The Knickers of Bath

My weapon of mass destruction

This is quite a picture heavy post. Sorry people.

This past Saturday saw the fulfilment of one of my childhood dreams. Childhood here referring to my teenage years. The dream in question, was visiting Bath. Yes, Bath. The World heritage city that is Bath. Bath, the home of Alyson, the Wife of Bath. For those of you not familiar with the Wife of Bath, or The Wyves Tale of Bathe( Middle English), it is one of the poems of Geoffrey Chaucer. It was also part of my English Literature syllabus when taking my A’Levels. I have been in the UK for 7 years now and I have visited a host of cities but for some reason which completely escapes me, Bath was never one of them.

The Wife of Bath’s Tale addresses a couple of themes, such as the economics of love, behaviour in marriage, female dominance, sex and anti-feminism. What do all of these have in common? Knickers people. Knickers. It is not for nothing that those little things command vast sums of money. Can anyone think of a more fitting weapon in the female arsenal than knickers.  How fitting then, that my first trip to Bath involved knickers.

Winnie of Scruffy Badger Time, was hosting a couple of us for the day and boy was I excited to be going away. If only just to escape the boring routine of nappy changing and singing foolish songs in an even more foolish way to a 5month old baby who, lets face it, does not even know what you are going on about and I suspect would rather you shut up.

What  lovely day I had. It was not without incident mind you. I had made a dress to wear for the day, but my tummy was looking rather gross in it. So out came the Spanx. It needed a wash though, and I did just that the night before, and put it in the spare room with the dehumidifier on, so it could dry overnight. Mr.Dibs, it seems, was born for the sole purpose of spoiling my day, because he turned off the dehumidifier without my knowledge. Yes, you guessed right. Come dawn, my Spanx was still as wet as when I hung it to dry. So a quick outfit change was needed. Jeans, and wedges. A decision which sadly, almost ruined my day. The girls mercifully gave me time to dash into a charity shop and buy a rather lovely air of brown leather shoes. Thanks Girls!!

The day started with us having breakfast in a pub near the station. We all had an early start, and many of us had to eat.

After eating, it was time to explore the city. There was a Jane Austen event taking place so it was quite interesting to see people decked up to the nines in fashions from the past.

After lunch, we moved on to the highlight of the day. The Knicker making workshop at the Makery.

The day was made even more special for me because I finally met Kerry, who was one of the first people to follow my blog, and whose blog I love reading. When I saw her, I actually squealed, and jumped up to meet her. A reaction that sounds crazy I know, but what do you do when you meet someone you’ve been wanting to meet for a long time?. Sadly, Roobeedoo, could not make it. Now that is one woman I would gladly shave my mother’s hair if it meant meeting her. I am beginning to suspect I will have to actually go to her part of Scotland to meet her. If you are reading this Roo, I WANT TO MEET YOU. Got that? To the rest of you, I am not mental. I promise you.

FO: Mccalls 6069

I need to find the person who invented knit fabric, and say a big Thank You. Is there anyone out there who does not like to sew with knit? They are so forgiving. You hardly ever have the fit issues you have with woven. Right now, I can’t be bothered to fight with woven fabric and patterns, to adjust whatever I am sewing to fit me. So I find myself using knit more and more. Just as well we are going into autumn, and knits are going to rule my wardrobe from now till spring. Yay!

After the red guy laroche dress I made, I decided to do something quicker, in which I could finish within a day. So I picked McCalls 6069 and made view A. It is sadly now out of print, but I am sure it can be found around on ebay and etsy.

It is an easy make. Really easy. The pattern claims it is a 1hour dress. I beg to differ. It will probably be a 1 hour dress if you have already cut out the pattern, and fabric, and all you have to do is sew. The instructions were ok, but I found attaching the strap at the neck quite fiddly. It is probably just me being dense because I have not seen anyone else complain about it, and trust me, there are ALOT of reviews on this pattern out there.

I used a knit fabric I bought from the man in front of Sainsburys at Walthamslow market for £2/metre. I bought 2 metres, but I have a teensy weeny bit left. That is because I cut out the sleeves as well, but after attaching 1 sleeve, I tried it on, and thought I looked like a tool. So I took it off, and decided not to use sleeves. Do be aware that this dress is short. Very Short. I added 5cm to the hem, and did a really tiny hem, but it still ended just above my knees. Next time I will add more length at hem.

It was a very uneventful make, and I love the dress. I can see myself making this again in the not too distant future, as it is a really comfortable dress to wear and it is so easy to make as well. So a definite remake.

In other news, I spent Saturday with a couple of girls in Bath, learning the science of elastic stretching. More on that in the next post. I actually made this dress to wear to Bath but due to a little technicality, I was unable to, which led to a change in outfit, which in turn resulted in serious enjoyment threatening episodes in Bath. More on that in the next post.

Have a nice week everyone.

I’m sorry madam, not with the baby….

That is what I was told as I manoeuvred Noah’s buggy into a pub with such skill even Lewis Hamilton and his wannabe formula 1 drivers would envy.

I was meeting up with House of Pinheiro, Pincushion Treats and Stitch and Witter to celebrate the end of House of Pinheiro’s MBA course, and I could not wait to sit down. My weary legs, unfortunately, were not going to get the rest they so craved. Apparently, our rendezvous point had a no children’s policy, as they only served alcohol, Drat!!

