11.11.2012

how to act like a lady

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Gah! I'm so sorry for my recent silence around these parts. I didn't mean to just disappear like that, but sometimes it happens! For whatever reason, I really wanted to slow down and take my time on this dress. I'm sure a lot of you can relate to the feeling of pressure to push through a project just in order to get it up on your blog, a feeling that I like to shake off every now and again. I also usually make dresses like this with an event in mind - usually an opening at my gallery or some other type of occasion - but (thankfully) my social calendar has been pretty quiet so there was no real rush.

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This is the dress I made using my hand painted silk habotai. The entire dress is lined in white rayon bemberg. The pattern is essentially Simplicity 1880 - the same as my earlier, purple version - but with a few modifications: 

Obviously this version is sleeveless.  I felt like the little cap sleeve on my first version made my shoulders look a tad football-player-ish so I decided to leave them off this time around. Also, it makes it easier to layer under cardigans and such. And whether or not a garment is cardigan-ready can really make-it-or-break-it for me! 

I also cut the skirt as a half-circle skirt rather than the four sections that came with the pattern. This eliminated the center seam and the weird fall of the bias that happens with the Simplicity skirt. 

And finally I shortened the front bodice pieces by about 1/2 inch in the center, tapering to nothing at the side seams in order to prevent gaping at the center front. While wearing that purple dress I've looked down a fair few times to see that one or both boobs were on high display. I'm not particularly modest, but I still put fixing that issue pretty high up there on my "things I'd do differently..." list.

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Hmm... maybe I should have taken some length out of the center back too...

After the initial excitement of painting my own fabric died away, and my joy passed that the dye actually took and didn't, like, wash right down the sink, I had a hard time deciding what to make with my fabric. In my post-fabric-dyeing sobriety I gave the fabric a cold, clear, critical eye, and I sort of felt like it looked like a Target shower curtain. How underwhelming! But really, it depended on my mood. I still loved the watercolor-like bleed of the spots and there are areas where the colors overlap and become really nuanced. But I guess once I had the finished fabric in my hands I felt like I needed to do something really artistic and daring with it.  But nothing really seemed quite right. After draping the fabric around myself like a toga for about a week and a half I finally decided to quit over-thinking it and just go with my original plan, whether or not I still felt like it was the 'best' one. And you know what? I'm glad I did. I'm starting to sense that might be the story of my life... You'd think I'd learn...

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The original idea for this dress, fabric and all, came from a dress I saw well over a year and a half ago in the window of one of my favorite stores in Houston, Leap. I can't remember who the dress was by, and I think I've tried to describe it to every person I know who works there. There's a possibility the dress was made by Electric Feathers, which wouldn't be surprising because I'm often inspired by their work. Regardless, it was a white, wrap dress with delicate blue brush-like marks hand painted all over it. My fabric came out a bit more spotty than I remember this dress being, and the overall look much more classic, but it's still quite lovely, and fulfills my long desire for that other dress.

Now I just need some occasion to wear it...come on life! Get fancy!

xx

34 comments:

  1. Your dress is really lovely. Your hand-dyed silk is gorgeous. I love the palette you went with. Gaping can be a bit of a problem on cross over dresses. I've leant two techniques to avoid this. Firstly, turn the pattern piece so that the diagonal line of the crossover is on the grain and not on the bias. This helps the fabric hug your body. Secondly, remove a wedge shaped piece (like a dart) at the area above your bust at the section that tends to gape on your pattern (by folding it) before cutting your fabric out. Effectively, you have then removed the fabric that tends to gape. Hope this is helpful.

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  2. You are the prettiest Target shower curtain I ever did see ;) Seriously though your absurdly amazing fabric choices/creations make me feel like a shlub for using quilting cotton all day everyday. I need to branch out!

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  3. This dress looks amazing. I particularly love the way the different shades of blue work together in the dyed fabric. Nicely done, Sallie!

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  4. Love this! I've been wanting to paint or stamp my own fabric for the longest time and just never get the guts to do it. This really makes me want to try! I think the fabric makes it look very boutique-ish.

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  5. I'm so excited to see that you used your hand-painted fabric. And, I totally get the slow sewing thing. That's one of my biggest worries with the whole Mood thing - I don't want to feel like I have to sew with a deadline. My most recent project has been moving along very happily at a snail's pace. Anyway, glad to see you're back on your blog. Funny how you can miss people you don't even really know.

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  6. So pretty and ladylike and floaty - I love this, and you wear it so well! I must have had some kind of psychic flash when you posted about painting that fabric - I actually wondered how you would feel about it post painting. I figured when you work quickly like that, it's sometimes hard to envision the outcome. But I'm glad you ended up liking it. And that Electric Feathers link has some really, really gorgeous stuff. I can see you swanning about in pretty much every single one of their pieces!

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  7. I really do love that fabric. It's nice sometimes to slow down and sew instead of worrying about the blog!

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  8. Your dress looks lovely and I would never have thought cheap fabric or shower curtain at all. I am glad to be reminded of this great pattern. I still really want to sew it up. Thanks for the tips on adjustments.

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  9. It's great to see what you did with your hand painted fabric, it looks lovely! And a good match for the pattern, I love the spots on the ties. I can definitely over-think what to do with special fabric, but all in all I'd be happier wearing it than wondering what to make out of it!

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  10. Wowsers, you look fancy and gorgeous! I love how you've done your hair too. Delicious!

