Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The Simplex aka The Bad Girl Trying to be Good Dress

Hey Dolls,

Hope everyone is well and happy as we hit the halfway mark for the year eek!  Where have the months gone?

I can't believe I'm only 5 days away from 33 and potentially a third of the way through my time on this dirty old disc.  I'm not worried about this birthday though because apparently it's the age where it can all happen as it certainly did for my hero Mr Cocker.  After years of trying he exploded on to our pop landscape with Common People.  This fact along with making of the new dress, which  I will talk about v shortly and my finish time for the 10K has taken the sting out of the tale of not getting a job I did want and was waiting to hear on.  I'd be lying if I said when I got the rejection letter I wasn't sad just because it would have made life a little simpler but hey ho.  I gave myself a morning of the blues accompanied by Miles Davies and then I thought hell woman if you're gonna get a no make sure you're wearing a vintage one of a kind frock when you say whatevs ;)  So get to work in my own way I did!

Nearly 4 years older than the last time I ran a 10K race but 10 mins faster. Did it in 57 mins boom!

So now I've filled you in on the state of play in the House of Demeanour onto the important stuff i.e. my new fave frock of all time evs :) I'll take you back to about to about a year or so ago when I was gifted a large wad of various fabrics.  I've slowly been working my way through them and in amongst it was about 3 and a bit metres of v gorgeous floral vintage cotton that I guesstimate is somewhat older than me.  When I clapped eyes on it I decided it was destined for great things and didn't want to waste it on any old creation so it sat in the cupboard until 2 weeks ago. Then I had one of my eureka moments whilst listening to Dolly Parton.  Another item that had been wasting away behind my fancy dress box was Simplicity 2444 that Zoe had gifted me for my birthday last year. In my mind's eye the two items created magic.

Good girls wear a nice frock to see Elvis Costello at the Royal Albert Hall. Bad girls drink cans of cider in said frock on the train up there ;-)

On a side tale before getting into the main story but still of note is the fact that during my short spell away from the blogosphere I took a course with Mandy Bengeyfield at Fit2Sew.  I literally cannot recommend it enough.  It's basically the basics course of Fit for Real People.  Mandy went over to do the teacher training in America and now teaches just outside Croydon.  There are only two teachers in the UK, which is herself and Celia Banks in Manchester.  On the beginners course you fit a fitting shell to you and learn all of the major changes you would make to a pattern before having to do any fine tuning.  My days it was a revelation for me as a woman with ample frontage.  I learnt that I should go for a 36" bust on a pattern because the back and across my chest fits beautifully and then do an FBA to make room for the girls.  

The shape of Miss D in pattern form

Also due to years of typing and leaning over my shoulder tilts forward so adding 1cm to the back piece and and taking it from the front of pattern at the shoulder is a standard change for me now.  I learnt to tissue fit and the full ins and out of a successful FBA including how to do it on a princess seam.  In those 4 hours it finally dawned on me why I'd had such a missers time with princess seamed items, which according to popular opinion make the most of a curvy front.  It was because I'd only been adding the extra width to either the side or the middle as opposed to both, which retains the style line cue face palm moment.  Anywho the proof is in the the pudding and my days I feel like the biggest tastiest raspberry pavlova in the world in my new fab fitting frock :)  Pardon my uncouthness but if you are plagued by shit fit then  I cannot recommend this course enough.  Plus Mandy is friends with the Thrifty Stitcher who consulted on the Great British Sewing Bee and was terrific company and we had much delight in discussing the merits of all the outfits plus the handsome hound that is Patrick Grant.

This is my doctored Simplicity 2444 bodice.  Any beginners reading this take heart a big old mess on paper looks fabulous on the form, which I think is as true of life in general as it is of sewing.  Never be afraid to F around is the biggest recommendation I can give to anyone starting out.

On measuring the material I worked out that there wasn't going to be enough for the full skirt pattern that comes with 2444 but I still wanted a va va voom kinda skirt.  I wasn't to be thwarted and out of the corner of my eye I spied the Elisalex pattern and the Simplex was born!  As I started making changes to both the bodice and the skirt I realised there was going to be a lot of tooting and fruiting but that was gonna make for a fabulous number so more than worth it :)  Once I'd decided that I then thought hell let's line this baby and do your first ever lapped zipper and if you're gonna do that then put the blinking collar on it too.  I must give thanks to both Vicki Kate Makes and Scruffy Badger for their invaluable tutorials on lapped zippers and sewing lining to said zipper.

