Little Agathe’s little dress started out like this.
Eleven months old, she was getting christened in July and her parents wanted a dress that was simple.
Not a hint of lace, no ruffles, no froof and certainly no bonnet.
So, a small white silk dress with silver silk satin sash was envisioned with a matching white silk nappy cover.
And after lots of fiddly sewing, it was ready.
French seams, silk covered button, fully lined in white silk.
You may be thinking that the back hemline is not straight. You are correct: there was a little extra fabric to cover her nappy.
Sorry the photography isn’t great on this, will do better next time!
Options, options: it can be hard to choose, but it is nice to have them.
A soft purple washed silk sash added to a flowery cotton dress. Long enough for a big bow. Washed silk, so it can be popped in the machine on a gentle cool cycle if sticky fingers leave dotty little prints on it.
The high necked cotton voile dress with giant purple flowers. A big semi-circle skirt falls elegantly below knees scraped while playing with her friends yesterday.
A thin self-fabric sash ties the bodice smoothly against her delicate chest.
100% cotton, fully lined with invisible zip at centre back.
I’ve been busy dreaming. Thinking and dreaming, drawing my ideas, drawing patterns, redrawing patterns, figuring out how best to store the patterns and dreaming. None of this makes for very exciting photos.
What is exciting though, is that I have a second cabinet for my fabric waiting downstairs for some burly men to come along and haul it up five flights of stairs. Not an exciting photo right now, but once my fabric is neatly stored, my studio will look tidy enough for a photo!
And, and, and..I have finally got my dressmakers dummy. Finally. Sort of. It is currently in a box under a bed at my friends’ home in Holland. Just hoping that it fits in my suitcase next week. She’s already got a name: Paspop. It’s Dutch for dressmaker’s dummy/tailor’s dummy/dress form and is a word I had a great deal of trouble in finding out to help my Google searches in Dutch.
Off to dream..ciao for now. x
Of course, with so many people and animals to protect..
..we need different guises.
And you know what? Can you keep a secret? Yes? Come closer.
Sometimes we just like to dress up and play with our friends!
It takes a lot to be a superhero in Egypt.
Not only are there over 80 million people to protect, there are the donkeys, the stray cats, dogs..
..and let us not forget those stubborn camels.
We Baladi Superheroes love colours and it is our colours that nourish our powers giving us the energy to dazzle the baddies. No black masks for us. We dazzle, fazazzle and fazoozle the world, bazapping, bazipping and bazooping the baddies.
Monsoon blues and pretty purples for warm summer days..
..with a v-shaped back to slip over independent heads, letting Mummy steal a few extra winks.
An empire-waisted bodice with an a-line skirt let little legs run free in the garden and over three metres of ruffle flutter softly as she moves.
The exposed seams are clean finished or bound with hand made bias binding to match the dress.
The dress is 100% fine cotton with a soft 100% cotton lining.
I’ve been having a few technological issues recently which have resulted in, horror of horrors, not being able to upload photos! It happened to coincide with the day I took lots of photos to share here, which I guess could be expected! Tonight I’m getting my new MacBook Pro delivered, which should not only solve this problem, but should mean I spend this weekend being extremely anti-social while I play with my new toy.
I’ll be back soon with a wee selection of photos from two recently made dresses.
Back of dress with deep v-neck to slip over head
..and as beautiful on the inside as it is on the out.
Inside back neckline.
Pattern by Burda.
I was sewing. Then I stopped. I decided to get into action (of another sort) and organise a shop. It’s nearly there, so I should be able to share it with you in a couple of weeks.
So for now, I leave you with this small Christmas skirt. It’s made of snuggly medium-weight velvet with a slight stretch, perfect for keeping little legs warm while playing in the snow. Best of all? It’s my own pattern.
It’s been busy here recently, apart from buying the fabric-I-wasn’t-going-to-buy, I’ve been sewing lots and pics will follow soon, promise. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a link to a blog with a phrase that enters my mind frequently, Stop Staring and Start Sewing (because I love fabric and hate taking that first snip, so stare for days on end). She’s just been to the Quilt Market in Houston and has uploaded TONS of pics that leave me, well, staring and doing rather little sewing.
