The Last Makes of Winter

Well, I’ve been back from my visit to see Mlle. Tialys the Elder in the U.K. for a week now but, as usual with me, it takes a while to get back into what passes for any sort of routine in my life.

I was very lucky with the weather and I know this because people were in shorts, t-shirts and other summer clothing and frolicking on Bournemouth’s sandy beach while the ice cream vans were doing a great trade.  England in February is not how I remember it but, being made soft by the warmer climes in S.W. France, I still had my coat on and, at times, a scarf despite it being the hottest February day ever (allegedly).  When I got back to Toulouse last week the temperature was 25 degrees C and that’s not right either although it has dropped to ‘normal for the time of year’ here now and I believe the British tabloids are predicting an ‘icy blast’ for the U.K. which remains to be seen but I think they are even more obsessed than usual with the weather in a bid to write about anything other than Brexit.

I did the usual things – fish & chips, Dorset cream teas, curry, Sunday brunch,  bizarrely flavoured hot cross buns from M & S  and even popped into a Japanese restaurant for our last evening there which happened to be the birthday of Mlle. Tialys the Younger – lover of all things Japanese.  I descended on the ubiquitous charity shops and had a lovely smoked haddock dish in a quayside pub (the smoked haddock here is over-dyed to the brightest orange you’ve ever seen and very expensive).  I also had the best facial treatment I’ve ever had, using the voucher Mlle T. the Elder gave to me for Christmas, in the spa section of the original Lush shop in Poole.  I was so relaxed I didn’t even feel the urge to shoot the seagulls keeping me awake at night until two days later.

We went to the Oceanarium right on the beach in Bournemouth which was good – especially their lovely sea turtle. ( NOTE;  Re-reading this I realise it makes it sound like a restaurant 😱)  We were lectured on the terrible problems of plastics in the ocean and the top ten single use plastic items found in the sea.  As is usual with most such places now we were forced to walk through the gift shop before we could exit which was ironic considering it was filled with a lot of plastic goods, including balloons which were in their top ten villains chart.  I feel a letter coming on.

I wore a dress I’d made but not blogged about.  It’s another Lady Skater dress – one of my go to patterns.  This was actually made for Mlle T. the Younger but due to the fabric being a very stable cotton jersey without a lot of widthways stretch, it didn’t fit her and I had to keep it instead.  Shame. I did have enough fabric left to make her a t-shirt though which she will probably get much more wear out of.  I don’t have as many winter dresses as summer dresses so it will come in useful.

Now where did I put the iron – that hem needs a press.

The two person coat making workshop my friend Sandra and I are doing on Wednesday afternoons has been held up by her missing a couple of weeks due to illness and by me going off to England.  However, I haven’t forgotten it and have done a few bits alone otherwise it won’t be ready for next Winter, let alone this one.

The sleeves are quite ‘snug’ but I’m not going to undo the top seam because the stitches just sink into that fabric and are hard to find, plus the fraying is horrendous if you fiddle about too much with it so I’ll just have to remember I can’t wear a thick jumper underneath which I don’t normally do with a coat anyway.  I wouldn’t mind but my arms are anything but thick so I would recommend sewing that top arm seam at 1cm rather than 1.5cm if you’re using this pattern.

You can see the swing shape in this back view.

‘Just’ got the facings to go on those fronts and then the collar to do and the exterior is finished.  Then comes the lining, which I’m scared of as it’s slippy and has to fit nicely inside and I’ve never lined a anything other than a skirt and a dress before.  It’s starting to look like I actually might successfully make a coat!

So, I have been reading all of your blogs but that’s an update of some of my goings on – should be able to get back to normal now I’ve written a post.





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  1. #1 by Dartmoor Yarns on March 4, 2019 - 16:05

    Lovely post – loving the skater dress and the coat is going to be fantastic. Glad you had a such a wonderful time with your daughter. How disgraceful the Oceanarium is selling plastic it’s gift shop. They really need to join up their thinking or it’ll just make people think it really isn’t big deal if they aren’t practising what they preach.
    As for weather, we seem to become more and more obsessed by it in the UK as the years go on.

