Dress for a wedding

Haven’t posted for absolutely ages. Was too busy during may doing Me Made May on Instagram, which doesn’t say much for my social media ability, but come on this blog only gets updated once or twice a month, I’m clearly not good at it anyway.

Then there was the inevitable period of bleugh when I got some kind of random minor illness and my Chronic Fatigue kicked up and I spent two weeks in bed feeling like shit and unable to blog.

– so yeah, way behind on the updating.

Which kind of sucks cuz I have actually been sewing.

So the dress in question was a crazy undertaking. I made it in 5 days including 2 for washing and ironing the fabric (I am that damn responsible!).

So end of April was our best friends wedding. Both the bride and groom were both separately our ex-housemates and also Jons ex-bandmates, so it was an important one for us, but by the week before I kind of hadn’t sorted out anything to wear. Then the Friday 8 days before the wedding I swung by the fabric stall in Lewisham and found this gorgeous black and floral fabric just calling my name and an idea was born.

My first idea was a Tilly and the buttons Martha dress, as I’d seen some top end high street dresses with a similar floral fabric in a similar pattern and wanted to replicate the look, but then I was at knitting group on the Sunday (shout out to city stitchin) and was talking it through and had a photo of the fabric on my phone (which it seems to have helpfully lost) and we decided that although a dress in that style would look gorgeous (& I had infact already cut out the pattern pieces the night before) it was maybe not a great long term option as the style was so current that it might look very dated by next year, & if you are going to go to all the effort of making something yourself it needs to have longevity.

So I went for the Francoise dress , also by Tilly, instead, to channel my inner Wednesday Adams.

So the wedding was on Saturday, and that left me 4 days to cut out the pattern, buy some extra bits from Lewisham that I needed (the pattern has a contrast collar and I decided to add a ribbon bow to pick out the yellow in the fabric.), & then make the damn thing, & to top it all its a pattern I haven’t used before.

But I managed it! luckily my health held up, on the Monday I managed to cut the paper pattern and the pieces of the fabric out, go to Lewisham to pick up the bits I needed and stick the contrast fabric in the washing machine and do all the stay stitching.

On Tuesday I did a late nighter and got it done apart from the collar and the hem.

& on Wednesday I finished it (& spent 2 hours doing dart adjustments).

& then on Wednesday night we went round to the bride and grooms flat for drinkies and the bride asked me to wear my dragon dress instead! Which actually I was not at all offended by because getting away with wearing that dress to an actual wedding is awesome!

So here is my floral dress sitting forlornly on a hanger the day before my friends wedding looking unloved….

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I used the same yellow ribbon to hem it as I used for the neck bow. I would love to say this is a deliberate design detail, but actually its a case as this being a Tilly dress, and me being 5’9″ its somewhat on the short side so I used a ribbon binding to eek out as much length from the seam allowance as I could possibly manage. I did know this would be the case before I made it but I was in such a damn hurry to get it going I totally forgot to add the extra 3 inches or so till it was too late.

So yeah, I did get some wear out of it though during Me Made May & both times tried to get some decent photos. I’ve got to say that was one of the most variable months weather wise ever, the first photos I took whilst it was cold and arctic earlier in the month, and so were indoors by artificial lighting….

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Then I wore it again on a family holiday to Brighton when it was lovely weather….

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But it was super windy when we took the photos, so I’ve decided to share both lots….anyway, it gives you the general idea.

As far as the fabric and the pattern goes….

The fabric is apparently scuba crepe, so basically one of those absolutely gorgeous, but don’t think too hard about what its made of fabrics the lewisham stall specialises in (they do occasionally have actual wools and cottons,) it washes lovely, but likes a cool iron, if its too hot it fades the print a bit, so it’s a pain from the ironing point of view.

The pattern I will make again, but I had to make some quite major adjustments to make it fit. It is always a warning sign when all the reviews and images of versions of a popular pattern on the internet do not include many plus size people. There were about 3 images (out of hundreds) and all the girls who seem to have got it to work have much larger and lower chests than mine. I cut the pattern according to the measurements but had to do some serious messing about with the darts to make it not bag massively on the chest. With hindsight I would have cut the top a size smaller, but it fit perfectly on the waist and hips. I’m a size 40C bra btw incase anyone actually ever uses this as a review as to whether to make this or not, & I think for a pattern where I’m near the top of the size range that is usually industry standard (once you get on to dedicated plus size patterns I’m often on the smaller end of cup sizes). Luckily I recorded what I actually did with the darts on the pattern as soon as I got it to work, so it should be relatively easy for me to remake this.

