Month: August 2015

shiny, pretty, reflux

Hi party people! My favorite greeting is very appropriate since this blog post is all about a party dress I recently made. Not too long ago, some college friends of ours got married in Chicago. About eight and a half days before the wedding, I realized that I had nothing to wear. Being a broke student, especially one working seventy hours a week on their sub-internship (medical school vocabulary for a clerkship you do during your fourth year where you basically have all the responsibilities as an intern but with more supervision/you don’t actually order any treatments on your own), I had neither money nor time to fart around doing my least favorite thing: clothes shopping. So, I decided to take the easy way out and sew my dress. If that doesn’t make sense to you – it shouldn’t! Because it doesn’t. I am a fool.

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…a DANCING fool.

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The pattern is Simplicity 1873, and the fabric is some polyester sateen stuff that I got at my cherished Textile Discount Outlet. (As the youths would say, that store = bae.) It definitely isn’t the greatest quality material, but the watercolor print just really spoke to me during one of my fever-dream shopping sessions there. So a few yards came home with me.

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I may have sewn multiple knit garments over the course of a day, but this is the first article of clothing from woven material that I made from start to finish in a less-than-24-hour period. I am very much a “let’s sew for an hour, make a mistake, put it down and come back days later” sort of person, not so much a “I’m going to sew until my eyeballs bleed” sorta gal. Unfortunately for my sanity, my work schedule prevented me from starting the project until 5PM the day before the wedding – consequently, I did what I could to save time here. First, there’s no lining – the armscyes and neckline are bias-bound. Second, I cheated on the hem and just did a straight stitch machine hem (sigh). Third, I usually sew a size ten and then fiddle with the bodice until it looks right, but this time I just sewed a straight size eight.(But I still sewed it all with French seams. Because I have no common sense.)

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Is this my best-fitted creation? Aw heck to the no. As you may have guessed by the title of this post, sewing that size eight was my downfall. It wasn’t that tight at the beginning of the evening, but after a very large rich meal full of red meat and some delicious meaty sauce type thing (clearly a foodie here), not to mention like eighty macarons because I have no dignity or restraint, the dress began to feel so tight that it ended up giving me the worst case of heartburn! I would have done unspeakable things for a couple Tums. But whatever. The night ended, I had lots of fun dancing, and I felt very shiny and pretty in spite of my terrible burps.

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taken at 4AM, after 6 hours of dancing and 5 hours of burping.

(All the nice-looking, obviously not-iPhone photos in this post were taken by Justin Barbin, a very talented photographer, NU alum, and former dorm-mate! You may also know him from his crazy bow tie style, which was recently featured on Buzzfeed.)

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a gaggle of annas

Long time no talkies etc etc. I am not quite sure what I’ve been up to in the interim – still crafting a lot, but I think I’ve just been at work? Maybe? I may have also opened the Chamber of Secrets? It’s entirely likely because time is flying by so fast that I’ve gotta be possessed by Lord Voldemort’s diary or something like that. Yuk yuk. Anyway, like I said – I’ve still been crafting, but without blogging as much. I am dropping back into my corner of the internets to talk about my most favorite pattern of all time – the Anna dress from BHL. I know that I am super late to this excellent party, but I’m going to keep going with it until the cows come home.

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Anna One.

(This is a bit of a lie, Anna One is technically abandoned as a bodice muslin, in a very hideous pink and white and orange polka dot, but Anna One B is too cumbersome of a name so let’s just forget that the muslin ever happened. ANYWAY.)

I sewed this up in a wibbly wobbly stripey rayon challis from Girl Charlee. I really enjoyed working with this fabric, and when I went to the LA fabric district immediately after making this dress, I bought a ton more rayon challis. Yay! The biggest issue with this dress is the STRIPES. UGH. Another case of 2AM sewing on display right here – I wasn’t thinking, and didn’t make ANY effort to line up the stripes at all. Um. I am a fool. Anyway, this dress looks pretty darn weird because of it, but I still wear it because I love the silhouette so much and it feels so light and airy.

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my baby g is my #1 nerdy/90s throwback/annoyingly athletic accessory.

The back neckline gapes quite a bit more than the muslin did, which I attribute to a couple factors – I didn’t add the facing to the muslin, and it was significantly less drapey compared to the rayon challis. I love the thigh-high split, although I have the terrible tendency to (almost) flash my nether regions when I’m out and about walking around and I lift the skirt to step over something. Just another reason for David to be mortified constantly by me.

Anna Two.

For my next Anna, I used Ginger Makes’ tutorial on the Anna back neckline adjustment (so specific – lucky me!) to address the issue of shoulder gaping. I had never really made such a serious pattern modification that I felt compelled to re-trace it (hence my complete lack of preparedness/using wrapping paper as my new pattern paper). I felt so much like a grown up sewist afterward! I still went with the boatneck version, but I sewed the knee-length dress without a slit this time. The fabric I used was this very lovely floral poly crepe I found at Joann’s one day. It caught my eye as I walked by to go purchase something sensible, like zippers, and continued to catch my eye all the way to the cutting table. Ooops.

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With the back adjustment and some more new-to-me finishing techniques (I tried hand blind-stitching for the first time! SO FUN, I now want to put blind stitched hems into everything), trying out bias binding for the first time, etc. this turned out to be my most favorite garment I have ever made. It makes me feel so pretty (: I think it fits pretty well – my one complaint (to no one in particular, really) is that I always feel like I’m going to pop open the bust pleats when I sneeze. God bless my ribcage. I have worn this dress quite a few times since making it – it’s always my “today is going to be a good day, gosh darn it” dress. (In the first photo, I am pictured with my lovely family wearing the dress to my sister’s blue coat ceremony! She just started veterinary school. Yay Annie!!)