Oof. One of those days where the moment you step out of the front door your hair goes to hell. Damn you, humidity!
I’ve finally worked this dress out of my system. I think. This is my fifth Charlie Caftan, but I wanted you to see the gorgeous Chaffinch Bough lawn cotton bought from Fabric Godmother at The Handmade Fair. The fabric is beautiful, isn’t it?
It also has acute puncture memory from pins and needles (ie the puncture holes don’t disappear when pins are removed). Don’t leave pins in overnight and if you need to do any unpicking, crack on straight away.
Now, I’m ready to move on!
1932 design from Madeleine Vionnet: “When a woman smiles, her dress should smile too.”
Wanna help me with some vintage fashion research? Go!
- You’re a young British woman in the late 1930s/early 1940s.
- At a party.
- Wearing a lovely dress.
- You’re from the type of family who would have sent their daughters to finishing school.
- But war has broken out.
- There ain’t no finishing school for you.
- You’re joining the WRENS.
- This is your last hurrah.
Question: WHAT WOULD YOU WEAR TO THE PARTY?
Just a bit of housekeeping this sleepy Sunday morning. The Random Number Generator picked the 72nd person (out of a massive 475 – thank you!) to sign up to my newsletter – and that’s Emma Martindale.
Emma wins 2.5 metres of Japanese cotton and a copy of the Charlie Caftan sewing pattern.
Thank you to Dragonfly Fabrics for their generosity. Below, their beautiful stand at the Handmade Fair. Isn’t that boiled wool to die for? 10% off on all orders!
I always really like it when there are samples on hangers (as opposed to mannequins) – it’s much easier to handle them and imagine how they’d look on me.
The Handmade Fair at Hampton Court opened today and I popped along. Here are my Top Five Things To Expect.
- To bump into friends. Even better, arrange to meet them at the prosecco tent.
Feeling the fabric – when markets trump interwebs
I first wrote a guide to Walthamstow market years ago, and it felt time to update it.
Did you know?
I’ve made another Charlie Caftan – and so could you!
Dragonfly Fabrics kindly provided me with this swoon-worthy Japanese cotton. You can see the full range here. It’s the perfect weight for a transitional caftan, just heavy enough and warm enough to carry a person into Autumn. If you raise the cut of the sleeves, this dress twins happily with a cardie. Wear a slip beneath and you can pull on tights or leggings, too.
Best of all? The fabric barely creases with wear.
For perfect pattern matching, baste together the bodice centre seam before sewing.
The knee-length caftan takes 2.5 metres of Japanese cotton. 2.5 metres that you could have for free! Not enough? Okay, we’ll throw in a copy of the Charlie Caftan pattern, too.
See? You could replicate this entire outfit. (Dog not included.)
To enter this giveaway for 2.5 metres of Japanese cotton and the Charlie Caftan pattern, all you need to do is sign up to the Did You Make That fortnightly newsletter here. The deadline to enter is midnight GMT Thursday 13 September.
Happy Mondays, everyone!
We need to talk about the innards of this beast. How do you sew a coat or jacket and avoid failure?
Start with the details. This coat pattern has 76 – count ’em – steps.
Ignore the running order of the step-by-step instructions.
Begin by sewing up the smaller details and putting them to one side for when they’re needed. (Below, sleeve tabs marked up for top stitching with a Pilot Frixion pen.)
This tactic really does speed up the sewing.
Once that’s done, move on to the guts. Oh, the guts. Crucial!
How long does it take to sew a coat from scratch? Three weeks. What’s the best fabric to use? Keep reading…
When it comes to sewalongs, The Cocktail Hour is a marathon not a sprint. In aid of The Eve Appeal, it features 26 bloggers, highlights 20 Vogue patterns and runs for a massive eight months. Phewee!
This is my contribution.
If sewing a coat or jacket, it’s a good idea to add a back stay. This:
- Stops fabric from stretching out across the shoulders
- Stabilizes the back of the coat
- Increases the longevity of the make
- Improves the line of your coat
Here is the back of my coat, with princess seams sewn. Fusible interfacing is attached to the shoulder and armhole area.
It’s afternoon tea week! I consider myself a bit of an expert as my sister and I love to track down a good afternoon tea. It’s the perfect occasion for dragging out your glad rags.
MY TOP FOUR VENUES FOR AFTERNOON TEA