10.21.2013

last gasp

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I want to thank you all, so much, for your kind words on my last fabric post! I'm having such a wonderful time experimenting with dyes and seeing where I can push them and how I might make them my own, and it's been such a joy getting to share that process with you! And you've certainly given me a ton to think about in terms of where all this fabric dyeing might lead...

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I also have to acknowledge all the crazy good suggestions you guys had for what this fabric should become! You guys seriously have amazing vision, and I wish I could have taken every. single. one of your suggestions (wouldn't that have been an awesome post!?) 

But, as you can see, I ended up sticking to the original plan and making an Anna.  One of the main reasons for this being that Heather Lou sent me this pattern as part of our hand-dyed-silk-maxi-dress-love-fest earlier this summer, and it just seemed to complete the karmic circle of good-feelings too perfectly to use this pattern with this fabric. And if there is one thing I believe in, it's karmic circles. And silk. Yes, I am a fervent member of the Church of Karma & Silk... any other believers out there?

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I also really wanted to make my Anna before our weather turned too cold for me to enjoy it, because if ever there was a pattern for Summer 2013, I believe it is the Anna.  This pattern just feels so very now (yes, I realize that for most of you in the northern hemi summer is already a distant memory, clouded over by wafts of pumpkin spice everything, but in my little corner of the world I'm still enjoying the last few gasps of warmish temps before fall finally decides to settle on us). When I was in NYC I had the wonderful privilege of getting to eyeball not one, not two, but five Anna's in the course of three days! That, my friends, is an excellent example of a pattern going viral.  And, yeah, I wanted in. So consider this my late entry onto the Anna train.

And, boyohboyohboy am I glad I boarded that train! I was actually nervous about this dress - if you can believe it.  I worried that the tummy-hugging silhouette wouldn't be particularly flattering on me, since I generally try to drape myself in volume around those middle parts. I actually made two muslins of the bodice before I cut into my silk, something I haven't done in quite awhile.  I couldn't quite make my mind up between two sizes - a US6 or a US8.  Both, technically, fit. And looked fine. But the 6... well... it left no one in doubt about where I store my chicken and waffles ifyaknowwhati'msayin... So I went with the 8, and I'm very pleased that I did.  I think the dress is still miraculously flattering and feminine and sexy while still allowing me to breathe and, ya know, have organs. 

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So let's talk about some of the nitty-gritty, shall we? One of the benefits of being the last person in the blogosphere to make a pattern is that you get to learn from everyone else's experience.  So even before I made my muslins I was aware that this pattern had some issues with gaping at the back neck, and I was able to use Ginger's clever little adjustment to take out excess fabric there (though the back neck still gapes a bit if I stand up 'yoga-straight'...) I also took Oona's advice and skipped the pattern facings and instead used a bias strip facing to finish the neckline.  I had also heard everyone bemoan the miles of french seams and hand finishing that this dress called for. I heard it. And I chose to ignore it. Instead I serged my edges (I know... such a rebel) and....!!! Get this... I topstitched my thigh-split! Say What?!?! It's true. And before you all come at me with pitchforks and buckets of tar, lemme just say: It. Works. Fine. I would especially recommend this if you are making your Anna out of a solid colored fabric. Total time saver. Perhaps not the invisible finish some might desire, but dudes, I finished this dress in a day. 

Cue the horrible construction shots in heinous indoor lighting... 

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The one area where I did go a bit overboard on was the zipper.  I hate the feel of zipper tape against my skin, so I debated drafting a facing for the back opening, but I felt like that would really only work neatly if I included all the facings, and I had already decided to go the bias route. So instead I cut strips of my silk and bound the zipper tape in those before I inserted it into the dress. Now, no scratchy zipper tape ruining the delicious feeling of all that silk against my skin! As for my invisible zipper experience as a whole? I have no complaints. Inserting zippers into super lightweight fabrics like this silk is always a bit funky. But I interfaced the seam allowances around the zipper and it went in like a charm, and, I think, looks just about as neat and clean as can be expected.

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Nick took these pictures for me, which is always a bit of an adventure.  I usually end up with some absolutely stunning shots, and then I get some funny ones like the shot above. I can only assume he was getting bored with my posing and preening and the distraction of a really big boat was just too tempting! (P.S. Thank you, Nick! You're such a good sport! I love you!) 

