! A lot more support I would think and what a flattering silhouette!.

beach pearls burda march 2015

It also translates into a lovely strappy top (B).

Now I like where the asymmetrical skirt (C) is coming from but not quite where it landed up! Way too much like a sack tied round the middle for me. Further on it is redeemed with some better styling, I can assure you.

Nice Jumpsuit (C), btw. If jumpsuits are your thing. You might want to add some ‘fashion tape’ to the list of required notions, though. Click here: Hollywood Fashion Tape if you’re interested in buying any from Amazon!

Flared trouser suits (E)? mmm…and bat wing empire-lines (F)? double mmm… Lets move on to the shirtwaist dress with ‘maxitail in the right seam’ (G). I do like that. And I love the biker-meets-Mao jacket too (H)!

Uh oh. There’s that batwing-empire-line again (I). Swiftly moving on to the Flowers and Stripes section!

Flowers and stripes burda style march 2015

I’ve never made or owned a pair of culottes (A). But I bet they’re a far safer than a full skirt on a windy day. And looks lovely in a largish print. If you like that sort of thing.

And there’s that shirt-waist dress (B) again with ‘cut-on-dipped hem’ like last time! It would be better to use a fabric that has a reverse as good as the good side, I would have thought.

Look how that lovely maxi translates to a cute beach dress too (C).

This month features a chic wrap dress (D). There is some assurance of a button at the side and concealed snap fasteners to keep the wrap in place. Potential for a Bucks Fizz moment there!

The peasant top addict in me (see two of them here and here) is quite drawn to this ‘relaxed tunic’ (E)! Would need a fine drapey jersey to pull off with any sophistication I would have thought.

And there’s some more geometric delight in the shape of a simple v-neck dress with symmetrical ‘cut-on tails’ (F)!

Any weddings occurring this year? Loving both these bridal party dresses (A) in The Big Day section.

The Big Day Burda March 2015

The bride’s dress (B) is the same as (A) with a flowy underskirt of crêpe chiffon. That’s if you haven’t been put off by the chiffon adventures in The Great British Sewing Bee recent episode.

Can’t help thinking this dress (C) is a bit cake-like with all the tiers an’ all.

And although I usually embrace a bit of invention, I still wouldn’t want to look like I’d been dragged behind the wedding car, en-route in this dress (D)!

This fairytale dress (E) is far simpler and much more sophisticated though. Just get rid of the batwing-empire-maid who’s ruining the photo!

Oh this is much better (F). Lovely wide-dipped hem again. Bust darts for shape. Cotton lace overlay, crepe satin underlay. I’d wear it with cowboy boots. Or even DM’s. Or is that just the hippy in me?!

Now there’s that asymmetric skirt again (centre, G), styled much more favourably with a gorgeous jacket: standing collar and 50s style winged lapels. See, it does have potential to work. Nice suit on the right too!

I’ve picked out the following three from the Reader Favourites section:

reader favourites burda march 2015

Jumpsuit (A) made short for all you lovely long-legged people!

Lovely floor-length dress (B) in striped jersey with side slits and a ‘hankerchief hem’. I can definitely feel some more maxi’s coming on this year.

And a cute little dress (C) based on the short lace wedding party dress design. Not my cuppa tea fabric-wise, but I’m always sold on a midriff piece!

Not overly inspired by the plus section this month I’m afraid, though the trench coat is rather amazing, I must say.

plus size trench coat burda march 2015

But, there is cuteness for small people at the back.

Childrens section burda style march 2015

The best design and the garment most fitting to the Colour Splash section by far, is the paint-spattered dress (A) with tying bands that resemble the sleeves of another garment. Hands up who wants an adult version? Genius!

Georgia the party squeeze!

BHL georgia dress

Meet party girl, Georgia! She was meant to be my party dress for last Christmas. But well, you know what happens. I make a plan… and then I make another plan!