So without further ado here's what can be created when something in life that makes you feel sad also fire you up to look bad!  

The Simplex built to rock the show

A good bad girl dress kisses the curves like the pattern gods intended ;-)

When you've been out all night it's good to know you can look respectable rocking a hat with it

A good girl wears an apron to do her cooking. A bad girl trying to be good does it in a new frock with big hair!

Finally this dress has the F factor, which is that it both makes me feel foxy and fierce.  Whipping up a storm in its wake like all bad girls should.

So there we have the bad girl trying to be good dress and I just need to say a massive thank you to the ever ace Aymi D for taking epic pics and working her creative magic on little old me.

I leave you with a quote from one of my favourite bad girls of all time Mae West.

"There are no good girls gone wrong - just bad girls found out"

Don't let the man get you down,

Miss D


Thursday, 6 June 2013

And the award goes to....

Happy Thursday y'all,

I thought the awards I would be most pleased about over the previous weeks were the well deserved Baftas for both the lovely Olivia Coleman and the man I hope to one day hit the town with Alan Carr and my free Nando's meal but my very own wafflings have won me a Liebster award from my darling diva, Sew Dixie Lou.  I'm chuffed to bits in all honesty and I will hopefully share a celebratory cocktail with this fine woman in the not too distant future.

The Liebster award is a lovely idea to get bloggers with less than 200 followers out to a wider audience and involves the nominee answering 11 questions from the nominator as well as providing 11 random facts about themselves.  The nominee then passes the love on to 11 other bloggers.  What a beautiful circle of joy hey?  So without further a do here's what I've got to say.

1) If could sew an outfit for someone famous who would it be?

This is such a doosie but as  music is a huge inspiration for all that I sew and having already crocheted him a tie it would have to be the man whose music saved me from ordinary, Jarvis Cocker.  Having met the man himself several years ago and finding him to be as lovely and as tall as I had hoped I would knock him up a tailored three piece suit.

2) If your sewing machine could talk, what's the first thing you would ask it? 

If I'm going to drink whilst sewing what cocktail would you recommend?

3) Where is your most favourite place in the world?

It has to be my adopted home town of Brighton.  I'm a big believer in the idiom it's not where you're from it's where you're going and this town has always been pivotal to my life.  It's a place I came to as a teenager and hoped I one day live, where I came to learn how to make radio, where I returned when the chips were down and my shelter from the storm when I went through my big heartbreak.  I can't pin down exactly why this little city by the sea is so great but I think it has a lot to do with its acceptance of all that is different without question or hesitation.

4) What's that one song that can make you feel better about a bad day?

I would have to say Frank Turner If Ever I Stray.  I'd heard this song at the back end of 2011 after a friend of mine said if he had the choice he'd have Frank played at his funeral.  I thought that was a big old compliment so I checked him out and I was not disappointed.  That song in particular is about the paths we take and the wobbles along the way and totally chimed with where I was in life at that time.  Then I was randomnly on my way back to Brighton via London at the end of particularly ass week in November 2011 and there was some dudes on train chatting about going to see him at Hammersmith so I took a chance and detoured there to see if I could get a ticket, which I did.  I was awed apart from the Pulp reformation gigs that year, which fixed my heart he was the most amazing thing to see live in a long time.  I have since become an ardent fan.  I can't recommend attending one of his gigs at least once because he gives his all and the audience come together in this mad communion.  I always leave feeling better about life.
5) How would your friends/loved ones describe you in five words?

They would say mad, loud, bright, big hearted and positive.

6) If you could go back to college what would you study?

I think acting because being a Gemini and the eldest of four children from a loud family I've always been on some sort of stage.  I do even wonder now about having a go at it.  I couldn't do serious but I'd love to do comedy though I've been told that can be a harder thing to get right than Shakespeare.

7) The one thing you can't live without?

Ooh such a good question and with so many possible answers but I have to say music.  The songs that have soundtracked my life have helped me laugh, love, cry, create and style it out.

8) It's date night and 1985, who do you pick to go out with and why? Andrew McCarthy, Emilio Estevez or Judd Nelson?

Andrew McCarthy too polished, Emilio Estevez too short so it has to be the dark haired and big hearted rebel that is Judd Nelson.  In the Breakfast Club he had swagger but soul, which in my mind makes a hell' a a good man plus pretty much all women love a bad boy ;-) 

9) Who is your style icon?

