Hey! Another Version of that Same Damn Dress

Gray Dotted Swiss dress

Oh look, it’s the bodice from Simplicity 2389 and that BurdaStyle Heidi skirt again! (Readers stifle yawns, reach reflexively for their mobile devices.)

This time it’s in this beautiful gray dotted swiss that I’ve had for so long that I can’t even remember where I bought it. I’ve been holding on to it FOREVER because I thought it would need to be lined, but it turns out no, it doesn’t. Here, have a closer look:

corner shoulder seam

It’s like chambray, but dotted swiss! Two of my favorite fabrics mashed together!

Here’s the pocket/zipper view:
pocket view

Why yes, that is gray-and-white seersucker piping! You can also just see that the pockets are lined in this very nice sheer gray voile.

Here’s the pocket-in-progress:
pocket-in-progress

Here’s the same piping on the shoulder seam:
shoulder seam

And finally, the back:
gray dotted swiss dress back

I didn’t even press this before putting it on the dress form, which is a miracle, if you ask me. But the fabric is very soft and light and so it seems that wrinkles take a look at it and say “yeah, no, I think I’ll try the next dress down, thanks anyway.” (Okay maybe there are a few wrinkles at the sleeve and skirt hems …)

I’ve managed to eke out a couple other dresses recently—I’ll try to get them posted soon.

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& another stunt dress

So a couple weekends ago I made another stunt dress:

Wordnik is running a Kickstarter!

//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsThis fabric is called “Symbolic Elegance” and is “from the ‘Ampersand’ collection by Ampersand Design Studio for Windham Fabrics,” according to eQuilter, where I bought it. The pattern is the only one I’ve been making lately: Simplicity 2389 with the modified Heidi skirt.

Why is this a stunt dress? Because I’m wearing it in the Kickstarter video for Wordnik (you folks know I run Wordnik, right?) Here’s a link — play the video and you can see me wearing this dress.

The goal of this Kickstarter is to find a million missing words of English — words not in traditional dictionaries — and add them to Wordnik.

Here’s the bodice, with piping:

 Untitled

And the pockets (with piping): 

A Kickstarter, you say?//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

And the back (no piping visible):

Kickstarter!//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

If you have a minute to share our Kickstarter campaign, it would be much appreciated! We’re at >40% of our goal, but it’s a long way to the finish line!

I'm With the Bandana

Been a while since I posted a new dress, huh? Here’s one that’s been waiting patiently in pieces for ages:

Bandana Simplicity 2389 front

This is in some black bandana print so old that I can’t remember when or where I bought it. It is not great fabric — it’s pretty stiff and there were plenty of print faults and slubs. Not sure why I was all excited about sewing with it, but I think playing with the print motifs was part of it:

Simplicity 2389 bodice

Here’s a closer look at the bodice matching:

Simplicity 2389 bodice motif matching

Here’s the back — I was really interested in having the back bodice look as much like a standalone bandana as possible:

Matched the motif across the skirt panels too (this is the altered Burdastyle Heidi skirt, again again again, I really should do a separate post detailing all the changes I’ve put it through):

Bandana Simplicity 2389 motif matching

And the piped pocket and zipper:

Bandana Simplicity 2389 side zip and pocket

I bought a bunch of invisible zippers with very lightweight, almost knit tapes in Vancouver and they’re a bit trickier to sew with than I thought. As in, I’ve already broken two of them. I’m hoping it’s more “practice makes perfect” and not “you bought a bunch of lemons”. This one went it more or less okay, though. (Fingers crossed.)

I still have some orange bandana fabric yet to make up, probably the last piece of my epic 2008 Japan fabric binge.

(If you like odd bandanas you will almost certainly like the Calamityware Bad Bandana project.)

Oh, and if you missed it, I wrote about answering customer-service email on The Pastry Box! Very exciting, I know.

Everyone loves a parade

For some reason (can’t think why) this fabric reminds me of ticker-tape parades:

ticker tape parade

It is, as you may have already guessed, another Simplicity 2389 bodice with a Heidi skirt. It’s a slightly grabby fabric — you can see it’s hitching a little on my dress form. Either that, or the center front seam is a little wobbly (also possible).

ticker-tape bodice

I made ZERO attempt to match the print, as I’m sure you can tell. I’m not sure if the fat self.jpgping shows up all that well in the above picture, but it’s there.

Oh wait, here it is:

And here you can see it (maybe?) on the pocket:

And the other pocket (and the zipper):

And the back:

The fabric is some silk-cotton Marc Jacobs that I bought ages ago — I bought it in bright orange, too. I think I photographed the wrong side but whatevs:

Untitled

 

I do love silk-cotton when I can get it; it’s all the best parts of cotton and silk — easy to sew with like cotton and fancy like silk.

If you want to see me wearing it, you can do so here.

YAWD (yet another winterish dress)

I made another dress like this one, right down to also using Liberty Lantana fabric:

Simplicity 2389 w/Heidi Skirt

The name of this particular print is “Haberdashery”, and I fell in love with the weird faux-patchwork:

Simplicity 2389 bodice

(“Haberdashery” is a fairly stupid name to call a Liberty print, because it is nigh-unGoogleable, but here it is at Shaukat iffen you need some. Looks like it comes in a nice bright blue, too.)

