easy/facile | dress/robe

I'll be the first to admit that my handmade garments tend to lean towards the drape-y and shapeless. It's kind of my thing. But even I had to give pause before making this Vogue8827 up. This was one of those patterns that when I saw the line drawings (it's allll about the line drawings, you guys!) I said to myself:

"Self, that would look really good on you."
"You know, Self, I think you're probably right - but don't I already have something like this in my closet?"
"Yes. Yes, you do. And you wear it all the damn time."
"You speak the truth. Hmmm but, Self, doesn't it kind of look like a bathrobe...?"
"Why yes, yes it does. And your point is....?"
"Ah! I see where you're going here, Self..."

And so the internal battle was won (or lost, depending on which side of myself you were on) and I bought the stinking pattern and made it - in all it's bathrobe-y goodness. I am, after all, the same gal that on a particularly dreary day likes to eye up my comforter and thinks, "You know, with a belt and the right pair of shoes and lipstick..."

So this is View B of V8827, made up in a size 6 (for reference, my measurements put me more in the size 12/14 range). I used a super soft and slinky mystery jersey that I bought at this place in Houston that I swear takes delight in driving me insane by not marking their fabric content. I'm pretty sure by the feel and smell of it (is it weird that I rely on my nose to tell me fabric content? Does anyone else do this? It's just that poly has such a distinctive odor to me...) that it's a rayon jersey, but it has a really beautiful sheen to it which makes it look and feel very elegant. Eh, who am I kidding? It's probably some crazy blend...It's only a two-way stretch which made it pretty stable to work with. I thought this would be ideal since this is a pattern for wovens or knits. But more on that later...

I made zero changes to this pattern while making it up. I guess I was relying on the fact that I was using jersey and the draping throughout the bodice to make up for any fitting issues I might encounter. And that worked out just fine, because I don't really notice any fitting issues! Oh, besides the uneven hem. Ignore that, please! I swear it changes every time I put it on. Sometimes it's straight, sometimes it's uneven - that's just the nature of a bathrobe/dress such as this!

I only have one complaint about this pattern, and it's that while they do recommend jerseys as a suitable fabric, the instructions are really for wovens. It calls for a lot of hand stitching, which I thought was a bit odd for a jersey and I was a bit reticent to do it, but I did because I couldn't really come up with any better ideas. So the yoke facing is attached at the yoke/upper back with slip stitches and I used a length of skinny black ribbon and a catch stitch to do the hem. I felt like this would work because the hem doesn't need to stretch at all, and really it makes for a much neater finish than I would usually get with a twin needle. 

The place I had the biggest problem with the instructions was in setting the sleeves. Really, V8827? Do I really need to ease stitch my jersey?? Although I'm not really sure what I expected. Two sets of instructions? Pfff!!! Please, that's definitely asking too much from a big four pattern company!

I made this dress to wear to an opening at the gallery this past weekend (If you follow me on instagram you may have got a sneak peek!) I had originally thought I'd make it in black - you know, so it could be classic and versatile or something... But I don't really know what happened... Somewhere in the jersey aisle my plan went awry and I decided that a shocking fuchsia was really way more fun, and frankly just as versatile! 

I'd also like to take a little moment to do a PSA for wrap dresses. No really! Hear me out! Ladies of the World, Wrap Dresses are Your Friend!! Real or faux, wrap dresses are magically figure flattering and yet curve revealing. They look effortlessly sexy, and yet you, quite literally, feel as if you're wearing a bathrobe. Their wrap ties visually create a waist if, ahem, like me, you happen to be lacking in that department, and they accentuate the hell out of my tiny waisted sisters! I know some women bemoan the potential for boob-spillage that can occur with wrap dresses, but to them I say "Lighten up! That's part of the wraps charm! What? You wanna buy your own drinks at the bar?!" Just kidding, I don't say that. But I do say that's one of the beautiful things about a stretchy jersey wrap dress. Conforms to the curves, and all that...

Okay. End PSA.

I hope you all have a beautiful week! I'll be taking it easy for awhile as I adjust to the little emotional let-down that always happens after finishing a big project. Lot's of tea and comfort food and catching up on bad TV and good books are in order. And of course blog reading. Lots and lots of blog reading!

And, yes, I took these photos because the flowers matched my dress. I'm easily amused...



because, i mean, why not?

Yes, yes, yes, I know that we are now a full week into 2013 and all this New Years Reflection bullshit is soooooo last week... but what can I say? I'm a chronically late person? Or just slow? Ah well, better late than never I say!

There is actually quite a lot that I am proud of in 2012, and I'd like to take a second to recognize a few of the good things that have come my way in the past year, sewing related and non. After all, New Year's is the time for self-reflection, even if the time for reflection is reaching the end of its shelf-life and starting to stink up the fridge...

Let's start with some life reflections, shall we??

