Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Why Emery?

This is a post I have been meaning to write for a while if only to make it easier to answer the question I get asked frequently… why do you only sew the Emery pattern? This isn’t a justification; I can make whatever I want and however many I want thank you very much. Recent chatter over on GOMI (Yep I read the crafting forum and no I do not think you're all haterz) means there is no time like the present so here we go…

First up I guess I need to explain a bit about me and what makes me tick. I have obsessive habits and I always have. I am the girl who had exactly the same filling in her sandwiches the whole way through school. I can’t do something without giving it my all which is one of the reasons I don’t read, once I start a book I can’t stop until it’s finished which doesn’t go to well with sleeping and needing to get up for work in the morning. I have had other hobbies before and they become all-consuming until I get bored and usually stop altogether. My work colleagues miss me baking!

Before I started sewing I bought a lot of dresses, many are documented on this blog. I wouldn’t think twice to buying multiple dresses a week, after all if I can afford it then why shouldn’t I. When I first started sewing I looked through my ready to wear wardrobe and quickly realised that I am not really that fussed about different dress patterns, for me it is all about that print. As long as it had a fitted bodice, a full skirt and a high neckline I wasn’t that fussed. Add pockets and sleeves and I was in heaven. I absolutely adore Emily and Fin but only really bought a few styles, namely the Lucy and more recently the Abigail. They are pretty similar in style though I prefer the Abigail as it fitted me better and didn’t have a waistband. I used to have to cover up half of the pretty fabric with a cardigan which was a shame but it was either cute sleeveless dress or no dress. I own around 50 Emily and Fin dresses all giving a very similar silhouette but all feel different to me due to the varying prints.

Quite simply I only ever wear this silhouette. If you look back through the RTW outfits featured over the past few years they are all the same silhouette. It's what suits my body shape and what I feel most comfortable in. The Emery showcases fabrics perfectly, no waistband or princess seams to ruin the flow of the print. Plus I have altered the Emery bodice so it fits me perfectly - no gaping which is something I have had to put up with from high street dresses. I have considered using a different pattern but don’t feel the need to as it would only ever be a variation of a theme. Will I get bored making the same dress over and over? Probably not, I like the repetitive nature. It means I can clear my mind and de-stress. Why do I make so many? I have the time and the price of the fabric is considerably less than I was spending per dress. My desire for pretty new dresses hasn’t waned it’s just that rather than buy them I now make them myself. Do I think I will stop sewing like I have quit other hobbies? I really don’t think this will happen, it gives me so much and unlike baking doesn’t make me gain weight. Do I get bored wearing the same dress all the time? Hell no! How do I store them? I have several large wardrobes – I gave most of my RTW clothing to charity so now have loads of room.

I would also like to add that a million dresses is not a sewing blog. It started as a personal style and lifestyle blog but I now just happen to sew and wear dresses I have made myself. I am very much a novice so you will never find tutorials or the like here even though I have been approached by several companies in the past offering me sponsorship to do so. You will never find me sewing in stretch fabrics, I just don't like them and yep I turned down free lycra too. Learning to sew and churning out 100+ dresses has given me a lot of pleasure and if the emails I get are anything to go by I have also inspired others to take up sewing which can only be a good thing.  People always want different things out of the same hobby, do it for different reasons, in different ways and have different motivations.  What would be really boring is if we were all the same.

To the person who commented on the proportions – the bodice ends on my natural waist and I like my hem to hit my knee. I lengthened the bodice so it hit me on the waist, where do you suggest it should fall? It is my body that is out of proportion it seems.

PS, I am an Aquarius.


Wednesday Wants

It's that time again, the new Emily and Fin collection is now available for pre-sale at Aspire!  I love Emily and Fin, the dresses are nicely made and the prints they choose are just perfect.  I've picked my three favourites to share, there are plenty more to drool over though!  I'm glad to see Abigail is back for another season, she is a total stunner.  I love this plaid number, from the colours to the size of the checks.  Reminds me that I have a similar fabric waiting to be made up.

