3.26.2015

30!

Mood Fabrics | RL Blue Polka Dot Silk Crepe | BHL Holly

Hi Guys! As you can see, the sun has decided to come out and play, and I've basically been walking around like this in a sun-drunk haze. It gets very awkward when you're constantly running into things, but Igottasoakupdatsun!

But, hey! Yesterday was my birthday! I haven't done a proper birthday post in... gosh... years. Not since I turned 27 (I still love that dress, btw. So pretty). But seeing as I turned 30, some fanfare seemed in order. 

Mood Fabrics | RL Blue Polka Dot Silk Crepe | BHL Holly

I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be feeling existential or what, but I'm actually quite happy to see the back of my 20's! Don't get me wrong, a lot of wonderful things happened in my 20's - I got my BFA and MFA in Painting, I met Nick, got married, taught myself how to sew, started this here blog, and got to know all of you wonderful people. But it was also a decade of a lot of uncertainty and, well, growing up. I'd be perfectly fine if my 30's were a little less momentous! I know a lot of people have anxiety about getting older, but I think with each passing year I get closer to my internal age. You know how some people are 'young at heart'? Well, I'm the opposite of that.  I'm not joking when I say my true age is, oh, somewhere between 65 and 85, but firmly planted in the senior citizen zone. Which is good! I've got awhile before I peak!

Mood Fabrics | RL Blue Polka Dot Silk Crepe | BHL HollyMood Fabrics | RL Blue Polka Dot Silk Crepe | BHL Holly

But enough navel-gazing! I don't care how old you are, birthdays should always be at least a little bit about having fun and feeling great, and nothing makes me feel better than a new dress. After the sewing extravaganza that was my jacket I needed a palate cleanser.  So for my March contribution to the Mood Sewing Network I turned to some of my sewing favorites - my comfort food of sewing.  In this case it was a combination of gorgeous silk crepe de chine, a tried-and-tested pattern for the bodice, a circle skirt, and straightforward construction. From start to finish this dress took me two days, which is about as instant gratification as my sewing gets!

Mood Fabrics | RL Blue Polka Dot Silk Crepe | BHL HollyMood Fabrics | RL Blue Polka Dot Silk Crepe | BHL Holly

A few months ago I snatched up this Ralph Lauren Dark Blue Polka Dotted Silk Crepe from Mood Fabrics online with the intention of turning it into a sundress as soon as the weather warmed up.  As any fabric enthusiast knows, a good polka dot is hard to find! So when I spot one, I jump! And this is a good one.  The blue is one of my favorite shades to wear – a brilliant deep cobalt – and the scale of the polka dot is perfect.  Plus, silk crepe is one of my all-time favorite fabrics to sew with.  If you’ve ever been intimidated by silk, do yourself a favor and pick up some silk crepe de chine.  It has all the luxuriousness of silk with none of the finicky handling.

This silk is pretty lightweight, but still very opaque, which might mean it's, like, the unicorn of silk fabric. It also meant that I decided to skip the lining on this one, making this the simplest, slinkiest little slip of a dress in the history of dresses. I did use a one-inch strip of fusible interfacing to reinforce the opening for the invisible zipper, which makes inserting a zip into lightweight fabric like this much more manageable. But other than that, when I'm wearing this dress, there's nothing between me and the world besides a little shimmy of brilliant blue, polka-dotted silk! Just the way I like it!

Mood Fabrics | RL Blue Polka Dot Silk Crepe | BHL HollyMood Fabrics | RL Blue Polka Dot Silk Crepe | BHL Holly

I wanted to pair this fabric with a pattern that would be simple, timeless, feminine, and flirty.  For the bodice I used By Hand London’s Holly jumpsuit bodice, variation 2, which I made once before. I love the disco-vibe of the cowl neck paired with the skinny strap. For the skirt I just used a half-circle skirt, my favorite of all the circle skirts.  I think it has the perfect balance of volume and swish and   also body-skimming sensualness (can skirts be sensual? I think half-circle skirts can). After letting the skirt hang overnight I hemmed this skirt at my preferred midi-length using a narrow folded hem.  Overall I think the look is classic, and slightly retro without being overt.