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  11. lady indeed.. beautiful dress, really..i was wondering what you gonna make from your unique fabric :) fingers crossed that some fancy event is just around the corner

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  12. In the first picture I already saw it was silk, and I'm still a noob in the sewing department. I love the self painted fabric! The dress has turned out very beautiful.

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  13. Soooo pretty! Love the colors and that wrap style is such a good look on you!

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  14. What a beautiful dress ;-)

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  15. Sallie baby, I'm in love! That hand painted silk really looks magical in a 3-dimensional form. The possibilities of hand painting, oh my! I think there is something kind of right-on about the loose pattern and the more classic shape too.... although I think the possibilities for one of your unstructured eezy breezy dresses and a similarly wild at heart print could be devastating too. And may I just say - GOD DAMN YOU AND YOUR GREEN & YOUR FLOWERS. The branches are bare, the wind is cold, winter is coming, and here you are beautifully swanning around in bare legs and light as a feather silk. *sob*

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  16. No design ever turns out how we envision it. NEVER. What we set out to design/sew and what is actually designed/sewn are usually far different. But that's a part of designing that we have to accept and work with. Through the course of a project, we have to deal with the "oh-oh's" and "oh-shit-what-did-i-just-do." With that said, I like how the watercolor turned out. I don't think it looks Target at all and if it did, it certainly doesn't look like a shower curtain.

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  17. The dress turned out so pretty and breezy. I think that the fabric you created and its cool tones go perfectly with that breezy feeling. I completely disagree with your post-fabric-dyeing sober self, It definitely does not look like a Target shower curtain to me. I really like how the whole project turned out. Besides, you wear it so beautifully.

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  18. when I saw you'd made your own fabric my first thought was, Man, that's gonna be hard to cut into! so it's funny that, indeed, you fussed a bit over what to do with it. glad you trusted your gut; your gut's got good taste! the dress looks great! wouldn't have thought i'd want a wrap dress in my life, but your work has sparked a certain desire... however, it's way past flippy wrap dress weather her in Oregon. i love autumn but am still a little jealous of the bare skin & flowers i'm seeing here.

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  19. Lovely Sal. And don't fret about your silence. I think we all come here for the quality over the quantity.

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  20. I'm glad you went with your original plan because it's beautiful! I'm definitely not getting any Target shower curtain vibes off of this. Also heck yes to things being cardigan ready...I believe we've talked about our mutual hatred for bunchy sleeves. THE WORST! I hear you on the "sewing things quick for a blog post" though my worry is usually "sew this quick before I decide to work on something else and never finish this thing." I have a major problem with that.

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  21. So gorgeous! The dress is beautiful, but your hair and the background make it perfect. It doesn't look like a shower curtain at all to me!

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  22. You are a sewing angel with a halo of braided hair. Teach me your ways! Your photos are lovely but it still makes me laugh to think of you wandering around strangers' yards and driveways with your tripod.

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  23. Oh Sallie, the dress is so beautiful and of course it looks great on you! That fabric turned out really cool and I love how not only is the fabric one of a kind, so is the dress because you made it. There's something so meaningful in that, don't you think?

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  24. Gorgeous dress and so unique. You should be very pleased with this.i think it has a wonderful designer style flair to it. It looks so natural and comfortable on you too - like all your makes. Love your hair in these pics too!

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  25. Now even sure I ended up at your blog, but I just spent the last twenty minutes perusing, and I can't wait to see more. I'm a fellow passionate sewist, and all that you have done is beautiful! I am interested in hand painting fabric, and this is just gorgeous!
    madmim.com

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  26. This looks so beautiful! It's so floaty and sweet, but also really unique. Your special fabric really transformed into a special dress!

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  27. Oh darn you for sharing that link to Electric Feathers. I love those designs. This really came out so pretty. I would've had a similar conundrum after working on the fabric so long. I have some pretty and expensive paisley chiffon that I've stashed for over a year and have traced 3 different patterns and still can't decide. Anyway, the watercolors are just gorgeous, so watery, and I love how the simplicity of the dress shows them off.

    You make such meaningful pieces, Sallie, and I love your stories and the time you take to put into them. Thank you, really, for inspiring me!

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  28. Gosh really beautiful. A really elegant painter's smock / cool summer dress. Great pattern and fabric...well done!

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  29. This is so beautiful, Sallie... you REALLY did justice to the amazing job you did in hand painting this gorgeous fabric. The dress style not only complements the fabric, it is absolutely 100% YOU - breathtaking, as always :) XO

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  30. So beautiful Sallie! the dress design and fabric are such a perfect match.
    I was wondering if I could pick your brain about leather - I'm making stretch leather leggings and a dress and I just wondered if you had any suggestions on stitch length / needles / teflon foots etc etc (particularly for the pin stitching you did on the shoulder of your jacket). I haven't found much info on the net yet. Lots of love, Suzie

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  31. Awesome outfit! I love the dress:)

    http://theprintedsea.blogspot.de/

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  32. Hey Suzannah! This is such a crazy coincidence! I just finished a pair of stretch faux-leather leggings. Would love to share! Email me:
    sallie.forrer@gmail.com
    I also just friended you on Facebook since that's where your disqus link took me... we can chat there, too.

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  33. asewingodyssey.blogspot.co.ukDecember 8, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    Oh Sallie, this is so, so pretty and elegant and chic! You look beautiful!

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