Monthly Archives: February 2014

The I left my heart in London Dress

Sometimes you just know you are going to love something long before you ever set eyes on it, long before it even exists, perhaps. Something in the air, something in the wind, it guides you, sweeps you into a feeling of love and contentment, gives you a sense that something is right. Am I talking about a person? A relationship? Oh, goodness, no, of course not. I’m talking about a dress. Duh. Obviously. People are whatever, dresses? Dresses are forever. I’m only half joking.

I know I might be alone in this, but I actively adore Valentine’s Day. I think it’s kind of great, actually, and I love red, and love chocolate, and I love flowers, and I love people taking the time to tell the people in their lives how much they mean to them. Should they do it every day without an excuse? Of course. But it’s nice, and besides, my dad always used to give me something when I was a kid, and I always used to give my parents something, it was kind of a group event in some way. I think it’s nice, and I love celebrating it, which might seem odd, as I wouldn’t say I’m a romantic person in any way. For example, I have never seen the end of Titanic. I saw the first half when I was 13, hated it, knew the boat sank, was out of there. Jack? Rose? Come on. That relationship was never going to work. But I’m also a big advocate of telling the people in your life what they mean to you, and if this is a day that can happen freely, then I love it. So I  went to The Lady Eve with my friend Victoria and enjoyed the hell out of all the hearts and flowers and sugar. And obviously I made some time for my Valentine…

LMHIL 9

Oh! And I made a new dress. A dress I knew I would love long before I even started making it. A dress I knew could be mine. A dress a girl could lose her heart to, if she wasn’t careful…

LMHIL 2And I wasn’t careful at all, because I love this! Yes, folks, I finally made a By Hand London Elisalex dress! And we just couldn’t be happier together, really, I think we are both just so happy we’ve found each other after all this time. Sometimes it just takes a while to find the one, doesn’t it? And yet, wrapped up in this thing, I couldn’t feel safer, or more daring. This must be love, mustn’t it?

LMHIL 3

This dress is awesome.  Having seen so very many incarnations of this all over the internets, I just had to finally buy it. But once I bought it I was a little afraid to make it. What if I couldn’t make this relationship work? What if I wasn’t good enough? What if all the anticipation wasn’t worth it? My doubts assailed me, my concerns swamped my hopes. I felt despair. What if love wasn’t enough? Well, spoiler alert, it was!

LMHIL 1Oy, a little bit of wrinkling there. Okay, it’s not the dress’s fault, don’t blame the dress! I do so love this creation. It’s fairly easy to put together, but I cut the sleeves two sizes two small accidentally, and just sort of went with it, but I would appreciate a bit more ease in the future, so I would enlarge those next time. I might also lengthen the bodice just an inch, I like it a lot but it hits just above where I like it to. That being said, little knit-picky things aside, this is awesome. I love the shape, I love the neckline, I love the back…

LMHIL 6Cute, right? You want a close up? I’m on it:

LMHIL 7

Isn’t that nice! I realized all day that I felt a bit exposed, even though I don’t think it’s revealing, it’s just that the back and shoulder exposure is a little new for me. But I like it! What else, the princess seams were easy enough, as was the skirt. I lined the bodice with a white cotton-poly blend, which I understitched at the neckline so it doesn’t show. I hand-stitched the sleeve hems to the lining, and traded the exposed zipper for a hand-picked one, really only because I didn’t have a zipper that long. And I hand stitched the hem after shortening it quite a bit, because that original pattern is LONG, guys, and I am short. Such tragedies are a part of life.

LMHIL 4The shape of the skirt is, as all people have said, a bit exaggerated, but honestly, I think that’s kind of adorable. I like the box pleats, although this wool crepe fabric might be a touch too drapey for them. Wouldn’t this be great in a taffeta or a brocade? I have a few friends getting married this summer, maybe I could make it work…or even a double knit? I have so many thoughts, so many feelings, I’m overwhelmed and euphoric!

