I have a deadline for the dress that I’m currently making. A schoolfriend, S, is getting married on the 6th July and much as I love the Burda twist dress that I made in John Kaldor crepe fabric last year (those of you who read my old blog may remember it!), I just felt a bit bored at the thought of bringing it out for a fourth wedding on the trot.
With time, fabric, and a clear vision in my head I set sail. I talked in my last sewing post about block fusing the bodice pieces, but forget to mention what pattern I was using! D’oh!
Let me correct that here. I cashed in a $10 e-voucher that I’ve had sitting about for a while, and downloaded the Colette Lily pattern. It had the exact bodice shape that I wanted and I was keen to try out Colette’s upper-body fit (with something forgiving like princess seams should anything go wrong!). Rather than pair it with the slim fit skirt though, which could be asking for trouble with my figure and a shimmery fabric, I decided to draft a half-circle skirt – I think the fabric will handle it beautifully* – so something along the lines of this:
I’ll talk more about the fit and construction of the dress in a future post.
But back to today, I realised that I needed some lining. Even though the bodice is effectively underlined, that skirt was clearly going to benefit from the bit of extra body and flare that a lining provides. Rather than faff about with trying to squeeze circle skirt pieces from the various bits of anti-static polyester in my stash, I decided that a trip in to Barry’s Fabrics was in order.
Barry’s is fantastic. Barry’s is amazing. It’s a single warehouse in Digbeth (in the centre of town), and it’s basically stuffed to the gills with fabric. The prices are pretty good as well. Not dirt-cheap but thoroughly affordable, and more to the point is it’s all proper dressmaking fabric – none of this novelty quilting stuff for £eye-watering/metre.
Walking through the door, I was struck by how full the shop was. I mean, sure, it’s a Saturday. But even so – the aisles were full of excitable young people, most of whom had clearly travelled some way. And then I caught sight of the button rosette badges and it clicked. I had stumbled onto a sewing bloggers’ meet-up, a bit of Googling of which has revealed to be the one organised by Claire of Sew Incidentally.
I exchanged pleasantries with one or two of the bloggers whilst we were waiting to have our fabric cut, and I found myself wondering whether I want to get involved in the online sewing community too, more than just leaving the occasional comment. They all seemed like lovely people and what fun it would be to be able to share my hobby with others on a real-life basis!
And I realised that actually I don’t. The number of people in Barry’s completely overwhelmed me. When I got out of there, purchases in hand, the anxiety was racing and I drove home needing comfort and quiet reassurance from Jonathan. I love sewing and I love being able to discuss sewing, but in many ways it’s quite a personal activity. Me and my fabric. Me and my sewing machine. Chatting about patterns with a friend or pawing over somebody else’s fabric choices – fine. But being part of a huge group just isn’t me, and I think it’s quite important to be able to recognise that.
What did I come home with?
Three metres of a light-coloured mystery fabric from the £2/metre table. It’s feels like a cotton-poly mix, possibly, and it’s very light with quite an open weave. It wouldn’t be great for using as a fashion fabric, but as lining for a summer dress it’ll be perfect. Clearly I bought way more than I’ll need for this project, but it’ll be useful to have on hand for future makes.
Half a metre of muslin (as in actual muslin) for Jonathan to use in the kitchen.
And two metres of a gorgeously soft charcoal 100% acrylic ponteroma.
Some people are bright satin prints. I’m a charcoal ponteroma, or a pale gold/ pewter shimmer lined with light polycotton. I’m cool with that.
*And I clearly wasn’t going to have enough fabric for a properly full skirt nicked from the one of the Vogue dress patterns that I own. C’est la vie.