Dark and Stormy in Tosh Vintage. I’m liking it :-D

The very last day of 2013. I’m sitting on my sofa and chilling with some seriously great knitting.
There will be a recap, and a resurrection, but for now, suffice to say, my year went out with a bang and a whimper, keeping me from sewing much or blogging about it.
Have a happy 2014, everybody – see you on the other side!

Hello Mickey :)

Hi there … tonight I just thought I’d let you know that I finally convinced a little helper to come stay with me. Say hello to Mickey:

Mickey

Mickey testing the couch. Not entirely convinced …

He was left behind by the previous tenants of a house one of my coworkers moved into, together with his ladyfriend Minnie, who’ll eventually relocate to my house as well (we only had one carrier that day). He’s settling in well, but clearly not entirely convinced my sofa is his happy place. We’ll work on that.

A rock, some apes and the sun

I’ve been having guests from the U.S. over recently, and while I hoped I might sneak in some sewing time, that didn’t quite work out … but a fantastic time was had by all. We chatted, hung out on the patio, visited the beach, ate loads of food, and did some sight seeing.

So I’ll just leave you with a few shots from the rock tour – it takes you up the rock, to the monkey feeding station, down a cave and through some old war tunnels.

Beware – photo overload!

Bay of Gibraltar

Bay of Gibraltar

Saint Michael's Cave

Saint Michael’s Cave

Monkey emperor contemplating his kingdom

Monkey emperor contemplating his kingdom

The rock

The rock

Intimate grooming ;)

Intimate grooming ;)

Grooming

Grooming

Old cemetary and landing strip

Old cemetary and landing strip

Big ass cannon in the tunnels

Big ass cannon in the tunnels

This is not a love song …

I finally made something other than a Laurel. The parade of Anna’s that’s currently marching through the blogosphere has put an idea into my head.

Maybe, just maybe this could be a dress for me? I adore the neck opening, and the high waist looked like it might work with my rather noticeable belly, I thought.

And since I’ve recently come to like dresses (it’s amazing what living a hectic life in a very hot climate can do to your style choices … just saying.), I thought it would be a good idea to branch out a little.

I had ca. 2m of black linen left from my first Laurel (bad photo here), and since I have since found out this linen isn’t the best of qualities (that Laurel ripped right next to the back arm scye), I thought it would be good to make a muslin which ideally would turn out wearable.

Now, let me tell you, I had grave doubts about that … anything that’s fitted in the bodice usually ends with me wanting to pull my hair out, wrap it around my sewing machine and throw the bundle out of the window.

This worked a bit better … after the usual zipper disaster. To begin with, I didn’t have a 22″ zip, invisible or not. I did have a black, invisible 18″ one … so I thought, what’s a few inches between friends, huh, and proceeded to put it in. Now, through no fault of the pattern or zip, I messed it up, and of course the linen being what it is, ended up with a hole right next to the zip. The only way forward was to cut it out, hence reducing the back width by roughly an inch. Then start over again. This time, I took the opportunity to finish the seam allowances in the back properly (Hong Kong style), and the zip went in fine. Fine, I say … not exactly invisible, but hey. It was a first.

Anna back

Anna back

Alas, after trying the dress on, it appeared that the strain of the too short zip (I can just barely squeeze into the dress) was too much for the linen, and it started to pull right underneath the zip. So I decided to make a feature out of it, and put on a bias cut square on top of that area, in the hopes it will add enough stability. We’ll see how that works out.

Other than that, I have the same issues I’d read about before … the neck line, which still looks adorable imho, gapes a bit. Should I make this again, I’d pinch out an inch or so front and back.

Anna front

Anna front – yes, horribly overexposed again.

There’s also some vicious wrinkling going on in weird places, but to be honest, that could just be the linen … it did the same thing when I used it for a tiny pocket tee.

It’s also a lot more see-through than I was aware. Good grief.

