A long, long time ago…

I can just about remember the last time I thought about updating here. And sadly, it was months and MONTHS ago.

So what happened? Well, life, in a word. I’ve not had much time for anything much else! Shortly before my last post, I started a new role in work which quickly consumed every spare bit of time I had. If I wasn’t doing something, I was thinking about it, or I was just too darn shattered to contemplate it. So that amazing 40s blazer and suit? The fabric is still languishing in the pile, making me feel slightly guilty. I did, however, actually fully participate in Me Made May (yes, it’s been a LONG time) — I ran out of steam cataloguing it; but I pulled it off which was quite exciting.

In fact I’ve only made two things in the last couple of months, neither of which I have any pics of at the moment – first, a short backwards jacket to go over a dress for a friend’s wedding, and the second a leopard-print midi-dress which I am quite in love with.

Since then I’ve had great plans, but no action. What’s changed is that I’ve now started another new job, this time for a completely different company, and I suddenly have a little more free time – and a little more cash for fabrics. What might not help is that, out of the blue, we’re having a very different, home-buying adventure which doesn’t necessarily leave much time for sewing (although I do have my thoughts on some curtains, cushion covers, cross-stitch decorations…).

The new job does, however, mean that I’m in need of some slightly dressier clothes – I’ve never worked anywhere which necessitated wearing a suit every day, but this place is slight more to the smart end of smart casual; or, more accurately, I could get away with wearing more casual things if they were the kind of casual things I had. So bright blouses etc yes, but Star Wars tshirts, sadly no. I have plenty of dresses, but I’m in need of some more sensible tops and skirts and jackets and even trousers (which I almost never wear).

Which brings me to today. What I have been enjoying lately is seeing various sewing bloggers lay out their plans for the new season – and it made me think it might be a good thing to give myself a little more structure, set time aside in order to actually achieve what I want to.

Operation Big Move will begin a week on Friday – which I can hardly believe, but it’s when we should be getting the keys – and we have until December 1 in our current flat. I’ve also got two different friends weddings in November and December, which I’d ideally like something I’d made for (which would also do for the two works Christmas dos in December). And I’ve just made a lovely purchase on Etsy which should help me with work and wedding clothing making fun as a kind of relaxer during the moving month.

My original plan was to make this beauty from BurdaStyle:

Burda Style Vintage Dress #133

Which, as I’ve also seen discussed elsewhere, I wouldn’t really like to do in velvet (so heavy looking!), but had plans for some sort of navy crepe, with embellishments on the shoulders to jazz it up rather than the ribbons.

I’ve bought and downloaded the pattern, but in all honesty with everything that’s going on, I don’t think I have quite enough time to get my head around it as it’s a little more complex than I would like right now and I would need to construct the pieces first (I know, excuses, right?). So instead, I’m putting it aside for another friend’s wedding which will take place in February – which will give me plenty of time to do it properly.

Then, while shopping one day, this stopped me in my tracks:

To die for Alexander McQueen Black Watch tartan dress

It’s so beautifully made – much more so than the photo suggests in fact – but because it’s McQ Alexander McQueen it’s also vastly out of my price range. Black Watch tartan is one of my favourites, and I’m a sucker for a tartan dress. So the wedding plans started to change shape.

Which is where the Etsy purchase comes in; a really nice little lot of patterns which I treated myself to which will work for the office, but are still ‘me’ enough to wear. They combine two-piece dresses (which gives me a couple of top options), jackets, skirts, dresses. A little work needs to be done on sizing, as they’re all off my own size; but the patterns and pieces aren’t too complex so that should be doable.

McCall's 9116 dress pattern

I’m thinking a combination of these in complementary colours, so that I can mix and match. The belted jacket I think is super-cute.

Simplicity 6217 dress pattern

I adore this two-piece dress, and the skirt is and top are going to form part of an outfit for wedding #2, with a red wool I’ve got left over to match a cape, and the top in a light (physically and colour-wise) material with, time hopefully allowing, some beadwork at the neckline in red. I can’t wait to try the jacket in the future as well.

Dress pattern Simplicity 6555

Now the final one, I’m not sure how clearly you can see, but it’s going to be the basis for my own approximation of an awesome Black Watch dress. OK, it won’t have the insanely cool origami folds, but the short version, without adding the bow, should be a lovely option for showing the fabric off to its best advantage, and give me a bit of a practice at matching patterns with the front seam and the V bodice – without making me feel too much like pulling my hair out.

And those, many words later, are my plans.

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