9.10.2012

internet friends are the best friends

DSC_0010

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.

DSC_0013
DSC_0011

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.  

DSC_0026DSC_0029

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.

DSC_0018DSC_0021DSC_0022

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...

xx

49 comments:

  1. Stunning! As always Sallie, you amaze me!
    I love getting a peak at your plans - your sketches are so inspiring.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh wow, your dress is beautiful! And getting fabric in the mail is better than Christmas!. Your friend will be proud, you did you good with that fabric!

    ReplyDelete
  3. You always make the prettiest things Sallie. The way it drapes on the front is so gorgeous and I love taking a peek at the preliminary sketches for this design.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Beautiful. I love the v-neck and where the straps hit. The neckline is so pretty. And I love it un-reined in. Very, very pretty!

    ReplyDelete
  5. that is seriously one gorgeous dress. I love that print!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Holy hell, I can't believe you drafted this yourself! Wait, I TOTALLY believe it, but I'm in awe and more than a little jealous! I just knew you would make something gorgeous! Yay! Oh, and I know that we are total soulmates... like, for real.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wait... you can draw too? Some people just get all the talent ;) Seriously now though, I'm loving the multiple options you've given yourself with the shoulder ties. Fab-spunkalicious. The fabric is pure awesome and works amazingly well with this creation... Love it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. GuuuuuhhhhhMyyyyGodddd that dress!!! And those are YOUR sketches?! You are seriously, seriously talented. Can you please have your own line of patterns already so I can put your future children through college?! Hahah! No seriously though. I NEED that dress pattern.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh Sallie... this dress is so beautiful!!! It's so YOU! You did the fabric proud, my friend! I loooooove the way the straps are attached at the side & the way they cross in back - so deceptively simple and so gorgeous!! Absolutely love it!!! ^__^

    ReplyDelete
  10. It looks great! That's how I feel about sewing more simple items too, like rushing through it.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Wow, Sallie! Your sketches are amazing. And as usual, you look absolutely stunning. Your style is perfection!

    ReplyDelete
  12. You can totally pull off all that volume. I think I would be asked a few too many times if we were having another baby. I love all the strappy goodness and the print truly is wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I absolutely love your dress, and it's given me an idea for how to use a white fabric printed with line drawings of origami that I have had for a while and didn't know what to do with. Sometimes the more you love the fabric the harder it is to design with... You just can't bear to cut it! Congratulations your baby is stunning.

    ReplyDelete
  14. LOVE!! You look so good in volume, not an easy feat for sure. The dress turned out superb and your sketches are beautiful as well! I have to agree with your thoughts on Sonja, her blog always has me laughing and she's got excellent taste and mad skills as well. Not jealous of your weather though, 110?! Crap dude, I would literally start whining like a small child and them melt. Don't know how you deal.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Wow that is a truly gorgeous dress. It's perfect for you Sallie - voluminous and glamorous and quirky all at the same time. I love it both ways but think my favourite is where you tie it at the back and leave the front billowing - really beautiful. It looks so cool - in both senses of the word! And self-drafted too - you should be so SO proud of yourself. :D

    ReplyDelete
  16. I love it! Much better than your wrapped beach towels although you were pretty darn cute in them too! That neckline is stunning. Me being me I love the loose flowing look but how nice to have options! It's like a two for one deal!
    Can she draw ? Oh yeah my Sallie with TWO degrees in painting can draw! She's been drawing amazing stuff since she could hold a crayon. An artist and teacher myself I used to be dumbfounded at her early drawing skills. But drawing and painting came easy what she always had a hankering to do was design clothes. I'm so happy and proud that she's pursuing that dream

    ReplyDelete
  17. Awesome dress! I always wrap fabric around myself too. There's even one piece (blue with printed ducks) that I apparently loved so much I wouldn't let my mom cut it, it's still there at her house! But I still do it, and think about it, "Am I going to like this finished better than I do this fabric?" I love that this is a dress but also shows off the very nature of the fabric so well!

    ReplyDelete
  18. first of all sonja really is the sweetest person ever. it was so good to meet her a few weeks ago. also, i love your dress. it is so you, and beautifully draped.

    ReplyDelete
  19. You're such a gee-nee-us. LOVE your sketches - I love seeing process. They so pretty! And isn't it fun when your skills get to a point where we can conceive and then make what we had in our heads? I call that LIBERATION. This print is super mad dope - broken fishnets! Sonja, what a mensch. And it's super flattering and eezy breezy and probably the only thing (short of my underwear) I would want to wear in that heathen heat, Hope you're staying cool - but f course you are cuz you're ALWAYS cool. xo

    ReplyDelete
  20. you are QUEEN of the white lately! what a gorgeous gift. and hi talented sketchbook. i'm overloaded on beauty.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Oolalaliberation! It DOES feel good - especially because it so rarely happens these days! Seriously - the heat - ugh! Its better now, but for awhile there all I could think was that I DID NOT want anything to touch me! Really, yesterday was, like, the first day all summer that I realized I could smell some other way besides like my BO. Its gross - but its the truth. Gospel.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I hope one day I can get my butt up to New York and arrange to meet all you beautiful NY ladies. I'm very jealous that its so much easier for all you guys to meet each other and talk shop.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thank you Joanne! I like it full and voluminous too. It feels like a lot of dress, even for me, but I do think it falls quite beautifully so I'm just going to go with it!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thanks Jen! That was exactly what my husband said when I asked his opinion on this dress - he told me I look good in volume! I'm not sure what that means, but I guess there's no sense questioning it! The heat is... intense... but weirdly enough you get used to it. I'm convinced that the ever present layer of sweat and grease on my skin is keeping me young (and pimply - but thats another story!)