But nevertheless, here she is for this season’s line up of parties. Kicked off at London’s Bob Bob Ricard’s no less, for my good friend’s 50th birthday celebrations. I even had the foresight to ensure I coordinated perfectly with the lavish decor of black and gold.

Mr Ooobop wasn’t available to do his paparazzi bit, so many thanks to the lovely @Alphabeckles for this impromptu snap.

Georgia dress at bob bob ricard

The pattern and instructions for the BHL Georgia dress are dead easy to follow. And the online sewalong is a great back up for the finer points.

I made some personal pattern adjustments that included a little FBA, a little shortening of the straps, and a not so little gradation from a 12 at the top to a 16 at the hip (Well that certainly was a surprise!).

I dutifully made the above alterations to a toile but the age old problem was that my toile fabric, although relatively the same weight as my chosen fabric, had a little more give. My gold and black heavy silk-like, embroidered viscose brocade had absolutely none, zilch, diddly-squat!

Yes I know! I know damned well the By Hand London ladies recommended a fabric with a little stretch so please don’t remind me that I totally ignored their perfectly perfect advice!! But you see I got sucked in by the gorgeous tartan version that Sally Bee made! And she used a woven with no stretch!

It must be mentioned that although I was exceedingly honest with my measurements for this dress: over bust, full bust, waist and hip. I neglected to take into consideration my underbust measurement. I think I have a disproportionate bird rib cage to be fair!

And so once I realised that I was going to twist my spine out of alignment or at best pull a muscle doing up the side zip of the actual dress, (which actually wasn’t going anywhere above waist level anyway) I figured I’d have to gain an inch at least from somewhere. So I claimed half inch from each side seam of the skirt side panels and accounted for that in the side-seams of the bodice too.

It fitted. Boy did it fit. No room for sharp intakes of breath but it looked pretty damned good, even though I say it myself.

I grinned and beared it… all day (yes I wore it to work before hand!) and all night.

But at some fateful point over that corsetted period I acquired a little uninvited breathing space!

BHL Georgia rip

This happened of course because I had left the teensiest of seam allowances to glean my inch and although I serged the tiny seam edge, it frayed from the strain!

Lucky I wore a ‘modesty jacket’! Which incidentally was a panic dirty rtw purchase the day before, from Monsoon. I say dirty, not because it is, it’s very clean and lovely in fact, but because there is an element of shame that I broke my routine of only hand made clothes for at least two years. I’ve only allowed myself underwear and cardi purchases from the high street. Anything else to be bought from charity shops. I could so easily have made this jacket. It’s not dissimilar to the Victoria Blazer. But time was not on side and nobody needs to see those fleshy underarm bits in daylight hours!

The jacket did it’s job and clearly hid the naughty side split until I got home too!

So now my dilemma. I want to wear this to at least 2 more parties which are coming up soon. Like next week… eeek! Do I patch it up or do I re-cut two new panels taking new seam allowances into consideration? I do actually have enough fabric.

TBH, I don’t actually know how I’d patch it up. So I think I know the answer. Unless of course anyone has any an amazingly good solution…. please?

 

ooobop! review: Burda Style December 2014

Burda Style Magazine December 2014 issue
Over the last few months I’ve been having a spot of bother getting a copy of my favourite mag from my local WHSmiths. Well from any Smiths actually. They are getting slack in their orders of big quantities or sometimes any orders at all!

But last month and this month, I decided to order it from an online newsagent and I think this is the way forward for me. It costs an extra £1.60 for post but I get notification of it’s arrival date and it is delivered within 2 days. I love the sound of the thud of the post landing on the mat and I certainly don’t miss the queues to the awful automated cash desks at Smiths!!

So here we are. Although not overly festive. But that’s ok.

The opening section, although very monochrome displays some lovely structure with a touch of shimmer.

Burdastyle December 2014 art deco section

A: Described as a long blazer but I think more a classy occasional coat. I love the asymmetry and I’ve seen some gorgeous silk-like viscose fabric that would work amazingly well. Could really do with one of these. I don’t have any party outer-layers! Burda suggests it could be a mini dress too.

