Black Shift for Easter

I know that black probably isn’t the first color that comes to mind when thinking of what to wear for Easter, but sometimes you just work with what’s around. That’s what I did at least. After playing around with some design ideas for turning a year-old muslin into something wearable, this is what I came up with.

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Designing and sewing this dress was a fun process and very different from my usual. Normally, I start with a pattern and then choose fabric to fit the design. This is how I was taught to sew and it’s become my habit. (It also reduces the chance that I will develop a case of enormous-fabric-stash-that-I’ll-never-be-able-to-use guilt.) With this project I was starting with a basic shape that I couldn’t really alter and had to decide how to finish it. Once I landed on my idea, it was pretty easy to execute. I decided to add to pintucks to the center front to frame three square buttons and use simple fabric bands to finish the neckline and arm holes.

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Design/Pattern: Muslin from the front and back of the Licorice dress pattern from the Colette Patterns Book

Materials: black Sophia double knit (I think I may have mentioned my love for this fabric.)

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Techniques:

  • serged seams
  • darts
  • pintucks
  • fabric bands to finish the neck and arm holes (cut two inch wide fabric strips, folded in half lengthwise, stretched as I sewed/serged them to the neck and arm holes)
  • decorative buttons

Alterations/Changes: My finished dress looks very different from the original Licorice dress pattern because I had limited fabric to work with. I had to come up with a different idea for the collar and sleeves, which I’ve described above. I also decided to take out the vertical darts on the dress front so that the silhouette would be a shift rather than a sheath.

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When I started this dress I had no specific plans for wearing it on Easter, but as my spring break started I had this dress waiting in the wings. The day before Easter Sunday, I spent an hour or so working on my dress and didn’t have it finished. I told myself it wasn’t a big deal; I had other pretty things in my closet that I could wear. Easter morning arrived and my first thought as I lay in bed halfway awake was about finishing this dress. I just had to get up and spent another hour on it so that I could wear it that day. I’m so glad I did. It turns out that wearing a black dress for Easter isn’t such a bad idea.

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Lavender Pintucks Top

Have you ever made something that looked good, but just wasn’t right? It could have been something you sewed, cooked, wrote… This top, unfortunately, fits into that category for me. It looks good with the neat pintucks and notched neckline, but it just isn’t right for me. The fabric isn’t what I was hoping for (I bought it online, which always involves a bit of risk.), and I struggled to decide on a design that suited a fabric that I just wasn’t excited about using.

I modified a pattern I’ve used twice before with very good results, Simplicity 2365, so I don’t blame the unsatisfactory result on the pattern. My disappointment with the top is mainly due to the fabric I chose. It is a rayon/poly blend, and I was expecting something much more drape-y and smooth. Instead, this fabric is rough, stiff and frays like crazy. It’s honestly just an uncomfortable feeling fabric. I don’t really do uncomfortable very well, when it comes to clothing. The pintucks are beautiful though.

Design/Pattern: Simplicity 2365, modified at the sleeve/shoulder

Materials: rayon/poly blend

Techniques:

  • pintucks
  • serged seam allowances (before putting everything together, to prevent further fraying)
  • bias tape (to finish the neckline)

Alterations/Changes: I widened the pattern at the shoulder and tapered to meet the seam line at the sides to create a sort of loose cap “sleeve”.

Unfortunately, I cannot give this garment a very high grade. Maybe a C-. I finished this top over a week ago and still haven’t worn it. Usually, I go out of my way to wear a new creation as soon as possible. I just don’t know what to put it with and don’t feel comfortable in it. It was meant to be part of my Transition Wardrobe, but it doesn’t pair that well with the dress, skirt or t-shirt I’ve already made. Maybe it will go well under the last piece (still a work in progress), the wool Chanel-style jacket? Maybe I’ll be able to wear it over a long sleeve t-shirt and leggings in cooler weather? Or maybe it’s just a wadder?