And OF COURSE there is piping:
Simplicity 2389 piping of course

And on the pockets:

Simplicity 2389 pocket piping

Here’s the zipper (bonus piping view):
Simplicity 2389 zipper

And the back:
Simplicity 2389 back

I forgot to take a picture, but the neck facing is the same plaid as in the flower print (or near-enough as makes no nevermind). (Because that’s the sort of thing that makes me weirdly happy.)

This variation has a much longer skirt, nearly tea-length, so that it looks better (in my head) with ankle boots. (Does it actually look better? Who knows.) If you want to see how it looks on, I wore it to give this talk.

A dress for a wedding (not a wedding dress) plus bonus kiltwearing

Erin and Matt

Haven’t posted in a while … there’s a backlog of new dresses and old patterns with new stories, but a shortage of TIME to post them in!

This picture, of course, takes priority, as it involves a kilt — that’s my handsome-yet-goofy younger brother in the McKean tartan with all the trimmings, ready to walk my little sister down the aisle at her lovely wedding in Brooklyn last weekend. (Don’t ask me which variant of the McKean/McIan tartan this is, it could also be some kind of McDonald? Genealogy is complimacated.)

She asked me to stand up for her as well (that’s why I’m holding a sheaf of lavender, that’s not a customary accessory of mine) and asked me to wear navy blue.  (Of course I did not own a navy blue dress of any kind whatsoever.)

After a few false starts, I finally just made THE SAME OLD DRESS I’VE BEEN MAKING FOR THE LAST FOUR MONTHS. Here’s a post where you can see the lines of the dress. It’s the Simplicity 2389 bodice with the (heavily modified) Burdastyle Heidi skirt. And now I have a navy dress.

I don’t own navy shoes, because navy shoes never match anything else that’s navy, so the silver ankle-straps were left over from that part of the early 2000s where I was going to a lot of weddings. I forgot how painful they were — note my “let me just relieve the pressure on this foot here” stance — so they were exchanged for flats at the earliest possible point of the proceedings.

At the shoulder you can kind of maybe partly see that I did do piping for this one as well — self-bias piping with nice fat cord. The fabric is a kind of faille so the corded piping has a nice bias twist to it, very satisfying (if nearly invisible).

It was a very happy day. Hope your days have been happy, too.

A shirtdress MADE OF SHIRTS

So as you all already know, I love shirtdresses. Love ’em. Buy tons of shirtdress patterns! Which then languish, mostly unmade, in my sewing lair.

Because, as it turns out, I love shirtdresses, and I really really love shirting fabric, but I am not really enthused about:

  • sewing buttonholes
  • making plackets
  • creating collar stands

So a while back I saw a really cute project where someone (uh, Martha Stewart) had used an old men’s shirt to make a dress for a little girl, and I thought, “Hey, what about …”

Shirt-shirtdress front

Behold, a shirtdress made of old men’s shirts. Here’s the bodice, which uses the collar and placket and sleeves of a man’s shirt.

Shirt-shirtdress bodice

I kept the collar buttons for the center skirt piece, because: why not?

Shirt-shirtdress skirt front

The sleeves are bound in bias tape made from (you guessed it) shirts.

Shirt-shirtdress sleeves

Different bindings for each sleeve. Note the visible french seam here in the bias binding, I really liked it.

Shirt-shirtdress sleeves (#2)

The skirt is an adapted BurdaStyle Heidi skirt! And as you know, I think you can never have enough pockets:

Shirt-shirtdress shirt/skirt pocket

I originally made this too long, but I really liked the effect of keeping the shirt-tail hem as the “skirt-tail” hem. So I just cut the hem off, then reattached it with more “made from a shirt” piping. (I very rarely meet a seam that is not improved by piping.)

Shirt-shirtdress hem & piping

Here you can see the color-blocking of the different shirting patterns, and the SECRET POCKET inside the pocket.

Shirt-shirtdress pocket and skirt (with bonus pocket)

Each pocket has a secret pocket. Oh and I piped the pocket edges with more bias trim made from a shirt, because why not?

Shirt-shirtdress side pocket and skirt with bonus pocket

Here’s the (inexpertly-ironed, it was late) back view:

Shirt-shirtdress back

I wore the longer version of this last weekend and loved it. SO comfortable and fun to wear (although the previously very long length made it more difficult to walk in, and weirdly made it feel slightly more “Japanese designer” than my usual efforts). Thus the skirt-shortening.

Because I like how this turned out so much, I plan to make another one (or possibly two — I bought a lot of old shirts at Goodwill!) and post a full tutorial. You know, the kind with instructions and pictures and everything. (I have a few tweaks I’d like to try, like maybe doing tucks instead of darts in the bodice and making the skirt fuller with a wider center panel.) This is really ridiculously easy to do, once you have the model of how it should work straight in your head. (The tricky parts to figure out were how to bodice-ize the shirt and how to get the skirt hems to line up nicely.) Everything else is a “simple matter of engineering”, as they say.