Sunday, June 7, 2015

Miss Gidget Demands a Tiki Drink: Simplicity 1873

Good evening, my dear finicky foxes! This weekend was an exciting one at Chez Danielson Perry. Not only did my younger sister graduate from high school, but Sam and I took her to her very first concert! Laine tossed her cap on Friday morning, then we all saw Brandi Carlile at Stubb's, Saturday night. In between, there were two cakes, lots of visiting family, and (finally!) plenty of sunshine basking. It was an idyllic weekend, to say the least. 

It was, also, a great weekend to wear my new sundress. Now that the sun has arrived in central Texas, all I want to wear are breezy cotton dresses. Unfortunately, my measurements have changed a bit in the last six months, so my go-to sundress bodice needed refitting. It was pulling slightly at the bust, but overly large in the waist and upper chest. I traced off a fresh version of Simplicity 1873, then set about refitting the pattern. I went one size smaller on the bodice overall, then performed a larger FBA, and lowered the neckline by an inch. Voila! The sundress returns.

As a test run of my altered pattern, I gave in to novelty fabric whims. Right now, JoAnn Fabrics has the most adorable line of tropical print cotton shirtings. This red-and-white hula girl print came home with me last month, demanding to become a sundress. Unfortunately, the colors bled, during its pre-sewing wash. The white flowers are no longer true white, but a very, very light pink. Not wanting to abandon the fabric entirely, I used it for this project, in case the bodice turned out horribly. 

Spoiler alert: It didn't. While there are some things I'm going to change, the first approximation of this bodice is quite a good fit. It's much more secure around my waist, while still having enough room for my, shall we say, ample bosom. Huzzah!

Instead of Simplicity 1873's original skirt, I subbed in the gathered A-line from Vogue 9100, which I converted to box pleats. Since this fabric is a true shirting, it felt entirely too stiff for the floaty, circular pleats of the original skirt. Plus, let's be honest. If a fabric bleeds in the wash, no way am I using it to make a labor-intensive skirt! All the pleating and circular hemming of 1873 is worth it on a deserving fabric, but this dress probably won't last past this summer. Four box pleats and I'm out, y'all.

Apart from deciding on pleat placement, the construction of this one was deadly simple. All the seams are serged in white thread, then the neckline and armscyes were finished with white bias tape. I put in a lapper zipper down the center back, hand-stitched the hem up, then called it a day! Dress construction doesn't get much easier, kittens.

As for further tweaks, there are just a few. The neckline needs another half-inch rotated out to the bust darts and the armscyes could use a little tweaking, of their own. I think I might also bring the shoulder in by a half-inch and further plunge the back neckline. For this version, I played at turning the back neckline into a vee, which I like, but it's pretty subtle. Next time, we're showing more skin!

All in all, though, this dress makes me happy. Tropical prints, especially in primary colors, make me long for umbrella drinks and sunshine. This summer, I'm planning on enjoying quite a lot of both! Soon enough, I'm sure the heat in Texas will start getting on my nerves, but it feels wonderful, after all that rain we've had. Even better, I have a fun, new dress to enjoy it in!

Finally, I wanted to extend a huge thank you to everyone who cheered me on in the last post, regarding the Avon writing contest. The support and book love y'all sent my way was deeply appreciated. It also must have rubbed off on the editors, because my alter ego actually won the second round! Yes, I am still flabbergasted and squeeing. Thank you all so much. It's been a bit of an exciting week, top to bottom. There are three more rounds left, so if you're interested in participating, you can still join in on the fun! If not, well, no worries. I'll be back with more sundress ravings, soon!

Note: This post's title is derived, of course, from the Gidget movies. They were my favorites growing up and I watched Gidget Goes Hawaiian, while sewing this dress' hem. Halfway through, I paused the movie and called my mother. Apparently, my looming thirtieth birthday is showing. Instead of nodding along with Gidget's romantic predicaments, I sympathized with her angelically patient parents and wished for her to meet a young Gloria Steinem. What kind of girl complains about a trip to Hawaii, just because her boyfriend won't be there? Drink an illicit piña colada and chill out, Gidg! Also, Jeff is going to be a womanizing ass in Rome, next year, so enjoy your break while you can. Ahem. Needless to say, that movie hasn't quite held up in my heart, like the original Gidget has. At least, in the original, Gidget has some gumption and interests outside of Moondoggy. 

/vintage movie rant