Friday, January 25, 2013

Tartan and Taffy

Happy Robert Burns' birthday!  I'm still working on my 1940 tartan dress but realized I had a nearly finished Taffy blouse (from the Colette pattern book) lingering about and decided to finish it up to wear this evening!  I picked the pink colour for the blouse to go specifically with my tartan Ness skirt and matching shoes...perfect for a Burns evening.

This was a relatively easy blouse project but not as quick as I thought it would be.  I did a quick tissue fit and set out to cut out the very thin and sometimes slippery fabric.  I'm not sure exactly what the blouse fabric is made of, I'm thinking it might be a cotton voile.  I cut each piece separately and tried to avoid slippage by placing the fashion fabric on top of a piece of wool to cut.

I finished the entire blouse with french seams.  I really love this method of finishing as it encases the seam completely.

Then the blouse sat in my UFO pile for 2 months waiting for the bias binding on the neck and around the sleeves.  I attached the bias binding by hand which took about 2 hours but I really love the effect!

The sleeves are fantastic on this blouse!  The only issue is that the neckline is a bit wider and puckers ever so slightly in the front and back.  I think this is where the tissue fitting may have disguised a need to alter the neckline. Alas, lesson learned.  I still plan to wear the blouse all the time.   I love it!

Plus, it goes with my Ness tartan skirt and shoes!  I don't have much in my closet at the moment that goes with them--so I am super happy about the new blouse.  I plan to sew up a 1940 dress sometime this spring that matches the shoes too!

We found this amazing 'close' or alleyway just off the Royal Mile near the Parliament building.  What looks like just an archway from the main street, leads into a quaint courtyard with some really old buildings.  One of these buildings has the date '1653' over the door meaning these buildings where built over 100 years before Robert Burns first came to the city...

I will probably wear the blouse under a jacket most of the time, which is perfect because it hides the neckline faults!

Every restaurant in the city is booked up tonight with Scots celebrating Robert Burns' birthday with a traditional supper of Haggis, Neeps and Tatties (turnips and potatoes) and a reading of Robert Burns' 'Ode to the Haggis' poem.

Instead of the traditional supper, we are getting together with a friend and going to a local Scottish pub where we will partake of some whiskey and take turns reading our favourite Burns poems.  

Here's an abridged version of the poem I am going to read:

Scotch Drink

Let other poets rais a fracas,
'Bout vines, and wines, and drucken Bacchus,
And crabbit names and stories wrack us,
And grate our lug,
I sing the juice Scotch beare can mak us,
In glass or jug.

O thou, my Muse! guid auld Scotch drink,
Whether through wimplin' worms thou jink,
Or, richly brown, ream o'er the brink,
In glorious faem,
Inspire me, till I lisp and wink,
To sing thy name!

Food fills the wame, and keeps us livin';
Though life's a gift no worth receivin'
When heavy dragg'd wi' pine and grievin';
But, oil'd by thee,
The wheels o' life gae down-hill, scrievin', 
Wi' rattlin' glee.

Thou clears the head o' doited Lear;
Thou cheers the heart o' drooping Care;
Thou strings the nerves o' Labour sair,
At's weary toil;
Thou even brightens dark Despair,
Wi' gloomy smile.

O whisky! soul o' plays and pranks!
Accept a Bardie's gratefu' thanks!
When wanting thee, what tuneless cranks
Are my poor verses!
Thou comes--they rattle i' their ranks
At ither's a--es.

Fortune! if thou'll but gie me still
Hale breeks, a scone, and whisky gill,
And rowth o' rhyme to rave at will,
Tak a' the rest,
And deal't about as thy blind skill
Directs the best.

-By Robert Burns, born 25 January 1759


  1. Ohh how I wish I could sew like you..<3 I love those matching shoes!

  2. Mr. Burns is looking down from above with a fine Scotch in one hand and smile on his face when he sees your Tartan and hears your reading!!!

  3. Another fantastic backdrop! And a beautiful blouse. I love the pink with the red.

    I haven't made anything from the Colette book yet. While I like the look of the taffy, the sleeves are just not very "me". They do look fab on you though!

  4. GORGEOUS! I love the ensemble as a whole, with the jacket. Perfectly coordinated. 

  5. Love the outfit!  and I love the background and scenery of your photos almost as much as I love the colors, prints and the shoes.  The photos are beautiful!

  6. I love your outfit for today! That blouse is adorable, I love the flutter sleeves. Hope you're enjoying a wonderful poem-and-whiskey-filled evening. :)

  7. Miss Crayola CreepyJanuary 25, 2013 10:27 PM

    I also had some trouble with my Taffy being a bit wide in the neck :/ I love the colors you chose for it! xo

  8. That happened with a bias binding neckline I've made too - seems like there is just too much ease with the binding and you feel like it needs tightening up.  Not sure what the solution is, maybe measure and cut the required amount and then just make sure it lasts the distance without using more than required?  Anyway, you look sweet and refreshing and will warm the hearts of all those that see you tonight. 

  9. You look lovely.  Happy Burns night!

  10. That shade of pink is definitely "your" color!

  11. So cute! The blouse looks wonderful with the skirt and shoes. I'm coming to Edinburgh in April and Ness is on my list of places to visit! Very excited about that. :)

  12. Happy Burns day! I hope you enjoyed a wee dram!

  13. One day, I will get to Edinburgh.  Those buildings!  That history!  One of these days....

    I like that colour on you, it goes wonderfully with your hair.  :-)

  14. You look lovely! Those backgrounds in these pictures (an also you other pictures) makes me want to go visiting Scotland even more

  15. Lovely ensemble and great colour. I love the taffy - made three so far! Yes the neckline with bias can be problematic. Love the shoes btw

  16. Love the colour of your blouse. I also found the neckline rather large when I made this. Not having made a toile, I fixed the gaping neckline by adding a one inch pleat in the centre front of the neckline and was surprised how much I like this even though I did it after stitching on (by machine) the binding.