There was also an issue with the neck facing. I’m not sure if it was me being in a hurry, though I swear I cut the correct piece as it looked wrong to me so I double checked which line you cut, but the back facing pattern pieces ended way too short. I fudged this rather than recutting as I was tight for time, it looks fine from the outside, just it isn’t the prettiest inside, but tbh, with all the messing about with the darts I had to do, this is very much a wearable muslin anyway. As long as I actually remember, this should be very easy to fix with the next version anyway.

Apart from that, yeah, the length and the collar doesn’t extend all the way round the back, (though it looks fine on)  but those have both been covered extensively as issues on other peoples blogs.

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Anyway, I have one more garment already made and photographed to post up here, I’ve still got to do a piece about the box of lace we found on the street, & I’ve two more makes cut out and ready to sew once some new jersey needles arrive off Amazon and this damn heatwave goes away. So hopefully my blogging skills over the next few weeks will be a little more functional than they have been.

Goes to sit in the fridge before I stick so hard to this chair I can’t be peeled off it.

Sci Fi Weekend 2017

So this was about 3 weeks ago now. Last time we went 4 years ago I went absolutely mental for a couple of months making costumes, then got really drunk and was not really in a position to photograph any of them well. This year I was much more relaxed about the whole costume thing. Firstly, I’m not really a cosplayer. I don’t really like doing other peoples characters, & I don’t like putting a whole lot of effort into something I’m only going to wear like once every 4 years. Secondly I have a whole load of generic fantasy/goth/steampunk outfits I’m not getting enough chance to wear at the moment, so it made sense to do something fun with a couple of them rather than make anything specifically for the convention. Also Jon was very much not in the mood for dressing up, so I didn’t have to make anything for him either.

Ironically, in the year I decided not to bother, we had a lovely outside veranda with really good lighting at the cabin we were staying in, so I got massively better photos of stuff than last time.

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First up on the Friday was my steampunk dress, with added thermal cuz the weather in Wales that weekend was bitter. (annoyingly London was having a bit of a heatwave) I quite like this outfit, I think its my best attempt yet with that dress, but I’m still not sold on the dress itself. It started life as an attempt to make my own version of a dress by Juliette et Justine and really didn’t work out how I’d planned. (details here) I’m really proud of drafting the pattern myself and think its a gorgeous dress, but it really isn’t massively me. Looking at the picture maybe I need a better hat. The corset is a favourite though, it is from Fan Plus Friend, and even though it only just fits, I love it.

Saturday…

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I love this outfit so much. Its the dress I made for my witches costume this Halloween , but with a flower/horn crown I made a few years ago for the Goblin Kings Ball, but then did the whole getting drunk and forgetting to take photos thing (I am such a shit millennial sometimes!) I haven’t really had the opportunity to wear it since.

I bought the basic plastic horns ready attached to a headband from someone off etsy but then I painted the horns, glued the flowers on and padded the headband – even with padding I can only really wear it on top of a wig as the horns make the headband super heavy and pinchy.

The wig is from My Lolita Dress,a taobao resale site. By the time you’ve factored in insane shipping from China costs it is quite expensive to buy them from there, but all the ones I’ve bought the quality has been really good, & they have some interesting colours and styles. I made the mistake last sci fi weekend I attended of buying a cheap wig off eBay and it isn’t really worth it. It has only lasted one or two wears, is really thin and is tangled as hell. I want to replace it, but annoyingly haven’t found a decent long white one on any of the better quality wig sites yet, even though I’ve been looking.

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Oh yeah, I thought I’d include this photo as its a really nice one of Liz, Ian and I. It was ultimately a really fun weekend, though my ME wasn’t great and I didn’t really appreciate a 7hr car journey there and back. Probably won’t go again to that specific convention for another few years, but as there are zero opportunities to do dress up/goth stuff in London at the moment (there is still a bit of a goth scene focused on Islington, but it has become very very local, for people who live round there and cliquey, and most of the big goth and steampunk costume parties have stopped now. The ones for queer people and on the fetish scene are still going strong I believe, but they are not really our sort of thing.) we are hoping to get to other conventions/festivals/weekends over the next couple of years. But I am really glad to have stood by my decision not to make anything for the Scifi weekend specifically and also that I have decided no alternative stuff this year, I have plenty enough stuff to play with already, & the stuff I am making so far this year I have been really happy with.