Of course, were I super, dooper organised I would order some of the fabrics on show (Anna Maria Horner especially) to Europe in time for holidays in the old world, but I’m not that organised. Shipping to Egypt is far, far too expensive to even bother ordering anything from here, never mind customs duties payable on arrival. I’m sticking with shopping in the Egyptian fabric market and drooling all over my keyboard!
..and came back with t-w-e-n-t-y s-i-x m-e-t-r-e-s
(yes, that’s 28 yards)
of fabric she wasn’t looking for. Hmm.
Fabric gluttony? Or perhaps just someone whom experience has taught that if it’s in the market now, it won’t be when she’s looking for it?
Either way, aren’t they beautiful?
I started making this as a quick project. Just a few hours. Then I realised I’d made the fundamental mistake of not having enough fabric for the original pattern.
Determined not to give up, having cut and sewn the bodice, I modified the pattern and added a ruffle.
It’s my first..and I have a feeling it won’t be my last!
I recently had the opportunity to help transform a room for a party.
A large ghastly red door needed to be prettified, so a large piece of grey cotton neutralised the offending colour.
Party-goers helped make the handmade cotton flowers and attach them to thick satin ribbon.
This is a reconstruction..everything was carefully ironed at the time!
The stack of fabric from the last post became this: Elodie’s dress.
Pure silk shantung, with a pure silk chiffon sash (a nightmare to sew..) and a silk mix lining. This dress took a fair amount of time to make, but relieved in stress what it swallowed in hours!
(If you are observant, you will see the black stitches along the hem. These photos were taken before Elodie had her fitting.)
Last year I tried hard to design a template for an elephant – my first ever stuffed animal (plushy). It was all fine, but the belly just wouldn’t work. Eventually I gave up and looked for a pattern instead. Lo and behold, I couldn’t find one!
Then, in a whim of madness (because my French is bad) I bought French Burda magazine this month. And what do you know, they had a template for a sitting down elephant! It took some time, dictionaries and cursing, but Elephant is here.
Mr MacTavish is not so sure if Elephant is competition or not. He thought he’d test him out – by hitting Elephant’s trunk.
That was after he’d given it a good old sniff.
I used to love macaroons when I was a child. They came in a papery-plastic wrapper and for some reason, even in Scotland, they were not always easy to find.
I still remember Mrs. Sinclair, my teacher when I was seven, who made macaroons with us at school. Why we did that, I have no idea, but because of that day she has a place in my personal hall of fame.
After that, I spent the rest of my childhood (umm and some of my adulthood..) insisting that they are made with potato. They really are. Don’t laugh, I now have the proof. Test it and see:
One small potato
APPROX 500g/20z icing/confectionary/powered sugar – have more just in case (this is not an exact science!)
Chocolate for melting and dipping the macaroons in.
Two big handfuls of dessicated coconut in a bowl (toasted if you wish – more authentic)
Boil the potato so it can be mashed. While it is boiling, sift the sugar into a dry bowl. When the potato is soft, mash it with a fork and then gradually add sugar while beating the mixture with an electric mixer. You know it’s ready when the mixture is very stiff. Make shapes out of the mixture, bars, balls or whatever takes your fancy and pop them in the fridge.
Melt some chocolate in a bain-mairie or a thick bottomed pan over a very low heat (you can turn the v. low heat on and off to lower the average temperature). Roll the chilled shapes in the moulten chocolate and then in a bowl of coconut and place on a sheet of aluminium foil. Pop in fridge when the shape is hard enough to move without damaging it.
Try not to eat before the chocolate completely hardens!
If the bars end up too big after the chocolate and coconut, break them up into ‘bites’ – they last longer that way.
A number of people have asked me what I am doing with the tutus that I make. Until now, I’ve been primarily giving them away as presents. I have built up rather a stock and my enthusiasm for making them has yet to diminsh, so you too can now have a tutu.
***As of 1 June 2010 I will be taking a holiday from tutu making until October.***
This tutu is a new style and even fuller than the previous ones.
I can’t stop making them now, think I’ve become addicted!
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