B: I didn’t join the ‘peplum gang’ when they first got fashionable. But I might be persuaded by this one. I really line the clean lines of this top. It’s got a midriff that has sold me and I like the slit at the neckline.

C: A classic sparkly sequin jacket. But not for me I’m afraid. Too shapeless. Too scratchy. And I can just imagine all the cat fluff that would get stuck around the sequins!

D: Quite like this dress. Very classic and very flattering. It’s actually an extension of top B. But I would question that choice of fabric. Impossible to pattern match and so the optical illusion draws attention to a pokey out belly even when the model doubtfully has one!

E: Probably not that clear from this little pic but this is a sparkly turtle neck top with blouson sleeves and a lovely wide cuff. Love the silhouette and for me it’s a perfect work to night out top. There’s a tute to help the process. This one’s on the list!

F: There’s that peplum again! I’m not that enamoured with it but I like the idea of mashing some interesting fabrics together: Pinstripe suiting, lace and embroidered something!

G: This is a great skirt. The fabric choice is stunning. Graphic and structured. You can’t really see the detail but involves a hip yoke and a deep pleat at the centre front.

H: This outfit isn’t my thing. I don’t like the silhouette. I don’t do culottes or drawstring waists. Not on the list!

I: This lacy top looks so pretty in the picture. You’d never be sold by the line drawing. It looks really wide and strange but the draping effect is a winner.

The next section gets some red in with some festive flair!

There’s some cute little girls garments here but only up to age 10. LMO is 10 but wearing age 14 clothes so as much as I’d like to make her coat B, I’ll have to sort my grading skills out or just admire them on the page.

Burda december 2014 festive flair

A: Lovely simple dress with a structured skirt and a petticoat underneath. None too girly but still with a pretty fitted silhouette.

B: Double breasted child’s coat with cute peter pan collar. Sewn up in top notch wool it is truly a classic forever coat. Well at least the child grows out of it! I think I like the grown up dress too. Love the simplicity, the red, the deep pleat and the neckline. But the sleeves are worrying me. They look kind of too big at the top.

C: A raglan blouse (or peasant top in my book!) and an extended version as a dress. Like both. And they would be very simple to make for presents. Don’t have to be too precise with the sizing either.

D: Scarf blouse and skirt with ties says it all. Too much flounce for me. They are both made in crepe too. Maybe that’s what is putting me off asides from the dipped pink and coral combo all clingy like that. Proper girly Christmas wrapping!

E: But just in case that scarf business appeals, here’s another variation on a dress with longer ties to tie in two places. Genius. But not on the list!

F: I think this is the same little girls dress as A but without sleeves. I don’t mind mums semi fitted brocade number but it does look a tad mumsy at that length to be honest.

G: They lost me at ‘loose cut’! And drawstring!

H: Boxy jackets always look good on children! The simplicity of the style can make way for some statement fabric.

A departure from girly to freestyle. Some very interesting fabric combos. And I like that.

Burdastyle December 2014 Free Style

 A: Hopefully you can just about make out the giant underbust fringe! It’s a maxi top sewn in a crushed jersey knit with an asymmetrical draped collar. I don’t wear strides but if ever I did I may have to pair up with one of these. Just because!

B: This is indeed a master piece! Military made beautiful. Slightly fitted wool coat with trumpet sleeves, asymmetric collar and buttoning. And that gorgeous design you can see up one side is appliquéd lace no less. I’m still revelling in my coat from February but I can totes see myself in this. Maybe next year!

C: Described as a bell skirt. Nothing much to see here but some lovely overlaid fabric and trim has planted some seeds for sure.

D: Gotta love a cape. Proper sturdy one too. I do want a cape but not this one with its belts and panels and epaulettes. It looks a bit overly involved for me. Don’t dislike it though.

E: There’s that top again. Same as E in the first section but in a totally different fabric. Making it more jumper than blouse for a more casual approach. You wont be able to see from the little pic but the seams are ‘outwardly open’! Why? Imagine how irritating when everyone and their aunt asks if your top is inside out!

