Autumn is by far my favourite time of year and, although we are perhaps now edging into winter, the countryside still bears the hallmarks of a classic autumnal day: the trees are alight with a whole array of reds and oranges, the countryside heavy with the smell of wood smoke and bonfires, fresh with a nip in the air. Leith Hall in Aberdeenshire – one of my favourite places in the world – is currently looking exactly how I expect autumn to look. I hadn’t been to Leith Hall since before uni and, having spent a lot of time there as a child, I was worried rose tinted spectacles may have set in. They hadn’t – it is as perfectly beautiful and unspoilt as I remembered, especially as we picked a spectacularly clear, sunny day to go. It definitely didn’t feel like October 31st! This dress, made a month or two ago, could have been made for the autumn gardens at Leith Hall – they were the perfect background for photos.
The fabric I used for this dress looks like autumn. I spotted it on the Croftmill website ages ago, where it was described as having a pattern of wildflowers on it of ‘the sort Cathy would run through to meet Heathcliff.’ I was sold (I’m easily pleased). The red makes a lovely backdrop to the creamy beige of the flowers (if they were a tube of paint I’d call them buff titanium) giving it a vintage feel, whilst the busy nature of the pattern meant that I didn’t bother worrying about pattern matching. I wanted to create something fairly free and easy – no fussy details or ties – as I felt that this was most in keeping with my hedgerow inspiration, so I chose the bodice from By Hand London’s Anna dress and the gathered skirt option of Sewaholic’s Cambie dress. I know, done to death and blogged about a million times – this paring is hardly new and inspired but it’s new to me and I’m totally in love. I have a whole series of these dresses planned; my wardrobe will be bursting with them. I made a toile up for the Anna dress and found I needed to take a big chunk out the back – it gaped terribly – so, following the tutorial on Ginger Makes blog (http://gingermakes.com/2013/09/06/by-hand-london-anna-dress-narrow-shoulder-adjustment/), I did the necessary adjustment and it seems fine, although if I’m going to be nit-picky it does gape just a wee bit at the front. Not enough to make a big issue of though, I’m not really that fussed.
This dress is going to get such a lot of wear this autumn and on into winter – it’s ideal for layering up and oh so comfy (yet still pretty). After a year of garment sewing I feel that I’m finally beginning to make clothes whose finish I am pleased with and which I’m pretty sure will withstand regular wear and washing.