 

Me made May 2017

So given I try to wear the stuff I’ve made as a preference anyway, I’ve decided to have a go at Me Made May. (For non sewing people, a sewing blog thing started by Zoe whose blog is here ) I am going to try and wear an item of homemade clothing every day. I do so 5 days out of 7 anyway probably, so I reckon my biggest problem is  going to be pinning down Jon to take the photos rather than wearing the actual stuff.

Anyway. I am doing it on Instagram, not on here, cuz it is a lot easier, & also less spammy cuz although I would like to post more than I do, I reckon a post a day is pushing it a bit.

My instagram username is also euphoricstimuli. I’ve just spent ten minutes trying to work out what my URL is to post a direct link and failed miserably. But if you search for that you’ll find me.

In the last week I have made another item of clothing (which has yet to be worn, let alone blogged) and I have two other blog posts to catch up on. So more actual content soon.

In the meantime here is my first Me Made May picture, my Debbie Bliss Riva shrug, I am having a pyjama day today as we’ve been at a wedding in Leicester all weekend, but I tend to use this instead of a dressing gown …


Join the dark side, find me on Instagram! 😈☠️😈

Improving on Primark

I haven’t bought anything at Primark for about 5 years now (I got fed up with stuff disintegrating in the wash and having to put the zips and buttons back in pretty much as soon as I’d bought something) however I did used to acquire the odd amazing item.

one such item was this black and white skater dress I picked up about 6 or 7 years ago.

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on the hanger it doesn’t look like much and, its come apart at the side seam so much its probably unwearable these days. But back in the day it was one of my star dresses. It cost me about £3 but everyone who saw me in it was like, ‘omg thats a really nice dress, & really suits you.’

However I was never satisfied with it. The lace on it was virtually made out of dishcloth string, the polka dots were painted on as raised lump rather than dyed or woven into the fabric, & the skirt was a good couple of inches too short.

(close up of the skanky lace and painted on dots – now massively cracked and faded)

So the idea of remaking this came to me a fairly long time ago. Basically as I came across the Kitschy-cooo lady skater dress, which I have made multiple times in its long sleeved incarnation (hereherehere and here) I also picked up a random job lot of lace collar appliqués from the local fabric stall. The issue then was finding a decent polkadot jersey to make it in.

This was harder than you’d think. For about two years the only options on the fabric stall I came across were also painted on dots, annoyingly so were the options at Rolls and Rems, which charges a lot more, so I really wasn’t impressed. I tried looking on the internet, but the only fabric that made it clear the dots weren’t painted on was some horrifically expensive Japanese double sided fabric, which looked lovely, but far too decadent for what I needed. But eventually I found quite a small quantity of jersey from the fabric stall and although the dots were the wrong size it was finally a black and white polkadot that was good enough quality! (annoyingly I came across a larger quantity of jersey with the right size properly printed polkadots halfway through making the dress. Sods law I suppose!)

So here it is next to the original…..

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Not a completely identical match, but in terms of quality and length a massive improvement.

The only mistake I made with this dress was to leave the cut out fabric lying around for a bit too long. Thus I had to re-iron it when I finally got round to using it, & it stretched a little. But it wasn’t anything I couldn’t fix easily during construction.

& here it is on….

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Excuse the fat arms, I would normally wear it with some sort of cardigan. But I’m really proud of this, it looks exactly the kind of flattering and impressive the Primark number did when it was new. Only a lot more expensive/classy looking than if it came from Primark. But of course I only spent about £5 on the materials (Thank-you very much fabric stall) so its not actually any more expensive. This is why I love sewing!

At the moment I’m working on another cowl neck top – boring but necessary. I have pictures from SFX to post that I haven’t got round to yet, & Jon and I picked up the most amazing vintage wooden card index box from the street the other day – filled with lace! This will obviously need fixing up and blogging about at some point.

Oh yeah, I am now also on Instagram, as euphoricstimuli , about bloody time basically!

 

Fashionable velvet sweatshirt

So back in September last year when the September editions of all the magazines came out, the things I was most taken with were the burgundy velvet sweatshirts that appeared everywhere. 

Of course when it actually came to buying one, they are all £60-£80 plus and even the ones made for blokes I doubt would actually fit me. Certainly no one to my knowledge was making a reasonably priced plus size version.

So I got the idea to make one, but was struggling to find reasonably priced stretch velvet online (no matter how nice it looks in the photograph, do not go buying stretch velvet off eBay- big mistake) . Eventually I found a load on a reputable fabric website, but it was £12 a meter so before I bought it I thought I’d check the local fabric stall just invade they had anything suitable…..

And completely hit the jackpot. Ok it wasn’t burgundy, but I picked up 4m of the most beautiful lavender pink stretch velvet for about 4 or 5 quid a meter (I forget exactly). It was nicely thick anyway but was backed with a black stretch fabric that had been fused on, so it was really really stable and good quality.

