Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Linen Mod Dress, and Some Creative Problem Solving

A few weeks ago my wonderful Mom sent me the bestest birthday gift a sewing girl could ask for. Fabric. Nice fabric! The kind I just can't find at our crappy crappy Joann's. It's a beautiful, bright, orange and pink linen that is super soft. Actually, it's quite similar to the blue linen of my other work-in-progress - just much more vibrant and less transparent. She also sent a pretty pattern to go with it, but I was leery of the lack of darts or shaping lines on it. Some people look good in loose,  flowy, semi-shapeless gear. The lovely Crochetie comes to mind. I think being pixie-sized helps. But for myself, I needs some shapin. So I took my mom's pattern as inspiration (it was a simple shift dress) and browsed Etsy (for much longer than necessary) until I ended up with this:

It's a pretty simple shape, but it does have the princess seams and darts on the front, and darts on the back as well. Also, one thing I've learned about sewing is that patterns can be quite dull until someone sees them with creative eyes. The pattern is just a starting point. It's up to the seamstress to make it wonderful. That's why I love the new feature of the Sew Weekly called "Make This Look".  The talented Mena takes lovely ready-to-wear dresses suggested by readers and finds patterns and fabrics that would allow you to recreate the look. The reverse process - where through your own inspiration you combine patterns and fabrics into something beautiful and unique - is the sort of sewing creativity I want to develop. Right now I need a lot of help on the inspiration end though. So, I have the 1960s style dress pattern, and I have the linen fabric, but how to make it my own? Here is where I went to get inspired:

New School Vintage Dress - So Zo

Zoe of 'So, Zo' made this dress last year, which was still lingering in my memory. I love the wide lace on the hem and cuffs. I also found some inspiration browsing Etsy, of course.

Lemon Yellow Shift Dress - danadaisys
This is all pretty simple still - just some lace trim and different ways to lay it - but simple can be good, right? Besides, my orangey-pink linen is so bright, I don't want to get toooo crazy with embellishments. Speaking of which, here is a picture of the fabric along with some trims I discovered at our local antique mall.

I like both these trims, but not for this project. My mom said the white is too much of a contrast, and I agree. The floral one is too sparkly, and while I don't mind mixing different colors, these just didn't quite do it for me. What to do, what to do. I can't count on Joann's or Hobby Lobby to have any good options. Etsy has a million options, but I can't make up my mind and I shouldn't be spending precious dollars on this when rent day is fast approaching. And then it hit me.

Hubby got me a tie dye kit for my last birthday, which I really wanted but still had never put it to use. Take a little lemon yellow plus a little fuschia, mix 'em in a bowl with the stark white ribbon, and voila! Lovely trim in the perfect shade for my dress. I feel so resourceful! Maybe I'll dye a few t-shirts while I'm at it...

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