Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Project Sewn: Twice the May Flowers

Good morning, dear ones! It's time for another round of Project Sewn, this week with an emphasis on all things floral. As you can imagine, when I got the news of this challenge, there were whoops of Mary joy heard far and wide. Florals are kind of my thing

The problem with having a thing, of course, is that it makes decisions complicated. Should I make another go-to Liberty shirtdress or perhaps try my hand at Alabama Chanin embellishments? Should I make one piece or two? Should I...? There were too many options! In the end, I circled back to my personal goal for this competition. No matter what happens, make things you really want. So, I picked a piece I've long lusted after: a floral trench coat. 

There's something so unexpectedly chic about a printed coat. The silhouette is classic, but the print lends a bit of whimsy to an otherwise practical basic. As luck would have it, Hancock Fabrics had just the right print for my vision--a bright, multicolored floral rayon blend "linen-look" fabric.

Side note: Blessed be, I've discovered a nearby Hancock Fabrics! The town 30 minutes south of us not only has a Hancock's, but a Hancock's staffed by the fabulous Garment Farmer. When you've lived with only a JoAnn's for six months, there is no more exciting day than visiting a store with actual apparel fabrics and stumbling upon a fellow sewing blogger. Land of pretty cottons, how I've missed you!

Ahem. Back to the coat at hand. In addition to being gorgeous, this blue floral rayon was also conveniently hefty and fairly water impermeable. Fate, quite obviously, knew it would be a trench coat. 

For the coat pattern, I decided on Butterick 5966, a princess-seamed coat, with a wide skirt and collar options. This version of the coat is a reinterpretation of the Victorian tailored dresscoat, with delicately puffed sleeves and that dramatic collar. It's so Dr. Who meets Oscar Wilde! I absolutely adore it. 

Rather interestingly, the coat is finished off with a hidden button fly down the right front. This was my first time inserting a fly and it was surprisingly easy. You know, after I accidentally sewed it shut once. Whoops! I'm going to go ahead and blame this on Butterick's horrid illustrations, however. Big 4 direction pamphlets really need to catch up with their detailed, helpful indie counterparts. 

The rest of the coat, though, really was a breeze. I lined the whole thing in aqua-and-white pinstriped cotton and finished it with white vintage gumball buttons down the front. You can barely see them in these pictures, but they're there and they're adorable!

For modesty's sake, I did need something to wear under the coat. People get arrested for NSFW trench coats in Texas! To the rescue came my trusty Mood Fabrics. Last month, I'd ordered this gorgeous white cotton voile, heavily embroidered along each selvage with a white floral motif. It made the perfect little white dress to show off a colorful statement coat.

Thanks to all that gorgeous embroidery, working with this voile was tricky. The fabric itself is quite light, so it snagged and ripped with the slightest pull, even from its own embroidered parts. To mitigate this, I kept the dress silhouette simple. For the bodice, I chose the darted princess seams of Butterick 5982, then attached it to a wide, gathered dirndl skirt. The dress is lined in white batiste, which provided both coverage and kept the floaty, ethereal quality of the voile.

As a final touch, I cut away the rest of the selvage (about four inches) from the hemline of the dress, so that it finished with those lovely embroidered scallops. It took forever, but it was so worth it! It's special touches like this one, which make me fall in love with a piece.

Twice the florals for Week Two of Project Sewn! Woohoo!

I'm going to be honest, friends. Taking these photos was a bit of nightmare. After we combated gale force winds our first time out, I was unexpectedly thunderhailed upon the second time around. Also, WHITE IS REALLY DIFFICULT TO PHOTOGRAPH. No matter how cute this dress looks in person, the camera refused to pick up all the details. 

Le sigh. I actually had a good cry about these photos last night, in a ridiculous flailing sort of way that only a Ramos Gin Fizz and Sam could cure. It was so silly and probably caused by other stressors. Now, I'm thinking of suggesting a new law to the science community: The more important a photoshoot, the worse the weather in Waco will be. It's always when I have Vision and Plans that a surprise hurricane blows into town. Though this outfit deserves all the fancy things, the only worthwhile shots ended up being in a parking lot in low light. 

That's the way the needle sews, kittens. I joined Project Sewn to push my boundaries, after all, not become a photographer (Which is good!). Though this photoshoot didn't turn out as envisioned, both of the pieces did. I'm going to wear the heck out of these. Even better, today is downright chilly! I would complain about not having a cute, lightweight coat to wear, but that's just been fixed. It's going to be so much fun wearing this little lovely around today.

What's also fun are the other AMAZING outfits in this week's Project Sewn challenge. If you were knocked out last week, prepare your smelling salts. The other contestants absolutely hit the ball out of the park with this challenge. Each and every piece is well-crafted and swoon-worthy! So, hop on over to Project Sewn and vote for your favorite!

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