Tuesday, September 19, 2017

"Are you single and looking for love?" No, I'm married and looking for cake.

Hello! What's happening, lads? It's all good here with me: the sun is shining, work is done for the day and the dinner is cooking away (I am making minestrone soup) for later. I have a few days of work and then we're on holiday - it is good! So, that's nice. It is good to be feeling good again.

So, yeah. Last time I wrote we were just about to go and see the new film adaptation of It. I wasn't expecting to love it, because I love the book and the miniseries a lot. I wasn't expecting to be bored basically shitless by it, though, and I was. I know it had a lot to live up to, in fairness, but I think it's a real failure if every time the clown showed up I wasn't scared, I was sighing like "uuugh not this tedious fucker again." Also I had genuine issues with the way in which the adaptation really sidelined the minority characters - the black character, the female character and the jewish character - by taking key plot points away from them and giving them to the white male stars. That felt very deliberate, especially given the fact that Mike Hanlon, the film's one black character, had at most ten lines of dialogue in two and a half hours. The film's director has said that for the sequel, in which the characters are all adults, Mike will be a junkie... which he isn't in the book, so why make that decision? And why Mike? So yeah. It was boring racist bullshit. NO THANKS.

Here's Tim Curry instead - an actual scary clown. I'll be watching the miniseries again soon to take away the disappointment and anger of the shitty movie!

Yeah - here's Frank N Furter instead, because you all yell at me when I put pictures of clowns on here.

It was still nice to go to the cinema, even though the film was shit. We went to Birmingham so we could see the film in the Everyman - like there is a cinema literally around the corner from me, but it's a Vue and it's so terrible I'll get on a train to a different town to see a film. The Everyman is great, not least of all because it's in the same complex as Harvey Nichols and I like to get a glass of champagne in the bar there before seeing the film:
So that's the craic there. I had a really good weekend in which I did some drinking, some socialising and some sewing. I don't have photos yet of the dress I made (hopefully I'll get some when we're on holiday) so instead here is a dress I made a couple of months ago:

 Numberwang dress - By Hand London Anna dress with a box-pleated skirt, worn with Swedish Hasbeens heart sandals

So, I think I made this dress in June? I bought the banana fabric from Meg at Pigeon Wishes, who has an etsy shop, and I was 100% inspired by a dress from Sixton London that I had been admiring all summer:
Sixton London Arizona dress - it's still available from Lilac Rose (that's not an affiliate link)

Now, I should say that I actually own a couple of Sixton dresses and I love them - they're really well-made with classic cuts and beautiful fabrics. However, when I had the option to make my own, of course that's what I wanted to do. You can see the similarities, right? The fabric is very similar, obviously. The inspiration dress has the same grown-on sleeves as the Anna bodice, but it has a wide waistband and pockets set into the front of the pleated skirt. I tend to avoid dresses with waistbands or midriff bands because they annoy me, so I thought the best option was to use the Anna bodice and add a pleated skirt:

The finished dress is pretty cute and I've worn it loads. It's going to be packed away for the autumn soon, but I think before I do, I'm going to go back and take the skirt up to just below the knee, as with the inspiration dress. I think the high neck and midi-length skirt combination is a little bit too much on me and I'd wear it more if it were a little shorter.

Still, though. BANANAS. 

And yes, it *is* in fact named after Numberwang:


I liked the pattern combination so much that I made another, also in June, in some lovely Liberty lawn that I bought in Shaukat:

Cloudbusting dress and Swedish Hasbeens peep-toe sandals

I think the skirt length works better on that one, so maybe that's the direction I'll take the bananas dress in too.

I took these photos earlier in the summer, but for various reasons I found blogging very hard during that time. As I've discussed, I had a difficult summer in terms of anxiety although I have been feeling an improvement more recently.

Nic and I went out for dinner and drinks on Friday night and the conversation turned to my mental health and the reasons why I've been doing a bit better over the last few weeks than I had been over the summer. A large factor in the improvement (reduction) in my anxiety levels has been talking more about my feelings - specifically, acknowledging difficult feelings when they come up rather than trying to squash them down and crush them in my mind vice, you know? I'm also working hard on not feeling ashamed of having feelings. I realised that I'm still working through the shame and anger and hurt from a difficult time in my life a number of years ago, and that I still sometimes feel that I don't deserve to be loved or cared for because this is how I was made to feel at the time. For a long time it stopped me from reaching out to the people I love for help, which was self-destructive. Anyway, I'm writing this because I find it helpful to articulate this stuff, and I know that some of you guys are going through similar things, so it might be helpful to you too. 

