Sunday, January 8, 2012

Miss Wendy Goes To The Park

Friends, I am thrilled. Friday, I finished this dress, which I'm dubbing The Wendy Dress. At first glance, it may seem kind of boring. What's so great about a brown flannel dress? Well, it's super cozy, which is lovely this time of year. However, the real pi├Ęce de r├ęsistance? A Peter Pan collar!

If you follow me on Pinterest, you are well aware of my Lost-Boy-inspired collar obsession. My sewing inspiration boards should probably be retitled 1000 Images of Peter Pan Collars. I love them. If every dress in my closet had such a collar, my life would be complete. Thus, it was ridiculous that I hadn't yet drafted one myself. Following up with my 2012 Intentions (#4. Challenge myself), I decided to fix that with this project.

Since I'm not a total daredevil, this collar experiment was performed with some unloved stash fabric. This brown cotton flannel is one I bought in The Great Fabric Mart Sale, for something ridiculous like $2.50/yard. While it is quite warm, it's also brown. Not even the subtle green and chocolate stripes in the plaid made me love this fabric. Thus, the opportunity to jazz it up with a coordinating green collar & fabric-covered buttons proved irresistible.

A collar! Buttons! Joy!

For the pattern, I wanted something simple. I loved the high neckline of Colette's Peony Dress and already had the bodice fit perfectly, but opted for the fuller, gathered skirt of Simplicity 2180. They worked together beautifully. (After I chopped five inches off the skirt, anyway.) I did make one slightly unorthodox decision, however, by omitting the Peony sleeves. It's a winter dress and flannel, which makes one think sleeves, but I love to layer. Bulky sleeves beneath a cardigan is not a look I'm a fan of. Thus, for wearability's sake, I opted for a sleeveless style.

The most interesting part of this dress is, naturally, the collar. For tips on collar pattern drafting, I watched the divine Gertie's YouTube video series: Drafting a Peter Pan Collar. I didn't follow the directions precisely, as I made a full collar (there was no lovely button-back to show off), but it proved remarkably helpful. My collar ended up delightfully, perfectly round!

For construction help, I consulted a few sources, but ended up doing it my own way. I sewed the collar to the right side of the bodice, exactly as it would lay, then finished them both together with bias tape. Not only was the inside finish clean, but it allowed the collar to turn perfectly.

In the back of the dress, the collar runs the whole length of the bodice. Since there was enough room in this pattern, I omitted the back zipper, in order to preserve the integrity of my imagined collar design. I have no problem wriggling in and out of a dress, if it means I end up with a full working collar. At the last minute, I also decided to add three fabric-covered buttons down the bodice in the same green as the collar. With the high Peony neckline. the bodice needed something else to balance out that sea of brown. Also, I just love buttons.

Back bodice & collar (Wrinkled, as I wore this all day and couldn't face ironing it again afterwards for poor Hedy.)

In the end, The Wendy Dress is a very wearable little garment. It is the last of my true winter sewing, as it feels like spring is just around the corner here in Texas. However, I can easily see myself making this in a few warmer weather iterations. Alas, I do fear a great tide of Peter Pan collars is in my future. They're almost too easy not to add to dresses!


Also: shoe love! These are the Jada heel from Naya Shoes, which can currently be had for a song, in all colors, at DSW. I love my burgandy ones, but they had a lovely dark teal option as well. Who could resist such a gorgeous vintage-inspired heel?

26 comments

  1. Wow! What a gorgeous dress, and I love the addition of the peter pan collar. It's the perfect dress for that kind of collar.

    Looks to be nice and cosy! Hope spring doesn't come TOO soon so you can keep enjoying wearing it!

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    1. Thank you so much, Michelle! It really is SO cozy. Next year, I may just spend all winter in flannel dresses. Sadly, spring has been much earlier than usual this year, so I've only been able to wear it twice. I'm hoping February turns cold again!

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  2. I love a good franken-pattern - this is understated loveliness. Hope you get lots of wear out of it :)

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    1. Thank you, Poppy! Aren't franken-patterns awesome? The first time I attempted one, it was so freeing! Almost like being a real designer...;)

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  3. Totally gorgeous, hun! I feel the same way about sleeves. I wear cardigans most days and I hate the constricted feeling of the two layers together. :)

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    1. Thanks, Alana! That is exactly what it is - I hate my arms being constricted! Cardigans and sleeveless dresses are a godsend.

