Thursday, January 23, 2014

Miss Violet Finds Her Moorings: Simplicity 1873

Hello, darling meerkats! Have you had a wonderful week so far? Mine has been rather hectic--lots of work and school to attend to--but has also been filled with sewing adventures. There was an ill-fated second knit dress (Note: if you're using a woven pattern with a jersey, only going down one size probably won't cut it!), some fitting adjustments on older makes, and oh yeah...a new camera! Apparently, 2014 is going to be Mary's Year of Modern Technology. First a serger, now a DSLR. I'll keep you posted, if we get a Jetsons-style hair robot. 

For this blog, I've always shot with a point-and-shoot, despite knowing full well that I needed a DSLR. It just seemed a pretty big purchase to make, when so many beautiful fabrics yearned to be bought, you know? However, thanks to some Mysterious Sewing News I Can't Mention Yet, Sam and I decided it was time for an upgrade. Enter the Canon Rebel T3i and my new obsession! 

After three straight nights of playing with the manual settings (Read: Photographing our dog in various "Why aren't you playing fetch with me, human?" poses.), I decided to document a real project. The knit dress was planned, but it's now wadded into a ball somewhere in a deep dark cave of sewing death, so that was out. Enter Simplicity 1873! This lovely little fit-and-flare dress is made up in an anchor print cotton, from Dear Stella, and piped in white around the neckline and armscyes. 

I have long lusted after the retro sailor dresses of Stop Staring and Pin Up Girl Clothing, but couldn't conscience buying one, when they're so easy to make. When I stumbled across this Dear Stella anchor print, it was a simple leap to pairing it with Simplicity 1873 for a cute nautical dress.This pattern is, as we've talked about recently, one of my favorites. With its simple bodice and full pleated skirt, 1873 is my platonic dress silhouette. It's the perfect blend of comfortable and waist-emphasizing! 

As far as construction, this was a super straight-forward dress. I'd already made 1873 five times before, so all the fitting kinks were worked out. For this version, I omitted the zipper out of pure laziness, and lined the bodice in pink-striped cotton shirting. I used store bought white piping, which I inserted around the neckline and armscyes, as mentioned. 

Incidentally, piping is my sewing true love. I would happily pipe All The Things, if I could. Perhaps that is my resolution for 2014: Pipe everything possible! It adds just the right amount of emphasis to a neckline. I've also found that, if a fabric is in danger of washing you out, a bit of coordinated piping can mitigate the effect. These anchors weren't doing that, as navy is universally flattering, but it is utterly adorable. 

So...another 1873! In a seasonally-inappropriate fabric choice! I don't normally love working with a "quilting weight" cotton, but I've found Dear Stella's fabrics to be high-quality and durable. Plus, how many times do you come across apparel-weight nautical prints? Sometimes, rules must be thrown out, in order to achieve sartorial bliss. 

The details...

Things I Loved:
  • The fabric! Anchors are the best, all the taste-makers agree. 
  • The piping! Of course. 
Things I Changed:
  • Omitted the zipper, due to extreme laziness.
Things I Would Change, If I Made It Again:
  • Nothing! Mostly because I've made this pattern so many times that the kinks are worked out. 

Notions & Fabric:
  • 3.5 yards of Dear Stella fabric
  • 1 yard of striped shirting
  • White Piping

Construction Time:
  • Four hours. So much pleating!

I'm now going to fiddle with my new toy some more. Do you have any good DSLR tricks or favorite photography sites, friends? I have a pretty good handle on the basic manual functions, but would love some advice from any camera nerds out there. 

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