Now, I am going to go and do some hemming. Catch you later!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Culture, mate. That's where the hope of the world lies. And a more cultural mob than us you wouldn't find outside of the Chelsea Embankment.

Hello lads and ladies! Happy Friday - I hope this week has been treating you well. I have had a very full week at work, which has actually been really enjoyable. The period between September and January is a crucial one in my line of work, and after a difficult summer it feels good to put my shoulder to the wheel once again. While I wouldn't describe myself as a workaholic, I do feel much better about myself when I feel I am being productive at work, and that is how I have been feeling this week.

This week we booked a minibreak (I always feel like Bridget Jones when I use the word minibreak, which is pleasing) to Perpignan. We're going to be there for a long weekend over my birthday and I am very excited. I'm a little nervous that my schoolgirl French won't cut it outside of multicultural Paris, but I'm sure I can make myself understood all the same. As the weather here has been ridiculously shitty (stormy, rainy but still somehow disgustingly sweaty) I'm looking forward to a little bit of Mediterranean sun, and I'm enjoying telling people I'm off to the South of France, even though Perpignan is decidedly NOT the Cote d'Azur. I'm going to try to fit in making a birthday dress between now and then - I have plans for a B6453 in some cotton sateen that I bought last year in New York. Fingers crossed I have time to give it a bash this weekend!

This afternoon I'm going to show you a dress I made in the heady days of the summer. Well, by 'summer' I mean 'slightly better than whatever the fuck this shit is', yeah? It's another Butterick B6446, which I made because I love my lemon-print one so much.

The fabric is some cotton sateen. I had spotted it first in Edinburgh Fabrics when we were there in July, but for some reason I didn't buy it - it was warm in the shop and I was tired AND hungry, so finding it difficult to make decisions - but once I saw the beautiful B5748 that Abi made from it, I knew I had chosen unwisely. I ended up finding some on ebay and that was a happy end to the story.

I actually already have a dress in blue rose print. Of course I do: this is me, after all. It's my Lucy dress made from Liberty Carline fabric.

I love the shit out of that dress, and I wore it loads in the spring and summer. This cotton sateen is a bit weightier so I think I can wear it as the weather gets a bit colder, so it's all good.

Lady Don't Fall Backwards dress - Butterick B6446 worn with Swedish Hasbeens Merci sandals

I didn't make any extra adjustments to the pattern following the success of the Good God, Lemon dress, so this baby came together really easily.

The whole thing was very nearly ruined by some bullshit, though. The first time I wore it was out for drinks and dinner with Nic on a rainy evening and although the dress looked amazing with my lovely V&A umbrella, I got screamed at in the street by a man after two other men pushed me into him. Even after I apologised (which, for some depressing reason of social conditioning, I guess - I apologised even though I had been shoved by two strange men into another strange man) he continued to scream and swear at me. It was horrible! You know the way that an experience like that can ruin a place or a garment? Thankfully that didn't happen - the dress is far too cute to take the blame for the fact that men are trash, and so I made sure to wear it again and make happy memories in it instead.

This is the face of someone who hates men.

Seriously though, men can get to fuck.

On the night in question. It's a shame, too, because I was feeling so cute with my Vivienne Westwood shoes as well. Don't worry too much, though - after I had a little cry about it in the pub toilets I had a couple of gins and went for a delicious dinner.

I've made lots of blue dresses this year - Rhiannon may have to give over her 'more blue fabric' tagline to me if she's not careful - and I really like accessorising this dress with pink. In these photos I'm wearing it with some pink sandals I bought from the Swedish Hasbeens sale. They may be very similar to another pair of pink Swedish Hasbeens that are sitting on my shoe shelves but, importantly, they are NOT THE SAME and so I am able to sleep at night. I am trying to make myself sew other colours but for some reason I have been drawn to making and wearing blue clothes. Eh, I don't know. It gives me an excuse to wear my many pairs of pink clogs, I suppose.