So, while I’m pleased that the dress mostly fits me well, this is not a love song :D But that’s mostly due to my poor choices, and no fault of the pattern. Which is adorable. Make one. You’ll see.

Something new! Something else!

Okay, so that’s not entirely true. I did make something else – two tiny pocket tank tops from Grainline, but I’m still having disagreements with my camera. The last set of photos I tried to take 30 minutes after sundown, but they still turned out completely overexposed – I might have to get used to the idea of getting a new camera :(

That's how dark it was ...

That’s how dark it was …

Instead, I’m going to show you … another Laurel! Yay! (Not? You’ve seen enough of them already? Then you probably want to skip down to the very last photo, which is a sneak peek of my next project – it’s kinda awesome!)

The weekend before last, I went on a quick trip back to Brighton. A previous coworker of mine had decided to go back to Germany, and I thought it would be fun to combine a much needed short vacation with a surprise appearance at her leaving do. Long story short – it was a roaring success! It was lovely to see all my friends again, and to get some fabric shopping done while I was at it. In fact, I’d shelled out > 30 quid to bring an empty suitcase over :D needless to say, it was very much not empty on my way back.

This double-knit was one of my purchases, from the much missed Fabricland (usual disclaimer here – their website WILL make you want to pour bleach into your eyes).

Fabric detail

Fabric detail

It’s no secret that I love black, and gray, and pink – what you might not know is that I also have a distinct faible for art deco and jugendstil, and this fabric has it all. Win!

One of my lovely colleagues at work took these snaps with my phone – please forgive the resulting lack of quality in the photos.

art deco laurel front

art deco laurel front

Not sure what’s going on with that derp face there :D

The only thing I changed is that I shaved off a couple of inches at the side bust seams, to account for the amount of stretch in the double knit fabric.

I also employed a slightly different method of finishing the neck and arm bindings by using black fold-over elastic – double knit tends to get a tad bulky with a bias finish, and the fold-over worked like a charm.

art deco laurel back

art deco laurel back

Since all is said and done with the pattern, I’ll give you another view from the side :D just because I can.

art deco laurel side

art deco laurel side

Admittedly not the most flattering angle for me, tho … hm. At least you can see my brand new sparkly ankle strap ballerinas :D

And now for the sneak peek – novelty denim! With pink snake skin print! Be still, my beating heart!

Snake skin print denim

Snake skin print denim

Stay tuned!

Scout woven and Moss skirt, both 2nd edition

After last weekend’s somewhat unsatisfying ending regarding the Moss skirt, I buckled up this Saturday and cut a new waistband.

After that, it all came together very quickly …okay, I’m lying. There was one more seam ripper incident, but it was small and short and ultimately not worth talking about.

When I was finished, I realized that the Scout Woven Tee would not only go well with the skirt (like they planned it over there at Grainline, you know!), but I also had the perfect fabric for it.

A very special fabric indeed – this meter of Liberty of London, to be precise. To the current day, it remains the single most expensive meter of fabric I’ve ever bought, and I’m still utterly in love with it.

What can I say that hasn’t been said about it before? Nothing. It is just as beautiful, soft, drapey, lovely to work with as every other blogger on the internets will tell you.

And don’t the two make a lovely outfit together?

Liberty Moss

Liberty Moss

This time I made the Moss skirt with the seam band, as I’ve realized that for some reason, I’ve become super prissy about my skirt length at work. Don’t ask, I don’t know what’s happened (other than “over 40″, maybe). Anyways, with the seam bands attached, it’s very appropriate, if a teensy bit restrictive for a fast walker like me.

No matter, I love it and I’m sure this is going to be one of my most worn skirts of this summer (and maybe even beyond, we’ll see).

I’ve also (or so I believe) added my Scout Tee to the Kollabora Sewalong (maybe even in time?) – if you fancy it, please do pop over and like it :) Not that I delude myself into thinking I have a chance of winning anything, but it would be nice to get a few hearts, and they’re a good platform and can use a few clicks.