Almost exactly a year ago I began working at a new job here in Galveston, TX. This has made a huge difference in my life. One of the reasons I've been so slow about writing a post about my job is that it is actually kind of difficult to explain what I do. The relatively straight-forward explanation is that I am the program manager for a small art non-profit here on the island. We are a fully funded artist residency and we also have a small project/gallery space, which I am in charge of along with the director. In fact, the director and I are in charge of everything, because we are the only employees (the director is also the co-founder) so basically we run a very small, but ambitious operation.  I'm incredibly grateful that I get to work in an extremely creative environment, with someone I enjoy, and that my work is varied and meaningful to me. I've worked a lot of terrible jobs in my time (that stint as a secretary at a tax firm was a particularly low point...no offense to secretaries, or tax accountants, and, besides, I'm pretty sure the feeling was mutual...) so I'm particularly grateful that I am actually challenged and excited by my work, rather than feeling like I'm just slogging through the week in order to get to the weekend. As I said, the difference it has made in my personal life throughout the last year is huge.

This past August my husband and I moved house, yet again. This time just to a different neighborhood, same city, but it still marks the 4th time I've moved in the last 6 years (since my undergrad) never staying anywhere for more than two years. I really sort of love Galveston in all of it's weirdness and I'm happy to be staying here for the foreseeable future. Our new place is spacious and wacky and charming and ugly all at the same time, and Nick and I have been having a good time making it feel like home, even on a shoestring budget.

Which leads me to - Nick! I could write a novel here, or say nothing at all. I'll try not to be toooo sappy (for his sake). He's really my backbone, the one who's holding this bag of tricks together. We've been married every single day of 2012 (our first FULL year of marriage! Yay!) and it's our relationship, more than anything else, more than the job, or sewing, or the blog, that has made me feel so very grateful for this full and loving life I get to live. 

Now are you ready for some good sewing/blogging reflections? I feel like I can be a bit more succinct with these...(ppfftt!!! Who am I kidding??)

As I was putting together the images for this post I had a lot of fun thinking about how sewing has changed my life, like really had a major impact on my life in a very real way.

- I buy way less and am a far more discerning consumer when I do. 

- Looking at the images above I really like how you can see my own personal style begin to develop and become stronger.  I feel like through sewing I've been able to really focus on clothes that make me feel good, that help me to feel like my absolute best version of myself. This is something I hope to really continue to nurture in 2013.  

- This is kind of piggybacking on the previous thought, but I feel like making my own clothes has really helped me conquer some body-image issues I've had in the past. I always hesitate to talk about this because it is so personal (ppfft!! This is already an insanely personal post!) but it's also something that I feel very strongly about. Oddly enough, since I began sewing my wardrobe I've become far less critical of myself physically and I feel more at home in my own skin than I've ever been. You could certainly chalk this up to getting older, or being in a loving, stable, healthy relationship - but I really suspect sewing has had a hand in this (as well). 

- I feel like this past year I conquered a few of my goals for sewing. I tried with all my might to sew a hard-working, practical wardrobe, and all in all, out of 21 (really 22 but I haven't got around to posting the last make of 2012...woops) garments made I really feel like the majority of them get a fair amount of rotation in my wardrobe. The all star, of course, is my jeans. Those babies get worn at least 5 days out of the week. I'm wearing them right now. I wear them all the time. So much, in fact, that I believe I need to make a new pair in 2013. I also began experimenting with dyeing and handpainting my own fabric, which was a long time goal of mine. I enjoy adding that extra personal touch to my clothing, and I hope I can find a way to improve on my methods in the upcoming year.  I'm also proud that, really, looking at all those clothes up there, all of them are wearable, finished beautifully on both the inside and out, very few corners were cut, and most have stood up to repeated washings and wearings. Way to go, handmade wardrobe. Way. To. Go.

- 2012 is the first full year that my blog has been a big part of my life. I sort of started it half-heartedly back in 2010 (I think...?) not really sure what I wanted it to be and eventually I gave it up.  Once I became more engrossed in sewing it just became natural for me to want to share it and connect with a community and so I started up the blog fresh in the fall of 2011, decidedly more sewing-centric. I know everyone says this, but I am just so amazed by all the wonderful people I've been able to connect with over the past year.  Many of you I care about just as much as any of my friends that I get to see in the flesh, and I sincerely hope that our paths will cross in 2013! (Oh how I'd love a blogger meetup!!!) So to all of you, dear readers, I don't say it enough, but thank you thank you thank you! I'm so grateful to have discovered your blogs, shared in your stories, oohed and ahhed over your beautiful creations, and connected with people who share my same passion. 

You guys, I'm feeling a bit mushy!! I wanted to list out some real hard practical goals for 2013, but I seemed to get lost in all my reflections! No matter how old and moldy they might be! And I think this post is long enough for today. Congratulations if you made it all the way to the end. Your medal is in the mail (just kidding). 

Thank you again for a great year, and here's to 2013!! Woot! Woot! Can't wait to see what you all have in store. 

All my love,