And that's the craic with me. I have a nice relaxing weekend planned. Having finished my re-read of It last weekend (I think this is maybe the fifth time I've read it since I was a teenager) I'm about ready to go and watch the new film, so we're off to do that (and no doubt a spot of fabric shopping) in Birmingham tomorrow. I'm sure I'll like it, but as for many people of my age, I don't think it's going to come close to how iconic the 90s miniseries was. Like, you know. Where's John-Boy Walton? Where's John Ritter? Where's the Ralph the Santa guy from Cagney & Lacey? WHERE'S RAY FROM SISTER SISTER?! I'm telling you it's iconic.


And I flat out do not believe any actor can come close to how terrifying Tim Curry is as Pennywise. But, you know, I'm sure it will still be kind of fun. Have a great weekend, everyone!

clown realness


Friday, September 01, 2017

The sea was angry that day, my friends, like an old man trying to send soup back in a deli.

Hello there! It's been a while, I know, but the blogger part of me hasn't died completely!

Anyway, I haven't been up to much since I last blogged. I've been working and sewing as usual. Nic and I had a trip to Liverpool a few weeks ago, which thankfully coincided with a few sunny days in a sea of grey and rainy ones. We had a great time: Liverpool is an amazing city. We weren't there for any particular reason, but it was perfect for a little change of scenery.

We stayed at the Pullman, and really enjoyed being based by the docks as there is so much to see and do down there. We even spent a happy hour on our last morning watching jellyfish in the marina - it was the first time Nic had ever seen jellyfish, and you could so easily miss them.

When we're on holiday, I like to go on a ferry if one is available. Luckily, Liverpool has a ferry. It's not very widely-known, so maybe someone should consider writing a song about it.

Waiting to board the ferry, dressed like a sailor

We visited some friends in Chester, went to Port Sunlight, went to a few museums, drank champagne in a Titanic-themed bar, visited the Metropolitan cathedral, ate pizza slices on Bold Street (repeatedly) and played some late-night indoor mini-golf:

I won, but Nic was a few pints ahead of me at each stage, so I had a slight advantage there.

It was a lovely week off, and we ended it with a flying visit from my dad. He was over for a few days for work and on the Friday we went to the Cotswolds for a few hours. We visited Stow-on-the-Wold and Bourton-on-the-Water. The villages are charming, but Nic and I have been watching Children of the Stones, so it all felt a bit creepy to me. My dad thoroughly enjoyed himself, though.

Me and Daddy in Bourton. It's very plain to see we're related as we are BASICALLY IDENTICAL.

These have been some bright spots in what has otherwise been a very difficult few months. I've written before about my mental health, so I won't labour the point, but this summer I've experienced intense anxiety, which has often been debilitating. It has taken all of my energy to keep doing the things I need to do - things like getting out of bed and eating and working - and it's been very difficult. I have felt very tired of living. There have been some external stressors and some of it arises from the fact that I'm generally quite an anxious person anyway so this is something I'll always need to deal with in one way or another.

Helping someone close to me through a problem that they were having made me realise that I needed to allow people to help me, and that it was okay to do that. So that's what I've been doing and I've been looking into finding some professional help too. Something has started to shift and I feel more hopeful and positive than I have for a while. I have a lovely life and I want to be here, and I wanted to share this with you all because I know lots of you care about me. Thank you for caring.

That's the update there. I've been sewing off and on, and over the unexpectedly sunny bank holiday weekend, Nic took some photos of a recently completed dress. The craic with this is that Sarah sent up the bat-signal to let me know that Textile Express were selling a fabric I'd been after for about three years:

I had seen a Ralph Lauren skirt made from this beautiful linen three years ago in TK Maxx and the fabric had been a bit of a unicorn since then, but here was Textile Express selling it for £6.50 a metre! I immediately bought three metres, which was just as well because they sold out within a few hours. Although summer is by now officially over, I had some hopes for a September Indian summer, so I decided to go ahead and sew it anyway. I was immediately rewarded with a beautiful, hot bank holiday weekend: winner!

The print is quite large, so I wanted a simple shape to show it off. For me, this means sewing an Emery dress and that is what I did.