Mood Fabrics | RL Blue Polka Dot Silk Crepe | BHL HollyMood Fabrics | RL Blue Polka Dot Silk Crepe | BHL Holly

For such a fast sew, I actually did a surprising amount of hand stitching on this dress.  The entire neckline and all the bias-binding was slipstitched in place (just ignore that bit of staystitching that you can see peeking out near the straps... Ignore it I say!). I happen to really hate sewing bias-binding by machine, I can never get it to look neat! So this time I didn’t even attempt it, I just stitched the binding to the bodice right sides together, then folded over and slipstitched to the wrong side, including the straps.  It was way more time-consuming than tackling it by machine, but it was also much less of a headache. And I don't know, there's something about hand stitching that always feels very zen to me.  And in the end I actually really love how it turned out! So much neater than my awkward attempts at the machine.
And speaking of those straps – the original Holly bodice has a regular spaghetti strap, attached at the back bodice.  I had intended to do this, but when I put the dress on mid-construction to do a test fit I just quickly tied them around my neck to keep them out of the way.  I ended up really loving the way the neckline looked as a halter so I decided to keep it like that. I can always tack them down later if I change my mind.  For now though I just folded over the raw ends of the bias binding and stitched them in place.
Mood Fabrics | RL Blue Polka Dot Silk Crepe | BHL Holly

I wore my new dress all day yesterday on my birthday and it really helped me feel great, like a modern day Sophia Loren. And really, what more can a girl ask for on her 30th birthday? Of course I also ended up enjoying so many sweets and drinks and decadent meals that by the end of the day I was more than ready to unzip and give up all pretense of any sort of ladylike or sensual airs. And my birthday ended as all good birthdays should - by washing my face, dotting myself with zit cream, putting on my ratty robe, popping a couple of ibuprofen and heading to bed!

So here's to new decades, new dresses, and sewing something that makes you feel great! Hope you're all having a great March! And if you're not, try sewing yourself something you love. 

I'll be back in the next couple of weeks with a tutorial for the Minoru pattern, so stay tuned!

xx

71 comments:

  1. Stunning! Enjoy your 30th! Is it sad that I'm now struggling to remember my 30th....so. long. ago...I love this dress...and fabric. I know how beautiful it is because I have a bit in my stash still. It's not really a shrinking violet type of blue so it deserves a lovely dress like this. x

    ReplyDelete
  2. Happy birthday Sallie!! I turned 40 this year, it felt like my 30s flew by in a blur of getting married, having two kids...I am one of those who has always felt younger than my age, but I feel like that is starting to balance out a bit. I love love love your birthday dress, and wish you all the best in your 30s!

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a fabulous dress. That color is amazing and I love those garments that are light and airy and just feel like you're not wearing anything! I'm drooling over your sunshine and warmth from up in Boston where it feels like it'll never be warm again! Happy birthday!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Happy birthday, you gorgeous thing! ♥

    ReplyDelete
  5. O Sallie O, I am happily on the other side of 60 (would not have bet on that!), and here to proclaim every decade is the best. Imagine never looking over your shoulder ever again:) I returned to sewing about 10 years ago and you are one of my inspurations. Thanks and keep bringing in the fun and beauty.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Happy birthday! What a beautiful spring dress!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Happy Birthday, Sallie ! You look beautiful :-)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Happy birthday, Sallie! Gorgeous dress, so simple and classic. I'm always amazed at how you take patterns and make them look completely fresh. The Holly bodice looks so good with this circle skirt, and I love the decision to make it a halter. You're a sewing genius!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Happy Birthday! 30s rock! And so does your dress!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Gah! I hope I look as good as you at 30-years-old. Happy, happy birthday pretty lady!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you! What a beautiful sentiment! I'm going to remember your 'every decade is the best' proclamation!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank you Hannah!
    It WILL be spring again! xo

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh thank you Kelly!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks Debbie! I love how many people have this same fabric - it's always so much fun to see what other people make. And, yes, the blue is BLUE! Love it!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh thanks Lauren! xo

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thank you Aimee!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Many thanks Tasha! You're so sweet!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Oh my goodness! Thank you Nicole! Mixing and matching patterns is one of my favorite things about sewing.