  17. I grew up on the west coast of Canada, and yet the principal of my elementary school had a fascination with Robbie Burns Day, so every year we had an assembly and each kid in the school had to eat a bite of haggis on a saltine cracker while he played the bagpipes. I have yet to try it as an adult, but when I was a kid it was one of my most dreaded days of the year! You look great, by the way! Such a bright shot of color in winter.

  18. Off the Royal Mile, you said? I think I know that close... I spend a semester at ECA as an exchange student years ago and keep feeling nostalgia for Edinburgh whenever I see your pictures of the city...

    I like your outfit and I hope you had a great night!
    Just one thing though... the obsessed seamstress in me won't be suppressed and it bothers her that Ness didn't match that bias cut check at any seam... 

  19. Oh, what a marvellous outfit, Debi!  I adore that Ness skirt and the shoes?!  Be still my tartan-loving heart! Your Taffy is so pretty and suits you really well.  Pink and red is one of my favourite colour combinations. 

  20. I agree, Lauriana, Ness should have matched *at least* the back seam. Debi still looks great though. :)

    Debi - do you ever eat Haggis? I've just got to know!

  21. I really -love- that outfit, it's adorable on you. I have a 60's dress in my closet with a similarly set sleeve - it's super-comfy! I wish my bodyshape would allow me to wear shorter skirts but despite trying several different patterns, I can't find any to really fit someone as short and plump as myself...  That jacket, however, I have a keen eye to - love it!

  22. ah, that glorious poem! you do it justice with that glorious ensemble! i don't thin i've ever seen a gal more suited for pink and red.

  23. Debi_myhappysewingplaceJanuary 27, 2013 5:35 PM

    Thanks Ms. H!  I do love the jacket too!

  24. Debi_myhappysewingplaceJanuary 27, 2013 5:35 PM

    Thanks Sarah! I think pink and red it growing to be one of my favourite colour combos too!!

  25. Debi_myhappysewingplaceJanuary 27, 2013 5:36 PM

    You know, I didn't even realize that they didn't match it until you mentioned it (it's hard to see yourself walking around unless you take pictures!)  Oh, I wish they'd matched it too!!  Bad Ness!! :)

    Oh, ECA is so great...I would so love to take some classes there!!!

  26. Debi_myhappysewingplaceJanuary 27, 2013 5:37 PM

    I have tried it once before I became a vegetarian (good excuse, no?)  Except they make vegetarian haggis! lol.  I'm not a big fan....but I do like neeps and tatties :-)

    Btw. I agree that Ness should have matched the back seam...I didn't even notice until I saw the photos..hahahah

  27. Debi_myhappysewingplaceJanuary 27, 2013 5:38 PM

    OMG. That is crazy!  Talking about taking your Scottishness a bit too far...poor kids.  Haggis on saltine crackers?? blech!  I would have been traumatized :-)

  28. Debi_myhappysewingplaceJanuary 27, 2013 5:39 PM

    Scotland's a fantastic place...great to find all sorts of nooks and crannies to explore.

  29. Debi_myhappysewingplaceJanuary 27, 2013 5:39 PM

    Thanks Kat! When you do get to Edinburgh definitely let me know!!

  30. Debi_myhappysewingplaceJanuary 27, 2013 5:40 PM

    Oohh! That is very exciting!  You'll have to let me know when you are in town...I always fancy a visit to the Ness store :-)

  31. Debi_myhappysewingplaceJanuary 27, 2013 5:40 PM

    A few people have mentioned that it was too wide in the neck!  So glad I'm not alone!

  32. Debi_myhappysewingplaceJanuary 27, 2013 5:41 PM

    Thanks Corrine!!  I think Mr. Burns was a pretty fun guy.  I just adore his's very cheeky!

  33. Dang, Debi. You look good. I am not a avid sewer like others on here, but you can model sister!!! 

  34. Debi_myhappysewingplaceJanuary 27, 2013 5:48 PM

    Thanks Sarah :)  I'm lucky in that Edinburgh is such a great backdrop!

  35. Me encantan tus zapatos a juego con la falda, están preciosos.

  36. What an absolutely amazing alley. I just love the architecture in old cities. I can't really see the puckering in the photos, but I love the sleeves!

  37. oh those shoes.. make a dozen of dresses to wear with them :)

  38. What a great poem! thanks for highlighting it for us. I've enjoyed reading your blog since I first found it via sew weekly I guess almost 2 years ago! I've been loving your recent posts incorporating more of Scotland! My brother lived in Scotland back in 2002-2003 and your posts are bringing back fabulous memories of visiting him over christmas, being dumbfounded by Edinburgh's Hogmanay, exploring they city, hills, and countryside. We stayed in a gloriously old little apartment off the royal mile that felt just like the one in this post too! Thanks!

  39. Your taffy blouse is the nicest I've seen. It looks fabulous with that skirt.

  40. Debi_myhappysewingplaceJanuary 30, 2013 12:20 AM

    Thank you so much!!!  What a lovely comment :-)

  41. Debi_myhappysewingplaceJanuary 30, 2013 12:21 AM

    Isn't Hogmanay amazing?  It is completely overwhelming and mesmerizing!  I just adore the torchlight procession tradition!!

  42. Debi_myhappysewingplaceJanuary 30, 2013 12:22 AM

    I *might* just have these shoes in teal, too....I love them so :-)

  43. You fashionista you!  The Ness tartans, the jacket, and that delicious Taffy blouse make a perfect evening ensemble :)


I read each and every comment--thank you so much!

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