Firstly, may I thank you on behalf of Connie for your kind words of support in her decision to cut her hair short and donate it, as well as to fundraise for the charity which uses the hair to make wigs for children who have lost theirs. I was so moved that this blog prompted many of you to sponsor her and leave lovely messages. Amongst the familiar names that I’ve got to know over the years and come to regard as friends, there were, much to my surprise, some unfamiliar ones from a few who outed themselves as readers! It’s very humbling and I thank you warmly.
The cut was booked for Connie’s 12th birthday and I picked the best hairdresser I know, just in case. She did a pretty good job! We quickly got used to the new Connie; in fact it’s hard to believe she hasn’t always looked like this! When the salon manager heard what she’s up to, he gave the salon fee to the charity and the hairdresser, the brilliant Yvette, did the same with her tip. But donations arrived from all angles: friends, family, bloggers, the running community… The latest amount raised now stands at £429, more than twice the initial target.
The day after, we flew to Canada. A first-time visit and a memorable trip which strengthened friendships and family ties… even if the children did want to disown me for making them walk long distances. I will write about the experience some day as I found it inspiring to people-watch in the streets of Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City. But first I’ve to comb through the hundreds of photos we’d taken.
So I return to an imminent deadline for my own Six Napoleon Challenge. I’ve had feedback from all the participants and unless magic wands are waved over the weekend, the consensus is that probably only one dress has been finished in time to meet the deadline of this Sunday. Ruth, you’ve done it again! I can’t wait to see it, or rather, you in it.
Does this mean that for the rest of us, the challenge is a failure? Well… not quite. Other dresses will come I hope. When they’re ready. I feel somewhat disappointed in myself in that I haven’t provided the inspiration or the know-how to enable the others to continue – leadership was never my strong point. But hopefully everyone taking part has learnt or expanded their skills in the process of trying. Wonderful news came from the west coast of Ireland this week, where my friend Jo is staying with her family … and a Bernina! You may recall that back on a teary day in June, Jo and I drafted the Six Nap bodice pattern to fit her. Afterwards, Jo made the bodice in a rose-print cotton and liked it enough to make it again.
The second version is in a more brocade-like fabric from the stash (we think it might be an upholstery fabric). It was made to go over a RTW skirt. I asked if it’s comfortable to wear and was told yes, despite the asymmetry.
Now Jo is on her third, I think this one calls for a skirt of its own. Well done Jo: I’m chuffed it worked!
And now, my own experiments….
I draped following Anita’s method of cutting two stumpy shapes, sewn together at the short ends. This is similar to joining a circle skirt to a bodice except for the amount of pleating at the lowered waist. And the circle has been left a rectangle. I tried it out using pattern paper, joined to make a 2m x 1.4m piece. (I know 🙄 I try and live a green life then go axe down a tree, metaphorically). I even sellotaped back a 10cm deep hem. It was very noisy! But it’s the low dip of that corner that concerns me; it would reach my feet.
I used graph paper (like this printable one) to try out some ratios.
The first illustration is as in Anita’s tutorial in her guest post. The second is as in her suggestion of using 3m of fabric. I raided the charity shop for some bargain bed linen and used 3m to make this.It was more fabric that I could cope with, to be honest, though it helped to drape from the waist rather than the bodice hem. I will play with the graph paper and try to reduce the diagonal length of that mitred corner.
There’s one more method to try. Now I’ve always suspected Stephanie to be really clever and was very impressed when in her last post she presented another interpretation of the Six Nap pleats. Which I’ll attempt next. This method will also result in a shorter length of the dip. But whether to go crossgrain and risk puffiness or lengthwise and risk showing lots of joins in the skirt?