Honoria dress - Christine Haynes Emery dress with a pleated skirt, worn with Swedish Hasbeens Suzanne sandals

I wasn't sure whether to centre the big beach umbrella on the bodice. It seemed like the obvious thing initially, but when it came to cutting I didn't want to sacrifice the surfers, so I made sure to get them both on the bodice. The fabric doesn't have a great deal of drape to it, so I used a box-pleated skirt rather than a gathered one. I love wearing pleated skirts and I am really thrilled with how this dress turned out.

I decided against wearing this with my Lou Taylor swimmers necklace this time, but I think they would be the perfect match!

This fabric really was an incredible find, especially for £6.50 per metre. The colour is beautiful and it's of such lovely quality. I got so many compliments on the dress all day, and I felt great in it too. I've heard that it can still be found in some branches of Abakhan (although I didn't see any when I was in the Liverpool branch a few weeks ago) so you might get lucky if you're still looking for it. I'll hopefully be able to wear the dress a few more times before packing it away for next spring, but often it's nice to make a summer dress at the end of summer - something to look forward to for next year.

Here's one for the folks at GOMI who think it's obnoxious when I smile in photos. I must remember to try harder not to look too happy with my life.

I haven't yet made plans for autumnal sewing, but I think I'm going to make a conscious effort to move away from my the blue colour palette I've unintentionally adopted this year. I bought some very Mildred Hubble-esque Paradigma boots in a local shoe shop that was closing down, so I'm thinking about what to sew to wear with them:

I don't have a coherent autumn-winter plan, though, as I am also semi-seriously considering buying a ridiculous hot pink Ted Baker coat. I don't need any more coats, but it is amazing. It won't work with these boots, but I'm sure I could still make it work with something in my wardrobe...

The sun is shining now though, so right now I'm going to enjoy the rest of the summer as much as I can, which means going to a pub garden with some friends. Have a good weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

July 19th. On this day, Galway liberated from Indians, Marathon becomes Snickers and... ah ha, Ted! Ice Age ends!

Ah hello there! And how are we all on this fine July afternoon? I'm grand - I have a cup of tea (Earl Grey, hot), Hannibal on in the background (S2, which is mostly not great but, you know, Mads...) and  I'm feeling pretty relaxed generally, having just come back from five days in Edinburgh. Nic was at a conference over the weekend, so we decided to extend the trip on either side and have a little mini holiday out of it. Edinburgh was the first place we ever went on holiday together (in 2007) so it's always had a special place in our hearts, but we haven't been back there for almost nine years. It was so good to go back and fall in love with it all over again.

Me at Edinburgh castle, October 2007

Me and Greyfriars Bobby, July 2017. I don't think I've changed that much in the last ten years.

Work has been kind of crazy for us both, so having a few days away was really good. We were staying in the Old Town and we basically spent the days pottering around Edinburgh, taking in the sights. I met up with Franca and Helen for coffee on Sunday morning and tagged along to their sewing day to say hello to Kerry and Jens and I bought some fabric from Edinburgh Fabrics, but that was the limit of my crafty activities - well, as long as you don't count drinking craft beer.

So that's the craic with me. I haven't been sewing for a while because of work being crazy, so here is a dress that I made a couple of weeks ago. And it's from a totally new pattern, lads. I KNOW. The pattern in question is B6446:

Actually I'm not super keen on the pattern envelope - not even on the gingham version (it might be the shoes - I really dislike 'barely there' sandals for some reason) but something about this pattern got under my skin. I don't know why, to be quite honest - I have always had trouble with wrap or even wrap-front dresses. But, you know, the heart wants what it wants, so I ordered the pattern. Then the stars aligned - I saw an incredible version of this dress on Janet's instagram from fabric very similar to some that Pigeon Wishes was selling in her Etsy shop... a plan was coming together! A heads up - she sold out of this fabric almost immediately, but you may be able to find it somewhere else.

I knew that I'd need to make a bodice adjustment because I have a high waist and, with the wrap-style bodice, there's no lengthen/shorten lines marked. I made a bodice toile out of the envelope which showed that I had cut the correct size but that I would need to do a swayback adjustment, so that's what I did. I made a second toile to check that this adjustment worked and then I finally cut into my fabric. I'm really pleased with the finished dress:

Good God, Lemon dress - Butterick B6446 in lemon-print cotton poplin worn with yellow Swedish Hasbeens heart sandals

I made version B, but I shortened the skirt quite a bit and I obviously left off the fabric sash because I hate them. The pattern comes with pockets and I omitted those as well - I know pockets on clothes is a feminist issue, but I don't use them and I find them annoying. So there. 

