It’s been a while here. I’ve been sewing a bunch (but nothing with zips or darts – my last dart was in January, until this weekend) but my camera has been out of action (every photo shows up as a big question mark, for no apparent reason). This week I borrowed one from a friend, and took photos of my gorgeous new dress that I am in love with, so here I am back!
(I also took photos of my socks, and the goal is to get a few others this week, so I can catch up with the made things. I can’t even remember half the things I need to photograph now)
The story of this dress starts with, actually, this one. When I was working in my semester break in June, I was wearing a uniform in the morning, and coming home and realising what I wanted to wear every day was this warm, fluffy merino dress. Which prompted me to start thinking about sewing another comfy wool dress to wear in the winter and feel both warm and fabulous in.
Then a few weeks ago I went to a craft market in town with a couple of friends, and did the usual thing of prodding at all the clothes stalls to see if there was anything I wanted to copy, and I came across a shift dress in a beautiful lightweight plaid wool. Chatting to the store owner, she told me where she bought it from, and then said “I think they might still have some, actually.” Which sent me there as soon as I could make it out there. And lo and behold, they had the exact beautiful fabric I was looking for. Isn’t it gorgeous?
It’s pretty soft, it’s squishy, it’s plaid, it’s some of my favourite colours. Love it.
I did not buy enough for a circle skirt. I bought what I thought was a relatively low amount, because I was being thrifty, thinking I might make the skirt pleated. However, my sister rightly warned me of the dangers of a pleated skirt looking like a school uniform, and through serendipitous factors beyond my control I just (just) had enough to make a full circle out of that lovely lovely wool (I gave up my dreams of full length sleeves for the circle – but who knew that you can cut more out of 60″ wide fabric than 45″? It’s one of those things I never remember to take into account when I’m deciding how much to buy, and luckily that worked in my favour this time).
I am very very fond of this dress. I put it on as soon as I finished it yesterday, and then wore it again today, because it is beautiful.
By way of lining, we have three different strategies employed (four, if you count just not lining the sleeves). I didn’t think the (loose/soft weave) fabric would hold the fitted shape particularly well, so I underlined the bodice with cotton lawn for stability, then lined the waistband in the normal fashion to enclose the seams, and lined the skirt with a flannelette sheet to add some body and warmth. I know that I don’t like circle skirts when they’re too drapy, because I have something of a tendency to look pregnant in normal life and they exacerbate it (I had two people in one week ask me when my baby was due recently…), but I was super sold on the circle skirt in the plaid, so I really wanted a lining that would make it hold its shape a bit better.
In terms of pattern, the bodice was from NL 6143 (like this, this, and this – it’s my go to fitted bodice), but I shortened it slightly to add the waistband, which was just a straight rectangle, and adjusted the neck somewhat. There’s clearly something going on in the back bodice, but I don’t see it so I don’t mind about it.
I had some fun finishing everything fancily, and used rather a lot of seam binding tape on this, which has resulted in rather beautiful insides. The wool was pretty keen on fraying, so this should keep it under control. I also used the seam tape to pipe the edges of the waistband, and my only regret is that I dind’t do this on the pockets as well. And in one of my favourite touches, the zip is matching-but-contrasting. I love it.
In terms of life stuff, next week is my first week going into surgery! This is pretty exciting. I expect to be pretty well busy for the whole next three months, varying slightly on my placement, as we do something different each week. Next week is two days of acute admissions – people who turn up to ED with appendicitis and the like – followed by two days in ICU (which apparently alternates between nothing happening and far too busy for students to do anything, so it’s not a super useful learning attachment, but it still sounds cool). And then I’ll be spending a week with the cardiothoracic surgeons, which is heart and chest surgery – another interesting/exciting place to be for a bit.
And of course, I have plant babies growing. As always. I have one set of succulents who live on my desk, and it’s great to be able to see them so much of the time. I’m very excited for the start of the spring growing season – I got some new seeds to plant today! Tomatoes and chillies and squash and gooseberries!
And one more of my dress.