Phew, what a strange time we Brits and it would seem, the world find ourselves. “The end of an era” will be the catchphrase now to top “the new normal” spawned in the covid pandemic.
I wanted to write a blog post on this boiler suit, which is my current favourite and best but my mind kept turning to the Queen and all the emotions and thoughts her death stirred up in me. So I shall do both.
I am not a true monarchist at heart, but I make no apology for having had a huge admiration of the Queen. There was something so nobel about her character, she had a servant heart which is extremely rare to find these days in our celebrity obsessed culture. I admired her commitment to her family and to her country, she fulfilled her promise of lifelong service. And it would seem from her comments and people’s observations that she shared the same religious beliefs as I do. Her love for God and Jesus his son was a reality to her and not empty words spoken at ceremonies. I respect that.
And yet, the monarchy. Unelected individuals who by reason of birth rule us and get to live in excessive luxury at the taxpayers expense while often getting up to all sorts of unsavoury and unpleasant things. And history makes it uncomfortable for me as a black person to cheer the monarchy on with it’s past hankering for empire, lording it over many nations, committing and sanctioning some atrocities along the way.
And yet. Life is way more complicated than just black or white, love it or hate it, support or dismiss.
All through my life I have had to navigate voices telling me what I should believe, who I should love, who I should hate, what I should listen to, what I should wear. Voices from white people and people of colour. There is often an expectation that as a black person, I should like x and I should dress like y. It really frustrates me and I have always fought against it. I am guided firstly by my faith and then secondly by a desire to see the best in people and beauty in the world.
And so, I am sad at the Queen’s passing and not thrilled at Charles becoming King. If we became a Republic, I wouldn’t be devastated, it is the end of an era after all.
Moving swiftly on, what I am thrilled about and hoping will mark a new style era for me, is this boiler suit.
When I first came across the Lennox pattern from Homer and Howells, I was quite impressed with it. My love for stylish adult onesies has been steadily growing over these past few years. Yes, they’re a pain when you’re desperate for the loo. Yes they can be struggle to get out of. Yes you do feel odd sitting on a loo half naked. All this aside, they do look so good, are super comfy to wear and like dresses, they simplify getting ready in the mornings.
The Lennox was one of my make nine, an instagram challenge to make a selected 9 garments in a year. I’m not sure I’ll complete the challenge as this is only number 4 out of the 9.
It was when I saw the Lennox boilersuit on one of my favourite instagrammers and bloggers Alice of thepolkadotpalace, that I decided that I needed to get on and make one. In fact, she had made 2, one in a similar lightweight denim as this, and one in pink corduroy, they are both gorgeous. Alice put yellow buttons on her denim Lennox and I loved this look, but red is so much more me.
I enjoyed the making process of this even though I took it really slow and got distracted by other things along the way, like Ankara Appreciation Week back in July. In fact, I paused the making of the Lennox jumpsuit to make a Lennox shirt out of wax print.
This shirt and this jumpsuit have been well worn already. Next time when I make the shirt version, I will add a couple of inches in length as it is a bit cropped and I find myself pulling at it too often.
For the jumpsuit though, the bodice length was fine. For the trousers, I did an adjustment for the seat. I added an inch or so to the crotch length for the back leg piece and it’s perfect. No more wedgies for me!
I also lengthened the leg pieces as I wasn’t really sold on the cropped version.
The fabric I used was from Minerva and it is a really lovely chambray, both to work with and wear.
In the Lennox, I think I’ve found the perfect shirt and boiler suit pattern. I am trying really hard to be a pattern repeater and not get influenced into buying and trying every new pattern I see. There’s something to be said for finding something that suits you and that you love and making it again, with adaptations and variations. For example I plan on turning the Lennox into a shirt dress, I’ll let you know how that goes. Being a pattern repeater saves money and time. And surely it helps to build a more wearable wardrobe don’t you think?
It struck me as I was preparing to do this blog that the colours were quite pertinent to some of what I was saying earlier. Red, white and blue with a flash of Ankara too. That’s me.