Holiday bits and bobs

Thank you for your comments on my last post, having long been an admirer of denim shirt dresses on others, I think I've now got one I'm happy to wear myself. 

If you follow me on Instagram (and if not, why not?!) then you might have picked up on the fact that I was on holiday in Spain last week.

I thought I'd share a few of my holiday snaps with you today.

We went to Benalmadena, on the Costa del Sol.  It's quite a large town, much larger than I realised actually, with a long paved promenade behind the beach, leading from the edge of the town to the marina, lined with restaurants and bars.

The marina is quite new, and has apparently been voted the best marina in the world on more than one occasion.  

I can't speak from a boating perspective, but it certainly was a lovely place to sit with a cold drink and watch the world go by.  We managed to spend quite a bit of time doing just that.  One morning we sat and watched the taking part in a triathlon run past, how they managed it in the heat I don't know!

Benalmadena also has a lovely park, which we only discovered on our last day, despite it being on the walk between our hotel and the marina!  My sister-in-law noticed it because she heard the cockerels that run free in the park calling. 

As well as chickens there are rabbits and peacocks roaming free, many of which we encountered as we wandered through the different areas.

We took a couple of trips inland during the week, to visit the town of Mijas.  We had never heard of it, but since visiting I've discovered that several of my friends rate it as their favourite holiday destination, and I can see why.  It's a lovely, very pretty place in the mountains, all white buildings and little cobbled streets.  Again, there are plenty of places to sit and enjoy a cold drink while people watching.  We sat in the square below both times we visited.

There are donkey taxis going through the streets and we were lucky enough to see a display of flamenco dancing on our second visit.

Finally I have to share some photos I had taken in the marina in Benalmadena.  Next to one of the bars we frequented there was a place where you could be dressed in 1920's clothing and hats and have your photo taken.  The 1920's are my favourite period when it comes to fashion, so after sitting and watching a couple of other people, I decided I had to do it myself. 

The photographer had a huge selection of hats - which apparently were all handmade - along with beaded tops, scarves, gloves and jewellery from which she selects an outfit for you to wear. 

Once that's decided she does your make-up and then poses you before taking quite a few photographs.

You then get given a photograph finished in sepia tones for a real period look.
I have been told by several people that it looks nothing like me!  It's not the usual holiday souvenir from Spain, but I'm very pleased with it.

Minerva Blogger Network - McCalls 6696 in Chambray

For this month’s Minerva project I’ve gone a bit out of my comfort zone and made a shirt dress.  

I have long admired shirt dresses on other people, but have disliked the idea of them for myself.  When I realised that this was because I don’t like things with collars I decided I would make myself one and leave the collar off.  That’s the beauty of making your own clothes, you can often choose to omit parts you’re not keen on.

After doing a bit of research I decided to use McCalls 6696, which appears to be a very popular shirt dress pattern.  It comes with a few variations, either a straight or gathered skirt and long, short or sleeveless options.  I decided to go for the straight skirt and no sleeves.

The fabric I chose is a gorgeous indigo blue chambray, which unfortunately is now out of stock, although Minerva does have it in a skyblue. 


For the second month running I was very naughty and didn’t make a muslin.  Basing the size I needed on the finished garment measurements I cut a size 12 for the bodice and a size 16 for the skirt.  This meant that I had quite a bit of extra skirt fabric to squeeze onto the size 12 waistband, and I came up with the idea of gathering it on, instead of using the darts.  The back gathering is positioned directly below the bodice gathers, and I used the positioning of the front darts to place the front gathers.  I really like the result.

I was also a bit out of my comfort zone when it came to the finishing of this garment, as I hate making buttonholes – and there are ten on this dress.   I often avoid making buttonholes completely, but I knew I couldn’t on this dress.  Thankfully, most of them went quite smoothly, I think I only had to unpick one and redo it!

I really like the finished dress.  It’s a bit different for me, but I think it will get quite a bit of wear over the summer months.  Who knows, I might even be tempted to make a long sleeved one come winter!