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  4. I absolutely love this dress, what a beauty! I'm a sucker for a peter pan collar, it's so tempting to put them on everything ;o)

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    1. Thank you, Marie! Hooray for Peter Pan collar lovers! I really do have to stop myself now, when planning patterns, not to add them in. My sister warned me that I'd look like a 60s schoolgirl, if I gave in to the temptation all the time. ;)

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  5. Love the collar, I am trying to plot a garment to encorporate one in, but like with a lower neckline. They don't really suit me so I am trying to force a way to make them work... As for sleeveless garments, it sends cold shivers up my spine, my arms are not for public consumption.

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    1. Thanks, Brumby! I am actually working on another collared dress right now, with a lower neckline. I may end up having the opposite problem - this one looks to be not quite as flattering as my high-necked dress. Isn't it funny how garment style can look so different from person to person? I finally gave up on the "what works for YOUR body type" articles in magazines, because it's all such a contradiction.

      Also, no lie, my arms shouldn't be for public consumption either - especially in the winter. I'm so pale right now, it should be a crime. Cardigans are my wardrobe saviors!

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  6. This is awesome! I've nearly finished my Peony, and it's really inspiring to see the variations you can make with this pattern. Love the cute buttons :o)

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    1. Thanks so much, Law! I can't wait to see your Peony variation. It really is an infinitely alterable pattern - I'm making another dress this week with the skirt, instead of the bodice. It's almost like having a sloper, how useful it's become.

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  7. Oh wow! I love it! That is probably my ideal dress you've got there! :D

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    1. Thank you so much, Roo! It's pretty much my ideal too...just maybe in a warmer weather version. Right now, I'm wishing Texas had y'all's weather, so I could wear this one more often!

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  8. Eek! It's adorable! I love the green peter pan color with the brown flannel! What a great vision you had! And it came out fantastic!

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    1. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Carolyn! I was so worried it was going to come out awfully, so its success is *such* a relief.

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  9. I love your dress! The collar and button details off-set the brown perfectly. Fabulous ensemble (especially with those shoes! *swoon*)

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    1. Thanks, Meg! Also, I have to gush - aren't those shoes amazing? They're also crazy comfortable. I'm currently having a ridiculous love affair with them. Anything burgandy even remotely goes with, I've been pairing them to it.

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  10. There's just something about peter pan collars, isn't there? I have on in mind for a project coming up - thank you for the inspiration and the tutorial link! Your dress looks great, and those shoes... if only I weren't on a shoe shopping ban.

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    1. Mika, there really is something about these collars. They just seem to elevate whatever garment they're added to! Perhaps that's just the unabashed vintage love in me speaking, however. Good luck on your own collar venture! I can't wait to see how it turns out!

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  11. I know it's brown but it is seriously gorgeous and it really suits you! I love the pattern mash-up, I've been nervous to try the peony because of the less full skirt. And I adore the shoes too! Good work on the peter pan collar, I need to start making the things that I ogle for for far too long!

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    1. Thank you so much! I really am coming around to the brown more - having the green collar up near my face made the color much more wearable for me. For me, the Peony skirt did end up being too much of a close fit. I haven't even worn mine out of the house, because it makes me self-conscious. When I make it again, I may widen it just a bit, to make room for some small pleats. Just a bit of fullness would make it more wearable, in my opinion anyway.

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  12. I love this outfit! And the shoes are perfect. I've just included you in my Leibster Blog Awards, here if you'd like to play http://pinsandpatience.wordpress.com/2012/01/15/im-a-liebster-blog-award-winner-yeah/ :) Love reading your stuff!

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    1. Thank you so, so much, Morgan! You just toally made my day! :D

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  13. I love your dress, the contrasting collar and buttons really makes it outstanding. I'm in the process of unpicking a blah black dress to add a peter pan collar, so I hope it turns out as great as your dress looks.

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    1. Thanks a million, Kristy! I can't wait to see your own Peter Pan-adorned dress. I found it to be much easier than I'd anticipated, so hopefully the same holds true for you!

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