Birthday Dress 2017

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Okay, this dress is only about a year and a month old… That’s not too bad, right?

Starting in 2016 I decided I’d make myself a special dress around my birthday, and it’s never been quite a standard dress. Meaning, I don’t plan on just taking a straightforward pattern and making it…

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In 2016, I was still working out some pattern-hacking, and I made a sleeveless Nettie dress, with a handkerchief hem, out of a lovely slinky knit that looks like black lace on a green background.

Last year (2017) I went a different route, and decided to try my hand at dyeing fabrics. I read up on fabric-dyeing and decided to buy a 10 yard cut of this lovely rayon lawn. Now… I didn’t really read the description, so I didn’t quite process that it wasn’t really meant for garments. Word to the wise, its very thin, shows nearly every line underneath, and tears fairly easily. I’m sure for its intended purpose (linings and undergarments and draperies and such) it works well… I haven’t quite gotten to use it for those yet.

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No, I wanted to use it to make a dress.

Specifically the dress outlined in a post on DaughterFish’s website called the Future Dress. (Unfortunately it looks like the DaughterFish website is down, so I can’t link it.)

If I remember correctly, this future dress is originally the creation of a designer in the earlier 20th century, and is so simple in its ingenuity. Basically, *you take three shapes (two trapezoids and a triangle), to make a huge triangle and then repeat from * until you’ve got four huuuuuge triangles, which make up the neckline and armscyes. The dress is loose and flowy until you belt it, and then there’s a cute amount of volume emanating from the belted area.

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I chose to keep the shape of the four triangles post bias hanging, rather than cutting it off around my knees. Last spring I was trying to think over life choices, and I didn’t want to spend extra brainpower figuring out how best to hem it, so I left it raw and uncut.

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My memories are telling me that I waited until after I made the dress to dye the fabric, which is not always recommended. I chose to use Emerald Green Procion dye, without the add ons used to keep the emerald super vibrant. It worked, overall, and I ended up with a very pastel spring-y dress. Not what I wanted, but pleasant enough for a birthday.

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The favorite comment I got on my birthday (since I foolishly forgot to tell my employers I wanted to take off), was that I looked like a fairy. Which I will always take as a compliment.

A couple months later I ended up dyeing another project a lovely Royal Blue, and decided to over-dye a bit, and ombre dye a bit as well, to give it the darker look I craved. And that’s how you see it today!

I like this dress, and I’m curious how it’d look with a bit more opacity to the fabric and with perhaps a weightier fabric, since this fabric floats like a very heavy feather. But it takes soooo much fabric, that it’d have to be a sale fabric and kismet… But maybe one day!

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Aqua Wedding Guest Outfit

Hey everyone! I’m going to try to post my backlog of projects, so this is the start… this isn’t quite a year old yet, but I do have pictures of it (unlike many of my other projects), so here it is!

Last spring I was invited to my cousin’s wedding. He’s the first of my cousins on my dad’s side to get married, so it was a big deal for the family. So I made a full outfit.

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I had intended to make a dress, but I didn’t end up with that. I made a Onyx top and a Fumeterre skirt. My rationale was that I had two days to make this, and I wanted to make the pieces wearable in real life too… If I had made it this year, I’d probably have replaced the Onyx top with the Ogden cami (more on those in a future post), but I had just made a lot of Onyx’s and I knew they’d fit me well.

So, it started with scouring the Fabric.com website for suitable fabrics, and I ended up getting three yards of this lovely seafoam rayon sateen by Telio, which is sadly not stocked anymore.

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I cut out the same size of Fumeterre that I had for my two tone version that I posted last year, but when I was sewing it up I realized I didn’t really need to put in a closure, that I could just use elastic in the waistband, so I decided to make it as simply as possible so no pockets and no closure. I did add a half lining, so that there would be some amount of protection. I think I hemmed it by machine, which was messy, but its also on the floor, so no one is gonna see it.

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Then I cut out the Onyx top. And this is when I realized that I did not have enough fabric left to come out with a standard version. I made alterations so that it had a yoke on the front and the back, which solved the problem, and made an easy way to use facings , which I then burrito’d into the yoke. I used the same lining fabric from the skirt as the yoke fabric. Sewing it together occurred when I was super hungry and dying, since it was the day before I left for a work trip, but it was all put together!

So then the painting. While I was on the work trip, I painted suns and dots onto the skirt and the top, using Jacquard Lumiere copper paint, which is my favorite paint in the history of ever… Then I let them dry and I ironed it, which is supposed to set the paint and also keep the fabric supple.

The wedding was lovely, and I still love both pieces. I wear the skirt more than the top, but I think its because I love flowy skirts sooooooo much!

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All the Onyx Shirts

Never has a pattern become tried and true in my library than with Paprika Patterns’ Onyx Top.

My first version was made out of a lace in November, and altogether was too big. I thought I had made the recommended size, and it was mostly fine in the front, but the back was really drooping, and the sleeves were way too big. (Let me interject here that I don’t quite remember, but probably chose the size based on my bust size, which tends to throw off the rest of the fitting. Because I’m lazy, and my fitting adventures are a work in progress. So don’t take this as an actual review of the sizing…)

So I took the pattern in at the shoulders, raised the armscye, and shrunk the width of the back a bit.

Then in very early January I used the Ariel skirt made of rayon (which was way too lightweight for a skirt) to make a slightly cropped version. Not the actually cropped version in the pattern, since I needed this for work-appropriate events, but an inch shorter than I’d like. I made a facing for it out of the same fabric, and unfortunately didn’t finish the facing edge (which I should do one of these days) which can cause the neckline to hang funnily, and I didn’t interface it, which I think contributed. It quickly became my favorite shirt!

Incredibly happy with this success, I also made one out of this polyester suiting with a diagonal stripe pattern… It works. I wish that I had made the facing out of a different fabric, as the neck really doesn’t lay correctly, though I did interface it, so perhaps it was just stiffer?. Maybe I can fix it later?

And then I tried to use this stone colored poly/cotton blend (I think), which had no drape. That version did not work out well. It felt very frumpy and baggy. I don’t know if it can be salvaged, but maybe with a dart of some kind. For right now its in the alteration pile, which is why I didn’t bother to iron it for the pictures here…

So that’s where I had to leave it before a big conference in Seattle in the end of January. Then I had a making drought in early February as I adjusted back to normal life, and then I made an awesome version in black rayon. In fact the same rayon from the Ariel skirt version, but in a black. I tried to remove some neckline gaping with a pattern alteration, and made the shoulders even slightly less wide. This time I interfaced the facing again, but I also made the facing the entire yoke of the shirt wide. It ended with a fantastically fit shirt, but the yoke of the shirt felt and looked a little stiff. So I embroidered it. I haven’t done embroidery in a while, but it came back pretty quick, though I’ve never done anything quite like this. I really enjoyed the vines and leaves, and the couple flowers on the back were quite fun.

I’ve got another one of the black rayon versions cut out, since the rayon had enough for another, and I think I’ll embroider it too, but I’ll get to that one soon!