Back in the beginning of August I received a big, squishy envelope in the mail, all the way from New York City. Upon opening it I found a generous amount of yardage of this awesome printed fabric. Those of you with eagle eyes and mad blog stalking skillllzz may remember this fabric from another blogger's make. I had a serious crush on this fabric when Sonja posted her adorable Scout tee back in July. And being the amazing person she is, Sonja sent me some. Just like that!
Friends, if you want to know the way to my heart - like the deep down recesses of my heart, the places that once you get in you're not getting back out - just send me fabric. I loved Sonja before for her humor and her down-to-earth approach to sewing and knitting and her fabulous makes, but now this love is for real. Sonja, you complete me.
When I was a little girl I used to take old sheets and beach towels and blankets - pretty much any large swath of fabric and drape it around my body and pretend I was a queen, or a model, or more often than not, a witch. Those big fabric rectangles were, like, a million times better than any actual dress-ups I owned (I mean, they dragged around on the floor after me and I could throw them over my shoulder... ) I don't think that impulse has ever left me because as soon as I unwrapped Sonja's present I immediately wrapped myself in the fabric and started swanning about the house. Actually that's pretty much what I do anytime I get new fabric, but I was particularly in love with the print on this one. The wheels in my head started turning as I began to contemplate what to make it into. What design would best show off the print, but also compliment it in style? Do I break up the print or choose a garment that will let the print run unbroken? And then there was the age old question - what do I really want to wear?
I may have thought about this too much. But eventually I decided I wanted something where the print could be both broken and unbroken. At the same time this Electric Feathers Infinite Rope Dress kept playing around in my brain and I decided to try to recreate something similar with my fabric.
For such a simple dress (really, this dress has two major seams) it actually took me a little bit to figure out. In the end, my dress ended up with a much fuller hem than the inspiration dress, but I'm okay with that. I reached a point though where I began to question this fabric for this design. This really caused me to stall in sewing it up. After all, I didn't want to waste my awesome fabric! I realized I had completely paralyzed myself - I was too nervous to cut into my fabric, but I couldn't move on to another project! So - as I usually do in times like these - I asked my husband, who told me to just go for it and he thought that I'd like the dress I had originally planned. Part of me still feels like maybe this would be better in a drapey-er silk, but I have to agree with Nick, I do really love the dress, and even more I love seeing my vision come to fruition.
I did make the ties long enough that they can be wrapped entirely around the waist. I like having the option of wearing it both ways, however, knowing me I'll probably wear it loose and full more than I'll wear it all reigned in (even though I really do love the way it folds and cascades when belted.) And yes, I'm fully aware that if I ever get the hankering to make babies I'll already have a nice start on a maternity wardrobe! What can I say?! I like-a the volume...
The fabric is a light weight cotton and I lined it in a white silky rayon to help with the see-through factor and also to add some swishy-ness. I always feel that with super simple designs like this my impulse is to rush through them, so I really tried to break that habit and take the time to focus on little construction elements where I could, like interfacing the neck opening and understitching and making an itsy-bitsy narrow hem. I used Jen's (Grainline) tutorial for the hem because this post was still fresh in my mind. It turned out beautifully, but I think that may have had more to do with my nice, stable cotton than it does with my sewing skills! Despite my attempt to attend to the details, I still can find things I'd like to change (isn't that always the case?) I wish I could have found a way to make the ties more substantial. I love the inspiration dress's thick ropey ties - but my commitment just wasn't there!
I conceived this dress (yes, all my handmade garments are my babies) while suffering through some seriously hot and humid (like 110F plus...) days. Fortunately we had a "cold snap" right before I took these pictures. 88 degrees never felt so cool!! Well, I hope you all have a wonderful week and those of you that are beginning to experience a change of season - enjoy it! And if you get a hankering for summer you can come visit me - it'll still be hanging around these parts until... oh... November? I have an air mattress...