Holding Back Summer Part 2; Taking Nani Iro to Romania

Sunday, 24 August 2014

It was late at night, I'd been sewing and unpicking for hours, in a desperate bid to finish a complex dress for me.
It was going badly...
So what did I do, in my fit of temper?
Start a completely new project.
I'm not kidding that I started this little blouse at 11pm, and finished it by midnight. It was one of those evenings when I just HAD to sew something, anything, just so long as it turned out right.

nani iro blouse herringbone double guaze

And this little blouse was also part of my frantic 'Hold back Summer' sewing. I knew that if I didn't get a few things finished for Missy's summer holiday wardrobe I would miss my chance. And I was right. Since we returned from Romania, the weather has shifted. An autumn chill is in the air. Pretty summer tops and dresses are set to languish for another year. 

Which also means I have zero chance of persuading Missy to pose for photos in this blouse. But in the spirit of hasty sewing, it seems appropriate to make-do with these snaps from our Romanian adventure. (Oh and a few others have sneaked in... forgive me)

We spent a glorious Sunday morning riding the bumpy tracks around the village on this horse and cart. Everywhere people were making their way to church, smiling hello, and dressed in their smart white blouses, billowing skirts, headscarves. 

The cart driver wore his traditional hat typical of the Maramures region. He adored having Missy sitting next to him, she chatted and giggled at every bump of the cart. The fields were full of wildflowers, Missy and Torin were happy, it felt heavenly.

 It was such an inspiring place to be. 
Here are Missy and Torin watching Romanian cartoons, sitting on the sofa in the cart driver's farmhouse. Check out those textiles! A feast for the eyes!

And these! 

But I digress...back to the sewing...This little blouse is made in Nani Iro Herringbone double gauze, bought from Miss Matatabi. It's made from leftover scraps and I barely had enough, so the back is pieced together. 

I think the effect kind of works with the sea-washed texture of this gorgeous fabric. I completely 'winged' this self-drawn pattern. The bodice front and back is sheered, and there's  a little elastic over the shoulders too. There's no hem (apart from on the sleeves), just a selvege.

nani iro double gauze herringbone blouse

It's rather cute, the fabric is fabulous, and for one hour's effort I'm pleased. But it's been worn once, and I expect it will be outgrown by the time the warm weather returns. But this little blouse meant I could go to bed that night and sleep easy. And for that it was worth it....

Holding back summer, part 1 (Plus a Romanian meeting!)

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Please can summer last a bit longer? I've been sewing frantically with a crazy feeling that time is running out. 

In September Missy starts school, and like most UK children will wear school uniform. So that means fewer dresses. And the British summer is unpredictable, autumn is just round the corner.
Plus we've just returned from an incredible holiday to Romania, where temperatures hit 32 degrees.

So that all added up to some crazy last minute summer sewing. I've sewn a few complicated things recently (watch this space for details!) and needed an 'easy sewing fix'.

This dress might have taken barely an hour to sew from start to finish, but it has been months in the planning. Perhaps even 40 years. 

This is my twin sister wearing the same dress in the mid 70s. That's me in the crown. I'm wearing the same dress, hidden by the net curtain that is my princess cape. No pre-made dressing up clothes when we were young!

Recreating this dress for Missy was my back-up plan when I took part in Suz at Sewpony's series, When We Were Young. Instead I got swept along on a far more crazy ambitious project, (see here!)but this idea remained in my head.

So late at night, just before we headed off on holiday I whipped this up. It's the simplest construction, just a rectangle with sheering at the top and an added frill. My mum tells me she added the frill a year later, to lengthen the dresses and make them last another year. Her sewing was always about thrift!

And this dress was a hit! Perfect for the remaining hot days of the English summer, and then for taking on our incredible holiday to Romania. 

And while the gingham might not be that stylish (I worry that it's a little 'kitchen table cloth') this dress looks great on Missy with her golden tan and wild summer hair.

And look! Missy was wearing it when we met two other little stars of the blogging world, twins Lisa and Nore of Compagnie M!

For our adventure to a stunning corner of Romania, I turned to Marte of Compagnie M for some guidance and inspiration. And amazingly we were in the same place at the same time. Missy wore her new gingham dress, Lisa and Nore were in Louisa dresses as enjoyed spaghetti bolognese before running off to play.

It was so lovely to meet Marte and her twin girls  in such a far-flung location. I am eternally grateful to the warm welcome she gave us at the start of our amazing family adventure!

PS - My dress was thrown together, but Marte has created a much more polished version of this classic sundress with her Lucy pattern. See here!


Take One Dress #8, Nearest the Pin

Friday, 1 August 2014

Have you stumbled on Renee's blog Nearest the Pin? I first discovered Renee's  impeccable sewing when she created some of the most imaginative outfits for the Secret Squirrel adventure. See here, and here! She sews so creatively, for herself and her daughter and son. It's particularly great to see imaginative boy sewing - and if I'm totally honest I love Renee's adorable boy almost as much as her sewing. Isn't he gorgeous! And now she's here for the Take One Dress challenge! Over to you Renee...

Thanks so much Victoria for the invitation to participate in this fun series! Did you see the amazing dress that Sophie chose for me? WOWee!! If you didn't, here it is. 
I love this dress! The first feature I wanted to incorporate into my creation was the squarish shape of the bodice - it reminds me a bit of a sailor's collar, but I like it's subtlety. So, what did I create? Take One Dress 4 Take One Dress 6 Take One Dress 8 The tunic is a cropped version of Dress b from the lovely Japanese sewing pattern book 'Happy Homemade Vol.2'. I chose a black cotton which has some nice detail close up (see below). I realise that black is not a traditional colour for little girls, so I also wanted to use the watercolour feel that my inspiration dress has. Take One Dress 9Take One Dress 7 The skirt, as you may have spotted, is Nani Iro double gauze, which may be the most beautiful fabric in the world ;) There is no pattern for this, just a simple little skirt. Fabric this amazing does not need a fussy pattern - the simpler the better, to let the fabric shine. Take One Dress 5 This challenge was just so fun! Little Miss A sat on my knee while we sewed up her skirt. My sewing machine has a 'start/stop' button instead of a foot pedal, so she took great delight in starting and stoping the machine. This was our first collaborative sewing project - I'm looking forward to more! The next fun part of the challenge is to choose a dress for the next Take One Dress participant - none other than the super talented Tasha from Glitter + Wit. Here is Tasha's inspiration dress: 6a4631528c0d9ea7bba4a7d320457443
Thank you so much for having me Victoria!

Ah Renee, so cute! I love that you have made something practical, and that your daughter has been involved with. I'm going to have to start doing that more, my little girl keeps rejecting my creations! Can't wait to see what Tasha creates in September!
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