Hot! The “What the world needs now is love sweet love” dress

The Facts

Fabric: 0.25 yd Alexander Henry La Paloma Dove Black & White scrap from stash, pair of black linen curtains from stash $0 (£0)
Pattern: McCall’s 6324.
Year: Contemporary.
Notions: zip $0.99 (£0.61), thread.
Time to complete: 12 hours.
First worn: 16th December 2012.

Wear again? Absolutely.

Total Cost: $0.99 (£0.61)

The challenge: “Favourite (remake pattern that was fave of the year)”.


Another Sew Weekly challenge and another week that I just don’t want to be sitting here writing this, or smiling at a camera. For the third time my heart is elsewhere with the families and friends of the victims of a mass shooting in America. I found it hard to go on with the Reality Check challenge after the Aurora cinema shootings. I found it impossible to smile or even look at a camera for the yellow challenge when innocent Sikhs were murdered during their worship in Wisconsin. And after Friday……what can words say that come close to having any meaning. And there have actually been 16 mass shootings in the USA this year. It’s beyond words and makes sewing a frock and writing about its making seem a silly nothingness. I know my condition often makes it hard to have a ‘normal’ person’s perspective but knowing that doesn’t stop the sadness.

I took my 4th grader to school this morning. In the playground was an armed policeman. There for the safety of the kids. There for the safety of the teachers and the school staff. I’ve just received an email to all parents in the school district informing us about existing and planned security measures, including armed responses. We don’t see guns in the UK. One of the biggest cultural differences I’ve had to come to terms with is that guns are totally ingrained in American life. Seeing people walking around with them or wearing them in coffee shops and restaurants is so foreign to me. It makes me impossibly sad. The shootings at Dunblane had such an incredible effect on us in the UK. But here it just happens again and again and again and no-one thinks it can be changed (and there are those who are seriously advocating MORE guns….beyond belief).

I’m sorry. I tried to carry on as usual, especially as no-one’s clear or not if this is the last week of Sew Weekly 2012 and I wanted to finish my posts here on a high (I’ve got 2 more dresses to make that I’ll post on my blog fanbloomingtastic (and here if we can) so that I complete a whole year of weekly sews). But I can’t go on as normal today. Everything is too raw. I’m trying to get back to normal as quickly as possible. Who knows how much time we have with each other, so we need to make this brief time special and filled with love. I have almost no memory of Christmas’s as a child so I’ve always been a huge creator of happy memories for my children….I need to get back to ‘normal’ to make sure that 2012 still has these. Sorry. Anyway, here’s some pics of this week’s make.

This is a dress I made from a pattern I’d used twice before and the two dresses I made (the Spiderman dress for the Red, White & Blue challenge and the red & green madras check dress for Mad for Plaid challenge) are the garments that have had the most consistent and regular wear during the year.

I decided to make some ‘winter’ versions. This black and white version is the one I finished before the news of the Newtown shootings was released. I’d never done a version with a print yoke and plain bottom half, so I used some Alexander Henry La Paloma (the bird of peace) scraps I haven’t been able to find a use for before and a pair of black linen curtains from my stash. I’m making this green tartan version too, but I can’t right now….so if you want to see it finished you’ll need to check it out on my blog next year.

And at some point next Spring, I’m making a pinky purple version from all those odd bits of fabric I’ve got in my stash that I never knew what to do with:

If this is the last post this year I want to thank you all for an incredible adventure. You’ve all been amazing. You’ve inspired and encouraged me, you supported me when I thought I couldn’t go on. You helped me stretch myself to do things that were way beyond anything I could imagine at the start of 2012. Thank you Mena for giving us this outlet and opportunity to learn and create. It’s been amazing.

If this isn’t the last post and you get to see my two final dresses of the year, a leopard print one for Christmas and a red & black flocked satin evening dress for New Year’s Eve….then ignore I just said that because I’ll be saying it again, hopefully more eloquently when I’m not so sad in which ever one is the final post.

Be excellent to each other. Love one another. No matter what.



Tempest Devyne is a Brit who loves rain. She was therefore exiled to the deserts of Arizona. She started tentatively sewing about 3 years ago to make her own burlesque costumes. She'd now like to make pretty clothes for herself that don't rely on velcro and poppers to stay on. She's self-taught with help from the internet and lots of books from the library.