    ReplyDelete
  19. This is such a lovely classic dress! Enjoy your birthday! I've found my 30's to be fabulous.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Happy Birthday! Beautiful dress!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Happy Birthday Sallie!! What a gorgeous dress to make the occasion!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thank you Wendy!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Oh my goodness Maddie!! Thank you! And don't be silly, you'll always be GAWgeous!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thanks Jessica!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thanks Kyla!!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Thanks so much Heather!!

    ReplyDelete
  27. happy birthday, gorgeous lady! looking hot in your new dress :)

    ReplyDelete
  28. Happy birthday, your dress is so pretty.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Oh, beautiful dress! Happy birthday!

    ReplyDelete
  30. What a wonderful way to celebrate : ) Wishing you a great birthday!!

    ReplyDelete
  31. It's beautiful! On my summer sewing list is a dress as breezy as this one...

    ReplyDelete
  32. Ooh, happy birthday! What better present than a beautiful sunny day?

    30s really are great. Less angst about what you feel you *should* be doing & more contentment about just being. I think, anyway!

    ReplyDelete
  33. You look stunning! Happiest of happy birthdays to you! I agree, the 30's are far, far better than the 20's for a variety of reasons, but mainly because of what you've said: you are so much more self aware. Even better, the closer you inch towards 40, the less you give a crap what other people think - for real, not just saying it because it's the thing to say LOL.


    I thought I recognized that bodice - it makes a great dress, and I love it halter-style!!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  34. Amazing dress! I know what you mean about having an internal age, mine is definitely somewhere in the 60s

    ReplyDelete
  35. Happiest of Birthdays to you, you sassy, gorgeous creature! The dress is perfectly fitting for such an occasion. 30 LOOKS GOOD ON YOU! I think my internal age is somewhere between 4 and 7, so I'm looking forward to returning to a childlilke state as I age. Also, yeah, have to agree. Everyone seems says you're 20's are your best decade but my god they are so full on and intense. I too am looking forward to sitting back harvesting the fruits of my 20's in my 30's. xxx

    ReplyDelete
  36. Happy Birthday! It sounds like you had a wonderful day<3 Love the dress! The color suits you well.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Happy birthday and welcome to your 30's! I'm in my thirties too and it's been delightfully transformative so far - in a good way. I'm with you on the internal age thing, I'm an inner octogenarian at heart!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Sp pretty! And happy birthday sassy lady! :)

    ReplyDelete
  39. Happy 30, lovely! In my opinion, being 30 is GREAT and you're making it look real good in your birthday dress. It's nice to get to the other side of your twenties knowing who you are.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I absolutely love everything about this dress and this post! The fabric and style are perfect, and I agree with you about aging. Sometimes it freaks me out to realize how fast the last 27 years have gone, but I don't really have anxiety about getting older. I fully embrace my inner old lady. Happy birthday!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Here's to making your thirties, dirty!!

    Happy, happy my friend!!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Happy Birthday! This is a beautiful colour on you!!! Hope you have a great weekend as well... I like to draw out birthdays to weekends, and maybe the next week!

    ReplyDelete
  43. A very happy birthday and such a stunner of a dress. I love the choice of fabric and what you did with it - and the bodice is so cute, and is why I've got a Holly in the post. Lovely!

    ReplyDelete
  44. That dress is a true birthday dress, congrats! Now, I want one for my birthday..

    ReplyDelete
  45. More stunning today than the day I met you! I do believe the origninal "don't I look booteeful?" dress was a similar shade of blue with just the right amount of flounce. They both produced a gorgeous glow and radiant smile on your face. Happy 30th Sissy! Welcome to an amazing new decade. XOXO

    ReplyDelete
  46. MY sissy and I went to see Cinderella last night for HER birthday and Miss Ella wore the most beautiful blue dress to the ball. Yours is a lovely modern day version of the feminine swirly dress! Happy Birthday Darling - may you live happily after!

    ReplyDelete
  47. I LOVE YOU YOU BEAUTIFUL CREATURE!! I hope you had a magnificient day in that magnificent climate. That dress is a knockout. xoxoxox

    ReplyDelete
  48. Happy birthday!

    ReplyDelete
  49. Happy birthday! The dress is gorgeous, I LOVE that color. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  50. really, you are my sewing fashion guru. that dress is perfection. really, i am about to embark on a nettie dress, inspired by your stripey number from a while back!! imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

    ReplyDelete
  51. Happy Birthday Sallie. Welcome to the 30s club. :)

    I hope it was an awesome day.

