One Swallow Does Not A Summer Make

Well, thanks Aristotle and I’m here to tell you that, apparently, neither do zillions of swallows as the weather is still wet, thundery and generally rubbish and there are plenty of swallows around who probably wish they’d stayed where they were.

I even did the dressmaking equivalent of a rain dance (only for sun) by using fabric liberally scattered with swallows to make a summer dress.

This one –

……..but it didn’t work and we are still having the wettest weather  – December through June to date – since records began (probably) but definitely since we moved here over thirteen years ago.  If we have a rare hot, sunny day it ends up in a thunderstorm.

If it wasn’t for the lack of English pubs, bluebells, good Indian restaurants and the sense of humour, we might as well be back in the U.K. although they have been enjoying the warmest May since records began but I don’t begrudge them because nobody appreciates a bit of sun like the Brits.

Anyway, I have been busy inside making the Sew Over It 1940s Wrap Dress which I decided to make for Mlle. Tialys the Younger.

It has a few tricksy features such as the shawl collar on the bodice and pleated shoulders and there was quite a lot of hand finishing involved but…..

…….I have had an epiphany and found that the more challenging or involved a project, the more liable I am to concentrate on getting it right.   The jersey ‘dress in an hour’  type projects are good for instant dressmaking therapy but, because they are simple and quick to do (especially on an overlocker/serger), I tend to plunge right in and steamroll through and that’s often when I make mistakes.

I’m not saying I didn’t make any mistakes on this project.  The first time I sewed the skirt on to the waistband of the bodice, I didn’t match the right seams up and couldn’t work out why the wrap wasn’t wrapping in the way the designer intended.  Still, you get my drift.

I’m very pleased with the way this fabric sewed up especially as it was around £3 per metre from an Ebay seller with some rather good bargains.

A close up of my lovely collar and pleats and set in sleeve because I’m so chuffed when I get things right and it makes a change from me pointing out my mistakes.

A back view because you need to look good when you’re walking away don’t you.

Here it is on a real life model, albeit headless, as I promised her she would be.

I’m definitely going to make one of these for myself – just got to fall in love with some fabric……….

and wait for the Summer to start.


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  1. #1 by nanacathy2 on June 4, 2018 - 15:44

    What a wonderful frock! Most certainly you need one too. Hoping it stops raining for you soon.

    • #2 by tialys on June 5, 2018 - 11:35

      I’ve just finished a different one for myself – not blogged about yet – but I might go back to the wrap dress once I find a fabric I like.
      A light drizzle today – at least it’s warm.

  2. #3 by brennacrocheter on June 4, 2018 - 15:58

    This is lovely, and looks great on your model! Love the fabric too!

  3. #5 by craftycreeky on June 4, 2018 - 16:18

    Looks great, I love the detail with the shoulder tucks. I keep meaning to make a wrap dress, I think half of me is concerned about wardrobe malfunctions!! I’m having to water our garden fairly regularly, it does make a change for us to have the decent weather 🙂

    • #6 by tialys on June 5, 2018 - 11:34

      Thank you Margaret. Actually I think you’d be quite safe in this dress. The inner waistband and skirt go right across your body and closes with a jigger button (only just learnt that term so determined to use it!) then the top wraps over completely and does up with a press stud.

  4. #7 by katechiconi on June 4, 2018 - 17:44

    That is a very sophisticated and elegant dress, and if I still had a waist, I’d probably want to make one for myself, even if only to admire it on the hanger most of the time; I don’t have the sort of life that needs elegant frocks… I hope you find some dream fabric soon, so you can make one for yourself!

    • #8 by tialys on June 5, 2018 - 11:28

      It’s a sad fact that I don’t really have the sort of life that needs elegant frocks any more either but I take every opportunity I can to wear one. The problem is, they are my favourite thing to make – I should really only make jeans and tops but where’s the fun in that?

      • #9 by katechiconi on June 5, 2018 - 12:19

        I know the feeling! I’d love to make a lovely big warm coat, but when on earth would I wear something like that? I content myself with making simple things from lovely fabrics.

      • #10 by tialys on June 5, 2018 - 14:02

        A coat is one of the things I’ve sworn I’m never going to bother to try to make – that way madness lies (or it would with me anyway). I have, however, always said the same thing about jeans and here I am with a jeans pattern and a length of grey denim. Watch this space.

      • #11 by katechiconi on June 5, 2018 - 20:07

        Now that’ll be worth watching… Jeans I will never, ever make.

  5. #12 by Kim on June 4, 2018 - 17:49

    (Yes, we are doing our utmost to enjoy every available moment of sunshine here in Worcestershire 😃).

