Hey everyone! I am currently sitting, staring at my computer at 9:30 pm on a Saturday night (because my social life is off the hook). I think I've written these first couple of sentences a dozen of times, only to delete each one. I told myself that I wasn't allowed to write about the weather, or the fact that February seems to have gone by very very fast, and as a result I'm finding myself with absolutely nothing to say. It's at times like this that I wonder if we're given a finite quantity of creativity in our lives, and if I've squandered all mine on dramatic readings of Us Weekly performed for my cat...
To be fair, those readings have been some of my finest work, but don't expect Mister Muscles to back me up on that because he's a tough critic!
Well, since it seems like the insides of my brain currently consists of one, long, obnoxious, fart sound, I'm gonna take the liberty of skipping the niceties and jumping right into the sewing talk. Trust me, it's better for everyone this way. Besides, I have a lot to say about this silly, flowy, voluminous dress!
This was my February make for the Mood Sewing Network (you can read that post here, which is probably way more informative than this post is going to be). I had initially planned on making a spring jacket, which is much needed in my wardrobe, however our crazy 'winter' turned unexpectedly balmy for a week or two there and I just couldn't muster the enthusiasm to sew outer wear. So instead I made what is essentially my ideal spring dress. Of course, it has since returned to being cold and drizzly, and now I'm really wishing I had that jacket - so back to the front of the queue it goes!
This dress was made using this White and Gray Striped Linen-Blended Woven from Mood online. I'm not totally sure why this fabric caught my eye, as it certainly isn't the sort of rambunctious print I usually gravitate towards when I'm buying fabric with my Mood allowance. But I do know that when I saw it I thought of light and airy spring dresses with a sort of folksy, bohemian, Ladies of the Canyon kind of vibe. The kind of thing you wear with minimal sandals and lots of jewelry (bonus points if you're lucky enough to own some genuine turquoise...) and long, flowing locks. The finished look might veer more towards 'a man's sleep shirt from the 19th century' or faintly Laura Ingles Wilder, but I'm actually pretty cool with that too!
I'm going to reveal something incredibly nerdy about myself right about now - when I was a kid (and probably a little older than would have been considered 'cool'... like, oh, say 15) I was in love with American Girl dolls. My favorite doll was/is Kirsten (R.I.P. Kirsten, as you are no longer available) who was the 'pioneer doll.' I mean, pioneers are pretty badass! I even had matching dresses so I could dress up like my doll and pretend that I, too, was a pioneer girl. Well. I would be lying if I said that this dress doesn't make me feel a bit like my 8 year old self, playing dress-ups with my Kirsten doll. And after doing that google image search I'm realizing just how much it resembles Kirsten's nightgown (which I also had in my size). Sigh. I mean, aren't we all just trying to satisfy our inner 8 year old?
Another fun fact - my nieces are just getting to the age where they are getting into American Girl dolls, and I swear, this past Christmas I was almost as excited as they were to receive their first doll! I literally had to stop myself from being like, "here, let me show you how to brush their hair..."
But I was trying to write about sewing here (see above, re: brain = fart sound). So I saw this fabric, I decided I wanted to make a folksy, springy dress, and I chose a pattern, like you do. This is Burda 10/2010 #122, the same pattern I used to make my green dress. I love that green dress so hard that it only made sense to add another version to my closet. However there were a few changes I wanted to make. For clarity sake, I'm gonna go with the list format:
- Lengthen the entire dress by about 3 inches. The curved hem makes for some scandalous thigh moments on my green dress, so this length is much more modest.
- Narrow the shoulders by 1/2 inch (using this method). My green dress actually fits very comfortably through my shoulders, but optically I feel like it makes my shoulders look wide(er). Since this is such a roomy dress I felt like I could get away with narrowing the shoulder so the shoulder seam sits in a bit more, which I find visually more flattering on me.
- Used a different method to sew the front placket because when I followed the instructions from Burda on my first version of this dress I felt like the placket got really gross. I don't remember now exactly what I did, I just kind of made it up as I went along. I'm sure if you were to have watched me sewing the placket it would have been like watching a chimp perform brain surgery. No offense to any primate surgeons out there - but it was definitely touch and go there for awhile! But we got there in the end. I'm actually really pleased with my placket on this version.
- I used the same wide, gathered sleeve pattern that I made for my first version, but this time I added 1/2 inch to the overall length, and changed the sleeve to an exaggerated bishops sleeve, so it's a little bit longer in length at the back of the arm than it is at the front.
- I omitted a lot of the topstitching and interfacing on this version because I wanted a very soft, rumply look.
- And finally, I left off the pockets. I'm generally a fan of pockets in dresses when they fit into the overall design of the dress, but I often think in-seam pockets seem like an afterthought, and they always flap around uncomfortably when you wear the dress. So out they go!
Perhaps the change I'm most pleased with is the sleeve adjustment I made. The bishop sleeve really does fall in a very lovely way around the arm, which I think is really key for making this kind of poet sleeve work. And it's just really fun to wear! I'm actually already imagining other patterns I can slip some bishop sleeves onto, and next time they're going to be even more exaggerated! Puffy sleeves for all!
Perhaps after all this rambling you're wondering why I would title this post 'scorched' (or maybe you've just caught on that my post titles are only tenuously related to what I'm talking about and you've just learned to ignore them, in which case, who can blame you?) Well! That has to do with a little lesson I learned about my new iron. Oh, I never told you I got a new iron? Well I did! For Christmas I got a Sapporo gravity feed iron and it makes me feel legit. I also love knowing that I will never have to buy another iron - or at least not for many many years (fingers crossed anyway, appliances are always susceptible to giving up the ghost, but from what I can tell, these things are lifetime companions). Although it hasn't been all sunshine and roses with my new iron. There's definitely been an... adjustment period (we're still getting to know one another). This thing is just way more serious than any other sewing appliance I own! Take, for instance, the sewing of this dress. While working I decided I needed a cup of tea, which of course turned into a snack, and then I sat down to check my email, and read some blogs... Anyway! An indeterminate amount of time later I returned to my sewing room only to find that in my negligence I had flung my work-in-progress across my ironing board, leaving the corner of the dress to rest against the iron! Now, as I've said, this iron ain't your mama's Rowenta! This sucker gets hot. And the whole base gets hot, not just the underside. Also, there's no auto shut-off like there was on my old conventional iron, which means the entire time I was lolly-gagging about, my dress (which I had just painstakingly manhandled a beautiful front placket for with all the precision of a chimp surgeon) was being scorched. I've never had an iron burn anything I was working on before! While I did want to cry when I saw the ugly, brown scorch mark on the front of my new dress, in retrospect I actually feel really lucky that I didn't start a fire!
So! I would like to offer myself up as lesson to the sewing community! Do as I say, not as I Do! Learn from my mistakes, dear ones! Take care with your works in progress, and beware hot, powerful, irons!
And this picture is for Nick, who really liked the scale of me in amongst all these palmettos and tropical greenery.
Until next time friends!