I followed the instructions and the cutting layout, which is something I wouldn't normally always do. The bodice is lined, and the lining pieces for the bodice front are the same (that is to say, the lining of the pleated section is not pleated, but has a dart) and I wanted to make sure I had everything in the right place. The only slight issue I had was with fitting the skirt back pieces to the bodice back, which is possibly because I had incorrectly marked the pleats. It was very easy to fix so even if it is a drafting error rather than user error, it didn't cause an issue.

Back view!

I'm really pleased that I took the time to do the sway-back adjustment, because it really did make a big difference to the fit of this dress. I still have a tiny bit of gaping at the neckline so if I make another, I might angle the zip in a little at the top to avoid this. I might not, though - I don't want to over-fit and it's not a big issue. What I will definitely do if I make this pattern again is to recut the armholes a little - they're drafted for sleeves and I think the sleeveless bodice would look better with that ease removed.

The dress turned out exactly as I hoped it would. I love the fabric and the combination of navy and yellow makes me happy. I have ever so slightly mixed feelings about it all the same - which are, I think, almost completely because this dress feels a little bit more grown-up than I'm used to. GROWN-UP. I mean for fuck sake. I'm 34. I am grown-up. Certainly I've had many compliments when I've worn this dress. My local Carluccio's gave me a free cocktail because my dress matched their menu!

I mean, lemons though. Such a fun print:

It's actually the second dress I've made this year that's covered in lemons. I haven't properly photographed or blogged the other one, but I made it before going to Paris:

Lesbian Yellow Sourfruit dress

That one is Butterick B5748, another classic... and yes, worn with more yellow clogs. When I find something I like, I go with it. What can I say?!

Maybe I'm a bit obsessed. I'm making liguine al limone for dinner tonight and everything. 


So that's the craic there anyway. I love dresses and lemons and Liz Lemon. 

I'm away here to make my lemon-based dinner. Later!

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Idea for a programme entitled 'Yachting Mishaps'. Some funny, some tragic.

Hello hello! What's happening, folks? I'm grand - I'm honestly trying to blog more and stay in touch, especially as I have a backlog of lovely dresses to show you, but the part of my personality that is totally lame has been pushing itself to the forefront, making it hard to sit down to blog.

I've spoken about it a fair bit but it's true to say that my mental health has been suffering recently. A friend said recently that Brexit has made him so angry in so many different ways that he has to work hard to preserve his mental health, and this really rang true for me. For me it's not just Brexit, of course - it's the absolute state of the situation at home in Northern Ireland, everything that has happened here in England in the last few months (including the way in which English people are interacting with Northern Irish politics) and...well, as I've said a few times, just the general state of the world. I have a very lovely life and, thanks to therapy a few years ago, I have some good coping strategies - but I'm having to use a lot of energy just to stay sane at the moment and it is tiring. I'm working hard to retain my sense of self, but it has meant that blogging is hard because I often don't feel like trying to write about anything that isn't the things that make me feel rage and sorrow, you know?

I feel displaced. I feel very keenly that I don't belong in England but that I don't know where I do belong. 'You can never go home again' is more than just a trueism - I don't feel that I belong in a Northern Ireland where, as a woman, I don't have my full human rights because of its Victorian abortion laws (or, indeed, an Ireland which has an even worse attitude towards its countrywomen than Northern Ireland has. Read about the pregnant 14-year-old who was imprisoned for wanting an abortion to see what I mean, or the babies buried in a septic tank in Tuam if that doesn't convince you). It weighs more heavily on me than I would have believed a few years ago. I'm childfree by choice, and I live in England - a country where I could have an abortion if I needed one - so it isn't an issue that has an impact on me directly, but I don't believe that any woman should have to live in a country that will not only deny her autonomy over her body, but will criminalise her for trying to assert it. As Liz Lemon would put it, that's a deal-breaker, ladies.

