Posh Frocks For Chickens

I am very disappointed with the weather up to now this year.  It is the middle of May and yet the sun seems reluctant to show its face and we keep having rain and the occasional hailstorm.  I haven’t even taken the winter tyres off my car yet.  The first few vide greniers (aka boot sale/yard sale) have been rained off or, because there has been the threat of rain, nobody has bothered to turn up.  Although I did manage to find this fetching Madamoiselle yesterday morning.  I must say, she gave the dog a nasty turn.

Plaster Bust

Thank goodness then, that I have got back into my dressmaking mode as it has whiled away a few wet and windy hours.  I was rather taken with the New Look 6873 skirt I made but obviously had to hand it over to Mlle Tialys the Younger as it is  a little on the short side  for a woman of my life experience, not to mention it is covered in grinning death’s heads.  Still, it’s an easy pattern and I like the style so I plundered my fabric stash to see what I could find.  I’m one of those people that has to do something IMMEDIATELY when I make my mind up and it was a sunday so I couldn’t go shopping (no, not in France!).  Anyway, I found some Kaffe Fasset fabric I had bought at one time but there wasn’t quite enough so I made the pocket linings and yoke facings with plain chocolate brown material and, because I didn’t have enough fabric to hem it at a decent length, I used bias ribbon to hem it.  Can you bear it?  I’ve only just got back into dressmaking and am already doing tricksy things like that .  Here it is hanging on a hanger as it was too cold today to model it with bare legs and it would look hideous with tights.

kaffe fasset skirt

My next project – which I have already cut out – is from a French magazine.  Impressed aren’t you?  Well, I will take it slowly and, if I get stuck, take it to my mini sewing bee on Thursday so my friend can help me translate the more complicated bits.

french dress

I like the panelled skirt and the neckline which is a little bit different.  Also, as soon as I saw it I could imagine it in the Liberty of London Carline design, some of which I just happen to have in purple.

Liberty of London Carline

I have now received my pattern for the Elisalex Dress, which alone is a little work of art, and I have been contemplating fabric.  It is supposed to be made in quite heavy weight fabric – even upholstery weight –  in order to hold the shape of the tulip skirt which, I am assured, is flattering to all but I am not totally convinced and may reserve the right to draft the beautfiul, fitted top onto a different shaped skirt.  Also, I don’t like exposed zips so I will have to adapt that.  Whoaa! There I am again going all tricksy.  Anyway, I haven’t quite gone ‘upholstery’ but I have gone ‘home décor’ and bought these fabrics with which to give the lovely Elisalex dress a go.

blogpost19.5 (3)

I actually bought the white patterned one – which is called ‘Marie Antoinette’ – for another pattern I bought – Simplicity Project Runway 1803  – so I might make the spotted one up in the Elisalex in a short sleeved version and, if I like it, I’ll use the ‘Marie Antoinette’ to make a sleeveless version.  If I’m not keen I’ll go with the Project Runway dress.


Where, I hear you ask, am I  going to wear all these pretty, feminine dresses and skirts when regular readers know that, not only do I live in a beautiful yet cultural backwater with very few opportunities to wear a posh frock, but I have the sort of lifestyle that mostly requires jeans in the winter and shorts in the summer.  Well, once I have a small but versatile stock I am hoping to start making more things for my Madamoiselles.  The Elder is very into fashion and would probably throw herself into choosing patterns and fabrics and might even have a go herself.  Unfortunately, she is in the U.K. at university most of the time so, when she comes back for the summer, I will tie her down, take her measurements, ban her from eating the usual student’s diet of crisps, chocolate bars and vodka so that she stays the same and then I can make clothes for her ‘in absentia’ .  Didn’t know I speak Latin too did you?  The Younger (as we have seen) is more into black, red, skulls, wolves, etc., hasn’t got much interest in fashion and certainly not frocks, so she might prove a bit more difficult.

I haven’t been completely idle on the craft front and here is another cartonnage box I completed recently.  No sewing involved – lots of glue and different thicknesses of card.  I was making this at my friend’s house and, as the glue was still drying, left it there weighted down with some of her antique flat irons.  Ooops!  When I returned the following week, she was all upset because some rust had transferred itself onto the fabric.  Ho hum. Another lesson learned.  I still like it though.


