Friday, July 3, 2015

Miss Noelle Walks in Technicolor

Good evening, kittens! Things have been a bit hectic around here, lately. While summers are supposed to be languorous and sunshine-filled, mine has been filled other things entirely. Namely, frantic bouts of writing on a deadline and lots of driving. We've been to Albuquerque, Houston, Austin, and Marfa, all in the span of a few weeks. I am le tired, y'all.

Before all that hubbub, however, I did get some sewing done. This lovely dress, which fairly screams Mary, was my Mood Sewing Network project for the month of June. I've had this lightweight floral cotton on my radar for months now. It's exactly the sort of fabric that gets my sewing engine going: bright, floral, and breathable. So, I finally gave in and ordered a few yards. Somehow, this cotton is actually prettier in person. Oranges, reds, yellows, and greens tumble across that hot pink background in the loveliest watercolor floral pattern. It's gorgeous! 

Naturally, I turned it into a sundress. Because, of course I did.

The pattern I used is, technically, Simplicity 1873. However, I had a different vision than 1873's simple two-dart bodice. Something a bit more interesting was called for, in this fabric. I changed the scoop neck to a deep, rounded vee. Then I extended the shoulder line out and up, to make a cut-on cap sleeve, which was finished with a bias band of fabric. To match the front bodice, I then drafted a rounded v-neck onto the back. It's a design similar to a RTW dress that's been in my closet for ages and is one of my favorites.

For the skirt portion, I nabbed the pattern pieces from Vogue 9100. It's a gathered skirt, with hip shaping, and gloriously deep pockets. It's the perfect pairing for the bodice and fabric. The gentle gathering doesn't add bulk, but it's super swishy in the summer heat. Lovely, right?

Technique wise, I pulled out some stops with this dress. It's fully lined in a polka dot, lemon-colored cotton batiste that's been in my stash for eons. The center back zipper is lapped, sewn in by hand, then whip-stitched to the lining. Our main dress fabric was also hemmed by hand, then the lining was triple top-stitched on my machine with a pretty wide hem to increase the swoosh factor. 

Yeah, that's a lot of snooty "by hand" talk in the paragraph above. Plenty of that could've been done by machine just as well, but I needed something to do with my hands, while watching Orphan Black! (Can we talk about the great Donny & Helena moments, this season? They were my absolute favorite scenes, of the whole series. Except, perhaps, for Allison's glue gun psychotic break in Season 1.) Either way, I really like the result. The dress feels special, when I'm wearing it. 

Even better, it dresses up or down beautifully. For summer weddings or date nights, a bright belt and nude heels elevate the look. During my usual day-to-day roamings, though, it looks great with strappy tan sandals and sunglasses.  It's a deceptive workhorse of a garment.

Oh, there is one last fun detail of this dress!  Did you check out my clothing label, earlier in the post? Sam surprised me, last month, with a whole heap of sew-in labels for my garments. They have a cute vintage machine on them and say, "A lovely garment by Idle Fancy." He's really the most wonderful of men.

It seems fitting that this dress, the most Mary dress I've made in quite some time, should be the first to get a real label. Since making this dress, I've worn it about once a week. The lining is so light that it's still comfortable and breezy, in the Texas heat. I need a bit more practice putting the labels in, but y'all gave me some fabulous tips on Instagram. Thanks again!

Unfortunately, this is the last sundress I'll be working on, for a little while. I have a writing conference coming up in New York, at the end of July. More business-appropriate clothes are on the docket, for the next few weeks! Happy sewing! 

Note: The fabric for the main body of this dress was provided to me, free of charge, by Mood Fabrics as part of the Mood Sewing Network. However, all opinions in this post are my own. 

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