As we do most years, Mr Dreamy & I are spending Christmas in sunny Nelson with his parents. Nelson is famous for its good weather (though, ironically, every time we spend Christmas in Nelson it is even hotter and nicer in Wellington than in Nelson), so that means I need lots of shorts and light tops and little summer frocks. With a little free time before the holidays, I’ve been giving my summer wardrobe a refresh.
Mostly I’ve been making not-very-exciting T-shirts and other basics, but high on the to-sew list was a dress made from a meter of amazing parakeet* patterned silk-cotton I found at the most recent Fabric-a-Brac fair in Wellington.
My father used to breed parakeets, and, while I’ve never owned one, I’ve definitely inherited an affinity for them. The sound of a chatter of parakeets is one of the happiest, most restful sounds I know. It’s just impossible to be stressed listening to them!
Sadly, I’m unlikely to every have parakeets of my own. Mr D dislikes birds and there is Felicity to worry about…
So I’ll just have to content myself with occasional happy moments with other people’s birds, and with making parakeet patterned frocks!
This one gave me a bit of trouble in the design stage – I only had a meter, and the silk cotton is too delicate to make anything fitted out of, and isn’t drapey enough to make anything that would cling on its own out of. The obvious choice was a Henrietta Maria, but there wasn’t enough fabric, and I didn’t want the design of the dress to take away from the print at all. So I settled on the simplest possible design: a halter shift-dress (essentially, a pillowcase dress for an adult).
I picked up a bit of dark coral silk crepe from The Fabric Store (where 20cm of it cost me as much as the entire piece of silk-cotton!) for the neck tie, and rummaged up a length of white silk-cotton I’d found at an op-shop only a few weeks before (whoop whoop!) for a lining.
The whole thing only took a few hours to put together (whoop whoop!) and I’m pretty pleased with the result. If I lived in a warm-for-more-than-11-days-of-the-year climate I could see myself making a lot of these.
It made the perfect relaxed Christmas day dress: dressy and celebratory without being fussy (something I could not say for the fitted silk charmeuse dress I’m also working on at the moment). It worked for sitting on the porch swing in the morning shelling peas, making the Christmas salad, and eating just a wee bit too much (only by a teeny little bit…) at the family lunch.
It was also comfortable enough to play the traditional post-lunch games of pétanque. We play by a set of house rules that allows my trademark one-foot-fling, and that requires that disputes as to the nearest ball to the piggy be settled with the use of my ever-handy measuring tape.
A very satisfying sew, and it will get lots of use this year as we’re going home to Hawaii at the start of winter (YAY!) and I’ll be in LA for CoCo (double YAY!).
The only tiny hesitation I have about it is the length. I’m not used to skirts that end above my knee! I think I’m beginning to realise that the days of my being able to wear short skirts are definitely numbered, and I’d better take advantage while I can. 😉
In other news, I’m giving the ‘statement brow’ trend a try. I’m not sure how I feel about it. My brows are naturally quite thin and delicate, and the same unusual caramel colour of my hair, so when I catch a glimpse of my face and they are so BOLD (well, even visible at all) it feels weird – like I’m wearing clown makeup. What do you think?
I hope everyone else had a peaceful and happy Christmas!
* Even though it is a more precise and accurate term, I just can’t make myself call them budgerigars. It’s such an ugly word, and even the otherwise adorable ‘budgie’ has been ruined for me by ‘budgie smugglers.’