Things have been busy around Dressadayland lately. Lots of work, lots going on … and after the massive 100 days of dresses blogamaradressathon, I was all set with a big list of other things I wanted to blog about again. I’ve got some cool books piled up to review, I have some plans for dress dataviz based on my kinda-mostly up-to-date Google Doc tracking the 100 dresses postings, and also some auxiliary pictures (I didn’t post any skirts, for instance, and there were several “hey show us your whole closet!” picture requests). So that thing where you have a lot of plans and they all seem kind of huge and where are you going to start and oh by the way your day job is super-busy and also you might be having some kind of RSI problem that means you have to cut down on some typing for a week or two? Yeah, that. That is what has happened.
BUT. Things have settled down ever-so-slightly, I am no longer having disturbing pins-and-needles sensations in both hands, AND I went to XOXOfest weekend before last in Portland, so I came back super-inspired to DO STUFF. (And, evidently, to use a lot of CAPS for EMPHASIS.)
I will post more about XOXO, which was awesome and amazing and all the other affectionate adjectives that begin with A, but I did want to share this dress I made specifically to wear at the conference, which is in Portland, Oregon. Have you ever seen fabric that is more perfectly location-matched?
This is a Frankenstein dress — the same combination of patterns as this dress. Here’s the bodice; I’m really digging these raglan sleeves:
Here’s the zipper, which, well, I’m very proud of. This one really worked:
And the back:
This fabric is from Superbuzzy — the gray colorway is gone, but they still have a (very cute) navy and white …
Okay, here’s the other Simplicity 2180 I made, from the vintage bicycle fabric I wrote about here:
The piping is far more even on this one:
At the midriff, too:
A few little stitches here I have to clean up:
But unfortunately here is the real problem — I started the side zipper too low, and the bodice was too tight, so — disaster:
To fix this, I am going to have to take out the zipper and reinforce that weak spot with a patch, AND redo the side seam and piping on the OTHER side (in order to make it fit). Or just lose about 10 pounds. At this point, I’m not sure which would be easier. And did I mention that the fabric (being vintage) is a bit fragile? Just contemplating fixing this one makes me want to go lie down …
This is one of my very favorite dresses, in that it’s a very cheerful dress to wear. I mean, how could it not be, it’s covered in bicycles!
Here’s a better view of the fabric (Michael Miller It’s A Boy Thing Bicycles) which, by the way, is still available in several colors:
I have no idea why “It’s A Boy Thing,” but I do know that when I wear this dress while actually riding a bicycle, I get lots of friendly waves from little kids. (And if you do not wave back to small children who wave at you when you are riding a bicycle, well, that’s between you and your total lack of joie de vivre.)
The zipper on this one is a strong B:
And the back:
This is another Simplicity 1577, of course, and I hope you’re not tired of these yet as there’s a whole bunch more a’comin. I didn’t remember until I started sorting out dresses for photographing 1) how many of these I’ve made and 2) how nicely it works in quilting cotton. There may be some stashbusting sewing coming up, now that this has been brought forcefully to mind.
Today’s dress is a survivor dress. It’s a Simplicity 1577, made in mid-weight dark blue (almost black) denim:
But wait, you say. Didn’t that Simplicity 1577 pattern have a collar? Why yes, it did:
And I did a nice Liberty-print undercollar for it, too:
And the pockets:
But unfortunately, I didn’t think to use Fray-Check and the collar raveled pretty much immediately. (Moral: always use Fray-Check
on raveling fabrics!) No worries, I just took it off and finished the neck edge with some bias binding.
But that’s not the only reason why this dress is a survivor — it also made it through a bike accident I had in SF last year. Here’s where I landed in the street — my keys were in the pocket and keys+acceleration+denim+tarmac = abrasion damage:
I was pretty lucky — the driver stopped, I had no injury other than a few scrapes (I was wearing a helmet, of course!) and I even got right back on my bike and rode the four more miles to my meeting. (For the SF-curious, this was in the traffic circle on Townsend … which I walk my bike through now.)
Here’s the back — you’d never guess anything had ever happened, would you?
I still wear this all the time, even with the little bit of fraying on the skirt panel (and a bit of fraying up near the top of the pocket, although I can’t blame that on the bike accident). It’s nice to be reminded both that 1) you’re tougher than you think and 2) be careful!
So here finally is a picture of my favorite dress of the moment, made from Simplicity 1577:
Here's something I had not considered when making this dress: a dress with a bike print is like catnip to the hipsters of San Francisco. In a five-block walk today from the BART station at Mission & 24th I had accumulated an equal number of dress-related compliments, mostly from people who were NOT under the influence of intoxicants.
For extra hipster cred, this pocket is actually big enough to hold my large Moleskine notebook (not shown, you'll have to trust me, I didn't figure this out until today):
Here's the back view:
I still have two versions of this dress cut out and half-made; I hope to finish them soonish-like. (I have been alternating what I'm calling "rescue missions" — fixing dresses that need new zippers, or bigger pockets, or whatever — with New Sewing, and I'm actually starting to like the rescue missions. They take less time, for one thing, and it's very satisfying to take a dress from the Pile of Broken and restore it to the rotation.)
The bike fabric is available here (also in white).