Bored by the unusually long winter here in Nashville, my mind kept turning to spring. And of course for a fashion lover that means digging out spring clothes!
There’s something about the right dress. It can make you feel like a new woman. Powerful. Ready for anything. Or relaxed. Ready for fun.
As I took closet inventory, some of my favorites had me dreaming of sunny beaches and warm breezes.
This favorite is a Kate Spade from the 2013 resort line, which I wore a year ago in Hawaii. The stylized fan patterned fabric has a subtly asian vibe. It’s a medium weight stretch cotton.
Kate paired this cobalt blue with a cropped chartreuse jacket that really worked. Happily, I didn’t need the jacket that day. But it did get windy.
Another favorite is this Prada from the 2012 Le Voyageur collection. It was a wonderful line. Casual, comfortable, also cotton. Just perfect for our hot humid climate in Tennessee.
I wish I’d bought all the prints but at the price it’s good I didn’t. Sigh.
Looking closer at these beautifully made dresses, I saw relatively simple construction. Hmm. I used to sew a lot. In my teens and 20s, before I could afford to buy much.
Could I do it again?
If I’m going to make dresses of my own – and actually want to wear them – I need to brush up on my skills! To me, good clothes are about fit and finish. I’m not saying I can do Chanel level couture. But I’m not one to shy away from a challenge either.
OK. I’m seriously inspired. By the idea of creating my own original dresses. And by the new generation of sewing bloggers I’ve discovered. Too many to name! But I have to credit dollyclackett.blogspot.com, gingermakes.wordpress.com and all the creative artists at mood sewing network for getting me jazzed. Let’s go!
Now I need special fabrics to keep the inspiration flowing. I heard one local shop hadn’t gone over to the crafter side: Textile Fabrics. (Sounds redundant, but what do I know?)
I loved it immediately. On the edge of downtown in the quirky Berryhill neighborhood, its wood floors, crowded inventory and friendly staff reminded me of fabric shopping with my mom, back in the 70s. Nostalgic. Almost overwhelmingly so when I met a little white haired lady browsing in the linens and blends. We discussed the merit of the real thing versus the non wrinkling blends.
Lucky me – they were having their annual 40% off everything sale! Needless to say I managed to find an armload of good stuff. Like this cotton shirting by Robert Kaufman from his Satsuki collection. I love the spring colors and the metallic accents. And the graceful bamboo leaves have that asian charm going on.
Here’s what I did with it!
I’m happy with it for a first attempt. I felt my Mom smiling over my shoulder when I got humming along. She’s been gone almost two years now. I like to think she’s glad to see me at the machine again. I can hear her reminding me – when it gets stuck, just stop and rethread.
The Fit. Is it me, or are the pattern sizes confusing? The same body measurements that put you in a size 2 or 4 at the mall have you cutting on a 10 or 12? What? I followed the pattern, and it came out too big! After a lot of tweaking, I think I’ve got it right. Enough wiggle room at the waist to eat pasta but not so loose that it looks like a hand-me-down. The neckline is still too wide. Next time I’ll fold out an inch or so before I cut it.
The Finish. I lined the bodice in the same fabric to give it structure. And I fussed with the skirt pleats until I got them to match up with the bodice seams. Which they would have done perfectly with no trouble if I hadn’t had to mess with the fit so much!
The zip came out ok, not perfect. Any tips? I don’t even remember what I forgot about this. Seems like it used to be so easy…
Next I’ll show you what that Prada inspired me to make! What are you working on? I hope it’s a dress of your own!