Looking Forward to Summer Picnics

Looking Forward to Summer Picnics

It is rather anticipatory making a summer frock when there is still snow forecast, but hey ho. I wanted to try and use a plaid fabric that was not expensive because I have never worked in a bold check or plaid before, and I did not want a ‘Disaaaaaaaaaster, darling’ with some lovely but expensive material. I must also admit I have always feared looking like a picnic tablecloth, so that if I lay on some sunny greensward and closed my eyes I would waken to find myself covered in cucumber sandwiches and Pimms.

However, the beautiful Earth, Air & Water linen took my fancy as just the colours I like, and so I took the plunge. First of all I washed the fabric in the washing machine at 30˚C. I offer a small warning here. Do this on its own as it does lose colour, at least on the first wash. The laundry bag emerged a delicate sea green! I would actually wash this on its own (unless you have lots of sea green) for several washes. At the same time it did not look noticeably lighter, so it is just a colour fastness issue.

It irons nicely, and I have to say it feels wonderful when worn. It is feather light, soft, drapes beautifully, and feels fresh and summery. I will certainly have this as a mainstay for the summer if the weather reaches a decent temperature.

I made up another retro pattern (Vogue V8811), and even purchased a nice vintage buckle that was a perfect colour match for the fabric (I went to VintageGreenClothing on Etsy for this).
It is an easy pattern to follow, and the only complication is getting the hem just right, as the pattern of the fabric sometimes makes you think you are wrong when you are right, and vice versa. The back closure is a button, and I recommend making a tiny covered one for the finish, though it may take some swearing under the breath to get it put together. 

Fiddly covering of buttons is a pain, but worth it for the result. The dress is not lined, and I made an effort to neaten everything inside as it is a linen and could fray a little. It was not difficult, and I French seamed the skirt seams. 

I can thoroughly recommend Earth Air & Water as a summer delight, so you can eat the cucumber sandwiches, drink the Pimms, and not be a tablecloth! 

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Elizabeth Binns


Elizabeth Binns

Emily, this pattern came up a good fit at the waist for me, and I also often find too much on the pattern size.The belt gives a little ‘ease’ in a sense, and can adjust an inch or so whilst looking natural, but if you have basted the skirt and tried it on you can bring in the seams a little without ruining the line at all.

Personally I found the Vogue photo very unhelpful as to how the dress would look ( model in a distracting ensemble and sat down) but the original drawing cover is excellent, even though it reminds us that ladies were often a little smaller all over then, and they wore firm corsetry for that sculpted figure.

This dress has become my go to comfortable/wear anywhere summer dress this season. It feels cool, easy to wear ( and wash), and I discovered an unlined Viyella jacket in my wardrobe which I have had for years and is the perfect match for the blue ‘water’ element . Wearing a jacket with it upgrades the outfit from fun to more formal, as well as being practical in our British climate.

Elizabeth Binns

Looks fabulous! And inspired by you I’ve bought fabric (from Fabworks of course) and the Vogue pattern to make my own. Quick question – what is the ease like on the pattern. I’m too often caught out by cutting my measurements according to the pattern envelope only to find the waist is very large. Advice gratefully received!

Elizabeth Binns

I’m really enjoying your blog updates and seeing what you do with the material.

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