This weekend, I spent a day in Half Moon Bay with the boy. As someone who grew up on an island, there's nothing more calming to me than the sound of the waves crashing on the shore, nothing that pulls me into my body (and out of my head) more than sand beneath the arch of my foot.
But in Northern California, beach-trotting does not necessarily equal swimsuit weather. So I wore my newest creation: a knit dress with a full skirt. Here the boy caught me overlooking a cliff, the skirt billowing. Man, I love this dress.
With Self-Stitched September on the horizon, I've been thinking about what I'd rather not live without for the month of September. At the top of the list: A knit dress with a fitted bodice and full skirt. This ballerina-esque dress reminds me of my friend Shelley, a desert girl who won't let the heat keep her from looking good, for she owns several of these and swears by their use. Unlike the t-shirt dress with it's straight shape, a dress with this shape oozes femininity and casualness, a sort of tailored comfort. In my world, that's perfection.
With my interest in adapting patterns, I turned to a suggested variation in Sew U Homestretch, which uses a slash and spread method on both the knit bodice and skirt blocks.
Here's the slash and spread of the skirt. Brilliant! This skill is a major game-changer. I just love, love, love a full skirt. Again, it's that combo of comfort and femininity.
For the bodice, I didn't want a strapless, so I traced my favorite fitting tank with thin straps (fittingly bequeathed to me by Shelley before she escaped to Melbourne). Problem was, I couldn't pull off attaching the thin straps that seem to go under the arm and over the shoulder, encasing the bodice in a way similar to bias tape, all the while pulling to keep the knit taut. Anybody know how to do this? Is there a tutorial I can follow?
The amount of time I spent trying to figure out this bodice is probably the equivalent of how long it'd take to remove every stitch with my teeth. Ugh. Oh, well. I'm sure I'm halfway to some crucial sewing lesson. Besides, I knew some of this would be inevitable once I started to alter/draft patterns.
In seeking an answer to my dress woes, I was inspired (again) by Jessica's version of Simplicity 2443, a very cute Cynthia Rowley pattern I'd been eyeing. I hadn't picked it up, fearing the racerback tank would make me look too boyish, but I snatched it up when I discovered a 99-cent Simplicity sale. Clearly, I needed professional help!
So I adapted the very sad and worn-from-unpicking bodice using Simplicity 2443, also adapting the back with two thick straps. It tickles me to know that this dress on Rowley's site costs $295.
Regarding fabric, I cut up my first, failed crewneck for the bodice and leftover fabric for the skirt ($1/yard). I love gray but this hue is not that flattering against my skin so I opted for a contrast waist and neckline. I first used some silk navy jersey, but felt it was too flimsy since the waist-bit is the only thing that holds together the bodice and skirt. So instead I cut up the boy's old work polo shirt.
Here's a close-up of the bodice:
Another imperfect creation I'm in love with, as there are wonky bits related to the bodice battle.
Two bloggers, Debbie and Zoe, have been talking about slowing down their sewing and I think this is coming at the right time for me, as I've been speeding it up. For me, speed = desire for instant gratification = sloppiness. Sewing with knits hasn't necessarily helped as knits can be faster. I can do a t-shirt in an hour, from start to finish, tops. But sometimes, like this project attests, going faster can take longer. The hare was a cocky bastard, no? And he loses. I have to remember that. Think: Tortoise, tortoise, tortoise.
But since my sewing machine and I will be separated for three weeks, I've got one more quick project on the sewing table that I'd like to whip up for Self-Stitched September. And the deeper realization my fast sewing has brought me to is this: I really love wearing clothes I've made myself. And for the moment, I'm going to enjoy that.
The Final Touch on My Outdoor Living Space - This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of TIKI Brand® for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine. I've been focusing a lot of my attention on ma...