 Dress: Emily and Fin

This is my favourite of the new Lucy prints, although it might not seem like it sometimes I really love an understated but cute print, haha. 

 Dress: Emily and Fin

What was I saying about understated just a few seconds ago?!  This is my favourite of the three!  I haven't seen the Claudia dress before but love the shape and obviously the print.  I am a bit obsessed with cacti at the moment so the fact it has cacti and cowboys made me do a little squeal of delight.  This might be the dress that breaks me and means I have to buy a RTW dress this year!!


Friday, 23 January 2015

Made By Me #113

You would be right in thinking you've seen something similar from me before, I used to own a Vanity Project dress in this exact fabric!  I wasn't that keen on the bodice, too low cut for my tastes even though I had stitched it to prevent accidental spillage but that was all before I could make my own dresses to my exact requirements.  The fabric is a couple of years old so I didn't think I would find any so I was over the moon when I found a little stash at Fondant Fabrics.  I sold my Vanity Project dress to a lovely lady on instagram and purchased the fabric so I could make the dress I always wished it was! 

Perhaps I should have checked the print placement before I cut it out, I have ended up with a dubiously placed blue tit... haha.  It does make me smile whenever I notice so maybe it was meant to be.  I adore the dress, the fabric is so cheery and now I have it in my perfect dress!  AND IT HAS POCKETS.  The old dress would defo have benefited from pockets.  I apologise for my fringe doing a bit of an old man comb over in some of these photos.  It wasn't even windy it just didn't want to behave itself and play ball. 

Dress: Made by me using Wing Song fabric by Michael Miller
Shoes: Office

I have been wearing these shoes a lot since I got them, they really are the perfect height for all day comfort.  If you can find your size they are super cheap in the sale now and the burgundy version are even cheaper, £22!! I have a back up pair of the black ones and am seriously considering the burgundy ones.  They have worn really well, the leather is showing minimal wear and I can get them on and off without undoing the buckle which is always a bonus.  Talking of awesome shoes the Orla Kiely x Clarks SS15 preview has just gone up on the Clarks website.  I *need* at least three pairs, another amazing collection.  Cannot wait!


Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Wednesday Wants

I love this time of year.  For the amazing new arrivals and obviously not the lovely weather.  We had a little flurry of snow last night, I'm hoping that's the only snow we see this year.  Boden never fail to hit the spot with their lovely prints and shapes.  I am loving this apple print, though I usually prefer things to be in the colour they are IRL I am drawn to the blue version especially after seeing it in such a beautiful setting. 

 Dress: Boden

I always love seeing what Cath Kidston will do next with their clothing line.  They stick to a few simple shapes (well if it works, haha!) and come up with swoon-worthy designs every season.  I love the ric rac print fabric and have decided that one is my favourite of the new collection.  I also have been drooling over their collaboration with Gola.  Who else could make me want a pair of trainers other than Cath Kidston?!

 Dress: Cath Kidston

Back in safe shoe territory, I have been trying to talk myself out of these holographic beauties from asos. They are quite similar to the ones from Topshop but less harsh and maybe more wearable.  Oh I don't know which ones I want!  These ones also come in pink, can I have a pair of each please?!

Shoes: asos


Monday, 19 January 2015

My Sewing Room

When Gray asked if for Christmas I wanted him to give up his office and turn it into a sewing room for me I had to ask if he was being serious!  The whole reason Gray wanted to buy our house was so he could have his own little space, a kinda office come game room.  Giving it up meant way more to me than anything he could have bought me.  Once I knew he was actually serious I quickly decided on colours and how I wanted it to look, didn't want to give him time to change his mind.  I didn't need to fit in the ironing stuff as the utility room is right next door.  I also didn't want a dedicated cutting desk as I do most of my cutting out during my lunch break at work though I do have plenty of space if I need to.  We needed to keep the sofa bed as my sewing room doubles up as our third bedroom so I hunted high and low for cushions to make it look enticing and break up all that charcoal.

