21 May 2010

A Dress for Daisy

Once upon a time, two of my very good friends were getting married. It was an evening wedding, and I knew that the bridesmaids dresses were floor length, so I figured it would be on the formal side. I scoured by closet and could not find a single thing to wear. It seemed that every dress I owned was either white or not formal enough or too tight or lacking an appropriate accompanying cardigan or didn't fit right or just not in style. The real problem is that I have become addicted to Mod Cloth. I spend hours on this site cataloging favorites that I will never ever be able to afford to buy. (It's not all that unreasonable considering it is a site that hosts independent designers. I'm just not the sort of person who drops $50-100 on a dress.) Anyway, due to the hours I spend daily on Mod Cloth, for the first time in my life, I have a solid handle on what sort of styles are "in." And there is nothing in my closet even remotely close.

So I figured I would make something. I had tons of jersey fabric I bought last year about this time. I think what happens is it gets warm outside, and in my rejoicing that I don't have to wear sweaters every day, I decide I want to be cute and trendy. But I don't have the money or the peace of mind to go clothes shopping when my dresser overfloweth. So I decide that I should make myself a new wardrobe. Naturally.

Remember back when I got Daisy Dressform? I altered an existing skirt I would never wear into something cute and wearable. Here is the post. I learned a lot from that project, and I listed out all of the little lessons I would take into making clothes in the future. The first lesson was, "When it comes to clothes, it is wise to follow patterns, learn your way around, and earn the right to improvise." So I searched through all my books of patterns looking for just the right dress. But...I had a vision. And of course there was nothing in my pattern books that met my vision. So I improvised. Naturally. (Funny that even in my list of lessons from Daisy's Debut, I said, "Will I follow this advice in the future? Probably not. I have too many exciting ideas." Well, at least I know myself.)

I did start with a skirt pattern I had lying around (Simplicity 4236). Unfortunately, I cut the pattern out in the wrong size. (Note: if you are a 2-4 in real life, you're a 10-12 in simplicity patterns. I have no idea why they do this except to screw with you.) Thankfully, I noticed this before I cut my fabric, but it meant I had to guesstimate what size I should actually be, which meant that I ended up with a bunch of extra fabric in my skirt. Noted. Lesson learned.

Next I needed a top. But of course I didn't have any sort of pattern for the kind of top I wanted. So I took some extra pattern paper left over from my skirt, laid it over my dressform, and cut out the shape I wanted, cutting and taping paper together as needed, like so.

This was absurdly fun. It was kinda like a cross between sculpting and putting together a puzzle. My dad says that to carve a duck decoy, you take a block of wood and carve away whatever isn't duck. (I doubt that concept is original to him, but that's where I learned it.) That's kinda how this felt. I pinned the paper on Daisy and cut away whatever wasn't dress. If I cut too much, I just taped on some extra paper and tried again.

Once I had the shape how I wanted it, I cut out my fabric. I now have the dress fully assembled and pinned to Daisy. And here it is:

And that's where it stopped. I realized that the wedding was 2 days away, and there was no way I'd be able to finish it in time. So I went to H&M and got a $13 dress that was perfect.

Nevertheless, I really do want to finish this dress. It will be gathered a bit at the bodice, and it will get ties at the waist to bring it all together. I'm not sure if it will be stretchy enough as is or if I'll have to add a zipper (*terror*). I also have never sewed with jersey fabric before, so this should be interesting. Also, the other fabric is not jersey, which I'm sure is probably against the rules. But it's just so pretty!

I'm finally beginning to understand how to dress and accessorize in colors. Like Stacy and Clinton say, "It doesn't need to match. It needs to 'go.'" So I chose a complimentary color to the green in this bright reddish pink. It kind of reminds me of a watermelon. And I really like it. But I'm not sure how often I'll wear it. So I need your help here. Should I use all green instead? Or maybe a patterned fabric that has the green in it? Or maybe a royal purple? I just don't know. Which is part of the reason this dress remains unfinished (you know, besides that face that I have no idea what I'm doing and I like it so much now that I'm scared that sewing it will ruin it).

But there you have it. At the very least, it is currently an outfit for Daisy, who has been naked and hiding in a corner since I finished that skirt back in June. How embarrassing!


  1. Oh, Robin! I like the dress very much! And the watermelon colors don't bother me, although I've been really into monochromatic lately.....
    And, check out this cute store. They have the most adorable skirts!!

  2. I love the cut, but I think I would make the middle green. That's just me. Boring. Predictable. and Monochromatic will never go out of style. :o)