Hummingbird tales

When I was in Primary school, I wrote a story about a time when I held a hummingbird in my hand when I was back in Ghana. A complete fabrication, and I hadn’t intended to deceive, but I must have written convincingly enough because my teacher believed it and loved it.

And here I am, several years later, making up another hummingbird tale in this beautiful cornflower blue crepe. I bought this fabric back in February at the Knitting and Stitching show and couldn’t decide what to make with it and wasn’t entirely sure that I liked it. I loved the mustard and rust tones of the hummingbirds and flowers but was the blue really me?

And what to make with it? After much thinking, I finally decided to make the Seren dress by Tilly and the Buttons, my favourite pattern makers. I bought the pattern last summer and although I had hacked a skirt out of it, I had yet to make the dress. Again, I couldn’t decide if I really liked it, or more specifically, which version would suit me best.

Instragram was great for me to scroll through many Seren makes and get some ideas. I knew I wanted the midi length and didn’t want to flash my tummy! But I couldn’t decide on the flounce, it looks great on the model and on most of the makes I’d seen. I also observed many RTW sundresses with flounces but I just wasn’t feeling it. I even put it to an instapoll where 60% of responders felt that I needed more flounce in my life!

Anyway, I went with my gut, no flounce but I opted for a frill on the straps instead. I also added in seam pockets. The frill was a bit of an after thought so it wasn’t attached in a professional way. If you go to the Tilly and the Buttons blog and look up Seren hacks, you will find a more professional method of adding a frill to the straps.

To make my frill piece, I actually traced the flounce from the Saraste blouse in the book ‘Breaking the Pattern ‘ by Named Clothing. I made it a little shorter and thinner, folded some rough pleats, pinned and stitched one frill piece to the back of each strap. There, job done, just don’t inspect my makes too closely!

The worst part of making this dress was the button holes. I am a sucker for button downs but I hate sewing button holes. I hate all the marking, spacing, sizing and careful stitching that goes into it. But there is something very pleasing about seeing a row of pretty buttons. I was really pleased to find these buttons from Dalston Mill, which match the pale mustard in the fabric so well. My button holes are not perfect, I use the four step method, which I’m still mastering. And like I said before, just don’t inspect my makes too closely.

Usually when I make a Tilly pattern, I cut a size 4 bodice and grade out to a 5 at my widest part. Having put on a bit of weight and because I didn’t want straining buttons, I decided to make a straight size 5. But I think it’s ended up with the bodice being a little bit baggy, might go back to my usual size arrangements next time.

One of the lovely things about making my own clothes is that I regularly get to browse wonderful fabrics. I love that I am beginning to branch out a bit and my wardrobe which was once full of red, navy, black and white, now has more mustard and rust and this lovely shade of blue. Next, I need to explore green that’s a colour that’s completely missing from my wardrobe. I’m also branching out with the type of fabric. I do love Jersey and medium weight cotton but working with this medium weight crepe was very pleasing.

So, I have made a dress that I really love. I think the blue does suit me and I love the drape and swish of the fabric. This dress will do for weddings, special gatherings, church or just for flitting like a hummingbird through hot, sunny days!

Published by The Unpickstitch Papers

I'm a teacher, baker and own clothes maker. I like to read, I like to work out. I wish there was more time in the day to do life. I have 1 husband, 2 daughters and no dogs yet, though I'm working on wearing my hubby down!

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