    • #2 by tialys on March 5, 2019 - 17:00

      Well, to be honest, the weather is getting more and more ‘interesting’ in the UK over the last 5 years or so. Or does it just seem like that because the tabloids tell us so?

      • #3 by Dartmoor Yarns on March 5, 2019 - 17:20

        Hard to know, but I think I’m right in saying, 1975 is still our hottest summer on record and the 1963 snow is still the worst snow.

      • #4 by tialys on March 5, 2019 - 17:30

        I’m pretty sure it was 1976, it seemed to go on forever (in a good way).

      • #5 by Dartmoor Yarns on March 5, 2019 - 19:55

        You’re absolutely right it was 1976! Silly me.

  2. #6 by The Snail of Happiness on March 4, 2019 - 16:18

    I hate that sort of hypocrisy – fill your shop with locally-made, eco-friendly stuff or don’t have a gift shop at all. I seethe at all the plastic tat in the world… almost certainly mostly transported around the world.
    Anyway… the dress is lovely and I do like the swing to that coat.

    • #7 by tialys on March 5, 2019 - 16:59

      To make it worse, the café attached to it was a mini-Starbucks with all the accompanying plastic stirrers and cup lids. Grrrr.

  3. #8 by M. L. Kappa on March 4, 2019 - 17:26

    Good post—I too love doing all those quintessentially English things too when I’m in the UK! And as for the gift shop plastic-typical of us allbeing made to feel guilty about everything while businesses, and governments go about their merry ways.

  4. #10 by kathyreeves on March 4, 2019 - 18:45

    What a lovely time you had in England! I think your coat is going to be spectacular! If you have one, test out using the walking foot on your lining material. If it doesn’t leave a track, it may help keep things from slipping so much. Cute dress, too, and yes do send those Oceanariums people a letter!

    • #11 by tialys on March 5, 2019 - 10:34

      I do have a walking foot so I’ll give that a try – thanks for the tip Kathy.

  5. #12 by nanacathy2 on March 4, 2019 - 20:18

    I am in agreement with everyone else name and shame the gift shop- do they have a Facebook page to pile the pressure on? Anyway glad you got to enjoy your trip in glorious weather Dorset is gorgeous. Love your frock, so pretty, and the coat is very stylish.

    • #13 by tialys on March 5, 2019 - 10:34

      Good idea – I’ll brave FB, which I don’t often do, and maybe leave a comment – I can’t believe I’m the only visitor who ever had the same thoughts.

  6. #14 by M-R on March 4, 2019 - 20:25

    “The south of France ?”, she asked, jealous rage filling her heart: “how come other anglophones get to live there and I don’t ?!”
    Having just discovered your blog, I shall now follow it in order to maintain the rage.

    • #15 by tialys on March 5, 2019 - 10:33

      Well, Mr. Tialys still commutes to the U.K. for work so it’s not quite ‘living the dream’ as our early retired neighbour never tires of telling us. Let’s just hope the powers that be don’t make it too difficult for us to be here after the dreaded B word comes to pass.

  7. #16 by thecontentedcrafter on March 4, 2019 - 20:28

    Sounds like your trip to the UK was fun – that turtle is beautiful! Pity about the gift shop. Letters are good, when folk get enough of them and fed up with the onslaught, they decide to do something. Both the dress and coat are very nice – I do love a coat with a bit of swing!

    • #17 by tialys on March 5, 2019 - 10:30

      In a swing coat I think it will be good to do lots of fast turning from side to side in order to give people the benefit of the swoosh. I’ll have to think of an activity where I can do such a thing at the same time as needing to wear a coat on and that won’t make me dizzy. It’s a first world problem.

      • #18 by thecontentedcrafter on March 5, 2019 - 17:41

        🙂 Throwing down the petals for the bride on her aisle walk comes immediately to mind. Of course it would be outside on a particularly frosty day…..

  8. #19 by katechiconi on March 4, 2019 - 23:08

    I think it’s been a year for hottest/coldest/wettest/driest etc everywhere. We’ve just undergone the hottest summer since Australian records began, with a corresponding spike in bush fires, but also record amounts of ‘sudden ridiculous deluge leading to widespread flooding’ type weather. However. Your coat is looking very elegant already; I should think you’ll be fine with the lining, just pin a bit more than you normally would to stop it sliding around too much. It’s just another of those fear hurdles – once you’re over it, you’ll wonder what the fuss was about.

