Rosie in the Rainforest – and a Sew Over It giveaway!

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Ah, Sew Over It. I frequently feel as though they’re designing patterns specifically for me, and this latest has done nothing to break that particular delusion. The Rosie Dress is a 1950s-inspired summer dress of dreams, perfect for pretending you’re on a Roman Holiday, or helping Miss Marple solve a riddle of a crime (those are the kinds of daydreams I have). It features a fitted, boned and lined bodice and a twirly, girly pleated skirt (that can also be made as a garment in its own right), two strap and two neckline variations. And of course once you’ve exhausted all the featured options, it would also be a marvellous pattern to adapt – you could swap the pleated skirt for a gathered or circle option, play around with contrast fabrics, or make the skirt up in a lined wool for winter. Options: endless.

I was lucky enough to be asked to be a pattern tester again – and if you’re reading this you’re lucky enough to be in with a chance of winning a free copy of the Rosie pattern!

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These pics were taken on a Sunday family outing to the Barbican Conservatory. Hands up if you had no idea that such a place existed – I certainly didn’t! But it is in fact London’s second-largest hothouse (after Kew), a lush and unexpected oasis in the midst of the famously brutalist estate. I had been determined to find the right backdrop for this gorgeous parrot fabric (a lightweight lawn from SOI), and a tropical combo seemed moreover the perfect little nod to Rio – I’m an Olympics addict 🙂

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I made an initial attempt at pattern-matching the parrots, but the six bodice pieces of Rosie ultimately defeated me and I’ve ended up sporting the odd headless parrot. Something to be aware of if you’re using a very distinctly patterned fabric. I also made a simple muslin petticoat as the lawn was rather transparent; it gives my dress a fuller skirt than it would naturally have. And one more thing – the tester pattern had straps way too long (now corrected) so I criss-crossed mine over the back – that’s another easy hack right there!

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Anyway, if you would like to win a copy of the Rosie pattern, all you have to do is leave a comment below! The competition runs until midnight GMT next Sunday, 14 August, and I’ll announce the randomly chosen winner on Monday. Easy peasy, right? And, to boot I’ll also enter anyone who follows my blog (either via WordPress or Bloglovin) over the next week into the draw, so should you be so keen as to want a double entry you can boost your chances! Good luck and good sewjo!

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Oh, and in the meantime stay tuned for this Friday, which will see the reveal of my Butterick Big Vintage Sewalong make!

x

Seamwork Weston Shorts

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Hello friends,

Three weeks’ ago today these photos were taken. We’d reached the town of Jasper and finally found weather warm enough to reward my last-minute shorts-making. I’m not usually one for wearing shorts – I rarely find pairs which flatter my legs and steer the narrow line between modest and frumpy. I considered drafting a pair for the holiday, but then Seamwork answered my prayers with their June pattern release – the Weston shorts. I made them up the day before we flew!

I did alter the pattern slightly – for a start, grading between a size 4 at the waist and a size 6 at the hips. There’s still ample room at the waist so next time I might even grade down to a size 2 there. I then flared the side seams; the original pattern has these following the curve of the thigh but I prefer a more a-line silhouette. I didn’t adjust the inner seams at all.

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Fabric-wise, I used a soft blue linen from the Cloth House in Soho. Unfortunately, I did put these shorts through their paces during our several days hiking in Jasper, and the weave of the cloth is already starting to come apart a little along the seams. I’m not sure what can be done to avoid this(?) but at any rate, I’m not too sad as I did rush some aspects of the construction (nobody look at the buttonholes!) and would like to make a second, better pair.

I also found that the given zip length (9″) was much too long for the fly opening and reached almost into the crotch, so I’ll adjust that next time too. I realise now that I’m writing this as much for my benefit as anyone else’s; I made these up in such a frenzy of pre-travel excitement (and stress) that the actual process is already becoming a woolly memory… And I want to remember, because I really do like this pattern.

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Jasper itself was fantastic – the place is just teeming with animals; everyone drives at a ridiculously leisurely pace to spot said animals, oh, and it has an amazing bakery with the BEST sausage rolls! I mean, what more could you ask for in a town?? These photographs were taken at Lake Edith, a tranquil spot just minutes from the town yet almost deserted. (J was brave enough to take a dip in the clear waters; I was most definitely not.)

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It’s my policy not to swim in water with large quantities of snow in the visible vicinity. J discovered my reasoning the hard way. His was a very short swim.

On our way to the lake that evening we saw grazing elk; on our way back a lone coyote. It was also on our day trips from Jasper that we saw the baby bears and *hugging* marmots, not to mention avalanches and glaciers, wild sheep and wild goats, waterfalls, canyons and wildflowers a-plenty. Sitting here now in a Suffolk garden, it seems impossibly distant. Can it really have been just three weeks since we were there? Three weeks in which so much has happened across the world, so much that is heartbreaking. It makes me grateful for the opportunities I have had to see the beautiful places of this world, and the many kind and caring people I know as friends and have met as passing strangers. Canada gave me all of these, and consequently it was as wonderful and memorable a trip I could have had.

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And that’s all from my Canadian adventure. I do hope you’ve enjoyed seeing some of the incredible places we visited in addition to my holiday makes; I’ve really enjoyed writing slightly broader posts and hope to do some more of this from now on, with fingers crossed that you don’t all abandon this ship of random ramblings!

x

Stripes on sea – Telegraph Cove, Vancouver Island

Come with me, on a journey to a remote place few people (even Canadians) have ever heard of… To a place where, even in June, you have to endure bitter temperatures, especially when you’ve taken off your top three layers of clothing to snap some blog photos… To a place where all your blog photos look a bit tense/manic because you are so cold and it could start raining again at any point, meaning you’d have to dry your jeans over the cabin’s electric hobs again… This place, my friends, is Telegraph Cove.

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Ok, so this photo was actually of me trying to hurry J along so we could get the whole freezing photoshoot over and done with as soon as possible. I’m only smiling because I’m nice like that. Oh, and because in spite of its worse-than-England’s summer weather – Telegraph Cove is just right-on marvellous. Continue reading