Monday, 17 October 2011

On radiance and sewing dresses

When I was in the midst of making quilting errors with my silk and velvet throw last week, I asked Katy a question about batting, as I tend to think she knows everything when it comes to quilts. It turns out that she didn't know the answer to that particular question (although she did make a helpful suggestion), but she did ask if I'd come across Robert Kaufman's silk/cotton range of fabrics called Radiance. And when I said no, she offered to send me a fat quarter stack over, as Robert Kaufman had given her a selection of colour stacks to gaze at. She now says that this was a bribe and that she was just priming me to help her when she begins making her Miz Mozelle dress (more on that later) in November, but I think that's just Katy Talk to cover up the fact that she's extremely kind. When this beauteous bundle arrived on Saturday morning I couldn't quite believe that she'd been able to part with it - it's stunning and so true to its name. You know when occasionally you're talking to someone and you can't help but notice that their skins seems to glow with an ethereal radiance that couldn't possibly have originated from the inside of  a make-up pot?* That's what this fabric seems to do - you can't pin down where it's glowing or radiating seems to come from within, rather than merely sitting on the surface of the fibres. And the colours are stunning - shades that appear to be permanently viewed with a soft-focus setting turned on, even though my eyes don't seem bleary when I test them by averting my gaze to other things in the same room.

Katy had told me that it was a fat quarter stack...but she doesn't know her own generosity, for it's actually a bundle of half-yard cuts! I can't wait to make a quilt from this - it will be perfect for our living room which is various shades of duck egg.

They're so beautiful that Katy has, understandably, been feeling fearful of cutting into them and she sent these to me declaring that if I'd cut into them, then so could she (she'll be using the purple colourway)...but that was before she knew how haphazard my last attempt with silks turned out to be. I'm not sure she would have chosen me as her companion to jump off the cliff with if she'd known this first (although, actually she probably still would have done, because she's nice like that). Thank you, Katy.

Anyway, I mentioned earlier that Katy was planning to make a Miz Mozelle...the dress that I've already made twice and have vowed to make several more times in the future - I think she'll actually end up doing something of an informal sew-along for this dress, so if you've been wondering about this dress, then now is a perfect time to buy the pattern and begin choosing your fabric. I know that Backstitch had sold out of this pattern, but Alice is now fully restocked and you can find it here, and Rachel of Raystitch has also recently started stocking Jamie Christina patterns, so you can now find them here too. I can't wait to see some more finished Mozelles and have a feeling that I won't be able to sit back and watch all the fun without feeling compelled to cut out some fabric and begin sewing along with Katy myself.

I know that Katy is planning to use a Tana lawn for her Miz Mozelle, meaning that she'll have something multi-seasonal, while the dress above, which uses this Liberty stretch silk, suits summer and evening. However, if you're looking for something exclusively wintry for daytime wear then there was a sample that Dorte of Dragonfly Fabrics sent to me last week that I think may be perfect for it - a plain navy viscose stretch priced at £14.90 per doesn't seem to be on her website yet as I'm guessing it may have only  just come in, but if you're interested then it may well be worth contacting her for a sample. It's the upper fabric in this little stack pictured below and it has a nice drape, would be warm and cosy and isn't so insanely stretchy that it would present a challenge to someone unused to working with knits...and look at those neat raw edges on the sample - a good sign that it wouldn't unravel too horribly if you don't own an overlocker. And having looked at the photo again, I've also realised that the inky stretch satin in the middle of this photo would also be a good choice for evening or more formal wear.

I said at the end of my last post that I'd be sharing finished pizza oven photos...but actually, it's still not quite finished as my husband has decided he wants to put a lime colour wash over the lime render outer layer. A few of you mentioned that you've either built an oven this summer or are thinking of doing it. I wondered whether you fancy taking a sewing detour with quick pizza oven guest post from my husband at some point soon?

Florence x

* For the record, I was thinking about my mother's face here. She wears Laura Mercier tinted moisturiser...I've tried it myself and it doesn't make me appear radiant with good health like that though.


  1. I know my husband would certainly be interested to read about your husband's pizza oven adventures! He's been itching to build one for years.

  2. You have such amazing skills! The last quilt you made was beautiful and Im sure this blue one will be too. Cant wait to see it. I just discovered your blog a few days ago and even though Ive never sewn anything in my life (well maybe a button back on a shirt..badly)Im enjoying reading it so much!

  3. Yes! Yes!! Please ask Mr Tcakes to make a pizza oven post. i've been trying to persuade Mr M for years! pleease pretty please :)

  4. Gorgeous fabric stack there, looking forward to seeing what you do with it

  5. Yes yes to Mr T's tutorial! My hubby would be fascinated to know how to build one from scratch (as would I on his behalf, as freshly made pizza is one of my favourite meals!) Ooh, we would be the envy of all our friends!
    Lovely lot of fabrics too, the colours are gorgeous. I would be tempted to do a log cabin of some kind, with the play on light and dark. Louise.

  6. A lovely bundle of fabric, yes, but they are 1/4 yard cuts (not 1/2 yard), cut lengthwise not crosswise--hence the term "fat quarter." (In other words, a 1-yd piece of fabric is cut into fourths like brownies, and not in strips as you would get if you purchased simply 1/4 yd. of fabric.) Hope that helps. Eager to see what you make out of them.

  7. Anonymous - it's actually very definitely a 1/2 yard stack (as it says on the label in the photo) and that's why Kaufman have named the bundle Half to Have it. Having worked with them, I can say without doubt that there were no fat quarters or skinny quarters in there - just nice plump half yards! Hurrah!


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Florence x

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