Well, since finishing this dress I've already worn it to two events and plan to wear it to another this week. It's actually pretty amazing how this dress can go super fancy or more daytime-casual with just the slightest change of shoes and accessories. Love it! But now I think it's time for me to focus on some fall weather sewing... sigh. It's time. Goodbye summer!

xx

52 comments:

  1. Oh my god, you gorgeous girl - THIS IS BEAUTIFUL. <3



    And seriously, your dyeing skills - oh oh oh oh oh.


    xx

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  2. WOW. It's absolutely gorgeous... I was dying (!!) to see what you would do with that beautiful fabric and you've totally done it justice. I love it.

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  3. Definitely my fave Anna. The colour, the dye job and in silk too! Sigh...one day I shall achieve the kind of greatness that your dyeing and sewing have...one day

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  4. So beautiful, this dress is truly an inspiration.

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  5. Oh my gosh I love this fabric so much!! I would want to commission you to make some for me but I am assuming that you have, oh only like a billion other people asking the same thing. You are really talented!!!

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  6. Stunning! I just.... I can't even.... I love your fabric so much! I can't wait to see where else fabric dying takes you. It's inspiring for sure!

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  7. WOW. This is FABULOUS! I looooooooooove it! Absolutely stunning!

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  8. This came out so lovely.You look so amazing.I love everything, Everything!!! Still super in love with your silk paint fabric. And Geez!!! You make me want to visit Texas.


    You know, I am still working on my Anna, despite it looking done. I just had my friend come over and pinch the back, so much to take out in the bodice. *sigh*

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  9. This is the nicest version of this dress I have seen yet! I may make one of these before the summer is out.

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  10. Wow! What a stunning dress! I am in awe of your artistry.

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  11. I want this dress AND THIS FABRIC! So beautiful.

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  12. Gorgeous dress! I think it looks beautiful as an Anna dress :) I've just finished mine, also with self dyed silk. Great pics too, looks beautiful there!

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  13. I love this dress, and the dye job is absolutely amazing! I read your earlier post (dye already) with the instructions ages ago and then finally ordered all my chemicals and had a go myself a few weeks ago. Thank you for the fabulous instructions. If it weren't for you, I would never have tried this. I have to admit that I loved your designs so much that I shamelessly tried to copy. Mine didn't turn out quite so good, but I learnt heaps and am getting ready to dye another little remnant from my stash soon too.
    You can have a look at my first attempts here (I just started to blog myself). I linked to your great post too. ;-)

    http://lilysageandco.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/to-dye-for.html

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  14. I'm so glad you got this made up. I had thought once or twice I wonder what you ended up doing. It looks truly stunning and the fact that you've already worn it so many times is testament to how great it looks.

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  15. Wow this is simply gorgeous Sallie. You've done a wonderful job on the zip too. Stunning!

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  16. That's beautiful. I'm really sad about how our weather has turned to wet and rainy recently, no more maxi dresses for a while!

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  17. A Stitching OdysseyOctober 21, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    Oh Sallie, you're a vision in autumnal floral! Not only do you look stunning in your Anna (the 2nd & 3rd pictures kill me), but you're a creative genius when it comes to dyeing silk. Seriously, you can design my silk ANY day! If you decided to design and sell it, I'd buy it!!!

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  18. Oh. My. Goodness. Incredible. And I'm SO with you for top stitching & bias binding. I'm sure you have much grander plans, but if you EVER feel like selling or swapping something for some of your incredible hand dyed silk, count me in.

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  19. Your Anna is incredible! I feel so inspired by your fabric dyeing. I'm signed up for an indigo shibori dying class in a few weeks and I am SO excited. Thanks for making such amazing things and sharing them on your blog.

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  20. I'm in LOVE!!! That pattern and your beautiful fabric go together perfectly. You are a great artist! I'm so inspired to dye my own fabric now.

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  21. So beautiful. It's everything a silk dress ever aspires to be.

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  22. Girl you are tooo good. This is absofreakinglutetly amazing, no surprises there. I liked that you rebelled against the French seams and that top stitching on the thigh looks perfectly acceptable to me. Breathtaking!

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  23. Absolutely smashing! I have been putting off sewing this one as I am meh about all the invisible stitching but this makes me feel like topstitching is a goer!

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  24. perfect way to use that fabric! i love that you serged and topstitched, so no judgment here. beautiful dress! (and i love the boat picture...)

