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!
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!
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!
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:
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.