The waiter smiled apologetically as he told me I would have to manoeuvre myself back out whence I came. He had this look on his face that said ” I have to act like I am really sorry but I am actually really happy to be turning this irresponsible woman out on the streets. What did she think we serve here? Breast milk on the Rocks? Begone from my sight you irresponsible little fool.” I kid you not. I almost heard the words, and no, I had not been drinking alcohol. I did feel sorry for him and his establishment though, because unbeknown to him, I just won a million pounds, and I was itching to start the spending spree.

Calm down people. I did win some money, but only in my head . Money won is money won. It does not matter that my new found wealth is a product of my baby addled brain. There are so many hours in one day when you find yourself on maternity leave, and sometimes, you need another hobby apart from sewing. Constructing my alternate reality with me as a millionaire is, in my books, more rewarding than unpicking stitches on a knit fabric. It is cheaper too. So there!

But I digress. Yes, back to the matter of the evil waiter who asked me to leave a london bar because I had a baby with me. Thankfully, the place was just a few steps away from Drink, Shop and Do . For those that have never been there, it is a lovely little shop where you can have drinks, buy crafty things, and make crafty things. 

Drink Shop and Do was actually quite nice. We had some tea and cakes, and chatted about “stuff”. Noah even helped Joanne select something from the menu.

This carrot cake was to die for. If you ever find yourself here, make sure you have some of this. We all did.

I think Noah was not impressed with Mela for eating and not giving some to him. Oh my! You would think from his look that I do not feed him. I promise you, I feed this child constantly. I even did it while we were there. So no, he is not underfed.

So in all, a respectable outing on my part. A big congrats to Rachel on finishing her MBA,now, back to your sewing room woman, and sew some clothes.

Vogue 2899…or the dress that almost wasn’t

Boy oh Boy!!!!

I made a dress, I made a dress. Did I tell you I made a dress? No seriously, did I tell you I made a dress?

I did, I did, I did make a dress.

I made this one

I am writing this post at 6am, in my cousin’s house in Birmingham. What am I doing in Birmingham? Oh well, I came for the weekend. This year marks the 50th anniversary of my high school. I mentioned before that I went to an all girl’s boarding school back home in Cameroon. I spent 7 sometimes miserable and sometimes exciting years at boarding school. Most of my friendships were forged here, and almost all of my closest friends today all went to this school
Saker Baptist College (my school) was created in 1962 by Baptist missionaries, and we even had some missionaries from the UK. So, those of us based in the UK decided to celebrate our school’s anniversary, and we are having a convention this weekend. Friday was a common meal, Saturday involved games, and a gala night. Sunday, a church service, and a barbecue. I am probably going to skip church, as my whole body is hurting from all the dancing I did. It is not everyday that I have the opportunity to make a fool of myself on the dance floor. Mr. Dibs is on babysitting duties this weekend, while I run wild. Yay baby!!
Now back to the dress. I LOVE this dress. I felt really confident and sexy when I wore it to the party. My sister kept telling anyone willing to hear that I made the dress myself. I got so many compliments, and many people begging me to make the exact dress for them. Something which I am not keen on, and I told them no.
Did I love making it? Not so much!! I actually finished it on Saturday morning on the way to Birmingham. As soon as I got on the train, I whipped out my tools, and got down to the business of sewing the hems on both the dress, and the lining. People thought I was bonkers.

The actual pattern is not difficult to make, but it is VERY time consuming. There are 10 pieces I think, and almost all of them are cut twice. One is even cut 4 times. Not impressed!! I started it effectively on Wednesday, and on Thursday, discovered that I had not cut one of the back pieces. I combed my house  for the pattern piece, but alas, could not find it. So off, to John Lewis I went, to buy a new pattern. I need to be more careful with my patterns, as I have also managed to damage the bodice front of my Cambie pattern. Not cool, I know. At one point I thought about stopping work on the dress, and caving in and buying a new dress. In the end I decided to stick it out, and push on. It is amazing how the thought of shelling out some good money for a dress from the high street and seeing 10 other women wearing the same dress at your party can inspire one to sew on.

I did not sleep on Friday night, just trying to work on the dress. I was mega stressed I tell you. Mr.Dibs was angry with me for putting myself in such a situation. Oh Mr.Dibs!! Poor sod. He had to look after Noah all night, and Noah would not sleep. The little munchkin finally slept off at about 2:30am. I had to take him off Mr.Dibs, because I sensed he was on the verge of throwing my son out of the house….I am not even joking. His sighs were so loud.

Writing this post now, I have realised I did not take any pictures of the back of the dress. You can see more of the dress here ( I ADORE the colour she used here), and here ( This is where I first saw the pattern). I used a soft lycra fabric bought from this ebay store. Like I said before, it is not a difficult pattern to make, but you need alot of patience. I decided not to use a zip as the instructions directed because I could not be bothered to fight with my invisible zipper foot at 2am in the morning. Since it is quite a stretchy fabric, I got away with it. The instructions for the strap and draping at the neck were quite simple, but I had to sleep on them, as my brain had stopped processing any form of information at 4am. I finally figured out how to do them when I woke up in the morning.

Will I make this dress again? Probably. I really love it, and I think the compliments I received at the party have gotten to my head. I would love to make it in two different colours, black and something else. I don’t look forward to the work involved in it though. My mom has to come visit us soon from Cameroon, so I could psyche her into sewing it for.  
Right, I am off to bed now. 
Enjoy your sunday.