F: In interesting patched shirt using patched stretch jersey, stretch faux leather and wool. You could use any kind of combo but I’m finding this all a bit too much. I do very much like the leathery sleeves though. The skirt looks more interesting than the pencil skirt it is but even though it is relatively straight I think that top needs to be worn with a much less interfering bottom half!

G: Pretty sure this is repeated from the festive section but I love how much more retro it appears with a shorter hemline.

H: Tube dress with rolled collar in a stretch knit lace. Great on the right bod. But not on mine!

I: I like this dress. Lovely defined bodice and flouncy skirt in an overlaid lace tulle. Sold on the colour too. Eliminates girly girly and makes it more day time. I can’t decide whether I like the sporty grosgrain straps or not. Actually I do!

J: I’ve been thinking of a poncho. Not like the one my mum made me wear in the 70s but something understated like this one. In truth I’m being lazy so as not to have to get involved in a cape! Its just a rectangle with minimal sewing, yay!

Burda’s designer pattern this month comes with a nod to Jean-Charles de Castelbajac. I love these little insights into the lives of designers. JC professes to be inspired by love andcuriosity. I like that! Just as much as I like this straight cut mini-dress with its massive pocket details and topstitched standing collar. burda december 2014 JC de castelbajac dress

I’ve made pj bottoms for 3 other members of my family but never for myself. It’s just occurred to me that I’ve got the most raggedy selection of nightwear and that things must change. Here’s some pretty things and one seriously crazy pair of pj bottoms!

Burda december 2014 nightwear

 A: Cutesy bustier and French knicker set. Piping, ruffles the lot!

B: Isn’t the idea of a boyfriend shirt that you just nick one off your boyfriend? I’m not sure I can afford to invest that much time into making a proper nightshirt. Piped collar, inverted back pleat, button placket, breast pocket with embroidered monogram and inseam pockets too!

C: Lovely little ballerina slippers. Could be a lovely little Christmas present perhaps.

D&E: A traditional set of pjs. What’s not to like? Love the cool crisp blue.

F: This is a knitted coat and I want it! I don’t want to knit it though. I’d be bored of it before I finished it, I’m that slow. But I’m sure someone out there would love to whip this up.

G: And theres those crazy palazzo trouser pjs! Can’t do those. I’d get myself in a pickle for sure.

H: Camisole and French knickers. Now you’re talking. Maybe this is my Christmas present to me!

I: This nightdress is pretty too. Ruffles top and bottom are a bit cake-like for me but I like the elasticated empire line.

As is traditional, it’s the plus fashions that bring the party to the fore.

Burda December 2014 plus fashion

A: Long jacket and pencil skirt. A classy pairing. The jacket comes with an optional belt but I’d leave that out unless you want the dressing gown look!

B: Low cut V-neck tunic top. I love the contrasting black band around the neckline. Very feminine and perfect with pencils and skinnies.

C: Bit odd this ‘volant’ tunic. Burda’s word not mine! Longer at the back than the front with ruffly bits. Not really my cup of tea.

D: Described as a peplum dress but someone more sophisticated than that I feel by the way that the centre point extends. Very jewel-like indeed. I’m not keen on the colours but greens and blues would do it for me. Or blacks and reds! A lot of precision sewing though. Only for the more patient among us!

E: Ah! There’s that long jacket with the belt. See.

F: Can’t make my mind up about this skirt. Its fundamentally a pencil with satin bands that run down the back. Apparently they make the bottom look slimmer. Are big butts out now then?

G: In the right drapey material this tunic dress would be gorgeous. I’d prefer not to look like a galaxy but I do like the contrast of the black bands and a busy print.

H: This colour-blocked peplum blouse is a no from me. Too much like hard work. Too much going on in such a small space. But I bet somewhere out there, there is a quilter who is itching to get going on it!!