On the quilting front, I bought a Moda Layer Cake in ‘Little Black Dress’ design and I am having a go at this ‘handbag’ quilt from the book by Pam and Nicky Lintott.   I was drawn to it as it is a little bit different, fun to make and not too huge.  I think, when it is all joined together, I might quilt it again simply using cotton perlé maybe around the handles and outline of the bag.  What do you think about that idea and what sort of colour thread do you think?   I cannot get the hang of free motion quilting and, after all the hard work of piecing, I would rather do something by hand not least because it is much easier to unpick if it goes wrong.

Handbag Quilt

So that should keep me busy.  However, bowing to pressure, I agreed to add to our little flock of chickens today as the chicken man was at the market.  We only have 2 ageing hens left now (thanks for that Stan the dog) and a cockerel so I have had to start buying eggs again.  Whaaaat?  There is no comparison.  Even if you buy the most organic, free range, pampered eggs in the shop, they cannot compare to your own chickens’ eggs.  So we have another 3 now, some Light Sussex.   Here is Mlle T the Younger with Isis (don’t ask).  I wanted to call them Milly, Molly and Mandy but she had other ideas so I might just have to be content with Milly and Molly although it doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Young LIght Sussex

So, chicken wrangling – and everybody knows you need plenty of posh frocks for that.


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  1. #1 by Jan Marriott on May 20, 2013 - 15:08

    Impressive……I really like the Elisalex pattern,
    here in Canada , I blinked and missed spring. Today is a holiday, Queen Victoria’s Birthday, so now summer can officially begin. We can use the patio, BBQ, wage war on dandelions and wear white shoes.

  2. #2 by tialys on May 20, 2013 - 15:19

    Happy Birthday Queen VIctoria. I believe she used to love putting on a novelty apron and grilling a few sausages. I didn’t know she wore white shoes though.:)
    Have a great summer and I hope ours arrives soon.

  3. #3 by wendy on May 20, 2013 - 22:18

    I think your little mademoiselle up there is quite fetching..a great find, in spite of grim weather. I’d be happy to have her hanging about the place. But, I don’t think that the Elisalex dress would suit all body shapes – as nice as it is…..that tulip skirt would make me look like an overinflated beach ball!. But you are lovely and slim so it will flatter you. (I’d also not want an exposed zip.)

    Filthy weather here too – so maddening – we have the heating on again tonight.

    I’d love to have hens and get fresh eggs – I love eggs…but we have a semi- resident fox and I think he’d frighten them to death, if they managed to avoid being gobbled up.

  4. #4 by tialys on May 20, 2013 - 22:31

    Apparently Wendy, the bodice of the Elisalex is so constructed that it makes you look as if you have a teeny, tiny waist and lots of people – who were also doubters – were pleasantly surprised when they made it. However, I am still not convinced, largely because I think that dress is going to look really quite formal in upholstery weight fabric with a tulip shaped skirt and it might be a little ‘trop’ for round these ‘ere parts. Why buy the pattern, I hear you say. Well, I really like that the bodice has a scoop neck AND a scoop back and is supposed to fit like a glove. Also, three different sleeve lengths and apparently easily adapted to fit a straight skirt shape, as well as a circle skirt. Plus, I am very nosy and wanted to see what all the fuss is about
    Ooh! As I am typing this, a little message has popped up on my screen to tell me that ’15 Coast Road is now following your blog’ – I thought you already were as you always seem to leave comments for me.

  5. #5 by Wendz on May 20, 2013 - 22:42

    I followed you on Google Reader but as that is being scrapped I am moving to Bloglovin and only now, looking properly at your blog sidebar, have I noticed your email subscription link. Much better in my Inbox anyway as sometimes I don’t have time to pop into the reader for days and days.

  6. #6 by Rose H on May 21, 2013 - 00:37

    The Kaffe Fasset fabric/skirt is quite lovely! I love the gothy skull fabric of the other skirt too!

  7. #7 by tialys on May 21, 2013 - 10:58

    So do I Rose but I’m not sure I could get away with it!

  8. #8 by Catherine on May 21, 2013 - 14:18

    Lovely dresses, but upholstery fabric might be a bit heavy weight for comfort. Great that you have people to make for 🙂

  9. #9 by tialys on May 21, 2013 - 16:20

    I know what you mean Catherine. There’s actually a T.V. ad on at the moment which has women being swirled around by their partners in a dance, wearing dresses in the same fabric as the sofas that the shop in the ad is selling. They look great actually but there’s always the fear somebody might sit on you. I’ll stick with the home décor weight at the moment and see how I get on.

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