I don't know why I'm telling you guys this. I don't feel like I need to explain gaps in blogging - I don't think anyone expects that. I think it's useful to be honest about mental health difficulties. I want to keep writing here: this space and the friends I've made through it are important to me, and I don't want to lose this outlet, but it's too hard to ignore the things that are on my mind. Thank you for sticking with me as I work through it.

So, yes. I bet you're thinking that I must be a fucking riot at parties at the moment, right? You'd probably have a point. I'm still capable of talking about all of the frivolous shit that I usually would, though, honestly. A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to a friend's birthday party. It was in a pub in Coventry and we had a lovely evening - bizarrely enough, she'd booked a magician. He didn't do a stage-show, though, it was more that he was wandering through the crowd, springing magic tricks on people... anyway, I had a fun dress to wear to the party, and this is it!

Last Seen Wearing dress - New Look 6020 with a circle skirt in anchor-print cotton sateen, worn with Vivienne Westwood for Melissa Lady Dragon shoes

I made this dress in April, and the fabric came from ebay. I occasionally look for cute anchor-print fabrics there, and when I spotted this I knew I should buy it as it's the exact same fabric as a Vivien of Holloway dress I used to have. I loved that dress - it was an extravagance when I bought it and it was totally worth it - but it became too big and I became less keen on wearing boned, halter-neck bodices, so I gave it away.

I didn't have a project in mind for the fabric when I bought it, but the idea of making a more wearable version of the Vivien of Holloway dress was appealing - basically, a dress with a circle skirt that I could wear a bra with! I've used the bodice from NL6020 quite a few times now, and it worked really nicely with my self-drafted circle skirt. 

The fabric is very lovely to work with - it's a stretch sateen with quite a lot of body to it, so it's comfortable to wear and easy to sew with. I pre-washed it, of course, not only to account for shrinkage but also to rid it of the slightly plasticky smell these cotton sateens sometimes have. It's not actually an unpleasant smell but it reminds me so much of the cheap toys I used to spend my pocket money on as a child! I was pleased to find that the bright colour didn't fade - I had only ever hand-washed the Vivien of Holloway dress in cold water, so I had no idea how this would hold up to machine washing. It's all good, and all-in-all a much more practical frivolous party dress than its predecessor was!

I've worn it a couple of times since I made it but I think it probably will be more of an occasion dress than anything else. The Roisin of 2010 would have worn this dress to work (well, to be fair, the Roisin of 2017 might still wear it to work - I couldn't rule it out for definite) but my taste in day-to-day clothing is a little bit more understated nowadays. I mean, it's all relative - I think at one point my taste ran to 'Sun-Ra on his holidays' so, you know, my tipping point is probably different to yours. It was nice to have a fun partyish dress on hand for an occasion, even if it's no longer something I would wear just to eat ice-cream in the park.

So anyway. I'm going to say goodbye here. The postman brought a parcel today which I want to go and investigate...


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

She'll be a summer girl. She'll have hair. She'll have summer friends who know how to be outside. She'll play tennis and wear dresses and have bare feet, and in the autumn I'll ditch her because she's my summer girl!

HOWDY PARTNERS. How is everyone? Mainly a little bit like this, perhaps?

I mean, don't get me wrong. I'm not really complaining about good weather. I wish that I didn't have hay fever and that humidity didn't make me swell up, but I'm happy about the warm weather, even if it makes it difficult to leave the house. There are numerous ways to cope.

The last time I wrote, we were about to go on holiday to Paris. We went, and it was awesome. We had ten days and were staying in the 17th arrondissement, in a beautiful Haussmann apartment next to Parc Monceau. I did a little bit of fabric shopping and we did some cultural and touristy stuff (we went to the Pompidou Centre and to the Musee de Montmartre) but mainly we spent the time pottering around, drinking champagne and people-watching. It was bliss.

Here's me with a glass of Ruinart and a Cafe Gourmand on the Ile de la Cite, living my best life.

We had ten days of relaxation and beautiful weather and then we came home to horrendous rain, a General Election and the fucking DUP.  Despite having lost my faith in the Labour Party as a result of their generally quite crap performance as opposition, I was impressed and encouraged by their campaigning and it was an easy decision to vote Labour again. My constituency had been Tory since 2010, and our MP was a total no-mark waste of space, so I was genuinely delighted that the seat went red.

My dress let everyone know how I intended to vote.

