|Nice classy casual dress, isn't it?|
|Except SURPRISE!! There are green and purple giraffes parading across the skirt!|
Ever since I started sewing, I've slowly built a me-made wardrobe of a very particular category: dresses with fitted bodices and full skirts from unlikely woven materials. I decided I really don't need any more; to that end I've been working on using more knits, different silhouettes, and non-dresses. But when it comes down to it, I need to be realistic about my wardrobe. Much as I love those tiny waisted dresses with a retro feel, when I'm bumming around the house I pull out my dresses with elastic waists. A couple of these are getting near the end of their can-still-wear-them-out-in-public lifespan, so I figured that for this week's Sew Weekly Challenge, Down Under (sew for the opposite season), I would make an elastic-waisted casual summer dress. Nice and easy, right? Especially in light of some upcoming projects I have in the works.
I drew from these RTW dresses as inspiration: summer casual but still classy-looking, not too beachy, loose and blouse-y but still with defined waists.
|L-R: Modcloth, J.Crew, Anthro, Forever 21.|
I didn't even bother sketching a pattern for this dress (and maybe it shows); I just cut out an oversized A-line dress with a hint of a cap sleeve. I decided that since this wasn't a technically demanding dress, I would finish ALL my inside seams with seam binding. Probably a good idea, as my fabric was some mysterious blend from the thrift store, and while not extremely ravelly, it was definitely less stable than my normal bed sheet. I added the elastic band at the waist, and then just to complicate things a bit more, added a band under the giraffes for more visual interest. Except that the busyness of the print makes it difficult to tell that there's a band of fabric, and not just more crazy dots.
|See, there really is another band of fabric! Still not as neat as it could be, |
but hopefully this dress will stand up to the wash like a champ.
My just-wing-it approach meant that it turned out much blousier than I was expecting, but with a wide elastic belt it's still fine. Not quite as classy as my inspiration pieces, seeing as how there are giraffes marching across the bottom, but hey, it will go into my growing collection of African-mammal-print-clothing.
|Birds of paradise feel extra-summery, right?|
|Not that it doesn't feel like summer right now anyway. I think we've had maybe two weeks of winter so far.|
Fabric: 2 yards of mystery thrifted fabric of some kind; excellent drape, stands up to pressing on quite a high heat setting, but doesn't hold a very sharp crease, pretty matte surface with some texture, feels fairly substantial (not like an actual rayon)...any ideas? I almost didn't buy it, because I was wondering if the colors and dots looked too old-ladyish, but Shayna talked me into it. I'm so glad she did!
Notions: Bias tape for the neckline, seam binding, elastic. I feel like I haven't sewn a zipper in ages...love it!
Hours: Somewhere in the range of 4-5 hours. The dress itself is pretty simple, but I put seam binding on everything, and since I only have pink seam binding, I had to keep stopping to switch thread colors.
Techniques used: Seam binding? Zigzagging elastic? Does that really count?
Will you make this again? Only if I find a suitably drapey and hard-wearing fabric. I think this would look way too poofy in a woven cotton. It's a super easy dress and comfy to boot.
Total cost: I already had all the notions leftover from other projects, so just $3 for the fabric!
Final thoughts? I love that the top looks nice and normal, but then there are giraffes on it! But it's still a more serious animal print than my hippo dress. The dark colors mean that while this is supposed to be a summer dress, I can add tights and boots and a cardigan if need be for winter. I'm really glad that I finished all the insides, as I expect to be wearing it quite a bit. My husband likes it, and isn't embarrassed by it, so that's always a plus.
|The insides! I finally used up the last of my stash of purple bias tape! Yes!!! *fist pump*|
|Just to rub in the fact that winter in SoCal feels like summer: it was warm enough for some afternoon shaved ice!|