    ReplyDelete
  52. I guess I always had a soft spot for blue! Love you sis!

    ReplyDelete
  53. Happy birthday! I agree that I would much rather be 30 than 20!

    ReplyDelete
  54. You are a 30 year old babe! :) I'm with you on not being sorry to see my twenties go. They were a good time, of course, but I've been so much more content in my thirties. And happier in my own skin. I love that beautiful blue silk. It's the perfect shade. Happy birthday!

    ReplyDelete
  55. Happy Birthday Sallie! You are gorgeous an so is your dress.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Such a pretty dress!! I totally know what you mean about being an old soul though.. My friends all make fun of me for being an old lady! Happy birthday!

    ReplyDelete
  57. Birthdays are all about eating and drinking too much in your favorite shoes and ending up in sweatpants at the end of the night! Girl you are gorgeous and this is a total Sophia Loren look. I wished I'd of caught this on your birthday but it's still a big week. Happy, HAPPY birthday!


    And I also feel old at heart. I think I started feeling that way as a child. Sometimes it made me a bit too adultish and melancholic for a kid but my inner world started to make more sense after my 20s. I really hope I make it to 85 because I have this feeling I'll be the best and most caring version of myself by then.

    ReplyDelete
  58. I'm like you and Amy, always felt/acted older than my age ... I love the idea that my inner and outer worlds will get closer as I age (I'm 32) and I kind of think that happens no matter what your "internal age" is, just because you get more comfortable with yourself and the way you fit in with the world around you as you go ... at least for me, it takes practice, and I'm better at it now than I was in my 20's!

    I love the dress, and I'm also with you on hand stitching, sometimes it's less trouble and much more relaxing than fidgeting around with my machine!

    ReplyDelete
  59. Happy birthday, beautiful girl! You look amazing in this lovely dress!

    ReplyDelete
  60. Helen // Grosgrain GreenMarch 31, 2015 at 12:39 PM

    Happy birthday! Beautiful dress and gorgeous colour. And how envious am I of that blue blue sky?!

    ReplyDelete
  61. Happy late birthday! Your dress is so beautiful and like many another person who has commented here, I also feel like my internal age is like 60 years beyond my actual age.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Welcome to the 30's!! I felt the exact same way about turning 30 a year and a half ago - most people seem to lament the milestone, but I found it strangely satisfying to move into a period where I felt more settled in myself. As a friend who is several years older than I am described it, it's nice to leave behind the angst of the 20's!

    Gorgeous dress. I don't live in a place with a long summer stretch and have never seriously considered the BHL jumpsuit, but you have me rethinking that :-).

    PS: Looking forward to the Minoru tute!
    PPS: My internal age is split between 8 and 80. It's a really fun combination - filled with "Whee! Pretty flowers! So exciting!!" moments combined with "Hm, I think I will retreat into the mountains and contemplate the impermanence of life."

    ReplyDelete
  63. Happy happy belated birthday. I love that colour of blue as well and you've made a stunning birthday dress. Your ability to sew silk and call it comfort sewing is unbelievable! Enjoy your 30s gorgeous gal. x

    ReplyDelete
  64. YAY BIRTHDAYS!!! You look so very happy, like the genuine kind of happy, in these photos and in that dress! I hope 30 is all it's talked up to be :)

    ReplyDelete
  65. Happy belated birthday! You look gorgeous in that dress!

    ReplyDelete
  66. Happy belated 30th Birthday!!! What a perfect bday dress it looks absolutely gorgeous! Yay for being 30 I'll be joining you in a few months!

    ReplyDelete
  67. I LOVE what you did with this dress! That color looks so great on you. I just discovered your blog today and have kept it open in a tab to read during down time at work, although sometimes I had to stifle a giggle or two (which then turned into a snort/cough cover up). I just wanted to let you know that I love your style, your wit and your honesty. I'm feeling so inspired now to get home to my machine and start sewing again after a little hiatus. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  68. Thanks Brooke! I'm so happy to hear that you've been enjoying the blog, and that I was able to help kick start a little sewing fun for you! Thank you SO much for stopping by and taking the time to say 'hello'!

    ReplyDelete