Oceans of blue

Has it really been a full YEAR since I last posted? Good GOD, it really IS.

(I bet you thought this blog had gone the way of so many others, right? To be honest, SO DID I.)

It’s not like I have a particular reason or excuse for not writing (other than my usual health issues); I’ve still sewn, I’ve still planned projects, I still have a stash of patterns and fabric that could warrant an intervention on Britain’s Biggest Hoarders.

And yet, I’ve not felt like sitting at my laptop for over a year – more, really. It’s never felt physically comfortable with my particular desk/chair set-up, the screen gives me headaches, and it’s so much easier to slump on a sofa, reading stuff on a smartphone, than it is to sit upright and CREATE stuff.

But having had my eyes tested earlier this year, I have had to concede one point; the screen/headache thing.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have reached that age: the age that requires reading glasses.

So while I’m currently trying/failing with chair heights, cushions and propping things up/at an angle (all tips and ideas welcome), I’m able to see more clearly, at least.

One problem at a time, eh?

It goes without saying that I have a backlog of things to blog (this online space is my way of keeping a record), but who wants to write about the long-since-past when the tantalising prospect of writing about the newly-created can tempt us, like the vixen she is?

So here I am, writing about Simplicity 8091, a kimono jacket and dress.

I’m not going to lie; there was a particular photo on the Simplicity site that made me swoon and pick this pattern;

Look at it. LOOK AT IT! Isn’t that just the most comfy yet stylish yet most BEAUTIFUL thing you’ve ever seen?

(I’m being 100% swayed by the fabric print but I DON’T CARE.)

There was another good reason to pick this pattern; I was sewing for someone else, as a surprise gift for my dear friend Vicky’s 30th birthday.

So no chance to get her measurements without giving the game away, no relying on clothing size labels (lies, lies and more damn lies), and no way to ensure a fitted dress would be scaled down appropriately for her 5′ frame (she’s even shorter than I am, maybe not even 5′!!).

Her current favourite summer dress is in black and white floral print viscose challis, which immediately reminded me of the 3 metres of royal blue and white print I’ve had in my stash for years (bought from a lady selling fabric for a charity). Again a viscose challis, the colour reminded me of a blue embroidered kaftan she loves to wear. Surely a hit could be produced by combining these two observations?

The finished garment would be as appropriate to wear in the heat of summer (and LORDY is it hot), as it would be teamed with tights or leggings during cooler months. Smart AND casual.

(I tried it on after sewing up the side seams and it is made of MAGIC; she nearly didn’t get it, as it’s so cooling and swishy, somehow generating COLD AIR inside itself. AMAZING.)

The only question left was .. what size? Estimating she’s a pattern size bigger than me, I opened up the pattern paper .. and baulked. I’d read a review which pointed out quite how much volume this dress generates .. so instead of going by the measurements, I pinned the tissue to my dress dummy, eyeballed it .. and decided to go for the XXS size, grading out to XS at the hemline (to increase walking ease), which was a drop of THREE sizes!

Other than that, the construction was fairly painless. I sewed french seams to ensure longevity, and hand-sewed the centre-front right at the top as it was misaligned when sending it under the needle of my sewing machine.

But most importantly; how did my friend like it? Well, I gave it to her while she was dressed as Ariel at her Disney-themed birthday this weekend* and, despite my fears that she’d be drowning in so much blue fabric, she absolutely loved it! Her other friends were saying, “Oh my god, that is SO YOU!!”, which was just the kind of confirmation a gal likes to hear!

So I’d say it went pretty swimmingly.

(*My own outfit as Pocahontas to follow!)

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