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  25. That first shot literally TOOK MY BREATH AWAY. Why don't I have an O2 tank next to my desk?!?! I'm getting crazy Joanna Newsom vibes from all of these photos (gorgeous not quite of this world nymph in a primal, rustic landscape?) and those are some of my favourite kind of vibes. I am so SO so SO happy you went with the Anna - I think it lifts this silk on its fluttery wings and soars to the tune of a certain Bette Midler song. Love the pattern placement on the bodice. And the colors are just so rich and wowowow. And how Nick managed to swing the camera away from that POW of a thigh is beyond me.



    I am in love with the fruits of our silk romance. Good lord we're a good team. xoxo

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  26. Ok first of all, you look stunning, and the Anna was a perfect match for that yummy silk... but I'm still LOL-ing at the last pic... what is it with dudes, right? LOL it's ALLL BOAT!! hahahahahaha!!!

    Also you're not the last person to have made an Anna, because even though mine was conceived eons ago, before everyone and their dog had one, I STILL have not finished mine yet! LOL

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  27. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! And that zipper - oh my!!

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  28. Great images (on you Nic!) you're a vision in the Anna Dress. A perfect match for this beautiful handpainted silk.

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  29. Sallie, this is your Le Demoiselles D'Avignon - a masterpiece!

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  30. This dress is absolutely stunning! Since my life has been crazy, I am trying to catch up with everyone's blogs that I have missed, and I can't wait to read about the whole back story of this silk. The fabric and the dress, really, so amazing!

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  31. wow, well, yup, I had a gut feeling that this fabric and that pattern would be a match... Gorgeous, abso-fucking-lutely gorgeous....

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  32. It's absolutely stunning. My jaw dropped. I love that you're already getting so much wear out of it.

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  33. This is absolutely, without a doubt, my favorite version of the Anna (and quite sure it will remain as such). I mean, COME ON. I hope to have time to do some dyeing soon, it's so fun and I haven't done it in ages! Your projects and Shabd Simon-Alexander's book are so insanely inspirational.



    Also the slit topstitching is perfect; are you really supposed to hand stitch it? Pfft.

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  34. spectacular dress, sallie!

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  35. Sallie, oh my goodness. I think this is the most beautiful dress I've ever seen!

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  36. What an amazing dress. Maybe I should finally go buy that Anna pattern. But then I'd need some gorgeous Sallie silk to sew it with! You look fantastic in your new creation.

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  37. Ah! Love it! Print, silk, thigh split, everything! Must make an Anna out of silk now.

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  38. Beautiful! I already loved the fabric but it really is stunning as an Anna! I am sure you will get a lot of wear out of this. So inspiring!!

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  39. After all the Anna-doubters... BOOM. I knew you'd end up making a good pattern decision, and I'm not disappointed! What you've done with the pattern placement is wonderful, subtle - but still keeping the general feel without having it feel broken up. Totally loving this flowy dress! :)

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  40. This dress is so right on you and very poetic. You and Heather are both stunning in your hand-painted maxi goddess dresses! Love the silk-wrapped zipper idea. Zipper tape *is* scratchy, isn't it?

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  41. I know I saw this post on my phone, but now I can't remember if I commented! You blow me away with every new fabric you create. You're a wizard! A gorgeous, talented, created, imaginative, wizardy wizard! Don't ever stop dying silk because it's clearly your thing. This definitely ended up being the perfect pattern for the print too. Well done, Lady. As per usual.

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  42. I totally agree, if there was ever a dress that could go from day to night it's this one. Such a perfect choice for your beautiful silk, the colours are extraordinary!! Dare I say it, you've done it yet again Ms Oh ;)

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  43. oh my God my brain hurts I love this so much! When I grow up I want to be you! Except you're probably younger than me. Whatever.

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  44. Sallie!! Your dress is beautiful. For real. I think you chose wisely in using your lovely fabric for Anna. Just amazing!

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  45. Silvia - Sewing PrincessNovember 4, 2013 at 3:37 AM

    Love your idea of topstitching the slit and binding the zipper! I didn´t get to make Anna this year as there was no time for that. But maybe next summer...I must admit I was a bit worried about those bust dart fitting...All in all it´s a very flattering dress on you!

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  46. Oh my gosh... BREATH TAKING!! Your dress is a masterpiece, and too too lovely! hehe, my husband takes pictures like that last one too, probably on purpose since it has caused me to relieve him of those duties now

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  47. Wow, I can hardly believe that you hand dyed this, it's just amazing. The result is absolutely gorgeous!

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