I knew that I wanted to make the room pretty and fill it full of things I love (other than just loads of fabric!) I wanted a picture shelf rather than having pictures hanging on the wall. I found most of the prints on Etsy and bought as many varying frames as I could get my hands on.  I love the way it came together, better than I imaged it could be.

We already had the storage unit from Ikea so I just filled it full of fabric and notions.  I can fit two rows of fabric in each cube so can make it look like my fabric habit is not that bad...

I also have a cube full of sewing books and patterns.  Most of the sewing books I own have been purchased from The Works, Roisin tipped me off to their awesome selection when I first told her I wanted to start sewing.  After making my beautiful silk dress I want to learn more about couture techniques so when I have my next occasion dress to sew I am going to pick up a few tips from my new book to make it even more special.  And I do own more than one pattern even though I choose to only make one!!

Talking of only making one sewing pattern, Christine Haynes kindly sent me the PDF for the Emery pattern cover so it could take pride of place in my sewing room.  It was only right after all!  I have also framed my gorgeous #simplybereal illustration.

Gray surprised me by also getting me Violet, my Lady Valet for Christmas.  I had asked for her for my birthday (WHICH IS IN A WEEK!) so it was a total surprise when he pulled her out of hiding on Christmas day.  She is modelling my latest make, I don't like leaving her naked!  My BFF is Janet, a Janome SMD3000, I love her and we spend many happy hours together.  She can occasionally be a bit temperamental (can't we all) but it is usually my fault and nothing that a fresh bobbin or a clean doesn't sort.  I love her dearly and recommend her highly if you're in the market for a new machine.

In case you were wondering Gray does still have a desk in the sewing room.  Kinda.  I have decided that I prefer having my sewing machine and overlocker on separate desks BUT I have also promised not to use my overlocker when Gray is in the room (sounds like a drill apparently) so we will never have to fight over the desk.  It's his when he wants to use it, I'm nice like that.  I have a Singer 14SH754 which I purchased for a fraction of the price at Lidl last year.  She has recently needed some repair work which was covered under the warranty and the service provided by Bogod & Co was awesome - picked up, fixed and returned to me within a week. I think she might have broken because I haven't named her yet...

I am absolutely over the moon with my new happy place, it is perfect in every way and I couldn't be happier with it.  I am looking forward to sewing the next 100 dresses in here.


Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Wednesday Wants

Happy hump day!  I am getting through the mid week with copious amounts of tea and a bit of window shopping, the count down to the weekend has begun! 

I love Orla Kiely's retro prints and while I have been getting my fix of her retro styling through her collaboration with Clarks I can't help but look longingly at her out of my budget dresses.  Her collaboration with People Tree hasn't really hit the spot for me before, yeah sure the prints have all been lovely and cute but not as retro as I would like.  This print changes that for me and if you're not into dresses (not sure we can be friends) then there is a cute top and trouser set which look awesome together.

 Dress: asos

I looked everywhere for some gold mid heels a few months ago.  Could I find a single pair? Nope.  Topshop have come to the rescue with this adorably pointy pair, also available in pink and black.  Now what was it I wanted to wear them with...

 Shoes: Topshop

The struggle to find a cute case for the iPhone 6 is real!  I have had to make do with a boring Apple one since I got my phone in September, it seems to have taken way longer for them to filter through than it did with the iPhone 5.  I really wanted one from Alphabet Bags so I asked when they were going to be available and they said no plans :(  I had my eye on this one but ya know £30 and not yet available in the UK (coming soon though!) so I was made up when I stumbled on this one in Paperchase and saw it was only £12 I made it mine.  If you have spotted any gorgeous iPhone 6 cases let me know, I'm always in the market for another one!