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thank you Beth! I'm totally with you - the more you love a fabric the harder it is to design with it! I think your fabric would be perfect for something like this - I always feel like simple designs like this have a very Japanese aesthetic (echoed in the origami print, of course!)

    ReplyDelete
  26. Thank you Crystal! You know - a couple of elderly southern gentlemen today were insisting on opening doors for me and giving me their seats... I thought it was just because they thought I was a lady - but you know, I think they totally thought I was expecting! Ah well - I'll take the chivalry where I can!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Thanks Tiffany! I really appreciate it - I'll have to show more of my sketches on the blog.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I know - and then I'm always irritated with myself! I think I hit a nice middle ground with this one. I didn't skimp on things like hemming (and it's a BIG hem!) but I also was able to finish it in a weekend without it taking over my life.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hahaha!! Thanks Rochelle! Thats a HUGE compliment! And please, you have seriously crazy skills - I bet you can figure out the pattern! Its basically a slightly altered circle. The hardest part is getting the shape of the armhole/back. That took a few tries to get it right.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Thank you Melanie! I'll have to post some of my sketches more often! Seems to be quite a hit... I think there may even be more shoulder-tie options available to me that I just haven't explored - but yeah, I totally like the versatility too!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Totally soulmates - you should know that I've been agonizing over what I can send you in return - and I think I've finally landed on something. It'll take me some time to get it together, though - but still, know that a present for you is in the works! And thank you THANK YOU again.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Thank you Colette! I love the print too - Its so unexpected the way it breaks up.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Thank you Liza Jane! I love it unreigned in too - its my favorite sort of swingy! And I think the neckline is really important - otherwise it could really overwhelm me!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Thank you anto, thats so very sweet of you to say!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Totally better than Christmas! I definitely squealed - and I'm not much of a squealer!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Thank you Lizz!

    ReplyDelete
  37. awww.... lovely! the criss-cross straps in back are super awesome. beautiful dress. i think it really looks amazing in full swishiness, without the belting. Gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Oh Sallie... this dress is so beautiful!!! It's so YOU! You did the fabric proud, my friend! I loooooove the way the straps are attached at the side & the way they cross in back - so deceptively simple and so gorgeous!! Absolutely love it!!! ^__^

    ReplyDelete
  39. As much as I hate to sound like a broken record.... STUNNING! You are super clever and I think the dress is a perfect match for the fabric.

    ReplyDelete
  40. thesecretlifeofseamsSeptember 12, 2012 at 5:17 AM

    Ye Gods Sallie, this is gorgeous! I think you've totally captured the vibe of your inspiration dress. Love the neckline shot, the finish looks so neat, and your sketch of the dress has mad shading skills. If you did re-do the belt (don't think you need to), could you braid one?

    ReplyDelete
  41. Wow - a braided belt is a fabulous idea!! You're a genius! I'm wondering how I would insert the braid into the seam along the back and underarm? Or do you think the braid could just be sewn down on top? Hmm... I might have to experiment should I decide to make another one... Thank you for the suggestion!!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Oh thank you Jillian!

    ReplyDelete
  43. Thank you Amanda! Yes, its a very simple dress - which is why I'm glad I paid attention to the details or else it really could have gone into sack territory!

    ReplyDelete
  44. Sonja is such a gem for sending this to you. Indeed she is very humorous and down-to-earth.


    This dress is pretty awesome Sallie. Although it would look good in a drapey silk, the dress looks just as good in a cotton. You know what I like about your designs? Well, I like a lot of things about your design but in particular, I like how you focus on silhouettes and fabrics more than construction. Construction is important, yes, but that's not what people see or notice. What they fall in love with is the fabric, the shape, or the way it looks on.


    P.S. Are those your drawings? Mad props if they are!

    ReplyDelete
  45. Thank you Maddie, thats very sweet of you to say. I definitely feel like the silhouette and fabric are the things that draw me into a design - not that I don't feel like construction is important, because it totally is, and I'm always trying to construct the garment to the best of my abilities. But that's not my background (two degrees in Fine Art - not Fashion, and yes, yes those are my sketches ;) so there is more of a learning curve when it comes to the construction. The feeling for the design as a whole comes much more naturally to me.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Thanks to the Colette Snippets newsletter and your tip on Turning Loops, I now have a new sewing blog to enjoy! I read lots of them, but somehow had never seen yours, which so far looks very interesting. Love your style, and the tutorials, and your pix are so cool. I'm tickled!

    ReplyDelete
  47. Did I comment on this? I don't think I did. But I keep coming back to it because it's such a beautiful print. You have such a great eye for line (I would love to see your paintings) and what you did with this optical print is so perfect. I love how volumey dresses give so much drama with so little effort.

    ReplyDelete
  48. I love everything about this dress! The fabric, the cut. It looks amazing on you. I've been really into flowing silhouettes lately, and I really like this dress all loose and floofy. Super flattering on you!

    ReplyDelete