Week 2

Well, technically that started Saturday, which marked one week since making the muslin of the fitted dress. 


Be that as it may, I’m happy enough with getting the two front pieces of the dress and one bolero sleeve outlined. This ‘working week’ of Monday to Friday will be devoted to outlining the back sections, which are a little longer as I’ve followed the line of the train of the full length version. 


I took a little time to redraft the bucket hat pattern yesterday. The measurements say it will work up to 7 1/2 but I am a 7 3/4. My dilemma over hat/no hat continues you see.  

I’m not a fan of decorative hats. I’ll wear a hat for warmth or sun protection of course, but with a larger than average head and far too much hair (‘Ten bald men curse you daily’ per Harriet’s pronouncement decades ago) I’ve never found a store bought hat to fit. I had a brief look in a few charity shops last Thursday for something to revamp to no avail. I’m not holding out too much hope on that front. I have two London trips before the Garden Party which would give me a wider range of shops but there are more fun ways to spend one’s time in London than hat shopping!

The dress and bolero are top priority natch, but you know the saying : stitching expands to fit the time allowed. A test version of the bucket hat (in one layer) has been made and I don’t HATE how it looks. That’s good enough for just now. 

PS – I do know the stencil will be something other than Bloomers! It’s s lovely pattern but it would be too matchy matchy for my liking. 

I gotta get outta here

Lovely as my home is, I’ve been not far from it for near on two weeks since we returned from vacation so it’s time for a day away. 

Plus I am SO done with watching the news. 80%? God forgive them. You hate the sin while loving the sinner. This isn’t the way to accomplish that. 

(Oh. Did you think I meant the General Election?).


It is not surprising to me at all that I’m never asked what I am doing when I stitch on this side of the pond (two + hours once in the Members Rooms of the British Museum and nary a peep); however, if I’m squishing in a bit of handwork in a public place on my original side folk have no problems either asking me what I am doing or introducing themselves as a fellow crafter. Sort of sums up the difference between the two countries. Or is it cultures? 

It would be nice to get a sleeve done today. I’ll do a coffee shop crawl between errands and see how far I get! I’ve optimistically packed both sleeves in a plastic envelope which also holds my airplane stitching kit and better embroidery scissors. Better to have the extra work than not. 

Rain, rain, stay RIGHT here


This utterly icky day gave me a great excuse to test a bolero (machined, as with the fitted short dress a few days back), cut the two layer bolero with three quarter length sleeves, finish all the dress and bolero stencilling,


make all the binding needed,


snip the large Bloomer shapes on the dry pieces before 

basting together all dry sections. There was even time to chose the embroidery thread for outlining:


It’s not strong enough for seams of course, but it will make for nice matt outline stitches for the reverse appliqué. 

Test one, two, three

So that’s the AC fitted dress pattern taped back together and re cut along the lines of the length I need. One layer in white. One layer in black. 

‘Cause the world really boils down to that. 

Testing the Bloomer stencil seemed a good idea. I’m pretty sure I won’t have enough of the grey I mixed for the entirety of the white top layer, never mind the bolero, so top of tomorrow’s errand list is acquiring more fabric paint. I’ll get large containers of black and white since that seems more useful. 

Plan A is a medium grey that works on both black and white but I’m not wedded to it. It’s more important to get the stencilling done so the MANY hours of handwork can get underway. 


After a few tests of the Bloomer leaves with my mixed grey (above left) I tried a little of a already mixed spray black I bought in March then hit that with water from a spray  just to see what that would look like.  

I like the look, but not for the current project. 

I am easily distracted. 


But not so much that I did not mark the right sides of the top layer for stencilling. It’s a tight time frame to get this project done so there’s no space for slip ups. 


Ooo. I like how the black paint is spreading. Clearly for this to be effective the initial images need to be further apart and the paint must more thinly applied. 

And different quantities of water used in different areas. 

Back to work, Missus. 

Now that it’s official 

(my garden party invite) I need to get a move on. 


But, not without a muslin. 


I bought a great deal of one hundred percent cotton jersey knit in March on my solo trip to the States, mostly from Osgoods in West Springfield, MA, a couple of JoAnn’s and Mood in NYC. 

Black, white, greys and navy in at least four yards then a couple yards each teal and aubergine filled one of my two suitcases on the trip home. However, I’m going with the black and white I picked up on Goldhawk Road earlier this year. 

The two layer Alabama Chanin fitted dress I plan to make over the next 28 days is to use the mid length skirt measurement with the back adjusted so it follows the line of the train one gets when cutting the full length version. I probably could have got away with making the tunic length instead of the short dress for fit, but

since I fancy a Spirals dress at some point it was worth the extra fabric. All I need to do is adjust the pattern’s sides a bit


and I’m good to start cutting the two layers needed. I did machine the seams of my test version and may very well do the final dress that way if I fall short on time. I’m being realistic here. 

(Speaking of reality — A dress that would take me 5 to 6 hours to complete is the back up: pattern and fabric sit on standby. It’s one I’m planning to make anyway for November in St. John AVI). 

Now to draft three quarter length sleeves for the bolero I’ll need to wear with the dress. ‘Bloomers’ will be the stencil and reverse appliqué the technique. 

We are looking at a LOT of hours of handwork in the sunroom. 

‘Sorry. Can’t. Got to work on my dress’.

Brass tacks

So today it’s the turn of four large underbed storage tubs stuffed with B-list needlework to be sorted in a very serious way. 

Aida fabric and cross stitch kits were immediately placed in the latest stack of donations for the Girl Guides. During my years on the needlecraft floor at Liberty we were given samples all the time and often had the chance to buy kits that were not sale worthy (packaging damaged or bits missing) for ten pence (so paperwork could be generated to allow you to take it out of the employee entrance). I had a passing fancy with cross stitch but that’s all it was. It’s time the move on. 

During my year of study at The Royal School of Needlework stumpwork ranked in my top three favourite subjects. I did several more projects than required, including this part finished box. From the notes and materials packed with it I can see I meant to make two little drawers. 


It’s been a very long time since I even touched my specialist tools. 

(1998).


The box also held a fair amount of goldwork supplies which are in very good shape. I remember buying it in the Masonic shop in Covent Garden! Recently I’ve been asked to repair some vestments so perhaps I can incorporate some of my old school supplies. 

I think I’ll frame the sheep after taking apart the part done box. 


Now for the exciting task of packing up wool and canvas in vacuum sealed bags for storage in the attic. 

For the stash 

The designs for the next several quilts have been worked out — a couch throw for Himself for a birthday present, a Gypsy Wife for our 25th anniversary and a bird block quilt for ME. I’ve never made a quilt for just ME, but it will have to wait until all the many presents for other folk get made. It may not even be begun during the IWOM’s fiftieth birthday year of crafting for other folk, but that’s okay. 

The theory for MY quilt is to use a scrap from a number of special dresses and clothes made for our many travels around the world for one or more bird blocks, after which the remainder of the fabric will be donated. I’ve already processed a great many items and it’s time for a test block or two. 


I thought I had pretty much everything for this quilt until I found these really bright PJs in a drawer at my Mom’s house during my solo trip across the pond for the first few weeks of this month. I bought them in 2004 when I spent several weeks with Little Sis and my newborn nephew. I’d read that bright colours were good for baby eye development. 

They are not often worn now  — I usually just pull them on to go start the coffee in the kitchen, Himself and I never finding the need for PJs. 

(Um…TMI? I merely strive to illustrate in what decent shape the fabric still is). 

Into my case they went last week and are now in the Clothing To Be Processed For Crafts basket here in the craft room. 

Just the thing for a snowy squally day, along with tea and an old movie.