2.05.2013

stargazer

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This was my last make of 2012. I don't know why it took me so long to get it photographed and on the blog... actually I do know, but I'm too embarrassed to say! 

Sigh... you guys, I can't keep secrets from you! So this is what happened: I made two of these dresses right before Christmas - one for me and one for a friend. Only I seemed to miscalculate my yardage and I didn't have enough fabric to make one of the belts. No biggee, I thought, I'll just give my friend the belt and then dye some fabric to match for mine. So off her dress went in the mail (I gave a little sneakery peekery in this post) and there mine sat, un-hemmed and belt-less (and dare I say sad and forlorn?) until... oh... this weekend. Guys, I am not big on having UFO's hanging about my sewing room. I'm much more of the "finish what you started" type of sewer - for better or worse - so it was killing me that this dress was just sitting there, gathering cat hair. You see I did dye fabric but somehow it came out a crazy color, and I was genuinely stumped! So finally I gathered every last teensy scrap of this fabric I had lying around and cut out as many rectangular pieces from it as I could and made a belt out of it! I think there's something like nine sections to this belt. It actually turned out to be quite long! Wraps around twice... who woulda thought...? Lesson learned: never underestimate your scraps!

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This is my second time making Victory Pattern's Satsuki Dress. My friend saw the black one I made last fall and said she liked it so I thought I'd give her one as a gift. But since I'm not a totally selfless seamstress I also made one for me. This time I lowered both the front and back neckline and added about an inch of length (to make it bike-riding-appropriate... sorta). I lowered the back neckline at my friend's suggestion, so now you can wear it as a v-neck or backwards as a boat-neck. I lowered the front "v" based on my own preferences, and also confirmed my suspicions that, even given the opportunity to wear a different neckline on the same dress, I'll always choose a v-neck! It's just more comfortable and, I think, flattering on me!

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The fabric is hand dyed and painted by yours truly. It's a silk noil from Dharma Trading Co. I worked the same way I did the last time I hand painted fabric, laying out the continuous yardage and working directly on it. Unfortunately (or fortunately...? or just totally unpredictably...?) this created little bit of a variance in color and design throughout the length of fabric. Like the good person I am, I cut my friend's dress from the parts of fabric that I deemed the "prettiest" and made mine from the leftover, slightly odd parts. Not that you can really tell in these pictures, but the back has a totally different feel from the front. One of the good things about letting a project sit for as long as I did is that you can start to see it in a new light. I felt like my friend's dress had a very pretty sort of Japanese floral feel to it, almost landscape-y. Mine, however, I felt looked a bit more like I was about to go to a Grateful Dead concert. Nothing against DeadHeads, but it's not really my look.  However, give me few weeks and a bit of critical distance and now I feel like the dress is more celestial than stoner. 

This was the first time I worked with silk noil and I'm really pleased with it. After the first washing it was a bit stiff - and smelled oddly of fish - but in the second wash I used a fabric softener which brought back some it's drape, and the fish smell... well... I think it's faded...? It sewed up really really easily and pressed like a dream. The texture is kind of nubby and rough, but also somehow really comfy against the skin. I feel like this dress is as comfortable as a sweatshirt dress!

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I actually set out to take these photos twice. As usual with me, I get a pretty strong idea of how I want my photos to look and I just knew that this dress would look amazing photographed at the South Jetty - a concrete path that juts out from the East end of the island into the Gulf. The day was overcast and the colors were perfect. And best of all - no one was there!! 

Yeah, but my camera battery was dead. Foiled by the blogger's worst enemy!! So round one was a bust.  But! I was not about to be dissuaded so easily. I went home and recharged and set out again later in the day. Unfortunately in the time I was away some fishermen found the jetty, too. We only gave each other a few dirty looks before we decided to just ignore each other. However, while I was taking pictures I became a bit distracted because quite nearby, this started happening:

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Dudes, that is someone getting their life saved!!! No joke, the helicopter rolls up, lowers down, then I see one figure descending into the water in a rope, and when they pull him back up again he's got a second person with him, flailing around in his flippers! I'm assuming since the be-flippered person was flailing that they were still alive... dead people don't flail do they?

To be honest, by this point there was quite a crowd gathering around and I didn't stick around to see what happened. You see, I generally think that if I'm being pulled out of the sea by the coast guard and I may have just survived a near-death experience, the last thing I would want is a crowd of people around to witness it! 

