Tag Archives: dresses

A dress for someone else’s life

Last weekend I set out to make myself a Myrtle dress, my patterns having finally arrived (thanks to Susan at Sewbox for putting replacements in the post straight away and checking they’d arrived; no thanks to the Post Office for losing the first set). I traced off the pattern, grading from a M at the shoulders to a L at the bust and XL at the waist and hips, cut out my fabric (some purple viscose jersey I bought from Tissu Fabrics ages ago), found my ballpoint and twin needles and started sewing. I struggled a bit with the suggested twin-needle hemming technique on the back bodice but by the time I’d done both armholes and the neckline I’d more or less cracked it, and by the end of the afternoon I had something that looked like a dress.

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Unfortunately, while it may have looked like a dress, it didn’t function like a dress. I’d managed to hold the bodice lining together with the back when I was attaching the skirt, rather than together with the outside of the bodice, the result of which was that there was no gap at the waist for my body to go through. So I spent over an hour yesterday afternoon unpicking the stitching at the wait and tried again, and this time I actually managed to make a dress.

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I’m really pleased with the fit; looking at the photos, I should probably have done a full bust adjustment, but I don’t think it’s too bad as it is. And if the hem is horribly bodged (which it is; I think possibly I should have stretched the fabric as I was sewing it to keep the fold flat, because it kept going a bit wonky and twisted), who looks at the hems of people’s dresses anyway? And it even looks OK from the back.

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The only trouble is that somehow this isn’t the dress I’d envisaged. I’d thought there would be a bit more coverage on the shoulders, that the draped neckline wouldn’t drape down so low, and that the skirt would cover my knees (I did cut out the version which said it should be just below knee-length, so I’m not sure what happened there – it’s not as if I’m particularly tall). In other words, I thought I was making a dress that I could wear to work, but what I appear to have made is a party frock. When I never go to parties.

New year, new start

I realised over the Christmas break that I’ve been missing outfitblogging. Even though it felt like a chore for a while, mostly I enjoyed sharing what I was wearing with the internet and found it gave me a reason to think about my clothes and try to be creative with combinations instead of just wearing the same things again and again. And, although it might be blowing my own trumpet a bit, and it’s not as if I’m out to make a vast stir on the internet, I like to think that writing about how I wear the things I’ve made is the one vaguely original thing I do here; there are lots of craft blogs, and plenty of outfit blogs, but I can’t think of many that combine the two.

So here is today’s outfit. Unusually for me, I ended up wearing a handknitted cardigan for work, partly because I thought it might be chilly in the office after the break (it wasn’t particularly) and partly in an attempt to ease myself into the new year a bit more gently.


I’ve never been convinced that round-necked cardigans like this really work over my jersey dresses, which all tend to have v-necks and drapey front detailing, and always thought that cardigans which can be worn open or fastened just below the bust are better, but actually I thought this looked OK fastened at the top like this, especially on a day when there was no need to look particularly smart as I was at my desk all day writing handover notes, because I am going on secondment for 15 months to work on a project that I think will be really interesting and, more to the point, will get me away from aspects of my current job which I think have been major contributing factors to the worsening of my mental health issues over the last year or so. So this new year really is a new start, and hopefully being in a less difficult working environment will mean I have more energy for blogging as well as pursuing my hobbies.

Monday blues

The weather has turned distinctly cooler, which is actually quite nice as I’ve missed being able to wear my jersey dresses (it’s just been far too hot for anything that needs a vest underneath). I think they’re far and away the easiest things to wear for work; effortlessly smart and still really comfortable.


Apart from that, it has not been a great day. But now I’m home, and I have pretty new yarn, and I am about to do my spinning for the day before settling down with pasta and University Challenge. So it’s not all bad.

Back to outfit-blogging

Between being away and things being stressful before that I’d got a bit out of the habit of taking outfit photos. The warmer weather also means I don’t get to include fabulous handknits in my outfits which I want to show off (a couple of people have made remarks to the effect that it must be summer because I’m not wearing a shawl this week), though I can always wear the skirts I’ve sewn (and I really must get round to tackling my lilac-and-white polka-dot Ginger skirt this weekend).

Still, I did take a photo today.


Jacket – charity shop
Brooch – Susan Sharpe on etsy
Necklace – Fairtrade shop
Dress – East (modesty panel added by me)
Shoes – Arche

New clothes

I’m trying not to buy too many new clothes, because I already have loads of things and I want to try to make more of my clothes going forward, but when I popped into M&S for some tights last week and saw this dress on sale for £12 I couldn’t resist it.


Shawl – Isaura
Dress – M&S
Shoes – Clarks

I also surprised myself today by buying a pair of trousers. I think the last time I bought trousers was about three years ago, and I’m mostly happy wearing skirts, but T bought me a top for my birthday that I think will look better with trousers, and it also struck me that a pair of plain trousers might be a good partner for me-made tops in pretty printed cottons which wouldn’t go with my print skirts (this is thinking ahead, and assumes that I have now worked out how to do a Full Bust Adjustment properly, of course). So I have bought a pair of navy blue cotton trousers in a pleat-fronted, tapered-leg style that a couple of years ago I’d have dismissed as unbelievably middle-aged looking, but which now look rather cute and a bit Fifties, and possibly even surprisingly trendy, and which also remind me of a pair of trousers I had in the late 90s that I remember wearing a lot and rather liking. Whether I ever actually wear them remains to be seen, of course!

Friday florals

Today’s outfit was rather thrown together after I couldn’t find the vest to go under the dress I was planning on wearing (I swear my clothes keep disappearing, one of my bras seems to have vanished completely). Unfortunately that meant I didn’t get to debut the fabulous but incredibly expensive shoes I bought in Bath a couple of months ago, but I did get to wear my new dress. I found this in M&S and was amazed to have actually managed to find something with sleeves, a reasonably modest neckline and a skirt that reaches my knees. Exactly the kind of dress I had despaired of finding anywhere!


Dress and jacket – M&S
Brooch – Susan Sharpe on etsy
Shoes – Clarks

Anyway, it’s the end of another week, and tomorrow I am off to London to meet up with some knitters. The only trouble is, I have no idea what to wear – I may be managing to ease my working wardrobe into spring but I’m at a bit of a loss for casual wear. Or at least, I’m at a loss about footwear; I really don’t want to wear knee-high boots because I’m sick to death of boots, but I’m not brave enough to wear leggings and shoes with bare feet just yet. I could wear leggings and shoes with handknitted socks, but I’m a little concerned that would go beyond ‘quirky and creative’ into ‘dotty bag lady’ territory. Or would it be OK?

(I also need to find some backup knitting for tomorrow, as I’m not sure that the heel and foot of a sock for me is going to be enough.)


Today I decided that I had had enough of boots, and then some, and I was damn well going to wear shoes instead. And it may not be very warm, but it’s still a lot warmer than it was a week ago, so actually it was fine. And I wore the sparkly purple Glasgow School Mitts I got from Roobeedoo rather than full mittens, and that was fine too.


Shawl – Elektra
Shawl pin – Nova Steel
Dress – East
Tights – Monsoon
Shoes – Clarks