A Tribe Called Best!

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As you may recall, I loved my first Simplicity 1609 so much that I considered marrying it (I might not have mentioned it specifically, but I did). Thankfully, it turns out that you can’t marry a dress, because if you could, then I don’t think it would be too happy with the love affair I’m having with it’s brother, Jiffy II.

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I finished this up just in time for our weekend in Brussels, and it was the dress I wore when I smashed my face in – my biggest concern at the time was whether or not I was bleeding on my dress. Oh, and weird, I just remembered that the bloke who ran the sandwich bar opposite my office on the other side of Brussels walked past as my friends gathered round to examine the damage (current state: a bit of a scar). Maybe I was hallucinating.

Back to my boyfriend the dress. I was worried about wearing it again, just in case it was unlucky, but its three outings since then have gone without any trouble, even the time when I had a foot so blistered I couldn’t walk, so I reckon we’re alright.

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This time around, I made the simplest version – no collar or bow. There were a couple of issues with the fit on my first version, so I made some amendments to try and improve matters. Firstly, I increased the size of the neck darts at the back by 1cm each, which helped a lot with the neck gaping, although I think I should lengthen them on future versions as it can appear a little hunchbacked from certain angles. I decided against a sway back adjustment, and just used a shorter zip. The zip was about an inch shorter than I’d have liked, which makes it a bit tricky to pull on and off – I could step into the last one, but this is an over-the-head-breathe-in job. The back looks a lot better on the bum this time round, although maybe I should do a sway back adjustment in future. You can’t really tell in this shot because I turned round before Ben had taken the picture.

Regard! I also got some new sunglasses!

I left this one longer than the last one, so it hits just above the knee. I’d planned to shorten it (I took four inches off last time), but somehow the pattern looked better at this length. I got the fabric from Fabric Land in Brighton for about £3/metre. It’s a bit thicker than the charity shop sheet I used for the last one, and I think it sits more nicely because of that. This was my first ever attempt at fabric matching, and I think I did a pretty good job on the front seam – there’s some shaping in it, so it could never be perfect. I don’t know what went wrong at the back, because I spent ages matching it up – at least the horizontal lines run straight across, even if there’s a double diamond thing across the zip.

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I’m really chuffed with my new dress and have been wearing it at every opportunity. It’s currently my go-to going out for dinner dress, but once the weather warms up enough for me to shed my tights, I think it’s going to make an excellent day dress.

Animals of Farthing Wood Dress


I just need to put this out there – THIS IS THE HAPPIEST I’VE EVER BEEN WITH ANYTHING I’VE EVER MADE!!! You can probably tell that from the big old sulk on my chops, not to mention the fact that I forgot to iron the dress, and may have potentially forgotten to brush my hair as well.

Initially, things were going quite well with this dress. I bought this massive blue sheet in a charity shop for under a fiver, ordered the Jiffy 1609 pattern online after spending about four hours browsing the Simplicity site, decided to use up some scraps on the collar, and then became overwhelmed with insecurity about which scraps I should use. 

Along came Ben, who declared the red floral print I was holding up against the blue to be too obvious a choice, and asked why exactly I hadn’t already decided to use that deer print fabric I had hanging around.

Work commenced. I drove to my mum’s house every day while my sewing machine was being repaired so I could get the dress finished in time for a party, I used Gertie’s tutorial for making the collar, and everything was going swimmingly. I’m not a big fan of scalloped edges, but I decided to give them a try in order to make the dress a bit more exciting. I’m still not entirely sold on them, to be honest. 

Then I got sick, and then I christened it the Animals of Farthing Wood Dress, and then I remembered how sad that book and TV show were, and how much eight year old Laura cried over every death. Oh, yeah, and then I tried it on without the back seam sewn up and it looked like a tent (surprise!!). A tent of death!

So it sat on Alan, my dressmaker’s dummy, for a few weeks. An important fact to note about Alan is his ability to make any garment look disappointing. For someone set up to my measurements, he sure manages to take the form of nothing human.

Eventually, I decided to just get on with it. Anything was better than looking at it every day! I sewed up the back and put a zip in with relative success (for me). At least it isn’t so dreadful that I felt the need to redo it. Then I held it up against myself and it looked tiny. I wasn’t sure it was going to fit. I didn’t want to try my new dress on if it wasn’t going to fit.

Yeah, fits almost perfectly. As this handy picture shows, there’s a bit of gaping around the back of the neck, which I reckon could be resolved by increasing the size of the neck darts, and I think future versions could benefit from a sway back adjustment, or possibly I could just use a shorter zip which would get rid of the bum bump weirdness (it just gets a bit tucked under whenever I move). I’m kind of working with the ‘give my improvements a try and see what happens’ process at the moment.  What a good job Ben didn’t take the nice picture of the back looking all nice that I’d asked for! 

The only other slight disappointment is that, despite my best efforts, the deer are not quite symmetrical on the collar. However, nobody else seems to notice, even after it’s pointed out to them, so I guess I can live with that. My step dad has even commented on how much he likes the deer collar (well, that’s his Christmas present sorted). 

The shape of this dress is absolutely my style. Look in my wardrobe and you’ll find a line of shop bought dresses in the same shape. This is already a firm favourite in my wardrobe, and considering that it is really not season appropriate, it’s already been worn out of the house twice! Just think how much use this bad boy’s going to get come summer.

We took these pictures in the grounds of Hove Museum & Art Gallery. I’ve yet to go inside, but the small garden is lovely and peaceful. Apparently, the inside contains toys, pioneering film ephemera, local history and fine art displays.

The thing I’m leaning against is the Jaipur Gate, which was at the entrance to the Rajasthan section of the Colonial and Indian Exhibition, held in London in 1886. It was donated to the museum in 1926, although I don’t exactly understand why, or what it has to do with the rest of the exhibits. Maybe I should go inside and see if I can find out?

As photoshoots go, taking pictures by a local landmark on a busy road is probably a good way to crush any shyness out of your system. PEOPLE STARED!! A VAN DRIVER STOPPED TO WATCH!! I think I will continue this trend, working my way around Brighton’s highlights. Maybe we’ll have another nice day for dressing up and taking photos before the West Pier falls completely into the sea??!?