This Bank Holiday weekend has been delightful; all three kids have been away at Cub/Scout camp, so the adults have been out to play.
Leisurely lie-ins, browsing the charity shops and Record Collector in Broomhill, a lovely meal at Thyme Cafe, which never disappoints, watching films and over-indulging on wine - what better way to spend a child-free weekend?
Oh, and some sewing too.
As you can see, I made the shorter version of this 1970s pattern with elbow-length sleeves, as I didn't have enough fabric for a maxi dress or long sleeves.
Mind you, it very nearly didn't get made at all; the pattern instructions were so confusing that I was ready to have a major tantrum, hurl the bloody thing in the bin, and give up.
I'm glad I persevered; the pattern is by far the most complicated I've attempted, and I managed to do things I haven't tried before, like gathering, inserting sleeves, and making the fitted bodice with square neckline front and back. It was the bodice paneling and facings which nearly defeated me; the diagrams on the pattern looked - to my untrained eye - nothing like the fabric pieces I had in front of me. So frustrating!
Now I've made the dress, I feel rather sad that I don't really love it.
It's pretty enough, I just don't much like it on me. The gathered skirt adds bulk to my hips, the sleeves look too long (though I could shorten them), the crisp cotton fabric doesn't flow, and the puffed shoulders seem too much. Unfortunately, I chose the wrong fabric; this pattern required something softer with more drape.
But here's what I do like.
I struggled to understand the instructions, but eventually, I worked it out. The fit is good. The sewing is neat. All the seams match up, the zip went in properly first time, and the back edges either side of the zip are in line. I also made a contrasting sash.
It's a decent piece of sewing, and even if I don't wear it much, making this dress was an achievement. The fabric cost £2, the pattern £1, the cotton and zip were already in my sewing box, so all I've lost is £3 and some time, while gaining valuable skills.
Jess and Min agree. They both like to sit on the tissue paper pattern pieces. Always so helpful.
The kids came home this afternoon, very tired but having had a brilliant time.
This was how they set off - they looked a little grubbier on their return...
Dress made by me from a 1970s pattern
Flower, necklace, bangles, and 1960s straw bag - charity shopped
Sandals - retail (sale)
I'm determined to find time for more sewing once we're back to the routine of school and work, I really enjoy it when I get going (and get over my bad temper at not being sufficiently expert).
If I'm not too late, I'll pop over to Judith's Hat Attack with my hair flower, and join Patti and co for Visible Monday.
And I'll be catching up with your blogs soon, I promise; a couple of unplugged days and I am woefully behind!