Sooo, first and foremost, a very happy burpday to my honourary nephew, Jake, also known as Bertie. That was my name suggestion when my friend, Katy, was expecting him, and just because her and Mark vetoed that suggestion is not going to stop me going with it . . . #determined.
Anyway, Bertie is the dapperest (not sure if that is a real word or not) little boy I know (although no so little these days) and I choose to believe that it has nothing to do with the awesomeness that is Mark and Katy, no, no, he is dapper because I gave him a dapper name . . . so there.
Anyway, I have racked my brain for months about his birthday present. His sister, Pippa, is easy - pretty dresses, the latest of which can be found here - but I do struggle with boys. I think this is because Bertie is the only boy in the family - we really are all girls. Boys have to marry into the family and good luck to them - we tend to welcome those that are willing with big open arms and I still maintain that my husband is in fact the favourite child - no-one else gets a look in when he's around and I am forever being told that I 'need to be nice to Philip , . . you don't want to lose him now'. No, I don't, but he doesn't want to lose me either so he needs to be nice to me, but it doesn't work like that in my family . . . Think My Big Fat Greek Wedding - that is my family. In fact, I took the nieces to see My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 a couple of weeks ago and all the way through Georgia was looking very embarrassed and muttering to her self 'oh God, this is my family'. Yes, child it is, but like the rest of us you will just have to learn to embrace it, because you can't escape it . . . I object to being compared to Aunt Voula though, but then again, I can see some similarities . . . but I shall embrace them and just make sure I embarrass Georgia as much as possible, as is my duty as most Awesome Auntie.
I had toyed with a few ideas, but when making Pippa's present somewhere the idea came for a waistcoat. I browsed the PDF offerings but nothing took my fancy, and then I came across Simplicity 8023 which is a full 'dapper' set - waistcoat, ascot, bow tie and cummerbund. AND it included boys and mens sizes, so as I think my husband looks quite dashing in a waistcoat, I could even make him one . . . unlikely, but I might. I was going to say my husband looks hot, but the niece has issue with me finding men hot (i.e. Hugh Jackman). Apparently "eeewwww Auntie Holly you can't say that!" I admit, her mother can't say that, but surely the most fabulous Auntie in the world can say these things?!? best not go down the Zac Efron route . . .
Anyway, I know she reads this blog so I'd best not say that I think my husband is rather hot in a waistcoat had I? Because that would, like, totally gross her out! Oooops, too late . . . unlucky Georgia!!!!!
So, I was originally going to just make the waistcoat, but then decided that I would also make the Ascot, then thought I would quite like to have a go at a cummerbund, and then thought, well there's only the bow tie to go, so he might as well have the whole hog and have choices . . .
I struggled to find the cummerbund fastening in small sizes for the boys sizing, but eventually found some over at Minerva, described as Waspie Buckle Fasteners, and they come in a colour other than black, which is just bon et marvy, so I ordered silver in the smallest size they had. They are still a little bit too big, but totally manageable. I accidentally ordered some belt sliders for the back of the waistcoat from Asia, so had to wait for them (I really should check where my things are coming from when I order on eBay), but in the meantime I could get on with everything else.
I started by cutting everything out, which in total took about an hour. I used the same main fabric as I used for Pippa's dress, because they go to a lot of weddings, christenings etc. and I know Katy would love to have them matching (I don't know that, but as they always family-dress for Halloween etc. I am guessing that she would love this idea). For the linings and the back of the waistcoat I used some ice-blue satin from my stash. I toyed with Elsa-blue and yellow to match Pippa's dress, but decided against both of these, and I am glad I went with the ice-blue - It just looks so nice. While I was waiting for supplies to arrive, I got on with the ascot, which was a very simple make and I love how it looks when finished. My cummberbund fastener arrived fairly quickly so then I made that, and then I waited . . . and waited . . . and waited . . . and then panicked the belt sliders weren't going to arrive in time. In the end, they arrived with 5 days to spare so I then got on with the waistcoat, which was not a time-consuming job at all in the end, possibly 3 hours tops.
To finish the waistcoat, again I toyed with matching buttons for Pippa's dress, but in the end went with some sparkly buttons which I used for a skirt recently, and they go perfect I think.
Anyway, not too much to say, the instructions were pretty straight forward and no major mishaps along the way. The only thing I had to unpick with the belt on the waistcoat when I put it on the wrong way. Limited cursing and only 10 minutes to sort out really, and that is it. I couldn't get the bow tie fastening set in time after I'd decided to do a bow tie so I made an elastic version, which is probably better for kids anyway. And that is it.
I really like this cute little set and hope that Bertie (and Katy and Mark) does too.
I'm on with some commissions now so I will blog about them all in good time. I should really write my dissertation too . . . .
In the meantime . . .