So then all it came down to was finding time to make the thing. I wanted to do it asap as I don’t know how long the sweatshirts are going to look current for so I was determined to get some wear out of it this winter.

The pattern I decided to use is the Sewaholic Patterns Fraser Sweatshirt, partly as it was what I had in my stash anyway, partly because I’ve used Sewaholic patterns before and had good results, especially as they are designed for pearshaped ladies, & partly because when I read the reviews of the pattern it was supposed to be exactly the same construction technique as the Renfrew Top, which I’ve made multiple times, so I was reasonably confident about getting a good result first time.

The downside of the pattern is that looking at it on other people, the length runs a bit short, & although on smaller girls the sweatshirt appears lovely and fitted, on larger girls it’s a little boxy. Both of which were issues with my finished version, but I’m happy enough with how it turned out.

Anyway, I agonised for ages as to which version of the pattern to make, I had strong inclinations towards a black Peter Pan collar as I thought that was a colour combination that worked extremely well with this version I found through google image search. But at the last moment I decided to leave it plain, which is a decision I’m really glad I made as it lets the fabric really look luxurious on its own.

Anyway, pictures….


This is it hanging on the wardrobe, which is an unedited photo and very much true to colour with what it looks like.

The next 3 photos of it on me I have messed around with filters a bit as I was feeling a bit insecure and didn’t think they were the best photos in the world. (I don’t normally bother with them) 


As I said, it’s a little short, if I made it again I’d legnthen the bottom by about two inches, as I’m not sure it hits me at the most flattering point, & I know they look better but I am really not used to full length sleeves, I’m so used to 3/4 length I automatically shove them up my arm.

But overall I am really happy with how it’s turned out and with the pattern, & I’ve  worn it so many times it kind of needs a wash already.

Christmas 2014- 3 years late

So after a very long break, its finally finished…..

I first bought the fabric for this dress back in 2014, having stalked it in the internet for several years trying to get hold of it. Its called ‘In the beginning Winter Solstice’ by Jason Yenter. I fell in love with it and thought it would make an amazing Lolita dress when I first saw it online, but when I got hold of it I found it harder than I expected to get nicely co-ordinating lace. I wanted to go for gold to pick up the metallic highlights in the print, but back a couple of years ago it was not as easy as it is now to find nice lace on the internet, & its ruinously expensive to buy it in shops. So I found the right lace mid 2015, got the dress cut out and was all ready to go with it for xmas, when I had a massive mental block and didn’t know what the hell to do with it, or how to design it to do what I wanted (I had this sort of image in my head of what I wanted it to be, but couldn’t work out how to make it a reality.)

So I left it for a year, got going again with it after Halloween 2016, knew exactly what I wanted to do, it was all coming together lovely, & then I got the evil flu of doom that has knocked out so many people and was ill for 6 weeks, so got zero sewing done.

So then I was just determined to get the damn thing finished. There was a Lolita meet up I was going to at the end of January it was perfect for, so worked my butt off, got it finished, am very happy with the way it turned out, & then typically a freight train derailed at lewisham station 3 days before the meet, the trains suddenly got very unreliable, and after a nightmare journey home from Charing Cross one evening which took 2 hrs, one of which I was standing on various overcrowded trains (the journey should take 20 minutes and one should get a seat even in rush hour) I really couldn’t risk my health for that happening again  on the day of the meet as the trains were still down.So stayed at home 😦

Then after that I just got fed up with it, its February now, snowdrops are starting to come out, and I really wasn’t feeling very Lolita or up for an xmas dress. So it waited till this week to get photographed…

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I’m reasonably happy with the dress, I’m just not excited by it, but I’m sure I’ll be in complete love with it again next Christmas. I’m not massively feeling it for my co-ordinate either, I wore a wig cuz my hair desperately needs to see a hairdresser to sort out the colour one way or the other, so wasn’t really suitable for Lolita,  I think I need to wear it with a higher necked blouse and I think I probably need wrist cuffs and a cape of some sort, as tbh it was bloody freezing taking those photos. But given this is a ‘totally not the right season, I’ve just got to get some damn pictures!’ attempt. I think for next Christmas it’ll turn out lovely.

Close up of the fabric and bows….

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Anyway, now thats over I am 1/2 way through my pink velvet sweatshirt, so very relieved, was totally on schedule but haven’t been able to sew this week as I got another random germ. But as that seems to be going away, I’m sure I’ll have something to show very very soon.