Okay, true story time - so I grew up going to the beach every summer (Wildwood, NJ woot woot!!) and am generally a pretty strong swimmer. My parents and grandparents made sure we all knew how to be safe in the ocean. Before I could swim I knew how to do the dead man's float and what to do if I was caught in a riptide (you swim parallel to the shore people!) Anyways, you get the idea! So one summer I go out into the water by myself and start swimming for a sand bar a bit out in the distance. As I'm swimming I hear lifeguard whistles, but I figure it's no biggee, probably for people that were swimming too far out. I make it to the sand bar, climb out, turn around and see a lifeguard hurtling at me through the water! Apparently I had been caught in a current that had pulled me way far off from the point I entered the water! (P.S. I would've figured this out when I decided to make my way back to shore, and could've like, you know, walked back to where my towel was...) The lifeguard insisted I hold on to his red-hot-doggie-looking-flotation-thingy and he made me come back in to shore, right then, where - wouldn't ya know - a huge crowd had gathered! You guys... I was mortified!! I was, like, 20 when this happened!  And the lifeguard was cute, of course! I mean, maybe I really was in real danger and I didn't know it, but mostly I was embarrassed! 

By the way, I don't think my story has anything to do with this guy getting saved by a helicopter - just maybe tangentially related...? You know... water saving stories and all that...? Yeah? No? Maybe... just a little?

Alright, folks, I'm out!!! Have a good Sew Grateful Week! And know that I am sew grateful to all you readers and for this lovely sewing community I've found myself a part of. 

xx

43 comments:

  1. Whoa, sorry, I'm TOTALLY distracted by the whole air lift life saving thing!! Whhaaattt?? So crazy!!!!! Oh yeah, back to the dress... It's DEFINITELY celestial and not stoner haha! I was seriously going to tell you it looked like some super classy space age dress! I could picture Number Six wearing it in Battlestar Galactic. (ignore my nerd status after that comment...) But yeah, celestial is probably the more appropriate word ;) It's beautiful!

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  2. I have experienced this "fishy smell" with silks before. I have been known to stick my nose in silk garments at the store to see if it's there. It seems most prevalent in knit silks for some reason, but it just depends. If I remember correctly, I once had a sewing teacher mention that this occurs when the silk cocoons are not washed properly. Apparently the only way to reduce the smell is repeated washings until the cocoon funk is washed away. Anyways, I love your dye job and really want to try this someday!

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  3. I like your dress almost as much as reading your posts...don't take me wrong, I like your dress a lot!

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  4. Beeautiful! It is definitely celestial, though there's nothing wrong with a little hippie influence (says the art teacher). I am ordering some silk from Dharma for a painted dress I want to make when baby belly is gone. I was going to order the stonewashed charmeuse because I wanted something non see through. Is the silk noil totally opaque? It looks like it in the photos. Love, love, love your dress. So pretty and unique.

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  5. Stunning dress and photographs. Well worth the second visit to the beach.

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  6. The silk is beautifully painted and dyed! Such lovely photos and beautifully made. Well done!

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  7. asewingodyssey.blogspot.co.ukFebruary 5, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    This is gorgeous - totally more celestial than stoner and you chose the perfect backdrop for photos. Lots of drama though with the fishermen and the poor drowning person...who was hopefully absolutely fine after it all! Your own story is hilarious and reminds me of a similarly embarrassing situation that happened to me. My parents live in Portugal and when I was visiting them in my mid-20s, they decided to take me to a cool surfer beach so I could ogle the cool surfer dudes. Being a surfer beach, it obviously had great surf, which means when I decided to dip my toes in I kind of got pulled in my the undercurrent and dragged in. I'm also a fairly good swimmer, but I could feel myself totally losing control and I literally couldn't get back out and was in serious danger of losing my bikini top. My dad finally realised I was in trouble and he had to come and drag me out. I was obviously grateful, but I totally embarrassed myself badly in front of all the cool surfer dudes...so I demanded that we leave immediately. Haha!

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  8. Haha! Such a great story! And I'm pretty glad I'm not the only one who was mortified at the beach in front of cute boys!

