The colours of the paving slabs in this photos plus the funny light and hat make me look like I'm somewhere in the Mediterranean. Possibly Italy, probably in an ancient walled city, perhaps Lucca.
But no, this is Brooklyn.
Noisy, sticky, a bit stinky but quirky, welcoming and charming. And home.
It's funny that concept of 'home'. For my kids, this is home, this is all they know, all they remember - even though they were both born in England. For me I think I'll always feel like an interloper. As soon as I open my mouth I give myself away. I'm not from here.
But then, who is? From here?
At this time of year, when it gets hotter and getting outside and being close to water is all we want to do, yet we're constrained by living in an apartment with no garden, I often get nostalgic for 'home'.
I wonder where we would be if we were still living in England. How we would be different. What our house would be like - because it would be a house. Whether my children would be the same as they are here. How much our environment and the quirks of our living arrangements (and living here there are plenty of quirks) inform the family that we are becoming.
Mostly I wonder how I can spend as much time at the beautifully breezy beach as possible whilst also avoiding traveling there on the subway.
I also wonder if sewing would have become such a huge part of my life if I hadn't moved here.
I feel more 'me' in Brooklyn than I've ever felt anywhere else. It's partly to do with the stage I am at in my life when very few F's are given as to what others think about me. But also that nobody cares what they think about me.
They don't think about me.
I can just be me. I like that.
I like that Brooklyn and sewing are making me the most 'me'.
This me here is wearing a Named Clothing Reeta Shirt Dress. It's in a stunning cotton satin (did you even know that such a thing existed?) that came the long way round from Stoff + Stil in Denmark. By long way round I had it delivered to my mum in England who then brought it with her to Brooklyn last month. I imagine it is possible to find more expedient ways of buying from the incredible vaults of Stoff + Stil.
This dress is easy to make and easy to wear and I heart it.
After my May of me mades consisting virtually entirely of cropped trousers, it became very apparent that I needed some dresses in my life. This is step one in redressing (oh pun!) that balance. I do however, have at least two more pairs of cropped flared trousers in the wings.
Me who loves cropped pants, but also likes to feel floaty and feminine and loves a silly hat. And feels comfortable wearing it in Brooklyn.
Because nobody in Brooklyn bats an eye at me prancing around in front of a camera on a tripod on a Sunday evening. In the same way no one bats an eyelid at the 50-something ballerina earnestly and somewhat smugly twirling her way around the kids riding their tricycles at the block party yesterday.
I miss England. Troubled, floundering beauty that she is.
I miss the ease of getting to ancient walled Mediterranean cities, where the troubles can melt away for a while.
But I like that I get to call Brooklyn home.
- Pattern: Reeta Shirt Dress by Named Clothing
- Fabric: Cotton satin from Stoff + Stil
- Notions: Buttons and cord from Pacific Trimming in the Garment District
- Size: Cut a 40 grading to 42 at hips
- Shoulder: 1 inch broad shoulder adjustment, half inch forward shoulder adjustment
- Length: 1 and half inches added just above the waist
- Dart lowered by half an inch.
- I always change button placement - I'm long chested so placed the first button lower down than suggested but kept the original spacing.
- Thoughts: This is a deceptively simple pattern that was much faster to sew than I expected. An easy shirt dress with no separate placket or collar stand etc. I love the 80s hints of the bellow pockets, big collar and boxy turned-up sleeves and then the very feminine side seam slits. In a light fabric it is perfect for hot days when you want more modest attire but still want to feel a bit sassy.
In short it's a seriously lovely pattern. Named girls killing it once again.
See you soon x
ps: if you're trying to leave a comment and it doesn't work, I'd be most delighted to receive an email telling me so, as it seems there are some problems ...!