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  1. You’re not the only one, Tempest. I cried all afternoon Friday, and a good part of Saturday. My week started out with a precious 14 year old dying, and ended with the shooting in Connecticut. Not ALL Americans think everyone should have a gun, or that more guns are the answer. Just not enough of us are ballsy enough to stand up to the NRA and say “F^%* off!”. That may change.
    You’ll notice in my post (when it goes up) that I’ve included a picture of my friend the photograper playing in the street with her oldest, who is 7, after we’ve completed our pics. She didn’t want to be away from her kids so they came along while Auntie Loran posed in front of the funny little car. Can you tell I had been in tears about 30 minutes before we took the pics? Hopefully not : )
    I hope you do the last couple of weeks, we will SO miss you if this is it!! I know how raw you must be feeling, and I send lots of virtual hugs to you.

  2. Thanks Loran. I’m so sorry to hear the news, I thought your tribute to Ari on your blog was lovely. At least the horrible daily pain & confusion for her is gone now and she can rest in peace. I hope 2013 is an easier year for you all….that seems trite typing that, but I do. It’s a sad, tough year.

    I’m definitely still sewing my last two dresses, I just didn’t know whether they’re going to get posted here or only on my blog…I’ve tried PMing Mena but the silly wordpress dashboardy thing says my inbox is too full, even though there’s nothing in it and won’t let me.

    Doing stuff, especially creating stuff always helps one carry on. I went into school to volunteer as per usual this morning and it actually made the sadness fade whilst I could be working alongside happy, silly 9 and 10 years olds. I’m guessing the important thing is to keep going for their sake…we’re going to try to have the best Christmas yet because life’s too short and I want them to have happy memories. I hope you can too, you have a lovely collection of family and friends, I hope your Christmas 2012 is one to look back on with joy.

  3. I didn’t say anything in my post this week about the violence – how could I? I spent much of Friday afternoon trying to keep it together and not contaminate my experiments with tears. My son is in first grade and luckily didn’t really seem to understand what happened. He kind of shrugged and said, “Well, we have codes on our doors (security keypads) to keep the bad guys out.”

    What did I do to make myself feel better? I took my son downtown for a special day together: a science and magic show at Chemical engineering, crispy duck in Chinatown, a trip to Fabricville to buy supplies for our projects we are planning together, and unlimited access to my iPhone to play Minecraft. And I never let my daughter’s feet touch the ground all weekend. My back is killing me, but I feel a little bit calmer today.

    What can I do to make everything better? I don’t know, but I’ll start with your idea: Make something. Do something. Create memories. Smother the world in kindness.

  4. Yeah, I had a hard time making a post this week too. …Ugh I’ve just sat here for several minutes trying to find the words. But they just fail. Your post’s title is perfection though.

    At any rate, I do love your creation this week. I love that you’ve added extra color with your shirt and tights too. Was there confusion about the next challenge? I thought it was holiday outfits, yes? I think that Mena probably won’t start posting them until Wednesday though because of the Holiday being at the beginning of the week.

  5. I’m glad you made this dress again. It really is quite flattering. The ones coming up look like they’ll be fun to wear as well.
    It is sad, so sad, about the shootings. Many tears this week and not much motivation for sewing. It hits really close to home as my husband and I are both teachers with classrooms full of children. We just had a lockdown last week, when a crazy man high on drugs came on to our campus. It really makes you think about your safety.

  6. I didn’t mention anything in my post this week either I did on my blog; it’s utterly heartbreaking, I cried most of my weekend and just hugged my kids. I can not fathom how those families are carrying on. I sincerely hope that the gun-control debate eventuates, something needs to be done.

    I hope you can still wear this dress without the connection, hopefully wear it in honor of those lives lost?

  7. I have been crying pretty much all weekend on and off ever since I found out about the shooting. My son is 1.5 years younger than the children who were shot. I can’t even imagine how absolutely heartbroken the parents must be. I still have trouble believing that this happened and that there are actually people out there calling for more guns. It makes me angry and sad to know how many Americans are into guns – now even more than ever. How can one seriously suggest that every school teacher should carry a gun?? I am just so happy I made my husband come to Germany instead of moving the US. I honestly don’t know whether I would be able to take this if I lived in the US. I’d be hugging my son all day and probably go insane. I don’t even feel like flying to the US on Boxing Day. I just want this trip to be over and be back in Europe. (Sorry if this offends any Americans but this is the way I feel.)
    The dress is pretty. But you’re right – all this doesn’t really matter right now. I’ll make sure to drop by at your blog once in a while. You were one of my favorite people on Sew Weekly.

  8. ((Hugs)). It’s been a very hard week.

    Not everywhere in the US is like that with guns though. I lived in the US until I was 21, and have still never seen a handgun that wasn’t a service weapon. What you describe with guns in restaurants is totally foreign to me. Especially after this week I hope there comes a time when it is foreign to everyone.