The maxium cake dress

Please don’t think of me as terrible birthday brat but I wanted to share details of day 3 from my long weekend of celebrations. I still have one more day to go before I head back to reality and another press day on Tuesday.

almond rock dashwood studio pattern drafting rayon viscose fragment soiree Susan Driscoll dress

My family weren’t free to catch up until the Saturday after my birthday so we made plans to have afternoon tea at Weetwood Hall near Adel. This 17th century manor house is popular for weddings and parties and there was a wedding going on as we arrived! We sat in the indoor terrace. All the beauty of a garden area but safe from the elements!

We dined on gorgeous sandwiches (I had the veggie selection of aubergine and hummus, avocado and salsa, and cream cheese and cucumber plus a huge onion bhaji). Then there was a dessert tray of scones, treacle tart, brownies, lemon posset, candyfloss and choc ganache lollipops!! Fizz, wine and Earl Grey tea finished the table off nicely and we chatted away the afternoon.

almond rock dashwood studio pattern drafting rayon viscose fragment soiree Susan Driscoll dress

Sometimes you need a baggy dress. When you have this much food to eat its practically mandatory!! I haven’t been fitting into my clothes very well lately so a baggy dress fits well into my life right now. I’ve been inspired by DIY Daisy’s floaty dresses which are quite straight up and down while still feeling figure flattering.

almond rock dashwood studio pattern drafting rayon viscose fragment soiree Susan Driscoll dress

I drafted a basic bodice with grown on sleeves and removed the darts from the front and back. Then I adjusted the front to a wrap extending into the waistline (rather than the side seam) using a v neckline as a guide. It sits high on the shoulder then drops in a steep v, crossing just under the bust. The skirt is just a gathered rectangle.

almond rock dashwood studio pattern drafting rayon viscose fragment soiree Susan Driscoll dress

The excess fabric was used to make bias tape to finish the armholes and neckline. It was an awkward assembly in that I had to bind the front up to the shoulder and leave the ends unsewn first. That meant I could construct the bodice and join to the waist then install the zip. Then finally I could bind the top of the zipper and remaining bit of neckline. Of course I used my blind hem foot to edgestitch the binding. I got impatient before adding a hook and eye at the top… a job for later.

almond rock dashwood studio pattern drafting rayon viscose fragment soiree Susan Driscoll dress

I decided to topstitch the wrap in place as I can’t be arsed worrying about flashing people. I don’t have a lot of boob to flash but no need to take the risk. The waistline is slightly raised to help the body feel and the rayon means the dress is delightful floaty!! My favourite part of the dress is this stunning print.

almond rock dashwood studio pattern drafting rayon viscose fragment soiree Susan Driscoll dress

Susan Driscoll designs the most gorgeous prints and I was overjoyed when she released her rayon collection ‘Soiree‘ with Dashwood Studio. I actually bought three of the designs! This print is called Fragment and it reminds me of geology and gemstones. It’s all my favourite colours in one design. It looks a little navy in my pics but is on a black base. I got this dress out of 1.5m of 45″-wide fabric by the skin of my teeth!

almond rock dashwood studio pattern drafting rayon viscose fragment soiree Susan Driscoll dress

Do you think you can identify rayon? It’s known in the UK as viscose and is a natural fabric made of plant pulp. BUT sometimes shops just call drapey polyester ‘viscose’ which blurs the lines and sometimes it’s mixed with polyester… the same way any other fabric base can be mixed with polyester of course.

almond rock dashwood studio pattern drafting rayon viscose fragment soiree Susan Driscoll dress

You can get rayon challis, rayon linen, and rayon jersey plus much more. 100% rayon challis is prone to shrinking, goes hard and rumpled when washed then goes back to being silky and smooth when dry. It doesn’t melt under heat or make static when you wear it. Its breathable and luxurious to wear and it’s my favourite fabric type! You need a sharp needle and sharp pins as its prone to snagging and you need a large space to work on so the fabric doesn’t slide as you work or cut out.

almond rock dashwood studio pattern drafting rayon viscose fragment soiree Susan Driscoll dress

I hope you enjoyed this post and the details of my self drafted dress. I’m building up courage to cut into the Secret Garden print above and figure out what style to sew. If you are keen to try pattern drafting I recommend the Aldrich book series. I also attended a great evening course at Leeds Art School which taught me other methods of drafting if you don’t get on with Winnie Aldrich.

Finally thanks do much to everyone who commented on my tile dress on the blog and on Instagram. I definitely appreciate it!! Cheers to you all!

Continue Reading

G and Tea (and Dress) Time

Are you a gin lover?
I know it’s not for everyone.
To me, Gin is sweet fragrant nectar and my tipple of choice.

And thankfully the people in my life know this; so at Christmas I was gifted a Gin-tasting masterclass with afternoon tea included.

Gandteatime

Last weekend, my fair gent and I packed ourselves off on the train and visited the Lady Anne Middleton Hotel in York for our G and Teatime class.

We started with a warm gin punch made using gin, berry tea, sugar and hot water. It was divine.

photo 3

Then we tasted 5 gins – Beefeater, cucumber infused Gordons, Spanish Citrus Larios, Brokers with our own choice of unusual garnish (I tried mint and fresh grapefruit – delicious) and Pink 47 (a highly alcoholic variation). We also learnt classic techniques for dry, wet and dirty gin Martinis.

The afternoon tea consisted of delicious sandwiches with chutneys, plus scones with jam and clotted cream, sticky date cake and tangy lemon posset… This is making me hungry just talking about it again.

Our presenter shared hilarious and fascinating facts about the history of gin and the production of gin. Did you know that there was a time when most people were paid their salary in gin because it was what they were going to spend their wages on anyway?! Hmmm Interesting.

All this was shared in the beautiful historic surroundings of York

lady annesAfterwards we took a lovely stroll by the river where I made Mr AR take some photos of my latest dress. It’s nothing special but I’m rather happy with it.

I used a heart print polyester from Leeds Market in a lovely violet/cerise colour and Simplicity 2444 since I can’t seem to escape that pattern’s clutches.

Polyester adds a nice touch to this pattern. It makes it far more relaxed and kind of stream-lined in my opinion.

photo 4-5 photo 1-10

We would have had photos taken in the pretty courtyard at the hotel but a wedding party was just arriving and I dare not interfere with a Bride’s big day. Eek!

So that was last weekend. This weekend I’m in London, partying with a fabulous Birthday girl and relaxing with some of my delightful family, plus squeezing in a bit of fabric shopping and gossip with lovely sewing ladies. More on that to come!

Happy weekends to all!

photo 4-7_edited-1

Continue Reading