As I told one of the crying students who had come to my office after taking on too much and thus, falling behind in school, we all learn the hard way how to balance our lives. I, for one, have superwoman complex: I think I can do everything.
When Zoe announced the Me-Made-May challenge, the thought passed through my head that I could actually make all of my own garments for the month, even though I only had one dress, two skirts, and a pair of very red pants to begin with. See? Superwoman complex.
Then I had to remember that I was graduating from a three-year master's program, moving nearly 600 miles away and grappling with all the weird emotional (sadness/elation) stuff that goes with so many doors closing and opening at once. So, I allowed myself one sewing indulgence for the month of May: Burda 7494. Dresses are a new revelation to me and I'd planned to wear it to graduation.
I haven't seen anyone whip this up, but I just love the shape. That peter pan collar, princess seams, tulip skirt. Oh my!
I'd been showing the pattern to friends for suggestions on color. When my friend Shelley came to visit, she said I couldn't do black with a white collar as "you're going to look like a Pilgrim!" Ha, she's got a great sense of humor and is incredibly generous: She came by a few days later with armloads of fabric. Six yards of yellow and a yard of various options for the collar. I vacillated on which to choose, but when it came to cutting, I chose her original choice for the collar: Navy toile. Here's a close-up of the collar:
Most of all, I was surprised how easily this came together. I was heartened to know that I'm getting better, so the going gets easier. I shortened the bodice to match my bust point, omitted the lining, altered the pleats in back to avoid bubble-butt as evidenced in the Marie skirt, and used the Marie skirt facing for the hem. I struggled a little with the self-fabric facing on the sleeves, but all in all, it was a joy to put together. What I love the most is that it fits me perfectly. I think I'm sold on Burda patterns from now on. Here's the dress:
I was too cheap to buy the cap and gown, though at one point, turned to my colleague and wondered if I could buy just the hood. After all, how many times am I going to get hooded in my lifetime (unless I want to torture myself with a PhD)? Anyway, this meant that I was this yellow beacon on the stage with nearly everyone in black caps and gowns! My family said they could spot me immediately.
The fabric, as you can see, is a little wrinkled and it's not the perfect choice for this dress, but it makes a nice wearable muslin, I think. I'll definitely be using parts of the pattern again -- the bodice, particularly. I do prefer a little more collarbone visibility (a cleavage stand-in for a small bust, according to What Not to Wear), but I can play around with it. Up next: Red with black collar and perhaps a scalloped edge? What do you think?
I'm always hyper-conscious of an item when it's fresh off the sewing machine, but the photos don't look half bad. Here's the graduation dress in action:
To finishing, the dress and the degree! Hallelujah. Now I can sleep.
outfit inspiration - a few favorites from around the web! above: stylesightings. stylesightings. facehunter. free people blog. refinery29. william yan. The post outfit inspir...