 

 

 

What I made 2016….

So I didn’t think I’d done great this year, but apparently its one better than last year, when I managed 10 items of clothing and no total flops. Of the stuff I made last year everything has been worn multiple times except for the Regency dress. But I have not been able to start Regency dancing again, even though the trains are running again in the last 3 months we’ve been too busy, & pretty much all the gothic fancy dress parties have died in London. The Goblin King was cancelled and White Mischief is ending on New Year, so there really isn’t much opportunity at all to wear that kind of stuff at the moment. I know times move on and what is counted as alternative changes, there is now an amazing feminist punk & riot grrl scene round Peckham and New Cross, and the Crusty/Gap Yah/hippy scene seems massive at the moment, so there really is plenty to do, but I am going to miss big dress up alternative parties, it was a style I was very into and I enjoyed sewing for them. There are several big steampunk or fairy or goth festivals outside London still though. I will not have a chance to go to any next year, but hopefully all my goth/fancy dress party dresses won’t go to complete waste.

Looking back at what I actually wore out of my 2015 makes though and what I made this year has made me think about what I actually intend to make next year. In January I may well finish my Lolita xmas dress, it has been on the go for 3 years now, the first year I bought the fabric but couldn’t find appropriate trimming, last year I cut out the fabric and then promptly hit a massive creative block and ran out of inspiration. This year I worked out exactly what I wanted to do with it, got sewing and was doing really well, until I got the evil flu of doom that has been doing the rounds this year. That was about 6 weeks ago now and I am still not well (I’m writing this tonight as I was supposed to be at a party, but I’m not feeling up to it, so I’ve packed Jon off without me and am using the time to do quiet things.). If I don’t feel utterly sick of Christmas when Jon goes back to work in January I will finish the damn dress so it doesn’t roll over another year, but after that I have a bit of a ban on the goth and the Lolita and the steampunk for the rest of the year, my wardrobe is well developed enough, and there is no damn point making things if you don’t have the opportunity to wear them.

So…..what I made this year…..

 

So of that there are no obvious flops so far. The Burgundy hat I made for Jon has stretched a bit. He still wears it, but it is not ideal, so at some point in the next few weeks its going to get chucked in the washing machine at 40 in the hope it shrinks a bit and doesn’t die in the process. So that might become a flop if it doesn’t work.

I am also still a bit unconvinced about the Colette Patterns Moneta Dress (The grey one with the big neckline) I have actually worked out how to wear it with a cardigan and my boots for winter and it looks very good and grungy layered. However I still think the fabric is awful and it now has a small patched up hole in it on the waistline where I tried to fix the whole elastic gathering thing not having worked as well as it should, and of course its such crappy fabric a tiny hole stretched right away. This has actually worked out ok, as I now wear the dress with a belt which looks so good with it, but I am not sure how much love its going to get next year. I have bought some wider and more expensive clear elastic though, so I can have another go with the same pattern but better fabric next year.

Stuff that has been worn a hell of a lot this year is the grey cowl neck Renfrew top, the Burgundy polkadot Coco dress I made for me, and the grey Coco dress I made for Mum .

The Jennifer Lauren Vintage top has massively grown on me. I thought it was too young for me but its been on constant rotation with my other long sleeve tops in the washing and I’m even contemplating making another one. I would modify the bottom however as the riding up thing still annoys me and means its no good for layering in winter.

So yeah, next year I’m pretty busy. I’m going to the Sci-fi weekender in March, and have one thing to make for Jon although everything I wear will be pre-existing outfits.

Then two of my friends are having their stag/hen do and getting married in April, so I very much doubt I will have the energy in those months to do any sewing. September is also very much a write off as we already have a family event booked.

Around that my plans are:

Finish the bloody Xmas Lolita dress once and for all.

A pink velvet Sewaholic fraser sweatshirt

A black Tilly and the buttons miette skirt

Another Tilly and the buttons coco dress, this one in yellow with beetles on it.

Two more of my favourite 1940’s dress pattern, one in the black cactus fabric, and one for a special occasion.

Jons costume for Sci-fi weekender

After that I’ll see what I feel like, though the obvious gap in my wardrobe this year was casual dresses for the middle of summer. That doesn’t sound like a lot of pressure, but Jons costume needs to be done for the end of March, and the rest are all needed as soon as possible, so I can’t really slack off too much.

Anyway, I am getting tired again now, so everyone have a VERY HAPPY BOXING DAY AND LOVELY NEW YEAR,and I am going to go back to sulking on the sofa with a glass of wine and box of tissues!  🙂