    • #20 by tialys on March 5, 2019 - 10:27

      I’m hoping the lining won’t be as bad as I think and then I’ll have made a coat!! Who’d have thunk it?

      • #21 by katechiconi on March 5, 2019 - 23:36

        A nice bonus to add to your repertoire 🙂

  9. #22 by Jamie@hookthisweavethat on March 4, 2019 - 23:34

    Glad you had a lovely trip and the weather held for you so you could enjoy Bournemouth. The dress and coat look great. Look forward to seeing the coat all finished.

    • #23 by tialys on March 5, 2019 - 10:25

      As the exterior is looking as if it might end up O.K., I’ll be frightened to mess it up with the lining insertion. It’s a bit like buttonholes being the last thing to do on a garment – one false move and you could spoil all your previous good work.

  10. #25 by sew2pro on March 5, 2019 - 00:28

    It’s always great to be home, isn’t it, however good a trip was. I’m glad you had the best of the UK. Well done on writing that letter (even if it’s still just an intention right now). I go through spells of plastic-complaining but still haven’t got round to writing to Michael Gove about MPs letters getting dispatched in envelopes with thick plastic windows.

    Fingers crossed for the coat for you! If you get stuck with the lining, I recommend

    • #26 by tialys on March 5, 2019 - 10:23

      I’ll probably have a look at that tutorial – every piece of information is helpful isn’t it?

  11. #27 by Nanette on March 5, 2019 - 00:49

    I like the sound of cream teas and frolicking in the sunshine, your dress and coat are lovely and shame on the Oceanarium, I support wholeheartedly the letter writing. Just done similar here with Coles, big supermarket chain, who’ve been bragging on about removing single use plastic bags….our idea, not theirs…..and now they’re giving out horrible tiny plastic toys if you spend x amount of dollars…’s ridiculous and criminal!

    • #28 by tialys on March 5, 2019 - 10:22

      What are they thinking?

  12. #29 by nottaholiday on March 5, 2019 - 03:45

    swing coats are the best..I have a picture of my grandmother absolutely rocking a cream number with a picture hat on her head “just so”….

    • #30 by tialys on March 5, 2019 - 10:22

      How lovely to have that photo. I might not go with the hat though. Wearing a hat takes a lot of confidence I find – when I was visiting my daughter last week she wore a hat when we were out and about one day but Bournemouth is rather different from rural France and, anyway, she’s only 25.

  13. #31 by claire93 on March 5, 2019 - 08:57

    that dress is very flattering on you, and the coat is showing great promise!

    • #32 by tialys on March 5, 2019 - 10:19

      Thanks Claire, the worst bit so far was those welt pockets. I’m hoping the lining won’t cause too many problems.

  14. #33 by magpiesue on March 6, 2019 - 19:05

    I agree with Claire, the dress looks great on you and the coat project is looking good! Too bad about the sleeves but I totally get not wanting to pick out those seams. Good luck with the lining. 🙂

    • #34 by tialys on March 9, 2019 - 08:44

      Thanks Sue – I’d better just cut down on the press-ups I do in the gym 💪

  15. #35 by dezertsuz on March 11, 2019 - 20:42

    Lovely dress and coat. It sounds like you had a wonderful vacation, but maybe too short. =)

    • #36 by tialys on March 12, 2019 - 08:58

      Well, a bit short but my daughter had to go back to work and I was sort of ready to return home to do my own ‘thing’ again.

  16. #37 by thecraftersapprentice on March 18, 2019 - 13:25

    Wait, what? You live in Toulouse? How have I missed this information! i did a year at uni in Toulouse. Love the skater dress.

    • #38 by tialys on March 18, 2019 - 14:12

      Well, I said Toulouse because it’s the nearest point of reference (together with Carcasonne) that most people will have heard of. We’re about 100km south of Toulouse – about an hour and 20 minutes drive and it’s our go to place for serious shopping and for the airport. Did you study French at uni?

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