September has come and while it is still absurdly warm, she brought with her some much needed rain for the first time in many, many weeks. Fingers crossed more will follow because the situation here -as in much of Europe- is dire. At the same time, temperatures could reach the 30’s again next week, chasing away the few cloudy days we are having now, and I cannot stress how ludicrous all of this is for my region. August sung to the same tune as the rest of the summer here: it’s been bone dry and very hot. Since mid July rivers, ponds and lakes have been running dry, and trees have been changing colour and prematurely started loosing their leaves from sheer heat and drought exhaustion. Especially the latter has accelerated in August causing some people to optimistically claim that Autumn was on the way… which, ahem, was very much not the case (since when is Autumn defined as mid-August with temperatures of 33°C?). Pine cones, beech nuts and acorns have been falling since the first days of August, all not yet ripe and smaller than they should be and everything is happening at least two months too early. I worry for the squirrels, birds, wood mice and other critters that rely on them. I heard a park warden describe it as “emergency autumn” in the news as it is a survival strategy for nature to overcome these extreme conditions and I think that term is pretty apt. Mind, I love autumn and all its coloured splendour, but autumn in August is a false autumn, and I’m definitely not enjoying it now! I spoke to a beekeeper at a wildlife garden I sometimes go to at the beginning of August and they have had to resort to feeding the bees sugar water. There’s flowers there for the bees alright, but because of the drought those don’t produce any nectar. Before, the beekeepers haven’t had to resort to sugar water before the end of autumn. We are both worried for the wild pollinators (and wildlife in general) who don’t get extra food, water and care from a beekeeper.
At the end of August, on what was one of a handful of days in which temperatures where slightly less ludicrous (that is, in the mid twenties), we took pictures of a newly finished make. We spend most of August stepping from heatwave to heatwave so a low to mid twenties day felt like a relief, though in reality its warmer than a “cool” summer day is suppose to be here. While we were out walking there were leaves falling everywhere, not just the premature coloured brown, yellow and orange ones but also green and otherwise healthy looking ones. The sheer drought and heat desperation has been terrible here and it remains to be seen if some areas will recover at all since the much needed sustained downpour of rain has just not been happening. At this point we need a very wet autumn and winter in order to break even come next spring and summer. I believe nature is resilient and strong so I have not given up hope entirely, but I’m also well aware that what is happening is very, very extreme and not just in Europe but all across the globe. And yet – summers are increasingly likely to be like this, and of the last 5 summers, 4 have been too dry and hot. Nature is never far way from my mind so the unfolding climate crisis will pop up here in between and indeed in post that are supposed to be about crafts but personally I also find it really hard to just untangle it from my brain and my crafts when at the walk we took these photos on you were basically tripping over the evidence at how unhealthy the state of the area is. The steady sound of falling leaves in August in an otherwise eerily quiet forest is not something I will soon forget.
I had the idea to make this dress I’m wearing back in May, when the warm weather was just starting up. I made a sketch of the type of dress I wanted to make with key details like fibre content and type of buttons and then started gathering materials accordingly. It’s not often that I have such a precise vision of a project in mind when I start sewing something, and it happens even less that the finished project of said sewing project becomes pretty much a mirror imagine of my initial sketch. I usually end up changing something, either because I changed my mind or because I need to compromise some kind of detail because of stash or pattern constrains or the envisioned fabric or other project details remain elusive in the hunt for materials.
The pattern I used is Sew Liberated Hinterland Dress. There is not a lot to say about this pattern as I used it a plethora of times before and will likely continue to use it as long as I continue to sew. I did my usual bodice modification but didn’t alter the neckline. It is all in all very similar to my green sleeveless Hinterland dress but there is one difference not just with that particular dress but to all my previous incarnations of this patterns: this one features the full button placket. It’s a feature that I had thought of adding before but it’s slightly more of hassle than no or a partial button band; you need more fabric, more buttons, and more pattern puzzling on the fabric and I guess I previously always went the easy route. For this version though, I did not want to compromise and bought enough fabric to make it happen.
The fabric I used is a black linen with a rustic look. It has a bit more weight/body while still retaining a nice drape. It was a bit more prone to fraying than other similar fabrics I have worked with so I made sure to finish every seam, even the ones that would be turned under, just to be sure, as I have had issues with projects in fabric prone to fraying before where hems or seams needed to be fixed later down the line.
I got the most beautiful old gold coloured buttons for the dress. They are a little bit bigger than buttons I would usually use for a project such as this (or even projects in general) they weight a bit more as well but in this case I think it adds to their allure. They have a sort of botanical motif cast on them and a rustic, hammered appearance which I like for metal buttons of any shape or size. Twelve buttons in total are used on this button placket. I don’t wear a lot of jewellery or accessories in summer and I think a button up dress such as this one will add a bit of interest to an outfit when it’s to warm for me to bother otherwise.
I struggled a bit with the button placements and sew and resewed them on so many times I lost count half way during the process. Much of this can be blamed on my perfectionist tendencies telling me there is always something that can be improved on the placement. I confess I got carried away quite spectacularly with this and at one point was running in circles a bit until I checked myself and realised that I don’t actually care and certainly don’t want to spend days moving buttons around a mm in case it makes the band lay better. When I realised that I just sewed on all buttons and never looked back. And of course it looks fine and doesn’t bother me in the slightest now – so let’s hope my brain makes a mental note of this before I take it upon me to devote myself to such a useless quest next time.
I’m happy with the dress. It came out exactly as envisioned and if my green sleeveless dress is anything to go by than I think this dress too will be worn a lot. I think the mood of this one veers a bit more towards the bog witch and moth familiar than the green one which reads more forest and hobbit-y to me. Perhaps unsurprisingly this summer, but I’ve recently really grown towards sleeveless dresses and have started wearing them in more diverse ways. My favourite way to wear them at the moment is, like in these photos, with a t-shirt or other type of top as an under layer. This not only widens the range of these types of dresses in terms of weather it also opens up lots more ways to style it. Of course when the weather really heats up I just wear them as is but I like that with an under layer I can style them more easily and free-er and mix things up more than with short sleeve dresses. Ha, with a t-shirt underneath I’m really channelling the protagonist of one of my childhood favourite films ( Matilda 1996-), so far though telekinetic powers, an extensive library, or flinging carrots at bullies doesn’t seem to come with the uniform, though I could always try adding more hair bows in my life and see what that does.
Thanks for reading and until next time!