Everything following the General Election has been pretty strange for a Northern Irish person living in England. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it's been enraging hearing English people engage with Northern Irish politics at this stage in the game. It's certainly been annoying to see people horrified at the idea of a coalition with the DUP on the basis of their policies (homophobic, sexist, dinosaur-denying) because this shit is nothing new. It's just that it's only of interest to people here when it affects them.

I'm not a nationalist, but that's the background I come from. I grew up Catholic in a border village in Northern Ireland. I have little interest in a United Ireland, but I consider myself to be both Irish and Northern Irish rather than British. I live in England and I have no real intention of moving (although ten days in Paris made the daydream of a Parisian life even more appealing) but increasingly I feel like a stranger here, and never more keenly than when English people discuss Northern Ireland as if the Troubles were all of our own making and not, you know, as a direct result of England's colonialist past. It's been hard not to feel enraged all the time, I have to be honest, and difficult to know what to do with those feelings. I know that a lot of people don't want to hear it if you try to talk politics and I'm sure that some of you won't be comfortable with me talking about it here, but I'm not about to ignore it either. As the situation currently stands, the DUP - who have repeatedly blocked equal marriage in Northern Ireland, who oppose the Good Friday Agreement, whose leader is implicated in a scandal costing the Northern Irish taxpayer £400 million, whose intransigence caused the collapse of the power-sharing agreement and means that Northern Ireland still has no government - potentially have a stranglehold on a weakened minority government. There's a reason that 'May you live in interesting times' is a curse, and we're certainly living through those.

But anyway, you come for the dresses, I'm sure, so here is a dress. In fact, it's the dress I wore to go and vote, and I made it... I think at the end of March. I took these photos in April, I think, and for some reason I really hated them. Looking at them now though, they're not so bad:

Second Time Around dress - Butterick B6333 with a half-circle skirt, in Liberty Carline lawn, worn with Swedish Hasbeens 'Suzanne' sandals

ANOTHER B6333. Whatever, not sorry. I don't think I have any more of these to blog about so next time you might get some fucking variety up in here (well, what passes for variety around here). Me oh my, I do love Carline, and my first shirt-dress was a M6696 in the red Carline poplin. I made it a few years ago now and the fit wasn't brilliant, so I don't wear it much. I still have it, because I'm oddly sentimental like that, but I don't wear it. I chanced upon some of the lawn on ebay at some point last year and bought it. I didn't have a shirt-dress in mind for it, but I was so happy with the How Can You Leave Me On My Own dress that I decided another one was in order.

I considered underlining this dress as Liberty tana lawn is so light and drapey, and I wondered if a bit of structure would be a good thing in a shirt-dress, but I decided against it in the end. This print is large enough and dark enough that it isn't see-through, and I didn't want to lose the essential coolness and breathability of the fabric. I think in these pictures I am wearing the dress with a slip as it was a little chilly, but I wore this dress in Paris without a slip (because it was so hot) and didn't have any issues with it.

I made some self bias-binding to finish the armholes and face the hem. FUCK. ME. I think it might have been the most tedious thing I have ever done, and I regularly spend whole days checking numbers on giant spreadsheets. I mean, it was worth it (and I have loads left over) but the tedium of it made me angry. There are lots of tedious sewing jobs that I enjoy - I am one of those people who genuinely enjoys hand sewing and I even like sewing on buttons (I don't like tracing, though, I'm not a pervert) but this was a bit too much even for me.

I love the dress and have worn it loads since I made it. In fact, I wore it to work yesterday! It came to Paris with me, and it was perfect for the very hot weather we enjoyed there.

Here I am, wearing it in Parc Monceau...

...and later the same day at Trocadero, with a minor monument in the background

I think this iteration of a Carline shirt-dress has a slightly more casual feel than the others I've made, but it is so comfortable and cute to wear. It's been a winner. 

I don't always explain where the names of my dresses come from. This one is obvious, and it's also named after one of my top five episodes of Inspector Morse. For the sake of completeness, here is my list:

Second Time Around - the sadness of Kenneth Colley

Dead On Time - Oxford's Next Top Widow

Death Is Now My Neighbour - Evil Richard Briers Is Now My Favourite

Deceived By Flight - Lewis' hoose-painting leave interrupted by cricket

Masonic Mysteries - mysteries solved with inferior opera