Well that just about wraps things up. I hope you enjoyed the sneak peek. I failed in every way to make this a shorter exercise but no regrets. I thoroughly enjoyed spending the time to look closer at each garment. And of course it always makes for a great record to come back to.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend x

 

Ooobop! party dress

party dress back view

I have been designing this dress in my head for quite some time. I design a lot of things in my head –in the shower, on the bus, when I’m meant to be doing something else and when I’m nodding off to sleep – it’s a busy old head!

Anyhows, an invitation to the gorgeous Rhonda’s 30th bitthday party was a great prompt to put some of these ideas into action. I met Rhonda’s mum, Tina many moons ago when we moved next door to her and she soon became more than a neighbour. More confidante, great friend and the most wonderful childminder to my son. So this party was really a family affair and I needed a dress.

party dress full skirt

I’ve got real issues with buying clothes from high street shops nowadays. I haven’t bought anything new (save underwear and shoes, of course!) in over a year and get much more satisfaction in making something myself or striking lucky in charity shops. I did think about making it a conscious decision when I started this blog but I know how flaky I can be and I didn’t think I could stick to that rule. Turns out I didn’t have to make it a rule. It happened quite naturally. I much prefer dreaming of what I want and making it or ‘rescuing’ from charity shops rather than settling for what’s out there. And now I really feel like I’ve moved on.

party dress twirl

This is my first dreamt of, self-designed and handmade dress. And I am chuffed to bits. The bodice pattern is slightly modified from Burda Style’s Wedding Special, issue March 2011. It has a v-back, a high neckline and is perfectly fitted with waist and bust darts. Below is the bridesmaid dress as featured in the magazine.

burda bridesmaid dress

The skirt section is self-drafted. It is a circle skirt with the inner circumference double the waist. The fabric is either silk or cotton, a silky cotton… or maybe a cotton silk! I did a burn test and it burnt to dust so its definitely void of any synthetic fibres! I had enough of it to self-line the bodice and it feels lovely against my skin and was cool enough under the flashing lights on the dance floor!

party dress front

I made the sash from a 3 metre, double layer length of chiffon, tapered at the ends and top-stitched.

party dress sash detail

The rose print allowed for some interesting placement on the back. Quite happy about that!

party dress back

The dress is worn over an organza petticoat, again, self-drafted, which although not complicated, was more of a test of my patience than the dress. I will blog the petticoat separately given that I haven’t taken any photos of it yet.

Unsurprisingly I didn’t get chance to hem the skirt by hand. And in a way, I’m quite glad I didn’t spend the time – can’t imagine how long it would take – I went for a machined baby hem instead.  First I ran a line of stitching, a seam width, along the hemline. I used this as a pressing guide and it pressed up beautifully. I then tucked in the raw edge to the fold and machined again, using my quarter inch foot which made it really easy to keep a small and consistent hem. I was careful not to stretch the fabric as I went round so it didn’t pucker. I pressed it again… this fabric really is a pleasure to iron!

The most amazing thing about this dress is that it cost £3.50! £3 on the fabric – an incredibly lucky find in a charity shop – and 50p on the invisible zip. The sash cost much the same!

The fabric was a little slippery and needed lots of pins to hold in place. This is my first dress in a silky fabric and I anticipated it being troublesome. That said, I really worked fast on this dress. Mostly because I had a party to go to and I suppose because there was no expense at stake… apart from my time! It irons beautifully and hangs so effortlessly so I can forgive the grief it gave!

It took one evening to draft the skirt pattern, cut the fabric and assemble/line the bodice; a couple of hours to sew the skirt on to the bodice (I am really not a fan of gathering!!) and putting in the zip. I hand finished the inside lining, hemmed the skirt and made the sash the morning of the party.

I’m very pleased with how it turned out. I love the fabric and Im happy that a special stash piece got used for an appropriate project. It was just waiting for the right moment!

Thank you to Mr Ooobop! for the ‘action photos’ and lots of lovely birthday wishes to Rhonda x