Hot damn Sew Dixie has gone for the brain twizzlers hasn't she.  I've got a tonne I could name from Grace Jones, to Prince, to Cyndi Lauper, to Marilyn but if pressed hard I'm going to have to say Vivienne Westwood.  This is because I absolutely love her shere disregard for the appropriate and the fact that she cuts clothes for women that have lumps and bumps and she's rides her bike in a ballgown sometimes.  She actually makes me not worry about ageing because she's still fabulous and  relevant in her seventh decade.  Yay for not giving a fig!

10) You just got detention? What's the thing you most likely did to get in trouble?

I can give you a factual answer to this one and that is rebelling against the man.  An example of this would be when I decided to tell my foul headmistress at convent school who thought her sole responsibility was to break girls' spirits until they conformed that she was a fascist (I knew she was because I had received a good education) and then proceeded to jump off the school roof into the swimming pool in my underwear with pretty much all of the lower sixth.  My behaviour directly led to me not being allowed to attend 6th form at said school and meant I had to go to my local college a situation I'm still so very happy about :)

11) You're playing spin the bottle. Who DON'T you want it to land on? 

Cliff Richard (I can't bring myself to call him Sir) he makes my skin crawl and I dislike him as much as celery.  I'm of the ardent belief if we find ourself in a nuclear winter it will just be him and pigeons that survive.  He'll be standing on top of the burning pyre singing Saviour's Day gah!
I hope that satisfactiorily answers those burning questions and now onto 11 random facts about me.
  1. I was born with 2 and half sets of teeth so I teethed like one and half times in my life.
  2. Fried eggs make me incredibly uncomfortable I couldn't even serve them to Ryan Gosling in bed.
  3. Recently Russell Brand stood on my foot and I was surprised by how big he actually is.
  4. I can fall asleep anywhere including up against a poster of Elvis on the wall of a very loud gay club in Valencia.
  5. Since the age of 15 I've had approximately 30 different hairstyles.
  6. To date including my birth name I've been called by 32 different names by people so one for every year of my life.
  7. I made a large woollen bobble hat aka a Hoxton bonnet or Mark Radcliffe at BBC6 music.
  8. I once spoke to Bobby Davro on the phone when I was temp at an accountancy firm.
  9. When I at a Paloma Faith gig I had a fruit hat on my head to, which Gok Wan shouted, "love your hat" I'm still beyond proud about this.
  10. For years I thought awry was pronounced or-rie.  Even after learning the correct pronounciation I still say it my way sometimes.
  11. If my parents hadn't started listening to Fleetwood Mac I would have been called June.  I will always be grateful to Stevie Nicks

Now my turn to play Magnus Magnusson.  Here's my 11 humdingers.

  1. Who would you get to play you in the story of your life?
  2. Career wise what would your plan B be
  3. Say you found yourself in a Quantum Leap type role, which enabled to jump to any event in history what would you choose?
  4. If you were coming on stage what would you choose as your walk on tune?
  5. In Grease what character would you most like to play?
  6. What skill would you most like to have?
  7. If you could make any outfit from a movie what would you choose?
  8. Do you have a recipe for something that never disappoints if so can I have it?
  9. Can you recommend a good book you've read?
  10. What's guaranteed to make you laugh?
  11. If you could choose another name what would you go for?
Finally,  here's my 11 bloggers who I feel are deserving of this little award

Catherine makes amazing 60s inspired clothes she's a real swinging gal.
Lovely sisters Jen and Elena make gorgeous clothes and crafts.
What this gal can't knit is not worth knowing about.
My friend Steph has deffo got a hell'a more than 200 followers but that's cause she comes up with such great stuff
This little lady also way tops 200 but again such a goodie I needed to include. Plus she's recently taken up running and done 10k woot!

There is so much to love on this blog including the Moonrise Kingdom photoshoot she did with her husband to be

Sarah makes lovely clothes and has a great fringe.

At this blog you will find nice pics, lovely sewing, cats, crochet and other lovely things.  Me and this lady struck up conversation over Helen Daniels and the Neighbours Game.

I bonded with this lady on twitter over a love of vintage fashion and fabulous but underused phrases like bobby dazzler.

Lovely Jo who sewed my favourite Mad Men incarnation and helped me with my gussets.

This lady has done a button take on Tilly's Miette along with tonnes of great sewing v worth a peruse.
Phew dolls I'm all typed out but thank you again to darling Sew Dixie Lou and for all the other fab bloggers who fill my reading time with such good stuff.
Miss D