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  9. Haha! I always welcome a hint of hippie (sometimes it's more than a hint because I DO have a bit of a soft spot for patchouli....shhhh)
    The silk noil IS totally opaque - but it has a far far different hand than a stonewashed silk charmeuse! Like I mentioned, it's kind of rough and nubby, it doesn't have a sheen and it drapes more like a wool crepe or something. But it's kind of fun to work with and it took the dye really beautifully (it didn't suck it up like a charmeuse would) I think it would hold up really well with wax resists and such, too.

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  10. Interesting! I didn't notice it as much until I prewashed it - then when it was hanging to dry it was literally so bad it stank up the whole house! Because I was dyeing and painting the fabric I had to wash it a couple of times and I did notice that the smell got less and less each time. I thought it was totally gone, but by the end of the day yesterday I started to notice it again. Hopefully with a few more washes it'll be gone! At least I know it has natural causes...

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  11. Yessss!!! Love me some Battlestar Galactica references!!

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  12. This is beautiful, great setting for the pics too:)

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  13. Your fabric is super awesome!

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  14. Scraps saved your life and your dress but I hate them. Hate! Saving scraps is like insurance - you're saving for the raining day but that rainy day rarely happens. In your case, the rainy day came and you lucked out.

    Beautiful dress by the way. How cool is it that you dyed the fabric? I'd tell people right off the bat about that, even if they don't ask :)

    "Sallie, you want to.."
    "Oh hey, did you know I personally dyed the fabric for this dress?..."

    You experienced some pretty serious photo bombing. Most people have a cat or baby ruining their pictures but you have a damn helicopter!

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  15. This is beyond gorgeous! I loved the little sneak peek I saw on the 'gram the other day and I was wonder if it was another Satsuki dress! Love it!

    The first time my sister came to visit me in California she got caught in a riptide and had to get saved by a lifeguard. She didn't even know she was in danger, but he pulled her out three-quarters of a mile from where she got in the water! Then about 8 hours later she chugged a bunch of screwdrivers at a party, screamed at a classmate of mine, and ended up taking her pants off in front of all my roommates, so THAT became the most embarrassing event of the day.

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  16. It's gorgeous!!! Can't believe you dyed the silk yourself! I bought the Satsuki pattern when I saw your black version but I've yet to make it.
    Your photos remind me that I really need a few days at the sea soon :)) So funny about you and the lifeguard, better they err on the side of safety right?

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  17. I really love your fabric. The pattern created reminds me of when you put drop of ink, or colorant in water. But it's true that it looks also celestial. It's just amazing!

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  18. Such amazing photos and fabulous stories to go with them!

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  19. ok, you convinced me, i should go out and look for some fabric dye, and design my own fabric from now on.. this is sooo beautiful, and i'm so envious of your sea backdrop (haven't been at the sea for year and a half now, really really miss that)..
    also, i just finished a blouse, that is completely created from scraps, so.. go scraps!

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  20. Beautiful dress and your photos are stunning. Love what you did with the fabric. The stories add a nice amount of drama...!

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  21. Your pictures are always the prettiest. I love how harmonious the sky is with your (fucking gorgeous) print. I have about 3 Victory Patterns lying around waiting for me to UNPACK MY SEWING SHIT (omg I cannot waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiit!) Kristiann really kills those patterns man (also we have almost the same birthday!)


    Is this the instagram heidi braid hair? Loves. Also I'm really glad you didn't drown when you got caught in a rip tide when you were 20. Although I am not hating the idea of you being Baywatched to safety. I was a total water baby and learned to swim really early and my mom would literally throw me in the lake when I was like, 5, and walk way to go drink boxed white wine with my aunts while I paddled around totally alone. I don't think parents do that anymore. (ps.... we need to think of a fair swap which involves me mailing you silk to make me a special Sallie print for my Vogue wrap dress... I'm trying to think about what I could do for you in return, short of, you know, mailing you a plane ticket to come for a visit....)

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  22. the Garment FarmerFebruary 6, 2013 at 8:56 AM

    wow, that's a gnarly story about the helicopter! Hope that dude is ok! I'm glad you shared your swimming story to lighten the mood ;) your hand painted fabric is gorgeous and inspiring, and you are so right, the ocean is a beautiful backdrop. Do you take the photos yourself? I got a tripod and remote, but I'm still pretty shy about taking my own photos in public places...

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  23. Good times, good times..... And beautiful dress!