Phone Case: Paperchase

I've entered a Twitter selfie competition hosted by into the blue this week, the idea of it is to try something new and be more adventurous which worked really well for me last year when I took the plunge and learned how to sew.  I only picked two small things, wear lipstick in the day and a new scent, as I am still trying to decide on the big thing for 2015.  I don't expect it to be as life changing as learning to sew (I know that sounds silly but it really has had a massive impact on me and my life) but I want to try and step out of my comfort zone every now and then to see what happens.  Have you got any plans to try something new this year? If so please share, I might be up for joining you!


Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Wednesday Wants

Hello you lovely lot.  Firstly Happy New Year!! I know we are 7 days into 2015 but I felt like taking a bit of a break so I did.  The lead up to Christmas was absolutely crazy for us, we were away every weekend and it felt like I didn't have time to do anything.  I struggled to find any time for sewing or blogging as I was in a constant state of exhaustion.  I would like to say I am feeling awesome now but after not sleeping well for the past three nights that feeling of being well rested has started to evaporate.  BUT I am still feeling way better than I did at the end of 2014 so yeah!  I am still trying to decide what 2015 means to A Million Dresses going forward but whilst I mull it over I thought I had best bounce back with a little wishlist. 

I am going to mix things up with these posts going forward. Since I have started sewing I have only actually bought two dresses and have yet to wear either of them.  I honestly didn't ever expect my new hobby to have such an impact on my life but it has in the most amazing way.  I no longer spend hours checking out the new in sections every week.  I was pretty obsessive, sometimes I would have logged onto the Topshop website before I had even gotten out of bed.  Whilst my love of dresses hasn't waned I can now happily feed my own demand.  I do still spend time online looking out for new fabric but nothing like when I was trying to find a dress.  Plus I know the dress I make with the fabric will fit and flatter and make me feel good.  Can't guarantee that with a Ready To Wear dress.  I do still browse dresses on a weekly basis as I like to see fabrics and shapes etc so I will still be sharing dresses I love in my weekly wishlists.  I know lots of you love the same sorts of things as me so it's almost a public duty! haha.  What I am going to do is add a mix of shoes and accessories as that is the one thing I am still buying.  I never seem to have enough shoes ;)

The first dress that caught my eye is this beautifully detailed one from asos.  Christmas parties might be a distant memory but some of us have birthdays in January!  Plus there is one sure way to chase away the January blues and that is by donning a pretty frock and dancing like your life depends on it.  Even if it is alone in your living room.  Or you could just wear your PJs...

 Dress: asos

I am totally in love these shoes and am missing a pair of tan shoes from my wardrobe so that means I need them right?!  Plus asos have just sent me a 10% code as we have been together for 8 years now, my longest relationship - where is that crying with laughter emoji when you need it?! I love the block mid heel, the pointed toe and the lower vamp (is it still a vamp on lace ups?)

 Shoes: asos

My struggle to find everyday shoes is real.  I had to return both pairs of Orla Kiely Dorothy's as the patent leather cracked where your foot flexes after a maximum of 15 wears.  They had sold out so I couldn't get replacements, absolutely gutted.  I have two pairs of the Dottys which I adore but wanted something easier to wear.  I have a few basic requirements - a mid block heel and not too clumpy.  You wouldn't think this would be a hard combo but boy I looked everywhere.  I had dismissed these online but in person they are perfect.  I have only started wanting daintier, less clumpy shoes since I lowered my hemline, they are just a bit off with a knee length skirt.  I tried these on in store and was smitten.  They were still marked up as full price but when I got to the till they were only £33 - RESULT.  They are now only £29 and are so, so comfy.  Plus the t-bar is low enough that you do not need to faff around with the buckle, they just slip on and off.  I definitely ordered a back up pair!

Shoes: Office

The Office shoes, some Daisy Dream perfume and this Linea coat are the only things I have treated myself to in the sales, have you found any ace bargains you are itching to share?


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