Friday, 21 September 2012

spots & stripes

"Spots & Stripes" - Tessuti 2012 Competition entry
I was delighted to read that Tessuti Fabrics' 2012 sewing competition was open to worldwide participants! I'd been aching to be part of a Project Runway-type challenge, and year's Tessuti theme "spots and stripes" was a real brain cruncher because of the endless possibilities (spots or stripes or both?)...
 The brief was for a dress "suitable for a day event e.g. an outdoor wedding or day at the races." In the end I decided on a floaty silk georgette dress with matching black satin waistband and hem bands on the main fabric and lining - a nod to "stripes".

 As I mention in my entry, I'm a little embarassed by the grainy photos and by my whingy sounding comment about running out of time...  I was bug eyed and loopy after sewing like a mad woman that day-- and then -- the "I didn't study for the exam" type panic that evening when I realised the deadline was about 12 hours sooner than I thought (another shout out to my mom for the last minute midnight photo shoot!)  Regardless of the result , it was great take part in this fun competition in the other side of the world (isn't The Interweb grand?!)

 Some close up details...
My favourite suprise about the dress is the springy-ness that the satin band gives the skirt, sewn to the bottom of the georgette, and the sense of motion when the dress moves thanks to two black bands moving against eachother. 

If I make this dress again, I might add a little more gathering to the top, or maybe a second layer of georgette. 
If you haven't already been to the website, there is an enormous amount of talent in this competition and it's so much fun to see how different people interpreted the theme.  See for yourself, here.
I'd love to know if there are more competitions like this out there, maybe you know of some? Have a great week-end, everyone!

Thursday, 13 September 2012

the endless summer

I realise I will win few friends by saying this, but if I were a politician I might just outlaw ‘season pushing’, in all its forms.  In late summer, Season Pushing means anything from reading the Sears Christmas Wishbook, which arrives with a thud on the doorstep in early September in Canada (why?) to announcing that ‘summer is over’ at the first hint of a cooler breeze, or, more to the point, wearing wool tights before the leaves are (properly) yellow.  Or, wearing the new fall coat while the temperature is still in the teens °C.  If you fall into this camp, I really hope you won’t take this personally!  I understand that the lure of those sleek tailored fall fashions is almost impossible to resist! The thing is, in many parts of Canada, once you accept autumn into your life there’s no turning back – where I grew up that can mean a freak snowstorm as late as April.  The fleeting summer always gives way to the long slog of endless winter.

So, while the northern hemisphere has shifted focus to the excitement of fall, here I am hanging on to the last bit of summer with my latest cotton dress.  The reason:  2012 has been my ‘endless summer’. After getting married this spring my now-husband gave me a terrific wedding gift – his blessing and support for me to break free from a grinding career and spend a few months at home in Canada, while he signed up for an endless number of frozen dinners-for-one and keeps the wheels turning for us in London, as long as needed.  This break gave me the chance to spend time with my family, get healthy, refocus, recuperate and, happily, spend more time drafting patterns and sewing.  Best of all, accompanied by all those simple and lovely summer things: vegetables from the garden, long sunny days, picking berries, lemony gin & tonics…

Now I’m getting ready for a return to London and the excitement of starting our life together for real.  While I’m still fighting against welcoming the autumn fashion into my life for just a little longer, there’s no pretending I’m not a tiny bit excited for the promise of wool sweaters, tailored coats, hot tea, the crunch of leaves underfoot in Hyde Park, frothy stout drunk fireside in cozy pubs, bustling street markets, blustery winter beaches, knee-high leather boots, the clicking of high heels on cobblestone, early nightfall, soup bubbling on the stove and candle light in our tiny flat….

But a big part of me always yearns for the freedom of summer style: simple cotton dress, barefoot, messy hair, no make-up, no schedule, no rules.  While there will come a crisp day in October when I will have to succumb to those restricting black tights (and on that day I will excitedly relish their perfect fit with a black and white wool hounds tooth skirt and patent heels) I plan to keep my summer attitude with me at least, long after September 21st.

Thanks for indulging me.  Anyway, about the dress – it’s slightly wrinkled based roughly on Burda 07/2011.  I moved the front vent to the back and crocheted button loops (thanks for teaching me, Mom!) for the closure.   The dress is one piece of a navy blue border print.  I found the flower brooch in my mom's button tin.

Hooray for summer.