LMHIL 8See? A little drapey. But I got compliments on this all day, so it can’t be that bad.

LMHIL 5

Seriously, this dress just works for me. I knew it would, on some level, and maybe that’s why I waited to make it, until I was ready for this addiction. Love comes when you aren’t looking, right?

LMHIL 10Ah, love. Complicated as it is, isn’t it worth it?

I hope you all had the best Valentine’s day! As a gift, here is one of my current favorite songs, appropriate for the occasion:

 

Advertisements

7 Comments

Filed under By Hand London, Clothing, Sewing

The A-tisket A-brisket Dress, and giveaway winners!

First of all, I’m sorry for the gap in posting! It was actually easy for me to write posts on vacation in Ireland then it is here in Brooklyn. Go figure. It must be all this pesky graduate school writing I have to do. They keep giving me deadlines and I’m like, um, but, 30 pages by next week? Don’t you know I have blogging to do? Strangely enough they don’t seem to care, the cretins. Don’t they know what’s most important in my life? Selfish, is what they are, very very selfish.

As always the problem lies not in clothing production but in documentation. I swear, I should just carry my camera around with me all the time and smack strangers around and make them photograph me. I wear my own makes all the time, ALL. THE. TIME, and yet I have the hardest time getting them photographed. I am the worst. Sigh.

Okay, so first of all, giveaway winners!

For the yarn, that goes to Crafty Little Bugger!

The simplicity patter goes to tamalyn1,!

And the McCall’s pattern goes to Maryall!

So, ladies, do let me know where to send your patterns by emailing Leah.Franqui@gmail.com, and thanks for entering! There will be more giveaways and round-ups soon, I promise, and I’m even going to do the flickr thing, for reals.

To the outfit!  I did get my roommate, Jordan, to take these shots of my new Deer and Doe Plantain Dress after the Brisket King Festival last night, after which I was pretty thrilled about the loose nature of this garment…worth it. Worth every minute of self-hatred and stomach-ache. BRISKET. I must have tried ten kinds, including at Korean brisket hand roll, but what’s his face and I agreed that the best brisket came from Duck’s Eatery, not only because of the meat, which was astounding, but because of the SAUCE. I could take a bath in that peppery smoky wonder. My Jewish grandmother would be very offended by this, but it might be the best brisket I’ve ever had, though a close second is Morgan’s, an amazing place in my hood and also well represented, and they gave me a plate of just the crispy ends, so, you know, I kind of just want to hug everyone there. But a comfortable loose knit dress was clearly the right choice for such an event, can you blame me?

TB1So, when Deer and Doe released this free pattern, the Plantain top, I couldn’t have been more excited. I’ve already made it four times, and almost finished a fifth for my mom. I am basically making a plantain plantation. That’s happen. Get into it.

TB 4

I love the fit and the neckline, and I am so happy Deer and Doe, a company whose designs I love, released a free pattern. The generosity of pattern companies never ceases to amaze me, it really made sewing possible for me when I first started and I always appreciate it, especially one this nice.

I got the fabric from Girl Charlee (like I do), and simply lengthened the original hemline. It turned out a little looser then I thought, and I would make it a little closer fitting next time, but it’s nice to have something that is supremely comfortable and still looks good while being squished by brisket aficionados and trying to get another cocktail in Chinatown.

TB5It’s a bit lightweight for a winter that has been so cold but I’m hoping that an incentive for spring to come, because obviously my clothing dictates to the weather. It’s a very comfortable fabric, though. Cadfael likes it:

TB 2

There is nothing complicated at all about this pattern and if you haven’t yet made it, deal with yourself and just do it. It’s free. It’s great. It survives brisket. So far, it’s survived Cadfael, what more can you ask for?

TB3Nothing! So make it. It’s nice.

I promise I have more stuff to show you, and I will harass all those around me until I have decent shots. As god is my witness, I’ll ruin all my relationships to show you what I’ve made!

9 Comments

Filed under Clothing, Deer and Doe, Sewing