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  24. OMG I don't know where to start! Okay, okay, I'll organize it...
    1) the dress is divine
    2) I agree about the v-neck
    3) I seriously had to visit the little girls room re: your beach story. BECAUSE I WAS THERE AND IT WAS HILARIOUS!

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  25. Did my previous comment disappear? Well that's a shame because I wanted to say a few things!
    1) The dress is divine (now do I get one in the mail too?!? - my birthday IS coming up and I AM your favorite sister, am I not?!)
    2) I agree that it is more stargazer... the left boobal region is particularly lovely! I always love your painted fabrics... joining your two crafts and all.
    3) The picture setting is FABULOUS! Just try to picture getting the same results somewhere in good old reading...
    4) I had to (for real) make a trip to the little girls room because I laughed so hard at your lifeguard story because I REMEMBER YOUR FACE SO CLEARLY AND IT WAS HILARIOUS!
    Another winner my love.

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  26. Love the dress! It looks more like nebulae than tie-dye to me. Your fabric dyeing turned out really well. :)

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  27. This is just beautiful. I love silk noil; I bet it was fun to paint. It's so interesting when working on projects how all these subconscious symbols surface... like the smell of fish. (Probably true, but still!) And I hope that fish out of water is ok!

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  28. I've been following and admiring a while not but had to emerge from the shadows today to tell you that this is stunning. Absolutely beautiful. It suits you perfectly and is very celestial goddess. Love it.

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  29. It's gorgeous, and so perfectly pictured against the seascape. I know what you mean... nothing makes me more self conscious than peeps nearby when I'm tryna take some pics in a public place!!! I'm lucky enough to have plenty of neighbours with interesting fences, so that's what I normally go with. But this is something ELSE. I think I totally have a girl-crush on you. Think? nah, I know I do! x

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  30. Oh my goodness Sallie this is GORGEOUS! The fabric, the color, the pattern (I have it, now I must make it after seeing yours!) and even the photo shoot. You are an artist!

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  31. Heeeeheehehehe!!! Good times at the shore... good times!! I mean... I think MAYBE that life guard was being a BIT overzealous... but what can I say? Or maybe he just thought I was cute....? Nah... couldn't be...
    And don't underestimate Reading - it's got plenty of charm... I just would try and get my pictures taken before sunset...knowwhudimean?
    Also - you are my favorite sister, and I could say I'll make you a dress for your birthday but you probably won't get it until Christmas... deal?

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  32. Hey thanks! I'm pretty sure the dude was okay... nothing in the local papers about a body being dragged out of the Gulf...
    I do take the photos myself. I use a tripod and a remote with a 2 second delay. I was actually thinking of writing a little post on some of my photo "tips" I guess, although they're not really tips as much as just the way I figured out works best for me, but sharing is caring, right?

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  33. Oh. Girl.
    We can work something out....

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  34. I bet you would make BEAUTIFUL fabric! And yes, I will never underestimate my scrap pile again!

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  35. Hahaha! Oooh that's pretty classic! Oh sisters... gotta love 'em...

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  36. What a crazy photoshoot! I love the dress. Stunning as always!

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  37. The less processed types of silk almost always smell fishy when wet. It does tend to go away after a few washes - or at least hopefully smells less. Lovely dye job! I don't think the back looks different from the front in the photos. Not like the two quite different halves of the back of my current dress project! I had some dye malfunction which left a large murky area that ended up on one back piece but not the other - or anywhere else on the dress. Sigh. Oh well. It's hand-dyed, right?

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  38. Yep, totally hand dyed.

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  39. Beautiful, as always ^__^ You inspire me so much... your style is always dead on, and I'm dying to try dying - (haha that was not intentional, it just came out that way) - and fabric painting, because of you :) I'm with Maddie... getting photo bombed by a rescue helicopter is pretty rad :P

    BTW I think I would feel exactly the same way in your situation - isn't it funny how pride totally trumps personal danger? We are a weird society! LOL ^__^

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  40. i had so many intelligent things to say about your recent makes... but disqus doesn't play nicely with my gadgets and wouldn't let me holler. now that i've used up my intelligence for the day, i'll just say, that dress is beeeeyootiful.

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  41. Oh my goodness. This is beautiful. The fabric, the pattern, you. I know I am late to the party, but I am totally making this because of you.
    Leuinda Oleta, sewing in NYC
    http://leusewsinnyc.wordpress.com/

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  42. Stunning !https://www.facebook.com/SassySewingBees

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