    • #13 by tialys on June 5, 2018 - 11:25

      Thanks Kim, I hope you continue to enjoy the sun for a while yet – although if you could just send a little of it over here, I’d be grateful.

      • #14 by Kim on June 5, 2018 - 17:43

        We need all we can get – but I’m sure we could spare a little 😉.

  6. #15 by magpiesue on June 4, 2018 - 19:30

    Wonderful! It makes perfect sense that a garment requiring more attention to the construction process would come off with fewer errors than a garment you can make in an hour. I totally get that. Meanwhile, we had the driest May on the books for a decade or more here in the wet state of Washington. I’m rejoicing now over the little bit of rain we had yesterday and the June Gloom that seems to have settled in as per usual. It makes my life easier even if it feels less summer-like for everyone else!

    • #16 by tialys on June 5, 2018 - 11:24

      Thank you Sue – I suppose the same applies to patchwork too.

  7. #17 by Emmely on June 4, 2018 - 19:54

    The dress turned out great! Love the print too!

    • #18 by tialys on June 5, 2018 - 11:22

      Thanks Emmely – lovely to hear from you, I hope things are all going well for you.

      • #19 by Emmely on June 5, 2018 - 17:30

        Yes, I am doing well. Still trying to find more time for sewing and blogging but I’m slowly getting there.

  8. #20 by claire93 on June 4, 2018 - 21:02

    I do hope Mlle Tialys the Younger appréciâtes all the time and effort that went into this dress. It looks a lovely fit and has a very timeless look about it (style, but also your fabric colour & pattern).
    And just so as you know – we’ve been having lots of storms too. Parts of days are really hot and muggy, then thunder growls in the distance and storms bring rain. Iy’s been a rather strange Spring weatherwise.

    • #21 by tialys on June 5, 2018 - 11:22

      I doubt she does to be honest but we don’t make things for the praise do we – although a little bit wouldn’t go amiss now and again.
      A very strange Spring – I hope that doesn’t mean we’re going to have a very strange Summer too. It would be nice to be able to confidently predict a barbecue or outside event again.

  9. #22 by CurlsnSkirls on June 4, 2018 - 22:01

    Across the pond, the South is also “enjoying” a lot of rain, with some clear days which end up being rainy before sunset, so I feel your pain, Lynn. Your ability to concentrate on a difficult pattern has stellar results!

  10. #24 by Trisha on June 4, 2018 - 23:45

    Lovely dress, its a very good pattern which I think helps the enjoyment of the sewing,

    • #25 by tialys on June 5, 2018 - 11:17

      It is a good pattern, the slightly more challenging bits were well explained and I did really enjoy sewing it. I know you made a lovely version – it was after seeing it that I decided to buy the pattern.

  11. #26 by kathyreeves on June 5, 2018 - 03:34

    That is beautifully made, and the swallows are wonderful, not silly at all, just a great summer print. Our spring never got started until May here in South Dakota, but we are having some pretty warms days this week, and hopefully a nut of rain on Thursday. It is amazingly green here, we’ll see how long it lasts!

    • #27 by tialys on June 5, 2018 - 11:15

      The ‘greenness’ is the advantage I suppose but the grass just keeps on growing and the lawnmower can’t be put away yet. The roses look good though.

      • #28 by kathyreeves on June 5, 2018 - 14:02

        No matter what, the weeds and the grass don’t give up!

  12. #29 by myquiltprojects on June 5, 2018 - 04:17


  13. #31 by anne54 on June 5, 2018 - 09:26

    Let me add my praise to your dress. It looks very elegant, and flattering, but also looks like it would be very comfy to wear. I hope you fall in love with some material soon so that you can make one for yourself.
    Can you send some rain over here? It’s cold, but we haven’t had our usual amount of winter rain yet.

    • #32 by tialys on June 5, 2018 - 11:12

      Well, I’m just putting the finishing touches to another dress which is for me but I wouldn’t call it a comfy style as it has a very fitted bodice.
      You can certainly have some of our rain – although it is warm here and you can’t have that!

  14. #33 by KerryCan on June 5, 2018 - 12:44

    I love that dress and I am so envious of your skill! The dress looks simple, until you point out the collar and pleats, etc.,–they add so much to the fit and general look. Make one for yourself and show us! Sorry about your weather–but it means good things for your sewing!

    • #34 by tialys on June 5, 2018 - 14:01

      It does – I don’t feel guilty about staying inside if the weather isn’t good. Although there’s always a bit of hand sewing and crochet that can be taken outside under the parasol – though the chance would be a fine thing at the moment.

  15. #35 by Born To Organize on June 5, 2018 - 14:28

    What a shame about the weather. We covet rain here (only 15 inches a year on average), but like anything, it’s tedious when it refused to let up, *and* when the season feels off. I’m glad you’ve made the best of it.

