I made a dress. it’s a real one. I will wear it. I’m pretty excited. my enthusiasm is a teeny little bit tempered by how much bloody effort went into making it. but I’m still very excited. by the way, don’t be fooled by this serene expression.
there was swearing (and not the quiet, under the breath kind…the loud thank-goodness-I’m-alone kind); there was kicking things and there was the “forget this! I give up”-ing. it’s mildly embarrassing but sewing isn’t all unicorns and rainbows sometimes.
the pattern is the staple dress from april rhodes and I’ve been tempted to make it since it came out a few months ago. the pattern is beautifully done and the dress is so simple to make. plus, it looked so beautiful in all of april’s pictures. then the women behind go make shit issued a staple dress challenge and I piped up with “I’m in!”. ha. the challenge ended at the beginning of april. you could say I missed that boat.
my first attempt looked like a ridiculous hospital gown. the first thing my husband asked me when he saw it was “did you leave it open in the back?”. harumph was my response. so, I attempted a kind of ad-hoc resizing and sewed a version in jersey knit fabric. I resized it quick and I sewed it together quick and resulting dress looked like something quickly resized and thrown together. not a huge surprise. I did not take pictures, it was too depressing. this was around the time of the “forget it! I quit”-ing. so, the pattern sat there untouched for a while.
but, when I came across a beautiful plum flower print I decided to buck up and try it again. this time I took my time and made it one full size smaller to xs (I am not an xs girl, I promise. it’s a roomy dress and is designed to have more ease than I prefer in my clothing.). I also altered the sleeves so they are tighter…the gaping hole as a sleeve thing just isn’t for me.
plus, I added a notch to the top of the dress. it makes it more comfortable for me and a little less ho-hum. here it is without a belt, the gathers are formed using elastic thread in the bobbin. I love the effect of these gathers and I love how simply it comes together but I have to admit that the feeling of elastic thread against my skin is not that comfortable…it will take a bit of getting used to.
as I mentioned, the print is what convinced me to try again. it’s from the simply color line. have you seen this already? the whole line is pretty impressive and include ombre prints that can be used to make some stunning quilts such as this one. plus, the fabric is soft and a bit lighter weight than everyday quilting cotton. kind of quietly amazing if you ask me.
by the way, I’ve been on a little bit of a clothes-making kick lately. not that you would know it since I haven’t blogged about any of it….that’s my bad. sometimes when I’m in the swing of making things I just don’t have the energy to write about it. it’s as if my ‘creating brain’ and my ‘writing brain’ can’t coexist. that happen to anyone else? also, we’ve been really busy. I know everyone is busy and it’s no excuse. but, seriously?! in the last six 7 weeks everyone but me has had a birthday and that means I planned and executed three kick-ass birthday parties; my husband changed jobs AND got his U.S. citizenship; and we moved my studio. I’m pooped.
It does look great on you! Thanks for talking about the sizing – I really want to make this pattern but I’m not sure if it’ll flatter me too…I should size down from the get-go. The notch is a great idea too!
Thanks! Definitely size down. Thanks for the notch love. *
Jessica Hehir says
Congrats on the citizenship and all the party planning! I love the dress. Thanks for being honest about your frustrations. It nice to know I’m not the only one redoing projects.
Thanks! I wish I had your party planning enthusiasm. I basically hate it and suffer through. Yes! Citizenship! We are excited. As for the frustrations and re-doing. Oh yes! There is lots of that!
Love the dress! (And thanks for the shout out.) What a great thing to have in the closet for summer.
Your quilts are really amazing, Mel. It was inevitable that they would end up on these pages someday.
You look beautiful! Great choice of fabrics, and what you’ve done to resize the pattern has worked. The neckline notch is a clever idea and simply adds to the charm of the dress. Do you plan to make it again? If so, instead of the elastic thread at the waistline, consider using a casing for the elastic. I’m proud of you!
Thank you! I will probably make it again, in voile for hot summer days. The elastic in casing is a great idea.
Stephinie (gypsyforest) says
yeah! good for you for sticking with it. I had a bad dress experience….. it never turned out wearable but I think it’s time I try again!
Holly u says
I love that fabric too! I chose the blue and green on white version for our kitchen curtains. The print is so well done that I did not look at your dress and see curtains, I saw a cute dress! Nice job sticking to it — I don’t sew garments much either and would not have tried 3 times!
Oh my goodness! I can absolutely imagine that a beautiful curtains! I had a hard time picking a color and essentially wanted the entire collection.
i love the fabric you chose, but I have to agree this pattern is very bleh. I just made my first staple dress out of a plaid cotton lawn, and it looks terrible. Want to know what I find weird about the fit? Its not as loose as it should be around my hips, and its very loose at the neckline. This wouldn’t be strange for some women, but I typically have the complete opposite problem with patterns. Anyway, I’m glad you got yours to work out. I’m not going to try again, I have plenty of other, better options. My latest favorite is the Washi dress. it the best summer dress, ever.
You are so right! That is it! I also am smaller on the top than in the hips (ahem.) and that is why this was so difficult. Why does it look so perfect on everyone else? You are further convincing me that I need to try the Washi dress! I’ve been very tempted, the only thing holding me back is a worry that it will emphasize my ‘mommy tummy’. But, I might have to go for it anyway.