An ode to black

I wonder if you’ll indulge me in a little rant here?

I read a post the other day talking about someone’s experience at one of the big US sewing conference things, where a speaker gave advice along the lines that black should never be worn at all by anybody.

What the?

Quite apart from the fact that I think there is no call for anyone to tell anyone else how they should dress – DRESS HOWEVER YOU LIKE PEOPLE (I call this the Tilda Swinton principle, because, well, Tilda Swinton is THE BOSS) – black is fantastic. It can be dramatic or fade into the background. It is versatile. It goes with pretty much everything. It makes other colours pop. If you have an office tan like me it is the difference between ‘porcelain’ and ‘pasty’. Black is the best. Besides, I’m a designer by day therefore wearing black is practically mandatory.

Maybe this waxing lyrical is all a little overkill, but honestly, life is too short to have people arbitrarily blanket statement out an entire colour. Rules, schmules. If you like black, wear it. If you don’t, then don’t. </rant>

Black Renreau – Apr 2014

In case you hadn’t guessed, I like black. I am gleefully planning a mostly monochrome winter wardrobe as we speak. This dress is one of the first items from that plan. I have been in desperate need of some comfy-yet-pulled-together items and a knit dress seemed to fit the bill perfectly. You are spoilt for choice for knit dresses these days (the Lady Skater or Colette’s new Moneta amongst many examples*) but being too lazy to paste together PDF pages I went with a mashup of my tried and true Sewaholic Renfrew, the neckline of the Plantain and the gathered skirt from Deer & Doe’s Sureau dress. I can’t take credit for this combination – Deer & Doe’s Eléonore made a similar thing here and she and I seem to have the same issue whereby an a-line skirt on a knit dress isn’t quite flattering.

Black Renreau – Apr 2014

This is a pretty easy thing to put together if you are comfortable with knits. I used a quite solid merino (with a touch of elastane), almost a double knit I’d say, which was super easy to handle, and is nicely warm. To make the skirt section have more body I added around 20cm of width, and I gathered it on some elastic to keep the weight off the top. I use Sewaholic’s method of treating knits like wovens, in that I always sew my seams twice, first with the sewing machine and then the overlocker, because I’ve found it makes things last longer and helps with keeping everything lined up. This takes a little longer, but with practice I find that I can make something like this in an hour and a half. I don’t even bother with a twin needle hem, because my stretch stitch is small enough that it looks fine as a finish (also, I am lazy).

Black Renreau – Apr 2014

I love this dress. I’ve already made up another variation just because it feels like otherwise I’ll wear it out too quickly. Can we have three cheers for lovely dresses that feel like pajamas?

Outfit details:

(*There are so many very, very similar versions out there. I am actually quite surprised that so many companies are bringing out what is essentially the same dress but all power to them. I should note I have bought the Lady Skater and the Moneta for no apparent reason other than, quite frankly, that I’m a sucker for new product. I’m sure they will be lovely when I make them but I really didn’t need either of them because I could just make the same thing with what I already own. But anyway, I do like supporting indie designers so…)

While I’m here, a little housekeeping…

It’s that time of year again: Me Made May. I’ve always watched with interest over the last few years but have never taken part before. But this year, I think it is time to take the plunge! Realistically I think the best way to handle it is to do a couple of round up posts so I’m not bombarding people, and I’ll probably Instagram my outfit every day.

I do wear something I have made most days, so in that sense it isn’t as much of a challenge as is intended, but the challenge for me will be a)taking photos and b)finding out what it is that I actually wear, and what I don’t, and why. It will actually be really interesting to record this data and I’m hoping that it will give me a clearer picture of what I actually need in a wardrobe.

So, without further ado:
I, Amy of What Miss Amy Did Next, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’14. I endeavour to wear one me made item each day for the duration of May 2014.

Also, The lovely Emily of Dressing the Role has nominated me for a Liebster Award (I’m so excited!). I think I will save that for another post as this one is pretty long now, but I’m looking forward to answering the questions. Thanks so much Emily!

I think that’s enough blabbering for one day! Off to watch Orphan Black

An ode to black

A floral Chloe

Oops. Didn’t mean to disappear for that long! Life huh…

I have been a busy sewing bee though – just didn’t have any good weather to take photos in (boooooo to fast approaching winter and getting home in the dark). BUT a long weekend and lovely autumn sunshine mean the backlog has been photographed and is blog ready.

Floral Chloe – Apr 2014

Let’s start with the lovely Chloe dress by Victory Patterns. I have no idea why this took me to sew up (it has been out for a long while now surely?) – I had got as far as sticking together and cutting out the pdf pattern but then obviously I got distracted. I know I swore off linen after my pink skirt but this was too pretty to pass up – an impulse counter buy at The Fabric Store’s 50% sale earlier this year. I was intending to do a pencil skirt with it so only got a metre, but there was just enough to squeak out this dress (if I had had more fabric I wouldn’t have had the annoying repeat issue on the back panels that you will see in the photos below).

Floral Chloe – Apr 2014

I love these painterly flowery prints that aren’t quite your traditional style – they seem like a less ‘girly’ way to wear floral. I paired it with a mid-grey linen for the pocket and bindings, and lined the whole thing with some beige cotton/viscose I got when I was feeling responsible (buying linings is SO BORING yes?). The dress has a nice 60s vibe going and is quite forgiving of say, overly large meals and a lack of exercise. Also: pocketses. Pocketses are the best.

I made a straight size 6 and it fit pretty well – the only things I changed were to take a small dark on the back neckline and a extra tiny dart at the bust to tighten things up. As other people have noted (which I realised afterward) the armholes on this dress are drafted too large so you get a bit of bra showing at the sides. Next time I will fix that up before I cut out – the way the princess seam at the back is drafted means you can’t retrofit a fix for it without your seam showing. The other thing I would change is to somehow make the pockets one big kangaroo pocket instead of being separate – they have a tendency to flap about and sit funny and I think it would be neater to have the whole thing joined up (I tacked mine together at the centre as a quick fix). Other than that – this dress is super cute and really quite easy, especially if you machine stitch the binding (instead of painstakingly by hand like this idiot).

Floral Chloe – Apr 2014

Outfit details:

  • Dress: Victory Pattern’s Chloe in size 6 (very small mods)
  • Fabric: 1m of floral linen from The Fabric Store, 1m of cotton/viscose from The Fabric Storefran, grey linen scraps from deep dark stash
  • Glasses by Frankie Dean
  • Frye Veronica Boots from Amazon (the best thing about cooler weather is I get to stomp around in these again, they are THE BEST)
  • Deck: has needed a damn good clean for 2 years now. Living amongst the gum trees has some disadvantages
A floral Chloe