This was Kentucky Derby weekend here in Louisville, a special day of big hats and pretty dresses…and rain. We did not go to the races but I did finish this new dress just in time to wear it to watch the race in the indoor comfort of a party. I used a pattern from the book Handmade Beginnings: 24 Sewing Projects to Welcome Baby by Anna Marie Horner. I read several blog reviews of this Mariposa dress/tunic pattern before I cut into my fabric, so I took some online advice and cut the skirt longer and the front modesty panel a little higher, and was glad I did both of those things.
We’re just talking about the dress in this post, not how the rain hates my hair, or how every weekend I say that NEXT weekend I’m going to re-paint our porch wrought iron. 🙂
I made the size S/M of this pattern, also based on the recommendations of other online crafters, whereas without that advice I probably would have made the M/L for myself. The top of this size fits me perfectly, but I’m concerned the skirt will not continue to fit later in my pregnancy. The column skirt is not one of my favorite styles on me anyway–I like a skirt with a little flare–and I think that having a flouncier style on the bottom might have helped me get longer use out of this dress, but that’s just personal preference. If I were to make it again I think I’d draft my own A-line skirt.
If I were going to add my own advice to the internet wisdom surrounding this pattern, I’d say that I went back and added some loops in the empire seam under the arms to hold up the sash. Otherwise it was drooping around the back of me in an unflattering way. I guess then the loops might show if you were going to wear the ties tied in the front instead, but I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever do that, because I object to tying goofy bows over the top of my pregnant belly. I don’t necessarily think it looks awful on other people (or in the pattern) but I just won’t do it myself. Ever. We all have to have our own standards, right? 😉
I’m finally back at the sewing machine! I’m now sixteen weeks pregnant and feeling much better. Just this last week I’ve been branching out beyond the necessary household duties to also do some fulfilling creative stuff too. I made the first project from a book I’ve been enjoying browsing through, Girl’s World. This dress is called Mary’s Favorite Sash Dress. It’s a pretty simple pattern with no zippers or closures at all. That makes it a bit wide in the shoulders for my narrow-shouldered girl, but it’s still a cute look. I tied the sash in the front, but she informs me that she intends to wear it with the bow in the back. Whatever… (grin)
I used this Bella Blossom Aqua/Orange quilting fabric from Fabric.com. It’s a thick weight for apparel sewing, but I think it works well for a dress like this that wants to have a little fullness and substance. One of my favorite things about this pattern was the cute way of using bias tape to finish off the bodice. I used a contrasting orange and it’s sweet. I finished off the skirt hem the same way, but with wider tape. I was going to use more of the contrast for the sash but ran out of fabric. Oops. I’ll definitely be making more patterns from this book. The sizing seemed to be right on and the instructions were clear. I especially like that the sizes go all the way up through bigger girls. If this new babe is a girl I’ll be able to get several years of “matching” big girl/little girl patterns from this book. We find out May 28!
So I think my seasonal allergies are officially killing me, and perhaps my blog as well. I’m so groggy but can’t sleep well, and I can’t stay up late for my solo creative time either since I’m so tired–all of which means that I’m just not getting quite as much done as I used to, and I feel all red-nosed and nasty. I’ll quit complaining now, but I’d like it noted that it is not cute or vintage or handmade or (since this comes up so often on my blog) sexy to have a stuffy nose for three weeks straight. Not one bit. Bleah.
Moving on, I’ve actually managed to get a lot done in the past few weeks anyway even if some of it may never make it into my little record here. This is my sweet family at Easter brunch, one of us popping decongestant pills as needed.
Dorothy’s dress was a joint venture by me and my mother. Mom sewed a simple tank dress out of white eyelet and I crocheted colorful little flowers to decorate it. I used cotton embroidery thread so the scale of the flowers would match the eyelet fabric, then made a very large one in worsted weight yarn for her hat. She looked sweet and pretty and it was fun to do a project with my mom for my daughter. Now the white dress has chocolate stains all over it, so I’m trying to devise a creative laundry solution!
I sewed my own dress from McCall’s M6027. I fell in love with this fabric at Joann’s a couple months back and finally got around to stitching it up a couple days before Easter. I think it is a Lisette poplin. The pattern worked up very easily on the serger–no messing with clipping around the bust or fussing with how all the skirt godets line up. The serger magically makes it all smooth. The problem with this pattern didn’t arise until I tried the thing on and realized the shoulder straps are set too far apart for my frame. I re-serged here and there, clipped, stitched and tucked and finally got the bodice so tight and the straps so ridiculously high that I couldn’t put my arms down when the back was zipped up. Right at the point I was read to throw it in the trash I took the scissors and cut big chunks out of the fabric under the armpits and that was when things finally started to improve. I sewed it back together and it fit acceptably well. The straps are still not in quite the right place for my shoulders and something around the arms looks a bit uneven, but if I keep the cardigan on no one will notice! The fabric is so pretty it is worth it. I altered the pattern a bit and re-sewed the dress out of a thrift store sheet to see if I could get the straps right on a second go-round. I love the theory of the pattern with the swishy skirt and the quick serger seams. I want to sew it out of this fabric and have it be a “cocktail” dress, in a breezy casual summer cotton. It went better the second time but then bagged a bit in the front. If I get my courage up I’ll order the fabric and do it one more time, with hope for a perfect fit.
My last Easter project was a gift to my church. Our pastoral staff organized an Easter vigil this year, a unique and special service that involved traveling around all the grounds of the church and involving various lay and clergy readers. They needed two three-ring binders in which to stash the materials for the readers and someone thought of me because I sometimes do book-binding. It’s much more satisfying to make books with more attractive bindings–traditional stitching or screw posts–but the three-ring kind was serviceable here so that’s what I did. It was fun to get back into a craft I haven’t spent much time on lately. I hadn’t even purchased book board in Dorothy’s life, but I was encouraged to find that I could buy it locally. I decorated the binders with illustrations drawn for the service by another church member, which I then embossed with powder and heat. I think this project will inspire me to do some more books in the upcoming months. I made a baby book for Dorothy but haven’t done the same for Worth so that seems like a good place to start.