    I love that style of dress. I think the 20’s and the 40’s are my two favorite fashion eras. You’ve done a masterful job with the pleats and the shawl collar. I laughed about you not having to point out your mistakes. Isn’t it funny how we all do that. “Look here…I messed up this part.” Will you indeed make one for yourself?

    • #36 by tialys on June 6, 2018 - 23:12

      Perhaps we are afraid somebody might spot a mistake and think we haven’t noticed it ourselves and feel sorry for us so we feel the need to preempt them. Or maybe that’s just me.
      Anyway, I’ve just finished a more fitted dress for myself which I’ll blog about soon – I’m on a dressmaking roll at the moment – but I would like to come back to the 40s Wrap Dress once I decide what fabric I want.
      I would do a little rain dance for you but I’m afraid the heavens would get confused and dump even more on us.

  16. #37 by rrita on June 5, 2018 - 20:25

    Oh, I love this dress! It’s absolutely fantastic! The colors, the texture of the fabric, how the dress flows, all those lovely details, everything! Can I have one, as well, please? Great job you did there! And I totally get what you meant with more complicated projects and concentration!

    • #38 by tialys on June 6, 2018 - 23:04

      Thanks Rita and best wishes for your upcoming event.

  17. #39 by mariannasew2pro on June 8, 2018 - 23:40

    I didn’t realise you had such a prolonged period of rain 😦 But if it’s any consolation, I didn’t notice that May was particularly hot here, though we had three very lovely weekends which was almost too good to be true.
    The dress is lovely; I can’t believe you are not keeping it for yourself!

    • #40 by tialys on June 10, 2018 - 09:51

      Didn’t notice?! Every time I looked at the U.K. headlines online it was as if you were all living in a tropical paradise although I know how the tabloids like to take any sort of ‘out of the ordinary’ weather and run with it. I was still jealous though.
      My youngest daughter is a different shape to me so this one doesn’t fit but I might make myself one once I’ve tackled a pair of jeans. Yes, I’ve finally succumbed and got on the Ginger jeans bandwagon – albeit several years after everyone else. So far, having cut a pair out and basted them together, things are going well fit-wise but I’m guessing the finishing is the thing that will be the challenge. All that very visible top stitching – eek! Meanwhile, I have made myself a dress from African wax fabric which I’m very pleased with. Just got to get somebody to wield the camera in front of me when I’ve got it on. Watch this space!

  18. #41 by thecraftersapprentice on June 13, 2018 - 10:39

    It’s beautiful! I bet she’s thrilled with her new dress

    • #42 by tialys on June 15, 2018 - 08:15

      It’s sometimes hard to tell – but I think she likes it 😉

  19. #43 by knitnkwilt on June 15, 2018 - 05:04

    The dress looks elegant! I could never get shawl collars right, so for that and other reasons abandoned dressmaking.

    • #44 by tialys on June 15, 2018 - 08:07

      I know what you mean – I get really discouraged when things go wrong. It’s getting the fit right that stresses me – I’m struggling with a dress at the moment and feel like flinging it to one side as I’m not sure if I’m even going to wear it. I just keep getting drawn back in though.

  20. #45 by dezertsuz on June 16, 2018 - 23:23

    That is fabulous! I like the fabric, and the attention to the little details. It’s a great style. I need to be wealthy so I can employ a personal dressmaker. Your daughter is lucky she has you. =)

    I hope you wind up with some nice weather soon. We are having a few sunny days interspersed in our months of rain, too, and it’s definitely hot! More than 32C right now, but the humidity, for here, is low at 29%. It was 82% overnight!

    • #46 by tialys on June 17, 2018 - 09:23

      Ew! I hate it when the temperatures stay hot overnight but these old French houses are quite good at staying cool. The French all keep their shutters closed against the heat but, being British, I can’t bear to shut the sunshine out so I sometimes pay for it with an uncomfortable night.
      I tell my daughter she’s lucky but I don’t think she listens 😉

  21. #47 by rosejasm on June 17, 2018 - 09:07


  22. #49 by Lindashee on June 17, 2018 - 20:06

    That looks wonderful, spot on and with no unwanted creases ! I’d love to get back to dress making, but am lacking a proper space for it. How long dyou reckon this dress took you to make ?

    • #50 by tialys on June 19, 2018 - 10:54

      Hmmm. I don’t really count the hours and usually I work on stuff between other projects. If you had it all cut out and ready I reckon you could make it in a full weekend if you really went for it – there is a little bit of hand finishing involved. Everybody works at different speeds though don’t they? My daughter is in a smallish flat with her boyfriend and she has commandeered a desk for her sewing stuff but she does try to be disciplined about only buying fabric for a specific project and not filling a whole room with it like I do.

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