Finally completed: Blue Skies dress

Hi all! I hope you’re doing well. I am just a touch sick at the moment, but pretty excited because of the oncoming spring. I love this warmer weather, and longer days! They are the best. Although, I now have under three weeks left in my city – I’m heading up to Wellington in mid-November, for more-or-less permanent. It’s a big change, even though that’s where my family all are, and I’m going to miss Dunedin.

Spring seems to inevitably bring the same thoughts to my mind: floating maxi dresses. This dress was started, oh, around this time last year, and got put aside for one reason or another – I honestly have no idea why. And clearly as soon as autumn hit, I had no interest in finishing off a summer dress. It was a good project to pull out at this time, though – I’d done most of it, and finished it in a weekend, so it was a satisfying thing to do in between making my quilt, without taking too much time. I’d actually done more than I thought – the lining was entirely constructed, and the main dress had darts in, though no more than that. It was interesting, though, to look at what I did last year – I think I’d do some things rather different now.

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The dress is just as floaty and flowy as I hoped it would be. Prancing around in it on a hot day is a lot of fun – although I definitely feel more noticeable in a maxi dress, so some days it feels like not the thing. While I was sewing it I was a little concerned about the fabric – I bought it from an op shop, so I don’t know what it’s made of, but I think some kind of synthetic – but it’s actually pretty nice to wear, and the full cotton lining helps, as well.

The pattern is a heavily modified Burda one, the same as here, here or here. I raised the front neckline, made the back a V neck, raised the waist, and extended the shoulders into small cap sleeves. That last one, though, I could have given more thought to. I did make a muslin of my original sleeves and alter, but I clearly needed to repeat the process, as the sleeves dig in rather. It’s not a problem most of the time, but if I’m trying to bend forward it becomes a big problem. I can say from experience that this is the single least practical thing I have tried to garden in, and that’s the main reason why.

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In things I might have done differently: the neckline. I think I like the V-back, but am not really sure overall. I had to lower the front neckline a good inch from what it was last year, also – I might have been working on the theory that lowering it would be easier than raising, but it was at a strangle level.

I also would have underlined the bodice, I think. When I was taking photos, I realised the thin outer fabric was already beginning to pull at the seams. It’s pretty snug on me, which probably encourages that, but using a thinner needle and underlining might help, next time. And I decided to french seam the shell of the dress but pink the lining, which works ok, but I would probably have french seamed everything – let’s be honest, that’s my favourite finish these days.

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I tried taking more interesting photos this time. I think this was supposed to be a spinning picture, but has ended up in some kind of formal dance. Who knows.

A few guts shots:

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In an ideal world I would have used an invisible zipper, this one was too chunky, but that is not one of my talents – A french seam – Teeny tiny hem because apparently I have two hem feet of different widths, who knew – Beautiful me-made bias tape.

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Most maxi dresses are too short for me – I’m 5’9″ – and it’s nice to have one that actually grazes the top of my feet. This made it very difficult to get a photo showing the whole length, so here you have Nearly Headless Rowena (it doesn’t quite have the ring of the original name though).

My garden is also doing some beautiful things at the moment – see: spring – so I took a few photos of my favourites.

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no idea what either of these are, but I thought the one on the right was dead until those yellow flowers came up

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a fern frond + the first rose of the season

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the apple tree

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food plants: raspberries and redcurrants

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things I actually planted: herbs, celery + silverbeet taking over rather.

And one more dress photo: from when I got bored of photos and went ridiculous.

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