Monday, 22 September 2014

A Summer of Stripes- part 3 and a sad summer

This pattern may look a little familiar - it is the Burda Raglan sleeve top 2/2013#127 that I have made 3 times before, but this time it is a dress (seen first here):

I got the fabric from Lisa (formerly of Small Things now blogging at Paprika Patterns) during the Spring Sewing Swap hosted by Kerry of Kestrel Makes, earlier this year. As soon as I saw the fabric I thought it would be perfect for a little t-shirt dress to take on my summer holiday to Italy. There-in lies a tale...

I started the dress during a quiet weekend right at the beginning of the summer holidays. My eldest two had finished school for the summer and my youngest still had 2 days to go. Husband and Middlest had travelled to Norfolk with the aim of Middlest doing some sailing and Husband and one of his nephews cycling from Norfolk back home (roughly 100km). Unfortunately not all had gone to plan - I had a phone call from a very distressed and disorientated Husband, who had come off his bike in the middle of nowhere. He was clearly in a bad way and ended up being taken to hospital in Kings Lynn. My dress was left forgotten mid-stitch on the machine, while I sorted out the other 2 children and hot-footed it to the hospital (an hour and a half away).  Husband had been unconscoius, was found to have 3 broken ribs, a black eye, very painful shoulder, severe bruising and multiple grazes and gashes. Luckily he was with his nephew who had called an ambulance, unluckily he was very injured, and was told by the hospital that he couldn't fly for six weeks - this all happening 2 days before we due to fly to Italy for our first hot family holiday since we got back from living in NZ.  Cue cancelled holiday and very sad, worried and disappointed family. We did get all our money back including extenuating circumstances refund from RyanAir - surprisingly.

Moving on a couple of weeks, Husband was being to feel his recuperation was going well and he was a little more mobile. This was not to last, we had a phone call from my brother-in-law asking me to collect all the children that were at my mother-in-law's house and keep them out of the way. My father-in-law had collapsed whilst playing tennis and there was an ambulance crew in attendance. By the time I got there (5 mins away) it was clear that my father-in-law had died, and I had to go home and break the news to the rest of my family. This was completely and utterly unexpected, and was a huge shock to us all. Husband found himself suddenly having to be much more active and under stress whilst being in pain, at the same time assisting with the arrangements that go with organising a funeral.

So, as I said in my previous post, this summer has been pretty awful and it wasn't really a holiday for any of us. Husband's recuperation is going reasonabley well now, but getting used to my father-in-law not being around will inevitabley take time - if indeed one gets used to that kind of thing.

At some point in Husbands early recuperation I managed to finish this dress.  I think it spent 2 weeks mid-stitch on the machine, needle down. I was fully expecting the dress to have a hole in it where I left the needle in and/or to be stretched out of shape where it was hanging over the table, but all seemed fine.
After the traumas of its beginning, the dress was finished quite quickly without out any further drama, and I am really pleased with it. It is quite figure hugging, and I have to be very aware of my posture (and what underwear I choose) when wearing it, but I love it.

I have hemmed it just above my knees and have worn it like this since finishing it. I have included a picture where I have pinned the hem a lot higher with a view to wearing it with leggings and potentially making it more versatile, but having said that, I am not sure I would wear it that short as a dress...
Shorter length - why don't my legs go brown?
 I am particularly pleased with the neckband on this one - the previous ones have been a bit loose and gappy, even when I reduced the length on my last one.  This time I reduced the length by 12% rather than 10% and it is perfect - and looks rather fetching with the stripes going in the opposite direction. I finished the neck with a twin needle, but I may redo this bit as I think a single line of stitching may look better.

Anyway.... happily Husband's physical recuperation is going reasonabley well, although coming off Tramadol is not for the fainthearted - withdrawal symptoms anyone? Also we have booked a holiday somewhere hot for half-term, so I will get to wear this on holiday after all.

I am not normally one for unburdening myself of woes, but I couldn't do a post on this dress without it really.


  1. Hey Tamsin, so sorry to hear about your summer! This March Stef fell off his bike with almost the same injuries: broken collarbone and lots of big scrapes and bruises. I had no idea the latter could be so annoying and painful to recover from. I hope your vacation can relieve some of the stress. I love what you did with the fabric btw! Happy to know that you've gotten something out of it that you like. Take care! Lisa

  2. lovely versatile dress, so sorry to hear of the unhappiness your family experienced during it's production. Hoping you get a lovely holiday in half term x

  3. What an awful set of events. I am sorry for your loss. But glAd to hear your husband is recovering. The dress looks just great. I like the way you have done the neck band.
    A striped dress seems such a good idea. X

  4. So sorry for your family's loss. And the crummy summer. Ugh. Glad your husband is on the mend!

  5. I'm sorry about all your bad news and glad your other half's on the mend.

    The dress is great. I like the way the stripes run at the shoulder. It suits you very well! Think I prefer the longer length.